Why they won’t keep the union flag flying here

Former Blanket columnist, Dr John Coulter maintains that with the Republic taking over the EU Presidency next month, the island will witness even closer relations between the UK and the South of Ireland as the only way to save the Southern economy. It first featured in the Tribune on 14 December 2012

The Irish Republic must use its forthcoming six-month term of the European Union Presidency in January 2013 to save its economy by establishing closer political ties with the so-called ‘Auld Enemy’, the United Kingdom.

The considerable warming of Anglo-Irish relations is the perfect example of the maxim – money talks.
For the most of eight centuries, the native Irish fought numerous wars and terror campaigns against the Scottish and Welsh settlers who were loyal to the English Throne.

But Britain possessed what the Irish lacked – financial muscle. This prompted another pro-Union taunt against Irish nationalism – that nationalists hated the Crown, but could not wait to get their hands on the half-crown.

Since Southern Ireland formally joined the EU in the 1970s, substantial amounts of European cash transformed what was effectively a third-rate African-style Republic into a globally renowned ‘Celtic Tiger’ economy which was the envy of even the UK and United States.

When the Republic axed its highly popular Irish pound in favour of the euro, thoughts of bailouts and financial meltdowns were nowhere to be heard on the political agenda.

Using billions of EU cash handouts, the Republic was able to transform much of its transport network from Arizona backwoods-style dirt tracks into modern roads and motorways which were the pride of the British Isles.

Tory Foreign Secretary William Hague has put additional pressure on the Republic to negotiate a new Union with Britain by unveiling plans to make the Commonwealth a financial alternative to the EU. At the turn of the new millennium, talk of the Republic rejoining the British Commonwealth would have been dismissed as irresponsible ranting.

But that was before the disastrous Irish property collapse, mass emigration of Irish citizens and a multi-million euro bailout – much of which was contributed by the UK Government.

The irony of Irish politics is that the Republic may play smart and use its EU Presidency to loosen its financial ties with the European Union rather than exert pressure on the other Member States to gain more bailout cash.

The campaign to get Southern Ireland to at least join the increasingly influential Commonwealth Parliamentary Association is gathering considerable momentum. With over 50 regional and national parliaments to its credit, the CPA has now become a very credible political and economic rival to the EU.

Ironically, too, Ireland was a founder member of the original Empire Parliamentary Association in 1911 when the island was entirely under British rule.

In September 2012, tens of thousands of Unionists marched through Belfast to mark the centenary of the signing of the Ulster Covenant by almost half a million Unionists.

They were pledging to resist – using even violence – the political fallout of the Third Home Rule Bill at Westminster.

It threatened to establish a separate Irish Parliament in Dublin which would have a built-in Catholic nationalist government, a situation which the overwhelming majority of Ulster-based Protestant Unionists vehemently opposed.

The current Democratic Unionist/Sinn Fein power-sharing Executive at Stormont could be branded as Home Rule for very slow learners.

Such has been the development of Anglo-Irish relations in recent months, that what now exists in the Southern Irish Dail and Northern Ireland Assembly is in reality, a form of workable Home Rule.
The tremendously successful visit of Queen Elizabeth to the Republic earlier this year has reignited the Catholic Royalist tradition in Ireland.

Indeed, such is the growing popularity of the English Royals that when Prince William ascends to the Throne, he would well also be crowned King of Ireland.

A new era of cross-border and British-Irish relations has been spawned since the signing of the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. This is a far cry from the mobilisation of radical Unionist militancy which was sparked by the 1985 signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

Southern Ireland has a strong tradition of euro-scepticism. The Republic taking over the EU Presidency should not be misinterpreted as Southern Ireland further integrating the nation into the European Union.

Rather, it should be viewed as the Republic taking the first tentative steps at loosening its ties with Europe, strengthening its links with the CPA and the UK, dumping the euro as the Irish national currency, re-introducing the Irish pound.

It may be 100 years too late, but Ireland is effectively under the banner of Home Rule without the threat of a bloody civil war.


