Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

New Mayor seeks to return Belfast to Unionist Past

Tue 5 June 2012, 9:46am

It is more than a tad ironic that, 12 months after Sinn Fein faced unionist criticism for nominating a 25-year old as Mayor of Belfast, the DUP selected 27-year old Gavin Robinson as their choice for Belfast Mayor earlier this month.

The youthful DUP figure has already failed the first key test, once again illustrating the width of the chasm between the Robinson rhetoric regarding unionist outreach and the reality on the ground.

During his tenure in office, Mayor O’Donnghaile placed a copy of the 1916 Proclamation in the Mayor’s Parlour alongside a portrait of the British Queen. An additional portrait of Prince Phillip and a picture associated with the United Irishmen were also kept in the parlour.

 It was a powerful symbol of the shared nature of the new Belfast and, predictably, was opposed by those not too enamoured to the notion of a city shared by both of the main traditions in a place where unionists ensured that more than 100 years would pass before the first nationalist mayor would be installed in office.

Accordingly, the new Mayor Robinson has announced that he will be removing the copy of the 1916 Proclamation to return the chamber “to its original state.”

Interestingly, he attempted to explain his actions by suggesting that the 1916 Rebellion and Proclamation had nothing to do with Belfast.

Here’s the Mayor:

I don’t think the Irish Proclamation has any relevance to the city of Belfast. It has resonance, absolutely with members of the nationalist and republican community, but there is no Belfast connection.

As a student of Irish politics, I’m somewhat surprised that the Mayor is unaware that two of the signatories of the Proclamation were residents of Belfast for a period of time: James Connolly lived on the Falls Road and Sean McDiarmada lived in Butler Street, Ardoyne.

Furthermore, the criteria of a direct connection with Belfast would appear to rule out the retention of portraits of Queen Elizabeth II or the return of portraits of Prince Charles or the Queen Mother, who have only ever had the most fleeting of visits to Belfast.

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Comments (70)

  1. pauluk (profile) says:

    O’Donnghaile’s placing of a copy of the 1916 Proclamation in the Mayor’s Parlour alongside a portrait of the British Queen was clearly a provocation and did nothing to heal divisions, it merely exacerbated them.

    It is wishful thinking that there will ever be a 32 county republic. It’s a pipr dream. I think the UK’s extremely magnanimous decision to include the ROI in the Olympic torch run shows how generous it remains to the black sheep in the family. You will be welcome back to the fold any time!

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  2. Drumlins Rock (profile) says:

    I take it your not enjoying the Jubilee coverage Chris, hence the obcessive need to post petty stories on here, still waiting for your comments of the Guildhall Square protest and IRA / GAA childrens medals.

    Using your logic of signatories places of occasional abode then the Isle of Wight & Cape Town (Tom Clarke) and New York / New Jersey for George/Edward Coll / de Valeroswould all have copies up.

    How about a compromise? Belfast could in return have an Isreali Declaration of Independance in its wall along side the Republican one, in honour of a former citizen & Isreali President Chaim Herzog .http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chaim_Herzog

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  3. dwatch (profile) says:

    Chris, the shinners have only another year to wait until they elect another SF Mayor & they can reverse the pantomine all over again.

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  4. bacach (profile) says:

    It seems that the new Mayor is fairly well in step with Unionist feeling as articulated on Slugger. There is still a big problem accommodating republican icons or respecting republicans in public buildings.

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  5. Drumlins Rock (profile) says:

    thats because this isn’t a republic, doh.

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  6. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    The DUP are so bad at this kind of stuff. They really should take a leaf from the Sinn Fein (Green) book. The Lord Mayor should have invited a member of the CBSI to City Hall for a photo op with the ’1916 Proclamation’ (the document that unleashed so many pogroms against Protestants in the Lost 26).

    When the child arrives the Lord Mayor could have hidden in the toilet, classic Shinner there, hung about for an hour or so and then have some minor official to tell the kid to feck off.

    Now that would have been a good yarn to recount.

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  7. pauluk (profile) says:

    I’ve just realised what you are at, Chris. You are trying to create a distraction from the despicable behaviour of your dissident republican friends in Derry!

