“This position could prove a political liability…”

Via Newshound.  In the Sunday Times Liam Clarke picked up on the reaction by the Sinn Féin president, and still Crown Steward and Bailiff of Northstead, Gerard Adams to the recent reports of a possible visit to Ireland by Queen Elizabeth II later this year.  Here’s the An Phoblacht report of that reaction

I don’t think the queen should come. There are hugely unresolved matters in terms of the British still claiming jurisdiction even though in terms of the Good Friday Agreement they have moved away from the Government of Ireland Act.

It has been done away with not least because of Sinn Féin’s diligence during those negotiations.

I think it’s premature and too soon.

When we have right across this island a dispensation based entirely upon the wishes of all of us who live here and no British jurisdiction at all, then that might be a different matter.

From the Sunday Times article

The Sinn Féin president suggests the historic gesture shouldn’t happen until after a British withdrawal from Ireland. That used to be what he said about an IRA ceasefire and taking seats in the Dáil. Having moved from all such positions, not to mention having the title Baron Northstead thrust upon him as the price of resigning as a Westminster MP, there is not a lot of logic in his continuing opposition to a royal visit.

He has met prime ministers, British civil servants and police chiefs whose role in exercising “British jurisdiction in Ireland”, as he puts it, is real and direct. What is so different about the Queen, whose main role is to preside at state functions and rubber-stamp government decisions? Presumably there is an electoral calculation involved. Sinn Féin is good at those, but, to a casual observer, Adams appears to be out of touch with public opinion on this issue, and not just in the south.

Not only rubber-stamping of government decisions, but also decisions by the administration at Stormont.

Liam Clarke goes on to point out that there was a royal visitor in Belfast recently, and Prince Charles, for it was he, attended the re-opening of the restored St Malachy’s Catholic Church.  Where he was met by, amongst others, the SDLP’s Alasdair McDonnell and the Northern Ireland First Minister, the DUP’s Peter Robinson.

In the north, Sinn Féin’s touchiness about royal occasions has become something of a liability. For instance, last week Peter Robinson, the DUP first minister, attended the reopening of St Malachy’s church, which had undergone a £3.5m restoration, in the strongly nationalist Markets area of Belfast. He was hosted by Martin Graham, a curate, and applauded by a crowd when he left.

Why was he not accompanied, or replaced, by Martin McGuinness, the deputy first minister whose party gets a lot of votes in the Markets and who is a practising Catholic? No doubt he would plead a diary commitment, but the fact is that McGuinness could not have attended, even if he had been free all day, because Prince Charles was also there. The prince was a guest of Fr Graham, who chatted to him about the church’s architecture and plaster work. Charles was also applauded when he left.

It does, as Liam Clarke suggests, have echoes of OFMDFM’s failure to accept their invitation to attend Pope Benedict XVI’s official welcome on the first-ever papal state visit to the UK.

Something similar happened last year when the Pope was received in Scotland by the Queen. Both Robinson and McGuinness were invited as representatives of Northern Ireland, but neither could make it. They pleaded an appointment with Mammon – the opening of a New York Stock Exchange office in Belfast.

However, the suspicion lingers that McGuinness didn’t go because it would have meant meeting the Queen, and Robinson, a born-again Protestant, stayed away because he didn’t want to encounter the Pope.

Many DUP members decline to attend Catholic funerals, citing theological reservations about the doctrine of transubstantiation. It sounds contrived and less than neighbourly; more what you might expect from a member of an obscure protest group on the wilder fringes of fundamentalism, not from an elected leader with civic responsibilities.

Still, interesting to see some progress… by some

  • Zig70

    Kind of surprises me that the Southerners seem so apathetic to their neighbour occupying the north. Though not totally, as in the main, I couldn’t give a hoot who robs me of my taxes. Would the English be so generous if the shoe was on the other foot? There is a lot seem to bear a grudge toward the French for coming over a throwing a few shapes. (Only judging on the amount of times it comes up in comedy routines across the water, that’s probably a water tight method).
    I used to think the idea of a monarchy was terrible, now I’m just jealous. I want a go. We should have a lottery and make the winner Queenie. (Every two years, give a year to settle in).

