UUP considering hosting 1916 event in Dublin.

Chris Page from the BBC reports this story;

The Ulster Unionist Party is giving “active and positive consideration” to holding its own event in Dublin next year for the hundredth anniversary of the Easter Rising.

The party leader Mike Nesbitt says the event would be held “not to celebrate, but to challenge the causes and consequences of the Rising”.

He says Ulster Unionists over recent years have gone to Grangegorman Cemetery in Dublin, where British soldiers who died in the Rising are buried – and they want to “enhance” this act of remembrance for the centenary.

I think this on the face of it is a positive thing. There should be a debate about consequences of  the 1916 rising and its impact on Ireland.

Update-Here is what Mike Nesbitt sent out in his party bulletin today to the UUP membership

The Secretary of State was on BBC NI’s The View last night. A most interesting interview, because reading between the lines, Theresa Villiers was admitting that the meaningful talks have migrated from her home at Stormont House, back up the hill to the Castle, the domain of Peter Robinson and Martin McGuinness. So, she is in the same place as we are: speculating. In her case, The Secretary of State thinks a deal next week is “possible” but not necessarily “probable”. The more interesting question for us is this: is it a deal we can support? With the information available, I cannot answer that question. What I can do is assure Ulster Unionists that we will judge any proposals on the extent to which they represent the greater good, rather than being good for the Sinn Féin/DUP duopoly at the heart of the current devolved government.

On the same programme, I revealed that I am working with a small team to explore how we might mark the centenary of the Easter Rising. Let me assure you, we will not engage in unwarranted celebration. What we are considering covers the military, historical and political implications of what happened 100 years ago. (Emphasis added) On the military side, members already make an annual pilgrimage to Grangegorman in Dublin, to pay respects to those from the British Army killed and buried in the Military Cemetery there.

How we mark the historical and political implications are still under consideration, but I see no reason not to challenge the causes and consequences of the insurrection. For example, the Royal Commission on the Rebellion in Ireland, commissioned by King George V and presented to both Houses of Parliament, began its conclusions thus:

“… the general conclusion that we draw from the evidence before us is that the main cause of the rebellion appears to be that lawlessness was allowed to grow up unchecked, and that Ireland for several years past has been administered on the principle that it was safer and more expedient to leave law in abeyance if collision with any faction of the Irish people could thereby be avoided.”

How that conclusion resonates with the current Stormont House talks on continuing paramilitarism and associated criminality!

2016, of course, will also see the Centenary of the Battle of the Somme, and as I have done every 1st of July since becoming Leader, I shall travel to France to pay my respects at Thiepval (a memorial to all), the Ulster Tower (36th Ulster Division), and Guillemont (the 16th Irish Division).

Meanwhile, like many, I look forward to Sunday’s Remembrance events. I shall be at three, in Cloughey, Newtownards and Ballynahinch. Strangford has a long and deep tradition of service and sacrifice and like all Ulster Unionists, I will remember them this Sunday and Wednesday.

 

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  • Ernekid

    It’s fairly apt. There would have never have been the Easter Rising if not for the Ulster Unionist Party. Carson militarised Irish politics with his opposition to Home Rule. The formation of the Irish Volunteers was a direct reaction to the treasonous actions of the UVF. It’d be more appropriate if the statue of Edward Carson was outside the GPO on O’Connell street in his native Dublin instead of outside of Stormont.

  • Slater

    Perhaps these words on the Parnell monument at the end of O’Connell Street sent some out to kill too:

    “No man has a right to fix the boundary to the march of a nation. No man has a right to say to his country thus far shalt thou go and no further. We have never attempted to fix the ne plus ultra to the
    progress of Ireland’s nationhood and we never shall.”

  • Gopher

    I think you are forgeting about the IRB who were quite opportunistic and not adverse the use of “trojan horses” to get an “Irish Republic”. I think you would be better with a statue of the “Irish Republic” outside the GPO if anyone can sculpt amorphous objects.

  • Catcher in the Rye

    Mike Nesbitt has significant form for throwing ideas out there that sound radical and far-reaching, but never following up on them. My money is that this idea will join the list.

  • Gopher

    “I think this on the face of it is a positive thing. There should be a
    debate about consequences of the 1916 rising and it’s impact on
    Ireland.”

    Why not just accept it was an outlier, ditch the Republicanism and just become Ireland

  • eireanne

    The statue of Edward Carson should have been put in the Ulster Museum and surrounded by a beautiful exhibition once the GFA/belfast Agreement was signed. According to English heritage he made “no outstanding contribution to British politics”https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2014/02/09/edward-carson-1854-1935/

  • TruthToPower

    The UUP and indeed unionism is being sucked into an all Ireland arena if they do go ahead with this. It’s makes as little sense for an Ulster Unionist to take part in any form of Easter Rising event as it would for them to set up a stall in Paris on Bastille Day.

    If unionist regard RoI as a foreign power then they should keep well away from any form of Easter Rising event. I know and those on this forum know that the UUP is not planning to celebrate the Rising but to the many an untrained eye out there, this would just make the border that little bit less definite on the map.

