National identity will be central to Higgins’ Presidency…

Maurice Hayes reckons Michael D Higgins is the right man to start a more inclusive (and less prescriptive) debate on the nature of a post troubles Irish identity:

It was different in the South, where these events became remote, seen through the soft focus of ‘The Wind that Shakes the Barley’ or the weekly ambush in the ‘Sunday Press’, filtering out all brutality but that of the Brits, sanitising violence by distance and a rousing ballad.

Then McGuinness brings it all into question with the awareness of his involvement and the reality behind it.

There is a current rewriting of history, too, which needs to be challenged. Armed conflict in the North was not inevitable.

John Hume and Dana (and thousands more) experienced the same discrimination and disabilities as McGuinness and his colleagues without feeling the need to resort to the bomb and the bullet.

While Adams and McGuinness are rightly commended for their efforts to end the conflict, the IRA bears a heavy responsibility for prolonging it. The difference between the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) and Sunningdale is not worth a single life, much less the two and a half thousand who died violently in the interim.

The campaign disclosed an attitude in the South, in contradiction of the GFA, that the nation was a 26-county entity, with the worldwide diaspora being embraced in the Irish identity more easily than Northern nationalists who are in danger of being edited out of the national narrative, and that murdered policemen in the North somehow matter less than their murdered counterparts in the South.

Plenty of transformation there for the new President and of inclusiveness — and no better man to handle it.

  • JH

    Sunningdale was brought down by the UWC though, not the IRA right?

  • lamhdearg

    JH, pira where against it and fed the fire that ensured anti sunningdale unionist had plenty of support.

  • lamhdearg

    Higgins will do well not to lead with a ,sure we are all irish, line, we do not want a felling of deja vu creeping up on us in the run up to 2016.

  • JH

    They’re hardly the ones to blame for it’s collapse though. Their resistance to it would have been moot had the political establishment pushed it.

  • “Armed conflict in the North was not inevitable.” .. Hayes

    I’d have thought that the commemoration in 1966 and the confrontational street politics of the likes of Hume and Paisley pretty well ensured that armed conflict was only a matter of time.

    The cynical exploitation of rights issues and of the MLK quote, “Don’t retaliate, let the world see who the real aggressor is” poured fuel on the still smouldering embers of previous Troubles.

    Dublin moved against the then socialist republican leadership to ensure that the ‘revolution’, so far as it was possible, was contained to NI. The under-informed London intervention made a bad situation so much worse.

  • “National identity will be central to Higgins’ Presidency…”

    Here is Michael D speaking with passion as the new imagined President of the Island of Ireland, that narrow strand of Irish nationalism that draws its inspiration from Connolly and Larkin – and, naturally, ignores the ‘British, Irish and other identities’ endorsed in the 1998 Agreement.

  • Rory Carr

    Sunningdale collapsed, not because of Republican opposition, but rather because of the utter cowardice of the British government which capitulated to the worst elements of Loyalist paramiltary thuggery working hand-in-hand with Paisleyites and Ulster Unionist revanchists. Even the Stoops don’t blame the Provos for that or at least they most certainly did not at the time.

    It is all very well pointing to Dana and John Hume as examples of those who did not feel the necessity to join the IRA but then keeping faith with your “Wind That Shakes the Barley” state of consciousness it might be recalled that not everyone supported the IRA campaign of 1919 -1922 either and there were Republican atrocities committed in that war much more willful and much more vile in intent and in execution than any committed in the more recent conflict, yet there are no commentators denying the legitimacy of that struggle today apart from die-hard old monarchists and careerist revisionists.

    But it remains that this election campaign did as you say highlight a state of mind within the 26 counties of a people unwilling to embrace their fellow countrymen and citing the fact of the recent conflict as their reason in what is little else than somehow a denial of genuine Irishness to their Northern neighbours. It is not new. I have myself experienced the phenomenon on many occasions when introduced into the company of southern Irish migrants here in England and found that they did not really see me as a fellow Irishman. On those occasions I simply wrote it off to ignorance and dullard sensibility. But lately, most especially after reading comments on Politics.ie, I have begun to feel a sense of shame for those southern Irish who have surrendered their sense of nationhood and finally sealed the betrayal of the Treaty.

    It may be that such a dulling of consciousness is a by-product of the materialism spawned by the Celtic Tiger and nurtured by the milk of its faux glamour and if that is true then a way back may be found in the struggle against the application of financial and social thumbscrews to the least well-off in order that the most wealthy suffer as little inconvenience as possible. At least the latest incumbent to An Aras has shown his own decent sensibilities in that regard as this fine speech illustrates:.

    http://bit.ly/u4jTuI

  • Alias

    “There is a current rewriting of history, too, which needs to be challenged. Armed conflict in the North was not inevitable.”

    The problem with that proposed rewriting of history is that it undermines the purpose advanced by the revisionists for their rewriting of the history of how independence was achieved, i.e. that the unrevised history made armed conflict in Northern Ireland “inevitable” and that they had a supposed duty as self-appointed moralists to ensure that their writing of history discouraged that they saw as immorality in others.

