Ahern: direct negotiations would speed process

Gene McKenna highlights the DUP’s refusal to negotiate with Sinn Fein directly as one of the things holding the process back. However it seems unlikely that the party would have the room to manouvre on its election pledge. The shadow boxing continues.

  • Keith M

    The DUP became the biggest party in Northern Ireland and the dominant voice in Unionism by promosing not to negotiate with SF/IRA until their trrorist threat has gone. To renege on that promise would simply bring all of politics in Northern Ireland into (even more) disrepute. It is now over a year since SF/IRA were apparently ready to “do the right thing”. Once again I ask, what is holding stopping them? If the DUP now has a veto on progres it would appear that it has been handed to them by the republicans.

  • willowfield

    But the DUP is negotiating with SF/IRA!

    Remember Leeds Castle?

  • Keith M

    willowfield ; I wasn’t at Leeds Castle so I only have the word of former Irish Foreign Minister Brian Coowen to go on and he says that the governments talked to the DUP and SEPERATLY talked to the SF/IRA delegation. The DUP is negotiating with the governments. The DUP does not control who else the governments are talking to.

  • willowfield

    So the DUP is negotiating through intermediaries? Wow!

    … and the substantial difference is??

  • Keith M

    “… and the substantial difference is??”

    They were given a mandate to do that.

  • willowfield

    That’s not a substantial difference.

    You’re just saying they have a mandate to do something that has no substantial difference to something else.

  • Keith M

    “That’s not a substantial difference.”

    I don’t think anyone who says that can call themselves a democrat.

  • willowfield

    So someone who points out that there is no substantial difference between negotiating with someone face-to-face and negotiating with someone via intermediaries cannot call themselves a democrat?

    Er, right.

  • Moderate Unionist

    The Emperor has no clothes. (If the DUP are not negoitating with SF why don’t we just scrap Stormont and get on with direct rule).

  • Keith M

    No someone who thinks that the democratically expreessed wish of the electorate can simply be disregarded for convenience and described as “not substantial” cannot in my opinion honestly call themselves a democrat.

    I’m sure you would like the DUP to make the same mistakes as the UUP and end up in the same position of irrelevant observors, but it isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

  • Keith M

    M.U. “If the DUP are not negoitating with SF why don’t we just scrap Stormont and get on with direct rule”.

    Firstly they are not directly negotiating SF. Secondly both the biggest unionist party and the biggest nationalist party have a mandate to restore a local authority to the preovince. (and as such have a better mandate than the B.A. ever had).

  • willowfield

    No someone who thinks that the democratically expreessed wish of the electorate can simply be disregarded for convenience and described as “not substantial” cannot in my opinion honestly call themselves a democrat.

    You seem to have misunderstood. I said that the fact that the DUP was mandated to negotiate by proxy does not demonstrate any substantial difference between negotiation and negotiation-by-proxy.

    I note your failure to mention any substantial difference between the two.

  • Keith M

    “I note your failure to mention any substantial difference between the two.” Negotiating directly with terrorists means that any negotion is done under the threat of violence. The governments might consider this a risk worth taking, I share the DUP position that it is not. Obviously I am not alone given the seismic shift in the unionist vote over the last decade.

  • willowfield

    How does direct negotiating increase the threat of violence?

    The threat of violence exists whether one negotiates directly or by proxy.

  • Keith M

    “The threat of violence exists whether one negotiates directly or by proxy.”

    Yes but by negotiating a deal with terrorists you are helping to sanction that terrorism. This debate started 10 years ago with Albert Reynolds trying to convince us that the adjective “complete” and the verb “complete” were the same thing. Needless to say they are not. Since then we have had the Mitchell Principles, the negotiations and the original Belfast Agreement which were all supposed to eliminate the terrorist threat through talking and working directly with terrorists. Each of these has been a spectacular failure and the political graveyard is full of the bodies of those suckered by the terrorists (Reynolds, Mowlem, the UUP and the SDLP).

