Happy Saint Patrick’s Day to all, especially to those good people in the northeastern part of the island of Ireland who are holding the place together in the aftermath of the killing of two British soldiers March 7 and the execution of a policeman two days later. Two IRA spin-off groups took responsibility for those bloody deeds.
Saint Patrick would undoubtedly shower his blessings on leaders on both sides of the political aisle. They have gotten word out to their respective “hard men” that restraint is the order of the day. Sectarian retaliatory revenge strikes would destroy the goodwill and political/economic progress born of the “Good Friday” agreement in `98. That pact effectively put an end to “The Troubles,” the non-stop cycle of violence and mayhem between Catholics and Protestants that led to the deaths of more than 3,500 people.
A special blessing goes to former IRA Commander Martin McGuinness, who is now the No. 2 minister in Northern Ireland’s government. He spoke volumes when he said the murder of the soldiers by the “Real IRA” was the work of “traitors to the island of Ireland.” Wow!
Those are powerful words to any Irishman. This blogger was told by both grandfather and father that the last thing one wants to be called is traitor. That made a lasting impression since Grandpa John fled Ireland just one step ahead of the “Black and Tans,” the British-organized group of goons who spread terror in Ireland during its fight for freedom and in the ensuing civil war.
In McGuinness’ mind, a traitor is one who works against the cause of a united Ireland. He stands as living proof that civic progress in the north of Ireland is achieved through political work, not by the barrel of the gun. A breakout of “Troubles 2” means a return to British troops battling nationalists on the streets of Northern Ireland. That violence would put the goal of a united Ireland far beyond the grasp of anyone living today.
McGuinness, Northern Ireland’s First Minister Patrick Robinson and Ireland’s Prime Minister Brian Cowen visit with President Obama today. Saint Patrick would make an honorary Irishman of O’Bama for his decision to dye the waters in the White House foundations green for the first time. That’s what they do in Chicago every year.
Slainte to decades of green water in the White House foundations on every Saint Patrick’s Day, and on the day the six northern counties of the Irish island rejoin the 26 of the south to make Ireland whole again.