    “The campaign disclosed an attitude in the South, in contradiction of the GFA, that the nation was a 26-county entity, with the worldwide diaspora being embraced in the Irish identity more easily than Northern nationalists who are in danger of being edited out of the national narrative, and that murdered policemen in the North somehow matter less than their murdered counterparts in the South.”

    He is conflating the Nation with the State. The election was to elect a president for the State, which is a “26-county entity” according to the GFA and the British Irish Agreement and, of course, the Constitution.

    Article 2 of the Constituion does not declare that people born in Northern Ireland are part of the Irish nation. On the contrary, it purposefully excludes them from having that birthright. That is because it is illegal under international law for state to claim the citizens of another state. Instead, Article 2 declares that a person born in Northern Ireland has the qualified right to apply for Irish citizenship, subject to domestic law (the Irish Nationality and Citizenship Act 2004). If they don’t apply for Irish citizenship then they are not Irish under the Irish Constitution.

    It is offensive to impose a national identity on those who reject it, so no such imposition is made in the Constitution or should be made by the President. Whether of not folks in Northern Ireland choose to become a part of the Irish nation is entirely a matter for each citizen for Northern Ireland to decide. They are born British, not Irish, under the GFA and British Irish Agreement and the Irish constitution so any change in that status is between each person and the relevant passport office.

  • Alias

    “…that murdered policemen in the North somehow matter less than their murdered counterparts in the South.”

    To address that part: it’s the same reason why British or French soldiers killed in Afghanistan are not awarded medals by the Irish state or why Gardia are not mourned by the Italians. They are citizens of a foreign state, serving the interests of that foreign state. Therefore, their deaths do “matter less” to other states and their citizens.

  • Decimus

    But it remains that this election campaign did as you say highlight a state of mind within the 26 counties of a people unwilling to embrace their fellow countrymen and citing the fact of the recent conflict as their reason in what is little else than somehow a denial of genuine Irishness to their Northern neighbours.

    Further evidence of the utter counter productive nature of the PIRA terror campaign. Their efforts helped to cement partition.

  • summerhill

    Maurice Hayes was a Civil Servant in Stormont when some of the worst excesses were carried out by that regime against the Catholic population – did he really tell us everything he knows about those excesses in his auto-biography ‘ Minority Verdict: Experiences Of A Catholic Civil Servant’?

  • JH

    “They are born British, not Irish, under the GFA and British Irish Agreement and the Irish constitution..”

    Here we go again…

  • Jimmy Sands

    We’ve never denied “genuine Irishness” (whatever that is when it is at home) to our northern neighbours. Nor however are we willing to force it on those who don’t want it. We’re probably more in tune with most northerners than you are.

    One of the bizarre aspects of Coco’s campaign to me was that his supporters seem to believe that his tenure as DFM was evidence of his popularity amongst unionists, rather than something imposed on them by law.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Jimmy sands

    I read that angle within his campaign as “…and if we can get along cosily and dandily with THAT shower up thonder sure can’t we be trusted to move mountains down here too and wouldn’t I be just the boy to do it? “. Don’t get me wrong, some of the southern SF followers probably DO believe it. Mind you, they’re a quare lot, some of them.

  • Barnshee

    “Maurice Hayes was a Civil Servant in Stormont when some of the worst excesses were carried out by that regime against the Catholic population ”

    Shit man it was awful all that free education,unemployment benefit,family allowances free national health service- shoved down our reluctant throats while we tried to avoid it

  • Into the west

    Rory,
    you breeze easily through and beyond
    the wind that shakes the barley, with timeless rhythm.
    you’ve said it all , and left nothing out ..

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jimmy

    ‘We’ve never denied “genuine Irishness” (whatever that is when it is at home) to our northern neighbours’

    I think the term ‘geniune Irishness’ is the wrong one. It would be simpler, and more accurate, to suggest that northern nationalists have always believed themselves entitled to the solidarity of people in the south; a solidarity based on the fact that we are each other’s countrymen, and possess a shared patriotism. The large majority of people in the south have always accepted that.

    There is, however, a minority, that is unwilling to extend any such solidarity; yes, there are people who flat out assert that nordies are not Irish at all, though such idiots are few. More common are those who, not being so rhetorically gauche, simply believe that nordies, while Irish, are somehow other, somehow a different kind of Irish. Somehow, ‘nothing to do with us.’

    Now, of course, ninety years of partition has created difference and, sometimes, misunderstanding. This is to be expected, but the simple solidarity I referred to above is more than a match for it. One encounters such solidarity all the time, throughout all 26 counties. It is still the mainstream position of most Irish people.

    It is not the position of a shrilly vocal and economically/socially powerful minority that has a stranglehold over what one might call the intellectual institutions of Ireland – the universities, the national press, RTE, the major political parties. This minority is not notable for its willingness to display solidarity to anyone.

