Republicans in sectarian attack on Protestant church in Glenavy…

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And since we’ve been at it all week (ignoring the real world for the narrowing ground of symbol), here’s what I hope is the kicker to a bad week for Northern Ireland:

A Church of Ireland church in County Antrim has been daubed with IRA slogans in a sectarian attack. The republican slogans were painted onto the church and the church hall in Glenavy, near Crumlin. Threats to two named individuals from the area were also daubed on to the walls.

Two questions come to mind. Do those making this attack understand that most those being threatened or attacked by loyalist mobs earlier in the week were Protestants? Do they know the founders of Irish Republicanism were also Protestant? Either they don’t, or may be they do and simply don’t care.

You have to wonder what’s happened to Irish Republicanism’s commitment to the unity of the Irish people. Micheal Martin speaking at his party’s commemoration at Wolf Tone’s grave in Ballyboden was pretty harsh on the continued veneration of the ‘war’ amongst Northern Republicans:

As the First Minister Peter Robinson said in a largely unreported speech this week, “Sinn Fein wants devolution but they don’t want any of the difficult decisions that come with it.” Playing politics and putting their party interest first is a consistent part of their ideology – something we see every day in the Dáil.

They have also refused to acknowledge the founding logic of the peace process – which is that the campaign of violence and division was wrong. Today they sell t-shirts and mugs with “IRA Undefeated Army” on them. They glorify the Provisional’s campaign, including some of the worst atrocities. They are trying to have it both ways of demanding to be treated just like any party but refusing to be open about their past or apologise for it.

What is actively dangerous about this is what it says to others that might be foolish enough to want to keep their tradition going.

The controversy this week began with a rushing of the City Hall by a loyalist mob who then went on a fairly organised and mobile rampage against the one of the few parties still recognisably standing in the middle ground of politics.

It ends with a politically illiterate attack on a Protestant church in rural south Antrim. Luckily for the ‘activists’ there were no cameras around, and sadly for the small Protestant community that’s it target, it will not gain anything like the traction one band marching in a cricle outside St Patrick’s Church in Donegall Street got.

Dirty War by other means anyone?

  • zemblan

    @Comrade Stalin

    ‘There are people who would identify themselves as republicans who hold the views represented by the graffiti…’

    So if I spray ‘William Hague rulz’ on a park bench, it will actually mean that William Hague sprayed the bench? You know, I’m quite sure Loyalists and Republicans have a decent grasp of the English language. Both have the ability to spray graffiti for their own political evidence.

    Ergo: I think we need far harder evidence that presumed authorial intent!

  • Comrade Stalin

    zemblan,

    I’ve been in conversations with nationalists and republicans who have said things like “wait until we’re the majority, we’ll make the unionists regret what they did”. I do not pretend that this is a mainstream view within republicanism but the view exists and like I said nationalists need to stop denying it.

  • zemblan

    @Comrade Stalin

    ‘I’ve been in conversations with nationalists and republicans who have said things like “wait until we’re the majority, we’ll make the unionists regret what they did”’

    I have been in many conversations with nationalist and republicans and that sentiment has never been uttered. Most people who nominally refer to themselves as nationalists and republicans are in fact ordinary people with no concerted normative or political agenda. They certainly vote according to what they think is right – that is, what accords to historical attitudes of what is right – but that does not mean that they hold rigid ideological positions. Now, I’ve never been in conversation with a hardcore republican – and doubtless some of those people hold immoderate views on the current political situation in Norther Ireland – but I’m quite that the views of such a person would not gain currency in the public marketplace of ideas.

    ‘I do not pretend that this is a mainstream view within republicanism but the view exists and like I said nationalists need to stop denying it.’

    You need to be careful here. That a particular view has been expressed to you is no reason as to why a generality of people should ‘admit’ or even know of its existence. You say that you have no illusions about the view in question being ‘mainstream’ and yet you ask ‘nationalists’ – a constituency of the mainstream – to refrain from denying its ‘secretive’ utterance. Which, of course, makes no sense whatsoever.

  • antamadan

    I presume that all nationalist/republican politicians asked would just condem the disgraceful grafitti on the protestant church; & that none of them would attempt to negate the attack by talking about ‘provocation’…….

  • Mick Fealty

    What provocation? And we’re talking about a deliberate form of intimidation of a minority community here, not just an attack.

    The search for some form of equivalence here to other events is futile and besides the point. We’ve been through this all before a dozen times with different stories over the years.

    Always we get denials. And the stories are always depicted as distractions from other stories that Slugger is already giving full weight to. It is a story in its own right and deserves its own weight.

    In my view this is a nasty underside to northern republicanism’s heavy reliance on the demographic card. It is far from inherently republican, but it is a strand. A well established one.

    I’m not sure what a functional liberal republican response to it could should be. Gestures, I suspect, will be welcome, but not enough in themselves to turn attacks like this off completely.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    The presumption that it was supporters of the IRA who did this despicable act has to be the default. To say “well, it could have been supporters of the DUP who did it to discredit themmuns” is stupid, to say the least.

  • Kevsterino

    Mick, I think the functional liberal republican response would be to help the folks at the church get rid of the damage to their walls. I’m not sure what can be done for the two named individuals, if anything. The only way to help them, I assume, would be to find and name the perpetrators, if they can.

  • zemblan

    @Mister_Joe

    ‘The presumption that it was supporters of the IRA who did this despicable act has to be the default. To say “well, it could have been supporters of the DUP who did it to discredit themmuns” is stupid, to say the least.’

    Actually, no. The default response is to find evidence of who carried out the act and to punish them to the full extent of the law. If we cannot find what person or group of persons were involved then it is difficult to judge who is to blame. It is perfectly feasible that a Republican sympathiser would scrawl Loyalist slogans on a wall in order to elicit anger in his own community – which would clearly pass as a cynical attempt at manipulating the attitudes of the wider community in his or her favour. It may even help to recruit people to a particular cause.

    Evidence must come before judgement, and the evidence in this case is clearly thin on the ground.

    @Mick Fealty

    ‘In my view this is a nasty underside to northern republicanism’s heavy reliance on the demographic card.’

    Can you elaborate on this point a bit more?

  • Mick Fealty

    In another post tomorrow, if I get time…

  • zemblan

    Thanks Mike!

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    zemblan,

    Obviously there has to be evidence before anyone is charged. But surely you’re not going to deny that people make presumptions regardless, be they right or wrong. That’s what folks do..

  • zemblan

    @Mister_Joe

    ‘Obviously there has to be evidence before anyone is charged. But surely you’re not going to deny that people make presumptions regardless, be they right or wrong. That’s what folks do..’

