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Weekend events at Croke Park – a reaction February 27, 2007

Posted by Rambling Man in Ireland & the Irish, Sports.
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The recent hype, controversy and in some areas, downright madness that surrounded the recent Ireland v England rugby game at Croke Park, has come and gone in a wave of celebration and hindsight analysis.

It was a significant event in our history, sporting and otherwise but I think the majority of the hype and bumf that surrounded the game and the occasion was a poor reflection on the Ireland of today’s way of thinking. I’d be interested to hear how the build up went in other areas of the country but down here in the south east, a lot of what I came across was positive towards the event, its participants and so on ….

A notable exception was our bin-money-collection-man, who hails from across the water and although he has been here for 30+ years, is still an ardent follower of the men in white. He shocked me at the door the other night when we were chatting, saying that he had given back his ticket for fear of a riot ! It was only then that I began to realise that there were people who thought that something might actually kick off and Ireland would be seen as the first country ever in the world to have trouble at a rugby match !

Having listened to Republican Sinn Fein and their get-out that “they couldn’t help it if people turned up and caused trouble”, I am glad that their paltry protests were drowned out by the 80,000 fans who turned out intent on nothing but a good time. There is a saying that “water will always find its level”, and I feel that these people and their rivers of ignorant thinking have firmly found their level at the bottom of the barrel of Irish society.

At Croke Park itself, I was heartened to see the England team and anthem get the respect they deserved and equally delighted in the fact that we thumped them on the pitch. In the pub where I was watching the match, there was none of the tomfoolery (booing the anthem or otherwise) that was expected.

That however, was almost a secondary for me. The whole occasion showed that the vast majority of law abiding and non-rioters on this island would not be made afraid or controlled by the narrow minded thoughts of the few … It showed the world that, despite past events, modern Ireland has moved on and would no more be seen as passionately anti-English or anti anyone. It showed the great pride we take in sport and whatever our political leanings may be, that we can act as a mature society. I am proud it was such a great occasion.

In this day and age, hatred and violence and intimidation and past bygones are the cause of too many deaths, too many miserable lives and too much sadness … I’m glad we’ve moved on.

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1. Sharon O' Suillibhan. - February 27, 2007

Hi !

“…past bygones…” ?

The claim of jurisdiction from Westminster over the six north-eastern counties of Ireland is still in force , and is maintained in a military fashion .
You “moron” .

http://11sixtynine.blogsome.com/2007/02/27/rsf-croke-park-protest-placard/

http://11sixtynine.blogsome.com/2007/02/24/s2s-and-croke-park-protests-dublin-february-24-2007/

Sharon .

2. Rambling Man - February 27, 2007

sharon – thanks for that.
I could equally say the claim of jurisdiction by the Republic of Ireland to the island as a whole is not now in place, as was voted by the majority both in the Republic and the North in 1998, thus it is still part of Britain.

But without wishing to sound too offensive to the minority that still think that it isn’t (and I apologise for the wording above because i was a bit irrate at the time), in my opinion I don’t think people here care anymore …

3. Sharon O' Suillibhan. - February 27, 2007

Hi Again !

Between the two peoples , who has more of a claim to jurisdiction over the island – the Irish or the British ?
Could you explain what you mean by your use of the term “the majority” (re the 1998 vote) , please ?
Re the apology : you will have to do so again for insinuating that “the majority ….think (that the ‘North’)….is still part of Britain…”.
And some people here do still “care” , because they see the continuing British political and military presence as having the potential to prolong the conflict through each generation , as has happened already to date .

Sharon .

4. Rambling Man - February 27, 2007

sharon,
what i meant by the majority was that the vote in 1998 was passed by more people than it was rejected by. As you know, part of what the 1998 agreement set out was the creation of an irish identity, to which all the people of northern ireland regardless of thinking, could ally. i dont think i insinuated that the majority of people think that the north is part of britain but politically, economically and in other ways it is. you might not agree with the argument that it is but it guess thats down to the persons identity rather than geography.

That is not to say that the people there, as per the 98 agreement, cant identify with whomever they wish, be it irish or british or both.
i’m sorry if my opinion re: people not caring offended you but i personally dont.
as for who has more claim ? i dont think its about claim – nowadays i think its about what the people of the place want, which at the moment is to remain in the UK.

5. Sharon O' Suillibhan. - February 27, 2007

Hi !

Re ‘1998’ – we are talking about a majority of those that voted as opposed to a majority of those entitled to vote , which I think is a distinction you should have made in your original post ie “….as was voted by the majority both in the Republic and the North in 1998.. ”
We are now clear on that issue , I believe .

