Tag Archives: Ian Paisley

Ireland Under Coercion, Revisited: Home Rule

This is post 4 of my work-in-progress blog serial about the 1888 book Ireland Under Coercion: The Diary of an American, by journalist William Henry Hurlbert. Previous posts and background material are available at the project landing page#IUCRevisited 

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“It is not in accordance with the American doctrine of ‘Home Rule’ that ‘Home Rule’ of any sort for Ireland should be organized in New York or in Chicago by expatriated Irishmen.”
–William Henry Hurlbert

In the early 1880s, agrarian agitator Michael Davitt and Irish Parliamentary Party leader Charles Stewart Parnell partnered in an bid to secure domestic political autonomy for Ireland–Home Rule. The effort got financial and political support from the Irish in America, roused by visits from Davitt and Parnell. Despite the support of Liberal British Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone, however, the legislation was defeated by unionists in 1886, two years before Hurlbert’s arrival in Ireland.

Charles Stewart Parnell

Hurlbert wrote the 1886 bill would have made Gladstone and the British government “the ally and the instrument of Mr. Parnell in carrying out the plans of Mr. Davitt, Mr. Henry George, and the active Irish organizations of the United States.” Hurlbert also recognized the Home Rule effort was not over:

“How or by whom Ireland shall be governed concerns me only in so far as the government of Ireland may affect the character and the tendencies of the Irish people, and thereby, the close, intimate, and increasing connection between the Irish people and the people of the United States, may tend to affect the future of my country. … [In the wake of the failed 1886 bill] ‘Home Rule for Ireland’ is not now a plan–nor so much as a proposition. It is merely a polemical phrase, of little importance to persons really interested in the condition of Ireland, however invaluable it may be to the makers of party platforms in my own country, or to Parliamentary candidates on this side of the Atlantic. … [It] has unquestionably been the aim of every active Irish organization in the United States for the last twenty years … [and] Parnell is understood in America to have pledged himself that he will do anything to further and nothing to impede.”

Within months of Hurlbert’s visit to Ireland, Parnell would face a special commission called to investigate his alleged links to two 1882 political murders. Though cleared two years later, he soon was scandalized by revelations of his extramarital affair with the wife of one of his parliamentary colleagues. He died in 1891, two years before a second Home Rule bill was raised (and defeated) in parliament.

Col. Edward James Saunderson

During his second and third days in Dublin, Hurlbert met with several members of the British administration and M.P.s who opposed any form of separation of Ireland from the United Kingdom. An unidentified Catholic unionist from southern Ireland told him it would be “madness to hand Ireland over to the Home Rule of the ‘uncrowned king’ (Parnell’s nickname).”

Later, Hurlbert attended a meeting of Irish unionists, where he heard a speech by Colonel Edward James Saunderson. The M.P. for North Armagh (now part of Northern Ireland) asked the audience whether they could ever imagine being governed by “such wretches” as the Parnellite nationalists?

“Never,” the crowd replied in what Hurlbert described as “a low deep growl like the final notice served by a bull-dog.” Ian Paisley and his unionist supporters echoed the response 97 years later outside the Belfast City Hall.

NEXT: Dublin slums

NOTES: This post is based on the Prologue and pages 53 to 70 of Ireland Under Coercion: The Diary of an American

Copyright 2018 by Mark Holan

Northern Ireland ‘Journey’ nears critical bend in road

“The Journey,” a fictional “imagining” of the real-life partnership between unionist firebrand Dr. Ian Paisley and former IRA man Martin McGuinness, recently debuted in Washington, D.C., as part of its wider U.S. release.

The movie isn’t as awful as early reviews suggested last fall, though there is merit to that criticism. It’s worth seeing for those who follow Northern Ireland politics. The long, twisted history of the Troubles, and the actors’ thick accents, are probably too much for more casual viewers.

A line near the end of Colin Bateman’s screenplay caught my attention and could prove to be prescient in the coming weeks. It is spoken by McGuinness (Colm Meaney) to Paisely (Timothy Spall) as they are about to agree on the power-sharing deal that resulted in the 2007 Northern Ireland Assembly:

This is our only opportunity to build something that will last, at least for our lifetime.

The real-life duo got the Assembly off the ground and developed such a close working relationship that they become known as  the chuckle brothers. Peace and progress flourished in Northern Ireland. But Paisley died in September 2014, and McGuinness died in March.

Now, the suspended Belfast Assembly is facing a 29 June deadline to reorganize, or the north could return to direct rule from Westminster. This matter is complicated by the Paisley-founded, pro-unionist DUP entering a Tory coalition to control the London Parliament, which will put Irish republicans on the defensive. This comes as the U.K. also begins to negotiate its exit from the European Union–Brexit–which threatens the return of a “hard border” between the north and the Republic.