    You are absolutely right. I wouldn’t dispute that at all. But I would add one further thing: presumptions without solid evidence are just that – presumptions. And no good case can be built on them.

    I’d far rather wait to hear from witnesses (parishioners, people living in the community, passersby..etc) before I’d make a definitive call on this. My initial impression, much like yours, was that this whole thing was concocted by disgruntled Republicans; and that remains a viable possibility. But it is too early to call at this stage.

  • Alias

    “Can you elaborate on this point a bit more?”

    If you need the elaboration then you unwittingly underscore his point – which is that so-called ‘republicans’ are still playing a futile zero-sum game when the real game can only ever conclude in a draw, i.e. an agreed Ireland.

    It isn’t just so-called ‘republicans’ who have to agree to it among themselves when they reach what they think is a magic number. It has to be agreed with unionists and with the Irish. If you think the Irish want a half million or so unionists in their state who don’t want to be in it, think again. The Irish won’t vote for it until at least 70-80% of unionists can agree to new constitutional arrangements, and it has nothing to do with what 51% of any mythical value that is 100% ‘republican’ headcount.

    As others have pointed out, there is a very nasty undercurrent there of persecuting protestant minorities in remote places in NI. Any minority looking at that would think long and carefully about agreeing to be a minority in some zero-sum Ireland…

    Not that you really have to worry about that since you’ll be long dead before it ever comes into play.

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    Zemblan,

    If you want the reliance on demographics in black and white track down a book edited by Norman Porter and published in 1998 for the bicentenary of the United Irish rising. It’s a series of reflections on what republicanism meant to people in 1998. Look at Mitchell McLaughlin’s piece. It’s nakedly about demographics.

  • Eire32

    The creation of NI was “nakedly about demographics”. The only way of getting a UI is by referendum and Catholics are much more likely to vote for such a thing. That demographic is growing and fast and it’s utterly natural to keep an eye on it.

  • derrydave

    Despite a number of posters being suspicious of the source of this graffiti, it’s noteworthy that everyone has condemned this. The actions of a mindless few idiots – not politically significant in any way. I would join everyone in condemning this absolutely, however do find it strange that such an unimportant act of local lunacy by likely one or two teenage numbnuts is given such prominence in a political forum. In fact the act of even creating this topic by Mick could quite justifiably be described as ‘whataboutery’, given the reality of what is going on in NI at the moment (events of great political significance).
    Hopefully another bored 12 year-old doesn’t save his pocket money to buy a spray can in some other nondescript town / village in the north in the next week – otherwise we’ll have to spend another few hundred comments analysing the political significance of other teenage acts of revolution and intimidation !

  • zemblan

    ‘If you need the elaboration then you unwittingly underscore his point – which is that so-called ‘republicans’ are still playing a futile zero-sum game when the real game can only ever conclude in a draw, i.e. an agreed Ireland.’

    This argument only works on the basis that I have already revealed my political affiliations, and quite simply, I haven’t. And for the record: I entirely agree with you when you talk of an agreed Ireland. Unification, if that is the goal of the people, can only come about if those engaged in the political arena are willing to engage in shared discussion, shared institutions, and a democratically reifying mandate. Unilateral action or inaction of any sort, for short-term or longterm strategical advantage (or oneupmanship) is a negative and patently non-democratic activity. So you have no argument from me.

    ‘If you think the Irish want a half million or so unionists in their state who don’t want to be in it, think again.’

    When did I ‘think’ this in the first place? (Again, you are ascribing a set political affiliation to my posts – one that I have not declared. I have consistently made the point that further investigation is needed in order to substantiate the claims made against republicans in Glenavy. This does not mean that I support the republican movement. It is merely an appeal for more evidence before a definitive judgement can be made.) As for the question concerning unification, there is no doubt that the Republic of Ireland would be against it at this point in time: partly due to financial reasons and partly due to the fact that there is no overwhelming mandate for such a move in Northern Ireland (people are far more interested in issues of universal value – health, education, employment – at this point in time).

    ‘As others have pointed out, there is a very nasty undercurrent there of persecuting protestant minorities in remote places in NI. Any minority looking at that would think long and carefully about agreeing to be a minority in some zero-sum Ireland…’

    There is no excuse for persecuting any group of people in any part of the country. We are all fundamentally the same and only idiotic political squabbles stand in the way of our realising this fact. If it so happens that republicans have persecuted protestant minorities in Glenavy, then they must be held to account: as must any group that attempts to violate the rights of others. Who could possibly object to this fundamental principle of justice?

    ‘Not that you really have to worry about that since you’ll be long dead before it ever comes into play.’

    It is all down to what the people want. What I want simply doesn’t come into it. The will of the people to decide their fate through the use of democratic institutions is he hallmark of democracy. And as I am a democrat, so I am prepared to respect the wishes of the people. There is therefore no reason for you to use such a contemptuous tone with me; it is a tone that assumes too much and which is evidently based on some irrational fear of personal assimilation. As you make clear above, an agreed Ireland is the only type of Ireland that is tolerable to all people. I see nothing wrong with that. But if the meantime people wish to live in the UK, and they are utterly opposed to unification, then that is fine also.

  • Lionel Hutz

    The fact of the matter is that majority nationalist towns and villages in the north are much more neutral than unionist majority areas. Any reasonable person would have to observe that. That’s whether you compare the likes of Derry and Newry to Ballymena and Lisburn and until recently Belfast. Or you take the small villages. Drive from Protestant Killen to Catholic Killeter in West Tyrone. From Portadown to Armagh. I drive to any town with a court in it due to my job and the difference is staggering. When’s the last time you’ve gone through a town and thought that it is blatantly or aggressively demonstrative of its residents’ republicanism. It’s very rare. Even when you compare enclaves in divided areas, the territorial symbolism is much more extreme in loyalist ones.

    This idea that Unionists are being persecuted when in the minority is nonsense.

    That’s not to say that acts like this don’t happen. But they do shame most Catholics and nationalists. It’s not acceptable to us.

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    Well said Lionel and demonstrably true

  • derrydave

    Mick, if a bored 12 year-old were found to be responsible for this act (as is likely in my opinion) would you still see it as ‘…a nasty underside to northern republicanism’s heavy reliance on the demographic card.’
    We only make fools of ourselves by attributing political significance to politically insignificant acts. One risk of involving yourself in politics or political commentary is that you can find your head so far up your political posterior that common sense is completely lost. Or in other words, ‘wind yer fuckin neck in Mick’.