  1. "The Republic taking over the EU Presidency should not be misinterpreted as Southern Ireland further integrating the nation into the European Union Rather, it should be viewed as the Republic taking the first tentative steps at loosening its ties with Europe, strengthening its links with the CPA and the UK, dumping the euro as the Irish national currency, re-introducing the Irish pound".

    This is laughable. How on earth did you work that one out?? I think this is a case of wishful thinking by Coulter.
    It seems to me that Enda Kenny, Gilmore and co are bending over backwards to please their EU counterparts at every opportunity. Implementing austerity measures and paying the bondholders.

    For good or for bad Ireland has been further integrated into the EU over the last ten years and successive EU referendums have facilitated this. Government support, and the support of most other mainstream parties, for such referendum after referendum further shows how Ireland has continued this integration - far from cutting ties with the EU.

    "At the turn of the new millennium, talk of the Republic rejoining the British Commonwealth would have been dismissed as irresponsible ranting".

    It still is irresponsible ranting. I could never see it happening.

  2. John if nothing else he,s consistent,every other month he seems to pop up pushing this notion of the Republic joining the commonwealth, now he is right in so much that our castle catholics or Geraldines would love nothing better or even full reintegration, and of course quisling $inn £ein could be sold this proposal they after all have bought the rest of the shit.for centuries we Irish have had the boot of the English and their camp followers trample over our land,culture,language,heritage,and even the religion,today we witness the outworking of their democratic values of these loyal brits masked thugs on the street protesting against a democratic vote,John a cara I say to you that we need less of not more Brit influence here we will be cleaning out the shit the last few centuries for a long time to come yet,as for Europe Angela Merkel and her banker mates,they should be given the boot also..

  3. " The Republic taking over the EU presidency "

    Does not matter how good or bad a EU country is [ 26 county ] they all get a go at the presidency job-
    Anyone know who had the presidency before the 26 or who is after them-
    You would think that Fine Gael and labour done something extra special
    apart from paying the EU of to get this position-Fine Gael pays the EU boss instead of the boss paying one of its workers-could not make it up-

  4. WTF. Christ the night. I really do not know where to start here! I know Santa is coming, but this article is more than wishfull thinking. Why should Irelands Political elite choose bank of England to pledge further into debt when they that have the combined European debt machine to rely on. The celtic tiger was simply pure debt, spin doctored by the media as a success of free market capitialism. There is no success in capitalism, even for the wealthy, now the banking system has been caught out, they have to find other means to squeeze the poor for everything they have.The capitalist system is based on borrowing debt and plunging future working class generations picking up the tab. One certainty, the quality of life is being eroded slowly and surely, inch by inch, step by step. Christ sometimes, I wish I was ignorant to it all. Then again, thats what the elite rely on to get what they want and lets be frank they are getting what they want.

  5. After the swindles that our political elite were up to with European money, charging 5 times the estimate for roads, bridges and anything else they could get Europe to fund it's little wonder they are content to pay back a heap of billion in order to do it all again a little later...

    oh!! but wait, they aren't paying it back - WE ARE!!

    There's not a chance of the cute hoors exiting Europe, they are already planning round two!!

  6. John I read your piece last night and I put foward your idea about the 26counties re-joining the commonwealth on a very non poitical forum where most of the posters are from South and the majority of people said 'they'd be out on the streets'.

    Wether thats bravado from behind a screen I don't know.

    I heard Nigel LeFarge talking the other day about the UK pulling out of europe and setting up closer ties wth the rest of the world (they'd have more bi-lateral agreements instead of being tied to 27 countries, they'd have 150+ to play with). I cant see the people of the South ever allowing the flag of the union over Leinster House again or having a Monarch as head of state.

  7. There is graffiti appearing in my area (Free State).....TROIKA OUT-IRA.
    So maybe We are not all as enamoured with the royals as you think.

  8. sin sin should that be donkeys out-IRA

  9. Frankie

    A bit rich of free-staters objecting to rejoining the Commonwealth. After all their kids never stop emigrating to various parts of it.

  10. Larry

    From the year dot the human race has been moving to different countries for various reasons.

