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Tories behaving like squires over Northern Ireland

12 September, 2019

• INTELLIGENT women often have to endure mansplain, where they are talked down to by a male.

The Irish have to endure Ivor Kenna-­splain (The people of Ireland are all Irish, August 30) as he ignores the knowledge and eloquence of WJ Haire (Democracy has been different for Ireland, August 23) and explains to the not very bright Irish what is happening in their own country.

His lack of knowledge and respect for us as a people is shocking. The indigenous Irish of the north of Ireland were driven from their land onto infertile badlands by the British colonial troops of James I – and their land given to settlers from Wales, England and Scotland. The ethnic cleansing of Ireland had begun in earnest.

The descendants of these settlers, now calling themselves Unionists, backed by paramilitary police, were still in power and openly discriminating against the indigenous people when I grew up as a second-class citizen in a British-controlled and funded 1960s Northern Ireland.

Voting boundaries were adjusted to ensure the indigenous population could not achieve change through the ballot box.

Social housing, paid for by all, was handed out to childless Unionist supporters but withheld from indigenous families. A recent BBC4 TV documentary illustrated this.

The police and Harland & Wolff shipyard did not welcome us as employees. Our names and our schools identified our origins and barred us from employment in our own country.

To get civil rights in what we were told was part of Britain, we had to peacefully march, inspired by Dr Martin Luther King Jr, and were met with police violence, CS gas and water cannons, which are still not used here, for daring to forget our place.

I remember a British Tory politician on a visit to Northern Ireland saying on camera that “the Irish are a dirty people”. It’s little wonder, with a racist attitude like that, that 28 unarmed people were shot on Bloody Sunday and before that there was the Ballymurphy massacre.

The BBC continually calls the British border in Ireland the Irish border. The Irish never wanted to lose six counties. It was forced on them under threat of military invasion. By daily calling it the Irish border, the BBC is stirring up feelings against the Irish community in Britain.

The Tories, rather than shouldering their responsibility for their colony in Northern Ireland and creating an “air pocket” to allow the north, which voted to remain, to stay in the EU and thus prevent Ireland being torn apart, are behaving like squires and treating Ireland and the Irish community in Britain like peasants.

What Mr Kenna does not understand is that, although many settlers have intermarried with the indigenous population, there are still those in power who will “never surrender” and see us as the enemy rather than neighbours. With the help of British politicians, these hardliners stay in power.

Soon after the Good Friday Agreement, the settlers abandoned their loathing of the Gaelic language and identity and rebranded themselves as Ulster Scots.

The Irish are a forgiving and welcoming people and if James Annett (The island of Ireland is two countries, not one, September 6 ) was born in Northern Ireland, he has a right to an Irish passport as well as a British passport.

Good for him that he is proud to be British, but he might as well avail himself of the Irish passport to make business or holiday travel in the EU easier.

Milner Square, N1


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