Micheál Martin: “If the Executive is not making progress on child poverty, or economic inactivity, or sectarianism”

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Okay, so one of the good things about a political crisis in Northern Ireland that it draws a multiplicity views on our general situation (riots will always divide opinion). Not all of that has been bad by any means. Allan Massie in the Scotsman is generally sanguine about Northern Ireland’s future, if not David Cameron’s.

But it’s brought the leader of Fianna Fail back on the local news pages too. In an op ed in today’s Irish News Micheál Martin restates his belief in the local institutions [added link], but records his dismay in the way they are being used, or rather not being used:

My critique is based on a deeply held belief that the Executive can and has to work. Over the course of the last year I have made a number of interventions on the same theme – that the peace process was supposed to be about more than the absence of violence.

If the Executive is not making progress on child poverty, or economic inactivity, or sectarianism; if it is not even seen to be looking at such issues in a serious way or making any impact on people’s lives, can we really be surprised when a section of society feels entirely comfortable walking out onto the streets and causing chaos without any thought for the effect it has on the wider community?

And here I suspect he may have been reading one too many Slugger threads, but the point is a valid one its own political terms:

There are many within the Nationalist community who will characterise what’s been happening as a unionist problem – to reflect on a brief feeling of moral superiority over political opponents making a spectacle of themselves in the international media.

But that would be a mistake. It would be a mistake because anyone with any interest in moving forward republican politics in a spirit of equality will look at what has been happening and know that a genuine republican project means nothing if it cannot demonstrate to all communities that indigenous democracy delivers.

Then he points out that Sinn Fein protested against what appears to have been little other than the due process of the law outside PSNI headquarters, just before the flag vote at BCC:

It would also be a mistake because the thugs who have the front pages of the newspapers do not have a monopoly on disregard for the rule of law. As recently as November, we watched as Sinn Féin’s Justice Spokesperson led 300 protestors in a picket of PSNI headquarters in East Belfast because that party were unhappy with the direction of a PSNI investigation and wanted one of their own released from custody.

What moral authority does any public representative have criticising a protest that challenges the writ and authority of the PSNI when their party was promoting just such a protest only months ago?

He finishes by reienforcing his hope that the political indolence of Stormont will not continue ad infinitum:

If nothing else positive comes out of this obscene spectacle, I hope that at least some middle ground consensus will emerge that the time has come for the Executive to lift its game and that the time for any ambiguity about the primacy of politics and the rule of law is at an end. If this happens, and it is genuinely unequivocal, these protests will have the same shelf life that they would have in any other major town or city in Ireland or Britain.

If this doesn’t happen, if the north’s dominant political blocks continue to walk the path they have been for at least the last year, this dispute will drag on. And when it finally splutters to an end, my fear is that some other equally grotesque expression of disorder and disillusionment will take its place.

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  • Barnshee

    “the Executive is not making progress on child poverty, or economic inactivity, or sectarianism; if it is not even seen to be looking at such issues in a serious way or making any impact on people’s lives”

    Says it all and fro Dublin too hang your heads in shame

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    Until Micheál Martin put his money where his mouth is and fields candidates north of the border he has no moral authority for pontificating on what’s going on. His Party abandoned Irish citizens to Unionist discrimination and pogroms and has done precious little in the 90 years since but use the northern situation as another flank to attack his main rival in the south Sinn Féin. Weasel words from the leader of a Party full of weasels.

  • BarneyT

    Martin will always sieze an opportunity to have a dig at his close cousins, Sinn Fein. The protests he talks of can hardly be compared.

    I wonder if he will tackle Gilmore with respect to his Workers Party connections an the “old news” regarding post office vans and illegal activity by their “rusty gun” wing. Gilmores migration to Labour via the Democratic Left is not too dissimilar to the journey SF has made. Some fair play is called for from Martin, notwithstanding his own parties roots.

    “I hope that at least some middle ground consensus will emerge”

    Well we all do, but it does not exist or at least is not recognised by unionism, whilst they persistently demand a position of dominance.

    The middle ground on the flag issue has to be none or both, particularly if governed by equality. However unionism is putting up a legal challenge to retore the flag on a full time basis.

