“A UI will only happen when the unionists in the north recognise that we as a nation have finally matured…”

Just to add to the bizarrely fragile tone of the day that’s in it, this former senior officer in the Irish Defence Forces is getting stick for honouring his English guests at his Donegal holiday centre by flying their national flag.

However, he takes a robust and contrary view to that of his many critics…

“I think that by flying the Union flag here it demonstrates the new maturity of the Republic, especially if it’s a Union flag, as on this occasion.

“This week I have had phone calls and email messages from people who are annoyed about the sight of the flag on my property. I say to them, if you feel insulted by that flag, you need to look at why you feel insulted. I fly flags out of respect and for fun. Today, 80% of my guests are English, so I will fly their flag.

“I am passionate about a united Ireland by agreement. And I think that will only happen when the unionists in the north recognise that we as a nation have finally matured and they choose to unite with us.”

Don’t hold yer breath.

  • Skibo

    So that is how you measure success and failure Sure we didn’t murder anyone!
    So much like big Ian blasting out hatred from the stage and then condemning people when they acted on it.
    The SDLP were prepared to put people behind bars for non-payment.

  • Croiteir

    Mark Daly on TV this week presenting a case for Irish unity running to over a thousand pages – perhaps we nee to be asking why northern pro unionist media are not covering it?

  • Tochais Siorai

    If they do govern as leading party some day and it’s a long way off if ever, it’ll be a very watered down SF. A sort of 21st century FF. Which is what they are morphing into anyway as they’ve no coherent ideology beyond left wing platitudes which will be ditched as and when necessary.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Spot on re FF, FG though seem to fit fairly comfortably into the European Christian Democrat tradition.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Fellow citizens? Northern Irish people? Something that doesn’t treat them as stained from birth.

  • Skibo

    Why do you keep the featured comment up when it has been shown to be false?

  • Katyusha

    You’re right, of course.
    I’ve even made the same point on here, so I’ve no excuse for lazily tarring them with the same brush.

  • Skibo

    Found a link. A must read. Interesting point on Health.

    “One of the most compelling points argues that while the United Nations Human development index, which measures health, education, and income levels worldwide, ranks Ireland as sixth in the world alongside Germany, Canada and the United States. By contrast, Northern Ireland ranks 44th, with Hungary and Montenegro, but would drop below 50th post-Brexit, closer to Kazakhstan and Belarus.”

  • Jim Jetson

    It’s certainly not a mainstream part of the “culture” as it is in NI.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    And yet a very distinct tendency in the Republic to side against the British community in NI, no?

  • NotNowJohnny

    I have absolutely no idea why you think I thought that the courts could overturn an international agreement. I certainly didn’t say any such thing. Are you aware of the role of the courts? Talk me through how you came to conclude that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Dr Niall Cunningham, who has done detailed academic study into the events from a human geography perspective, has written:
    “The evidence presented in this paper has served to further undermine the notion that the Belfast Troubles of 1920-22 was a simple pogrom. But perhaps the clearest means of debunking this idea comes not from the reinterpretation of documentary evidence or the uncovering of new material, but rather through assessing the quantitative effect of this violence, for if it was a pogrom, then it was a failed one at most.”
    See http://www.academia.edu/1251974/The_doctrine_of_vicarious_punishment_space_religion_and_the_Belfast_Troubles_of_1920_22_ for the full piece. His book (with collaborators) Troubled Geographies is a must-buy if you like maps and data, which I am a sucker for.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/9972bce15a65ad3f3491132b2e86ab9b1bee4e6afcf3798c1d212925e98841bb.png

    What happened to Protestants in the Republic …

    It does kind of look like a bad route for us, at least.

  • Croiteir

    When you said that the courts could become involved

  • Madra Uisce

    1. But they are not our fellow citizens, they are British and im Irish.
    2. Northern Irish is not a nationality

  • NotNowJohnny

    It’s the huge leap from me saying that the courts could become involved to you interpreting this as the courts overturning the agreement that bemuses me somewhat. Are you aware of the role of the courts?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    So you have to be abusive to them then?

