Despite sitting in a Northern Ireland Assembly that requires Royal Assent to enact any legislation passed, the NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, has told the BBC that he would not be prepared to meet the UK Head of State (Queen Elizabeth II). From the BBC report
[John O’Dowd] “There are a number of issues which need to be resolved before such a scenario would arise, including from a republican point of view, we were meeting a family who would claim to be our heads of state.
“Republicans don’t accept that.”
Which is also their stated reason for not attending Parliament.
As to why things are, apparently, different for the once-and-future NI deputy First Minister, and Sinn Féin’s candidate in the Irish Presidential election, Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA? From the BBC report
[John O’Dowd] told the BBC’s Inside Politics that “the situation here is different”.
[Partitionist! – Ed] Indeed. Of course, the ‘different’ situation here is the flaw in the argument from the still-Peace Processing, now former, shadow NI Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward – as reported by the Irish Times.
[Shaun Woodward] said he could not understand how people in the Republic made a distinction between North and South: “If any individual is up for being first minister or deputy first minister from whatever political party he or she may be drawn, if they are good enough for the North then, frankly, they ought to be good enough for the South.
“If you are a fit and proper person for the North, it seems to me to be a very strange set of rules that have been put on the table to say, ‘You’re fine to be a fit and proper person to be first minister or deputy first minister, but you couldn’t be a fit and proper person in the South.’
There is no denying that Martin McGuinness was central to ending the IRA’s campaign and creating the political climate that allowed the emergence and bedding down of the Northern executive. Nevertheless, none of what has been secured in the North resulted from Martin McGuinness standing as an overarching, inspiring, presidential Leviathan trafficking unity into those regions where division is most prevalent. His function is more akin to that of a tribal chieftain managing his fiefdom while simultaneously competing and liaising with his opposite number in the rival fiefdom. His achievement has been to manage division within the North not unite society there. His political experience lies in division not unifying.
Read the whole thing.