I agree with you except in one respect: one can speak of "the Northern Irish" in the sense that I did, at least on my first reference, because it is simply a matter of geopolitical fact that, whatever they may have felt about it one way or the other, people who are born in the six counties and do not somehow acquire other citzenship have been and remain British subjects.
In a message dated 11/26/2002 12:54:36 PM Eastern Standard Time, [log in to unmask] writes:
> > The Northern Irish have remained part of the British Empire without
> interruption for many centuries,
> > and remain so today. (There was a chance of their separation shortly
> before WWI, but they openly
> > defied the British authorities to resist it.) They have not "only
> recently" begun to ask to be "taken
> > back" -- they have not begun to ask to be "taken back" at all -- because
> they have never been apart.
> If the Troubles prove anything, they show that one simply cannot speak of
> 'the Northern Irish'. The divides in Northern Irish society
> are deep,
> multiple, and complex.
> [log in to unmask]