‘When is a Unionist not a Unionist?’ by Jessica McGrann

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We all know Irish Unionism was founded on sectarian bigotry which has endured for centuries. In face of the prospect of home rule in Ireland where there would be a nationalist majority, the response from Unionism was Carson introducing paramilitaries into Ireland.

In face of a clear majority vote for independence in 1918, Unionism who had already committed mutiny against British rule in Ireland 4 years earlier now threatened civil war to ensure as much of Ulster that could be gerrymandered into a protestant state; which was delivered without referendum or the approval of the nationalists who remained having voted along with the majority in the election.  They were allowed to not only thwart democracy but also to misrule and discriminate for the next 50 years with only token resistance from a reduced IRA in the 50s which failed.

The unionist artificial majority was always on a timeframe to nonexistence, and in the 60s attempts at civil rights for Catholics risked accelerating this process by giving electoral equality to Catholics.  This risked the whole ethos of Irish unionism which was protestant control over Catholics and people like Ian Paisley could not allow that to happen.

Unionism reacted violently as it always has done, and starting killing, pogroms and mass counter demonstrations against peaceful civil rights resulting in the state forces murdering Catholics, helping groups of youths burn Catholics out of their homes in the thousands and when they lost control over the riots which resulted, they brought the British army over to restore control and then pushed them into conflict with nationalism.

The ensuing conflict was a dirty, bloody war in which republicans killed, bombed and maimed many people as did the British state forces and the loyalist paramilitaries they colluded with.

When peace was finally achieved, Unionism acted as it was the worst thing that could have happened, Ian Paisley who did more than any individual to start the conflict, prolong it and who proclaimed he would use the DUP as political cover for loyalist killings had the neck to demand sackcloth and ashes from republicans.

The IRA were made to decommission all weapons and even then a new political conflict ensued where Sinn Fein were to be demonised and made to take all of the blame for the troubles to which both states were only too happy to comply, particularly in the south with the full backing of the media.

When it became clear of the bona fides of Sinn Fein, we had the mockery of the police Chief Constable stating as much while at the same time backing the MI5 propaganda claim that the IRA were running Sinn Fein. Now, almost 20 years post Good Friday Agreement with the UK on the verge of breakup, Unionism is suddenly morphing into no more than a political view.

I have made no secret of my views that unionism is a sliding scale of bigotry, and that all unionists share the same DNA in terms of anti-nationalism in Ireland.

I suppose what I am asking myself is, is it fair to continue this opinion when young people may or may not be aware of Unionism’s past even though their political leaders have not made any effort to address their past and continue to promote sectarian culture. If unionism today truly is no more than a point of view, its whole foundation has now turned to sand.

But if that were the case, what would the problem be with a forum to discuss all of our futures post brexit? Is it simply a numbers game and when facing a terminal decline and facing irrelevance, only then will they change?

Unionism has yet to decommission weapons, has yet to acknowledge its role in the conflict and still makes no effort at reconciliation.

Two questions:

Will they ever  own up to their past?

Should nationalism let them away with not facing up to their past?

114 Responses to ‘When is a Unionist not a Unionist?’ by Jessica McGrann

  1. pjdorrian July 24, 2016 at 6:15 pm #

    A timely article Jessica. I suppose we should use the word narrative but it always makes me think of fiction and maybe others also. I suppose that’s why Anchorman always uses it when speaking about ‘a Republican Narrative’ and Arlene always speaks about Republicans trying to rewrite history.
    I suppose they hope that this will distract young people long enough for them to cobble some guff about what happened between 1922 and the present.
    Although they haven’t put a his/her story out yet we have an idea of what it will be.

    This was a great we place with freedoms of everyone. There was never any discrimination against anyone, it was all in the psychotic minds of violent republicans. Sure didn’t they carry out pogroms against RCs and try to blame it on peace loving Protestants, who only had guns to protect the border.
    Then in 1971, totally out of the blue, with no warning whatsover, the IRA parachuted over the border and started all the trouble. Etc, etc …..

  2. MT July 24, 2016 at 6:20 pm #

    “We all know Irish Unionism was founded on sectarian bigotry which has endured for centuries. In face of the prospect of home rule in Ireland where there would be a nationalist majority, the response from Unionism was Carson introducing paramilitaries into Ireland.”

    We all know Irish Nationalism was founded on sectarian bigotry which has endured for centuries. In face of the prospect of self-determination I’m Ulster where there would be a unionist majority, the response from Nationalism was Redmond introducing paramilitaries into southern Ireland.

    “In face of a clear majority vote for independence in 1918, Unionism who had already committed mutiny against British rule in Ireland 4 years earlier now threatened civil war to ensure as much of Ulster that could be gerrymandered into a protestant state; which was delivered without referendum or the approval of the nationalists who remained having voted along with the majority in the election. They were allowed to not only thwart democracy but also to misrule and discriminate for the next 50 years with only token resistance from a reduced IRA in the 50s which failed.”

    In face of a clear majority vote for self-determination in Ulster in 1918, Nationalism who had already committed mutiny against self-determination in Ulster 4 years earlier now threatened civil war to ensure as much of Ireland that could be gerrymandered into a Catholic state; which would be delivered without referendum or the approval of the unionists who remained having voted along with the northern majority in the election.

    • gendjinn July 24, 2016 at 9:07 pm #

      As Dorothy Parker so prophetically stated, you can bring a whore to culture but you can’t make her think.

    • Ryan July 25, 2016 at 4:49 am #

      MT you do talk some nonsense lol

      • MT July 25, 2016 at 1:28 pm #

        “MT you do talk some nonsense lol”

        My post has clearly gone over your head. It was a parody of Jessica’s.

    • TheHist July 25, 2016 at 12:56 pm #

      “Redmond introducing paramilitaries into southern Ireland.”

      When did Redmond introduce paramilitaries into Southern Ireland,MT? I’m assuming you are making reference to the Irish Volunteers, as of which, Redmond had nothing to do with, when they were established (introduced) into Ireland in November 1913. So Redmond didn’t introduce any “paramilitaries” – you are wrong. If it wasn’t for the UVF mobilising to protect their own interests, and not that of the majority on the island, there would have been no IVF – that’s clear!

      “We all know Irish Nationalism was founded on sectarian bigotry that has endured for centuries” quite a generalisation, MT – perhaps, you can enlighten me further as to how Irish Nationalism was founded on sectarian bigotry and how this seemingly continued, particularly when you had nationalist groupings such as the United Irishmen, Young Ireland and the Fenians amongst those who despised sectarianism and bigotry and who attracted many Protestants to support their ideals? Also Charles Stewart Parnell, the Protestant Irish Nationalist leader …. Did / Does Unionism epouse such cross religious support?

      • MT July 25, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

        “When did Redmond introduce paramilitaries into Southern Ireland,MT? I’m assuming you are making reference to the Irish Volunteers, as of which, Redmond had nothing to do with, when they were established (introduced) into Ireland in November 1913. So Redmond didn’t introduce any “paramilitaries” – you are wrong. If it wasn’t for the UVF mobilising to protect their own interests, and not that of the majority on the island, there would have been no IVF – that’s clear!”

        Why does it matter who introduced them? The point is they were introduced.

        ““We all know Irish Nationalism was founded on sectarian bigotry that has endured for centuries” quite a generalisation, MT”

        Indeed it is. That was the point, which you’ve obviously missed.

        • TheHist July 25, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

          “Why does it matter who introduced them? The point is they were introduced.” The point is you were wrong with your historical inaccuracy. And the fact is, it does matter who introduces the Irish Volunteers, particularly when yor accord the blame to the wrong person.

          “Indeed it is. That was the point, which you’ve obviously missed.” Obviously missed? What’s obvious is your inability to eloborate on your point and address the question as to how Irish Nationalism was founded on sectarian bigotry? Thus far, you’ve offered nothing to substantiate your statement – are you able to ?

          • MT July 26, 2016 at 12:31 am #

            “Why does it matter who introduced them? The point is they were introduced.” The point is you were wrong with your historical inaccuracy. And the fact is, it does matter who introduces the Irish Volunteers, particularly when yor accord the blame to the wrong person.”

            No the point is you missed the point.

            ““Indeed it is. That was the point, which you’ve obviously missed.” Obviously missed? What’s obvious is your inability to eloborate on your point and address the question as to how Irish Nationalism was founded on sectarian bigotry? Thus far, you’ve offered nothing to substantiate your statement – are you able to ?”

            No what’s obvious is that you didn’t understand that my post was a parody of Jessica’s.

          • TheHist July 26, 2016 at 5:11 pm #

            “No the point is you missed the point.” The point is, the point you made was pointless, as I pointed out it was historically inaccurate – what’s the point in making historically inaccurate comments?

            “No what’s obvious is that you didn’t understand that my post was a parody of Jessica’s.” Mature. So your admitting Irish nationalism wasn’t founded on sectarian bigotry? Perhaps, rolling the “parody” one out is your inability to justify what you stated.

  3. jessica July 24, 2016 at 6:30 pm #

    When is a Unionist not a Unionist?

    Apparently when you mention the past wrong doings of unionism, it is dropped like a hot potato and no more than a point of view.

  4. Robert July 24, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    Jessica frankly your piece is frankly scary i really think you need to speak to somebody because i feel the real hate and contempt you have for the Unionist population here is causing your soul to darken.

    Every side who took part in the conflict here has to take some responsibility for what happened here however the vast majority of people here have no reason to apologize because they didn’t kill hurt or cause fear to their neighbors.

    The problem with many people who use this blog and other blogs is that they are keen to blame the other side but accept no real responsibility to critique or condemn the violent actions of their own community is this because its easy to have a poke at the other community than actually facing difficult truths?

    • Jude Collins July 24, 2016 at 8:01 pm #

      If I might briefly interject, Robert? “The problem with many people who use this blog and other blogs is that they are keen to blame the other side” – When people have a point of view, there’s usually a contrary point of view. Jessica, as I understand it, is arguing that the-IRA-dun-it thesis is partial and an airbrush of history. I think that’s a case it’s fair to argue.No?

      • Scott July 24, 2016 at 8:14 pm #

        She’s also stating that all Unionists are bigots Jude. If that’s not hate and contempt I don’t know what is.

        • Robert July 24, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

          Its the unwillingness of some people on this blog to acknowledge that fact that worries me Scott.

          • jessica July 25, 2016 at 8:38 am #

            “Its the unwillingness of some people on this blog to acknowledge that fact that worries me Scott.”

            As I have acknowledged already, by your definition, I would be a unionist myself for reasons I have outlined already.

            I am not, and it is the unionism that I have described more accurately that I refer to as based on bigotry. If you disagree, you must do more than simply say unionism is nothing more than a wish to be in the UK. No other part of the UK committed the acts that Irish unionism did to be in the UK. You stand apart.

        • jessica July 24, 2016 at 10:19 pm #

          I did not say unionists are bigots, I said unionism as in the support of the partitioning of my country to enforce an artificial majority that has abused the power it was given and caused a bloody conflict costing many lives over blatant desire for supremcay which is well documented, is nothing more than a sliding scale of bigotry.

          How can it be anything else?

          You can point at the GFA rubber staming it, but that was to achieve peace and cannot be seen as approval of british rule in Ireland.

      • Robert July 24, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

        The point that Jessica was making that Unionism is the problem and everything flows from that. I dont share that belief and i suspect most people dont.

        Jessica, as I understand it, is arguing that the-IRA-dun-it thesis is partial and an airbrush of history

        What she is doing is blaming Unionism for the violence perpetrated by Republicanism a line often used by wife beaters.

        How can one side condemn the other if they are not morally pure afterall those without sin can throw the first stone. Perhaps hers and your criticisms of Unionism would be stronger if you critiqued Republicanism fully i suspect you wont as it may open up some uncomfortable home truths and perhaps the reality you accept might not be so real, equally unionism will have to do the same once this has happened we may move on without it we certainly wont.

        • jessica July 24, 2016 at 10:29 pm #

          That is not the point I am making at all Robert.

          All conflicts involve terrible acts committed by all sides and killing is not acceptable from any side whatsoever and I am not trying to justify anything.

