Niall O’Dowd: “between a benign interpretation on the Irish subtext to something more in your face…”

Irish Central founder Niall O’Dowd has taken umbrage at the “clear Irish subtext to the royal wedding”.

There was a clear Irish subtext to the royal wedding from Prince William dressed in an Irish Guards uniform to shamrocks on Kate Middleton’s wedding dress as well as the news that the dress was manufactured using old Irish lace traditions.

But the most significant announcement was the one that Prince William has become Baron Carrickfergus among many other titles.

That tips the balance for me between a benign interpretation on the Irish subtext to something more in your face.

On the one hand people can argue that the upcoming Queen’s visit to Ireland ensures a new era and the Irish subtext to the royal wedding helped reinforce that.

On the other hand was it all a deliberate effort to state categorically that a part of Ireland was still under British rule and that the Irish could like it or lump it?

[And there were the Waterford crystal chandeliers! – Ed]  Indeed.

The three titles conferred on the prince – Duke of Cambridge [England & Wales], Earl of Strathearn [Scotland] and Baron Carrickfergus [Northern Ireland] – seem designed to echo the royal couple’s pre-wedding tour of the United Kingdom.  Which included a visit to Northern Ireland.  Not that that necessarily undermines Niall O’Dowd’s contention.

But the reality is that the 1998 Agreement recognised Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom, and recognised the people’s “right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland” [added emphasis].

Just because some may wish to pretend otherwise, doesn’t mean that everyone else has to.

“And people will just have to be tolerant of that.”

Of course, the regimental motto of the Irish Guards, ‘Quis Separabit?’ (‘Who shall separate us?’), which features in the insignia on the Forage Cap the prince wore on the day, also happens to be rather appropriate for a wedding.  [And for a United Kingdom?! – Ed]  You do know that the tinfoil doesn’t work?

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  • joeCanuck

    Sounds like the guy really goes out of his way to find offence. I lived in Carrick for a few years, working at Kilroot and the Prince might as well be Baron of it; he is Colonel of the Irish Guards from a few months ago. It should be pretty meaningless to those of us who are republicans.

  • perseus

    hmm is the message “we’re all irish now” even the Royals?
    or is it “we’re all british now, even the irish”

  • Alias

    The UK clearly has a selfish and strategic interest in maintaining its territorial integrity, and in celebrating the union. The future King is the embodiment of that union.

    The Shinner narrative that the UK is praying for the day when it can get rid of the awful place (NI), having no interest in maintaining the territorial integrity of the union. Its valient efforts are supposed to have somehow ‘seperated’ NI from the union, delivering it into ‘Irish’ hands.

    The UK establishment declaring otherwise in a very calculated and planned manner doesn’t fit that narrative.

    Most of this sailed right over the empty heads of the newly weds, of course, since they are just props.

  • perseus

    alas, i think your making too much out of it,
    NI is part of the UK presently and people will just have to be tolerant of that.
    The Queen like the Catholic Church works in centuries.
    The shamrock and irish lace is touching, and a prep for the Royal visit,
    betokening friendship, not rulership or governorship.

    The “empty heads/newly weds” was a rare fun-line,
    midst the usual bottom-feeding observations 😉

  • Alias

    Incidentally, it should be remembered that sovereignty over much of the internal affiars of Ireland was derogated in a treaty between the UK and Ireland to a supranational body that now holds that sovereignty jointly. This supranational body is called the North/South Ministerial Council. The ‘North/South’ is propaganda to create the misleading impression that this is an internal authority rather than a supranational body formed in a treaty between two sovereign states.

    All matters transferred to that supranational body are removed from Irish self-determination, as expressed through the Irish state, and subject to the veto of the British state.

    Therefore, the current queen and the future king have extended their dominion from NI into Ireland, so the monarchy isn’t an external matter from the Irish state’s constitution as the monarch is the head of the state that jointly holds this sovereignty.

    Some of those internal affairs derogated include sovereignty over the national language. The British state now jointly owns this language and its promotion is subject to its veto.

    When the queen visits Ireland, she will be visiting as head of the state that administrates much of Ireland’s internal affairs via the supranational body. In effect, much of it is here dominion once again, with more to follow as the role of the NSMC is expanded and the last remanants of Irish sovereignty are given away.

