Ulster -- Time Bomb with a Short Fuse

Fred Melton
Tonbridge, Kent, England

"The black witch of Rome has stirred herself. Her crimson eyes may be seen peering over the horizon. One huge, shrouded, rancid arm embraces Spain, Portugal and much of France. Hugging the earth to her bosom like a huge ball, she securely clutches the Emerald Isle with her wrinkled hand. Great sores secrete a venomous sedative that paralyzes all she touches. These are all her children, conceived through fornication and taught to do her bidding. Now one filthy finger picks at Ulster."

If the above description offends you, it is no doubt because you have lived all your life in a free land and believe everything you read in the newspapers. But ponder for a moment. How would you enjoy the prospects of living the rest of your own life as well as consigning the future of your children's children to the complete domination of the pope, cardinals and bishops of the Roman Catholic Church? This is exactly the future that faces the 1,500,000 Protestant majority of Ulster (the six counties that comprise Northern Ireland) if the rebel IRA (Irish Republic Army) succeeds in their fanatical efforts to unify all of Ireland under the Republic of 'Southern Ireland in Dublin. Unless you happen to be a Roman Catholic, this is an abominable prospect. Whether religious or not, the average Ulsterman has no desire to cast his lot with the medieval South. The problems surrounding a unified Ireland run deeply into the currents of religion and economics.

In order to fully understand the terrible fears and hate surrounding the present crisis in Northern Ireland, one must first stir around a bit in the smoldering ruins of Irish history.

"Saint" Patrick

First of all, "Saint" Patrick (380-461), who is credited with bringing Christianity to Ireland, was neither Irish nor Roman Catholic. Patrick was still a youth when he was kidnapped from a lonely beach in Britain by a band of Irish pirates, who took him to

Ireland. Several years later, he escaped, to France where he "became a Christian." After receiving what he believed to be a divine call in a dream, he sailed away in 432 to convert the Irish Celts (pronounced Kelts) to "the Christian faith." Just how far the apostasy had developed at that point in time is difficult to determine. However, it is quite certain that the Celts were not converted to a mature modem Catholicism as we know it today. It was not until 1171 that Ireland fell under the direct domination of Rome. Henry II, Roman Catholic king of England, desiring to add Ireland to hit; dominion, applied to Pope Adrian IV in Rome for leave to invade the Emerald Isle and "widen the bounds of the church." In the words of Pope Honorius III, "the English entered Ireland by the mandate of the Apostolic See, and subjected it to the obedience of the Roman Church." Ireland has been Roman Catholic ever since. When the reformation swept Europe during the Sixteenth and Seventeenth Centuries, most of Ireland steadfastly resisted reform. Northern Ireland, however, gradually fell under Protestant influence. In 1690, another

English king, William of Orange, affectionately known as "King Billy" in Ulster, came to Northern Ireland and drove all the Catholics to the south.

British Colonialism

For the next two hundred years, both Northern and Southern Ireland suffered under British colonial rule. Many large land grants were given to English landlords, who in many cases, rarely if ever set foot on the land. Thus exploited by both the Catholic Church and British Colonialists, the Irish peasants continued in a pitiful state of subjection. While the landlords continued to export food out of Ireland, the potato famine of the 1840's wiped out 2,500,000 Irish. Many thousands immigrated to America, including a Wexford family named Kennedy.

Even in these early days, the ancestors of the modern IRA were very much in evidence. Under various leaders and sundry titles, they operated more or less as a "fifth column" on a guerrilla warfare basis, many times commanding the respect (or fear) of the people but no real active allegiance.

IRA resistance to British rule finally grew intensely violent culminating in the "Easter Uprising" of 1916. Though short-lived, the abortive Dublin coup nevertheless set the stage for Irish independence in 1921.

However, what became "home rule" to the Catholic South was perceptively interpreted as "Rome ride" by the Protestants in the North and Ulster wisely elected to stick with Britain in spite of bitter colonial memories.

Roman Catholic Power in the South

It is often said that the Irish are more Catholic than the pope in Rome. Within the Southern priesthood, this truism finds its personification. The Catholic Church stands unchallenged as the governing force in Southern Ireland today. Wielding the power of a religious dictator, it controls almost every sphere of the national life. The South comprises 5/6 of the total land in Ireland but contains only 2/3 of the population (approximately two and one-half million), 95 percent of whom are devoutly Roman Catholic. Ulster, on the other hand, comprises 1/6 of the total area of the country, but contains over 1/3 of the total population (approximately one and one-half million), 65 percent of whom are Protestant.

All the political parties in Southern Ireland are in actual fact Roman Catholic parties, and in any matter where the church decides to I intervene, they will accept her policy, irrespective of all other considerations. One well-known southern political leader is quoted as saying "Ireland's real rulers are the Roman Catholic Bishops."

There is no such thing as "freedom of the press" in Southern Ireland today. Dr. Lucey, Roman Catholic Bishop of Cork, says that "the press has no right to defend what is false, or to induce people to do what if; wrong." But who is to decide what views are false and, therefore, unacceptable for publication? You guessed it -- the Catholic Church! "The answer is that the church is entitled to decide when the views are those on faith and morals..." Rome's control over the radio and film world is also quite complete.