          I am stating the facts that between 1966 and 1969 when the British army were sent over, 100% of all killings, bombings, the mass burning people out of their homes and murders of innocent Catholics by mobs, the b specials and police were all one sided with no provocation other than Catholics seeking civil rights and it is what led to a bloody conflict.

          I want nothing more than unionism through its leadership to acknowledge these well documented facts and that is all.

          Is that too much to ask as part of a reconciliation process to which unionism to date has made zero effort?

          • Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 6:43 pm #

            “I want nothing more than unionism through its leadership to acknowledge these well documented facts and that is all.”

            So, does that mean a UUP member and a member of the DUP leadership or some of the TUV and some of the DUP and some of the PUP or all of the DUP, UUP, PUP, TUV, UPRG and some of the Protestant Coalition or all of the Coalition and some of the DUP and TUV but not all of the PUP or UUP or indeed just the DUP or some of the DUP?

            You do realise that unionists aren’t one big collective? Actually, forget that question, I already know the answer…

    • jessica July 24, 2016 at 8:18 pm #

      I agree that individuals have no reason to apologise Robert.

      It is a fact however, that while republicanism has been heavily scrutinised by the media as well as our political representatives insulted by political unionism and our communities demonised, unionism has not had any scrutiny whatsoever. I think this is no longer acceptable and has to be addressed.

      I understand that unionists do not want their past to be subject to such scrutiny or have to face up to a past which is steeped in sectarian hatred, but I must insist that it is addressed and we have to demand of our political representatives that it is adequately dealt with and not swept under the carpet.

      I assure you I don’t have a dark soul and I am not filled with hatred of unionism, it is irrelevant to me, however that does not mean I can simply ignore the elephant in the room which is the fact no leader of unionism has stood up and acknowledged the damage that unionism did in the late 60s.

      Do you not think it is time this was addressed and how can there be reconciliation until it is finally faced up to? Surely you agree that this must happen?

  5. Scott July 24, 2016 at 8:10 pm #

    Nice article Jessica, thank you for writing it. I’m probably going to be repeating a lot of the stuff from our previous discussion but this is a more appropriate place for it.

    Unionism in my humble opinion is simply the wish to remain in the UK. That’s it full stop. After that Unionists come in every shade under the sun. You have hardline bigots, liberals, pro choice, pro life, capitalist, socialist, Christian fundamentalist, atheists, white, black etc etc.

    The exact same can be said for Nationalists and probably many other political positions.

    There is no unifying characteristics that can be applied to a whole group of people who happen to share one political position.

    You say that myself, and every other Unionist for that matter (that’s hundreds of thousands of people) are somewhere on your “sliding scale” of bigotry. Essentially your calling us to a man woman and child a bigot.

    You fail to grasp that not every Unionist burns tricolours, is in the OO or even supports the Unionist parties in Stormont, Just as all nationalist don’t support violence to achieve there political wishes.

    You say in your piece that Unionism hasn’t disarmed and there again you are lumping me in with Loyalist paramilitaries and criminal gangs simply because I’m a Unionist. The only thing I have in common with them is my wish to remain in the UK and maybe my Protestant faith, although I would argue that there’s little Christianity in them.

    Why am I somehow akin to them simply for my single political position?

    The dictionary definition of a bigot is as follows

    “a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.”

    This is exactly how you appear (on this blog anyway) to behave towards Unionists. I imagine however your simply a keyboard warrior and wouldnt have the courage of your convictions to go around calling Unionists bigots and sectarian in your day to day life.

    How the sins of people who I never supported and wasn’t even alive when the events took place apply or can be labelled or blamed on me I have no idea.

    People are individuals and I have found for the most part people are good.

    I think you need to ask yourself Jessica are you bigoted towards Unionists?

    • jessica July 24, 2016 at 10:12 pm #

      I think you need to ask yourself Jessica are you bigoted towards Unionists?

      No I am not Scott, In fact I have said many times that public money should be given to the unionist community for bonfires whether they burn the flag or not, to help ensure it is safe. I am more focussed on the political elite within unionism, not the working class loyalist who I share the same passion of nationhood with if we are on opposite sides of the fence. It is their two faced political leaders who use them and abuse them I have beef with.

      In fact, as a republican who wants to see Ireland as a united and sovereign nation, outside of the EU and in a new federal union with Britain as equals along side Scotland and England, does that in fact make me a unionist according to your definition of unionism?

      I would say no because unionism is not simply a preference for being in the UK, it is and always has been about the partitioning of Ireland to give an artificial majority to those who are loyal to the crown over Irish nationalists, and it has allowed unionism to discriminate and even murder without any legal recourse.

      Unionism has no tolerance for Irish nationalism, just look at the refusal still to allow an Irish language bill. The public insults of holding noses over the stench from having to share Stormont with republicans, the gatekeeper episode to prevent the rogues and renegades from wasting public money, who just happened to be the same minister who squandered 140 million on wasted heating in an error in her department while she was in charge.

      To say it is simply a preference as a political position is not going to cut any ice. Unionism must be scrutinised in all of its actions since partition and an official response must be made by the political leadership of unionism to acknowledge its past wrongs just as republicans and loyalists have done already.

      • Scott July 25, 2016 at 8:46 am #

        “I have made no secret of my views that unionism is a sliding scale of bigotry, and that all unionists share the same DNA in terms of anti-nationalism in Ireland.”

        Those are your words Jessica. Every Unionist is on your sliding scale of bigotry i.e every Unionist is a bigot in your view.

        Your pre judged opinion on a huge group of people is what makes you the bigot here.

    • jessica July 25, 2016 at 6:24 am #

      “Unionism in my humble opinion is simply the wish to remain in the UK. That’s it full stop. After that Unionists come in every shade under the sun. You have hardline bigots, liberals, pro choice, pro life, capitalist, socialist, Christian fundamentalist, atheists, white, black etc etc”

      Perhaps we can explore this Scott.

      I would like to see all of Ireland united and in a federal union with Britain as an independent sovereign republic.

      I would like to see the continuation of the common travel area so all of the people on these islands can continue to move freely and live where they choose.

      I would like to see the continuation of free trade with Britain and to play an active co-operative part in forming new trade relations with other nations throughout the commonwealth and beyond that will create a free trade area that will in time dwarf the EU.

      I would like to see the royal family spend more time in Ireland, they clearly have an affinity with us which extends mainly south of the border anyway but the Irish President would remain our head of state.

      I would like to see Ireland drop the Euro and return to a currency pegged once more on Sterling and to support Britain’s return as the financial capital of the world while building our own financial sector in Dublin so we too like Scotland can benefit. I expect Scotland and England will share control over sterling, the closer Ireland could get into that deal the better in my opinion. Unionism will actually hinder us as it is based on division and therefore risks instability.

      So you see, unionism is not simply the wish to remain in the UK, which is changing anyway.

      Unionism is the opposition of the Irish identity and culture in part of Ireland (e.g.. denial of an Irish language act).

      Unionism is the promotion of unionist culture which includes sectarian marches, bonfires and one sided commemorations of selective past wars (e.g.. promotion of culture that will maintain sectarian division, UUP photo in front of bonfire).

      Unionism is the support of the continuance of the partition of our small country under threat of violence (e.g.. It is not for no good reason the President feared to come to Belfast without DUP support or that southern politicians drop nationalists in the north like a brick to avoid upsetting unionism).

      Unionism is the division of our people to impose one will over another in Ireland and is actually hindering the closer relationships we could have between these two islands.

      Unionism is the refusal to even consider the better future all of our people could have as a shared entity within an improved relationship with Britain (e.g. why refuse to even enter an all Ireland forum to discuss what is best for our people post brexit if it is not about division and truly is purely about the relationship with Britain, how can that even make sense – you are fooling no-one.)

      The sooner people like yourself wake up and see Unionism for what it truly is the better Scott.

      • Scott July 25, 2016 at 10:05 am #

        Im just going to go through this point by point here Jessica as there is quite a lot in this

        “I would like to see all of Ireland united and in a federal union with Britain as an independent sovereign republic.”

        This is a contradiction. How can Ireland be a independent sovereign republic but still be in the federal union with the rest of Britain. Texas can’t be a fully independent sovereign nation yet also in the federal USA. The arrangement I think your describing is a full free trade arrangement with free movement of people similar to the one we still (for a while at least) have with the EU only without the political integration. Unionists want NI to remain in a political union with the U.K. your arrangement is a economic trade one.

        “So you see, unionism is not simply the wish to remain in the UK, which is changing anyway.”

        That is exactly what Unionism is.

        “Unionism is the opposition of the Irish identity and culture in part of Ireland (e.g.. denial of an Irish language act).”

        No it is not. Irish culture is everywhere in NI and anyone who says they can’t find a way to nurture or express that culture is simply not looking hard enough. Many Unionists would also call themselves culturally Irish and I’d say there’s plenty of Unionists playing in Irish folk bands or taking Irish language classes. The opposition to the Irish language act is a DUP and possibly (I’m not 100% sure) a UUP political position. It is not a uniform position that everybody who calls themselves Unionist accepts. In fact there is no uniform political position that all Unionist agree on 100% other than a wish to remain in the Union.

        “Unionism is the promotion of unionist culture which includes sectarian marches, bonfires and one sided commemorations of selective past wars (e.g.. promotion of culture that will maintain sectarian division, UUP photo in front of bonfire).”

        Jessica there is no such thing as a Unionist culture just as there is no such thing as a nationalist culture. They are political positions not cultural movements. Bonfires, marching bands, the OO etc in my opinion are cultural practices of the loyalist working class, which I would consider more a socio-ethnic group. Ulster Scotch considered by many as part of there culture also. You can be a Unionist even if you reject both of these. You can’t apply support of these uniformly to all Unionists.

        “Unionism is the support of the continuance of the partition of our small country under threat of violence”

        Some Unionists would use the threat of violence to keep partition but in this day and age they would surely be the minority. To be a Unionist doesn’t mean a support of violence to advance your political aims, just as to be a nationalist does mean you supported the armed campaign.

        “Unionism is the division of our people to impose one will over another in Ireland and is actually hindering the closer relationships we could have between these two islands.”

        Unionism is the wish of a majority (as far as I can see) of a section of our people to wish to remain within the UK political set up. Politics will always divide people but the principles of democracy is that if the majority wish it it will happen. I am well aware that in the partition of Ireland both Unionist and Nationalists used undemocratic means to achieve there political aims. Perhaps the only true democrat amongst them all was Redmond. That however was was 100 years ago now and are where we are now. The set up now is fair and clear if the majority want a UI they will get it. That’s a system as a Unionist I’m happy enough with. Some Unionists won’t be but again we all don’t think with one mind.

        “Unionism is the refusal to even consider the better future all of our people could have as a shared entity within an improved relationship with Britain ”

        I doubt anyone would refuse to consider a better future. Your problem with the lack of engagement between the DUP and the southern government should be directed at the political party not a whole section of the community based on a single political view (unionism). Some Unionists may support closer relations with the south and some may reject them outright. There is also every opinion in between. Again there is no unified Unionist Position on this.

        “The sooner people like yourself wake up and see Unionism for what it truly is the better Scott.”

        The sooner you realise that there is all shades of unionists and that to declare yourself a Unionist only means you support remaining in the UK.

        PF put it the best, neither community is a monolith.

        While I’m sure there are some bigots in the nationalist community, I would never label a whole political positions bigots as you do on the actions of a minority.

        This is why the bigotry, in this case towards Unionism belongs to you Jessica.

        • jessica July 25, 2016 at 5:37 pm #

          “This is why the bigotry, in this case towards Unionism belongs to you Jessica.”

          In what way am I intolerant to unionists Scott?

          Because I am calling it as I see it and do not accept your lame excuse that unionism is not a bigoted ideology but a simple point of view.

          The very fact that you are all 100% totally opposed to even acknowledging such abhorrent behaviour towards nationalists in the past, shows just how deeply ingrained it is.

          • Scott July 25, 2016 at 6:44 pm #

            Jessica you say all Unionists are bigoted. You have pre judged a huge group of people based on a single political point of view regarding the constitutional position of NI. That shows your intolerance.

            You wouldn’t say Jews are all greedy money lovers

            You wouldn’t say black people are all dishonest

            You wouldn’t say French are all cowards

            Your prejudices are what make you the bigot here.

