Britain’s biggest mistake was partitioning Ireland

Posted By: March 16, 2018

“I thought it would be good for Members of Congress to see this Letter to the Editor, Irish News. It is not extraordinary, rather its merit is that it is the very ordinary expression of the vast, vast majority of people on the island of Ireland, the vox populi—while fully accepting the Good Friday Agreement. It is also good to see quoted the words of the famed English journalist Paul Johnson (hardly an Irish rebel).” — Fr. Sean McManus

James G Barry. Dublin. Letters to Editor. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, March 16, 2018

The UK prime minister’s recent Brexit speech was long, complex and clouded, encompassing all solutions and players and the issue of the Irish border. It was tinted with the centuries-old British stance of divide and conquer. For centuries Britain has sought to conquer Ireland and treat it as a colony. There were various methods used and because of their overall strength and conniving they succeeded. Their biggest mistake was the partitioning of Ireland. This caused a split in the Irish republican movement, resulting in a civil war. But more so, it created a division of its people and a possible threat of a civil war in the six northeastern counties of Ireland.
A new parliament was set up in Northern Ireland. Ordinary laws were done away with and a police state regime was installed to subdue the nationalist population. In the years following the British government turned a blind eye to the draconian system of discrimination based upon religious beliefs. As was inevitable a rising generation of young nationalists became dissatisfied and disillusioned and started a civil rights campaign which led to the multi-party negotiations of 1998.

To sum up, the events of the British shameful involvement in Ireland Paul Johnson, a distinguished English journalist and an ardent supporter of Margaret Thatcher at the time, wrote in the New Statesman many years ago:

 ‘In Ireland over the centuries, we have tried every possible formula: direct rule, indirect rule, genocide, apartheid, puppet parliaments, real parliaments, martial law, civil law, colonization, partition.’ He concluded with: ‘Nothing has worked. The only solution we have not tried is absolute and unconditional withdrawal.’

 Now with the addition of the agreement reached in the multi-party negotiations of 1998 the British and Irish governments have the mechanism to let the people of the whole island of Ireland vote on getting rid of the border by the reunification of a new Ireland.
So why not try it now. It will happen in any event.