Sinn Fein to remain inside at higher price

There’ll be no short circuiting of the inclusive deal first outlined in 1998 argues Brian Feeney. But, he reiterates there is no possibility of the SDLP doing a side deal with Unionism. And, with the damage done to Sinn Fein’s political capital outside Northern Irish nationalism, there’ll be no resumption of the institutions anytime soon.

  • Peace and Justice

    Brian Feeney – as close as you can get to Sinn Fein IRA while still supporting the SDLP?

    During the Hume years,the SDLP rejected several overtures from Unionism and instead preferred to stand firm with the Sinn Fein IRA death squads. Now,finally,the Government of the Irish Republic is starting to stand up to Sinn Fein IRA. But poor Mr Durkan just doesn’t have the courage. The Pan-Nationalist Front is alive and well.

    Pan-Nationalists say they support the Republic of Ireland. Yet, the very Republic they support is starting to move on and leave their bigoted friends in the “North” behind.

  • TroubledTimes

    I disagree with you Peace and Justice.
    It is not the SDLP showing lack of courage but people like yourself showing lack of vision.
    The whole purpose of this Agreement is based on conflict resolution. How can conflict be resolved within an agreement if you leave Sinn Fein outside the door?
    Even though I am not a Sinn Fein supporter I do believe it is necessary for them to be involved in the process as leaving them outside would only weaken the purpose of the Agreement. Everybody knows that Sinn Fein are not angels, after all they have failed to create a sense of trust/goodwill with the Unionist community which is destroying any chance of devolved Government.
    The only way to lessen Sinn Fein’s participation is to lessen their mandate. As long as the people vote for them they will have a role in this process. If Sinn Fein are seen to be involved in criminality it will lessen their mandate.
    Like it or not, any political party that has elected members to the Assembly needs to be part of this process.
    The voters determine who is in the process as in essence the Agreement belongs to the people.
    It is my belief that Sinn Fein are being dishonest to their voters. They fool them into thinking they have the power to Unite Ireland as long as people keep voting for them.
    The fact is the only people that can create a United Ireland are the voters. Sinn Fein cannot create a United Ireland by having a stronger mandate, unfortunately alot of Nationalist people are fooled into voting for Sinn Fein.

  • TroubledTimes

    I think the only way forward is for the SDLP to merge with Fianna Fail hence putting up a stronger opposition for Sinn Fein.
    But the question is how would this affect Unionist thinking?

  • Peace and Justice

    To TroubledTimes:

    It’s a pity you believe in the Sinn Fein IRA death squads having a veto over progress. Everyone else within the British Isles wants to move on. But the SDLP fail themselves and their voters yet again. I can see the SDLP getting completely wiped out at the next election. After all .. to borrow a similiar phrase from Mr Durkan .. why vote for Sinn Fein IRA lite (the SDLP) when you can vote for the real thing.

    As the majority of Pan-Nationalists in Northern Ireland vote for bigoted murderers and gangsters,it only goes to prove how different they are from the rest of the island.

  • Fraggle

    IRA criminality reduces support for Sinn Fein but talk of excluding Sinn Fein increases their support more than criminality reduces it.

  • JD

    IRA criminality reduces support for Sinn Fein but talk of excluding Sinn Fein increases their support more than criminality reduces it.

    Nail. Head. Hit.

  • Peace and Justice

    “IRA criminality reduces support for Sinn Fein but talk of excluding Sinn Fein increases their support more than criminality reduces it.”

    This is complete rubbish. Sinn Fein IRA have been included in the so-called peace process for a long time now. And what has happened? They are the major party within the Pan-Nationalist Front. Roman Catholics vote for a bunch of murdering criminals in Northern Ireland. That is something Roman Catholic leaders need to address. It just shows how relevant the border is within the island of Ireland.

  • JD

    He said: “…but talk of excluding Sinn Fein increases…”

  • TroubledTimes

    Its not that I agree with SF having a veto over progress, its just I know they are central to conflict resolution.
    If SF were thrown out of the Assembly do you think they would go away quietly?
    Do you think it would actually help the peace process?
    Finally my first question is what is the opinion among Unionists of a Fiaan Fail SDLP merge?

