North in Crisis

Writing in this weekend’s Village magazine, Eoin Ó Murchú says one of the reasons the North is in crisis because parties north and south of the border seem more interested in damaging Sinn Féin for party political reasons than fighting for peace or the rights of northern nationalists.
He also makes a valid point that Michael McDowell sees no problem in honouring his uncle who died “gun in hand” fighting against his legitimate government in the Civil War or the state honouring Kevin Barry but denounces the late Bobby Sands as a criminal because he was convicted of a criminal offence.

“North in Crisis
Once again the peace process is in crisis. How many times have we written that. But the present crisis is, of course, only the latest in a series of issues desperately grabbed for as a means of either stopping the process altogether or changing its direction.

At the beginning of the peace process, there was the Washington Three, the demand for full IRA disarmament before talks could begin. Then decommissioning became the problem, with Unionists refusing to accept the word of a Canadian General with impeccable MI6 connections. IRA acts of putting arms beyond use were repeatedly dismissed as worthless.

Then, when final and complete decommissioning, and probable IRA disbandment, were on the cards, photographic evidence of the IRA’s humiliation was demanded. And in case that question gets resolved, the goal posts have now been moved again and “criminality” is the latest buzz word designed to thwart the peace process.

If anyone didn’t understand what it all means, Jean McConville was dug up again by unscrupulous politicians eager to damn the whole IRA resistance to British rule as a criminal enterprise. Indeed, Justice Minister, Michael McDowell, on RTE’s Questions and Answers explicitly denounced the late Bobby Sands as a criminal because he hand been convicted of a criminal offence. Well, so was Kevin Barry!

But perhaps more pertinently the minister might be asked if his grandfather, Eoin McNeill, was a criminal when he headed an organisation that illegally imported guns into Ireland for use against the British; or was his uncle a criminal when he died gun in hand during the Civil War fighting against a government that Michael McDowell regards as legitimate?

In a more sober moment, the minister has recognised that the good faith of people involved in political struggle does not depend on you agreeing with them: all of those, the minister said, who took part in the Civil War and other struggles, were fighting for Ireland as they understood it.

And so were the Provos.

Personally, I’ve been a long-time opponent of the armed struggle, but that has never blinded me to the genuineness of the convictions of those engaged in it. And a recognition of that is a part of the peace process.

Republicans are not asking for and do not expect others to agree with their analysis or their past actions, anymore now than they now endorse the bigotry and sectarianism practised by Unionists. By if we are to make progress, we must draw a line under the past and move on with mutual respect for all involved.

And in this respect Bertie Ahern is right to say the politics of exclusion haven’t worked in the past and will not work in the future; we must get back to the negotiating table.

But one central point must be clear: it isn’t a football match, with the general public sitting in the stands watching the match on the pitch, cheering and booing the different teams as appropriate. It’s not a jostling for careers and prospects between politicians from the different parties. It’s about the rights of ordinary people, and their involvement in running their own lives and determining their own futures.

In this regard, Sinn Fein doesn’t really matter, for the issue to be dealt with is about the rights of the nationalist community in the North to be free of British military occupation, surveillance and repression, to have a police force that treats them with respect and equality, to have an honest judicial system, to be free from discrimination in employment and economic prospects, to be free to develop their language and culture, to be equal citizens with the right to pursue the legitimate aspiration of a United Ireland; it’s about their right to be involved in the administration of their affairs.

And if any political party, north or south is unwilling to cooperate with Sinn Fein in achieving those rights, they have a responsibility to tell us what they propose to do to achieve them.

To date, however, I can barely record a single voice of condemnation of RUC criminality, for example, or a single espousal of the rights I listed above from the PDs, from Fine Gael or Labour, while Fianna Fail run scared at the first sign of media criticism.

But this the bankruptcy of Irish politics. All issues are reduced by our politicians to what it means for their careers or their votes. Sinn Fein is an electoral threat to Fianna Fail and Labour; Michael McDowell is fighting Fine Gael for the anti-Republican vote. In the face of such weighty considerations what do the rights matter of a few nationalists who don’t have votes in our state?”

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    ‘Pat and George – what was the difference between the killings of the Cairo Gang and the Killings of the Gibraltar three ?’

    One was a group of British military spies killed in Dublin and the other were a number of IRA members killed in Gibraltar. Didn’t you know that?

    Rebecca,

    ‘The point I was making was that there was provocation, does being a spy eliminate ones entitlement to life?’

