Why is Martin McGuinness making a stand on ” remain must remain” the obvious loser, whatever happens with Article 50?

Martin McGuinness appears to have reverted to Brexit fundamentalism in an article in the Irish Times. He  describes  a worst case scenario, “ the biggest constitutional crisis since partition…and insists  that “Remain must mean remain.”

From our perspective, what is needed now is an island-wide approach to dealing with this crisis. That is why Sinn Féin called on the Taoiseach to establish an all-Ireland forum to discuss the impact of the referendum, to develop strategies and options to ensure that the vote in the North is respected and to safeguard our national interests.”

He should calm down. The threat to “human rights” has dissipated. He should also not do himself down. The gains of the GFA were achieved  at home,with only glancing impact from “Europe.” His aims seem to be first, to stiffen the Irish government’s resolve to press within the EU  to keep the border open – an abiding concern to  everybody and an  outcome which he rightly observes is not within the gift of Enda Kenny and Theresa May; and secondly to put pressure on the British government to come up with Article 50 negotiating terms Sinn Fein approve of.

Have Sinn Fein lost all faith in the British government in the space of a week? If not entirely, does it best concentrate their available leverage to make a stand on terms that are unlikely to be fulfilled, like “Remain must mean Remain” and to call for an all-Ireland approach that unionists at this stage are bound to reject before Northern Ireland’s case is fully considered at Westminster?

There is no chance of  the UK  government  recognising the Remain majorities in Scotland and Northern Ireland as retrospective vetoes  against leaving the EU. There are  complex legal arguments to be held here on the rights of Irish citizens in Northern Ireland and on the GFA as an international treaty, but they will not deliver the ambitious result of “Remain must mean Remain.”

Ten days ago, a different case was admirably made in the joint letter to Theresa May from  the First and deputy First Ministers. It looked forward to “ further engagement” with London virtually to recreate the advantages of the status  quo  after Brexit, while admitting that “it cannot be guaranteed that all of them are deliverable.”

There is marked change of tone in McGuinness’s solo version in the Irish Times.  The letter to May disclosed that the north –south ministerial council was an established  forum for Brexit talks. Why is this not good enough for Sinn Fein? In contrast with the letter,  unionists don’t even rate a mention in what is an all-nationalist, not an –all Ireland proposal in McGuinness’s latest article.  But the chances of building a pan-nationalist front as in the mid 1990s on this platform look slim. Sinn Fein’s s traditional habit over adopting a forward position in order to achieve a compromise closer to them works best when they have something to offer, like decommissioning .  What he doesn’t seem to recognise  is that the Northern Ireland  parties will have limited influence on the eventual outcome of Brexit. This not what Sinn Fein are used to.

Is Sinn Fein constructing an alibi for failure, both on the prospects of keeping the border open and against the Irish government’s position which is to cooperate closely with the British at this stage and hold off an all-Ireland approach, even though Fianna Fail seem to favour it?

Meanwhile in Prospect magazine, Paul Johnson the director of the Institute for Fiscal Studies gives a powerful analysis of the limited options for UK tax and spending. In the short term – but only the short term – they look like sparing the Northern Ireland Executive from having to take very tough decisions. And there is a message for the sort of Article 50 terms the UK should argue for.

Britain’s economy will be significantly smaller by 2030 if we end up trading with the EU on standard World Trade Organisation terms—the default arrangement offered to non-EU nations—than would be the case if we retain full or near full membership of the single market. The scale of the difference could be comparable to the long-term effects of the 2008 financial crisis.

Whatever the short-term response and long-term ambition, there is no getting away from the fact that our economic prospects have just got worse. This could be painful in the short term and it is possible that the Chancellor will try to offset this by reining in some of the planned spending cuts and even introducing targeted tax cuts or spending increases. That may be heralded as the end of austerity. But that should not blind us to the fact that there will be a price to pay down the road. If we end up out of the single market and lose a substantial part of the financial services industry, the rest of us will have to pay the huge quantity of taxes that they currently pay, or suffer worse public services. If we restrict immigration of, overwhelmingly young, educated, and hard-working, citizens from the EU, then again the rest of us will either have to pay taxes they would otherwise have paid, or suffer worse public services. An end to austerity in the short run will likely merely herald more tax rises or spending cuts in the long run.