  • http://bangordub.wordpress.com/ Bangordub

    derrydave,
    now now, be nice!

  • zemblan

    @Lionel Hutz

    Very well said.

  • derrydave

    Very good and important point Lionel. As a teenager I was involved for a period with the peace-people, and as part of this I was involved in a cross-community group who spent 10 days in holland and 10 days in NI in a mixed group of Northern Irish and Dutch teenagers. When in NI we showed our dutch visitors various parts of the North – the questions I often faced from our visitors as a young republican was why catholic areas were not plastered in tricolours in the same way as protestant areas were with union flags. At the time I didn’t really have an answer to the question. Not even sure if I do now to be honest, however there’s no doubt that these displays intimidate and make life a little more uncomfortable for those in the minority community.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    zemblan,

    Very good posts. Nice to see serious comments from a newcomer to the site.

  • zemblan

    @Mister_Joe

    Thanks for the nice complement Joe! I do me best ;)

  • Lionel Hutz

    I don’t know either but I think it’s a good thing. When I was going past city hall last week in Belfast before the flag vote, I allowed a stray thought to gain a bit of traction. I thought “what would it be like to see my national flag on that pole? Just for one day like.” unthinkable! in London, as in many cities, landmarks are lit up green on St Patricks day. That would be nice in Belfast. One day….

    So maybe we lack the confidence to demand it. Slightly less saturation of British identity with zero Irish identity expression is a compromise we sign up to.

    And when protests like the one in Belfast flair up, I’d say alot of nationalists and republicans do think “wait to there’s a United Ireland, then you’ll see”. But what you’ll see is likely to be neutral space

  • Lionel Hutz

    And thanks for nice comments.

  • Alias

    “When did I ‘think’ this in the first place?”

    The statement used a supposition the generic you.

    “There is therefore no reason for you to use such a contemptuous tone with me; it is a tone that assumes too much and which is evidently based on some irrational fear of personal assimilation.”

    You’re assuming three things there, and all three are bogus: (a) that the tone was contemptuous; (b) and that I am Ulster protestant, and (c) that I “irrational fear of personal assimilation”. It’s best not to make assumptions in a post where your gist is criticising another for making assumptions (or, more accurately, for what you assume were assumptions).

    “It is all down to what the people want.”

    That is the assumption that so-called republicans in NI make. However, by “the people” they mean themselves alone. This is where the sectarian headcount ‘strategy’ comes into play, i.e. that once they get above 51% of the population that they can have a united Ireland without a single Protestant even voting for it. That is where they are utterly deluded.

    You see, my articulate friend, there are two separate rights to self-determination in the equation. So even if 51% of the population of NI, 100% of them Catholic, vote for a united Ireland their vote is of no consequence in the matter of bringing about a united Ireland. They can also vote to unite with Lapland if that is their democratic wish.

    A united Ireland will only occur on terms to be agreed by the people of Ireland is a seperate act of self-determination. And as I pointed out: “If you think the Irish want a half million or so unionists in their state who don’t want to be in it, think again. The Irish won’t vote for it until at least 70-80% of unionists can agree to new constitutional arrangements…”

    So that blows a rather large hole in the little ‘republican’ unity-by-sectarian-headcount boat that some of NI’s Catholics are relying on to cruise blindfolded to Nirvana.

    It will only come about when a majority of Protestants agree to it, with the majority of Catholics having no practical consequence in delivering that aim. In the meantime, a containment policy is in place and there is plenty of time for ‘republicans’ to set about the business of persuading the other tribe that a united Ireland is in their best interests.

    The fact that ‘republicans’ are relying on the bogus headcount method alone might indicate that they recognise that they haven’t a hope of persuading NI’s Protestants.

  • Alias

    Typo: “…The statement used a supposition and the generic you…”

  • Lionel Hutz

    Alias,

    You’re always good for a laugh!

    Your theory assumes that the Republic would not want us. You’re theory also presumes that the British and Irish governments would allow an epic constitutional crisis if the democratic vote of the people here was ignored. That they wouldn’t come to some agreement.

    You assume that simply because some loyalists will try to wreck the place that the people of Ireland will be intimidated. The Irish were never intimidated by violent loyalists. The British were but they’d be glad to be rid of NI now. Sleep well

  • Kevsterino

    I don’t think anyone knows what is going to happen when there is a Catholic majority in Northern Ireland.

  • Alias

    “Your theory assumes that the Republic would not want us.”

    They don’t want you. In case you failed to notice, the Irish government dumped you into a set of talks where an internal settlement was the only outcome – where the only two parties who could deliver that outcome both excluded themselves from the talks. Prior to dumping its constitutional claim to NI, the Irish government did little more than pay lip service to it for the previous 75 years.

    “You’re theory also presumes that the British and Irish governments would allow an epic constitutional crisis if the democratic vote of the people here was ignored.”

    What constitutional crisis? It’s there in the British Irish Agreement in black and white (other colours if you adjust your monitor) that the people of Ireland must vote in a separate referendum to the referendum to be held in Northern Ireland and that they must give their consent. The only constitutional crisis would be if the government acted against the 19th amendment to the Constitution and attempted to impose unity without the consent of the people of Ireland.

    “You assume that simply because some loyalists will try to wreck the place that the people of Ireland will be intimidated.”

    Violence is a factor, certainly, but even without it there would be no agreement by the people of Ireland without agreement among the Protestants to support a united Ireland. To think otherwise is pure wish-fulfilment.

    “The Irish were never intimidated by violent loyalists.”

    One bomb going off in Dublin was all it took to get draconian anti-terror legislation passed in the Irish parliament. The Irish wouldn’t touch the place – it was always a containment policy by the government supported by the people. As long as the violence stayed up there, all was well.

    “The British were but they’d be glad to be rid of NI now.”

    Odd then that they consolidated a constitutional arrangement which removed the ability to get “rid” of NI from a government that is so keen to get rid of it.

    “Sleep well”

    I wish.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Interesting. There’s no evidence that they don’t want us. All the major parties will support it and polls show support amongst the people.

    The constitutional crisis?

    Well it’s the firm will of the Irish nation to unite its people. In a consultative referendum, the people in the south have given a firm mandate to the government to bring it about. There will be a referendum at some point in the future in Northern Ireland to see if it is our firm will. If there is a “yes” by 50%+1 or whatever, the British and Irish governments will have to work to bring it about until it’s done.