    The equivalent nationalist position is to have the tricolour flown on a permanent basis. However they are not pressing for this and consequently are closer to the middle ground that unionism on this matter.

    “….And when it finally splutters to an end, my fear is that some other equally grotesque expression of disorder and disillusionment will take its place”

    It will splutter to an end…and his fear will materialise. There are too many political and policing failures racked up to steer this in the right direction.

  • Barnshee

    “Until Micheál Martin put his money where his mouth ”

    “Martin will always sieze an opportunity to have a dig at his close cousins, Sinn Fein ”

    How do these statements invalidate his opinion?

    PS His challenge is to the Entire Executive — looks well said to me

  • BarneyT

    They dont, but he continues to define himself with reference to SF..almost as much as Enda continues to use Gerry as a diversion. I just find it more ironic coming from the Republican Party and its origins.

    I think he is mistaken drawing parallels between the SF orchestrated PSNI protest and that of the Flag protesters. His zeal for attack has clouded his judgement on this particular matter.

  • Mick Fealty

    Agreed Barnshee.

    I see this as a laying down another of Martin’s strategic markers. This – as he mentions in the original piece in the Irish News – is his second of this crisis. Laying it down well before (let’s hope long before) the Executive actually runs into trouble will give him an analysis to refer to.

    Unlike our guys, who tend to work reactively and day to day, sometimes hour to hour, he’s building an independent, cogent and importantly a very public analysis of both the crisis and the poor politics that’s given rise to this crisis (and let’s face it, he did not aim and then miss what’s clearly a barn door of a target)

    And indeed the contrast with the London parties could not be more stark. On Any Questions on Friday, two Tories both put the flags issue in the Bailiwick of the ‘power sharing Executive, Simon Hughes was by far the best briefed of them all on the panel.

    My view is that Mr Martin is moving himself into a position to speak publicly on northern issues. He will get a hearing on the PSNI protests.

    There’s not a pup’s chance of Sinn Fein pulling off a stunt like that outside Pearse Street Garda Station never mind Phoenix Park. It beggars belief that the party which was in part responsible for appointing the current chief constable for precisely the reason he would not frighten the horses in Cregan and other dissident hotspots can also protest him when he does stuff they don’t like, rather than use the considerable influence they have embedded in the mechanisms of the ‘indigenous deal’ to address any shortcomings at the executive end of policing.

    There is no question of him doing anything in the north before the next election. If SF and the DUP get their act together then there may be no question of him doing it afterwards either. But they both are on notice that if it all falls apart, or (more likely) turns into a chronic civic shambles, the toxic wrecking politics of Northern Ireland may not be the same pain free affair that it has been to date.

  • michael-mcivor

    Mr Martin is now comparing a safe peaceful Sinn Fein protest outside PSNI HQ to loyalist thugs attacking peoples homes in the Short Strand-how dare he-the flags protest has being going on now for over a month-if he is so concerned where then has this FF leader been at-he has been nowhere near the Short Strand during the stand-offs-

  • David Crookes

    “I hope that at least some middle ground consensus will emerge…..’

    Oh, please. Order of the Whoopee Cushion, 1st Class. If you’re not going to engage in the electoral process, as Ulick says, then spare us the pound-shop pieties.

  • redstar2011

    With FFs record on the economy and child poverty I think he’s writing his article tongue in cheek

  • http://www.thedissenter.co.uk thedissenter

    MF “…the party which was in part responsible for appointing the current chief constable for precisely the reason he would not frighten the horses in Cregan and other dissident hotspots…” is quite a statement. Someone who would not crack down on ‘dissidents’ and part of a broader destabilisation by proxy strategy, or someone who would not upset too many and as a consequence (unintended or simply naively not anticipated) giving ‘dissidents’ the space to grow? Do explain more.

  • Mick Fealty

    That’s not what I said TD. What I did say was that the motivation for ‘booking’ him (for his community based approach to crime) was that he wouldn’t scare the horses.

    This was known to those SF members of the policing board before he was appointed and before he conducted any operational duties on the ground here.

