David Torrance’s attempt to equate the 1801 Irish “Union” with the Anglo-Scottish Union of 1707 (Perspective, 5 March) is badly flawed. His image of the “Kingdom of Ireland” grandly deciding to unite with Great Britain is simply a myth.
Scotland was a Kingdom with its own monarchs. From the 1172 conquest onwards, Ireland’s monarchs were the English Crown. Poyning’s Law (1494) and the Declatory Act (1720) ensured the Irish Parliament was a colonial puppet parliament under English rule.
Only in 1782 did the Dublin parliament gain the right to initiate legislation, but still required English Privy Council approval. There is also the slight matter that the 80 per cent of the Irish population who were Catholic were barred from being MPs in Ireland’s “Parliament”.
The so-called “Union” of 1801 was simply the panic-driven imposition of direct rule upon England’s oldest colony,following the slaughter of 30,000 Irish in the 1798 Uprising and the French landing attempts on Bantry Bay in 1795 and Killala Bay in 1798.
David Torrance’s article is a more subtle attempt to establish a myth that Scotland would be leaving the “Rest of the United Kingdom”. The current State was established in 1707. In that year, Scotland united with England. We did not join “England and Wales” in 1707. Nor was Ireland some independent state,either in 1707 or in 1801.