“we need to elect people who are willing to accept responsibility, not just power”

One way or another Martin McGuinness is gone as a significant player on the Northern Ireland stage. There’s speculation as to whether he will appear as a paper candidate in Foyle in the election, but that’s a decision for the party, on another day.

Although, to secure maximum advantage and to discount as much drift as they can it is likely that both Sinn Fein and the DUP will agree on elections as early as possible. Everywhere the airwaves are aflood with key election messages.

Mairtin O Muilleoir on Morning Ireland this morning talking about his party’s (albeit belated) efforts to get a “No Hiding Place inquiry” against Jeffrey Donaldson popping in his line that “Sinn Fein ran away from powersharing” every moment he could.

In all the jollity, it falls to Malachi O’Doherty to ask how far McGuinness’s ill health was a factor:

… is McGuinness to be taken at his word when he says that health is not the issue here? The sceptic will wonder if, faced with the need to stand down, he sought to create the maximum impact and to damage Foster, who has been resisting pressure from Sinn Féin to stand aside.

Sinn Féin, which just a month ago seemed a businesslike partner of the DUP, now accuses the party of arrogance and trying to run Northern Ireland without conceding anything to republicans and other minorities. The DUP had, for instance, used a veto called a petition of concern that enabled them, with a minority share of the vote, to block same-sex marriage in Northern Ireland.

From Sinn Féin’s point of view, the stentorian attitude of Foster, refusing to stand aside, and the growing feeling among their own supporters that they have been weak and pushed around, has made it necessary for them to take a tough line.

But there is a high price to be paid for bringing down Stormont and forcing the British to restore direct rule. An obvious one is that the inquiry into the lavishly funded heating scheme will not now take place.

McGuinness may have scuppered the very thing he was demanding.

Two things we know in Northern Ireland politics. One is that the end is never the end, no matter how dramatic the mood music. With all the external grown ups camped out in other Gethsemanes. The resolution may have to come from within.

And in the scrambling competition for that: the prize for the most fitting soundbite of the day goes to Naomi Long for “we need to elect people who are willing to accept responsibility, not just power”.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    There is no reason to assume Martin McGuinness is lying when he says his health had nothing to do with his decision however it is a very convenient mirage to drop in to try and relieve the DUP of any responsibility.

    Long is correct again (that woman is on fire), Arlenes failure to accept responsibikity when she ckearly had the power to prevent all this is indeed the type of political personality we need to avoid.

  • Croiteir

    You can rely on O’Doherty to help out unionism by deflecting. As I keep telling people on these fora nationalism has the ball at its toe, and should keep kicking it. forget about appeasing unionism, they should be appeasing us. Let us hollow out the partitioned state from within, green it up so far that unionists will be pleading to be in the south. A fight a day. No compromise. It is reunification or bust.

  • SDLP supporter

    …thus speaks the keyboard warrior who, I would be prepared to guess, has never canvassed a door in his/her life. Are you auditioning for the part of the super-republican in ‘Give My Head Peace’, you know, the one enraged by English mustard?

    Sinn Fein were played for fools, as MOM said, and I suspect that Martin McGuinness has not been in good enough health to keep his eye on the ball for months past, Sinn Fein were billing and cooing with DUP up to a few weeks ago, happy to power-divide and power-exclude in cahoots with the DUP as long as SDLP and UUP were the target.

    The fatal mistake that Snarling Foster made, in her arrogance, bigotry and stupidity, was thinking she could walk over everyone else indefinitely and with impunity.

  • Redstar

    Very well said Croiteir. I just hope that SF do not return to any system which has this community as second class. One of my pet hates -which underlines the back of the bus way in which our aspirations are viewed-is when politicians and commentators feel it’s “rocking the boat too much” for us to have full equality even on basic things like emblems language etc.

    If Stormont is to house an administration which fully represents both traditions it should have that reflected throughout-either equality or neutrality in emblems for example

  • Redstar

    whilst I stopped voting SF almost 20 years ago I can say I never have nor never will vote SDLP as many of us who lost loved ones to collusion will never forgive your party for its support for those involved even when your party knew what was going on.

