British writer under fire after claiming Ireland has 'tenuous claim to nationhood'
A UK columnist has come under fire after suggesting that Ireland is not a real country.
In her comment piece for todays UK Times, Melanie Philips talks about moves by Republicans in Northern Ireland and nationalists in Scotland to seek independence from the UK.
Ireland, you're not a proper country. Melanie Phillips says so pic.twitter.com/2GgVqmObHJ— Ian Prior (@ianprior) March 7, 2017
Under the headline 'Britain is the authentic nation in this battle' she describes Scotland and Northern Ireland as "the most troublesome bits of the United Kingdom".
However, it is her comments about Ireland that have sparked the biggest reaction online.
Ms Philips writes that Unionists in Northern Ireland are "not British".
She continues: "They're the bit that got tacked on to Great Britain to make the UK.
"Does that mean Westminster should tear up the Good Friday agreement and bid farewell to Northern Ireland. No, because it has an obligation to the Unionists; and because the claim to unite Ireland is tenuous since Ireland itself has a tenuous claim to nationhood, having seceded from Britain as the Irish Free State in 1922."
The column has caused a big reaction online with many taking to Twitter to lambaste the writer.
Irish ambassador to the UK Daniel Mulhall wrote: "As Ambassador I cannot ignore @MelanieLatest's outlandish claim @thetimes that Irish nationhood is 'tenuous'. 100 years of independence.
"Irish nationhood based on strong sense of identity, distinctive culture & shared values and interests. Nothing 'tenuous'."
2/2 @MelanieLatest Irish nationhood based on strong sense of identity, distinctive culture & shared values and interests. Nothing 'tenuous'— Daniel Mulhall (@DanMulhall) March 7, 2017
One British tweeter wrote: "That awkward moment when other countries find out about Melanie Philips."
Another added: "That Melanie Philips piece reads like something Punch rejected for being too bats**t crazy."
Independent.ie has attempted to contact Ms Philips for a comment.
Melanie Philips' piece shows that Brexit vision of a unitary island state unencumbered by external obligations can't handle Irish realities.— Tom Griffin (@tcgriffin) March 7, 2017
Melanie Philips is aware of what was done to Ireland...? That's breathtaking stuff.— Richard Palmer (@redrichie) March 7, 2017
When did Melanie Philips start writing for The Onion?— Prof Sherbert Tights (@mrsanderzisin) March 7, 2017
I got momentarily animated and then saw it was Melanie Philips. Nothing to see here... https://t.co/ZYn7glYr9x— Oliver Farry (@ofarry) March 7, 2017
Melanie Philips putting Ireland in it's place— Calum Shambolic (@ShambolicCalum) March 7, 2017
It's not even a real country anyway... pic.twitter.com/5raWSdYk9X