Who stands for Britishness in Northern Ireland?

I am a long-time admirer of the British.

The British codified many of the sports we all enjoy (and I love sports). Nearly everyone in Ireland supports one British-based football team or other, and a culture of fair play has always defined a British attitude to sports.

The British provide us with the richest of contributions to all aspects of the Arts. Many of our most cherished stars of television, film and theatre are British and the offerings of the British to music across the genres has been remarkable.

As an educator, I have always found the English language a joy to teach, and it has many masters (British and otherwise) who have provided us with great works of literature.

British inventors and explorers did much to further our knowledge of the world around us and the peoples and creatures sharing this planet.

The British form of parliamentary democracy has provided a model copied by many other democracies worldwide. British political thinkers have shaped much of our political thinking whilst its social movements have inspired and found common cause with many from other lands, including Ireland.

Yet I am not naïve. As an Irish republican, and a student of history and politics, there are a lot of things I could also find in which to object to regarding Britain’s contribution to the world, and to Ireland in a more specific context.

But none of that should or would detract from the core British values and characteristics which define a people, as opposed to an establishment or successive government elites.

In sum, I like the British. They are my neighbours- and by ‘they’ I mean the British of not only Britain but also Belfast, Bangor and nearer to my home.

None of these positive British values, attributes or characteristics were on display yesterday in what constituted an appalling Hatefest demonstrating all that is wrong with the distorted sense of Britishness which continues to define far too many within political unionism.

The culture of burning all things associated with one’s neighbour is not one worth cherishing nor preserving, and certainly not worth using public funds to sustain.

The Irish National flag, Sinn Fein and SDLP election posters (and those of Eirigi candidates), GAA club flags, an Antrim GAA office sign, effigies of politicians hanging from gallows, statues to the Virgin Mary. All made their way onto bonfires during Orangefest, to be burned before crowds gathered in their hundreds including young children.

Across the north, the slogan KAT, meaning Kill All Taigs, took pride of place on the Irish National flags adorning these fires, sending a clear message to the festival revelers standing to watch the fires burn.

None of that was new. Expressing a very public hatred of the Other is a long established mid-summer tradition within political unionism. For too many, including the political elites within unionism, it has become a defining characteristic.

But this year was different.

The Other, that has long been the object of Hate, has now become a mongrel beast with many heads.

The Hate once reserved for the Irish Catholic exclusively is now directed at a wider range of Other communities, including ethnic minorities and homosexuals.

The Rainbow Flag of the LGBT community was burnt from at least one bonfire.

Across the North, bonfires were peppered with the yellow signature of Alliance Party posters for the party’s European election candidate, Anna Lo.

Anna Lo ate my dog” screamed out in massive letters from one bonfire. No doubt many children present needed the intricacies of that statement explained to them by the adults who accompanied them to the festival.

The National flags of at least three other states, the Vatican, Palestine and Pakistan, were burned, whilst a photograph of children playing beside a large sign proclaiming “FUCK THE GAZA STRIP” at an east Belfast bonfire told a thousand stories.

This particular bonfire was located in the middle of a street. Flags to be burned were joined by an effigy of local Sinn Fein councillor, Niall O’Donnghaile. The bonfire is close to the interface wall with the minority catholic Short Strand area which has been the target of sustained attacks by loyalists over recent years.

The middle of the First Minister’s constituency.

Just think about that for a bit.

In Antrim, “WEE R NOT RACIST JUST DON’T LIKE COTTON PICKING NIGGAS” was scrawled in large letters on a massive Irish National flag prepared for burning, with the sentiment repeated on a wooden sign at the base of the bonfire.

The racist sentiments so loudly proclaimed from the bonfires echoed the racist abuse dished out to Anna Lo on social media over the past year and further confirmed the trend of racist violence and abuse directed at ethnic minority communities in working class loyalist districts in recent years.

Who now can still hold to the already dubious line rejecting the reality that a deep racist streak runs alongside base sectarian assumptions within loyalist political culture?

The apologists for the Hate will feign outrage, as is their wont. The PUL are being persecuted; it is culture and tradition; it’s only kids who engage in the more excessive elements of the Hate; it’s the fault of the Others for not allowing the PUL to fly as many flags and march as many contentious roads as they want.

But, this Twelfth morning, more and more people are aware of the reality that the supremacist mentality continuing to define political unionism’s approach to its neighbours stands apart as the root cause of our political difficulties.

That supremacist mentality defines an attitude to the traditional Other and means that Unionist parties continue to struggle with the outworkings of a Good Friday Agreement which ushered in a new era of equality, partnership and parity of esteem as the only possible foundation for a genuinely shared future for Northern Ireland.

Significantly, in the light of the First Minister’s comments about not trusting Muslims, denying the reality of racist motives for a clearly racist campaign in east Belfast, and political unionism’s long-established hostility towards the LGBT community, it is clearer than ever before that political unionism’s problem with the other Others is worsening.

Britishness should not be about asserting a superior place for one’s people, culture or identity (any more than Irishness should be that), yet the graduated response strategy announced in an Orange Hall by the PUL Front has clearly indicated a desire to continue down the supremacist road to nowhere.

The advice implicit in British Prime Minister David Cameron’s rebuke of Gregory Campbell in the House of Commons this week will fall on ears long since deafened.

Instead of an inclusive, positive, benign expression of a proud political and cultural community, the decision has been taken to continue to define ‘British’ in our local context in a malign, reactionary and deliberately antagonistic manner.

And so the drums will continue to beat.

We Are The People.

Here we stand, we can do no other.

No Surrender.

  • Nick Heath

    Another brilliant post. All this superb dissemination is impressive. But what are we going to do about it? The PUL aren’t going away. ‘our’ first minister isn’t in the least bit interested in governing the whole country, merely his own cronies, he does nothing about racism, he sits in his pressed shirts and ivory towers doing NOTHING. and he is ‘democratically’ elected. The NI21 debacle stinks of a pre planned well funded unionist plot to take votes away from alliance. I agree with David Ford. Tear it down. Start again. It’s broken. But this time, the silent majority needs to USE its vote. All too often the middle classes way of protesting about government is to not vote. Look at the Westminster. And now ukip has a foothold. The silent majority need to paint placards, mobilize, say they don’t care if you’re uup dup sf sdlp ukip ira uvf uda or WHAT. WE are sick of it. Fuck off. All if you. Let’s be honest. This country is controlled by a maximum of 10000 neophytes . If we all stand up together, and don’t surrender, they’ll crumble.

  • congal claen

    Some good news Chris, you’re also British, being of the British Isles. Even the term Irish is derived from a mainland British tribe from in and around modern day Bristol who settled in and around modern day Cork long before the term English was ever uttered.

