Confronting majoritarian Unionism must form a part of the Fresh Start

When Sinn Fein agreed to sign up to exclusive partnership with the DUP at Stormont, the republican party immediately faced criticism from within the nationalist/ republican community due to the manner in which Sinn Fein were seen to be led by the nose into an Executive in which Arlene Foster had explicitly ruled out a nationalist holding the Justice Ministry (for the second consecutive mandate.)

Compounding the sense that Sinn Fein were playing the subordinate role in a purportedly partnership administration was the fact that the senior DUP figure, Simon Hamilton, used the airwaves to dismiss out of hand any notion of the DUP conceding an Irish Language Act as the price for republicans supporting a unionist Justice minister.

As of today, it is still unclear if Sinn Fein succeeded in gaining anything from that concession, and even if they did, the fact that any deal clearly involved republicans paying up front and agreeing to not go public with the quo for the quid that was Sugden’s promotion is revealing in and of itself.

But more of a concern for Sinn Fein as they attempt to sell the idea of an equal partnership with the DUP at Executive level has been the explicitly sectarian actions of a number of unionist-controlled local government councils which the republican party appears at a loss with regard to how to counter.

Last month, the DUP-dominated Causeway, Coast and Glens Borough Council halted the development of a community centre in Glenariff purportedly due to the presence of gates near the site inscribed with the names of two republicans who had been killed some 90 years ago.

The Sinn Fein response was to condemn the act at a local level.

On Friday morning, the DUP-dominated Mid and East Antrim Borough Council employed private contractors to destroy a 1916 memorial erected in the overwhelmingly nationalist village of Carnlough.

Intriguingly, the Sinn Fein MLA, Oliver McMullan, has stated that the PSNI confirmed to him that they liaised with the contractors to ensure that they would be safe whilst removing the memorial during the early hours. McMullan also condemned the council’s actions as “utterly disrespectful.”

He did concede that those erecting the memorial on council property did not have permission to do so. But, tellingly, he added “their view was that the council wouldn’t have allowed it anyway, and they wanted to put something up here to remember 1916.”

Now, where would Oliver McMullan get that idea?

During late Spring and Summer, the DUP dominated Mid and East Antrim Council has voted to ensure that tens of thousands of pounds will be spent commemorating the 90th birthday of the British Queen Elizabeth II, British Armed Forces Day, the Battle of the Somme and July 11th bonfires.

Yet the very same council ensured that no funding would be provided for nationalists to commemorate the Easter Rising.

At one level, the council’s action was entirely legal and, if followed through on a consistent basis by statutory agencies, could be utterly transformative in terms of northern Irish society.

This is the same borough at which an illegally erected crown sits atop a Larne roundabout (Council retrospectively applied for and received planning permission, a process denied those behind the Carnlough memorial.)

Across the Six Counties, there are numerous loyalist memorials that were erected illegally, and there are hundreds of loyalist flags currently fluttering from lamp posts (including those inside the grounds of at least one Catholic Church) that could conceivably be removed were the PSNI to demonstrate similar enthusiasm to co-operate with similarly willing government bodies.

And that’s before we even begin to consider how quickly the PSNI and the relevant statutory agency could have moved in to close down the still illegal loyalist Twaddell campsite.

But what makes this action all the more troubling is that, unlike many stories arising from contentious flags, the memorial was sited in an overwhelmingly nationalist area, making it the equivalent of the numerous loyalist memorials dotted across loyalist communities that never warrant a comment.

For the council to operate with such haste to remove the erection of what must be one of the first (if not the first) republican memorial in the council area demonstrates a troubling degree of hypocrisy consistent with the majoritarian unionist mindset which seeks to arrest the development of an equal and shared society across the north.

That poses a challenge to nationalist political parties to find an effective strategy to counter an unfettered majoritarianism at council level which makes a mockery of Sinn Fein’s attempts to sell a Fresh Start as a shared and equal initiative.

Of course, there are many ways in which the DUP agenda could be countered, not necessarily inclusive of a reciprocal flexing of muscles in majority nationalist councils.

In the first instance, the precedent has been set.

