Written on: 21. 9. 2021 in the category: Uncategorized

No Dogs or Unionists or Constitution Either.

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The constitutional crisis that is assailing Ireland today is because there is no constitutional crisis. The political classes and most of the media have refused to defend the Constitution against President Higgins’ gross interference with its intent and its integrity. In the process, he has deliberately insulted the Northern Unionists with his refusal to attend a church service in Armagh to commemorate a century of partition.

Far from being a celebration of partition, as has been widely implied in the sewer of Sfira social media, it was to be, in the organisers’ own words, An honest reflection of the past hundred years, with an acknowledgment of failures and wrongs.

So not a celebration.

But it was President Higgins in his speech on the sack of Balbriggan – inaccurately said by him to have been the work of the Black and Tans, which as a force simply did not exist – who said the following words: “Let us all continue with, indeed embrace, the new beginning that the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement represented as we continue to carve out our peaceful co-existence on the island of Ireland through a genuine democratic dialogue grounded in respect for our communities’ identities and their lawful traditions.”

Was this not precisely what the Armagh service was to be all about?

As Eilis O’Hanlon observed in her brilliant reflections in The Sunday Independent on this scandal-that-isn’t-a-scandal, Higgins’ objection that the commemoration was political comes well from a man who that same week paid homage at the grave of the Marxist lunatic Gramsci. He had previously sung the praises of another Marxist, the communist dictator and mass murderer Fidel Castro, of whom he uttered these astounding words: “Fidel Castro will be remembered as a giant among global leaders whose view was not only one of freedom for his people but for all of the oppressed and excluded peoples on the planet.” As President, Higgins attended the funeral of another mass murderer, Martin McGuiness, the IRA leader who had meticulously arranged the death of the involuntary suicide bomber Patsy Gillespie.

Even if there had been a political element to the Armagh invitation, Higgins has two bodies to assess the vulnerability of his office to unacceptable attendances. Constitutionally, there is the Council of State, which he didn’t convene. The second is the Department of Foreign Affairs, which privately advised there was no reason for him not to accept the invitation (while publicly stating that it had not offered an opinion).

It was Higgin’s own decision to take a course of action that could only insult the Unionist people as well as delighting that increasingly intolerant and nasty entity, “Nationalist Ireland”. The keynote of this sizeable (and growing) faction is sounded by Sinn Fein, or more precisely, the IRA army council, whose members must wake up every morning, wondering what on earth they had ever done to deserve the abject compliance of so many, including now that sorry gelding, the SDLP’s leader Colm Eastwood.

Moreover, the opinion poll-approval (88%) of Higgins’ stand against respect for the Unionist tradition and reconciliation with it has been matched by silence from the political parties over his violation of the Constitution.

In other words, he’s got away with it. The Constitution is now merely a consultative document; its clauses are only general aspirations, not binding decrees. What the President feels is far more important than what it proclaims. Any attempt by Michael Martin to rebuke him for his violation of the constitutional limitations on his power would cause his backbenchers, now deeply infected by the Sfira virus, to revolt and his government to fall. If Sinn Fein were then to take Higgin’s side in an election campaign, it would probably shatter the present 30% ceiling of its popular support and win enough seats to form a Sinn Fein-only government.

Then we’d finally understand just how optional the Constitution really is.

What are not optional are facts. The Belfast Agreement accepted the fact of Partition. So too has Sinn Fein, which assists in the government of part of a partitioned island. Let us remind ourselves of the island that was partitioned.

Under Stormont, the Catholic percentage of the population of Northern Ireland rose within a rising population overall, just as the population of independent Ireland declined consistently from 1922 to 1969 and its Protestant population fell down a liftshaft. Meanwhile, the Catholic population of the Border counties of independent Ireland also fell steeply. But in the North the numbers of Catholics in Border counties throughout this period rose consistently, though not quite as fast as did the Protestant population. We all know about the imperfections of the Northern state. However, that state also made free university education available for Catholic Nationalist students of working-class and small farmer backgrounds, which could never be said of independent Ireland.

Indeed, there is good reason to commemorate the creation of a secular Irish state that did not implement the doctrines of any one church into its state law. Northern Ireland’s first attorney general was a Catholic, Denis Henry, and most of its founding police force was Catholic. This undermines the allegation that during the appalling riots of 1922-23 the Northern security forces systematically sided with Protestant paramilitaries. A few of the new Special Police were indeed sectarian murderers. Meanwhile, Ireland’s future foreign minister Frank Aiken organised a mini-pogrom of Protestants in South Armagh which would be a later template for the Provisional IRA. The Free State government and anti-Treaty forces both sent volunteers to murder members of the new security forces in the North. But by contrast, absolutely no Northern Cabinet Minister was ever personally involved in murder of any kind.

Moreover, the new Northern state never went in for the orgy of executions by a state-authorised military as happened in the South, where over a hundred unarmed anti-Treaty captives were shot, while anti-treaty forces routinely murdered off-duty Free State soldiers.

It was not Northern Ireland that introduced customs posts on the Border but the Free State government, anxious to protect its dairy industry from imports of cheap British margarine and its budding rosary workshops from the Japanese Catholic rosary-makers of Yokohama and Nagasaki. From the outset of independence, film and book censorship in independent Ireland was the most restrictive of any democracy in the world and intensified as the decades went by. So the “border” was not just a Northern Unionist invention: it was enthusiastically policed, enforced and protected as a vital cultural and religious institution by the security forces of the Free State.

I throw in these little asides to remind people of the reality that lies beyond the gruesome folklore masquerading as history not merely within the Irish nationalist memory, but also within the official narrative of the Aras.  Irish nationalists wanted partition from unionism every bit as unionists wanted partition from them; this was a reciprocal revulsion, which has been systematically reinvented by Official Ireland over the past six years since the centenary of the April insurrection within the now thoroughly misnamed “peace process”.

This moral decay has been hastened by the words and deeds of President Higgins, for he personifies Official Ireland’s addiction to the unprincipled pieties of neutralism, thirdworldism and anti-Zionism. Strip away the otiose and impenetrable vocabulary with which he festoons his speeches and what remains is no wiser than an undergraduate’s babble or the maudlin incantations of a Moore Street stallholder.

The nationalist demand for parity of esteem is now formally over: what is now on the nationalist agenda is supremacy of esteem, by which concept Northern Protestants must expect to be treated as second class citizens within the larger concept of Irishness. Martin McAleese played a heroic role reaching out during the peace process to Protestant paramilitaries, distasteful though this gruesome duty must often have been. But under Higgins, the “shared Ireland” endorsed in good faith by another Martin in effect now means “Proddies lie down.”

The stark truth is that a general election right now would probably put the political wing of the IRA into power: and once in office, it is hard to believe that in the Park, they would find an unsympathetic ear. There is a left-liberal spectrum that links the culture of violence represented by Sinn Fein with the Marxist doggerel so verbosely spouted by Higgins; upon that spectrum, the Aras and the Taoiseach’s office would probably find a comfortable accommodation.

Furthermore, Sfira doesn’t want power for power’s sake. Its project is to embark yet again on a hubris-fuelled tribalistic journey in pursuit of a united Ireland that President Higgins has just made even more unattainable than it already was (which was ‘exceedingly’). We who lived through the 1960s and 1970s know how insecure the Protestant population of Northern Ireland is: goading this insecurity could well take us back to a familiar valley of blood, sorrow and tears.

And who will nationalist Ireland blame if – and more likely, when – disaster befalls us, as it surely will if this nonsense continues?

Why, naturally, the Protestants of Ulster.

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