Durkan still looking for cooperation

SDLP leader, Mark Durkan, may have heard part of what Henry McDonald had to say a couple of weeks ago, “Mark Durkan should get outraged more often”. Although, in the Irish News yesterday, he still argues that other parties must live up to the Agreement, he does land a few punches. – courtesy of NewsHound

  • ulsterman

    Mark Durkan, the looser should realise the goalposts have shifted. 1998 is now history. Waffling on about a dead agreement is not the way forward.

    The agreement was never acceptable to the Ulster Protestant majority. That is why it fell.

    A new dawn is breaking. The new Ulster Protestant Nation is about to be born.

    We are on the march. With the DUP at the helm the Pope will soon realise who the masters are now.

    God Save The Queen.

  • George

    The Ulster Protestant majority voted for the Good Friday Agreement Ulsterman. No amount of huffing and puffing will change that fact.

  • Fraggle

    last time I checked, protestants were in a minority in ulster.

  • Davros

    George … for which Good Friday Agreement did they vote ? It is so ambiguous as to be several agreements. They certainly didn’t vote for the GFA with the add-ons SF have and are negotiating – such as confidentiality in decommissioning ( not in 1998 document), amnesty for OTRs and wiping of Terrorist records.

  • George

    Davros,
    by the same logic nationalists didn’t vote for this game of unionist charades.

    Anyway, that’s another point. Let me see what was voted for on decommissioning:

    “that the resolution of the decommissioning issue is an indispensable part of the process of negotiation”, and that “those who hold office should use only democratic, non-violent means, and those who do not should be excluded or removed from office”

    “All participants accordingly reaffirm their commitment to the total disarmament of all paramilitary organisations. They also confirm their intention to continue to work constructively and in good faith with the Independent Commission, and to use any influence they may have, to achieve the decommissioning of all paramilitary arms within two years following endorsement in referendums North and South of the agreement and in the context of the implementation of the overall settlement.”

    I suppose the valid sentence for Johnny Republican would be “in the context of the implementation of the overall settlement”. Last time I looked there was no overall settlement or have we got the North-South bodies, the Patten report implemented, respect for the Irish langauge etc. implemented? I don’t think so. As far as I can see, the Irish government (Repubic of) is the only party to have honoured its committments to date. The unionists refuse to work with the General, for example.

    Prisoner releases:
    “Both Governments will put in place mechanisms to provide for an accelerated programme for the release of prisoners”,

    The question is whether OTR’s qualify. Obviously in the terms of an overall settlement they would as how can you imprison someone for say a crime committed in 1990 while his accomplice is free.
    As for expunging terrorist records, once again in the terms of an overall settlement that would be a no-brainer as otherwise it would go against the idea to “facilitate the reintegration of prisoners into the community”. How can they become fully fledged cops if they have a criminal record?

    Did unionists honestly believe any prisoner not convicted before 1998, like the Maze escapees, would, if caught, would serve out their full sentences?

  • Davros

    Sorry George.

    You ARE adding to the GFA when you say that accomplices should be pardoned. That it may seem logical and sensible and just to YOU does not ALTER that it is an addition to the GFA.

    Similarly there is Nothing in the GFA about wiping records clean

    And there was noting in the GFA that entitles the IRA to demand confidentiality over what was decommissioned.

  • davidbrew

    “The Ulster Protestant majority voted for the Good Friday Agreement” -another myth repeated often enough a la Goebbels “big lie”. Nobody knows how Unionism voted, but I can equally argue the converse, and with a little more authority, having been involved in the campaign.

  • George

    Davidbrew,
    71.1 per cent of the electorate voted for it with a turnout of 81% so you tell me what percentage of this figure was “Ulster Protestant”?

    Turnout 81.1%
    Yes 676,966 (71.1%)
    No 274,879 (29.9%)
    (Invalid 1,738)

  • George

    Davidbrew,
    why if a majority of Ulster Protestants (six county variety) supposedly voted against the agreement did the DUP, as the main anti-Agreement party only register 18.1% of the vote in the subsequent assembly elections?

    Also what % of the NI electorate is made up of Ulster Protestants (six county variety) in your view?

    Davros,
    there is nothing in the GFA that states accomplices should not be pardoned. Similarly there is nothing in the GFA about not wiping records clean.

    And there is also no mention of the IRA in the Agreement anywhere because they didn’t sign up to it so, if we are to follow the wording exactly, there is nothing in the GFA that calls on the IRA to decommission. It calls on those who signed up blah, blah (I think we all know the rest).

    The OTRs and decommissioning both come in under Tony’s “spirit of the agreement”.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    On decommissioning the GFA simply states that ALL parties should use whatever influence they have to bring it about.
    Therefore unionist angst on the subject is contrived and disingenuous.

  • Keith M

    George (and others) I think it’s more likely than not that the majority of Protestants voted for the Belfast Agreement in 1998, however it is almost certain that the majority of Unionists oppposed the Agreement. The diffeence is the number of Protestants who do not not for unionist parties and instead vote for parties like APNI and NIWC (both of whom attract more Protestant voters than Catholics).

    If you are going to look at how unionists voted in the 1998 assembly election you need to look at the whole picture; Unionist parties that supported the agreement gained 24.9% (adding the votes of the UUP, PUP and UDP). Unionist candidates who opposed the agreement gained 25.5% (adding the DUP, UKUP and independent unionists who were clearly opposed to the agreement).