    I have the same opinion about unionists going to shamrock bedecked White House on St Patrick’s Day. It just reinforces the international view and especially in GB that we are just ‘paddies’ without seeing the real and true distinction between the sovereign state of Ireland and the sovereign state of the U.K. part of which exists legitimately in part of th geographic island of Ireland

  • Heather Richardson

    Hmm, don’t know. The way it’s phrased sounds quite obnoxious – ‘We’re going to take your sacred cow and try to prove that it’s got BSE’. Imagine if a Nationalist party declared it was going to take that approach with the Somme centenary?

    Now if the UUP said they were going to have their own *commemoration* of the Rising, to reflect the fact that it’s had a massive effect on the history of this island, and has huge cultural meaning for many north and south – well, that would be progress.

  • TruthToPower

    Good points

  • Zig70

    Part of me thinks it is like the Germans coming to armistice day. The declined the last invite. They have a bit more humility than the UUP. The other bit welcomes the UUP raising the Easter rising on the agenda. It’s not straightforward. It was essentially an act of terrorism that as a result of the success of Irish freedom became a heroic act. If British rule had stayed then it would have remained as the action of terrorists. Those of us who find it harder to take another life or more importantly send others to their death for a piece of sod can only marvel at how history unravels. Celebrating 1916 and saying to the current dissidents that they are wrong without saying that we can do it by another means is a line I don’t think anyone without an political agenda can walk. FG will no doubt do it with noses held high.

  • Neil

    If I may take the analogy a little further, it’s like the German’s being invited to armistice day and saying they’re going to come to London on a different day and have a memorial for the victims of the allied bombing raids. Stay classy Mike.

  • Granni Trixie

    It may interest Mike but can anybody explain to me simply why we “ought” to be interested in 1916? At this point in time I can’t see the point.

    As for that old “put country before party” guff,give me a break.

  • Robin Keogh

    Gran you need to detach your priority consciousness from others. Its normal for folk to remember/commemorate significant moments is history.

  • Robin Keogh

    Whats wrong with an all Ireland arena?

  • eireanne

    Anglo – they were all British politics back in the day!! right up to the Govt of Ireland Act

  • tmitch57

    The Easter Rising would not fit the definition of what most academics define as terrorism: the deliberate targeting of non-combatants for death, injury or hostage taking. It was only terrorist in the sense that established governments like to label all insurgent action as either terrorism (if the government is Western) or banditry (if the government is communist).

  • tmitch57

    Because republicans in particular and nationalists in general have for so long been in denial about the legal status of the Six Counties.

  • David,

    “UUP considering hosting 1916 event in Dublin.”

    It may be a story when a decision is made.

    Until then…

    Here endeth the lesson…

  • TruthToPower

    Because it’s politically artificial. Just because the island is called Ireland is where the similarity ends. Borders exist in many land masses, big and small and for a reason. I’ve nothing against the ROI. I just don’t have any political or cultural affinity with it enough to consider leaving the UK for it anymore than I would Italy, as nice a country as that is.

    I honestly don’t understand why Irish republicans don’t understand this. It’s not like you’re trying to persuade me to change a point of view over a here today gone tomorrow aspect of public policy such as departmental spending. Asking me to leave my country for another is like asking me to leave my family for the one next door. Nice neighbours etc and I’ll do anything for them but they’re not my family or blood. If a UI happened, I’d probably lump it, carry on here as best I could but in my heart, I would never look to Dublin as the locus of my country. I’ll always look to London. I’d feel jettisoned, left behind.

    The tragedy is this is how northern nationalists felt post partition and that wasn’t right either. Bar forced population shifts (illegal under international law) or repartition (not perfect but would lead to much fewer people on the wrong side of the border both unionist and nationalist) there is no solution bar making Irishness as fully and completely an identity with the U.K. as much as possible. I support an Irish Language act and all the rest for this reason. Perhaps some problems are so intractable that there are no solutions, only partial mitigations to do the best of a bad job

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    And then some…

  • Granni Trixie

    Maybe your normal not mine. Mfact maybe by your answer you are illustrating an abnormality?

  • David McCann

    Thank Pete for keeping all of us right

  • Zig70

    I’m trying to stick a pin in the morality of violent aggression to British rule in Ireland. Few in official Ireland would say that the men of 1916 were wrong to make a strike for Irish freedom. This does have the consequence of saying it is right to do the same in the North. If the dissies get a wee band together and take over Stormont then that’s okay? I’d like to see the morality of English occupation being brought into the commemoration.

  • Jack Stone

    But, in 1916, wasn’t the whole island one state (well Empire) under British Rule? I mean, the Rising did not happen in a foreign country, rather it happened in the United Kingdom.

  • Kevin Breslin

    How much evidence will be presented at these events, or is journalistic and historical evidence nitpicking for those who don’t respect the sanctity of narratives?

  • Danny Cullen

    don’t bother coming to Dublin we don’t want trouble we are celebrating the mighty republic Only

  • babyface finlayson

    I don’t think it is like that really. The rising was an internal affair affecting Unionists and Nationalists alike.
    Unionists are entitled to present their view of it, if done with respect to the opposing viewpoint.
    It is not universal truth that the rising was a good thing whereas pretty much everyone agrees about the role of Germany in the war.