    This was okay when it suited the party. When it didn’t pan out that way (ie, with arrest of Padraig Wilson) they protested as though they had nothing to do with his appointment.

    Having a govt party street protest an institution they have some considerable responsibility for through the Executive, the P&J committee and the PBNI is merely putting party interest before govt responsibility.

    I think that’s why Martin’s comments have some considerable political valence. That he has no NI mandate to affect political outcomes here, does put some limits on his direct capacity to influence things, but the point’s a valid one nonetheless…

  • toaster

    Oh dear Oh dear Micheál seems to be all over the place. Promoting republicanism on one had whilst criticising SF for its human rights work a few months ago. How petty can you get?

  • Bishops Finger

    I think that’s why Martin’s comments have some considerable political valence.
    ——————
    I’m really lost with this word “valence”, it’s the second time I’ve seen it used on this blog in recent days. Does it mean “relevance” in that context?
    Excuse my ignorance.

  • Alias

    “This was okay when it suited the party. When it didn’t pan out that way (ie, with arrest of Padraig Wilson) they protested as though they had nothing to do with his appointment.”

    That’s just the Shinners playacting to their own PIRA supporters. They sold support for the PSNI to them at their special Ard Fheis with the line that they would be better able to “put manners on them” if the motion was passed – and not, as it turns out, that the police would be better able to put manners on the Shinners.

    Essentially, the Shinners were selling to those supporters from the PIRA wing the prospect of the ability to political interfere politically with the police for the purpose of de facto extension of the ‘protected species’ franchise to them. The arrest of a former ‘Army Council’ member, therefore, is a tad embarrassing for them.

    And given what the top provo was arrested for, the Shinners can’t really protest too much about it without the conversation turning to their cover-up of child sex abuse crimes (which isn’t a conversation they want).

    There is also the sense that the Shinners are trying to be in ‘government’ and opposition at the same time. And given that they are busy implementing Tory cuts, who can really blame them?

    Beyond that there is the systemic problem of having a political party in ‘government’ whose supporters, in the main, expect them to be opposed to, and to seek to undermine, the region of the UK where they are in government. McGuinness can hardly make speeches with the theme of “Let’s make Northern Ireland a great success” (however much he wants to) without risking incredulous expressions the faces of some of his core supporters.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Micheal’s words are aimed at the southern electorate, and he is highlighting Sinn Féin’s failure in government to implement the policies it trumpets in opposition in the Dáil.

  • Mick Fealty

    In the subscription locked Irish News Comrade? Really? I really don’t think that’s true. This is aimed squarely at Northern Irish nationalists (of both parties) and their unionist partners.

    On valence, there’s two sources. Pyschology: http://goo.gl/LByzR; and Chemistry: http://goo.gl/bh23M

  • Sp12

    “In the subscription locked Irish News Comrade? ”

    And the FF website
    http://www.fiannafail.ie/news/entry/9401/

    and ofc, reprinted by anyone else good enough to do so
    pointing no fingers ;)

    Of course it’s aimed at the southern electorate.

  • Mick Fealty

    If that’s true, let’s keep an eye on this Google News Search, which only has one relevant result at the top, so far: http://goo.gl/bAwIo

    I think you overestimate the degree to which anyone in the south gives a second thought to the north…

  • Sp12

    “I think you overestimate the degree to which anyone in the south gives a second thought to the north…”

    I don’t believe I expressed any opinions one way or the other about how much that homogenous group ‘people in the south’ think about us.
    What is clear however is that the ‘they say one thing down here’ and ‘do another thing up there’ argument is a standard attack by FF (and others) when it comes to SF. This article is simply a continuation of that. If it wasn’t he wouldn’t use an argument as dumb as

    “What moral authority does any public representative have criticising a protest that challenges the writ and authority of the PSNI when their party was promoting just such a protest only months ago?”

    if he thought his target audience had enough gumption and background knowledge to know the difference between what we have seen these past 40 odd days and a bunch of shinners standing outside an office with placards.

  • Sp12

    Content wise, it’s not much different from his two pronged attack on FG and SF last october
    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2012/1022/1224325541911.html

    A kind man might say he is keeping the very serious issues he raised then in the spotlight, an unkind man might say he is running out of things to say.