  • Decimus

    It would be simpler, and more accurate, to suggest that northern nationalists have always believed themselves entitled to the solidarity of people in the south; a solidarity based on the fact that we are each other’s countrymen, and possess a shared patriotism.

    To the exclusion of the Planters who stole your land etc.

  • Jimmy Sands

    It would be simpler, and more accurate, to suggest that northern nationalists have always believed themselves entitled to the solidarity of people in the south;

    I understand and accept that. The difficulty with this position it seems to me is the necessary implication that northerners from the protestant/unionist tradition do not have the same entitlement and that I am obliged to side against them. There seems to me a fundamental contradiction at the heart of this argument.

  • Rory of the Hills

    ‘there were Republican atrocities committed in that war much more willful and much more vile in intent and in execution than any committed in the more recent conflict’

    Highly questionable, to say the least. It’s just another attempt to give the Provo campaign the legitimacy of the 1920-21 IRA.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Decimus / Jimmy

    Actually, it’s simpler than that. It’s as Jimmy put it earlier: ‘Nor however are we willing to force it (Irishness) on those who don’t want it.’

    Unionists have been pretty clear that they do not regard themselves as sharing the same nationality as the rest of us, and they damned well don’t want the solidarity of people in the south.

    So it’s wrong for southerners to withhold their solidarity from those who do want it, out of deference to those who don’t.

    But there isn’t any issue here of ‘siding against’ anyone, at least not to a person with a shred of imagination.

    However, excessive shows of deference to unionists have long been a flag of convenience for a minority of southerners, who wish to make their excuses and turn their backs on their northern compatriots. This is a phenomenon that emerged during the 1970s – ie the first time since partition that anything remotely practical was asked of the south by northern nationalism. There are all sorts of seminars and books and thousands of newspaper columns dressing it up as, most insultingly, ‘maturity’, but it was and is, in face, mere cowardice.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Billy,

    I think where you go wrong is in conflating nationality and solidarity. I see no conceptual difficulty in someone wanting my support who does not want my nationality. If you genuinely think those of us who disagree with you are motivated by cowardice then to me it demonstrates how far you have still to go. Besides, if we were so easily frightened then surely pointing guns at us would have been so much more effective than it turned out to be.

  • galloglaigh

    attempt to give the Provo campaign the legitimacy of the 1920-21 IRA

    Orange Order; UVF!

  • Alias

    “It would be simpler, and more accurate, to suggest that northern nationalists have always believed themselves entitled to the solidarity of people in the south; a solidarity based on the fact that we are each other’s countrymen, and possess a shared patriotism. The large majority of people in the south have always accepted that.”

    What solidarity was shown to the people of Ireland by those who did not even recognise their right to freely elect their own government? That “large majority” have always accepted the legitimcy of their own state, whereas a sectarian murder gang in Northern Ireland actively tried to undermine it with the support of a significant minority of those who now demand the solidarity that they never offered.

    “So it’s wrong for southerners to withhold their solidarity from those who do want it, out of deference to those who don’t.”

    The majority Northern Ireland’s so-called nationalists signed up to the constitutional legitimisation of British sovereignty over Northern Ireland and agreed that the Irish state should formally renunciate of its former claim to that sovereign territory. Prior to the GFA, the position of the Irish state was that “the six counties” were properly its territory and that the British held an improper “Unionist Veto” but you all decided to trade that claim along with your former right to self-determination as members of the Irish nation in return for some self-serving concessions within the British state. It is now accepted that there are two states on the island of Ireland, and that one of them is a jurisdiction where those born within it are born as British citizens and the other is a jurisdiction where they are not. The consolidates partition, and the Irish state stops at the border (indeed, its president must seek permission from the government to cross it). You shouldn’t have voted for those arrangements if you didn’t approve of them.

    “However, excessive shows of deference to unionists have long been a flag of convenience for a minority of southerners, who wish to make their excuses and turn their backs on their northern compatriots. This is a phenomenon that emerged during the 1970s – ie the first time since partition that anything remotely practical was asked of the south by northern nationalism.”

    The majority Northern Ireland’s so-called nationalists, to their credit, also decided to “stand idly by” while the Shinners went on a sectarian kiling spree.

    The reality is that the Catholics in Northern Ireland were far better off economically than their counterparts in Ireland, and they knew it. That is why the made no effort to campaign for unity and consistently rejected political parties that even hinted at doing more than paying lip service to it.

    If it were possible, we should seek financial compensation from Northern Ireland’s so-called nationalists for the monetary damage that their murder campaign inflicted on the economy Ireland.

