Perpetual crisis, never-ending process…

MARK Devenport thinks Anthony McIntyre (see below) has a point when he argues that the republican movement is intent on creating crisis after crisis, with little to encourage the IRA to keep quiet except Sinn Fein’s potential electoral gains. Is the project expansionism or unity? Or maybe we should just have elections every year, to prevent more IRA activity?! The article also notes that Adams has demanded an apology from the media, if the IRA is shown not to have taken the Northern cash. Mark will be interviewing Eddie McGrady tomorrow on Radio Ulster’s ‘Inside Politics’ at 12.45pm (website time wrong).

Devenport thinks we’re in for the long haul, although this ‘long peace’ is rapidly wearing many people’s patience out. He writes:

Even if the IRA had accepted paragraph 13 of the British and Irish Joint Declaration – a requirement for so long seen as an “act of completion” – then engaging in a bank raid would not necessarily have been precluded.

Nothing in the paragraph which talks about an end to targeting, intelligence gathering, punishment beatings and so on specifically rules out taking £26.5m from a bank vault.

Just as the National Australia Bank – the Northern Bank’s owners – will have been dismayed to discover that the government’s terrorism compensation rules do not cover them for the loss of their cash, so British and Irish officials may feel disenchanted that the IRA – if the chief constable is to be believed – has slipped through their declaration’s fine print.

The former IRA prisoner Anthony McIntyre may well have a point when he argued in the Irish Times this week that continual crises serve Sinn Fein’s agenda.

Mr McIntyre says these episodes maintain the special transitional nature of the republican movement and therefore guarantee it a regular place in the headlines.

Why make historic moves on IRA disarmament and disbandment on a timescale to satisfy Ian Paisley and the DUP, when you can save them for a date much closer to either the 2007 Irish Dail elections or the 2011 Irish Presidential election in which Gerry Adams may well be a candidate?

  • Young Irelander

    Gonzo,I think you might find this article by Davy Adams quite good from The Blanket.

  • ulsterman

    The Irish people would have the good sense to never elect a mass murderer like Adams as President.SF are a party totally unrealistic in its goals.It has reached its electotal peak in the North and the South.

    Under the Irish PR system there are but a mere handful of seats they can add to their current grand total of 5. In the UK westminster elections they will achieve stalemate. They will gain Newry but will deffinately loose Fermanagh.

    The Weakness of the SDLP has allowed the rise of SF. If Hume had of stood for Europe SF would not have won the seat.The SDLP will easily hold S.Down and Foyle in the Westminster election.

    The question to be asked therefore is where the SF electoral strategy is taking them?. Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish constitution have gone. The Union today is more secure than ever in its history. 2011 is a long time away. Adams will never win an Irish Presidential election.

    Adams has led his people to nowhere. The sooner that fact dawns on Catholics the better.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Davros

    Raid ‘was nationalist betrayal’

    The SDLP should examine the possibility of entering a coalition without Sinn Fein at Stormont, one of the party’s MPs has said.

    If this happened and then the SDLP lost most of it’s seats , would we have a similar crisis to what happened when the pro-sharing Unionists were unseated, Sunningdale II ?

  • Gay

    It seems that for some the SDLP’s unshakable commitment to the Agreement, the whole Agreement and nothing but the Agreement is not such much a principle but a tactic. If your seat is under as much pressure as McGrady’s anything must be worth a go.

  • cg

    If they sdlp enter a coalition that excludes Sinn Féin they are well and truly finished as a party.

    South Down is looking more and more winnable by the day, thanks Eddie 😉

  • John S

    If the IRA could be proven responsible for the Northern Bank raid would anything change? I dont think so. The Government will never move without Sinn Fein, for fear of ‘restarting’ IRA terrorism in the UK. It seems that until the IRA ‘have gone away’ we are indeed stuck in never ending process.
    It would be a welcome change in many households if the British and Irish Governments took the risk and went ahead without Sinn Fein. We cant continue talks forever, people need to take a high moral stance and stan up to IRA antics. NI needs devolved Government returned and as Sinn Fein/IRA are holding the process up pragmatism would suggest we move without them.
    Afterall we’ve moved into Stormont before without particular Parties, why are Sinn Fein so different? Is it because they are holding a gun to everyone’s head or am I missing out on some secret deal somewhere??

  • IJP

    If they sdlp enter a coalition that excludes Sinn Féin they are well and truly finished as a party.

    I suspect you know as well as I do that quite the opposite is true.

    If the SDLP does not go into such a coalition we have direct rule until SF says so, making SF the only relevant Nationalist party in the North and rendering the SDLP incapable of getting things real results for Nationalists.

    If the SDLP does go for coalition, however, suddenly it regains the upper hand, has the chance to show it can get things done for Nationalists, and thereby to gain the votes it has lost through showing that with devolution but without SF obstruction your average Nationalist-in-the-street will be better off that with the other option, namely indefinite and unstable direct rule.

