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What if Collins had invaded Ulster?!

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    Aidan
    Closed Account

  • Aidan
    replied
    Suffice it to say that quality control is not of the highest order from time to time ...

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  • ICUN
    We got VC on the wire

  • ICUN
    replied
    I was still only getting into the swing of it as well but my boss would be getting a bit pissed off if i spent any longer on here typing essay like replies!

    About smithwicks....sure tell me the story anyway. There is one thing about smithwicks, when you get a bad pint of it, it is really bad. Something along the lines of egg and vinegar!

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  • Aidan
    Closed Account

  • Aidan
    replied
    I was only getting warmed up!

    ICUN, if I ever meet you I'll tell you a story about Smithwicks that'll stop you drinking it in fairly short order ...

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  • Goldie fish
    Tim Horgan

  • Goldie fish
    replied
    Better than Bass suppose..

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  • Turkey
    Brigadier General

  • Turkey
    replied
    Pah!!! Smitwick's is an aquired lack-of-taste.:D :D :D

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  • ICUN
    We got VC on the wire

  • ICUN
    replied
    I agree with Goldie, we will have to agree to disagree. We could go on forever replying to each others points and I dont have the time or inclination to keep going over it. I have my opinion and you yours so we'll leave it at that.

    One last thing....Smithwicks is an acquired taste but once you start on it there's no going back!

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  • Aidan
    Closed Account

  • Aidan
    replied
    the point has been reached where opinions are just being restated over and over. I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

    Almost ...

    The place would have been unsustainable and the British would have soon tired of paying for it, the only reason they have done since is out a sense of protection for the unionists

    That wouldn't have been any different if the enclave was half the size, in fact, if the bill had been less, they might have been even more willing to pay for it. There would not have been a pressing economic need for the Unionists to join with the south ...

    the troubles has rendered their economy useless

    I had to go to Dublin to get a job too, doesn't mean Cork was on its knees. The economy in the North is getting better, I was told yesterday that the best place to invest in property in Ireland is Derry, because of the low prices and the rate of appreciation.

    What was carried out under British law and what was legal under democracy are 2 different things.

    Naive much? The term 'legal under democracy' carries no legal weight. you might well choose to accept the results of the 1918 election rather than the Govt. of Ireland act , but by the same token, how far do you think I'd get if I 'chose' to accept (say) the 2001 television licence regulation as opposed to the 2002? The statelet existed, under UK law, in the terms of the treaty (implicitly at least) and in reality. You can also chose to believe that the world is flat, but it does not affect reality.

    There were always 2 strains in Irish agitation against Britain

    There were always a lot more then that; you're making some very good points but you're not quite getting at what I'm saying. By 1922, the militant strain of Irish nationalism was by far in the ascendent, yes, but do you really think all those people who voted for the IPP for years just went away? Or changed their allegiances overnight?

    If you want some evidence for this, look at the makeup of the first government of the free state. Where were the militant republicans then? And if they had the overwhelming support of the people, why didn't they win the civil war or bring down the Dail after 1922? There was still sizeable support for constituitional nationalism in Ireland, it never went away, it was just overshadowed by a minority who were willing to use violence.

    Why did 100’s of RIC men leave the force? Why did communities universally ostracise members of the RIC?

    Because they were terrorised into doing so, both the police and the people. It categorically does not mean that there was overwhelming democratic support for the IRA. From anecdotal evidence from where I'm from (and this is from research I did myself for academic reasons), there was an element of the population which supported Sinn Fein, but it was by far in the minority. Most people supported the idea of independence, but not by the means that the IRA were using. But it didn't matter, who was going to challenge the IRA? They had guns after all, all everyone else had was a vote. And surprise, surprise, one of the main determinants of political allegience was land ...

    The IRA had the support of the people, the people celebrated their victory, the state awarded them medals and state funerals, the people sheltered and supported them as they fought the guerrilla campaign and they voted for the political wing of their movement in the election. The end result proves their legitimacy, otherwise they could not have succeeded. How much more legitimate do you want?

    The 'people' did precious little celebrating. The 'state' that awarded them medals was created by the IRA, and people only sheltered and supported them in some parts of the country (because they only operated in some parts of the country).

