“Our people may be British, but our cows are Irish…”

EU flag in the Guinness Book of Records_2009-04-14Who would say such an outrageous thing? Ian Paisley, of course… Jonathan Powell has some brief thoughts on the significance of the mutual membership of the EU for Ireland and the UK:

The border between Ireland and the UK just came to mean much less once we were both in the EU. This was particularly brought home to me when Ian Paisley, the fire-breathing DUP leader, came to see Tony Blair in the midst of the 2005 Foot and Mouth crisis in the UK and in an attempt to take advantage of the looser restrictions on movement of cattle in the south than in the north said, “Our people may be British but our cows are Irish”.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Ulsters my homeland

    N.Ireland is in a unique position and we should promote it for the good.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    ….actually if the cows were given the choice, they would’ve choose Irish, LOL

  • Tir Eoghain Gael

    They mabe Irish cows but are they Dairy cows or Londondairy cows??

  • Plastic Paddy

    Post-Nationalist Federal Europe . . . get ready for it.

  • blinding

    Give the cows and the humans a vote on a UI and better still count their feet.

  • wise up, move on or bugger off

    [i]Post-Nationalist Federal Europe . . . get ready for it.[/i]

    In your and Barosso’s dreams. Blood will be spilt if that becomes anything more than a remote possibility.

  • Mel Gibson

    Irish not British
    British not Irish
    and always twirling, twirling
    towards freedom!

  • Pasty

    Wise up or Bugger off?
    “In your and Barosso’s dreams. Blood will be spilt if that becomes anything more than a remote possibility.”

    I think you will find that blood has already been spilt over the last 800 years. Democracy is a terrible thing as Unionists know from trying to Gerrymander the votes down through the years, but Democracy will prevail and the will of the people will come to pass – no matter the threats from half wits.

  • Frontier Vulpine

    Does this now make Ian Paisley officially a Cute Hoor ?

    A place on the Fianna Fáil benches in the Seanad surely beckons?

  • Big Maggie

    This is kind of off topic but here goes.

    I’m a southerner who’s lived in NI for yonks and have never got a satisfactory answer to this puzzle: How come northern cows can pronounce their th’s and southern cows can’t?

    I live near Newry, where bullocks and heifers talk about “the weather” and “whether it’ll rain this time tomorrow”. But as soon as I cross the border my bovine friends discuss “de wedder” and wonder “wedder it’ll rain diss time tomorrow”.

    Now here’s the thing. Many of these animals belong to the same herd, beasts whose ancestors have grazed in the same pastures for centuries. Yet the nordie lads and lasses have no difficulty with their thorns and eths while the southerners do.


  • Greenflag

    Ten out of ten fro that one :))

  • sammaguire

    “My ear-tag’s green,
    No glass of ours
    Was raised to toast the Queen!!”

  • joeCanuck

    My brother, who was a teacher, used to tell a story about a fellow teacher who hailed from way down south. He asked a pupil, what is tirty trees. The pupil replied “A small forest ,sir.”

  • Big Maggie


  • sammaguire

    Off topic but interesting. Maybe a thread should be put up on accents and dialects.

    Never really noticed northern “cows” were better at their ths before. There’s great variation in accents/dialects throughout the island. However I was amazed when in England to be told by an English person that he didn’t perceive much of difference between my south Dublin accent and another guy who shared a house with me who was from Strabane.

  • joeCanuck

    When I first went back on holiday with my Canadian wife I told her that she would have no trouble speaking with my family except for a brother-in-law from Cork who had a distinct accent that we had trouble with.. He was the only one she understood for a week.