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Academic's reply over Covenant not convincing

Published 18/12/2015

Liam Kennedy's response to my letter concerning his article on the Covenant (Write Back, December 16) is not convincing.

The distinction between the Covenant (signed by men) and the Declaration (signed by women only) is not, contrary to him, minor; in any case, it was not a distinction made in his article even if it is made in his book - and it was the former to which I responded.

He also misses my point about treason. I asked him to provide a justification of his description of the Covenant as treasonable in terms of the legal definition of treason. I suggested he would struggle to do so; he has failed to do, as I asked. As one who makes much of his academic status, Liam Kennedy should try to use words with greater care.

He notes that the 1914 Home Rule Act was never implemented. Of course not. It was suspended for the duration of the war.

The Rising and its aftermath - the executions and the attempt to introduce conscription - destroyed the Home Rule project, not Carson. The leaders of the Rising had either never supported Home Rule, or had abandoned support for constitutional nationalism before the war.

As he is well aware, I have written at some length elsewhere on the background to the Covenant. He is also aware that, when he suggested that I had presented a sympathetic view of the Covenant in an earlier article, I asked him to substantiate the charge. He failed to do so.

Liam Kennedy's academic background is not in political or constitutional history. Perhaps it is not surprising that he appears to confuse efforts at historical analysis and explanation with apologetics.

CDC ARMSTRONG

Belfast

Belfast Telegraph

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