by the author: Dr Pat Walsh
Friday 11 November 2016
The Pearse Centre, 27 Pearse Street, Dublin 2
“The Catholic Predicament in ‘Northern Ireland”
Chair: Mark Langhammer
Belfast Historical & Educational Society
In August 1969 came a pivotal event in the collective experience of the Catholics of the North after the Unionist Pogrom of that month set off a defensive Insurrection. Things could never be the same again. And they weren’t.
The Catholic community, let down in its hour of need by both the British Labour Government of the State and Jack Lynch’s Government in Dublin, for the first time fell back on its own resources. In the vital hour it produced something from itself that transformed its situation, turning its position from one of subordination to that of equality.
The Insurrection turned into a 28 Year War that set out to solve, once and for all, the political predicament that the Catholic community of the North had been sealed into back in 1920-1 by Westminster. That was when Britain set up the perverse political construct known as ‘Northern Ireland’ that generated an eternal conflict between its two communities, in which ’the minority’ always came off worst.
Volume One in this series, aptly titled Catastrophe, gives an account of what happened between 1914 and 1968. The present volume tells the rest of the story, putting military and political developments in context.
Resurgence explains why the primary responsibility for that conflict lies with the architects and operators of the system that gave the minority community a stark choice only between permanent second-class status or war. And it describes how that War was ended to the advantage of the community, though short of its final objective, in such an effective way that momentum was carried from war to politics.
It is the story of how the Catastrophe of 1920-5 was transformed by the Resurgence of August 1969 so that the map of Ireland can be unfolded again.