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Andy Bielenberg's latest research on Protestant migration from the Irish Free State


JohnD66

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I've just read a very good article by Andy Bielenberg of UCC (Cork) in the journal Past and Present, on the vexed question of the experience of the southern Ireland's Protestant minority during the Irish Revolution of 1916-23. It has been claimed that republican violence at times amounted to ethnic cleansing of Protestants. Commentators such as Eoghan Harris have claimed that up to 70,000 Protestants were forced out of the new state.

Bielenberg shows that, the Protestant population of the 26 counties fell from 1911-1926 by 106,000 and that this peaked in 1921 and 1922. But on the other hand, he calculates that no more than 16,000 and perhaps as few as 2,000 were forced to leave by violence (which intentionally or otherwise killed about 100 Protestant civilians). A total of the 20,000 'southern loyalists' sought refuge in Britain but many of these were Catholics.

The remainder is accounted for by the withdrawal of the British Army and civilian administration (30,000 plus unspecified number of secondary workers), First World War deaths (5,000 Protestants), voluntary migration, c.40-50,000, based on a 10% share of total emigration in those 15 years. Though some of the Protestant migration in the latter was caused by dislike of Irish independence and accelerated land reform taking away the remaining estates of the gentry and associated jobs.

In short Protestants were vulnerable in this period, especially in rural areas, but not subject to systematic campaigns of ethnic cleansing or murder.
 

realistic1

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I've just read a very good article by Andy Bielenberg of UCC (Cork) in the journal Past and Present, on the vexed question of the experience of the southern Ireland's Protestant minority during the Irish Revolution of 1916-23. It has been claimed that republican violence at times amounted to ethnic cleansing of Protestants. Commentators such as Eoghan Harris have claimed that up to 70,000 Protestants were forced out of the new state.

Bielenberg shows that, the Protestant population of the 26 counties fell from 1911-1926 by 106,000 and that this peaked in 1921 and 1922. But on the other hand, he calculates that no more than 16,000 and perhaps as few as 2,000 were forced to leave by violence (which intentionally or otherwise killed about 100 Protestant civilians). A total of the 20,000 'southern loyalists' sought refuge in Britain but many of these were Catholics.

The remainder is accounted for by the withdrawal of the British Army and civilian administration (30,000 plus unspecified number of secondary workers), First World War deaths (5,000 Protestants), voluntary migration, c.40-50,000, based on a 10% share of total emigration in those 15 years. Though some of the Protestant migration in the latter was caused by dislike of Irish independence and accelerated land reform taking away the remaining estates of the gentry and associated jobs.

In short Protestants were vulnerable in this period, especially in rural areas, but not subject to systematic campaigns of ethnic cleansing or murder.

The above facts will be a big disappointment to the many historical revisionists in this Flawed State.
 

harshreality

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I've just read a very good article by Andy Bielenberg of UCC (Cork) in the journal Past and Present, on the vexed question of the experience of the southern Ireland's Protestant minority during the Irish Revolution of 1916-23. It has been claimed that republican violence at times amounted to ethnic cleansing of Protestants. Commentators such as Eoghan Harris have claimed that up to 70,000 Protestants were forced out of the new state.

Bielenberg shows that, the Protestant population of the 26 counties fell from 1911-1926 by 106,000 and that this peaked in 1921 and 1922. But on the other hand, he calculates that no more than 16,000 and perhaps as few as 2,000 were forced to leave by violence (which intentionally or otherwise killed about 100 Protestant civilians). A total of the 20,000 'southern loyalists' sought refuge in Britain but many of these were Catholics.

The remainder is accounted for by the withdrawal of the British Army and civilian administration (30,000 plus unspecified number of secondary workers), First World War deaths (5,000 Protestants), voluntary migration, c.40-50,000, based on a 10% share of total emigration in those 15 years. Though some of the Protestant migration in the latter was caused by dislike of Irish independence and accelerated land reform taking away the remaining estates of the gentry and associated jobs.

In short Protestants were vulnerable in this period, especially in rural areas, but not subject to systematic campaigns of ethnic cleansing or murder.
Sounds like an interesting piece of literature that will no doubt provoke huge, mostly illogical, debate here on p.ie.

Would you by any chance have a link for the article or where can it be accessed?
 