  • Greenflag 2

    Any credit ? He gave them two Irelands -Most of it not burden on English taxpayers and the smaller one – well that’s a chapter in the story of both Britain and Irelands histories that goes on and on etc .

  • This is the self same Unionist Party that threatened armed rebellion against the Crown in 1912, imported 1000s of guns, set up a private army & were allowed to drill openly.
    Ironically it was Ulster Unionists who instigated the use of physical force in Irish politics in the 20th century, not nationalists who had largely given up on the idea & were pursuing parliamentary tactics – until Unionist success against the Crown in 1912 made them reconsider the value of constitutional politics.The rest is history.

    Maybe Mike should be standing shoulder to shoulder with Irish Republicans next year to celebrate the success of physical force in Ireland instigated by unionists?
    After all it worked. The Unionists stopped home rule & the republicans got independence from Britain (of a kind).

  • Greenflag 2

    Honest post .

    ‘If a UI happened, I’d probably lump it, carry on here as best I could but in my heart, I would never look to Dublin as the locus of my country.’

    If you were a successful career politician you would ; Ireland’s politicians moved to London after the Act of Union because that’s were the money and power were .

    ‘there is no solution bar making Irishness as fully and completely an identity with the U.K. as much as possible’

    A well as Polishness , Bangladdeshiness , West Indianness and all the other esses . Irishness may be just a little too close to home given the existence of an Irish Republic a mere 45 minutes away by air .

    Most people in the Republic have a fairly healthy attitude to the UK . Many even live there and vice versa . Perhaps you over value your sense of nationality which I suppose is part of the mutual inheritance of a divided NI ? Human beings were around long before there were ‘nations ‘ or ‘states ‘ .

    As to ‘perhaps some problems are so intractable that there are no solutions”

    Nature always finds solutions although sometimes those to whom they would apply are no longer around to enjoy the benefits of her solutions . Not that nature cares a jot mind you.

    .

  • Nigel Watson

    Hi Heather

    Surely it is right for a party that supports the idea of NI to celebrate/commemorate the event that made the creation of NI inevitable ?

    For those who espouse the idea of a 32 sovereign Ireland, surely 1916, Éamon de Valera & the PIRA campaign of the last 40years have combined to make this seem almost impossible (at the very least highly unlikely)…a lot for unionists to be happy about, but surely a source of embarrassment for those who support physical force republicanism?

    All in favour a good day out & celebration of the foundation of the ROI…Fine Gael can take some pride in the fine modern state they founded, despite various ups & downs

  • eireanne

    I see we agree – and we both agree with the English heritage assessment!! Given that, why is someone who made no outstanding contribution to British politics so revered by British NI Unionists? And no one else?

  • eireanne

    many people can understand and share Truth’s profound sense of feeling British. Many also share his despair that “Perhaps some problems are so intractable that there are no solutions, only partial mitigations to do the best of a bad job” –
    Joint Authority/sovreignty appears to be the only way out of the quagmire – the only solution that has never been attempted and which might, just might, satisfy all aspirations
    https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/08/28/joint-authoritysovreignty-in-ni-faq/

  • Greenflag 2

    “There should be a debate about consequences of the 1916 rising and its impact on Ireland.’

    Probably best left to 2017 or later . Mr Nesbitt is a unionist -so perhaps we might learn something from the Unionist political experience 1880 to 1916 i.e from the time of the First Home Rule Bill to 1912 and the UVF gun running.

    Unionist roulette again 🙁

  • Greenflag 2

    ‘everyone agrees about the role of Germany in the war.’

    WW2 yes .

    WW1 is not as clear cut . The Imperial powers were all culpable some perhaps more than others . When they sat around the table in Berlin (1900) and carved up Africa between them -they did’nt even give a piece to Turkey (Ottoman Empire ) the b*******s, or so I’ve been told by a Turk who doesn’t like Kurds .

  • Greenflag 2

    It doesn’t if they win . Ask George Washington or Menachim Begin or Nelson Mandela or Eamon De Valera or or or etc etc 😉

  • barnshee

    Please check carefully where the “burden” falls
    predominately

    (Hints start in W Belfast Foyle Newry and Armagh)

  • barnshee

    Few prods in de north would say that the men of 1912 were wrong to make a strike for protestant freedom.

  • barnshee

    Make sure he takes Wullie Frazer with him

  • Greenflag 2

    Canute never did succeed with those waves either 🙂

  • Greenflag 2

    I don’t think Charles Stewart Parnell was referring to his well known plan to invade or conquer England . The clues are in the ‘ne plus ultra ‘ and the ‘progress of Ireland’s nationhood ‘ Do remember that Parnell saw Irish nationhood in the context of a wider British nationhood and I hate to say this Imperialhood . He was for Home Rule within the Empire and not a Republican . They only came later when all hope for Home Rule was lost and WW1 ‘evented ‘ .