    They’ll agree a constitution for a United Ireland and put it to the people north and south. You really think that will be left to chance because of the likes of the DUP

  • derrydave

    Alias, your arguement that the Southern electorate and government would not want NI is based purely on your own personal opinion (with nothing it seems to back it up at all). If you could back this up with even one single poll then maybe it would be worth giving consideration to this opinion. As it is however (as stated by Lionel) all major political parties in the south and all polls show support for reunification. How exactly do you reconcile this with your position ????

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Reunification, if it ever does happen, won’t come easy. 50% + 1 won’t be enough and I doubt if that will ever happen in the next 50 years +1.

  • Lionel Hutz

    50%+1 is by definition enough in a referendum. That doesn’t mean that it would be desirable but it is enough, and if that was the result a united Ireland would come into being.

    50 years is probably realistic though. I’d say 20 at the earliest but that’s unlikely

  • Henry94

    Such a witless and moronic piece of vandalism would make one hope that no nationalist was responsible. The “false flag” loyalist operation theory is comforting and also feasible.

    Nonetheless the key point is that the attack on a church is vile irrespective of who did it and nobody should be able to force their way on to the political agenda for the price of a tin of paint. A public flogging for those responsible would be a fair punishment for such an utterly despicable act.

  • Eire32

    Alias, my long-winded friend, your entire post is based on “supposition”, seemingly based entirely on nothing bar wishful thinking. Who’s going to campaign against it, the DUP and the BNP?:)

  • Eire32

    Mister Joe, how will 50%+1 not be enough?

    50 years is a long time, a lot has changed since 1962 and 1912 before that. From the covenant to partition, and the troubles to the GFA. There will be big, big changes in this place in fifty years. I’m pretty hopeful, being reasonably young with two kids, that we’ll have this thing sorted by then. Be it a UI, Independence or some other lasting settlement between these isles.

  • Mick Fealty

    Dub,

    Dave is the quintessence of what Slugger needs more of, a great combination of directness and decent – on occasion – generous civility. The opposite in fact of obfuscating #getalongerism.

    In answer to your question Dave, if it was a couple of twelve year olds, it only makes my point stronger. For me it’s the double whammy of relying on multiple acts of god (and so what if we get a little thuggery on the edges, we can pick those of with the “politics of condemnation”) rather than plotting a political way forward.

    The second ploy here is in demanding higher levels of proof that something was done by republicans than loyalists. We generally know that if a chapel is desecrated (or as both churches in Holywood Parish razed to the ground) it is the work of loyalists. Now, one of the cuprits, I discovered years later was a 12 year old boy with a distinctly Irish name, but he was most certainly a loyalist.

    I really don’t understand why we have wait for arrests or convictions before we put the blame were it belongs. Constitutional nationalists don’t generally do this sort of thing. Nor in my experience do minority communities. I’m waiting to hear why we need different standards of proof between two sets of thugs (albeit one set is clearly brighter and more effective at the job of terrorising the other side).

    If what’s being asked for here is a cordon sanitaire for an underhand set of political acts so that they may go unnamed and unpunished (at least in the court of public opinion), then my straightforward answer is no. If it’s something else, lets hear it?

  • http://www.openunionism.com oneill

    If it were loyalists, then it displays an example of longer term strategy (remember sectarian attacks have been happening in Glenavy since June) that is not typical of the kind of thinking we are seeing presently unfold in the flags protest.

    As Mick says, if “UVF” had been painted on a catholic church in the Ardoyne the question would not have even arisen as to the “community background” of the culprits.

    Also this supposed homogeneous CNR v PUL community thing disguises the fact that this vandalism is the fault of the specific bigots and the bigots only. So, there is no need for republicans or catholics generally to apologise.

    Don’t justify any supposed *political* logic behind it, don’t contextualise it, don’t excuse it, if you live in the area offer a hand at cleaning it up and most importantly if you know who the culprits are then turn them in; there your duty as a decent human being begins and ends.

  • Mick Fealty

    I would not even concede that much O’Neill. An attack on a Catholic church is immediate classed as the work of loyalists; and with some good sense. Secular Catholics may be much more intensely angry with the Church and most fundamental Christians, but they are rarely if ever moved to this kind of crap, which has a nasty social edge to it.

  • changeisneeded

    Mick .. Im sorry but you are alone in the media as saying this was done by republicans.

    “I really don’t understand why we have wait for arrests or convictions before we put the blame were it belongs.”

    Yeah the brits thought that was ok too man.
    Why do think this is okay?
    Its poor journalism and you are spinning and spinning to justify it.

    I second what Dave said “wind your ******* neck in”

  • changeisneeded

    To derrydave and Lionel

    You make a very important point that many of our loyalist neighbours are too blinded by flags to see. I 100% agree with you both.

    Alias
    Go and take a lie down dude.. You gona do yourself an injury..

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Eire32

    The reason I think that 50% +1 wouldn’t be enough is that the margin of error in counting would swamp that result. The situation we have in Canada re Quebec separation as defined by our Supreme Court is that if a clear question is asked and a majority votes for it, then the Federal Government is obliged to begin discussions with the Quebec Government as to how to proceed. I think that is sensible. It doesn’t come automatically and nor should it in N.I.

    some other lasting settlement between these isles.
    That would be my preference. I would have no problem with a “confederation of the isles” so long as it was a republic.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Just a further thought. Would it be 50% + 1 of those who voted or of those entitled to vote? What do you do if some bloc, say dissidents of some hue, boycott the vote? I repeat my claim that it wouldn’t be easy.

  • Henry94

    Mister_Joe

    It would be 50%+1 of those who vote. If there is a referendum on the border and someone declines to take part then they are leaving it to everybody else to decide. just like any election.

    A referendum should not be the beginning or end of the process. If it looked like there was a need for it then the two governments would need to agree a proposal with everything spelt out that could possibly be spelt out.

    If it passed then the work would proceed but there would be no sudden moves. We are a long way from a referendum. An unknown is how unionism would react to finding itself in a minority. Not well by the looks of it.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Henry, I don’t disagree. I think you are agreeing with me. It will be complicated. And I imagine unification will not come without serious violence should a vote be close given the paroxysm of violence after a simple flag vote which, being a compromise, should not have been a big deal until the DUP raised the ante…

  • Mick Fealty

    Change, etc…

    …that’s twice

  • zemblan

    @Mick Fealty

    ‘The second ploy here is in demanding higher levels of proof that something was done by republicans than loyalists.’

    This is blatantly untrue, Mick. Standards of proof do not change because one person is a republican and another is a loyalist. It is real, tangible, evidence that determines the truth, and in this cause you are clearly operating on supposition only.

