‘And if this House cares about preserving our union, it must listen to those people because our union will only endure with their consent.’
The speaker was not a Sinn Féin spokesperson or Southern party hack with a view to backwoods votes. The word ‘our’ is the giveaway, because the speaker was the British Prime Minister Theresa May, pointing out the illogicality of the statelet we know as ‘Norn Iron’. The people to whom she referred were those who live and do normal daily transactions across the artificial line drawn up in the early 1920s to divide Ireland into two jurisdictions.
Meanwhile, the Irish government has been most careful not to make any suggestion of a united Ireland. This is one of those areas where logic or commonsense have a place, because it is all about WHAT HAPPENED IN THE PAST. Besides, if the successor of Lloyd George and Winston Churchill is prepared to strip back the phoney packaging, what more needs be said?
Killing giants from Mullinalaghta
It’s not easy to pronounce and it is not really a village, more like a half-parish a few kilometres from Granard in Co Longford. They don’t have a shop or post office, their population is about 400, one-in-three of whom are members of the local football club. But when their team goes on to beat a team from a prosperous club in South Dublin with more than 4000 members, including a few All Ireland medal winners, then size does not seem so important. The game was the final of the Leinster club championship in Gaelic football. Longford is not a known Gaelic football county, but Dublin is, and Kilmacud Crokes are Dublin champions. Reports of the game seemed to take delight in describing the Kilmacud team as the Dubs.
Céad Míle Fáilte
Just as you were feeling outrage at the treatment Irish girls in Australia or Irish men in America more than a hundred years ago, you come across the following from the Irish Independent one week before Christmas 2018, ‘If you happen to be black and not Irish, there is no céad míle fáilte waiting for you in the Irish workplace.’
Recent research has shown that non-Irish nationals who are black are five times more likely to face discrimination when looking for a job in Ireland than people born in the country.
And it appears that if these black folk manage to get a job, they are almost three times more likely to get a hard time than their colleagues or three times less likely to land a managerial job.
Almost one in every five passports issued by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs in 2017 was to an applicant in Northern Ireland or Britain. That was last year. It is anticipated that the number of such applicants will have risen in 2018 and the number is expected to reach about 300 000 in 2019 if there is a no-deal Brexit.
Already, the Government has hired some 220 extra staff to deal with the backlog.
After the 2016 Brexit referendum, one of those strongly suggesting to his constituents that they apply to Dublin for a passport was Ian Paisley Jr.
Book of the Year
At the end of each year, newspapers and magazines ask their reviewers or writers to pick the top books of the year. Each contributor typically names four or five titles.
The British trade journal The Bookseller gathered data from ten of these prestige publications in the UK and the US to find the book with most mentions by different critics. The winner was Normal People by the 27-year old Dublin writer Sally Rooney, her second book. It was mentioned in eight of these lists, a few places ahead of the Man Booker winner Milkman.
We will have a review of Normal People in the February edition of Tinteán.