  • “The three titles conferred on the prince – Duke of Cambridge [England & Wales], Earl of Strathearn [Scotland] and Baron Carrickfergus [Northern Ireland] – seem designed to echo the royal couple’s pre-wedding tour of the United Kingdom. Which included a visit to Northern Ireland.”

    Pete, I think recent custom is the more likely explanation.

  • USA

    SF do not “wish to pretend otherwise”, they signed up to the GFA just like everyone else, in fact they helped to write the document.

    Do try and stick to the point.

    As regards shamrocks and Irish lace?
    All sounds very nice really and i’m sure in their privileged world it was meant as a gesture of goodWill.
    Baron Carrickfergus? No big deal, does it change anyone’s life. I don’t think so.
    Much ado about nothing.

  • Greenflag

    Mr O’Dowd is suffering from DUS -delayed ‘unionist ‘syndrome . in it’s apposite sense as it affects SOME republicans. once upon a time whenever any British politician in government or out of met with Irish politicians it was ‘sell out ‘ time once again . Whole careers were built 9some might say still are being built on unionist paranoia as regards their constitutional status within the kingdom .

    Sad that O’Dowd is aping the ‘apes’ so to speak. .

  • Cynic2

    [Play the ball – edited moderator]

  • Cynic2

    PS Niall Rather than liking or lumping that NI is still British, the Irish People VOTED FOR IT in a referendum. As you live so far away and probably had your green tinted glasses and earphones on that day, you may have missed this exercise in DEMOCRACY

  • USA

    Well played moderator.

  • Greenflag


    ‘It should be remembered that sovereignty over much of the internal affiars of Ireland was derogated in a treaty between the UK and Ireland to a supranational body ‘

    Indeed . It’s you just got the wrong body/bodies . The economic policies of the Irish , British, American , German , Spanish and the rest of western democracy are determined by Wall St via Goldman Sachs, Bank of America , Citigroup and their City of London equivalents -backed by the IMF and the ECB .

    The only institutions which are ‘sovereign ‘ under our current system of anarchic ‘capitalism ‘ are the international bankers . The elected politicians of the right and left have mostly been ‘bought out’ by the power of the corporate lobbyists whose attack on democracy continues apace by demanding smaller and more ineffective and thus weaker governments so that in effect the western world will be ruled by a fascist oligarchy with less and less ability on the part of electorates everywhere to ‘change ‘ the rule of a small minority getting richer and richer while the rest become progressively poorer and the world’s poorest are sent to the wall .

    Sovereignty ?

    To avoid the coming economic tsunami the IMF (remember -our friends Chopra et al ) advise avoiding Irish & German banks as having the most debt to roll over this year and avoid the USA and Japan as having the most national sovereign debt .

  • pippakin

    Surely this is typical Niall O’Dowd and Irish Central, and that being so its not worth getting into a fuss about. Time Niall O’Dowd concentrated on his own back yard, or is that too much like work.

  • perseus

    USA Much ado about nothing
    Indeed, remember though , in an act of generosity,
    that bottom-feeders must have their daily bread too
    its just lower down in the tank;
    whereas most of us prefer to swim above in cleaner fresher waters ..

  • ranger1640

    Irish republicans Embarrassed by Nothing Offended by Everything!!!!

  • 241934 john brennan

    USA (profile); SF do not “wish to pretend otherwise, they signed up to the GFA just like everyone else” That’s a bit of an overstatement. SF didn’t sign the GFA. They sat on the fence. On the Irish referendum SF made no recommendation, neither “Yes, No, Vote nor Boycott” – but they did immediately sign on for pay packets from Stormont – and then prevented it from working, due the prolonged decommissioning delay – “no guns, no government V not a bullet, not an ounce” procrastination

    “In fact they helped to write the document” – That too is an overstatement. SF was excluded from much of the “Mitchell” talks – for initially refusing to sign up to the Mitchell Principles (non-violence). Then having signed, SF was excluded again by Mo Mowlam, because of some politically motivated murders in Belfast – and only readmitted to talks in the concluding few weeks – where their main contribution was to parade around the car park for the benefit of press photographers – daily pictures of Gerry Adams eating a banana, drinking a can of coke etc.

    After the GFA was delivered the SF contribution became evident- prisoner release/amnesty. SF even got that wrong. It failed to tie the British down to fixed start and completion dates.

    So, in reality the SF contribution to the 1998 GFA was delay effective working by devolved government for a decade, while at the same time, with help from the DUP, stirring up sectarianism to the extent that tribal extremism has a majority, with despairing moderates not even bothering to vote.

