If Adams is a prisoner of his own past, can he provide a future for Sinn Fein?

3 views

Matt Cooper has a good piece on Gerry Adams, that contingent apology for the murder of Garda McCabe, the longer term problem of political credibility:

…it was notable how the man who maintained that he was never a member of the IRA, let alone one of its most important leaders, could take it upon himself to apologise for its actions. What “conflict” had been taking place in Adare when Jerry McCabe was shot dead or how was the case of Irish “freedom” advanced by a straightforward murder at a time of a criminal robbery?

Fortunately, Sinn Féin now takes a different position. Adams told the Dáil this week that he wanted to restate the resolve of Sinn Féin and the majority of Irish people to ensure there would never be a recurrence of conflict. “Members of An Garda Síochána do a dangerous job. They take risks for all of us.” For many years those risks involved confronting an IRA that was dedicated to the overthrow of this State and for whom Adams was its most powerful propagandist.

That history should never be forgotten. His colleagues like Martin McGuinness have achieved more by admitting to their past, something that has helped his bona fides among unionists (who have far more respect for him than they do for Adams). His actions, such as shaking Queen Elizabeth’s hand, and his work in the Northern Executive, have spoken far louder than words.

Adams instead is a prisoner of the past to which he won’t admit more than the past for which he is not apologising. He has been the leader of Sinn Féin now for 30 years, an extraordinary length of time in democratic politics in the western world. He is revered by many in his party, in a cult-like fashion, but when will the time come when the younger members of his party will say their thanks for what they believe he has achieved and ask him to move on, for their sake. [emphasis added]

I posed a similar question some years ago on the Guardian’s Comment is Free site (though it suspect some of its critics where mislead somewhat by the sub’s controversialist headline). But as today’s editorial in the Irish Times notes, Mr Adams marches to a different drum.

, , ,

  • serak

    McGuinness says he left the IRA in the early 1970′s, right?

  • keano10

    Slugger is back in full flow. Multiple threads on Gerry Adams. Always good to play to the gallery now and again. This is the second thread on his apology within the space of just 2 days.

    And let’s be honest now – you will go a long, long, way to find tosh such as this – ” He is revered by many in his party, in a cult-like fashion…”

    Give me a break, seriously. Yeah the “cult worship” of Big Gerry is feverishly practised with fervour throughout the Republican heartlands across the island…

    At least if we are going to have some serious analysis of Adams, please pitch it somewhere above the level that Matt Cooper has stooped to here. This is the journalistic equivalent of a 15 year old kid writing his first political blog. And a very poor one at that…

  • Neil

    If Gerry was in the IRA and admits to being in the IRA he will be sent to prison for two years. This is a cold hard fact. I’m sure some people are salivating at the prospect, but I think we all know it’s not going to happen, until the circumstances are in place for people (Brits, Unionists, IRA, Loyalists and so on) to tell their story without fear of prosecution. But Loyalists don’t want that, we just get bogged down arguments like defining who victims are (Unionists apparantly).

    Adams is playing the same hand Marty played up here and I suspect it will go down as well. I know that some media outlets and FF/FG politicians will attempt to make some political capital out of this (which is of course classy behaviour – exploiting the death of a cop) but most people will take apologies at face value and will be happy enough to move on.

    That of course doesn’t apply to ‘moderates’ north of the border who think the way forward regarding apologies is to throw them back in the face of the apologee. Not smart IMO. But no worry for SF, they’re doing very well in the South and that’s clearly why the attacks are intensifying. I suspect the electorate will see that and punish the brown envelope brigade accordingly.

  • Mick Fealty

    You know keano, Adams is the only political leader that invokes such obvious defensiveness as this counting threads business (it’s only two threads this week, have we gone over quota?). ;-)

    Nevertheless I think Matt’s point about Adams being tied to a past he cannot own is a perceptive one.

    I recall reading something about Jung’s theory of the complex, some twenty plus years ago. I think he described it as a secret that has been held for so long that it begins accumulate a separateness from the individuals memory and begins to contend with the ego and can express power over it.

    We all have them, and in fact Jung’s archetype theory arises from this previous idea of the complex. Unlike Freud, Jung sees the complex as varied and as running from the positive to the negative.

    What they all have in common is that they are ‘creatures’ of the unconscious; wikipedia describes them as “‘stuck-together’ agglomerations of thoughts, feelings, behavior patterns, and somatic forms of expression”.

    Here’s Jung himself writing on the subject in 1960:

    “Every constellation of a complex postulates a disturbed state of consciousness. The unity of consciousness is disrupted and the intentions of the will are impeded or made impossible. Even memory is often noticeably affected, as we have seen.”

