Southern Ireland is priest ridden.
Southern Ireland is an economic basket-case. Southern Ireland has rubbish cars and roads. These are tropes that unionists like to tell themselves. However they are not true, not one bit.
Running high on EU subsidies, US capital and a highly educated work-force Ireland is a completely different country from the one held in unionist imagination.
That is why I welcome the letter by the Southern domiciled Northern protestant Andy Pollak, ‘Ireland is a post-Catholic republic’, (October 16 2016).
As far back as 2000 people like the late Eddie Holt have written about the “Protestantisation” of Catholic Ireland. It truly is a different place. Dublin is a mini-London and the hinterland is enjoying recovery and change. Rome Rule is dead. An Ulster protestant, Heather Humphries, is in charge of Ireland’s centenary commemorations of the 1916 Rising.
In the face of this Mr Pollak called in his letter for two things. A correction to the unionist view of Southern Ireland. A visit to the South by unionists. I agree wholly.
History has shown that the politics of fear has been disastrous for Northern Ireland. Our place in the Union depends upon unionists making a positive case and practising tolerant unionism.
Britishness is not lost in having warm relations with the south. If anything, by showing that Britishness and Irishness are entirely compatible unionism would rob its political opponents of their very raison d’être. Moreover, unionism would re-establish itself with the city of its founding father Edward Carson, Dublin, something he could only have welcomed I’m sure.
Brian John Spencer, Belfast