    War weariness, has given way to apathy, which is bad for Northern Ireland, but suits the British – no more IRA bombs on the mainland – with the spying, unaccountable MI5 happily ensconced in Belfast – all thanks to SF.

  • pippakin


    I occasionally browse through Irish Central, mainly to see what those few rancid Americans who believe in the IRA are ranting about. We all need a laugh from time to time.

  • Aontachtach

    Who is Niall O’Dowd?

  • Cynic2


    Is it not in order to point out that someone who so opposes the UK and the British in Ireland cant be bothered to live here? The argument was about Mr O’Dowd’s ability to be so easily offended – surely his distance from a land he loves so much is a reasonable thing to comment on?

  • iluvni

    Great to see O’Dowd offended again. Its been a while.

  • joeCanuck

    You need to upgrade your spectacles; I said republican.

  • Aontachtach

    Look forward to the day when the native Americans are given control of their country. It’s a shame people like O’Dowd keep quiet about the treatment of the indigenous people. Is there a timetable for when the Irish and the other foreigners are leaving America and going home to their native lands?

  • Pete Baker

    “Pete, I think recent custom is the more likely explanation.”


    Which “recent custom” are you wittering on about?

    “Giving new titles to a member of the Royal Family on their wedding day…”?

    Here’s why it’s important to pay attention to the details

    1981 – Prince Charles. No additional titles granted.

    1986 – Prince Andrew. Titles granted – Duke of York [England & Wales], Earl of Inverness [Scotland] and Baron Killyleagh [Northern Ireland]. All titles previously held by his maternal great-grandfather and grandfather.

    1999 – Prince Edward. Titles granted – Earl of Wessex [England & Wales], Viscount Severn [England & Wales], successor to Duke of Edinburgh [Scotland].

    2005 – Prince Charles, again. No additional titles granted.

    2011 – Prince William. Titles granted – Duke of Cambridge [England & Wales], Earl of Strathearn [Scotland] and Baron Carrickfergus [Northern Ireland]. All titles recreated for the occasion.

    Next time do your own homework.

  • fordprefect

    Spot on, mo cara!

  • “Next time do your own homework.”

    Thanks for taking the time to make my point, Pete. The new titles had obviously nothing to do with your earlier ‘wittering’ about the recent Royal visit. And if your tin foil hat isn’t working, throw it away.

  • pippakin


    I also believe in a UI but I don’t believe in the IRA or some brain dead yank telling me who I should support.

  • Pete Baker

    “The new titles had obviously nothing to do with your earlier ‘wittering’ about the recent Royal visit.”

    *shakes head*

  • *shakes head*

    I don’t think that will cure your hat problem, Pete 🙂

  • Mark

    It was all those lovely fetching hats made by de Galway milliner that swung it for me …. I blame Philip Treacy .

  • Cynic2

    now girls…only way to sort this out is handbags at 10 paces

  • Cynic2

    Whoops…..will I get one of those yellow things for sexism?

  • Munsterview

    Aontachtach : Who is Niall O’Dowd?

    For a start he is a brother of Fergus who is Minister of State with special responsibility for the NewEra Project (Departments of Communications, Energy & Natural Resources and Environment, Heritage & Local Government)

    Niall also grew up and was educated up to third level in Ireland. His business record in the US speaks for itself. He commands a wide ranging respect with Irish Americans and unusual for a Democrat supporter, he has equal respect from leading US Republicans party representatives. He has long been a ‘Washington insider’ who has had influnce with and and access to various US presidents and government members.

    Of course all of these connections in Ireland and the US and his personal friendships and thust with many of the main players fall well short of an East End childhood and 30 minutes spend in an Aldi que in Northern Ireland ever so often, when it comes aquiring insights into and speaking speaking authorativly on the internal politics of Northern Ireland.

  • pippakin

    LOL. I wouldn’t be a bit surprised to find Mr O’Dowd is also very good friends with a Mr P King, in spite of Mr Kings conversion on the road to Damascus, Or they could absolutely hate each other, two fleas one dog, what can you do.

  • Pete Baker


    The ball?

  • Mick Fealty


    Take Pete on by all means, but not through abuse.


    Remember there are substantial differences between the the Multi-Party Agreement and the British-Irish Agreement. Only the two states sign up to the legal document.

