Irish Times Letters

Irish Times Letters – Can’t quite link directly but two fabulous letters in today’s Irish Times:
1) Madam, If all our heroes and patriots stopped turning in their graves we might get some stability – Yours etc.
Bill Ambrose, Dublin.

2) A chara – Following the generous offerings of aid from other quarters, can I ask if anything has been heard from the Choctaw Nation? – Is mise,
Sean O Coilean, Corcaigh.


  • Progressive Unionist

    For anyone mystified about the reference to the Choctaw Nation, they raised $710 for victims of the Famine in 1847 (a very large sum in those days)

    President Robinson thanked them for it during her term in office:

  • pippakin

    My favourite has to be no 1. but no 2 is a close second!!

    Thanks Dewi, a little light in the gloom.

  • Alias

    The Choctaw Nation have better things to do with their money can contribute some of it to bailing-out the eurosystem. It’s not like eurosystem bond traders are starving, is it?

  • Alias

    can = than

  • Laughing (Tory) Unionist

    Actually . . . the Choctaw could do the Free State a power of good:

  • Greenflag

    Not with names like Rotschild and Goldman Sachs and the rest who showed up in that Anglo Irish list of non starving bastards who would go without din dins if Anglo were allowed to do a Lehman Brothers .

    It’ll take another reign of Madame Guillotine before these anti social greedy bas****s get their just deserts !

  • joeCanuck

    Yes, Pippakin,
    Number 1 is hilarious.

  • joeCanuck

    An amazing amount of money when they were likely still suffering themselves from their own misfortune. There are good people everywhere and we shouldn’t forget that when there is a natural disaster anywhere.

  • Greenflag

    laughing unionist ,

    Too late -we’re way ahead of the Choctaws in the casinos department . We called them Anglo Irish , AIB and BOI . We’ve also had too many chiefs who were feathering their own nests while selling their ‘indians ‘ down the swannee river 🙁

  • Dewi

    Great link PU thanks – I knew of the reference but not of the President’s visit – cool.

  • becky

    yer right milltown must be like a washing machine with people spinning in their graves at the antics of psf

  • Cynic

    If we could link all dem patriots up to the National Grid it could be a new power source. Then Cowan would have an excuse to stay for another 5 years

  • Rory Carr

    Thanks for those, Dewi. When the correspondent can stay pithy and focused in one neat sentence like these two it makes for sweet reading.

    Although not in the same league in terms of sharpness, this letter from a Private Eye reader in response to a profile of Ian Paisley Jr. in the previous edition is one I have been hoping to find a slot in which to introduce. I hope you don’t mind if I hijack yours using the weak excuse that the thread concerns letters to publications on Irish issues.

    Anyway, here it is for good or ill:


    Whilst mainland readers must wonder what possessed the electors of North Down to return Ian “Baby Doc” Paisley Jnr., it’s maybe more understandable when you look at the other contestants in the election.

    The most prominent was an ex DUP member Jim Allister who found Paisley Snr too liberal (sic) and set up a new party, Traditional Unionist Voice. Think of the BNP crossed with National Socialism and draped in an Ulster flag for an idea of just how repugnantly reactionary TUV is in comparison even to the DUP. And pundits thought TUV had a real chance to capitalise after the Mrs Robinson debacle. Thankfully they were thoroughly routed.

    Baby Doc was actually the liberal thinker of choice… but of course this is Northern Ireland.


    West Malling, Kent.

    I draw this letter to Slugger readers’ attention only as a service to those TUV (and perhaps also Baby Doc) supporters in order to alert them to this attack on the image if not the integrity of their parties and so that they might have the opportunity to reply (to Private Eye please). So, please, don’t shoot the messenger.

  • sdelaneys

    For the real history of the Rothschild family read The Tailor And Ansty. The Tailor claimed they came from west Cork.

  • John East Belfast

    Laughing Tory Unionist

    You jest with the Choctaw and their Casino enterprise but you touch on a thread all of its own.

    ie How do you make a small nation with no natural resources on the Western edge of Europe work – and of course I have the ROI in mind.

    I think the EU is good for small nations trying to get up of their knees but in the medium to longer term they can kiss goodbye to their own sovereignty as they become absorbed into the greater whole.

    The main benefit of sovereignty is flexibility – small nations need to be flexible and be able to change direction as required.

    However the EU removes your ability to decide your own social and immigration policies and hence control the cost and make up of your labour force. It will also severely restrict your fiscal independence and prevent innovative initiatives when required.
    As for surrendering your monetary independience – especially to economies not matched with your own – that was an act of utter folly.