    More good news is that the vast majority of your fellow Irish Brits also agree with the vast majority of your points about burning posters, etc. As you’re not naïve
    you’ll know those sorts of views are not exclusive to one side of the community…

  • Tacapall

    Anyhoo Chris I dont think anyone with a brain could argue with most of
    your points regarding what passes for British culture in this part of
    Ireland. British culture Vs Irish culture .

  • sk

    That’s the real irony, isn’t it? Screaming like a hyena as your neighbour’s flag burns atop a pile of stolen pallets is just so plainly un-British. Those who would seek to assert their identity by burning effigies or goose-stepping through Catholic neighbourhoods actually represent the antithesis of Britishness.

    The real Brits would have more in common with the average Dubliner than they would with Billy in his bowler hat.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    I come from a unionist/protestant communty background. my mother is english so i have family in britain. I consider both the islands of ireland and britain to be my home and i strongly identify with aspects of British culture but Orangism is completely alien to me.

    I resent it when tribal unionists conflate Orangism with Unionism, Protestantism, Britishness or ulster scots and imply that everyone from a unionist/protestant background has some stake in the disgusting displays of hatred and intollerance associated with the orange order and the 12th. The idea that orangism = protestant culture is offensive. Its like saying the KKK = white american culture.

    I seriously doubt that there are many people in the rest of the UK that look at the bonfires, parades and riots each 12th and see people just like them, fellow british people. Orangism is unbritish.

  • Gareth Murray

    Yes Chris, you love the British from across the water now, I get that, you’ve made your peace with them. Now your `war´ is focused on all things Unionist.

    I certainly think that Unionism needs to speak out more against racism, but as you well know it’s not just a problem in working class loyalist areas.

    You completely ignore the fact that Unionism and Britishness is a broad church, the Alliance Party itself relies on small “u” unionist votes to elect MLA’s like Ana Lo and MP Naomi Long. While you direct your vitriol at east Belfast in particular, you should remember that it’s the only constituency in Northern Ireland which returns a cross community MP to Westminster, maybe something to do with that “British sense of fair play” that you talked about. It’s a shame Ana went down the path she did in an attempt to win Nationalist votes at the Euro elections. Naive to think that there’s such a thing as floating Nationalist voters. You’ll never win over people who’ve historically given their vote to terrorists. Furthermore it was naive of her to think that she could take votes from people who are prepared to forgive Gerry Adams for his alleged role in the cover-up of child rape. Sinn Fein voters care little for the `sins´of its elected members. However her naivity and her previous comments do not excuse the offensive slogans and racism aimed at her.

    The problems within Loyalist communities are that they see any opposition to them as an attack, it entrenches them even more. The more vitriolic the condemnation, then the more ridiculous is the reaction of loyalists. I admire their defiance but they should be channeling that defiance in a more intelligent and constructive way. The Orange Order should be promoting the true nature and history of its institution, they should also in my opinion adhere to a code of conduct on bonfire night as agreed by agencies such as the Fire Service and the PSNI. Do they really care how they’re percieved, or are they happy to let Nationalists continue to use the extremes of Orange culture to be exploited and used to make vague generalisations about what SF/IRA call “political Unionism”?

  • the rich get richer

    With Mr’s Brown and her boys.

    God help them. I mean those that find that show entertaining.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Well, yes and no, SK! There is not one clear cut version of Britishness where Ratty and `Mole dominate the stoats. That’s the problem with simplifications. Real Brits may not be anything like Billy with the Bowler now, but Billy’s is an old model of Britishness that applied to quite a dominant thread of Britishness for much of our common history, from the conquest to the twentieth century. Just because Britain wants shot of an expensive white elephant, it does not mean that they are being any less pragmatic in this than they were as rulers in the past. Its just taking Billy a while to catch up with this new pragmatism.

    And Chris, it would be strange if we had not inherited quite a bit of lumber from four centuries of plantation and elite rule. Republicanism for a start. Even the Republican colour, green, is traceable to the Sea Green colour used by the Levellers in much the same manner as later socialists would use red as an identifier. Interestingly the use of green sprigs by the Williamites at the Boyne echos the same republican traditions (William’s postmaster/spymaster general was Lilburnes old friend Sir John Wildman, who was far from the only republican in the Dutchman’s entourage). And Springhill has a facsimile of the Regicide warrant for Charles I’s execution in the study.And that’s just one example of the flexibility of the ascendency. So yes, over and above the excellent list you’ve prepared, Britishness comes in in the most unexpected of places……….

  • Michael Henry

    With neighbours like the British who needs enemy’s –

  • sk

    “Naive to think that there’s such a thing as floating Nationalist voters. You’ll never win over people who’ve historically given their vote to terrorists.”

    What is it you were saying in your last paragraph about “vague generalisations”?

  • Jon Hope

    “Yes Chris, you love the British from across the water now, I get that, you’ve made your peace with them. Now your `war´ is focused on all things Unionist.”

    I think Chris is trying to explain that he doesn’t have a predisposition towards hating British culture, rather than saying that anyone deserves his admiration because they’re British.

    You may self-identify as British but you don’t inherit anything by doing so. You didn’t help discover penicillin or compose one of The Beatles 17 number one UK hits. You simply, coincidentally, share the same nationality of those who did. Similarly, I didn’t write Ulysses.

    Instead you’ve probably done things in your life that are impressive and, if ethical and positive, worthy of praise and recognition.

    Someone, or some group of people, chose to put a banner on a bonfire saying ‘Anna Lo ate my dog’. This is worthy of neither praise or recognition. In fact it may be indicative of something much darker, a movement. In any case, while it’s happening in our community it’s both of our problem. A truth coming from your political enemy is a truth nonetheless, however inconvenient.

  • Gareth Murray

    One of my great bug bears is people who claim to be “proud of being British” or Irish when it’s a complete accident of birth and something that was completely out of their control.

    The close proximity of Britain to Ireland ensures that we share many cultural similarites. Historical squabbles and their remanants etc. have ensured that we usually park those cultural similarities in order to fight over our differences. No one can be proud to be Irish and also be proud of the discrimination communites gave to returning free state citizens whio fought for Britain in the 2nd World War

    What annoys me even more is people claiming a pride in their Britishness and then behaving with an attitude that is so untypically British. It’s about education, not about the mud slinging which Chris prefers..

  • Gareth Murray

    The vast bulk of the Irish Nationalist vote is divided between SDLP and Sinn Fein. It has more or less evened itself out and fluctuates very little. What I mean is republicans voted for Martina Anderson despite her past criminal activity. The SF vote didn’t suffer despite their President having serious questions to answer about the cover up of child abuse and the murder of a mother of 10. Sinn Fein voters don’t care how discredited their representatives are. To many the worse the reputation, the bigger the badge of honour.
    Maybe what Irish Nationalism in the north needs is a Jim Allister equivalent to shake the staleness up a bit.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You’ll never win over people who’ve historically given their vote to terrorists.