            Unionism is a political point of view regarding the constitutional question of NI, just as Nationalism is also a political point of view. Whether you buy it or not makes not one difference.

            I have no problem admitting that some people who shared one single political position did wrong and I am well aware that Nationalists/Catholics were persecuted here many years ago (before I was born BTW). However I have no inclination to try and defend, justify, condone or apologise for them as they had nothing to do with me and I never carried out or lent my support to them. There sin is not mine.

            Do you think the blame for anyone who share any political position to me should be apportioned to me? I’m a Liberal so if you find any atrocities carried in the name of liberalism my fault also, or perhaps because I’m pro EU any failings by that organisation I should apologise for.

            You have a stereotypical view of what a Unionist is and one characteristics you cite is a bigot, so if you would be so kind to answer me this.

            If Unionism is more than a political point of view then Nationalism must also be more than a political view.

            What characteristics or traits must you have before you are a Nationalist beyond simply wanting a United Ireland. What is the criteria to be a Nationalist?

          • jessica July 25, 2016 at 8:12 pm #

            “If Unionism is more than a political point of view then Nationalism must also be more than a political view.”

            Of course, in Ireland it is, more so in the north.

            I am thankful that the leadership of nationalism have been prepared to show humility and reason in response to the hurt committed in the name of nationalism / republicanism, which was and is much more than a political view. It is the struggle for independence and freedom from tyranny expressed through community and culture.

            As an individual anyone can choose their own political views, but in Ireland, as you can see even in the Stormont institutions, declaring nationalist or unionist is more than simply declaring a point of view. It is a defining element of our society which is why the very core of the institutions is based on such definitions and why the veto has been so problematic.

            You declaring yourself a unionist but distancing yourself form its past actions is line a modern day Nazi distancing themselves from Hitler.

            But worse, as it the response to a request for a simple acknowledgement of real life hurt caused in the name of unionism which to this day has never came, is utterly despicable.

          • MT July 26, 2016 at 10:03 pm #

            “I am thankful that the leadership of nationalism have been prepared to show humility and reason in response to the hurt committed in the name of nationalism / republicanism, which was and is much more than a political view.”

            Holding terror parades, ,lauding terrorists etc isn’t very humble.

            “It is the struggle for independence and freedom from tyranny expressed through community and culture.”

            What is?

            “As an individual anyone can choose their own political views, but in Ireland, as you can see even in the Stormont institutions, declaring nationalist or unionist is more than simply declaring a point of view. It is a defining element of our society which is why the very core of the institutions is based on such definitions and why the veto has been so problematic.”

            It’s just a politically correct way of saying Protestant and Catholic.

            “You declaring yourself a unionist but distancing yourself form its past actions is line a modern day Nazi distancing themselves from Hitler.”

            No it isn’t.

          • jessica July 27, 2016 at 7:45 am #

            “Holding terror parades, ,lauding terrorists etc isn’t very humble.”

            The leadership of nationalism is holding terror parades?
            When???
            You are on another planet MT.
            The only sectarian parades I know off are unionist.
            I am against all parades.

            “It’s just a politically correct way of saying Protestant and Catholic. ”

            No it isn’t. That would be even more sectarian and bigoted than it is already.
            The declaration reflects those who want partition and those who’s political ideals are to unite Ireland.
            That is fact.

            “You declaring yourself a unionist but distancing yourself form its past actions is line a modern day Nazi distancing themselves from Hitler.”
            No it isn’t.

            So tell us why should todays unionists not be expected to show acknowledgement for the past organised actions that unionism officially orchestrated which resulted in the deaths of innocent nationalists and started a bloody conflict, but the modern day Nazi party in Germany be held to account for the actions of its past?

            That is typical unionist thinking all right and reinforced my claim that unionism is a sliding scale of bigotry.

          • MT July 27, 2016 at 7:16 pm #

            “The leadership of nationalism is holding terror parades?When???”

            They have annual terror parades at Easter and occasionally throughout the year. They have events to honour dead terrorists at which PSF reps speak. Then there’s the terror playground in Newry.

            “You are on another planet MT.The only sectarian parades I know off are unionist.”

            You should open your eyes.

            “No it isn’t. That would be even more sectarian and bigoted than it is already. The declaration reflects those who want partition and those who’s political ideals are to unite Ireland.That is fact.”

            But you’re arguing that it’s more than that. You’re arguing *against* the proposition that unionism is simply a constitutional preference. So now you’re arguing against yourself.

            “You declaring yourself a unionist but distancing yourself form its past actions is line a modern day Nazi distancing themselves from Hitler.”
            No it isn’t.

            “So tell us why should todays unionists not be expected to show acknowledgement for the past organised actions that unionism officially orchestrated which resulted in the deaths of innocent nationalists and started a bloody conflict, but the modern day Nazi party in Germany be held to account for the actions of its past?”

            Your question is confused. You refer to mere “acknowledgement” in relation to unionism but being “held to account” in relation to Nazis. If the ‘modern-day Nazi party’ still defends and supports the horrors of Nazism then sure it should be accountable for such views. I’m not sure what you mean by “acknowledgement” in relation to unionism, or why you ignore nationalism.

          • jessica July 27, 2016 at 8:24 pm #

            So unionism holds thousands of parades each year, refuses to compromise over the handful of that number which are contentious and cause pointless trouble to the communities they are inflicted on, and you call the annual republican Easter commemorations terror parades?

            You are remarkable MT.

            And the terror playground, you are a geg.

            “But you’re arguing that it’s more than that. You’re arguing *against* the proposition that unionism is simply a constitutional preference. So now you’re arguing against yourself.”

            I agree that unionism is more than simply a constitutional preference, but it is the constitutional differences in opinion within our society that are acknowledged in the GFA which is the basis of the Stormont assembly and to what the declaration refers.

            “You declaring yourself a unionist but distancing yourself form its past actions is line a modern day Nazi distancing themselves from Hitler.”
            No it isn’t.”

            So you don’t think a modern day member of the Nazi party in Germany should be expected to acknowledge the actions of Hitler before supporting the ideology that he led?

            “Your question is confused. You refer to mere “acknowledgement” in relation to unionism but being “held to account” in relation to Nazis. If the ‘modern-day Nazi party’ still defends and supports the horrors of Nazism then sure it should be accountable for such views. I’m not sure what you mean by “acknowledgement” in relation to unionism, or why you ignore nationalism.”

            I find it deplorable that there should be a continuance of the Nazi party hence the stronger terminology which was unintentional so I can see what you mean.

            I think unionism is acceptable but needs reform and if it has any decency, its leadership would acknowledge the actions of its past which started a conflict.

            I assure you that it will be the only way it will draw a line under it.

            Scrutiny of the unionist and British actions here has not yet begun.

          • MT July 27, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

            “So unionism holds thousands of parades each year, refuses to compromise over the handful of that number which are contentious and cause pointless trouble to the communities they are inflicted on, and you call the annual republican Easter commemorations terror parades? You are remarkable MT.”

            You’ve clearly either missed the point or are deliberately avoiding it. You said republicans had addressed their horrific past with humility. I pointed out that holding terror parades wasn’t humble. The number of Orange parades is irrelevant.

            “And the terror playground, you are a geg.”

            Sadly not. It genuinely happened and still exists.

            “So you don’t think a modern day member of the Nazi party in Germany should be expected to acknowledge the actions of Hitler before supporting the ideology that he led?”

            Eh? Of course I do.. I already said that. Don’t you?

          • jessica July 28, 2016 at 9:07 am #

            MT, The leadership of nationalism do act with reason, humility and fairness. They reach out to all sections of our people, not only unionism.
            They are prepared to compromise and to go out of their comfort zones in the best interests of all sections of our community.

            The same cannot be said of the leadership of unionism who’s actions are based on bigotry, refusal to compromise and intransigence.

            The naming of a play park after Raymond McCreesh does not make it a terror playground. It was a democratic decision and reflective of the wishes of the community in which it resides which I support.
            Because unionism is intransigent towards any respect being shown to those who gave their lives in the hunger strikes is not surprising.

            Perhaps you should focus on acknowledging your own peoples wrongs and less on criticising others.

            “So you don’t think a modern day member of the Nazi party in Germany should be expected to acknowledge the actions of Hitler before supporting the ideology that he led? Eh? Of course I do.. I already said that. Don’t you?”

            Then we should expect the leadership of unionism to acknowledge their past wrongs, something they have failed to do to date.
            When can we expect this to happen do you think MT?

          • MT July 28, 2016 at 12:22 pm #

            “MT, The leadership of nationalism do act with reason, humility and fairness. They reach out to all sections of our people, not only unionism.
            They are prepared to compromise and to go out of their comfort zones in the best interests of all sections of our community.”

            As I said, holding terror parades, continuing to laud and justify terrorism isn’t reasonable, humble nor fair.

            “The naming of a play park after Raymond McCreesh does not make it a terror playground. It was a democratic decision and reflective of the wishes of the community in which it resides which I support.”

            Naming a kiddies’ playground after a terrorist doesn’t make it a terror playground because it was a democratic decision? Right.

          • Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 6:47 pm #

            “The very fact that you are all 100% totally opposed to even acknowledging such abhorrent behaviour towards nationalists in the past, shows just how deeply ingrained it is.”

            Examples please. Clear concise examples. No misinterpretations or such like just actual facts.

            No. 1, I’m not opposed, so your 100% number is already off. Who else?

          • jessica July 25, 2016 at 7:55 pm #

            I am referring to the elf declared unionists on this blog.

            Not one single one of you thinks it is reasonable to expect an acknowledgement from unionism about the period leading to the start of the conflict.

            Proof of my views on the bigotry associated with Irish unionism is right here laid bare for all to see.

          • Scott July 25, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

            Sorry Jessica but you didn’t answer my question.

            Some specifics of what the characteristics of a nationalist is please.

            Your quick to assign that Unionists are (100%) bigots, support the OO, Marching bands, vote DUP, UUP etc etc.

            Can you only be a Nationalist if you supported the IRA, the GAA, promote the Irish language, read James Joyce, vote SF or SDLP etc etc.

            Of course you can’t give specifics of what a nationalist is because JUST LIKE A UNIONIST there are no specifics beyond a single view on the constitutional question.

            “But worse, as it the response to a request for a simple acknowledgement of real life hurt caused in the name of unionism which to this day has never came, is utterly despicable.”

            Jessica I’ve acknowledged it, AG has also in the short time it’s been on this blog. But considering neither of us (I’m assuming for AG of course) and the majority of Unionists I would imagine had nothing to do with causing the hurt what more do you really want from us? Do you want a tearful pleading of forgiveness? Shall I throw myself at your feet and beg for forgiveness for something I had no part in?

            If you choose confront political Unionism (DUP,UUP) on there abuse of the veto or loyalist paramilitaries on there criminal and murderous actions I for one will be standing there right beside you supporting you, as I believe many many other Unionists will be also.

            You said it yourself you are damaged goods one time, but worse than that your blinkered view of Unionism shows that your possibly damaged beyond repair….

          • jessica July 26, 2016 at 5:49 pm #

            “Your quick to assign that Unionists are (100%) bigots”

            No I didn’t, I said unionism is a sliding scale of bigotry which it most definitely is and you have done nothing to dissuade that assertion.

            To explain, everyone is capable of being bigoted from time to time, I am saying that Irish unionism, in that at its very historic core is the supremacy of protestant unionism over catholic nationalism is built upon such bigotry and cannot be anything else while that sectarian division remains, that is simply not possible.

            You may be the nicest guy on earth Scott, with not a bigoted bone in your body, but when you declare yourself a unionist and come on to defend unionism, what happens?

            You defended unionism against a simple call for an official acknowledgement of its past actions which resulted in starting conflict that to date has never been addressed and are historically accurate.

            That was not an unreasonable request yet just look at the extent every single one of you went to, to make it go away.

            Unionism is like the ring of power in Lord of the rings, it corrupts and brings out bigotry even in good people it seems.

          • Am Ghobsmacht July 26, 2016 at 8:41 am #

            Jessica

            You said that not one single one of us thinks it is reasonable to expect an admission of wrong doing from unionist leaders but still you can’t quote all of us stating as such.

