WestEndExtra

The independent London newspaper

Democracy has been different for Ireland

23 August, 2019

• MOST people are not aware that Northern Ireland, when partition took place in 1921, was cut off from the mainstream British parties of Labour, Conservative and Liberal.

It is claimed as part of the UK but didn’t have British democracy as practised in England, Scotland and Wales.

It therefore became dysfunctional in a deliberate act by the British government to combat the new Irish Free State in the south of the country.

A one-party government of Unionism ruled for 50 years with paramilitary armed police to keep down the minority Roman Catholic population so as discrimination in jobs and everyday life could continue.

There was no constitutional means available that could combat this situation. It was going to be majority rule for ever.

The result was a 28-year-war, the media call “The Troubles”, when in fact it was called that in order to avoid the conditions for war laid down by the Geneva Conventions which are there to protect civilians and stop the criminalisation of prisoners-of-war.

Thankfully the Good Friday Agreement has now given equal rights to both Catholic and Protestant communities.

Many of us are now aware that two nationalities exist in Northern Ireland – Irish and British – whereas Southern Irish governments have designated the island of Ireland as one nation.

This must make the Protestant community of the North feel someone is trying to swallow them up. Even if the border was completely removed you would still have two nations. So unity in the old style of a one nation isn’t possible.

Ireland could need a Switzerland solution in the future with the Protestant community becoming autonomous. It is not a matter of religion – religion is merely the cultural aspect of both nationalities.

Finally, the Conservative party has decided, in recent years, to organise in Northern Ireland, but it is all too late now. In one election they could get no more a than 1,000 votes. Sectarian politics has ruled there for almost a century now.

WJ HAIRE
Lulot Gardens, N19

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