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London

  • lizmcneill

    The bigoted, whiny or deluded sectors of the English and Welsh, yes. And those who thought they could make some money because those EU workers’ rights were cramping their style.

  • lizmcneill

    In this same thread you are arguing that the British government can decide to do whatever they like and you have no objections to that.

    You don’t even have a right for your vote in a non-binding referendum to count for anything. If the government delay Brexit indefinitely,

    “Theresa has an advantage,,,shes elected, shes leader of the Conservative party and commands the support of her MPs” so there you are.

  • Anglo-Irish

    The assertion that the EU overrides national sovereignty and the claim that by leaving the EU we will return our sovereignty to the country isn’t totally convincing as far as I’m concerned.

    Since becoming members of the EEC/EU we have as a sovereign nation gone to war with Argentina, invaded Iraq, fought a war in Afghanistan, bombed Libya and held a parliamentary debate as to whether or not to go to war with Syria.

    All without interference from the EU.

    Additionally, we choose to maintain a nuclear deterrent in ‘partnership’ with a non EU nation and where that ‘partner’ is the major actor in the arrangement.

    We have also refused to join the Euro and sign up to Schengen ( as have Ireland ) all of which leaves me somewhat puzzled as to exactly what level of sovereignty do those claiming it as a main reason for leaving want?

    We will need to arrange trade agreements, we have no choice, any agreement will carry with it certain obligations and restrictions.

    If we want the same tariff free arrangement as Norway and Switzerland have and which we currently enjoy then we will have to agree to free movement of EU nationals.

    No matter what arrangement we come to there will be restrictions as there are on every other country in the world, the days of unfettered sovereignty when a country could do what it liked up to the capability of its military power are gone.

    So what are we gaining?

  • Anglo-Irish

    Not in that case it wasn’t.

    Ironically many of the Welsh voted Brexit because they blamed the EU for allowing the importation of cheap Chinese steel which has had a devastating effect on places like Port Talbot.

    Had they bothered to do a little research they would have discovered that the EU proposed tariffs on Chinese steel and were overruled by several EU countries including the UK.


    A reason not to allow a referendum on a complex subject requiring in depth knowledge.

    So much for the total power wielded by the EU.

  • Sir Rantsalot

    As with all other countries, governments that do that are voted out of power. A repealing govt then gets voted in. People power.

  • Katyusha

    You can do as you wish, but round these parts “the Kingdom” normally means Kerry.
    So you’ll just have to put up with nobody understanding what you’re on about.

    Everyone understands what people mean when they refer to the Republic or the North.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Are you saying English bigots don’t want a border, or are you suggesting as I inferred previously that bigots be they English, Irish, Scottish, Welsh, and all other types of nationality will want harder borders as well.

    Yeah there probably are Irish bigots and French bigots who want a harder border with Britain. Shocking suggestion, of course, but I’ve met people who feel that way.

    Can you show me any EU politicians outside the UK and Ireland who want a harder border in the North of Ireland between Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland?

    If you are going to throw accusations and want them to be taken seriously, then show me the evidence.

    If you want to invent stories about groups, then turnabout is fair play.

  • Reader

    Roger: It’s hardly the EU imposing a border, now is it?
    Firstly, there already is a border, so I suppose you mean imposing customs control.
    And yes, it is the EU. If there are border posts, they will be built on the Irish side of the border by the Irish government (who won’t want them) and staffed, I believe, by EU employees enforcing EU rules.
    The EU does have the option of agreeing Free Trade with the UK if they have any concerns about the above. I am sure the British would welcome a bilateral free trade deal.

  • Reader

    lizmcneill: Northern Ireland: Um, so now what do we do with this giant great land border we’ve been ignoring happily for 20 years?
    Ignore it. It’s not the UK’s problem.