    Now I understand your faux indignation.

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  8. Michael Shilliday (profile) says:

    Removing portrait of the Queen = good. Removing proclamation = bad.
    Quitting early to avoid meeting the head of state = good. Showing some respect for the head of state by having the odd picture on display = bad.

    It truly is pathetic Chris.

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  9. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    Chris is doing what Chris does, we should expect others to cover stories that put dingbats of the Irish nationalism/nationalists persuasion in the spotlight.
    I suppose the usual suspects are too busy enjoying the jubilee celebrations and it’s extra days hols it has given to us, republicans and all.
    one thought on the matter
    2011 sf
    2012 dup
    2013 Paddy?
    2014 Brit?
    2015 Paddy?

    2016 Brit?
    behind the sceens deal required, to stop red face’s all round.

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  10. foyle observer (profile) says:

    Who really cares? Seems the Unionists of this thread are getting wound up more than the Republicans mind you.

    Let him put his wee picture of Liz up on the wall, sure we’ve finally succeeded in removing the presence of the Butchers Apron on City Hall 365 days of the year.

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  11. the future's bright, the future's orange (profile) says:

    ‘Drumlins Rock (profile) 5 June 2012 at 10:36 am
    I take it your not enjoying the Jubilee coverage Chris, hence the obcessive need to post petty stories on here, still waiting for your comments of the Guildhall Square protest and IRA / GAA childrens medals.’

    ah come on now drumlins, you can’t expect poor Chris to have a dig at his mates in the GA. Now if it was the IFA giving out medals with Billy Wright on them his computer would have caught fire through furious typing by now lol.

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  12. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    foyle, surely when that deal is done, the union flag will still fly on some days, and therefore it would only have been removed for less that 365 days a year.

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  13. ranger1640 (profile) says:

    Republicans/shinners get all distracted and faux offence. That a proclamation exclaiming the forced removal of the Unionist people from the island of Ireland, is removed form the City Hall in this part of the United Kingdom.

    Contrast that faux offence with republicans/shinners going on radio and giving their full backing to the gaa in their out reach to the Protestant, Unionist, Loyalist community. By handing out medals of an ira terrorist to a group of under 12′s. How did the gaa team and the shinner know that there were no children from the PUL community in the teams??? Are the gaa so confident that they have excluded the PUL community form the gaa they can hold such competitions and dish out medals????

    This is not an isolated incident according to Raymond McCartney, Londonderry provo and shinner. If this is the gaa, at their best in their out reach to the PUL community, they certainly don’t do irony.

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  14. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    More Punch and Judy play acting between DUP and Sinn Fein, or as the ancient Romans would have it, ‘bread and circuses’, irrelevant stunts to distract the dummies while the economy and society goes down the pan.
    A much more relevant document in the Mayor’s parlour than the 1916 Proclamation drafted by a self appointed micro group “claiming the allegiance of the Irish people” would be the Preamble to the 1998 Good Friday Agreement. But, of course, Sinn Fein never endorsed the Agreement.

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  15. MonkDeWallyDeHonk (profile) says:

    PaulUK

    “I think the UK’s extremely magnanimous decision to include the ROI in the Olympic torch run”

    How much involvement is “Norn Iron” having in the Olympics then? Watching it on the TV – seems that Great Britain is being magnamimous to the North as well – so much for being an integral part of the UK.

    Lamhdearg2

    I think the more pertinent point is that you can only fly it on certain days although most Unionists would want to fly it all the time. Hardly as British as Finchley is it? Although as most sensible people have recognised – British people have never considered NI to be as British as Fichley and never will.

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  16. Comrade_Trotsky (profile) says:

    @The future’s bright

    Martin McCaughey to quote Wikipedia was ‘a talented Gaelic football player who played for local side Galbally Pearses and was also selected for the Tyrone minor Gaelic team’. That is the sole reason his image was struck on the Galbally medals. However, I don’t recall Mr Wright featuring in any Irish League soccer squads so your attempt at equating the two is flawed.

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  17. Hopping The Border (profile) says:

    SoS

    “(the document that unleashed so many pogroms against Protestants in the Lost 26).”

    Did one of those pogroms include electing a Protestant as the first President?

