And Ulster Will Be Right

Protestant Irish nationalism needs to be taken seriously if the whole island is to avoid a Bosnian-scale civil war.

Issue: Summer 1996

The Irish problem does not arise out of a clash between Irish and British nationalism. If it did, there would be no problem because British nationalism, being nowadays so relatively compliant, would give Ireland everything it wants. Unfortunately it is not as simple as that. For the Irish problem is a clash between two Irish nationalisms, that of Catholic Republican Ireland and Protestant Northern Ireland (Ulster), and since the first has been long celebrated and mythologized, and the second both rejected and derided, world opinion, particularly American opinion, tends to think that the first is the more deserving and the more potent. I would like to try to correct this dangerous misapprehension; dangerous because in my view it is the second nationalism, Protestant Irish nationalism, which today needs to be taken most seriously, if the whole island is to be spared a Bosnian-scale civil war.

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