  • crafty

    the pope is to catholics what the queen is to protestants;
    hardly suprising the nervousness ..
    Gerry has to say what he said, or his comrades would string him up.
    He could have said:
    “Our president Mary McAleese shares a warmth with the Queen, as mutual heads of State; both have wanted this visit for a long time, let it be so”

  • Macanna

    And still pete you continue to refer to gerry with a title that is inaccurate. Do we have to continue down this route of me asking you to provide a link to gerry accepting this title which he had to ask for and accept, neither of which he did.

  • oracle


    Pete has refered to Mr Adams with his official and correct title, if Mr Adams didn’t wish the title thrust upon him he should not have stood as a British MP.

    He was happy for the political platform to enhance his and Sinn Feins profile, and indeed he and SF were all to delighted to milk the money from the British Houses of Parliment during this time.

    Now ask yourself this, can you find a link were Gerry refused to be acknoweledged as the MP for West Belfast, if he accepted the position as MP and all the trappings then he automatically accepted the resignation title, he and SF knew that before they stood in the first place.

  • oracle

    Further could you imagine the uproar if Pete had refered to Adams as a local politician from the Glen road….. there would be hundreds of you on screaming that his correct title is MP for West Belfast.

    MP member of parliment (British parliment) funny how the shinners only have problems with some titles…. well that and the truth in general

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    I love “I think it’s premature and too soon” on a number of levels.

    Also, Adams’s reading of the GFA, which he “strongly commended” to everyone on the island, is comedy. Has he ever actually read what he signed up to?

    Inter alia, he endorsed the Irish government recognising “the legitimacy of whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland with regard to its status …”. He also accepted that the N people’s choice to keep NI in the UK was “freely exercised” and “legitimate” and “it would be wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people.” Gerry Adams’ words, not mine.

    So what’s he going on about with this “there are hugely unresolved matters in terms of the British still claiming jurisdiction”? Erm, Gerry, YOU resolved them, remember? He is getting old …

  • Macanna

    Adams did stand for election and won as an mp. He did not apply for the position as steward nor did he accept this position hence the lack of links to his acceptance. so an incorrect title. I am not a shinner nor a moron oracle so reign your neck in please.

  • joeCanuck

    Freudian slip? “rein your neck in”.

  • Mark

    Oracle ,

    Are you the moron who was crying and bickering over your rugby predictions yesterday evening ?

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    Ah Gerry, don’t cha just love him? He is indeed a wicked boy.

    Although unionists have, in the main, moved on from concerns about the Irish President visiting Northern Ireland the shinner-in-chief and his gang just can’t step away from their bitterness and bigotry.

    Gerry’s misspeaking about the GFA should come as no surprise. Personally I put in down to to his delusions about living in the mythical land of ‘The North’; a place where the shinner world view would even give poor Alice a weird turn.

  • Mark

    Since when was pandering to the royal family progress ?

  • oracle


    Does Mainlands Ulsters comment at 2.33 stand correct yes or no

  • crafty

    Mark, I think its best to play this one down
    McAleese and Windsor ( mrs both ) have has cosy tea and biccies together, our irish president simply wants to extend that courtesy , and its her last year as president.
    why make a comment that upsets unionists unecessarily.

    That said it would be endearing of the queen to diplomatically address some of the quarells between eng/ire over the centuries and make a gesture of reconciliation by offering an apology for the sufferings inflicted .. lay a wreath or something at the GPO..
    i’d be pissed off if she laid a wreathe for irish soldiers who died in britains empire wars .. unless she offered words that showed many irish patriots dies fighting for freedom from the empire..

    Its a tricky one, but Gerry has put his muddy welly- boot in, rather ugly and unnecessarily in my view.

    Lets be more generous as irish unity seekers

  • oracle


    You state “Adams did stand for election and won as an mp. He did not apply for the position as steward nor did he accept this position”

    You agreed he stood and got elected as MP…. excellent once you accept that he stood as an MP and got elected he automatically become applicants to be a member of one of two paid positions under the Crown.

    unless they die or fail in an election.. ok is that simple enough… unless you’re saying SF weren’t bright enough to read the small print first.

    is this really a party that should be elected in the republic with all its complicated financial problems if they aren’t able to read small print for a job application eh?

