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Human Rights in the Republic of Ireland

  • L. J. Macfarlane

Abstract

The 1984 New Ireland Forum Report, drawn up by the three main nationalist parties in the Republic of Ireland plus the leading nationalist party in the North, lays responsibility for the discrimination, repression and violence suffered by successive generations in Northern Ireland on the arbitrary division of Ireland by the British parliament in 1920.2 While this assessment is in a narrow sense historically valid, it fails to face up to the nature of the problems which the Sinn Fein government in Dublin would have encountered if its fervently desired outcome of a British handover of the whole of Ireland had been acceded to. Politically, of course, no such outcome was possible given Conservative Party domination of government and parliament in Britain, and their identification with the Protestant majority in the North. Irish politicians may reasonably choose to present an analysis of the current problem of Ireland derived from a nationalist conception of what the British government ought to have done in 1920 which ignores the realities of British party politics at that time; but they are required by that presentation to come to grips with the to-be-expected dread consequences of any British government attempt to put nearly a million Protestant Ulsterman under a Catholic Sinn Fein government in Dublin.

Keywords

European Convention British Government Irish Government Catholic Church Mixed Marriage 
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Notes

  1. 3.
    See F. S. L. Lyons, Ireland Since the Famine (London: Weidenfeld & Nicolson, 1971) pp. 460–2.Google Scholar
  2. 4.
    See Tim Pat Coogan, The IRA (London: Fontana, 1984) pp. 72–104.Google Scholar
  3. 5.
    See Senator Mary Robinson, ‘The Protection of Human Rights in the Republic of Ireland’ in Colin Campbell (ed.), Do We Need a Bill of Rights? (London: Maurice Temple Smith, 1980) pp. 55–6.Google Scholar
  4. 7.
    Quoted in J. M. Kelly, The Irish Constitution, 2nd edn (Dublin: Jurist, 1984) p. 475.Google Scholar
  5. 12.
    Desmond M. Clark, ‘Emergency Legislation, Fundamental Rights and Article 28.3.3 of the Irish Constitution’, The Irish Jurist, vol. XII, pt 2 (Winter 1977) p. 217.Google Scholar
  6. 28.
    Kevin Boyle, Tom Hadden and Paddy Hillyard, Ten Years on in Northern Ireland: The Legal Control of Political Violence (London: Cobden Trust, 1980) p. 64Google Scholar
  7. Dermot P. Walsh, The Use and Abuse of Emergency Legislation in Northern Ireland (London: Cobden Trust, 1983) p. 81.Google Scholar
  8. 30.
    S. C. Greer and A. White, Abolishing the Diplock Courts (London: Cobden Trust, 1986) p. 56.Google Scholar
  9. 31.
    Amnesty International, Report of a Mission to the Republic of Ireland in June 1977, issued on 19 December 1977, London, pp. 7–9.Google Scholar
  10. 36.
    See Joe Joyce and Peter Murtagh, Blind Justice (Dublin: Poolbeg Press, 1984) pp. 123–4.Google Scholar
  11. 42.
    Kadar Asmal, ‘The Emergency and the Constitution’, Rights, vol. 5, no. 2 (November–December 1980).Google Scholar
  12. 47.
    This view is disputed by Bob Rowthorn and Naomi Wayne, Northern Ireland: The Political Economy of Conflict (Oxford: Polity Press, 1988), who draw attention to the impact of the combination of a low birth rate and emigration on Protestant numbers.Google Scholar
  13. 48.
    Quoted by Harold Jackson and Anne McHardy, The Two Irelands — The Problem of the Double Minority (London: Minority Rights Group, 1984) p. 12.Google Scholar
  14. 49.
    See Sydney D. Bailey (ed.), Human Rights and Responsibilities in Britain and Ireland: A Christian Perspective (London: Macmillan, 1988) pp. 124–6Google Scholar
  15. 50.
    See H. J. Whyte, Church and State in Modern Ireland, 1923–1970 (Gill & Macmillan, 1971) chs VII and VIII.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© L. J. Macfarlane 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. J. Macfarlane
    • 1
  1. 1.St John’s CollegeOxfordUK

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