    No political party signed up to it’s provisions, and indeed SF remained at odds with the decommissioning provisions for another seven years.

  • This is getting silly, Mick. A little minor abuse was being directed against me by Pete. He reintroduced the tin-foil hat – opening thread – so my quip was influenced by that.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m not arguing Nevin. Just put the work in.

  • latcheeco

    Are you hinting in your post that for some unionist males the interest in this shindig might be because this youth shares a motto with Uncle Andy? I there was me thinking it was, [Text removed – for a boy on Yellow already you do take some stupid chances – mods].

    As a nationalist, it’s hard to separate the pomp and circumstance of the occasion from memories of watching other members of the family on the news every other night visiting and applauding their soldiers and militia for doing a magnificent job coralling the natives.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “he has equal respect from leading US Republicans party representatives.”

    Congressman King (SF-NY) perchance?

  • Cynic2

    “Mr Kings conversion on the road to Damascus,”

    Only the Americans could put in charge of the House Homeland Security Committee a man who has been so consistently supportive of terrorism in the UK!

  • “the upcoming Queen’s visit to Ireland” .. “a part of Ireland was still under British rule”

    O’Dowd appears not to have noted that the Irish government uses two different terms for the 26 and the 32 counties viz ‘Ireland’ and ‘island of Ireland’. The government approach brings a little more clarity to the conversation.

    I presume he considers himself an Irish-American. Today he’s waving his American hat.

  • All be upstanding for Queen Marie of Bulgaria!

    There must be a variety of Münchausen syndrome which involves fretting about irrelevant, archaic, pretentious, ridiculous, mock-feudal and (in contemporary terms) somewhat obscene titles. Like so much else (including FPTP or AV MPs tied to one-member constituencies, while their constituents churn over at 10-25% per annum) they are a lasting reminder that, in the UK, property still counts for more than people.

    If this marriage between a princeling and a millionaire commoner causes your sap to rise so far you need to get your rocks off over O’Dowd, consider two far better bits of writing:

    Gary Younge’s piece for The Nation:

    Having a royal family establishes inherited privilege at the heart of your system of government and embeds patronage at the center of your politics. Our upper chamber is still the House of Lords. People pay taxes to “Her Majesty’s Revenue”; if you win an election, you become “Her Majesty’s Government”; if you go to court, you face not the “people” but the Crown. All of this is of course primarily symbolic. The trouble is, it’s symbolic of something quite terrible—the notion that our head of state gains the position not by merit or election but by birth. In Britain, no matter how aspirant a parent is, nobody buys their kid a T-shirt that boasts Next King of England because the job is never up for grabs.


    ❖ a staggeringly adept, and wholly relevant to this thread, effort by Nick Cohen in yesterday’s Observer, neatly hung from the Algonquin hatstand:

    As if to distract us from the thought that Kate Middleton will discover that love is a thing that can always go wrong in the House of Windsor, Buckingham Palace added a Balkan touch to its “fairy-tale wedding”. A man it called “King Constantine of the Hellenes” was in Westminster Abbey. “Crown Prince Alexander of Yugoslavia” and one “King Simeon II of Bulgaria” were included on the guest list, too. And, as if to make Dorothy Parker’s point for her, they were joined by “King Michael I of Romania”.

    But while there was a Marie of Romania – queen from 1914 to 1927 – there is no King Michael I. Greece, Bulgaria and Romania all deposed their monarchies, and even after the brutal experience of fascism and communism, no one could persuade their citizens to take them back. Meanwhile, the Palace’s “Alexander of Yugoslavia” not only has no throne, but also claims the title of a country that no longer exists except on old maps of cold war Europe.

    Can I have a yellow card, please? On this thread being offensive is a mark of real distinction.

  • Pete Baker

    “The work – 4:34pm above.”


    You’ve linked a BBC report which opens with the lines

    Prince William has been made Duke of Cambridge, and his wife the Duchess of Cambridge, Buckingham Palace has said.

    The prince has also taken the titles Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus, linking him to Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    What is it that you think that BBC report says that contradicts the line in my post, which you highlighted, that the three titles

    seem designed to echo the royal couple’s pre-wedding tour of the United Kingdom

    Generally, guys, can we get back to the actual topic?

  • Greenflag

    malcolm redfellow ,

    Hilarious and deserving of a commendation and a green card for quoting Nick Cohen’s observations 😉

    So the Crown Prince of a non existent country gets an invite but former British Prime Minister’s Tony Blair and Gordon brown and present Labour leader Ed Milliband don’t ?

