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Thread: Northern Ireland Protestants are not both British & Irish; they're not Irish at all.

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    Default Northern Ireland Protestants are not both British & Irish; they're not Irish at all.

    The following is an abridgement of a worthwhile column in Belfast Telegraph, 10 Dec 2008.
    The author is a professor of Irish Studies in the school of politics at Queen's University Belfast.

    Bertie Ahern once declared that one of the "saddest developments" in recent decades has been "the reduction in the number of people in the North from a Protestant unionist and loyalist background who regard themselves as Irish, or as both Irish and British".

    One hundred years ago most unionists in Ireland, north and south, regarded themselves as both Irish and British. Post-1921, we can see the development of a heightened sense of British identity, embracing Ulster, or Northern Ireland, which denied increasingly any sense of Irishness. At the same time, the new Irish Free State experienced the growth of its own heightened form of Irish/Gaelic identity.

    The movement in the northern unionist community away from an Irish identity, however, did not take place overnight and in fact many unionists retained a strong Irish dimension for decades. For example in 1929, in a debate in the Northern Ireland parliament, a unionist MP stated: "We are Irishmen ... I always hold that Ulstermen are Irishmen and the best of Irishmen." The speaker was none other than the unionist leader, Lord Craigavon. In 1936, he would repeat this point: "While we are Ulstermen, we are also Irishmen." When Craigavon died in 1940, John M Andrews, his successor, paid tribute to him as a "great Ulsterman, a great Irishman and a great Imperialist".

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    Red face

    My grandparents saw themselves as Irish - born in 1880s. My mother and uncles the same -born 1918/20. I did, born 1947. But I am of the last geneation that included this attitude.
    Constant IRA campaigns - however feeble - 1950's - reinforced the siege mentality. PIRA simply ignored this and now ........?

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    If they are not Irish then what nationality are they? British is not a nationality. And Northern Ireland is not even geographically part of Britain which refers exclusively to the big island to our immediate East. The State that Northern Ireland is formally part of is titled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So I'm not sure how anyone in the North can describe themselves as British in any sense.

    Some people, apparently, describe themsleves as Ulster but Ulster is not a nationality either. You could, I suppose, talk of a unionist six counties nationality but I am not sure if this makes a great deal of sense.

    They are essentially a people who have lost their identity in the pursuit of ascendancy. Lost souls without a nation. It's sad really. Imagine growing up in a community where expressing your culture means beating large drums in an agggressive manner. I think I'd have slit my wrists at an early age.
    Such a parcel of rogues in a nation!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Sam Lord View Post
    If they are not Irish then what nationality are they? British is not a nationality. And Northern Ireland is not even geographically part of Britain which refers exclusively to the big island to our immediate East. The State that Northern Ireland is formally part of is titled the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. So I'm not sure how anyone in the North can describe themselves as British in any sense.

    Some people, apparently, describe themsleves as Ulster but Ulster is not a nationality either. You could, I suppose, talk of a unionist six counties nationality but I am not sure if this makes a great deal of sense.

    They are essentially a people who have lost their identity in the pursuit of ascendancy. Lost souls without a nation. It's sad really. Imagine growing up in a community where expressing your culture means beating large drums in an agggressive manner. I think I'd have slit my wrists at an early age.
    basically they are "anything else but irish".

    i used to work in Lurgan with a bunch of typical loyalists. Im from the republic.
    one day i won a bet with them, they said to me " thats the luck of the irish in ye" !!

    and the guy that said it to me, his name was "Mc Cann". His family obviously took the soup somewhere down the line.

    Here its not their fault, since they were born, Britishness was stuffed down their throat, flags throwen in their faces every day, The media in the north being so pro mainland britian, everything about them is so directed towards the mainland... the soccer on tv, the anti gaa, their own news papers....
    even the protestant education system is so "not irish". The history they learn in school is all about british wars. all irish wars, 1916 etc... is very dialuted.

    here, let them at it.

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    Quote Originally Posted by MacAvoydgeen View Post
    The following is an abridgement of a worthwhile column in Belfast Telegraph, 10 Dec 2008.
    The author is a professor of Irish Studies in the school of politics at Queen's University Belfast.
    That was written by Brian Walker who is more of a cultural historian with an interest in identity. He has written a very interesting book: Brian M. Walker, Dancing to History's Tune: History, Myth and Politics in Ireland (Belfast 1997)

    "The thing that always annoyed me about traditional Irish historiography was the paradox of its Anglocentrism. People are now prepared, I think, to confront the possibility that many Irish problems are, in a sense, indigenous to the Irish situation." Roy Foster (1989).

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    Its nothing to do with how you 'see yourself' - its about where you were born
    If you are born in Ireland then you are Irish - full stop.
    If you have a problem with that and 'see yourself' as from a different country then your problem is basically psychological

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    Irishness has no meaning unless you accept the right of the Irish people to make the decision to opt for independence.

    If you see it as a sub-set of Britishness without any other political rights then you are Irish in the sense that I'm a Munsterman. It doesn't mean anything really.