    That method didn’t work. The people have voted for a different way. Time will tell if the DUP succeed, but if you are genuinely interested in eliminating terrorism then the DUP position (with the mandate of the people) should be supported and not constantly nit-picked by resentful followers of those who lead us into the current deadend.

  • willowfield

    Yes but by negotiating a deal with terrorists you are helping to sanction that terrorism.

    Well that’s what the DUP is doing! Whether they negotiate the deal directly or by proxy is immaterial.

    Since then we have had the Mitchell Principles, the negotiations and the original Belfast Agreement which were all supposed to eliminate the terrorist threat through talking and working directly with terrorists. Each of these has been a spectacular failure and the political graveyard is full of the bodies of those suckered by the terrorists (Reynolds, Mowlem, the UUP and the SDLP).

    But the UUP did as the DUP is doing now: negotiated through proxies. So your point is invalid.

    That method didn’t work. The people have voted for a different way. Time will tell if the DUP succeed, but if you are genuinely interested in eliminating terrorism then the DUP position (with the mandate of the people) should be supported and not constantly nit-picked by resentful followers of those who lead us into the current deadend.

    Still no explanation of any substantial difference, then?

  • Liam

    The DUP became the biggest party in Northern Ireland and the dominant voice in Unionism by promosing not to negotiate with SF/IRA until their trrorist threat has gone.

    And you really believe that a ‘terrorist threat’ exists?

    The reality is that the DUP have no difficulty in talking to Loyalist groupings who are not even on ceasefire – completely hypocritical on their part – so it’s not even a matter of any high principle is it?

    The reality also is that the DUP are refusing to negotiate directly with the chosen political leaders of Nationalism – not exactly reaching out to the other side of the community is it?

    The reality is that no ‘terrorist threat’ exists from mainstream republicans and the peace could only be sealed further by political leaders having the confidence in themselves and respect for the mandate of their opponents and sitting and engaging properly, instead of needing ‘middle-men’ to do that for them.

    The DUP should grow up.

  • willowfield

    The reality is that no ‘terrorist threat’ exists from mainstream republicans

    What do you call the PIRA, if not a terrorist threat? That’s its raison d’etre.

  • Liam

    What do you call the PIRA, if not a terrorist threat? That’s its raison d’etre.

    You and I would have very different views on the ‘raison d’etre’ of the IRA and it is a virtual certainty that we would never agree.

    We would certainly have entirely different views on the use of the word ‘terrorist’ also.

    However to get into all of that argument is a distraction from the real issues at hand.

    The reality is that the IRA support the Peace Process. The reality is that the republicans have taken historical initiatives to enhance and further the peace process. The reality is that republicans are ready and prepared to do more. But you know all of that.

    But another reality is that the DUP have yet to engage properly and to bring their contribution.

    The reality is that they still need middle-men to talk to the political representatives of the Nationalist population?

  • willowfield

    The reality is that the IRA support the Peace Process.

    That may be so, but for the Provo movement, support for the “peace process” has, so far, unfortunately been compatible with maintaining a terrorist threat.

  • North Antrim Realist

    Keith M

    ‘Firstly they are not directly negotiating SF.’

    11:49 post

    DUP manifesto

    No negotiating with the representatives of terrorism but we will talk to democratic parties.

    I see no distinction in the manifesto between direct and indirect negotiations.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    They may not negotiate with terrorists, but they have no problem working with them to cause death and destruction, re UWC strikes and all that those episodes entailed.

    Also they have the distinction of forming their very own terrorist organisation.

  • Davros

    Why not have a deal then Liam – Paisley and Co agree to talk directly with SF after SF engage fully with British democratic process by taking their seats in Westminster ? Two equally historic settings-asides of snubs?

  • Davros

    As an aside – and purely for information- are SF now meeting with Mr Spellar ?

  • Liam

    Why not have a deal then Liam – Paisley and Co agree to talk directly with SF after SF engage fully with British democratic process by taking their seats in Westminster ? Two equally historic settings-asides of snubs?

