Why are we waiting…?

A YEAR after the ‘choreographed sequence’ spectacularly fell apart, Brian Rowan sounds out the chances of movement from the IRA. Rowan recounts a question Gerry Adams asked in the Irish Voice recently: “If the governments are satisfied with what they have proclaimed the IRA is going to do, then who are they waiting on?” Adams then answers his question that it is “obviously the DUP”. Well, the DUP are also waiting on the Government’s paper as much as anyone (after which it may publish its own, which wasn’t disclosed at Leeds Castle), but has Paisley’s party done enough to prepare its grassroots for powersharing with ‘unarmed’ Sinn Fein? Some suspect not.

  • Keith M

    The obvious question here is if SF/IRA were willing to get rid of their terrorist arsenal a year ago, then what has stopped them from doing so in the invening period? What conditions are they now raising to once again postpone what they signed up to do in 1996 (the Mitchell Principles) and again in 1998? How long more will the demcratic parties and the people of these islands have to wait for the terrorists to “do the right thing”?

  • peteb

    Why are we waiting, Gonzo, was, IMO, answered in the Irish Times editorial blogged here yesterday.

    “There are conflicting views in Government about the likelihood of success. It depends, ultimately, on the political strategy of Sinn F

  • Liam

    Brian Rowan’s analysis is just a wee bit flawed and simplistic. He states that:

    The plans are

    • to remove the IRA and its guns from the stage;
    • to bring about a power-sharing government involving the DUP and Sinn Fein;
    • to scale down the Army’s presence in Northern Ireland to that of a peace-time garrison;
    • to transfer policing and justice powers into the hands of local politicians and,
    • to win republican support for the new police service and structures in Northern Ireland.

    This whole process is of course about much more than removing the IRA and its guns. Unionism might wish for this to be a ‘remove the IRA process’ but it is not that. It is a ‘Peace Process’ and this requires some wider thinking.

    It is not either about scaling the British Army down to a ‘peace-time’ garrison. It is about recognising that a considerable section of the community do not wish any British army presence and that their communities must be demilitarised.

    It is about recognising that we must have a fair and accountable Policing and Justice system that has the support of all sections of the comunity. All sections of the community deserve this. Who can deny anybody this basic right?

    In response to KeithM….Who are you calling ‘terrorists’? Thats an easy label. In my opinion succesive British governments have waged a terrorist campaign in this country. Tony Blair is a terrorist, so is George Bush – they have more blood on their hands than 20 IRA’s or UDA’s -so forget the easy labels and recognise realities.

    The reality is that Republicans want a deal – the evidence is there for that. The reality is that Unionism is stalling and moving the goalposts again – the evidence is there for that also.

  • willowfield

    Liam

    There was a deal. Republicans failed to honour their side of it. Hence the breakdown in the “process”.

    All your bluster about “equality” and policing is a red herring.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The only people who weren’t happpy with what was on offer last year were unionists. Both governments were more than satisfied.
    As it was ex Vanguard and Ulster Clubs member Trimble yet again lost his nerve and the deal collapsed.

  • willowfield

    Well, Pat, unionists are the largest single group in NI, so if they’re the “only” people not happy, it’s quite significant!

  • willowfield

    Do you support the PSF line on decommissioning, Pat?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Willowfield,

    I should have highlighted that I meant Ulster Unionists, as the DUPers weren’t involved. But your point still stands unionists are indeed quite significant.

    All parties to the agreement should fully meet their obligations under the terms of the GFA.

  • Liam

    There was a deal. Republicans failed to honour their side of it. Hence the breakdown in the “process”.

    Rewriting recent history are we? The reality is that Republicans fully honoured their commitments. Trimble ‘put the process on hold’ and paid the price for losing his nerve. We all know that so there really is little point re-hashing it.

    All your bluster about “equality” and policing is a red herring.

    The very fact that you regard these issues as bluster demonstrates how little you understand Republicanism. These are the fundamental issues and Unionism seems to have a great deal of difficulty in coping with them. After all the whole basis of Unionism has been domination so it probably should not be surprising that these issues challenge Unionism at its core.

    I readily admit to failing to understand Unionism but am willing to try as we all should be. But your failure to promote your own philosophy does not help.

