Northern Ireland is in the news again as the implementation of Brexit by the United Kingdom brings worries that the strife of the past could be re-ignited by borders, economic upheaval and sectarian distrust.
Don Corrigan recently spoke on Ireland’s troubles, past and present, at the International Week sponsored by the University of Missouri-St. Louis. His Irish talk coincides with the much-praised movie, Belfast, recently opening in St. Louis.
Corrigan’s presentation focuses on his reporting of the Irish Troubles in Belfast and Derry at the time prior to the Easter Agreement to bring peace to Northern Ireland. He provides background on the surprises for an Irish American in covering the conflict and its emotional overtones.
He also touches on the film portrayals of the Irish Conflict and how those depictions have influenced perceptions in America. And, of course, he had a few things to say about Belfast.
Corrigan is professor emeritus of journalism and communications at Webster University in St. Louis and an editor of the Webster-Kirkwood Times newspaper group in suburban St. Louis.
He has reported from Ireland, Russia, Bosnia and Vietnam. He has taught global journalism at Webster campuses in Geneva and London and has presented papers on the Irish Troubles as portrayed in film at Trinity College in Dublin and in the United States.
I got a lot of feedback, through UMSL Global, from Irish folks in St. Louis after this presentation. St. Louis, Missouri, residents are worried that their land could end up in civil war in 2022 an 2024 with violence that would emulate “The Troubles” in Northern Ireland. There are a lot of parallels. The Irish were divided between Green and Orange, America is divided between Red and Blue. Then you have the stark religious, social and political differences between Irish Green and Orange; and now American Red and Blue. When I visited Northern Ireland, I was shocked to hear about the Orange Protestants redistricting and tampering with elections back in the 1960s and 1970s to keep the Green Catholics down. Does that sound familiar in some fashion now in America?