    The most important issue here however is the 1918 election. While I'm at a disadvantage here cos I've no access to reading materials, I'll make the following points. Sinn Fein fought the 1918 election on the basis of their opposition to the introduction of conscription (while the IPP supported the war, and some even fought in it), on the basis that they'd secede from Parliament and on the basis that they were the spirit bearers for the 1916 rising. They did not fight the 1918 election on the basis that they would launch a Guerilla campaign against the British if they won. Their democratic mandate extended quite far, but not as far as they took it. Hence the lack of legitimacy.

    A ‘war’ isn’t limited to big battles with masses of soldiers, a smaller guerrilla force against a larger more advanced enemy is still a war.

    In a 'war' there are certain rules. Leaving the legitimacy argument aside for a minute, if it were are a war, there are several instances (on both sides) where recourse to war crimes prosecutions would have been justified. This was a military conflict which was very unusual, it was fought and won as much on the pages of British newspapers as it was in the fields of West Cork or Tipp (or the streets of Dublin). It functioned by the goading of the British forces into conducting atrocity after atrocity (by burning houses, shooting RIC, and conducting 'military style' attacks), and then when the British responded, splattering the details across the pages of a newspaper. If it was a war, for example, do you think, given the new evidence on Kilmichael, for example, that Barry should have faced charges?

    Or even more pertinent. Terence McSwiney was shot, in cold blood, on his doorstep by (it turns out) a police man. If this was a war, and given that McSwiney was openly a republican, then it would have been perfectly acceptable to shoot him, right? Cos he was 'on the other side'? Of course it wasn't, he was a civilian, shot in cold blood (what happened to his killer was impressive though). Its a debatable point, but I prefer 'revolution'', its less messy.

    No….I didn’t expect him to produce a united Ireland out of thin air. I have detailed throughout the thread what I think he would have done [...] , I expect he would have achieved something.

    And I'm saying that after the treaty was signed, there was precious little he could have done. I'm sure he would have tried, but, as I've explained throughout the thread, his options would have severely limited and, despite his many qualities, he was not a miracle worker.

    The fact that many of us can serve in a uniform with a tricolour on the uniform in an independent Ireland is his greatest achievement.

    Like I said, it was very clear there was going to be some form of independent Ireland anyway, the argument within Ireland was over the circumstances in which it would come about. Heres one for you. I'd argue that even if Collins was never born, there would still be an independent Ireland today. It may not have happened in 1922, but it would still have happened. Collins greatest achievement was in hastening the demise in British rule in Ireland once a violent path had been embarked upon. You're falling victim to the 'one great man' argument in history, and conflating his career with events. Yes he was the vital cog in the machine that ground victory out in 1922, but there was a much larger machine that would have had victory sooner or later anyhow. The tragedy is that the manner in which 'victory' came in 1922 determined the fate of the North.

    Anyway…..it’s Friday….5:30…..and there’s a pint of smithwicks with my name on it!

    Smithwicks! Final proof that northerners are uncivilised!
    Aidan
    Closed Account
    Last edited by Aidan; 11 October 2003, 14:21.

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  • Goldie fish
    Tim Horgan

  • Goldie fish
    replied
    But Tom Barry was there.....

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  • yellowjacket
    Potential Liability

  • yellowjacket
    replied
    Originally posted by Goldie fish
    I dont know, as a Moderator if I like the idea of revisionism. It goes against the unwritten rule "you cannot change history".

    And dont challenge me....many have in the past and paid the price. Where are your books? I'll go over and burn them..isnt that what revisionism is all about?
    Next thing you'll say that Collins was a dub...
    The whole point of this section is to allow for debate on relevant areas of irish military and political history.

    You cannont change what happened historically, but our our understanding of theses events, and knowledge of these facts is bound to develop over time.

    This thread has been an excellent example of how to conduct a debate without any need to resort to personal insults, however, the point has been reached where opinions are just being restated over and over. I think we'll have to agree to disagree.

    As for Tom Barry's account, Leam Deasy's contemporary "Towards Ireland Free" points to difference in how the famous Kilmichael ambush is remembered.

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  • ICUN
    We got VC on the wire

  • ICUN
    replied
    I agree with you, I don't think he would have let it lie, but I'm not certain that anything could have been done about it.
    Well, he would have done more than WT Cosgrave anyway, that’s for sure.

