May 18, 2011

Irish emigrants are glue that binds our countries

Posted in Irish Independent · 141 comments ·

One of the funniest afternoons I’ve had in years was going on the lash with Wayne Rooney’s granny a few years back in Croxteth, Liverpool.

Croxteth is almost all Irish. These are the Liverpool Irish — the Irish of Paul McCartney, John Lennon and George Harrison — the people whose people first lived in Scottie Road and then were moved out to new suburbs after the Second World War. Just to get a sense of how Irish ‘Scottie Road’, or Scotland Road in Liverpool, actually was, consider this: the electoral area known as Scotland Road returned an Irish nationalist MP to Westminster in every election from 1885 to 1929.

I sat in the back of a pub with Rooney’s granny, Patricia Fitzsimons, listening to stories about these people — our people — and their love of, and affinity for, Ireland. Rooney’s grandparents went to Bray for their honeymoon and constantly referred to themselves as Irish.

Knocking back gin and bitter and glued to the afternoon racing, she introduced me to all classes of Murphys, Carraghers and McManamens — the Liverpool Irish.

On their terrace of 10 houses, eight went to Mass in the local church and the father of Wayne’s wife Colleen is a minister of the Eucharist at the same church. Rooney and all the other lads in the area went to the De La Salle Brothers across the road.

While chatting, I thought of the name of the pub, the ‘Western Approaches’. Where had I heard this name before?

Somewhere in the back of my mind, this name signified something but I couldn’t quite put my finger on it.

In fact, the Western Approaches was where my grandfather’s brother had been torpedoed in the Second World War. The British Navy referred to the North Atlantic as the Western Approaches.

He, like many thousands of other Irishmen, fought in the war against the Nazis. He died — hopefully quickly — in the icy waters of the North Atlantic, as did so many of our grandparents, great uncles and relations.

I have no idea what he thought of the new Free State in Ireland — all I know is that he needed a job and got one in the British Navy.

My Dad also told me that most of the money in Dalkey during the war and up to the 1950s came from RAF pay cheques because most of the fathers were working in England, either in the army or in the arms industry in the midlands.

My mum also told me about the ‘Dagenham Yanks’ in Cork during the 1950s. These were local lads who had emigrated to England and worked in the Ford plant in Dagenham.

They came home to Cork with full wallets, swanky shoes, mohair suits and hair slicked back — looking for all the world like members of the Brat Pack. Hence the name Yanks — the Dagenham Yanks.

They — like 500,000 other Irish people — emigrated to England in the 1950s, when England signified opportunity, money and work. Their sons contributed enormously to English popular culture. Think Johnny Rotten, Morrissey and Johnny Marr of the Smiths and the Gallagher brothers. And from British comedy, what about the likes of Steve Coogan and Neil Morrissey?

AND of course, their sons also came back to play for Jack Charlton’s Ireland — the likes of Kevin Sheedy, Tony Galvin, Andy Townsend and John Aldridge, creating the most successful Irish soccer team ever.

These people are the demographic echo of the Irish who left and they are part of the story which bonds our countries together.

The number of Irish people in England is startling.

In the last census, six million people in England claimed to have Irish grandparents. This means that there are more English people with Irish grandparents then there are Irish people with Irish grandparents.

According to official sources, 900,000 people in London are described as ‘ethnic Irish” — being born on this island. This means there are more Irish people living in London than there are in the cities of Belfast, Cork, Limerick, Galway, Waterford and Kilkenny put together.

And while many of us might be aware that the Irish are the biggest ethnic minority in England, did you know that the English are the biggest ethnic minority in Ireland, more than the Poles, Lithuanians or Nigerians — the people the PC brigade refer to as the ‘New Irish’. Well it seems that the real New Irish are actually English.

Economically, after 40 years of economic union with the EU, on a country-by-country basis, Britain is still by far Ireland’s single biggest trading partner.

In the past two years, thousands of Irish people have again emigrated to London, as I did in the early 1990s. In fact, my generation is the first Irish generation to have emigrated twice.

We went in the later 1980s and early 1990s, came home and many have gone again. At an age when we thought we should be settling down properly, we are off (resignedly) again. And in the main, we are going back to London.

On the day of the queen’s visit, I think it is important to remember that what binds Ireland and Britain together is people — our people and their people. We are joined together, prisoners of both history and geography, convulsed by what could be described as the narcissism of small differences.

Don’t get me wrong, like many people I believe the idea of a monarch is bizarre. The notion of a royal family owning large tracts of Cornwall is ludicrous and for all its defects, I would far prefer to be a citizen than a subject.

That said, we have everything to gain — financially, emotionally and psychologically — from a normal official relationship with Britain. No one is asking us to forget our past.

But our past, the past of the average person is not just about flags, symbols and historic dates, its about Patricia Fitzsimons in Croxteth, Stephen Morrissey in Manchester, Johnny Lydon in Finsbury Park and my own great uncle, killed by a U-boat somewhere in the North Atlantic, defending that area known as the Western Approaches.

  1. adamabyss


  2. Deco

    Interestingly enough, Tony Blair’s mother came from Doengal. George Osborne has a grandparent from Ireland. And the list goes on. Ireland gets more respect from Britain, at the top, than we probably get from any other of our ‘partners’ in the EU. This is visible in the recent negotiations with the IMF, when Cowen went to Osborne looking for help one month before he went anywhere else. We get real respect, not condescension or patronizing rubbish like we got when we were told that we gave the wrong vote in Lisbon 1.0.

    However, we still have hundreds of people assembling in an angry mood, loaded up with a few pints of beer,(probably owned by a non-Irish headquartered mnc) donning British soccer jerseys, trying to start a riot with cops over the visit of the British monarch. I mean how come these people are never around when Olli Rehn shows up with his dictats on how the Irish people should pay for bondholders.

    Any chance that the same patriots might assemble and hit Straffan, or Portmarknock on a Saturday, and commence battle with the real oppressors of the Irish working class ? Eh, Nope. Too stoopid to join the dots. And anyway they are encouraged to not join the dots by Pravda, and such luminaries as Ditherer. Well, if they did they might be doing something of benefit from themselves.

    When you are underperforming in life, it is easier to act macho, shout cliches, follow the herd, etc… than to exercise the grey matter between both ears. It is a very simple world. Easier to follow failed Marxist ideologies from the industrial age, in an unthinking manner, than actually to look at how the gombeens have led the majority of the Irish people astray, and see how business really operates in Ireland. And definitely easier to be expressing anger than consideration of what needs to be done to get above it.

    The Irish in England are outsiders in Ireland, who had to get out. They were above the corruption at home. The same applies concerning the Irish in North America, and Down under. They are prepared to help us, but they should not give our elite a blank cheque to behave like gombeens again, given that the same gombeenism drove their grandparents out.

    We need to come to terms with the layers of deceit and veneer in Ireland.

  3. Deco

    It is not privelege in England that is our problem, but privelege in Ireland. That has been the case since independence. Any force that ever emerged to advocate meritocracy or institutional accountability has been systematically undermined and shafted.

    That is how Ireland is persistently an underperformer.

    Behaviour breeds results. Change your behaviour, and you change the results. If your behaviour gives you steadily more independence, then you will be less dependent on the corruptions of the system. It is the hard tough way, but it is the way to a morally better Ireland.

    • Spot on.

      Keeping your integrity and self respect is ten times harder than conforming and becoming a schmuck

      Gaining your own independence takes years of hard work and it is no fairground ride. Especially in Ireland

  4. Great article, there’s not a family in Ireland that doesn’t have a tie in somehow with the UK.

    Its great Queen Elizabeth 11 has come with the hand of peace cementing our relationship.

    As an elderly person outside of her role as queen and monarch, what a great person with that resilience and fitness and alert assiduousness to attend so many events and meet/greet so many people. She told Philip not to use his pen but the TCD one provided to sign the visitors book.

    What an amazing life experience she’s had. Good speech this evening as well, bow to the past, but don’t be a slave to it.

