Adams hits back at southern parties and calls for Green Paper on Unity in 2005

Adams hits back at southern parties and calls for Green Paper on Unity in 2005
Gerry Adams says the ongoing opprobrium against Sinn Fein south of the border is merely an indication that Labour, Fine Gael and Fianna Fail are all running scared of the party’s electoral success as well as having a swipe at many parties in the south dusting off their republican credentials for the battles ahead.

“It is amazing to watch the feverish efforts of parties in this part of the island rushing to claim their republican and Sinn Fein roots while attacking and condemning us,” the Irish Examiner quotes Adams as saying.

“We have no fear of that. If Labour and Fianna Fail and Fine Gael and the rest want to be republicans, then Sinn Fein welcomes that. The more the merrier. We have no monopoly on that.”

Speaking at the launch of Sinn Fein’s year-long series of events at the Mansion House to mark the 100th anniversary of the foundation of the party, Adams failed to refer directly to the Northern Job but did reveal that the party will later this year finally launch a campaign for the Irish government to bring forward a Green Paper on Irish Unity, top of the party’s
ten-point plan
.

Of course, many ask the question what use a Green Paper on Irish Unity or as Anthony McIntyre pointed out
in 2002, as the British and unionists ultimately defeated republicanism on the core philosophical question of consent, the incoming Dublin government is irrelevant in terms of what it may do to bring about unity. There certainly doesn’t appear to have been any rush by any other party on this island to publish its views, on green paper or otherwise, on how unity can be achieved.

Anyway, setting out the party’s stall for the year, Adams said 2005 was “about Sinn Fein taking more decisive steps forward towards our goal of a united, free and independent Ireland”.

Claiming SF was the “fastest growing party in the country” Adams said his aim was to have a branch in every electoral ward to “use our present mandate as a launching pad to grow an island-wide, a nation-wide mass Sinn Fein movement”.

Other objectives would be to promote the Irish language to help create a “truly bilingual nation”.

  • peteb

    I’m not doubting the veracity of the reported comments, George, and perhaps I just haven’t spotted it in the long intro, but do you have a source for those quotes?

    And I see that Ten Point Plan you’ve referenced was first trundled out in 2003.

  • ulsterman

    A Green paper on Irish Unity. Adams and co get zanier by the day. One minute he is about to sign up to a powersharing government in Ulster. The next he is seeking unity. When history is written the GFA will be seen as an attempt to be all things to all men.That was the rock which it foundered on.

    Ulster has said No to Dublin and Rome repeatedly. A million Ulster Protestants with the vote would alter the make up of the Dail extensively. The Irish people do not want this. Ulstermen neither.

    Stop wasting your breath Adams. You and your barbaric scum were defeated By the loyal sons of Ulster. You have no future because you denied a future to so many.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Keith M

    The usual vacuous nonsense from Adams. What kind of fantasy world is Adams living in when he talks anout a Green Paper on unity? If it was ignored two years ago, it’s simply laughable in the current environment.

    As for Irish Gaelic, shame on SF/IRA politicising this. As bad as the nonsense on Ulster-Scots is, you wouldn’t hear this this kind of statement from the UUP or DUP. Has Adams not realised that a lower percentage of people in the republic now have the ability to speak Irish Gaelic than ever before? SF/IRA associating themselves with the language isn’t doing it any favours.

  • George

    Peteb,
    Source is a small piece by Senan Hogan in today’s Irish Examiner but I can’t find it in the online edition.

  • George

    Peteb,
    That’s why I said SF was finally to move on this Green Paper issue.

    It was actually partof the party’s election manifesto for the 2002 Dail elections.

  • peteb

    George

    Perhaps a reference to that Irish Examiner report could be added when you break the long intro into two sections?

    And I realise you mentioned the ‘finally’, but Adams was just recycling an old SF statement that makes demands of others – nothing new there.

  • ShayPaul

    Peteb

    Might I suggest that you give George a hand by direct e-mail off thread, as the debate won’t get off the ground if you stick to the technical lecture.

    Regards

  • peteb

    Shay.. I regard the points raised – with the exception of the long intro reference – as pertinent to any debate generated from the post.

    Regards

  • maca

    “a lower percentage of people in the republic now have the ability to speak Irish Gaelic than ever before?”

    I presume you have a source for this?

  • George

    Peteb,
    I believe it is relevant if Gerry reveals he is to finally launch his much vaunted Green Paper on Unity campaign in 2005. There has been no action to date. Now we have been given a definite time frame. I’m interested in seeing how Sinn Fein will achieve movement on this issue.

    Why has this Green Paper on Unity been revived at this stage? I haven’t haven’t heard anything about it since the Dail election of 2002. It appears Sinn Fein are moving into election mode and are keen to be seen to have addressed or tried to address all their manifesto promises.

    We’ve already had the northern representation in the Seanad pony trotted out and, most recently, the Westminster MPs in the Dail objective.

    Another Sinn Fein manifesto pledge, to extend the scheme enabling people in Northern Ireland to apply for an Irish passport has already been achieved.