  • Reader

    lizmcneill: If the UK wants its own more restrictive immigration policy, how can the border remain open (remember that this also messes up the single market as you can’t have one without the other).
    Immigration – simple, EU citizens can move freely but are not entitled to freebies. That solves all of the practical problems ever associated with free movement within the EU. The UK will have no reason to do anything whatsoever at the border.
    Free trade – The UK has no reason to build customs posts. Even if the UK chooses to apply tariffs (which they won’t do unilaterally) they won’t want to spend any money stopping cheap European yoghurt getting as far as Larne via Rosslare and Newry.
    If the EU applies punitive tariffs to UK exports because Romanians can’t collect Working Tax Credits anymore then it is up to the EU to build the customs posts.

  • Reader

    Kevin Breslin: No they cannot, the EU doesn’t have a say in these matters as the Republic didn’t let them have a say. The Republic isn’t bound by Schegen either.
    Then there is no problem. The EU can’t tell Ireland to supervise the border, and the EU can’t tell the UK to supervise the border. Therefore the border won’t be supervised.
    (Actually, the CTA will probably persist, but I think that the EU *can* insist on Ireland putting in customs control as the border will be an external border so far as the EU is concerned.)

  • Reader

    Anglo-Irish: I’d prefer that they call it by an accurate name such as North East Ireland or The Six Counties, both correct descriptions unlike ‘Northern Ireland’ when Donegal is the northernmost part of the island of Ireland.
    “Eastern Ireland” would be correct.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Yes, exactly, what problem? Why invent a problem?

    If I were a French person or Spaniard or German I’d imagine I’d want the CTA-Schengen relationship to still hold … the only question and only uncertainty is the UK does want to change it so fundamentally, or the UK becomes a security threat to the European Union that the status quo becomes untenable or vice versa. Events and emergency circumstances stuff.

    People with Common Sense would think what happens in Bulgaria should happen in the Republic, the Republic of Ireland’s only EU border rule is that becomes a buffer zone to Schengen in terms of physical security checks (Roslare Harbour) which it already is but allows the free movement of EU citizens, as it already does.

    Customs is realistic, I don’t see any “customs free” nations in the world, the single market was a rare exception of a limited customs union, but it still had customs.

    I wouldn’t blame the EU for this, if the Republic of Ireland left the EU, you’d still have two different countries on this island without a common customs policy, and the price for having a common customs policy is either surrendering sovereignty or sharing it.

    The 2 options to deal with this are ultimately constitutional questions in of itself.

    1. Irish unity either independent/part of the UK/part of some other nation. 2. Another Customs Union.

    Surrendering sovereignty to the UK is something I don’t believe the Republic of Ireland would find appealing, and sharing sovereignty with the Republic of Ireland over a common customs policy is something I don’t find the UK would find appealing … so basically there wouldn’t be a simple solution to this impasse.

    The fact Vote Leave NI said there was no chance of customs was political wishful thinking that goes beyond the pale.

    Leave supporters voted for customs borders, prominent Leave political leaders were claiming a customs union was a handicap. So what do they think was going to happen if they left it?

    Why not simply put that down to a “cost” in the cost-benefit analysis of Brexit.

  • Jollyraj

    “I assume that you finally managed to work out the difference between The United Kingdom and Great Britain?”

    Hmm… nope, I’ve always been clear on that. Perhaps you’re confusing me with one of the other posters you’ve been given grimly determined but hapless battle to on this evergreen non-point you’ve invented.

    Where you and I left off, you were failing to see the difference between ‘Britain’ and ‘Great Britain’. You were thus delightedly crowing that people from NI can’t be British (sure why else would it say GB and NI on the passport, eh? Eh!?) and seemingly unaware you were making a fool of yourself. I thought it best leave you to it.

  • Anglo-Irish

    No, I’m fairly certain that you are the one that is under the mistaken belief that you are British as opposed to a British citizen despite not being born in Britain.