At the same time, the annual Orange Order marching season, in which Protestants celebrate a 1690 military victory over Catholics, is getting underway and approaching its 12 July peak. The season always raises tensions between the two cultural and political communities in the north.

What could possibly go wrong?

Critics slam new film on Northern Ireland peace process

“The Journey,” a new film about the unlikely partnership between Sinn Féin’s Martin McGuinness and the late unionist firebrand Rev. Ian Paisley, has debuted to dreadful reviews.

The Hollywood Reporter says “deficiencies in script and direction render the vehicle less than road-worthy.” The movie is “best suited to a mid-evening UK television slot” and “has little hope of big-screen exposure beyond the formerly war-torn province whose history it depicts.”

“The Journey,” according to The Telegraph, is “a graceless Wikipedian plod through the Irish peace process … a tremendously promising idea squandered beyond the limits of human ken.”

Adds The Guardian: “This film feels the need to be fair, to be balanced. That is understandable. But it is tiptoeing on eggshells of its own making.”

The Journey” debuted 7 September at the 73rd Venice International Film Festival. As yet no trailers are posted on YouTube.

Timothy Spall as Ian Paisley, left, and Colm Meaney as Martin McGuinness in "The Journey."

Timothy Spall as Ian Paisley, left, and Colm Meaney as Martin McGuinness in “The Journey.” Below, the real deal.

16/7/2007. Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister, Martin McGuinness, and First Minister, the Rev Ian Paisley, at the press conference at Parliament Buildings, Stormont (Belfast), after their meeting with British Prime Minister Gordon Brown. Pic. Albert Gonzalez/RollingNews.ie

Albert Gonzalez/RollingNews.ie

 

Brexit creates British rush on Irish passports

How’s this for a post-Brexit eye roll:

IrishPassport.jpg (187×240)Northern Ireland politician Ian Paisley Jr., son of the late unionist firebrand Dr. Ian Paisley, is advising his constituents to apply for a passport from the Republic of Ireland following Britain’s decision to leave the European Union.

“My advice is if you are entitled to second passport then take one,” Paisley tweeted the day after the referendum vote. “I sign off lots of applications for constituents.”

Paisley, a British MP from North Antrim, opposed the Good Friday Agreement in 1998, though his father became first minister of the power-sharing government it created. Now, Junior–who campaigned for Brexit–opposes calls by Irish republicans to politically reunite the island of Ireland and remain in the EU.

An Irish passport confers the holder with travel and work privileges within the 27-nation EU, which the UK has now voted to leave. People born in any of Ireland’s 32 counties, north or south, or those with a parent or grandparent born on the island, are eligible to apply for a passport from the Republic.

“An unnecessary surge in applications for Irish passports will place significant pressure on the system and on turnaround times and is likely to impact those with a genuine need for passports to facilitate imminent travel plans,” Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan said in statement. The ministry issued an updated FAQ on Irish citizenship, passports and residency requirements.

The post-Brexit rush on Irish passports follows a 14 percent increase in applications by U.S. citizens since last summer, which some news accounts have attributed to Donald Trump’s hold on the GOP presidential nomination.

Glad I claimed my Irish citizenship and passport 19 years ago.

 

Popular broadcaster Terry Wogan dies at 77

Sir Terry Wogan, a Limerick-born star of the British Broadcasting Corporation, died 31 January after a short bout with cancer. He was 77. Read the BBC’s obituary.

Terry-Wogan-008.jpg (460×276)

In The Guardian, Martin Kettle writes that Wogan rarely drew explicit attention to his Irishness.

And yet, although he lived, worked and died in Britain, was knighted by the Queen, and was never reluctant to wave the union jack when the needs of the BBC required it, his Irishness was there whenever he opened his mouth. For more than 40 years he was probably the most prominent Irish person, and certainly the most familiar Irish voice, in Britain, rivaled for fame only by [footballer] George Best and Bono, neither of whom could match Wogan’s length of time in the spotlight.

…Whether he liked it or not, Wogan was a significant Irish presence in Britain right through the era of Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley. To some Irish nationalist eyes that may perhaps brand him as someone who made dubious accommodations with Britishness at a sensitive time. To his British listeners, however, and possibly to many of his Irish ones too, Wogan was a reminder that there was also much more to the British-Irish relationship than nationalist and loyalist politics, and that people on both sides of the Irish Sea have more in common than some of them sometimes like to pretend.

Irish Times columnist Martin Doyle wrote that “Ireland has had no finer ambassador to Britain.” Irish Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Wogan “acted in no small way as a bridge between Ireland and Britain.”

Best of the Blog, 2014

This is my second annual “Best of the Blog,” a look at some of the most important news stories, historical anniversaries and personal favorite posts of the past year. The posts are not numbered to avoid the appearance of rank. They follow below this “Happy Christmas from Ireland” video, produced by Dublin documentary filmmaker Cathal Kenna. It features views from each of the Irish island’s 32 counties. Enjoy!