    The British Empire in its history sent its soldiers and navy out to kill just like all the other Empires . They were just trying to increase revenues and market share just like Goldman Sachs or the RC church or any of those other great financial or religious or political organisations that dress in black primarily and tell people how they should live -how many sins they’ve committed and why they must pay more to the bank etc etc .

    We know all this . Ask the tens of thousands of poor sods who died at the Somme or elsewhere and give them a chance to live their lives again . How many would list if they knew the outcome – i.e WW2 ? No answers from them of course -just as well .

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    The Rising surely made siege mentality inevitable but then again it didn’t have to but let’s be sure about the personalities, context and conditions at the time. The Government of Ireland Act 1920 certainly made the creation of NI … um inevitable along with Ulster siege mentality. It could be argued that the Irish War of Independence did too. Anyway if Unionists want to celebrate being given the independence to be as cackhanded as humanly possible then they should go right ahead but I won’t be attending.

  • babyface finlayson

    I agree, but I took ‘temp’ to be referring to WW2 due to his/her remark about the bombing of London.
    My point is that I think Unionists are entitled to put an alternative view of the rising. It is their history too.

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    Hmmm, is nationalism a dangerous thing? Is patriotism only for mugs? Is commemmoration a lionisation of the protagonists or the chance to reflect on mistakes learned? Given that the War of Independence was the more successful in gaining Irish self determination I certainly see this as unrepresentative of history.

    Given that the Proclamation has never been applied, I can’t help but think that any party atmosphere will look kinda hollow.

  • tmitch57

    Saying it was not terrorism is not the same as saying it was legal, or even wise. Words have meanings and when partisans or governments repeatedly distort those meanings then eventually dialogue and intelligent discussion become impossible.

  • Greenflag 2

    I agree re an alternative view from a unionist perspective as long as its not in isolation from the run up period i.e 1880 through 1914 . Events like 1912 or 1916 don’t happen in isolation neither did 1969 nor 1981 etc

  • Zig70

    You may be right. Though anti home rule and pro partition aren’t exactly the same thing. I’d like to see that tested. The partition avoided an immediate bloodshed but it arguably just drew it out. Every one can’t be right. If people are going to call the men of 1916 heroes then they have to say partition is wrong also.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Of course the Glenarm man, and Gaelic League luminary Eoin MacNeill wrote an article “The North Began” which appeared in An Claidheamh Soluis on 1 November 1913, which suggested that nationalism emulated the obviously more successful activity of the UVF.

    The Unionists all too conveniently forget that they set the tone of recourse to violence in 1912.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And after WWI poor Italy, who had been induced into their calamitous engagement against Austria by being promised big chunks of the far side of the Adriatic, were told that the secret deals were now inconvenient with Woodrow Wilson sniffing around them.

    Tragic…….

  • SeaanUiNeill

    One thing I remember is that the experiences radicalised many of them, even those from the upper middle class, against authority in a most gratifying manner. When I drop snippets on Slugger of what, in much younger years, I’ve heard officers from the Trenches saying about Stormont, Westminster and the Dáil, I hit walls of disbelief……

  • Greenflag 2

    True but nobody cares about wisdom after the event and the winners are declared heroes and everybody goes home and forgets and life goes on . Regrets 50 years later sound like this

    Edward Carson –

    “We used to say that we could not trust an Irish parliament in Dublin to do justice to the Protestant minority. Let us take care that that reproach can no longer be made against your parliament, and from the outset let them see that the Catholic minority have nothing to fear from a Protestant majority.” His warnings were largely in vain. In old age, while at London’s Carlton Club, he confided to the Anglo-Irish historian Sir Charles Petrie his disillusionment with Belfast politics: “I fought to keep Ulster part of the United Kingdom, but Stormont is turning her into a second-class Dominion.”

  • Greenflag 2

    Not to mention the Hungarians and they still go about The Treaty of Trianon.

  • TruthToPower

    Good points

  • TruthToPower

    perhaps if it wasn’t for the IRA, unionists like me would at least not mind a united Ireland. But that ship has sailed. Give it a century free from drama and violence and perhaps it might happen like that. I can’t see Unionists ever doing a volte face and start waiving tricolours but if a UI does even come about, like I said, it will happen when Unionists/Protestants won’t mind it i.e. won’t act violently against it

  • TruthToPower

    Not quite true. It’s like saying Yorkshire was one state albeit within the Empire. Ireland was never a unitary sovereign state ever in its history. I sometimes do wonder how an uninvaded Ireland would have developed and become had it been left alone.
    As for the Rising, it wasn’t really a mass popular Rising was it? I hardly call the takeover of a public building by several people an uprising. It was the War of Independence that precipitated the Independence of the now RoI.
    What does give legitimacy to murder? Is it when governments sanction it? Is ok for a policeman to be killed if its supported by a majority of the population? Is what is considered good and evil subject to the vicissitudes of the prevailing winds of public opinion ?
    These are hard questions. Whilst obviously not a supporter of the dissident IRA groupings, I do fail to see how Nationalists/Republicans can condemn them now for merely doing what the same Nationalists/Republicans commemorate in those who did exactly the same in the past.
    George Washington was considered a terrorist in his day – until he won. Is that what a terrorist is, someone who commits violence but is yet to win?
    Hmmm

  • TruthToPower

    Joint Sovereignty – how does that work in practice? Would NI tax receipts be shared between Dublin and London?
    What about foreign policy and other reserved matters where there is difference of opinion between Dublin and London?
    To which Parliament would our MP’s be sent to? Dail or Westminster or both?
    Devil is in the detail

  • Hugh Davison

    It’s funny how people always blame the IRA when dismissing the idea of a united Ireland. There was no IRA when I grew up in Belfast yet the idea of a United Ireland was regarded as absurd by most people in the North.

