Tuesday 16 July 2019

Letters to the Editor: 'DUP needs history lesson to see how dispensable the Irish are to Britain'

Arlene Foster: Her DUP party has described the Brexit backstop as poison. Photo: Getty Images
Arlene Foster: Her DUP party has described the Brexit backstop as poison. Photo: Getty Images
Letters to the Editor

Letters to the Editor

The DUP is now describing the Brexit backstop as poison, as though its existence is preventing them from reaching some kind of nirvana with other Brexiteers in a brave new world. They would do well to learn a few lessons from history.

One of the watershed events in the North, apart from Brexit and the conflict from 1970-1998, was the Siege of Derry. In 1689-90, a smaller force of Protestant defenders (Episcopalian, Presbyterian, non-conformist) held out for six months against a greater Irish Catholic force loyal to King James and by the slimmest of margins and the luckiest of circumstances, managed to break the boom on Lough Foyle, allowing relief ships to come to their rescue. This courageous defence secured Ulster for King William and ensured Protestant domination there for 300 years.

But not everything was rosy thereafter in Ulster's garden. For all their allegiance to King William, the Presbyterians in particular were to be sadly disappointed in thinking their loyalty to the King would count in their favour.

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Firstly, English landowners killed the flourishing Irish cattle trade by procuring laws from Parliament prohibiting the importation of Irish cattle, sheep, pigs, pork, bacon and even butter and cheese. The Navigation Act was passed under which Irish ships were prevented from any share of trade with the colonies and was thus annihilated.

With the Irish cattle trade killed by the jealousy of the English, the Presbyterians and other Unionist landowners turned to sheep to produce wool of excellent quality. But English wool magnates moved swiftly to ruthlessly kill the competition. In 1699, the British Parliament enacted a law of such crushing severity that the export of Irish wool was prohibited to any country in the world. The Irish were told to switch to linen instead.

They fared better at this enterprise but already many Presbyterians, disillusioned by their treatment and the savage suppression of their agricultural and industrial success began to emigrate to the new colonies of America in large numbers.

Their descendants became US presidents such as Andrew Jackson, James Polk and James Buchanan. The heroic frontiersmen Daniel Boone and Davy Crockett were of Ulster Protestant stock. Among the most fanatical and ferocious fighters in the American War of Independence were the seed and breed of Ulster Protestant emigrants.

There is ample historical evidence to adduce that the Ulster Protestants, apart from those defending Derry in the siege, were treated humanely and fairly by their Catholic neighbours. Until the siege ended, Catholics held the overwhelming power in Ulster.

The lessons are salutary. Irishmen of every stripe, Protestant, Catholic, Presbyterian and Dissenter, should be under no illusion as to their dispensability if it comes to a choice between them and Britain.

Maurice O'Callaghan

Stillorgan, Co Dublin


Forever grateful for the children's 'midnight' Mass

It was Christmas Eve, Midnight Mass was being said at 6.30 in the evening because 20 or 30 young children were participating in the ceremony.

They were aged from five to 12 and were dressed in various hand-me-downs to resemble the Three Wise Men and a host of angels - put simply, it was something that had to be seen.

The priest who performed the ceremony was an old timer, and a true wordsmith! It was a Mass I will never forget; it had beauty, innocence, and a true feeling of God being present.

No, I am not a devout Catholic, but I made the effort to attend this gathering, and I will be forever grateful.

New Year's resolution? Well, it's more of a wish really: For children to rule the world. And 'hate' to be removed from everyone's vocabulary.

Fred Molloy

Clonsilla, Dublin 15


Exporting beef doesn't make us self-sufficient

THE Taoiseach says nobody will go hungry as we export food. This does not mean we are self-sufficient.

We export beef but we import nearly all of our flour. We do not grow enough millable wheat and we now have no commercial mills. The mills all closed when we joined the EU (EEC). We import about 95pc of our flour from the UK.

William Mathers

Co Limerick


Dublin much more dirty old town than fair city

I AM a Dubliner, living/working in Germany since 2004. I'm home on a short holiday for Christmas/New Year.

My reason for writing is to express concern at the amount of litter.

I've been jogging around Dublin these past few days. It's deplorable how dirty the streets/roads are; lack of pavement sweeping; kerbside drains stuffed with leaves and dirt.

When compared to German cities Dublin leaves a lot to be desired as far as street cleaning is concerned.

Kevin Reidy

Hamburg and Templeogue, Dublin


I'd like to Remain but control immigration

I'M AN an Englishman on a week's visit to Dublin to spend some time with friends I was at college with in the 1980s.

Though I voted Remain in the 2016 referendum, I share the concerns of the pro-Brexit people in relation to the massive levels of immigration into GB.

The area of London where I grew up in the 1960s/70s was almost totally white/English back then. The schools were almost all attended by white youngsters.

Now this area is full of Asians, Africans, Eastern European, and Chinese. The white population has been reduced to a minority. I'm not racist. I don't care what colour a person is or where they came from, but there has to be a limit on the numbers allowed into the country.

As an Englishman I just want to add that I am deeply embarrassed by what's going on in Westminster.

I would have preferred if the vote in 2016 had been to remain, but the antics of the Brexiteers in recent weeks has been appalling.

I hope there is not a crash-out nor a hard Border in Ireland, though both look very likely as I write.

Ken Litton

Address with Editor

Irish Independent

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