And now, here are the stories:

  • One of the biggest stories of the year in Ireland involved protests over water charges. As Irish Times columnist Fintan O’Toole wrote, “If the Irish are finally catching the mood of anti-austerity anger that has been rolling across much of the European Union, it may be a case not so much of the straw that broke the camel’s back as the drop that caused the dam to burst.” … Less controversial, the Irish postal system is also bracing for modernization in 2015.
  • On a personal note, my wife and I moved to Washington, D.C. this year, which allowed me to get more active in Irish news and history. I’ve met some great people and enjoyed numerous events as a member of Irish Network DC. … My book, “His Last Trip: An Irish American Story,” found a home at the Carnegie Library and the Heinz History Center in Pittsburgh; the Pennsylvania Trolley Museum in Washington, Pa.; the Archives of Irish America in New York; and the County Kerry Library in Tralee. … A version of the story about my grandfather Willie Diggin also was published by History Ireland.
  • I came across two new books about County Kerry: “Forging a Kingdom: The GAA in Kerry 1884-1934” by Richard McElligott; and “The Kerry Girls: Emigration and the Earl Grey Scheme” by Kay Maloney Caball.
  • 2014 was the centennial of gun running operations at Larne (Ulster Volunteers) and Howth (Irish Volunteers), as well as the start of the Great War. … It also marked the 100th anniversary of the passage and suspension of Home Rule in Ireland. … October was the 90th anniversary of the closing of the Lartigue monorail in Kerry. … This year also was the 20th anniversary of the historic 1994 IRA ceasefire.
  • This year’s scandals included reporting (and misreporting) about infant and child deaths, illegal adoptions and vaccine trials at Catholic-run mother-and-baby homes in the early-to-middle 20th century. … Gerry Adams spent a few nights in custody about the 1972 abduction and murder of Jean McConville, a widow wrongly suspected of informing against the IRA. He also faced criticism about how he handled, or mishandled, allegations of rape by members of the IRA.
  • Organizers of St. Patrick’s Day parades in New York and Boston may have banned gays from marching for the last time in 2014. It now appears a gay veterans group will march in Boston and Cardinal Timothy M. Dolan has welcomed gays in New York for 2015. … The 55th annual Rose of Tralee winner Maria Walsh revealed she was lesbian the day after being crowned. It wasn’t a big deal.
  • Ian Paisley, “the ultimate Orangeman,” died at 88. … Albert Reynold, a former Irish prime minister active in the Northern Ireland peace process, died at 81.
  • After a record-setting 18-month gap, the Obama administration finally nominated (and the Senate approved) St. Louis trial lawyer Kevin O’Malley as Ambassador to Ireland. … Former Senator Gary Hart was named U.S. Special Envoy to Northern Ireland, helping with a year-end deal in the province. … Kerry T.D. Jimmy Deenihan has been named Ireland’s first Minister of State for the Diaspora. … Emigration continued to be a major concern in Ireland, and some wondered if those who have left the country should be able to participate in elections back home.
  • Kerry won the All-Ireland Championship.

Ian Paisley, “the ultimate Orangeman,” dead at 88

The anti-Catholic, anti-Irish republic(an) firebrand was at the center of political turmoil during The Troubles. He eventually entered a power-sharing government with a former IRA man.

BBC obit here. Coverage from Irish Central here.

Before making headlines for shaking hands with Queen Elizabeth, former IRA man Martin McGuinness entered a power-sharing government with Paisley at Stormont. They became partners, even friends, who were nicknamed “the Chuckle Brothers.”

“Our relationship confounded everybody,” McGuinness says in this video clip, followed by comments from Gerry Adams:

Too much hate and killing in the past, and the present

Which quote about Margaret Thatcher is from the Irish republican, which from the Ulster loyalist?

“Oh God, in wrath take vengeance upon this wicked, treacherous, lying woman.”

OR

“It’s a pity we didn’t kill her 30-plus years ago.”

The first quote is from Ian Paisley Sr., or Lord Bannside as he’s known in his dotage. He said it 25 years ago, days after Thatcher signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Norman Hamill writes in the Derry Journal.

The second quote is from Willie Gallagher, an Irish National Liberation Army prisoner during the Troubles. He said it this week during an unseemly Thatcher funeral “celebration“ in Derry’s Bogside.

The Irish Examiner linked events of the past to what happened this week in London, Derry and Boston:

Margaret Thatcher has not been fondly remembered in this country. She was a very British politician who essentially did not like the Irish, and if we are fair, it is hard to blame her.

Irish people killed her advisor, Airey Neave, with a car bomb within the precincts of the British parliament in 1979. He was a British war hero, as was Louis Mountbatten, who was murdered the same year while boating in Sligo with his grandchildren. That was as savage an affront to humanity as the outrage in Boston.

So enough killing for this week. God knows there was too much in the past. And let the dead, no matter who they are, rest in peace.