    I’ll go on record to agree with him on one point though

    “There have been notable successes – the Our Time, Our Place [tourism] campaign has been excellent”

    I have to agree, if it wasn’t for that campaign we wouldn’t have the excellent parody video with the drunken rioters and bandsmen.

  • http://www.thedissenter.co.uk thedissenter

    MT it is what you said, even if not what you meant. SF naive on the basis of what you said. The issue you highlight is not the same. Think loyalists would gain some satisfaction if any crackdown on protest was carried through to the parading season. Perhaps that too is not what SF might wish for, despite their current position on ‘illegal’ protest.

  • http://www.thedissenter.co.uk thedissenter

    Naive or arrogant.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick, I only read the above synopses (I don’t have an IN sub) and I could summarize this as :

    - Sinn Féin say they prioritize poverty and unemployment in the Dáil, but have done nothing about it in NI

    - Sinn Féin have double standards on law and order given that they protested outside PSNI headquarters over the investigation of one of their own, therefore the protests are partly their fault for having no moral authority on the rule of law

    - any nationalist who blames unionists for the above is copping out

    I think he’s aiming at a southern audience, but perhaps doing it in the Irish News to take the edge off it slightly.

  • Mick Fealty

    CS and Sp:

    Where is the comparison with what SF is doing in the south? It’s an almost pure analysis of northern politics, with very little on the politics of the south.

    Mr Martin may eventually project something back down south, but this looks to me like a politician who’s serious about developing some political capital (let’s put it no more strongly than that) and an authoritative voice over what’s not happening in Northern Ireland.

  • Sp12

    “Where is the comparison with what SF is doing in the south?”

    Oh come on Mick, he doesn’t have to spell out SF’s policies down south to make the comparison. He is leaving that to the reader. SF’s position as an opposition party in the south and a government party in the north has given their southern opponents a gift that very few parties anywhere else in the world get.
    We get to compare their opposition promises/position with their government actions without having the inconvenience of a pesky 4 or 5 year gap. Provided of course we can all manage to skirt around the issues of the difference in powers that a southern government party has compared to the mexican standoff government powers in the north.

    No-one is going to pass that opportunity up, as MM and indeed EK have demonstrated since the last GE.

    If you believe like you stated earlier on that people in the south don’t tend to give a second thought about people in the north, what possible ‘political capital’ can he make out of SF’s record in the north by any means other than nudging people towards making the comparison?

    The only other ‘capital’ to be gained is to associate FF in the southern voters mind as ‘the guys that built the peace process’ as opposed to ‘the guys that wrecked the country’, as MM has often done on Matt Cooper’s show when pressed for his opinion on Bertie.

  • Mick Fealty

    He could be leaving the audience to make the leap you suggest, but then why deliver it in a paper that does not have a mass market in the south if that’s who your actual target is?

    He’s talking to the readers of the Irish News. That’s the broad (ie, non getalongerist) northern nationalist electorate, and over their shoulders, political unionism.

    Even D4 media types will barely hear it.

  • Alias

    What does it matter which audience he was aiming his op-ed at (even if the locality of the newspaper gives a large clue)?

    He is spot-on in almost everything he says.

  • Sp12

    “He could be leaving the audience to make the leap you suggest, but then why deliver it in a paper that does not have a mass market in the south if that’s who your actual target is?”

    He delivered essentially the same analysis in the Irish Times in October, albiet with another barrel pointed at FG. Maybe the Times didn’t fancy printing what was essentially the same article twice and as an opposition politician you take what press you can get, even if it does have to travel from print to the internet in the hope of reaching your target audience.

  • Mick Fealty

    Yeah, maybe.

    Night all… l-)

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick,

    Where is the comparison with what SF is doing in the south?

    The leader of Fianna Fáil is telling people that SF – when in government – deliver on none of the things that they promise to do. The other, implied, message is that they are falling short of their responsibilities in carrying forward the Agreement legacy that was bequeathed upon them by Fianna Fáil’s previous leader.