    ‘I really don’t understand why we have wait for arrests or convictions before we put the blame were it belongs.’

    Because it is far easier to draw inferences from unsubstantiated generalities than to weigh up the available evidence before reaching a conclusion. Relying on what we think occurred simply because it makes reasonable sense, does not mean that we are correct. The patient collection of evidence is the only way we have of judging the truth.

    On a side-note: I think we in Northern Ireland need to remain alert to the prospect of so-called ‘false-flag’ attacks. Just think of the bombing of McGurk’s bar in 1971. In spite of the fact that evidence pointed to an attack by Loyalists, the security services remained adamant that it was carried out by Republicans. This later turned out to be completely untrue. ‘But’ if we followed your approach – that is, that we should draw inferences from a) the reasonableness of a relative truth, b) from the general intuition that a certain person or group of persons is responsible, and c) that blame can be apportioned without a studied approach to either evidence or the securing of convictions, then we would likely regard this event as the work of Republicans.

    You must surely recognise that it is in our interests as moral citizens to wait patiently before the evidence of such an event is in. It is much too easy to simply apportion blame ‘before’ the fact. And to repeat: this does ‘not’ mean that Republicans were ‘not’ involved. It simply means that certain standards of verification need to be achieved before we can make a definitive judgement.

  • Henry94

    Mick isn’t talking about the evidence need to bring charges against an individual but the evidence needed to decide for ourselves what element in society to crime came from. I don’t agree that there is a gap in general. If an Orange Hall gets attacked we all assume it was republicans of some stripe.

    But in this case I think nationalists find it hard to believe that even the thickest dissident could be so lacking in even the basics of republican self understanding as to attack a Protestant Church.

    Unionists probably see an attack on an Orange Hall and a Protestant Church as the same thing, sectarian attacks. So to them it looks am obvious conclusion that republicans did it.

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    So what is the evidence that this was a false flag attack?

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    “But in this case I think nationalists find it hard to believe that even the thickest dissident could be so lacking in even the basics of republican self understanding as to attack a Protestant Church.”

    I take it you’ve heard of Darkley?

  • zemblan

    ‘If an Orange Hall gets attacked we all assume it was republicans of some stripe.’

    And what I am saying is that assumptions do not cut it; at least not when it comes to assessing the reality of ‘evidence’ versus what we ‘think’ constitutes evidence. The cause of an actual event is not decided by mere intuition: it is decided by a whole range of reality-confirming facts. When we leave the domain of facticity and start dipping our toes into the realm of intuition some serious problems start to emerge. Moreover, the failure to wait for genuine verification is often set in motion because ‘we’ think we know better than to wait for further confirmation; we regard it as somewhat tedious when our own theory about a specific event is postponed by the need for further investigation – even though this is the proper manner in which to conduct a rigorous criminal investigation.

    The truth is that a crime has been committed, a crime which initially points to Republicans. This is the premise of our investigation. But we can only determine the truthfulness of this affair when we actually weigh up the body of evidence that is available to us. I see absolutely nothing wrong with this position.

    ‘…nationalists find it hard to believe that even the thickest dissident could be so lacking in even the basics of republican self understanding as to attack a Protestant Church.’

    This is a severe value judgement without any supporting evidence whatsoever. I know many nationalists and republicans who would never shirk from apportioning blame where the evidence was conclusive and the facts corroborating. To my mind, it is very likely that some mindless drone of a republican did indeed carry out the act. But my suspicion is not enough to verify the actual facts of the case. It is patently ridiculous, not least to say insulting, to say say that nationalists or republicans often ‘find it hard to believe’ that a thick-headed criminal (from their respective communities) would carry out this attack. I have no idea where you’re getting this idea from.

  • RyanAdams

    Glenavy, alike other towns and villages in South Antrim is undergoing demographic change due to its proximity to West Belfast coupled with new housing developments being built. This type of change rarely happens entirely peacefully, and in many cases its the locals/natives as well as the blow ins that can cause problems, as the Stoneyford saga a few years ago demonstrated. It just seems that on this occasion, its more than likely nationalists who have moved to the area and struggle to accept the fact that they have to share the area with people of different religious backgrounds and political opinions, therefore lash out to settle their own insecurities.

    The only way around this is for people who move from heavily segregated areas to more mixed areas is to accept and respect their new neighbors as equals.

    Unfortunately, history tells us nationalists are not capable of this – potentially why Lisburn residents have reacted so angrily to housing plan for former MOD homes in the City.

  • latcheeco

    Whoever did this was a witless moron who should be hung by the heels. When you’re painting on churches-or orange halls where people also worship- you’re akin to brownshirts in Berlin painting on synagogues and you serve no useful purpose.

    The likelihood is that this was carried out by morons who also enjoy singing about hating all huns. They exist-quelle surprise who knew-so did the defenders and peep o’ day boys and so do Celtic and Rangers-well maybe not Rangers but you get the point!

    There is also a possibility that it wasn’t. Certain loyal gentleman had form in this respect back in the day as residents of Sandy Row and their brigadeer might agree:

    “Similarly he was unconvinced by a series of vandalism attacks on loyalist areas in Belfast in late June by three carloads of “republicans”, feeling that the missile throwing youths were actually members of Adair’s C Company sent to stir up sectarian hatred and win support for Adair’s Drumcree strategy”. see Wikipedia under Jackie McDonald

    But, either way, it’s still deflection whether loyalists actually did it or you use the story to suit your own agenda

    Id imagine few republicans are going to take any lectures on anti-sectarianisn from those associated with political parties whose lead in this area mostly entailed other party members sharing out building sites and swapping ordinance with loyalists during the Troubles

  • BluesJazz

    So has Frank Kitson been ruled out?

    It’s not that far from Thiepval Barracks. And we know that republicans are never sectarian…ever.

    And we know that the Brits are forever starting trouble.

    And I witnessed a lot of tinfoil being purchased in ASDA today.

  • Eire32

    Joe,

    As Henry said It would be counted on those who voted, would be some job for the Brits to try and spin that one. :)

    I think in the case of a yes vote, an agreed Constitution would have to be worked out with a further vote to ratify it.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Suddenly in the case of Glenavy for nationalists it’s all about the evidence. That or putting it all down to a ‘couple of hoods’ or ‘morons’ etc.

    Or the series of sectarian attacks in the village might be a sophisticated loyalist disinformation plot. So the unionist ‘knuckledraggers’ get a rush of intelligence?