    Nope, not at all. The most that you could hope for in a revised Boundary Commission would be that the North be reduced by 2 and possibly three counties. That still leaves a substantial rump, and one with most of the industrial capacity in the entire country at that time.
    Derry had a substantial industry in the early 20th century as well and Derry would have gone to the free state. The place would have been unsustainable and the British would have soon tired of paying for it, the only reason they have done since is out a sense of protection for the unionists who they see as having been the target of the IRA troubles campaign and the earlier campaigns. In a 3 county "northern Ireland" what incentive would the British have for sustaining it?, Especially when they saw how integrated southern unionists became with their 'new' country (just look at Donegal, Monaghan etc.)? I think, and I am not alone here, that a fully implemented boundary commission would have made the 6 county state a short lived blip in Irelands history and it would eventually have been integrated into its rightful place for economic reasons. This would probably have been under a federal agreement, a devolved govt. or 32 county republic...who knows, but "northern Ireland" wouldn't have survived anyway.

    Secondly, NI was never a profitable or self-sustaining state anyway
    and it never will be as long as "northern Ireland" exists. Security is the biggest cost there now and the troubles has rendered their economy useless (for example, I had to come to Dublin to get a job when in the nearest big city from home you couldn’t even get a job stacking shelves)

    There is a scenario under which they could be 'encouraged' in, but under the treaty it’s a non starter.
    The treaty was going to be a 'stepping stone' and we all see how much of the treaty's terms still effect us today. it was pretty much gone by 1937.

    What I can or can't do is irrelevant; by 1922 the North was legally established as a separate entity, Stormont was up and running.
    What was carried out under British law and what was legal under democracy are 2 different things. I would choose to accept the results of the 1918 election rather than the Govt. of Ireland act.

    The British political establishment were convinced they had found the solution to the 'northern problem'
    Well, we can all see how stupid and misguided they were.

    You may not agree with its establishment in the first place, but at that stage, it was a done deal. The point stands.
    It was a done deal for the British, not for anyone else. In 1922 the Boundary commission appeased a lot of the people worrying about the north. Thats akey reason why it was accepted as a "done deal". Going back to my point, if Collins survived the boundary commission would not have been let disappear like it was.

    Only just, is the simple answer. First of all, there were still some exports. Secondly, by comparison with 22-23, the situation was much more settled, and the economy as a whole didn't have to deal with the consequences of a war as well as the trade disruption.
    I didn’t say that military action (the last resort) would have happened in 1922-23. What I said was that if Collins survived then a war would have been the last resort and it would have happened if all peaceful methods were exhausted.

    What happened to the long history of rebellion in Ireland that you were talking about a few posts ago?
    Nothing happened to it. It was a source of inspiration to the leaders of the movement and I was saying that as opposed to their main motivation being European ideas.

    Nope. Some political parties might like you to believe that, but it certainly was not the case. It certainly took center stage, but it was still merely one facet of a much larger thing.
    I don’t know any political parties talking about it. It’s a fact anyway, it’s there in black and white so you are wrong. There were 2 choices at the time for Irish nationalists - the Home Rule path as advocated by the IPP or total separation from Britain for the entire country as advocated by SF. The results of the 1918 election gave SF 73 of the seats while the IPP got 6 seats (going into the election they had 69) So, 73 for SF and 6 for IPP……yet you reckon that the Independence movement (and when I talk about the ind. Movement I mean a Republic totally free from Britain) was one facet of a larger thing? There were always 2 strains in Irish agitation against Britain, I am not disputing that. These were constitutional, mild nationalism such as that shown by the IPP and home rule (always the majority until 1916) and a violent, radical total independence movement (United Irishmen, Emmet, Fenians, Volunteers, IRB and finally old IRA), the majority (and practically only) movement after 1916. The latter was not a facet of a larger thing - it was Irelands Independence movement and the only one to produce a self-governing independent country. It’s not an “if it was implemented” victory like the Home Rule act, it was real independence and is a reality.