    This kind of simpleton sectarianism is really boring.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Unionists voted for Peter Robinson despite his past criminal activity, which included invading a small town and paying a fine (rather than facing a prison sentence). There was a video of him on Youtube a while back where he justified going to the UDA for “help”, in the 1980s.

    But sure, carry on. Because only the people who actually fire guns or handle semtex are terrorists, right ?

  • chrisjones2

    This weekend has been utterly shackin

    With them Prods behavin themselves there has bin no opportunity fer me till work meself up into a lather of indignation and abused rights. Its affecting the childer too. How can I train wee Sean till hate them orangemen when all they do is walk about in hats an sashes luking stupid.

    Peeple have gat tae realsie the impact of all this on the economy too. I was just talkin tae me lawyer last week. He has been able tae launch so few JRs this year he had tae tell the wife and kids they are gaeing tae Donegal fur their halidays and not the usual 3 week trip tae Disneyland. She’s still nat talking ta him. Down the road this will force young lawyers tae emigrate and then where will we all be he says

    Still there’s time yet. Ahm aff tae be oppressed at Ardoyne if the Prods make eidjits of themselves an the way home. I reckon its still a 50 / 50 chance they will kick off when the oul WKD kicks in and I could do with a week claim fur Christmas

  • Turgon

    Chris Donnelly makes some valid points but they are only valid up to a point. British people pride themselves on tolerance, fair play etc. but the reality is that such virtues are actually highly regarded universally. Representative democracy and the rule of law are to an extent British concepts but other cultures had similar concepts and nowadays they are a fairly universal view across the western world and much further afield.

    Many in Northern Ireland’s British community have shown these virtues and continue to do so (as do many who self identify as Irish). The behaviour of the vast majority of people during the Troubles are a classic example of such laudable behaviour. It stands in stark contrast to the actions of republican (and loyalist) terrorists during the Troubles.

    However, there are other characteristics which are claimed as British which many republicans may like less. The refusal to be pushed around, a willingness to do what it takes to face down those who wish to kill and destroy. Classicly “British” values again also held to by so many Irish.

    Where republicans really fall down, however, is in their position on letting people keep expressing their British identity as they wish. Here in Northern Ireland we see that all too often. Republicans frequently claim offence etc. when British people express their Britishness To be fair sometimes unionists do indeed give offence.

    Where Republican arguments fall down even further, however, is over others outside Northern Ireland. It is extremely rare to see republicans supporting the right of British people to express their Britishness in the likes of Gibraltar or the Falklands.

    It often looks as though republicans are happy for the British to be British as long as they do it in the way they wish them to. Also whatever they claim they want the full political and cultural expression to be only in the mainland of Britain (or indeed maybe only in England).

  • DalgCaisMike

    First off that was a good article and a good read. Secondly, Congal calling us British is highly offensive and borderline vulgar if i am to be honest and saying were in the british isles is laughed at. thirdly “even the term Irish is derived from a mainland british tribe from in and around Bristol” i had a good giggle i will admit, DNA studies show we come from northern Spain (Basque region) so i am going to go with the assumption that you also were thought the Pictish people evaporated instead of integrating with the Irish settlers known to the Romans as the Scoti who moved from ulster across to Western Scotland and whose Kingdom became known as Dál Riata which is where the connection between most Scottish and Irish began(comes up for air) infact its one of the very reasons why we both speak Gaelich or Goidelic.

    So with all that said research before you spit rubbish please, no one likes people like you.

    Anyway rant over, tis a wet day have a good march.

    Oh and by the way utter that sentence to a healthy Cork man and i have my doubts you’ll be well recieved haha.

  • Guest

    The same HYPOCRITES who are so outraged at the burning of out of date
    posters are content to see the proxies of those who burned PEOPLE to sit
    in Government and act as if they are moral guardians. Pardon me if I

  • Gareth Murray

    Sorry to send you to sleep Comrade as well as offend your obvious superior intellect.

    The truth is though I wasn’t being sectarian, I wasn’t criticising SF voters for what they do, I was merely pointing out that SF voters don’t really care if Adams or any of his comrades murdered anyone, covered up sex abuse etc. It’s not going to affect their popular vote.

  • Gareth Murray

    What you’re pointing out is that we don’t have normal Politics in Northern Ireland. I think we knew that already.

    If you’re expecting me to defend Peter Robinson, you’ll be waiting a very long time. I find Robinson and the DUP as repugnant as I find Sinn Fein and Adams.

  • sk

    ….Ulster Scots?

  • Comrade Stalin

    In Northern Ireland we vote along tribal lines. Sex abuse (Kincora), financial (Swish Family Robinson – whose report is being artificially delayed) and terrorism-related scandals (William McCrea stood on a podium to show solidarity with Billy Wright and is still an MP) don’t seem to effect that, on either side.

  • Gareth Murray

    You list some of the reasons why I would never support the DUP. I refuse to ever vote along “tribal lines”.

  • Ray Lawlor

    The problem with sf voters who “don’t care” about Gerry Adams and the gene McConville abduction, is that each of those voters witnessed 100’s of other serious incidents in their area over the years.

    The gene McConville story, as horrible and tragic as it is, is only one of a massive number of horrible and tragic stories.

    The McConville story gets wheeled out as if it is the be-all and end-all. But there’s more nuances to our past than that.

    Also please see Gerry Carrolls election to belfast city council in reply to your assertion that nationalist are somewho zombie voters.

  • Ray Lawlor

    I don’t think those comments are directed at you personally Gareth, but rather those who do vote for DUP. It doesn’t bother them as it doesn’t bother SF voters.

  • Brian Walker

    Chris, one would no more pick out the BNP as typical English representatives
    of Britishness than their equivalents in NI. The same applies to the Irishness
    of radicalised young republicans. Northern Ireland is an untypical cockpit of
    two nationalisms whose mainstreams are reconciling and are now admitting a greater historic closeness than northern militants would like to admit.

    If you want to do more than score points might you not be a more critical of the
    side you support? I don’t need to go into the IRA record which Sinn Fein essentially still defends to make the point which other nationalists share. Your cadres helped make loyalists what they are, not wholly by any means, but substantially. The IRA exposed the nationalist people to greater attack even though the nationalist people have now rewarded Sinn Fein with the leading role in representing their interests. That is one of the paradoxical realities we
    live with.

    Post GFA the distinction is as pronounced as ever between loyalist militancy which has a right wing psychopathology and the republican which prefers old left agitprop. Equality and power sharing have deprived loyalist remnants of their former (quite misleading ) sense of dominance. Because the unionist
    leadership accepted change only reluctantly they never seriously tried to prepare
    their grass roots for it. Sinn Fein on the other hand were liberated from the
    barrenness of “armed struggle” “ and exploited all the political openings available
    to them. The clean slate they claim is not morally conceded by unionism although
    it is in the logic of the political settlement. And so we are still in deep political
    neurosis. No doubt loyalist fears of a new numbers game is part of it.