            I think it’s very reasonable that they do so ( I’ve never had a problem with this and i have said as such over on Slugger repeatedly, to the point that other unionists see me as a Lundy).
            Scott seemingly has no problem with it either but you chose to play the Nazi card.

            I think Jessica you DON’T want us to be open to this idea as it bursts your bitter bubble and corrodes the platform on which you stand and which you use to pour invective onto unionists.

            You should actually start listening to what people tell you and stop behaving like a big house unionist would have done back in the day which is what you’re doing btw, you’ve become what you profess to hate:

            You’re not listening.

            You’re condemning an entire community with one sweeping judgement.

            You’re using whataboutery to justify your hysteria.

            You’re harking to the bad old days when some one confronts you with logic and reason.

            You can’t see what’s in front of you.

            All you have to do is open your own church on the ravenhill road and the circle is complete.

            Now, i’ll just sit back and wait for you to ignore my points, reference a bad episode in your life and say something borderline racist but dressed up in the wool of victimhood and tell me how it’s all my fault and ask me do I feel bad…

          • jessica July 26, 2016 at 6:27 pm #

            “You said that not one single one of us thinks it is reasonable to expect an admission of wrong doing from unionist leaders but still you can’t quote all of us stating as such.”

            I said not a single one of you supported my suggestion that the leadership of unionism should make such an acknowledgement which is the truth.
            There is a page full of bluster here to prove it.

            In fact I would say you went further and attempted to put to bed any such suggestion.

            You have made your opinions crystal clear, what ever your reasons are now, you can keep them.

            “You’re using whataboutery to justify your hysteria.”

            It is not me being hysterical AG.

            I made a reasonable suggestion that unionism should acknowledge its involvement in starting the conflict and you created the hysteria.

        • PF July 25, 2016 at 5:58 pm #

          I admire your patience, Scott.

          • Scott July 25, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

            Thank you PF, although sometimes I do wonder why I even bother.

          • Jude Collins July 25, 2016 at 7:11 pm #

            ‘Say not the struggle naught availeth’, Scott…

          • PF July 25, 2016 at 7:57 pm #

            For a moment, Jude, I thought you had quoted from a Metrical Psalm I didn’t know!

          • giordanobruno July 25, 2016 at 9:45 pm #

            ….Jessica faints not nor faileth
            And as things have been they remain!

    • Simon July 25, 2016 at 8:47 pm #

      Post Famine, it’s hard to make a case for the union.

  6. KopparbergCentral July 24, 2016 at 8:23 pm #

    First sentence; “We all know Irish Unionism was founded on sectarian bigotry” No need to read any further. That’s straight off the bat giving a moral tick box to years of murder and bombing and killing and giving innocent people the grave option of being placed six foot under, because some crazy wombat justifies it, with the sentence, “We all know Irish Unionism was founded on sectarian bigotry”. If people want to know why the bombings lasted as long as they did, then seek ye no further than the mindset of Jessica.

  7. Mark July 24, 2016 at 8:34 pm #

    Ans. 1) Probably never.
    Ans. 2) No.

  8. MT July 24, 2016 at 9:22 pm #

    “in the 60s attempts at civil rights for Catholics risked accelerating this process by giving electoral equality to Catholics. This risked the whole ethos of Irish unionism which was protestant control over Catholics and people like Ian Paisley could not allow that to happen. Unionism reacted violently as it always has done, and starting killing, pogroms and mass counter demonstrations against peaceful civil rights resulting in the state forces murdering Catholics, helping groups of youths burn Catholics out of their homes in the thousands and when they lost control over the riots which resulted, they brought the British army over to restore control and then pushed them into conflict with nationalism.”

    “Unionism” reacted by granting the demands of the civil rights movement. Paisley didn’t represent unionism. “Unionism” didn’t kill or burn anyone out of their home. There were no pogroms.

    • Ryan July 25, 2016 at 5:03 am #

      ““Unionism” reacted by granting the demands of the civil rights movement. Paisley didn’t represent unionism. “Unionism” didn’t kill or burn anyone out of their home. There were no pogroms.”

      MT, you know that’s a basic lie, so why waste the energy in your hands to even type that? Its so easily disproven, why do you embarrass yourself by lying? seriously….You do this all the time. I’m being careful what I’m saying here because Jude doesn’t like insults flying and debates must be civil but are you just plain uneducated? Or are you so deluded?……

      1. Paisley didn’t represent Unionism?? He was an elected representative, he drew thousands to his rallies, including Unionist paramilitaries of all shades. So your talking nonsense there, your statement has been proved to be false.

      2. Unionism granted the civil rights to Catholics?? no they didn’t, they fought tooth and nail to keep Catholics from getting rights. Unionist elected politicians even drove around in cars with stones, bricks, bats, clubs, etc to arm mobs of Unionists who were waiting to ambush peaceful civil rights marches, they were even backed up by the RUC and B Specials. Civil Rights only came in earnest once the British Government abolished Unionist Stormont (which Unionism opposed). So again your statement has been proved to be false.

      3. Unionism didn’t kill or burn anyone out of their homes?? I guess we must’ve all imagined the 1969 riots where Unionists, backed by the RUC, were burning out Catholic families in Belfast. 5000 Catholic families had to flee to the border where the Irish Government set up refugee camps. All this is caught on numerous news reels and there’s plenty of camera footage. Again your statement has been proved to be false.

      4. Unionists didn’t commit pogroms?? History here is FULL of pogroms against Catholics by Unionists, how do you think you even came to be in Ireland? 1969 was clearly a pogrom against Catholics. Again your statement has been proved to be false.

      MT, if your the finest mind Unionism has then its finished lol But seriously, stop embarrassing yourself, stop making arguments that are simply not true. I mean, if your going to lie MT at least put a bit of effort into it, at least try to distort facts/figures and paint Unionism in a better picture that way.

      • MT July 25, 2016 at 11:43 am #

        “MT, you know that’s a basic lie, so why waste the energy in your hands to even type that?”

        It’s not a lie. On the contrary, it’s true.

        “Its so easily disproven, why do you embarrass yourself by lying?”

        It can’t be easily disproven as it’s true, and I didn’t embarrass myself by lying.

        “seriously….You do this all the time.”

        I don’t. On the contrary, I never lie.

        “I’m being careful what I’m saying here because Jude doesn’t like insults flying and debates must be civil but are you just plain uneducated? Or are you so deluded?……”

        I suspect I’m better educated than you are, judging by some of the nonsense and misunderstandings you come out with. Have you worked out how Brexit means the end of the GFA yet?

        “1. Paisley didn’t represent Unionism?? He was an elected representative, he drew thousands to his rallies, including Unionist paramilitaries of all shades. So your talking nonsense there, your statement has been proved to be false.”

        Dear me. Before 1970 Paisley wasn’t even elected. In 1970 his party won 2 seats. He stood in the 1969 election and was defeated. So, no, he didn’t represent unionism.
        Your ignorance is incredible.

        “2. Unionism granted the civil rights to Catholics?? no they didn’t, they fought tooth and nail to keep Catholics from getting rights. Unionist elected politicians even drove around in cars with stones, bricks, bats, clubs, etc to arm mobs of Unionists who were waiting to ambush peaceful civil rights marches, they were even backed up by the RUC and B Specials. Civil Rights only came in earnest once the British Government abolished Unionist Stormont (which Unionism opposed). So again your statement has been proved to be false.”

        Again you expose your terrible ignorance. Stormont legislated for the civil rights demands on housing, OMOV, gerrymandering and discrimination by 1970.

        “3. Unionism didn’t kill or burn anyone out of their homes?? I guess we must’ve all imagined the 1969 riots where Unionists, backed by the RUC, were burning out Catholic families in Belfast. 5000 Catholic families had to flee to the border where the Irish Government set up refugee camps. All this is caught on numerous news reels and there’s plenty of camera footage. Again your statement has been proved to be false.”

        You seem to be confusing a small number of individual unionists with unionism. Those who burned out Roman Catholics didn’t represent unionism. Just as those nationalists who burned and murdered didn’t represent nationalism. The vast majority of people always opposed such crimes.

        “4. Unionists didn’t commit pogroms?? History here is FULL of pogroms against Catholics by Unionists, how do you think you even came to be in Ireland? 1969 was clearly a pogrom against Catholics. Again your statement has been proved to be false.”

        There were no pogroms. The use of the term is an exaggeration: part of the MOPE philosophy that tries to equate Catholics in NI with blacks in South Africa and the US and, in this case, Jews in Tsarist Russia.

        You should ask yourself why you and other extreme nationalists must depend on exaggerations to support your views.

        “MT, if your the finest mind Unionism has then its finished lol But seriously, stop embarrassing yourself, stop making arguments that are simply not true. I mean, if your going to lie MT at least put a bit of effort into it, at least try to distort facts/figures and paint Unionism in a better picture that way.”

        I haven’t begun embarrassing myself therefore it’s not possible for me to stop. I haven’t made any arguments that aren’t true and I haven’t lied.

        You should make an effort to overcome your ignorance about the history of Northern Ireland. Do some reading: seek out unbiased sources.

    • jessica July 25, 2016 at 5:46 am #

      Let me know which but is untrue MT

      http://www.judecollins.com/2015/12/truth-justice-and-reconciliation-part-3-by-jessica-mcgrann/

    • ben madigan July 25, 2016 at 11:56 am #

      this quick précis on hallmarks of Unionism/orangeism/Loyalism will help re-balance a rather warped perspective

      https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/12/29/hallmarks-of-orange-loyalism-then-1795-and-now-then-2013/

  9. Pat the hat July 24, 2016 at 9:50 pm #

    Robert everything that Jessica has stated here is factually correct ,when i read it i thought that is exactly what happend here ,and this is the history i will be telling my children you must have been told lies and belived them , i will also tell my children that bad things where done by both sides , but i have no doubt in my head that the british and unionist started this conflict . And i believe that any independent historian would agree with Jessicas writings .

    • jessica July 25, 2016 at 8:34 am #

      I would also like to point out Pat, I am not trying to apportion blame as much as I would like to see some genuine acknowledgement so we can move on.

      I know that in conflict all sides committed evil deeds, that is normal in conflict, I don’t know any that did not involve such acts. But how can there be genuine reconciliation between a divided community when the leadership of unionism takes an unjustified high moral stance and dishes out insults and lays all of the blame on nationalism and refuses to acknowledge any wrong doing.

      The fact that it is historically accurate makes it all the more astonishing that they refuse to reason.

    • MT July 25, 2016 at 1:30 pm #

      “And i believe that any independent historian would agree with Jessicas writings ”

      Perhaps you could cite a few of them.

    • Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 7:13 pm #

      Pat

      The main bones for contention in Jessica’s piece are the following:

      “unionism is a sliding scale of bigotry, and that all unionists share the same DNA in terms of anti-nationalism in Ireland.”

      “Unionism is suddenly morphing into no more than a political view”

      “they brought the British army over to restore control and then pushed them into conflict with nationalism.”

      Do you really so no cause for objection? Labelling an entire community as ‘bigots’? Is that what the civil rights marches were for?

      • jessica July 25, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

        It actually isn’t AG.

        It is the fact that Irish unionists proudly proclaim to be Irish unionist, but ask them to acknowledge the actions committed in their name and the drop it like a hot potato and say they don’t vote for any of the unionist parties listed. So how the hell are you unionists and if it is simply a preference, then you are not really unionists as in the same meaning it has in declaring in Stormont?

        If you are ashamed of unionisms past, perhaps you should think twice about declaring yourself a unionist.

  10. Ryan July 25, 2016 at 6:04 am #

    “Is it simply a numbers game and when facing a terminal decline and facing irrelevance, only then will they change?”

    You should read Susan McKays book (Klaxon at the ready MT?) Jessica, “Northern Protestants”. I’ve read it twice already and its a really good insight into Unionist/Protestant views.