    Come now Rebecca we were dealing with the Empire at this stage. Could the illustrious British Army have been so provoked by the assassination of one of their crack units that they decided to slaughter civilians at a GAA match.
    Were they not satisfied with bayoneting and shooting the prisoners in their care to satisfy their bloodlust?
    You are coming very close to justifying murder.

  • Davros

    That’s it pat ? You accept that the killings in Gibraltar were as legitimate as the Killings of the Cairo Gang ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    I having never stated any type of killing is legitimate. What on earth gave you that idea?

    Your analogy is I believe flawed. The Cairo Gang whatever their methods operated with the full backing of the state they represented. Knowing full well that whatever actions they employed and the results thereof they would never be held responsible for their actions before any legal tribunal.
    The same quite obviously could not be said for those killed in Gibraltar.

  • George

    Davros,
    one huge difference is nobody on this planet is saying Savage, McCann and Farrell were civil servants, one similarity is they were both exjudicially executed by a state at a time of war.

    Another difference would be that the Irish state openly admits it had no intention of taking the Cairo Gang alive. I don’t recall Collins justifying the executions by saying they all were turning for guns hidden in their pyjamas.

    Willowfield,
    I didn’t ask about “ROI courts”, I asked if you accept the view of what the Irish state considers a murder too.

    The state considers those who died on Bloody Sunday to have been victims and the act carried out by the British Army to have been an atrocity. Do you accept that view?

  • willowfield

    cg

    “I don’t know whether they were murder or not. How would I? Hence I’m waiting for Saville. What’s the problem?” … So you will be waiting for evidence before accusing the IRA of the northern bank job?

    That doesn’t follow.

  • Davros

    The Cairo Gang whatever their methods operated with the full backing of the state they represented. Knowing full well that whatever actions they employed and the results thereof they would never be held responsible for their actions before any legal tribunal.
    The same quite obviously could not be said for those killed in Gibraltar.

    Not according to republican theology 🙂
    According to Mitchel and fellow travellers, they were agents of the legitimate government of Ireland…. and as such would have been held accountable for their actions to the IRA .
    Secondly according to the same beliefs, they too were killed on foreign soil.

  • willowfield

    George

    I didn’t ask about “ROI courts”, I asked if you accept the view of what the Irish state considers a murder too.

    And what’s the difference? Does the “Irish state” take a different view from the courts? If so, that is rather worrying.

    The state considers those who died on Bloody Sunday to have been victims and the act carried out by the British Army to have been an atrocity. Do you accept that view?

    Obviously those who died were victims!! I don’t know if it was an “atrocity” – it’s certainly possible. I’ll be able to form an opinion on that when I know what happened. When did the “Irish state” say it was an atrocity?

    You never explained why you think I would know whether or not the Bloody Sunday killings were murder. Why? Do you know? If so, how?

    Nor did you explain how I was being dishonest.

    Nor did you retract your statement that was without integrity and decency for not stating an opinion on Bloody Sunday, even though I have stated opinions on the matter many times.

    Poor show, George. Poor show.

    And still you won’t tell us what lies behind your questioning.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    maybe then you should have addressed you question to someone who believes in ‘republican theology’ (whatever that is) or even Mitchel himself.

    Again your analogy is quite wrong. The Cairo Gang were operating in a jurisdiction over which their employers held writ and operated the legal system. The legal system was used to their advantage and absolved them and their colleagues of any criminal status.
    The same cannot be said for those killed in Gibraltar.

  • Davros

    I having never stated any type of killing is legitimate. What on earth gave you that idea?

    This

    IRA attack on the Cairo Gang a bunch of militry murderers and spies who more than met their match. As Churchill remarked at the time, ‘they were spies what did they expect’. You would find it difficult to justify the tag civil servants.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    “And what’s the difference? Does the “Irish state” take a different view from the courts? If so, that is rather worrying.”

    This is type of pointless answer that makes discussion impossible. The courts only take views on cases that are put before them, the state has a wider remit. The Irish state would speak out on East Timor, for example, not the courts.

    I asked for your view on Bloody Sunday, not what you know as fact.

    You say “why do you ask” these questions, I say “why don’t you answer”. Stalemate.

    At least you appear to accept that those killed on Bloody Sunday were victims not perpetrators. I’ve got some information out of you after all.

  • IJP

    But then again i’m critical of the police and charlatans like the Alliance Party.