    You talk of Britain almost patronisingly as if it were thousands of miles away rather than an intrinsic reality of the community you live in. This is the republican equivalent of the unionist trope of British Ulster which implies an apartheid society. Have you led such as sheltered life as to distance Britishness from your own experience entirely genuinely or would you privately ( not here of course) admit to laying it on just a bit thick for effect? The discourse will have to change before the blight of sectarianism fades. Might teachers lead the way?

  • Ulidian Realist

    “Chris Donnelly” “I am a long-time admirer of the British.”

    No need to read any more. Just another bit of regular bullshitting from Donnelly as an excuse to hurl a bit more of his expected regular point-scoring hate at any Ulster Prod who dares to disagree with Irish Nationalist rhetoric, attacking any Prod who resists those trying to destroy their right to a homeland, and selectively picks fringe examples to propagate his wider hate despite the fact that Donnelly has no problem in supporting now near-mainstream Irish Nationalist terrorist-linked organisations. The only difference with his beloved Irish Nationalist extremists being that their rhetoric is often dressed in a big dose of subversive Machiavellian crypto-Marxist BS and dressed up in platitudes rather than saying it as it is. These tactics are getting very old in the tooth and all across the West people are no longer falling for this leftist nonsense and promotion of faux-victim culture. A bit like the bullshitting I read recently that the real enemy of SF/IRA were apparently the mainland “Brits” and not the Ulster Prods. Laughably this was along with more nonsense comparisons like this the next day stating how much better people on the British mainland are who simply have not lived under the same circumstances — generations without experiencing he same degree of hatred propagated from the likes of Donnelly for mere crime of daring to exist and defending that right.

    There also seems also to be some sort of psychological complex where he has to engage in this Ultra-Fenianism almost as if to make up for perceived Plastic Paddyness due to American birth and prove his worthyness to “the cause”.

  • Chris Donnelly

    I’ll take your points in turn.

    ‘Scoring points’ is a peculiar way of describing an entirely valid (and indeed never as appropriate) dissection of the supremacist strain running through unionist political culture which leads to political parties threatening to leave government because UVF and Combat 18 supporting bandsmen can not march through a catholic area on Belfast’s most sensitive sectarian interface twice in one day.

    Perhaps you disagree. Perhaps you find it uncomfortable? Little matter, really.

    On being critical of ‘my side,’ I have written numerous posts critical of Sinn Fein and offering my tuppence on where that particular party needs to go to advance its own objectives into the future. But are you seriously suggesting that Slugger does not have sufficient voices critical of republicanism?

    On Unionism’s unwillingness to prepare its grassroots, see the first paragraph above. You might find that’s the entire thrust of the post.

    On the accusation of being patronising, that’s a deliberate misinterpretation of my motives, which you’re quite aware of and, to be honest, which disappoints me somewhat.

    The ‘point’ of prefacing the thrust of the post with comments regarding Britishness is to challenge those of my own ‘side’ (your word) who might mistakenly be inclined to dismiss not only the Britishness of their unionist neighbours, but also regard anything British in a hostile manner as a consequence of experiences, personal or historical.

    The ‘Brits Out’ mentality is one I constantly seek to challenge.

    You seem to have lost the run of yourself with the ‘sheltered life’ accusation, and the petulant reference to my professional vocation is something you should regret.

    In articulating the aspects of Britishness I admire, I’ve made no effort to suggest this has never formed a part of my life. indeed, quite the opposite is clearly the case, given that my references come from personal experiences.

  • Brian Walker

    Chris, The pathology of degenerate loyalism has nothing to do with “British values” so can we get over that? If this is “supremacist ” I’d like to see what inferiority looks like. Unionist leadership is abysmal, OK? But no way will they quit the Executive and neither will Sinn Fein. I repeat the obvious point that Sinn Fein hands are not clean and to a degree innocent Catholics are reaping what republicanism has sown. Both sides waged a vicious sectarian war. If hopes were ever high that the opposite poles would produce a new synthesis, they must be fading now. They keep winding each other up and the irreconcilables take their cue from them. Don’t you think we need a better discourse than what you’re offering too? . Egregious moralism from either side is pointless and inappropriate and a two cultures vision is reactionary. If I’m unfair to you I’m sorry. Not all of this is about you,Today is absolutely the right time to say that continual engagement is essential

  • Adam Donaghy

    Yep Sinn Feins leaders did burn people in bomb attacks, it’s a pity they didn’t just burn brown people in Afghanistan and Iraq like the noble British army. I doubt you’d do muh complaining then.

  • Chris Donnelly

    I’m intrigued to know how you conclude that ‘innocent Catholics are reaping what Republicanism has down.’
    Sounds dangerously like you’re attempting to excuse nakedly sectarian conduct as a cry from the oppressed. The KAT banners are a product of republicans? What did the ethnic minorities do then, Brian? Or the gay community?
    By your own logic, we should be having monstrous bonfires every March 16th burning all things PUL, funded by councils, & Republican parades through Protestant communities the following day as innocent Protestants reaping what loyalists & British Forces have sown.
    We don’t.
    You might like to think a while on why that is the case.
    I’m glad you concede the dire state of unionist leadership but ignoring the link between that and the fusion of base sectarian & racist outpourings in loyalist communities is simply averting your eyes from inconvenient truths before you.
    Failure to prepare a base is one thing; not buying into a shared future & the implicit premise of that society being equal is another. The preparation can not begin until political unionism makes peace with the GFA.
    Indulging the 11th Night hate fires, threatening to withdraw from government in an attempt to force parades through catholic communities & retaining an -at best- strained relationship with Other minority communities collectively lead only to the conclusion that unionist leaders remain shackled by a sense of superiority utterly incompatible with a shared future.

  • Thomas Girvan

    You started out well, but it soon degenerated into the usual Republican diatribe against Loyalists that we have become used to.
    What’s the point of selecting individual instances of sectarianism, without a contextual appraisal?
    I could give a list of Republican actions that are offensive and sectarian, but I won’t, sure we all know them and I can’t spare the time?
    I’ll just give one example that you have referred to that illustrates the Republican hypocracy.
    The reference to the effigy of Gerry Adams hanging from a gallows on a bonfire, has been depicted as as a sectarian hate crime. Maybe it is.
    Gerry Adams has reported it to the PSNI, as such.
    Mind you, according to Brendan Hughes and Dolours Price, Gerry was an advocate of Capital punishment himself, and not of effigies.
    Just reflect upon the Jean McConville case.
    As i say, consider the context.


    Brian, the poster says “WEE R NOT RACIST JUST DON’T LIKE COTTON PICKING NIGGAS” – the rest is noise.

    Nowhere else in Europe is a hate fest officially sanctioned, endorsed, and attended on this scale. Something is deeply, deeply wrong here.

    If we cannot address that head-on on July 12th, what’s the point?

  • Am Ghobsmacht


    Your points regarding the underbelly of loyalism are irrefutable.

