Francis Miville on Orwell’s view of the Irish and Ireland:
Orwell in 1984, as well as in other novels, never liked Irishmen much and tended to make them his villains in his stories as he did with O’Brien in 1984. That was an important reproach made to him.
Actually, in his articles and correspondence he didn’t oppose Ireland’s independence per se. Instead, he opposed it because he thought that an independent Ireland, instead from the fantasies of a few literary dreamers, would be ruled by arrant hypocrites doing their best to reign over a country that would stay impoverished and create little or nothing of value.
For example, nearly all legends taught in the Irish language in school condemned all technology as evil. They also said that if the Irish discarded technology, it would be strong again. However, this sort of thinking as the inevitable result of Irish independence was not foreseen by the Gaelic-touting intelligentsia.
He saw Irish culture as analogous to some sort of African slave-selling culture, and he felt that it had been so since time immemorial. What he saw in Ireland was that that nobody dreamt to be a great Irish bard or author. Instead, they all, down to the most meager famished peasant, yearned to succeed as an actor on Broadway or Hollywood.
However, most of the literal Irish slaves created during British rule had been bought by and had their destiny defined by Yankees. Even the local arch-enemies and slave captors of the Irish, the Ulsterites, were other Celts of close kin.
The result then was that during the last couple of centuries of its existence, the Irish language had been reduced to a tongue for slaves intended to maintain them in as much ignorance as possible of the outer world. The result here was that any ordinary Irishman working in the government was to be suspected of dark obscurantist designs.