    Take Anothny for example. He was happily living in west Belfast until he was forced to move. Or myself I moved to France to be closer to my kids.

    Because someone becomes an economic immigrant doesn't give another country the right to fly their flag over another country.

    If the politicians in Leinster house started thinking outside the box for a minute they'd see that Ireland has enough natural resources to sustain itself and pay back the ECB ten fold. There is enough gas and oil despoits around the coast line to pay for health, education, welfare system.

    Putain (he's not a great example of anything) but he did tear up the contracts of Gas & Oil companies and (on paper) give the lions share back to the Russian people on paper, (sadly it's not what actually happened). But you get my drif I hope. There is nothing stopping Enda saying.."Fcuk this for a game of Soliders, I re-writing the contracts". Apart from he hasn't the balls.

    If people in the 26counties are as pissed off with things as they say..Why don't they protest about it? They gripe and moan but in reality do little to change things. Instead they let FF,FG SF etc ride rough shot over them.

  11. Frankie

    it is best to read Dr Coulter as a wind up merchant in the realm of possibility versus probability he tends to enjoy his hypothetical unionist dream world where we all kiss a royal arse.
    Granted he is very polite in his condescending view of the Irish displayed in a not so typical unionist fashion as he tosses in the Celtic Tiger bone as a balance to his 3rd world shite hole reference.
    He mentions with a certain pride England’s wealth yet fails to say from whence it came.
    The wealth in the commonwealth is not exactly common.
    Hardly a great incentive for the Irish to be lured back into an English cage what a grand present that would make for John’s future king.

  12. Larry,

    how dare an independent nation turn its nose up at anything British and those ungrateful people immigrating shame on them. I am sure you will get a Christmas card from Dr Coulter and his faultless union.
    In the past, you have said as soon as you get a higher education you are out of the island what makes your planned immigration any different.
    I belive you said your preferred destination would be a commonwealth country but it is a bit rich for others to do what you plan. I suppose that is one advantage of being British.

  13. What Dr John (what is he a doctor of anyway) doesn't understand is that the Republic doesn't financially need Britain anymore - it no longer relies on it for goods and services both imports and exports - the EU provides that avenue. Once, it did rely heavily on the British market to sell its goods and services but it no longer does......Continental Europe is a much bigger and more openly competitive market arena and the funding it recieves comes from Europe - not Britain. Talk of rejoining a British Commonwealth after Britain's breakaway from Europe is hot air for several reasons - 1. Britain will never leave Europe as they rely so heavily on its markets,and all the talk of leaving is just that - talk for talks sake
    2. The Tory's will be out of power come the next election and that will put an end to all the Euro-sceptic talk. and finally,
    3. And most inportantly, the Irish may have improved diplomatic relations with Britain to the point that it is cringing to most of us to watch them but stepping over the line and joining a British Commonwealth - well, that is a mammoth jump to take and history is history before economics!

  14. I agree with all the bloggers here about piece of writing and the slant on better relationship with Ireland, commonwealth and the UK. Dr Coulter style. I found it a little patronising based on ideas even the most imaginary mind could not comprehend to fathom. But, hold on here, the way things are going here in the North & South at the minute, "Nothing, and I mean nothing can be fucking ruled out". If the post was football related and I a Football pundit. "I would say nothing surprises me anymore in football or here". Whats the odds on something coming true??

  15. Frankie/Tain Bo

    'I belive you said your preferred destination would be a commonwealth country but it is a bit rich for others to do what you plan. I suppose that is one advantage of being British.'

    For both your benefits if I emigrate it will be temporary and to somewhere I can teach English. As an Irish nationalist I am disgusted that not only is the Irish government unable to take care of 4 million people with zillions of euro from the EEC, but after 100 yrs of 'freedom' they are unintersested in trying to run the place properly and continue to see emigration as a necessity. A safety valve for their neverending fuck-ups.

    Kind of gives the lie to the Brits being responsible for everything bad in Ireland.