    They happen, they are tolerated by unionist politicians (regardless of how tasteless or embarrassing they may find the actions to be) and deserve to be highlighted and held up as a badge of shame for the unionist leadership..

    It will take a strong unionist leader to go against the mob.

    I do like LAD highlighting this underbelly as it gives us a portfolio of evidence to show to politicians and we can point to their failure to address any of it).

    However, a few points.

    From a republican perspective, is there anything that republicans do to fan the flames?

    Did the proposal to remove the flag from city hall (as sensible as I believe the designated day policy is) cause moderate unionists and fruitcake unionists to come together or drift apart and splinter?

    Do the (small) number of protests against parades cause unionists to hit the panic button or not? (And again, I agree with some of the groups, until bands can behave in a respectful manner they should not expect to get away scott-free).

    Does associating Irish with republicanism help matters? (hint, as someone who wants to see a Gaelic revival in Ireland and Scotland I can safely say “NO!”)

    It’s worth pointing out that this modern form of ‘Britishness’ came about by the self-amputation of Irish culture in the unionist community.


    I know this is dreadfully unpopular and will be fobbed off as pish tash, but the Provos’ campaign certainly accelerated this process.
    In a way, I witnessed this.
    My grandfather’s generation were all about folk music, fiddling and dancing.
    By the time of my parents’ came of age there was NONE to be had.
    It was now the stuff that ‘Irish’ people did.
    Hence my mum couldn’t go to Irish dancing classes (as was her desire).
    In the same way that the Orange 50 year junta helped to create the PIRA, the PIRA helped to create the modern ‘Franken-British’.
    One of the problems with the unionist political class is ‘the fear’.

    The more paranoid types see an overarching green shadow that will not accord them any rights (a near to hand example of this is our very own Willie Wombat who is seemingly convinced we (unionists) will be forced into exile).

    Now, the 12ths in places like Derry and Magherafelt should logically offset such arguments.

    But logic has little place in NI.

    If you want unionists to stop circling the wagons into a laager then you’ll have to convince them that they aren’t surrounded by Zulus (fousands of ’em).

    And I don’t mean box ticking exercises that satisfy nationalists, M McG could have breakfast every morning with the Queen for the next ten years, but that would only serve to spoil the image of the Queen rather than raise the standing of M McG, such is nornlander mentality.

    I suggest rather than only focusing the spotlight on Brutishness you advocate a few gestures and moves that could potentially start to bring some people out from the laager.

    Such small gestures could include applying designated days to nationalist councils. SF officially distancing itself from the Irish language and re-naming the Raymond McCreesh park.

    They could also say ‘Northern Ireland’ now and again (I’ve heard on numerous occasions that it is disrespectful to call Máirtín Ó Muilleoir ‘Martin Miller. I buy this argument. By the same token it’s disrespectful to many people to refer to the Northern Ireland football team as ‘the north of Ireland football team’. Pot-kettle-noir).

    As Seaan Ui Neill pointed out, we’ve all got more British ‘in us’ that what we like to think.
    My avatar for example.
    Two nationalist flags(one Scottish and one Irish) merged together but also both of British origin (well, Norman/Anglo-French).

    Now, even though McSlaggart is gone, I imagine that I’m about to be hit with the straw man “So AG! It’s all the fault of nationalists is it! I suppose girls who get raped deserve it for wearing short skirts tooo?!!! Eh!? EH?!”

    I am just pointing out what needs to be done to calm down the whole messy carry-on.

    Do you want unionism to calm the f**k down?

    Well, think about what could be done to make this the case.

    Yes, strong leaders, but what else?

    Like I said earlier to Zeno, there is no magic bullet to solve everything, just the potential of an unpalatable cocktail that no one wants to make or take.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Am Gobsmacht
    First off, I always enjoy reading your contributions. Breath of fresh air.

    Now, unfortunately, you couldn’t be more wrong with a number of your recommendations which, far from moving us as a society towards a stable, equal future, would actually further indulge the supremacist mindset holding us back.

    Let’s take them in turn.

    It is quite simply wrong, as you and Brian Walker have implied, to suggest that the essentially supremacist strain within unionism is a product of any republican campaigns. Open your history books. From Penal Laws to Twelfth riots since 1813, there is nothing new in much of what is happening.

    In any case, logic would suggest that a history filled with British Forces/loyalist barbarity directed at Irish catholics would lead to a similarly hate-filled reciprocal statewide 11th Night for republicans and desire to assert one’s identity in a supremacist manner where not appreciated else “we’ll pull out of government.”

    Doesn’t happen. You tell me why.

    Secondly, listing ways to indulge the supremacist strain is precisely the opposite direction to which we must travel.

    Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve essentially suggested that unionist culture is as it is because nationalists want to see the state give formal recognition to our National Flag and, short of that, want to see neutrality in terms of National flags from civic premises.

    You’ve also implied that opposing loyalist parades in nationalist areas feeds the paranoia. Oh, and rename McCreesh Park as it offends unionists. And stop asserting rights of Irish speakers. And use our political vocabulary as yours offends us.

    Now, on each and every one of those matters, I could drive a bus through your arguments quite simply by exposing the remarkable level of hypocrisy involved in demanding things that you, nor Brian, would countenance for a second demanding of your own tradition.

    On National Flags: you want designated days in nationalist areas? Simple. Devise a new approach to flying flags from civic premises which, for the first time in the history of this state, gives a formal and legitimate place to the National flag of more than 40% of the citizens, ie the Irish National Flag.

    On Parades: you want loyalist parades to pass through nationalist areas? Personally, think that’s a stupid idea, but if you persist, then begin by acknowledging that nationalists show an unreciprocated level of tolerance with regards to hosting expressions of the British/Unionist identity as things stand, and perhaps Unionism proving an ability to reciprocate could unlock the door to convincing nationalists that they should show further generosity in this regard.

    On naming of parks: picked a bad one here, AG.

    I’m a bit of an expert on this one.

    We’ve roads, parks, civic buildings, hospitals and towns named for military and political figures from within the British and Unionist tradition. The man who brought us the penal laws and subjugation of Irish catholics, King Billy no less, has a park named for him at the junction of Belfast’s Lisburn and University Roads, and there are numerous other such places named for unionist politicians (and, lest we forget, the ethnic cleansing butcher Donegall.)

    Clearly then, a shared, equal society requires you to recognise not only this imbalance but convince nationalists of a willingness to remedy it.
    Oh, and for the record, I have called previously for McCreesh Park to be renamed. The argument I make above would be strengthened were republicans to think more carefully on such matters.

    On feeling offended because I say north of Ireland, I feel you need to give yourself a shake and recognise that such an approach is dreadfully arrogant.

    Should nationalists be offended every time a unionist refers to ‘Londonderry’, or indeed calls the 6 Counties a ‘province’ or ‘Ulster’ or refers to some place called a ‘Mainland?’