  • Hugh Davison

    Protestant freedom? Freedom from what,exactly? Were protestants in chains? Do elaborate.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And should that history from 1880 to 1914 be taken into account it certainly does not permit Unionism any self-congratulation on their record.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    And me going on about the willful breaking of the Drumcree (yes, really!) agreement with my illustrious earlier incarnation, and the inevitable outcome in 1567. I’m still awaiting a full apology (and reparations) from the descendants of Sir Henry Sidney.

  • Trasna

    Surely partition is the direct result of the failure of British Parliamentary democracy? Home Rule should have been implemented in its entirety, by force, if necessary.

    The Easter Rising, the War of Independence , the Civil War and partition wouldn’t have happened. A different set of leaders would have emerged, Conolly, Clarke, Pearce, etc. Cosgrave, Collins and Dev were bit players in 1914. Redmond of course was top dog and saw himself as Ireland’s first PM, though Carson might have something to say about that.

    British Parliamentary democracy failed again to accept the will of the people in 1918 election. This time for Irish independence..

    The WOI had a popular mandate. There was no mistaking the mandate for an independent Irish republic. The IRA were the official army of the Provisional government. The British government and it’s crown forces were the terrorists.

    Carson and Craig get a knighthood for gunrunning and Casement gets a bullet in the head. Or was it a rope around his neck?

    Britain lauded itself on its democracy but in relation to its colonies and Ireland, it never actually existed.

    NI was created on a sectarian headcount by a sectarian government and if it is to end, will end on a sectarian headcount.

    When the CNR become a majority, what stake in NI do unionist have left?

    Introduce a proper functioning democracy in NI with an opposition. Are Unionists prepared to be in opposition in perpetuity?

    Short sightedness and short termism never worked in Ireland. Solutions were always piecemeal. Yet some people never learn.

  • Trasna

    Few Catholics would agree with you.

    Given you view, surely you couldn’t object to the counties of Fermanagh, Tyrone and S. Armagh. DownNorth East Antrim and Derry joining the republic., if they were given the option. Giving them the option would surely be the right thing to do.

  • barnshee

    Where are the protestants formerly resident in the ROI ?

    Gone -North or in GB
    1912 saved the northern prod for the attentions of the “special position” of the Roman Catholic Church in the ROI

  • barnshee

    Delighted to see a vote by county go/stay and happy to bide by the results.

  • Zeno

    Odd though that we get republicans condemning armed insurrection against the State by the UVF in 1912.

  • Jack Stone

    Remember, it was the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland until 1922. So, The Easter Rising happened in the country of The United Kingdom which is my point. Those people who took part in the Rising were British citizens.

    I didn’t address The Rising as a political uprising but lets take a look at it for fun. The IRA is similar to the French Resistance against the Nazis. Politically, according to many historians, . Only about 80 members of over 500 Chamber of Deputies voted against surrender. The Vichy regime was founded on popular acclaim. Philippe Pétain was a national hero. The Free French Forces and the BCRA were terrorists? They lacked popular acclaim but their actions were well within their right to armed resistance.

    The right of armed resistance against a colonial power has long been enshrined in international law. The United Nations, for example, recognizes the legitimacy of the struggle of peoples for independence, territorial integrity, national unity and liberation from colonial and foreign domination and foreign occupation by all available means, including armed struggle. (that’s more of less of a quote)

    Personally, I see the takeover of the General Post Office as the lighting of the fuse. It is like the storming of the Bastille or the Boston Massacre. It is the flashpoint which developed into the War of Independence. I actually consider the response of the British government to the Rising to be what turned public opinion. It was the arrest of 3,430 men and 79 women arrested and the verdict of “death by being shot” in 90 cases which turned the tide. When Britain went so far as to execute 15 people in May of 1916, it turned the Irish people from the British government. It was the act of shooting James Connolly tied to a chair that turned their hearts. It was the iron fist of the British which pushed the Irish to Sinn Fein, in my opinion.

    I also understand that the concept of a high king’s suzerain rule within the Irish feudal system is hard to understand within current concepts of nation states but similar situations existed well into the modern age.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi Zeno, odd today perhaps, but actually perfectly normal in 1912! With the personal failure of Parnell, most of the younger people turned from party politics to a cultural re-creation of Ireland. Passive resistence was seen as a major plank of Irish Ireland thinking and would strongly influence Gandhi through links with the Theosophists James and Margaret Cousins from the Antrim Road. While there were small revolutionary groups such as the IRB, the real impedus for building a broad revolutionary movement that would use violence was directly inspired by the success of the UVF. Many thought that the two “Volunteer” movements would in time merge and create a “polycultural” Irish political identity, not as far fetched in 1912-14 as retrospective vision would think it in the light of a succeeding century of bitter fratricidal conflict. You have only to read some of the articles printed over the first half of 1914 in “The Volunteer”, the journal of the Irish Volunteers, to see what I mean.