In Southern Ireland, the Roman Catholic Church claims the undisputed right to train the nation's children. Rome fully embraces the axiom, "The fate of the children decides the fate of the nation," as well as "'Whatever may be the theology about which a man may argue or debate, it is the theology of his childhood upon which he acts." It is a widely known fact that the title to school property, and its detailed management, is in the hands of the priests and bishops. Yet, the Irish taxpayers provide at least 99 percent of the running expenses and a large share of the construction costs of these schools. In the Republic, all the schools for young children, with the exception of a few vocational and private schools are operated by Catholic teachers.

The parish priest is the professional headmaster of the school. He personally supervises its religious training and at least once a week lectures to the students on Catholicism. The Irish Catholics think of their schools as belonging to the church, and they think of the priest as the natural ruler over, and the trainer of their children. The children learn to think of the priest as the central figure in their moral universe and in the whole course of their schooling, they never encounter anyone who questions his authority. "From their first yell at birth," writes Liam O'Flaherty, "until the sod falls on them in the grave, their actions and thoughts are under his direction." Herein lies the secret priestly power in Ireland. The famous statesman, Gladstone, has said, "No more cunning plot was ever devised against the freedom, the happiness, and the virtue of mankind than the Roman Catholic Church." Is it any wonder then that the Northern Protestants are just a little less than anxious to unify with the South and place themselves ,squarely under such a system, notwithstanding the fact that the battle cry of the IRA is "a unified Ireland"?

The Primitive South

Of all the European countries, outside of the Communist block, the three which can claim the odious distinction of being the most depressed and unprogressive are Roman Catholic Spain, Catholic Portugal and the Republic of Ireland, with Italy close behind. Since the British colonial days, the Catholic Church has controlled most of what little wealth there was in Southern Ireland. After the Second World War, a number of German industrial firms settled in Southern Ireland, bringing a comparative measure of survival ability for a few peasants. However, so progressive were the German industrialists compared to the Irish Catholics, that the Irish government was forced to pass laws forbidding the Germans to buy anymore property in Ireland. It may be safely observed that Catholic cities of Southern Ireland today are 20 years behind anything in Europe, while the rural areas are 100 years behind anything in the West. Ireland is a charming land for the tourists (one of their largest income producers) but then tourists do not have to stay in the country very long, or struggle to survive in this "quaint little land" that time has forgotten.

The Prosperous North

While the Catholic South slipped farther and farther into a coma of defeatism, the Protestant North gradually began to industrialize and prosper. The shipyards of Belfast and textile mills of London-Derry were soon considered among the world's best and most productive. These industries created hundreds of attractive jobs which brought English and Scottish laborers to the North while further swelling the Protestant majority there. Meanwhile, in the South thousands of Catholics fled to America and many others were driven to the industrial North by the desire for jobs and a decent living for their families.

When the once small Catholic community in Northern Ireland began to grow at an alarming rate, Protestant politicians fearing an eventual Catholic takeover, resisted by gerrymandering voting districts, imposing various political restrictions and solidifying their position with the English as part of the United Kingdom.

I RS - Advocate of Rome

As tensions increased in 1969, the IRA, "fresh out of clover" from the South, appointed themselves the official leaders of the Ulster Catholics and took to the streets, gunning down old women and young boys. All this bally-hoo about freedom from modern British colonialism is nothing but a political red herring thrown out by the IRA and their sympathizers in the South. Anyone who knows anything about present British foreign policy, knows full well that Britain is quietly giving up and diplomatically conceding everywhere in the world today. No, the real issue in Northern Ireland today is freedom from Catholic domination with its inevitable and disastrous economic repercussions.

Contrary to much propaganda channeled into America and other countries, the British army is not in Northern Ireland to stop the "Catholics and the Protestants from fighting each other" (this has a good non-sectarian, non-prejudicial ring about it and makes the journalists look good, but it just isn't the truth). Their real function in Ulster is to protect the Protestant majority from a handful of gangland style hoodlums falsely known as the Irish Republican Army, who specialize in intimidating the Protestant families, blowing up public buildings, burning buses and ambushing young British soldiers who are off duty with a sniper's bullet in the back. They also inspire and incite Catholic women and children to scream obscene insults accompanied by stones, bottles and an occasional nail-bomb, or Molotov cocktail. If pressed too hard, these IRA gunmen retreat across the border to the Catholic south, where they receive comfort and protection from the Republic and aid from sympathizers. When things cool down a bit, they sally forth again to terrorize the community.

According to well informed sources, if the British troops ever leave the province, a grisly civil war will follow, resulting in a terrible blood bath.

The morning news carries a horrible picture of a young Catholic girl who had been tarred and feathered by IRA sympathizers because she went out with a British soldier. Another's head was shaven. Some Catholics interviewed said, "They got just what was coming to them," others said, "The IRA is going too far." The Catholic priests are saying nothing and the Protestants are saying, "We would rather die than live under Catholicism."

TRUTH MAGAZINE, XVI: 10, pp. 10-13
January 13, 1972