    See what I did there?

    I exposed the foolishness of seeking to assert the superior place of the unionist political vocabulary in a divided society.

    For the record, I do use Northern Ireland and north/6 Counties interchangeably personally, and know many republicans who do as well.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I knew this would happen.

    Let’ step step back a wee bit and look at the bigger picture.
    First of all, I was merely pointing out the ‘effect’ part of cause and effect.

    The intolerant or indeed supremacist aspect of unionism is not the same topic as the cultural amputation that came about during the Provos campaign.

    The pathological hatred for all things Irish was certainly aided by the IRA’s campaign. You can’t deny this.

    We can quite clearly see when the Irish/not Irish schism begins with the majority of the unionist population.

    Dr Brian Walker’s ‘Dancing to History’s Tune’ shows the feeling of ‘Irishness’ at every major juncture and the Provos’ campaign is a significant turning point.

    So, to recap, I was referring to unionist culture, not the supremacist culture per se.

    It is an aspect that needs lanced and one that I can’t defend.

    “Correct me if I’m wrong, but you’ve essentially suggested that unionist culture is as it is because nationalists want to see the state give formal recognition to our National Flag and, short of that, want to see neutrality in terms of National flags from civic premises.”

    I’m suggesting that there are consequences when trying to normalise NI.
    WRT your national flag, well, that didn’t really come into it did it?
    It was about taking down the union flag.
    I understand the two flags idea but I am wholeheartedly opposed to it as it will cement division i.e. I see the practical handicap of your theoretical suggestion.

    If you want equality then put up three flags, one for each strand of nationalism; Irish, British and Northern Irish.

    “You’ve also implied that opposing loyalist parades in nationalist areas feeds the paranoia.”

    It does, unfortunately, look at Nevin and his Athboy conspiracy posts.

    That is a symptom.
    They are well within their rights to protest and I hope some day a disgruntled unionist will stand shoulder to shoulder with them, but, it nonetheless goes into the ‘chipping at are kulture’ part of the brain, regardless of its justification.
    End of.

    “Oh, and rename McCreesh Park as it offends unionists”
    Yes, by renaming this park it robs the right wingers (who contribute so much to your irks) of a conviction and an effective argument that is deployed constantly amongst the flegging classes.

    “And stop asserting rights of Irish speakers. And use our political vocabulary as yours offends us.”

    You know that’s not what I said.
    I genuinely want a Gaelic resurgence.
    I think about what this takes.
    That logical process leads me to conclude that SF (now) are a hindrance to the Irish Language Act.

    They know that their brand is toxic in the eyes of most unionists. If they genuinely want the language to thrive then the sensible thing to do is to step away from it officially (but obviously embrace it privately).

    I mean. the ‘Bobby Sands’ scholarship.
    Do you not see how that makes Gaelic in Ireland the polar opposite of Gaelic in Scotland?

    ” I could drive a bus through your arguments quite simply by exposing the remarkable level of hypocrisy involved in demanding things that you, nor Brian, would countenance for a second demanding of your own tradition.”

    I doubt that, you’ve no idea what I would do to ‘my’ own tradition given the chance.

    As for renaming roads, parks etc. Well, there’s some I think are inappropriate.
    Having a Cromwell road or whatever is ill-conceived. But on the other hand removing the names of British politicians because you don’t like them is a bit immature (like one of the tower blocks in New Lodge if I recall correctly).

    “Oh, and for the record, I have called previously for McCreesh Park to be renamed”

    That’s why I referred to republicans in general and not you specifically. Ditto the ‘Northern Ireland’ wording.
    I recall you said it one time and was quite impressed that you did.

    “Should nationalists be offended every time a unionist refers to ‘Londonderry’, or indeed calls the 6 Counties a ‘province’ or ‘Ulster’ or refers to some place called a ‘Mainland?'”

    They shouldn’t but they are (from what I can see).
    When I’m home I drink mainly in Derry, in pubs where most unionists wouldn’t go to.
    The ‘Derry’ topic is sensitive.
    My own view is rename it Derry, it’s what most of the city wants.
    As for the county, it would be a nice gesture to let it remain as Londonderry or at most call it Coleraine. (regrettably much more appealing that AmGhobsmachtograd, my own personal preference…)

    Calling NI ‘Ulster’ makes me cringe.
    It is a favourite word of brain dead Glaswegian loyalists.
    I nearly got into a fight on the train to Glasgow about this very topic.

    On the other hand, with regards to institutions being called ‘Ulster’, well, posterity is fashionable: Strathclyde police, Northumbria uni, East Anglia uni, West Mercia Police….

    I get stuck into the OO and fleggerism because their actions are galvanising division and entrenchment.

    I have highlighted when nationalism in turn galvanises the actions of fleggerism and loony loyalism.

    Your actions have consequences.

    Which is more important; the furtherance of nationalism or a peaceful society?

    You can’t have both.

  • chrisjones2

    Fluent Ardoyne old chap

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “So, to recap, I was referring to unionist culture, not the supremacist culture per se”
    Elaboration: One led to the other. Once the Irish aspect of unionist culture was buried then Franken-British was cobbled together from its corpse.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Unionism’s comfort with things ‘Irish’ was contingent upon its ability to define said Irishness.
    And, lest we forget, discrimination against the Irish language predated the current conflict.

    But here’s where you run into difficulty.
    In spite of the conflict, and the involvement of British Forces and loyalists, Nationalist Ireland, including northern nationalists, have never been as open to embracing the aspects of our past and present which are ‘British’ in character.

    Acceptance of the right of the British and unionists to remember their war dead, and indeed to share in such remembrance, reflecting an understanding of the involvement of nationalists in wars in British uniforms.

    How does that come about in spite of the British Forces/Loyalist campaign since 1969, never mind legacy of one-party rule from partition?

  • Chris Donnelly

    Acceptance of the right of the British and unionists to remember their
    war dead, and indeed to share in such remembrance, reflecting an
    understanding of the involvement of nationalists in wars in British

    That should read:

    There has never been a greater acceptance of the right of the British and unionists to remember their war dead, and indeed to share in such remembrance, reflecting an understanding of the involvement of nationalists in wars in British uniforms.

  • Brian Walker


    You say:

    “I’m intrigued to know how you conclude that ‘innocent
    Catholics are reaping what Republicanism has sown.’ Sounds dangerously like
    you’re attempting to excuse nakedly sectarian conduct as a cry from the

    No Chris you can’t get me on that. I’m consistently against zero sum arguments
    and in favour of joint responsibility for the past, present and future. I saw
    at first hand the immediate results of more than 200 killings down the years and
    I’ve no tenderness towards one side or the other.

