The Irish who prosper in Britain could help ease dangerous political tensions by speaking up

A letter from John Wilson Foster:

By Letters
Friday, 24th December 2021, 5:32 am
Updated Friday, 24th December 2021, 5:41 am
Letter to the editor
Letter to the editor

I enjoy Joe Lynam’s amiable reports on the BBC and am delighted that he has no hesitation in ‘lauding’ his success in Britain (‘We Irish laud our contented lives in Britain,’ Letters, December 14, see link below).

Mr Lynam’s welcome 2011 op-ed piece in the Irish Times indeed says what I prove at length along the way: that the British don’t hate the Irish.

But my subject (‘Silent about the relocation to Britain,’ December 8, see link below) was the other side of the coin: the Irish public attitude to the British.

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The thousands of Irish who live and prosper in their midst are silent on the subject, when speaking up could help ease dangerous political tensions that have lasted for decades.

And as for the Irish at home: had any of Mr Lynam’s successful compatriots written to the Irish Times during Brexit chastising that newspaper and its chief columnist Fintan O’Toole, the Irish government, the Dublin commentariat, and Sinn Féin for their naked anti-Britishness, and offered their own success and contentment across the water in reproof, I might have paused a moment or two before writing my own piece.

Mr Lynam is right that much has changed in the South of Ireland. But hostility towards Britain from the quarters I’ve mentioned? Not so much.

The Irish observers I quote to advance my argument were writing between 2014 and 2019 and are no more out of date than I am.

John Wilson Foster, Co-editor, The Idea of the Union

• Extract from ‘The Idea of the Union’ Dec 8: There is silence among the Irish about their relocation to Britain

• More on ‘The Idea of the Union’ below:

• Extract from ‘The Idea of the Union’ Dec 4: London is a cultural capital for the Irish

• Book Review of ‘The Idea of the Union’ Nov 20: Unionist leaders should read this vital defence of NI’s place in UK

• Authors of ‘The Idea of the Union’ Oct 30: We probe Irish nationalist myths in our new book which defends the Union

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