NMunsterman

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I've just read a very good article by Andy Bielenberg of UCC (Cork) in the journal Past and Present, on the vexed question of the experience of the southern Ireland's Protestant minority during the Irish Revolution of 1916-23. It has been claimed that republican violence at times amounted to ethnic cleansing of Protestants. Commentators such as Eoghan Harris have claimed that up to 70,000 Protestants were forced out of the new state.

Bielenberg shows that, the Protestant population of the 26 counties fell from 1911-1926 by 106,000 and that this peaked in 1921 and 1922. But on the other hand, he calculates that no more than 16,000 and perhaps as few as 2,000 were forced to leave by violence (which intentionally or otherwise killed about 100 Protestant civilians). A total of the 20,000 'southern loyalists' sought refuge in Britain but many of these were Catholics.

The remainder is accounted for by the withdrawal of the British Army and civilian administration (30,000 plus unspecified number of secondary workers), First World War deaths (5,000 Protestants), voluntary migration, c.40-50,000, based on a 10% share of total emigration in those 15 years. Though some of the Protestant migration in the latter was caused by dislike of Irish independence and accelerated land reform taking away the remaining estates of the gentry and associated jobs.

In short Protestants were vulnerable in this period, especially in rural areas, but not subject to systematic campaigns of ethnic cleansing or murder.

"......but not subject to systematic campaigns of ethnic cleansing or murder...."

Very important information - thank you for bringing this article to this Forum.

Very relevant too in terms of looking at what will the unionists/Protestant population of the North do after re-Unification.
Hopefully, the above message gets through and unionists understand there is nothing to fear from a Re-United Ireland - but one wonders will there be a "PfP" ** factor based on the fact that some unionists will simply not be able - or willing - to stomach it - and if so, how large will this PfP** factor be ?


**PfP ("Packing for Perth" (Australia)) - a term used by white South Africans in describing the white exodus/emigration in post-Apartheid South Africa.
 

Mikey Moloney

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As if actual historical research will be enough to stop Harris, Myers et al. From preaching their anti Irish hate speech.
 

Seanie Lemass

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Ireland between 1916 and 1923 was a remarkably sedate place where the numbers killed as part of the conflict were extremely small by comparison to other countires in Europe, not to mention the horrors that were later attendent on totalitarianism.

Ireland does not even rate a mention in statistical studies of conflict casualties. Having had a relative killed in those years is still a matter of comment - and indeed pride - now, whereas for a Latvian, not having lost a grandparent to either the Soviets or Nazis would probably be unusual. And they certainly don't get all sentimental about it!
 

Little_Korean

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Sounds like a interesting article that's worth reading.

But on the other hand, he calculates that no more than 16,000 and perhaps as few as 2,000 were forced to leave by violence
Does the article say whether this was overall, or whether there were particular areas where this happened (*cough, cough, West Cork?*)? Or the social demographs of those who left?
 

Thac0man

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In short Protestants were vulnerable in this period, especially in rural areas, but not subject to systematic campaigns of ethnic cleansing or murder.
That is a resonable conclusion. In terms of being vulnerable though, this was probably expressed best in how the Anglo-Irish suddenly became as exposed to Irelands' under development, in the same way native Irish always were. The collapse of British rule removed at a stroke many guarenteed careers, financial securities and social status that were previously enjoyed.

Those best able to reconsile that part of their identity with the new Irishness of the state, probably has less inclination to leave a place they saw as their homeland. Certinaly there is still a large and well established 'Anglo-Irish' minority in Ireland today. Others, who saw themselves as Irish only through the lense of being British, no doubt had a lot less inclination to stay.

All in all, given how few Anglo-Indians stayed on after India gained its independence, and similarly in other ex-British Imperial dominions, there can be no claim that those who saw themselves as British left because they were persecuted. All in all the 'Anglo-Irish' seem to have weathered the upheaval of independence pretty well.
 
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Seanie Lemass

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Irish Protestants are still disproportionately represented among certain professions. Banking has traditonally been one, hence the historical lack of support by the Irish banks for indigenous development as opposed to stocks and shares and property. They also directed much of their business through the London Stock Exchange.
 

diaspora-mick

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Irish Protestants are still disproportionately represented among certain professions. Banking has traditonally been one, hence the historical lack of support by the Irish banks for indigenous development as opposed to stocks and shares and property. They also directed much of their business through the London Stock Exchange.
You haven't been out drinking with that Anglo Irish gentleman Sean Fitzpatrick recently have you ? :lol:
FitzPatrick in 'anti-Protestant tirade'
 

parentheses

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Irish Protestants are still disproportionately represented among certain professions. Banking has traditonally been one, hence the historical lack of support by the Irish banks for indigenous development as opposed to stocks and shares and property. They also directed much of their business through the London Stock Exchange.
Conor McCabe in his book 'Sins of the Father' pinpoints banking as a major reason for economic failure in the free state. I suppose we should be careful though about blaming it all on the Prods. No doubt there were many castle Catholics educated in Gonzaga and Blackrock also involved in banking.
 

