Friday 15 December 2017

Organised deceit over boundary

Madam -- Your correspondent, Patrick Guinness (Letters, Sunday Independent, October 21, 2012) maintains, in reference to my article of October 14, that the findings of the Boundary Commission Report on Northern Ireland in 1925 "arranged nothing". The third member of the Commission, Eoin MacNeill, resigned because he believed that the other two members, Judge Feetham from South Africa, and a Unionist newspaper editor, were abusing their position by refusing to take a judicial stance.

"I was appointed," MacNeill wrote, "one of a tribunal of three to take evidence and arrive at a judicial decision and not to negotiate about anything."

Having got MacNeill out of the way, the other two were free to steer the proceedings in the direction they wished. On October 18, 1925, Joseph Fisher wrote to Edward Carson, (this was a highly improper communication given that the judges were sworn to secrecy): "I am well satisfied with the result which will not shift a stone or a tile of your enduring work for Ulster. It will remain a solid and close unit with five counties intact and the sixth somewhat trimmed on the outer edge. It will control the gates to its own waters at Beleek and at Newry and the Derry navigation to the open sea."

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