    The complex must therefore be a psychic factor which, in terms of energy, possesses a value that sometimes exceeds that of our conscious intentions, otherwise such disruptions of the conscious order would not be possible at all.”

    And in fact, an active complex puts us momentarily under a state of duress, of compulsive thinking and acting.”[emphasis added]

    Personally, I believe Adams is a complex figure. He’s not a good politician in any conventional reckoning, but that’s partly because his internal position is so strong; he’s certainly more far sighted than many of his rivals, if only because he can afford to be.

    The longer term growth curve in his party’s success is impressive and not amenable to the short term vagaries of other political parties. Cooper (and I) may have gotten matters this regard horribly wrong in the respect we’ve both argued that he needs to make the leader’s position contestable.

    Poor advice in the sense that no Alpha Male ever would accept such a counsel of weakness (http://goo.gl/tngtS).

    But anyone who seeks to retain the high level of secrecy that Adams does in seeking public office ought properly to invoke a sensible and similarly high degree of scepticism on anything he says.

  • BarneyT

    I recently posted the following comment. “Would a media savvy and cute political machine allow this “lie” to remain and fester? If it is proven or even if he admits it, it will destroy SF whilst Gerry is at the helm”

    How does his denial (assuming the evidence is irrefutable) help Gerry and Sinn Fein? I would say it doesn’t and it serves to harm both gravely.

    • It serves as a distraction in the Dail and as I’ve said before provides a bolt hole for Enda when incisive and uncomfortable questions are posed.

    • It undermines any credibility Gerry might have or hope to gain as a person and politician of conviction

    • It’s an embarrassment to Sinn Fein or at least should be

    • It is dismissive of the IRA and disrespectful to those that have chosen that particular path, which will not sit well with the core of republicanism.

    • It suggests that Gerry is out of touch with reality and actually quite mad

    Could it be that Gerry has taken control of this issue himself and that Sinn Fein has allowed him to pursue this path on the basis that could serve as a guillotine to bring an end to his reign, if they so choose. Perhaps they are content to give him enough rope on this particular matter.

    A timely admission would not have harmed Gerry or Sinn Fein in any shape or form. But now it is far too late, perhaps by a decade.

    An admission now would end Gerry and tarnish Sinn Fein as a party led by a weak man and a liar. Sinn Fein may survive in the north, with the likes of Martin McGuiness and the ever competent and impressive education minister, John O’Dowd, but in the republic they will slip off the radar again.

    If Gerry was a member of the IRA and it comes to be that Gerry publically accepts this, it will not be done as party leader.

    Those that are certain of Gerry’s IRA past need to answer the question, “Why would Gerry deny his active past in an organisation he has on many occasions excused and openly supported”.

    It does not make sense for Gerry to deny his involvement and to persist in his denial, even if there is a great deal of personal risk (of prosecution) attached for Gerry.

  • Ulster Press Centre

    keano10: Give me a break, seriously. Yeah the “cult worship” of Big Gerry is feverishly practised with fervour throughout the Republican heartlands across the island…

    I was once in a catholic house in north Belfast doing some work. Pride of place above the fireplace was a photo of the family’s three daughters (each one a stunner) standing posing with Gerry Adams like he was Tom Cruise or Robbie Williams.

  • Reader

    keano10: And let’s be honest now – you will go a long, long, way to find tosh such as this – ” He is revered by many in his party, in a cult-like fashion…”
    It may be a little over stated, but to be fair, Sinn Fein – acknowledged masters of vote balancing in STV elections – have struggled with two serious problems: persuading supporters to vote for Billy Leonard; and persuading supporters not to vote for Gerry Adams.

  • GEF

    One wonders if GA will give up his one goal of NI joining a UI after all the stick he has been receiving from the Taoiseach Enda Kenny recently since the bold Gerry left his safe stomping ground in West Belfast to join the ROI as a TD for Co Louth.

    “Taoiseach Enda Kenny said Provisional IRA members who have information on serious incidents and tragedies in the past should own up.

    The Taoiseach also rounded on Mr Adams over his apology for the murder of Garda officer Gerry McCabe, who was shot dead by the IRA during a robbery 17 years ago.