    As for the difference between Britain and Great Britain when I was at school I was taught that Britain was England and Wales whilst Great Britain included Scotland.

    However, as none of that has anything whatsoever to do with Ireland which isn’t part of either I see no relevance in your question.

    Perhaps this will help you understand.


    As for crowing I think you appear to be confusing things a little here.

    How can pointing out a simple straightforward fact be misconstrued as ‘crowing’?

    Ireland is a separate country from Great Britain, it always has been and no amount of wishing and hoping or self delusion on your part will alter that fact.

    According to the facts that you have told me you are a Northern Irish born Irishman with an entitlement to a Great Britain and Northern Ireland passport.

    You are entitled to it because Northern Ireland is included in the description, if only Great Britain was referred to you would not be automatically entitled to it.

    There is only one fool taking part in this dialogue, but please continue you are very amusing.

  • Kevin Breslin

    And that bilateral free trade deal will mean customs costs … as is the case with Norway’s, Switzerland and even Turkey.

    I’m willing to believe that the UK’s belief in absolute free trade doesn’t last through the lifetime of next government.

    International bodies have time and time again showed that while the UK is more than willing to get free trade terms to international nations, they are more than unwilling to offer free trade terms to other countries.

    Unless the UK is on board with this massive business culture change, It’s all rhetoric. Incompatible with the Anglo-American model of trade economics, as shown in the chart below. The UK was one of the most protectionist states in the EU, and it will reap what it sues for better or worse by being so, stumbling to a sub-optimal arrangement that it would no longer fight to change.


  • Kevin Breslin

    Erm, customs have nothing whatsoever to do with being able to claim tax credits … there are customs between Norway and European Union despite Romanians being able to claim tax credits in the Norway.

    The punishment for Romanians not being able to claim tax credits is quite simple … Romanians will boycott the jobs, Brits will continue to boycott the jobs, non-EU migrants will go in and social tensions will be raised and/or businesses looking for labour will sink.

    Romanians wouldn’t want to work in a country where people are thinking they are a pest problem. Romania has been the most invaded part of Europe over the last millennium and the millennium previous to that. They’ve been invaded by practically everyone from the Mongolians to the Romans, Nazis and Soviets, heck they’ve even been invaded by the Vikings. If any nation knows the pains of illegal immigration stealing their resources and destroying their jobs, I’d imagine it would be that lot.

    What about the hard working Romanian taxpayers in the UK paying for British people on job seekers benefits when they refuse to look for work?

    EU migrants put more in than they take out … could it be that patriotism is the last refuge of the scoundrel??

    What about non-EU migrant workers from the United States or Switzerland on tax credits?

    I think it all boils down to Entitlement, Exceptionalism and Eastern Europhobia. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/1bcf7f1546ddedeae02cc0c441ae4c371ed0704db880da2267b3d8e1d383cbb3.png

  • Anglo-Irish

    The problem with that being that Louth, Meath, Dublin, Wicklow and Wexford are all ‘Eastern Ireland’.

  • Kevin Breslin

    You seem convinced the UK is 100% committed to the removal of customs tariffs on its goods … I’m not convinced that it is ready, willing or able to do so.

    I’m not convinced that the policy has been vetted against the WTO terms of trade. I’m not convinced that the policy has been costed or properly analysed for fiscal impact upon subvention. I’m not convinced there is even a democratic demand for it. I’m not fully convinced the UK government is totally behind taking the risk that seems to be coming from a minority in-group.

    Customs and Tariffs exist for a reason, and those reasons were strong enough to compel the UK to have customs and tariffs unilaterally up to the moment it joined the EEC, even within the EFTA.

    The remark that the UK won’t introduce customs upon Ireland or the EU is verba non acta, just like the £300 million EU windfall for the NHS, or the VAT cuts or the stopping uncontrolled immigration or the UK being actually independent just because it voted to leave an NGO and get tied up in something else etc. etc.

  • Roger

    The British already have a long established free trade arrangement. It’s the one they are walking away from. It’s their walking away that changes things at the border, not any action of the EU.

