Clarification.

Sinn Féin website carries a report on Ms McDonald expressing her concern at the level of Irish involvement in the International Arms Trade. Report on arms exports reveal Irish complicity in trade.

However they finish with the alarming quote “Sinn Féin is working towards both a demilitarised Ireland and European Union, we will continue to make this a priority in 2005.” What does she mean by this ? No armed forces ( goodbye to the present army of the Irish Republic?) in any EU country ? Goodbye to the excellent International peace-keeping work and, especially important at the moment, goodbye to any possibility of using military capacity and logistic skills to assist in humanitarian relief in event of the ‘almost monthly’ global catastrophes Martin McGuinness was discussing? No European defence capability of any form ? Phew!

  • Young Irelander

    You couldn’t make it up,could you?

  • Davros

    Must admit, it’s a gem. An astonishingly naive statement, makes her sound like an eight year old fantasising about getting a wish from a Good Fairy.
    Any other source and I would assume it was a malicious misquote, journalism of the kind that pat and henry regularly (and with some good reason) deplore.

  • AndrewD

    Does a “demilitarised Ireland” include IRA decommissioning?

  • Davros

    Andrew, If I was to be uncharitable (perish the thought) I would paraphrase her comment as
    “If we in Sinn Féin cannot have an army, NOBODY else is to have an army” 🙂

  • Young Republican

    AndrewD

    Does a “demilitarised Ireland” include IRA decommissioning?

    yes, andrew, it does indeed – when our nation is united and free there will be no need for any guns.

  • unionist_observer

    freedom is democracy, not being coerced into a state by bombings and shooting.

  • cg

    I would have to agree with young republician.

  • Young Republican

    unionist_observer

    freedom is democracy, not being coerced into a state by bombings and shooting.

    is that not what happened to the irish people with partition?
    this six county statelet was founded by pure terrorism.

  • AndrewD

    yes, andrew, it does indeed – when our nation is united and free there will be no need for any guns.

    Posted by: Young Republican

    So, does that mean the IRA won’t ever be decommissioning and catagorically stating ‘that the war is over’ in the existence of the state of Northern Ireland?

  • AndrewD

    is that not what happened to the irish people with partition?

    Yeah, sure the IRA tore apart Dublin in Civil War. Loving and fighting for your country and all that.

    Thats also why they killed innocent civilians during their bitter campaign of terror in the UK.

    “this six county statelet was founded by pure terrorism.”

    Hmm…and how was the Irish Republic founded?

    I don’t recall (not personally) Northern Ireland being founded by terror – only by democratic means, by the wish and the will of the people. So how can you deny N.I.’s existence? Oh, thats right you did in 1998 under the Belfast Agreement. The will of the people and all that.

  • Dec

    “I don’t recall (not personally) Northern Ireland being founded by terror – only by democratic means, by the wish and the will of the people.”

    Andrew

    When making statements such as the above it would be helpful to clarify which people you are talking about and the percentage of the population they represented. Then we can have a more probing discussion on the merits of ‘democratic means’.

  • IJP

    the Irish people

    Care to define your terms?

  • toronto

    Perhaps she means a less militaristic Western Europe, ie. one that doesn’t export deadly weaponry to the world’s most vicious regimes. Shame on her.

  • IJP

    Toronto

    Then she should say so.

    But that’s not what she said.

  • toronto

    The word “demilitarised” has more meanings than the very literal one you’re thinking of (no guns).

  • Davros

    YR:when our nation is united and free there will be no need for any guns.

    How do you plan to cope with external threats and criminal elements ?

  • Davros

    OK Toronto, assuming that she DID mean what you say – bodes ill for her future as a politician if she comes out with such a poorly worded comment –
    Will SF if and when they get in power be forced to abandon this position on pragmantic grounds as they had to abandon their position on PFI ?
    “26 billion euros of military related products have been exported to dozens of countries since 1997.”

    That’s a LOT of jobs to throw away if SF are going down the road of insisting that all manufacture and trade in military products is going to end as a price for their participation in a coalition government.

  • Keith M

    Y.R. “is that not what happened to the irish people with partition? “. The people of both countries voted FOR partition both in the early 20’s and once again in 1998, there was no coercion.