  • willowfield

    Pat McLarnon

    I should have highlighted that I meant Ulster Unionists, as the DUPers weren’t involved.

    I don’t think the DUP were happy with what was on offer either!

    Liam

    Rewriting recent history are we?

    No.

    The reality is that Republicans fully honoured their commitments.

    That’s not the reality. In fact it’s fantasy. They didn’t fully honour their commitments.

    Trimble ‘put the process on hold’ and paid the price for losing his nerve. We all know that so there really is little point re-hashing it.

    If you think Trimble was ousted for not being soft enough with the Provos, you’re off your rocker.

    The very fact that you regard these issues as bluster demonstrates how little you understand Republicanism.

    On the contrary, it demonstrates how much I understand about republicanism. Republicans need to pretend that their “war” had a purpose and its purpose has been achieved. They’re trying to pretend that “equality” was its purpose and that “equality” is an important part of the GFA. It’s not. There was “equality” before the GFA and there is “equality” now. All the equality measures in the Agreement have been implemented and are being implemented. It’s not an issue, except insofar as PSF need to be heard to be banging on about it for their own purposes.

    These are the fundamental issues and Unionism seems to have a great deal of difficulty in coping with them.

    “Equality” is not a fundamental issue. The fundamental issue was and is paramilitarism. The DUP have added a further issue, namely accountability. There is no issue about “equality”.

    After all the whole basis of Unionism has been domination so it probably should not be surprising that these issues challenge Unionism at its core.

    No. The whole basis of unionism has been maintaining the Union. No unionist today is advocating “domination”. The issue of “equality” does not challenge unionism at its core. No unionist parties are opposing “equality”.

  • jessop

    Willowfield

    you said:
    “On the contrary, it demonstrates how much I understand about republicanism. Republicans need to pretend that their “war” had a purpose and its purpose has been achieved. They’re trying to pretend that “equality” was its purpose and that “equality” is an important part of the GFA. It’s not. There was “equality” before the GFA and there is “equality” now”

    and:
    “”Equality” is not a fundamental issue”

    I find this confusing, because on another thread, you quite rightly acknowledge the past injustices of unionist rule. You acknowledged that this provided the base conditions for republican violence.

    Cant you take the next logical step and acknowledge that the legacy of unionist supremecist rule still exists today – admittedly to a lesser extent, but considerable nonetheless. Inequality in justice and policing is just one of the areas where we see this.

    And to state that equality in NI is not a fundamental issue – I would disagree fully with that – I believe that equality is THE fundamental issue – as you have said – it is inequality and injustice that creates the conditions for violent rebellion. IMHO it is these circumstances, far more than nationalist aspirations that have give weight and support to violent republicanism.

  • Davros

    Jessop- what form of “equality” do you want ?
    Equality based on the politics of Universalism or equality based on the politics of Difference ?

  • davidbrew

    Willow succinctly and accurately encapsulates the Unionist case on this occasion folks

  • jessop

    Just plain old equality will do thanks.

    You have acknowlegded that inequality has existed in the past, I am asking if you believe that the inequalities have been completely eradicated – or can you acknowledge that a legacy of inequality still exists in northern ireland.

    Denials of this legacy can be wrapped up in philosophical mumbo jumbo if you like, but it doesnt change the fact that the inequalities are still with us today.

  • Davros

    Jessop, there is more than one form of equality.

  • jessop

    FAO: davidbrew –

    by muddying the waters with distinctions of “politics of universalism” and “politics of difference”, Willowfield may well be encapsulating the unionist case – but its not a very strong one in my opinion.

  • jessop

    Aye Davros, I know that, but lets not get away from the basic realities here. There are and always has been distint and clear inequalities in NI society.

    As moderate unionist and an intelligent human being, surely you can acknowledge this?

  • jessop

    sorry, my typing leaves a lot to be desired

  • Davros

    No Problems about the typing jessop.

    Would that it were as simple. The conflict between What Taylor called the politics of difference and politics of universalism lies at the heart of this. The “Two” sides here, Unionism and Nationalism are,broadly speaking, asking for and measuring ‘different’ equalities.

    Personally speaking I would come down on the side of the politics of difference , but then I’m not a Unionist, merely a member of what is called the unionist community.