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  18. ranger1640 (profile) says:

    Reading Chris’ post the shinner cliche counter is on.

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2012/06/01/hearts-and-minds-starting-a-conversation-to-have-a-conversation/comment-page-2/#comment-1087482

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  19. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    As a matter of curiosity what modern Irish republican symbols would Unionists not complain about in the Mayor’s Parlour?

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  20. Obelisk (profile) says:

    This farce is endless.

    Maybe every time a Nationalist Lord Mayor is elected he should clear the chamber of everything Unionist and British? Then when a Unionist Lord Mayor comes along he can clear out everything that is Nationalist and Irish.

    Both sides can do this ad infinitum, although with Belfast well on the way to becoming a Nationalist city, Nationalist symbols will end up pre-dominating (Alliance mayors I suspect will either strive for a balance of symbols or will opt not to touch the changes the previous Mayor made in an attempt to stand above the fray).

    OR we can go for the hollow, self-abnegating and soulless option of no symbols whatsoever. If nobody is happy then everyone is a winner.

    Personally I hope they’d take a sane third option. That is, recognise that in this place, symbols matter, and that there should be an agreed list of symbols recongising the diversity of all communities in Belfast, therefore making the Mayor’s office and by extension City Hall a shared space.

    I do believe Symbols matter, because people believe they matter. To simply say they don’t and that politicians should be focusing on more pressing and indeed real issues is to close your eyes to the issue and wish it away. It is an abdication of responsibility. And it really needs to be dealt with in a mature way, because it really shouldn’t be a zero-sum game.

    There are solutions which ensure everyone can be a winner, the shared space option which IS advocated by Nationalist parties and to be honest insisting that your side gets 100% of the limelight isn’t a winner in the long term. Mayor Robinson is suggesting that his symbols and the symbols of his community should be good enough for everyone but that really isn’t going to wash any more, not in Belfast (where Unionists, as demonstrated via the ballot box are already in a minority) and especially in the North as a whole.

    The future is Catholic, the future is female. Remember that headline from a few months ago? We are talking about the rise of a Catholic Majority in the North that will be agnostic on the constitutional question, but who will be seeking outlets for their cultural identity in almost every sphere.

    As the minority becomes the majority, and the majority becomes the minority, issues over symbols are going to come to the fore again and again as long as nobody with enough standing is courageous enough to come forward and tackle the issue.

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  21. articles (profile) says:

    More to the point what’s with the policy of electing inexperienced politicians as Lord Mayor. Maturity comes with years of life and work experience, with knowing when and how to communicate and with whom, with learning from mistakes. It is not a stepping stone or a perk,it is a key office. Or is it? Apparently not. Just another gift in the hands of the power brokers.

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  22. RyanAdams (profile) says:

    “It is more than a tad ironic that, 12 months after Sinn Fein faced unionist criticism for nominating a 25-year old as Mayor of Belfast”

    Nonsense.

    I googled the words “unionists criticize Sinn fein mayor choice” and the first two results and another two further down the page were links to this article. Now, I’m unsure as to whether they did critisize the choice, but your the contributor, your the one who should supply the link to back up your claim, commenters shouldn’t have to trawl for it. This is either laziness or a lie, which is it?

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  23. Dec (profile) says:

    Ryan

    Try this:

    “I am all for younger people in politics but there are serious questions over councillor O’Donnghaile’s lack of experience,” said the DUP’s Christopher Stalford (28), who was first elected at 22.

    “He will have to prove himself in post and obviously there will be concerns that someone with so little experience has been elevated so quickly.

    “It raises the question about the capacity of Sinn Fein in Belfast — do they have so little confidence in their long-standing members that they have to turn to the new kid on the block?”

    Veteran UUP man Jim Rodgers, who was twice Lord Mayor, in 2001 and 2007, described the election as a publicity stunt.

    “I think part of it is that Sinn Fein are trying to command all the headlines,” he said.

    “I can foresee all sorts of problems, but I wish him well.

    “I think it’s going to be a difficult year for him, not just chairing the council but also being First Citizen.

    “You need to know what a public representative is all about.

