Peter takes charge while Martin appeals to the British for help

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Not much has been made about Robinson’s recent remarks about the Maze conflict centre, the usual dissent from Jim Allister aside. This is suprising when we consider that when the idea for a peace and reconcilliation centre for the Maze was first drawn up it was the DUP who opposed such a move on the grounds of the potential use of the centre as a shrine to the hungerstrikers. While it is not my intention to get into a row about 1981, it would seem suprising, at first glance, that the First Minister and leader of the DUP now backs the proposals and claims it will be a tourist mecca for Northern Ireland.

Not as suprising yesterday was the call by Martin McGuinness for the scrapping of the NIO and the lack of need for the Secretary of State now that devolution is in place. Unlike Robinson this is McGuinness playing to form, playing to the crowd and throwing up suggestions which appear to be nothing more than playing to the crowd. He has also made it known that he believes people in the mainland UK can become advocates for a United Ireland. Forgive me if I’m wrong but does this not appear as desperate as their seven point strategy?

While McGuinness has floated what amounts to no more than an appeal for help, Robinson appears to have seized the initiative from Sinn Fein and taken ownership of a project that will be representative of the Troubles as a whole rather than the narrow interpretation that some would have liked it to have. This will be of benefit to Northern Ireland as a whole and may disappoint those who may like their leaders to be a bit more realistic.

Of course, delivery will be key but it looks clear for the time being who is in the driving seat.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    delivery will be key but it looks clear for the time being who is in the driving seat”

    Quite; there are two people in the driving seat now that Peter has joined Martin. What isn’t clear is the role that paramilitaries will play; their role might appeal to a certain type of tourist but it can hardly benefit democracy or society.

  • Turgon

    BP,
    Firstly welcome and congratulations of your becoming a blogger: not that I regard it as a superior position but it is fun.

    Now on to attacking you in a vicious and personal fashion.

    I am unclear why Robinson is doing this. The Ulster Agricultural Society meeting there may well make good sense and I am sure the plane museum which I believe is already there are attractions. However, I am highly dubious that any form of “Intrepretative Centre” will be a tourist mecca. We need to understand that the grubby sectarian conflict visited on us by the assorted terrorists was just criminality. It is simply not that interesting to the outside world. Just as a centre explaining Eta’s campaign would be interesting to few apart from supporters of their terrorist campaign.

    I also suspect it is not that interesting to ordinary decent unionists and nationalists to see where the criminals were justly incarcarated and where a few chose to / were tricked into committing suicide.

    No matter what Peter Robinson or anyone else may say I doubt many normal people will want to go to this centre and as such whatever its exhibits, it will become a terrorist shrine as the exhibits lauding the security forces and decent people will be ignored and the emotive nonsense to the terrorist worshipers gets venerated.

    I do not really see where the political advantage to Robinson is. I very much doubt the potential DUP voting Catholic unionists (the unicorns to use the one phrase I have invented which has gained some currency) want to go to such a centre: I doubt any save the loyalist cheerleaders on the “prod” side will want to go. As such this option seems to gain little politically for Robinson.

    The strategy of simply stopping development of the shrine until the structure fell apart was doing pretty well for the DUP and had been maintained for a number years now. I would have thought another 15 years and the building would be so unsafe that it would have to be demolished.

    You could say Robinson’s move is about leadership (and you will note I have said many very complementary things about Robinson recently) but I am afraid on this one it looks more like a side deal Robinson has made with Sinn Fein as a quid pro quo for something else. If that is the case I am afraid it was a mistake.

    An alternative happier reading might be that Robinson is hoping there will be a backlash and that will stop the shrine again. This would allow him to say to SF that he had tried but that there is simply not the community support available to allow the process to go forward. I do hope this is his strategy as a centre whatever one might hope is very likely to become a shrine by default and that will damamge Robinsons and unionism: not fatally but unnecessarily and for little or no political gain.