    In the Politics of Universalism every individual citizen has identical rights.

    In the politics of difference focuses on the distinctiveness of every individual and focuses on positive discriminatory practices to ensure equality ( Nic Craith)

    Universalism seeks non-discrimination, level playing field and should be culture-blind

    However in the politics of difference , because minorities are different, it is argued that even with identical rights because they are disadvantaged by being minority – disadvantaged as in a social sense in that they will always struggle against being assimilated – then to reach a Level playing field they will need EXTRA beyond what the Politics of Universalism allows with it’s provision of identical rights.

    So , We have a situation where quite properly by THEIR way of looking at it , Unionists can rightly claim that there Already IS equality.

    However in nationalist eyes, quite rightly by their way of looking at it , they are still disadvantaged.

    So, there is , and there isn’t equality.

  • jessop

    Davros, I agree with most of what you say – I am not trying to over-simplify the issue – I know there must be compromise on each side to see the other’s viewpoint.

    The reality is that NI is a polarised society and therefore the politics of difference must be acknowledged and must come into play.

    It is not appropriate to look at the situation solely through the prism of the politics of universalism, as many unionists do.

  • jessop

    Just to finalise on that point, being in the majority, it is very easy and in fact advantagous for unionists to apply the logic of universalism. By that logic, the majority always wins.

  • Davros

    jessop, I repeat, I personally would come down on the politics of difference.

    But unless equality was specifically defined and decided upon, there is no resolution possible.

    The same mess occurs with “parity of esteem”.
    undefined. In our polarised society, it will mean whatever best serves the interests of whichever side is discussing whether or not it has been achieved.

    Cheers

  • jessop

    OK Davros

    It looks like we are actually in agreement here at least to some degree.

    But its not nearly enough to say that there is no inequality because the definition of equality is unclear.

    There are hard facts and figures which will show that the nationalist community has been distinctly disadvantaged in numerous areas such as housing, employment levels, bias within the police force and the justice system etc, the list goes on and on and although there have been significant improvements, many basic and measurable inequalities are still there.

    Going forward, yes, the definition of equality needs to be clearly defined so as not to exclude the viewpoint of either community, but lets try to achieve a level playing field first, no?

  • Henry94

    Davros

    I don’t see the two forms of equality as necessarily incompatible. The ideal we should aspire to is that of universalism where every citizen has the same rights under the law irrespective of race creed or gender.

    Clearly we are a long way from that. Equality demands that we redress some of the imbalances that grew up under the system of discrimination of the past. But these should be short term measures to redress imbalances rather than the division of people into groups for all time.

    For example we have nationalist and unionist blocks in the assembly and would probably have them in a united Ireland parliament too. But a time will come when people don’t see themselves in such terms.

    So if you had a Parliament with 5 unionists 5 nationalists and 90 European type Social and Christian Democrats then the dual consent principle wouldn’t make too much sense.

  • willowfield

    jessop

    I find this confusing, because on another thread, you quite rightly acknowledge the past injustices of unionist rule. You acknowledged that this provided the base conditions for republican violence.

    You should learn to distinguish between the past and present tenses.

    Cant you take the next logical step and acknowledge that the legacy of unionist supremecist rule still exists today – admittedly to a lesser extent, but considerable nonetheless.

    What legacy? You mean the culture of victimhood? And how does this make “equality” an issue in respect of the GFA, when there is no dispute about it, and the equality provisions are being implemented?

    Inequality in justice and policing is just one of the areas where we see this.

    What is this “inequality in justice and policing” and what is the issue about it in respect of the GFA?

    And to state that equality in NI is not a fundamental issue – I would disagree fully with that – I believe that equality is THE fundamental issue – as you have said – it is inequality and injustice that creates the conditions for violent rebellion. IMHO it is these circumstances, far more than nationalist aspirations that have give weight and support to violent republicanism.

    Sorry. Equality is not an issue at all in respect of the GFA. The issues are paramilitarism and accountability.

    Inequality and injustice may have helped create the conditions for the Troubles, but that was 35 years ago. Inequality and injustice are no longer issues.

    by muddying the waters with distinctions of “politics of universalism” and “politics of difference”, Willowfield may well be encapsulating the unionist case – but its not a very strong one in my opinion.