    “And, even though he has served behind the scenes up at the Northern Ireland Assembly, you really need to have those years as a councillor behind you.

    “You cannot talk about your experiences if you don’t have any.”

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/sinn-fein-man-is-belfasts-youngest-mayor-16004881.html

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  24. Dec (profile) says:

    Also

    I’d caution anyone from doing a Google search for the phrase ‘Unionists criticize’ – you’ll break the internet.

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  25. Reader (profile) says:

    Hopping the Border: Did one of those pogroms include electing a Protestant as the first President?
    Elected? How many votes did he get?

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  26. Reader (profile) says:

    tyrone_taggart: As a matter of curiosity what modern Irish republican symbols would Unionists not complain about in the Mayor’s Parlour?
    Are there any modern Irish Republican symbols that aren’t closely associated with the armed struggle? Try one of those.

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  27. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    When it comes to talk of experience, achievement and background the new Lord Mayor (funny how Republicans seem to continually forget the ‘Lord’ bit) is a barrister. The Sinn Fein incumbent is a (ahem) ‘community worker’ and full time (?) councillor.

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  28. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘Elected? How many votes did he get?’

    He was elected unopposed. He wouldn’t be the last protestant President either.

    SOS

    The new Lord mayor is also a children’s entertainer – which is presumably where you come in?

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  29. foyle observer (profile) says:

    So, Strongbow, he has experience in Law.

    Well done on conveying a completely irrelevant point to us all.

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  30. lover not a fighter (profile) says:

    People with real problems would love to have to big up this crap to make a problem.

    If both sides continue making fools of themselves they just become older fools. These young fools have years of this tom-foolery ahead.

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  31. Hopping The Border (profile) says:

    Reader as I am sure are aware he was elected unopposed following agreement between the two main parties.

    Nevertheless your response is indicative of a certain Unionist mindset which pervades Unionists of a certain age in the North, that Ireland became a terrible place for Protestants after partition.

    So terrible they installed one as the first President!

    Devious Southerners they are, but they’ll not fool you, no sir.

    Instead of focusing on pedantics, perhaps you would address the substantive point of how and why, if the narrative that protestants were treated terribly in Ireland after partition is true, was a Protestant elected President?

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  32. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    HTP,

    Lucky for the the token Prod President he didn’t live around Dunmanway.

    Dec,

    Spot on. I certainly seem to be entertaining you sonny boy :)

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  33. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘Lucky for the the token Prod President ‘

    There’ve actually been two, including one who was born in (the horror) England.

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  34. tyrone_taggart (profile) says:

    Reader (profile)

    “Are there any modern Irish Republican symbols that aren’t closely associated with the armed struggle? Try one of those.”

    Thank you for your reply. The fact that to be a “Republican” (not the only definition) is to be prepared to fight means that no matter what sf puts in to represent there section of the people will cause offence.

    Without being crass either we will end up with no symbols or everyone agreeing that there must allow symbols that they find offensive?

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  35. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    I’d have thought that there would be room for the 1916 proclamation and the Ulster Covenant side by side in the parlour. We have our problems with both, but we can surely all agree that both are documents that played and important historical role and carry special resonance for some people.

    I’m afraid a lot of symbols, unionist and nationalist both, are associated with “armed struggle” of one form or another. I really see no sense in anyone getting on their high horse.

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  36. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    I used to keep a picture of hassan nasrallah in a drawer of my desk at work, it made me smile.

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  37. Evolve (profile) says:

    I was going to post something but Obelisk has it covered.

    If there is no agreement perhaps we could try the Nasrallah option.

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  38. Hopping The Border (profile) says:

    SoS,

    Isn’t strange to see that post partition in the South a member of the minority religion was elected President whilst in the North, various political leaders/prime ministers were making openly sectarian comments and advocating discrimination against the minority religion.

    As for Dunmanway, a tragic incident, particularly concerning those who were innocent, but if are an informer in a time of war, that is the risk you take.

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  39. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    I believe the Preamble of the Good Friday Agreement would be more relevant and more contemporary in the Mayor’s parlour. It certainly has wider democratic endorsement than either the treasonous and paranoid Covenant or the undemocratic Proclamation both with their blasphemous appeal to God to endorse their espousal of violence to achieve their respective aims.