    Another reality is that the vast majority of people head for the UK or Commonwealth countries. AND faced with a long-term or permanent choice so would I. (hands-up) I admit it. FF isolationism was a failure and I dont want to be at the crossroads dance every sunday with John MaGirr. Irsh people have caste their vote on this country repeatedly with their feet.... to airports and docks. Doesn't matter about romantic ill thought out nationalism; the reality is the vast majority of our own people can't wait to hit the Commonwealth.

    Pity the Brits hadn't retained the American Colonies, the place might be more like Australia today.

  16. If we could just get rid of the self-serving disloyal loyalist minority in and around Belfast Ireland would fit into the Commonwealth very nicely.

  17. I just watched the entire PUP videos of Billy Hutchingson "Tour of the North" campaign about the flags issue. Tribal cornerstreet leadership at its very best. He is calling for agitation towards SF policy of taking the Britishness out of Northern Ireland. He is definately on a recruitment drive, playing on the same fears the ruling wealthy elite normally utilise, fear, uncertainty, republican pan nationalist conspiracy. In a rally in Portadown he asked for unionist in the legal profession to give advise on the constituational issue in order to fight back against SF. It was pretty much a throw back to 3o years ago, only a different speaker but the lyrics remained the same. Not much a socialist is Billy, as he is dividing the working class even more on religious line. He doesnt seem to get it, he is doing his masters work for him. Then again he is loyal to the Queen after all. Next year looks like fun, wonder will he be there at the may day parade, or will he keep one of his numerous scarfs to counteract QSF demos.Fuck all has changed, sectarianism hasnt gone away, nor does it look remotely likely, sure some construction work in it for the construction industry New signs will be going up in flashpoint areas," building the peace walls, ever on going work in progress". One side red, white and blue, the other celtic, green, white orange.Sad, everlasting sad.

  18. Larry,

    Where you go to teach English as a foreign language (or other) is your choice. And I hope you do well.

    A lot of people who leave Ireland to find work don't always choose commonwealth countries. I didn't.

    I don't think Britain can be blamed for all of Irelands woes. But they do hold the majority stake in that dept.

  19. Frankie

    The USA was the place of choice for most Irish in the day when it was still a land of equal-'ish' opportunity. Whilst watching the Queen and O'Bama's visits recently I was personally struck by O'Bama standing a round of drink in a boozer and sinking a pint where-as her Maj' couldn't possibly do such a thing. It placed in a nutshell for me what America used to be all about and it has to be said, the U.S. of A. managed to upstage a royal visit which I had doubted was possible at the time. They sure put on a great show.

    America now (USA) is NOT where I would want to migrate to. Even the afluent 'nice' middle class areas seem to have been squeezed and bled almost out of existence. I'm no expert, but maybe it's like the bubble and bust economy, the 'dream' has long since reached saturation point....pop!

    As I say, the Brits cerainly didn't do themselves any favours wherever they went. That's why they lost their colonies...silly billies. But in an ugly world, their systems that evolved through economic and political trial and error are preferable to any others I see. Although I do hear the French have a fantastic attitude to work and leisure time not to mention health and services. Unfortunately I don't speak any language other than ingerlish.

    sacre blue!! how sad for me.

  20. Niall

    I do not know what his doctorate credentials are I enjoy reading his articles, as his political imagination always seems to describe his perfect unionist world he does invent some fantastic scenarios at times comical. In fairness all things are possible offering the Irish a financial harbour in the commonwealth sounds like triumphalism expanding the lost empire.
    Nothing insulting in the unionist book about buying the Irish and that is his polite offer I doubt the Irish Republic would give up independence and gamble on a temporary financial fix one that would ultimately fan the nationalist pride and undoubtedly lead to armed resistance as history would repeat itself.

    A quote by Nicollo Machiavelli would sum it up.

    There is no avoiding war; it can only be postponed to the advantage of others.

  21. James

    little ever changes for the poor and working class the taig and prod mentality will infect generations to come sectarianism is an accepted well defined way of life we are nuts as we accept the Peace Walls hardly anything peaceful about walls that clearly define the separation of communities.

  22. John whats you take on the susposed UK wide flag protest planned for this Friday. According to todays Newsletter there is one planned.