    Er, I mentioned neither the “politics of universalism” nor the “politics of difference”.

    Henry94

    I don’t see the two forms of equality as necessarily incompatible. The ideal we should aspire to is that of universalism where every citizen has the same rights under the law irrespective of race creed or gender.

    We’ve already got that.

    Clearly we are a long way from that.

    How?

  • Henry94

    willowfield

    First of all we are in a monarchy which confers the right to be head of state on a partuicular family of a particular religion.

    We are ruled by a British Parliamment where the members of one chamber are appointees not electees. You can argue for that but you can’t claim it’s equality. You can’t even sit in the parliament unless you swear an oath to the unelected protestant monarch.

    Nor do we, being ruled by the British, have any rights at all under the law that can’t be simply overturned by the British government at any time. The right to silence, freedom from arrest without charge, freedom of speech can and have all been overturned in my lifetime.

    It is facile to claim that as equlity because everybody can have their right taken away. In reality it is applied to particular groups.

    In the six counties in particular we don’t even have the basic political rights that we voted for in the Agreement. All suspended by the member for Sedgefield to help the member for Upper Bann.

  • Davros

    Henry – we touch on another difference
    (generalisation to which there are exceptions)
    between Unionism and Nationalism.

    Unionism is focused more on individual rights than on group rights.

    Nationalism is more focused on Group rights and responsibilities.

    My interpretation is that we are at a situation where

    Unionists feel that there IS already equality for the individual as we all have the same defined rights- and that any discrimination – which will always occur – is an abberation and injustice for which there are corrective and punitive meassure in force.

    Nationalists feel that what is in place STILL leaves them at a collective disadvantage.

    To address that collective advantage there needs to be positive discrimination – something for which I personally feel some sympathy.

    However Unionists would view that NOT as positive discrimination for the “Other” BUT as negative discrimination against the individuals who make up the majority, and as such is unacceptable to them.

    Now when you say

    But these should be short term measures to redress imbalances rather than the division of people into groups for all time.

    we run into big problems. If we are talking about a multicultural society , we ARE hoping to maintain a pluralist society Long term. That is after all the point of the positive discrimination. So that minority groups survive against the natural assimilationist pressures that they will face both externally and internally.

    eg – assuming that there are no longer plans to make Ireland a monolingual community speaking Gaelic and assuming that the language of International business etc continues to be English
    then Irish will always be at a disadvantage and will always need some form of assistance to avoid being swamped by English. That will be a long-term need. This is not a finite “compensation” for what went before, but a mechanism for alleviating the natural pressures faced by minority groups faced by a majority. I’m not talking about an active process of besiegement by majority against minority, but the unavoidable day to day pressures
    of inconvenience.

  • willowfield

    Henry94

    First of all we are in a monarchy which confers the right to be head of state on a partuicular family of a particular religion.

    LOL! Well if that’s all you have to worry about, we’re doing pretty well! Wise up.

    We are ruled by a British Parliamment where the members of one chamber are appointees not electees.

    They can be overruled by the Commons. The Southern Senate also contains appointees. You’re clutching at straws.

    You can argue for that but you can’t claim it’s equality. You can’t even sit in the parliament unless you swear an oath to the unelected protestant monarch.

    Such oppression!!

    Nor do we, being ruled by the British, have any rights at all under the law that can’t be simply overturned by the British government at any time. The right to silence, freedom from arrest without charge, freedom of speech can and have all been overturned in my lifetime.

    Well, if they are “overturned”, the law will apply to everyone equally.

    It is facile to claim that as equlity because everybody can have their right taken away. In reality it is applied to particular groups.

    Like criminals.

    In the six counties in particular we don’t even have the basic political rights that we voted for in the Agreement. All suspended by the member for Sedgefield to help the member for Upper Bann.

    We all suffer equally from that.

    In total, that was a very weak argument that we don’t have “equality”.

  • willowfield

    Henry94’s claims of “inequality” amount to the monarchy and House of Lords, and the fact that Parliament can introduce emergency measures (only within the context of the European Convention on Human Rights).

    Poor, oppressed Henry. Suffering because he can’t become king.