    Do you view SF not taking seats at Westminster as a snub? Thats interesting.

    But then SF are not really that interested in the ‘British democratic process’. We are more interested in engaging with the democratic process on this island.

    SF declining to take Westminster seats is a very principled position and one that SF voters understand and elect SF MP’s on that basis.

    You don’t really expect Republicans to be Republicans and also swear an oath of allegiance to a British queen do you?

    The peace process should be all about respecting our differences, not condemning people for them.

  • Davros

    It was tongue-in-cheek Liam.
    However you write –
    SF declining to take Westminster seats is a very principled position and one that SF voters understand and elect SF MP’s on that basis.

    Surely you can see that a DUP supporter can write with just as much validity –

    The DUP declining to negotiate with SF until the IRA have gone is a very principled position and one that DUP voters understand and elect DUP MLAs on that basis

    Lastly : you wrote –
    SF are not really that interested in the ‘British democratic process’.

    Stormont is part of the British Democratic process as is local Government in NI part of the British Democratic process. SF in signing upto the Belfast agreement accepted the legitemacy of British Democratic Process in these 6 counties of Ireland.

  • willowfield

    Liam

    You don’t really expect Republicans to be Republicans and also swear an oath of allegiance to a British queen do you?

    Why not? Which is more important: representing their constituents properly or an empty gesture?

    Many MPs in the House of Commons are republicans, but they accept that the monarchy is the chosen form of government for the present time and just get on with it.

  • willowfield

    Funny how the DUP are apparently making a big deal about the supposed distinction between negotiating directly and indirectly with terrorists (apparently the former is wrong, but the latter is OK).

    Yet when the UUP did the latter, apparently it was wrong.

    Why was it wrong to negotiate indirectly in 1997-98, but it’s right in 2003-04?

  • Liam

    Davros

    Stormont is part of the British Democratic process as is local Government in NI part of the British Democratic process.

    This is part of the denial that Unionists constantly engage in. This ‘we are British’ ‘everything is British’ attitude. The reality is that everything is not British. Far from it, and Unionism needs to be honest with itself and accept that.

    The reality is that the democratic/political process on this island belongs to all of the people, so please don’t label it as exclusively British. It isn’t.

    Willowfield

    Many MPs in the House of Commons are republicans, but they accept that the monarchy is the chosen form of government for the present time and just get on with it

    I’m sure that there are some British Republicans in the house of commons – but there are no Irish Republicans there! Why on earth would there ever be?

  • Davros

    Now who is being disingenuous about the Belfast agreement Liam ?

    Mainstream Republican Movement validated the British Democratic Process in the 6 counties and validated the apartness of the NI from the ROI. If You have NOT abandoned the position previously held that the “Real ” Covernment and Authority over all Ireland is held by the inheritors of 1919 Dail then all of the Belfast Agreement is a fraud and you are in the process under false pretences and, God Help us, the Obstructionist wing of the DUP are right.

  • Davros

    And noted that you backed off sharpish from the Mandate point I made…

  • George

    Davros,
    nobody validated the apartness of NI from ROI (another way of saying partition is legitimate) by the GFA.
    What Irish nationalism agreed and voted for was that there would be no united Ireland unless there was a majority for such a move north and south. Despite how illegitimate and destructive to this island we as a country and nation feel the border is, we aren’t going to advocate raising up in arms or condone the use of arms to remove it. Don’t confuse that with validation.

    I agree with your mandate point though. The DUP have a mandate not to negotiate with SF. The question that follows is whether the whole of the island of Ireland (this is an all-island deal after all) and the British government should put
    everything else brought about by this agreement on ice as a result. I say no. There’s plenty to be getting on with in the meantime. The DUP don’t have a mandate to stop closer British-Irish relations when it comes to the future of Northern Ireland. 27% in the last European and 22% in the last general election don’t warrant such power.

    If it did, we’d all have to listen to Fine Gael’s mandate for government.

  • Liam

    Davros
    Now who is being disingenuous about the Belfast agreement Liam ?

