A letter from Martin Galvin published in the Irish News on New Year's Day, 2019 under the heading "Time for new policies which demand respect for Irish national rights and advocates."
Re: David McNarry-Mary Lou and Leo relentless in causing division (December 12/2018)
David McNarry 's exasperation with those thinking Ireland should have its say about Brexit, reminded me of Leon Uris' fictional Unionist MP, Hamilton Walby, in the novel Trinity. Walby pompously extols British rule to croppy constituents, unaware that his speech reminds them of being oppressed. McNarry pompously says "butt out and let go of the border", unaware he reminds us of what we have been saying to Westminster since partition.
Mr. McNarry makes no distinction between Dail political parties, scolding Fine Gael and Sinn Fein, and presumably others in between. They are all 'bitter', 'arrogant,' 'relentless in causing division', allied with 'Brussels bully boys' in 'a war of anti-British, anti-unionist agitation'. Why try persuasion and miss a chance to insult nationalists?
Cutting through the name-calling, Mr. McNarry thinks it is ridiculous to see the Irish take the border "which never figured in the referendum debate" and "plank it center stage as a blocking mechanism". McNarry is correct that Ireland was given little say and less thought in the referendum by little Englanders who imagined Brexit heralding a return to Empire glory. Millions in the twenty-six counties had no vote. Enda Kenny was reduced to appeals to the Irish residing in Britain.
The six counties, like Scotland, rejected Brexit. These majorities were dismissed. Arlene Foster lectured that no region within a country can veto the wishes of the majority of the whole country. Foster was then first minister of a six county region within Ireland whose founding principle is that a British backed unionist minority vetoed the all-Ireland democratic vote whose centenary we celebrated this past week, and can forever veto any all-Ireland vote.
There was no shortage of voices arguing that Britain's exit from the European Union threatened untold economic consequences for Ireland north and south. Irish advocates highlighted disastrous trade and travel restrictions, potential losses of EU funding and recourse to European Courts.
They "never figured" in the Brexit debates only because they were ignored. Why should disastrous consequences for Ireland be allowed to get in the way of imagined Empire glory?
Mr. McNarry resorts to childish name-calling because those advocating Irish interests about Brexit can no longer be ignored. How dare Ireland "plank" its own national and economic interests in the path of British interests? How dare Ireland join "Brussels bully boys" in negotiations, instead of being bullied by Britain?
If Mr. McNarry's dismissive name-calling represents the broader unionist perspective, after decades of outreach policies, it is time for new policies which demand respect for Irish national rights and advocates.