  • Gingray

    Well an election does give Malachi O’Doherty a chance to indulge in his favourite hobby of ranking female election candidates – be it their how Jo-Anne Dobsons lipgloss catches the glow of her cheeks, or Claire Baileys plunging neckline is a great idea, you can be sure that he has a keen idea of what is going on.

  • Granni Trixie

    He obviously captured your imagination!

  • Croiteir

    Thus speaks the lickspittles who will accept anything their masters throw at them, which is why they will sink further into irrelevance with each passing election, hopefully FF will do the decent thing and move north to end their malevolent influence on nationalism.

  • Gingray

    He disgusted me, and I have had no time for the man since, it was pathetic journalism that he has never apologised for.

  • SDLP supporter

    Evidence? Do you know anything about the career of people like Seamus Mallon? You made the charge that the SDLP supported collusion. Now substantiate it, please, or withdraw. I’ve been engaged with politics for forty years, back to civil rights days, and I’ve never come across an SDLP colluder or ‘informer’ when the so-called ‘republicans’ were polluted with them.

  • Redstar

    Let’s deal solely in facts. Both SF and SDLP to their credit highlighted what was going on vis a vis collusion, montage lists etc

    However every night on our news screens in those terrible days there was the SDLP telling us if we had any info to STILL give it to these people.

    I wonder how many innocent Catholics were murdered by way of that collusion on the back of your parties appeals to continue supporting these thugs and crucially to continue giving them information even though you had exposed full well they were then giving that info to unionist paramilitaries.

    They should never be forgiven for that

  • Well, there could be a police enquiry into RHI, searching for evidence of corruption.

  • Anthony O’Shea

    I have that affect sometimes ????

  • mac tire

    “And in the scrambling competition for that: the prize for the most fitting soundbite of the day goes to Naomi Long…”

    Wrong Long, Mick. The PUP’s Sophie Long wins it for me:


    “If we would rather be robbed by a Prod than led by a Catholic then we are in trouble.”

  • SDLP supporter

    You defy description for your twistedness. You “wonder” about how many innocent Catholics were killed by SDLP collusion. I ask you to give an example of one, just one.

    SDLP representatives came on the media after murders etc (60% caused by ‘republican’ paramilitaries, of course) to say that if anyone had evidence after killings they should give it to the police. That is not collusion, that is asking people to give information about anything they witnessed to the only law enforcement agency that was around at the time.

    The SDLP position was entirely consistent: we supported the police in the lawful execution of their duty, not the unlawful execution. That is why we refused to give blanket support to the police until Patten and, of course, Sinn Fein followed suit in due course, as they always did.

    We were the people who time and again exposed the rottenness of the RUC Special Branch.

    I can remember a situation where, after a girl was brutally raped near Casement Park that the Sinn Fein MLA in the area at the time refused to advise people to go to the police. How principled is that?

  • Redstar

    You sure are twisted

    Can you please explain to me when you are dealing with a security services which your own party even exposed as assisting those murdering people in our community-why in gods name would you give them any support whatsoever let alone asking our community to assist them???

    You say the SDLP only supported them in the lawful execution of their duty- but when you know the info you are giving them is being used for murderous actions how can you excuse what you did?

    Any info given to them was available to unionist murder gangs yet you insisted on STILL asking this community to continue giving them that info to pass on to UDA, UVF etc


  • SDLP supporter

    If I was a bystander and saw one person murdering another in plain sight, as so often happened, in all conscience I would have to give evidence of what I saw to the police, however flawed. I do not know how that is setting anyone up for murder.

    I ask you, one more time, for an example where the SDLP appealed for people to provide information and which constituted ‘collusion’, and set someone up for murder, even by your own twisted standards.

    What you are really saying is that you wanted the scumbags who you supported to have absolute impunity to carry out their dirty deeds and that they would be judge, jury and executioner in their own case.

    You made the allegation. If you have even a scintilla of honour you would substantiate it or withdraw it.