    Yes, but you can’t give a single concrete reason why!

    there is no way of knowing where they are.

    Or indeed that they even exist in the current police force. So why are we talking about this?

    These people have to be identified and rooted out.

    You’ve said this before, and I’ve asked you how, and you’ve refused to answer.

    You choose to ignore the point that the police did not take any action against their own members involved in murder and nor was there a will to confront this reality from within the legal profession.

    No, I chose to challenge you on who the murderers within the current police service are and how we can ‘root them out’. You refuse to answer.

    It’s all very easy making demands, but when it comes to working out how they are to be delivered, Sinn Féin prefers to ‘mope’ on the sidelines rather than find real solutions to real problems.

    It is all well expressing sympathy and feigning outrage, the point is these people were never held to account for their actions and their is nothing in place to ensure they ever will.

    You’re all passive. There’s nothing ‘feigned’ about my and others’ sympathy, I’m simply asking you how this is to be done. You can’t answer.

    Your stance will not bring about stability as you have not addressed the problem of murderers in the ranks of the PSNI.

    No, you haven’t addressed the problem. I’ve asked you time and time again how this is to be done and time and time again you’ve simply ‘moped’.

    I am not aware of any murderers within the ranks of the PSNI and even you admit it’s merely ‘probable’. It’s hard to solve a problem when there is no evidence it exists.

    I am aware of corruption within the PSNI, of blatant lying by the PSNI (on several occasions directly to me), and of total disorganization in the PSNI. I have written to and met with Government, the Police Ombudsman (that arch securocrat Unionist Nuala O’Loan), and DPPs to try to resolve these.

    What have you done?

    But then again Alliance were never seriously concerned about police abuses in the past after all it would have upset your sponsors in the NIO.

    Ah, the usual trick of someone who can’t answer the question – invent stuff! No, you and SF have no interest in really resolving these matters and it would remove IRA control of ‘republican heartlands’. And we wouldn’t want that, would we?

    If you want something done, get your hands dirty and take responsibility for resolving it. Democratically.

  • Rebecca Black

    “You are coming very close to justifying murder”

    Hardly Pat, I condemn what happened in Croke Park that sunday, I am merely trying to plant the idea in your propaganda riddled mind that maybe it was’t quite so black and white. These are people we are talking about not machines.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,

    your 10.44am post is just bad analysis.

    Rebecca,

    it was you who stated that there was provocation for the murders at Croke Pk. I think I have probably embarrased you as your 3.46pm yesterday has been exposed as childish jibberish, you appeared not to be in full possession of the facts. You are finally left trying to ‘explain’ the motives of British Army murderers. But then again unionists usually do handstands and all sorts of contortions to try and justify excesses of their security forces.
    But by all means when in full possession of said facts please give me a shout

    IJP,

    Eleven police officers were involved in the murder of Nora Mc Cabe and the subsequent perjury around the investigation and inquest into her death. It is safe to assume that some of those involved are still serving officers.
    At the inquests into ALL the children killed by plastic bullets it was found in ALL cases that the children were killed in non riot situations. Why did the police kill these children? Why has no police officer ever served a day in jail over these murders? Why didn’t even one police officer lose their job.

    I believe that the Patten reforms do not go far enough as I have stated previously on this site, though you choose to ignore. Every police officer who at the time of the changeover from the RUC to the PSNI should have been vetted to ensure that they were not involved in cases such as the ones quoted above. People like that have no place in a policing service.
    For all the hand wringing by Alliance and its’ hangers on there are no reforms on the table that addresses the presence of killers in the PSNI.

    I believe that the SDLP and SF were wrong not to insist on the vetting of RUC officers who wanted employment in the PSNI and should insert this demand into any future political negotiations.

    Control of republican heartlands? Perhaps you and apologists for the police force should ask themselves how such a situation arose and still does exist. Why even to this day people wouldn’t even look at a police officer in the street. Try to understand why only 6 people visited Rosemount Barracks in a single year.

    The rest of your post wanders off into Alliance Fantasia, (an unsightly place) that doesn’t merit a reply.

  • willowfield

    What lies behind your questioning, George? What lies behind your questioning?

    Are you trying to distract attention away from cg’s claims that PIRA killings were not murders?

