Inasmuch as I can trace my history, I don't have any Irish in me. But I come from Liverpool, which was often the first port of call for Irish people settling in England.
But I have a view that colonialism was wrong, that people should be free to run under their own steam, rather than to be somebody's possession. I think that because of the UK's past, this is bound to make me anti- to some extent. But of course it's not limited to the UK - I cam immediately think of the other European countries who were expanding at the same time as the UK, all of which is unpleasant.
So I can look at things and think that the UK was wrong to behave as it did in Ireland. Not just Ireland, but many places where the benefits of colonial influence are.....arguable. But certainly in Ireland, I can understand the rebellions going back hundreds of years, culminating in the Easter Rebellion a hundred years ago which was a final catalyst for independence.
Of course, the history in Ulster is far more recent, with the fighting over the six counties or Northern Ireland (whichever term you prefer). But we now have peace. I do think though, that as part of tat peace, we need to make a decision. British and Irish. Do we look back and focus on the evil perpetrated (by both sides), or do we look forward and visualise a pluralistic society?
I think we have to look forward, but I think that comes with strings attached. I think that there needs to be an amount of sweeping things under the carpet. Not necessarily forgiving or forgetting, but sometimes forsaking justice in favour of the bigger picture. This has to be on both sides - amnesties even for known perpetrators. Including the IRA bombers. Including the soldiers. Because if you're going to heal the wounds, I think you have to let go of the past.