    That’s my point precisely. They were only 'the enemy' to a very small part of the population.
    Why then did the IRA have the massive support of the people if only a very small proportion of the people supported them? Why did 100’s of RIC men leave the force? Why did communities universally ostracise members of the RIC? Because they supported the IRA. A guerrilla army can’t operate and succeed without the people to sustain it and the fact that the IRA won any sort of victory at all is because the people supported them

    Ok, yet you expect him to pull a United Ireland out of thin air? Sounds curiously like worship to me (and I'm being polite, the only alternative suggestion I have might cause offence ...)
    No….I didn’t expect him to produce a united Ireland out of thin air. I have detailed throughout the thread what I think he would have done. First, peaceful constitutional means (boundary commission), when these were exhausted and as a last resort, probably military intervention. The man was killed in 1922, I can’t guess what solutions he would have come up with (or I would be the next Michael Collins! ) but given his character, his past record and what he was doing when killed, I expect he would have achieved something. Whether this be a federal agreement, a devolved parliament within Ireland or a full republic I don’t know. This isn’t based on worship but on the actions, history, achievements and words of the man himself. I don’t know what other suggestion you have and I am not too bothered.

    And yes, in my experience, the public view of the WoI is extremely skewed
    Yes, but your experience isn’t definitive for the entire country. People these days aren’t overly aware of the full details to a large extent (whether that be a romantic vision or the actual facts) They just respect that these men fought and died for the country we have now, which, imperfect at it is, has made amazing achievements given its oppressed past. The respect comes from what they achieved, not some blind romantic vision.

    And I'd have some difficulty describing it as a 'war'. I think 'military campaign' or 'revolution' avoids nasty questions about war crimes, international law and the dubious legitimacy of the whole thing.
    I wouldn’t. A ‘war’ isn’t limited to big battles with masses of soldiers, a smaller guerrilla force against a larger more advanced enemy is still a war. I don’t know what ‘dubious legitimacy’ you are on about. The IRA had the support of the people, the people celebrated their victory, the state awarded them medals and state funerals, the people sheltered and supported them as they fought the guerrilla campaign and they voted for the political wing of their movement in the election. The end result proves their legitimacy, otherwise they could not have succeeded. How much more legitimate do you want?

    Ahem. Once more. Home. Rule. Act. 1914.
    Ahem. Once more. After 1916 Home Rule was never going to be implemented. It never became a reality. I said “He managed to get 26 county independence against seemingly impossible odds” after 1916 & 1918 the chances of taking the British on in a fight and winning were slim. Militarily taking on the British Army with a volunteer relatively poorly equipped army looked like fairly impossible odds.

    Collins greatest achievement was defeating the British Intelligence services in Ireland.
    That is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard said about Collins. The fact that many of us can serve in a uniform with a tricolour on the uniform in an independent Ireland is his greatest achievement.

    And I'm saying, like the practical man that he was, he did. He might not have liked doing it, but he understood that he had to.
    to summarise one of his famous quotes, the treaty was a stepping-stone. If he abandoned them ‘like the practical man he was’ why was he financing the IRA in the north? He didn’t abandon them, he was killed before he could do anything about it.

    Anyway…..it’s Friday….5:30…..and there’s a pint of smithwicks with my name on it!

    note: I missed the other posts above while writing this

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  • Goldie fish
    Tim Horgan

  • Goldie fish
    replied
    Originally posted by Aidan


    Next thing you'll say that Collins was a dub...

    Don't be silly, if he was a Dub, he'd still be sitting on a bar stool complaining about the Brits running the place.

    On that we will agree:D

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  • Aidan
    Closed Account

  • Aidan
    replied
    you cannot change history

    History is fluid, people just keep finding new evidence. To say that history cannot be changed is to rule out the possibility of there being an alternate to a perceived wisdom. There was this thing a couple of hundred years ago, people called it the Enlightenment ...

    I'll go over and burn them..isnt that what revisionism is all about?

    No, its about rational evaluation. No reason to say that the conclusions arrived at will be any different to the conventional wisdom, but at least someone will have been thorough. Sometimes, just sometimes, the Emporer is bollock naked.

    Next thing you'll say that Collins was a dub...

    Don't be silly, if he was a Dub, he'd still be sitting on a bar stool complaining about the Brits running the place.

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  • Goldie fish
    Tim Horgan

  • Goldie fish
    replied
    I dont know, as a Moderator if I like the idea of revisionism. It goes against the unwritten rule "you cannot change history".