  • Roger

    I accept that ‘the Kingdom’ isn’t very precise. But then neither is ‘the Republic’.

  • Skibo

    Chris, the EU is not controlling countries, the EU is the countries. There are rules in regards to membership of the EU, similar to rules for many organisations. You can abide by them and stay or you can ignore them and leave.
    The Greeks and the Irish could both have left the EU and ignored the rules. They decided it was in their interests to stay.

  • Skibo

    But there is an option within the GFA that allows Brexit not to apply to NI. Should it not be examined?

  • Skibo

    Are you suggesting that the UK should relinquish control of taxation within NI and install controls at the Irish Sea?

  • Skibo

    Who would stop the illegal immigrants crossing the border into NI? Wouldn’t be a problem for ROI. By the way if France stops Britain having their controls on French soil in Calais, who will police the immigrant camps in Kent?

  • Jollyraj

    “Who would stop the illegal immigrants crossing the border into NI? Wouldn’t be a problem for ROI”

    Are you saying ROI doesn’t care if they have illegal immigrants in the country?

  • Skibo

    Perhaps we should refer to ROI as Eire?

  • Skibo

    But they wouldn’t be illegal in ROI. All members of the EU are welcome there. They won’t be following Brexit, that is if Brexit actually means Brexit.
    Anyway if illegal immigrants got into ROI, why would they try and stop them leaving?

  • Skibo

    John have you looked at the SNP policies?
    The reason Labour lost the last election is the threat of a Labour SNP coalition with SNP leaning to the left of labour. Labour lost.
    Hardly a good example.
    A better centrist party would be SDP. Wonder what happened them.
    Or in Ireland the PDs. Oh no, perhaps not.
    Labour occupied the centre ground when Blair was in power and when the sand shifted under them and people reverted back to the tories, the real Labour supporters had abandoned them.

  • Skibo

    There will always be a stigma within some areas of the SF past. That will follow no mater where their support base goes. I don’t see a new Nationalist party entering the race. I expect FF to partake at some time. May take to after 2021. I am not saying they will overtake SF but they may take more of the traditional Nationalist out on voting day.

  • Skibo

    You must have a very interesting family tree.

  • Anglo-Irish

    You’re being deliberately disingenuous there aren’t you, you little rascal?

    You know as well as I do that Eire means the whole of the island of Ireland.

    Which is why it is on the front of an Irish passport.

    Ireland and Eire being the same in different languages.

    How about calling it Kathleen Ni’ Houlihan?

    That’d be different and really pee off the misogynists, which is always a good thing. : )

  • Skibo

    Anglo I was reading straight off the Irish Constitution. Eire ( still cant get the gang of fadas on this laptop) or Ireland in English.
    I believe even the British Government actually gives it the title of Ireland now too.

  • Roger

    Well FF wouldn’t exactly be a new force but they’d be better than SF-IRA.

  • Jollyraj

    “Anyway if illegal immigrants got into ROI, why would they try and stop them leaving?”

    Extraordinarily relaxed attitude the Irish must have to illegal immigrants, if they would be happy to allow them to use Ireland as a routeway into other European or formerly European countries.

  • Katyusha

    It hardly matters unless you’re completely blind to context. If people in Ireland refer to the Republic nobody thinks they are talking about France or the USA. “The States” suffices for the US.
    The North is understood universally to refer to NI. Nobody thinks you’re talking about Monaghan or Cavan. Unless you’re in England, where the North is the north of England. Since the name of the state is not England, maybe you’d suggest that people would confuse “the North” with the Highlands, that Scotland is really the north, with the region of England above the Humber being renamed the Midlands or north-central UK. Somehow I doubt it will catch on.
    Most people can follow a conversation without having to define everything with legal precision, and don’t let it bother them. If you talk to an English person about “the North” they don’t think you’re talking about Scotland.

    The problem with calling the UK “the Kingdom” isn’t that it’s vague. It’s that nobody calls it that and people won’t understand what on earth you’re talking about. When I read “the Kingdom” in your post, I immediately thought of Kerry. That is what those words mean to me. The only other place I know of referred to simply as “the Kingdom” is Saudi Arabia.

