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Saturday, August 19, 2017
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The Treatment of Protestants in the Irish Republic

The stark fact remains that the Irish State has, since its inception, deliberately and methodically reduced the Protestant population from 10% to 2.5%.
Dr. Ian Paisley

In an article published in the Belfast Telegraph on December 13, 1995, former Eire Prime Minister Garret FitzGerald chose a few "statistics" on farm ownership and the non-agricultural labour force in a pathetic attempt to suggest that Protestants in the Irish Republic enjoyed a "privileged lifestyle". He completed his rosy picture of the South by implying that the authority of the Church of Rome had been weakened by what he called "the common decency of young Irish Catholics from the mid-1970s onwards". He quoted in particular a set of highly selective figures as "evidence" of Protestant "over-representation" in certain professions and the agricultural sphere. All this was clearly aimed at justifying his ridiculous conclusion that some Northern Protestants have "a rather distorted image" of the conditions of their co-religionists in the Irish State.

A verbal volte face

Obviously, Dr. FitzGerald had radically revised his judgement since 1991, when he wrote in his autobiography:

If I were a Northern Protestant today, I cannot see how I could be attracted to getting involved with a state that is itself sectarian. [...] According to Fianna Fail1 it would be a waste of time to talk about changing the Constitution so as to make it acceptable to unionists. [...] a reflection of the Catholic ethos in our legislation was 'quite natural and what you would expect'.2

A political system which in 1991 he saw as bordering on a Roman Catholic theocracy he somehow wondrously transformed three years later into providing a paradise for privileged Protestants; an ethos which in 1994 at an Anglo-Irish conference in Oxford3 he blamed for the alienation of Northern Protestants he suddenly re-evaluated as accountable for "the advantages enjoyed by the Protestant minority in the Irish State".

Dr. FitzGerald must be either a very confused thinker, or have suddenly changed his spots to facilitate the so-called peace process. Whichever is the case, he is guilty, like all the predecessors of his office, of the most blatant distortion of historical fact – regardless, one might add, of the credibility of any figures published by the Government of a State which enjoys the reputation of bandit in international law.

His carefully chosen statistics on the decline of the Protestant population in the South are, moreover, almost totally irrelevant, being limited to mere peripheries such as the exodus during the 1922-23 Civil War, comparative emigration rates in the mid-1920s, age factors, mixed marriages and even the terminology used in the 1991 Census.

What are the real facts?

More than 75 years of systematic ethnic cleansing

...the Protestant population of the 26 Counties fell by 63%.

In 1989 the influential Dublin magazine Magill printed figures showing that between the census of 1911 – the last to precede the Treaty – and 1981, the Protestant population of the 26 Counties fell by 63%. The drop up to 1989 it estimated at 68%. The causes of this dramatic decrease – from 10% in 1911 to 3.4% in 1981 and about 2.5% by the late 1980s – were listed as "alienation from the ethos of the State, emigration, and, over latter decades, mixed marriages". The Roman Catholic Church's decree, backed by the Courts, that children in mixed marriages must be brought up as Roman Catholics, created "social and cultural apartheid" which "more often than not, heralded the end of the line for Protestant families".4

...widespread intimidation and the burning of their properties.

The single biggest drop in Protestant numbers, says the magazine, occurred between 1911 and 1926, when a third of the Protestant population left the State – and the main factor in forcing them out is nowhere mentioned by Dr. FitzGerald: widespread intimidation and the burning of their properties.

After the Nationalists obtained possession of the 26 Counties in 1921, the pogrom against Protestants resembled the massacre of 1641 under Phelim O'Neill and the mass murder of Protestants during the 1798 Rebellion, when the systematic extermination of Protestants became a contagious disease. Within three or four years 146,000 Protestants had to flee from the new Irish State. Many more were murdered before they could manage to escape. There were 30 Orange Lodges in the city of Dublin, four District Lodges, a City Grand Lodge, Trinity College Grand Lodge, and seven Preceptories. Within a few months not a single one of them had survived. The Irish Government commandeered the magnificent Orange Hall in Dublin and used it as a Post Office. Many Protestant churches were closed for want of a congregation; numerous others had to be amalgamated. As the 1920s progressed, the anti-Protestant sectarianism of the new State increased. A memorable instance was the attempt in 1925 to outlaw divorce – which the poet W.B. Yeats, then a member of the Irish Senate, described as "a measure which a minority of this nation considers to be grossly offensive".