    One thing I always remember from the book was Susan’s (who is a Derry Protestant, BTW) theory that many Unionists might even WANT to be “doomed”. Now that may sound really strange to people and they might not understand what Susan means but I’ll try to explain. Susan means that some Unionists, like Paisley, have an “All or Nothing” attitude. They wont accept anything in between. That certainly makes sense as we see today, its Unionism holding back progress. Basically Unionism wants a pure, ethnic Protestant Ulster, anything less than that is unacceptable, therefore consider today’s arrangement “doom” or a failure for them. The UDA even drew up a plan in 1993 (backed by the DUP) to bring about a “Protestant Ulster” by ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Catholics.

    We see examples of this “All or Nothing” attitude from Unionists all the time. We obviously have Paisley and all his speeches. In Susan’s book you will see pages about Unionist women on the fields of Drumcree calling for a “Civil War” in order to “sort this out once and for all!”. We often see facebook comments from Unionists calling for the same thing, indeed its not uncommon to find Unionist comments like “We had an opportunity in 1969 and should’ve finished the job”, obviously referring to the burning out of Catholic families or ethnic cleansing of Catholics.

    We also see a “Doomed” attitude from Unionists. For example we always hear “Them’uns (Catholics) get everything”. I’ve read facebook pages from Unionists that say “We’re finished, we’ve been sold out”. There’s often media articles on how Unionists feel they are the losers of the peace process, despite NI still currently being in the UK. We seen a flood of false grievances from Unionists during the Flag protests. I could go on. I mean all you have to do is listen to Jim Wilson and your hit by a torrent of false grievances lol

    Are all Unionists like this? No but a large minority or even a small majority ARE like this. They have this “All or Nothing” attitude.

    I think when Unionism is an irrelevant minority (as David Trimble foresaw in 1998, hence why he snatched at the Good Friday Agreement) I think the reasonable Unionists will make their voices heard finally and will come to a settlement with Republicans, which could involve Irish Unity or Joint Rule. I think all the extremist Unionists will either fly the nest when Irish Unity comes or they may end up in prison because they will try to stop it by the use of terrorism.

    • Robert July 25, 2016 at 8:20 am #

      Is that all you have Ryan to quote a book that is almost 20 years old perhaps you need to leave the safety of West Belfast and speak to people who are non republicans it might broaden your mind.

      • Ryan July 25, 2016 at 8:30 pm #

        “Is that all you have Ryan to quote a book that is almost 20 years old perhaps you need to leave the safety of West Belfast and speak to people who are non republicans it might broaden your mind.”

        Considering I’ve maybe been to more countries in the World before the age of 10 than you have in your entire life Robert, I’d say more mind is pretty broad. I actually chuckled after reading that part of your comment, you have to see the funny side of a Unionist telling others to “broaden” their minds.

        I have spoken and debate with many Unionists, in and outside of West Belfast. All the discussions were very friendly but ended in disagreement. One thing I’ve noticed in all the discussions I’ve maybe had is that Unionists like to hurry along and give just fleeting acknowledge to their wrongs, those wrongs was what caused all the issues in the first place.

        Age of a book is irrelevant Robert. Susan’s book is a book that actually interviews UNIONISTS, its not some Historian reading up on and regurgitating Unionist history or giving theories. This is straight from the horses mouth, Unionists of all shades giving their opinion and views. I don’t know of any other book like that, if you do then I’d happily buy it.

        • Robert July 26, 2016 at 8:41 am #

          It seems Ryan that travel hasnt caused your mind to expand.

          All the discussions were very friendly but ended in disagreement.

          That seems very telling.

    • Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 9:22 am #

      Ryan

      You have a point in there regarding the ‘doom dreaming’ aspect.

      It’s a curious mentality that I’ve uncovered over the past few years, some of the more bizarre and eccentric ones seemingly want some sort of ‘wandering tribe’ finale.

      “Basically Unionism wants a pure, ethnic Protestant Ulster, anything less than that is unacceptable, therefore consider today’s arrangement “doom” or a failure for them. The UDA even drew up a plan in 1993 (backed by the DUP) to bring about a “Protestant Ulster” by ethnic cleansing and mass murder of Catholics.”

      This is where the likes of yourself and Jessica get off at the wrong bus stop.

      Had your book focused on jumper wearing Protestants who like ITV drama, a trip down the coast every weekend, rugby and the occasional shopping trip to Glasgow or Dublin then

      a/ The book would be boring
      b/ You wouldn’t be able to tar us ALL with the same brush.

      And that’s what Jessica and others are doing:

      Let me give you examples of some of my unionist friends and family:

      1 – English born (Ulster parentage), ex- British army. Despises loyalists and flag burning and Rangers culture.
      2 – Moi – Pro-Northern Irish, despises bigotry and paranoid waffle
      3 – A Hindu friend of mine. A ‘business unionist’.
      4 – A pro-norn Iron GAWA fan. Hates parades. Hates flegs. Athiest.
      5 – (and this is a large group, if not most of my unionist friends) – Ex-pats, agnostic. Anti-bigotry

      That is not an unusual mix for your modern day unionist.

      Is that acknowledged by Jessica et al?

      NO.

      BIGOTS the lot of us.

      On of the many reasons for political unionism’s wacky policies and ideas was the idea that ALL Catholics/nationalists were potential 5th columnists.

      They couldn’t countenance the idea that there’d be Catholics who aren’t ‘bovvered’.

      Now, how is the sweeping generalistions that we read on here constantly any different from the close-minded foundations of the old unionist monolith?

      • jessica July 25, 2016 at 4:48 pm #

        AG, if unionism wasn’t so bigoted, we would be discussing Irish reunification as out Taoiseach suggested.

        The reaction from unionist leadership was bigoted and that is what has always went down well with the unionist electorate.

        If you choose to be a unionist, you live with the consequences of the actions of the leadership of unionism which is most definitely bigoted and always has been.

        The fact that you supposedly moderate and non bigoted unionists do not think the actions of unionism in the period outlined deserves any acknowledgement from the leadership of unionism says all I need to hold my views intact.

        Your supremacist attitudes could not allow you to stop so low as to apologise to Irish nationalists for the actions of the past, though the DUP were more than happy to call for sackcloth and ashes.

        You are even intolerant towards the suggestion of acknowledging the actions of unionism.

        Do you really think this desperate response to a reasonable request is helping your claims that unionism is not based on bigotry.

        Quite the opposite in my book. It makes me thankful that republicans could apologise for past wrongs and can make a genuine effort at reconciliation.

        Unionism is a lost cause I fear.

        • Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 6:25 pm #

          “AG, if unionism wasn’t so bigoted, we would be discussing Irish reunification as out Taoiseach suggested.

          The reaction from unionist leadership was bigoted and that is what has always went down well with the unionist electorate.

          Nope. Incorrect.

          A border poll and the machinations of a UI are not the domain of unionist politicians, they have no control over them.
          By the nature of being unionist they will automatically oppose them ergo such mechanisms are independent of them. Logically.

          “If you choose to be a unionist, you live with the consequences of the actions of the leadership of unionism which is most definitely bigoted and always has been.”

          So if I chose not to be a unionist then somehow all the sectarian and bigotry contributing machinery of divided education system, peace walls, the loyal orders etc will just ‘stop’?

          “The fact that you supposedly moderate and non bigoted unionists do not think the actions of unionism in the period outlined deserves any acknowledgement from the leadership of unionism says all I need to hold my views intact.”

          I challenge you to back that up with absolute quotes.
          Not misquotes, extrapolations or “well, you know what he really means” but actual quotes, when did I ever say that I “do not think the actions of unionism in the period outlined deserves any acknowledgement from the leadership of unionism says all I need to hold my views intact.”?

          Go on now, quote it and write it.

          If you can’t then apologise for that slur.

          “You are even intolerant towards the suggestion of acknowledging the actions of unionism.”

          Another non-truth.
          I’m more than happy for discussing them, I just object to your Willie Fraser-esque reduction of most topics to a particular era.

          “Do you really think this desperate response to a reasonable request is helping your claims that unionism is not based on bigotry.”

          It’s reasonable to ask unionists acknowledge their past and for things that were done before many of them were born, likewise it is also reasonable to acknowledge that many unionists are innocent of these acts and want nothing to do with them, something you are seemingly incapable of acknowledging.

          How different are you really from unionist politicians if you’re equally guilty of similar blinker-wearing?

          ” It makes me thankful that republicans could apologise for past wrongs and can make a genuine effort at reconciliation”

          Which wrongs did republicans apologise for? http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-128258/IRA-issues-apology-killings.html

          • jessica July 25, 2016 at 8:31 pm #

            “I’m more than happy for discussing them, I just object to your Willie Fraser-esque reduction of most topics to a particular era.”

            Are you suggesting the actions of unionism resulting in thousands of people being burned out of their homes and having to move into field hospitals in the south, including members of my own family, is nothing more than the ramblings of a Willie Fraser-esque fruitcake.

            Is that very opinion not intolerance towards a very reasonable opinion purely because it is different from your own?

            And not least insulting to many nationalists who have had family suffer similarity or know people who did.

            I assure you that it happened.

            I had one family home burned out who emigrated and another family out by the army who had to move to Wicklow before returning to live in Craigavon.

            But that doesn’t matter as long as todays unionists don’t have to feel bad about it.

            Don’t mention the war or at least what caused it!

        • Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 7:15 pm #

          I ask you too Jessica, are the following people ‘bigots’?

          1 – English born (Ulster parentage), ex- British army. Despises loyalists and flag burning and Rangers culture.
          2 – Moi – Pro-Northern Irish, despises bigotry and paranoid waffle
          3 – A Hindu friend of mine. A ‘business unionist’.
          4 – A pro-norn Iron GAWA fan. Hates parades. Hates flegs. Athiest.
          5 – (and this is a large group, if not most of my unionist friends) Ex-pats, agnostic. Anti-bigotry, so-so on the constitutional question

          • jessica July 25, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

            AG, I would of course not possibly say you or any of your friends are bigots.
            Or any individual for that matter.

            But I would say is that the behaviour of the unionist political leadership has got away with being rife with bigotry for far too long which is why you struggle to acknowledge your own flaws. It is this bad example given at the top that filters down into working class communities and manifests in the flag burning rangers culture your soldier friend despises.
            I believe attacking the working class loyalist is attacking the symptom and ignoring the cause.

            Perhaps he should instead consider why these people he despises act in this way and why unionist culture is what it is.

            Northern Ireland is part of one country which has been divided for sectarian reasons. There is absolutely nothing wrong with supporting a northern Ireland football team or any sporting team for that matter.

            I have no idea what a business unionist is, perhaps you could explain that one to me, so likewise, why should I consider your Hindu friend a bigot?.

            I would like to hear their opinions on whether they feel the leadership of unionism should acknowledge the actions of the unionist leadership that started the conflict.

            Perhaps you could relay them since you brought them into this and it would keep us on topic?

        • Am Ghobsmacht July 26, 2016 at 8:24 am #

          Jessica

          If you have to avoid answering the majority of points put your way and deliberately misconstrue the only point that you deign to address then perhaps your argument is very strong.

          My Willie Fraser comment was designed to highlight that no matter what the topic you simply ignore all and sundry and go off on a rant about unionist wrongs.

          And how did you answer said point? Guess…

          • Am Ghobsmacht July 26, 2016 at 8:26 am #

            *ISN’T very strong. Stoopid auto correct…

  11. John cassidy July 25, 2016 at 6:33 am #

    If you google the religious demographics of the occupied six counties,the ONLY reason there is a ‘protestant majority’ is because they add up ALL CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS THAT ARE NOT CATHOLIC,
    Lutheran,Church of Ireland, Presbyterian,Methodist, Jehovah’s witness’,Quakers,etc,etc,etc
    basically ANY christian religion that isn’t Catholic
    and ALL of those groups make up a COMBINED protestant majority.
    There is no such single religion as ‘protestant’, the term is derived from the word ‘protest’ so ANY break away group that has separated (protested) from the official Catholic church is added together to create a fake ‘protestant majority’..
    It is deceitful at best,and a down right LIE in Truth.. facts all checkable on Google.Even with this con the ‘majority’ is LESS THAN ONE PERCENT.

    • Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 9:24 am #

      So, if I have this right, the Protestant majority in the North ONLY exists when you add together all the people who belong to a PROTESTANT religion?

      We’re through the looking glass here people….