The PSNI have demonstrated a willingness to facilitate the removal of illegally erected memorials. There is no reason why the PSNI can not be directly challenged to remove the loyalist flag erected in the grounds of a catholic church in Dervock (this is the third consecutive year that the PSNI have looked away when presented with the opportunity to act against those seeking to intimidate parishioners in Dervock.) The PSNI have also left themselves vulnerable over the illegal Twaddell site, not to mention the plethora of loyalist memorials across the north.

But republicans should challenge Mid and East Antrim Council to legally support the erection of a republican memorial in Carnlough. This is the same council that supported the erection of a UDR memorial in Ballymena only a matter of months ago, and therefore putting the majority unionist council members on the spot over the issue would be a smart tactical move.

Ironically, in the majority nationalist town of Magherafelt, plans are afoot for the erection of two monuments that can provide a model for a shared and equal society.

Both the Royal British Legion and the Co. Derry and Antrim Republican Graves Association have submitted plans for monuments which will seek to remember British soldiers killed in conflict and republicans involved in the Easter Rising along the same Broad Street that acts as the town’s main thoroughfare.

The town and council district may be overwhelmingly majority nationalist, but the culture of tolerance that has been developed is such that it is very likely that both monuments could end up being erected in what would be a powerfully visible manifestation of what a shared and equal society in Northern Ireland can look like.

Magherafelt can point the way forward. The unionist politicians of north and east Antrim mustn’t be allowed to disrupt progress to a better society.

  • mickfealty

    You know Chris, just using the system we have to further the larger goals of Republicanism, rather than subsisting on small unsustainable gestures like Carnlough might be a start?

  • Jollyraj

    Majoritarian? What does that even mean? Sort of like 50% plus 1?

  • Brendan Heading

    Things roughly equivalent to this happen in both directions. Raymond McCreesh park being an example. The SF leader on the council in Newry said, more or less, “we are the majority – get stuffed” to external critics. I also noticed a couple of weeks ago a complaint about a union flag being removed at a memorial somewhere. Sauce for the goose …

  • Ernekid

    you know it would have taken you less time to search Majoritarianism on wkipedia than it would have to write that comment

  • Newton Emerson

    I wrote a piece about this a couple of weeks ago, but seeing it as a one-sided problem essentially is the problem.
    http://www.irishtimes.com/opinion/newton-emerson-it-is-stupid-sectarian-business-as-usual-for-the-north-s-councils-1.2668984

  • Jollyraj

    Well, yes, Ernekid. I suppose I could have looked it up if I didn’already know what it means….

  • Gopher

    I’m of the opinion there could be an Irish Language Act tomorrow if anyone bothered to put a realistic document on the table. Out of 78 pages on a Saturday the main print vechile for Northern Irish Nationalism has one page devoted to the Irish language and at least one quarter of that page is taken up by photographs. That’s 1.28%. Lets be honest it’s hardly unionism putting the boot in with stats like that.

  • chrisjones2

    “the explicitly sectarian actions of a number of unionist-controlled local government councils which the republican party appears at a loss with regard to how to counter.”

    unlike the sectarian conduct of SF controlled councils in Newry and Belfast in naming play parks after murderers – for example

    “this is the third consecutive year that the PSNI have looked away when presented with the opportunity to act against those seeking to intimidate parishioners in Dervock”

    so complain to the Ombudsman that the Peelers are beating yoursuns but not themuns

    And arent SF on the Poling Board – so what have they done there?

  • chrisjones2

    ….but what are those goals these days Mick?

    Yes, they want a UI but in the short term have accepted they will not get them and ‘weaponizing’ equality to ‘get the bastards ‘ as the Dear Leader so candidly put it is hard to sell on a cross community basis

  • Nimn

    I have wondered why SF seemed to be sucking it up from the DUP since election time. Perhaps there are bigger fish to fry. The Finance Minister has sounded a clear message that there is a long way to go on Corporation Tax rather than the DUP line of a transformative done deal in 2018. Perhaps its on such substantive issues that concessions will be sought, rather than DUP soundbites or council actions, where in the latter one side is as bad as the other.

