Catholics have voted for a robber barony

Malachi O’Doherty, never to be counted among the more optimistic of Northern Ireland’s commentators re the peace process, reckons that those northern nationalists who have voted for Sinn Fein have all but killed the Belfast Agreement, by supporting the continuation of an illegal IRA.

He argues that even if (as many political insiders believe it will) the process survives, the lack of visibility in the relationship between Sinn Fein and the IRA means that future elections in Northern Ireland will necessarily be compromised:

What of the Sinn Fein vote? It will be tested in May in local government elections and the General Election. If it goes up again that will be calamitous.

If most Catholics vote for a party of bank robbers and spies that will reflect on their commonsense and their civic commitment. On top of that, district policing partnerships will collapse as SDLP members lose their seats and Sinn Fein refuses to take theirs. Would it be even worse if Sinn Fein did take theirs now?

And how fair will the election be anyway if one party has a fighting fund of secret millions and all the patronage and influence that goes with such wealth?

  • maca

    A vote for Sinn Féin doesn’t mean support for the IRA, IMHO. What does he suggest people do, abstain from voting? Vote SDLP?

  • Travis

    “If most Catholics vote for a party of bank robbers and spies that will reflect on their commonsense and their civic commitment.”

    The British people did this all the way through the 1980s and 1990s – some say they still do, so what does that say about them.

    Or the Irish electorate who voted in Charlie Haughey and co.

    Is MoD suggesting that all other political parties on these islands are whiter than white. And as for the spying allegation – where is the proof or the convictions?

    I firmly believe the IRA did committ this robbery – and in doing so have let down a lot of people in nationalist areas.

    But to somehow tar those people with the criminal brush is taking things a bit far. Still, it wouldn’t be the first time MoD has tried to fit this one on.

  • Henry94

    What of the Sinn Fein vote? It will be tested in May in local government elections and the General Election. If it goes up again that will be calamitous.

    Of course it will go up. But he would be better employed trying to understand where Sinn Fein voters are coming from. He clearly hasn’t a clue.

  • smcgiff

    Henry94,

    Nationalist voters moved from voting SDLP to SF for the same reason unionist voters moved from the UUP to the DUP.

    They believe one to be a stronger negotiator. Time will tell if the SF vote will hold up, if by voting for SF only serves to create an even bigger impasse.

  • J Kelly

    Travis why do you firmly believe that the IRA did this robbery.

    I have just been listening to talkback and a caller made a very good and clear point that SF people in her area are very hard working and dedicated people and not criminals. This is the reason why people vote SF because they get good representation on the issues that effect them on a daily basis. Malachy should brace himself for two major calamities come May. SF will win 7 Westminster seats and take at least another 40 to 50 council seats leaving the SDLP floundering.

  • J Kelly

    Travis why do you firmly believe that the IRA did this robbery.

    I have just been listening to talkback and a caller made a very good and clear point that SF people in her area are very hard working and dedicated people and not criminals. This is the reason why people vote SF because they get good representation on the issues that effect them on a daily basis. Malachy should brace himself for two major calamities come May. SF will win 7 Westminster seats and take at least another 40 to 50 council seats leaving the SDLP floundering.

  • Mick Fealty

    Is there money to be had on that J?

  • Fraggle

    according to the Belfast Telegraph, the haul in Craigavon was £42,000 ALL IN NORTHERN BANK £100 NOTES and the police claim that it has nothing to do with the robbery. Given that the bulk of the money stolen was used ands the serial numbers aren’t known, how can they justify this assertion? There is something very stinky in the air!

  • Travis

    J,

    that person on Talk Back made a very worthy and valid point and one that I would strongly endorse.

    However, that robbery could not have been the work of any other group – I believe it was semi-freelance, but DID involve IRA personnel in planning and execution.

    Either that or it is a conspiracy of some description. And I do not subscribe to any conspiracy theory.

    Despite the story about the Northern bank notes in Banbridge… What the flock is going on there? How can they be sure?

