During the general election this year, much focus was drawn to Northern Ireland. Theresa May formed her coalition government with the DUP, while Jeremy Corbyn was accused much of sympathising with the IRA. Decades of the last century were pained by outright civil war; the Troubles, where Irish Americans sponsored IRA terrorists who killed children.
However, both in the British Isles, and also in North America, the account given of Ireland’s history is terribly misleading. Irish republicans would speak of the whole emerald isle as their historic homeland, and imply that the Protestants to the North are colonial settlers, invaders. False comparisons are made to British colonisation of India, and also lands where, ironically, many Irish people live today such as Australia, and the USA. The reality is nothing but. Both the Catholics and Protestants are truly indigenous. I will stress this again, Ulstermen are native Irishmen.
To understand this, we need to consider the origins of Scotland. The name of the land arises from Scoti, the word Romans used for the Irish, as found in Nomina Provinciarum Omnium (Names of All the Provinces), which dates to about A.D. 312.
Up until the 8th century, there was a Celtic kingdom called Dál Riata, which formed when Ulstermen annexed territory in what is now modern-day Scotland. There is a thin strait between Ireland and Scotland, between which there are number of scattered islands. Irishmen, the Scoti, moved across the seas, settling these islands, and making home on the British shores, from Cornwall to Scotland.
Back then, the North and East of Scotland was inhabited by a Brythonic (Welsh) tribe called the Picts. The Scoti expanded outwards, and colonised the area. By the 11th century the Pictish identity had been subsumed into the “Scots” amalgamation of peoples. If anything, while there are false claims that Ulster is a British colony, actually, Scotland is an Irish colony on Welsh soil.
Centuries later, in 1609, King James the First, a Scottish king, began the notorious Plantation, settling of Scots back in Ireland, moving of some of the Scoti back to their ancestral homeland. Irish people moved back to Ireland. This was not a colonisation. Further, it’s often ignored that some of them were Catholic and even a significant number spoke Gaelic. They have every right to be there.
We appreciate the Catholic community of Ireland distrusts the British government due to historic tragedies, such as the Potato Famine, often said to be due to British mismanagement. They have achieved an independent state, but as for Ulster, it has been linked to Scotland, by its act of invasion of Britain, since the 4th century. The refusal for groups like Sinn Fein to respect the people of Ulster’s vote to stay with Britain is a simple affront to democracy, and to give up British communities to Dublin would be a failing of the British people.
While some Gaelic-speakers in Ulster may wish for a closer alliance with the south, do not forget that both the regions of Ulster and Scotland share a population who are Scots, and hence British unionist movements are most logical. They also have groups, be they the SNP, IRA, or Sinn Fein, who would demand independence from the Brythonic peoples, but the majority of the electorate of both districts are happy to remain part of the UK.
It is nothing but hypocrisy for Sinn Fein to refuse for the island of Eire to be home to two countries, while supporting Scottish independence so as to divide the indigenous people of Britain in two (remember, the indigenous Scots have Pictish, Brythonic, ancestry.)
On the other hand, as for the Irish Americans, what of the soil they live on? Are they native Americans? No, and hence, what position are they in to question who lives in Ireland? The funding of the IRA by Irish Americans was based on horrific ignorance regarding history of the British Isles, resulting in the deaths of many.