    Mainstream Republican Movement validated the British Democratic Process in the 6 counties and validated the apartness of the NI from the ROI. If You have NOT abandoned the position previously held that the “Real ” Covernment and Authority over all Ireland is held by the inheritors of 1919 Dail then all of the Belfast Agreement is a fraud and you are in the process under false pretences and, God Help us, the Obstructionist wing of the DUP are right.

    This is a very sweeping statement to make Davros. The GFA is what it is, are we really disputing what it fundamentally is?

    It was not exclusively about a ‘British democratic process’ it was about finding new ways to make inclusive new accomodations and facing up to and dealing with the realities of our differences.

    Of course it meant a huge change for Republican thinking. But Republicans have dealt with that. That doesn’t mean that Republicans are one iota less Republican in their philosophy and it shouldn’t mean that those who consider themeselves British need feel that their philosophy is less valid or threatened.

    We are not the process ‘under false pretences’, we understand what the process really is. We are still waiting for the DUP to wake up and have the confidence in their own arguments to meet us across the table.

  • Davros

    George: nobody validated the apartness of NI from ROI (another way of saying partition is legitimate) by the GFA.

    Really ? So when they agreed that NI is “Part of the United Kingdom” they were under the impression that the ROI was also part of the UK ?

    There is no other meaning than “apartness” when it is agreed that 6 counties are, unlike the 26 , Part of the United Kingdom George. And in signing up to that the border IS legitemised . This is not something which is negotiable, it is THE crux of the GFA.

  • Davros

    Liam , as long as Mr Adams says that there is only a ‘British Claim’ to NI, then there is no GFA.

    Since partition – and this is after all about NI, NOT the rights and wrongs of partition, a majority in NI have wanted to remain British and under the British Democratic Process. In the GFA that was validated and a mechanism was established for democratically changing the status of NI. If Sinn F

  • George

    Davros,
    agreeing that getting rid of Saddam Hussein was a good idea doesn’t validate the invasion of Iraq just like voting that change to the constitutional status of Northern Ireland should only come about by a majority in that region does not validate Northern Ireland’s current constitutional position. It does accept that this position exists and will only change if a majority of that region so vote.

    I suppose the difference between you and me is that I looked at the GFA as delegitimising violence to achieve one’s political goals while you look at it as a way of legitimising unionist ideology and partition itself.

  • Davros

    Cat out of the bag there George – you imply that what was taken as Mutual recognition of legitimacy was a sham and that a central plank of the agreement is a fraud.

    GFA – Unionism recognised the legitimacy of nationalist and republican aspirations and their RIGHT to work towards their goal via democracy BUT you are saying that Republicans Do NOT accept the legitimicy of Unionism.

    Secondly … the GFA did NOT delegitimise
    republican and loyalist violence – they NEVER WERE LEGITIMATE and I strongly object to any attempt to twist the GFA into implying retrospective legitimisation of La Mon and the Dublin/Monaghan Bombings.

  • Liam

    The ONLY reason the GFA was validated by the unionist community was on the understanding that the things we found so unpalatable such as the release of people like Patrick Magee and Johnny Adair would bring an end to the dispute over whether NI was a legitimate identity.

    To my understanding, the GFA was validated by many different people for many different reasons. But mostly for the very simple reason that the broadest possible range of our people wanted our political leaders to seek a peaceful accomodation and a just political solution to our problems.

    To my mind the GFA does not legitimise British rule, but rather for the first time, it actually makes British rule ‘conditional’, which it was never recognised as such previously.

    Unionism recognised the legitimacy of nationalist and republican aspirations and their RIGHT to work towards their goal via democracy BUT you are saying that Republicans Do NOT accept the legitimicy of Unionism.

    No. None of this means that Unionism is not ‘legitimate’. Of course it is. It is equally as legitimate as Republicanism. No more, no less.

    I fully accept the right of my neighbour to be British if thats the identity they choose. And I will defend their right to be as British as they desire to be.