    Time to look into the future and aim to build better times:) Good night and good luck!

    • adamabyss

      I fully agree Colm, well said.

    • Malcolm McClure

      Colm said “here’s not a family in Ireland that doesn’t have a tie in somehow with the UK.” Never a truer word spoken….If only they knew.

      On father’s side Irish for at least 400 years.
      On mother’s side, always thought mainly a Yorkshire connection, although she was born in Ireland. Then discovered that 200 years ago one of her ancestors was son of a Cookstown blacksmith who joined British forces, fought in the Peninsular wars and settled in England. Another English joined a Yorkshire regiment and was posted to Ireland during the ’98 rebellion, married Irish woman and their descendants remained in Ireland.

      Even if your names are typically Irish, suggesting descent from Niall of Nine Hostages, maternal DNA may tell a different story.

      Of course if we go far enough back, we all came out of Africa and racial prejudice is just stupid.

      • I have a photograph of my great great grandfather an Englishman & royal gameskeeper taken after a hunt in Elverden Hall and with him include King Albert 7th , Sir Reginald Beauchamp , Lord Rendlesham , Earl of Leicester, General Sir Jas Mc Donald and Maharajah Duleep Singh .These guys look like a bunch of cowboys after a shootout .He and his wife ( John & Sarah )are buried in Elveden in the private graveyeard on the estate.His son came to Ireland during the famine as gameskeeper to Lady Di Great granfather on his vast estates in north Cork.
        Elverden Hall is the current new home of the Guiness family after they left Farmleigh, Dublin.

      • @Malcolm, that explains it, you got the blacksmith genes:) My grandad was a Lynch from Cork along with thousands joined the British army circa 1910-20 and served in Mesopotamia now Iraq returned to Dub with some draughtsman skills he used to get job for Ordnance survey in Phoenix park where he worked until he retired.

        I believe we have relatives who were close to IRA as well. Various relatives who’ve live/work/d in UK down the years one who had a good career with UK cops.

        I’ve very little interest in history, but have this idea for Abraham Lincoln Appreciation Society(ALAS). Online site with links to resources on Abe with facility for people to occasionally give a preso on him plus opportunity to post messages. I do have this interest in Abe:)

        The site’s main focus would be for discussion/info on economics and banking. If anyone is interested, I’ll post link later today maybe launch it, first online meeting, on the day of Obama’s visit:)

        • OK meeting url for 23rd May, next Monday, 6pm,

          Click on link if you want to join or get involved:)

          Name: Abraham Lincoln Appreciation Society

          Summary: Online meeting site to commemorate the life
          and work of Abraham Lincoln particularly his efforts
          in the world of economics and banking. Hopefully to develop resources and contributions to further
          the above aims.

          • “It is an old maxim and a very sound one, that he that dances should always pay the fiddler. Now, sir, in the present case, if any gentlemen, whose money is a burden to them, choose to lead off a dance, I am decidedly opposed to the people’s money being used to pay the fiddler…all this to settle a question in which the people have no interest, and about which they care nothing. These capitalists generally act harmoniously, and in concert, to fleece the people, and now, that they have got into a quarrel with themselves, we are called upon to appropriate the people’s money to settle the quarrel.” – Abraham Lincoln, January 11, 1837

          • Deco


            Written in 1837 – and relevant today.

          • coldblow

            That would make him 19 years old when he said that by my calculation.

            He also said this (according to Bill Bryson and translating back into English), from his debates with a certain Stephen Douglas:

            “I am not, nor have I ever been, in favour of bringing about in any way political or social equality of the black and white races… I am not, nor have I ever been, in favour of permitting them to vote, take part in juries or stand for public office, or marry whites…”

  5. Deco

    There are two soccer players on the starting 11 English national team. And yet our bravado element seems to think that it patriotic to be cheering Mongolia or whoever else are playing them. Missing the point, surely ?

    The most intellectually clueless of our countrymen and women, are those with the most fixedly irrational and idiotic concept of what defines Irish patriotism.

    And also they are the most dangerous. Heavy boozing. Fighting following heavy boozing. Spending in such a manner as to have other people talking. Followed by affirmations that we are better spenders than the Germans. Followed by the Christian Pauls incident. Followed by politician clowns(Dermot Ahern, Gay Mitchell) telling Herr Pauls to stop telling the truth – trying to press the Irish pride button. Followed eventually, by the episode where our politicians go begging the Germans for a bailout. Pretending to be more sophisticated than the Brits. Followed by Irish people going to the North to lodge money in British banks, buy from UK multiples, etc… Going to the Anglobondholder colloseum to cheer on the national heroes, and then going to the pub to boo England and talk about the oppression in the past.

    It is all really, really, nonsensical. It is dysfunctional. It is absurd. It is childish and utterly stupid.

    It is a superficial act gone to the point of becomming a group culture, and eventually a national identity badge. It is a pile of shite. And it is about time that it is termed as such. It is a serious impediment to us ever meeting the promise that Robert Emmett requested of us….

    “Let not my epitaph be written, until my country takes her place amongst the free nations of this world”.

    To get there we need to act responsibly. A culture that actively discourages it, needs to be cast aside. Now.

    • Deco

      I meant to say there are two first 11 soccer players who have Irish surnames. Well, I think there are. Rooney is definitely one. Not sure if McMenamin is still a starting 11 player. But anyway you get the picture.

      • adamabyss

        McManaman is retired, but Steven Gerrard is another ‘Irish’ one.

        • ex_pat_northerner

          Many of those in the NE were miners with strong connections to the coalfields of Laois and Castlecomer whence my father’s family came from. I’m pretty certain Andy Carroll would be able to trace his roots to that region. All one has to do is look at the names in the phone book where certain areas seem to have more Brennans than Kilkenny. Even Englands greatest success seems on the football field seems to have been cultivated through an Irish Emigrants son, Alf Ramsey paying tribute to Bill Rochford (son of a Laois Miner who emigrated to NE England) as helping him make it as a footballer and also regarded by Sir Alf as one of the best tacticians of the game.

        • Deco

          Gerrard was England captain – and probably still is. A great leader actually. And by all appearances both a true gentleman and a hero. I could never understand the Liverpool fans in Ireland booing England when they then same captain leading his team week in week out.

          To call that tendency as Schitzophrenic would be an understatement. It is idiotic. It is also extremely two faced, and disrepsectful to Gerrard himself. I mean if he was from New York or the State of Pennsylvania, we would accept him being ultracompetitive, driven, and focused for victory for team USA. But an England jersey, and suddenly you get this contempt as defining virtue of being part of the Irish crowd thing.

          The sheer abnormalities that exist in the crowd feeling of Irish green jersey patriotism are extremely nonsensical. The Irish media does not cover this – it actually feeds it – as some sort of fix for the national insecurity/inadequacy problem. Kind of along the lines of “it is alright to be sh1te, as long as England never win anything”. Utterly absurd.

    • PMC

      “The most intellectually clueless of our countrymen and women, are those with the most fixedly irrational and idiotic concept of what defines Irish patriotism.

      And also they are the most dangerous. Heavy boozing. Fighting following heavy boozing. Spending in such a manner as to have other people talking. Followed by affirmations that we are better spenders than the Germans. Followed by the Christian Pauls incident. Followed by politician clowns(Dermot Ahern, Gay Mitchell) telling Herr Pauls to stop telling the truth — trying to press the Irish pride button. Followed eventually, by the episode where our politicians go begging the Germans for a bailout. Pretending to be more sophisticated than the Brits. Followed by Irish people going to the North to lodge money in British banks, buy from UK multiples, etc… Going to the Anglobondholder colloseum to cheer on the national heroes, and then going to the pub to boo England and talk about the oppression in the past.”

      Smashing post – Every Irish citizen should be made to read it, then look closely in the mirror immediately afterwards.