  • TroubledTimes

    Its not that I agree with SF having a veto over progress, its just I know they are central to conflict resolution.
    If SF were thrown out of the Assembly do you think they would go away quietly?
    Do you think it would actually help the peace process?
    Finally my first question is what is the opinion among Unionists of a Fianna Fail/SDLP merge?

  • Tom Griffin

    Stephen King, in his latest column, seems to think that Martin Mansergh is hinting at a Fianna Fail/SDLP merger.
    Doesn’t say what hge thinks of the idea though.

  • Peace and Justice

    “Finally my first question is what is the opinion among Unionists of a Fianna Fail/SDLP merge?”

    It might be a bit of an odd mix – I’m not sure the modern day politicans in the Irish Republic are ready to join forces with bigots who follow Sinn Fein IRA like sheep.

    But let’s look at another situation. We all know the discrimination that has taken place in the past against Protestants in the Republic. Would Irish Republicans in Eire allow British Isle Unionists to put up candidates in a few selected areas? For the pockets of Protestants which were allowed to remain in Eire (provided they kept quiet) it would be a good confidence boost. But I’m sure any Unionist who stood in the Irish Republic would be intimidated by the Sinn Fein IRA death squads. We all know you can’t even fly a British Union flag in the Irish Republic.

    Before Fianna Fail considers moving deeper into Ulster politics, they should consider the implications of getting caught up with the bigotry and “Little Irelanders” of the Pan Nationalist Front in Northern Ireland.

  • Nathan

    “But let’s look at another situation. We all know the discrimination that has taken place in the past against Protestants in the Republic. Would Irish Republicans in Eire allow British Isle Unionists to put up candidates in a few selected areas? For the pockets of Protestants which were allowed to remain in Eire (provided they kept quiet) it would be a good confidence boost. But I’m sure any Unionist who stood in the Irish Republic would be intimidated by the Sinn Fein IRA death squads.”

    What a big bag of shite that is.

    An Irish unionist candidate actually stood for the Dail in 1998. And to be fair to him he didn’t hold to the sectarian belief that southern protestants are unionists in any shape or form. Shock horror, a few shinners in North Dublin even gave him their first preference vote for the laugh, one even canvassed with him 🙂 That brought John McDonald up to a grand total of 108 first preference votes in the by-election. Just goes to show that all-ireland unionist candidates are welcome to stand for office in the 26 counties, even in republican strongholds. Just as long as they bear in mind that in order to be a success, unionist candidates need to represent someone, clearly not the case in North Dublin.

  • Peace and Justice

    ” … one even canvassed with him.”
    I can’t think of any real Unionist wanting to be associated with Sinn Fein IRA.

    Could you tell me the names of any other Unionist candidates standing since partition? Perhaps if militant Irish Republicans hadn’t ethnically cleansed large sections of the Republic, there would be more Unionist voters.

    “Nathan: Just goes to show that all-ireland unionist candidates are welcome to stand for office in the 26 counties, even in republican strongholds.”

    I would like to see this tested with real BRITISH Unionists standing. Would Republicans accept candidates driving around with British flags and advocating a British United Ireland? I’m sure the Sinn Fein IRA death squads wouldn’t be happy.

  • Nathan

    Peace and Justice,

    Given the content of your last post, I can safely assume that you are a troll. Now bugger off.

  • declanp

    SDLP have been flirting and batting their eyelids at the Southern parties for too long. It’s time for a special conference to be called and a merge partner decided on.
    I for one would be sadly disappointed if SDLP plump for the centre right Fianna Fail rather than the democratic socialist Labour party.
    With many disaffected working class people turning to the Northern Ireland Labour Forum (run by Irish Labour and containing many SDLP members) its time for the left to solidify its base and unite.