  • Croiteir

    If you are going to introduce the courts due to a SoS not implementing the border poll you would be overturning the agreement otherwise there is no point except to showboat.

    Perhaps you explain the role of the courts to me.

  • Madra Uisce

    Where was I being abusive? I am merely pointing out that we cant call them fellow citizens because they arnt

  • NotNowJohnny

    No you wouldn’t.

    Let’s take an extreme example to prove the point.

    Let’s say nationalist parties win 12 of the 18 seats at the 2017 GE in June. Then another Assembly election is held in the autumn and nationalist parties win 60 of the 90 seats. The Bele Tele then conducts a poll which shows 66% of people here want a UI. The leaders of the two main nationalist parties then demand that the SOS holds a border poll. However the SOS refuses to hold one as the Conservative Government relies on DUP support at Westminster. Next year the bele tele runs another poll showing 68% in favour of a UI and SF and the SDLP call again for the border poll to be held but the SOS again refuses.

    I suspect that at this stage the nationalist parties would challenge the decision by the SOS not to hold a border poll in the courts and the courts would then rule on whether his action (or inaction) was lawful or not. There is no question of the courts overturning the agreement here. They are simply ruling on whether the SOS is acting in accordance with the legislation. Hope this clears that up.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Refusing to acknowledge people as fellow citizens is abusive

  • Madra Uisce

    I am an Irish citizen, and would not call those who are British fellow citizens hat makes no sense.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You are also if you live in NI a UK citizen. I appreciate you don’t relate to it as your country, which is fine of course, but factually you have the rights and responsibilities of UK citizenship.

    If “fellow citizen” doesn’t work, could you maybe just respect British people as your neighbours, or even just fellow human beings?

    Whatever, everyone deserves equal treatment and the GFA obliges us all to accept other NI people’s self-definition as British and/or Irish.

  • Hugh Davison

    Your link takes me here: https://www.academia.edu/1251974/The_doctrine_of_vicarious_punishment_space_religion_and_the_Belfast_Troubles_of_1920_22_
    Which is only available to academics (I am not one) or for sale from Elseviers Publishers for $40.
    No thanks.

  • Hugh Davison
  • Madra Uisce

    You are also if you live in NI a UK citizen. I appreciate you don’t relate to it as your country, which is fine of course, but factually you have the rights and responsibilities of UK citizenship.

    Wow talk about arrogance, Im not a UK citizen nor have i ever been,Im Irish full stop. What are these so called responsibilities that im supposed to have.?

    Whatever, everyone deserves equal treatment and the GFA obliges us all to accept other NI people’s self-definition as British and/or Irish.

    Maybe you should practice what you preach and accept that Im Irish and quit telling me that im a UK citizen. I would not dare to tell someone who states they are British that they are really Irish. You maybe need to rethink your argument here.

  • Hugh Davison

    Academia.edu, facebook for academics. Main function seems to be collecting email addresses. Bah!

  • Croiteir

    I agree with all of that up to the last point. In the unlikely event of the SoS holding out until that extreme, I am talking about the more plausible event of the difference being in the region of a slight majority of votes, say up to 3 or 4% rather than the ridiculous figures you quote. But that is due to pressure not coming from the courts or the threat of them.

    The SoS can quite acceptably point at the GFA and say that he is not yet convinced that the majority would vote for a reunited Ireland in a poll specifically for measuring that in the event of elections returning a difference of a few percentages. This is just one of the weaknesses of the GFA, it is designed to support the status quo until there was a clear head of pressure that cannot be denied. Bertie recently admitted that, but nationalists still have to get their heads around how badly they were conned.. Then the courts would not have a leg to stand on to comment.

    Remember the wording in the GFA
    “the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.”

    And in the Northern Ireland Act
    “1
    The Secretary of State may by order direct the holding of a poll for the purposes of section 1 on a date specified in the order.
    2
    Subject to paragraph 3, the Secretary of State shall exercise the power under paragraph 1 if at any time it appears likely to him that a majority of those voting would express a wish that Northern Ireland should cease to be part of the United Kingdom and form part of a united Ireland.”