    Who was in charge of the guest list ? The Chairman of the Conservative 1922 Committee?

  • Pete, if you’d lifted this other quote from the same link you’d see that the choice of names was a tradition ie it was not designed to be an echo to the tour.

    “Giving new titles to a member of the Royal Family on their wedding day is a long-standing tradition.

    When Prince Andrew married, he became the Duke of York, Earl of Inverness and Baron Killyleagh.

    Prince Edward became the Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn on his wedding day in 1999.”

    And that’s my final comment, hopefully, on this minor point.

  • Pete Baker

    “if you’d lifted this other quote from the same link you’d see that the choice of names was a tradition ie it was not designed to be an echo to the tour.”

    Nevin, that’s, partly, why I went to the trouble of pointing out the detail.

    The granting of titles is the tradition.

    The choice of which titles are granted is something else entirely.

  • And Killyleagh is in Co Down, Pete. No precedent has been set and no echo need be heard.

    You might need to go easy on the Quis Separabit. Some of our American and other visitors might think that the baron was an honorary brigadier in the Ulster Defence Association following one of our Belfast ‘terror tours’ – and that the baroness was a (Hans) Sloane Ranger!

  • Pete Baker

    Nobody claimed a “precedent”.

    Here are the details, again.

    But you keep shifting your ground and setting up your straw men…

  • Nevin @ 1:03 pm:


    Now, should I be amused, shocked or just surprised that the UDA takes its motto from the Vulgate (Paul to the Romans, chapter 8 — if my memory holds)? Or did nobody tell them?

    I’m still awaiting that yellow card. What’s the qualification?

  • Look, either this title thing “means” something (which I seriously doubt) or it’s symbolic of a mind-set the time for which is long gone.

    I’m less distressed than tickled by O’Dowd original comment: in itself it is as daft and as irrelevant as most other aspects of this recent charade. Even so, he did pick up the idea of consent achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland.

    Now, tell me when any of us was consulted on the cost, the mummeries and the flummeries of these last days.

    Since we weren’t asked, it’s all none of our business — except to pay for it all, and to pity those tragic window-lickers, noses pressed against the safety glass between them and their “betters”. It’s games played, at gross national expense, between consenting adults. Were those activities to be in private, we could safely carry on regardless. Instead we have a “semi-state occasion” (definition required, surely).

    All morning I’ve been muttering MacNeice on:

    … Smoky Carrick in County Antrim
    Where the bottle-neck harbour collects the mud which jams

    The little boats beneath the Norman castle,
    The pier shining with lumps of crystal salt;
    The Scotch Quarter was a line of residential houses
    But the Irish Quarter was a slum for the blind and halt.

    The brook ran yellow from the factory stinking of chlorine,
    The yarn-milled called its funeral cry at noon;
    Our lights looked over the Lough to the lights of Bangor
    Under the peacock aura of a drowning moon.

    The Norman walled this town against the country
    To stop his ears to the yelping of his slave…

  • “But you keep shifting your ground and setting up your straw men…”


  • “Since we weren’t asked”

    Malcolm, even when we are asked – as some of us were at the time of 1998 Agreement – Governments and linked institutions will carry on regardless.

    Much has been made of the UK government’s sovereignty here but that doesn’t stop it devolving roles to Dublin as well as to Belfast; it has the final say but, for instance, it can and has rubber-stamped a Dublin proposal on policing here – and attributed the decision to the then Chief Constable. You might think that’s a little bit cheeky but the CC didn’t fall on his sword.

    One curious little feature I stumbled on was Dublin’s Department of Justice officials use of Department of Foreign Affairs email addresses when they were involving themselves inter alia in policing decisions here. Officially, policing decisions are an operational matter and lie solely within the remit of the Chief Constable …

    Perhaps O’Dowd has not been briefed about Dublin’s role in London and Dublin’s ‘shared administration’ of this wee province.

  • Henry94

    When Ireland is free I assume the British will put away such foolishness. Until then they serve as a reminder that there is still work to be done. The happy couple are very popular now so we should leave them alone. But broken homes tend to run in families unfortunately so they will have enough to be doing keeping their own show on the road without throwing their weight around Carrickfergus.

