Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

President Michael D Higgins Rejects Religious Invitation Issued by Men of God in Armagh – The Right Decision – The 1921 Partition of Ireland Created a Carnival of Reaction

with 2 comments

Eejit is a great word living within the English language spoken in Ireland. Author Mike Finn reveals the meaning in a sentence of nine words : “Those advocating Brexit are an awful shower of eejits”. Likewise, those who advocate “marking” the partition of Ireland are an awful shower of eejits. President Michael D Higgins is no eejit.

Michael D has become a spokesperson for the vast majority of people living in Ireland who hate partition. He will not attend a religious event in Armagh commemorating the 1921 creation of the Northern Ireland Orange State. An opinion poll on the issue shocked numerous pro-Unionist forelock-tuggers in Ireland – 81 per cent of people in the 26 County bit of Ireland agree with the President’s decision.

“Huge backing for President Michael D Higgins” – Irish News Headline

A new Irish Thinks/Irish Mail on Sunday poll published yesterday revealed that 81 percent of respondents supported the decision by President Higgins not to go.

Just 13 per cent of respondents said he should have accepted the invitation, with five percent of respondents saying they ‘don’t know’.

The poll also revealed that President Higgins is currently the most popular public figure in Ireland with a satisfaction rating of 7.3.

https://www.irishnews.com/news/republicofirelandnews/2021/09/20/news/huge-backing-polls-for-president-michael-d-higgins-2452921/

This image is from the funeral of Labour historian Manus O’Riordan, Friday October 1 2021. Among the attendance was Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland – currently popular with nearly all streams of the Irish Left after refusing to attend a religious ceremony in Armagh celebrating a “Carnival of Reaction” 100th Anniversary : the partition of Ireland in 1921. https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/09/27/manus-oriordan-has-passed-away/

1916 Rising martyr James Connolly – Trade Union Leader, Marxist Scholar, Commandant of the Irish Citizens’ Army – predicted in 1914 the Partition of Ireland would create a “Carnival of Reaction”. Political predictions are very risky – living history often tosses them aside. Today, in October 2021, awful eejits among us ignore Connolly’s inspired 1914 forecast. Casting our gaze backwards at the last 100 years in Ireland, examining our own lived experience, we should come back – again and again – to Connolly’s daring prediction.

1916 Rising martyr James Connolly – Trade Union Leader, Marxist Scholar, Commandant of the Irish Citizens’ Army – predicted in 1914 the Partition of Ireland would create a “Carnival of Reaction”. Political predictions are very risky – living history often tosses them aside. Today, in October 2021, awful eejits among us ignore Connolly’s inspired 1914 forecast. Casting our gaze backwards at the last 100 years in Ireland, examining our own lived experience, we should come back – again and again – to Connolly’s daring prediction.

“Such a scheme as that agreed to by Redmond and Devlin, the betrayal of the national democracy of industrial Ulster would mean a carnival of reaction both North and South, would set back the wheels of progress, would destroy the oncoming unity of the Irish Labour movement and paralyse all advanced movements whilst it endured.

To it Labour should give the bitterest opposition, against it Labour in Ulster should fight even to the death, if necessary, as our fathers fought before us”

https://www.marxists.org/archive/connolly/1914/03/laborpar.htm

The current political row gradually escalated after a newspaper publicly revealed that Michael D Higgins “declined an invitation to attend a church service with Queen Elizabeth marking Northern Ireland’s centenary and the partition of the island.” – Irish Times, September 15 2021.

The proposed Armagh Cathedral gig is a stunt run by the Irish possessing classes via its state institutions, political parties, churches, and mass media. It is a reactionary whitewash job hiding an atrocity in plain sight : the start of a 100 year old carnival of reaction in Ireland.

Michael Farrell, author of the classic 1976 Marxist study Northern Ireland – the Orange State (NIOS) describes the “bloody beginnings” of this state in Belfast shipyards :

In July 1920, on the day of a funeral for Colonel Smyth, a police commander the IRA killed in Cork, Belfast shipyards hosted an anti-Catholic pogrom :

On the day of the funeral a meeting was held at the gate of Workman, Clark & Co’s shipyard (the smaller of the two Belfast shipyards) by the Belfast Protestant Association, an extreme politico- religious group. There was a show of revolvers and it was decided to drive the ‘Sinn Feiners’ out. Then, in the words of one of the expelled workers: ‘Men armed with sledge-hammers and other weapons swooped down on Catholic workers in the shipyards and didn’t even give them a chance for their lives . .. The gates were smashed down with sledges, the vests and shirts of those at work were torn open to see if the men were wearing any Catholic emblems, and then woe betide the man who was. One man was set upon, thrown into the dock, had to swim the Musgrave Channel, and having been pelted with rivets, had to swim two or three miles, to emerge in streams of blood and rush to the police office in a nude state’. The fiction that only Sinn Feiners were to be expelled was soon disposed of. All Catholics in the two yards were put out, together with a number of Protestants of radical or labour views, including James Baird, a Labour councillor, and John Hanna, ex-master of an Orange Lodge, who had worked with James Larkin in the Belfast dock strike of 1907 and who became chairman of a committee of the expelled workers.

Michael Farrell, Northern Ireland the Orange State, Pluto Press, 1976, page 28

These days, Michael Farrell, an active human rights campaigner, sits on the Irish Council of State which advises President Michael D Higgins. Farrell’s first words in NIOS tell us that the right wing approach to the history of Northern Ireland has changed very little, if at all, since 1976 :

The struggle in Ireland has produced a flood of books in the last few years, but almost all of them have focussed on events since 1968 with only the briefest glance at the origins of the conflict. There has been no attempt to record the history of the Northern Ireland state since its inception. The result has been great confusion and many failures of understanding in the thinking even of the socialist movement in Ireland itself. Most commentators have failed to grasp the extent of British government involvement in the establishment and underpinning of the Northern state; the degree of repression and violence maintained by that state; and the extent to which the Unionist Party and the state had become one. They have not given proper weight to the tradition of extreme para-military groups on the fringe of the Unionist Party, and their use – in tacit collaboration with the state forces – to crush any threat to the regime.

Farrell, NIOS, page 11

The leaders of the Christian churches in all of Ireland were gifted two sectarian states which they quickly dominated on behalf of the possessing classes. Thanks to partition the men of cloth were able to run religious institutions which tortured children, controlled women’s lives with bans on abortion contraception and divorce, and assisted decades of sectarian discrimination in the state of Northern Ireland.

Supporting this reactionary event is a shocking insult to everyone in Ireland and abroad who has fought political atrocities facilitated by the waning political power of the Christian churches in Ireland. Let us not be surprised or shocked by the behaviour of Christian church leaders like Bishop Éamon Martin, his Protestant colleagues, and forelock-tugging Dublin government ministers. They play the long game – they understand that an end of partition is visible on the horizon in 2020’s Ireland. If the border goes, the priests’ and reverends’ reactionary political power may go. Attending the Armagh partition gig means supporting a carnival of reaction.

The left, feminists and trade unions must respond in a united dignified manner. We should support and welcome this action of President Michael D Higgins. All public representatives must boycott this event commemorating partition.

John Meehan October 7 2021

2 Responses

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  1. fully agree with what is written in the article.
    The current Irish government sending a representative (Coveney?) to this ceremony “marking” Partition will be one more nail in the coffins of FF and FG, risking a backlash like the proposal to “mark” the RIC

    benmadigan

    Oct 7, 2021 at 10:40 pm


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