    I agree that the presence of the article in the Irish News is somewhat of an anomaly, perhaps Micheál is testing out his message before he yells it a bit louder – given that at this point he is breaking a convention the British and Irish governments have both stuck to which is not to directly comment on the success or otherwise of the powersharing administration.

    I’m also wondering if FF are pondering standing candidates up here. There is a gap in the market for a “reassuringly expensive” nationalist tribal party who are emphatically not Sinn Féin, who do not have IRA baggage, and who are resolutely opposed to the IRA and business such as naming play parks after hunger strikers.

  • BarneyT

    Hi Mick, just a quick one. Is this the reemergence of the FF push into the north. Is that one aspect of what you may be hinting at given MMs new northern energy?

  • BarneyT

    I ask this due to the obvious political bandwidth that is so obvious up here.

  • http://footballcliches.wordpress.com/ footballcliches

    Hmmmm,

    So, organising a peaceful protest outside a PSNI station and holding said body to account is akin to bringing Belfast city centre to a standstill? I’m sorry but that is grasping at straws on his part and most will see through it.

    BarneyT may be on to something, but I also think it also shows that Martin always has one eye on SF and the Southern electorate. Gerry, Alex et al are coming out of this looking pretty good in the areas they would most likely target in the South, places where FF may have gained a seat here and there but lost to Labour/the Stickies, so best to keep the spotlight on SF where it is having trouble in implementing policy, granted in a poorly designed statelet as opposed to the South. I’m sure the Southern electorate, those inclined to vote SF, will see the difference in circumstance.

    ‘It would be a mistake because anyone with any interest in moving forward republican politics in a spirit of equality will look at what has been happening and know that a genuine republican project means nothing if it cannot demonstrate to all communities that indigenous democracy delivers.’

    He must have overlooked what happend at BCC as indigenous democracy DID deliver something in a spirit of equality, but lets not let facts get in the way of point scoring, ay MM?

    ‘If this doesn’t happen, if the north’s dominant political blocks continue to walk the path they have been for at least the last year, this dispute will drag on. And when it finally splutters to an end, my fear is that some other equally grotesque expression of disorder and disillusionment will take its place.’

    Agreed, but when your opponents are unwilling to compromise, suffer buyers remorse or haven’t figured out what they actually agreed to and signed off on then expect there to be further trouble ahead.

  • Mick Fealty

    There’s two issues here: audience and content. I’ll come to the latter later, first why speak to an audience in Northern Ireland when your main political game is in the Republic?

    1 – Having a cogent analysis on the politics of Northern Ireland fits the party’s conceit as Ireland’s Republican party. The constitution no longer bids southerners to view the north as a fourth green field, so it is left to the parties to decide their own priorities.

    2 – Bodenstown barely got any coverage, but a commemoration of Wolf Tone and the Belfast Protestant origins of Irish Republicanism was a good place to raise the issue of the north in a southern context. For all but their Donegal and Cavan Monaghan TD’s and the odd TD from Limerick or Roscommon, Northern Ireland is barely on the radar for FG as party. At a time when the northern process is only going nowhere, Martin can reasonably claim that he has a sustained and informed analysis of any future crisis in Northern Ireland, and a licence and audience to whom he can speak.

    3 – More instrumentally there’s no point in FF wasting their breath attacking SF in the south. They have only a handful of seats. The bigger game, as I’ve noted before in these pages, is the fight with FG. That’s where the time and capital has to go. For the most part they let the old Blueshirts do the dirty work for them on that score.

    4 – From a more Machiavellian perspective this is a long distance incendiary bombing raid. Sinn Fein have ported most of their best back-room talent to bolstering their efforts at Leinster House. It’s a good move on their part since it is at least fifteen to twenty years since they faced any serious and sustained political opposition. The Irish News is the political daybook of ordinary nationalists from West Belfast and Ardoyne to Mid Ulster and Foyle. It will give SF rooftop fire-watchers something to think about.

    Now the content. As I’ve said in a different context, a genuinely disruptive politics must shape the terrain on which future contests will be fought, opening up alternatives, rather than shutting them down. If your baseline judgement is that SF’s protest did not cause widespread trouble but the flags protest has then you are missing the point that those protesters at Knock were there on party business, not that of their constituents.