    Mr Kenny said: “I also disagree with the statement from the deputy of Sinn Fein that it’s a different matter to take the life of a guard than it is to take the life of a PSNI officer.”

    http://news.google.co.uk/news/url?ct2=uk%2F1_0_s_5_1_a&sa=t&usg=AFQjCNFZNL-mJK440pidmuGg8gmEbGqdmQ&cid=52778078498846&url=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.newsletter.co.uk%2Fnews%2Fheadlines%2Ftime-for-adams-to-come-clean-say-politicians-1-4748163&ei=e94LUdr0FY2S8gPnogE&rt=SECTION&vm=STANDARD&bvm=section&did=4049248002304068717&sid=-6084232833988203619

  • Kevsterino

    Mark Antony: “The evil that men do lives after them; The good is oft interred with their bones”

    Mick, I think many in Northern Ireland of a unionist persuasion have buried the good that Gerry Adams has done already, and eagerly await a chance to inter his bones.

    Personally, I think he was essential in ending the armed struggle in that I can’t think of anyone else around back then who was capable of doing it.

    As far as the perpetual Gerry threads are concerned, I am in awe to see how many facets and angles to this one individual can be cited when there is so much else going on. I’m not saying he has become a fetish for some, but maybe he has become a ‘sure thing’ who can be relied upon to elicit a predictable response?

  • http://www.banuanlae.org/ Ulick

    Zzzzzzzzz

    Might save us all bit a bit of time if you could copy and paste the replies over from the other threads as well.

  • Mick Fealty

    Is there a quota lads?

  • Neil

    I make it three this week that reference him directly in the title, and probably at least two or three where he features. There is clearly no quota, though being a shinner marks him out for additional attention. Just like Nationalist support for the rule of law is enough to bring down Stormont while Unionist politicians openly support illegal road blockages and intimidatory mobs protesting is nothing to see here. The UVF are still armed? See if you can get them to marshal an illegal parade then. Maybe have a wee meeting up in Stormont to determine their worries. Noteworthy? Nah, don’t worry about them they haven’t killed anyone, um, this year. Yet. It’s a double standard but we’re well used to it now. Gerry getting an operation to ensure he doesn’t have to wear a nappy is a big deal. 5 pound land deals come with the territory.

  • Granni Trixie

    I wager a guess that many of us have hobby horses/preoccupations which shape our contributions to this site. If there are to be quotas it will have to be quotas for all.

  • sherdy

    Mick – Was your 2pm post meant as an explanation or just to confuse those not so familiar with Jung’s work?
    It certainly bore little relevance to Keanos offering.
    You often chastise posters for playing the man rather than the ball – could you please take heed of that advice yourself?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    It’s quite simple; if Adams doesn’t want to be talked about then he should keep his own mouth closed.

  • Mick Fealty

    Jung bit related to Matt Cooper’s point (or it was meant to)… and why I thought it had resonance…

  • Mark

    What’s he supposed to do Joe ? …..use sign language . He’s a TD for Co. Louth . I think you may have missed the significance of this weeks remarks .

  • Alias

    A lot of ‘southerners’ listen to Pearse Doherty on the bail-out shenanigans and are a bit confused to see an intelligent Shinner talking good sense about their real lives, and they listen to an utter dork like Adams calling for a border poll and they remember why they’ll never put that party anywhere near government.

  • Mark

    I’ve never heard Gerry Adams being called a dork before …..

  • Kevsterino

    There is no quota at all, no where, no how, Mick. I was just making a casual observation. It could be me, of course. I could be mistaken (never discount the possibility that I’m full of it), but it just seems like when in doubt and need a thread to maintain ‘balance’ (whatever that is), hmmm, what is Adams up to. And even if he has been up to nothing, for instance taking time to attend to his health or some such, somehow it becomes threadworthy (sp?). If he hasn’t been above the fold for a while, there he goes. Like I said, just an observation.

  • Dixie Elliott

    keano10 said…

    “Give me a break, seriously. Yeah the “cult worship” of Big Gerry is feverishly practised with fervour throughout the Republican heartlands across the island…”

    That’s why Keano10 the numbers at SF commemorations have fallen drastically in recent years. In fact despite the fact that the shinners tried to end the annual Bloody Sunday march, thousands still turned out on the last two marches, in fact more families attended this year’s march.

    British funding holds SF together here in the North, in fact they are the only political party funded by the British. The reason being should the funding for the SF controlled community groups cease then it would be a case of the rats abandoning the sinking ship.

    Talking about Republican heartlands, sure Gerry abandoned West Belfast leaving it among the most under deprived areas, along with Derry in the so called ‘UK’.

  • tacapall

    “On the 31st of October, 1992, Pope John Paul II finally acknowledged that the Church was wrong when they condemned Galileo for saying that the Earth revolved around the sun back in 1633.

    Letting-go of an incorrect viewpoint one has been stubbornly holding for a long time can be difficult, and painful, and often humbling, but is often a very necessary step in order to move forward.”

    The problem as always is the chicken or the egg analog but who was the prime mover in Irelands violent past.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Mark,

    Of course not. What I was saying in a roundabout way is that if you’re in politics, you are going to be talked about.

