If the administration doesn’t like a Shared Future, what then?

Peter Robinson’s attack on the funding of Catholic education was one of the rare examples of deft politicking in that it had a broad appeal to unionist voters from the most hard core to the most liberally minded. What could be more ‘shared future’ than educating all NI’s children in the same schools? Erm, well…

And, as Duncan Morrow pointed out on Monday, the Shared Future strategy, launched by Des Browne in 2005 has found very little purchase with either party at Stormont Castle:

Devolved government did not like A Shared Future. The fact it was enacted under a British direct rule government was enough to make it an object of suspicion. But agreeing an alternative has proved a hard ask.

As part of the deal at Hillsborough in February, the Alliance Party demanded a policy be agreed and, in July, the Executive agreed to consult on cohesion, sharing and integration, known by the unfortunate initials of CSI. Public consultations end on October 29th.

The fact that a programme emerged is its own achievement. But what the CSI document shows is that political leadership in Northern Ireland still has a hard time in prioritising reconciliation and an intercommunity future.

The words and actions in the document are not of themselves dishonourable, but the programme does not amount to a systematic attempt to tackle sectarianism, racism and the consequences of violence and discrimination. The default reality of today – separation and even hostility – will remain embedded in housing, culture, regeneration, community and education.

Morrow believes this sterility at the heart of devolved government will erode some of the very few things upon which there is genuine cross party consensus in OFMdFM:

The current push for international investment will prove impossible if we do not tackle our signature international weakness. Small businesses which might benefit from a reliable increase in visitors and tourists will remain moribund if every summer is overshadowed by riots.

Creative people will not choose Northern Ireland, if the quality of life is undermined by fear. Our brightest children will continue to leave if we do not make Northern Ireland a place which prizes openness and tolerance.

Probably, almost certainly undeniably so. The question is how do you get from the territoriality of the past to the fulfilment of the broadest needs in the future?

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  • Alan Maskey

    Sorry, the logic here is a bit hard for me to decipher:

    1. Multicultural melting pot: The SS finished world war 2 as Europe’s most culturally diverse fighting force. Sometimes, it is better not to fix it if it ain’t broken. Of course anything that smacks of taig baiting will have broad Protestant appeal but that don’t make it good.

    2. Inward investment: Why would foreign firms want to invest in a small off shore corner of an island where the culture is anti work and pro handout. Sure, you can fiddle with carrots and sticks but not as much as Dublin or other semi sovereign powers.

    2a. Tourism: You have to see your difference. The Irish do that. The English do it. The Jocks do it. But what has the Orange state got? Old Orange codgers “marching” and daft, demobbed Provos “Shoulder’d his crutch, and shew’d how fields were won” Civilised people do not need this backwater, provincial bunkum. The Ulster fry is passe.

    The Occupied Zone needs to be part of a larger, single entity. The population of Greater Manchester, for example, is over 2.5 million and Manchester has Oasis, finance and football.

    Why should your talented stay? Some years ago, I was in Baden Baden in Austria. Lovely place, clean Germans etc. I caksed the lovely lady at reception what she thought of it. She hated it: too many old codgers and no action.
    The Occuppied Zone is like that: olde, Keynesia, beggar political parties, playing old Keynesian politics. Direct rule or unity would be better options.
    Stormont is part of the problem, not part of the solution.

  • Alias

    The British state shared future agenda is all about engineering the Northern Irish nation that actually has the pseudo right to self-determination and therefore should have control of the statelet. Since the statelet existed before the nation, the British state now has to reverse engineer the nation in order to remove the abnornality of different nations competing for control of one state(let). Some unionists won’t like the British state’s shared future agenda anymore than the catholics will since it means that other nations must be merged into the engineered Northern Irish nation.

  • White Horse

    Agreeable sentiment from Duncan Morrow, but why has this culminated in attacks on Catholic education?

    Some will feel that this attack on one of the pillars of Roman Catholicism is sourced in the deepest recesses, if such depth exists, of a hatred of Catholicism by people who have always tended to put their Christianity second to the interests of the state they owe their allegiance to.

    Would they have it that both communities express their loyalty to “Christ” in the pointless, superficial, endlessly cowardly, fear-motivated marching seasons?

    Or is it just a shrewd political move on the part of DUP that allows them to pose as idealists without the slightest hint of regret for their part in the Troubles? How hollow can unionism get?

