Letter to the Irish Independent, published Wed 19th April 2006:
Unionists and Home Rule
I am heartily fed up with the anti-Irish rantings of Ruth Dudley Edwards, the most recent of which was her contribution to the Irish Independent Review on Saturday last.
We are all aware of Ms Dudley Edwards' Unionist feelings but a person of her education should at least make sure to get her facts right before she attempts to lecture the nation.
She stated in her article that the Home Rule Bill was already on the statute books. That is absolutely wrong. The third Home Rule Bill was just that, a Bill introduced by the Liberal Government in 1912 and was already in deep trouble when it was shelved at the outbreak of World War 1.
The Unionists in Northern Ireland had made it clear that they would oppose the introduction of Home Rule into Ireland, by force of arms if necessary. They established an Ulster Volunteer Army to resist the democratic decision of the Westminister Parliament, if that Parliament passed Home Rule into law. And then Ms Dudley Edwards, criticises the 1916 leaders for ignoring the democratic process.
The true feelings of the vast majority of the Irish people ( Bruce Arnold please note ) were amply demonstrated by the results of the general election in 1918. There was little doubt among the Irish people at that time, that the IRA was the armed wing of the Sinn Fein movement. The War of Independence only began in earnest after that election when Sinn Fein and the IRA knew they had the full backing of the majority of the Irish people.
The suggestion that the Irish Republican Movement targeted the Protestant population in southern Ireland cannot be left unchallenged. There were isolated acts of shameful sectarianism but to say that 50,000 Protestants were forced to leave this part of Ireland is a gross distortion.
I am proud of our President Mary McAleese and our Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern and I am also very proud of all those who gave their lives in Easter Week 1916 and in the cause of Irish freedom.
DERMOT J. MCNULTY,
WILLOW PARK AVENUE,
GLASNEVIN, D 11