  6. In the last article I referred to my seven years in the UK ’85 to ’92.
    I shall be forever grateful to the Britain for the breaks afforded me there.
    Challenges, training and promotion.
    They were not so much interested in my address (which most certainly had been held against me here at the time), my hobbies nor indeed my politics.
    They were most interested in my ability to do the job and were most generous in promoting and rewarding me for same.
    In those days I used to go mass. Even Catholicism was far more egalitarian over there. Free cuppa and sandwich after mass in the parish club. Or maybe even a pint – cheaper than the pubs.

    London is one of the most attractive and amazing cities I’ve ever visited. No wonder then it is the worlds no.1 tourist destination.

    The cultural diversity is amazing in a blending pot of almost any colour or creed you wish to mention.

    And when you see the scale in Britain with a population of approx 60million and therefore the consequent responsibilty of say The Prime-Minister, The Mayor of Birmingham, The Chief of Scotland Yard or Chief Medical Officer or indeed a High Court Judge. And then take note of their renumeration package.

    - It’s only then will you truly begin to realise the scale of arrogance, if not sheer thievery, of our civic leaders who deem themselves equally worthy of, if not up to double, their British counterparts salary package?

    Our politicians have without due consideration or consultation with the people voted time and time again for bigger rewards for their families in return for, as has been proven, less if indeed no responsibility at all. By these means have these nepotismic incompetents brought our economy to it’s knees.

    In Britain they know what management is, what professional politics is and they know when to honourably resign! Just some of the things conspicuous by their absence amongst our so called civic leaders.

    We actually could be a great little country if we began to manage with honour and at a fair price. From our Taoiseach,Ministers and Judges to our GP’s and so on. We might then be able to charge ourselves and tourists a fair price for a cuppa?

    And as for the knowledge economy? When our cabinet is made up of people who cut their teeth in professional management or lived and worked abroad and gained real experience (like David for instance) It’s then that they can begin to understand the term “Knowledge Economy”.

    And if the people want a knowledge economy we have to stop voting for nephews, sons, daughters and nieces.

    Because bizarrely – that’s actually Monarchy!

    • Deco

      There is something absurd about a collection of hereditary politicians meeting a hereditary monarch, and the protestors have to be kept away from the one who is not taking money directly out of their pocket.

      We had Cowen, Kenny, and several others on display today. I just thought to myself – he inherited his position easier than anybody else there. All he had to do was put his name on a ballot paper. And now we have his brother in the family seat also. He was a disaster as a Minister. If he was an English royal, the media would have been showing pictures of him half cut every night of the week. Instead, in safe old Ireland, where the media spend more time documenting scandals elsewhere, than under their own noses – he can get away with it for years. And this was presented to us the Irish people, as a superior form of coverage compared to the English “tabloid” press.

      We have not been responsible to the freedom that we earned for ourselves. We have behaved like a bunch of spoiled children, who spent adulthood avoiding hard decisions, and putting off any serious consequence for misdeeds.

      And we also need to treat the local aristocracy to contempt every now and then, so as to make sure they never get too strong over us.

      • Deco

        I meant Cowen in my description. He was Minister for Finance when this disaster was building up. As Michael O’Leary commented, we should have been concerned about sovereignty when mainstream Ireland started to spend excessively on borrowed money.

        • Ah Cowen? The L’Oreal Taoiseach?
          Worth more than Obama or Bush or Blair or Cameron or Sarkozy or Merkel or Medvedev or, the list goes on and on and on!
          As I’ve said before – the day he is truly cured of downright denial is the day he’ll die of shame and embarassment.
          If it ever becomes possible to resign as an
          “Ex-Taoiseach” he should be the first to consider it

          • Sorry he should be the second to consider it!

            How could I infact-e-h-h omit his mentor who laid the reet at de foot of de economy with the Queen who, in his own words is not the same without Freddy Mercury, in the Garden of I can’t remember?

          • Deco

            Poor ditherer…a man with a serious case of alzeimers…he cannot remember where the money came form…he cannot remember where the money went….he cannot remember who his friends were…he cannot remember why he appointed them to state boards….

            We have Jimmy ‘Memory-man’ Magee, and Bertosconi ‘NoMemoryMan’ Ahern.

      • The Duke of Offaly should consider a new tailor…. how utterly ridiculous! LOL

  7. Apparently Queen Elizabeth II has offered her deep sympathy to everyone who has suffered in centuries of conflict between Britain and Ireland but forgot to mention the people currently being murdrerd in Iraq, Afghanistan, Pakistan & Libya in her current colonial blood for oil plunder & wars.

    Good article,the workers of Ireland & Uk could achieve a lot together if they could throw off the bloodsucking parasite bankers, monarchs etc.

    • You expressed here what I always think in these moments, when those in power lower their heads in front of artists bronze monuments or granite with names engraved, lay down flowers to honor those who died…. then turn around and order young men to leave…. to die somewhere else.

      • Dorothy Jones

        Are you familiar with Sisgfried Sassoon’s ‘Glory of Women’. Your last sentence reminded me of the last sentence in that poem. It’s extremely powerful.
        I was surprised at my own reaction to the Queen’s visit; I found it very moving in part.

        • Dorothy Jones


          • Dorothy,

            perhaps the earned bitterness of people like Sassoon towards war, as expressed in the Sonnet you refer to, is more required today than ever.

            With the greatest concern I observe how national sentiments are used again by incumbents, amplified through media and spread over a European population that is mostly confused and fearful.

          • … a state of confusion and fear is a state where one is most vulnerable to manipulations and extremist suggestions … a healthy dose of swiss psychiatrist Alice Miller might help though … not sure…

  8. One sentence on European nobility in general, it is a relict, and considering the history of the entire European nobility, and questioning from here whether the visitation of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha at this particular point in time, ops, pardon me, I nearly forgot the German 1918 Revolution, from the House of Windsor of course, is more than what it is published to be is a matter of personal opinion, I shared my own before and shall leave it at that.

    On the other hand, any reconciliation process is so very welcomed in deed, and one can not express enough hope that this spirit may reach other parts of the world with entrenched conflicts as well.

    However, what is missing here in my world, and on grounds of social inclusion, the whole of Ireland, North and South could have declared four days festivities for all the people here, events in all cities, all rural areas, everywhere, creating an atmosphere that makes carnival in Brazil look like a sad birthday party event against this expression of the peoples reconciliation, expressions of joy and peace.

    Sky news yesterday had a split screen for a long time, on the left the aggressions in Dublin on the right David Cameron in discussion with a panel, and concerning these events, Deco said what needed to be said!

    Pax tecum
    Peace…which is more than the absence of war!

  9. Peter Atkinson

    Look, if you all hark back to a game of football between the Republic of Ireland and Uruguay in 1986 in front of 14,000 real football fans you might remember it was a 1-1 draw.More interestingly I think it was the second game in charge for another Irish hero named Jack Charlton.Oh shit, I forgot he was an Englishman.Not to worry.Well if this was a classic example of someone making you believe in yourself and playing to your strengths.He inherited a team from his predecessor Eoin Hand and supplied the missing ingredient, “yes we can”, long before Barack Obama coined the phrase.

    The reason I mention the above is the involvement of an outsider, in this case, an English man, overturning the insiders and showing how a small country can rise up on to the world stage.Like him or loathe him he faced down the insiders and turned the whole idea of Smalltown soccer on its head in Ireland.Coincidence or not but from that fateful night in Landsdowne Road himself and the team never looked backed.Everyone wanted a piece of him and were willing to pay the price.If you drew a paralell graph between the success of the Irish team and the rise in the fortunes of the Irish economy during his reign both lines would run across the page in a similar fashion.By the way this was real economic success I am talking about not the FF property version viz a vis 1997 to 2008.

    Maybe its high time we started to look closer across the water again but this time not so much for football leadership, which we could sorely do with, but for economic inspiration and realise that what was interpreted as English doggedness on the subject of the Euro was in fact foresight and a deep mistrust of mainland Europe which in hindsight may not have been as much out of kilter as was stated at the time.I dont’t see the French or the Germans beating a path to the Aras in our time of need.