  • WH, the Catholic hierarchy seemed reluctant to be part of ESA back in 2009; Robinson has moved the argument a step further:

    “The future of Catholic education in Northern Ireland is under “significant threat” from planned reforms, Cardinal Sean Brady has claimed.

    He said plans to centralise control of education could “undermine the ethos” of Catholic schools.

    Education minister Caitríona Ruane has said the changes are necessary to create a more effective system.” BBC 13 March 2009

  • White Horse


    Sinn Fein, like the unionists, are still trying to reinstate their ideological nationhood value syestem that suffered a fatal blow at the instigation of the GFA.

    Their value system honours the Nation State and its morals, or more aptly, its lack of morals, relegate Christ and Christianity to the corners of their societies. The Nation’s GNP – or money – is now their god.

    It is not surprising that these failed ideologies place no importance on Catholic education – or Christ in education – because they see voilence as having given them all their power.

  • joeCanuck

    The question is how do you get from the territoriality of the past to the fulfilment of the broadest needs in the future?

    The answer is that “We don’t know yet”. But we do need to try. I suspect there is still great division in Bosnia, for example, and it may take generations.

  • WH, SF HQ seems to be in control freaky mode and Ruane finds herself in no man’s land on this one.

  • White Horse

    Yes, Nevin, like I say, ideological republicanism, still running around the yard like the headless chicken it is, owes no debt to Christianity and somehow still feels that it is the Irish nation and that by abandoning Catholic education it is endorsing the will of the people as expressed in 1916. We’ll see what the Catholic people think of that. And it is a pity that Ruane hasn’t more sense than to allow herself to be sacrificed for this Godless agenda.

  • Greenflag

    ‘I was in Baden Baden in Austria.’

    That’ll come as a surprise to the Austrians all of whom know that Baden Baden is in Germany . Have you now become an American with your geographical ignorance slipping ?

    Nice touch that for an American neo con i.e the ‘playing old Keynesian politics ‘

    Bad news for you -The Ulster fry will never be passe -Not as long as people on this island enjoy bacon and eggs plus any and all provincial extras .

  • Greenflag

    ‘Stormont is part of the problem, not part of the solution.’

    So like yourself eh -two faced or as you might put it janus faced minus the j 🙁

    Stormont is both . Part of the problem and part of the solution for some time ahead .

    Keep thinking in black and white that way you’ll never see the lime greens and deep oranges until its too late !

  • Greenflag

    ‘is all about engineering the Northern Irish ‘

    An easy task no doubt . Based on it taking forty years to get the tribes into he same room to talk directly to and at each other I guess it should take a mere 500 years or so to make a ‘Northern Irish ‘ nation eh ?

  • Greenflag

    ‘If the administration doesn’t like a Shared Future, what then?’

    Then they might want to give serious thought to an agreed and fair Repartition administered and implemented by a neutral international agency such as the UN and/or EU supported by both governments .

    And NO I’m not trying to reopen a ‘repartition ‘ thread . If and or when the current GFA collapses may or will be time enough . The late Horseman in his many informative posts persuaded me of that much at least !

  • Greenflag

    ‘How hollow can unionism get?’

    To every action there is an equal and opposite reaction so the answer has to be as ‘hollow’ as they need to be to be the equal of their allegedly hollow opposites .Never mind parity of esteem parity of empty rhetoric and moral high grounding is the once and future trend 🙁

  • Seymour Major

    Since Mr. Robinson opened the debate over a week ago, I have to admit that unlike any other political issue, my viewpoint has swung quite wildly from one side to the next as I ponder what should be the right policy.

    I speak as a father of 3 children who have had an excellent education in Catholic Grammar schools. I could not have wished for anything better for them.

    At the heart of this debate is the threat to Irish culture and political identity.

    If the Integrationists try to push Irish culture to one side, they will get nowhere. If they want to be taken seriously, their starting point has to be that all aspects of Irish culture, whether music, sport, literautre, dance, Irish language have to be comprehensively available in every new integrated school to all Northern Irish children.

    If that can be offered, it narrows down the argument for retaining the Catholic maintained sector. What you will have left is the Catholic clergy who will argue that a Catholic school requires its segregation for the sake of stronger faith and Nationalists who fear that integration will lead to a weaker nationalist political identity.

    The identity problem, I suggest is will become a battle of conscience for both Unionists and Nationalists. No decent person want sectarianism. On the other hand, it is impossible to reconcile the need to eradicate sectarianism with the desire to preserve National identity in its present form.