  • Mark

    Joe ,

    I think he’s probably used to it at this stage ….and I was referring to his remarks regarding Jerry McCabe in light of last weeks murder of Det. Donoghue .

  • babyface finlayson

    Neil
    This thread is a logical follow up to the story about the apology.That incident perfectly illustrates the problem Sinn Fein has with their old guard,and why they need to disappear themselves.
    They will surely find themselves in ever more twisted contortions.
    You can hardly be saying the apology itself was not worthy of a thread can you?
    Politician who was never in the IRA apologises for IRA action. Interesting to some of us anyway.
    And I believe there were one or two threads on the protests,including a couple on Jamie Bryson,which you happily commented on.

  • RyanAdams

    Lol at the Shinner brigade coming out in force because they can’t seem to get their head round the fact their fellow ‘country-men’ in the South don’t accept any form of shit from their politicians. Not for the first time and definitely not the last either I suspect. I look forward to Sinn Fein’s fight for survival with an electorate were-by tribalism won’t bring in votes. When economic prosperity returns to the South Sinn Fein will be sent back to the doldrums with nothing other than outposts in Border counties.

  • Neil

    I ‘m not saying there should be no thread dealing with his apology, but what I am saying is the whole ‘why won’t he admit he was in tha IRA’ question is repeatedly posed and answered. There is also a double standard at play when it comes to Nationalism’s crimes of yesteryear versus Unionism’s crimes of today. The UVF are active, armed and pepared to murder but for some reason that’s not a problem for many. But as for Gerry, go for it, libel away at will, God knows enough people do. Just don’t keep repeating the same stupid question over and over. ‘Why won’t he just come clean?’ Because if he did he’ll do two years. That’s why, assuming of course accepted wisdom is in this case correct.

    Also point about the wisdom of not accepting apologies

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    ..why won’t he admit he was in tha IRA’ question is repeatedly posed and answered..

    Not quite, Neil. It has never been answered by him.

  • Neil

    Sorry on a tablet was attempting to say that point re: wisdom of rejecting apologies still stands. If we’re going to move forwards the northern Irish moderates are going to have to resist the urge to put the boot in and maybe take apologies at face value. No more posting for me tonight. Typing on a tablet is horrible.

  • Neil

    Yes Joe. And the reason for that has been provided a number of times on a number of threads. He would go to jail if he did.

  • Alias

    “And the reason for that has been provided a number of times on a number of threads. He would go to jail if he did.”

    He wouldn’t. PIRA is no longer a proscribed organisation. Furthermore, he is hardly likley to testify against himself – and neither will the British state lay a finger on their protected species for as long as he serves their constitutional agenda.

  • Neil

    He may well he protected Alias, I don’t actually know that to be true but people have been charged with membership of PIRA since ceasefire so you’re wrong.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Q. Mr.Adams, have you ever been in the IRA?
    A. No comment. No lie.
    A. I refuse to answer on the grounds that it may incriminate me. No lie.
    A. That question isn’t relevant, I am President of S.F. No lie.
    A. No. Lie

  • Neil

    A. No. Lie

    Crimestoppers international TFN: 44800 555 111.

    Point being I have no knowledge of Gerry’s proclivities.

  • latcheeco

    RyanAdams
    “When economic prosperity returns to the South Sinn Fein will be sent back to the doldrums with nothing other than outposts in Border counties”

    Judging by the census results, after said prosperity returns there may not be any border counties

    I don’t know psychology/ psychiatry but did Jung say anything about where unhealthy obsessions about people who have rejected your advances or even publically dismissed you come from?.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Why would the Brits protect both Gerry and Marty for years then put them in jail now when they are more valuable…?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Neil,

    If Mr.Adams wants to sue me for libel, he can get my personal details from Mick.

  • New Yorker

    Why wouldn’t Adams go to jail for his republican principles? It is a long standing tradition and people would think better of him if he admitted being in the IRA and spent two years in jail. Maybe republican principles and traditions do not apply to him.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    New Yorker,

    Many Republicans have demonstrated their pride and gone to jail, as you say. Maybe only cowards shrink.

  • Kevsterino

    It seems to me that, after the carefully choreographed past 20+ years, putting Gerry Adams in jail makes no sense whatsoever. For what, 2 years? Like that is justice?

    There is an old phrase, “paid his debt to society”. Not sure about society, but I imagine the balance of accounts between Gerry Adams and HMG is probably pretty even. Shepherding the GFA through the republican movement was no slight task. I doubt he will ever see any more bars from the inside.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Kevsterino.