Re ‘caring’ – I actually agree with you (that [most] people don’t care – or at least don’t care enough to actually do something about it) and am saddened and disappointed by that fact . But , I believe , there will always be those amongst us who are concerned over this issue , even if those people are , on occasion , in a minority .

Re ‘Claim’ – I believe it is an issue which should be decided by all of us on this isle ie that we are all entitled to a say on the issue . The last poll I know of to ask the question – ‘United Ireland : Yes or No? ‘ received a figure of 82 per cent ‘Yes’ and 18 per cent ‘No’ reply (‘Newstalk Radio ‘ , August 2005) . There’s hope for us yet…. !

Sharon .

6. Rambling Man - February 28, 2007

hi sharon – thanks again for the dabte and comments
yes perhaps there is a chance that a united ireland will happen. but i’d just like to mention two points.

re: those who voted vs those entitled to vote – if one was opposed to the agreement in 98, then why not come out and vote against it, as opposed to bemoan the fact that it was passed only by those who voted and not by all those entitled to vote.

re: claim – sure, everyone is entitled to an opinion. if 82% of people want a united ireland then why was the agreement passed, which relinquished our claim on the whole of the island ? and furthermore, if there was to be a united ireland in the morning, it would turn the current unionist majority in the north into a large minority and maybe lead to further strife … i can accept your views but choose not to agree with them.
cheers for the comments
rm

7. Sharon O' Suillibhan. - February 28, 2007

Hi again !

And it is nice to debate , for a change : most other sites I visit and leave a comment on usually get personal with me after a few posts – ‘ ….you silly girl…you should leave the house more often…’ etc .
Which , in turn , makes me get equally as nasty !

Re ‘voting’ – as with any election /referendum etc , there will be those who just cannot be bothered to go to the polling booth – even just to purposely spoil their vote , if nothing else .
I am not “bemoaning” the fact “that it was passed only by those who voted and not be all those entitled to vote ” , but simply pointing out that that is the factual position (as in any election) .

Re ‘Unionists’ – What if the Unionist minority in Ulster were to be given their own provincial parliament ? Do you think that would help matters ?
Nice talking to you like this – a pleasure not often afforded me !

Sharon .

8. Rambling Man - February 28, 2007

thats a suggestion that might work but that i doubt they’d be happy with, as the link to london would probably not be maintained in a united ireland.
do the demographics at the moment show what % of people identify themselves as british or irish or both ? if, say in 50 years time, the nationalists had a majority and wished to become a 32 county republic, what would happen then ?
from my p.o.v. i couldn’t see anything else other than more “trouble”, if a united ireland were to happen. thats not of course to say that a large no. of people dont want it to happen.

9. Sharon O' Suillibhan. - February 28, 2007

Hi again , RM !

The jurisdictional link to London (Westminster) would ‘suffer’ the same fate as same underwent in this State ie there would be none .
The ‘pay-off’ (‘trade off?) from the Unionist point of view would be that they would not be ‘ruled by Dublin’ .

Re ‘demographics’ : I , myself , would only be guided by said statistics from an island-wide poll , not from a poll conducted in a partitioned part of the isle .

One thing seems to be guaranteed : if the situation remains as is (ie a partitioned isle) ‘trouble’ is inevitable , as history has shown . And believe it or not , RM , republicans are not the ‘blood thirsty’ ( “morons?”) bowsie’s we are oft made out to be .

Sharon .

10. Katie - March 1, 2007

Hey RM

It was the one of the proudest moments of my life that we as a nation showed dignified respect for the English at Croke Park! I for one would have loved to have been there. But sadly the lack of tickets was even worse in the west! The atmosphere was electric from where i watched it in west clare and the pub broke out into spontaneous applause when GSTQ finished. Of course it roared our anthem with enthusiasm!

A great day and a great result and for me a great sporting occasion that i will never forget!

11. Rambling Man - March 2, 2007

thanks for the comment katie. yes it was a proud occassion for many of us.

12. laurie - March 2, 2007

we were paying attention here in the states, too. i certainly understood the point of view of the protesters, but i was glad that pride prevailed–because i think it was pride that kept the protesters to a bare minimum, eyes firmly on the sport, and then of course a hell of a game with a resounding victory.

those of us with irish blood in us (and that’s, what, 98 percent of all americans?) were pleased and proud from afar. good job!

13. Sharon O' Suillibhan. - March 2, 2007

Hi Laurie !

What do you think the re-action would have been if , during what I believe they termed ‘the colonial war against the malcontents’ , the British had attempted to hold a sporting fixture in your country whilst still claiming , and militarily enforcing , jurisdictional control over part of same ?

