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National Review claims Blair forcing out Unionists

February 16, 2011

By Staff Reporter

By Ray O’Hanlon

Northern Ireland Unionists are being delivered into the hands of the Republic of Ireland much the same way that the Czechs were delivered to Hitler, according to a report in National Review magazine.

The story, in the Nov. 20 issue of conservative U.S. magazine, is primarily an attack on British Prime Minister Tony Blair’s devolution policies. It also blames the IRA alone for the more than 3,000 lives lost in the Troubles of the last three decades.

The report, penned by National Review’s senior editor, David Pryce-Jones, additionally decries the participation of Sinn Féin in the present governmental structure in the North and excoriates Blair for his part in what it describes as "this shameful appeasement."

In the story — headlined "Will There Always Be an England?" — the report compares Blair at one point to Oliver Cromwell.

And it critically focuses on Blair’s management of devolution in Scotland and Wales, homes in both cases to the UK’s "Celtic minorities."

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But it reserves particular spleen for Blair’s handling of the situation in Northern Ireland and takes a particularly strong swipe at the Republic of Ireland or, as the report calls it, "the Republic of Eire."

"In Ulster," the report states, "the Protestant majority used to discriminate against the Catholic minority in such basic matters as employment and the allocation of public housing. It was criminal not to correct these injustices through the democratic procedures that were in place.

"In the Seventies, the IRA, a nationalist and terrorist group, began a murderous campaign to unite Ulster with the Republic of Eire. Hardly more than a couple of hundred gunmen were involved initially, with very limited support in the Catholic community. The IRA was subsidized and armed by the Soviet Union and Libya, and Irish-Americans, openly out to damage Britain."

"IRA terror," the report continued, "has cost over 3,000 lives."

It stated that the British government under John Major had started initiatives to end the violence through various power-sharing proposals. The Blair government, it went on, had gone much further in a so-called peace process, "a label that in true Blairite style conceals that it is nothing of the kind, but outright surrender to terror."

The report continued: "Convicted murderers have been released from prison, and the police force which held the line against terror is being neutered. Under the most intense pressure that Blair could exert, with President Clinton standing over his shoulder, the Protestants have agreed to participate with the IRA in a joint Ulster assembly exercising powers over the province.

"Thus the former IRA official executioner, a man with cold-blooded murders on his conscience, is now an Ulster government minister. Blair sent forces to oppose Saddam Hussein and Milosovic on the grounds that they were terrorists, but he has succumbed without ado to their equivalent at home.

"This shameful appeasement contains the potential for future bloodshed quite as surely as Neville Chamberlain’s Munich precedent. The British people of Ulster are being delivered to Eire slowly, but as effectively as the Czechoslovaks were to Hitler."

Asked to comment on the National Review report, an Irish government spokesman said the article was "so over the top that any serious response would be inadequate."

Pryce-Jones, speaking from London, said he had not intended to compare Ireland to Hitler’s Germany.

"Of course not, that’s out of the question. Ireland is a very peaceable and decent country," he told the Echo.

He said that his criticism was aimed at the Blair-led British government and the fact that, in his view, it was very unusual in history for any country — in this case Britain — to "deliberately force out or exclude its own citizens."

This, he felt, was what was happening to Northern Ireland Unionists, hence the comparison with pre-war Czechoslovakia.

Pryce-Jones said that with regard to the IRA he was of the view that "they only speak for themselves and nobody else."

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