    It matters not what the judge thinks. He was not mentioned, and if he gets involved he would need to be able to say what the SoS was thinking.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You are failing to distinguish between identity (where it’s all about self-definition) and legal status (which is set by external factors). You are a citizen of the UK. I’m kind of surprised you didn’t realise!

    Put it the other way, if you lived in the UK and didn’t have the same rights and responsibilities as other people who do, that would be a huge problem. You wouldn’t be entitled to benefits, free healthcare, right to live and work here, etc.

    This isn’t a debate btw, I’m just stating the factual position. Ask any lawyer or anyone who knows about citizenship.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Sorry I thought you were interested in the 1920-22 Troubles. You were writing about what happened with apparent conviction and passion. But maybe that was when you thought there was a “pogrom” – the truth is a bit less one-sided, it appears.

  • The Living End

    You’re right, it was lazy typing. I should have said Unionists, but of course you knew what i meant anyway. Have to be very careful of the words one uses here as a slip allows people to avoid the meat of the argument.

  • The Living End

    Sorry, it wasnt a pogrom because not enough people were killed or forced from their homes? I guess thats ok then. Out of interest, how many people need to be ‘pogrom-ed’ before it’s unacceptable?

  • Madra Uisce

    Im no different to any other EU national living in the UK. But im not a UK citizen. And the fact that i work and pay taxes entitles me to benefits and healthcare

  • Hugh Davison

    That was before this dodgy site stole all my contacts.

  • NotNowJohnny

    You seem to be all over the place here.

    You made a claim that introducing the courts would mean overturning the agreement. I provided you with an example (albeit an extreme one) to demonstrate that this is not the case. It matters not one wit whether I use an extreme example or a more realistic one. The fact is that introducing the courts does not mean overturning the agreement. It is simply the mechanism by which a citizen can get a ruling on whether the SOS is acting lawfully or not. In the extreme example he is clearly not and I expect the court would rule accordingly.

    No one here is claiming that the courts decide when a poll should be held. It seems that you may still be misunderstanding the role of the courts. And of course the judge is not mentioned in the legislation. The judge is never mentioned in legislation but that doesn’t mean that the courts don’t have a role. The role of the courts is well established and includes making on rulings on whether the government is acting in accordance with legislation.

    And of course if the judge gets involved, he does not need to know what the SOS is thinking. That would be absurd. But the judge will likely rule on what a reasonable SOS is likely to think given the evidence available to him. In my extreme example this is clear. In your example of 3 or 4 % it is not so clear. But as I said, it matters not one wit what the percentage is. It doesn’t change the role of the courts. Just don’t misinterpret the court ruling on whether the SOS is acting lawfully by thinking that this means the court has the authority to determine when a poll should be held.

  • Paddy Ferris

    Was there a politically competitive Sinn Fein in 1972?

  • Croiteir

    No I am not – I am being consistent.

    You provided a ridiculous example, one that would never occur and was not realistic, such a fantasy illustrates nothing.

    To introduce the judiciary to overturn the consideration of the SoS when the agreement and the Act specifically state it is entirely at his discretion is ridiculous – even if there is a majority in favour recorded electorally or otherwise.

    The SoS will decide when to call a border poll, and it will be only called if he believes, or says he does, that it has a chance of succeeding.

  • NotNowJohnny

    It is not entirely at his discretion. You keep missing the fundamental point. I dont think you are ever going to grasp this. And how would you when you start from the premise that you are right and dismiss anything that might demonstrate that you aren’t.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    If you’re from the Republic, that makes sense; if you’re from N Ireland it doesn’t.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think Dr Cunningham and others who have studied this don’t think the word ‘progrom’ applies because it suggests a one-sided attack by one community on another, when the reality was inter-communal attacks by both communities on each other. 56 per cent of fatalities were Catholics and 39 per cent Protestants. The death rate was much higher for Catholics overall, but it’s an odd anti-Catholic ‘pogrom’ in which the most likely person to get killed was a Protestant in the Smithfield ward. The reality is the pattern of the violence varied in different parts of Belfast and in some areas it was Protestants who got killed more. Not sure ‘progrom’ really describes that.