    I don’t have any doubt. He did an enormous job in helping to bring peace and he will not go to jail. But he doesn’t need to lie.

  • babyface finlayson

    Neil
    “Typing on a tablet is horrible.” Side effects eh?
    Taking apologies at face value is all very well if they are sincere.
    But Gerry’s apology was carefully worded. He seemed to be apologising for the consequences of the action rather than the deed itself.

  • Mick Fealty

    What was it we were talking about again?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Adams being a prisoner of his past which might include past and ongoing lies.

  • Henry94

    If denying he was in the IRA is a problem for Adams then it’s quite clear that giving an affirmative answer to the question would not solve the problem. For much of the media new and old “getting Adams” has become an obsession,

    Foe Slugger to deny that it shares that obsession has as much credibility with its republican readers as Adams’ denial has with non-republican ones. As a moderate peace-process loving Sinn Fein voter I have zero interest in having Gerry Adams taking us all down the cul-de-sac that we would be led into by any admission of IRA membership on his part. I don’t think it is anyone’s business who was or was not in the IRA. It’s not a question I would even put to my own brother if I had reason to suspect he had been involved (which of course I don’t).

    It’s an issue much like abstention which doesn’t generate and internal controversy in SF but people outside think it does or should. But what have they to offer. Can anyone explain how it would bring an iota of political benefit to Sinn Fein to go down that crazy road. Adams denying membership is something people are used to and they see they exchanges on the subject as ritualistic but if he changed his story can you imagine the reaction? A special edition of the Sunday Independent and a quota bursting month on Slugger would be only the start of it. Enda Kenny would use it to avoid answering questions about his appalling policies and FF would use it to run away from their own past in government. I just don’t see any upside in the short or long run.

    It’s a bit like Obama’s birth cert. He could have produced it any time he wanted but it was of more benefit to make his opponents seem obsessed and deranged.

  • Reader

    Henry94: I don’t think it is anyone’s business who was or was not in the IRA.
    Do you think it’s anyone’s business who was or was not in the UDA or UVF?

  • Henry94

    Reader

    If the PUP were in the executive I wouldn’t be interested in which of their MLAs had been in the UVF. Then again neither would Slugger.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    I don’t think it is anyone’s business who was or was not in the IRA.

    I suggest you try debating that novel idea with any of their victims.

  • Henry94

    Mister_Joe

    I could accept that point if I thought concern for victims was the motivation for raising the issue. Do you honestly think it is?

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Henry,

    I don’t know. Probably not in most cases. Myself, I just think there is no good reason to lie when others, like McGuinness as one example, are honest.

  • Granni Trixie

    The medium is the message -what we know about a persons background shapes what we think about what they say or do, hence it makes a difference to know if GA speaks with the experience of being an activist or someone on the sidelines especially in view of
    accounts by Price and others who clearly state he was involved in their crimes. GA stance (if he is/was in the ira) is also at odds with SF official policy that they want a truth commission.

    I also think that one could apply the theory (Etzionni?) that when something is a puzzle (ie questions not satisfactorily answered) then they remain on in public discourse until they are answered).

    I find it difficult to accept that “moderate” Henry does not get it …that people are entitled to know who are in organisations which disrupted their lives for years with bombs etc. Or that a leader of SF has exceptionally bad judgement in not putting his hands up so that he can go forward. For this reason if I were a SF supporter I would be saying. ‘He has to go’.

  • Reader

    Henry94: If the PUP were in the executive I wouldn’t be interested in which of their MLAs had been in the UVF.
    But Gerry isn’t in the executive, He isn’t even an MLA, though I suppose being a TD would count for something. But I’m interested in exploring the boundaries of your position here – is someone’s past of no interest to you if the were co-opted? Or if they were elected as a councillor?
    Or is this something that happens at an organisational level? If a party gets someone onto the executive, does that mean that all of their members have had the bad bits of their past wiped? And if the party loses the executive seat, do their members get their past back? Why do nationalists keep on mentioning Clontibret?

  • Neil

    GA stance (if he is/was in the ira) is also at odds with SF official policy that they want a truth commission.

    No it’s really not. Take the cited Marty example. Marty did not come clean about his past to the papers, but rather in a public inquiry where he could come clean and could not be prosecuted for anything he said. SF want a truth commission where everyone giving evidence would be protected by prosecution – just like Marty was when he told the truth.

    Again, I suspect Gerry will be following Martin’s lead when it comes to telling the truth, and will spill whatever beans he has when the truth commission comes around and not just sign themselves into prison by opening up to a newspaper, with zero legal protection and in fact obliging the police forces north and south to act. Can’t ignore a public admission of a crime, even if they wanted to. IMHO.