  • J Kelly

    However, that robbery could not have been the work of any other group Why. The INLA are being blamed for a number similar type robberies in Strabane, UVF did a bank with the same MO to finance Ulster Resistance. This MO is as old as houses anyone with the inside knowledge could have oulled it off. Dirty Tricks of FRU or some other wing of Brit Intelligence looking to undermine the PSNI. Of course the IRA were more than capable but so are many others.

    Mick would you fancy a bet.

  • Oilbhéar Chromaill

    Malachy is very indignant about nationalists voting for, as he puts it, ‘robber barons’. I think nationalists vote for hard working public representatives who brave all sorts of threats of violence etc to stand their ground for their constituents.
    On the other hand unionists spent 50/60 years and more voting for an apartheid system of government in the North, a regime which systematically discriminated against Catholics and made no apology for it. Ever. David Trimble’s cold house comment was half hearted and didn’t measure up.
    With the media dominated by such partisan voices as Malachy’s and shrill and certain declamators such as Suzanne Breen, we really are being poorly served as a community. Perhaps the question should be directed to Malachy and co whether or not they will ever raise their game above their prejudices?

  • Fraggle

    it’s downright stupid to suggest that the robbery “could not have been the work of any other group” unless you have concrete evidence.

  • PS

    I still think SF would be odds against for 7 seats, but it’ll be a close run thing and probably worth a flutter if the odds were right.

  • Young Republican

    the suggestion by malachi that Sinn Séin’s election campaign will be funded by millions of secret money is laughable!

    sounds like severe sour grapes to me.

    as one who has fought on election campaigns for the party let me make it clear that SF activists are driven by hunger and the belief in our struggle. at election time, the whole community is involved, that is why nationalists across the country are turning to Sinn Féin. it is hard and work and determination by ordinary working class people that makes the difference.

    unlike the SDLP, we do not need monetary incentives. the last figures concerning election spenditure confirms this.

  • cg

    I think Sinn Féin will defiantly get at least 6 sets and my moneys on 7. South Down will be the difficult one but I would expect a Sinn Féin victory.

  • Young Republican

    i apoligise for my typing error, i of course meant Sinn Féin.

  • cg

    Young Republican
    I couldn’t agree more.

    I have fought in 7 elections for the party across the country and the willingness of party activists and supporters to do all those long hours for weeks on end is out of pure conviction in the struggle.

    The thing Malachi fails to grasp is the reality of the situation; Sinn Féin activists are constantly on election footing and win elections not on the couple of weeks of the election trail but by hard work for constituents through out the year.

  • Peace and Justice

    “Oilbhéar Chromaill”:
    It’s nice of you to ignore the discrimination in the Republic of Ireland against the Protestant Unionist population. But of course, in your world that doesn’t matter.

    There has been a lot of covering up of the truth in relation to the Sinn Fein IRA terrorist group. The UK Government has played its part in the cover-up in the interests of “peace”.

    Now that the Government in the Republic of Ireland feels under threat by these murdering Sinn Fein IRA terrorists, they are no longer offering cover.

    Therefore, Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland have a clear choice at the next election. If they vote for the Sinn Fein IRA murderers then it is sending a clear signal to the Unionists that they are not interested in peace. If the majority of Unionists voted for the PUP there would be an outcry.

    It is also the duty of the SDLP to finally leave behind the ‘Hume-Adams’ strategy i.e. polluting democracy with terrorism. If they are willing to stand up to the Sinn Fein IRA death squads then maybe we can have a real Government back in Belfast again.

  • David Antsinpants

    Are there any more desperate Shinners out there who’d like to chip into this thread or are we quite done? For the record I’d love to know how a group of people so laughably sure of themselves can be simultaneously wound up to hysteria by Malachi O’Doherty and Suzanne Breen – two columnists in unionist newspapers, no less. Does even the existence of alternative opinion, even if it isn’t read by the nationalist electorate, bother SF that much? Or is it just that O’D and Breen are tribal ‘traitors’?

  • J Kelly

    Wound up to hysteria I think David should read through many of the other threads to see who is wound up.