    As an aside, Someone should take a hard look at why we need 11 councils, 462 councillors and additional taxation through rates of around £849 million to fund a local government with minimal delivery functions and which delivers less than 5% of total public sector spend. In the Carnlough example, the flags issue, Raymond McCreesh park and the community centre in Glenariff, from where did the problems emanate? Local Government. While SF and the DUP smile and nod to us from the Hill, is Local Government their back channel to ‘keeping Hell going’?

    On Chris’s point on Claire Sugden and the DUP’s refusal to accept a SF member in the justice role…whether SF would have accepted a DUP nominee in the role was never tested and both parties worked hard to woo Sugden into accepting the Ministry, because both knew it was unlikely that either party could trust a unionist or a nationalist in the role respectively. Consequently SF didn’t need to seek any concessions. Had they responded in kind to the DUP’s announcement without Sugden’s agreement they would have painted themselves into a corner and the result would have been another election.

  • kensei

    Bore off Mick.

    Yes, using the system to further Republican goals is important. But in the centenary year, councils and groups over Ireland are sticking up little monuments to 1916 as an expression of pride and identity. Sometimes the little gestures matter to people more than the grand strategic vision, especially at this level.

  • kensei

    Or maybe false equivalence is.

  • kensei

    The correct response is to do things in Nationalist dominated councils that will hurt the DUP.

    The easy one: follow the money. Cut funding for bonfires and parades. Don’t ban them, just hit people in the pocket. Why should Nationalism pay for it if Unionism won’t tolerate Nationalist culture.

    Then reciprocate if the DUP wise up. Tit for tat with forgiveness.

  • eireanne3

    indeed, money talks. Nationalists/Republicans could also work to create what people want street by street, town by town https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/06/09/building-the-irish-republic/

  • eireanne3

    “I have wondered why SF seemed to be sucking it up from the DUP since election time”
    here’s a feasible answer to your question – checkmate – stormont style https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/05/19/checkmate-stormont-style/

  • Declan Doyle

    The main point of the article is to point out that nationalist dominated councils appear more likely to promote a shared vision and to accommodate unionism than Unionist dominated councils are. Either he is empirically correct or he is not. The evidence suggests he is correct.

  • Declan Doyle

    I am pleasantly surprised to read your article and find it well thought out, reasonable and sensible. But Chris does have a point in that Unionist dominated councils appear on balance to be very shy when it comes to making room for compromise.

  • Declan Doyle

    Right, so until you deliver your united ireland your culture can bugger off. Is it?

  • Brendan Heading

    there is a side of the DUP that would relish this kind of sectarian arms race, as we saw with the flags issue in 2012.

  • Brendan Heading

    The Finance Minister has sounded a clear message that there is a long way to go on Corporation Tax rather than the DUP line of a transformative done deal in 2018.

    It is not a DUP “line” – Fresh Start commits the parties to “affordable corporation tax” in 2018. If SF were not happy with this they should not have allowed themselves to be bounced into signing it.

  • Zig70

    Can’t agree with the sentiment of this piece. Leave unionists on their own in this battle of small minds, though may be prudent to throw enough fuel to keep them occupied. The real task for SF is to show South and North that it is a party suitable for government, able to maintain budgets and tricky health reforms.

  • chrisjones2

    No it doenst. There are blatant examples of SF controlled councils being just as bad. Its the usual dog whistle politics as we approach July

  • npbinni

    Mr Donnelly actually used ‘Northern Ireland’ in his article. Now, that’s progress!

    Of course, he couldn’t resist using the derogatory term ‘Six Countries’ earlier in the piece. But, maybe, just maybe, there’s a little hope for him.

  • cu chulainn

    This comparison is based on the rather permissive idea that as long as you can find one nationalist example of coat trailing that 100 loyalist examples are thereby so justified.

  • Jollyraj

    ” He did concede that those erecting the memorial on council property did not have permission to do so. But, tellingly, he added “their view was that the council wouldn’t have allowed it anyway, and they wanted to put something up here to remember 1916.”