    Nationalists should discuss this because we should be clear about what we want. Ideally Unionists would accept Irishness and accept the Irish majority for national independence. If they don't then we are asking them to live as a British minority in an Irish state. Those are very different options and I wonder are we sending a confused message.

    The GFA is clear enough that in a united Ireland the unionists would retain their right to consider themselves British but it is a case of one or the other rather than both in my opinion.

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    Quote Originally Posted by TradCat View Post
    Irishness has no meaning unless you accept the right of the Irish people to make the decision to opt for independence.

    If you see it as a sub-set of Britishness without any other political rights then you are Irish in the sense that I'm a Munsterman. It doesn't mean anything really.

    Nationalists should discuss this because we should be clear about what we want. Ideally Unionists would accept Irishness and accept the Irish majority for national independence. If they don't then we are asking them to live as a British minority in an Irish state. Those are very different options and I wonder are we sending a confused message.

    The GFA is clear enough that in a united Ireland the unionists would retain their right to consider themselves British but it is a case of one or the other rather than both in my opinion.

    What i think is clearly preventing the unionists from accepting irishness, is the GAA's grasp of it.
    I am totally of same feeling as the unionists on this matter. The GAA have such a grasp on this concept of irishness that one feels you have to be a member of the GAA to be fully irish.
    THis i find is down right wrong, i find the GAA very much facist and raciest. I know they say they are open to other traditions but are they really? Its like the Nazi's saying they are open to jewish membership.

    That so annoys me so much is how county councils publicly display affiliation to the GAA. I find this very "one sided community".

    Take for example Monaghan Co Council. Why do they publically display the monaghan GAA county colours? what about all the other people (a sizable protestant population), eastern europeans, catholics etc... that dont follow the GAA...
    And in addition, why do Monaghan GAA, take the Monaghan county symbol?

    My point is, the GAA in order to be clearly a sporting organisation should cut all ties with everything else that isnt sport...

    I feel the GAA alienate everyone else who doesnt follow their command, and they have taken over things that have nothing to do with sport.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oriel27 View Post
    What i think is clearly preventing the unionists from accepting irishness, is the GAA's grasp of it.
    I am totally of same feeling as the unionists on this matter. The GAA have such a grasp on this concept of irishness that one feels you have to be a member of the GAA to be fully irish.
    THis i find is down right wrong, i find the GAA very much facist and raciest. I know they say they are open to other traditions but are they really? Its like the Nazi's saying they are open to jewish membership.

    That so annoys me so much is how county councils publicly display affiliation to the GAA. I find this very "one sided community".

    Take for example Monaghan Co Council. Why do they publically display the monaghan GAA county colours? what about all the other people (a sizable protestant population), eastern europeans, catholics etc... that dont follow the GAA...
    And in addition, why do Monaghan GAA, take the Monaghan county symbol?

    My point is, the GAA in order to be clearly a sporting organisation should cut all ties with everything else that isnt sport...

    I feel the GAA alienate everyone else who doesnt follow their command, and they have taken over things that have nothing to do with sport.
    Jeez I dunno, you've little enough to be annoyed about.

    I think you see the same thing in every sporting organisation on the planet. In the north, like everything else, politics is an issue (as it is with soccer), but int he rest of the country I really don't see what you mean. Its also debatable as to how much of the fault for this lies with the organisation itself and not its supporters.

    The crest for counties and the GAA county crests are also different very, strikingly so in the case of Monaghan.
    itís the continuing series of small tragedies, that send a man to the, madhouse

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    Quote Originally Posted by Oriel27 View Post
    What i think is clearly preventing the unionists from accepting irishness, is the GAA's grasp of it.
    I am totally of same feeling as the unionists on this matter. The GAA have such a grasp on this concept of irishness that one feels you have to be a member of the GAA to be fully irish.
    THis i find is down right wrong, i find the GAA very much facist and raciest. I know they say they are open to other traditions but are they really? Its like the Nazi's saying they are open to jewish membership.

    That so annoys me so much is how county councils publicly display affiliation to the GAA. I find this very "one sided community".

    Take for example Monaghan Co Council. Why do they publically display the monaghan GAA county colours? what about all the other people (a sizable protestant population), eastern europeans, catholics etc... that dont follow the GAA...
    And in addition, why do Monaghan GAA, take the Monaghan county symbol?

    My point is, the GAA in order to be clearly a sporting organisation should cut all ties with everything else that isnt sport...

    I feel the GAA alienate everyone else who doesnt follow their command, and they have taken over things that have nothing to do with sport.
    Absloute rubbish. Most people in rural Ireland are proud of where they come from. They are usually proud of the parish they were born into (which in many cases is also the parish their parents and grandparents etc. were born) and the county they hail from. One of the few outlets they get to express this pride is usually through sport and which in the majority of cases is the local GAA club as it is the only representitive side. Monaghan Co. Council display the GAA colours because there is very little else on the national stage that represents Monaghan, so they support the one thing that does. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that.

    You have an irrational hatred of the GAA, because you percieve not to include your minority tradition. Do you know what the GAA means (Gaelic Athletic Association)? i.e. it was created to promote Gaelic games. It shouldn't have to change its traditions to accomodate newcomers (even if your family are here since the plantation) who don't regard Gaelic sports.

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