  • andnowwhat

    While Marty and Robinson played for the headline, Robinson’s part was (as I mentioned on another thread) showing the party’s true colours on the issue of the tourism project, The Gathering

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/northern-ireland/unionists-pan-leprechauns-and-donkeys-brallireland-tourism-drivebr-16152385.html#ixzz1tbqtRw5k

    As a nationalist, it is to the party’s behaviour that I look to judge it rather than Robinson’s scripted speaches

  • ayeYerMa

    Indeed Turgon, normally Peter would be deserving of heaps of praise for his tactics, but on this one I have to ask what the hell he is smoking?

    There is absolutely nothing to learn from the ending of an undemocratic insurgency other than that it took 50 years too long (ignoring requests for help from the Stormont government) before the British defence and intelligence services arrived to support Northern Ireland and defeat the insurgency.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “I am highly dubious that any form of “Intrepretative Centre” will be a tourist mecca”

    Turgon, it might be just as big a draw for tourists as Kilmainham Jail in Dublin.

  • ayeYerMa

    Andnowwhat, the party has a point on tourism and the leprechaun image – that is exactly how many of us feel. Tourism is being used to force through an all-Ireland agenda and image to tourists which many of us feel absolutely no connection to. The ignorance of tourists cannot come ahead of the interests of locals.

  • BluesJazz

    Robinson might just be kite flying with this ludicrous soundbite. Jeffrey Donaldson seems to be running with it as well.
    If they’re serious, they would do well to keep it under wraps until after the next election.

  • Bigger Picture

    Hi Turgon

    Many thanks for the welcome I take both you and Fair Deal as my inspiration for coming on board, hopefully I can replicate some of your naval historical comparisons but fear I would need to do some more reading first.

    The thing is I don’t necessarily disagree with what you say but I believe that it is too early to judge how it will turn out. However my point was that by assuming ownership and, predicated on following through with delivery, this will ultimately be better than if Robinson was to simply wash his hands of it. That with comparison to McGuinness and his comments I suppose does show more leadership and if the Maze site can be transformed into something more then I think that can only be a good thing.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    andnowwhat, I’m surprised that nationalists here haven’t kicked up a fuss about Northern Ireland’s apparent exclusion from The Gathering:

    The Gathering has many stakeholders, partners and supporters, including Government departments, State bodies, local authorities, local development companies, private businesses, the global Irish community and the tourism industry. The initiative is also fully supported by Fáilte Ireland and Tourism Ireland.

    The state in question is very clearly Ireland-26, not Ireland-32; visitors are directed to Dublin, East and Midlands, South and South-West, North and North-West; go to Kerry, not Derry.

  • tacapall

    Interesting post BP a sign of whats to come.

    Robinson appears to have seized the initiative from Sinn Fein and taken ownership of a project that will be “representative of the Troubles as a whole rather than the narrow interpretation that some would have liked it to have.”

    I take it you’ve mastered the art of mind reading.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    anw I’m not sure why Robinson thinks it worthwhile to make these facile gestures, as he surely knows few nationalists give any credulity to him when they can see what his party are doing [re their ‘Gathering’ response.and jeffrey’s predictable knee jerk reply to the comments about SoS. I could have written it in advance myself.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Turgon. Robinson’s sudden new-found is made a nonsense of by Nigel Dodds telling comment before the 2007 leap into bed with shinners. Dodds used the phrase ‘no matter how it is dressed up, it will be a shrine’ Not much room for movement there. Perhaps Robbo has short memory syndrome.

  • Dec

    Nevin

    I wouldn’t get too exercised. Their website has Nordie notables such as Liam Neeson and Stephen Rea promoting the event. Here’s the former:

    ‘Being Irish and a citizen of the world, has made me truly appreciate Irish culture, music and history. Whether you’re first, second generation Irish or even with no connection to Ireland, you should visit in 2013 for a unique experience.’

