Monday, March 20, 2006


Monday Madness - Apathy towards Ulster

All for one and one for allAs many of you who read this site are aware, I am unashamedly an Irish nationalist. I desire the reunification of my country and for the scar on the Irish nation - Partition - to be done away with as soon as possible.

It is my belief that the island of Ireland will be reunified within this century but I am not naive enough to think that it will be an easy task. It won't be. There are many obstacles to face if we are to bring this momentous event about and I'd like to talk about one such obstacle right now - apathy towards the north of Ireland from certain people in the Irish Republic.

It is an undeniable fact that there are many people in the 26 counties who do not care one iota about those in the 6 counties north of the border. A fact brought home to me in a recent political discussion I had. The issue of the north was brought up and one individual was totally apathetic towards the place. Of course, I took issue with this view. The conversation was brief and went a little like this:

"Personally I don't care about it at all. Too much trouble. As far as I'm concerned we should cut the place off and let it float away. It's not relevant to my life."

"Not relevant to your life? You're Irish aren't you? Do you not accept that Ulster is an integral part of Irishness? Do you really think Irishness can exist without any of the four provinces?"

"Look, you'll just have to accept that there are many people who feel the way that I do."

And that was pretty much it as there was no desire to continue the political discussion. But I think I made my point and it wasn't really challenged. Is Ireland the same if you take away a region from it? The answer is no.

Still, the gentleman made a fair point that his view is a view shared by many Irish people. That does indeed have to be acknowledged. However, he was wrong in saying that this view is something that I will have to accept. I will not accept it. On the contrary I will endeavour to challenge it!

I think patriotism is something that ought to be personal but while this might seem like an arrogant thing to say, I honestly feel I have a healthy and proper outlook on what constitutes Irishness. To me it's not about wearing green leprechaun hats and getting pissed on St Patrick's Day, to me it's about accepting the diversity of the island and accepting that each province and each county are equally important to making Ireland what it is as a nation.

The apathy towards Ulster from some Irish people just breaks my heart, especially when I think of the massive contribution the province has made to Irishness. The Ulster myths of Cuchulainn and Deirdre for example, the Ulster dialect of the Irish language, the Ulster contribution to the GAA and Rugby, not to mention the the huge impact of Ulster on Irish history.

I feel the apathy and hostility towards Ulster held by many Irish people smacks of ignorance and poor understanding and I will aim to do what I can to tackle this state of affairs. That's why I will be creating a new feature over the next few days here on United Irelander which will detail the various contributions that Ulster and its sons and daughters have given to Ireland as a whole. This feature will function similar to my Today in History and Events of Shame features which pop up every once in a while. If I can educate at least one apathetic Irish person towards the importance of Ulster to the rest of the island then I will feel like I have done well.

To my compatriots I simply say this: Hold your Irishness close to your heart and know that Ulster lies within your soul.


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