    There is a decent description of the degree to which the UVF set the agenda of violence in chapter two of part II, and the first two chapters (also chapter 6) of part III of Dangerfield’s excellent “The Strange Death of Liberal England”:

    http://www.amazon.co.uk/George-Dangerfield/e/B001KCOY2W/ref=dp_byline_cont_book_2

    Oh, and in a very disparate mix of ideas and solutions, not every Irish Irelander was actually a Republican. Arthur Griffith, the founder of Sinn Féin, had recommended in 1904 “that Ireland should become a separate kingdom alongside Great Britain, the two forming a dual monarchy with a shared monarch but separate governments.” (Wikipedia) Most of the constitutional Irish party supporters would have accepted a form of devolution taht stopped well short of a republic. No, the UVF and Unionism have a lot to answer for at the bar of history, in my opinion.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    TTP, “I sometimes do wonder how an uninvaded Ireland would have developed and become had it been left alone.”

    https://archive.org/details/makingofirelandi00greeuoft

    Alice Stopford Green describes an medaeval Ireland developing towards a palce amongst the Renaissance States of Europe before a land hungry class of English adventurer utterly disrupted the trajectory of such development. An all important text for anyone wanting to understand why we are still in such a political mess.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    TTP, we already have effective “joint soverignty” over many issues with regard to membership of the EEC. Paramiters are set by treaties as to the relationship of states exercising such soverignty together, but a rule of thumb might be that the larger (or richer) state tells the smaller (or poorer) what will happen.

  • Zeno

    Interesting stuff Seaan.

  • barnshee

    Why exclude 1500-1880 The roots of the problem stretch back at least that far.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    If you’ve read my posts over the years, Barnshee, I’ve certainly located some of our knots in the early modern period. Should you wish to discuss the relevance of Surrender and Re-grant, or the effects of the two centuries of invasion that followed, culminating in the bizarre self destructive war some of our boys still commemorate against James II & VII’s policies of universal religious toleration, “I’m yer man”. But I’d certainly advise familiarising yourself with Alice Stopford Green’s “The Making of Ireland and its Undoing”, first, before taking any stance on the sixteenth century. There are links to a PDF on one of my earlier posts today.

    But if we are strictly trying to assess the impact of modern Unionism on the “Irish problem”, hey, 1886 and the development of Unionism as a party to oppose the First Home Rule Bill is as good a place to start as any.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thanks Zeno, it kinda helps getting all this into perspective if you aren’t tied to any of the modern parties agendas, which is how I’d read your posts usually.

    Once you’ve got to re-write the history retrospectively to support modern positions it simply stops making any sense at all.

  • barnshee

    “the development of Unionism as a party to oppose the First Home Rule Bill is as good a place to start as any.”

    Without a reference to the sources of the development?

  • Hugh Davison

    Perhaps you should take a trip down South, for a change. I’ll introduce you to a few protestants, if you like.

  • Tochais Siorai

    That’s a fair enough piece. In the end, all we can do is make society as inclusive as possible for people who find themselves on the wrong side of history whether that’s Irish people in NI or Ulster British people in any future UI.

  • Tochais Siorai

    County by county? 4/6 gone…..tho’ Armagh would be tight. Freedom at last for Portadown and Coleraine????

    Don’t worry, you’d still have those Unionist strongholds of South Down and the Glens and of course, your old faves in West Belfast.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    You really need to know Irish history back to Strongbow, if you are really going to be pedantic about this, but for the modern trajectory of Unionism 1886 is a decent starting point, all things being equal, and a wee bit of very general back history given for context. You’ll really have to tell me what starting there leaves out that you consider all important though.

    Please, please don’t just say “1641”, “1690”, “1798”, or start on about O’Connell, Young Ireland or the Dynamiters…………the actual constitutional contest between the Irish party and Unionism over Home Rule is far, far less dependant on those rather colourful interludes than the popular “Red Top” versions of our poor dysfunctional history would have the unwary believe.

  • TruthToPower

    Here’s the problem with that and I give what seems to be a facetious but valid example.

    Say my family are from Sligo What if my band of kin (about 50 of us) decided that Eire was a force of colonial occupation of Sligo. Would we then have the right to armed resistance just because we say so ourselves?

    Just because folks say they are colonially oppressed/occupied does not necessarily make it axiomatically correct. If I am wrong, my goodness, what a can of worms that lies open before not just us but the world!

  • Jack Stone

    Could you identify the precise date or historical period when Ireland ceased to be a colony for me? If all Ireland was a colony of Britain since the middle ages, did it stop being so with the Act of Union in 1801? Did it stop in 1829 when the majority of the Irish population received something resembling equal voting rights? Was it in 1920 with the partition of Ireland? Or was it when unionist one-party rule was ended in 1972? Is it still a Colony? I mean this most recent crisis has shown that either Northern Ireland votes the way Westminster wants or the government will just take back welfare powers. What does that sound like to you?