    Because, of course, ‘republicans’ can’t be sectarian and republican (or criminals either for that matter :) ). For nationalist sectarianism is the ‘Protestant Disease, which is, amusingly, of itself inherently sectarian. :)

  • latcheeco

    SOS
    Of course you’re right, because if it had been loyalists they’d already be on the news getting tea and crumpets with the Punt at Stormont

  • zemblan

    @BluesJazz

    ‘And I witnessed a lot of tinfoil being purchased in ASDA today…’

    Are you papering your living-room?

    @sonsoflongbow

    ‘…a sophisticated loyalist disinformation plot’

    Since when did mindless ‘graffiti’ become a ‘sophisticated…disinformation plot’?

    ‘Because, of course, ‘republicans’ can’t be sectarian and republican.’

    That’s certainly news to me.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Don’t worry zemblan you’re new to the site you’ll soon be put on-message.

  • Mick Fealty

    If this is all played out, I’d rather close the thread than let it collapse into communal bitching.

  • latcheeco

    Because you thought posting a deflective thread on sectarian graffitti was going to ascend to…?

  • Alias

    Lionel Hutz, the answer you get in opinion polls is determined by how you phrase the question. If the question is “Would you like to see a united Ireland in your life time?” then you’ll probably get an answer that is broadly in line with token national aspirations – whatever they happen to be at the time. Likewise, if you asked the question “Do you want to stop children from starving to death in Africa?” you’ll also get an answer that is broadly in line with current cultural aspirations. That doesn’t mean, however, that the person answering in the affirmative has even the slightest intention of acting to alleviate child starvation in Africa where the act means some loss of financial benefit to his/her self.

    Now if you asked a Catholic in NI “Do you want to lose your NHS medical card?” or “Do you want to lose your state pension (and your job) in an economy that is 70% dependent on the state by voting to remove the state that supports you?” or do “Do you want to lose your job with a company that only operates in NI because it is part of the UK and the sterling area?” etc, then you might get an answer that doesn’t support the assumption that all Catholics will vote for a united Ireland even if that is an aspiration they claim to hold. Likewise, if you asked someone in Ireland if they want to pay thousands more in taxes every year in order to finance folks in a place they’d never visit then I suspect that you’ll get an answer that rules out said token national aspirations.

    At any rate, that is neither here nor there. The point made previously is that the Irish won’t vote for a united Ireland that doesn’t have the majority consent of the Protestants in Northern Ireland. So, ironically, the unionist veto is now vested in the people of Ireland.

    The two governments didn’t say “We think the unionists should have this veto” for very obvious reasons but they pointedly did say they can’t have it either. The 51% figure is not in the treaty. Indeed, the unspecified majority, secured in both states, is only given as a trigger for the exercise of a mere obligation on the governments and not as a legal act in itself. At no point did either the UK or Ireland declare that UK sovereignty over NI was ended on the counting of poll votes.

    The Treaty declares that the government act “with rigorous impartiality on behalf of all the people in the diversity of their identities and traditions” and that a united Ireland state “shall be founded on the principles of full respect for, and equality of, civil, political, social and cultural rights, of freedom from discrimination for all citizens, and of parity of esteem and of just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities.”

    How do you think that can occur if Protestants don’t support a united Ireland? The Treaty makes it blatantly clear that it is to be an agreed Ireland, and that it is to be agreed between Catholics and Protestants – and not simply agreed between Catholics.

    Unless Protestants support a united Ireland, there will not be a united Ireland because it cannot be delivered within the terms that the treaty specifies that it must be delivered.

    Therefore, it cannot be an ‘agreed Ireland’ that is agreed only with Catholics and nationalists.

    The ‘republican’ sectarian headcount ‘strategy’ of waiting until Catholics outbreed the Protestants is fatally flawed as a means of delivering a united Ireland. The Catholics may indeed form 51% of the voters and may indeed vote 100% for unity (in your dreams) but that still won’t deliver it because it is outside the terms of the Treaty.

    It won’t happen unless a majority of Protestants support it. The Supreme Court would fling out any waffle that parliament devised outside of these terms. So you’re mistaken if you think the government will support it on the basis of a catholic headcount alone. Not that they government will ever get their green light from the people without the support of the Protestants.

    You see, unlike the Catholic tribe in NI, the Irish are not looking for a sectarian victory over NI’s Protestants. Most of them recognise that agreeing to give up their hard-won claim to a nation-state and ‘share’ a state with a foreign nation when you don’t have to is a pretty stupid handicap to inflict on yourself anyway…

  • Alias

    “…they pointedly did notsay they can’t have it either.”

  • Mick Fealty

    Alias, did you get the right thread?

  • Mick Fealty

    Ah, I see now where you are going with that…

    Latch,

    It’s all been about letting the detail tell the story. And the development through this thread has been telling. Those who say we cannot put a name to this violence should listen to those Republicans who have been man enough to put their heads above the parapet and tell the truth about what’s going on, as well as those unionists who have added more detail about how long this has been going on.

    Irish Republicanism is not an innately regressive ideology. But a certain strain of it is. In the north it’s gotten used to the quick gratification of war and the implicit demonisation of the enemy.

    When we get feral and regressive behaviours from loyalists, we are all quick to label and ostracise it. That starts with proper labeling.

    Despite the protests on this thread there is no evidence of this being a false flag attack. It emanates from politicised elements within a growing Republican community. It is therefore quite proper to call this a Republican attack on a Protestant church.

    If we don’t have a name for it, then it just disappears from the public reckoning. The ‘policing’ that’s been in evidence here on this thread is one reason I suspect, why such incidents are missing from that reckoning in the MSM.

    Another is that Republicans are – mostly – too smart to get caught on camera. We dont know who’s been burning all those Orange Halls, except that one of the few who’s been caught turned out to be a member of Ogra SF.

    In the meantime, whilst we filter out all these small scale stories as mere matters of civic crime (when they are patently politically motivated), an Orange band walking in circles outside an empty Catholic church takes on epic proportions.

    After which it matters not to the local media that Republicans have triggered riots in north Belfast since 2009.

  • changeisneeded

    showing your predjudice once again Mick. Defending the indefensible.. Your spin is running thin..
    If someone set fire to a GAA hall I would (and any decent jorno) say it was “probably” loyalists. Nothing more nor less…
    Look I like your website but with this post you have crossed the line..
    Hey im not saying it wasn’t republicans, it probably was, its a stupid, bad thing to do.. They need to wise up.

    But for you, a the site owner, to blame republicans when you know nothing of the sort is DEFLECTION.
    The same sort of we have seen used by the media over the years to blacken republicanism.
    I say again ,not one other media outlet has run with this headline , just you…..
    (saying that, bbc newsline on their facebook page left this story at the top of their page during the whole of fri and sat for over 24hours) Suppose you had to learn it from somewhere..