    Now, “United Kingdom”, on the other hand, works perfectly. Nobody asks you “The united kingdom of where?”
    But whatever. Call it whatsoever you please, sir.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The Irish and Greeks voted for the governments who caused the sovereign debts, those who negotiated the bailouts, and the Irish passed the Fiscal Compact by referendum. So I don’t get this control without representation arguement.

    While the UK is borrowing an extra £60 billion of other nations’ taxpayers’ money for investing in “independence” (I kid you not) effectively doing the same decision as the Greeks and Irish, giving other nations more of a say over what the UK does with its revenue. The credit score of the Helenic and Irish republics are improving, but the UK one has took a hit.

    Take the hint from the lower credit rating that the UK is more of a debtor state than creditor state after voting to leave the EU. It has lost a comparitive advantage over France and Germany as a result.

    If you don’t think a sovereign debt crisis couldn’t hit a non-EU country with its own currency, trade deals and ability to default then look at Iceland and the Ukraine. Both were and are bailed out by the IMF.

  • Kevin Breslin

    The U.K. gains responsibility for its own mistakes, which may be a useful maturing exercise. It also has some degree of freedom to experiment at risk to itself.

    No one ever claimed the EU was going to be invulnerable, so it would be better for the UK to look at its vulnerabilities critically, not dismiss those who state them as scaremongerers.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Fair enough.

    The thing is, that whilst the official name following the Republic of Ireland Act 1948 is ‘The Republic of Ireland’ people tend to use shortened versions when it’s fairly obvious what is being referred to.

    Unfortunately this can lead to misleading assumptions.

    For instance, I’m having a rather amusing debate on this thread with someone who is obviously confused by the fact that a particular official document is referred to as ‘A British Passport ‘.

    The correct title of that document is ‘ Great Britain and Northern Ireland Passport ‘.

    Who’s going to bother coming out with that mouthful every time the subject comes up?

    He appears to be under the mistaken impression that because it’s referred to in common parlance as a ‘British Passport’ that means that he’s British.

    This despite the fact that he wasn’t born in Britain and it is obvious that the ‘And Northern Ireland’ on the front of the passport refers to him and his compatriots.

    Still it’s all good fun and if everyone understood everything and agreed on everything there’d be bugger all to talk about. : )

  • Anglo-Irish

    Well, as a father and grandfather I’d prefer not to conduct some form of social experiment on the possible mistakes that can be made and the vulnerability of the nation in terms of its ability to provide prosperity and security for its people over the foreseeable future.

    We were a member of a trading bloc, which however unsatisfactory it may have been provided prosperity, security and peace for over forty years.

    We have now decided to leave and renegotiate every trade agreement that we currently have in place.

    Unless the remaining members of the EU have taken leave of their senses they will all be attempting to renegotiate to their advantage and our disadvantage.

    They will be negotiating as one entity to which we sell 44% of our exports.

    We on the other hand will be dealing with 27 countries in attempting to gain agreement.

    Not one single EU member has the UK as a first trading partner.

    Only three, Poland, Cyprus and Ireland have the UK as a second trading partner.

    Germany has the UK as their third trading partner with 7% of their exports coming to us.

    So, there we will be at the negotiating table with 44% of our overall exports at risk whilst those sat opposite us will have less than 10% at risk.

    Other than Ireland with 15% ( 22% to the USA ) Poland with 6% ( 26% to Germany ) and Cyprus with 10% ( 16% to Greece ).

    What could possibly go wrong?

  • Skibo

    You should get out more.
    On the issue of GBNI, I have not watch much of the Olympics
    this time round as it is all GB GB GB. Scundered! They just dropped the NI. So much for their loyal subjects.
    Just watched the RTE coverage.
    Does that make me bitter?