    Therefore there is now practical little difference between Northern Ireland’s place within the UK and the increasing direction of the ROI within the EU subject to the dominant economies of Germany and France.

    Therefore what is the alternative ?

    For starters it is very hard for Ireland, north or south, to keep its educated and talented young on board – there isnt the critical mass within the economy and they will simply pack up and go – the brain drain and the lack of investment capital will ultimately keep both Irelands as dependencies of something greater.

    For unionists in the north that is not something we should overly beat ourselves up about. We are full British citisens and entitled to our share of the wealth of the UK from whatever part of the UK it is created. We could mess around with our CT Rate of course in the vain hope of FDI but all that would do is upset the UK fiscal applecart and whatever it brought to NI would be paid back via a reduced block grant.

    For the ROI it is very different – you value your independence and sovereignty – however what you have now and what you face are anything but.

    Therefore what should you do – well in the short to medium term you will have to stay put – until this mess is stabilised.

    In the longer term as a unionist I would say you should re-join the Union but on the assumption you are not up for that then you realy have to get out of the Euro and out of the EU. You should then join Sterling.

    Then what ?

    With full fiscal and labour sovereignty you should seriously exploit what gave you a degree of prosoperity before you messed it up by joining the Euro and let the Banks run riot.

    That is low Corporate Taxes and the expansion of your Financial Services Centre.
    Of course the latter, due to its loose controls, was also a conduit of hot money and dubious deals.

    It depends on those how much you are prepared to look the other way – Charlie Haughey certainly was. Although that culture seruiously contributed to your current mess.

    Then there are the Chotaw Indians – you could become the Las Vegas of Western Europe – although your morality may not allow that. either.

    Either way within the EU and the Euro your sovereignty will be an illusion and a United Ireland will never be acheieved as the majority of northerners wil always prefer the UK status quo.

  • Alias

    John, how exactly do you think Ireland can exit the euro when it has now underwritten several hundred billion of eurosystem debts that can only be repaid from within the eurosystem? It is now a case of leaving the EU, not the EuroZone.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Thank you for providing that link. I’d never heard of the Choctaw nation or their donation. A remarkable act of humanity and charity.

  • joeCanuck

    your morality may not allow that

    Morality? Surely you are jesting, John. (presuming you are talking about the politicians and financial “leaders”)

  • “Whilst mainland readers must wonder what possessed the electors of North Down to return Ian “Baby Doc” Paisley Jnr…”

    North Down electors might be wondering the same question.

  • John East Belfast


    As I said it is is not a short term plan – the worst thing you could have are Punt Assets and Euro national Liabilities.It isnt usual for a Govt to issue Bonds in a currency not its own

    On the other hand the direction the ECB Interest Rate is going will deal a death blow to your residential mortgage market – and that i think is why pressure was brought for the ROI Govt to take the bail out now in the first place as others see that coming.

    Your best scenario of course would be that you have a currency that appreciates againsts the Euro – thus reducing your loans.

    What could that currency be ?
    Certainly not the Punt within the current EU strait jacket.
    The Euro isnt a one way bet – even if it is “Deutsche Mark” centric – there is too much weight pulling it down – and that is not just the Irish problem.

    I think the $ will appreciate against the Euro and my experience is that Sterling Euro usually follows that.

    Therefore as I have mentioned before on Slugger the Irish should aim to leave the Euro and join Sterling – they can always have their Punt back (if they wanted it) in the longer term after that.

    The main aim should be to bring exceptional prosperity and growth to the ROI – that cannot be done within the EU straitjacket

  • John East Belfast


    I suppose I am thinking along the lines of Do as I say and not what I Do !

  • Rory Carr

    I don’t suppose there’d be much use in pretending that I had inserted a “Spot the deliberate mistake” test.

    North Antrim of course. My apologies to Slugger readers and to Mr Hobson for my careless transcription.

  • Munsterview

    Alias, may not be your cup of tea, but see the recent article posted on the site on Bob Geldof. There is some very interesting information there regarding where it is alleged the bulk of the Live Aid monies went to pay off international bankers rather than people in need.

    I did not have the time to check it out yet, but if true it is very disturbing indeed and will severly dent the credibility of charity organizations.

    Could wou please run your knowledge eye over it ? I would like to read your views on the matter if your International financial interests extend to African affairs.

  • Munsterview

    Jeesus Rory you think that’s bad ?

    When I am over there I have to explain them….and then bloody well defend them, as the English regard them one and all as Irish and nothing else !