    • Football is enjoyable to watch & play but it is used by the big business owned media as a mass distraction to blinker people from seeing the social & political injustices which infect society & will eventually undermine it bringing down a lot of the so called elites.

      • People do see the injustices but they don’t care because they are afraid to care. A lot of them prefer to just switch off and watch sport, play computer games or take to booze or drugs

        A considerable percentage of GDP in Britain and Ireland is generated from people spending money on booze and drugs. This tells us that the people want their opium and that they prefer it to conscious living.

        Football a form of escapism sure, but not many people would want to imagine life without the Champions League and World Cup Finals. Life would be very dull

      • adamabyss

        Yep, I’ve been saying the same thing myself for years scania. It’s permeated into rugby as well which is neither good to watch nor enjoyable to play.

  10. The Irish….. a great bunch of lads

  11. An enjoyable read

    On the corner is a banker with a motorcar
    The little children laugh at him behind his back
    And the banker never wears a mac
    In the pouring rain…
    Very strange

  12. Kevin Lyda

    Be nice if we could respect our fellow Irish citizens who happen to live abroad by recognising their right to vote. We’re the only nation in Europe that does not provide an ability for overseas citizens to vote. Heck, if you book a holiday and an election is called you can’t even vote.

    • PMC

      Good point, because Ireland definitely needs the input of the enlightened who’ve gone elsewhere.

      • Kevin Lyda

        How any particular group of citizens votes doesn’t really matter. We are a democratic republic, all Irish citizens should have a say in their government.

        • Yes, and this representative democracy is in no healthy condition.

        • PMC

          A democratic republic that sings to the tune of insiders; insiders who hold positions of power and influence, in government, media, IBEC, lobby groups etc… Insiders who, through selfishness and greed, have depressed the state for so long.

          Irish people that move abroad often witness a different approach to governance and the levels of debate surrounding such, thus encouraging thought on how the Irish state is run.

          I believe that the current situation, coupled with the emigration of the young, will invoke real reform in Ireland within the next 20 years, should these young people once again return with critical minds and new ideas.

  13. paddythepig

    That’s a fine essay you’ve written there David.

    One small comment. It’s a pity you didn’t mention Mick McCarthy when listing sons of emigrants who went on to wear the green jersey. Mick was first generation Irish, his father having emigrated from Waterford in the 50s to get work.

    I never saw a more brave of more committed player play for Ireland, despite his limitations. Only Kevin Kilbane compares in that regard.

    Even as a player, he was subjected to a lot of abuse from Dunphy and others, who always had a preference for the native options at centre-back – O’Leary, Moran etc. This prejudice has always simmered away under the surface with a lot of our native Irish. Then, as a manager, the final insult was to be called an English cunt by Roy Keane. It was a disgraceful slur by someone who clearly has a very narrow view of what it is to be Irish.

    • Deco

      Paddy, here is a thought….authority might is not be all that it is cracked up to be. I scanned some of your posts in recent weeks, and that is all I can say on the matter for now.

      • paddythepig

        Tell us more Deco, don’t be so reticent. If you don’t approve of my posts, say why, loud and clear.

        21 other players thought Mick was a good manager. Were they all wrong?

        I have a lot of sympathy for the main theme of your posts about the Irish concept of authority, but I do think you are a bit jaundiced in your views, and end up tarring everyone with the same brush.

        If you approve of the slur about Mick being an English cunt, then tell us all. I think it was a disgrace, and is contrary to the message contained in David’s essay.

        • Kevin Lyda

          Sorry, are we actually talking about football? Sport is great and all that but do keep in mind that it’s the “circus” component of “bread and circuses.”

          At this juncture in history we’re doing just fine in providing “circuses.” Perhaps too well. The bread part is concerning these days – as is the ability of significant parts of society to access both of them.

          Surely we really don’t need to discuss the interpersonal relationships of the individual circus performers?

          • Deco

            Kevin – 100% in agreement.
            You express the common sense that is needed.
            Reality needs fixing, the circuses should be ignored.

        • BrianC

          Paddy you are right. Kean made a dreadful slur against McCarthy. Kean also walked putting his own elevated principles before the greater good of all the rest of the team and Ireland. A reflection of how the elevated principles of the priviliged wealth holders and their compliant technocrats treat the ordinary tax payer with absolute disdain.

          Kean is also a reflection of how the Irish react to authority. The Irish have a major problem accepting authority as some would say everyone is out of step except my Johnny.

          The real problem with authority is how it is administered and for what purpose it is wielded. There are very few capable of dispensing authority in an equitable way where they see their role as in the service of others for the benefit of all as against others in your service to deliver self interest.

          Mick McCarthy is a man a real man the type you can depend on to do the right thing and prepared to put others before himself. Roy Kean was a boy in a mans world and whilst he meant well operating with the highest personal ideals and great ability he was not man enough for the task to lead from behind. Only real men can do that.

          • Deco

            The problem that we have with authority, is that we do not speak up often enough, that we do not demand more transparency, and accountability.

            The evidence to support this is everywhere around us.

            That is the problem that the Irish have with authority. If it was better run, then maybe people might take it serious. But when it is full of gombeens like Rody Molloy, Patrick Neary, etc… those who do not take it seriously, are those most likely to survive it’s deceit.

          • The problem that we have with authority, is that we do not speak up often enough, that we do not demand more transparency, and accountability.

            The evidence to support this is everywhere around us.


            It is the democratic deficit of this representative democracy, this democracy who has been abused, plundered and disfigured to the point that it can no longer be recognized as a democracy.

          • BrianC,

            Re “Mick McCarthy is a man a real man the type you can depend on to do the right thing and prepared to put others before himself”

            Disagree with that:

            He failed miserably and ALLOWED those things a manager is paid to deal with well, to interfere with his job and damage the team.

            It was McCarthy’s management job to put the best team for Ireland on the field.

            He failed to do that.

            I’m sure Keane should have behaved better, but he wasn’t the manager.

            Another manager eg of the calibre of Brian Kerr would have done a lot better.

            Once again we fail to see where the buck stops:)


          • doflynn

            Keane didn’t walk, he was told to pack his bags. Just for the record.

          • BrianC

            Yes quite correct he was given his marching orders as he presented them with no choice.

            Listen I may be old school in my thinking but for me the manager looks after the players. The other members of the management team provide all the admin and ancillary support services. The simple protocol should be team/ players first everything else comes second. If you don’t show respect then don’t expect to receive respect. Keane knew the set up before he travelled he had already avered to the amateurism of the FAI. Using McCarthy as the point man to pour all the blame on for all the cock ups was only going to cause trouble. Maybe McCarhy should have left and Keane should have been appointed the player manager.

            I am no fan of the FAI for me they are a carbon copy lesson in how to fail. One disaster after another as the board of management always put themselves before the team.

          • Colin


            Keane wasn’t to know that they’d be training on a ‘concrete’ pitch in Saipan. The players probably had never heard of Saipan before. The itinerary was finalised by Ray Treacy only a few days before they travelled, so you couldn’t have expected Keane to refuse to travel there.

            Ferguson is regarded now as probably the greatest manager in recent years, and he managed to get the best out of Keane, something Mick clearly failed at by sending Keane home.

            I disagree with your view on Keane. He did/does a lot more than your typical pro/ex-pro. He despises the flaunting of wealth, he supports charities like Guidedogs for the blind, he doesn’t drink very much, he doesn’t court popularity or celebrity, he’s still married to wife number 1 with 4 kids and looks after his wider family and friends. He admired the Old Trafford authority of Sir Bobby Charlton and others there right down to the kit man and the tea lady because they operated with good authority. He’s in good company, Paddy in London will gladly work for an honest English boss, but will rightly be skeptical of working for a cunning distrustful shyster Paddy in London.

        • Deco

          Paddy – I was trying to help.

          Kevin’s words about circuses captures the essence of the situation. Keane and McCarthy shook hands and moved on. Neither of them seem to want anything to do with the FAI ever again. They might even have got sense.