    Whether it’s in Kerry or Derry, it matters not.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Slugger bloggers, perhaps one of you could do a thread on either all-island tourism promotion in general or The Gathering in particular; the whole arena appears to be a right shambles.

  • http://WindowsIDHotmail danielsmoran

    Tapacall. Funny how what some unionists want the shrine to be seen as, becomes what they decide it becomes. Nice work if you can get it.

  • Granni Trixie

    I have strong reservations about the “interpretations” to be conducted in this centre. LIkely to be same old,same old sectarian versions of events. The Hunger strike is a good example. Will the stories of people in say WB who opposed it be recorded? Will evidence of intimidation at that time be recorded? What about stories of people who identify with the middle ground?
    (btw, my understanding is that APNI supports the initiative).

  • tyrone_taggart

    Bigger Picture:

    You did not answer your own question. Do you agree with Ian Paisley or not?

    “As Ian Paisley said to me when during our first meeting, ‘Martin, we can rule ourselves, we do not need these direct rule ministers coming over here telling us what to do’.

  • Bigger Picture

    tt

    What question of mine would this be?

    Your quote refers to direct rule ministers in charge of departments now run by the NI exec, not the NIO or SoS.

    In that context yes I do agree with Ian Paisley.

  • carl marks

    ayeYerMa (profile)
    1 May 2012 at 12:23 pm

    “Andnowwhat, the party has a point on tourism and the leprechaun image – that is exactly how many of us feel. Tourism is being used to force through an all-Ireland agenda and image to tourists which many of us feel absolutely no connection to. The ignorance of tourists cannot come ahead of the interests of locals”.
    Typical of unionists to be so rude about other cultures, I’m sure the souvenir shops will be selling tee shirts with little people on them but most visitors here know that Darby O’Gill and the little people was a pretty bad movie.
    Most tourists will come for the music, the beauty of the island, to see the places were Joyce and Yeats done their thing, and the craic, In other words the culture which is justly famous around the world.
    The interests of locals are jobs and a wage to pay their mortgage with. It doesn’t really matter what you feel a connection to it; it’s what the tourists (you know the people with the money) want to see.
    most of the world doesn’t know NI exists and come to see Ireland, the republic tourism industry is well ahead of NI in these matters and wither you like it or not working with them is the only way to build up our tourism base, if NI wants to go it alone it will need a lot of time a awful lot of talent and a awful awful lot of money.
    The gathering could bring a lot of visitors to both parts of the island and a lot of cash as well but if you would rather pretend that NI is an island with no cultural or historical links with the ROI. you carry on the rest of us are getting on with the 21st century and are quite happy to invite visitors to both parts of the island and squeeze as many dollars Euros or pounds out of them as possible.

  • http://www.secondnature.ie Michael

    Some of the contributors to this site could get jobs in it as guides – you could do a proddy version of Northern Ireland’s criminal insurgency in the mornings with all the conspiracies and how crap they are stories and then in the afternoon do the taigy version of the freedom struggle with all the victimy stuff.

    There could be a nightly ritual cresendo with a ceremony like the closing of the India / Pakistan border with boos and jeers as audience participation. Of course only to be followed with a big come all ye where everyone holds hands and shows how we really all do get along and how we have way more in common with each other than with anyone else in the room from anywhere else in the world but how it took opening an international centre to see it.

    I wonder why he chose to call it Mecca as well? I’m wondering what a big bingo hall for reconciliation would look like. Any takers for bingo caller?

    Of course in the other Mecca they chuck stones at the devil too!

  • tyrone_taggart

    “Your quote refers to direct rule ministers in charge of departments ”

    The quote was from Martin Mc Guinness and it was in relation to the NIO.

    I am glad you know all the facts better than Martin. Could you post up your evidence to support your claim it only “refers to direct rule ministers in charge of departments now run by the NI exec”.

