Provisional IRA terrorism sowed hatred and division and made Irishness anathema to many northern Protestants

There's something tragic, if not dangerous, going on.

By The Newsroom
Monday, 18th December 2017, 7:10 pm
Updated Monday, 18th December 2017, 7:16 pm
Sinn Fein is seizing and smothering itself in what it is to be Irish. Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press, taken at Stormont in November
Sinn Fein is seizing and smothering itself in what it is to be Irish. Picture by Arthur Allison/Pacemaker Press, taken at Stormont in November

Sinn Fein has almost entirely seized Irishness, Irish culture, Irish identity and what it is to be Irish.

It wasn’t always so.

A century ago those who opposed Home Rule were simply Irishmen and women who wanted to remain in Union with the Scots, English and Welsh.

Letter to the editor

It wasn’t that much different from Scotland today – SNP or Labour or Conservative, they’re all Scottish. Edward Carson said in 1914: “We’re both [Tom Kettle, Home Rule nationalist] Irishmen, and that is what matters.”

The goal of Isis is to sow fear, suspicion and division. We oppose that.

The result, if not the goal, of the Provisional IRA was to sow a generational hatred and division. They divided the Gael from the planter. For many northern Protestants the PIRA made Irishness anathema to them.

Academic research backs this up. Richard Rose’s 1968 Northern Ireland Loyalty Survey, found that ‘Protestant self description as Irish dropped sharply after 1968 ... Protestants tended to define their identity much more strongly as British after 1968.’

Letter to the editor

The Provisional IRA and Provisional Sinn Fein poisoned Irishness for Protestants during the Troubles.

Today Provisional SF is working to complete the job by seizing and smothering itself in what it is to be Irish.

In the early years of the Irish Free State writers such as as Sean O’Faolain, Peader O’Donnell, and Frank O’Connor saw the danger of the Irish-Irelander and creating an ‘Official Ireland’.

In opposition to rigid Irishness they worked to create a more realistic vision of Ireland and Irishness.

Today we need the same. Today we need to wrestle Irishness back from Sinn Fein and the blood and soil republicans.

Brian John Spencer,

Belfast