        • PMC

          The thing about confronting poor management in Ireland is a tricky situation. Many “wait their turn” to get a shot at management, the key skill of which is silence and a “yes man” mentality.
          Anyone that dares call it as it is isn’t challenged to air their thoughts; instead, they’re ignored, isolated, and left to languish.

          Meritocracy is a word that’s alien to many in Ireland – It’s much more important to be well connected, lick ar$e, and tow the line if you’ve any aspirations for career advancement.

          • Colin

            Mother Theresa Quinn, Stan Staunton and Shay Given helped hang Keane out to dry when that famous meeting took place where Keane was expelled. They had the opportunity to shout ‘stop’ to the madness and defuse the situation, but they didn’t have the moral courage to back up the captain who was calling it as it was. Those three players have not enjoyed any success in the game since then.

    • Colin


      McCarthy was an inferior centre back to Moran, O’Leary and Paul McGrath (deployed mostly in midfield for ROI). Mick had no pace, he was always fouling opponents who were about to run in on goal. He did have an excellent throw-in ability, but this is not the most important aspect of playing, ballskills, athleticism, intuition and discipline are more important aspects in a player’s atributes.

      Keane was wrong to slur Mick like that, but Keane was set-up to boil over, given the poor state of facilities in Saipan and everywhere else before that. Mick didn’t handle that situation well. Remember Keane more or less helped us qualify singlehandedly with his performances against Portugal and The Netherlands.

      And Keane did not leave, he was expelled, its funny how many people get that important part wrong. McCarthy expelled Keane, and Ireland were denied a great opportunity to reach the semis, or perhaps the final.

      I’d echo Deco’s comments, glad to see no bad feelings between Mick and Roy these days.

      FAI still need to get with the programme, Delaney and his ticket pricing madness up until recently embarrassing the country.

      • paddythepig


        O’Leary was not dominant in the air, and was vulnerable at set pieces. Jack Charlton spotted this in his very first match against Wales, and was wary of O’Leary thereafter. He just wasn’t Jack’s type of centre-half, and in fairness Jack was well qualified to judge centre-halfs. Ireland never conceded from set pieces while McCarthy, Moran & McGrath patrolled the box.

        In fairness to O’Leary, he was more a continental sweeper as he was a fine distributer of the ball, and read open play very well. George Graham often deployed him as a sweeper, which was probably his best position.

        I find this ‘bread and circuses’ argument bizarre and evasive. The football angle was introduced by David in his article, and it’s wider social and cultural implications are open to discussion. The failure of some to openly condemn the nature of Keane’s outburst (regardless of the mistakes of Saipan) makes me wonder if deep down they actually agree with it.

        And your point that Mick was not all good, and that Keane had his good points is well made. No-one is perfect.

        Ditto your point about tickets ; as a student I used to get into matches all the time for under a tenner. It just shows you the inflation that has occured in the interim.

        • Colin


          I think O’Leary’s refusal to travel to Iceland for a summer friendly in ’86 had more to do with Big Jack’s decision making in preferring Mick, rather than any perceived judgement on aerial defence from set pieces. Remember Jack is a stubborn proud Yorkshireman. Ditto Mick. Birds of a feather flock together.

          I can’t fault Mick in one regard, he always gave 100% for playing for Ireland, but I agree with Dunphy that the style of play was wrong and that certain selections like McCarthy over O’Leary were also wrong.

          And yes, this article introduced football, so bread and circuses references are miles offside in these posts.

  14. Deco

    Here are some excerpts concerning economic commentary that are Austrian in nature. (based on Menger’s theory of price, and Hayek’s theories about the politicians misallocating resources in the economic cycle).

    China is making it’s intentions known concerning financial leadership in the world.

    Jim Chanos, a NYC based short seller, who has a lot of Austrian-like theories concerning price reckons that the boom cannot get much boomier in China. Chanos reckons that Australia will get hit hard from this. As you can imagine Chanos is not exactly popular with either the banks or the governing politicians in Australia, at the moment. And he is not popular in China either.

    Another UK based Austrian economics based commentator is talking about Spain’s hidden debt. This is debt that can be added to other forms of hidden debt, plus the stimulus debt that will not appear on the national balance sheet until 2014. [ A case surely of Donald Rumsfelds' unknown unknowns, etc...:) ]

    more bubble trouble ? It certainly looks like this is what is happening.

  15. justinf

    It’s quite fascinating just how many of the British political elite have some sort of Irish roots. As well as Tony Blair, two big names in the Labour Party , Dennis Healey and James Callaghan have roots in Ireland.

    Healey , via his paternal grandfather (from Enniskillen) , and Callaghan from his father.

    There are so many of them , its worthy of an entire article. Maybe somebody could post a blogpost about this perhaps?

  16. doflynn

    Agree 100% with the sentiments of this piece, have been preaching it for years. Enough of hate, enough of bile; I have no truck with royalty of any description (not even its modern manifestation in the entertainments industries), nor with aristocracy ecclesiastical or civil, but the English are our best friends on this side of the Atlantic, better even than the Scots or Welsh. We should embrace them.

  17. SeanM

    Good article and nice to see mature approach to the relationship between the two countries.
    For what it’s worth I feel we have much larger fish to fry and enemies of the state to tackle that are home grown, besides worrying about the symbolic value of a visit here by the queen of England. Why is there no sustained protest against the continuing freedoms experienced by Fitzpatrick, Drumm, Ahern, Cowen, McCreavey etc etc. Why no protest at the continued rape of the remains of this country by the public sector and their Mafioso unions? The latest example being Cork Count Council “workers“ being awarded payments for overtime they were entitled to that was outsourced as a cost saving measure.
    These people and their vile golden circles, cliques, unions etc have done and continue to do infinitely more damage to this country and it’s people than the English ever did. And continue to show the contempt for their “fellow Irish” by their actions and their inactions.
    If by now people haven’t learned that the idea of nationhood is something used by those in powerful positions to manipulate people with less visibility of the bigger picture, then hope is rapidly vapourising for me. I continue to be dismayed at what people have time and energy to protest about. Will it change any time soon? I doubt it.


    Jimmy Greaves, Ray Clemence, Kevin Keegan ,Andy Carrroll, Henry Cooper complete the Irish link.Pity Robbie Fowler and Carra didn’t declare for Ireland !
    Any sign of Seanie and Fingers ? I saw the latter @ the Monaco Grand Prix 2 yrs ago.

  19. coldblow

    David’s great uncle wouldn’t have suffered much, if the Cruel Sea is anything to go by. In the freezing cold waters you grow numb and sleepy very quickly.

    OT but the reference to Rooney’s granny reminds me of an old edition of You’re On Setanta Sport where the Boy Rooney demonstrates the pronunciation of the words “snared” and “tracking back”. (a-snyeeeeeeeaarrrrd, traaacchhkin’ baaaahchk)

    Which reminds me. My son has turned 10 and still has an English accent – strange seeing as he’s never set foot there (unless you count four days in Wales). But on the other hand I’ve started pronouncing words with an Irish ‘r’ – I think it started as a joke but it got out of hand and it’s hard to shake off. Disturbing, I had thought it was indestructible. So we have an agreement to warn each other if either of us starts talking like a Paddy (no offence meant). I need a spell back on the mother ship to reconnect with my roots – that is what this article’s about ain’t it? Our English roots?

    Pity, David, about the playoff spot. Now there’ll be West H*m next season.

    OT again, did anyone notice how those French c***s still refuse to speak English at the Eurovision (as well as submitting the worst entry ever recorded, out of spite)? How long can they keep this up? Can they remain irrational longer than the rest of us can keep our patience?

    • coldblow

      Just thinking, if they ever get the old Folklore Commission off the ground again they are welcome to come round to my gaff and record my childhood reminiscences for the benefit of posterity. But remember, they’ll never be more than Plastic Englishmen!

