What’s up with the whole Northern Ireland thing?

by Seán on September 14, 2006

by Seán | September 14th, 2006  

Ian PaisleySo some time last year England finally told the Northern Irish government that if they couldn’t fix things Dublin and London would get together and do it for them. To that end, they told the folks in Northern Ireland to meet the accords of the Good Friday Agreement or their positions and salaries would be dissolved.

Well, now Ian Paisley (Northern Irish church and state leader vehemently opposed to catholicism and homosexuals . . . and kind of SCARY lookin too, ain’t he?) is saying the November deadline won’t be met.

You know, before moving here I used to wonder what was up with the North of Ireland. I got a lot of vague anti-British “If you knew what I knew you’d understand” speeches from my father (wonderful circular logic, that), but never anything I could make any sense of, sure wasn’t our family part English? I never really understood what the problem was. Most folks from the states with Irish roots and have a similar sense of the thing:

  • There’s been bombings.
  • Women and children have been killed.
  • People are upset.
  • U2 wrote a song about it.
  • Nobody you ask can tell you exactly what’s up.

Well, since moving here I have learned something . . .

. . . nobody can tell you exactly what’s up.

Here in the middle of Athlone there is an IRA statue. Laurels and wreaths get placed on it regularly. I’ve heard first-hand stories of family members shot in front of their families for refusing entrance to the black and tan troops (so named for their mis-matched/patchwork uniforms – Britian’s “real” soldiers were busy with other things, so criminals and other miscreants of Britian “not good enough” for the army were sent to serve time for offenses as troops in Ireland to “enforce” British rule – and boy did they do some awful things). Athlone is, so I’ve heard, the oldest operating garrison town in Europe.

A friend told me recently that the Irish have fought on every side in every war in the last two centuries. Perhaps that’s true. Maybe the only lads who could legitimately be given a statue are those locals who fought for the freedom of their own country – hence the statue. In this post-911 world, such things as revolutionary fighters are often painted with a different brush. Sure, look at the New England soldiers resisting the British army in the 1700′s by hiding in trees and shooting at marching troops in formation – if that’s not terrorism, I dunno what is.

Someone once told me one of the greatest farces of modern politics is the past two centuries of conservatives in the states sending money to socialist radicals in Ireland.

Yeah, the whole thing is a big mess. Nevertheless, can’t we all just get along?

I was thinking, what if Britian did do what they’re threatening to do and revoke the relative autonomy up north and sit down with the Irish republic to discuss what should be done with Northern Ireland? I could see a practical solution: get a bunch of stout Irish lads with shovels marching up to the north and digging a trench. Great big fellas with shovels digging away to cut off northern Ireland from the main continent and then giving her a big shove, to float off into the arctic sea.

I mean realistically, at this point you’ve got an area that belongs to Britian that Britian doesn’t want. An area that Ireland wants, but that doesn’t want to be a part of it. Seems to me they should be their own bloody country and deal with their own problems themselves; that’s the only solution that would solve everyone’s problems.

Maybe if they realised they were all on their own together they’d learn to get along.

But it’s late and what do I know?


Paisley winges: Read here

NI Foreign Minister sez let’s party like it’s 2009: Read here

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April 5, 2007 at 1:08 am


Tony Dunne November 14, 2006 at 4:11 pm

I think the best solution to the Northern problem is for the Unionist population to do a house swap permanently with Glasgow Celtic supporters. Then move Glasgow Celtic to Belfast, renaming it to Ulster Celtic and compete in the English Premiership. Let the Stormont government oversee the swapping of properties – ensuring that like is swapped with like, based on acreage and value.

kasey April 4, 2007 at 6:07 pm

I have enjoyed your blog until I came across this posting. Ian Paisley is scary as is the occupation and oppression. Nothing to be made light of if you take the time to do some reading and research. It is silliness to say no one can tell you what is “up” concerning Northern Ireland. Northern Ireland is Ireland, should be reunited and your simplistic solution is offensive.

sean April 5, 2007 at 12:42 am

Kasey – Offended by a late-night blog that, I’ve been told, primarily echoes your republican sentiments? Colour me baffled.

First off, a sense of humour is critical. It’s lack of humour that leads folks to find reasons to kill people. Paisley’s apparent lack in the humour department is part of what makes him so scary.

Personally, I think this dark conflict could use a little light.

Secondly, anyone who parades their perspective around as the unadulterated “truth” does more damage to their credibility (and thus, their objective) than direct opposition could. My “nobody can tell you what’s up” comment refers not a little bit to the fact that anyone interested in talking about it seems to have taken sides. What good has that kind of discourse done the situation?

Finally, mine is NOT a simplistic solution! Do you have the slightest idea how many Offaly farmers it would take to dig a trench that big?!


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