    That however isn’t the full story. With the UUP vote there several candidates who were clearly opposed to the agreement. There is no doubt that people who voted for the likes of Peter Weir or Pauline Armitage cannot be considered pro-Agreement (given their declared stance, and when you move those into the no camp, it becomes clear that the majority of unionist never supported the agreement.

    Do you think that the agreement would have suvived half the time it did if the majority of nationalists and republicans had voted against it?
    The one thing that the death of the agreement actually achieved was parity of esteem!

  • ShayPaul

    The one thing that the death of the agreement actually achieved was parity of esteem!

    Posted by: Keith M at October 27, 2004 07:34 PM

    Premature death notice ?

  • Liam

    As far as I can see, the Irish government (Repubic of) is the only party to have honoured its committments to date.

    Not quite – the Irish government continues to hold prisoners, deemed by the courts to be qualifying prisoners, in custody.

    This is clearly not meeting their commitments and is clearly wrong!

    As far as decommissioning goes, the sentence: “in the context of the implementation of the overall settlement” is clearly the key sentence – we have not had this so far.

    But that does not mean that we cannot have it. We must have it. And those who are blocking it and stubbornly refusing to engage must not be allowed to block progress.

  • Robert Keogh

    In the 1998 Assembly elections 72.9% of the vote went to Pro-GFA and 22.5% went to Anti-GFA. 53.9% of the vote went to Unionist and 39.6% went to Nationalist parties.

    Therefore 33.3% of the electorate voted Unionist and Pro-GFA whereas 20.6% of the electorate voted Unionist and Anti-GFA.

    Data
    ===========================
    1998 Referendum
    For 676,966
    Against 274,879
    Turnout 951,845

    1998 Assembly
    Pro-GFA parties 590,752
    Anti-GFA parties 182,458
    Unallocated 37,144
    Turnout 810,354

    1998 Assembly
    Nationalist parties 320,821
    Unionist parties 436,604
    Unallocated 52,929

    Assumptions
    ===========================
    DUP – (145,917) Unionist/Anti-GFA
    UKUP – (36,541) Unionist/Anti-GFA
    UUP – (172,225) Unionist/Pro-GFA
    APNI – (52,636) Unionist/Pro-GFA *
    PUP – (20,634) Unionist/Pro-GFA
    UDP – (8,651) Unionist/Pro-GFA
    SDLP – (177,963) Nationalist/Pro-GFA
    SF – (142,858) Nationalist/Pro-GFA
    NIWC – (13,019) Unknown/Pro-GFA
    WP – (2,766) Unknown/Pro-GFA
    Others – (37,144) Unknown/Unknown **

    * I’m not changing my mind on this designation so don’t bother me.

    ** Does anyone have any info that would help allocate the Other vote?

  • Moderate Unionist

    Pat McLarnon

    Can’t agree with you on the decommissioning. The deal we were sold was “prisoners out” in return for “decommissioning” would lead to peace and prosperity for all.

    We were advised that it was not possible to put things in black and white because Republican’s needed space to sell the agreement to their grass roots. We were given assurance by the Prime Minister on this issue.

    Make no mistake, the issue was well understood by the people of Northern Ireland and the failure to decommission has had a disasterous effect on the thinking of progressive Unionists. Maybe this was republican strategy. In any case, the last 10 years have been wasted. Good will, optimism and economic development have all declined. There was a window of opportunity. We may have missed it.

  • Davros

    So George, where does that lead to demands that nothing be added to or taken from the GFA ?
    Looks like the GFA is inviolable when it suits nationalists and republicans.

    Can you justify the change to the terms of decommissioning as so tortuously agreed ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Moderate Unionist,

    ‘Can’t agree with you on the decommissioning. The deal we were sold was “prisoners out” in return for “decommissioning” would lead to peace and prosperity for all.’

    Whoever sold you that sold you a up, you should have read the Agreement like everyone else.

    ‘We were advised that it was not possible to put things in black and white because Republican’s needed space to sell the agreement to their grass roots. We were given assurance by the Prime Minister on this issue.’

    Whoever gave you that advice gave you bad advice. Republicans probably did more than any other group to sell the deal to their grassroots. Can unionists say the same? As for the assurances of a British Prime Minister, well.

    ‘Make no mistake, the issue was well understood by the people of Northern Ireland and the failure to decommission has had a disasterous effect on the thinking of progressive Unionists. Maybe this was republican strategy. In any case, the last 10 years have been wasted. Good will, optimism and economic development have all declined. There was a window of opportunity. We may have missed it.’

    The mistake you seem to make is that decommissioning is a republican problem. It is not. Republicans have decommissioned. The cause of most of the violence of recent years has been the UDA and UVF. They have made no effort to decommission and have stated they have no inclination to do so. Getting unionists to admit there is a problem with weapons held by groups like that and Ulster Resistance is near nigh impossible.
    I agree that years have been wasted, but disagree that the opportunity has gone entirely.

  • mickhall

    Ulsterman wrote,
    A new dawn is breaking. The new Ulster Protestant Nation is about to be born.
    We are on the march. With the DUP at the helm the Pope will soon realise who the masters are now.

    God Save The Queen.

    Without meaning to be to offensive, I just wondered if you realise how silly, the above would seem to the overwhelming majority of the people who live in the UK. Increasingly the Unionist Parties appear to me to have more in common with the Trotskyist groups in the rest of the UK. With their splits, defections, reformations and petty personalities. Pure life of Brian.