    But listening to British radio stations and the press no one on the UK mainland (outside of the BNP & EDL) could give two hoots about their protest. In fact they think they are (loyalists, Unionist's) still living in the dark ages.

  23. The only way to get the southern cute hoors in agreement on a new form of politics would be to offer to distribute future EEC zillions equally amongst the population and run the national lottery on the basis of half towards public services and half towards creating a set number of different 100,000 euro winners each week working its way through the population.

    Socialism doesn't interest nor even register among the southern population. It's a dead duck. Sad for the few genuine quality activists in the dissidents that they continue with farce. Who are they setting free??? I believe it is now a personal vendetta or they just bugger-all else to do.

    Sectarianism has been carefully nurtured and dressed as loyalty by an ugly group of foreigners who have no desire to be Irish for centuries. It's a smokescrene for theft and evil. Pandering to it just put a knowing smirk on the face of orangeism as far as i'm concerned. But the future decades may finally see an end to them.

  24. This article is thought provoking. I aint a big fan of him mind, but the article is just about spot on. Give it a read.


  25. Larry

    your reason makes you part of your own problem as you have an issue with migration but it is noble in your case as you want to teach not that bettering yourself financially would cross your mind or remotely persuade you as you bemoan almost everything north and south and abroad at times.
    You make about as much sense as our loyalist/ unionist brethren with their we want nationalists to be part of Northern Ireland’s democracy as long as nationalists do as unionists say and do not practice democracy.
    You claim you are an Irish nationalist yet you manage to come across as an ultra conservative Irish unionist.
    I will give you credit you are consistent in your babbling and over exaggeration. Perhaps you should consider migrating south and teaching the Irish Republic the proper way to run a country from the book of Larry.
    My offer still stands I will be happy to pay your fare, as it would be interesting to hear you complain about whatever host country you settle in.

  26. Larry the Zillions of Euro you talk about have gone to prop up banks. Not to 'Wee Johnny and Mary' who need it. And who are faced with the stark reality to choose between feeding themselves, heating their homes or paying their rent to keep a roof over their heads..

    And your point about Britian being 'silly billies' for not keeping hold of most of the colonies. Incase it escaped your notice, they weren't Britains to keep. They had no right invading, raping etc any country. No country does.

    When you said you can't speak French, when I first went to France I couldn't even say Bonjour, if you want to learn a foreign language, best advice I can give is have breakfast with women from what ever country to care to live in (trust me you'll learn more and quicker than you get in books)..

  27. Frankie a cara breakfast sounds a good way to learn the language but bed well now a cara thats the place to make a cultural introduction...

  28. Tain Bo

    The 'piss-process' can leave people feeling a tad schitzo i'll grant you that. I personally can see good as well as bad in the various realities. The loyalists/unionists will morph and invent a new self-interest agenda. And nordy taigs will pamper them for it. The numbers going to UK + Commonwealth nations is not a vote of confidence in mother Ireland whether under British rule or during the 100 years since it. That's just a reality. Nor are people in a hurry back when they get away from the endless 'drag' that is economic life and politics here.

    I suspect you are a dissident supporter as they also do seem to have a one tune CD, on 'stuck-mode'.

    Life throws challenges at people, some people can make a change whilst still being able to identify faults and blessings. Some people are just natural born bellyachers. It's better than a job I suppose in a lot of cases. It has been identified from pre famine times, anyone with a titter of wit or talent got outa Ireland ASAP and it was bemoaned that the majority left behind were the dregs, wasters, cripples, ass-holes, bellyachers and the mentally sick. (the 'physically' sick got on the boat)Don't take my word for it, read a book on the history of Irish emigration.

    In relation to teaching or improving my personal financial position, your attitude reveals a negativity. Perhaps you're just someone who revels in idleness and wants to bellyache and backstab anyone with a different life-plan. Or even 'any' lifeplan. lol You can Blame the Germans for Irelands ills now Tain Bo, that will be a nice change of 'scene' FOR YOU lmao.