  • The Pert Young Piece of Redfellow Hovel points out to me that the appointment of William as Colonel of the Irish Guards is easily explained, and probably not sinister.

    As of early February, the five Guards regiments had as their Colonels:
    Grenadiers — Duke of Edinburgh;
    Coldstreams — Lt-Gen James Bucknall;
    Welsh — Prince of Wales (well, natch);
    Scots — Duke of Kent;
    Irish — Major-General Sir Sebastian Roberts.

    Spot the odd ones out. Since the Coldstreams were formed as part of Cromwell’s New Model Army … OK, say no more.

    Moreover, unless William Wales had been “promoted”, as a serving Flight Lieutenant he would be subordinate to his younger brother, a Captain. Which could have involved even more unnecessary arm-flapping.

    Now, I’m glad to have that explained. I’m not sure why she thought it important. I’ll try to forget all that as quickly as possible.

  • “What’s the qualification?”

    A sense of humour, Malcolm 🙂

  • Mick Fealty


    It’s an allusion to the Vulgate translation of Romans 8:35, “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?”


    The problem here is the same one you generally have: the raising of phantom points, issues that either turn out not to be issues or others that have insufficient evidence to carry the water you want them to have.

    It is why you were red carde last time and, I fear, why you’ll get red carded again.

  • “The problem here the one you generally have: the raising of phantom points”

    Mick, am I permitted to speak in my own defence?

    Commenters will be able to see for themselves that I queried a small item of speculation – ‘seem designed to echo’ – and responded with a jest about a hat when subjected to some minor abuse – *shakes head*; wittering. What followed made no sense to me.

    I did find the unsolicited ‘biblical’ advice quite amusing – seeing as I’m agnostic and neither a female nor engaged in the oldest profession …

    As for the ‘phantom points’ charge I presume this relates to the world of debating, a world I know little or nothing about; I feel more comfortable with the conversational approach as it is generally understood.

    I used to teach about problem solving in an engineering design course. The general principles have wider application and I’ve used them both here in Slugger and also on NALIL with some success.

    I can see why Ministers and other public servants who have something to hide or who favour a particular outcome might wish to maintain a very tight focus but I don’t think it serves investigative journalists or bloggers well.

    For example, widening the lens on the NI Water story revealed inter alia the withholding of NIW Executive minutes, the appointment of an additional NIW NED at the last minute and how Belfast Harbour circumvented its own requirement for apolitical funding.

    Widening the lens still further demonstrated how Paul Priestly was involved in the alteration of an NIAO report into controversial matters pertaining to another area of his own department.

    I’d like to see a significant improvement in our governance at local as well as regional level but sometimes Slugger bloggers unintentionally get in the way of the application of the ‘dark arts’ of problem solving to the ‘dark arts’ of governance.

  • Mick Fealty

    Widening the lens, as you practice it, is merely a polite form of cynicism. And cynicism is the enemy of engaged scepticism insofar as it obfuscates genuine forms of inquiry that could lead to uncovering something of genuine worth.

    In this case, you have asserted a number of slight arguments that miss the point (and their target). It’s like a Chekov comedy, three people having their own conversations that deliberately cut across each other. Only Chekov was a great playwright who knew what he was doing.

    You also misconstrue the substance of Pete’s point, which is as interesting for its constitutional import as it is for its politics.

    A Royal Wedding in a constitutional monarchy is a constitutional act. It should not be treated as a matter of day time trivia, although it is part of the British monarchy’s ancient magic that it invites precisely that sort of partial examination.

    At a time when the Union is under pressure, the heir but one apparent is given a bunch of titles that (perhaps coincidentally, perhaps not) underwire the integrity of the union in the titular head to be a country that is politically at odds with itself like at no point in it’s modern past.

    So, please Nevin, address yourself in future to what’s there (not what to you *think* might not be there). Challenge, and challenge robustly if you can.

    But any more of this insubstantial, not to mention distracting, tree pointing, and you will find the colour of the next card goes from red to black.

  • “cynicism: An attitude of scornful or jaded negativity, especially a general distrust of the integrity or professed motives of other”

    On the contrary, Mick, I believe the contributions I have put together – with more than a little help from my friends and Slugger commenters – have made a positive, if small, contribution to improved governance at local and regional level.

    You may have misunderstood my metaphor. I look for evidence, sometimes in places where the audit trail has been erased or has been deliberately left blank; I widen the lens to look for more evidence.