In the 1930s Roman Catholicism had become the central characteristic of Irish Nationalism and was the major influence on the shaping of the new State. The Eucharistic Congress of 1932 demonstrated the importance of the Roman religion in the celebration of the Irish national identity through the Gaelic tradition.

A sectarian Constitution

Predictably, the next step was the Republic's infamous 1937 Constitution, personally drafted by a fanatical Roman Catholic Nationalist, Eamonn de Valera, in the spirit of a crusade against Protestantism. It is a priest-inspired Constitution for a priest-dominated society. Its fundamentally theocratic nature, including its provision of a privileged position to the Roman Catholic Church, constitutes a breach of the formulation by the UN Commission on the Rights of Man (freedom of thought, conscience and religion) and contravenes the 1977 declaration by the UN Commission on Human Rights.

The deletion, following the 1972 referendum, of the provisions of Article 44.2-3 granting a special position to the Roman Catholic Church was in reality a clever confidence trick in that it also withdrew the former recognition of (without the granting of equality to) a limited number of other faiths. As J.M. Kelly points out, the Roman Church still enjoys a highly privileged position under that Constitution:

While these provisions [...] are no longer part of the Constitution, they [...] are still part of the law. Moreover, although repealed, they may perhaps still be looked at for guidance on the intended sense of other provisions, or of the Constitution as a whole.5

The official Statement made by the Irish Bishops to the New Ireland Forum in 1983, eleven years after the Referendum, not only vindicates Kelly's pronouncement, but also demolishes Dr. FitzGerald's feeble attempt to portray Protestants in the Irish Republic as a privileged and tolerated minority:

A Catholic country and its government where there is a very considerable Catholic ethos and consensus shouldn't feel it necessary to apologise that its legal system may sometimes be represented as offensive to minorities, but the rights of a minority are not more sacred that the rights of a majority.

It should be noted, incidentally, that the Church of Rome hypocritically applies exactly the opposite principle in its pronouncements on Northern Ireland! The Roman hierarchy, which is dedicated to the eradication of all Protestants as "heretics" (despite now wooing them ecumenically as "separated brethren"), has occasionally let slip its sympathy with the aims and methods of terrorism. A priest by the name of Watson was quoted in The Spectator of January 22, 1972:

How do you bring a Unionist Government to its knees unless you bomb them out? [...] There are many who believe it's the only way it can be done. [...] The hierarchy's in a mess, but in their heart of hearts they believe violence is justified.

25 years of terror against Protestants

"Give them the lead [leash or whip]"; and Corry: "Let poison gas be used on them."

The Irish Republic's continuing blunt refusal to revoke fully its illegal claims to Northern Ireland echoes the inflexible position of the author of its Constitution, Eamonn De Valera, who said in 1918 that the "rock of Ulster Unionism must be blasted out of [the Nationalists'] path" and who told Chamberlain in 1938 that if Ulster stood in the way of the attainment of Irish unity, then "the coercion of Northern Ireland would in all circumstances be justifiable". Two of his close associates formulated memorable pronouncements on Ulster's Protestant population: O'Duffy (President of the United Ireland Party and later Chief of Staff of the official Southern forces), said: "Give them the lead [leash or whip]"; and Corry: "Let poison gas be used on them."6

That goal has been pursued and intensified into the present through the campaign of terror waged against Ulster's Protestant majority. The bombing of Protestant towns, the burning of Protestant churches, the contrived re-routing of Loyalist marches, the banning of the playing of the UK National Anthem at Queen's University – all have proved to be part of an attempt to expunge every facet of the Protestant heritage, culture and identity and are a foretaste of how Protestants would be treated in a united Ireland. Yet the perpetrators are transubstantiated into peacemakers, while Irish Nationalism as a whole has come to speak with the same voice as its terrorist frontmen.

