Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 23 July 2014

Irish republicans have selective memories

Is Irish republicanism fundamentally flawed? Having viewed murals in west Belfast - one of the Irish Famine - and given their focus on the Easter Rising, is it not true that, like most of us, their memory is often selective?

Any objective view of the two aforementioned epochs will not see those issues in simple black and white. But there is a black and white event in Irish history that republicans have overlooked. In 1169, the King of Leinster, Dermot MacMurrough, invited Norman knight Robert Fitz-Stephens to Ireland, as a brother-in-arms against the King's enemies in the internecine struggles of Celtic Ireland.

The 'Old English' were in Ireland by invitation and they became more Irish than the Irish themselves through marriage.

Eventually, the FitzGeralds - 'the Geraldines' - were imprisoned and executed during the Elizabethan period, because their Irish-Catholic loyalties conflicted with their duties to the Crown.

Republicans seem to have deleted this epoch in Irish history.

During the Irish Civil War, brother killed brother and the survivor, the present-day Irish republican, may be fundamentally flawed at conception as a result. "Yahweh asked Cain, 'Where is your brother Abel?' 'I do not know,' he replied. 'Am I my brother's guardian?' 'What have you done?' Yahweh asked. 'Listen. Your brother's blood is crying out to me from the ground.' So Yahweh put a mark on Cain." (Genesis 4: 9, 10, 15)

GERALDINE SUSAN RICE

Bessbrook, Co Armagh

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