    The decade 1912-22 was a disaster for all the people of Ireland, north and south, especially northern nationalists, and while we must learn from history and inform ourselves of these events, there is damn all to commemorate, let alone celebrate.

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  40. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    My history may be rusty but as I recall the timeline the so-called ‘War of Independence’ ended in mid 1921. The murders at Dunmanway were perpetrated in early 1922 during a period of truce and before the outbreak of the ‘Civil War’.

    Given that the ‘Irish combatants’ were a bunch of thugs, well known for murder, as at Kilmichael, I’m not surprised that they did not observe rules of war; nor that their contemporary apologists attempt to spin in an attempt to excuse their murderous exploits.

    No doubt the President of whom you speak was equally unconcerned with the deaths of fellow Irishmen and his co-religionists. The road to the Vice-regal Lodge was awash with blood for the new incumbent a little more would make a, relatively, small splash.

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  41. redhugh78 (profile) says:

    Scratch the surface of the D.U.P. (and certain other sections of unionism) and it’s not long before we find the ‘not a fenian about the place’ attitude.

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  42. Brian (profile) says:

    “That a proclamation exclaiming the forced removal of the Unionist people from the island of Ireland, is removed form the City Hall in this part of the United Kingdom. ”

    What????/ I seemed to have missed that.

    “Given that the ‘Irish combatants’ were a bunch of thugs, well known for murder, as at Kilmichael”

    Murder? As noted rebel sympathizerLloyd George said at the time, “This was a military action.”(Unless you are referring to Peter Hart’s ability to travel back in time, in which case I suggest you read a little more into Hart’s notorious use of “sources” and source material)

    Also, what pogroms do you speak of? Dunmunway (which was not a pogrom by any definition of the word )was an isolated incident, as evidenced by the statement released by a general convention of Irish Protestant churches in Dublin:
    “Apart from this incident, hostility to Protestants by reason of their religion, has been almost, if not wholly unknown, in the 26 counties in which they are a minority”

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  43. Brian (profile) says:

    As for the matter at hand, “Only in Northern Ireland”. Who cares what is there, let whomever resides in the office put whatever he wants in there. I’d like to hope that one day we have a Mayor who pays little mind to symbolic point scoring and only looks after the welfare of all people in the city.

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  44. Hopping The Border (profile) says:

    Brian,

    SoS is fixated on the notion that Ireland became entirely inhospitable for Protestants after partition, even when all the evidence points to the contrary.

    And just to point out SoS, the war had ended, but they remained informants.

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  45. Reader (profile) says:

    tyrone_taggart: The fact that to be a “Republican” (not the only definition) is to be prepared to fight means that no matter what sf puts in to represent there section of the people will cause offence.
    Eh? I asked about any modern republican symbols that weren’t associated with the armed struggle – are you really saying that there are none? Even now – 14 years after the Good Friday Agreement?
    But if that’s just a matter of definition, SF could choose one of the less bloody definitions and pick out a symbol corresponding to that.

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  46. Reader (profile) says:

    Hopping the Border: Reader as I am sure are aware he was elected unopposed following agreement between the two main parties.
    Given that he was ejected from the Senate the first time the electorate had a chance to be rid of him (having been appointed to that post too), the parties probably thought it best not to give them a chance to vote against Hyde as president.

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  47. Hopping The Border (profile) says:

    I am not denying there was a segment of the population opposed to the idea of a non RC President at that time, but the notion that the state itself was in anyway sectarian or discriminatory against any particular religion or indeed, as mentioned above in “The History of Ireland according to Son of Strongbow” there were pogroms against Irish Protestants post partition.

    Some of the rubbish I have heard on this particular subject matter since I moved here has bordered on the ridiculous and makes me wonder what “version” of history is/was taught in state schools here.

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  48. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    Htp,

    And just to point out when a war ends the killing is also by convention meant to cease. However in common with the witch hunt against (by then) many ex RIC and their families Dunmanway was par for the course.

    That being said I expect that in Irish Republican LaLa Land such happenings are merely lyrics for some keening dirge: ‘The Battle of Old Dunmanway’ perhaps.