  • willowfield

    And they wonder why they’re called the MOPEs!

  • Henry94

    willowfield

    Givin the choice I think it will be more interesting to have a serious conversation with davros than be drawn into a conversation about equality with someone who neither understands it nor believes in it.

    b davros

    Unionism is focused more on individual rights than on group rights.

    We have this state because Unionism was focused not on rights at all but on privileges and group privileges at that!.

    But for the sake of argument lets accept that goodwill exists on both sides and that Unionists see rights as belonging to individuals not groups. What then are we to make of the de facto policy of regarding certain areas as Protestant for housing purposes.

    I would welcome signs of a genuine commitment to individual rights from Unionists but it was only a few months since the talks had to be interrupted so the DUP could rush to London to vote against Civil Partnerships for gay couples. The Save Ulster from Sodomy campaign lives on as does the No Sport on Sunday campaign.

    In fairness the old man is mellowing. We don’t hear too much about the evils of line-dancing these days. A pity, because he was right about that one.

    What evidence is there that any Unionist leader has ever made a stand for any rights other than the rights of Unionists. How can we take such claims seriously or come to any conclusion other than that this new-found interest in individual rights is just “what we have we hold” as expressed by a spin doctor.

    Nationalism is more focused on Group rights and responsibilities.

    I don’t know about that either. I think nationalisms gioal is an al-Ireland republic based on individual rights but if we are forced to live in a state founded on groups then we will settle for group rights until we can have the republic we want.

    To address that collective advantage there needs to be positive discrimination – something for which I personally feel some sympathy.

    However Unionists would view that NOT as positive discrimination for the “Other” BUT as negative discrimination against the individuals who make up the majority, and as such is unacceptable to them.

    For nationalists that is just “unionism as usual” trying to maintain the privlieges they took for themselves when they were running the Orange state. The very reason we are even talking about redressing the balance is because the imbalance existed in the first place.

    we run into big problems. If we are talking about a multicultural society , we ARE hoping to maintain a pluralist society Long term. That is after all the point of the positive discrimination. So that minority groups survive against the natural assimilationist pressures that they will face both externally and internally.

    I think there is a false dichotomy between assimilation and multiculturalism. We’ll have some of both. But it is a mistake to confuse that issue with the problem of addressing the legacy of partition and the Orange State. That is a unique situation and requires a unique sloution.

    When the primary political division is between two conflicting constitutional positions, largely similar to the religious division, both armed, after a 30 year conflict then we need to be very clear that we are talking about a situation which needs to be addressed in terms of its own reality.

    eg – assuming that there are no longer plans to make Ireland a monolingual community speaking Gaelic and assuming that the language of International business etc continues to be English
    then Irish will always be at a disadvantage and will always need some form of assistance to avoid being swamped by English.

    Thats like saying that important buildings need planning laws to avoid being flattened and replaced by shopping centres. Are you not yourself lapsing into group think now. If government has cultural responsibilities and I think we agree that it does then the preservation of the Irish language is one of them. Just as the Irish government had a cultural and historical responsibility to preserve the Battle of the Boyne site.

    But I would certainly agree, if this is your point, that there should not be any question of compulsion about irish north or south. Government money or none Irish will survive and thrive if people see a value in it and want it to survive.

    But the real problem is that we have not come up with agreed mechanisms for deciding questions of rights. That’s why the Parades Commission was imposed on us and why we talk more about flags than the rest of the EU put together.

    l

  • Davros

    Dammit Henry, I’m going to have to go to Word to sort this one out!

  • Davros

    D: Unionism is focused more on individual rights than on group rights.

    H: We have this state because Unionism was focused not on rights at all but on privileges and group privileges at that!.

    That

  • Henry94

    Davros

    I know there will be places where you will be able to point and say

  • Davros

    D: I would go further than that Henry. The mechanisms themselves to decide the questions of rights can only be decided after the fundamentals of rights have been agreed upon.

    H: I don

  • willowfield

    Henry says: the ideal we should aspire to is that of universalism where every citizen has the same rights under the law irrespective of race creed or gender.

    He claims we don’t have this. Why? Because not everyone can become king; because the House of Lords is appointed; and because Parliament has the theoretical power to make emergency legislation (which would apply to everyone equally anyway).

