Thursday 23 February 2017

Eoghan Harris: How Haughey hinterland was rebuffed by O'Reilly regime

Last Monday RTE showed An Tost Fada, the testimony of Canon George Salter, about the enforced exodus of his father and thousands of Cork Protestants from their shops and farms in April 1922. It was the most important programme in which I have ever been involved.

The reason is the reaction from Roman Catholics. It was exactly as I had expected. The courage of the Crowley and Collins families in welcoming Salter back to his ancestral home was matched by the warm response from the wider Roman Catholic community.

George Salter and Richard Draper, the two Protestants who testified, were engulfed in a wave of empathy from the people of Cork and Skibbereen. This reaction was a robust rebuff both to bigots and to rhetorical republicans. The latter, faking concern for Protestant sensibilities, frequently claim such truth-telling causes trouble between Protestant and Catholic.

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