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  49. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    “and makes me wonder what “version” of history is/was taught in state schools here.”
    we did not do any Irish history in my time at state school.anyone differ?

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  50. Jack2 (profile) says:

    As a small number of previous posters have stated its all “bread and circus” for the masses and you are lapping it up.

    Picture out. Book in.
    Picture in. Book out.
    Picture out. Book in.
    Picture in. Book out.

    How some of you are hypnotised by the ineptitude of our political masters.
    They are all political shysters who give their voters a little bit of “up them uns” to keep you tame and the money pouring in.

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  51. RyanAdams (profile) says:

    “As a matter of curiosity what modern Irish republican symbols would Unionists not complain about in the Mayor’s Parlour?”

    How about a portrait of the Irish president? That would have been the proper gesture to allow ‘parity of esteem’ allowing both head of states to be in the parlour surely, although i’m sure narrow party political considerations were prioritised.

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  52. weidm7 (profile) says:

    I presume they’re just waiting to find enough cardboard before handing out all the yellow cards for all the manplaying above? I won’t hold my breath.

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  53. Mike the First (profile) says:

    The “copy of the 1916 Proclamation” the previous Lord Mayor put up in his parlour was actually a tacky propaganda-y poster that would have looked more in keeping in the back room of a chucky bar somewhere – a decent copy of the 1916 Proclamation would have been a lot more tasteful.

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  54. Nevin (profile) says:

    “It was a powerful symbol of the shared nature of the new Belfast”

    Unionism and Nationalism in NI, by their very nature, don’t do sharing – hence my use of the ‘tug-of-war’ metaphor. ‘Reaching out’ can be viewed as both an act of generosity and an attempt to grab something possessed by someone else. The spin merchants desperately try to convey an image of the former but the dogs in the street know there isn’t a drop of generosity in the Peter and Martin act. The facade failed and will continue to fail any time the likes of Niall and Gavin are put to the test.

    The spirit of togetherness embraced by the late Ray Davey and by All Children Together is the antithesis of the real intentions and actions of the major political and religious leaders here.

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  55. Lee Reynolds (profile) says:

    “Accordingly, the new Mayor Robinson has announced that he will be removing the copy of the 1916 Proclamation to return the chamber “to its original state.”

    The basic premis of this piece is just plain wrong. He didn’t remove it or instruct for it to be removed, the outoging Lord Mayor did.

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  56. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Theres no going back and even if they did it would be of short duration . Belfast is a 50/50 city with the demographic future pointing to a city with a nationalist majority . The politicians (all of them ) need to wise up. KIng Canute failed iirc .

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  57. ayeYerMa (profile) says:

    The dichotomous ideologies of Unionism/Loyalism and “Nationalism”/”Republicanism” cannot be “equal” here in the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. This dishonest idea that they somehow can be is part of the equally dishonest and counter-productive terminology of the “peace process” which was nothing other than a completely unnecessary and pathetic face-saving excercise for the Republican surrender.

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  58. Greenflag (profile) says:

    If there was a Republican/Nationalist surrender why is there power sharing ? And why is that power sharing mandatory ?
    And why will there never ever again be ‘unionist majority ” rule in a 6 county Northern Ireland -although there could be in two county size Northern Ireland .

    So whats your alternative to the peace process then ?

    A war process ? Catch yourself on ffs!

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  59. Alias (profile) says:

    That’s assisting in the internal administration of British rule – which, in case you didn’t notice, is a totally different outcome from ending British rule. It’s a bit like you setting out to smash Goldman Sachs and ending up with a job as its regional director. ;)

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  60. neutralist (profile) says:

    There were two Protestant presidents. The second, Erskine Childers was elected the fourth President of Ireland on 30 May 1973, defeating O’Higgins by 635,867 votes to 578,771.
    There was a Lisburn Presbyterian (Ernest Blythe) deputy PM — yes he *was* duly elected — at the time of the oft-discussed events in Dumnaway.

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  61. john (profile) says:

    When I read the title of this article I assumed the new mayor had plans to dump North, West and South Belfast onto Lisburn city council to achieve his goal

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  62. Greenflag (profile) says:

    ‘It’s a bit like you setting out to smash Goldman Sachs and ending up with a job as its regional director.’