    Is he serious?

  • Henry94

    davros

    I know you won

  • Henry94

    davros

    God this stuff is hard to put into words and it

  • Davros

    D: I know you won

  • Davros

    H:Assume that is true for arguments sake. Why walk into the trap? Why undermine yourself by not being too fussy about loyalist murderers at the same time. It makes no sense.

    Why not go the other way and be the reasonable ones; be prepared to ask for permission to march and if refused go another route? It would win the moral high ground and the political middle ground.

    Those are questions I cannot answer Henry as I’m not a member. Both sides painted themselves into corners.

  • Davros

    D:Unionists want to see NI running as a fair society (to be agreed for NI before we can consider your proposals for a Fair [also to be agreed] 32 county Ireland) in it

  • irishman

    Davros

    I have to say that was the most thought provoking and interesting contribution you’ve made to date on this site- ceratinly beats the newt emerson-like jibes I normally associate with yourself. Fair play to you.

  • Henry94

    davros

    Exactly. But are you (not personally) prepared to tolerate

  • Davros

    Those sound interesting Henry. Too tired to give them proper consideration. Will get back to you with thoughts tomorrow.

    Irishman – we stepped outside of party politics and the sound-bite and point-scoring mentality it encourages. It’s down to Henry’s good grace.

    Bottom up is the answer.

  • Henry94

    davros

    Too tired to give them proper consideration. Will get back to you with thoughts tomorrow.

    I don’t even want you to give them consideration as proposals for a united Ireland. The question I would like you to consider is this. Do you believe that this is the kind of thing republicans have inn mind when we talk about a united Ireland.

    Because I don’t see any of the above as concessions that we would have to make to unionists. it is the kind of united Ireland that would be my first preference

    And I think the vast majority of nationalists on the island would agree with that.

    A united Ireland as the coming together of two states on an agreed basis would represent a serious defeat for purist (ie extreme) republicanism. Because it would imply that both states were legitimate in the first place and the mythical republic of the second Dail is not and was not.

  • ShayPaul

    A united Ireland as the coming together of two states on an agreed basis would represent a serious defeat for purist (ie extreme) republicanism.

    Don’t agree Henry, I would go so far as to describe those that “consider such an outcome as a serious defeat” as “impure” Republicans, certainly not purists.

    A pure Republican puts Republic principles before the question of a United Ireland.

  • Davros

    The question I would like you to consider is this. Do you believe that this is the kind of thing republicans have inn mind when we talk about a united Ireland.

    Certainly what you suggest reflects a strand of republican thinking with which I feel comfortable Henry. How widespread it is among the broad church of the “republican movement” is as difficult for me to gauge as it is for republicans to determine how widely held among the unionist community are such opinions and (if I can use this expression) generosity of spirit and flexibility as I have voiced – and coming back to trust – equally important how sincere people are in claiming they hold these opinions. This is the disadvantage of party politics and ‘negotiation’ by sound-bite, point-scoring and brinksmanship.

  • Henry94

    ShayPaul

    I take your point on terminology. I intended to mean purist in the “pure shite” sense.

    davros

    Interesting. The kind of united Ireland I am interested in as a mainstream republican would have to be of the kind I outlined above.

    Is it possible that when unionists hear the phrase United Ireland they really do think of a monocultural, Irish speaking, white, priest-ridden, riverdancing nightmare.

    Nationalists in the north would certainly not vote for that and neither would nationalists in the south.

  • ShayPaul

    Davros

    The opinions expressed by Henry, would in my opinion, be representative of the sincerely held opinions of the “vast majority” of Republicans.

  • Davros

    H: Is it possible that when unionists hear the phrase United Ireland they really do think of a monocultural, Irish speaking, white, priest-ridden, riverdancing nightmare.

    To some extent that is fair comment Henry.

    For many reasons.

    Media
    Antics of ‘your’ Politicians
    Antics of ‘my’ Politicians
    Exaggerated Prominence given to unrepresentative and extremist viewpoints.
    Irish-America
    Some spectacular Own Goals by the Church – eg the Candidate Kerry ‘blackmail’, the current EU rows.