Seanie Lemass

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Conor McCabe in his book 'Sins of the Father' pinpoints banking as a major reason for economic failure in the free state. I suppose we should be careful though about blaming it all on the Prods. No doubt there were many castle Catholics educated in Gonzaga and Blackrock also involved in banking.

In latter years maybe, but was almost exclusively Protestant until 50s at least. Lemass found them very frustrating to deal with as they were extremely negative about industrial development.

That mentality survived of course as at the same time they were throwing money at property, they were refusing loans for manufacturing and other business expansions.
 

parentheses

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I suppose another reason for the fall in Protestant numbers was demographic. I read somewhere that the Protestants in west cork in the late 19th century tended to be concentrated in the older age groups. So to some extent it was the case that they simply "died out", with not enough young Protestants to replace them.

Also I am surprised that he gives a figure of only 5,000 southern Protestants who died in the great war. I would have expected a somewhat higher figure
 

parentheses

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In latter years maybe, but was almost exclusively Protestant until 50s at least. Lemass found them very frustrating to deal with as they were extremely negative about industrial development.

That mentality survived of course as at the same time they were throwing money at property, they were refusing loans for manufacturing and other business expansions.
McCabe has quite a bit about banking in his book. He says the bankers insisted on parity of the Irish currency with sterling which had a terrible effect on the young free state economy. He indicates the bankers were the real power behind the throne of the early free state. Nothing has changed I guess.
 

Seanie Lemass

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McCabe has quite a bit about banking in his book. He says the bankers insisted on parity of the Irish currency with sterling which had a terrible effect on the young free state economy. He indicates the bankers were the real power behind the throne of the early free state. Nothing has changed I guess.

Indeed. The report of the 1938 Banking Commission is well worth a read. (Not read McCabe so not sure if he refers to it). Basically it was the likes of Lord Gleneavy of BOI, backed by MacElligott of the DOF, rubbishing FF economic development policy and demanding that they stop "wasting money" on stuff like houses and infrastructure! A real gang of scum it has to be said. State should have taken them in 1922 but of course Cosgrave et al were about as a radical as their desendenets who have beggered the kip for the same banks. Plus cá change.
 

parentheses

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Indeed. The report of the 1938 Banking Commission is well worth a read. (Not read McCabe so not sure if he refers to it). Basically it was the likes of Lord Gleneavy of BOI, backed by MacElligott of the DOF, rubbishing FF economic development policy and demanding that they stop "wasting money" on stuff like houses and infrastructure! A real gang of scum it has to be said. State should have taken them in 1922 but of course Cosgrave et al were about as a radical as their desendenets who have beggered the kip for the same banks. Plus cá change.
I think there was an earlier banking commission in the 20s also. They stymied the establishment of a central bank and insisted on parity with sterling. Also they used to invest their deposits in the city of London which starved Irish businesses of capital.

McCabe says although Dev's policies were less friendly to the bankers nonetheless Dev too never really curbed the power of the bankers.
 

Seanie Lemass

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I think there was an earlier banking commission in the 20s also. They stymied the establishment of a central bank and insisted on parity with sterling. Also they used to invest their deposits in the city of London which starved Irish businesses of capital.

McCabe says although Dev's policies were less friendly to the bankers nonetheless Dev too never really curbed the power of the bankers.

Lemass proposed bans on capital exports but was over-ruled by MacEntee who was the most right wing member of Dev's Cabinet.

Interestingly Dev encouraged radical critics of banking to make submissions to the Commission in 1938. These were mainly from a Catholic social perspective but were scathing of the manner in which finance operated and indeed of FF to be more radical in its own economic and financial policies.

Of course Dev may have just have been playing one side against the other as he was wont to do. Only outcome was establishment of Central Bank but that made little difference. Lemass eventually gave up trying to get the banks to invest and turned to the multi nationals.
 
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