    • MT July 25, 2016 at 11:05 am #

      “f you google the religious demographics of the occupied six counties,the ONLY reason there is a ‘protestant majority’ is because they add up ALL CHRISTIAN DENOMINATIONS THAT ARE NOT CATHOLIC,
      Lutheran,Church of Ireland, Presbyterian,Methodist, Jehovah’s witness’,Quakers,etc,etc,etc
      basically ANY christian religion that isn’t Catholic
      and ALL of those groups make up a COMBINED protestant majority.
      There is no such single religion as ‘protestant’, the term is derived from the word ‘protest’ so ANY break away group that has separated (protested) from the official Catholic church is added together to create a fake ‘protestant majority’..
      It is deceitful at best,and a down right LIE in Truth.. facts all checkable on Google.Even with this con the ‘majority’ is LESS THAN ONE PERCENT.”

      Eh? Protestants are a minority now

    • KopparbergCentral July 25, 2016 at 1:23 pm #

      Protestants were the original freedom fighters against a religious dogma that had grown, fat, imperial, hypocritical and greedy. It didn’t do what it said on the tin anymore.

  12. Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 9:09 am #

    “unionism is a sliding scale of bigotry, and that all unionists share the same DNA in terms of anti-nationalism in Ireland.”

    I shall then inform my non-Protestant friends, immigrants and pro-status-quo voters that they are in fact bigots.

    I’m sure my Hindu mate will be most amused to find out that he’s a bigot.
    And there’s a wee old Belgian woman in a neighbouring village, I wonder what the Flemish word for bigot is?
    I might ask her when I inform her that she is one.
    Tina McKenzie? Bigot.
    John Gorman? Bigot.
    Linda Ervine (she who is reviving the Irish language in unionist estates)? Bigot.


    bigot

    /ˈbɪɡət/

    noun

    noun: bigot; plural noun: bigots; a person who is intolerant towards those holding different opinions.

    I think that says it all really…

    *INSERT DIATRIBE ABOUT UNIONISM’S PAST HERE*

  13. paddykool July 25, 2016 at 2:20 pm #

    Maybe it would be an idea before adding your tuppence worth , to state your age and where you might have resided when the conflict kicked off here in the 1960’s….just to get some idea as to whether or not your opinion was based on personal knowledge or just something that someone whispered in your ear. When someone like “MT” adds a comment , it seems to simply be a “cut and paste” quote from someone else’s work with no real critique.It leaves me wondering just what knowledge some of the comments are actually based on.

    Well …I suppose you had to be there…in the 1960’s , I mean.
    Many people can’t remember the 1960s as the old joke goes.”If you can remember the 1960s , you weren’t really there”. That’s a joke ….right?
    The fact is, I can remember some of the 1960’s very clearly and some parts of it are also in the selective newspaper files of the day or on the fading television newsreels. You could possibly look them up and get a sense of how history developed by checking the files in a good library. It was a very different place from nowadays, of course. I know memory can be selective too. Everyone is like that . If you could remember every single thing you did , you’d probably be suffering from some form of autism.
    The facts are there alright. There was a push for civil rights because of some dodgy issues about discrimination in housing and demonstrations began on the streets… and Ian Paisley didn’t like that idea very much and organised counter -demonstrations.This brought violence onto the streets . He was backed by the police and the B Men for the most part because this was his community wearing those uniforms. That’s a fact . The B-Men shot the first unarmed man on the streets of Armagh as he came home from the pub. There was a carload of them and the story goes they panicked. That’s a fact .It happened. The man was murdered…..no ifs and no buts. People were burned out of their homes by loyalist/ unionist mobs in Belfast and many left their homes as refugees and crossed the border or went towards Craigavon or Lurgan where they eventually settled. That happens to be a fact too.Many families still have those stories in their family history. The first proper violence was carried out by Gusty Spence a couple of years before that . Gusty was a loyalist/unionist.That’s a fact too. The army was later brought in to protect the Catholic /Nationalists who welcomed them at first because they were frightened by the assaults on their homes . That’s a fact too.So that’s how it started in the 1960’s .That’s a fact . you can check it all out on the internet or in books and documentaries but it helps if you were actually alive and old enough at the time to understand what was happening .That’s a fact too.
    As far as unionism’s history in Ireland goes , that can easily be checked out in the historical record .Northern Ireland was set up and specifically shaped as a six counties state to accomodate unionism’s need to have a majority. Five counties was too littlea nd seven was too big, so the historical nine counties of Ulster lost three . Nobody wanted Ireland divided like that except for unionists , but they got their way through threat of violence.I’m afraid that’s a fact too and can easily be checked. So what is the problem .?Anyone who can read can check it all out . It helps if you were there and experienced it with your own eyes and ears of course , but the unionist leaders of the present day apparently have no notion how to take a cold ,clear look at their past and see the obvious holes in their logic. Maybe they haven’t been reading their historical record or maybe the had their fingers in their ears , their masks over their eyes and noseplugs up their noses, because they certainly don’t seem to hav e lived in the same world as I have . Then again , some people have great problems with the facts.That’s a fact too.

    • MT July 25, 2016 at 4:15 pm #

      “The first proper violence was carried out by Gusty Spence a couple of years before that . Gusty was a loyalist/unionist.That’s a fact too”

      So the IRA campaign 1956-62 didn’t happen?

      • paddykool July 26, 2016 at 12:27 pm #

        MT…Are we talking about why the present politicians with a unionist agenda can’t see the mote in their own eye, in reference to the violence of theTroubles and the origin of that specific violence and their part in it , or not? We all know about the republican violence and why that happened. It on public record mostly.What we don’t hear is why unionism thinks the Troubles kicked -off , their part in that conflict…and continued unabated , dividing the place right down the middle for the best part of thirty years . If you listened to unionism , it was all someone else’s fault and nothing at al to do with them and how they ran the place.
        I think that was the point of entry for this one. Unionism may be a many -faceted thing now in the 21st century, but back in the 1960’s the Ulster Unionist Party represented the entire voice of unionism and by default Protestanism and Orangeism.. and even when Paisley appeared on the scene as a rabble-rousing Roaring Hannah, unionism still spoke with a single voice when it came to voting in politicians or organising huge street rallies. Those that didn’t necessarily agree or possibly had a more socialist or left-wing agenda than those that ruled them by class , mostly kept their mouths tightly shut or sat on their hands, but by their silence they supported what was being done in their name .You ended up in a situation where working -class protestants literally voted for conservative unionist agendas where they might have been better voting for a party that could actually do them some good. It was in this kind of context where the civil -rights movement might have better suited them.
        We know from the historical record how we got to the position ending in the IRA campaign which ended in 1962. We can go back and trawl through 800 years of it. I remember that early 1960s period because I was a ten -year old child at the time and there was still a little evidence of that campaign to be seen .I have to say it seemed like something from another era by that time as the 1960s kicked off. . It was laughably low-level stuff compared to what began six-years later in 1968. It wasn’t street-level warfare and amounted to blowing up the odd mostly forgotten minor police-station. The general public mostly thought it was all “old hat” by that time.There’s a very good possibility that “normal” life might have actually bedded down properly from that time except for unionism’s latent paranoia. There was a crass over-reaction to the demands for civil rights (and not just civil rights for nationalist/catholics , either. This was a mixed movement).That stupidity …and boy was it ever stupid… and blackthorn- stick backwoods buffonery by Paisley and his assorted gangs , led to the violence on the streets where the people who also needed those same reforms were used as cannon- fodder and foot-soldiers to beat up their neighbours demanding badly needed electoral and housing -reforms themselves.Yes …people were manipulated …what else is new?
        On the question of the threat of unionist violence earlier in the 20th century… well we all know that they were the first to import arms in an act of treason and direct opposition to the Westminster government.You could start there too if you wanted to place where the violence began. you could start in so many places really. Their leaders never wanted Ireland divided at all. They wanted it to stay just as it was as a 32 county unit connected and united with Britain. Unionism was actually very content with Ireland as a 32 county unit …just so long as it connrcted umbilically to England , Scotland and Wales and was not a republic .They had a big thing about being ruled by a monarchy whereas many nations had settled for self -ruled republics.They didn’t want an independant united Ireland without that royalist connection. What they then eventually wanted was a portion of Ireland where they could be the dominant voice so the only way that was possible was to select the exact number of counties that would give them that edge . They had some idea that the population might simply stay that way or that those of an Irish nationalist aspect might drift off into the new Republic of 26 counties , leaving them to their own devices. What happened was that they eventually became afraid that their dominance was gradually ebbing away and that the balance of power could very well swing in the other direction eventually .That ‘s exactly what eventually began to happen. It’s still steadily happening .There were low-level republican campaigns right up until the 1950’s but when we entered the 1960s that was all but spent. When the Troubles eventually kicked off there was no republican response at all. Then the Provisional IRA became a new force as a response to the ongoing unionist/loyalist violence. We all know there was violence across the board but we all have to sometime accept that we are all equally responsible for it depending on which part of the timeline you use as your jumping-off point. That’s why i find some of these unionist observations incredibly obtuse.

        • MT July 26, 2016 at 10:09 pm #

          “MT…Are we talking about why the present politicians with a unionist agenda can’t see the mote in their own eye, in reference to the violence of theTroubles and the origin of that specific violence and their part in it , or not?”

          I don’t know what you were talking about, but I was talking about the false claim that Gusty Spence carried out the ‘first proper violence’.

          • paddykool July 27, 2016 at 1:59 pm #

            You’re a great fan of the repetitive “cut-and -paste” technique MT, as an easy way to score a point rather than to make a reasoned response , so you ,more than anyone will appreciate my using the very same method to carefully explain how the 1960’s panned out in a fairly concise way. This is the historical record but of course it is not history for me .It’s only the background of my teenage years as I lived them. I can’t say fairer than that. If this isn’t being taught in schools , you’ll have to ask yourself ,”Why not ?” because it fairly explains to everyone how we got to this point :

            1960–1969 :

            Since 1964, civil rights activists had been protesting against the discrimination against Catholics and Irish nationalists by the Ulster Protestant and unionist government of Northern Ireland. The civil rights movement called for: ‘one man, one vote’; the end to gerrymandered electoral boundaries; the end to discrimination in employment and in the allocation of public housing; repeal of the Special Powers Act; and the disbanding of the Ulster Special Constabulary (more commonly known as the B-Specials, an overwhelmingly Protestant reserve police force which was known for police brutality toward Catholics).

            1966 :
            April :Loyalists led by Ian Paisley, a Protestant fundamentalist preacher, founded the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee (UCDC) to oppose the civil rights movement. It set up a paramilitary-style wing called the Ulster Protestant Volunteers (UPV).[

            21 May: A loyalist group calling itself the Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) issued a statement declaring war on the Irish Republican Army (IRA). The group claimed to be composed of “heavily armed Protestants dedicated to this cause”. At the time, the IRA was not engaged in armed action, and Irish nationalists were marking the 50th anniversary of the Easter Rising. Some unionists warned “that a revival of the IRA was imminent”.

            May–June : The UVF carried out three attacks on Catholics in Belfast. In the first, a Protestant civilian (Matilda Gould) died when UVF members tried to firebomb the Catholic-owned pub beside her house but accidentally struck her home. In the second, a Catholic civilian (John Patrick Scullion) was shot dead as he walked home. In the third, the UVF opened fire on three Catholic civilians as they left a pub, killing one (Peter Ward, a native of the Republic of Ireland) and wounding the other two.

            1968

            20 June:Civil rights activists (including Stormont MP Austin Currie) protested against discrimination in the allocation of housing by illegally occupying a house in Caledon, County Tyrone. An unmarried Protestant woman (the secretary of a local Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) politician) had been given the house ahead of Catholic families with children. The protesters were forcibly removed by the Royal Ulster Constabulary (RUC).

            24 August : Northern Ireland’s first civil rights march was held. Many more marches would be held over the following year. Loyalists attacked some of the marches and organized counter-demonstrations to get the marches banned.
            ]
            5 October : A Northern Ireland Civil Rights Association march was to take place in Derry. When the loyalist Apprentice Boys announced its intention to hold a march at the same place and time, the Government banned the civil rights march. When civil rights activists defied the ban, RUC officers surrounded the marchers and beat them indiscriminately and without provocation.Over 100 people were injured, including a number of MPs.This sparked two days of serious rioting in Derry between Catholics and the RUC.

