Belfast Telegraph, 6 September 1921

In September 1921, the Belfast Telegraph printed an editorial rebutting claims made in the Nationalist press regarding the impact of the Belfast Boycott and economic conditions in Northern Ireland.


The credulity of a large section of the Irish people is truly remarkable. During the war it was an everyday experience in Dublin and the South to hear the expression, “England is bate.” At the present time many thousands of Irishmen firmly believe that “England is on the run” from Sinn Fein. It never seems to occur to them that if England made war in earnest Sinn Fein would soon get a rude awakening. As for Belfast there is no limit to what the majority of Southern Irishmen believe. The sillier the story the more greedily it is swallowed. This feature of the Irish character is not confined to any class in the community, and it is one that, to put it mildly, is not discouraged by what might fairly be called the anti-British Press. At the present time the average Irishman in the South believes that the city of Belfast is bankrupt, and that the majority of its inhabitants spend their time shooting those of the opposite faith. He is convinced that the boycott has ruined the city, and rejoices when he reads of a business failure. The positive glee with which the Nationalist Press announces a bankruptcy in Belfast, and attributes every such occurrence to the boycott, is a strange commentary on the appeals to Ulster to “come in and join the rest of Ireland.” We have already, by means of official statistics, exploded the argument that there is an undue proportion of failures in this city as compared with other parts of Ireland. It is not denied that the boycott has injured some wholesale houses in Belfast, who have not retaliated, by dismissing their Catholic employees. The latest claim of the of the Dublin Press in regard to the boycott, however, is the most ridiculous that has yet been made. The “Freeman’s Journal,” in an article on this question a couple of days ago, alleged that the slackness in shipbuilding on the Lagan is due to the boycott. This fantastic story will no doubt be accepted as gospel by those whose knowledge of the North is as limited as their knowledge of industrial affairs…