Irish tributes, north and south, pour in for Mandela

UPDATE: The Irish Story website has posted a detailed article, “Ireland and South African Politics: A Tangled History.” It concludes:

Irish republicans at the start of the 20th century had little to say, by and large, about the oppression of black South Africans, identifying instead with the most racist European faction, the Afrikaner republicans. By contrast at the end of that century the Irish Republicans of that era identified totally with the anti-apartheid struggle. One of the things this illustrates is the discrediting of racialist ideology in the western world since the late 20th century, an ideology which was so dominant at the start of the century that even anti-imperial nationalists were not totally free from it.


The global outpouring of tributes following the death of Nelson Mandela, who was so much more than the former South African president, includes reaction from both sides of the border on the island of Ireland.

“Why are we so bereft? Because he was the best of us, the best of our values,” said former Irish president Mary Robinson in this roundup of leaders in the Republic by The Irish Times.

The BBC offers a similar collection of comments from Northern Ireland politicians; plus a separate story about Mandela’s impact on the Ulster peace process:

The closest Nelson Mandela came to visiting Belfast was the mural depicting his image on a gable wall along the Falls Road. But his presence was felt in many ways as Northern Ireland moved from conflict to peace. His long walk to freedom, from prison in 1990, inspired others to follow in his footsteps out of conflict.

This mural on the Falls Road was unveiled in August 2013.

This mural on the Falls Road was unveiled in August 2013.