Trevor Ringland -Wrong to attribute all of Ireland's problems to the English - January 11, 2017
Trevor Ringland blames Irish conflicts on some endemic character flaw, denying Ireland's population "the common sense to live in peace with one another and with their neighbors." (January 11th) How dare I advocate what Theresa Villiers termed a 'pernicious counter narrative', blaming benevolent Britain for anything?
Mr. Ringland says the 1920 Government of Ireland Act put "constitutional matters on this island...in the hands of the Irish". Why not begin with how Ireland's inability to live in peace with their neighbors, necessitated an English invasion approved by an English Pope, to help the Irish practice religion? Irish character flaws made Britain follow up with Penal Laws, Cromwell etc., teaching the Irish how to live in peace with their neighbors.
The British 'put matters in Irish hands' by executing patriots who proclaimed national independence in 1916,answering an overwhelming all-Ireland vote ratifying all-Ireland independence with Black and Tan terror, and carving out the largest area they could hold, based on sectarian hegemony. Those voting British rule got a veto. The democratic majority got threatened with 'immediate and terrible war.'
Westminster, prohibited religious discrimination. Why fault Britain for condemning nationalists to a half-century as victims of discrimination in Britain's Orange State?
Mr. Ringland claims that "those problems were addressed after the Civil Rights campaign." They certainly were 'addressed' by DUP founder Ian Paisley, or the RUC, at places like Burntollet Bridge or Duke Street. However, Internment, the Ballymurphy Massacre, and shooting down civil rights marchers on Bloody Sunday 'addressed' such problems in a way that convinced many British rule would not heed moral appeals.
British collusion with loyalist criminals in sectarian murders, says Mr. Ringland, "is not supported by the facts". Panorama's 'Britain's Secret Terror Deals', books like 'Lethal Allies', studies by Relatives for Justice, da Silva review, and accounts in this newspaper, support the facts of collusion. Why entertain facts which indict Britain?
I would not trouble readers with such inconvenient facts, except this mindset is at the heart of the breakdown at Stormont today. Mr. Ringland is correct that I believe Westminster serves English interests. Brexit, austerity, the denial of legacy funding etc. were not designed to help in Ireland.
My aspiration is a united Ireland governed in Irish interests, which gives equal rights to Mr. Ringland and all of its people, and is not subordinate to British interests, partition or an institutionalized sectarian hegemony.
The flaw in Ireland is not any endemic Irish defect, but the myopia of those who blame Ireland for problems caused by British rule.