By John Myers
One Hundredth Anniversary
of the violently forced creation of the Six County Statelet known as Northern Ireland (1921-2021) has been “celebrated” by small groups of Unionist teenage gangs throwing rocks and petrol bombs in April. The seams of the artificially created Northern Ireland statelet are threadbare and fraying on its 100th birthday.
Several factors have converged to confront the Unionist Community’s perceived birthright of entitlement and privilege: 1) Historic divisions between the Nationalist and Unionist communities. 2) Brexit. 3) Boris’ “Betrayal”. 4) Highest poverty rates in the E.U. 5) Northern Ireland Protocol. 6) failure to fully implement the Good Friday Accord.
Sentiments in the Six Counties have been aggravated in recent years after a majority of Northern Ireland voted against Brexit, and yet London Tories dragged the six counties out of the European Union earlier this year after an almost 50-year marriage. While promises were made to the Unionist Community that Brexit would have no impact upon the Union, the reality is that the Northern Ireland Protocol created a custom’s border down the Irish Sea between the Island of Ireland and the Island of Great Britain (England, Scotland & Wales).
Two choices existed: An unnatural, hard border on the Island of Ireland, OR a natural sea border between the two islands. Under pressure from the E.U. leadership and a clear statement from U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi that there would be no new US/UK Free Trade Agreement if the GFA was impacted by a hard, land border on the Island of Ireland, no solutions have bene agreed upon.
Desperate for a Free Trade Agreement with the U.S., UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson was left with only one choice, that of the Irish Sea Border. The Unionist Community views this as “Boris’ Betrayal” and are expressing their frustration in the streets. Graffiti of “No Irish Sea Border” are spray painted throughout Orange neighborhoods.
President Biden, commenting on the situation in Belfast said: “We are concerned by the violence in Northern Ireland, and we join the British, Irish, and Northern Irish leaders in their calls for calm. We remain steadfast supporters of a secure and prosperous Northern Ireland in which all communities have a voice and enjoy the gains of the hard-won peace.”
This 100th anniversary has seen some of the worst sectarian violence since the adoption of the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in 1998; time will tell whether this is a one-off hooliganism or does it portend for a long hot summer in the North of Ireland.
This summer of 2021 marks the first open race for the Mayor of the City of Cleveland in twenty years (2002 Jane Campbell election). In the likely crowded race, several claim Irish ancestry. We know well that Council President Kevin Kelley has a strong Irish Heritage and has used his leadership post to facilitate City support of the annual St. Patrick’s Day Parade.
And every Cleveland Irish man and woman is fully aware of former Mayor and Congressman Dennis John Patrick Kucinich’s pride in his Irish ancestry. But did you know that Councilman Basheer Jones’ Grandfather was a McClain from Ireland as well? Perhaps more will be joining the race. ‘Tis shaping up to be a true Donnybrook.
Sen. Sherrod Brown supports U.S. Senate Resolution 117
A bipartisan resolution has been introduced in the U.S. Senate by Republican Susan Collins of Maine and Democrat Bob Menendez of New Jersey supporting “full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement,” including “action to resolve the injustices of past violence.” The Resolution aims to support and protect the peace achieved under the GFA, especially during these challenging times. This resolution has been joined by over a dozen other senators, including Ohio’s Sen. Sherrod Brown.
Ohio’s junior senator, Rob Portman, has been requested to join the resolution, with no commitment as of the time of this publication. Please contact Sen. Brown’s office to thank him for his support for the Irish Peace Process, and please call Sen. Portman’s office to stand with Peace in the North of Ireland and urge his joining of Senate Resolution 117.