British journalist Melanie Phillips claims Ireland isn't a real nation and Irish people aren't happy

British journalist Melanie Phillips claims Ireland isn't a real nation and Irish people aren't happy

A BRITISH columnist has come under fire after suggesting that Ireland is not a real nation.

In a comment piece for today’s The Times, Melanie Phillips writes that Ireland has a “tenuous claim to nationhood”.

Under the headline 'Britain is the authentic nation in this battle' Phillips also criticises Scotland and Northern Ireland as "the most troublesome bits of the United Kingdom".

She wrote: "Does that mean that Westminster should tear up the Good Friday Agreement and bid farewell to Northern Ireland?

“No, because it has an obligation to the Unionists; and because the claim to unite Ireland is tenuous since Ireland itself has a tenuous claim to nationhood, having seceded from Britain as the Irish Free State only in 1922.

“Scottish nationalism and Irish republicanism are cultural phenomena rooted in romanticism and myth and hatred of the other in the form of the English or the Protestants.”

She continued: “Britain, by contrast, is an authentic unitary nation."

The column has attracted sharp criticism from Irish people online – including Ireland’s Ambassador to Britain Daniel Mulhall – who described Phillips’ claims as “outlandish”.

"As Ambassador I cannot ignore Melanie Phillips’ outlandish claims in The Times that Irish nationhood is 'tenuous',” he said.

“100 years of independence (and) Irish nationhood based on strong sense of identity, distinctive culture & shared values and interests. Nothing 'tenuous'.”

Fine Gael senator Neale Richmond told Phillips to “read a history book before making such an ill-informed comment.”

One British Twitter user joked: "That awkward moment when other countries find out about Melanie Philips."

Another added: “The Times and Melanie Phillips owe Ireland an apology.”

In the same column Phillips claims that SNP and Sinn Féin want to “reclaim powers from Westminster in order to surrender them to Brussels”.

"Northern Ireland is different again. The Unionists hate this being said but they are not British. They’re the bit that got tacked on to Great Britain to make the UK.

Melanie Phillips has previously written for the Daily Mail and has been criticised for views such as her disagreement with the scientific consensus regarding man-made climate change.