    The only thing I require (demand) in return is that my identity, culture and aspirations are equally as valid as my neighbours.
    Equally = no more, no less!

  • George

    damned typekey,
    Davros,
    believe it or not there were people in Ireland who believed they had a LEGITIMATE right to bomb, murder and maim.

    Don’t know about you boys up north but for most people on this island, the GFA was our way of saying NOT IN OUR NAME. That is it in four words.

    It had to be an all-island vote (the first since the 2nd Dail) to strip these people of an legitimacy they may have FELT they had. There is no more waffle about the IRA being the legitimate protector of the only true government, the 2nd Dail etc.

    However, what it did not do is legitimise unionist or republican ideology. It said that there will only be a change to the constitutional position should a majority north and south so wish.

  • Davros

    No. None of this means that Unionism is not ‘legitimate’. Of course it is. It is equally as legitimate as Republicanism. No more, no less.

    Thank you Liam. But it was George who was implying that Unionism was not legitimate.

    I fully accept the right of my neighbour to be British if thats the identity they choose. And I will defend their right to be as British as they desire to be.

    The only thing I require (demand) in return is that my identity, culture and aspirations are equally as valid as my neighbours.
    Equally = no more, no less!

    Speaking for myself, that has never been in doubt Liam. The only disputes were over the legitimacy of NI and the ROI AND the Use of Violence to change their status.

    but the Crucial question has to be answered.

    Is NI a legitimate entity Liam. ?

  • Davros

    George, you miss an important point and one down-played by SF in the ROI. They didn’t recognise the legitimacy of YOUR constitution either.

    That’s why I’m keen to have this cleared up by
    Liam, Mark or any other SF person.

    Do they now recognise the legitimacy of NI and the ROI ? If they say yes most other questions are answered. If NI and the ROI ( and by definition we are talking post-partition , I’m NOT asking them to accept that partition was legitimate ) were legitimate then there is no question of any retrospective legitimisation of Loyalist or Republican violence. If they say no then the GFA has no validity.

  • George

    Davros,
    I’m aware of the not recognising the Irish state which is why I mentioned the need for the all-island vote to end “the 2ND Dail is the only legitimate parliament and the IRA is the only legitimate army” guff.

    This was important south of the border for that reason. It was our way of saying not in our name, this is how the people of Ireland north and south want this issue solved, namely peacefully.

    Legitimacy for Northern Ireland after the sorting out of the constitutional change area is a different issue.
    In order to be legitimate then the GFA must be implemented.
    This means an Irish citizen has the same access to power/police/decision making as his her British counterpart and Irish culture is accessibly as it is south of the border.

    I would not in any way consider Northern Ireland a legitimate entity if it fails to deliver parity of esteem for my fellow citizens.

    Majority rule or British mandarin rule would fail this litmus test.

  • Liam

    Speaking for myself, that has never been in doubt Liam. The only disputes were over the legitimacy of NI and the ROI AND the Use of Violence to change their status.

    but the Crucial question has to be answered.

    Is NI a legitimate entity Liam. ?

    Is this a crucial question? I wonder why? Does the GFA not speak for itself on this issue?

    I appreciate that you are speaking for yourself, but the whole issue of parity of esteem has been more than in doubt for generations now. This is one of the root causes of how the conflict came about in the first place.

    However your question is just a little bit loaded: “the use of ‘violence’ to change their status”. The reality is that the 6 county state was founded by the threat of superior violence and maintained by superior ‘violence’. That violence begot violence. We know all of that.

    I know that you will have a different view. But I’m genuinely curious as to why it’s so crucial for you to box off the ‘legitmacy’ question. For the reality is that the ‘constitutional status’ of both states is now conditional upon the wishes of the people’s. And we must move forward together from this point.

    You and I would probably never agree on the root causes of violence or the rights and wrongs of partition or the 6 county state over the past 80 years, or even the past 35 years.

    But the really crucial question is how we move forward. And to get back on topic – are the DUP really doing anybody any favours by refusing to talk directly with the elected representatives of Nationalism?