  • Mark

    Well excuse me Oracle for not getting on my knees before mainland ulsterman .

    He is correct when he states Gerry is getting old but then so is mainland ulsterman’s snide tone .

  • Macanna

    oracle , I think you will find that gerry has to apply for and accept the position. As far as I am aware he did neither. It really is that simple.

  • oracle

    No Macanna the title is bestowed upon those that don’t adhere to the protocol of applying for it.

    If Mr Adams objects to the position he can do so in writing to the speaker, however if he does then there could be no election in West Belfast for the vacant position

    So he has accepted the post … I know it kills you but the pain will ease given time.

  • Macanna

    Ok oracle I will admit it if you can just provide the link to show he accepted the post. An easy proposition for the oracle I presume. Oh and if it is bestowed then why did cameron apologise for his remarks in parliment.

  • Macanna

    Can I just add that I would have no problem with gerry taking the position, its just that as he didn’t, I find it extremly childish of pete baker repeatedly using the title wrongly.It really detracts from his posts.

  • oracle


    Cameron apologised in the commons… hmmm have you a link to that… i’d find that hard to believe

  • Macanna

    No he apologised for the remarks he made in parliment.

  • Macanna
  • Pete Baker


    Here’s a fuller account of that ‘apology’.

    From an earlier post linked above

    A Downing Street spokesman said last night Mr Cameron was standing by remarks he made during prime minister’s questions yesterday regarding Mr Adams’s status.

    But he said Mr Cameron’s private secretary had apologised to Mr Adams for the fact that news of the appointment had been made public without his foreknowledge.

  • Ulsterman

    All irrelevant. Adams’ letter of resignation was in itself an application to accept the baron of Northstead. It is in the rules. The fallacy of all the arguments is that Adams didn’t read the rules before he penned his letter of resignation. Refusing to accept the Northstead job casts doubt on the resignation and therefore on the need for a by-election in WB.
    Adams is guilty of not understanding the rules of the Parliament he applied for and was successful in achieving a seat (regardless of whether he sits at Westminster as he takes the Queen’s shillings to pay for his constituency expenses). Just like his knowledge of the economy.

    All those who try to explain away his refusal to accept the post without appreciating the reverse situation of his resignation are rather misguided or are trying to support Adams as he seems unable to explain it all. He has stubbornly refused to answer the simple question: Did he know that the only way to resign was to take on one of the two titles (of which his was the Northstead one as Iris Robinson held the other)

    It’s all a bit of fun on an otherwise boring political arena. Still, when will the next Adams gaff happen?

  • oracle


    The link you provided was to the Scarborough evening standard i’m sure they’re well connected to the goings on in parliment… sounds remarkably like the badly spun SF press release ommitting the important stuff that Pete has linked above.

    Pete I was already aware of the fuller detail and was just entertaining myself at maccas expense but thanks for the timely reminder.
    Can stand the flak you take on this site, no matter what peoples view of your personel politics are, no one can ever accuse you of not providing information and exact detail in all your post which are a credit to your diligence

  • oracle

    Can’t stand… oops typo

  • Brian

    Gerry should stick to economics

  • Macanna

    oracle if you are aware of the fuller detail then maybe you can make up for petes shortcomings in providing a link to gerry accepting the title which is what I have been asking for.
    And leave the Scarborough evening standard alone you bully ,just use google and you will find plenty of links to the same story.

  • Pete Baker


    Let me walk you through the situation, again.

    Gerry tried to ignore Parliamentary procedure.

    In return, Parliament ignored his statements to the press and adhered to Parliamentary procedure.

    Result – Gerry was appointed Crown Steward and was thereby disqualified as an MP.

    It wasn’t an offer to be accepted or refused – he was appointed the Crown Steward.

    Unless, and until, Gerry challenges his disqualification – and there may be grounds to do so – that’s were we are.

  • Pete Baker

    Let me clarify further.

    Gerry may want to live in a self-delusional parallel universe where events begin and end with his ‘letter of resignation’.

    But nobody else has to, nor does.

    And back to the actual topic…