    It’s a straightforward choice: coalition or oblivion.

  • Davros

    It also makes life interesting for the Unionists who would have to ‘be nice’ to SDLP Ministers who could use leverage in that position to make the UUP and DUP give ground… as unless the SDLP are shown to be getting things done …..

  • IJP

    Davros

    Lest those of us more familiar with the Westminster system forget it, a ‘voluntary coalition’ requires negotiation not only of who gets which ministry, but also of a broad programme for government.

    The SDLP would be in an extremely strong position, yes. (Not that all ‘nationalists’ who did not vote SF voted SDLP, by the way! Some people, wisely, recognize there’s more to life than the constitutional question!)

  • Davros

    IJP : this member of the unionist community votes SDLP 🙂

  • IJP

    I’ll confess, Davros, that given the SDLP’s conduct since 1998 I cannot fathom why (except for one or two outstanding constituency reps). I’d say those of us in the real ‘Centre’ are to blame for not giving you a viable alternative!

    However, my point is that your vote would be unaffected. There are clearly significant numbers of Nationalists who have switched preferences from the SDLP to SF, and even more who once voted SDLP and now do not vote at all. That is the SDLP’s problem, and the solution is to show they can represent the people who have walked away from the party by entering into coalition.

  • ShayPaul

    IJP :

    “If the SDLP does not go into such a coalition we have direct rule until SF says so, making SF the only relevant Nationalist party in the North and rendering the SDLP incapable of getting things real results for Nationalists.

    If the SDLP does go for coalition, however, suddenly it regains the upper hand, has the chance to show it can get things done for Nationalists, and thereby to gain the votes it has lost through showing that with devolution but without SF obstruction your average Nationalist-in-the-street will be better off that with the other option, namely indefinite and unstable direct rule.

    It’s a straightforward choice: coalition or oblivion.”

    This reasoning is deeply flawed.

    How can the SDLP as the minority party, justify hijacking power against the will of the very voters it hopes to gain (ie those that voted SF).

    Your basic assumption that these voters are fed up already with SF and would accept such a highjack, has no sound basis.

    I think you are letting wishful thinking get in the way of reality.

    Remember SF is a proclaimed pro-agreement party, and whatever you think of them, they have contributed to the process in bringing republicanism along the road. Concretely they have contributed enormously to the process, along with the other pro-agreement parties.

    I would advise extreme caution to the SDLP at the moment, they are not FF, there is a very real risk that they shoot themselves in the head while playing russian roulette.

    Personally I think McGrady just blew away the seat.

  • IJP

    SP

    To explain myself, and then why this debate is irrelevant!

    How can the SDLP as the minority party, justify hijacking power against the will of the very voters it hopes to gain (ie those that voted SF).

    Because that’s democracy.

    The SDLP isn’t a ‘minority party’, it would in fact be reflecting the democratic will of the people of both jurisdictions on this island to make power-sharing devolution in the North work. SF is the only party opposed to that (by actions, not words).

    Do you think it is wrong, for example, for the LibDems to form part of a ‘voluntary coalition’ in Scotland because the SNP and Tories are bigger parties?

    Your basic assumption that these voters are fed up already with SF and would accept such a highjack, has no sound basis.

    I made no such assumption. I highlighted the word may. Nevertheless, I did point out, as the statistics show, that the SDLP has lost most of its votes not to SF, but to ‘non-voting’.

    Remember SF is a proclaimed pro-agreement party

    Actions, not words.

    I would advise extreme caution to the SDLP at the moment, they are not FF, there is a very real risk that they shoot themselves in the head while playing russian roulette.

    Quite the contrary. When you’re 3-down you have to take risks – you might concede a fourth of course, but it’s the only way to get back into the game.

    All that said, this is a (albeit enjoyable) theoretical debate, and of course your judgement may well be better than mine. None of it is relevant, however, because by my terms above I have no doubt the SDLP will choose oblivion!

  • DessertSpoon

    And while all of this pathethic political posturing is going on – The SDLP pretending it has something to offer the DUP retreating back to (NEVER NEVER LAND), the UUP jumping on the ‘I told you so’ bandwagon and Sinn Fein doing their Shaggy cover versions all over the news (Wasn’t Me). I sit in my house angry at the state of my health service, education, water charges etc, concerned for my future and that of my family, and have NO-ONE to speak for me or work for me.

    I can’t influence the Government by voting for them or not because no-one stands here (and who can blame them). The Ministers who take decisions are not accountable to anyone but themselves.

    I refuse to believe that all the other people of Northern Ireland are so stupid that they don’t see this too……then again maybe they are and that’s what depresses me the most.

    I don’t care who robbed the bank. They are criminals leave it to the Police. The politicians should get back to work or go and find other jobs. But then I suppose it’s hard to find work that pays so well with a pension and generous allowances for doing nothing!!

    Yours a once hopefull but now depressed resident of Northern Ireland.