  • willowfield

    George

    The DUP have a mandate not to negotiate with SF.

    If so, they have broken that mandate.

    Liam

    To my mind the GFA does not legitimise British rule, but rather for the first time, it actually makes British rule ‘conditional’, which it was never recognised as such previously.

    You are correct: the GFA did not legitimise

  • George

    Davros,
    “But it was George who was implying that Unionism was not legitimate.”
    I didn’t imply unionism was not legitimate, I said that the GFA didn’t legitimise unionist ideology, which is what you seem to think.

  • Liam

    It was founded on freely expressed self-determination.

    Sadly, you really need to learn your history.

  • willowfield

    I don’t.

    But maybe you do.

  • Davros

    George – You might be aware of it but I’ll bet it, like the disappeared, is something that Mary Lou wouldn’t want raised within ear-shot of voters too young to remember the 70’s and 80’s.

    important point – the NI state is already legitimate. It won’t suddenly ‘become’ legitimate when the process initiated by the GFA is completed.

    Liam – that was a politician’s answer, not a frank exchange of views between friendly acquaintences.
    But I’ll play along in the hope that you leave off the politician-speak πŸ˜‰

    D: Is NI a legitimate entity Liam. ?

    Liam: Is this a crucial question? I wonder why? Does the GFA not speak for itself on this issue?

    Yes it is a crucial question.

    Does the GFA speak for itself ? Obviously not or else there wouldn’t be wriggle room. The GFA is ambiguous. Hence Mr Adams’ reported comment that destroys the GFA process. “British Claim”.

    As you mention “parity of esteem” I’ll point out that the GFA does not properly address Parity of Esteem .

    Liam : I know that you will have a different view. But I’m genuinely curious as to why it’s so crucial for you to box off the ‘legitmacy’ question. For the reality is that the ‘constitutional status’ of both states is now conditional upon the wishes of the people’s. And we must move forward together from this point.

    That’s very easy Liam. Delegitimise the state and that means that you can claim legitimacy for the violence in the past AND at the same time keep the option of returning to violence in the future.

    All else is froth beyond this point. Politicians are arguing about Doubleglazing at this stage of the building process so that we have a “warm house” for everybody when the Foundations are in doubt. A habitable house cannot be built on Quicksand.

    But George gave me an answer of sorts.Unless I misundstood him, He doesn’t think NI will be legitimate until AFTER the GFA process is finished.

    I would like a simple and unambiguous answer from you and any other SF members please.

    Liam : And to get back on topic – are the DUP really doing anybody any favours by refusing to talk directly with the elected representatives of Nationalism?

    That slightly skews the Topic a chara πŸ™‚
    The Topic was SF – NOT “the elected representatives of Nationalism”

    And I have already answered this by pointing out

    Liam SF declining to take Westminster seats is a very principled position and one that SF voters understand and elect SF MP’s on that basis.

    Surely you can see that a DUP supporter can write with just as much validity –

    The DUP declining to negotiate with SF until the IRA have gone is a very principled position and one that DUP voters understand and elect DUP MLAs on that basis

    Mandates Liam. Mandates.

  • Davros

    George – explain how Unionist Ideology needed legitimising ? I think that as with nationalism and republican ideology it is perfectly legitimate. I don’t agree with any of the three, but I am happy to acknowledge their legitimacy.

  • Robert Keogh

    Davros,

    I think he means Churchill and Carson weren’t legally married πŸ˜‰

  • Davros

    Nice One Robert πŸ˜‰

    Lightened the mood as I ramble through the commemorative statuary and Iconography of Dublin in respect of 1916. The Temporary Cenotaph of 1923, the Arbour Hill monument and the Garden of Remembrance on Parnell Square were/are wonderful. Not so keen on other features.

  • Liam

    That’s very easy Liam. Delegitimise the state and that means that you can claim legitimacy for the violence in the past AND at the same time keep the option of returning to violence in the future.