      “Céad slán le London Shasana
      S’é an truaí ghéar nár fhan me ann…”

  20. Emperorsgotnoclothes

    The visit of the reigning monarch of our closest neighbour isn’t merely symbolic, although that aspect of her coming here is perhaps most significant. Given the history between our two countries it is particularly important that a gesture towards recognition of past crimes, and regret for same, be made by a figure of sufficient authority from the British establishment. If the Queen’s visit manages to go some way towards closing those wounds then it will have served some very useful purpose beyond the usual PR overtones such events entail. I’m certainly no advocate of monarchies and wonder at the logic of those who defend such a concept. David’s article makes the very pertinent point that Irish people have much to be grateful for to Britain. From a personal viewpoint, many members of my family emigrated to Britain and found work when they couldn’t find it here at home. While we should never forget the past, the suffering at the hands of the English during occupation and those who lost their lives in the struggle with them, there comes a time when hanging on to the past impedes the progress, development, and growth of a society. Maybe this visit tells us, as a nation, that this time has come for us. While I’m sure most of us can understand why there would be protests at the visit of the Queen, I also feel certain that most here would be happier to see such energy mobilised, harnessed, and then focussed on the more dangerous enemies within our own establishment. We need to confront the illusion of democracy that prevails in this country, together with the institutionalised corruption, nepotism, absence of accountability and, in many cases for sure, criminality which has taken us to the brink of bankruptcy. The country is in crisis and we need to hold to account the institutions and persons responsible for our current predicament and then figure the best way to extricate ourselves from it (which represents the interests/wishes of the people). If, as I suspect, the true motivation for the Queen’s visit is to consolidate economic relationships between the UK and Ireland, and also to foster new ones, then that can’t be a bad thing. If in the process we learn to move on from the past, while never forgetting it, then all the better. We have greater concerns than this right now!

    • Deco

      Blaming others for the mess that we have created in the last fifteen years, as well as previous episode in the 1950s when we decided to stand still while everybody else was moving – is diverting us from fixing this country.

      We just do not know how to deal with the wreckers within. It seems we let them run the place.

      • Emperorsgotnoclothes

        Beyond the process of removing the politicians during elections (and we’ve seen quite clearly the futility of that exercise in the recent election) the ordinary person is frozen out and effectively powerless. While people allow their actions to be dictated by a subconscious adherence to decent behaviour(for want of a better phrase, the Marquis of Queensbury rules) and their subsequent form of protest to be conducted within the parameters set by such a code of conduct, then the possibility of change is extremely remote. These “insiders”, the powerful, influential elite, don’t play the game by the same rules – they certainly have never thought twice about a little eye-gouging or hitting below the belt, to use some sporting analogies. While our form of protest operates along the lines indicated above then we will be “managed” and “handled” very effectively by the state apparatus. It’s akin to a child having a tantrum and throwing their toys out of the pram – an intelligent adult will let their complaints run their course and fizzle out. Ditto with the protests so far, well meaning as they’ve been (have been on them myself). Until folk start to think outside the box and begin to contemplate here-to-fore unpalatable forms of action then things won’t ever change in this country. Not in any real meaningful way anyway. Maybe when/if we plunge off the cliff the “roaring herd” might be roused from their apathetic indolence? God help us if it comes to that though.

    • SeanM

      Well said. As a supposed opposition party, why Sinn Fein are not mobilising their people, and the general public to do something genuinely useful like continual protest and active resistance to the real damage being done to our nation right now is a mystery to me. I am gobsmacked at the flagrant misuse of national pride on all sides, and calls to some misplaced patriotic notion over this visit. Yet there’s an eerie quiet when pension funds are raided, and the people are sold in servitude and or exile to repair the bandit behaviour of a few insiders. Why are we all so quiet when it really matters here?

      • doflynn

        We’re not all quiet.

        • SeanM

          True, a tiny proportion of the population did attended the protest march against the bailout. Some even stretched the purse strings to go to the economics festivals to hear what might be done before the country was sold out for the benefit of European banks. However the general apathy of the majority of the population is undeniable.

          My own theory is that with the return of economic hardship you see the resurgence of extreme nationalism. I firmly believe people need to feel they have a purpose in life, and now that working and becoming more affluent has been taken away there is a real danger that the resentment felt by many will be harnessed and used by some unscrupulous people to serve their own ends. If Sinn Fein and other groups are truly patriotic surely they should be more concerned about the grave danger our country is in right now and expend their energies trying to address that. Instead we get the “ould enemy” bandwagon being rolled out, and some very vulnerable people being taken advantage of.

          • doflynn

            Yes, disappointing that vis-a-vis Sinn Féin; we’re still marching down here, every week, our 12th outing this coming Sunday, still struggling to spread the message and the protest. A few very articulate and informed minds on these pages, perhaps someone would take up the cudgel, perhaps even the man himself? I’ve almost run out of ideas, this is all that’s left –

  21. Peter Atkinson

    In case I hadn’t mentioned it in an earlier post I would like to draw your attention to the upcoming millenium anniversary of our own member of royalty, one Brian Boru,the last High King of Ireland, who perished at the Battle of Clontarf in 1014.Surely the Irish Tourist Board could make a meal out of this one in light of the focus on roylaty this week.

    I believe City Hall is bedecked with some fine illustrations of this Battle and coupled with the fine castle in Clontarf and Brian Boru’s Well which is, if I’m not mistaken, opposite Gerry Ryan’s old house in Clontarf, another legend of Ireland, we could ham this one up with practically no budget for security.Maybe this is already in hand as I write but again I take nothing for granted anymore.

    Remember the little lift Dublin got in 1988, the year of its Millenium celebrations.We even minted coins for the occasion when we were allowed to do things like that.Maybe we should mint sheckels now and start out again to celebrate the occasion.

    I know it all seems so long ago and in a lot more innocent times (sic)the Dublin Millenium celebrations I mean, not the Battle of Clontarf.Sure we haven’t finished carving each other up with hatchets these days.Its more popular than ever.Tribalism will never leave these shores.

  22. Colin

    Off Topic, but we need to remain vigilant. Why? Because while Garrett Fitzgerald’s passing and the Queen’s visit and Obama’s upcoming visit is dominating the headlines, Frank Daly of NAMA slipped in almost unnoticed under the radar to call the bottom of the market on the radio. Daly, of course, is an insider and wants to see property here returning to unsustainable levels lacking in affordability.

    “The speeches from both NAMA bosses made clear that the agency is seeing “tentative evidence to suggest that we may be close to the bottom of the cycle in Ireland”.”

    Daly, you’re a national disgrace, just like the organisation you head up. We need property to keep falling, to at least a 70% drop from peak in early 2007. We’re at 50% now, so another 20% left to go. Unemployment is rising, interest rates will likely be raised, income taxes are rising, so it may well fall 80% at this rate. The bigger the fall, the better it is for the country. Landlords do not deserve any sympathy.

  23. Richard Downes did a good job here on David Drumm and Sean Dunne, about 16 mins in

    Dunne has 350 ml loans in Nama but developing with lots of cash in Cape Cod. Dunne is fighting bankruptcy and has a good chance of coming out of it well in spite of owing millions to Anglo; his method is to transfer money to Trust owned by himself and wife, wife pays him out of it and Trust is used to buy property. Drumm’s major client in US is John McGrail, owner of the property group, the Mayo group,
    millions of dollars in loans were given to Mayo by Anglo, his offices are in McGrail’s office building.

    Both are outside ie and likely to remain so and there are no real investigations into Anglo examining the detail of individual property loans to the top 100 Anglo borrowers…..

    • Remains what….?

      Anyone here who knows some Hells Angels in the area, lets make a collection.

      Fucking bastard!

      • The stench of your piss after you ate a pound of green asparagus is perfume compared to the stink that is left from the deal struck between DOF/Lenihan and Dumm concerning the non usability of documents in an Irish court once they were used in a US court.