  • Alias

    There is a myth that folks in NI always longed for an Irish nation-state but there is no evidence at all to support it. Remember, there is no histry there of voting for ‘republican’ parties such as the actual Sinn Fein. It only won one constituency in what is now Northern Ireland in 1918, whereas it won every constituency in Ireland. The folks up north voted for the Irish Parliamentary Party which advocated limited autonomy with a sovereign British state, not independence. It is only when the bogus Sinn Fein (AKA the Shinners) morphed into the Irish Parliamentary Party that they became the largest ‘nationalist’ party in Northern Ireland. As the recent NILT survey showed, a desire to live in an Irish nation-state is so small as to be non-existent. Indeed, the Shinners don’t even advocate an Irish nation-state. Instead, they advocate the Irish nation should give up its own right to self-dtermination, subjecting it to the veto of another nation, in return for unity. Unity has been converted into an anti-nationalist agenda.

  • Cynic2

    ” all that free education,unemployment benefit,family allowances free national health service- shoved down our reluctant throats while we tried to avoid it”

    The cunning Prods even employed the Catholic Church as the means to oppress free thinking young Catholics through their control of the hated Catholic education system. How much more oppressive can you get

  • Cynic2

    “The majority Northern Ireland’s so-called nationalists, to their credit, also decided to “stand idly by” while the Shinners went on a sectarian kiling spree.”

    Indeed, every time there is a survey a shocking number of them come out as unionists!

  • westprog

    The whole basis of nationalism was that all the people of all the island were Irish. That was the supposed position of all the political parties in the republic. So when these people were killed by an organisation that was illegal in the republic, and which denied the legitimacy of that republic, claiming to be the only valid government, how should that have been regarded? It’s to the credit of the people of the south that in general, they did regard all the deaths of Irish people killed by sectarian murder gangs in the same light.

  • slappymcgroundout

    For Billy and Jimmy, here’s the proof of the “hate” from some in the ROI, from Alias’ post above:

    What solidarity was shown to the people of Ireland by those who did not even recognise their right to freely elect their own government? That “large majority” have always accepted the legitimcy of their own state, whereas a sectarian murder gang in Northern Ireland actively tried to undermine it with the support of a significant minority of those who now demand the solidarity that they never offered.

    Notice what Alias airbrushed out of history, the Irish Civil War, when some did not “always accept the legitimacy of their own state”. Pretty much says it all, and so I rather doubt that Alias walks around the ROI remarking on how this lad, that lass, and that dog over there are the children of the ROI’s own version of “murder gang”. Apparently, some get to come in from the cold while some others do not. An imaginary line on a map divides them.

    And, Jimmy, I am an outsider looking in. I’ve near 400 posts now on politics.ie. There is a significant minority of folks on that site who look at more than a few in NI as being something less than human, and never mind the lesser “sin” of being less Irish. Same lot who refer to Irish Americans as “plastic paddies”. If you have occasion to post there, you can tell for me that since people and culture change over time, that dear ole Eire is no longer the home of the Irish, as that distinction now goes to the US of A, what with 36.9 million humans in the US of A self-identifying as Irish-American on their census forms, with the 36.9 million being 8x the population of dear ole Eire.

  • Dec

    ‘It only won one constituency in what is now Northern Ireland in 1918, whereas it won every constituency in Ireland’

    Leaving aside the hilarious ntion that Ireland in 1918 consisted of 26 counties, that statement is rubbish. 4 constituencies in what is now the Republic of Ireland were won by parties other than SF (including 2 Unionist seats being taken in Dublin – are you from Rathmines by the way?). Of the 7 seats won by non-Unionists in what is now Northern Ireland, 3 were taken by SF – Fermanagh South, Tyrone North West and Derry City. You appear to have made the classic revisionist error of conflating Dev’s (respectable) failure in Belfast Falls (against a uber-popular sitting MP) with a wholesale rejection of Republicanism in the north.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jimmy

    ‘I think where you go wrong is in conflating nationality and solidarity.’

    Except that I don’t. This is a basic failure of comprehension on your part. I refer to a solidarity based on nationality, I do not say anything to suggest that the two are the same.

    That was an easily knocked-down straw man.

    ‘I see no conceptual difficulty in someone wanting my support who does not want my nationality.’

    Nor do I, and nothing I have said suggests anything of the sort.

    Another easily knocked-down straw man.

    The salient point, which you either fail to grasp, or are pretending to fail to grasp, is that the thing you DO have a problem with is people who ARE your nationality and who DO want your solidarity, on the basis of a shared nationality. You don’t want to show any such solidarity. In fact, you’re rather hostile.

    When one section of a nation is attacked or oppressed precisely because of their nationality, one would naturally expect that others of the same nationality would feel strongly about it. But, where some Irish people actually side against their own countrymen, and with those whose hatred of Ireland and Irishness is a wonder to behold, one would naturally wonder at the motivations of those Irish people.

    People all over the world, not just in the northern nationalist community, expect southerners to feel a strong affinity with northern nationalists, and to be fair, most southerners do. They do so, out of solidarity and patriotism and decency. A minority do not. Their reasons are not good reasons.

    ‘If you genuinely think those of us who disagree with you are motivated by cowardice then to me it demonstrates how far you have still to go.’