    Alas Alias -no can do . The regional directorship positions are already taken . Obama is currently holding the North American regional position and one Mitt Romney is I read amassing huge amounts of corporate dosh so that he too can be told what he can and cannot do by GS/BOA/Morgan Stanley/Citigroup etc. . Cameron clings to the British Isles regional directorship that is as long as he survives the next recession.

    You should listen more to what your parrot has to say and if your dog won’t go for walkies with you there is a solution . You put lead in it’s ear .:) Now don’t ask me how you put lead in it’s ear because the answer would upset dog lovers everywhere . You don’t hear them barking on Sunday morning if you apply the lead on Saturday night .

    Part of the solution to this financial crisis has to be a breaking up of GS and the other big banks . And if the elected politicians haven’t the cojones for the job then you’ll have to wait for GS or one of the others etc to self destruct and take the world economy back to the 1930′s with the accompanying political extremism of the right and left that that will entail. California is just Greece in waiting .

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  63. Greenflag (profile) says:

    @ neutralist

    ‘There were two Protestant presidents. ‘

    And I read this morning that Ballymena has elected it’s first Nationalist Mayor .Wonders will never cease .

    President Childer’s father was not just a Protestant but an Englishman who for a variety of reasons ended up being executed by Irish Free State Government forces for being a ‘republican’. Author of “Riddle of the Sands’ his life history gives an insight to the complexities of the ‘damnable issue ‘ back in the early 20th century and has resonance even today .
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Robert_Erskine_Childers

    “I have come back,” he wrote to Basil Williams, “finally and immutably a convert to Home Rule…though we both grew up steeped in the most irreconcilable sort of Unionism.”

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  64. Greenflag (profile) says:

    @ Alias ,

    ‘ It got so bad that one time I phoned The Samaritans but they just hung up.’

    Don’t take it personal .Anyway go visit them in person .If my geography is right they should be quite close to you :)

    ‘Jehovah’s Witnesses make their excuses and leave’

    You have found the motherlode . This is a character trait worth having . Whats the secret ? I’ve recently been plagued by these godshites almost once a fortnight . When they hand me the “Watchtower’ I tell them I enjoyed the Beano and Dandy as a child and their comic will remind me of my childhood :) When I point out the works of Charles Darwin , and the latest scientific research into the origins of the the universe etc etc I am met by absent and vacant stares . The fact that only 144,000 seats are reserved for God’s chosen in heaven appears not to faze them one iota .When told that approx 90 billion humans have lived and died on the Earth since man evolved and that 144,000 divided by 90 billion are very slim odds to back on a seat in the front row their eyes glaze over into that brainwashed mode of those who have seen only the one light :(

    As a kid I used to be embarassed by my Dad slamming the door shut in their faces although he refrained from using the customary expletive ending in off . Now I think he may have been doing them and himself a favour ;)

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  65. lamhdearg2 (profile) black spot black spot says:

    now about a polite, no thank you.

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  66. Mister Joe (profile) says:

    My tactic is to tell them that I have a pot boiling and will turn the gas off and be back in a tick. Then I shut the door and go read a book or watch the telly. They catch on eventually although I had two idiots who hung around in hope for 15 minutes.

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  67. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Mister Joe

    Now thats cruel :(

    Consider Bernard of Black Books approach

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v6TeDM-wlZ4

    @lamhdearg ,

    Polite no thank you’s don’t work . Tried it several times but they mistake ‘politeness’ for possible interest :(

    A friend has suggested I start giving them copies of Charles Darwin’s ‘Origins of the Species’ in exchange for their comic and invite them to a scientific discourse on the relative merits of creationism vis a vis evolution once they’ve read Mr Darwin’s opum magnus in it’s entirety

    He states he did it once and they never came back .Might not work in my case or could become expensive given the personnel turnover among these poor demented witnesses is higher than at the local McDonalds .

