On The Rampage: Rory McIlroy’s Nationality Is Rory McIlroy’s Business
Rory. Rory. Rory.
No doubt the sound of your PR team slapping their foreheads rung out across the nation.
Until recent days, you were one of the only sports personalities from Northern Ireland that all of our communities could support. We’d wave at you in Nandos, take to your courses and beam that for once we were being known internationally for something positive – being really good at getting small balls into small holes very far away. You were a lovely, neutral person, excelling in your chosen field, that we could all support together. Our local boy done good, so to speak.
Now, you’ve only gone and buggered it up. You shouldn’t have to state your thoughts on the sensitive nature of your nationality at all but coming from where we do, it’s a subject that won’t be dropped no matter how many titles you win. While it is disappointing that you were forced to provide an answer in the first place, you shouldn’t have to risk losing the support of half the population, because you did.
Being from Northern Ireland, I’m not disappointed that Rory has declared that he feels more British than Irish because it has nothing to do with what he has achieved for his age. Furthermore, this ‘revelation’ will not make me stop supporting him because I’m not an idiot. Sadly, this will not be the case for many across this island as demonstrated by the inevitable over-reaction from online commentators.
Now let’s make this clear – People from Northern Ireland are entitled to the following nationalities:
* We can be Irish.
* We can be British or ‘United Kingdomish’ which I am assured is actually a thing.
* We can call ourselves ‘Northern Irish’ and acknowledge both our Irish and British nationalities.
We’re an anomaly. It is our choice and our right to these nationalities (and their relevant passports) according to countless legislation collectively agreed upon by the UK and Irish Governments and the Northern Ireland Assembly.
In respect of the Olympics, ‘Team GB’ is actually ‘Team GB & NI’ but during London 2012, people were lazy and couldn’t be arsed adding the ‘& NI’ every time. People from Northern Ireland can apply to be part of ‘Team GB’ or ‘Team Ireland’. It’s completely up to them if they are at a standard that will get them to Rio 2016 and we should wish them all well.
This seems to be something that is going over the heads of people outside Northern Ireland given the ridiculous uproar surrounding McIlroy’s recent comments:
But of COURSE he’s Irish. He’s Catholic! His beloved GAA playing Da, Gerry is from Andersonstown (a fiercely Nationalist community in Belfast)! His Great Uncle was murdered by the UVF! He was supported by the Golfing Union of IRELAND! He’s played for Ireland at all levels as a boy! He’s from ULSTER! EVEN IAN PAISLEY ADMITS HE’S IRISH. WE WANT HIM. HE’S IRISH…
But of COURSE he’s British. He’s from NORTHERN Ireland! HE’S FROM BRITAIN! Northern Ireland is in the United Kingdom! He’s FROM ULSTER! He grew up in Holywood (a wealthy, mostly Protestant community outside Belfast)! He went to Sullivan Upper School! He used to go out with a Protestant! WE WANT HIM. HE’S BRITISH…
IT’S DOESN’T MATTER. HE’S ONLY IRISH WHEN IT SUITS HIS POCKET. HE’S ACTUALLY FEELING A LITTLE DANISH (HAR HAR). THE BRITISH ONLY WANT HIM WHEN HE WINS. HE’S A TRAITOR. IT’S NOT THE ‘REAL’ IRELAND ANYWAY. HE LIVES IN AMERICA SO HE SHOULD DECLARE FOR THEM. CUT ALL OF NORTHERN IRELAND ADRIFT. PUSH THEM ALL OUT TO SEA…
Calm down people. Stop getting upset and put it in perspective. He hasn’t declared war on Ireland. He isn’t denying his Irish heritage or deliberately trying to raise a controversial topic. He isn’t trying to insult those who have supported him in the past; in fact he has been openly appreciative in his ‘Open Letter’. On his website, he declares in large white letters ‘I AM A GOLFER’ which is all that should really matter. He has regularly been forced to speak about his personal feelings towards his own nationality and rather unwisely, he answered. He was damned no matter what he said.
Nationality, to a person from Northern Ireland, is a terribly personal thing – it’s not just black and white. It’s a concept we deal with from birth, regardless of what community we are born into, that we spend years considering so we know how to handle the complicated, sensitive mix of cultures we are surrounded by.
Given the nature of our political history, for some nationality is so crucial to the very fabric of their existence that they seize it, with all their heart and soul and celebrate it daily throughout their own culture. For some ‘Nordies’, nationality basically comes down to ‘what passport is cheaper to buy at this moment in time’. Some couldn’t give half a shit. For others, they have yet to, or may never, make up their minds choosing instead to embrace a brilliant mixture of both identities – the kind of people that only years of exhausting political turmoil can create. Not enough time has passed for scars to completely heal here so to speak for us to label us one thing or another is inappropriate and wrong.
No one has the right to tell someone from Northern Ireland what nationality they are. We don’t do it to each other and will not accept anyone else doing it to us.
It doesn’t matter how much you watch the news or how much you claim to have read about our politics; unless you come from NI, sadly you won’t and cannot understand. So stop labelling us – it only exposes your own ignorance and makes you look like an asshole.
There is nothing wrong with asking questions, nationality is not a taboo subject, but it’s the people who try to tell us all about NI, what we are or how to fix things that frustrate us. I’ve lost count how many times I have been told what nationality I am. I am regularly ‘tested’ by people from the South and the UK who take great amusement in trying to guess my ‘side’ from my name, my city, my accent or how far apart my eyes are. They are always wrong. It’s irritating and more to the point, it’s none of their fucking business just as it’s none of our business about what side of his nationality Rory McIlroy feels more comfortable with.
If golf features during the 2016 Olympics, which is another article in itself, McIlroy will, of course, have to choose a team to play for but whatever he chooses, we must keep in mind that he doesn’t owe anyone or any country anything.
Rory McIlroy plays golf for himself alone as he always has done. People should appreciate the complexity of his situation and support him, if they choose to, as an individual no matter what flag he decides to wave in Rio.
Now everyone fuck up and leave him alone.