  • Bigger Picture

    tt

    It was said at the time of devolution and referred to devolution. Maybe just maybe McGuinness is spinning it to sound like the DUP are on board???

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “Whether it’s in Kerry or Derry, it matters not.”

    Sorry, Dec, I almost missed your post. Dolores Kelly was the one who got exercised; she put down the motion. It seems Dublin did a solo run for the South rather than an all-island venture in collaboration with Belfast.

  • Bigger Picture

    *Paisley’s comment not McGuinness’ obviously

  • tyrone_taggart

    Bigger Picture

    “It was said at the time of devolution and referred to devolution.”

    In other words you do not know and are only speculating what you think the words meant. Can you even point to any quote from Ian Paisley in which he felt that no more powers should be given to the NI executive when he became first minister? I cannot think of any politician who when taking office said they would not take more powers if it was possible.

    Martin Mc Guinness:
    “As Ian Paisley said to me when during our first meeting, ‘Martin, we can rule ourselves, we do not need these direct rule ministers coming over here telling us what to do’.

  • http://diaryarticles.blogspot.com/ articles

    I went to see Lloyd Webber’s/Ben Elton’s musical “the boys in the photograph” again last night in Lisburn Arts Centre. A superb musical, it tells the story of a West Belfast Catholic youth football team in the 70’s. A mixed audience cheered it to the rafters.

    And now to the point, it would make a superb centrepiece in the conflict centre and there could be an annual musical theatre summer school and production. It is a high energy, large cast production which could be linked to workshops and the like.I could almost write the funding application now.

    Well if we canna have a football stadium we can at least have the footie musical, some of the songs are both anthemic and genuinely terracey, and some beautifully lyrical.

    But following on from Michael above I like the idea of regular audience participation events Pakistan/ India border style, perhaps we could build a stand for each community either side and when the evening events were over we could watch a football match and not tell them uns in Belfast.

  • Bigger Picture

    “At our first meeting”

    I wonder if that was in and around the time of devolution? Saying that a secret rendezvous may have been going on for years before that who knows?!?!?

    Anyway this is missing the point. The fact of the matter is that Peter Robinson is FM and Ian Paisley is in the Lords. Therefore whatever way MMG wants to spin it, for spinning is what he is doing, it’s simply something that just isn’t going to fly. End of the matter

  • tyrone_taggart

    Bigger Picture

    I will let others judge your spinning on Martins words.

    You clearly do not even have a clue when the words was spoken.

    You clearly think that there is no way it will ever happen.

    I have a simple question in light of your view. Which powers if granted to Scotland short of full Independence the DUP would not want to have for Northern Ireland?

  • JH

    Bigger Picture
    “it’s simply something that just isn’t going to fly. End of the matter”

    Except it really isn’t the end of the matter.

    But like everything else, getting Unionists to move outside their comfort zone takes time, so you seed the idea early.

    It’ll die for a year maybe. Then we’ll hear about it again and all of a sudden the likes of Peter Robinson will be all for it.

    Just like the Maze conflict centre.

  • Dec

    Nevin

    My reading was more that Dolores felt tourism in the North wasn’t capitalizing on ‘the Gathering’. You have to admire Arlene’s straight-faced response when claiming Ni will have all the tourists it can handle with the World Fire and Police games.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    Dec, Tourism Ireland is tasked and funded by Dublin and Belfast to promote tourism on the island of Ireland; Dolores wouldn’t have had to raise the issue if Dublin had left it to Tourism Ireland to organise ‘The Gathering’ for the island.

    Has TI moved into a ‘partitionist’ mode? It’s currently promoting NI 2012 and then it will be shifting its emphasis to (Republic of) Ireland ‘The Gathering’ 2013.

    The Tourism Ireland website is very poor when it comes to, say, US visitors flying here. For example, my relations in Seattle can’t enter ‘seattle’ to find a flight, never mind the best deal. They would usually come via London and Belfast but TI only shows those flights that come direct and the departure airports.