This letter appeared in the Irish News on Wednesday 14th October 14th 2015.
DARREN Litter (September 29th) in his response to my suggestion that in the event of a United Ireland unionist dissenters should be replanted back to Scotland, proposed that the “more historical” Irish should return to their ancestral home in Spain.
But then, following his logic to its full conclusion, should not everybody should go back to Africa, the ancestral home of all humanity? No, I can’t agree.
Ireland was first settled by Mesolithic hunter-gatherers in 8000 BC after the retreat of the Ice Age. Other settlers arrived, most notably the Celts, and they all eventually combined to form a Gaelic political and social order subject to the Brehon Law. The culture survived the Norman invasion of 1169-71 with even the Normans eventually becoming ‘more Irish’ than the origional Irish. The Crown didn’t attempt to assert full control of Ireland untill Henry V111 proclaimed himself King of Ireland and tried to introduce the reformation. Catholics were banned from Irish paraliament, and subordinated under the brutal Penal Laws. Many were slaughtered or transported as slaves to the colonies. This period was marked by a policy of plantation involving involving displacement of the pre-plantation Catholic landlords.
The new landowners were explicitly banned from taking Irish tenants and had to import workers from the mainland. Following the suppression of the 1608 rebellion in Ulster, the most Gaelic part of Ireland, the new landlords seized their lands and planted the immigrants, who were mainly Scottish, to work these stolen lands. Another wave of immigrants, involving tens of thousands, fled from the 1696-1968 famine in the Border region of Scotland. These settlers did not steal the land from the native Irish. It was the English Lords who brought them in to keep the native Irish out.
As such, in a new free United Ireland the Protestant descendants of these settlers would be welcome to help form the new nation. However, their English masters who origionally encouraged and subsidised them to come here should naturally be prepared to compensate the return of those unionist dissenters who have no wish to be part of this new Ireland. This should also reduce the prospect of a violent kick-back and also help ensure Scotland remain in a United Britain.
Indeed in light of the UKs steadily increasing national debt of £1.6 trillion, looming National Health Scheme Crisis, overloaded future pension liabilities and impending housing shortage togeather with the heavy cost of providing for new immigrants, I think a United Ireland would be a better financial prospect.
With many thanks to: John McDowell. The Irish News.