The Irish Branch of the Celtic League has hit out against three UK political parties that are showing the whole of Ireland to be part of the UK, in the run up to the UK general election.
The Conservative, the Liberal Democrat and UKIP political parties – who are all unionist parties – were criticised by Irish branch leaders on the weekend for portraying on their websites “erroneous and insulting map images”. Letters were sent to all three party leaders.
In their letter to Conservative Party leader David Cameron, the branch wrote:
“This attempt, whether deliberate or not, to portray all of Ireland as part of the UK is completely unacceptable and we demand you remove the image from your website…
“Without a shadow of a doubt, if for example a French political party attempted to include Britain or parts of Britain as part of the French state and draped it in the French tricolour, the Conservative party would be up in arms and find
such an image highly insulting and would be demanding its immediate removal. Likewise, we Irish find your website image highly insulting and demand its immediate removal.
“If perhaps you disagree with the whole idea of Irish independence, and this image is a subtle indication of this, then please have the integrity to publicly state that you are opposed to Ireland being free and wish for all of it to be part of the UK. At least then all will know where you stand.”
In their letter to the Liberal Democrat leader Nick Clegg, the branch says that:
“Since the Liberal Democrats do not exist in any part of Ireland, is there any point in displaying Ireland along with Britain? It also seeks to hide the fact that most of Ireland is a sovereign independent state. No British political party has the right to deny the fact that most of Ireland is independent and separate from Britain.
“We are aware that the Alliance Party in the north of Ireland is a sister party to your party, but both parties are separate. The Alliance Party does not operate in Britain and the Liberal Democrats does not operate in Ireland.”
In their letter to the UKIP party leader, Mr. (Lord) Pearson, the branch argues:
“For a party that is so concerned with ensuring the UK’s independence, you do not seem willing to acknowledge Ireland’s independence.
“We would ask that you remove these insulting and erroneous images from the website. Spanish political parties do not attempt to portray all of Iberia as Spanish in their imagery. They know and accept that Portugal is a separate state. We demand that your party behaves in the same way vis-à-vis Ireland.”
In addition to the letters the branch also issued the following press statement, which was picked up by the Irish press yesterday and published in the Irish edition of the `News of the World’ newspaper.
“The Celtic League demand that erroneous and insulting images on British party websites be changed.
The Celtic League is demanding that British political parties change erroneous and insulting map images on their websites. The Conservative, the Liberal Democrat and UKIP websites all have map images that portrays all of Ireland as part of the UK. This is very insulting to the people of Ireland and the Celtic League has written to the parties demanding that the images be changed immediately.
The British Conservative party website www.conservatives.com has an image on its home page for people to “Meet Your Local Candidate”.
This image is highly insulting to the people of Ireland as it attempts to portray all of Ireland as part of the UK and that the Conservative party is running candidates in Ireland. Bizarrely while the image includes the whole of Ireland the bottom of England which is their heartland is cut off .The image also shows part of the British national flag covering an area that is in the Republic of Ireland.
The Celtic League demands that the Conservative party alter the image immediately to respect the independence of Ireland and acknowledge that Ireland is a separate nation and to explain why they chose to represent Ireland in this
Seanán Ó Coistín, Asst Gen Sec. of the Celtic League, who is from Ireland said “This is a crazy situation where the Conservatives chose to include all of Ireland in their image even though they are not running candidates in Ireland
and to cut off the bottom of England even though that is one of the main areas of support for the Conservatives. It very insulting and annoying for Irish people to see Ireland being included as part of the UK like this. The Conservative party would be equally annoyed and quick to demand correction if a French or German party attempted to include Britain as part of its jurisdiction.”
The Celtic League wrote a letter to the Conservative leader David Cameron to demand that the image be changed.
This website is the least offensive to Irish people but it is still erroneous. There is a small image on the home page showing Ireland and Britain together and a message saying “Find your local party”. If the Liberal Democrats operated in any part of Ireland, this might be necessary but they don’t so the image is erroneous. It also doesn’t differentiate between the UK or the Republic of Ireland.
On another page https://www.libdems.org.uk/in_your_area.aspx there is a map of Ireland and Britain. On first glance, it would make it seem Ireland and Britain were all part of the same polity. The Liberal Democrats don’t organise in
Ireland, so there is no point in having Ireland in the image. When `Northern Ireland’ is clicked on the image, nothing happens. Its sister party, the Alliance Party, operates in the north of Ireland but this information is not shown.
The Celtic League wrote a letter to party leader Nick Clegg asking that the Liberal Democrats remove the images of Ireland from their site as they do not exist in Ireland.
For a party that is so concerned with ensuring the UK’s independence, they do not seem willing to acknowledge Ireland’s independence. Their candidates’ page on their website has TWO images of all of Ireland being portrayed as part of the UK. One image is part of the banner at the top of the page. No differentiation is made between Ireland or Britain. Would they perhaps include Belgium, as another near neighbour of Britain? Perhaps the Belgians would enjoy being part of the UK too and would love the UKIP to fight for their independence.
Their larger map showing the regions they exist in includes Ireland too, even though they do not exist in Ireland or are running any candidates in Ireland.
UKIP’s images also includes the Isle of Mann which is neither part of the UK or the EU. If they were so interested in the independence of the Isle of Mann, they would campaign for a full British withdrawal from the Isle of Mann.
The Celtic League demands that UKIP change their images immediately and not include Ireland and the Isle of Mann as part of the UK. If they are so concerned with national independence, they should acknowledge the independence of
This article prepared for Celtic News by Rhisiart Tal-e-bot General Secretary Celtic League. For follow-up comment or clarification contact:
Tel: 0044 (0)1209319912
J B Moffatt (Mr)
Director of Information