  • David Antsinpants

    “With the media dominated by such partisan voices as Malachy’s and shrill and certain declamators such as Suzanne Breen” – Oliver Cromwell, above.

    Blinkered lunacy. The media has supported the peace process all along, both of these two ‘dominating’ columnists also supported it until very recently and Breen has even loudly supported a DUP-SF deal. The Shinners just can’t believe anyone would dare disagree with them in print, no matter what they’ve done to deserve it, and that is pretty twisted. “Shades of Weimar” as one person wrote in today’s Irish Times. An hysterical exaggeration itself to be sure, but only fair turn under the increasingly ridiculous circumstances.

    Incidentally, doesn’t Oliver Cromwell write for what is essentially a party rag? Isn’t that ‘partisan’? Or are these other columnists simply ‘the wrong sort of partisan’????

  • Fraggle

    I mentioned Breen and it was an article in Village I was referring to. Hardly a unionist newspaper.

  • David Antsinpants

    …so? I was replying to OC with his mentalist “shrill and certain declamators” comment.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Who is OC?

  • David Antsinpants

    OLIVER CROMWELL.
    Jesus you people are dull.

  • PS

    Oilbhéar Chromaill

  • Christopher Stalford

    Gaskin

    Ruane will not win South Down. McGrady will be too hard to shift. Newry and Armagh is in the bag for SF/IRA, expecially given Mallon has retired. As for Foyle, I think it’s too close to call – if only the SDLP could do something to persuade Unionists to vote tactically. Now let me think…..

  • Christopher Stalford

    Oh, silly me!

  • PS

    £20 to a charity of the winner’s choosing if SF take more than 5 seats Mr. Stalford?

  • David Antsinpants

    How about £22 million to the usual charity either way?

  • cg

    Christopher

    “if only the SDLP could do something to persuade Unionists to vote tactically”

    Well they did something right last time in Newry and Armagh as a large proportion of unionists voted tactically to deny Sinn Féin the seat but It won’t matter this time around as I expect the sdlp vote to crumble even more.

    “Ruane will not win South Down. McGrady will be too hard to shift”

    I have said South Down will be the hardest but I believe she can do it. We won’t know till after the election so shall we just wait and see

  • maca

    “OLIVER CROMWELL.
    Jesus you people are dull.”

    Oilbhéar Chromaill actually. Who’s dull?

  • Henry94

    I think Sinn Fein will win The Magnificent Seven with ease if exclusion is still on the Unionist agenda.

  • J Kelly

    Christopher something to persuade unionist to vote tactically will probably lose the nationalist votes this is what happens when you try to ride two horses you fall in the middle.

    SF have three 4 certain seats, two very winnable Foyle and F&ST with South Down being a real fight. I still say SF for 7.

    The end of Durkan and probably the SDLP as we know it.

  • Christopher Stalford

    PS

    I certainly don’t think SF will carry seven seats after polling day – but I do think that Foyle is too close to call. I would probably call it slightly for the SDLP but no more than that. You need to remeber ther’s more to Foyle than the Bogside and Creggan.

    Seats I am prepared to call now:

    North Antrim: DUP
    East Antrim: DUP
    North Belfast: DUP
    West Belfast: SF/IRA
    East Belfast: DUP
    Lagan Valley: DUP
    Strangford: DUP
    East Londonderry: DUP
    West Tyrone: SF/IRA
    Mid Ulster: SF/IRA
    Newry and Armagh SF/IRA
    South Down: SDLP

    Too early to tell:

    Fermanagh and South Tyrone, Upper Bann (although I’m hearing increasingly positive noises), North Down, South Belfast, Foyle, South Antrim (why would any naionalist want to save David Burnside this time around?)

  • Christopher Stalford

    Although, an agreed Unionist could pull off an upset in South Down – just a thought.

  • Henry94

    Or an agreed nationalist in Upper Bann.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Possibly. But hardly likely. The SDLP is fighting for its survival, what has it to gain from giving SF/IRA a free run in any seat?