  • Skibo

    Where did I say that ROI would be happy to allow illegal immigrants enter Ireland. You will not find any comment regarding that. What I did say was if illegal immigrants were in ROI, why would they bother to stop them on the border?
    You are probably aware that there are illegal immigrants in the UK, did they let them in? Do they have a relaxed attitude to illegal immigrants?
    The issue is illegal immigrants will look for the easy way into countries and if that means crossing the NI border, then that is how they will get in. If UK doesn’t want them, they will have to police the border.

  • Skibo

    Two issues wrong with your statement:
    1) FF would be new to NI. They are a ROI party and were not around pre partition.
    2) There is no such party SF-IRA. Are they for standing in elections?

  • Roger

    FF were not around pre-partition true and they are also an IRL party today, true. However they are not exactly new to UKNI: Mr de Valera was a FF MP in Stormont until 1938.

  • Anglo-Irish

    I get out quite a lot for a man of my age thank you very much.
    : )

    But I do like to amuse myself by pointing out facts to those that don’t appear to understand the concept, it’s a cruel streak which maybe I should rein in a little.

    Yes, whilst I haven’t watched much of the Olympics ( team sports such as football and hurling are of more interest to me) I did notice the Team GB thing, shows exactly how much consideration is given to NI in GB.

    Team UK would be just as neat a title and would also be factually correct.

    Maybe they’re anticipating the future of the province? : )

  • Skibo

    My sentiments and hopes also.
    I also like the team sports also but football is getting hard to watch at the moment. Donegal and Tyrone have alot to blame for with the blanket defence.
    Even resorted to watching a bit of soccer it got that bad!
    I would be prone to a bit of sarcasm myself.

  • Skibo

    Never took seats though.

  • Anglo-Irish

    When I said football I was referring to soccer, GAA football isn’t my thing, my mother was from East Clare and it’s all hurling in that part, football is played mainly west of Ennis and out to the coast.

    Funnily enough I attended a Technical college whilst living over in Clare and played a bit of GAA football, because of having played soccer I wasn’t too bad at it.

    Hurling is a whole different kettle of fish however and my skill level was never good enough to play at any organised level.

    I’ve got enough scars from playing games with my mates without risking anything too serious!

    Been a Blade all my life, which is my cross to bear but soccer has lost the run of itself. completely ruined by money.

  • Jollyraj

    “The issue is illegal immigrants will look for the easy way into countries and if that means crossing the NI border, then that is how they will get in. If UK doesn’t want them, they will have to police the border.”

    Which country does Northern Ireland have a land border with? NI borders Ireland.

    You are saying illegal immigrants could easily pass from Ireland into NI in number. So they’d have to either already be in Ireland in numbers or able to enter Ireland easily for that to happen if your dire warnings have substance.

  • Katyusha

    The “new force” will be the young members of the party bubbling to the surface to claim the leadership of Sinn Féin from the old grandees of the Troubles. To the younger generation, Sinn Féin is a party of protest against austerity, a supporter of welfare and the social state, and of same-sex marriage and abortion. The young are more likely to associate SF with protest marches and banners than the old gunmen that only feature in history books and the tiresome rhetoric of people who speak like we are still in the midst of a conflict that ended twenty years ago.
    The old leadership hanging around is not doing the party any favours. GA should have allowed Mary Lou to assume the mantle of Sinn Féin’s prospective Taoiseach during the last election. Maybe next time. On a similar note, its a shame the latest scandal has cost the party Daithí McKay, although I suspect his departure won’t be permanent.

    Some people will always throw mud at the name of Sinn Féin, accusing them of being extremists and terrorists. Unionists may always treat SF as a bogeyman and a semi-mythical figure of hatred. The young, energetic members, supporters and voters of the party should not let this trouble them one bit. If others want to demonise them because of the actions of a former generation, they should pay it no heed and push forward. They have a social struggle to win.

