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Thread: Are you Northern Irish? Chris Donnelly on why this is an unhelpful identity

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    Default Are you Northern Irish? Chris Donnelly on why this is an unhelpful identity

    BBC - Will & Testament: Are you Northern Irish?

    In the above blog piece, dated 2007, Professor Connolly suggests that sectarianism can be reduced by

    "encouraging children's sense of being Protestant or Catholic alongside also helping them to recognise that they are all part of a wider and shared identity as Northern Irish. Perhaps the most positive finding from our research is that many children are already beginning to think in this way."

    Higly-regarded Sinn Féin blogger, Chris Donnelly posits the following on Northern Irishness:

    Forgive me for being blunt, but describing identity in primarily religious terms here is an entirely bogus premise. Given that the issue of national identity runs to the core of the political problem, proposing we skirt over people’s primary source of identity-as British or Irish- and instead propagate an alternative ‘northern Irish’ identity sounds very Alliance-ish to me. Surely a better conclusion would be to assert that we must find ways of equally legitimising and respecting the primary national allegiances of British and Irish here as a prerequisite to developing inter-communal trust from which shared identities may evolve. Ignoring primary identities and instead proposing artificial allegiances is more likely to arouse suspicion and mistrust on all sides. Let’s open this one to the floor.

    The census shows however that this Northern Irishness is popular. It's interesting that Chris regards it as artificial. Chris suggests that Northern Irishness is not a primary national allegiance and therefore likely generate suspicion. It is a form of avoidance of Irishness, or Britishness, I think he suggests, which means that Northern Irishness does not solve the real problem which is that of reconciling people in the six counties to the primary nationalities of Britishness and Irishness.

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    Politics.ie Member eoghanacht's Avatar
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    All apart of the process
    Britain operated death squads - ''97% of the Loyalists I interviewed were working directly for the State.'' - Nuala O'Loan. #FreeAhedTamimi

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    Politics.ie Member earwicker's Avatar
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    Well, both sides are claiming the "Northern Irish" category. There's certainly not much agreement over how to interpret it.

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    Politics.ie Member physicist's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by earwicker View Post
    Well, both sides are claiming the "Northern Irish" category. There's certainly not much agreement over how to interpret it.
    Belgian to the Dutch and the French perhaps?

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    Politics.ie Member Legolas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by earwicker View Post
    Well, both sides are claiming the "Northern Irish" category. There's certainly not much agreement over how to interpret it.
    Pre Census only one side was 'claiming it'. Whilst the other ridiculed the very existence of it.

    It is acknowledgement from people who didnt feel entirely comfortable putting down full blown 'British' on the Census, but also recognised they weren't Irish in an All Island sense.

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    Politics.ie Member earwicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legolas View Post
    Pre Census only one side was 'claiming it'. Whilst the other ridiculed the very existence of it.

    It is acknowledgement from people who didnt feel entirely comfortable putting down full blown 'British' on the Census, but also recognised they weren't Irish in an All Island sense.
    So, what about NI AND British option? Why not choose that? That's not "full-blown" British.

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    Politics.ie Member Legolas's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by earwicker View Post
    So, what about NI AND British option? Why not choose that? That's not "full-blown" British.
    People were just content with putting down Northern Irish. That's what I put on the census. To me Northern Irish is acknowledging our place in the UK, alongside the English, Scottish etc. If you feel Irish and the Irish Tri Colour is your flag you will have put down Irish only. What was it, 25-30% did that? Shockingly low.

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    Politics.ie Member earwicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by physicist View Post
    Belgian to the Dutch and the French perhaps?
    Could well be something along those lines; although, it the hardening of "British" in NI is interesting. Wasn't it the UUP who had a slogan "Simply British" a few years ago?

    It could be that a lot of what used to be called "Northern Irish" has gone into the "Simply British" slot and the designation of "Northern Irish" does appear to line up with voters for SF/SDLP. The labels have been shifting since the GFA and I think that is what's causing some consternation at the moment.

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    Politics.ie Member oxterSniffer's Avatar
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    Plastic Paddy Chris Donnelly... enough said... nothing to discuss here.
    Ulaidh Go Bragh!

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    Politics.ie Member earwicker's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Legolas View Post
    People were just content with putting down Northern Irish. That's what I put on the census. To me Northern Irish is acknowledging our place in the UK, alongside the English, Scottish etc. If you feel Irish and the Irish Tri Colour is your flag you will have put down Irish only. What was it, 25-30% did that? Shockingly low.
    Did you put NI ONLY?

    Regardless, the category is still open to interpretation. The only way to make sense of it is to cross tab it with other figures.

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