Short slogans such ‘England get out of Ireland’ and ‘Ulster says no’ can be mis-interpreted

I am rather surprised that Simon Coveney TD is so put out by the banner ‘England get out of Ireland’ in New York City St. Patrick’s day parade.

Friday, 22nd March 2019, 12:59 pm
Letter to the editor

Fine Gael like to proudly claim that they are the party of Mícheál Ó Coileáin. In the book ‘The Path to Freedom’, Ó Coileáin wrote in his essay ‘The Proof of Success’ — “The coming and the presence of the English had deprived us of life and liberty. Their ways were not our ways.

Their interests and their purposes meant our destruction. We must turn back again the wheels of that infamous machine which was destroying us. We must get the English out of Ireland.”

It is worth reading that essay and the others in the Path to Freedom to see how frequently Ó Coileáin wrote about England’s control over Ireland and how it ruined the Irish nation.

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I get the feeling that Ó Coileáin would have been very much in agreement with the banner.

Is Mr Coveney’s disapproval of the banner in any way related to the latest opinion polls that show support for Fine Gael and Sinn Féin went up?

What better way for Fine Gael to continue to win support than attack Sinn Féin.

It’s not like the banner was unveiled for the first time this year.

Some have argued that the ‘England get out of Ireland’ message means the people in Ireland with a British identity would have to get out of Ireland.

I can understand why some think that is the message being delivered, it is probably written the way it is for reasons of brevity.

If a longer message was required it might go something like ‘Dear UK government, please withdraw from Ireland in an orderly manner.’

The famous slogan ‘Ulster says n’ is also short and powerful but it doesn’t indicate what Ulster is saying no to.

These short slogans leave themselves open to being misinterpreted which does not help with political discourse.

Is mise, le meas,

Seanán Ó Coistín, Trier, Germany