  • changeisneeded

    “It is therefore quite proper to call this a Republican attack on a Protestant church.”

    Yeah but you didn’t do that did you….

    “Republicans in sectarian attack on Protestant church in Glenavy”

    How do you know there was more than one of them??

  • Mick Fealty

    Here’s Lee on analogous thread: http://goo.gl/RZuUf

  • changeisneeded

    To me that’s not analogous at all because his headline does not blame loyalists…

    Or am I missing something?

  • Mick Fealty

    Of course you are. Read beyond the headline and come back to me when you’ve got the irony?

  • Alias

    Sorry, Mick, I was engaging with another poster and making the related point that “an agreed Ireland” doesn’t mean that it is to be agreed between nationalists and nationalists, excluding unionists.

    That was in response to some ‘republicans’ who think that a Yes vote that is 100% Catholic/Irish and 0% Protestant/British will bring about a united Ireland on the terms given in the Treaty (it won’t), so they can continue to refuse to engage with those who don’t currently support that aim and continue to canvas the support of those who already support it (or so they hope).

    That crass exclusion of the Protestant/British nation from their brand of republicanism is rooted in the same sectarian mentality that acts to exclude the Protestant/British nation from the norms of good civic behaviour by vandalising their assets and symbols.

  • SK

    “That was in response to some ‘republicans’ who think that a Yes vote that is 100% Catholic/Irish and 0% Protestant/British will bring about a united Ireland on the terms given in the Treaty (it won’t)”

    ________

    Alias,

    You seem to be of that school of unionists who believe that the only majorities that matter are unionist ones. I expect you guys are about to have a rough couple of years.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sk,

    I don’t know who he is, other than he used to post here as The DUbliner. Alias is a lot of things, but he ain’t no unionist.

  • Alias

    “I expect you guys are about to have a rough couple of years.”

    I doubt it. The only ‘trouble’ here in south Dublin is the occasional Northsider who makes it across the Liffey…

    Up there, those folks have to live with the consequences of their tribe’s attack on the other tribe.

    And given that the ‘united Ireland’ enterprise is seen by both tribes as one tribe seeking a sectarian victory over the other (with deluded Catholics led to think they can have it by excluding Protestants), the logic of that is that it remains a victory for one side only – the unionists. Hence, the approach is counterproductive. Being slow learners, they’ll figure it out in another 50 years or so.

  • derrydave

    Alias,
    Democracy is not always fair, however it’s what we’ve all signed up for. Democracy dictates that 50+1 is enough – even if that 50+1 is made up of 51% nationalists. Am sure it won’t come to that though – the tide is turning, and with it (in my opinion) we will also see great changes in attitudes within the protestant middle-class. In fact you could argue we are already seeing this.

    As an aside, I’ve heard there’s a lot more trouble in South Dublin these days than a few Northsider incursions ;-)

  • sonofstrongbow

    Simply sidestepping the British/Irish Treaty obligations to go for the old jaded nationalist mantra that for unionists it’s only about their ‘majority’ will not wash.

    Why on earth does anyone think that the Republic would wish to take on an NI within which the majority of Protestants/unionists were overtly or covertly hostile? The UK is stuck with a similar situation and continues to expend blood and treasure to manage it. The Republic, even if again tigerish, would not be impatient to take on the burden.

    Even if the Republic began real preparatory moves on foot of a 50 plus 1 scenario ( that is other than making comforting empty noises about a UI) unionists would make use of all legal options in Dublin, London or elsewhere to challenge such developments.

    It is always easier to maintain the status quo than to introduce change. A basic principle of change management is the need to make the case for change. This imperative seems lost on northern nationalists who seem content to confine themselves to petty irritants and demographic clock watching.

  • derrydave

    sonofstrongbow – the case for change in a 50+1 situation would be that the majority of the population desire it i.e. the democratic will of the people !! It’s hard to build a stronger case than that surely ?

    And to answer your question as to why on earth anyone would think the Republic would wish to take on NI in this scenario – that would be probably down to the fact every poll conducted down south indicates a desire for unification, and the official position of every major party in the south would be in line with the GFA i.e. when a majority in NI vote for unification then democratic principles should be upheld and Ireand should be re-united.

    Why on earth would anyone in the face of this evidence think that the republic would not want to take on NI ? Wishful thinking I’d venture.

  • sonofstrongbow

    dd,

    No, not wishful thinking. I have no doubt that a majority in the Republic have an aspiration for a united Ireland. However that may not so easily manifest in practical action as you hope.

    Most vote for mum and apple pie but may not be so keen when required to face the reality of mother living with them with all her demands and strange little ways. To say nothing of the mess in the kitchen when she trashes your nicely ordered home to make another bloody pie.

    Democracy is indeed a strong case but a majority in NI for maintenance of the link with GB hasn’t exactly gone swimmingly over the past half century or so. Perhaps you expect that (ex)unionists will be better reluctant citizens than many nationalists in NI have been (and here I am not talking of violence, although violence involving a tiny minority may be an issue as we currently see with nationalist dissidents and their rejection of the democratic GFA)?

  • zemblan

    And given that the ‘united Ireland’ enterprise is seen by both tribes as one tribe seeking a sectarian victory over the other (with deluded Catholics led to think they can have it by excluding Protestants), the logic of that is that it remains a victory for one side only – the unionists. Hence, the approach is counterproductive. Being slow learners, they’ll figure it out in another 50 years or so.

    This is a patently inflammatory comment and I’m not quite sure how it made it past moderation. I can only assume that the moderator tacitly agrees with it or finds it largely inoffensive – which says something perhaps about the moderator.

    The first obvious problem is that the writer foolish assumes that the conflict in Ireland primarily concerns tribal identities, specifically religious identities – Protestants versus Catholics. This naturally plays into the hands of those who see the situation in Northern Ireland as revolving around religious difference, which is not true. The actual reason for the conflict is the colonial occupation of Ireland by the UK; tribal identities are therefore based around modalities of occupation as opposed to religious difference. The focus on religious difference simply obscures the reality of the original colonial enterprise.