    In other words, the memorial contravened the law, and those putting it up knew from the outset that it would be removed again

  • Nimn

    First, by way of a DUP line I mean that they see CT as making a transformative change to our economy. On 4 April Arlene Foster in her speech launching the DUP manifesto had this to say:
    http://www.mydup.com/news/article/2016-manifesto-launch-leaders-speech
    “With the reduction of Corporation Tax to 12.5% from April 2018 I believe we can create tens of thousands of jobs by 2020.”

    The minimum “tens of thousands” can mean is 20,000 additional jobs minimum by 2020. Please note she said “create” not promote.

    However the last forecast by UU as noted on the DFP website 17 November 2015 quoted Arlene Foster as saying:
    https://www.finance-ni.gov.uk/news/foster-and-bell-welcome-125-corporation-tax-rate
    “The latest estimates from the Ulster University’s Economic Policy Centre project that, by around 2033, employment in Northern Ireland would be over 30,000 higher, and output around 9% greater if a 12.5% corporation tax rate was applied, compared to a business as usual pathway.”

    30,000 by 2033 in November 2015 as against at least 20,000 jobs by 2020 in April 2016? There is no doubt in my mind that the DUP are pushing CT hard with some very big promises attached to it.

    But what is ” affordable Corporation Tax”? Therein lies the problem for SF have clearly indicated that they will only sign up to CT only if it is affordable. Throughout the election campaign their acceptance of CT has always been qualified and they are not prepared to put a figure on ‘affordable’. Máirtín Ó Muilleoir in Sam McBride’s piece in the News Letter here:
    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/northern-ireland-news/major-doubts-over-sf-commitment-to-slash-corporation-tax-1-7424360
    suggests a very different approach to Arlene Foster’s presumption of CT by 2018 and a jobs bonanza.

  • Nimn

    Yes the numbers game is difficult for SF, but I don’t underestimate their ability to make life difficult for the DUP while still joined at the hip in government.

  • Redstar

    The reason SF appear subservient to their DUP senior partners is because they are. SF will put up with anything to hang on to their Stormont roles to administer British rule. They have moved so far away from both Republicanism and leftist politics in general to be anything more than stooges for their British masters at Westminster and poodles to Arlenes party. Thankfully many in the Rep community, esp younger voters are seeing right through these ageing career politicos and are either abstaining or opting for more radical parties.

  • Gopher

    That is not really fair the Assembly gave Casement 60 million which has been frittered away by incompetence (That is SF incompetence), the UK city of Culture was given to Derry. Féile an Phobail certainly gets public money above and beyond any other “cultural” festival. I think that is the big picture Mick is talking about on a cultural level.

  • chrisjones2

    Nonsense. You just made that up.

  • Declan Doyle

    Come on now, building or upgrading stadia in urban areas is always fraught with difficulty and delays. WB feile from what I know is inclusive in that it offers a platform to practically everyone, hence is success.

  • Declan Doyle

    Ah now you are just telling porkies. There is no comparison.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    But maybe this is the problem for Chris and Republicans ! Their Vote has peaked and it can only use a political system to the strength of its mandate. However this is not good enough for its hardline grassroots so it concocts up, as you say minor unsustainable and unwinable issues against Unionism and once the inevitable loss occurs goes into a tizzy off mopery. It and Nationatism needs to come up with a better game plan as I am afraid Unionism has done a “George Graham Arsenal” on them and just grinded them down !

  • Gopher

    I think it is accepted that the powers behind “upgrading stadia in urban areas” did not display any competence. Half a million to promote Irish culture at Féile an Phobail is fairly generous. I’m not sure if we removed that funding it would survive at the same level, just ask the Belfast Festival which you could hold in a phone box now. So “Success” is largely down to the public purse.

  • Declan Doyle

    But the issue is not the festival or the stadium or indeed SF’s competence. The issue in the original OP refers to problems in Unionist dominated councils around sharing and generosity of spirit. Either he is right or he is wrong?

  • Croiteir

    If nationalists in general had any backbone they would teach the unionists in general and those in nationalist controlled areas in particular that actions against the culture of nationalists by unionism anywhere in Ireland will have repercussions. I would like to see the councils in nationalist areas to retaliate. Why not demolish all the British war memorials that are either on council owned land or are owned by councils. Why not deny all funding to things like celebrating the Queens birthday. Force the issue. Teach unionism manners. But they won’t. They have been caught into the endless cycle of reaching out. In any other society it is called placating.

