Saturday, 14 January 2012

Seamus Mallon on the Ulster-Scots

The current debate about Scotland and independence is providing some interesting references to the connections between Ulster and Scotland.  However Seam Mallon's intervention was notable for being particularly ill-tempered and ill-informed.

Salmond told the Morning Show on RTE: 'I am sure, as many people in Ireland will remember, that sometimes people in leadership positions in big countries find it very difficult not to bully small countries.  Of course, what we have seen - as everybody knows - over the last week is the most extraordinary attempt to intimidate Scotland by Westminster politicians.'

Later in the interview he said, 'As again the people of Ireland will know, bullying and hectoring the Scottish people from London ain't going to work.'

However Seamus Mallon, a former leader of the SDLP, was not impressed by Salmond's attempt to draw parallels between Scottish nationalism and Irish nationalism:  'Scotland was part of the bullying that took place in Ireland.  People from Scotland were the corner of the plantation of Ulster.  I think alex is a very able performer, but his knowledge of history is a little weak.  As recently as 15 years ago, you had Scottish regiments here, enforcing the writ of Britain so, I think I could recommend a good history of Ireland for him.'

Seamus Mallon was aware that in the 17th century the majority of the settlers in Ulster were Scottish but in other ways his knowledge of that period of Ulster history is serious deficient.  He is certainly in no position to lecture Salmond.  Mallon is still wedded to an outdated and ill-informed view of the 17th century and would benefit from reading some of the insights of the late Professor A T Q Stewart.

Mallon has been described as a moderate nationalist but he was always a cultural bigot.

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