    I don’t need to “concede” any points that disfavour poor unionist
    leadership, I insist on them. But each side bears considerable responsibility for what the other has become. The Ardoyne standoff is a microcosm of distrust where the solution in theory is obvious but the problem is chronic.
    I value your lists of criminal loyalist behaviour but in the end a collective approach is needed rather than whataboutery. This was a lesson that was painfully learned for the benefit of the nationalism after decades. It may be now that it has to be re-learned for the benefit of loyalism. When largish
    groups of people behave badly there always something at the core that needs to
    be addressed. Needless to say this applies to loyalists as well as republicans.

    On a shared future, I’d say all parties pay it lip service to it but delivery is poor. For a start they need to work out if it’s about integration or sharing or a mix of the two. Here too there’s a dearth of real debate. My impression is that progress here will probably be made case by case and at a local level to take account of local circumstances where trust is being built up. The overall picture is not as bad as the present concentration on parades suggests. But so far the politicians are more of a problem than a solution. Most of the ideas and all of the energy come from outside party politics which is too much the dumping ground for sectarian fears and attitudes. Republican rhetoric is different but it can often be just as sectarian – or if you prefer, communal.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “But each side bears considerable responsibility for what the other has become”
    What he said!

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Non of that counters the pragmatic failings that I highlighted.
    Nationalism as a whole has certainly been more outreaching that unionism, by a country mile.
    My point is that it’s all undermined by a few key errors.
    Respecting British and Irish soldiers is commendable, indeed admirable.
    But then if pushing the unionist trigger negates this, then what’s the point?
    If you’re going to do something, then do it properly.
    This is the argument I apply to unionism and why I am so scathing of it.
    If I apply it to nationalism then the chances are I’m convinced its f**king up somewhere.
    You can listen and gain an advantage and embrace the ‘Lundy’ market or you can disregard my concerns in the same way Tugger and Willie Wombat dismiss the potential unionist proselytisation of people like Comrade Stalin and Morpheus.
    Actually, as a unionist, I shouldn’t be telling you this.
    Best to let you head down the cul-de-sac.
    It’s a prettier cul-de-sac than unionism’s but a cul-de-sac nonetheless.

  • Chris Donnelly

    Which is more important; the furtherance of nationalism or a peaceful society?

    You can’t have both.

    In a nutshell.

    Essentially, accept the superior place of Unionism within NI or there can’t be peace.

    What does that say about the compatibility of Unionism with a shared, equal society?

  • Chris Donnelly

    If you genuinely believe that, then you give more credence to the dissident republican narrative than I am willing to.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    You routinely highlight the ugly side of unionism
    Yet you advocate some of the things that partially (not entirely) propel it.
    Think logically, like an engineer.
    If you truly want it to be subdued (like I do) then do what is necessary, not what is preferable to you.
    Unionists think I’m a Lundy/patsy/I suffer from Stockholm syndrome because I advocate that unionism removes its self-hobbling aspects.
    I recommend the same for nationalism.
    Superiority has nothing to do with my approach, indeed, that which comes out on top will be ‘superior’.
    Question is, who will come out on top?
    It should be nationalism but by Christ you’re fond of sabotaging its chances.

  • Comrade Stalin

    How can I train wee Sean till hate them orangemen when all they do is walk about in hats an sashes luking stupid.

    It’s pretty easy, show him a picture of one of the many bonfires that says “KAT” on it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Me neither. But 90% of voters in NI do. That’s where we are at.

  • articles


  • congal claen

    Hi Dalg,
    In the same that way I’m Irish by virtue of being born in / living in the geographical entity that is Ireland, the same logic applies to being born / living in the British Isles. Which is how the majority of the world know these islands. I’m not politically Irish. But I am Irish culturally and geographically.
    As for the DNA stuff. I never mentioned where the people of this isle are from. I said the name came from a British mainland tribe. In the same way the Scots aren’t all originated from the Scotti nor the English from the Angles – just the origin of their respective names.
    As for the Cork man, even the term Cork originates from Britain. If that upsets him what can I do about it? Some people may get upset at the result of adding 2 and 2 together. But, it won’t change the result.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I think having pride in a country or religion for no reason other than that you were born in it is pretty much the height of stupidity and ignorance (seems to effect some citizens of the USA more than anyone else sadly).

    The “Britishness” in NI would, as you suggest, be unrecognizable to almost anyone in Britain. Part of this is because it’s not really Britishness; it’s part of a condition that is fundamentally Irish (or Scots-Irish). I think Ulster Unionism has kind of taken on the label of Britishness as a means to highlight their distinctiveness, or separation especially after partition.

    I wish NI could be more British – more like Finchley, if you will. It would certainly be preferable to what we have now.

  • Clanky

    Chris, you are entirely correct in what you say, however, I think the formation of NI21, the fact that LAD has many follower from the protestant / unionist community and the fact that many ordinary protestants are distancing themselves from the mindless thuggery of what is described as culture is evidence that things are moving in the right direction.

    Living in Spain I have spoken to many protestants this week who have escaped for the twelfth as they see it as a hateful time of year, these same people also view the Twaddle farce as ridiculous and the demands of the OO to march through catholic areas as outdated and a block to progress.

    The problem is that the majority of these people are so sick of NI politics that they simply don’t vote, leaving the PUL politicians scrubbing around for votes amongst the loyalest of the loyal. I would love to see NI21 actually engage with the silent majority of the unionist population and give a voice to those who have been sidelined in favour of loud mouthed bigots.

    Chrisjones2 sums it up perfectly, the more that each side acts responsibly and respectfully the less opportunity it gives the so called leadership of Northern Ireland to indulge in the politics of fear. The more that nationalists see parades passing off peacefully and objections to the parades which are fairly obviously going to upset coal residents then the more likely they are to accept that some parades will go ahead even though they are contentious. The reverse of course applies in that if unionists see protests over the Garvachy Road parade moving to the next most contentious parade on the list until eventually there are objections to every parade then even moderate unionists will see an attack on all things protestant and will fig their heels in.

  • chrisjones2

    That’s no use. No sign of Orangies around it and he knows how to hate the Huns already. Also he’s only 3 so KAT could really feck up his readin unless we go for Irish Medium educatin

  • grizzly


  • grizzly


  • Zeno

    ” the first time in the history of this state, gives a formal and legitimate place to the National flag of more than 40% of the citizens, ie the Irish National Flag.”

    Who are these “more than 40%”?
    Are you claiming all Catholics are Nationalist/Republican and that they want the Tricolour? If you are it is bunk.
    23% of the Population vote Nationalist.
    25% claim Irish Identity in the Census.
    Not even all of them want a UI or want a Tricolour flown (edit).

  • Nimn

    I have the same problem, insofar as I am from a Unionist background, but have no time for the increasingly narrow messages and actions of political unionism, to the point where my allegiance to the Union has become a personal choice for largely non-political reasons. I have no political home either in the deeply conservative republicanism of SF.