  • Gopher

    He is complaining about two different memorials to the IRA. One is a set of gates that are public purse funded on a GAA ground that had to meet a criteria set down in law. Are there no nationalist writers, artists, poets or even “sportsmen” who ever played GAA that you could put on the freaking gates? The second did not have planning permission.

  • Redstar

    It’s Croppy lie down time for SF who have no backbone whatsoever.
    Pointless powerless and gutless they continue to read their British masters/handlers script as required.
    Next for these puppets will be pressurising their own community to allow controversial OO parades- watch this space for more fore lock touching dressed up as reaching out. Pathetic

  • Reader

    You are probably aware that I am a Unionist? And yet, if I wanted to build a monument or memorial somewhere, I would have to get planning permission and permission from the land-owner.
    In your view, are there people around here who should not have to follow the rules?

  • On the fence!

    Ravenhill breezed it, even Windsor Park and the IFA (hardly known for their competence!) got there in the end. I think Ravenhill got little over a quarter of what each of the other two received but was completed first.

  • Declan Doyle

    Coke park and landsDowne had big issues

  • Declan Doyle

    He is giving examples of how Unionists controlled councils stand in the way of equality of expression. And also making the point (very well) that it seems to be endemic, in comparison to nationalist controlled councils.

  • On the fence!

    It’s called, “going out of your way to be offended”.

    One area where the prods have a bit of catching up to do, but both sides are getting very good at it generally.

  • On the fence!

    Different city, different country, different system. I’d have thought comparison with the other two in Belfast would be much more relevant.

  • Neil

    On the one hand you have a memorial in a small Nationalist village that must be dealt with as a matter of urgency, while on the other you have a 3 year caravan camp of hate on public land, with all the increased tension that entails up at Twaddell. One costs tens of millions and must be left alone for fear of the Unionist response, where on the other the cost is nothing but it must be ripped out because the same rules have been broken.

    In your view, are there people around here who should not have to follow the rules?

    There already are. They’re called Loyalists.

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    In Carnlough the land that the edifice was built on and the planning responsibilities are both firmly within the council’s bailiwick. Therefore the council held all the cards.

    Pity the poor SF member of the council, getting it in the neck in the above piece for conceding to the lawful actions of his own council.

    At Twaddell the land I believe belongs to the HE. Planning in Belfast is a council responsibility, Belfast has a strong nationalist representation on the council. Why is SF not pressuring the Twaddell landowner, or using its clout on the city council to get something done about the Twaddell ‘camp’?

  • Neil

    Why indeed. They’re going to have to get on it because this kind of thing plays into the narrative that’s losing them votes in the first place.

  • chrisjones2

    “demolish all the British war memorials”

    That is a really good idea that would clearly demonstrate the strong commitment of such parties to inclusive politics

  • Brian Walker

    On identity and equality issues like this, the problem is that the field is often left to stern unbending ideologues while the pragmatists have long ago lost the will to live. It seems unfair to Chris to criticise him when he points to the sensible- sounding Magherafelt solution. But I do..

    First, might it not be entirely sensible for SF to respond to a local “majoritarian” bad decision at the local level of the new councils at least to start with? He can’t believe that SF or even the SDLP will leave it at that forever.

    Secondly is politically sensible to judge the effectiveness of the two party coalition on the basis of mean-minded little actions over symbols and identity? Paradoxically might it be easier to build confidence on issues of substance.

    Is it is sensible to treat an Irish Language Act as the subject for a trade-off rather than debate the merits of the case in the democratic forum?

    One of the small characteristics of the SF approach to identity politics has been its relative civility at top level at least, compared to DUP begrudging. Civility, even a lightness of touch can work wonders. Chris’s style sometimes has a lonely implacability about it as if it’s written in a ghetto. . Nobody surely uses terms like “the British Queen Elizabeth 11”and the hackneyed “Six Counties” if they want to persuade. Mutual “recognition” is achieved by unilateral civility. A gamble to be sure but necessary. If he doesn’t want to persuade, what is the alternative?