    Are you arguing that Ireland was not a colony in 1918? Are you arguing that Ireland itself was not controlled by Westminster at the time of the Rising or that London did not have colonial rule in Ireland ever? the overwhelming majority of the people in Ireland routinely expressed its desire for some form of self-government. This was denied by The House of Lords. Was the Home Rule Crisis not a thing? If we are still talking about the Rising (although I would see why you would want to move the goal), You have to remember the historical realities of Ireland at the time. The Anglo-Irish Ascendancy was a thing. The issues of Conscription, Land Rights, Catholic representation, Irish labor rights and even in jurisprudence (for example, trial by jury was much more restricted in Ireland than in the rest of the United Kingdom and the rights of the accused were greatly curtailed because they were excluded from Bills passed in Westminster) were all causes of the Rising. In 1872, the majority of the largest landowners were members of the Anglo-Irish Ascendancy. Don’t get me wrong, Westminster had begun to address much of the colonialist problems since the 1867 uprising. Although Home Rule passed the House of Commons, it was not implemented until after the Rising. If it had happened in 1893 or better yet 1885, the Rising may never have happened.

  • TruthToPower

    When you say Ireland was controlled by Westminster, I put it to you that even in England most of the country was under the control of Westminster without democratic representation (this latter part started to ameliorate during expansion of franchise in 19th century to ordinary men, largely in tandem with growing electoral rights for the Irish )

    What is a colony? Did Ireland rebel en masse when England took over or did Ireland largely tacitly accept the new paradigm?

    Is Wales a colony? It was similarly invaded.

    As for NI and your point about welfare being subject to being taken over, well I put it you that that’s because some countries (there’s quite a few of them in this world, look at the news outside Europe and N America) are simply unfit to rule themselves. Unfortunately NI is one of them.

    Thank god for the English I say because we’d be even more in the brown stuff without them. I genuinely mean that.

    So what if we are a mere colony. Better a colony of a benign power than an independent basket case

  • TruthToPower

    Indepedence isn’t what it’s cracked up to be especially for new countries. Ask Zimbabwe, Sudan, Eritrea etc

  • Jack Stone

    Answer the question. What is the precise date or historical period when Ireland ceased to be a colony? Are you saying never? We are entitled to our own point of view but not to our own facts. We could go back to Richard de Clare and High King Rory O’Connor. I would point out that Henry II acknowledged the High King’s feudal lordship of Ireland until 1177 when he declared Prince John the Lord of Ireland. Ireland was a colony within the Angevin Empire.

    Wales was a colony until 1535.

  • Reader

    Trasna: …surely you couldn’t object to the counties…
    You have chosen to split some counties and keep others complete. I’m a bit cynical about your choices; especially,as my choice would be to keep Down and Antrim in the UK and look to split the other 4 as appropriate.
    In the highly unlikely option of re-partition ever being adopted, I suspect neither of us would get our way!

  • Reader

    Heather Richardson: The way it’s phrased sounds quite obnoxious – ‘We’re going to take your sacred cow and try to prove that it’s got BSE’.
    I can’t find that quote anywhere. Did you just make it up? There’s no point in complaining about your own “obnoxious” phrasing!

  • TruthToPower

    Nationalists believe we are a colony. Unionists believe otherwise. Never the twain shall meet.
    Why did Wales cease being a colony in 1535? Did they have a referendum? Sorry if I can’t answer your date questions. It doesn’t matter what any nationalist tells me as I will never regard NI as a colony and you will never change your mind in response to a unionists argument. That’s politics.

    Like I said, I don’t care if we are a colony. If we are so be it. I’m glad we are ruled by England colony or not

  • Jack Stone

    No, Ive talked to Unionists who believe Ireland was a colony. And many differ on when it stopped being one, most say it was either the Act of Union (when it ceased to be the Kingdom Of Ireland) or Catholic Emancipation (where the majority of men on the island had the franchise to vote) or even Government of Ireland Act (which partitioned Northern Ireland). You could legitimately believe Ireland (and by extension Northern Ireland) was better off being ruled by Westminster but Ireland’s existence as a colony is a fact. That is history, not politics. It seems you are uneducated in the early history of The United Kingdom and if you would like I could recommend some books like Thomas B. Costain’s Pageant of England or JC Beckett’s the Making of Modern Ireland.

    In 1535, the Laws in Wales Acts were passed and Wales became legally a full and equal part of the Kingdom of England. The laws of England were applied to Wales and, to administer it, justices of the peace were appointed in every county. Wales became represented in parliament by 26 members. Before this, Wales was excluded from Parliamentary representation and divided between the Principality of Wales, and the Marcher Lords. Welsh law applied in Wales before 1535. Even Roger Mortimer’s land dispute with Gruffydd ap Gwenwynwyn in 1281 was settled under Welsh law.