  • Neil

    Of course people can ask Reader. But usually when you get a dozen responses ‘no’ and with no evidence to the contrary you stop asking. Usually.

  • Mick Fealty

    Henry,

    Only one thing bothers me about Adams denial of the truth. And its just that he seems to believe he hashas some kind of immunity from being truthful.

    Whilst ML and others do good parliamentary work on putting it up to Minister Reilly’s doings over the distribution (can’t believe Howlin was involved in that) Gerry fibs about his part in the downfall of an all.but defunct Government of Ireland 1920 Act.

    If he gets away with it, fair enough. But don’t expect him not to get called next time he does it on Slugger…

  • Henry94

    Reader

    I’m interested in exploring the boundaries of your position here – is someone’s past of no interest to you if the were co-opted? Or if they were elected as a councillor?

    It is the commitment to democratic and peaceful means that matters to me. Having come out of the morass and agreed a way forward I don’t like to see the past used in a one-sided way. Republicans are as guilty as anyone else of doing that and I don’t like it when they do it either.

    Like a lot of issues (flags for example) I would like to see agreement on a general principle which could then be applied to the particular case. But that never happens and on most issues agreement is impossible because every side wants to reserve the right to exploit the particular for political purposes. I’m for a general amnesty because it would take control away leaderships and let individuals tell the truth about what they did. Some would not avail of the opportunity and some would.

  • Henry94

    Mick

    Only one thing bothers me about Adams denial of the truth. And its just that he seems to believe he has some kind of immunity from being truthful.

    That would hardly make him unique in political life if it was the case. If you were asked to advise a political figure faced with a difficult question would you not have to ask if giving a particular answer would put the issue to bed. So dealing with politics as it is can you lay out the upside for either Adams or Sinn Fein in changing their stated position on the issue. I find it an impossible case to make.

    It’s not that they don’t have a problem. The party under-performs in the south and part of the reason is the past is troubling to some voters. People say things like I have a good mind to vote Sinn Fein but in the end they don’t.

    There are things I believe Sinn Fein need to say that they have not said but that GA was in the IRA is not one of them.

  • Granni Trixie

    Henry 94
    We have an agreement of minds on some issues. In rece nt Alliance policy doc “for everyone” for instance the party advocated that we ought to produce general principles to apply to flags. Not least this would preempt newly formed councils spending much time and energy on flags issues at the start of their term of office instead of others.

  • babyface finlayson

    Someone (Joe maybe) raised the notion of parliamentary immunity.
    Just out of interest does anyone know if that would be the case were Gerry to unburden himself in the Dáil?

  • Alias

    Actually, Neil, you’re correct about PIRA still being a proscribed organisation. The supression order issued under the Offences Against the State Acts has not been lifted by the Irish Justice Minister.

    So, essentially, your argument is that he should continue lying in order to get away with it. I think the Irish have elected more than enough gombeen TDs (Bertie “I won it on the horses” Ahern and Charlie “Brwon Envelope” Haughey) without adding another into the pot but they do seen to have a self-defeating fondness for blackguards, don’t they?

  • Henry94

    Granni Trixie

    I’m very impressed with the Alliance Party in recent years. They seem to understand the difference between “split the difference” centerism and principled centerism and they have some great people. I’d be happy to see them with the balance of power in any situation. Ten years ago I would have looked at them as just another unionist party and may have said so here. So I’m very happy to be proven wrong about that.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Granni Trixie

    Why does the Alliance party choice a Unionist position on Flags and not ” principled centerism”?

  • gendjinn

    Mick,

    Is there a quota lads?

    No need for the strawman but you cannot be dismayed at the blow to Sluggers reputation when again there are multiple attacking SF on one issue while there are none concerning news of state sponsored murder.

    This is very far from the first time Slugger has engaged in this charade of distraction and one is beginning to suspect it is purposefully done to distract attention from the crimes of the state.

  • GEF

    “Why does the Alliance party choice a Unionist position on Flags and not ” principled centerism”?

    Mc Slaggart because of this “Policy on the Flying of the Union Flag Equality Impact Assessment ” But the $64 000 question is why did SF & SDLP drop their motion on
    ”principled centerism” and support Alliance’s motion on 3rd Dec 2012?

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://minutes.belfastcity.gov.uk/documents/s66734/Flags%2520EQIA%2520Final%2520Decision%2520Report%2520Appendices.pdf&sa=U&ei=xnHsUPncKLG20QWcz4CADA&ved=0CBUQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNGx0XkRlORmfu2z1lUG3a6T0CzpFA

  • Mc Slaggart

    GEF

    As the link shows their was a range of options (P86).