    And dont challenge me....many have in the past and paid the price. Where are your books? I'll go over and burn them..isnt that what revisionism is all about?
    Next thing you'll say that Collins was a dub...

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  • Aidan
    Closed Account

  • Aidan
    replied
    TRY to keep your replies concise

    That is concise. I'm writing these in a hurry!

    However your opinions so far have reminded me of revisionism.

    Thats probably becasue they are. And as you may have read recently, John A Murphy is of the opinion that it is the duty of all historians to be revisionist, I like his thinking.

    Apparently you have not read "Guerilla days in Ireland" by Tom Barry,

    No, I've had a copy for about 15 years. And I've even read it a few times.

    which has been accepted as a fair and unbiased telling of the actions of the Flying Columns in west cork during the Anglo Irish war.

    Its been accepted as a good first hand account, 'unbiased' is another matter entirely. See Harts book (as I've already mentioned it) on Cork for a disection of Barrys account of Kilmichael.

    On the broader conduct of the WoI;

    The war of independance consisted of more than just the shootings of a few RIC men and the Burnings of a few houses.

    Never said it didn't, I just chose not to discuss the other elements of it because it didn't suit my argument. But while we're on the subject, in most parts of the country, your statement above is a very good description of precisely how the WoI was conducted. Only in a very few areas were there even remotely intense 'military' operations conducted, Cork was the exception rather than the rule, as Barry himself was quite willing to admit. In much of the rest of the country, burning big houses was about as 'military as it got. Bence-Jones book on the decline of the Ascendency is a good start on the overall numbers.

    There are many faults in your obviously researched(though not well researched) writings.

    All of this debate has been conducted without reference to reading, simply because all of my books are at home in Cork, and I'm in another country. And thanks for the analysis of the depth of my research, if you want to compare academic records, bring it on

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  • Goldie fish
    Tim Horgan

  • Goldie fish
    replied
    Aidan..TRY to keep your replies concise.

    However your opinions so far have reminded me of revisionism. The war of independance consisted of more than just the shootings of a few RIC men and the Burnings of a few houses.
    Apparently you have not read "Guerilla days in Ireland" by Tom Barry,which has been accepted as a fair and unbiased telling of the actions of the Flying Columns in west cork during the Anglo Irish war.
    He does not deny that RIC men were shot and Big houses were burnt but this was a tactic in the greater picture during the early stages.
    The RIC men shot were for the most part those who had hindered the IRA(Old) through either acting against their suppporters or mistreating prisoners. For the most part the RIC either remained in Barracks in the later stages or abandoned their duties. The confusion could be caused by the arrival of the Auxiliaries,former British servicemen,who had been demobbed after "the Great War" but still hankered for a fight. They took over the role and duties of the RIC and held the rank of Constable. Their mistreatment of the local population,as well as captured volunteers is well documented.
    The Burning of Big houses was a tactic used by the Flying Columns in response to the Burnings carried out by British forces,and it was a tactic that had certain success.
    The Crown Forces would for whatever reason burn down the house of those assisting the IRA. In rural ireland at the time many of these properties would have been worth less than £500. In reprisal the flying columns set fire to 2 properties of those seen as being Loyal to the Crown. As the majority of Landed gentry at the time would have been so loyal,it was inevitable that such properties would have been worth far more,most in the region of £5000. So in time the Crown decided it was not worth the loss of 2 large and scarce safe houses for the burning of one small homestead.
    The military actions in the Cork area were just that. Kilmichael and Crossbarry are notable as occasions when the Flying columns defeated the better trained(apparently) and numerically superior British forces using conventional tactics. These actions are too vast and important in irish history for me to detail here,but many would consider that Militarily they done more to remove the British Forces from the 26 counties than the GPO in 1916 did.
    Mr Barry does however state in his book that many areas in the country had largely inactive IRA units,and he is critical of Collins and HQ for not doing something about this. Indeed of Skibbereen he stated that should Licifer himself walk down the main street he would have been elected on the local council with a flick of his tail,such was the lack of backbone in the town.

    There are many faults in your obviously researched(though not well researched) writings. Perhaps you should Read Tom Barrys book also,if only for objectiveness?

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