    The debate on what constitutes ‘Britishness’ has no end as it is an evolving, ever changing concept seen through many lenses. This kaleidoscope of views means that it is as easy to argue that Britain is a tolerant, multicultural society as it is to argue that it is institutionally racist. The same applies to ‘Irishness’ in terms of an evolving concept which refuses to be pigeon-holed by politics or religion.

    Brian Walker’s comments to your article provide a much more balanced analysis, yet it does not detract from your examples of the outworkings of a form of political Unionism which is becoming increasingly confident in re-defining its intolerant core.

    It is a mindset espoused by the DUP’s Paul Givan MLA (and quoted in Professor Tonge’s recent analysis of the DUP); “if you use the Ten Commandments, you can formulate almost every law that you need”; attempts to censor what we see in theatres; is the fallout over Pastorgate, the ban on taking blood from some sections of the community which don’t fit within a particular moral code and dressed up as policy; Haass and the whole graduated response across the institutions of government to further the cause of Orangeism all serve to alienate rather than attract support for political unionism from within the broader pro-Union community.

    Political Unionism’s ambiguity over loyalist paramilitaries in the past, while espousing the moral high ground in response to PIRA atrocities, now accepts openly loyalist paramilitary groups, managing somehow to separate the reality of active criminal organisations involved in community violence, racketeering, intimidation, racism, drug dealing and more, with the need for their ‘influence’ in communities to further the Orange cause.

    This writ runs openly because it can, without fear of any sanction beyond the courts. The GFA provides government in perpetuity. With a declining vote pandering to the fear of the Other and the neurosis it creates is enough to keep the current form of political Unionism in place.

    Speaking recently with a group of people all from a unionist background and some formerly within the security forces here, the consensus was that they have more in common with the language and leadership provided by SF around the parades issues, than with the messages and actions of political Unionism in 2014, while still rejecting the republican narrative to justify their terror campaign or their attempts to rewrite the history of the past.

  • carl marks

    Strange I’m
    from Ardoyne, and we don’t talk like that, neither in content or accent!

    Nice bit of sectarian
    stereotyping, of course carry on with the myth that Bonfires are nothing to do
    with Orange fest. Why is it that when someone points out the parts of unionism
    that many people find offensive (bonfires, flags, sectarian bands, coat
    trailers) we get the old “nothing to do with us Guv” from the OO/DUP/UUP etc. but
    when someone suggests doing something about it we get “they are chipping away
    at our culture and we have to stick together” routine?

  • Märsta

    ^ HaHa! (LOVE the capital letters!)

  • Zeno

    Could I get a reply Chris?
    You said……..
    ” the first time in the history of this state, gives a formal and legitimate place to the National flag of more than 40% of the citizens, ie the Irish National Flag.”

    Who are these “more than 40%”?
    Are you claiming all Catholics are Nationalist/Republican and that they want the Tricolour? If you are it is bunk.
    23% of the Population vote Nationalist.
    25% claim Irish Identity in the Census.
    Not even all of them want a UI or want a Tricolour flown (edit).

  • Morpheus

    Didn’t you know that the box you ticked in the assembly elections and census is the bar which defines if you are a nationalist or not Chris?


    For what it is worth the NILT tells us that 28% of the population are unionist, 25% are nationalist and the rest are neither so I agree, 40+% is high

  • Zeno

    29% Unionist
    25% Nationalist according to the 2013 figures. Probably due to a hardening of attitudes because of the flag debacle.

  • Jofrad

    They still do in Liverpool but they’re regarded as a bunch of dinosaurs.

  • tino brazo

    You are not Scottish your grandparents are from NI . The native Scots despise you

  • tino brazo

    I do not know but it seems these strangers hate me . I am gay and from Dublin and what i see here is 2 sides of me being completely disrespected . One flag is the official flag of my country and the other represents my community . I have no desire to hate them back in fact they have no impact in my life . But one has to think about generalisation . They know that the Irish flag is not a Republican flag as the vast majority of people whom officially live under it are not Republican . I find it completely disgusting that they are doing it the name of one of the worlds most tolerant societies by desecrating the flag of the worlds second most charitable nation . Neither of these nations deserve this hatred within there names especially since a small place is making those 2 popular countries look bad by abusing said nations flag through hatred . NI should get its own flag and leave Britain and the Republic out of it . we are tired of it holding us all back . And before I am classed as some sort of partitionist . As far as i know only 3 percent up there want Irish unity . Money talks in Ulster it can be bought far from the mindset in the other 3 provinces . Let them keep what they flawed

  • tino brazo

    Stop with the capitals you gargantuan degenerate

  • tino brazo

    That was the biggest load of blinkered biased hypocrisy i have ever read . Stay in your ignorant bliss . And they don’t identify with being Irish they are Irish

  • John Kelly

    The next census will have catholic majority, this is the Elephant in the room of unionism who view equality as a threat rather than a chance of shared future, working together to end bigotry and sectarianism.

  • Zeno

    “The next census will have catholic majority”

    I doubt that, but it is besides the point. When did all Catholics become Nationalist/Republican and start to regard the Tricolour as their Flag?

  • Spike

    History dictates those who hate will be left behind

  • ranger1640

    I know it will come to a shock to republicans but when republican politicos say “Brits Out” or when we see “Kill All Huns” daubed on church walls or orange halls. Is this sectarian or just racist or both.

    And when to comes to offence republicans are not too bad at the dishing it out, and do you know what they can’t blame that on the protestant. unionist or loyalist community. Dolorus Price stated that she learned all the hate on the knee of her father she said “My father used to sit us on his knee and tell us stories about how he’d gone off to war in 1939 at the age of 19 to bomb the English.”

    But we can’t believe Dolours Price, because just like Brendan Hughes, both have spoke out against the sainted Adams. Now we are all under shinner/provo diktat, that we must not believe both of these former shinner/provos.

    When it comes to republican and sinn fein/ira culture they don’t need to take lessons form anyone, from paramilitary displays on Roman Catholic church property, to burning effigies of orangemen, and burning symbols of cross community non sectarian organizations. on their bonfires. It’s all unionist out reach.

    However, it effigy is not Adams it is only a protestant, unionist or loyalist so it’s fine.

    3mins 20 secs young child says to their parent “see the wee orangeman on the top” slight pause and then the parent laughs.

    Then we can see in the link below republican culture in all its gory detail, children wearing paramilitary uniforms holding the shinner/provos weapons of choice.

    Then we have the shinners/provos along with the so called moderate nationalist party the SDLP calling a children’s play park after a convicted terrorist who was caught in possession with the rifle that was involved in the sectarian murder of 10 innocent protestant workmen at the Kingsmills massacre.

    Then we have that doyen of Irish culture that can be found in every roman catholic diocese the GAA. They have teams, clubs, grounds and completions named after sectarian terrorist murderers.

    But as a leading BBC TV GAA pundit put it, Joe Brolly: ‘It’s nobody’s business if GAA clubs are named after dead republican paramilitaries’