            9 October :About 2,000 students from Queen’s University Belfast tried to march to Belfast City Hall in protest against police brutality on 5 October in Derry. The march was blocked by loyalists led by Ian Paisley. After the demonstration, a student civil rights group—People’s Democracy—was formed.

            1969 :

            4 January A People’s Democracy march between Belfast and Derry was repeatedly attacked by loyalists. At Burntollet it was ambushed by 200 loyalists and off-duty police (RUC) officers armed with iron bars, bricks and bottles. The marchers claimed that police did little to protect them. When the march arrived in Derry it was broken up by the RUC, which sparked serious rioting between Irish nationalists and the RUC. That night, RUC officers went on a rampage in the Bogside area of Derry; attacking Catholic homes, attacking and threatening residents, and hurling sectarian abuse. Residents then sealed off the Bogside with barricades to keep the police out, creating “Free Derry”.

            March–April: Members of the UVF and UPV bombed water and electricity installations in Northern Ireland, blaming them on the dormant IRA and on elements of the civil rights movement. The loyalists intended to bring down the Ulster Unionist Party (UUP) Prime Minister of Northern Ireland, Terence O’Neill, who had promised some concessions to the civil rights movement. There were six bombings and all were widely blamed on the IRA. As a response, British soldiers were sent to guard installations. Unionist support for O’Neill waned, and on 28 April he resigned as Prime Minister.

            17 April : People’s Democracy activist Bernadette Devlin was the youngest woman ever elected to Westminster, a record which stood until Mhairi Black’s election in 2015.

            19 April : During clashes with civil rights marchers in Derry, RUC officers entered the house of uninvolved Catholic civilian Samuel Devenny, and beat him along with two of his teenage daughters.[13] One of the daughters was beaten unconscious as she lay recovering from surgery.[14] Devenny suffered a heart attack and died on 17 July from his injuries.

            13 July : During clashes with nationalists throwing stones at an Orange Hall in Dungiven, RUC officers beat Francis McCloskey, a Catholic civilian (aged 67). He died of his injuries the next day. Many consider this the first death of the Troubles.

            5 August :The UVF planted their first bomb in the Republic of Ireland, damaging the RTÉ Television Centre in Dublin.

            12–14 August: Battle of the Bogside – during an Apprentice Boys march, serious rioting erupted in Derry between Irish nationalists and the RUC. RUC officers, backed by loyalists, entered the nationalist Bogside in armoured cars and tried to suppress the riot by using CS gas, water cannon and eventually firearms. The almost continuous rioting lasted for two days.

            14–17 August :Northern Ireland riots of August 1969 – in response to events in Derry, Irish nationalists held protests throughout Northern Ireland. Some of these became violent. In Belfast, loyalists responded by attacking nationalist districts. Rioting also erupted in Newry, Armagh, Crossmaglen, Dungannon, Coalisland and Dungiven. Six Catholics and two Protestants were shot dead and at least 133 were treated for gunshot wounds. Scores of houses and businesses were burnt out, most of them owned by Catholics. Thousands of families, mostly Catholics, were forced to flee their homes and refugee camps were set up in the Republic.
            The British Army was deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland, which marked the beginning of Operation Banner.

            11 October : Three people were shot dead during street violence in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast. Two were Protestant civilians (George Dickie and Herbert Hawe) shot by the British Army and one was an RUC officer (Victor Arbuckle) shot by the UVF. Arbuckle was the first RUC officer to be killed in the Troubles. The loyalists “had taken to the streets in protest at the Hunt Report, which recommended the disbandment of the B Specials and disarming of the RUC”.

            October–December :The UVF detonated bombs in the Republic of Ireland. In Dublin it detonated a car bomb near the Garda Síochána central detective bureau.[19] It also bombed a power station at Ballyshannon, a Wolfe Tone memorial in Bodenstown, and the Daniel O’Connell monument in Dublin.
            December A split formed in the Irish Republican Army, creating what was to become the Official IRA and Provisional IRA.[citation needed]
            1970–1979

            1970 :

            31 March Following an Orange Order march, intense riots erupted on the Springfield Road in Belfast. Violence lasted for three days, and the British Army used CS gas for the first time in large quantities. About 38 soldiers and dozens of civilians were injured.

            3 April : Ian Freeland—the British Army’s overall commander in Northern Ireland—announced that anyone throwing petrol bombs would be shot dead if they did not heed a warning from soldiers.

            19 June : Edward Heath became Prime Minister of the United Kingdom after winning a majority in the general election.

            27-28 June: Following the arrest of Bernadette Devlin, intense riots erupted in parts of Derry and Belfast. Further violence erupted in Belfast following Orange marches past Catholic neighbourhoods. This led to gun battles between republicans and loyalists. Seven people were killed.

            3–5 July: Falls Curfew – a British Army raid in the Falls district of Belfast developed into a riot between soldiers and residents and then gun battles between soldiers and the ‘Official’ IRA. The British Army sealed off the area, imposed a 36-hour curfew and raided hundreds of homes under the cover of CS gas. Four Catholic civilians (Charles O’Neill, William Burns, Patrick Elliman and Zbigniew Uglik) were killed by the British Army, sixty were injured and 300 were arrested. Fifteen soldiers were shot by the OIRA.
            2 August Rubber bullets were used for the first time.

            August The constitutional nationalist Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) was formed.

    • jessica July 25, 2016 at 4:54 pm #

      Had the roles been reversed Harry, I would want the leadership of nationalism to acknowledge such abhorrent wrongs, to allow us to move past it if nothing else.

      The unanimous and vehement response of so called moderate unionists in opposition to such an acknowledgement is not lost on me.

      • Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 7:24 pm #

        “The unanimous and vehement response of so called moderate unionists in opposition to such an acknowledgement is not lost on me.”

        Name, shame and quote them Jessica. Who has stated their ‘opposition’ to such acknowledgements?

        Simply cut & paste.

        • jessica July 25, 2016 at 9:21 pm #

          Answer for yourself AG.

          I am saying it would be welcome to put it mildly if the present leadership of unionism would acknowledge its past actions and the hurt which they have caused.

          Why is this so unreasonable if unionism no longer has a supremacy complex.

          It is like asking a KKK member to say they were wrong for hanging blacks in the past.

          You say you are different AG, but this is not an unreasonable request.

        • paddykool July 26, 2016 at 1:18 pm #

          I think what Jessica means in this respect ,Am Ghob is that there is a loud coterie of unionist voices , such as Gregory Campbell , for example or Edwin Poots , Jeffrey Donaldson and Nelson McCausland,.. or even Ian Paisley Junior,( who might be expected to know what his father did)…and even someone as low-level as Willie Frazer….. who seem to still be still fighting a war with their neighbours , in every respect and have no inner knowledge that they just might be in some part of that war’s origin story and maybe even a very profound part of why it happened in the first place. There seems to be an unawreness that they might have something to do with any of it other than defending “Our Wee Ulster” form those bad guys..

      • paddykool July 26, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

        I can see that Jessica and i concur totally. Wrong is still wrong …no matter which quarter it comes from.

    • MT July 25, 2016 at 6:35 pm #

      “As far as unionism’s history in Ireland goes , that can easily be checked out in the historical record .Northern Ireland was set up and specifically shaped as a six counties state to accomodate unionism’s need to have a majority. Five counties was too littlea nd seven was too big, so the historical nine counties of Ulster lost three . Nobody wanted Ireland divided like that except for unionists , but they got their way through threat of violence.I’m afraid that’s a fact too and can easily be checked. So what is the problem .?”

      As far as nationalism’s history in Ireland goes , that can easily be checked out in the historical record .They wanted to set up and specifically shape Ireland as a 32 counties state to accomodate nationalism’s need to have a majority. 26 counties was too little so they demanded 32, dismissing entirely the wishes of unionists. . Nobody wanted the British Isles divided except for nationalists , but they got their way through threat of violence.I’m afraid that’s a fact too and can easily be checked. So what is the problem .?

      • paddykool July 27, 2016 at 2:04 pm #

        Se above MT…

    • Am Ghobsmacht July 25, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

      I don’t think it’s the assertion that the unionist leadership is found wanting on the past Harry rather the mind boggling generalisations that Jessica is coming out with, such as the ‘sliding scale of bigotry’.

      That’s just obscene.

      And the only other people who don’t see unionism as a political view rather as a ‘club’ are in fact the hard line unionists that she has it in for.

      It’s a bit like the fans at an old firm game; one Scotto-Irish guy in a football shirt, jeans and trainers hating the working class Scotto-Irishman on the other side of the stadium even though they probably have more in common with each other than some of ‘their own’.

      • jessica July 25, 2016 at 9:42 pm #

        “coming out with, such as the ‘sliding scale of bigotry’.That’s just obscene. ”

        Perhaps moreso, because to such a large degree it is true of those who seek to divide our country for their own ends

        I think we should each hold our own views on this. Not everyone from a unionist background is a unionist or supports unionist actions.

        I feel the present leadership of unionism most accurately reflects the unionist community as in those who are unionist and I would say very few in the DUP are not bigoted towards Irish unity. and I don’t mean are against it, I mean are downright rude and abusive against it.

      • Pointis July 26, 2016 at 10:39 am #

        Am-Ghob,

        I personally don’t believe every unionist is a bigot in the terms that most people here accept the understanding of the term. As you have clearly outlined Irish unionism is a political belief that crosses sectarian boundaries. I would accept that there are far more Catholics here who are unionist that most nationalists would care to admit.

        Although I do not concur with Jessica’s statement that every unionist is on a sliding scale of bigotry I would acknowledge that bigotry on all sides is a much greater problem than most people here would like to admit.

        We have been socially conditioned here to make excuses for bigotry, to pretent it doesn’t happen. We all have a relative who lets their feelings be known on occasions and rather than be challenged excuses are made and blushes are covered!

        We have a habit of thinking it is just those that follow the Orange Orders, some football teams and people on the fringes of radical religious groupings who are bigoted but sometimes it is the silent bigotry which is much more pernicious and dangerous.

        • jessica July 26, 2016 at 6:42 pm #

          “Although I do not concur with Jessica’s statement that every unionist is on a sliding scale of bigotry I would acknowledge that bigotry on all sides is a much greater problem than most people here would like to admit.”

          That is not what I said Pointis.
          I said unionism is a sliding scale of bigotry.

          There is a difference between calling someone a bigot because they are a unionist and making the assertion that someone’s unionist ideology is bigoted.

          I suppose unionism will not comprehend my point until the demographics change and are no longer in their favour. Only then will they understand but my statement is very accurate none the less.

          • Pointis July 27, 2016 at 10:53 am #

            ‘There is a difference between calling someone a bigot because they are a unionist and making the assertion that someone’s unionist ideology is bigoted”. I would be interested to read your views on this.

          • jessica July 27, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

            “‘There is a difference between calling someone a bigot because they are a unionist and making the assertion that someone’s unionist ideology is bigoted”. I would be interested to read your views on this”

            Ok, I grew up in a republican area and I assure you that I have plenty of reason to be bigoted but was brought up not to be.

            Something I do not always live up to I admit, I can be as guilty of being as prejudiced and intolerant as any of us can be and do not consider myself better than any of our contributors on this fine site.

            When I say unionism is based on bigotry, I mean just that. If you know the history of the partition of Ireland then you would know it was wrong. We had a civil war over it and many people lost their lives over whether they could live with it or not, resulting in acceptance of our fate in the north and exclusion from the rest of our country who gained our partial independence.

            Unionism then carried out 50 years of discrimination against Catholics in their own little dominion before going apeshit over civil rights and starting a conflict we now know was over nothing but self driven paranoia.

            Even today unionism defies equality and will even though there is zero threat to them from unity, refuse to compromise in any small way or to reach out to nationalism and explore what benefits may be possible for all of us through unification.

            It is simply not possible with that history and track record for Irish unionism to be a liberal and pluralist ideology and it quite simply isn’t.

            That does not mean any single unionist can be automatically considered a bigot and nor is that what I have said, it means if they truly believe in that ideology, sooner or later depending on how deeply they believe in it, the bigotry inherent in it will reveal itself.