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  68. Alias (profile) says:

    “Part of the solution to this financial crisis has to be a breaking up of GS and the other big banks . And if the elected politicians haven’t the cojones for the job then you’ll have to wait for GS or one of the others etc to self destruct and take the world economy back to the 1930′s with the accompanying political extremism of the right and left that that will entail. California is just Greece in waiting .” – Greenflag

    If the bank is too big to fail and the state is too small to bail it it out then the solution is not to make the bank smaller but to make the state bigger. You do this by merging the smaller states into a larger state.

    At any rate, that is the solution that the international chairman of Goldman Sachs, Peter Sutherland, is advocating.

    The most important function left for eurozone nations and their impotent states is simply to sacrifice the last remnants of their sovereignty in order to prevent “economic and financial crisis” among corporations such as Goldman Sachs.

    As the EU has successfully convinced those nations that their future prosperity is inextricably linked to the wealth of said corporations and has also successfully undermined their respect for democracy, it is unlikely the public will resist whatever servitude is made a condition of avoiding the collapse of Goldman Sachs, et al.

    Folks were warned many, many times about what would happen to them if they gave their sovereignty away to others who did not share their national interest and would not promote it, but now they’re all about to find out the hard way…

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  69. Greenflag (profile) says:

    ‘If the bank is too big to fail and the state is too small to bail it it out then the solution is not to make the bank smaller but to make the state bigger. You do this by merging the smaller states into a larger state.’

    There is no bigger single State in terms of economic and political power than the USA and yet even they (as in their political system ) have become enslaved by their financial services sector including not just the big five banks but also AIG the insurance behemoth which in 2008 put a gun to Treasury Secretary Paulson’s head at the time and told him that they were going to be ‘insolvent’ within 4 hours and that he (Paulson ) had better bail them out or else .

    The financial services sector has 5,000 lobbyists in Washington almost 6 for every Congressman or Senator and they have been spending /bribing the politicians for the past three decades to get legislation passed which favoured their ‘industry’ over all others . From the Glass Steagal Act to the Commodities Act they have ensured the ‘impotence’ of the political system .Even Clinton who signed the Glass Steagal Act now ‘regrets ‘ his decision .

    And yet where is the USA economy today ? Were it not still the world reserve currency it would be in a worse state than Greece . The USA (and the UK ) are both at the mercy of Merkel’s Euro policies . If she sticks to ‘austerity’ then Obama may not get a second term and if she eases up she won’t make it past her re-election either .

    Despite the much vaunted ‘sovereignty’ the USA with interest rates at all times low still languishes under 15% real unemployment or more in some states – and totters again on the brink of recession while the number of property foreclosures continues to hold back the construction sector which was the ‘engine’ which lifted the USA out of 7 of the last 8 recessions .

    With interest rates so low business should be investing but it isn’t and the reason it isn’t is because American ‘spending ‘ has declined and more and more Americans are opting out of the dream /nightmare of home ownership as they will never be able to afford a home of their own due to low earnings , lack of savings etc etc . Even the much hyped flexibility of the American workforce has been halved in recent years for a variety of reasons but chiefly because of unemployment , negative equity property , health care volatility etc etc .

    As to

    ‘it is unlikely the public will resist whatever servitude is made a condition of avoiding the collapse of Goldman Sachs, et al’

    I would’nt bet on that . History is replete with the bones of those who said ‘nothing ‘ will change and ‘nothing ‘ can be done . From the Bourbons to the Romanov’s to the Nazis and the old European Empires they have all been swept away and so too will the current ‘reign ‘ of plutocratic banksters and their servile political lickspittles !

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  70. Alias (profile) says:

    The key difference this time around is eurozone states don’t have the sovereign power to act on their own initiative and the public can’t confer that power on the state by the simple expedient of disposing of the “servile political lickspittles” since all possible governments have been reduced to the status of “servile political lickspittles” by constitutional amendments wherein the public duly stripped its own state of its former sovereign power.

    The public is irrelevant and its redundant national interest is of no further consequence, and it has voted to make itself irrelevant.

    Unless it wants to vote itself out of the EU and amend its constitution to return sovereign power to the state and the people, it’s simply a case of accepting the terms of its own self-imposed servitude.

    True, they can dream about a messiah overturning the tables if it helps but the reality is that they are impotent to effect change, tanks to giving their sovereignty away.

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