    SF and sdlp took the least worst option open to them. It was Alliance who placed them in that position.

    Now Nationalist council such as Omagh they have moved to a (Centralist) Neutral position on the Flying of Flags over council buildings. The question is why does Alliance not follow their example?

  • Alias

    GEF, question No. 5 of the Council’s staff survey on page 96 is interesting:

    “If the policy were changed so that the Union flag no longer flew on Council buildings, which of the following statement would best reflect your feelings?”

    52.3% of Protestant staff said they’d feel “Offended and unwelcome” and 35.8% of Protestant staff said they’d feel “Displeased”. So the wishes of 88.1% of its Protestant staff were ignored by the SDLP and Shinner councillors. So much for parity of esteem.

  • Granni Trixie

    Forgive my ignorance but I am not sure what “principled centreism” means.
    That said, let me explain that my understanding of the rationale for decisions re the flying of flags would be to show respect for traditions across the board – unionists for whom flying the flag is important and for nationalists/republicans aspirations for UI. This is different to ideas around “balance” or “share out” .

    Flags do not usually exercise alliance supporters. However, APNI does believe that we all ought to work towards consensus on rules for the flying of flags on lamposts which tend to mark territory and exclude others,in keeping with a shared future aspiration.

  • GEF

    “As the link shows their was a range of options (P86)”.

    Mc Slaggart, indeed, but why did SF & SDLP change at the last moment from wanting no flags at all (their original motion) to support Alliance? Strange do you not think so, or were the Shunners playing little games with the Unionists who had already created one holy row with Alliance because they would not support them in their 365 day motion?

    “Now Nationalist council such as Omagh they have moved to a (Centralist) Neutral position on the Flying of Flags over council buildings.

    Both Omagh & Down hold rep/nat majorities and fly neutral “council” flags. but another 8 rep/nat majority councils West of the Bann fly no flags at all.(P14)

    “The question is why does Alliance not follow their
    example?”

    Good point, but the same question could be put to SF & SDLP why does the other 8 rep/nat majority councils mentioned not follow the example of Omagh & Down councils? Then you may ask why did the flag policy document not mention this to begin with instead of giving a range of options (P86).

  • Mc Slaggart

    GEF

    “were the Shunners playing little games with the Unionists”

    Only if that was what Alliance was doing????

    As you say “Nationalists” either fly no flag or neutral “council” flags. Where as Alliance took the position of flying a flag “to mark territory and exclude others,in keeping with a shared future aspiration”!

  • GEF

    “Only if that was what Alliance was doing????”

    Mc Slaggart, I doubt it, the designated days motion proposed by APNI has been their party manifesto since the flag policy was approved of in 2000. Whereas the shinners are all over the place, by supporting, 8 councils no Flags, 2 councils neutral flags & finally Belfast City Council in flying the Union flag for designated days.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    Here is Gerry making speeches rather than asking questions. Then when Enda Kenny gives him a retort Gerry dislikes, he and the shinners in the Dail start acting like a Nolan show audience, and the speaker has to suspend the sitting. Seems to take Gerry out of the Falls but you can’t take the Falls out of Gerry!!!

  • GEF

    Thanks ArdoyneUnionist. The leader of SF has no doubt met his match this time with the Taoiseach. I believe the following day the acrimonious dispute carried on and another SF TD from Donegal was suspended from the Dail.

    MacLochlainn suspended from Dáil

    http://www.google.co.uk/url?q=http://www.donegaldemocrat.ie/news/local/maclochlainn-suspended-from-dail-1-4580600&sa=U&ei=b-UOUY3KFrCV0QXx0oDIBg&ved=0CBUQFjAA&usg=AFQjCNHfGgaVpPhY3XcDSk739LTQUiGxJw

  • Red Lion

    AU at 954

    Saw that link, it was fascinating, jeez is that what Adams brings to proceedings, respect to Enda for not ‘cowtowing’ to Adams.

    And Adams accusing the Taiseach of waffle is the pot calling the kettle the blackest shade of dark.

  • Granni Trixie

    Thanks for that link too. Apart for, obvious interesting aspects notice how sparsely populated the gathering is. lack of interest? Bit like Stormont or Westminster?

  • Granni Trixie

    ArdoyeUnionist:you may or my not have meant to slur by stereotype but I’m from the Falls and proud of it. Gerry is atypical in my experience.

  • Red Lion

    in a way it seems the most significant voices for justice for victims of SFIRA violence comes from south of the border, and from no less than the Taoiseach.

    very impressive, and good to see Adams rattled when reminded of SFIRA crimes, not the statesman now eh.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Kenny only had to go back to Adams’ dismal record as MP for West Belfast – before he packed the carpetbag and headed South – to score political points.

