No excuse for wanting Westminister to legislate on the North

This letter appeared in The Irish News today 21/8/2018

The Irish Daily Mail and The Journal reported on Provisional Sinn Féin President Mary Lou McDonald asserting the idea of Ireland rejoining the Commonwealth of Nations must be discussed.

Commonwealth of Nations

Can Provisional Sinn Féin not see that joining a free trade association, free trade is a criterion for Commonwealth membership, with 53 other entities would leave the Irish Free State’s market open to economic dumping? Are they unaware that farmers in EU nations are reliant on the common agriculture policy subsidies due to the economic dumping made possible by the EU’s free movement of goods and services?

In any case why would a party with a largely Irish nationalist base want to join a free trade association headed by no other than Elizabeth SaxeCoburg Gotha? Why would a party claiming to be Irish Republican want to join a free trade association of former British Empire colonies?

In the Commonwealth only Britain, India, Canada, Australia, Nigeria and South Africa have a higher nominal gross domestic product than the Irish Free State. The aforementioned nations, along with Pakistan, Malaysia, Bangladesh and Singapore are the only Commonwealth nations with higher gross domestic product purchasing power parity than the Irish Free State.

Only Bermuda has a higher nominal GDP per capita than the Irish Free State in the Commonwealth. The Falklands, Singapore, Bermuda and the Isle of Man are the only Commonwealth entities with a higher GDP purchasing power parity per capita than the Irish Free State.

The idea of the Irish Free State rejoining the Commonwealth of Nations is not the only questionable issue they have raised recently. In the pursuit of legally recognised same-sex unions in this part of Ulster, Provisional Sinn Féin has called upon Westminster to legislate for gay marriage in the six counties. Regardless of where one stands on the social issue there is no excuse for people who claim they’re Republican while calling for Westminster to legislate for any part of Ireland.

With many thanks to: ÉAMONN MACGRIANNA Belfast, BT11.

On August 21st we remember Michael “Micky” Devine – 26th May 1954 – 20th August 1981

Who was a founding member of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA). And the last young man to be murdered by the British Crown in the 1981 Irish hunger strike. He died after 60 days without food.

Devine, also known as “Red Mickey” because of his red hair, was born into a family from the Springtown Camp, Derry. In 1960, when Mickey was six years of age, the Devine family including his grandmother, sister Margaret and parents Patrick and Elizabeth, moved to the then newly built Creggan estate to the north of Derry city centre.He was educated to a primary level at Holy Child Primary School, Creggan, and at secondary level in St. Joseph’s Secondary School, also in the Creggan.

After British soldiers shot dead two unarmed civilians, Dessie Beattie and Raymond Cusack, Devine joined the James Connolly Republican Club in Derry in July 1971. Bloody Sunday had a deep impact on Mickey, as it had on all Nationalists all over Ireland. In the early 1970s, Mickey joined the Labour Party and Young Socialists.

He helped found the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) in 1975. In 1976, after an arms raid in Co. Donegal, Mickey was arrested in the North of Ireland. He was convicted and sentenced to 12 years in prison. He joined the blanket protest before joining the hunger strike.

Mickey participated in a brief hunger strike in 1980, that was called off without fatalities. On 22nd June 1981, he joined the 1981 Irish hunger strike. He died on 20th August, the tenth and last of the hunger strikers to die.

According to the Sunday Times, papers released under the Freedom of Information Act suggest that Sinn Féin, the political arm of the IRA, refused offers of the Thatcher government to end the hunger strike until after the election that saw Owen Carron succeed to Bobby Sands Parliamentary seat. Around July 5th, 1981, the government secretly tendered concessions that, if accepted, could have saved six of the ten hunger strikers. The claim that the IRA was offered a deal that substantially conformed to their demands was confirmed by Denis Bradley, the former deputy chairman of the ‘Northern Ireland’ Policing Board. Sinn Féin deny any of this.

Although another 13 men had joined, and continued to join the Hunger Strike after Mickey died. There were no more deaths. The strike was ended on the 3rd October 1981.

With many thanks to: 

Micheál Martin slates removal of history from core curriculum Fianna Fáil leader vows to restore subject as core component in Junior Cert curriculum

Micheál Martin said there had been a proposal prior to him becoming Minister for Education in 1997 to have history removed as a core subject at Junior Certificate level.

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin has said he will restore history to the core Junior Certificate curriculum if his party are in government after the next election.

He described junior cycle reforms as a “catastrophe” for the subject. From September history will no longer be compulsory; instead just three subjects will be mandatory – Irish, English and Maths.

Schools will have the freedom to provide other subjects and so-called short courses, such as digital media literacy and computer coding.

Speaking at the West Cork History Festival, Mr Martin said there had been a proposal prior to him becoming minister for education in 1997 to have history removed as a core subject to Junior Certificate level.

The Fianna Fáil leader, who was a history teacher before becoming a TD, vetoed the proposal and put a note on the file, “this must never happen again” as he feared for the future of the subject.

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“If you don’t (have it as a compulsory subject), you will have no follow through in the Leaving Certificate and it would eventually lead, in my view, to the elimination of history,” he told the festival.

Micheál Martin told the history festival that there is never a “positive outcome” when politicians exploit anniversaries for “partisan advantage”.
Micheál Martin told the history festival that there is never a “positive outcome” when politicians exploit anniversaries for “partisan advantage”.
Mr Martin’s comments follow on from remarks in May by President Michael D Higgins who expressed “deep and profound concern” that history will no longer be a core subject at Junior Certificate level.

The President said history was the “inheritance of all our people”. And he added that a republic worthy of the name would seek to make it accessible to as many people as possible.

Mr Martin told the history festival that there is never a “positive outcome” when politicians exploit anniversaries for “partisan advantage”.

Mr Martin accused “Provisional Sinn Féin” of seeking to “manipulate and politicise the Irish Revolution” for its own end, especially in its perpetuation of the “corrosive and dangerous myth of the unbroken chain” linking the struggle for Irish independence 100 years ago with the modern-day Provisional IRA.

Mr Martin added that SF had also claimed that Sinn Féin was the party of Constance Markievicz when she chaired the founding meeting of Fianna Fáil. And they managed to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Sinn Féin without mentioning Éamon De Valera.

Mr Martin criticised controversial Hungarian prime minister Viktor Orban’s “illiberal and anti-democratic behaviour”, which he said was based on the “aggressive promotion of a cult of grievance about the post first World War settlement”.

Mr Orban has constantly harkened back to the Treaty of Trianon in 1920 which created the modern country of Hungary, but left many ethnic Hungarians in other countries.

He said Mr Orban had used the grievances around the Treaty of Trianon to distract from his domestic failings.

Mr Martin added: “I do not see how it is possible for a country to tackle the needs of today when it defines programme in terms of the past when it had an aristocratic suffrage, dominated many millions of other nationalities through political and social repression and sought to keep out the modern world.”

With many thanks to: The Irish Times for the original story.