    They would not try that in the south (any more), because they’d get hammered for it by their opponents. Protesting a police service that you have control over, is not only a self serving political fiction its a damning message to be sending out to young republicans who might be tempted into joining dissident republicans. Mr Martin is merely joining the dots for SF’s voter base, and raising his profile at the same time.

    It won’t go unnoticed amongst political unionism that a southern political leader is re-enforcing the legitimacy authority of the Northern Irish police force at a time when its motives and competence are being constantly undermined in the public square by both loyalist protesters and northern republicans who are tasked with its oversight.

    What we need to remember is that Mr Martin had a lengthy spell at the DFA before the last election. I don’t think I am being unfair if I refer to some of what happened on his and previous FF’s watch there as a sustained programme of unionist outreach. The last time I heard him speak live was to an audience of Northerners, many of the unionist and loyalist, was in, of all places, Kilmainham. Let’s just say he had no difficulties in reaching his audience.

    Much of this was buried in the offices of state, and the business of statecraft. This prioritising the sustenance of links with northern civil society pretty much seems to have either slowed or stopped with the new Labour incumbency at the DFA. Same is the case with a Labour Presidency.

    As for future developments, I’m pretty sure that there is no immediate intent to organise in Northern Ireland. The aim I suspect though is twofold: give SF a few headaches in the north; and build provenance for themselves there. Or in other words, shaping the terrain upon which future contests may be fought.

  • Comrade Stalin

    footballcliches:

    So, organising a peaceful protest outside a PSNI station and holding said body to account

    Holding the PSNI to account, are you having a laugh ?

    Gerry Kelly (policing board member) demanded that the PSNI stop investigating a certain individual. That is serious interference in due process.

  • Mick Fealty

    Quite.

  • http://footballcliches.wordpress.com/ footballcliches

    Comrade,

    ‘Holding the PSNI to account, are you having a laugh ?’

    Nope, unless of course you believe that being on the policing board means you are no longer allowed to protest?

  • http://footballcliches.wordpress.com/ footballcliches

    Mick,

    ‘As for future developments, I’m pretty sure that there is no immediate intent to organise in Northern Ireland. The aim I suspect though is twofold: give SF a few headaches in the north; and build provenance for themselves there. Or in other words, shaping the terrain upon which future contests may be fought.’

    So, with no mandate in the North, no real, concrete intention to organise in the North, having a piece published solely in the North where it is unlikely to make any kind of a ripple in the South (you know, where he gets votes) and he happens to be in a position where he cannot effect any kind of change whatsoever in the North or get any kind of a payback in the North he is trying to give SF a headache?

    The only thing that is giving a headache here is that this piece of MM’s is getting more oxygen than it deserves.

    ‘Let’s just say he had no difficulties in reaching his audience.’

    Oh I don’t doubt that but lets be honest here, he is not exactly on the coal face when dealing with unionism on a day-to-day basis now is he? He can say things without the problem of having to get down to the nitty gritty of implementation, unlike the difficulties facing Northern Nat parties.

    I’m sorry but large numbers of Nats, North and South, know that SF and SDLP are dealing with a Mexican standoff in the Assembly and they know the difference between running a sovereign state (the South) and a regional legislature with partners who are unwilling to compromise in the main.

    ‘It won’t go unnoticed amongst political unionism that a southern political leader is re-enforcing the legitimacy authority of the Northern Irish police force at a time when its motives and competence are being constantly undermined in the public square by both loyalist protesters and northern republicans who are tasked with its oversight.’

    Of course, political unionism has not questioned the legitimacy of law and order in the North recently? Oh wait, I forgot about Nelson! Their is a massive difference between holding the police to account in the public realm and rioting, you should note the difference instead of lumping them into the same bracket.

    ‘Having a cogent analysis on the politics of Northern Ireland fits the party’s conceit as Ireland’s Republican party. The constitution no longer bids southerners to view the north as a fourth green field, so it is left to the parties to decide their own priorities.’