    From a Unionist POV, an agreed Unionist in South Down doesn’t pose the same party-political difficulties. Dermott clearly didn’t want to run in South Down, the obvious choice is James Wells MP MLA!

    😉

  • Christopher Stalford

    I think the nationalist party’s in UB will be fighting it out over 3rd and 4th place.

  • Davros

    Re the OC Name , it’s nicely sardonic to borrow the great republican’s name, but isn’t it a tad rude to put it into Irish for the same reasons that it’s rude to insist on using the Anglicised version of
    Bairbre de Brún ? I know it’s difficult at times*, but I try to use the Irish names where appropriate.

    * the Sinn Féin website cannot even get their own Caitríona Ruane’s name right! They spell it 3 different ways!

  • smcgiff

    Lets see if THE Oliver Cromwell objects.

  • Hector

    Posted by: Peace and Justice at January 11, 2005 03:32 PM
    ‘Therefore, Roman Catholics in Northern Ireland have a clear choice at the next election. If they vote for the Sinn Fein IRA murderers then it is sending a clear signal to the Unionists that they are not interested in peace. If the majority of Unionists voted for the PUP there would be an outcry’.

    I doubt it. Considering the PUP is pro-GFA and has a policy of accomodation and compromise with nationalists, I dont see any real possibility of an ‘outcry’.

  • Hector

    Posted by: Christopher Stalford at January 11, 2005 04:41 PM
    ‘Although, an agreed Unionist could pull off an upset in South Down – just a thought’.

    Posted by: Henry94 at January 11, 2005 04:45 PM
    ‘Or an agreed nationalist in Upper Bann’.

    I think in theory an agreed nationalist candidate could win: Upper Bann, South Belfast, North Belfast and East Derry. Upper Bann and North Belfast are obviously more plausible but, for the other two a single nationalist would have as good a chance as William Thompson did in West Tyrone.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Surely it is now time that unionists abandoned the political front for the terrorist Ulster Resistance and joined the rest of us in trying to make a democratic settlement work.

  • Davros

    Which members of Ulster Resistance, if such an organisation ever or still exists, have been convicted of what crimes in the past decade Pat ? Or since it was supposedly formed ? Has anybody ever been convicted of membership ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Come now Davros, UR membership conviction. Didn’t the British Government only decide in 1992 that the UDA was worth proscribing, despite the piles of bodies that littered its’ trail for two decades.
    Haven’t you realised that unionist terrorism is ‘different’.

  • alex s

    Christopher, I wouldn’t be so sure about Lagan Valley, the vast majority of voters have never voted for a DUP MP and the word on the ground is they won’t this time either, the UUP’s Basil McCrea is out and about and impressing people with his approach and ideas, also wee Jeff has a credibility problem, a lot of voters feel they were taken for a ride by him at the last assembly elections with many concluding the whole thing was more about his career advancement than principals!

  • David Antsinpants

    This is too funny. I nominate Pat’s use of ‘Ulster Resistance’ as the Northern Ireland equivalent of the Nazi rule. You lose loser.

  • Davros

    Pat, How come they can be smeared when there were no convictions and yet shinners are going ape when the favour is returned over the Northern Bank Robbery?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Davros, there haven’t been any convictions over the Northern Bank robbery. So shall we ignore it ?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    I nominate Pat’s use of ‘Ulster Resistance’ as the Northern Ireland equivalent of the Nazi rule.

    What is it that you guys hate about people mentioning Ulster Resistance ? If there was ever evidence that unionism maintains links with paramilitary organizations, this is it. And we’re expected to merely disregard it, to simply take their word for it when they say they’ve given up on those old ways ?

  • David Antsinpants

    You know it IS time unionists abandoned the DUP but it’s hysterical hearing it from a slavish Shinner apologist like Pat. Coming around to the ‘no terrorist proxies in government’ position a bit late in the day, aren’t you McLarnon?

  • David Antsinpants

    PS, Roger W, I’ve no problem with people mentioning Ulster Resistance – I think that picture of Peter Robinson in his red beret should be flashed up every time he appears on TV. But recall the squeals of outrage from the likes of Pat et al if Gerry & Martin’s sordid past gets dragged up – the little hypocrite needs to remove the beam from his own eye here.

