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Defining exactly who is truly Irish

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Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Belfast Telegraph letters to the Editor

Malachy Scott (Write Back, May 5) repeats the same old Irish republican blarney when his letter asserts that the British must get out of Ireland and leave it to the Irish.

What I want to know, Malachy, is exactly who are the Irish when there were no people on the island at the end of the Pleistocene Ice Age and since then there has been a plethora of migration, both in and out?

Perhaps you define them as anyone living on this island, which I'd accept, but it's very doubtful if this would be your definition.

Ireland is often referred to as a "Celtic nation", but we're not even certain of the timing of their arrival. But there's no doubt that they follow many other groups, such as the Mesolithic, Neolithic and Bronze Age peoples, so who are the Irish if not these earlier groups and are there any "pure" survivors from those first Neolithic people? Would these not be the "true" Irish?

Then, we skip ahead to the Viking raids and the 12th century Anglo-Normans, the latter founding the first towns, permanent castles and government. Would they not have intermarried with other existing groups? So, I ask once again: who are the Irish?

The Planters then continued this tradition of town building and developing a more industrialised economy from an agricultural, subsistence state of affairs. Great buildings were constructed and the large manor houses became common. The area surrounding Dublin became known as The Pale and hence the present population along this east coast is possibly more English than today's population in England.

Who, then, are you wanting to throw out of Ireland, Malachy? Is it Gerry Adams, whose surname is not indicative of an "Irish" ancestry?

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How would Ireland's economy have fared if it wasn't for the heritage of English, the business language of the globe?

R McCAULEY

Larne, Co Antrim


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