Page 4, 8th May 1981

8th May 1981
Page 4
Page 4, 8th May 1981 — Whither North of Ireland?

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Locations: Belfast, Aden


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Whither North of Ireland?

EILEEN RODGERS thinks it is puerile rubbish to suggest an -*Irish Settlement by Referendum". She demands to knowwhat I want Mrs Thatcher to do with the majority in the north of Ireland — should she kill them all? But surely she should address that question to the Rev Ian Paisley. It was he who suggested the referendum in the first place and I who said that the challenge should be

taken up by Mrs Thatcher. .

Mr Paisley said that a referendum should be held in order to give the people of England. Scotland and Wales a chance to show whether or not they wanted the north of Ireland to remain as part of the United Kingdom. And Ian Paisley is the leading "Unionist" in the north of Ireland. Note his massive majority in the election to the European Parliament.

Well, lan! What do you intend to do about the majority in the north of Ireland?

The rest of Ms Rodgers' letter is vague enough not to be pinned down. But it does seem to be a diatribe against the IRA, the Catholic clergy and nuns in the north of Ireland.

I am surprised to learn that such large numbers of priests and nuns are anti-establishment. I am even more surprised to learn of priests taking part in "public acts of terrorism". Could we have an example of one of these "public acts of terrorism"? The words terrorism and terrorist are now all too often used.

For example people who merely protest at the course of events in the north of Ireland are liable to find themselves charged with "a terrorist type offence".

Padraig Va Corbaidh London E10.

I AM much perplexed by the reaction of B. McGuigan of Belfast and Mary Eileen Rodgers of West Sussex. April 24. to Padraig Va Corbaidh, April 3.

I cannot fault Va Corbaidh's letter. He agrees with Paisley's request for a referendum to be held on mainland' Britain in regard to the future of the six counties of Northern Ireland.

I too agree and would venture to forecast that the result would lead to the expulsion of the six counties from the United Kingdom: not I .fear, to sone the problem but to get rid of it — the children cleansing themselves of the sins ot their fathers.

Also I agree with him regarding talks between the British Government and the IRA "terrorists" either direct or through the medium of the Dublin Government.

The British Government has had talks with "terrorists" • in Malay. Cyprus, Aden, Kenya, and of course Zimbabwe, and Ireland in 1921. agree with Mr McGuigan regarding the "Norman Conquest". Having seized large areas in various parts of Ireland and built their stone castles. they found themselves completely isolated.

Unlike the Anglo Saxons the Irish Celts were not prepared to accept serfdom under the Norman feudal system, and the Normans could not even go hunting in safety..

The Normans were pragmatists — if you can't beat them. join them — This they did as McGuigan says. They became Irish and flourished, although some did have to pay tribute — Black Rent.

Within 150 years a "foreign correspondent". one Geraldus Cambrensis. complained that the Normans had become ipslt Hibernicis ipsis Iliherniores.

By 1361. not long after the battle of Bannockburn. the Statute of Kilkenny was passed to reverse the trend but was completely ignored.

However MrGuigan goes on to suy that Ireland was subjugated by Mountjoy in 1603. six days after the death of Queen Elizabeth the First. That is a specific statement and one wonders on what day of the week it happened indate or if under the old (Julian) Calendar or the flea (Gregorian) one.

He quotes two authorities. Robert Kee's The Green Flag, and Beckett. The making of Modern Ireland /603/923.

Having seen Robert Kee's televi

sion series I cannot take seriously, a "historian" who in the very first

episode condensed 8,000 years of Irish history (7.000 B.C.-l607 A.D.) into one episode which included two flashes of a hurling match. Beckett is another matter. Since the rise ot the Gaelic League the schools, colleges and libraries have been inundated with a spate of books on Irish history.

These books opened up a view of Irish history never seen or heard of under the Protestant Ascendancy rule and the Unionists had to find a historian to give an answer. Beckett, J.C., Professor of Irish History, Queens University, Belfacc, was the man.

However. even he did not claim that Ireland was subjugated in 1603. or indeed at any time. But in his chapter The Protestant Ascendancy and the Penal Laws (page 159 in my copy) he makes an interesting statement.

Discussing the laws he says. "This state of affairs undoubtedly helped to achieve the essential purpose of the penal laws: which was not to destroy Roman Catholicism but to make sure that its adherents were kept in a position of social, economic and political inferiority."

There we have it: the exact blueprint for the Conservative and Unionist Government of the six counties from 1920-1968 when things got out of hand because of the civil rights movement, and which has led to the present murderous situation — laws passed in the eighteenth century applied to twentieth century society.

As regards Ms Rodgers. I fear site had her apoplectic fit before she wrote her letter in the issue of the twenty-fourth.

P. MacCitha Kent.

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