  • AndrewD

    Dec,

    “When making statements such as the above it would be helpful to clarify which people you are talking about and the percentage of the population they represented. Then we can have a more probing discussion on the merits of ‘democratic means’.

    Posted by: Dec”

    When making statements such as the above it would be helpful to clarify which people you are talking about

    Why do you want me to clarify it…? Is there any need? Anyhow – I will, just for you —

    I speak of the people of Ulster. The majority of people in the area before partition wished Ireland to remain linked with Great Britain in the United Kingdom.

    Approx. 80 percent of the population in the region were Unionist and understood that the whole island would not be accepted as staying in the U.K., so therefore Ulster Unionists formed in order to save what they could or have nothing.

    In my opinion and the eyes of people of Northern Ireland it was democratically just.

    I understand that someone like yourself may wish to dispute this by looking at the whole of Ireland geographically to make your point, but you also have to accept that Unionists existed (as they do today) and respect their views.

    Partition was a solution to a Politically divided society.

    I will remind you that, that was then and this is now. Northern Ireland was accepted internationally and has now been finally accepted by the Republican movement under the Belfast Agreement along with the Republic of Ireland by its removal of Articles 2 & 3 of their Constitution.

    I do not wish to start a debate ‘on the Irish question’ as we could be here for while, but you asked.

  • fair_deal

    How’s about the sluggerotoole political awards with one for most brazen brass neck? Methinks we have our first nominee.

  • D’Oracle

    i thought at first that the link was to the latest Newton Emerson spoof but it seems to be the real thing ; amazing irony here.

    Irony aside, just how exactly does SF reckon we are make a decent living and fund social goodies ?. The way they have to see the real world is that most hi-tech is now dual purpose ; the real money is made in the control system hard and software -the front-end bit that goes bang and that provokes their ire, is really just a low(er) cost bolt-on.

    A rethink is needed.

  • Davros

    As I said D’Oracle – it’s another PFI moment.

  • Davros

    WHOA!
    I got off my ar*e and searched Sinn Féin’s website…

    She’s NOT talking about arms sales, she IS talking about an EU without any military Capacity!!!

    A demilitarised Ireland in a demilitarised EU: de Brún

  • Davros

    And Mary Lou speaking in November 2004 both wanted to demilitarise all of the EU AND both Tax and end the arms-trade….

    Sinn Féin supports taxing the arms trade – Mary Lou McDonald

    What a woman, what a party LOL !

  • toronto

    Again, you lot are far too ready to think the worst whenever a Shinner says something. Nothing in that de Brun statement says she wants to see a defenceless Europe. What SF objects to is a common EU army and the continued heavy-handed British military presence in Ireland. The point is that the EU is too militaristic. Selling guns to ruthless tyrants is a symptom of the illness, friends.

    And a bit of job loss, in my opinion, is an acceptable thing if it saves hundreds or thousands of lives.

  • AndrewD

    What SF objects to is a common EU army and the continued heavy-handed British military presence in Ireland.

    What “heavy-handed British military presence”?

    Surely they have the right to defend their own country from terrorists?

    At the moment their is no EU Army and I think Britain objects to it too, after all we have NATO. The only countries supporting this idea are the real Pro-EU’s.

    The point is that the EU is too militaristic. Selling guns to ruthless tyrants is a symptom of the illness, friends.

    When did SF/IRA object to the EU selling arms? Is this a new policy? Or do they prefer to buy their arms from the middle-east? Or even America?

  • Davros

    Toronto- is it moral then to tax what they consider to be an immoral trade ? And as their case is that they want to see a demilitarised Ireland that can only mean an Ireland without ANY troops and ditto Europe.

  • Dec

    Andrew

    Interesting response. The old ‘existing state within a state’ argument. However the terminology you use is confusing. First of all you talk about a region where 80% of the people wished to remain British (Ballymena?) then in the same breath refer to it as Ulster. Now I didn’t get much sleep last night and haven’t the energy to go back checking election results and population counts for the northernmost nine counties circa 1918 but if I had I doubt I would find that 80% were Unionists. I seem to recall Carson/Craig jettisoning Cavan, Monaghan and Donegal as it would mean 35-40% of the population would be non-unionist and therefore the state would be unworkable (interesting given the most recent census results). So I think we can safely put the 80% figure you refer to down as fantasy. But then that brings us on to the concept of regionalised self-determination or the ‘the rest of the country voted for it but sod them’ school of political democracy. Perhaps you should have told the people of Scotland and Wales about this novel approach to democracy when they were forced to endure decades of Tory Government despite barely electing a single conservative MP. Believe me, I’m not trying to turn back the clock. What happened, happened but I just get an urge to respond when people refer to the democratic establishment of the Northern State.