  • Davros

    Roger – of course we shouldn’t ignore the robbery.
    Point I’m making is that it’s ridiculous for SF to suddenly demand that “innocent until proven guilty” be applied when they consistently blame other organisations for crimes before any individual has been convicted.

  • JD

    Perhaps the point is that when both unionist paramilitarism/ security force collusion are criticised with the same doggedness as the provos, then others might be more inclined to see some of the criticism/ discussion from certain quarters as something approaching balanced.

  • Keith M

    Chistopher you’re closer to the ground so assume you know the likelihood of any unionist voting pacts. South Down, Newry & Armagh and especially Fermanagh and South Tyrone are all winnable by a good single unionist candidate.

    I’m not going to argue with any of your predictions but I wouldn’t be so sure of West Tyrone if Deeney stands (and the SDLP and unionists stand aside).

    As for the others, I would call Foyle for SDLP, I think UB is far too close to call (if the election was today I think it would be the DUP). I think the DUP have made a mistake running McCrea in South Antrim and I think Burnside could hold on. If Smyth stays the SB remainds UUP, if not it’s a lottery and as for North Down, I’m getting an increasing feeling that McCarney will stand and that plays right into UUP hands.

    How ironic would it be if the UUP hangs on because of the eforts of Burnside, Smyth and McCartney?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The British have been notoriously soft on their proxy terrorists and that is something people like the anonymous posters find hard to stomach.

    Such was the seriousness that the British took the UDA that they arranged for one of their members (Brian Nelson) to organise arms shipments for the UDA and also the UVF and UR in 1987. All paid for with the proceeds from a robbery at the Northern Bank in Portadown.
    At this time the UDA was perfectly legal despite having killed hundreds. And people ask why they didn’t make a fuss over UR.

  • Sam Maguire

    Delusion is a fine thing Keith. I don’t care who is standing as one of these phantom Unionist unity candidates in West Tyrone (Deeny or no Deeny) or Newry Armagh, the seats are going to SF, and barring a fluke of Willie Thompson proportions South Down will stay Nationalist. FST will not have a unity candidate but there is a possibility that the UUP vote could collaspe similiarly to their North Belfast capitulation in 2001 if Foster is as popular as she believes she is. Then we have Foster v Gildernew fight which could go either way.

  • Peace and Justice

    “Pat Mc Larnon:”
    It appears you support the Sinn Fein IRA death squads and criminals? So it is hardly surprising you mention UR. When did you ever hear of UR shooting someone dead in front of their wife and family. Yet that is what the Sinn Fein IRA death squads did frequently, if they weren’t killing innocent people in bomb attacks.

    The problem is that Sinn Fein IRA kept getting away with murdering people for too long. Now even after 9/11, they believe they can still carry on their criminality and murder the occasional person – and they think they can get away with it because of the “peace process”.

    After the Enniskillen Bomb Roman Catholics said they wouldn’t vote for Sinn Fein IRA again. However, there is once again a Sinn Fein IRA MP in FST. And will Roman Catholics keep voting for the party of murderers and criminals at the next elections in Ulster and the Republic of Ireland? If so, how can Unionists trust their Roman Catholic neighbours?

  • Davros

    If so, how can Unionists trust their Roman Catholic neighbours?

    Why do you assume that the Unionists in question aren’t Roman catholic ?

  • maca

    P&J
    “If so, how can Unionists trust their Roman Catholic neighbours?”

    Works both ways doesn’t it?
    After all the DUP gets the majourity unionist vote…

  • Peace and Justice

    “Maca
    Works both ways doesn’t it?
    After all the DUP gets the majourity unionist vote…”

    Although the media likes to protray the DUP and Sinn Fein IRA as equals, you know that is simply rubbish. You don’t want to face the facts. At the moment the majority of Roman Catholics vote for murdering criminal terrorists. Now that the Republic of Ireland has finally exposed Sinn Fein IRA for what they are, Roman Catholics in Ulster no longer have any excuse for voting for a party linked with ethnic cleansing, torture, murder and criminality.