  • ArdoyneUnionist

    Watch Adams as he is interviewed in the grounds of Stormont indulging in galic activities and then we can hear for Ed Moloney author of “Voices from Beyond the grave”.

  • Mc Slaggart

    GEF

    Nationalist councils either have no Flags or an neutral flag. This is perfectly reasonable and a (Centralist) Neutral position.

    Alliance had an opportunity to take this position and did not do so.

    Attacking SF or sdlp on the grounds they voted for Alliance “designated days” non (Centralist) Neutral position since 2000 shows a lack of understanding of how “real” politics work.

  • GEF

    “Nationalist councils either have no Flags or an neutral flag. This is perfectly reasonable and a (Centralist) Neutral position.” Alliance had an opportunity to take this position and did not do so. Attacking SF or sdlp on the grounds they voted for Alliance “designated days” non (Centralist) Neutral position since 2000 shows a lack of understanding of how “real” politics work.”

    Mc Slaggart, Belfast City Council is at present a “Nationalist majority council” IE: Joint Rep/Nat 24 seats. Joint Unionists 21 seats & Alliance have 6 seats. So why should it be necessary for Alliance to support SF & SDLP’s position, when the joint nationalists did not vote for as you say a “perfectly reasonable and a (Centralist) Neutral position.” themselves?

    I am not attacking SF or SDLP for the way they voted, just curious about why they did not stick to their original motion.
    Did they get cold feet at the last minute and change their minds to support Alliance? I dare say I will never find out.

    Finally, any one out of the three camps who I would attack would be the stupid bunch of naive Unionists for making a total ass of themselves over this important issue to begin with. When they dropped 40 000 anti Alliance leaflets around loyalist areas a week or so before the voting began.

  • GEF

    “When they dropped 40 000 anti Alliance leaflets around loyalist areas a week or so before the voting began.”

    I forgot to add, what were the Unionists who organized this brain wave idea thinking about? Did they honestly believe this was a excellent way of bringing the Alliance 6 councillors over to supporting them, or did they have another agenda?

  • Granni Trixie

    McSlaggart

    It seems totally reasonable to me that APNI do not have a policy to support no flag or a neutral flag given that this would disrespect those (the majority) who identify with Britishness
    It would also be a denial of the fact that Ni is part of the UK.
    I think flying the flag sometimes but not rubbing people’s noses in it is the right way to go.

  • GEF

    “I think flying the flag sometimes but not rubbing people’s noses in it is the right way to go.”

    Couldn’t agree more Granni Trixie, unfortunately the flag policy only in 2000 recommended that the 3 government buildings, Assembly, Stormont & Hillsbourgh castles uphold this principle. The 26 local councils were left to their own voting systems to chose whatever. Therefore lies the problem.

  • Mc Slaggart

    GEF

    “why should it be necessary for Alliance to support SF & SDLP’s position”

    I did not say should I was pointing out that Alliance was not following a “reasonable and a (Centralist) Neutral position”.

    “why they (sdlp and SF) did not stick to their original motion.”

    Alliance made it clear that their motion would not be supported and thus would fail!

  • GEF

    “Alliance made it clear that their motion would not be supported and thus would fail!”

    If that is true, then they must have had one hell of a shock.

  • Mc Slaggart

    GEF

    “If that is true, then they must have had one hell of a shock.”

    Why? sdlp and SF had to go with the motion that Alliance wanted?

  • GEF

    Had too, disagree McSlaggart, SF & SDLP did not have “to go with the motion that Alliance wanted?” They could have stayed with their own motion of no flags and won, as they had a complete majority of 24 seats to the Unionists who had 21.

  • Mc Slaggart

    GEF

    “Why did Alliance take down the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall?

    -Alliance did not vote to remove the Union Flag from Belfast City Hall.

    -A Sinn Fein proposal passed at committee stage would have seen the flag removed permanently if Alliance had not proposed our amendment.”
    http://allianceparty.org/article/2013/006960/frequently-asked-questions-about-the-recent-vote-on-the-union-flag-at-belfast-city-council

  • GEF

    “-A Sinn Fein proposal passed at committee stage would have seen the flag removed permanently if Alliance had not proposed our amendment.”

    It was not imperative for SF & SDLP to support the amendment proposed by Alliance. They could have rejected the Amendment and stuck by their original motion, as they already had a majority of 24 to Unionists on 21.

  • tomthumbuk

    And if Alliance had voted against they would not have been able to pass the motion.
    The final result was 29 – 21, which included the Alliance votes.
    Do your sums!