    Keithm,
    the CSO statistical
    yearbook would disagree with you. Page 21 below table 1.15 shows a graph of Irish speakers since 1841.
    Table 1.14 gives a percentage of Irish speakers and their level of proficiency as per the 2002 Census.

    I accept you might have been right if you had said the number of native speakers had dropped but those who claim to be able to speak Irish has certainly risen. Ever tried book yourself into an adult Irish course? Most are completely oversubscribed.

  • peteb

    George

    I didn’t say it wasn’t relevant. But Adams isn’t announcing a Sinn Féin paper on the issue – he’s trying to force the Irish Government to take an action that could be seen as contrary to the ‘principle of consent’ contained in the 1998 Agreement.

  • peteb

    to complete that thought – it’s about trying to shift the focus from Sinn Féin’s current difficulties.. nothing else.

  • Henry94

    peteb

    It can hardly be against the principle of consent to bring forward proposals about Irish unity? You don’t have to accept them.

    I saw this in the Telegraph.

    b Ireland eclipses UK in wealth league

    By Malcolm Moore (Filed: 12/01/2005)

    Ireland officially became a ‘high income country’ yesterday, leaving the UK in its wake, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.

    The OECD, a think tank for the world’s richest countries, said it was a “remarkable development”. Ireland comes fourth out of the 30 OECD member countries in the organisation’s wealth league for 2002, behind Luxembourg, Norway and the US.

    Last week, the Irish government said it recorded a budget surplus of €33m (£23m) in 2004. The country had projected that it would finish last year with a deficit of €2.8billion. The economy grew at an annual rate of 5.8pc in the third quarter, compared to a rate of 3.1pc in the UK.

    The OECD measured the wealth of the inhabitants of its member countries based on their relative purchasing power. The average income per head across the 30 members was set at 100.

    The UK ranks 11th in the league, although it has moved up from 17th since the table was last assessed in 1999, overtaking France, Germany, Japan and Australia.

  • peteb

    Henry. As if you didn’t know, he’s trying to get the Irish Government to begin the preparations of legislation (hence the green paper) for a situation that is, by the terms of the 1998 Agreement, subject to the consent of the people of Northern Ireland – you may not like that, but that’s the way it is. Adams is perfectly aware of how that would play amongst certain unionists.

  • George

    Peteb,
    I don’t see how a Green Paper on Irish unity goes against the principle of consent. It is perfectly acceptable for the Irish government to present to the Irish people how it intends achieving the nation’s constitutional aspirations, one of which is the unification of the island.

    Henry94,
    the Telegraphs misleads slightly as Ireland was already ahead of the UK in the last OECD survey in 1999. Ireland has moved into the top tier – high income economies along with Norway, Luxembourg, Switzerland and the US – in this new survey.

    Ireland scores 129 (over 120 is high income) while the UK scores 113.

    Interestingly, the NISRA’s annual abstract
    shows Northern Ireland is still lagging at 79.2% of UK GVA (GDP + loans – subsidies), the same figure as 1997 despite all the talk of gaps being closed and fastest growing regions etc.

    This means we can probably assume that per capita wealth in Northern Ireland has now dropped to 69% of the Republic’s with this gap to continue to grow as the Republic’s growth rates look set to exceed Northern Ireland’s growth rates for the forseeable future.

  • peteb

    Preparing legislation doesn’t go against that principle, George, but it would be seen to undermine it if the Irish Government followed that course of action. There’s nothing to stop Sinn Féin preparing their own suggestions of course, but then that wouldn’t mean anything, would it.

    And since that consent is necessary, Adams could always call for a referendum on the issue.. now why doesn’t he do that?… hmmm…

  • George

    “Preparing legislation doesn’t go against that principle, George, but it would be seen to undermine it if the Irish Government followed that course of action.”

    As you admit, a referendum could take place and make the prospect of a united Ireland a reality.

    But it appears unacceptable that the Irish government and people should in any way prepare for such an eventuality or work towards such an eventuality.

    That makes no sense whatsoever. Consent to me means both sides set out their stalls and the people decide what they want, not everything stays exactly as it is, which is why we are in the mess we are in, until the people wake up one day and decide to buy a pig in a poke.

    Unionists have nothing to fear from consent as long as they can convince the majority of the voting electorate of NI that their interests lie in the union.

    The job of unificationists is to convince the majority of the voting electorate of NI that their interests lie in a united Ireland.

    A clear plan of how a united Ireland could be achieved and funded might help. It’s certainly better than the current situation where saying it’s your birthright to be British/Irish is as far as the discussion goes.

    I for one would favour a unity fund, where a percentage of GNP was put aside each year to fund any future unification.

    “And since that consent is necessary, Adams could always call for a referendum on the issue.. now why doesn’t he do that?… hmmm…”

    The Secretary of State for Northern Ireland can call a referendum when he believes there is a majority for change. To me that would mean when the voting majority is for pro-unification parties. This is not the case so no referendum can happen at the moment.