  • maca

    “Although the media likes to protray the DUP and Sinn Fein IRA as equals, you know that is simply rubbish”

    Nothing to do with the media, I can form my own opinions and I think the DUP are every bit as dirty as SF. Just my own opinion mind.

  • New Yorker

    To the posters who think it is in doubt who did the heist, you belong with SF – suckers & fools. The SF vote in the greater Catholic community is finished, it will only be the “loonie” element, the suckers & fools who vote SF post Northern Bank.

  • Fraggle

    New Yorker, I would wager a fairly large sum of money that you are wrong if I was the gambling sort.

  • David Antsinpants

    Well it might be more accurate to say that the next election is the SDLP’s to lose. But that’s not saying much, I’m afraid.

  • J Kelly

    NYer it looks to me that at just after 6 this morning you had a thought and you have decided to tell us all over and over again. Looking forward to next installment from your dreams.

    I know this may be slightly man not ball but the same thought on different threads deserves comment.

  • Alan2

    “But to somehow tar those people with the criminal brush is taking things a bit far”

    Travis, I seem to recall two SF election workers being convicted of Spying on Southern politicians not so long ago…..punishment beating in West Belfast this week etc etc

  • Henry94

    I seem to recall two SF election workers being convicted of Spying on Southern politicians not so long ago

    Wrong. They were not even charged with spying let alone convicted. They were convicted of IRA membership and everything else is newspaper speculation.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Peace and Justice? Are you sure that shouldn’t read Pissed and Jaundiced!

  • Davros

    Now that the “negotiations” are finished, there seems to be an increase in beatings and shootings.
    Tap turned off, tap turned back on.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Alex Swann/Trimble Unionist, Drumbo.

    I would be prepared to wager that Donaldson will hold Lagan Valley, with a 5-figure majority.

  • Peace and Justice

    “Maca:
    Nothing to do with the media, I can form my own opinions and I think the DUP are every bit as dirty as SF. Just my own opinion mind.”

    I prefer to go on the facts – not the inner workings of your mind! You can’t compare the death squads of Sinn Fein IRA with the DUP.

    To Henry94: Sinn Fein IRA will be at an unfair advantage at the next election. Besides all the money collected from criminal activity, there is also the money gathered from America. We need Bush to refuse entry into the USA for anyone connected with Sinn Fein IRA. I’d love to see the REAL Sinn Fein IRA accounts!

  • Peace and Justice

    Could the SDLP finally be about to develop a backbone?

    From the Newsletter, Eddie McGrady said: “The Government continues to appease and sell out democracy to political Sinn Fein, the IRA in lounge suits.”

    “The myth that the IRA never lies is self-promoted by those who lied about the murder of Garda McCabe and the links to the Colombian Three. Surely, they would not baulk at telling a lie.”

    Will Roman Catholics continue to vote for such people?

  • Travis

    “Now that the “negotiations” are finished, there seems to be an increase in beatings and shootings.
    Tap turned off, tap turned back on.”

    Lets have this list of recent punishment beatings then…

  • Davros

    Irish news (p5) reports a severe beating in West Belfast, and there have been two shootings.

  • maca

    “I prefer to go on the facts”

    Well take into account all facts not just ones which suit you.

  • Davros

    McGrady has upset SF with his comments

    McGrady challenged over disgraceful remarks

    and – they have spelled her name wrong again LOL

    Sinn Féin Assembly member for South Down Caitriona Ruane has said that the remarks of SDLP MP Eddie McGrady yesterday in the British House of Commons accusing Sinn Féin of being the ‘IRA in lounge suits’ were remarks more at home on the DUP benches.

  • slackjaw

    What part was more disgraceful – the part about being in the IRA, or the part about wearing lounge suits?

  • smcgiff

    ‘What part was more disgraceful – the part about being in the IRA, or the part about wearing lounge suits?’

    HAH!