    As an aside, given what you’ve said about regionalised self-determination, I take it you support repartition?

  • Davros

    What SF objects to is a common EU army and the continued heavy-handed British military presence in Ireland.

    If your interpretation was right she would be calling for a demilitarised 6 counties, ie without British Army. She wants a demilitarised ALL od Ireland. That means no Irish army of ANY kind.

  • George

    Mary Lou points out that Ireland has exported 26 billion euros of military-related hardware since 1997. I thank that includes dual-purpose exports.

    In 2004, 26.7 million of military hardware was exported. Dual-purpose goods was 1.3 billion. That’s a lot of dosh to give up and a lot of jobs.

    If she had said ban arms brokering as it has been recently in Britain, which is still completely unregulated here, I’d be with her.

    If she had said introduce strict regulations on the destination of dual-usage goods I would have been with her.

    But to call for a de-militarized Ireland and to ban to production of everything, including dual-usage goods is ridiculous. Why don’t we just go back to the farms right now.

    Unfeasible, unnecessary and unwanted.

    The government say they plan to introduce legislation on that so I suppose she had to go one step further.

    IJP,
    “Hmm…and how was the Irish Republic founded?”
    I shall take your advice and avoid the swarm on this one.

  • Gerry O’Sullivan

    Was it Oscar Wilde who said that the only thing worse than being talked about was not being talked about?

    So even if Mary-Lou makes empty-headed statements like this, it doesn’t matter, as she and Sinn Féin are getting publicity.

  • Davros

    Gerry, It’s not just Mary Lou, but as Ms de Brún came out with it, it does seem to be party policy.

  • AndrewD

    Dec,

    I could easily say that Irelands fight for Independence before Partition was lead by a minority. Simply put on a front with a propaganda war.

    Afterall the 1918 elections were rigged with people voting several times for Sinn Fein candidates – people from that day have not denied this and is even a tactic Sinn Fein/IRA use today. Thats why they opposed the new voting regulations.

    Sinn Fein at the time (pre-Partition) wanted a 32-county Republic and supported it by violent means.

    The IPP (Irish Parliamentary Party) supported devolved powers to Ireland with its own Parliament while upkeeping its U.K. status. This is what they were mandated for.

    “As an aside, given what you’ve said about regionalised self-determination, I take it you support repartition?”

    Yes, I would. I believe that Ireland as part and piece of the British Isles belongs in the U.K.

    However I would admitt that this would most likely never happen as the R.O.I is it’s own now.

    At the moment Unionisms main aim is to sell and defend N.I.’s status within the U.K.

  • AndrewD

    Dec,

    Why do you think that Northern Ireland’s existence is not legitimate or democractic?

  • Dec

    Andrew

    I laid bare why I say the Northern state was undemocratic. At the 1918 all-Ireland elections Nationalist parties of one hue or another gained 70% of the vote yet the views of the minority were pandered to over the wishes of the majority. I disagree that the IPP long-term aim was to remain in the UK. the demand for Home Rule was clearly a step towards gaining, not preventing, independence. I’m disappointed to see that you believe SF are still gaining votes illegally, despite the evidence that as voting regulations are tightened SF’s vote increases. SF oppose the current regulations, I believe, because they disenfranchise large swathes of the population particularly in areas such as North Belfast where over 80% of those on the Housing list come from the community on which they draw support. But I reiterate that all of this is history and we can’t turn back the clock, however you misunderstood my question about re-partition (maybe I’m using the wrong terminology). You argued for regionalised self-determination with the region of the 6 NE-most counties in the island as your example. Using this argument should each county in the Northern state be able to vote unilaterallly whether to remain in the UK or join the Republic of Ireland? ie if the majority of people in Tyrone want to leave the UK should the people in Antrim be able to stop them?

  • George

    AndrewD,
    “I believe that Ireland as part and piece of the British Isles belongs in the U.K.”