      • Rule of law should prevail at all times, we don’t want or need a world run by Hells Angels or IRA assassination squads or Obama assassination squads or worse….the end result is a place like Guatamala with bus drivers killed by gangs for their fares, businesses closing because of extortion ….at least that’s not what I’m about.

    • Deco


      It sounds like a suitable topic to discuss with President Obama and his entourage next week. I am sure there will be some US Administration officials who will be interested in knowing what these characters with such fine reputations are doing in the US.

  24. doflynn

    In Rome it was just Nero fiddling as the empire fell, here, whole orchestras of fiddlers. And all in harmony, even yet.

    • Emperorsgotnoclothes

      What you say is so true. It’s gotten so bad that you nearly have to pinch yourself to check that it’s not all a bad dream! The endless chatter from talking heads in the mainstream media, with a few notable exceptions, is utterly delusional and unreal. I can’t help but be reminded of Jack Nicholson’s remark in the movie As Good As It Gets….”I’m drowning here and you’re describing the water!” and how it applies to the bulk of what passes for the analysis of our predicament.

  25. Deco

    NAMA – the latest stunt.

    I want to know what happened to the free market advocates in this country, you know the ones who regard any state led effort at market manipulation/price setting as an intrusion of the rights of the ordinary citizens ?

    What happend to Charlie McCreevy, Ulick McEvaddy, Mama Harney, Dan McLaughlin, etc…. ?

    No comment to make about this market interfering gimick.

    I reckon that NAMA are running out of tricks – and are having to settle for the blatently obvious.

    We also have locally autorities charging exhorbitant commercial rates, and using the money to overpay for houses/apartments. This is an effor to establish a price floor that is not working – though I bet loads of well connected developers are absolutely delighted…Can somebody do a head count of the number of people with CIF connections from previous years, who are in NAMA….

    Wills – behold what scams are created when the Ponzi scheme collapses. More obscene than the scams that existed when the ponzi scheme was in full flow….

    • Deco

      Time to open the books on NAMA and find out what is really going on in there.

      NAMA will be sucking up a lot more money (in addition to what it already has) in the coming years, and a bit of transparency is desperately needed. NOW.

      • NAMA is the reincarnation of an olde pirate ship called ‘The Black Joke’, filled with booty stolen from taxpayers, its crew trained by the banks, IMF and ECB run the government as well:)

        Ye’ll not be gettin any transparency from them.

        • Nearly 15% unemployment and most young people at college preparing to emigrate, the public service getting ready to dump 30,000 jobs?

          Who would be looking for these mortgages from them?

          As said above by Emperorsgotnoclothes the whole thing is completely delusional and unreal.

      • Dorothy Jones

        Well, someone tells me that in relation to yachts which were offered as collateral to obtain loans that persons ‘boat sellers’ are engaged to discreetly inform brokers worldwide and obtain a price to cover the loan. Normally this is considerably less than the value such boats would have. The ‘boat seller’ then gets commission. Nice job! I wonder if they requre someone to provide the services in relation to artworks!!!!

  26. European Obscenities 2010, in million euro

    Alfredo Sanaz Abad – Banco Santander – E 11,8

    Michael F. Geoghegan – HSBC – E 9,3

    Brady Dougan – Credit Suisse – E 8,87

    Josef Ackermann – Deutsche Bank – E 8,83

  27. coldblow

    A contrary view. I suspect most here will never have read (or even heard of?) Douglas Hyde’s famous address from 1892. I suspect David has read it – if he hasn’t then he has noticed coincidentally a few things that Hyde also noticed, and not many others seem to have. Hyde has always been a favourite of mine.

    Here’s one sentence that catches the eye:
    “A lady in Boston said to me that the Irish immigrants had become Americanised on the journey out before ever they landed at Castle Gardens.”

    It is only a short piece but here’s a flavour.

    “When we speak of ‘The Necessity for De-Anglicising the Irish Nation’, we mean it, not as a protest against imitating what is best in the English people, for that would be absurd, but rather to show the folly of neglecting what is Irish, and hastening to adopt, pell-mell, and indiscriminately, everything that is English, simply because it is English.”

    A couple of extracts:
    “I shall endeavour to show that this failure of the Irish people in recent times has been largely brought about by the race diverging during this century from the right path, and ceasing to be Irish without becoming English. I shall attempt to show that with the bulk of the people this change took place quite recently, much more recently than most people imagine, and is, in fact, still going on. I should also like to call attention to the illogical position of men who drop their own language to speak English, of men who translate their euphonious Irish names into English monosyllables, of men who read English books, and know nothing about Gaelic literature, nevertheless protesting as a matter of sentiment that they hate the country which at every hand’s turn they rush to imitate.”

    “It has always been very curious to me how Irish sentiment sticks in this half-way house — how it continues to apparently hate the English, and at the same time continues to imitate them; how it continues to clamour for recognition as a distinct nationality, and at the same time throws away with both hands what would make it so. If Irishmen only went a little farther they would become good Englishmen in sentiment also. But — illogical as it appears — there seems not the slightest sign or probability of their taking that step. It is the curious certainty that come what may Irishmen will continue to resist English rule, even though it should be for their good, which prevents many of our nation from becoming Unionists upon the spot. It is a fact, and we must face it as a fact, that although they adopt English habits and copy England in every way, the great bulk of Irishmen and Irishwomen over the whole world are known to be filled with a dull, ever-abiding animosity against her, and right or wrong — to grieve when she prospers, and joy when she is hurt. Such movements as Young Irelandism, Fenianism, Land Leagueism, and Parliamentary obstruction seem always to gain their sympathy and support. It is just because there appears no earthly chance of their becoming good members of the Empire that I urge that they should not remain in the anomalous position they are in, but since they absolutely refuse to become the one thing, that they become the other; cultivate what they have rejected, and build up an Irish nation on Irish lines.

    “But you ask, why should we wish to make Ireland more Celtic than it is — why should we de-Anglicise it at all?

    I answer because the Irish race is at present in a most anomalous position, imitating England and yet apparently hating it…”

    “To say that Ireland has not prospered under English rule is simply a truism; all the world admits it, England does not deny it. But the English retort is ready. You have not prospered, they say, because you would not settle down contentedly, like the Scotch, and form part of the Empire. ‘Twenty years of good, resolute, grandfatherly government’, said a well-known Englishman, will solve the Irish question. He possibly made the period too short, but let us suppose this. Let us suppose for a moment — which is impossible — that there were to arise a series of Cromwells in England for the space of one hundred years, able administrators of the Empire, careful rulers of Ireland, developing to the utmost our national resources, whilst they unremittingly stamped out every spark of national feeling, making Ireland a land of wealth and factories, whilst they extinguished every thought and every idea that was Irish, and left us, at last, after a hundred years of good government, fat, wealthy, and populous, but with all our characteristics gone, with every external that at present differentiates us from the English lost or dropped; all our Irish names of places and people turned into English names; the Irish language completely extinct; the O’s and the Macs dropped; our Irish intonation changed, as far as possible by English schoolmasters into something English; our history no longer remembered or taught; the names of our rebels and martyrs blotted out; our battlefields and traditions forgotten; the fact that we were not of Saxon origin dropped out of sight and memory, and let me now put the question — How many Irishmen are there who would purchase material prosperity at such a price? It is exactly such a question as this and the answer to it that shows the difference between the English and Irish race. Nine Englishmen out of ten would jump to make the exchange, and I as firmly believe that nine Irishmen out of ten would indignantly refuse it.”

    “…We will become, what, I fear, we are largely at present, a nation of imitators, the Japanese of Western Europe, lost to the power of native initiative and alive only to second-hand assimilation. I do not think I am overrating this danger. We are probably at once the most assimilative and the most sensitive nation in Europe. A lady in Boston said to me that the Irish immigrants had become Americanised on the journey out before ever they landed at Castle Gardens. And when I ventured to regret it, she said, shrewdly, ‘If they did not at once become Americanised they would not be Irish.’ I knew fifteen Irish workmen who were working in a haggard in England give up talking Irish amongst themselves because the English farmer laughed at them. And yet O’Connell used to call us the ‘finest peasantry in Europe’. Unfortunately, he took little care that we should remain so. We must teach ourselves to be less sensitive, we must teach ourselves not to be ashamed of ourselves, because the Gaelic people can never produce its best before the world as long as it remains tied to the apron-strings of another race and another island, waiting for it to move before it will venture to take any step itself.”