            If you think otherwise then you are entitled to your opinion, that is mine and it is based on decades of much first hand experience and witness.

            Sad that I focus on such things, but as someone who had close unionist friends they trusted set them up to be killed b loyalist paramilitaries, I can tell you that it can hurt to find out the hard way.

        • paddykool July 27, 2016 at 4:03 pm #

          I’d agree with that Pointis. Bigotry crosses the divide much as racism, homophobia and stupidity can does.

      • paddykool July 27, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

        Again ,Am Ghob …see my extended answer to MT’s query above as to the timeline of the 1960’s violence in relation to monolithic 1960’s “unionism”…the more vocal sort and also the quiet ones who kept quiet while things escalated in their name …. and how we got to the mess of “theTroubles”.

  14. Willie D. July 25, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

    This supposed sectarian bigotry that Unionism is based on couldn’t have existed for centuries as Unionism has only existed since the late 19th Century, when the first Home Rule Bill was introduced. I believe it is only possible to truly understand the psychology of a community if you have been brought up within that community : with all due respect to Jessica, having read her many contributions, she gives the impression of having been brought up in an entirely Catholic/Nationalist milieu, probably in Belfast and holds cliché-ridden, stereotypical views of the nature of Unionism and the people who adhere to it.
    Having been brought up in the offending community I would say that its attitudes are/were primarily based on fear, fear of being in a minority on an island dominated by a resurgent and controlling Catholic Church and fear of economic deterioration within that entity. In opposition to Home Rule and subsequently to an Irish Free State/Republic the Unionists thought they were acting in their own best interests, the Nationalists/Republicans thought otherwise. The campaigns of the I.R.A./I.N.L.A. between 1970 and 1996 simply confirmed and exacerbated Unionist fears, allowing extremist rabble-rousers like Paisley to say “I told you so.” I’m sure a coherent case for a U.I. can be made, but I’ve yet to read it on this site, which seems to regard incoherent anti-Unionist ranting as a substitute for argument.

    • jessica July 25, 2016 at 5:29 pm #

      Willie, a key part of that sectarian bigotry is celebrating a bloody victory by protestants over Catholics in 1690 and the orange order has been around since 1795 if not sooner as the orange boys.

      Yes, I grew up in a republican community but was a child in the 70s when I witnessed many of the RUC and army raids on my community but I worked in a factory in Portadown for over a decade and I know very well the unionist mind-set of that era.

      I believe it has since been confirmed that the fears instilled by Ian Paisley of a resurgence of the IRA and the poor treatment of protestants in the south were false and the actions undertaken by unionism that started the conflict, were indeed for nothing.

      Many unionists I know did express the fear of economic deterioration from unification and yes the slaughter inflicted in the conflict instilled fear in both communities.

      But the fact remains, the paranoia and fear within Unionism prior was self driven and because of the actions of that community, a conflict costing 3000 lives resulted and it was all for absolutely nothing.

      To date, “told you so” is about the sum of the acknowledgement from the leadership of unionism fir all of the trouble they caused and all for nothing.

      How does that make you feel Willie?

      • Robert July 25, 2016 at 8:06 pm #

        But the fact remains, the paranoia and fear within Unionism prior was self driven and because of the actions of that community, a conflict costing 3000 lives resulted and it was all for absolutely nothing.

        So lets get this right it was Unionism that caused Republicanism to kill people? At any stage did Republicans not have free will to stop themselves killing?

        • jessica July 25, 2016 at 9:25 pm #

          “So lets get this right it was Unionism that caused Republicanism to kill people? At any stage did Republicans not have free will to stop themselves killing?”

          Of course they did Robert. I am not in any way trying to justify any hurt.

          In fact quite the opposite. I would rather both communities would be able to acknowledge the hurt we caused to one another so we can move on.

          I just don’t see why this is so much more difficult for unionists than nationalists and why reconciliation has to be so one sided.

    • Wolfe tone July 25, 2016 at 5:53 pm #

      Yes it has to be faced that the Catholic Church played its part in spreading a fear within the Protestant community in the north. It was all too easy for Paisley and co to spook his community about the papist threat etc etc. All he had to do was point his finger at who was standing beside a newly elected Taoiseach or the throw in of the ball on an all Ireland final day to show proof of the Rome influence. Thankfully those symbols of a ‘Catholic state’ are no more. Fact of the matter is with the onset of partition; those in power in the south made it obvious that ‘Protestant,Catholic and dissenter’ wasn’t really meant. Both communities were played by their very own, for very selfish interests.

      • jessica July 25, 2016 at 6:18 pm #

        We are probably still being played WT, but it doesn’t change the fact that the events between 1966 and 1969 played a pivotal role in the nearly 30 years of conflict which ensued.

        I don’t think it is unreasonable to expect the leadership of unionism to acknowledge this.

        Especially to counter the insults from some of the unionist leadership , curry my yoghurt, rogues and renegades, holding noses etc… and no real effort at true reconciliation.

        Refusing even to attend a forum on post Brexit Ireland for heavens sake.

        I wonder would Irish nationalists get away with such deplorable behaviour.

        • Wolfe tone July 25, 2016 at 7:40 pm #

          Alas Jessica their insulting behaviour isn’t challenged by those, who any other day, lecture and pontificate how we should conduct ourselves. Their hypocrisy isn’t to be highlighted but tolerated.
          A fine example where the population has to indulge this behaviour is the orange fest. The tax payer must fork out money to facilitate their bonfires,band uniforms etc that’s in spite of the sectarian nature of these projects. Is this appeasement done in an effort to ‘reach out’ or is it to prevent militant unionists from causing trouble? Either way it permits this insulting behaviour to continue. The insulters have not only been allowed to continue insulting; they’ve even managed to make the insultees agree to paying for it. I have yet to see or hear others within the unionist community come out and condemn this practice which either suggests that are fine with it or they too are being intimidated by a section of ‘their’ community. If it’s the latter then it really is up to them to lobby their British govt to do something about it, after all the British govt is/was an impartial observer here according to some so they should have nothing to fear, right?
          Are militant unionists holding their own population to ransom concerning hate bonfires,bands etc? If so then they’ll certainly hold them to random when it comes to the Irish unity question. Perhaps that’s the reason why they continue to be funded? The method in the madness if you like, is to maintain the hidden threat of violent unionism in plain sight, hence anyone gets above themselves?

          • jessica July 25, 2016 at 10:25 pm #

            “Either way it permits this insulting behaviour to continue. The insulters have not only been allowed to continue insulting; they’ve even managed to make the insultees agree to paying for it. ”

            That is the superiority complex inherent within unionism which makes them blind to the bigotry they don’t even realise they are professing.

            “I have yet to see or hear others within the unionist community come out and condemn this practice which either suggests that are fine with it or they too are being intimidated by a section of ‘their’ community. If it’s the latter then it really is up to them to lobby their British govt to do something about it, after all the British govt is/was an impartial observer here according to some so they should have nothing to fear, right?”

            I don’t believe that for a second WT.

            You have seen for yourself the response from the so called reasonable unionists on this site, not one of which would support the positive action of their unionist leadership acknowledging the very real events initiated by unionism that caused the conflict in our society. Not one.

            Had even one been prepared to show compassion I may have considered my opinion on the bigotry inherent within unionism as waning, but alas it appears that we have some way to go yet it seems.

          • jessica July 26, 2016 at 6:38 am #

            I would say the reason political unionism does so little to help reconcile our differences and not only tolerates but encourages sectarian marches, bonfires and culture is to keep the hatred and bigotry alive at least in the working class areas for the very reason you outline. As bargaining through threat of violence when the inevitable numbers shift in favour of Irish unity. But it is a fight that they will get and they will lose. My fear is it spreading over the border into civil war and destroying what unity remains on this island.

      • PF July 25, 2016 at 7:17 pm #

        “those in power in the south made it obvious that ‘Protestant,Catholic and dissenter’ wasn’t really meant.”

        Yes, and was probably one of the main reasons (if not *the* main reason) for the initial rejections of Home Rule, and hence, (Ulster) Unionism.

        What is clear, however, is that the extent of religious influence has since decreased, substantially, and with it, one of the objections to Irish Unity. (I say this as a ‘religious’ contributor.) What remains to be seen is if the fragmented communities – part of one which is resolutely Irish and Gaelic, and part of the other which is Loyalist and (well not necessarily Protestant, at least in the Christian sense), can overcome their hatred of the other.

        That hatred is most definitely a block to harmony, never mind unity – and it cuts both ways.

        • jessica July 25, 2016 at 9:36 pm #

          “That hatred is most definitely a block to harmony, never mind unity – and it cuts both ways.”

          Perhaps a good place to start would be acknowledging the hurt we have done to one another and not try to distance ourselves while holding on to the root causes of our differences?

  15. Robert July 25, 2016 at 8:09 pm #

    Jessica the leadership of the SF did much worse than say a few sectarian jibes that is beyond argument. Perhaps thats is why Unionists are sniffy towards Republican reconciliation attempts?

    • jessica July 25, 2016 at 9:28 pm #

      “Jessica the leadership of the SF did much worse than say a few sectarian jibes that is beyond argument. Perhaps thats is why Unionists are sniffy towards Republican reconciliation attempts?”

      That works both ways but still doesn’t explain why nationalism must bear all the sackcloth and ashes and unionism gets off scott free.

      Especially if unionism no longer feels superior to nationalism as many are suggesting but doing an extremely bad job of showing it.

  16. jessica July 26, 2016 at 6:25 am #

    “Unionism in my humble opinion is simply the wish to remain in the UK. That’s it full stop. ”

    Just for the additional clarity here.

    There is nothing wrong with being supportive of the union that is the united kingdom.

    The unionism I refer to is not the unionism that exists in Britain where all parties agreed to it in 1801 but the ideology which exists within unionism specific to the undemocratic partition of Ireland.

    Simply being supportive of the united kingdom on its own does not make someone a bigot.

    But the reality we live with here in northern Ireland, is that unionism is led by people who relish on the portrayal and sometimes colourful and sometimes even jovial presentation of bigotry.

    Even the very election campaign not only fought but won on preventing Martin McGuinness from becoming first minister is in itself bigotry.

    Just because we have become so accustomed to unionist bigotry being shoved in our faces to the point we have become immune to it, does not mean it isn’t there.

    Likewise, the unionists up in arms now over my pointing this out, have also become so immune to this bigotry they no longer see any harm in denying an Irish language act, in refusing to even talk about Irish unity knowing very well it is a passionate desire for the majority of people on this island.

    This is blatant bigotry and while they may not like to hear it, I believe it is imperative that they do until such time as unionism learns the meaning of compromise and the benefits of good manners.

    The days of nationalism cowering back as did the Irish President, the southern establishment and allowing this supremacist attitude to persist has to end.

    Whether todays unionists like it or now, their predecessors behaved abysmally and did kick start the conflict here without provocation.

    This is undeniable fact and what does it say about todays unionists that they cannot be supportive to a call for unionism today through its political leadership to acknowledge this obvious wrong in the interests of kick starting a reconciliation process which may remove some of the hatred which remains in our society.

    We have seen the greatest load of bluster simply to avoid acknowledging any wrong doing on the part of unionism which is known to have been supremacist in its attitude over nationalists and the fact that the Irish army setup camps to receive displaced nationalists of which members of my own family were included is documented fact.

    I personally find this hard-line attitude from even the most moderate of unionists to be repulsive and offensive.

    If you want to prove unionism today is not corrupted by bigotry, then start acting like it.

  17. Freddie mallins July 26, 2016 at 12:06 pm #

    Hi PF, I could’nt help reflect upon you’re moniker after you said that you are a ‘religious contributor’. Are you Pope Francis? It would be great if you were and would doubtless attract an avalanche of new contributors to Jude’s excellent blog.

    • PF July 26, 2016 at 5:51 pm #

      Hello, Freddie.

      Sorry to disappoint you, but PF is merely a play on my initials.

      I’m also afraid to have to tell you that I sing Scottish Metrical Psalms on a Sunday, and more than that, if I was Pope Francis, that would mean that Pope Francis was a Unionist – and that could cause all sorts of unexpected problems for all sorts of people!