    Settling for ‘what’s there’ could easily lead to a miscarriage of justice, to innocent folks being scapegoated. Are you prepared to take that chance? You know what’s been done to some of our mutual friends. Need I say more?

    On the issue of the three titles, I draw no distinction between those that were awarded to William and those that were awarded to Andrew in 1986; I’ve seen no evidence that suggests otherwise.

    PS I did say conversation as it is generally understood – not the Checkov style that you allude to.

  • Mick Fealty


    You are free to believe what you must. It won’t change the way things are heading for you here on Slugger.

    Settling for ‘what’s there’ can be powerful, particularly when others systematically ignore it. But peddling ‘what’s not there’, requires detachment from reality or rank cynicism.

    Chekovian humour aside, you simply don’t listen. In that respect, you do not engage in conversation: in either the narrowest possible, or ‘the generally understood’ senses.

    These kinds of ‘conversations’ are nearly always reductive, and lead nowhere. I’m merely explaining to you why they are all leading you inexorably towards the permanent exit.

  • Pete Baker


    Against my better judgement, I’m going to give this one more try.

    So, please. Pay attention.

    Here’s what I’ve already pointed out.

    1986 – Prince Andrew. Titles granted – Duke of York [England & Wales], Earl of Inverness [Scotland] and Baron Killyleagh [Northern Ireland]. All titles previously held by his maternal great-grandfather and grandfather. [added emphasis]

    The maternal grandfather/great grandfather link comes from wikipedia. But I have another source which also states that the “titles [were] previously held by his maternal grandfather George VI”.

    Incidentally, both George’s [V & VI] also carried the name Albert – Andrew’s first name second christian name.

    But the reason for the granting of those particular titles is irrelevant here.

    Because neither Charles nor Edward hold, or were granted on their wedding days, any Irish titles. Neither, for that matter, does Philip.

    The choice of which titles are granted to a royal on their wedding day is not, as you have incorrectly claimed here, a “tradition”. Neither is it a “recent custom”.

    The only tradition is that at least one title is granted to the royal on the occasion. And that tradition has already been broken in Charles’ case. Twice.

  • joeCanuck


    Feel free to tell me to mind my own business but I think you should concede Mick’s right to run his site. It would be a pity if we lost your contributions.

  • Pete Baker

    Further digging reveals that the three titles linking George V & VI, the maternal great-grandfather and grandfather previously mentioned, were actually Duke of York, Earl of Inverness, and Baron Killarney.

    George VI [as Prince Albert] held those three titles alone.

    I suspect that the granting of that particular title [Killarney] to Andrew in 1986 would have caused even greater outrage from Niall O’Dowd. Killyleagh was probably a compromise with history.

  • Joe,

    I think I’ll take myself off out of here for awhile. My style hasn’t changed but it seems my small attempts at promoting improved governance – my main interest – are no longer appreciated.

    Mick, if I can rephrase what you said, I peddle what’s there and I ask pertinent questions, based on experience. Others, for whatever reason, can choose to ignore or deride it; that’s their choice.


  • Pete Baker @ 6:58 pm:

    You refer to Albert Frederick Arthur George Windsor, antea Saxe-Coburg-Gotha, and later George VI. For whom, for reasons long before his recent appearance on the silver screen, my generation inherited a whit of respect.

    I see here that said Alf, Fred. etc was invested with the title of “Baron of Killarney” on 3rd June 1920.

    Now, that couldn’t possibly be construed as “provocative”, in the context of Ireland in 1920, could it?

  • Mick Fealty

    Well Malc, said monarch retained a special position even in the Free State, perhaps it was a similar attempt to give an appearance of holding things together?

  • Pete Baker


    After becoming way too familiar with the ins and outs of the peerage and the awarding of titles, I think I have finally nailed this one down.

    There is, or was, apparently, a tradition of ensuring that members of the royal family do have a title relating to each constituent part of the United Kingdom.

    So. My apologies for that, Nevin. It’s still not a “recent custom” though, which is where you began.

    It was achieved through the subsidiary titles traditionally associated with the particular peerage granted on their wedding day – normally a dukedom.

    However, that tradition appears to have been broken with the third creation in 1947 of the Duke of Edinburgh.

    Previous creations of that dukedom included the subsidiary title the Earl of Connaght, and then the Earl of Ulster.