    There are few things more comical than misplaced arrogance. This is pomposity of of Capt. Mainwaring-esque proportions!

    But it is not, in fact, an answer. Still, knock yourself out: patronising is no worse a strategy than others you’ve come up with so far.

    But if you doubt my observation about the cowardice at the heart of the major institutions in the south, look at the present economic position, and the situation with Europe: tell me where you see courage and principle. I see a state that lost its sovereignty with a whimper. I see an intellectual culture that is incapable of dealing with what has happened. I see in government a cravenness and cowardice that has made our nation the locus for the contempt of all Europe.

    In many ways, it’s the culmination of a long process of intellectual and moral destruction that was born, and nurtured, in relation to the responsibility towards northern nationalists. Now, when it really matters, even to the most mé féin sections of society, it turns out that courage and principle can’t just be switched on, after decades of cowardice. Now, your ruling institutions are abandoning you, the plain people of Ireland, just as they abandoned northern nationalists before you.

    And as a northern nationalist, I say that without a trace of schadenfreude. Because when I see what’s happening in the south now, my overwhelming reaction is to feel a profound sense of solidarity with my countrymen, and I’m making whatever small efforts I can to help.

    ‘Besides, if we were so easily frightened then surely pointing guns at us would have been so much more effective than it turned out to be.’

    You are not a stupid man, but this is a towering stupid remark – one spoken, I presume, in anger.

    I think it also testifies to your fear of northern nationalists, a fear that is without rational basis.

    You should spend less time and effort pouring scorn on your northern countrymen, and offering wounded justifications for turning your back on them. It has made you bitter.

    So, to recap: poor comprehension, arrogance/patronisation, and rank stupidity, in that order.

    Truly, a humdinger of a post.

    But I suppose I just have a long way to go, before I can grasp how brilliant your post, in fact, is.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “When one section of a nation is attacked or oppressed precisely because of their nationality, one would naturally expect that others of the same nationality would feel strongly about it.”

    I think this is where we differ. I would expect people to feel strongly as a matter of basic human decency and nationality has nothing to do with it. That does not mean I’m going to pick a team in a pathetic sectarian handbag fight. This is what you fail to grasp. I’m not a nationalist, therefore pleas made not to reason but to claims of blood or soil or religion simply don’t work on me. Perhaps if were more patriotic I would point out that your assertion that my hatred of terrorism equals “hatred of Ireland and Irishness” some might regard is more than slightly offensive.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jimmy

    With all due respect, I think I have grasped pretty firmly that you are no patriot. Most Irish people still are, but I give you credit for your admission that you are not.

    It’s up to you whether you wish to consider that the lack of patriotism at the heart of the major institutions in the south has anything to do with the dire situation that presently confronts the nation – a crisis that is national, and must be faced up to by the nation, whether people who think they are above such things wish to acknowledge it or not.

    If you read my earlier post again, you’ll see that nowhere have I ‘asserted’ that your ‘hatred of terrorism equals hatred of Ireland and Irishness. I made no assertions. The reference to those who ‘hate Ireland and Irishness’ implicitly, obviously, relates to northern unionism – or, in fact, a particular section of it. (Which most assuredly IS the ‘team’ you have picked in this ‘pathetic sectarian handbag fight.’) Quite obviously it does not refer to southerners of any kind.

    A D Minus for basic comprehension once again.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Incidentally – and it’s remarkable that I should have to point this out – but it is not the case that reason is somehow the opposite of patriotism. (Or indeed blood or religion or anything else that large numbers of people use as a means of binding themselves together in pursuit of a common goal.) Sometimes, patriotism and nationalism are entirely rational responses to prevailing circumstances.

    This is pretty basic stuff.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Sometimes, patriotism and nationalism are entirely rational responses to prevailing circumstances.

    This is precisely where your argument falls down. Nationalism is inherently irrational.

    It’s up to you whether you wish to consider that the lack of patriotism at the heart of the major institutions in the south has anything to do with the dire situation that presently confronts the nation

    Indeed it is and I’m afraid I’m with Dr. Johnson on this one. You may have noticed that the economy was driven over the cliff under the stewardship of an avowedly nationalist party.

  • Rory Carr

    Nationalism is inherently irrational.

    That’s it then. If you say so, Jimmy, it must be so.

    …the economy was driven over the cliff under the stewardship of an avowedly nationalist party.”

    The economy was also transformed into the most successful in the world previously also “under the stewardship of an avowedly nationalist party.” Now which was the nationalist bit responsible for?

  • lamhdearg

    rory, both. its not unknown for nationalism to cause a blip in fortunes, see 1930s/40s Europe, ps as an Ulster nat, i must like blips.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Rory,

    I don’t think it’s a factor at all, I’m merely addressing Billy’s theory that our woes are the result of insufficient national zeal.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Rory,

    I’d say you’re well off the radar with that post. If there was a 32 county referendum on re-unification then it wouldn’t be in the 26 counties it would fail. Northern Unonists know this only too well despite the endless propaganda they spout that the South doesn’t want the six counties.