    It is a fact that to learn a second language you are better to be embedded in a community that uses that language. That's why students come here and to the UK to learn english and work here at the same time. It can be a wasted financial exercise trying a few lessons a week and hoping it will do without interaction in a target language environment.

    I'm not that motivated to learn another language myself just now to be honest, but when I do get around to it my choice will be Spanish. Perhaps whilst teaching English in Latin America or Spain for a few years.

    My wife would go loco and call me cabron grande!! if i even suggested taking breakfasts with strange women. You got me all curious about your own experiences though I must admit. Pray do-tell!

  29. Larry,

    You will soon be able to read about my experiences in my up and coming best seller...

    " From the arsehole of Belfast to the shit hole of Europe (the tales of a Belfast Rockabilly)

  30. Marty sometimes multiculturalism has real benefits...

  31. Larry:

    Whatever country you choose to go to to teach, I wish you all the good luck in the world, times are hard throughout the whole of Europe at the moment, and for that matter in the grand old U.S. of A, more homeless there than ever before.

    Good Luck Lad, its better than sitting on your ASS all day watching TV and waiting for the club or the bookies to open to spend the Auld Queens Giro. lol

  32. Larry

    you complain about people migrating but infer when or if you do it is not the same thing.
    Where would humanity be without migration you swing it as an ax against the Irish and belittling the Irish Famine serves no purpose ignore the cause of famine write it away as an intestinal pain.

    “ It has been identified from pre famine times, anyone with a titter of wit or talent got outa Ireland ASAP and it was bemoaned that the majority left behind were the dregs, wasters, cripples, ass-holes, bellyachers and the mentally sick. (the 'physically' sick got on the boat)Don't take my word for it, read a book on the history of Irish emigration.”

    Are you saying you lack both wit and talent as you have not left does that apply to all that have no desire to uproot past and present? Do not let gravity hold you down I am sure you will find away to rise above the rest of humankind.
    I am sure there was no cause of the famine and sure that there was no profit made in the trafficking of human misery.

    The rest of that makes no sense at all and just sounds like anti Irish gibberish.

    CDs much like armed republicanism are both outdated I can understand it but have stated before they should unite and form a political party it is not a big secret armed republicanism will not remove the British. I have no political affiliation but shall always support the working class and the poor a few of your many pet hates.

    Is my negative attitude any more or less offensive than your post as you show and are consistent in showing a negative view of many things doing the PC shuffle when I questioned your reasoning is acceptable as you feel offended yet you are anti PC as the positive aspect of it deeply offends your sensibilities.

    Read back I wished you all the very best on bettering yourself on more than one post unlike you Larry I do not object to people living as they choose.

    You nailed me down Larry on that cross of societies rejects I am lazy, I complain, both fair enough but how do you come up with me backstabbing you when I address you.

    Frohe Weihnachten meine freind

  33. Tain bo a cara and anyone else here please chose your words carefully when talking about the geoncide which took 1846-52,there was a potato blight but no famine, what occured here in those dark days was mass murder plain and simple..so a cara its like saying bloody Sunday was mass suicide if we repeat the lie re famine.....

  34. Marty

    I understand your purpose of offering advice on choosing words carefully as it is easy to offend the problem being you are asking for a form of censorship based on your preference.
    Famine is an appropriate description in our case the potato blight was the cause of famine.
    You jump the gun, as you did not ask my view on the famine do I believe the English took advantage of the crop failure(s) and exploited it politically and financially with a if you can’t beat them out then starve them out policy the answer is yes without doubt.
    Do I believe the English acted alone in creating profit from starvation and human misery no there is a certain amount of Irish guilt Irish proprietors and unscrupulous businessmen whom enjoyed profiteering from their fellow people’s plight.

