Sir Winston Churchill on Ireland

‘Then came the Great War ... Every institution, almost, in the world was strained. Great empires have been overturned. The whole map of Europe has been changed ...; The mode of thought of men, the whole outlook on affairs, the grouping of parties, all have encountered violent and tremendous changes in the deluge of the world, bas as the deluge subsides and waters fall, we see the dreary steeple of Fermanagh and Tyrone emerging once again. The integrity of their quarrel is one of the few instituions that have been unaltered in the cataclysm which has swept the world.’ (The World Crisis: The Aftermath, 1939; quoted by John Hume in his New Ireland Forum address, 1980. [FDA3]

Note that J. J. Lee disputes the ‘sonorous cadences’ of Churchill’s famous ‘dreary steeples’ remarks on the ‘integrity of their quarrel’ which survives the cataclysm of war. [Joseph Lee, Ireland 1913-1985, 1989, p.46]

Churchill: ‘the Irish have a genius for conspiracy rather than government’ (quoted in Towey, ‘Collins-de Valera Pact’, in Irish Historical Society, 1980, p.66; Lee, op. cit., 91.)

‘How is it that she [Ireland] has forced generation after generation to stop the whole traffic of the British Empire to debate her domestic affairs?’ (Quoted in Francis Costello, The Irish Revolution and Its Aftermath, 1916-1923 - Years of Revolt, IAP 2002; quoted in Books Ireland, Dec. 2002, p.329, review.)

 

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