    I would say though that from the Southern eye there is a lot of skepticism towards many northern Catholics. We keep hearing many northern Catholics wouldn’t vote themselves out of the UK in a referendum because of economics. But by the same logic why aren’t Southern people asking to rejoin the UK if money was all one’s patriotism amounted to? Ireland’s independence is vastly more important than living the good life off the English taxpayer to any proud Irishman.

    I have seen on this site people whose patriotism amounts to little more than wearing an Ireland rugby jersey or supporting an Irish team above an English or Scottish team. To be blunt, that’s just plastic Paddy stuff if a real sense of loyalty to fellow Irish people across the 32 counties isn’t there.

  • Jimmy Sands

    You’re such drama queens. You go off on these flights of meaningless rhetoric. What does any of this mean? Do you feel “a real sense of loyalty” to me? To Eoghan Harris? Iain Paisley? How does this “sense of loyalty” manifest itself in practical terms?

    “I have seen on this site people whose patriotism amounts to little more than wearing an Ireland rugby jersey or supporting an Irish team above an English or Scottish team.”

    That’s pretty much what yours seems to amount to as well, the only difference is you try to apply it outside the stadium.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Jimmy,

    What exactly do you think holds any country or nation together but a shared sense of loyalty and identity? You seem to think nationalism only exists in Ireland.

  • Jimmy Sands

    On the contrary. It is a global scourge.

  • Republic of Connaught

    No more a scourge than someone feeling a shared identity and loyalty to the familty they were born into. Your nation is the extention of your family.

    The opposite is spineless people who have no loyalty to anything but themselves. The likes of those who bankrupted Ireland, indeed.

  • Jimmy Sands

    spineless people who have no loyalty to anything but themselves. The likes of those who bankrupted Ireland, indeed.

    You’re the one claiming these people as family, not me.

  • Republic of Connaught

    IThey clearly didn’t have any loyalty to the Irish nation so they are parasites not part of the nation.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Thought so. We are in the realm of Ninotchka’s “Fewer but better Russians” are we not? So your loyalty is not really to the nation at all,but simply to a subset that you define. I assume I am not a citizen of this “nation” of yours? I think you’ll find the technical term for what you believe is not nationalism at all, but sectarianism.

  • Republic of Connaught

    What has sectarianism got to do with it? The parasites who bankrupted Ireland are probably all Catholic like the majority of the Irish nation. Can a Catholic be sectarian against another Catholic?

    Let me make it more simple for you Jimmy; imagine there are two boats about to sink and you can only save one of them. One is full of Frenchmen and the other full of Irishmen.

    99 per cent of Irishmen would save the boat with the Irish people because of “loyalty” to their own countrymen. 99 per cent of Frenchmen would save the boat with the Frenchmen out of “loyalty” to their own countrymen.

    I can guess from your attitude you’d let both sink while you enjoy your martini

  • Jimmy Sands

    “Can a Catholic be sectarian against another Catholic?”

    Why not? Do you think you invented the term?

    As for your very silly hypothetical I will answer it with the seriousness it deserves and point out that the food on the French boat would probably be better.

    Let’s say the Irish boat was a staff outing from the Sunday Independent and the French boat belonged to Medecins Sans Frontieres. Do you want to reconsider your answer?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Catholic sectarianism against fellow Catholics? It’ll be a new buzz term in the north.

    I’m afraid I won’t reconsider my answer either. As an Irishman I’d prefer French mothers to have to mourn their lost sons or daughters rather than Irish mothers.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Perhaps you need to travel more.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Perhaps you need to go to a country where nationalism doesn’t exist. Let me know when you find it.

  • Reader

    Republic of Connaught: They clearly didn’t have any loyalty to the Irish nation so they are parasites not part of the nation.
    Here’s what you guys are looking for:
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/No_true_Scotsman
    The fallacy can be narrowed down until you define Irishness as being restricted to people who think exactly as you do. Since I’m no mind reader, let’s go down a traditional nordie route instead: Nationalist? (check), Catholic? (check), Gaeilgeoir? (check), Socialist? (check), armed force? (check), Stickie, Provo or IRSP? (Provo)
    Wrong answer, traitor [blam]

  • Republic of Connaught

    Reader,

    All nations, Irish, French, German, Spanish survive through the loyalty of their people to that nation and the wishes of that nation.

    Unionists in the north east of Ireland give their loyalty to the British nation, not the Irish nation. So Unionists cannot be accused of disloyalty to the Irish nation when they claim to loyalty to it.

    Those Unionists who try to relegate the Irish nation as being merely a subset of the British nation are in fact rejecting the explicit view of the Irish nation that we are two separate nations.