  • Croiteir

    Indeed – it shows that we can all play zero sum politics, and if unionism wants that they can also suffer from it. Everyone is included. Inclusion can be positive or negative. Unionism has made the choice. It is now incumbent on nationalism to give them what they want. If they change their minds then it would be incumbent on nationalism to reciprocate. All chummy again.

  • Jollyraj

    To be fair, it was largely the mighty and sustained efforts of Sinn Fein ‘activists’ that actually made the small number of controversial parades controversial in the first place. Sort of like if extreme Loyalists were to picket GAA matches, and chain themselves to the entrances to the various stadiums, gurning with one cynical eye on the tv news cameras, to prevent the games from happening.

    So if they were to acknowledge that their behind-the-scenes manipulation was naught but a cynical strategy to create the perception of a need for themselves among the easily led – thus harvesting more votes – and that there was actually no need to have provoked all that drama…. well, it would not be a victory for anything but common sense and mutual courtesy.

  • Jollyraj

    We’s learning from the best.

  • Declan Doyle

    Not a different planet though eh? Urban sites on these islands face much the same issues when it comes to construction in terms of planning, residents approval, design engineering etc.

  • Jollyraj

    “Come on now, building or upgrading stadia in urban areas is always fraught with difficulty and delays”

    Indeed. Hardly the fault of unionists, then, that the massive amount of funding seems to have all gone…..hmmm…where exactly? 60million? (Surely an over-generous contribution to start with – and which could have been better spent if it had been spread around on grassroots community sports facilities for young people in the nationalist community – or indeed even across communities).

    60 million……How much does the average industrial construction worker actually need to earn, anyway?

  • kensei

    I believe the council should act with some common sense; retroactive permission can be requested and granted. If they had have built a great big crown proclaiming the glory of HRH I suspect it would have stayed up.

    Even in cases where the council determines it has to come down, it can be handled with a bit of sensitivity; maybe they can work with private landowners locally to see if there is somewhere it can be put, or give enough lead time for that option to be explored. I haven’t seen much evidence for that here.

    Happy for that to run both ways. But it’s easy to hide behind legalism if you want.

  • kensei

    There has to be a baseline of mutual respect before any persuading any way works. “Sure, just do what we want and we’ll like you”, “Just keep turning the other cheek” is a not a winning long term strategy.

    If the DUP can’t give respect willingly, it should be forced out of them. We are in a Prisoner’s Dilemma situation. The correct response is tit for tat with forgiveness. meet like with like until the message is clear and the like is civil.

  • Reader

    kensei: I believe the council should act with some common sense; retroactive permission can be requested and granted. If they had have built a great big crown proclaiming the glory of HRH I suspect it would have stayed up.
    Suspect all you like – but if a crown or (better comparison) a UVF memorial had been erected on council land in a Nationalist controlled council area, would it have stayed up?
    And where would your “common sense” have lain in that case?

  • Reader

    Neil: 3 year caravan camp of hate on public land, with all the increased tension that entails up at Twaddell.
    Why not take the matter up with your councillors? There are more nationalist councillors than unionist councillors on BCC, so at worst you get the fun of putting Alliance on the spot.

  • Reader

    Chris Donnelly: And that’s before we even begin to consider how quickly the PSNI and the relevant statutory agency could have moved in to close down the still illegal loyalist Twaddell campsite.
    Has the Twaddell protest lasted as long as the Greenham Common protest lasted? I know that Twaddell has lasted far longer than “Occupy Belfast”
    And Twaddell is a bit of an eyesore too. How about moving it to the waste ground at Casement Park. (Out of sight, out of mind)

  • mickfealty

    I’ve no issue with pride or identity. But lets not indulge the purile fantasy that Republican goals are furthered by encouraging the same behaviours we criticise in organised Loyalism (http://goo.gl/JdYvcl)?

    It’s a poor man’s compensation for getting your eye serially wiped at Stormont by your Unionist partners. Sheer lack of ideas is what transfers “importance” from the strategic to the purely tactical.