Nor have the people of Northern Ireland been deceived by the sham "removal" of Articles 2 and 3 following the 1998 Referendum in the Republic, which merely substituted a claim of nationality for a claim of territory and jurisdiction, and provided for the alteration to be rescinded should circumstances require it.

Dr. FitzGerald conveniently forgot to mention the terror campaign still being waged against Protestants in the South, both spiritually and physically. Even the ecumenist Archbishop of Armagh, whom we recently exposed for ditching the fundamental principles of the Reformation, acknowledged the reality of a campaign being waged against Protestants in the South. In April, 1995, his Bishops had to fight a rearguard action with other Protestant Churches to force Dublin's Minister of Education to allow the maintenance of minority rights threatened by White Paper proposals on primary and post-primary education. Numerous Protestant church buildings have been attacked and burned: one in Co. Wicklow was daubed with IRA slogans written in human blood, ransacked and set alight. Only the Bible failed to burn. The Republic's press teemed at the time with reports of physical attacks on Dr. FitzGerald's allegedly "privileged" and "endowed" Protestant minority. More than 40 attacks a week were being perpetrated on their persons, businesses, homes and property.7

"I had to move out of the city centre," he said, "because a man threatened to throw petrol over me and set me alight. […] My children are terrified. They are afraid to go out into the street to play."

On March 1, 1992, the Dublin newspaper Sunday World reported on the systematic victimisation of a born again Christian couple by gangs of youths in Cork because of their religious beliefs and for preaching the Gospel in the city and country towns. The husband was shot through the head with a .22 rifle for preaching in the street, but survived. "I had to move out of the city centre," he said, "because a man threatened to throw petrol over me and set me alight. […] My children are terrified. They are afraid to go out into the street to play."

Perhaps Dr. FitzGerald's next question to Northern Protestants will be: "Wouldn't it be great if it were like this all the time?"

The undeniable truth

Dr. FitzGerald's assertion that the decline in the Protestant population of the South had apparently "stopped" in 1995 fails to indicate that the major reason for this is the growing number of Roman Catholics being converted to the smaller Protestant Churches – a trend well documented in a recent noteworthy submission to the Dublin Forum. No wonder the Republic is worried!

Unwittingly, perhaps, Dr. FitzGerald dismantled his own argument in stating that the so-called "advantages" allegedly enjoyed by the Protestant minority in the South are "not likely to be contested" while that minority is "small enough not to be seen as a threat by the majority". In other words, if Protestants became a more substantial or more vociferous section of society, their ethos and their rights would be seen as a threat and consequently challenged. He thus inadvertently authenticated the well-demonstrated historical fact that where Roman Catholicism is in the majority it denies the rights of others in the name of its own principles, but where it is in the minority it demands rights for itself in the name of the principles of others.

The stark fact remains that the Irish State has, since its inception, deliberately and methodically reduced the Protestant population from 10% to 2.5%. In the 1930s, the Nazi propaganda machine painted an idyllic picture of Germany's Jews as a privileged minority. Dr. FitzGerald's ludicrous image of Southern Protestants as a "privileged minority" needs to be rectified by the description given by Jack White in his book Minority Report (1975): "a minority without privilege".

1 Irish political party meaning 'Warriors of Destiny'
2 Garret FitzGerald: All in a Life. An Autobiography. Dublin: Gill & Macmillan, 1991, p. 378f.
3 Encounter and the British-Irish Association. Conference for Young Politicians. University of Oxford, April 1, 1994.
4 "Discrimination in Eire", in the Magill Magazine, February, 1989.
5 J.M. Kelly: The Irish Constitution. Dublin: Jurist, 1980, p. 537.
6 Quoted in Hugh Shearman: Anglo-Irish Relations. London: Faber and Faber, p. 204.
7 Evening Herald, May 15, 1995.

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