    The parasites who bankrupted Ireland, born and raised in the South, were supposed to be loyal the Irish nation. So there is a distinct difference between them and Unionists in the north who have never claimed any loyalty to the Irish nation.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I don’t recall ever claiming any loyalty to it either. Indeed I’m struggling to identify a context in which one would do such a thing. Do you people have torchlit night rallies where you do this?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Jimmy,

    In that case, don’t bother calling yourself Irish anymore. Simply call yourself a citizen of the world.

    When people claim a “nation”al identity; Irish, French, Italian, it is taken as a given that is the nation their allegiance is given to.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Not a bad idea. Trouble is if I alter my passport then I can’t use it.

  • Reader

    Republic of Connaught: All nations, Irish, French, German, Spanish survive through the loyalty of their people to that nation and the wishes of that nation.
    This being the 21st century, most nations actually survive by creating a more or less functioning infrastructure and economy, combined with enough representation and social cohesion to make most citizens and residents accept the rule of law. Flag waving is an increasingly small component of that social cohesion, even in Europe, which used to be famous for that sort of thing.
    Whereas envisioning a sort of loyalty test for Irishness; well – that’s really going a bit Old-Stormonty, isn’t it?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Reader,

    Having seen the recent British royal wedding I’d say British nationalism is alive and well and based on rather more than a functioning infrastructure or economy.

    There’s no need to envision a loyalty test for Irishness. The vast majority of Irish, like all nations, know where their loyalties lie. The dual identity stuff being promoted in the north is the only place in Ireland where people seem to get confused where their loyalty should be.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “If I had to choose between betraying my country and betraying my friend, I hope I should have the decency to betray my country.”

    E.M.Forster

  • Decimus

    There’s no need to envision a loyalty test for Irishness. The vast majority of Irish, like all nations, know where their loyalties lie.

    Republic,

    So only the version of Irishness that the majority of Irish people adopt is acceptable?

  • Jimmy Sands

    So only the version of Irishness that the majority of Irish people adopt is acceptable?

    Actually I suspect it’s the version that 13.7% of us adopt.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Nice quote, Jimmy. But interesting he said “hope”.

    “My country right or wrong; when right, to keep her right; when wrong, to put her right.”

    Carl Schurz

  • Republic of Connaught

    Decimus,

    Of course not. There are minorities in every nation that have the democratic right to hold differing opinons to the majority. The BNP hold very different view of Britishness than the mainstream British public.

    But all nations are guided by the wishes of the vast majority within that nation. And the Irish nation is no different. Tails don’t wag the dogs.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Doesn’t 13.7% make you the tail?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Jimmy,

    I thought you’re just an airy fairy “citizen of the world”?

    Why bother involving yourself in Irish affairs and not German or Chinese or Brazilian?

    The world is a big place.

  • Decimus

    But all nations are guided by the wishes of the vast majority within that nation. And the Irish nation is no different.

    Republic,

    But it is very different from most other nations as it has two competing versions of Irishness, and it is divided between two different sovereign states. You may not like that, but it is a fact none the less.

  • Jimmy Sands

    My Mandarin’s a little rusty.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Decimus,

    The Irish Protestants of Ulster are roughly 15 per cent of the Irish nation. Many of whom don’t even consider themselves part of the Irish nation.

    But I agree the concept of what Irishness is will change when we have a unitary state with a million Protestants who represent the Protestant tradition of Irishness.

    At the moment many Unionists still identify as “Ulsterman” or “British” rather than “Irish Protestant.”

  • Jimmy Sands

    So Southern Protestants don’t count?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Don’t count for what, Jimmy? Southern Protestants are such an small per cent of the 26 county populaton they don’t have the democratic numbers to be a big voice. There’s more Polish in the Republic than Irish Protestants.

    Nearly one million Protestants from the north will be a big voice.

  • Jimmy Sands

    So thee is a minimum number in order to influence the “concept of Irishness”? What is it? Is it 13.7%?

  • Decimus

    The Irish Protestants of Ulster are roughly 15 per cent of the Irish nation. Many of whom don’t even consider themselves part of the Irish nation.

    Republic,

    Largely due to the efforts of republican terrorists, however the point is that they are perfectly entitled to consider themselves in any way that they see fit.

    But I agree the concept of what Irishness is will change when we have a unitary state with a million Protestants who represent the Protestant tradition of Irishness.

    There does not appear to be any prospect of such a state. Therefore should you not be coming to terms with the reality that we live in now? Namely that Ireland is divided and there are at least two versions of Irishness on this island

  • Republic of Connaught

    Jimmy,

    In your profound ignorance you assume I am a Sinn Fein voter when in point of fact I have said throughout McGuinness’s campaign he shouldn’t be President. But it’s clearly your default airy fairy “nationalism is stoopid” position to define anyone who has a bit of pride in being Irish to label them a Shinner.

    The concept of “Irishness” can be decided by the Muslim community in Ballyhaunis, Co Mayo, if you like, Jimmy. Maybe they’ll decide Irishness is directly connected to Islam.

    Good luck trying to sell it to the rest of the Irish nation.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Decimus,

    When the Unionists of the north have finally decided among themselves what “Irishness” means to them then people in the South can engage about it.