    Had a very intense one to one with the man some years back, his politics may be backward ( yet someone sure as hell keeps electing him) but he have his wits about him and he is one sharp cookie.

    Unfortunately the meeting was private and so must stay off the record, but anything that I would have to say from that one to one would be positive.

  • Alias

    John, they can’t exit the euro without also exiting the EU since they wouldn’t have the level of sovereignty required to implement the emergency measures that would be needed to reintroduce a sovereign currency, e.g. preventing capital flight, redenomination of debts from euros to punts, etc.

    Since we would be outside the EU and you would be inside it (on your way to full integration) there would be no point in what you are suggesting.

    That is assuming we exited and then defaulted as it wouldn’t be possible to exit if we didn’t intend to default.

    Assuming we don’t default then it isn’t possible to leave the eurozone anyway when the debts can only be repaid within it.

    If the Euro survives this crisis, the UK will be a full member a lot sooner than anyone there thinks.

  • Munsterview

    John EB,

    Let me leave financial European matters aside for the moment and concentrate on the social and cultural. When you talk about England, your connectivity and your entitlements, do you ever stop that most Southern Irish may feel the same way about Europe ?

    Some years back in Southern France I was trying to communicate with the shop owner and getting the cold shoulder treatment from two lines that formed in front the counter as the two middle aged women shop struggled to assist me with their apparently poor command of English.

    My French is virtually non existent but I did understand the mutterings about the English. My partners grand daughter who was born and is living in France then came in, I told her of the information I needed regarding an archology book that they should have in stock. She translated into perfect French and was complimented on her landguage skills as an ‘English ‘girl.

    She exploded as only a littler French Madam can and left them know in no uncertain terms that she was French and Irish and that I was Irish. All the sullenes was suddenly gone we were sorrounded by the two groups, handshakes and apologies everywhere ……. and the two shop women had very passiible English, enough to deal with my query. I was also presented with another book on the town as a present.

    The Irish are generally welcomed all over the Continent and they feel at home there. There are also historical links, some along the Rine Valley going back to their very foundations in towns that grew up around Irish Monastries. One Irish missionary of East Clare extraction went to Rome to beg financial help with a Rineland Cathedral project in the mid 800’s, Rome promised him the second half of the required funds…. if he could find the first half himself.

    He came back to Clare and in a small area in South East Clare he made a collection from local Gaelic Lords and his own clan. Just eight months later he was back in Rome with a thigh high boot full of gold coin. The Cathredal and the legend of Irish generosity still stands.

    As lste as the end of the ninteent century hundreds from the Balasked Islands and South Kerry set the spuds and corn and then went on pilgremage to Spain to the shrine of St James and were back again for the Autumn harvest. Spain, Italy, Portugal, Belgium etc held Irish Colleges where local Nobility were also educated.

    A nephew of the then O’Connor Don (Connacht) was a chaplin to the Austrian Court yet left the grandure of plalce life and servants to minister as Bishop in one of the then most barren and remote of European areas where the mans cultivation and learning was mocked by the same planter mentality ignoramuses that surface here in slugger on a regular basis when anything Gaelic is referred to.

    I could go on John but why bother, your eyes will probably have well glazed over by now. The late Cardinal O’Fee had cycled around these monastic sites as a student. I spend one glorious afternoon with him back in the early years of his appointment where he shared maps and knowlege. He said that we had no idea of the welcome that awaited us as Irish in the heart of Europe.

    He was right ! Forget about Commonwealth John, and I do not mean this in any anti-English way, we have connected again with these lines that ran open from the Celtic migrations to the First World War. Our horizons no longer stop at Eastbourne, Norfork or Aberdeen, even if yours do. We are back where we culturally belong and where we are welcome.

    The Continent and the alieness of it do not exist for most Irish, they are welcome as Irish and feel at home. When I go into a magnificent Continental Catholic Cathredal it is not an alien place to me, it is what Ard fert, Cashel, Ardmore and a thousand other of our runis could be had not another culture been so determined to destroy that of my people that every thing significant to that culture had to be destroyed in a scorched earth policy.

    If we Republicans are in a learning curve about Unionism, you also have a way to go to appreciate your Catholic and Nationalist neighbours on this Island. Bishop Graves, Davis, Mitchell, Michael Cusac and thousands of other such fine people of Planter Stock have long ago bought you the and yours the right to share in what you want of that culture.

    I know Eastborne, the downs and the beautifull clifts there, can you say the same for Ennis, the Burrenn and the Cliffs of Moher ?