    The result is that you end up infantilising genuine Republican values and reducing them to one false promise about the future and on to the next. Jam tomorrow, as long as we ‘wind up the prods today’?

    The chief objection to which is not that it causes ‘offence’, but that it expresses an utterly inane lack of leadership and that leads absolutely nowhere…

  • Dale Pankhurst

    Seemingly quiet on Sinn Fein and their aggressive attitudes towards Orange culture and Unionist symbols, Chris. However, one would not expect anything else from a man who once stood as a Sinn Fein candidate.

  • Barneyt

    As much as I understand the frustration, I agree with your point here Brendan and it would be a backward and provocative step. Nationalism would only be further demonised. Nationalism is better grasping the fact that war memorials have a significance to unionism and are prescious to them. You destroy these and you justify an opposit reaction. I would say there is more to be gained by reaching out and continuing to lay a laural wreath to remember those Irish and indeed British that lost their lives in the two big wars. I would try to be bigger and and reach over the fence and lay a wreath of poppies along side the traditional laurel one, as the poppy has more significance and meaning to unionism. For me that would be progress and a gesture that demonstrates a shared future and mutual respect. If you burn the Union Flag, be prepared to have your own Tricolour go up in flames.

  • Thomas Barber

    “Why is SF not pressuring the Twaddell landowner”

    Would that not be Paul Girvans job is he not the Minister responsible for the Dept for Communities which includes the NIHE ?

  • Redstar

    Meanwhile back in the real world there’s a few realities you need to get.

    OO / KKK parades etc are not wanted in any decent people’s area. ( your fellow unionists in Malone etc want nothing to do with you)

    But ESP for Nats/Republicans as let’s be honest do you really want a crowd of bigots, fascists and haters who despise your very existence marching through your neighbourhood .

  • Redstar

    At what stage Barney should SF stop being DUPs bitch- just taking anything aimed at them and getting nothing in return?

    They are the epitome of a sell out self serving aging clan of career politicos.

    Sadly they and their ilk are scattered across the history of Irish Republicanism, condemning future generations to division and distrust solely for their own personal advantage

  • Thomas Barber

    Where are these play parks named after murderers ?

  • Thomas Barber

    You really do need to read up a little on your history Jolly especially concerning the history of violence and murder that has followed the Orange order and its parades for hundreds of years. Long before any residents groups and long before Sinn fein were on the scene.

  • Redstar

    Dale Dale Dale- Orange Cultue? Pray is that standing drunk and drugged up,around bonfires cursing your Catholic neighbours and burning anything related to theiir or other minorities?

    Be it SA culture of Apartheid or Orange culture of sectarian hate the maxim of ” not all cultures deserve respect” is as true now as ever

  • Redstar

    Twadell sectarian hate protest versus Greenham Common protest of non violence tolerance and dialogue

    Behave yourself Reader!!!

  • Granni Trixie

    Not forgetting that the aim of Greenham Peace Camp was to stop nuclear warheads being launched from British soil.,,,hardly comparable to Twadell?

  • Brendan Heading

    The point of agreements such as Fresh Start is to codify the detail of what exactly has been agreed. Fresh Start clearly commits the parties to a date; if SF were not happy with the date and the terms they should not have agreed to this condition being added.

  • Reader

    Granni, the law doesn’t judge protests on their cause, but on how the protest is conducted.
    And in fact, don’t you accept that the law shouldn’t judge between causes?

  • Granni Trixie

    An interesting question which I had not considered.
    On reflection, I think you are correct in saying that as far as the law is concerned it is the conduct not the cause or reason for the public demo that matters.
    In the court of public opinion however I think people do make moral judgements based on the reason behind a public protest indeed at some level I myself was distinguishing the morality of Greenham and that of Twadell.

  • kensei

    I’d expect the same from a Nationalist council. I’d probably not get it, but my opinion doesn’t change.

    Carry on whatabouting then.

  • kensei

    Not everything is about the great game. Sometimes people just want to stick up a 1916 memorial and feel a bit of connection to everyone else or pride or whatever rather than tying every single thing to the constitutional status. Only inhuman robots think like that.