    Am not sure I’m with you on this and am not really sure why you need others to accept the ‘legitimacy’ of the present 6 county state? The reality is that the status of both states on this island is now conditional and despite willowfields comment, this was not the case previous to the GFA.

    But I tend to take a much wider view of this. You see history shows us that there has been armed resistance to British rule in every generation on this island for the past 800 years. We can’t deny that, no matter whether we like it or not. History also has a way of repeating itself. And that is why we must rise above all of the stupid mistakes of the past. It is going to take big people and it is also going to take imagination.

    All else is froth beyond this point. Politicians are arguing about Doubleglazing at this stage of the building process so that we have a “warm house” for everybody when the Foundations are in doubt. A habitable house cannot be built on Quicksand.

    I agree entirely!

  • Davros

    Liam: You see history shows us that there has been armed resistance to British rule in every generation on this island for the past 800 years. We can’t deny that, no matter whether we like it or not.

    I don’t accept it Liam. I do deny it.

  • Davros

    Liam: The reality is that the status of both states on this island is now conditional and despite willowfields comment, this was not the case previous to the GFA.

    I disagree Liam. The status of all states is conditional. The reality is that all states are artificial man-made constructs and are contested.

    And I would REALLY like you to address the mandate point πŸ™‚

  • Liam

    I don’t accept it Liam. I do deny it.

    You deny history?

    I disagree Liam. The status of all states is conditional. The reality is that all states are artificial man-made constructs and are contested.

    Fair enough. But the constitutional status of the 6 counties, post-GFA, is now conditional – it was not so before.

    And I would REALLY like you to address the mandate point πŸ™‚

    I must be missing the point? Is it the difference between the DUP refusing to negotiate with SF and the fact that SF do not take seats at Westminster?

    Well quite simply, SF’s refusal to take seats is that SF as Irish Republicans cannot sit in a British Parliament or swear allegiance to a British Queen. By the way – SF loses a lot of money by taking this principled stand.

    On the other hand, the DUP’s refusal to talk directly to SF is deliberately divisive and a snub to the entire electorate who have chosen SF as the largest Nationalist party.

  • willowfield

    Liam

    The reality is that the status of both states on this island is now conditional and despite willowfields comment, this was not the case previous to the GFA.

    In respect of NI, the GFA made no change to its constitutional status. Why do you keep saying that it did??

    On a wider point, as Davros says, all states are conditional anyway.

  • Davros

    Liam , I MUST do some serious work on my essay, so don’t think I’m running away if I am not around a lot, I look forward to continuing this enjoyable and imformative discussion.

    D: I don’t accept it Liam. I do deny it.

    L: You deny history?

    History is not fixed. It’s a construct of selected
    ‘facts’ which are subject to change and to different interpretations. So I deny ‘your’ version or reading of ‘history’ Liam. Nothing personal, no disrespect intended – I can well understand and accept that you will not accept my reading or version of history. Similarly my version will be different from Willowfield’s version and most definitely from the versions or readings of ‘Ulsterman ‘ and ‘Sonny’.

    D: I disagree Liam. The status of all states is conditional. The reality is that all states are artificial man-made constructs and are contested.

    L: Fair enough. But the constitutional status of the 6 counties, post-GFA, is now conditional – it was not so before.

    In reality it has ALWAYS been conditional. I would argue that was the major impact of the “Glorious Revolution” Liam. The only thing that changed was that it was acknowledged in writing.

    D: And I would REALLY like you to address the mandate point πŸ™‚

    L: I must be missing the point? Is it the difference between the DUP refusing to negotiate with SF and the fact that SF do not take seats at Westminster?

    Liam- You are missing the point. I’m not asking you to justify SF’s Stance in comparison with the DUP stance. I’m specifically asking you to address the point I raised … That when you justify the SF position on Westminster by pointing to Principle and Mandate you are in effect justifying the DUP position re SF as they TOO are Mandated by THEIR voters NOT to speak directly with SF until the IRA are gone.

