Don Kavanagh (‘Anti-Protestantism was not always the motive in attacks’, letter to the News Letter, February 21 ) accuses me of making “frankly hysterical claims” and “making things up” with reference to Vinegar Hill, 1798.
Perhaps I was too hasty in using “Vinegar Hill” as a byword for the sectarian attacks ( which he himself refers to ) at such places as Scullabogue and Wexford Bridge, the perpetrators of which were undoubtedly amongst those gathered at Vinegar Hill.
Jonathan Bardon, in his acclaimed “History of Ulster”, states “the insurrection in the south had been a peasant jacquerie characterised by sectarian killings”( p237 ) and quotes how “the accounts of the bloody goings on in Wexford had their full share in bringing the northerners to their senses” ( p236 ).
I note that Mr Kavanagh makes no reference to the 1641 massacres or to Kingsmills to which I also referred.
Perhaps the sectarian current underlying Irish nationalism is easier to ignore from the distance of Auckland.
Is it perhaps a case of hysteria aroused by the prospect of Ulster-folk adopting a distinct, separate and independent identity which would have the effect of rendering null any “Irish” claim on future generations.
Robert Wallace, Portadown