    People have to make a choice. I would be saying to people that your children will be better off if they take a leap of faith and allow them to explore a new uniquely pluralist Northern Irish third Identity. That will evolve naturally in a new integrated education.

    Nobody can say whether future generations would be more or less likely to want a united Ireland or remain in the UK. However, what you would be giving future generations is not just a shared future – but a shared journey and one which they can all enjoy together.

  • Halfer

    “The identity problem, I suggest is will become a battle of conscience for both Unionists and Nationalists. No decent person want sectarianism. On the other hand, it is impossible to reconcile the need to eradicate sectarianism with the desire to preserve National identity in its present form.”


    Within that one paragraph, summed up the paradox of Northern Ireland. Everything political and social within is retarded by it.

    Rather than arranging deck chairs, why can’t we think bigger and differently?

  • joeCanuck

    their starting point has to be that all aspects of Irish culture, whether music, sport, literautre, dance, Irish language have to be comprehensively available in every new integrated school to all Northern Irish children.

    That would be an absolute must. Apart from everything else, I think a lot of children are being denied access to a rich culture.

  • joeCanuck


    I can’t imagine anything more destabilizing than a repartition. Where exactly would you draw the boundary? In which part of the new division would west Belfast be? N.I.’s very own Gaza strip or would there be a Danzig corridor? What about all of the people left behind in each part. It will never fly and I thought you had given up on that idea; you haven’t mentioned it in quite a while.

  • “an excellent education in Catholic Grammar schools”

    SM, has the Catholic hierarchy opted for a switch from Catholic grammars to Catholic comprehensives and, if so, what conditions were attached?

  • Greenflag

    You are right. Protestants and Catholics in Northern Ireland cannot have a shared future because we have nothing in common, absolutely nothing.

    Nortern Ireland needs two devolved governments, one for the mainly Prod areas and another for the mainly Catholic areas. As the American poet, Robert Frost put if “Good fences make good neighbours.”

  • Greenflag

    I would’nt draw it -beyond my competence -thus a neutral international agency .

    It’s an option if the ‘shared’ future unravels thats all . Horseman more or less persuaded me with his number projections that in another few years it would be beyond possibility for ‘unionism’ to carve out an enclave/enclaves ?
    And the political will for such a solution appears weak on the unionist side as of now.

    I don’t believe NI much less any part of it can afford another 40 years of talks about talks etc and another generation of ‘peace processes ‘ and in that sense ‘repartition’ should be a consideration .

  • Greenflag

    Seymour ,

    Good post -making sense and probably the best way to get around the ‘contradictions ‘ which plague NI given it’s history.

  • Driftwood

    White Horse:
    And it is a pity that Ruane hasn’t more sense than to allow herself to be sacrificed for this Godless agenda.


    Are you a PZ or Kevin type of Myers Man?

  • White Horse

    Impressive though PZ’s argument may be, it is still the realm of words. Words can prove anything. It is in deeper places that you find God.

  • Seymour Major

    “At the heart of this debate is the threat to Irish culture and political identity.”

    Very true. Add to that the threat of physical and verbal violence against Catholic children and teachers. Also the threat to the Catholic religion.

    “If they want to be taken seriously, their starting point has to be that all aspects of Irish culture, whether music, sport, literautre, dance, Irish language have to be comprehensively available in every new integrated school to all Northern Irish children.”

    Very true but if pigs had wings, they might fly. What you suggest is totaly unacceptable to most of the integrationists. One of them, and a very outspoken one at that, said on TV “The GAA should be outlawed in Northern Ireland”.

    “If that can be offered, it narrows down the argument for retaining the Catholic maintained sector.”

    No, it would not BUT it would make State schools less repugnant to many Catholics – especially those many Catholics who have grievances against their clergy.

    “The identity problem, I suggest is will become a battle of conscience for both Unionists and Nationalists.”

    No, it is not a battle of conscience, it is a battle about power – restricting Prod power over Catholics.

    “People have to make a choice.”

    True BUT all people do not have to make the same choice.

  • Driftwood

    Which God? Or more accurately, Gods?
    I’m with Zeus and all the guys’n’ gals on Mount Olympus.

    Those scumbags who support Wotan and Thor and want to march through our area are the bane of my life.

    I suppose if I’d went to the same school as them I might understand, but I don’t understand -why do they have different god(s) in the 1st place????

    Do they have unicorns in Ireland?

