After the BREXIT vote a friend of Ireland’s re-unification remarked: This changes everything! Perhaps. But having observed Ireland’s conflict for some time and how much British bias and arrogance, United States ignorance and the Irish governments resignation have plagued resolution, I was not optimistic. Let me posit a few recent examples which inspire my pessimism.
- A Memorandum of Understanding was signed in January 2015 (but apparently not published) by the Irish and British Defense Ministers, Simon Coveny and Michael Fallon respectively. Whatever its contents, this is the same British government that keeps telling the Irish people in so many words: ‘We don’t care how many unanimous Declarations of the Dail you adopt, you are never getting the truth about the Army’s no-warning bombings in Dublin/Monaghan.
- An Irish terrorist “expert” Tom Clonan claimed (Irish Examiner) there was a tacit agreement with the Royal Air Force to intervene if a terrorist hijacking occurs in Ireland’s air space. The British know such events are mercifully rare and invariably end badly but better it should be shot down and kill Irish people than crash on Her Majesty’s horse farm. No one in the Irish government was talking. Almost gleefully Clonan concludes “political stability is coming to an end.” My guess is he reports to Whitehall.
- The Catholic League for Religious & Civil Rights critiqued a report on the BBC by Dame Janet Smith The report reviewed how a documentary on Jimmy Savile, a popular BBC performer who was a rapist and serial sex abuser was squelched. Why was the documentary suppressed and by whom? The Director General of the BBC at the time was Mark Thompson, now CEO of the New York Times. The issue? During Mr. Thompson’s ‘watch’ three seriously flawed BBC documentaries were aired alleging cover-up of sexual abuse by Pope Benedict. The issue at hand was not unlike that of the Nixon impeachment hearings: “What did Mr. Thompson know and when did he know it.” His mouthpiece was not talking. To the legacy of NY Times inaccurate reporting on N. I., we can be assured of anti-Catholic bias from a man who crafted his skills in London!
- S. Department of State spokesperson Elizabeth Trudeau recently condemned killings in Pakistan of “…the media and judiciary, two of the most important pillars of every democracy …and vowed to work …to combat the threat of terrorism.” The murders of Irish journalist Martin O’Hagan and attorney Patrick Finucane never elicited such a remark from Foggy Bottom. Better to play the innocent abroad when dealing with the British in Ireland especially as evidence mounts daily of their collusion with loyalist murderers. Meanwhile rumor has it that ever since the BREXIT vote black bunting has been draped over the doors at 2201 C St. Fear is manifest at State that British Embassy invitations will diminish, conferences in London will be reduced, the second Desk for N. I. might be eliminated and instead of rubberstamping British MLAT requests, State might actually have to determine if granting a request would violate other treaties.
- Churchill and Ireland by Professor Paul Bew was recently reviewed in the Wall Street Journal. One does not really expect much from an author who is a British Lord, a Director of the Airey Neave Trust and a lifelong recipient of British ‘research’ funding. The reviewer describes Bew’s 17th century “settlement “ of Ireland by Scottish and English “farmers” as though it was akin to American pioneers traveling West. In fact, it was a forced march of Catholic’s . Peter Beresford Ellis’ book Hell or Connaught depicts decommissioned soldiers involved in Cromwell’s savagery, not farmers, as the principal beneficiaries of the expulsion of the native Irish to poorer land. Churchill’s unleashing of the Black and Tan criminals is acknowledged but is followed by a claim that “…the weight of the greatest conflict ever known…” was on Churchill’s shoulders. Such hubris!!
So back to BREXIT. In 1918 all of Ireland voted by 73% to 27% for an independent Ireland. Despite the majority England chose to make a minority into a majority by carving out for itself a sectarian statelet called Northern Ireland. Today, after a N. I. majority vote to remain in the EU, some leaders see their future being re-united with the 26 counties which are in the EU. England’s Prime Minister May sees majority rule for N. I the old way: minority rule with force of arms. She dismisses as nonsense any talk of a ‘Border referendum’ because …well…because she is Prime Minister.
Since the narrow acceptance of Ireland’s partition, Ireland’s leadership has acted with a kind of timidity and acceptance of British deceit and malevolence. Of BREXIT Foreign Minister Flanagan said only “…to mitigate these losses and minimize the damages.” You can sense the resignation. Whether it was the anti-Catholic persecution in the North, toleration of British Army bombings of Dublin, spying from Cheltenham, leaks from the nuclear plant at Sellefield or punishing economic policies , Ireland seems to be afraid to speak up in the United Nations or America. Speaker O’Neil when begged by activists to do something about British Army and loyalist violence captured this problem responding: “What do you want me to do be more Irish than the Irish government?” This malaise can be explained by the Stockholm or Battered Spouse Syndromes. After centuries of unspeakable British crimes , cultural castration, violence and brainwashing, Irish leaders have bonded with their persecutors and act as if powerless to resist. How else can one possibly explain a Memorandum of Understanding with the British Army which virtually spits on the sovereignty of the Irish nation and people?
The United States, home to many of the descendants of those victimized by Britain’s cruelty in Ireland, exhibits a profound ignorance of Britain’s ability to manipulate the “special relationship.” Politically motivated extraditions, subpoenas (Boston College)and persecution of refugees like MacAllister by our State and Justice Departments suggests ignorance AND complicity in Britain’s lawless actions. No wonder the first post-BREXIT action of PM May was to dispatch Minister of Trade Liam Fox to Washington and the Wall Street Journal. America’s cooperation or assistance should come with a price. If a U. S. visa to Gerry Adams can launch a peace process; and a speech by President Reagan can crumble a wall and reunite Germany then perhaps BREXIT and a new U. S. President will enable the reunification of Ireland.
Michael J. Cummings
2979 W. School House Lane, Apt. K1206B
Philadelphia, PA 19144-5318
Michael J. Cummings, a native of Springfield, Mass., is a graduate of St. Anselm’s College (B. A., 1968) and New York University (M. P. A., 1970) and a former member of the National Boards of the Irish American Unity Conference (1996-2013), the Ancient Order of Hibernians (2001-2008), and the Irish Northern Aid Committee (1988-1996). He served six National AOH Presidents, 5 IAUC National Presidents and two National Chairman of INA primarily in public relations capacities. He is the only person to serve on the national policy making bodies of all three major Irish American organizations. He also served on the Commission on Peace and Justice of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Albany. He served 36 years with the State of New York including as Assistant Deputy Comptroller. Cummings has appeared on American, English and Irish television and radio and his commentary and letters and those of the Presidents have appeared in major American, Irish-American, and Catholic print media. He is a frequent columnist for the weekly IRISH ECHO newspaper.