    The current Duke holds the subsidiary titles, Earl of Merioneth [Wales] and Baron Greenwich [England]. There may be a connection to Ireland in the history of these titles, but it isn’t clear from the title itself.

    Similarly Charles, as heir, is Prince of Wales and Earl of Chester, Duke of Cornwall, Duke of Rothesay, Earl of Carrick, Baron of Renfrew, Lord of the Isles, Prince and Great Steward of Scotland. The Earl of Carrick here is a Scottish title. Again, no apparent Irish titles, but there may a historical link.

    Andrew does have an overt Irish title as previously noted.

    Edward does not. He is Earl of Wessex and Viscount Severn.

    Which brings us to William.

    The last Duke of Cambridge died in 1904. He also held the titles, inherited from his father, of Earl of Tipperary and Baron Culloden.

    Whereas the subsidiary titles in the recreated dukedom are the Earl of Strathearn and Baron Carrickfergus.

    A resumption of a tradition then?

  • “My apologies for that, Nevin. It’s still not a “recent custom” though, which is where you began.”

    Thanks, Pete. I’m not convinced there’s a direct link between the choice of names and the pre-wedding tour; I still think your surmising is a case of putting one and one together and coming up with more than two. My reference to the ‘recent custom’, as you will note, was just a thought.

    I found the following communication and the associated brouhaha OTT as well as unedifying so I think I’ll continue with the break:

    “date 1 May 2011 23:27

    subject Access reinstated to Slugger O’Toole

    You were banned from logging in or commenting on
    Slugger O’Toole for an indefinite period of time. This ban
    has now been lifted. Go and sin no more 😉

    Slugger O’Toole
    Moderator Team”

  • Pete Baker

    Do read the rest of my comment, Nevin.

    As I said, “A resumption of a tradition then?”

    I wasn’t suggesting that there was a link between the names and the tour in the original post. Just the regions [in brackets].

    The link between the two being the promotion of William as a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – which Niall O’Dowd took umbrage at.

    With the pre-wedding tour, now clearly, the more orchestrated part of that promotion.

    Although Niall O’Dowd might have something of a point on the choice of Carrickfergus…

  • Pete, your initial statement is fairly clear: “The three titles conferred on the prince .. [England and Wales, Scotland, Northern Ireland] .. seem designed to echo the royal couple’s pre-wedding tour of the United Kingdom.”

    Can we leave the conversation there? I’ve just posted a NALIL follow-up to last year’s difficulties for Belfast Harbour re.apolitical funding but I still need to bring it to the attention of a wider audience. Goodnight.

  • Pete Baker

    As ever, Nevin, you’ve neglected the rest of my comment

    The link between the two being the promotion of William as a Prince of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland – which Niall O’Dowd took umbrage at.

    With the pre-wedding tour, now clearly, the more orchestrated part of that promotion.

    Although Niall O’Dowd might have something of a point on the choice of Carrickfergus…

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Earl of Tipperary…Baron Carrickfergus”

    Perhaps the pattern here has something to do with song titles? Will Harry one day be Viscount Athenry?

  • Pete, just briefly, you’re perfectly correct about the umbrage but I was querying a different point.

    I doubt if any Irish nationalist would like to be reminded that NI is (still) part of the UK. Even mild-mannered folks in the SDLP refer to NI as a region of Ireland and of Europe but not of the UK. Hence my references on earlier occasions to SDLP cherry-picking of the 1998 Agreement.

    When I covered the tour by Edward and Sophie, with the help of Kevin McAuley, I pointed out that Arlene Foster and some of her senior colleagues were there to welcome the guests to the Causeway; that Conor Murphy delegated/permitted some minor officials to host the Rathlin part and that Alex Attwood turned up late for a DSD ceremony in Ballycastle. It was jokingly alleged that he’d been sitting in the ministerial car down at the harbour watching the ferry depart for Rathlin with the entourage on board. I wonder if Niall was spitting feathers on that occasion.

  • Pete, this isn’t intended as a serious point though it might be worth reflecting on. Could some of the recent Royal tours and now this title be a ‘sop to Unionists’ by the Government in advance of comments the Queen might be expected to make re.Irish nationalism in her forthcoming visit – a sort of balancing exercise? I’m sure there were sound political reasons for staging the visit after the elections. It will be interesting to observe her body language; she appeared to be distinctly uncomfortable during and following the Messines ceremony whereas she looked far more relaxed later at Menin Gate.