    The second problem is that Alias smears the Catholic community: they are described as ‘slow-learners’, as people who are ‘deluded’ when it comes to wider constitutional questions. The writer will no doubt try to wriggle out of this by stating that he is talking about a ‘deluded’ section of the community: but note that he does not make that caveat at all, and is therefore led to generalise the whole community as such. (I’ve noticed that this has happened on several occasions on this thread: with people saying that nationalists, republicans, and Catholics, all think in a particular manner – little do the posters realise that they are showing their true sectarian colours by talking in this manner.) One wonders why people cannot discuss political issues without wandering off into the mindless zone of polemic. ‘This’ is a major discursive problems shared by both sides of the divide and it really needs to stop if we are to make any meaningful progress towards a shared piece and a shared life with one another.

    Other comments that are beyond the pale include this one by Mick:

    ‘…Republicans are – mostly – too smart to get caught on camera…’

    How can that statement be allowed to stand up to scrutiny? So Republicans are simply too sneaky to get caught committing a crime whereas Loyalists idiotically stumble into one crime after another? This is a very lazy way of seeing the world, and it simply perpetuates a tribal mentality which does no favours to anyone.

  • zemblan

    Apologies for the numerous mistakes in that post. Really on the run here.

    :)

  • Alias

    Who exactly appointed you to the role of judge of what is acceptable or not for others to post? You’re not in your kitchen, ordering little wifey around now, kid.

    “Slow learners” is a term introduced by Seamus Mallon to that refers to those nationalists who failed to grasp that they signed up to with the GFA was essentially the same deal as Sunningdale. The slower learners, of course, where those who failed to grasp that the GFA is essentially the same constitutional deal as the Government of Ireland Act 1920. More generally, it refers to any group who are a tad slow to cotton-on to political realities.

  • sonofstrongbow

    “The actual reason for the conflict is the colonial occupation of Ireland by the UK.”

    “One wonders why people cannot discuss political issues without wandering off into the mindless zone of polemic.”

    :0 :)

  • zemblan

    @sonofstrongbow

    That is not polemic. It is a statement of historical fact.

  • sonofstrongbow

    The Napoleonic wars are also historical fact but they too have feck all to do with current British/French political relations. In case you haven’t checked your sundial today it’s 2012.

    To opine, even in an oblique way, that unionists are colonists is both insulting and incorrect.

  • zemblan

    The Napoleonic wars are also historical fact but they too have feck all to do with current British/French political relations. In case you haven’t checked your sundial today it’s 2012.

    If, however, the British came under the vassalage of the French and a French population settled in the South of England, things would be quite different. Then the scars of the same war would be carried by the settler and indigenous population. It is not enough to some simply sweep historical realities under the carpet because they are difficult for people to deal with.

    ‘To opine, even in an oblique way, that unionists are colonists is both insulting and incorrect.’

    Not all Unionists are colonists, just as not all Nationalists or Republicans are indigenous natives; but that does not dismiss the reality that the island of Ireland was subject to severe and in many cases quite brutal colonial rule, and that the legacy of that rule continues to foster terrible forms of sectarianism to this very day.

  • latcheeco

    You can’t have it both ways Mick; surely they can’t be sophisticated enough to avoid cameras but dumb enough to paint “Up the RA” on churches.

    It has not been about letting the detail tell the story; it has been about a now comically predictable- albeit false and insidious- equivalence narrative that I will be generous and say is only employed to protect the brand, or even worse, it has been about just throwing it out there for a wind up.

    Anybody with half an ounce could see that this was a dodgy one to run up the mast. You deliberately chose to fly it anyway. The question is why? Why indict the whole of Irish republicanism for the naked sectarianism that is born from the creation of the state you cherish?

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    I noticed Declan Kearney make a similar remark in his speech on reconciliation to that of Latcheeco that sectarianism is the result of the creation of the northern state and partition.

    To which I can only respond, was sectarianism invented in 1920 then?

  • latcheeco

    No Garibaldy,
    Of course you’re right- see my post above referencing peep o day boys and we could include the penal laws etc. etc. and talk all night.The difference was that partition North and South formalized it and brought it back as policy. You’re not suggesting are you that it had no effect on sectarianism in the North?

    I just don’t buy Mick’s implicaton above, and the gable wall assertions of socialclubists for years, that somehow sectarianism is the chucks’ fault.

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    Sectarianism is a cancer that has been in our society for centuries, as you say yourself. Partition was in large part a product of it. Unless we understand that, we misunderstand what is needed to defeat it.

    I’ve never ever ever heard anyone say that sectarianism is the fault of the provos. I have heard them say they engaged in a great deal of sectarian violence.

  • latcheeco

    .”Partition was in large part a product of it” I would add a sop to it- a flawed notion that was destined for disaster.
    I would concur with you that sectarianism is not their fault .

    “I have heard them say they engaged in a great deal of sectarian violence.”
    I have heard them say that too-all along lines abandoned

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    The sectarian mindsets that sustained so much of the violence continue, despite the flimsy shared future rhetoric that the main parties like to adopt when it suits them. Therein lies the problem.

  • latcheeco

    Which suggests that the only real way to end sectarianism is, and was only ever, to end partition. It’s division exacerbated by division.

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    I don’t see how that follows. The ending of partition through a bitter sectarian struggle for 50% +1 would do nothing to magic it away, and possibly would make matters worse.

    On top of which, sectarianism is a real problem now, to be addressed in the here and now. Nationalism and unionism sustain, and are sustained by, sectarianism. We need an alternative.

  • ayeYerMa

    Garibaldy, the only solution is a wholehearted endorsement of Unionism, then a focus on the religious divide.

    This is why I regard Alliance as a sectarian party — they maintain and encourage sectarianism through an airy-fairy position on the constitutional set-up.

  • http://garibaldy.wordpress.com Garibaldy

    We had a wholehearted endorsement of unionism for 50 years. It didn’t work out that well.

  • latcheeco

    Garibaldy,
    I just don’t think it’s redeemable. Sectarianism is its DNA. I don’t discount that ending partition might be ugly, but if it’s done astutel,y reasonably and with benefits to all as a new beginning to all it might not -and the disgracefulnightmare of kids in western europe in the 21st century living twenty feet from each other and not ever seeing each other because they’e poor so their lives are seperated by sectarian peacelines will be gone/done/ overwith-a bright and brand new day for everybody British Irish and Irish Irish alike..

  • Mick Fealty

    Latcheeco,

    That’s a perfectly legitimate pov. But fighting a war in city with already deep sectarian divides was no answer either. It’s deepened the divide and alienation. And in the process done little favour to those impoverished communities either.

    In short the attempt to ‘break out>” of the sectarian state has been huge and enduring. And it continues, if only now by largely civil means. At some points our main actors have to come up with some way of dealing with it that doesn’t involve lots of people losing their lives, their communities and their livelihood.

    Surely?