  • mcclafferty32

    Eve of trial statement from Gerry McGeough

    A Chairde,
    Just want to say a big THANK-YOU to everyone who has sent messages of support and offered their prayers ahead of the re-starting of this so-called “trial”.

    By now, you will all be aware of the fact that this charade has nothing whatsoever to do with Justice and everything to do with continuing the war against the Irish people by other means. It is raw, brute political intimidation and censorship in its most blatant form.

    This persecution against me is being driven by elements from within the British/Unionist establishment who hate with a passion everything that is IrishNationalist and Catholic. They are blinded by bigotry.

    Needless to say, I have never been impressed or intimidated by this outfit in the past and most certainly will not bow down to them now. Irish-Catholics will not be pushed around in our own country and the sooner these people face that reality the better.

    My patience has been sorely tested by these anti-Irish, anti-Catholic wretches and I believe that the time has now come for the establishment of a broad-based
    Independence Movement that will demand the end to foreign misrule in our country. Our ancient Irish Nation requires freedom, unity and full independence
    from Britain…as of now.

    As an Irishman, I am sick to the teeth of the English presence in our country. England has nothing to offer our people but misery and captivity. This is our Nation and we want it back. England, get out of Ireland and take your pathetic little Diplock courts with you! Remember, the Irish Nation will never be beaten and Irishmen and women everywhere must stand up and be proud of our ancient
    heritage and noble history of resistance to the foreign enemy! Éirinn go Brách/Ireland Forever! Gerry McGeough

  • Greenflag

    ‘because we have nothing in common, absolutely nothing.’

    I never said that . The Czechs and Slovaks have a lot in common but they find political separation works best for them . Serbs and Croats are another case in point .

    The Czechs and Slovaks achieved their political separation without any lives been lost . That was not true for Serbia and Croatia . And if it comes to pass I would hope that NI would adopt the Czech approach .

  • White Horse


    I could Google “nothing” too if you like but I take your point. Of course, you shouldn’t allow shallowness to define your search for God.

  • joeCanuck

    Perhaps we may find a shared future in the misery of poverty.

  • joeCanuck

    Is there to be no end to the “Brits out” mantra? Pathetic insular nonsense. The histories of our two countries have been intertwined for almost a thousand years in the present epoch (the English were actually invited over by an Irish “king”) and for much of an earlier period the people of Ulster shared much with the people of Scotland.
    If you or McGeough look closely I think you will find that you have lots of English and Scottish and Welsh cousins, even if many times removed.

  • White Horse

    Not one mention of the word “republican”?

    Anti-Irish and Anti-Catholic, yes. Historically true, but wasn’t it the Catholicisim that the British hated most because it undermined their empire values? Wasn’t their hatred of the Irish based on their refusal to give allegiance in their religion to their great empire?

    And isn’t Catholicism a universal religion that sustains no nation state only Rome? Isn’t the greatness of Catholicism that it refuses to play second fiddle to the interests of any nation?

    Can Gerry claim Catholicism for the Irish Nation without serving two masters? Which is it to be, Catholicism or the Nation, social justice or GNP, God or Money?

  • Down South

    How depressingly insular in tone and content. This debate rings round and round in the same orbit year after year. The basics are simple:
    1. We live in a basic democratic political generation that will be stable (stuck) for at least two to three generations
    2. We have to work out how to work that reality for the best and work towards success rather than away from problems
    3. Identity is not the preserve of schools but the interests of the family – it is your own responsibility for being what or who you want to be in life.
    4. What would be so bad if we were a little less nationalist and a little less unionist in our perspectives
    5. We will stay mired in the same circumstances until we (society) work together
    6. The greater risk to NI society is not internal it is external – globalisation, energy security, climate change, global environmental decline, and global inequality and thank God for that because we all need a common greater enemy to take heads from up backsides
    7. Working together to confront the emerging global reality is not a choice – it is a must and being a catholic with conservative nationalistic tendencies will not help much nor will being a unionist with evangelical certainties
    8. The choice is about the future for the next three generations until we are past the current rut, I chose working with people to tackle the big stuff and I care nothing for a United Ireland nor a United Kingdom. I’m past caring and I feel a great deal freer as a person for leaving it behind me.

  • Greenflag

    ‘but wasn’t it the Catholicisim that the British hated most because it undermined their empire values?’