  • TruthToPower

    Rather appear to be uneducated about the past than uneducated and blind to the present. I said, (not sure if you deliberately overlooked this) in a previous post here that I really don’t care if we are or were a colony.

    a colony does not have representation in the homeland parliament or is bereft of its own parliament. By this definition Wales did stop being a colony in 1535 and Ireland stopped being a colony in 1801

    Some republicans claim NI to be a colony now as ‘we are ruled by England’. They are wrong. NI elected MPs to Westminster who are on equal standing as any other MP. NI however freely chooses to elect MPs who belong to parties which can never form a government. This means that the national government is always of a party that NI doesn’t vote for but that is NIs fault and fault alone.

  • Jack Stone

    Thanks for responding, you are incorrect on a few things but I will try to clear it up and get the debate back on track.

    “a colony does not have representation in the homeland parliament or is bereft of its own parliament. By this definition Wales did stop being a colony in 1535 and Ireland stopped being a colony in 1801”

    Yay, a date. But if Ireland was no longer a colony and part of the UK in 1801 then wouldn’t the Easter Rising have happened in the United Kingdom and not a foreign country? But first thing’s first. A colony does not have representation in the homeland parliament or is bereft of its own parliament. This is false. All of the American colonies had their own colonial parliaments (the House of Burgesses which governed Virginia in conjunction with a colonial governor.) And some colonies had limited representation, for example. Corsica was a french department who sent their own representatives to the Assembly but still had many of the colonial structures and restrictions.

    Ok, so did Ireland cease to be a Colony is 1801? Well after the Act of Union the Irish parliament ceased to exist. However, the
    existing colonial administration in Ireland was kept in place,
    with the offices of Lord Lieutenant and Chief Secretary retaining their powers. Thus, despite sending members of Parliament, between 1801 and 1922, Ireland was ruled directly by a Governor appointed by the Monarch (through their representative, the Prime Minister) At the Sovereign’s pleasure. The laws remained different and the social, legal and political disadvantages remained in place. How could Ireland cease to be a Colony in 1801 if the majority of the population did not possess equal rights to the populations in the rest of the United Kingdom? Catholic emancipation happened after the Act of Union. Remember Irish lawyer Daniel O’Connell was elected as the MP for Clare in 1828 but was refused to take his seat because the Irish Penal laws were still in effect. The Colonial structures were almost completely eliminated by the Government of Ireland Act 1920 but, that being after the Rising, it sort of disproves your argument.

    You were the one who brought up international law. I just pointed out that armed resistance against a colonial power is also enshrined in International law. In my opinion, Northern Ireland existence as a statelet and it’s Institutional discrimination of Nationalists in housing, employment and government representation meant that from it’s foundation, during the Unionist Ascendancy from 1920 until 1972 and during the period of direct rule, until probably 1998, meant Northern Ireland was ruled as a possession where Northern Ireland was under the immediate political control of the government of Westminster , distinct from the rest of the UK. Many rules, laws and political actions were distinct from those of the rest of the United Kingdom.

  • John Collins

    And they also imported arms from Hamburg IN GERMANY, whose megalomania Kaiser was planning war with GB and waiting for any opportunity to destabilise it. And they call themselves Loyalists and make a huge deal of Casement, one of their own, importing arms from Germany

  • John Collins

    Truth to Power
    Probably two of the best posts I have ever seen on Slugger and I support the idea of an agreed UI, but spare us the violence. In the modern world it achieves nothing. The two parts of the island should work together where it is mutually beneficial, respect each others traditions and thus by building respect and prosperity on both sides they both might eventually see that there is after all something to be said for a United Ireland. However if that ever comes about it will be a long time from now

  • John Collins

    In 1911 if the census is anything to go by Ireland was as you say ‘in the brown stuff’. As I have said ad nauseum our population had dropped by 15%,since the Act of Union meanwhile that of mainland Britain had increased by 160%. And was the period of Belfast greatest industrial and population increase. Since Independence the 26 County population has increased by about sixty% which is almost dead on line with that of modern day GB and it is now a country with a good growth rate and one of the fastest growing populations in Europe. So it could be said in our case that if independence is not ‘all it is cracked up to be’, it is not too bad either.

  • John Collins

    Good Point. But could we take it further back to 1169, when the then Pope, Englishman Nicholas Breakespeare, ‘granted Ireland’ to Henry 11. The Pope of the day also ‘granted Ireland’, as if once was not enough, to Bloody Mary in the mid 1550s.

  • John Collins

    Well Bonar Law , then the Leader of His Majesty’s Loyal Opposition, once said that ‘there are more important thins than parliamentary majorities’ and De Valera, not to be out done, once said ‘the people have no right to do wrong’ when an election result did not suit him. So maybe the old dissies are not the only ones that ever had no respect for democracy.

  • Greenflag 2

    “NI was created on a sectarian headcount by a sectarian government and if it is to end, will end on a sectarian headcount.”

    On a sectarian headcount within Northern Ireland as presently constituted . A harsh truth but a more probable truth than any other scenario I can envisage .

  • Tochais Siorai

    ‘….Fine Gael can take some pride in the fine modern state they founded, despite various ups & downs…’

    The Irish Free State preceded Fine Gael by over a decade.