Whether President Michael D Higgins is responsible or not for the words in his speeches at 1916 commemorative events (or whether inserted to persuade him to be measured in what he is required to say about 1916) is a moot point.
But it is interesting to note that in his (or his speech writers’) recitals on the annals of the woes of Ireland, he omits to recite the activities of the slave raiding and warring gaelige and/or Scotti warlords.
This was not only within what we now call Ireland but also carried over to their neighbours in the neighbouring Britannic island – who, of course, were also slaughtering each other.
It was in one such raid that Patrick, later the apostle, was enslaved and first brought to the island.
All this was before the Germanic Anglo-Saxon tribes (that seem to so obsess President Higgins or his speech writer) became a force, and before the Normans came and imposed a new order on both, but imposed more ruthlessly and more effectively in what we call England, less so in Ireland, to Ireland’s disadvantage.
It is a reflection of the categorising of “church history” as something separate from “secular history” that allows President Higgins to ramble on about the woes inflicted on Ireland without him ever having to make mention of the making of Western Christendom in those woes. Nor the later imploding of that Christendom under its own contradictions; the legacy of which, including the murder of Protestants in Cork, and all the other killings, is part of our, and President Higgins’ problem.
W A Miller, Belfast BT13