  • Liam

    “…I didn’t say it wasn’t relevant. But Adams isn’t announcing a Sinn Féin paper on the issue..”I>

    Actually, he was announcing a Sinn Féin paper on this issue! This paper is completed and will be launched next month and I for one certainly look forward to reactions to it!!

  • peteb

    Yes, george, I know that particular argument but it doesn’t address the issue of beginning the preparation of legislation – the green paper – that’s several steps beyond arguing in favour of unification.

    SF could work on the suggestions of how to achieve that and try to be a persuader.. but they’re chosing not to – for the reasons I set out.

    And the dodge on the referendum is a red herring.. if the parties wanted it, it would be held. There is an advantage in holding it for SF’s alleged proposal, in that it would clarify the time-frame for preparation.. but as I’ve pointed out already, that’s not the purpose of Adams’ statement.

    When SF get into government in the Republic, don’t hold your breath, they can bring forward whatever papers they want – until then no other party is going to commit to putting aside money that could be spent on public services, or anything else, right now.

  • peteb

    Liam

    *yawn*

    there’s the reaction.

  • Keith M

    George / Maca, a couple of things you have to remember, regarding census results and Irish Gaelic. Many commented at the time of the publication of the census of 2002 that this question was answered by a lot of people in an aspirational rather than realistic way (ie they might like to speak the language but don’t in reality). Even if you were to take the figures at face value you have to remember that we now have the biggest school going population in the history of the state. Due to compulsory Irish Gaelic, these have to speak the language. Also since 2002 we’ve had tens of thousands of immigrants mainly (but not exclusivly) from the new EU countries. These people do not speak Irish Gaelic.

  • Robert Keogh

    The biggest change unification would bring is the vandals would be painting postboxes red.

  • IJP

    party will later this year finally launch a campaign for the Irish government to bring forward a Green Paper on Irish Unity,

    Why does SF not just come forward with its plans?

    I mean, it wouldn’t be like Gerry and co just to moan and MOPE on the sidelines…

    Interestingly, the NISRA’s annual abstract
    shows Northern Ireland is still lagging at 79.2% of UK GVA (GDP + loans – subsidies), the same figure as 1997 despite all the talk of gaps being closed and fastest growing regions etc.

    Not quite sure why this is relevant, but it’s self-evidently correct. However, once again, why is the assumption that constitutional change is required to deal with this, or indeed that constitutional change would deal with this? The basic problem is the Northern grant culture, the culture of ‘where can we get money’ rather than ‘where can we earn it’. This is something which requires a new Northern economic policy, regardless of its constitutional position, and the very problem is that people put constitutional politics ahead of addressing the real policy decisions required here.

  • George

    IJP
    “Why does SF not just come forward with its plans?”

    I would love to hear what Sinn Fein wants in this Green Paper.

    Keithm,
    “Also since 2002 we’ve had tens of thousands of immigrants mainly (but not exclusivly) from the new EU countries. These people do not speak Irish”

    But their children do and will Keithm. They send their offspring to the same schools as the rest of the country, where, thanks to compulsory Irish, they will have some fluency in the language.

    Having worked on the census in a previous life, I agree that when it comes to the Irish language people answer in an aspirational way. If you accept the figures, there was a slight decline from 43.5 per cent in 1996 to 42.8 per cent in 2002.

    P.S. The Gaelic in “Irish Gaelic” is akin to the solitary in “single solitary”, namely a redundancy due to superfluous qualification.

  • Keith M

    George “But their children do and will Keithm.”. Not necessarily true. It depends where they enter the Irish educational system. There is an exemption for compulsory Irish Gaelic if children have spent years in an overseas schools. The same applies to Irish children taken abroad and then returning.

    The reason I use “Irish Gaelic” is that the internet is an international medium. “Gaelic” is also spoken in a differnt form in Scotland and “Irish” causes confusion as being the language of Ireland. (If you want to see what I mean see the excellent short film “Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom”).

  • George

    “The reason I use “Irish Gaelic” is that the internet is an international medium. “Gaelic” is also spoken in a differnt form in Scotland and “Irish” causes confusion as being the language of Ireland. (If you want to see what I mean see the excellent short film “Yu Ming Is Ainm Dom”).”

    All that doesn’t take away from the fact that your use of the term Irish Gaelic in this context is a tautology and your argument is, in fact, quite disingenuous.

    Using “Irish Gaelic” instead of Irish is more a political statement by yourself than an effort to reduce the confusion to the Yu Mings of this world as it in no way helps to instruct the reader whether Irish is indeed the language of Ireland as you claim.

    I’d love to hear from you how “Irish” could mistakenly imply the spoken language of Ireland while “Irish Gaelic” instead of merely being a superfluous qualification of “Irish” somehow manages to make clear to the reader that it is not the spoken language of Ireland.

  • davidbrew

    well that’s us banjaxed then. After all the murders and bombings, what we really feared was a Dublin government green paper. How can you defend the Union against such an indefatigable foe? Those Shinners , eh- so devious. And to think some people think it’s only a figleaf to pretend that the Shinners haven’t been beaten on their cmapaign to intimidate us into surrender. if only