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Letter sent to the Irish News in response to an article on the soon to be released census figures

John McAnulty

14th December 2002

In his Irish News column of 12th of December. Jude Collins, after one and a half columns of tortuous calculation designed to prove that Catholics were outbreeding Protestants and that therefore a united Ireland was simply a matter of time, remarked that his line of reasoning might appear sectarian while it was, in fact, simply realistic.

The opposite is the case. The line of reasoning that Jude Collins advances is a classic example of the shameless sectarianism of the new nationalism/republicanism of our time – a sectarianism that is only matched by its total lack of realism.

If Protestant support for unionism and loyalism is taken as given – as simply realism – then all that means is that nationalism no longer seeks a democratic solution to the Irish question.  The democratic union of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter is to be replaced by Catholic rule and Protestants are simply to take their turn as an oppressed minority within a Catholic nation.

Political allegiance is not determined by the accident of religion.  If this is not the case in relation to Protestants then it is even less so in relation to Catholics.  Jude Collins ignores the sizable number of northern Catholics who would support the continuation of partition.  He shows an even greater blindness when it comes to the South.  Almost every statement from the Dublin government and establishment parties indicates support for unionism and a steely determination that the Good Friday agreement, rather than acting as some sort of stepping stone, will be the end of the story.

Perhaps Jude’s greatest flight of fancy is when he suggests that the end of partition will follow a Catholic majority because the Good Friday agreement says so.  The Good Friday agreement says a lot of things – all of which have tended to fade into vapour as we approach them.  The reality is that under the GFA we will have a united Ireland if Britain agrees – which is where we were before the start of the troubles.

I am a socialist with a long history of supporting democratic demands by republicans and nationalists.  I hope Jude Collins and his supporters will forgive me if I continue unrealistically to believe that the working class in Ireland can be won to democracy and socialism no matter what religion they were born into.



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