Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 20 April 2014

Seek truth about Hyde

Pól Ó Muirí (Belfast Telegraph, October 27) had his customary swipe at Ulster-Scots and then wrote of the importance and significance of Douglas Hyde as a Protestant who spoke Irish.



He said: “The fact that Hyde spoke Irish and that others from a similar religious background continue to speak the language offers the DUP an opportunity out of their cultural cul-de-sac and one for which they might yet be grateful.”

Douglas Hyde (1860-1947) was born in Roscommon, the son of a Church of Ireland rector, but he was certainly not a unionist.

Hyde saw Gaelic culture and the Irish language as the basis for Irish independence. One of his most notable speeches was made in Dublin in 1892, entitled The Necessity for de-Anglicising Ireland.

This was a notable speech in which Hyde showed an utter contempt for his co-religionists in Ulster. In it he provided an ethnically and culturally sectarian analysis of history.

His vision was for a Gaelic and a monocultural Ireland with no place for cultural diversity.

There are lessons to be learned from Douglas Hyde, who went on to become the first President of Éire, but I suspect they are not the lessons that Pól Ó Muirí would want us to learn.



Nelson McCausland MLA

Belfast