  • Nathan

    Declan,

    The left-of-centre forum you speak of is not electorally focused in the 1st instance, it is merely a political home for those in N.Ireland who have no affinity whatsoever with the current tribal political setup.

  • declanp

    Thats true Nathan, but it is a part of the Irish Labour party and has official political positions on many issues. The fact that it doesn’t contest elections is partially my point. It should – the reason it isn’t is that Irish Labour will not step on SDLP toes.

  • Nathan

    “It should – the reason it isn’t is that Irish Labour will not step on SDLP toes.”

    Indeed, and if the chairman of the Northern forum is anything to go by, it will be a refreshing alternative to the stagnant tribalism of the SDLP.

    For instance, as a proper Labour man he presented a strong case to the Human Rights Commission to contest the discriminatory voting system. But surprise surprise the Commission (itself set up by the brainchilds of the GFA) were not interested.

    Have you got your application form from 17 Ely Place yet or will we have to wait until the SDLP dissolves within the mainstream of Irish party politics?

  • Nathan

    Declan,

    The person I’m referring to is Mark Langhammer of course

  • IJP

    P+J

    Pan-Nationalists say they support the Republic of Ireland. Yet, the very Republic they support is starting to move on and leave their bigoted friends in the “North” behind.

    This is true.

    Unfortunately however, your comments then degenerate into the same backward 20th-century thinking. The very point is the Republic is moving on from all forms of petty nationalism, which is unquestionably to its benefit – effectively advocating British nationalism is hardly a good thing then!

    Troubled Times

    I guess I can only speak for myself and the party I vote for when I say that we do not seek the exclusion of SF. Quite the contrary, we have gone out of our way to try to welcome SF to the exclusively-democratic process, despite the suffering wrought by its ‘colleagues’ in the IRA on us and our supporters, friends and family.

    We do, however, advocate moving on with the democratic process and placing local issues in local hands. If SF does not want to be part of the democratic process, that is its decision.

    Clearly we would prefer to welcome SF to exclusively-democratic politics, but that is up to it, not us. Our job is to get on with representing the people of NI in an NI legislature. It is very disappointing that the SDLP, with a long and respectful democratic heritage, is now blocking us from doing that via voluntary coalition, and instead allowing the right of the people of NI to be governed democratically to depend solely on the whim of the IRA mafia.

    Irish Nationalists in the North now face a simple choice – ‘Nationalism’ or democracy. If they’re serious about a ‘United Ireland’, they’ll choose the latter…

  • Millie

    Southern Ireland unionists, how does that work? Is it a veiled threat for Britain to reconquer the south, a case of the Empire strikes back…

  • Nathan

    Millie

    The prevalence of southern ireland unionism in can only ever be a figment of the imagination. And a good job too.

    I say this because the former UUP member who stood in North Dublin was a Presbyterian blow-in from Co.Antrim rather than a southern ireland unionist.

    The only genuine southern unionist who stood to date was the late Stan Gebler Davies, the eccentric Sindo journalist. He was able to do so in the absence of death threats from paramilitaries. In 1989 he stood in the Conservative and Unionist party interest in West Cork and received a grand total of 129 votes.

  • TroubledTimes

    Declanp,

    I believe that one of the main reasons the SDLP are undergoing electoral dissolution is because of the range of opinion within the SDLP. The fact that several SDLP members/supporters would rather join with Labour others Fianna Gael others Fainna Fail.
    This range of opinion within one party is creating a range of opinion which is confusing the electorate.
    If SDLP “go it alone” in May they will be completely wiped out. I dont want to see that happen, but without a clear vision offered by the SDLP, voters dont know any better.
    The SDLP time and time again fail to offer a better package to those who havent a strong knowledge of the difference between Sinn Fein and the SDLP.
    As things currently stand, Sinn Fein will retain 3 of their 4 MP seats (losing Fermanagh/South Tyrone) and will gain Newry/Armagh and South Down and maybe Foyle.
    This will leave the SDLP in tatters. The warning signs aree there. If the SDLP dont make moves right away they mightnt have any MP’s after May. I suppose its all up to Durkan.

