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" A nation which does not remember what was yesterday does not know where it is today." Robert E. Lee
Andy C’s article was interesting, original and thought-provoking. We concur with him that independence is the way forward for our people but we believe strongly that the new state when it is formed should be called ‘Ulster’ not ‘Northern Ireland’. The term ‘Ulster’ embraces our ancient past which stretches back all the way to CúChulainn. ‘Northern Ireland’ excludes this. We feel that the state founded in 1921 should never have been given that geographically inaccurate title. This serious misjudgement introduced and maintained an Irish dimension which could have been avoided.
Andy suggested that ‘Ulster’ has very strong overtones of extreme loyalism and unionism. Something similar could be said about Northern Ireland - the term ‘Ireland’ having strong overtones of violent republicanism.
Andy fears that Ulster-nationalists may be perceived as aligning ourselves with violent groups with ‘Ulster’ in their titles. But would this happen? The term ‘Ulster’ is used daily in a non-sectarian fashion. Ulster Bank, Ulsterbus, Ulster Television and so on. The Ulster GAA team would be wholly Roman Catholic.
Republicans (and many people across the globe) claim that the Ulster conflict is solely a British - Irish dispute, a dispute between the colonists and the suppressed. The IRA are portrayed in the media, in newspapers and films as the revolutionary fighters struggling with the British imperialists. When we look beyond this facade we see that the conflict is primarily an Ulster - Éire dispute. This is the flaw in Republican thinking, even if the British are taken out of the political equation this would not solve the conflict. There would still be approximately 900,000 Ulsterfolk who would oppose power being centralised in Dublin.
Ulster is a distinct nation on the island of Ireland. Many argue that Ulster is nine counties and we know the people who would state this position. Ulster's boundaries have constantly changed over the centuries because of Irish imperialism. Ulster once consisted of almost ten counties and it stretched as far south as the Boyne valley. Much of County Louth was once incorporated in the Ulster nation. The territory of Poland, Germany and Israel to name but a few nations has changed over the years but their name has remained constant. Possibly the new independent Ulster state will not include south Armagh which is essentially a republican stronghold and the people of this area would not show loyalty to an Ulster parliament/state. As Ulster-nationalists we may have to accept something smaller, for example, all territory east of the Bann. We should remember that the ancient kingdom of Ulster consisted of an area which we would presently know as counties Antrim and Down and part of northern Londonderry and Louth.
We believe that any new state should be called Ulster because this embraces our ancient past which stretches back to the great Ulster warrior CúChulainn who died fighting Irish imperialists. Northern Ireland in a sense excludes this rich past and it is vital that our people know that we do possess an ancient heritage which goes well beyond 1690.
We must touch on another issue which was mentioned in the article, the issue of Europe. To us it is totally self contradictory to advocate independence for Ulster and to remain within the European superstate. Ulster-nationalism is based on decentralism which believes that people should have total control of the decision making process of their country and its political destiny. To argue incessantly against the despotic nature of Dublin and London and as a result to gain independence and then allow Brussels to dictate is certainly puzzling. We would be going along the same political direction as the Scottish National Party. We can have a peaceful and prosperous Europe but we do not have to have power centralised in Brussels to obtain this. Much more could be said on these crucial issues but we conclude with the words of that great Ulster-nationalist from Donegal, the Rev. Brett Ingram,
"From the moment that Lloyd George coined an unpronounceable, geographically incorrect, insidiously loaded name "Northern Ireland" , our ancient land was anaemic. The only way to reverse that sepsis is to call your country by its 3000 year old name, and never let across your lips that multi-syllabic, geographically absurd, amorphous and nondescript travesty. The size of Ulster has varied down the ages - as has the size of France and Switzerland, Poland and Germany. None of these countries dropped their sacred name when their area diminished. The greatest danger to Ulster is ‘Northern Ireland’."
John Jenkins and Ulidian
A THIRD WAY FOR ULSTER
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