  28. Apres Extravaganza

    It has been an eventful week for Ireland on international stage and the revived pulsating rhytm has awakened once more in our national genes.This is positive energy that I hope will riverbrate throughout the sovereign grid in our beautiful island.Like any good farmer the opportunity must be seen to benefit the labour that toils the land / factor of production and be shared without segregation among all the citizens.It is at this moment we all must be seen to be involved from the top down if not the weak will become weaker and the new leadership in politics and industry etc will decimate what is left of us now.

  29. Juanjo R

    I’m tired of watching this snivelling display of Irish two-facedness this week.First Jedward, then the Queen and yet to come Obama. Talk about missing the issues! David McW…are you not the one that talks about the typical front room which was retained for impressing the visitors/neighbours? is that not what happened this week on a national level? I I looked at the international media El Pais ( Spain ) and Folha ( SP – Brasil ) for example I couldn’t help but notice that the recent bailout was mentioned in both in close proximity to the size and cost of the security operation with the obvious implication implied. Kenny was talking just after Lizzies departure about Ireland having preformed at a top global level in something or other this week – he wasn’t specific. Was it spending money we don’t have as a matter of interest? I like to see the state tally so far for garda man hours on the anglo investigation vs. garda ( and army too ) man hours spent with this these two state visits. I bet its a lot lower…

    In Spain theres been a real democratic, relevant spontaneous articulate protest against the behaviour of the government in the ‘crisis’ as they term the and all its politicans – with real protests in 166 cities across spain including large ones in Madrid barcelona and valencia ( spain is 10 times bigger than us so thats like having 16 protest here in regionalcentres and a big one in the center of Dublin.Its finally getting reported here today though its probably reaching its climax today

    ( live at )

    El Pais…

    Guardian video…

    Guardian photos…

    Can you imagine if we did this here? if 10,000 people were camped out at College Green when Obama arrives in…might be a real statement of where the country is at as opposed to f**king Jedward performing Eurovision style for him!

    • doflynn

      Oh good man Juanjo, a glimmer of light; didn’t become aware of the march in Cork today til too late, but going ahead again in Ballyhea tomorrow, 10.30am. Twins, queens, presidents, acres of newsprint and hours of air-time devoted to it all, and all the time, because of official government policy – part-decreed by the ECB, part self-inflicted because of the unwillingness to really tackle our own problems but all from sheer government cowardice – the country is going steadily, inexorably, inevitably down the tubes.
      David McW, YOU need to be doing more about this, more than talking/writing, YOU need to be walking, front and centre, as do all the other leading commentators against this current government policy. Because of all the positive spin-off from it Queen E2 was more than welcome here, as will be Obama, but surely the most pressing issue here at the moment is reverse the ECB decree on paying the bondholders, in full? We need ACTION, dammit, and we need it now.

    • I’m tired of watching this snivelling display of Irish two-facedness ….

      me too… me too!

      Can you imagine if we did this here? if 10,000 people were camped out at College Green

      Nope! Since 2007 nothing of this kind ever happened here, and it won’t.

      The reasons are straight forward and plausible. Period!

  30. Juanjo R

    From the Irish times today;

    Those links above again;

    You can se how organised the demo is with people orgaised to clean up and donated food being shared out.

    and photos;

  31. Malcolm McClure

    The successful visit of the Queen, the death of Garrett Fitzgerald, and Obama’s ancestral homage remind us, as usual of Shakespeare’s insights:

    There is a tide in the affairs of men.
    Which, taken at the flood, leads on to fortune;
    Omitted, all the voyage of their life
    Is bound in shallows and in miseries.
    On such a full sea are we now afloat,
    And we must take the current when it serves,
    Or lose our ventures.
    Julius Caesar Act 4, scene 3, 218—224

    Our government must act swiftly to consolidate these gains in the national psyche.

  32. Juanjo R

    Further links from El Pais ( in spanish )

    ‘Drums of Resistance’

    A succession of people speak of why they are there and their concern for their future and that of their kids.

    Polird Project

    A great representative sample of polaroids with messages written by the persons in them.

    One comment stands out for me from a Virgina Martins – “Por fin hemos desperado!” (finally we are awake!)…

    personally by comparison I think we are still in a deep slumber!…

  33. joe sod

    It is interesting that the royal visit happened at a time when irelands self confidence is at an all time low, and that confidence in europe and the euro is also at an all time low. I think that this is not simply a coincidence. I think britain is preparing the ground for a break up of the EU and the euro. I think it also wants to stop the scottish nationalists from breaking away from the UK, by pointing to ireland and where irish independence has led ireland, it is saying to scotland you are better off in the UK, because look at ireland it is looking for stronger ties with the Uk, the royal visit could have happened any time in the last 12 years since 1998 but they waited until the celtic tiger burst, this is not a coincidence, afterall the celtic tiger economy was the strongest example to scottish nationalists that they would be better off if not tied to the UK, Britain is also trying to strengthen ties with France, maybe it sees the EU breaking up and a more regional type europe forming , maybe britain ireland france, germany poland czheck and slovakia, the scandinavians joining together, i think this is what they are looking at

    • Of course this is not a coincidence, but the general commentary in Irish society is neglecting this aspect to 100%. With Dublin (IFSC) and London at the Hub of international Investor and Bankster fraud, and another phase, the one of green finance – sickening term – prepared to launch, multi billion interests are at stake.

      Apart from that, it is an expression of power, besides the ultimate waste of taxpayers money, is it not? What a convenient time in deed! The stage managed mass manipulation of public opinion is another aspect, but too complex to discuss within the format of this blog, in fact, discussion of any kind is rather impossible on a blog.

  34. doflynn – would appreciate any help we can get on this; share the link, join us at any stage en-route, either to march through town or run through country. We hope to have a dozen or so from the parish travel the route by minibus, with our placard, organising petition signings in each town but taking part in every march along the way.

  35. Deco

    Greece – the next step.

    Presumably, we will see the same.

    The problem is that the stuff that doing a lousy job and that we are better off without…the ESRI, FAS, RTE, CIE has no ready market. So the Irish taxpayer will keep paying for these wasters.

    And the stuff that is of value, like Coillte and the ESB will probably be the stuff that we will be instructed to sell.

    When it comes – the moment will be brought to you by Bertie Ahern, Patrick Neary, the Irish concept of management, and the D4 banks. And social partnership. A joint IBEC-ICTU production.

    • Juanjo R

      You will pay more for their replacements most likely!

    • doflynn

      Dammit, ALL our national assets? I can just see it now, Pat Kenny, Marion, Miriam, Tubs et al, being led in chains one by one to the selling block – ‘And what am I bid for this fine specimen!’ Hopefully they’ll all be snapped up (as feared all these years, which was why we – license-payers – just HAD to keep upping their salaries on an annual basis) by the BBC, so we’ll still get to see/hear them on the odd occasion.

      • The sheisters in College Green were basking in the glory of Katie Taylor, Henry Shefflin of 7 All Ireland’s, Brian O Driscoll of Leinster epic winn et al.

        Right there we had the new cabinet.

        Great opportunity lost to sell off all our political and media croaking grunters:)

        “Very valuable commodity next, wide political experience, each one ready for a future career in banking…oops, sooryy Alan, you’ve got a career in a bank already…Well, future careers in European and global banking, errr, sorry Suds, yu and Brutal have one…Well, future presidential material, nod, nod, wink, wink, John”

  36. [...] Fitzsimons sat at a small table in the Western Approaches pub near Scotty Road in Liverpool with economist David McWilliams. She took him through a journey of the Irish names in the area, names that were reflected in the [...]

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