  35. Tain bo a cara I wasnt asking for a form of censorship ,what happened in that period of 1846 -52 was not a famine a cara, you know full well the dictionary definition of a famine is shortage of food, there was in Ireland at that time no shortage of food indeed the records show bumper crops and livestock exports, most people and historians use the proper description of that time as AN GORTA MOR or great hunger it was genocide a cara nothing else ,and using words like famine let those responsible of the hook,Its not about opinion a cara its about facts...and they say genocide...sin é

  36. Marty

    I agree wholeheartedly it was genocide and at the time an English solution to the wretched Irish problem. I understand what you are stating as I have some knowledge of the history but famine is the result from the potato blight. A third party reading might have no knowledge on the subject and the word famine might raise an eyebrow whereas potato blight in modern terms could read different.
    In our coin and paper, society we grab things of a shelf and give little or no thought to where it came from.
    There was, as you say correctly no shortage of food, the poor depended on the potatoes they toiled for as not only the main source of food but also as currency trading for other goods and foods without that they became disposable.
    Famine or potato blight we are splitting hairs it was preventable genocide.

  37. Marty/Tain Bo

    Not butting in here but The proper term would be "Potato Blight", when the british realised this they cleared all the stocks and took them to england thus creating "THE FAMINE", which was genocide.

  38. Itsjustmacker

    you are not butting in your opinion is always welcomed in my book.

  39. Tain Bo.

    Thanks for that, appreciated, and, Your opinion is more than welcome in my book, to me its all about dialogue.

  40. firstly differences of opinion will arise over what occurred and terminology of An Gorta Mor, The famine, potato blight but with my opinion at least is it was socially and economically constructed - by Britain - examples include the poor laws of 1838 - eviction from small holdings and clearances and forced emigration - a succinct timeline of The 19th century link here-
    It was genocide the difference to famine is policy - it was deliberate starvation.

    Not everyone had "the choice of emigration to the land of choice the USA" but no choice - The diaspora wasn't by choice but many emigrated through force or sheer desperation.

    The article poses some interesting points on the state in Ireland today and its relationship to Britain, the 6 counties and Europe.
    Personally I think Ireland will not look to renew commonwealth ties with Britain - the economic power of Europe is much larger than Britains, for all its pontificating, Britain knows its future lies in Europe hence Irelands-if the banks are too big to fail Europe won't let nation states "fail" that's how they maintain the capitalist system.
    There is some credence to a de facto home rule existing in Ireland now but it only exists because 26county governments have entered into cross border bodies yet cannot deliver for example a bill of rights which was in the GFA, because the GFA was built on Britain maintaining its overall rule in the 6counties. Devolution to stormont came with caveats that Britain held responsibility for eg national security in justice and policing.
    Quisling SF bought in to a slice of the cake looking to the USA as much of the 6 counties does for its $$$, and a coalition to ensure some grip on power.
    It may be an island of Ireland but its still divided and so the people as one half looks to Europe while the other to the US and UK at the same time-Quisling SF can't deliver anymore than any other they are all trying to be all things to all people and fooling less and less.
    I go on a bit! but yes Ireland has its resources say today that residents in Clare wanting to resist newly granted licence to explore and commence fracking off the coast for shale gas. economics is not everything - the resources are still there don't destroy an ancient isle and its environment for a quick buck - that will be judged by history too.

  41. Frankie

    Would be sure to read your adventures.


    Wont be going anywhere for 3 yrs if i get doing my PHD. Had considered the dissidents but at the rate of 40 arrests and 3 operations per decade it would be a difficult study. Eventually i'd like a couple of years away for teaching experience then apply for a teaching position at home.

    Tain Bo

    im merely lamenting the fact those in the Dail have never had an interest in effectively managing a wee nation of 4 million people. Disgraceful.

    As for the English and the famine; did anyone research what the RC church did about it? Or the fact that not a penny of O'Connell's repeal 'chest' of over £30,000 was spent on famine relief? yep, the brits were scum, but they had good company. AND WHO BENEFITTED fromn the land clearances? The wealthy Irish Catholic farmers consolidated their position. England is a handy scape-goat. Germany next!

    MERRY XMAS EVERYONE hope you all have a good festive season.

  42. Larry-


    Wait till St John sees that- a x instead of Christ-what the hell were you thinking of-lol-

  43. Frankie,

    This is become one of those urban myths. We were not forced out of West Belfast. In fact by the time we left relations had improved with the Shinners who lived on the street at least. But we had not lived happily there.