    As of now, I don’t see a coherent view among northern Unionists about what being “Irish” actually means in their eyes. Which is why so many won’t even use it.

  • Decimus

    When the Unionists of the north have finally decided among themselves what “Irishness” means to them then people in the South can engage about it.

    People in the south are not required to engage with them about their identity. They are merely requested to accept that the version of Irishness which they have adopted for themselves is not accepted by a substantial number of the people on this island.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Decimus,

    Most would be happy to see northern Protestants happy to identify as Irish at all.

  • Decimus

    Republic,

    Prior to 1916 they did.

  • Jimmy Sands

    The concept of “Irishness” can be decided by the Muslim community in Ballyhaunis,

    Well they wouldn’t be the first godbothering throwbacks to try. Why does it need to be decided empically at all? Coming from this poor benighted sod obviously means something very different to you than it does to me. Why not leave it at that?

  • Rory Carr

    “But all nations are guided by the wishes of the vast majority within that nation. And the Irish nation is no different.”

    Which, I suppose, Republic, is why we have such equitable tax systems everywhere most, especially in the Republic of Ireland.

  • Republic of Connaught

    People have the right to reject things in any democratic nation, Rory. Governments are elected by the people, after all. The Greek people will no doubt exercise that right in their referendum.

    The Irish people could take to the streets in their hundreds of thousands to reject the tax system if they wanted. If it becomes truly unacceptable they no doubt will and changes will occur.

    The same goes for the people in Britain who want a referendum on EU membership. Let them get out on the streets in their hundreds of thousands and demand one. If they’re too lazy to do it then it’s their own fault.

  • Rory Carr

    P.s. Pardon that errant comma above which at least had the saving grace of not belonging to the nation of the Greengrocer’s Apostrophe.

  • Decimus

    Republic,

    A million Britons took to the streets to oppose Tony Blair’s engagement in the Iraq war and it made no difference whatsoever.

  • Republic of Connaught

    Well then 1 million out of a population of 60 odd million wasn’t enough to get the point across, was it? Don’t tell me Blair would have still went to war if every city in England, let alone Britain, was choked up with protestors saying no to it.

    Are you suggesting Blair would have then behaved like a dictator?

    Politicians love nothing more than apathy from majority of the population.

  • Decimus

    Don’t tell me Blair would have still went to war if every city in England, let alone Britain, was choked up with protestors saying no to it.

    To the best of my knowledge that was the biggest demonstration ever mounted and it made no difference whatsoever. What exactly are you proposing?

  • Republic of Connaught

    What are you suggesting, Decimus, more to the point? That the people’s will doesn’t matter in Britain so you do nothing?

    I’d suggest that in Britain the people get off their arses and organise mass rallies across the island to have a referendum about leaving the Euro if that’s what the vast majority want.

    No democratic government can swat away an entire country rising in protest about a particlar issue. Cameron relies on the fact the British people won’t be organised enough, or bothered enough, to hold mass rallies across the UK.

  • Republic of Connaught

    ** leaving the European Union

  • Decimus

    Republic,

    Park some tents outside St Pauls for instance?

  • Republic of Connaught

    Decimus,

    If the people of any country are too lazy to have their will implemented by their elected government then it’s a bit rich to seek sympathy about it.

    British people, in the majority, clearly aren’t really that bothered about the issue which is why only minorities will protest.

  • Alias

    A nation that doesn’t promote and protect its own national interest is a nation that gets put on the hook for several hundred billion worth of eurosystem debt that doesn’t belong to it. That’s where ‘post-nationalism’ leads.

    When we gave away our monetary sovereignty in the Maastricht Treaty we declared that we no longer had a national interest but instead had a common European interest, and that we would thereafter put the European interest ahead of our redundant national interest.

    It wasn’t in the Irish nation’s interest that it should underwrite hundreds of billion worth of eurosystem debts that belonged to other EU member states but it was in the EU’s interest that the Irish nation should do that. The Irish nation, having forfeited its former national interest, duly placed the EU’s collective interest before its own redundant national interest.

    So, we diverted our taxes from schools and hospitals, etc, and sent them to French and German bondholders to buy villas and Ferraris for their mistresses. The price of being good European post-nationalists will be paid next time your dear old mother gets placed on a 7-year waiting list for a hip replacement, but such is progress….

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jimmy

    ‘Nationalism is inherently irrational.’

    What an idiotic statement! Do you have an actual argument?

    ‘You may have noticed that the economy was driven over the cliff under the stewardship of an avowedly nationalist party.’

    I notice the way you slipped in the word ‘avowedly’ – it rather changes the meaning of your point. The problem with FF was not that they were ‘avowedly nationalist,’ but that they were actual traitors.

    ‘…Billy’s theory that our woes are the result of insufficient national zeal.’

    And now you are reduced to misrepresentation.

    What a vain and vacuous popinjay this thread has exposed you to be!