  • TroubledTimes

    If SDLP merged with Fianna Fail and declined to stand for Westminster, that would be very interesting.
    Firstly, there is no real need for Nationalist representation at Westminster.
    Secondly it would leave Sinn Fein in a tricky situation.
    Thirdly, and most importantly, it would give the SDLP a clearer message to the voter.
    Can you imagine Sinn Fein trying to explain to the voter why they are the only United Ireland party on the island of Ireland standing for a British Parliament? That would be very interesting!

  • Nathan

    Troubled Times

    “If SDLP merged with Fianna Fail and declined to stand for Westminster, that would be very interesting.”

    These days The Soldiers of Destiny accept honours from Betty Windsor without a moments thought. Their republicanism is so brittle, they’ll stand for a British parliament no probs.

  • TroubledTimes

    Excuse my ignorance Nathan, but when you say “Soldiers of Destiny” do you mean the SDLP or Sinn Fein?

  • Nathan

    Troubled Times,

    I was referring to Michael O’Kennedy, a retired Fianna Fail politician. FF are nothing more than “crypto monarchists”, to borrow Conor Cruise O’Brien’s words. Next they’ll be asking for Ireland to rejoin the Commonwealth.

    Sinn Fein may well be tribal entreprenaurs, but safe in the knowledge that they are nominally republican.

  • Peace and Justice

    Nathan:
    With your comments like: “What a big bag of shite that is.”, “I can safely assume that you are a troll. Now bugger off.” and using SF/IRA language to describe the Queen as “Betty Windsor”, I can safely assume you are a member of the Pan-Nationalist Front who resorts to insults when you are losing the argument. Some of us don’t get paid to blog so, enjoy your weekend comrade!

  • JD

    SF/IRA language to describe the Queen as “Betty Windsor”

    Are you trying to say that those who are British and have no regard for the queen and who might also describe her in a similar manner, are using “SF/IRA” language?

  • Nathan

    P&J

    Correction, I am critical of all forms of nationalism.

    Sorry to burst your bubble, but I was living in North Dublin at the time so I know what I’m talking about when I say that all-Ireland unionism has already been tried and tested in one southern constituency in the last 10 years.

    The unionist candidate actually stood in West Belfast for the UUP a year or two before his foray into North Dublin. On both occasions, he was not ‘intimidated’ by Sinn Fein nor any other party. And the southern shinner attitude was similar to mine, all-ireland unionists are as entitled to their agenda as much as the next one.

  • Tom Griffin

    It’s true that the Irish Labour Party will not step on the SDLP’s toes, but privately they are anticipating a move by Fianna Fail and the Northern Ireland Labour Forum is partly an insurance policy against that day.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    “pan-nationalist front” is of course a term that was coined by loyalist paramilitaries, used to justify the killing of civilians on the basis that anyone loosely fitting the definition of a “nationalist” was an IRA supporter.

    I’ve heard “Betty Windsor” being used quite a few times outside of Irish republican circles.

  • Davros

    “pan-nationalist front” is of course a term that was coined by loyalist paramilitaries

    Are you sure of that ? I don’t deny that it was used as an excuse by them, but I think it was a term that pre-dates the troubles Roger. Not 100% sure though.

  • Nathan

    I’ve always called the UK HofS Betty Windsor (Mrs), and to do so is not anti-british so I say to unionists – get a grip.

    And stop peddling the widespread assumption that reverence for the monarchy is an natural element in the tradition of the Protestant people and a feeling of repugnance for the monarchy is a authentic component of the tradition of RC’s. Thats a load of tosh as there is a rich history of Protestant republicanism in the tradition of William Morris, John Keats, John Milton and Thomas Paine. Methinks we pay too much attention to the history which divides us, and not enough to the rich history of Protestant republicanism which has the potential to unite us.

  • JD

    Methinks we pay too much attention to the history which divides us, and not enough to the rich history of Protestant republicanism which has the potential to unite us.

    Bravo. Well said.