Sharon .

14. (un)relaxeddad - March 6, 2007

Sharon, I’m half-Irish and half-Welsh and born in England. I and the people on that pitch weren’t born when the ‘colonial war’ was fought. I think matters have moved on a long way from the 1980s and continue to progress.

I wish the Six Counties were part of Ireland too. But the fact is that at the moment the majority of the Protestants of Northern Ireland want to be part of the UK, not the Republic. Now if you take the perspective that they should be naturalised as Irish Citizens against their will, would you then also support their right to take up arms to contest that right? Because N.I. in its current state is all they’ve ever known, for better or worse.

I think a long slow, road is the best chance for a lasting solution – and with respect, taking out your frustrations on innocent sportsmen isn’t about to make that road any shorter.

15. Sharon O' Suillibhan. - March 6, 2007

Hi There !

” Sharon, I’m half-Irish and half-Welsh and born in England. I and the people on that pitch weren’t born when the ‘colonial war’ was fought. ”
Unfortunately , the ‘colonial war’ (as the British called it) is not yet over : Westminster continues to claim jurisdictional control over part of this island .

” I think matters have moved on a long way from the 1980s and continue to progress. ”
Proper “progress” would be a date for British withdrawal ie an end to the jurisdictional claim .

” I wish the Six Counties were part of Ireland too. But the fact is that at the moment the majority of the Protestants of Northern Ireland want to be part of the UK, not the Republic.”
The people you refer to constitute less than twenty per cent of the population of this island . THAT is the “fact” !

” Now if you take the perspective that they should be naturalised as Irish Citizens against their will, would you then also support their right to take up arms to contest that right? Because N.I. in its current state is all they’ve ever known, for better or worse. ”
They already ARE ” Irish Citizens” , but will continue to ignore that fact as long as Westminster continues to ‘back them up’ , militarily and financially .

” I think a long slow, road is the best chance for a lasting solution – and with respect, taking out your frustrations on innocent sportsmen isn’t about to make that road any shorter.”
My God ! Is over 830 years not ‘long enough’ of a ‘road’ for you ?
By the way : the Croke Park protest was held to highlight the fact that Westminster continues to claim jurisdiction over a part of this island , NOT ‘to have a go’ at “innocent sportsmen” !

Sharon .

16. Rambling Man - March 7, 2007

sharon
even if you didn’t agree with (un)relaxeddad, you should still have had a go at answering his questions, not just stating the same arguments as you stated to me. In my opinion, and i must be careful what way i phrase things for fear of offending you, it boils down to a set of circumstances – pick one, if you would.

Either we live a situation where people die and are killed in the name of irish freedom on a regular basis …
or
we live in a reasonably peaceful society, where each side strives to make political progress and despite dissidents’ best efforts, a peacful process of self governance takes place, in accordance with the will of the majority of the people.

A couple of other smaller points :
– In the context of the Croke Park match, why was it chosen as a venue for protest if you wanted the sportsmen or fans or anyone connected with it, not to be affected ? Why not protest the embassy if you wanted to make a point ?

– The people in the North that you refer to as “already being Irish” but that they choose to ignore that fact … i don’t think i’ve heard anything quite as silly in a while. Ask Ian Paisley why he’s ignorning the fact that he really is Irish and not british and see what he says …

– And also, i don’t think, in the context of Northern Ireland (and remember its the part of the island we’re talking about) that you can continue to rely on statistics on an all-ireland basis. Obviously catholics are in a majority on an all-ireland basis. The people to whom (un)relaxeddad refers are in northern ireland, not the republic, and as such are the majority of society in northern ireland.

17. Sharon O' Suillibhan. - March 7, 2007

Hi again , RM !

I did answer the questions posed by ‘(un)relaxeddad’ – fair enough , if you do not agree with the answers I gave , but please do not accuse me of ignoring the post altogether ! (By the way – Laurie never answered the question I put to her : when were you intending to comment on HER lack of reply?)
And surely you should always ” be careful about the way you phrase things” , no ?
The “will of the majority of people ” is for a (re-)united Ireland , as per the last opinion poll that I know of which was carried out on that subject – 82 per cent ‘Yes’ .
Why do you continue to ignore the fact that a foreign country continues to claim jurisdiction over part of our national territory ? Talk about ‘the elephant in the corner’ !

A similar protest was held outside the British Embassy in the weeks preceeding that rugby game , plus protests , pickets etc are held on a regular basis at the GPO in Dublin’s O’ Connell Street . However , Croke Park has it’s own historical ‘baggage’ , gifted to it by the British Government of that particular day – we sought to highlight that fact on the day , and did so .