    Violence in Belfast was also interlinked with wider events on the island, so that for example, the killing of Protestants in Cork was met with ‘reprisals’ against Catholics in Belfast. And the main reason for the 1920-22 Troubles stopping when they did was events in the Free State. What seems to have happened was effectively Republicans withdrawing from the tit for tat in Belfast to focus on the Civil War. Without the mutuality of conflict, the violence fizzled out. Again, not consistent with the idea of a purely Protestant-driven ‘pogrom’ against Catholics, but entirely consistent with a violent conflict between the two tribes in Belfast.

    So the word ‘pogrom’ is really problematic here. I can only imagine Republicans have adopted the word to suggest the disorder and violence was a lot more one-sided than it really was.

    If the word ‘pogrom’ is used for 1920-22 it should also be used for the PIRA campaign, in which the proportion of killing by one side, in that case the C/N/R side, exceeded that by Protestants in 1920-22. But actually I don’t think ‘pogrom’ is the right word for either. It seems a rather unpleasant piggy-backing on the persecution of Jewish people in the Russian Empire, which was something entirely different in scale and nature. There is a mutuality to the inter-ethnic violence in N Ireland which the word does not capture.

  • The Living End

    If you don’t like being called a colonialist don’t behave like a colonialist, “Mainland Ulsterman”.

    Living in NI no more makes me a citizen of the UK than living in Beijing would make me a citizen of China. That you would try to force UK citizenship on Irish people living in a part of Ireland is sort of colonialist, no?

    Refusing to recognise the rights of Irish people to have the Irish language protected and respected in a part of Ireland is colonialist behaviour (I understand that you may not be agin an ILA, but it would appear -given the DUP’s mandate – that the majority of Unionists are).

  • The Living End

    By siding with their fellow Irishmen and women you assume they are actually siding against the British? That’s a very zero-sum view

  • The Living End

    which examples? FE asked for some but you haven’t replied

  • The Living End

    Mother of God! Is that not an outright call to murder?

  • The Living End

    I’m not a historian but I’m not sure that holds up. A few questions:

    “when the reality was inter-communal attacks by both communities on each other.” Explainable by defensive actions taken by the community experiencing attack? Again, assessing quantitative effects of violence – in effect a ‘body count’, is a dubious method of measurement. Who decides when a slaughter becomes a slaughter, one-sided or otherwise?

    “the killing of Protestants in Cork was met with ‘reprisals’ against Catholics in Belfast” Do you have a link for that (one I don’t have to pay to read)? I’d have thought news would travel rather slower in them days

    ” Without the mutuality of conflict, the violence fizzled out” or, the areas targeted for what is now known as Ethnic Cleansing had been effectively cleansed.

    I think the word Pogrom was chosen (do we know who ‘chose’ the word in the Irish context, why do you think it was Republicans? Genuine question) as it accurately represents what has taken place in Ireland for centuries. That you refute it comes as no surprise, as “one side is as bad at the other” joins “Indigenous British” in the lexicon of efforts to justify the colonisation of this island.

  • The Living End

    Themmuns!

  • Croiteir

    I do not accept the ridiculous as a starting point. The simple fact is that the court will not intervene, it is solely the prerogative of the SoS, laid out in law and in the GFA. Once the numbers get to a point that it is ridiculous for the SoS to say no then the poll will take place, the court will not intervene. Bertie Aherne was alluding to this a couple of weeks ago.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Not an assumption, an observation made over the past 35 years or so.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Nothing colonialist in my attitude at all – just asking for everyone’s identity to be respected and for an end to ethnic chauvinism (such as daubing people ‘colonialists’ for the crime of being born British in N Ireland).