    As I showed with your post, replacing SF with DUP into
    The DUP declining to negotiate with SF until the IRA have gone is a very principled position and one that DUP voters understand and elect DUP MLAs on that basis destroys your argument.

    You cannot seriously argue that SF MUST NOT betray it’s principles and act against it’s Mandate and at the same time say that the DUP MUST betray it’s principles and act against it’s Mandate.

  • Liam

    Willowfield – you might do well to actually read the text of the GFA?

    CONSTITUTIONAL ISSUES

    1. The participants endorse the commitment made by the British and Irish Governments that, in a new British-Irish Agreement replacing the Anglo-Irish Agreement, they will:

    (i) recognise the legitimacy of whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland with regard to its status, whether they prefer to continue to support the Union with Great Britain or a sovereign united Ireland;

    (ii) recognise that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland;

    (iii) acknowledge that while a substantial section of the people in Northern Ireland share the legitimate wish of a majority of the people of the island of Ireland for a united Ireland, the present wish of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, freely exercised and legitimate, is to maintain the Union and, accordingly, that Northern Ireland

  • George

    Davros,
    “But George gave me an answer of sorts.Unless I misundstood him, He doesn’t think NI will be legitimate until AFTER the GFA process is finished.”

    This is indeed a tough but I feel honesty is called for here. Firstly, Articles 2 and 3 meant that Northern Ireland was not considered a legitimate entity. As an Irish citizen it was and is my duty to uphold the constitution.

    Obviously when the people of Ireland (Republic of) voted away our territorial claim over Northern Ireland it was in the understanding that the GFA would be implemented.
    Accordingly, a failure to implement said Agreement would leave us all in a very grey zone and I would have to ask myself if I wanted my country to return to a territorial claim stance or not.
    Naturally, a consequence of returning to the territorial claim stance by my democratically elected government would render Northern Ireland illegitimate in the eyes of Irish citizens.

    There is no other way to look at it. I personally don’t think it will get to that stage and see an accommodation being found.

  • Liam

    Davros

    I fully appreciate that history is not fixed and is a construct of selected ‘facts’ subject to change and to different interpretations.

    However when I said that there has been armed resistance to British rule in every generation, it’s not an ‘interpretation’ of the facts, but a statement of facts. The 1798 rising did occur, the risings in 1803 and the Fenian risings in 1867, the Easter Rising, the Tan War, the modern conflict – all of these actually occured – am not putting any version of them forward, just stating that they happened. And also warning that we must avoid history repeating itself or being prisoners of our history.

    On the mandate question:

    Ok, you can make that argument, but why get into a chinese stand-off on this?

    The fact is that the DUP are choosing not to talk with the directly elected representatives of Irish Nationalism. Sinn F

  • Davros

    George, appreciate the candour.

    Liam: When I debate I seperate individual points .
    The mandate point was purely and simply in response to your point that SF must respect their voter’s mandate while at the same time saying that the DUP must NOT respect their voter’s mandate.
    This is a totally different point of debate to discussion of the merit’s of the two party’s positions.

    re History – I’m arguing with the sweeping and simplistic nature of “armed resistance to British rule in every generation on this island for the past 800 years” rather than denying that there have been insurrections over the years Liam.

  • Davros

    As an aside :

    David Zonshein and the Courage to Refuse
    nominated for Nobel Peace Prize 2004

  • willowfield

    Liam

    In respect of NI, the GFA made no change to its constitutional status. Why do you keep saying that it did??

    Liam

    The passage you quote from the GFA was simply a reiteration of the status quo! The GFA didn’t change the constitutional status of NI: it affirmed it. Can’t believe you are claiming otherwise!

  • George

    Davros,
    very interested indeed. Much appreciated. Might have something of interest for you on this matter.
    Artist Shane Cullen, who did the GFA text exhibition, will be working with Courage to Refuse and is exhibiting in Cork during Capital of Culture next year.
    We might be rubbing shoulders πŸ™‚

  • Davros

    That would be so good George.

  • George

    Shall keep you informed on dates and content of the exhibition once it has been finalised.