Tuesday 23 October 2018

Historian stands over his remarks

Sir -- In his review (Sunday Independent, November 7, 2010) of Gerard Murphy's book, The Year of Disappearances: Political Killings in Cork 1921-1922, John-Paul McCarthy refers to a comment I made several years ago, and again quoted in this book, that "there was no ethnic cleansing in the South Mall". By that I meant that the prominence of Protestants in Cork commercial life was largely unaffected by the upheaval of 1920-1923.

Dr McCarthy says the book treats my comment "with derision". Not so. In fact, the author makes it clear that, far from being an eccentric opinion, mine is "a widely held belief" and that "it is generally accepted by historians that ... . urban Protestants ... . maintained their hegemony and their control of the professions right into the years of the Free State".

Moreover, as far as I can see from the book, the author nowhere states that the exodus of some Protestant residents from the south-eastern suburbs of Cork was accompanied by a collapse of Protestant commercial interests in the city centre.

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