Re Mr Paisley whom , you claim , “ignores the fact that he really is Irish ” : who stated “I would never repudiate the fact that I am an Irishman ” ?
Answer here –
http://en.wikiquote.org/wiki/Ian_Paisley
Who is “silly” , now , Sir ?
The unionists in the six north-eastern counties of this island represent less that twenty per cent of our overall population . That is a fact which , like the jurisdictional ‘elephant’ , you are apparently uncomfortable with , but a fact nonetheless.

I presume you will get back to me re Laurie and Ian Paisley “ignoring the fact that he really is Irish…” ?

Sharon .

18. (un)relaxeddad - March 7, 2007

RM, thanks for interjecting!

Sharon, according to your favoured source Wikipedia, there was no single Ireland 830 years ago but four separate kingdoms arguing over who got to be boss, something which the Norman invasion rendered moot. My point being that over-reliance on ancient history to justify present-day disputes turns into a hall of mirrors at best and Yugoslavia at worst.

Anyway, consider yourself lucky. We’ve had nearly a millenium of those Norman b******s and they’re still showing no signs of going home.

19. Rambling Man - March 7, 2007

OK Sharon, the point I was making is that you come back with statements of fact (be they controversial or not) as opposed to an explained argument.

i can only answer from my point of view.

i don’t see northern ireland as part of the republic of ireland and there is no entity called simply “Ireland”, apart from a geographical one.

i could easily come back to you and say that paisley might have well said that quote but he also said the next one in the list :
“You were born free. Refuse these chains prepared for you by the trecherous unionists and their ilk. Let Dublin know that there are those of us who must not, can not, and will not bow, ever, to Dublin domination”.

I would also like an answer to (un)relaxeddad’s question re: if a united ireland happened that the north’s protestants would be “naturalised as Irish Citizens against their will” …

and my “set of circumstances” question above vis-a-vis continued killing or continued peace.

as for Laurie, shes in America and probably in bed at this time 😉

20. Sharon O' Suillibhan. - March 7, 2007

Hi ‘(un)relaxeddad !

I refer on occasion , to Wikipedia , yes – but it is not my favourite (or only) source .
Re ‘four separate kingdoms’ – so ‘might is right’ , then , in this case ?ie because a ‘bigger bully’ laid claim to that which the natives were squabbling over we should just accept that that ‘bigger bully’ had the right to do as was done and , indeed , the right to do as is being done to this day ie a partitioned isle and all that seeps from that partitioning ?

If those “present-day” disputes have , as you suggested above , their roots in “ancient history” , is it not to be expected that reference will thus be made ?

Hi RM !

A “statement of fact” , you say ? My political position is based on one such “statement of fact” : that is , that Westminster continues to claim jurisdictional control over a part of this island . A fact on which I have commented on previously on this thread .

“No entity simply called ‘Ireland’ ? ”
You obviously confine your ‘rambling’ to a ‘special’ area ! lol!
When the Irish Republic was declared in 1916 it was in reference to the whole island , not only twenty-six counties of it . Forgive me for referring again to my ‘old favourite'(!) :
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ireland_%28disambiguation%29
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_Republic

It is not that Mr Paisley “might have said” that he would never repudiate the fact that he is an Irishman – he DID say it !
You ask for “statements of fact” and then disregard them when supplied unless they fit your agenda . You expose a weakness in your argument by doing so .
Also ; as I mentioned above in connection with ‘Dublin rule over unionists’ : ” Re ‘Unionists’ – What if the Unionist minority in Ulster were to be given their own provincial parliament ? ”
Mr Paisley’s fear of “Dublin domination” over himself and his his fellow unionists is shared by republicans . We wouldn’t wish that Leinster House crowd on their own mothers…

By “the north’s protestants” I presume you are referring to those whom wish to ‘maintain the connection with England…’ , not all of whom would be of the protestant faith ? Anyway , as stated – those people are already “Irish citizens” , regardless of whether they all acknowledge that fact or not . Their lives , jobs , families etc are here and are most welcome : it is not those people that the ‘problem’ is with , but with their ‘guarantor’ – Westminster .

“Continued peace” ? Has our history not shown that the British military and political presence in this country has the potential to cause conflict ? It would surely be better to remove the potential altogether than to attempt to live ‘peacefully’ with it , do you not think ?
I put that question to Laurie on March 2nd – just how ‘tired’ do you reckon she is ?
One ‘rule’ for some , but not for others , it seems .

Sharon .

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