    Hitler believed half of Poland belonged in the German Reich but it doesn’t mean it did. It’s not called the British Isles where I come from just like the Poles don’t consider their Western regions to be called Pommern and Schlesien.

    Or is this your way of saying the people of Northern Ireland are indeed the same people as their southern brethren?

    Perhaps you can also tell me when the Irish voted to be part of this “union” that banned them from holding public office and barred them from voting?

    “After all the 1918 elections were rigged with people voting several times for Sinn Fein candidates”

    Can you please give evidence of this and also tell me why only 4.6% voted unionist in the 26 counties in 1918 and can you also tell me why 124 out of 128 seats went to Sinn Fein in 1921?

    What was the level of vote rigging? How many seats do you think SF actually won in 1921 or 1918 for that matter?

    “Sinn Fein at the time (pre-Partition) wanted a 32-county Republic and supported it by violent means.”

    From 1870, the people of Ireland asked for Home Rule using whatever democratic means were available but were denied by the House of Lords veto. When the veto was removed in 1911, the UVF private army was formed in 1912 to stymie the democratic will of the Irish people.

    Pearse himself said that the Ulster Unionists had taught him that the British only understood force.

    “The IPP (Irish Parliamentary Party) supported devolved powers to Ireland with its own Parliament while upkeeping its U.K. status.”

    The UVF prevented this through the barrell of a gun. The Irish people gave up on Westminster after that and decided through the ballot box in 1918 on independence.

    “However I would admitt that this would most likely never happen as the R.O.I is it’s own now. “

    Have you ever asked yourself why that is? Did it never occur to you that the Irish people never wanted to be in this “union” in the first place?

    P.S.
    I always thought of a union as a joining of equals not the word used to describe the annexation and oppression of another people.

  • Davros

    Dec, that’s well explained. There’s a different way of looking at 1918 that’s just as valid. In all-UK elections a regional majority in effect chose UDI by setting up their own parliament. Within Ireland at the moment there is a regional unionist majority. Would you accept it if the DUP, UUP and APNI walked into Stormont tomorrow and declared their own NI Parliament in business ?

  • Dec

    Part of me thinks its the only way forward now with the SF/SDLP going off to the Dail simultaneously. Vouluntary political apartheid would appear to be the way forward or some sort of Joint authority Direct rule.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Would you accept it if the DUP, UUP and APNI walked into Stormont tomorrow and declared their own NI Parliament in business ?

    I wouldn’t – but right now I feel that if you added the SDLP to that list, it would be a very tempting prospect…

  • AndrewD

    Dec,

    So we will then deny that in N.I. 12 out of 18 Westminster Seats are Unionist?

    Yet you argue for a U.I.

    Election rigging has now been made difficult with the new system. Under the old system it was easy to use dead people’s names.

    Now Sinn Fein use intimadation tactics to get people out to vote and vote for them. The people of Tyrone and Fermanagh know this only too well.

    The 2001 Westminister Election in Fermanagh/South Tyrone is an good example.

    And Dec, Fermanagh/South Tyrone could be regarded as a Unionist Constituency. Its make up is 50:50. I wouldn’t regard it as purely Nationalist/Republican.

    George,

    “Did it never occur to you that the Irish people never wanted to be in this “union” in the first place?

    Didn’t seem that way before 1916.

    What about the Irish Unionist people?

    There are two sides to every story. Thats why the conflict has gone on for this length of time.

    Good Evening lads!

  • Christopher Stalford

    “the demand for Home Rule was clearly a step towards gaining, not preventing, independence”

    Its worked out that way in Scotland right enough!

  • toronto

    “Toronto- is it moral then to tax what they consider to be an immoral trade ? And as their case is that they want to see a demilitarised Ireland that can only mean an Ireland without ANY troops and ditto Europe.”

    Well, taxation is one way of discouraging something immoral or destructive when it can’t be banned outright. See: tobacco, alcohol, other “sin taxes.” I find it ridiculous that, where I currently live at least, corporations that sell beer or smokes have taxes of 50-70% attached to their product, but a company can sell dual-use materials to Zimbabwe as if they were harmless.

    Anyhow, it should be fairly obvious that SF consider Northern Ireland to be part of Ireland, and so a demilitarised Ireland could mean a demilitarised NI. Note that they don’t say “a demilitarised 26 counties.”