    As far as I can see, there were no prods to wind up, and you very much do have issues with expressions of identity. Particularly any you don’t approve of because you it doesn’t fit your pre approved narratives. It’s not always about the Prods. You, we like Ireland and stuff?

    I could certainly see a justifiable case for the council taking something down that has no planning permission. Just in a functioning body politic, they’d be alive to the optics of Unionist dominated council crushing local republican expression and it’d actually be something they’d care about enough to deal with sensitively.

  • Jarl Ulfreksfjordr

    It’s Paul Girvan’s job to pressurise Paul Girvan to put pressure on the NIHE on behalf of Sinn Fein?

    Are you sure about that?

  • Declan Doyle

    Who said it was the fault on Unionists?

  • Jollyraj

    “Be it SA culture of Apartheid or Orange culture of sectarian…”

    Apartheid? You’ll forgive me for pointing it out, but is Sinn Fein who insist on segregating children in schools. Not unionists. Thus the apartheid of SA, while not much relevant to us here, is more akin to Republican values, frankly.

  • Jollyraj

    So ‘force first, persuade later’ is your thinking.

    That is the mentality of the date rapist.

  • Jollyraj

    “Do you really want a crowd of bigots, fascists and haters who despise your very existence marching through your neighbourhood.”

    No, I don’t. Which is why I have as little as possible to do with Sinn Fein and their hardcore voters as is practical. As much as is practical in Fermanagh, I keep them at arm’s length. Your average Catholic, I get on fine with, though – just the extremists I can’t stand.

  • Jollyraj

    Well, we’ll know in a couple of weeks if he’s telling porkies. If SF don’t get up to their usual agitation over Protestant church parades, we’ll know you’re right.

  • Jollyraj

    “Why is SF not pressuring the Twaddell landowner”

    Perhaps he means send the goon squad round to rough him up.

  • Declan Doyle

    So the residents in these areas have no right to voice objection on a handful of more than 3000 parades? Priceless !

  • Reader

    kensei: Carry on whatabouting then.
    So you would anticipate that a nationalist council would behave exactly the same way as a unionist council, but the really important thing is to complain about the unionist council.
    Business as usual, then.

  • Reader

    “In the court of public opinion” a lot of people will forgive their own side anything, and condemn the other side for presuming to appear in public.
    Among the many types of protest, camps and occupations are very likely to be illegal to some degree, and yet they sometimes go-on for months or years (hence my 3 examples). The police seem to monitor the situation and only to go in hard when the obstruction or threat reaches an unacceptable level. Other strategies are available, but would need to be applied consistently.

  • Reader

    Chris Donnelly: due to the manner in which Sinn Fein were seen to be led by the nose into an Executive in which Arlene Foster had explicitly ruled out a nationalist holding the Justice Ministry (for the second consecutive mandate.)
    In your article on 22nd May, you only said that Foster had ruled out a SF Justice Minister – has she expanded her objections to include all nationalists since that article?
    And BTW, how did Sugden designate?

  • Nimn

    I agree with you, however that is not the practice. At the time of the Belfast Agreement the mantra was,”Nothing is agreed until everything is agreed” now it seems to be ‘Anything that has been agreed can be un-agreed’. Welfare reform is a good example.
    Political parties are extremely good at developing and agreeing documents which have considerable wriggle room in interpretation. I think SF knew exactly what they were and weren’t signing up to when the FS document was ‘codified’.

  • kensei

    Tedious. Since “tit for tat with forgiveness” is an entirely reactive strategy, your analogy is highly flawed, since it requires Unionism to rape Nationalism first.

  • kensei

    Well the nationalist council is entirely theoretical, but the Unionist council is actual. That’s a pretty big difference.

    Business as usual indeed.

  • kensei

    Nah, they are just in a strategic bind. You’ve no answers.

  • submariner

    Sectarian b*$#@y is not culture,it is sectarian b*****y plain and simple. It is not culture to paint KAT on your childs face, It is not culture to burn your neighbours flags and election posters, it is not culture to have the names of dead terrorists on your band uniform nor is it culture to throw piss filled balloons as primary school kids