Unionist opposition to Casement cash is all about control

Posted By: October 13, 2023


“Just like White Supremacists in the U.S., the Unionists/Protestants in Northern Ireland feel their supremacy slipping away. However, equality and solidarity are not to be feared, but rather embraced—freeing, as Martin Luther King, Jr. taught, both the oppressed and the oppressor, building up The Beloved Community.”—Fr. Sean McManus

Irish Congressional Briefing

Distributed to Congress by Irish National Caucus

Unionist opposition to Casement cash is all about control.

Brian Feeney. Irish News. Belfast. Friday, October 13, 2023.

The sign will read Páirc Mhic Ásmaint. Thousands of spectators from European countries will pour through the turnstiles in five years’ time witnessing manifestations of Irishness in the new stadium.

It’s another blow to the unionist mindset, as you’ve gathered from the churlish response from unionist politicians and surly sour grapes from the usual suspects.

“Soccer must not lose out,” moaned one. How stupid is that? As Leo Varadkar said, soccer clubs “all over the country” will benefit.

Another DUP MLA said the party opposed additional Stormont budget funding for building Casement. How stupid is that with the DUP keeping Stormont closed?

Anyway, the British and Irish governments are going to invest in all the stadiums. Varadkar has said Dublin will contribute money for both Ireland’s venues, Aviva and Casement.

The dog in the manger stuff from unionists is in stark contrast to the delight nationalists display at the prospect. Michelle O’Neill said: “This is an incredible opportunity of a lifetime. The hosting of this prestigious tournament will create jobs and showcase everything that makes our island and people amazing.”

Unionists never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity, never averse to looking a gift horse in the mouth, in this case, one which will bring hundreds of millions to Ireland. As O’Neill said, “our chance to shine on the global stage”.

You don’t hear any unionist objections to the Open going to Royal Portrush in 2025. For them, that’s all right. It’s not just that there’s a minimal amount of public money spent on the golf, but mainly golf is an acceptable game. It’s the British Open Championship so that’s OK.

The previous Open at Portrush generated over £100 million for the north. Imagine six Euro matches based in Belfast. Nope, not if you’re a unionist politician. They’d rather eat the grass than play on it if it’s Casement. Why?

Thousands of spectators from European countries will pour through the turnstiles in five years’ time witnessing manifestations of Irishness in the new Casement Park.

It’s all about control. It’s an integral part of the unionist mindset and runs through it like a slogan through a stick of rock. It’s a legacy of the Plantation, of colonialism. By the middle of the seventeenth century, Irish intellectuals like Seathrún Céitinn had realized that the planters intended to create sacsa nua darb anim Éire, “a new England called Ireland.”  Anglicization began in earnest: dispossession, language, clothes, religion, you name it. No manifestation of Irishness permitted.

That attitude still persists. They want to be able to tell you what your name is, what you’re allowed to call yourself, what games you’re allowed to play, what you name the ground where you play your game – no Irish hero’s name allowed – what songs you sing, what music you play and so on.

Of course, unionism’s not a monolith. Thousands of people from a unionist background don’t give a damn about the GAA or the Irish language or Irish music. They couldn’t care less because none of it affects them in the slightest. They just get on with their own lives. However, it does matter to political unionism as represented by the DUP, UUP, and TUV.

Any glimpse of Irishness shrinks the sacsa nua they aspired to create. The last 50-odd years have been a continuous contraction as their control system has been progressively dismantled until now they have no control left. The nightmare of mere equality of status and parity of esteem looms.

It’s now become impossible to mouth the slogan “Ulster is British” with any credibility. Yet because political unionism clings to that long-outdated mindset of controlling the natives, they can’t come to terms with the changed society we live in. They’re beached somewhere about 1950. Worst of all, it’s their British government that passes legislation endorsing recognition of Irishness here.

Unionist leaders can only look on in bewilderment and dismay as the British and Irish governments help fund the Euro tournament and the rest of Europe watches matches in a GAA stadium in this part of Ireland.