    One last point – our politicians are not good at writing policy documents. They don’t seem to bear in mind that others than the party faithful will read them. I read quite a few SF documents. Usually within a few minutes I have come across phrasings that will have most Unionists hackles up, or ambiguities as with
    this document

    Page 5: ( italics my comments )
    The progressive elimination of poverty is, therefore, central to the Republican vision of a new Ireland, one in which equality has real meaning. Equal rights cannot be given, they must be taken. ( aggressive ) In the Proclamation of Independence in 1916, Republicans committed themselves to the establishment of a nation which cherished

  • Henry94

    davros

    As a believer in the seperation of church and State it is my view that it is entirely the business of the Catholic Church who they give or refuse communion to in America or anywhere else. All I would say is it makes them look a bit cheap introducing the question into the US election when they don’t have the same rule for supporters of the death penalty.

    In the case of the EU Commissioner I do believe his position is untenable and he should not be ratified. He is entitled to his private views and the rest of us are entitled to decide that such views make him unsuitable for the job. He would find it impossible to get elected to the Dail having expressed such views. But I suspect many in the DUP would agree with him.

    The Sinn Fein discussion document is just that. Sinn Fein won’t control a united Ireland. They will have to look for votes like everybody else and the views you quoted would be rejected by the vast majority of voters.

  • Davros

    Henry – it was indeed a discussion document. However contained in it was a definite Policy Statement.

  • Davros

    Sorry – I should have written :

    Henry – it was indeed a discussion document. However contained in it was a definite Policy Statement.
    Remember, because of circumstances the unionist community view of “republicanism” is largely based on the view we have of Sinn F

  • Caoimhín

    Would just like to throw my lot in with Henry. He represents what I and each and every Republican I know envisiages a United Ireland lokking like. It is this message we must get across to the unionist community, not to fear our proposals, but actively help us in shaping them.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    The idea of a Free and Gaelic Ireland is quite clearly a contradiction. We can’t be free if we are forced to be Gaelic.

    A more accurate reflection of the Sinn Fein I know is to be found in the Local Election manifesto from June’s elections in the south

    A Multicultural Dublin in a Multicultural Ireland

    In a dramatically short space of time, Ireland has gone from an almost monocultural nation, to one where people of various colours, creeds and cultures are radically changing Irish society.
    The response of the Government, and elements of the media, to these changes has left a lot to be desired. Immigrants and asylum seekers have been dehumanised or portrayed as spongers, criminals and welfare cheats. For many of Dublin’s newest arrivals, the Ireland of the Welcomes has been anything but.
    As Ireland becomes a more multi-cultural country, the challenge is to embrace our growing diversity as a source of strength, opportunity and economic dynamism. To do this we must begin by opposing racism, discrimination and intolerance of any kind wherever it occurs. We must challenge the stigmatisation of non-nationals and of Irish citizens with non-national parents. The discriminatory policies of this Government must also come to an end.
    All Sinn F

  • Davros

    Would you have a link for that Henry so i can add it to my files ? Thanks.

    Yes, that is a document with which I am comfortable.
    I have made the comment before that SF in the 26 and SF in the 6 have very different approach to life.
    Understandably as in the 26 they don’t face the same degree of hostility.

  • Davros

    Caoimh

  • Moderate Unionist

    An interesting discussion but the posts got rather long and tried to address too many points.

    The original question (I think) “Has Paisley done enough to prepare the DUP grassroots? “ is central to strategic political analysis by all parties. The answer to this question will decide the shape of the political landscape for the next five years and would have been worth discussing.

  • Henry94

    Davros

    For your files

    Those whose approach is read as conciliatory and constructive and those whose approach is read as combative.

    Think of it as micropolitics and macropolitics. On the day to day issues and the day to day negotiations politics is always going to be a hard game because the next election is always around the corner. But the DUP and Sinn Fein are moving towards a deal all the same.

    Moderate Unionist

    By setting the end of the IRA as the main condition the DUP put themselves in a good position. It was something most nationalists believed was going to happen anyway but most unionists did not.

    Of course there are going to be people who don’t want to share power with catholics just like there are people who want the IRA to fight on forever.

    But Paisley has the political capital to sell a deal. Who could outflank him on the right?