    After 1829 the British Empire became reconciled to Catholicism and roped in the Irish with the more than willing enthusiasm of the Irish Catholic hierarchy to help spread ‘Catholicism’ throughout the Empire’s colonies . Around 1800 and in the period up to 1829 George the Hanoverian who lost the American colony did not care for Catholicism as apart from being ‘idolatry’ it was the religion of the competing French and Spanish Empires

    ‘Which is it to be, Catholicism or the Nation, social justice or GNP, God or Money?’

    Black and white thinking won’t get you anywhere in Ireland . There are more than two choices . We haven’t yet succumbed to the Bush simpleton’s ‘you are either with us or against us’ . Very rarely is life that simple and certainly not political life.

  • Greenflag

    Down South

    1. Too long . At the most one generation (25 yrs) if that. By then the economic world will have changed to such an extent that even the dreary steeples of Fermanagh may look comforting .

    2. Define success ? Is it more of what we don’t really need ?

    3. Agree.

    4. Fair enough.

    5. Indubitably.

    6. Agree but the internal one is not to be assumed away .
    Overall I’d gauge it 90/10 for external

    7. Again indubitably -no question.

    8. Three generations may be beyond the beyonds for most people . Many people find it hard enough to make choices for tomorrow or next week or next year or for five years hence . Things can change so quickly especially in the light of ‘black swan ‘ events such as this economic crisis . Contrast the national (British & Irish) mood in May 2007 with the present .

    Near term future 3 years
    Medium term future 3 to 10 years
    Long term future 10 to 25 years .

    By the time we get to 2014 I would think most of the present
    chaos will have settled and we’ll be in a position to look forward in more confidence -imo- barring of course any further ‘black swans ‘ in the interim . Nothing is guaranteed as usual and past performance is not a guarantee of future results 😉

  • White Horse

    Interesting, Greenflag.

    I’m just reading a book about Daniel O’Connell after Catholic emancipation and it clearly displays how the British continued to support an Orange elite in Ireland at the expense of O’Connell and Repeal.

    Part of the problem in this society was that it was a black and white choice between ideological nationhood, green or orange, with no-one standing up for what was a common good that could not be killed for.

    John Hume came along and asked, indeed demanded, that no-one kill in his name. He chose social justice rather than the nation, and honoured God in the process. His thinking was indeed black and white.

  • Down South

    “The choice is about the future for the next three generations until we are past the current rut,”

    The Catholic people of Northern Ireland have more than enough to contend with when dealing with current problems. Moreover, what did posterity ever do for us?

  • Down South


    what more do the Catholic people of Northern Ireland have to contend with that the Protestant, Hindu, Muslims, and Atheists don’t have to contend with. Last time I looked there were nearly 40% of households in Northern Ireland in fuel poverty, 33% of jobs were directly in the public sector, and a further 30% were reliant on the public sector.

    As for posterity – It got us out of the mess we are in and maybe forgave us.

  • Down South

    Thanks Greenflag, you are right about three generations being too long if considered 75 years. But I was thinking a shorter timeframe than that.

    In terms of defining success – that has to be a collective experience because my definition of success is not going to be the same as yours. There are some bigger things we can start with – increasing prosperity, less violence, increases in quality of life, successful economy with entrepreneurial traits, high educational and training achievement, increasing health, declining inequality between rich and poor, local energy independence etc. Things that everyone as humans can aspire too but which can;t be achieved in isolation.

  • Greenflag

    We be of the same mind set Down South at least on all of your above points . I was thinking 75 yea

    There is nothing wrong with personal success (financial , political or whatever) as long as it’s not achieved over the bones of a destroyed civil society and millions of destroyed lives 🙁 Such a result can only lead to a failure for democracy as we know it and even lead to totalitarianism of the left or right .

    Nobody ever really succeeds by themselves alone which of course you know 😉

  • Greenflag

    John Hume’s thinking was never solely black and white . He was and is a much more nuanced individual and a genuine Irish ‘hero’ over the past 40 years of his political life . He was and remains a pragmatist above all and one who understood very early on that ‘killing ‘ people would not deliver a UI.

  • joeCanuck

    But, Greenflag,

    What will the external world look like in 75 years? Will our descendants all be too busy building seawalls, for example, to worry about anything other than a common peril?

  • Greenflag

    ‘how the British continued to support an Orange elite in Ireland at the expense of O’Connell and Repeal.’

    Not that simple WH . You have to distinguish between the British State of the time and/ or a particular British political party or a group of anti catholic zealots . ‘British” alone oversimplifies a many faceted relationship between the ‘elites’ religious and political on both sides of the Irish Sea. Very often the British State and a British political party were in conflict over the approach and ‘solution’ to the Irish problem as we see in the Home Rule debates. Towards the end of his days such was his reputation ‘O’Connell was recognised as the ‘father’ of the HOC and it’s best orator .