  • Skibo

    You need to remember that it was not the opposition that brought Arlene crashing down. It was SF. It was not to opposition that brought the RHI to the fore, it was the press hacks and Stephen Nolan.
    The SDLP raised a motion before Christmas demanding Foster step down in full recognition that they could not win. When SF abstained, they blamed them for not bringing her to heel in full recognition that it would have made no difference. Their type of motion had assured of that.
    Then when SF brings her down they say that SF were wrong?

  • Redstar

    I had a relative who was murdered by loyalists. He had been named not twice but 4 times in UDR info which ended up with the UDA .

    You just don’t seem to get it.

    The security forces were working with those murdering people in our community. The SDLP acknowledged that -but still said they should be assisted.

    Every time you told Nats to give info to those thugs you were giving it to those who were killing innocent Catholics

    That’s the facts sir.

  • Skibo

    But will you give your vote to SF this time?

  • Skibo

    I had wondered that myself. What price to not support Unionism. It seems it is more than £490m!

  • SDLP supporter

    Have the courage to name the case, and provide the evidence of the SDLP person who colluded. If you haven’t the courage to do so, then withdraw. And, by the way, the SDLP never supported the UDR.
    You have accused the SDLP of setting someone up for murder. It’s not too much to ask for the evidence to substantiate the charge. At the minimum, you could name your relative.

  • Redstar

    I certainly am not going to start throwing details of murdered relatives about on a forum.

    And I never said there was a specific SDLP member involved.

    Read what I wrote, it’s pretty simple-

    Your party to their credit acknowledged that info being given to the security services was systematically ending up with unionist paramilitaries- yet your party insisted our community should STILL give them information. It’s not only a disgraceful position to adopt but also nonsensical.

    We are not going to see eye to eye on this as frankly your defence of your parties shameful policy doesnt make sense and I feel your own floundering explanation of why it was correct to give info to those murdering innocents in your community smacks of desperation and guilt

  • Jeremy Cooke

    It doesn’t seem likely that the results of yet another election will deliver a stable, functioning government into Stormont; they haven’t to date so why expect anything different this time.

    As long as the party system remains in place we will get self-interested ideologues seeking to climb the greasy pole. Should we consider an alternative form of democracy that does not depend on elections? That breaks the parties, that removes professional politicians from the mix?

    In “Against Elections: The Case for Democracy” by Van Reybrouck the author describes a number of systems that depend on an initial ballot which selects a random pool which then selects by vote a sub-set of their members to go forward into government. The ballot breaks the party system and the vote removes the mad, bad or won’t serve.

    For example in each NI county we select, by ballot, fifty people as potential members of the government – those fifty then select twenty of their number, by vote, to go forward and serve as members of the assembly. Reybrouck supplies a fuller description with specialist committees aided by publicly-employed professional facilitators etc.

    A version of this was apparently used in the Viennese Republic, and elsewhere, for some five hundred years and was designed to stop power being seized by a professional ruling elite.

    I don’t see how the current system is going to deliver a different, more stable result this time when everybody seems thoroughly cheesed of with what it produces so far.

  • Anthony O’Shea


  • Anthony O’Shea

    No need to personally attack him/her

  • Redstar

    Sadly the unionists would

  • Redstar

    Skibo like many other non voters in the Nat community, lapsed SF voters too- IF they spell out a clear much more aggressive non compliant position which can effectively carry forward our aspirations on a fully equal basis- I would suggest there are quite a few of us who may give them another chance

  • SDLP supporter

    No, that’s not all you said, Redstar.

    Your previous statements included the following:
    “…I never have nor never will vote SDLP as many of us who lost loved ones to collusion will never forgive your party for its support for those involved even when your party knew what was going on.”

    “I wonder how many innocent Catholics were murdered by way of that collusion on the back of your parties (sic) appeals to continue supporting these thugs and crucially to continue giving them information even though you had exposed full well they were then giving that info to unionist paramilitaries.
    They should never be forgiven for that.”

    You accused the SDLP of collusion. Now, having character-assassinated the SDLP en masse, you have the gall to state:

    “And I never said there was a specific SDLP member involved.”

