Thursday, October 26, 2006

The Elizabethan and Cromwellian wars laid waste the Irish land and its people, and resulted in massive land confiscations , amounting to some 11 million acres out of the islands total of 20 million acres .
The population was halved between 1845 and the turn of the century , decimated by Great Hungers and related disease, and enforced emigration . More than 5 million people fled the country : 4,750,000 to America , 370,000 to Australia and 70,000 to Canada . The record of the British in Ireland was known to those who followed in Cromwells footsteps :
British General 'Sir' Hubert Gough said in 1921 - " Law and order (in Ireland) have given place to a bloody and brutal anarchy in which the armed agents of the Crown violate every law in aimless and vindictive and insolent savagery . England has departed further from her own standards and further from the standards even of any nation in the world , not excepting the Turk and Zulu , than has ever been known in history before . "

Democratic decisions by the Irish people were made in every general election from the introduction of the secret ballot in 1872 : in each election from then until 1918 , the wish of the Irish people to govern themselves was expressed through the ballot box .

In 11 general elections in succession through almost half a century , Irish voters used the ballot to show their will - 60 per cent of those elected by the county and borough constituencies in Ireland in 1874 were 'Home Rulers' and , as more people qualified to vote , this demand grew accordingly : over 80 per cent of Irish representatives from 1885 onwards were elected to win self-government for the country. Britain failed to accept the ballot results and , in 1920 , when Britain partitioned the country , they again ignored the votes of the people whom they insisted in keeping under the Union Jack. Constituencies which in every election for years had voted for Irish self-government were kept within the Unionist 'state' , established at that time .
No 'treaty' , 'deal' or so-called 'Agreement' which fails to include a date for British military and political withdrawal will be accepted by Irish Republicans , regardless of whether said 'deal' is signed in London , Scotland or elsewhere , and regardless of who signs that 'deal' . And that position remains solid .