    I don’t believe SF are ‘serving ‘ Catholicism . Quite a few of their policies would not be amenable to a strict interpretation of catholic values. They could in fact be accused of ‘reformist’ heresies ;)?

  • Greenflag

    Joe Canuck ,

    ‘What will the external world look like in 75 years?’

    Despite strident voices that it (the external world ) may not be here in 75 years time I somehow believe it will . Whether humanity will still be around well that’s another matter but I’m slightly positive on that score – barring of course one of Pete Baker’s ‘magnetars’ or ‘gamma ray emitting pulsars ‘ zapping us into extinction ;( or the great Patricius delivering on his promissory note 😉

    That said re your seawall remark- not that I would say anything untoward about the Dutch or Bangla Deshis or the residents of many small low lying islands in the South Pacific, but I am somewhat relieved to be 300 to 400 ft above sea level . I don’t know how close you are to Lake Ontario but I recommend a large family sized boat (not Ark size) just in case your federal and /or provincial government leaves you behind 😉

    BTW . I believe those in your neck of the woods will have advance warning if the present trend in global warning somehow by means of an as yet scientifically unknown long term (thousands of years) ocean current cycle flips into a mode which will instead deliver a new Ice Age in the northern hemisphere . We are according to the climate geologists still within the 2, 000, 000 years long era of ice ages with 14 ice ages still to come 🙁 perish the thought 😉

    As you may or may not remember from schooldays the venerable and saintly Patricius did promise us Irish some damp relief , from the Revelations predicted fire ball world ending, gnashing of teeth , swashbucklery of the four sworded horsemen of the apocalyse, and the prior rapturing of the non employees of multi national banks , hedge funds etc , – by having our green and pleasant isle submerge beneath the sea- 7 years before everybody else and not beneath a deluge of financial mayhem as present as revisionists might be tempted to assert 😉

    And now JC bad cess to ye;) have set me a pondering with that wayward remark . Is it possible -naw -it could’nt be ? . Could the great Patricius have been a Dutchman and thus familar even then with the flooding so typical of that part of europe and somehow was harking back to his native web footed abode when he delivered that watery ending prediction -perhaps he was suffering from Alzheimers -on the other hand how could he -Alzheimers had not yet been ‘invented ‘

    God loves us all anyway – At least if he/she /it doesn’t drown us all we can be guaranteed at least of a mega Nov 5th terminatory experience.

  • joeCanuck


    I’m a few hundred metres above sea level too but I live right on the edge of Lake Huron. Now I do sit on a raised beach about 8 feet above the lake surface (which varies over time, so I’m all right Jack (with a nod to Peter Sellers).

  • Greenflag

    addendum ,

    BTW why I suspect his Dutch origins is that Patricus never refers to his island of origin i.e the then Brittania also being destined for a submersible finale with accompanying Handelian water music -just Hibernia . Perhaps Patricius the Dutchman incognito had a preview of future British /Dutch imperial and naval rivalry and was moved to prefer a fiery ending for his Brittanic neighbours ;)?

  • Greenflag

    All you’ll need then is a few ice picks if the Ice starts building to mile high levels as well of course as a road atlas with directions to reach the lower latitudes -keep the passport up to date just in case 🙂

  • Joe, I visited a cousin in 1965 who once lived on Lakeshore Road, Sarnia. I’m told that the road and part of the garden have since joined Lake Huron 🙂

  • Greenflag, O’Connell and Gladstone in their different ways produced the Ulster question [pdf file] and helped unify conservatives and liberals amongst the various Protestant denominations. If you look at the Ulster Convention of 1892 you’ll see that there was no enthusiasm for switching from an Episcopalian ascendancy to a Catholic one.

  • joeCanuck

    Interesting, Nevin. Shortly after I came here, the lake level started rising and reached the highest level recorded. Quite a few houses in my area ending up in the lake and enormous amounts of rip rap were installed to minimize erosion. Then, 5 years later, the levels started falling and last year reached the lowest level ever recorded.

  • White Horse


    I take your point but it is a little hair splitting.

    Towards the end of his days, O’Connell was also convicted by an Orange conspiracy and a Protestant jury and sent to jail for a year.

    And yes, Sinn Fein owe no debt to Catholicism. Their god is not Christian but the nation state.