    Oh, I would say well played by him, but as he doesn’t have any serious organisation in the North there is a rather large gap in his claims of being ‘Ireland’s’ Republican party, until he sorts this out he claims will ring hollow. Further, when his analysis can be so easily challenged by someone like myself (an irregular commentator).

  • Mick Fealty

    To be be fair to the leader of FF, you’ve challenged his right to speak rather than his analysis..

  • http://footballcliches.wordpress.com/ footballcliches

    Mick,

    ‘To be be fair to the leader of FF, you’ve challenged his right to speak rather than his analysis..’

    I will assume you are aiming that at me? If so, where?

  • http://footballcliches.wordpress.com/ footballcliches

    Further, I refer you to my previous posts.

  • Coll Ciotach

    As I have said in this thread

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2012/11/09/micheal-martin-as-a-republican-i-feel-an-obligation-to-make-my-contribution-to-the-debate/

    Michael is preaching to the southern electorate. The message sounds to me to be – do not vote for these SF lads – look at the mess they are making of the north.

    Michael is sounding more like the hurler on the ditch than anything else to the northern nationalist. That is not a worry to him. The northern electorate is not his concern.
    He has no interets in the north apart from when it will have a negative impact on the south or as a stick to beat SF with. If that was not so he would have had his party operating here by now.

    Michael – if you are really interested in a functioning Stormont stop the preaching and get your own reps in there. Then you have the right to condemn others.

    In my view FF is guilty of moral cowardice.

  • Mick Fealty

    fc,

    Forgive me but here’s a precis of your response: where’s the mandate?; what about the unionists?; it’s different up here; what about the unionists?; where’s your mandate?

  • Mick Fealty

    Coll,

    I tentatively buy that. But then what politician or political party does not act in its own interests, and against those of its opponents? Not doing that is what’s killing the UUP and the SDLP.

    The only real test is does it stand up to scrutiny? Is it true? I leave others to judge Mr Martin on that score.

  • http://footballcliches.wordpress.com/ footballcliches

    Mick,

    ‘Forgive me but here’s a precis of your response: where’s the mandate?; what about the unionists?; it’s different up here; what about the unionists?; where’s your mandate?’

    Apology accepted MF, though you still have not noted where I have challenged his right to speak (I won’t hold my breath either), when I was discussing your analysis of what he said and how this may be interpreted (I can’t believe this is being given air it really shouldn’t be) and some inconsistencies (see my lengthy response).

    Now, if you don’t like what I posted, fair enough, but how about you go through the points raised instead?

  • wee buns

    The very fact that MM is breaking convention by passing comment on the north is significant.
    FF is without a doubt testing the water for running candidates in the north.

  • forthman

    MM is a complete political snake. He is a political animal devoid of morals when it comes to the north. A shameless opportunist who has little regard for the victims of terrorism. Has he visited the short strand in recent weeks? He is consumed by his own hatred of SF’s electoral advance. It threatens his income stream. That is what drives him. He does not understand, or cares to want to understand the north. He is solely interested in returning to his former position of power and wealth, while a lot of citizens of state struggle to meet their home heating costs. A disgrace!

  • Alias

    With all the Shinner-trained drones defending the hive, I hoped at least one of them would have come out with some form of rebuttal that wasn’t a base variation of “Don’t listen to him – he’s a bollix!”

  • Mick Fealty

    Forthman,

    You are not a fan then? Wee Buns is right to point out this is a departure, but I think that’s explained as much by the fact they are in opposition as by any future intent.

    Labour and FG went along with the government line throughout the peace process era. Mr Martin is plainly not.

    I’d put it no stronger than he’s creating the intellectual space for a non SF Republican project. But we’re not even sure what FF NI would look like, never mind who would launch it/drive it.

    Coming to the SS at this time would be a serious political mistake. He ought to go there, and to meet the people of the lower Newtownards Road, but only when the heat is off and at a time of HIS and not SF’s choosing.

    Here’s the key in his op ed:

    A genuine republican project means nothing if it cannot demonstrate to all communities that indigenous democracy delivers.

    Fine words, which dictate his actions on Northern Ireland need to be just as finely chosen. Coming runing to the aid of one tribe (at the inevitable political expense of the other) at the behest of a political opponent is not it.