    Now, where the gap exists for the entrance of another Nationalist party in NI is to the right of Sinn Fein. A party that can appeal to traditional Catholic sensitivities around homosexuality and abortion. A party that can appeal to rural households and small farmers who are wary and suspicious of Sinn Féin’s quasi-socialism. A party that appeals to businesses and businessmen, promising to make it easier to do business and attract inward investment. A party that appeals to an older, more conservative voter base. That party is Fianna Fáil. SF have left a flank wide open in NI, which FF are in a prime position to attack should they wish to take the opportunity.

  • Roger

    “A former generation…”.

    Who is the Presidet of SF today? Has he been informed he’s somehow ‘former’. Who was the President of SF when the Eniskillen bomb went off?

    It’s all good and well to talk of the future. In the here and now SF continues to be led by persons who murdered the likes of their neighboring local policemen. Or at the very least condoned the murders of those so called ‘combatants’.

    Some day those men will no longer lead SF. That’s inevitable. Right now they certainly do and really they aren’t ‘former’ any things.

    That many in UKNI and some in IRL vote for them makes their track record no more forgivable. Not that they’ve asked for forgiveness.

  • Roger

    By that logic SF still hasn’t entered a general election in UKNI and are still new…..Despite the fact they’ve had elected MPs for decades.

  • Skibo

    They take their seats in Stormont.
    On the issue of FF, the FF party now is far removed from the FF party up to 1938. FF have given the impression that they have surrendered the position of representing Nationalist voters in NI. They view politics in NI at arms length and only dabble in it if they can score points over SF.
    Should they decide to retake the Republican position and represent all Nationalist people on the whole island, I believe they will be rewarded. It will hit the SF vote slightly, probably have more effect on the SDLP vote but I believe the major effect will be on the non voters.

  • Skibo

    Jolly anyone from the EU can stay in Ireland quite legally. They are not illegal immigrants. They can also live quite legally in the UK at the moment.
    After Brexit that situation changes if we believe all you Brexiteers, EU citizens will not have free access to the UK. They can still stay quite legally in Ireland. If they care to move across the border, the only country interested in stopping them would be UK.
    Why would it be the responsibility of Ireland?
    Brexiteers say there can be free movement across the border but that will be for UK and Irish citizens. Following Brexit, Ireland will have no issue with UK citizens entering Ireland.
    Explain to me again,why does Ireland have to take responsibility for policing the border?

  • Skibo

    Sacrilege Anglo sacrilege! Football in our house in GAA. That nancy boy game is soccer. Hurling is streets ahead of both.
    Hurling is for Heroes.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Well I agree with you completely about hurling, but as for football you have to take account of my Anglo side.

    Also when I started watching it players were allowed to tackle each other.

  • Katyusha

    Well, we were talking about the future, and the point is that SF are not going to be stepping aside for any “new force”.

    The new vanguard of nationalist and republican politics, in the north and especially the south, is within Sinn Fein, and as this generation had absolutely nothing to do with paramilitarism, continuing to characterise the party as SF-IRA serves only as ridiculous caricature. One that makes its proponents appear woefully out of touch with young voters, some of whom were not even born when the GFA was signed. Theres a reason why all the mudslinging about the IRA has proven ineffective.

    Some day those men will no longer lead SF. That’s inevitable. Right now they certainly do and really they aren’t ‘former’ any things.

    Well, I’d have argued they were former paramilitaries, but you’re welcome to disagree.

  • Skibo

    Aye both GAA and soccer was better to watch back then.
    I remember big Barney Rock playing for Dublin, horse of a man.
    Even the soccer, before the european influence. There wasn’t too much diving and if the defenders knew they went down easy for a free, they made sure they deserved it.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Yes, I’m an old bugger and we were always told ” don’t let the bastard have the satisfaction of knowing he’s hurt you, bide your time and when the ref’s not looking muller him”.

    Years ago I went to a business dinner where Tommy Docherty was the speaker.

    He gave us a list of some of the terrific players he’d managed at Chelsea ” Osgood, Hutchinson, Bonnetti, the late Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris, Charley Cook, David Webb “.

    When he finished he said ” Oh, by the way, Chopper’s not dead, just late “.

    Was that his real name Barney Rock? If so brilliant!