    Do you not see the absolute banality and illogicality of that last remark?

    You are right in one thing: we are not going to see eye to eye on this.

  • Redstar

    I accused them RIGHTLY of SUPPORTING those involved in collusion.

    You have simply no defence of the SDLP calling on Nats to give info to those assisting in the murder of members of that community!!!!

  • SDLP supporter

    Skibo, even normally reliable Sinn Fein cheer-leaders like Jude Collins admit that the SDLP position is the only logical one. For their own, possibly grubby, reasons Sinn Fein did not want a judge-led oath-bound public inquiry when they had the opportunity to vote for it.

  • Obelisk

    Are you surprised? Unionism lost the economic argument for the very existence of the state when they moved seamlessly from bragging about it’s economic prowess to openly smirking (IPJ) about how our economy is such a disaster that nobody would want us.

    If people are willing to tolerate living in this huge poverty trap for the sake of waving a Union Jack, what’s Arlene’s burned half billion by comparison?

  • NotNowJohnny

    ‘More aggressive non complaint position’ ….. are you calling for Sinn Fein to behave like the DUP? How do you think that will go?

  • NotNowJohnny

    Who do you vote for now?

  • Granni Trixie

    Sounds like she’s in the wrong party if this is what she thinks.

  • SDLP supporter

    Redstar, this is my last contribution to this discussion. I am genuinely sorry for the murder of your innocent relative or any other innocent person murdered in our sordid “Troubles”.

    One thing of which I am proud of in relation to the SDLP is that it has never condoned or colluded in murder for any reason.

    You need to accept that there were some genuinely good and decent and professional people, like the late Detective Inspector Jimmy Nesbitt, who, together with a few colleagues, brought the Shankill Butchers (or some of them) to justice.

    I would even say that there were a very substantial number of RUC who just wanted to be good policemen and who had integrity.

    If it was the case that someone gave information to a policeman whom they knew was consorting with loyalist paramilitaries, and setting up innocent people for murder, that would certainly be prima facie collusion.

    But, out of your own mouth, you acknowledge that no SDLP representative did this. Yet you pour out your hatred of the SDLP. Do you not see how unfair this is?

    Let’s put it this way. I know of a Sinn Fein councillor who was murdered in Magherafelt by loyalist paramilitaries (John Junkin). He had been attacked and harassed repeatedly before his murder and he had on several occasions rang the local RUC station when his home was under attack and was in danger of losing his life.

    Presumably he had no way of knowing whether the RUC people he spoke to and gave information to were honest or corrupt.

    Would you have condemned him? No matter how unjust your relative’s killing was, it is simply not sustainable to tar all the RUC with the same brush.

    If you are being consistent you would condemn Sinn Fein for ever supporting the PSNI until every last former RUC man was gone from it.

    Or maybe that is your position.

    Focal scoir, a few decades ago I had a neighbour who was rumoured to be ‘connected’ and indeed subsequently became a by-word for ruthlessness. When his car was stolen and his house burgled he had no hesitation in giving information to the RUC and, indeed, the names of the ‘wee skitters’ who he thought were involved and he reputedly rationalised it as being necessary for insurance purposes.

    Did he count as a ‘colluder’? If anyone had said that to his face they would have ended up in a hole in the Bog Meadows,

  • Ian Rate

    Croiteir as bad as things are, as bad as they ever were, you really don’t want that happening.
    FF would just bring a new level of self interest onto the pitch.
    I think Donald Trump is more suitable than FF.

  • babyface finlayson

    Well he did rate the male candidates on their appearance too,though none of them had a plunging neckline.

  • lizmcneill

    Now come on, FF are at least less likely to declare war on China via a 3 AM tweet.

  • Skibo

    Sorry could you tell me when SF had a chance to vote for a Judge led oath bound public inquiry?
    I would also like to see a quote from Jude Collins where he said SF got it wrong and the SDLP got it right.

  • Skibo

    I am not surprised at the Unionist political parties but I am surprised at the general Unionist public. I thought they would have been a bit more savy and are showing them to be exactly what Harold Wilson accused them of.