  • Rebecca Black

    “But then again unionists usually do handstands and all sorts of contortions to try and justify excesses of their security forces.”

    but to republicans every atrocity carried out by their comrades is perfectly justified and a good deed? Your hypocracy is sickening, at least I can look back in history, recognise what the British army did was wrong and admit that. You merely try to depersonalise every murder commited by republicans.

  • willowfield

    George?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Rebecca,

    please when in a hole it is best to stop digging. I don’t defend any atrocity as a good deed, never have, never will. What hypocricy are you talking about that is making you so sick? I have never tried to depersonalise any murders committed by republicans.

    Would you like to try again.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Rebecca.

    “but to republicans every atrocity carried out by their comrades is perfectly justified and a good deed?”

    Republicans may think that, but that’s beside the point. I think those republicans who treat the IRA like it’s their football team are wrong. No matter what the context, Enniskillen was wrong, Bloody Friday was wrong, La Mon was wrong. I could go on. We all could.

    But you overlook the fact that you are adopting the same attitude to state crimes. You treat “your” side’s violence in exactly the same way republicans treat “their” side’s violence.

    Indeed the assumption that the state never committed any crimes is more completely entrenched and unchallenged in the unionist mainstream than the converse assumption that the IRA never committed any crimes is entrenched in the nationalist – hell, even republican – mainstream.

    So your reference to the Cairo Gang as “policemen and civil servants” is instructive. You really don’t have the slightest conception of how blood-boilingly provocative a statement that was, do you?

    So when you say to Pat: “Your hypocrisy is sickening,” you are equally passing judgement on yourself.

    “At least I can look back in history, recognise what the British army did was wrong and admit that.”

    Can you? I don’t accept that you have admitted anything – just employed the well-honed unionist tactic of saying, “yes, it’s terrible but…”

    Unionist politicians never denounce state violence against nationalists though, on moral grounds they ought to. They do, of course, denounce loyalist violence, but these are almost as a rule, completely empty rhetorical exercises. When unionist politicians make their empty denunciations of loyalist violence, it’s purely for the unionist audience that they do so. It’s all about shoring up respectable unionist opinion.

    We have seen evidence of it on Slugger, where unionist posters quite seriously argue that the two main unionist parties are not connected with “paramilitarism” or “violence” or some such banal euphemism for our communal madness, and point as evidence to the formulaic denunciations that provided a raison d’etre for local politicians in the past. Such claims are usually met with nationalist rage because nationalists literally cannot believe that unionists believe that crap. It’s insulting because we automatically assume that you’re lying, fobbing us off with total bullshit. We assume that because you heard the same “it’s terrible and I condemn it but…” statements that we did.

    Except you’re not lying. Wrong, but not lying. It’s a bit like the way the Republican party in the States has a Black Republican wing with about half a dozen members, half of whom are white. It’s not about getting blacks to vote Republican, it’s about convincing whites that the Republican party isn’t racist. Or like in Philip Roth’s new book, the Plot Against America, the anti-semitic front-runner in the Presidential race gets a high-profile rabbi to speak at his nomination. “He’s koshering him for the goyim,” is the explanation given by one character for this particular turkey’s championing of Christmas.

    This is what we’re seeing here Rebecca. If nothing else your position lacks intellectual rigour.

    So tell me about the massacre at Croke Park, in terms other than how the mass-murderers were “provoked” by the killings of “policemen and civil servants”. That’s not admitting anything, that’s mitigation. That’s nothing more than declining to cheer.

    Men, women and children massacred by gunmen opening fire into the crowd at a sporting event, the gunmen deployed on the orders of an imperial government looking to maintain its position despite the democratically-expressed wishes of the population. Now that IS black and white.

    It’s clear that you had never heard of the Cairo Gang, and so were completely genuine in your mistake when you referred to them as “policemen and civil servants”.

    This being the case, don’t you think it’s instructive that you immediately assumed they were the innocent victims of a bunch of republican murderers? Isn’t it instructive that your assumption misled you so badly?

    Clearly you are guided by the assumption that everyone killed while in the employ of the British government is a victim, and those who kill them murderers.

    Now that is black and white thinking.

  • George

    Willowfield?

    Why won’t you answer the questions rather than asking why I’m asking?

    We can all do as you’re doing and argue questions with questions but it’s pointless, don’t you think?

    If you’re not willing to engage honestly, why should I?

    PS. I don’t think cg needs any kind of smokescreen from me and I’d go one step further to say he wouldn’t want one.

  • willowfield

    I’ve answered all your questions, George.

    Now tell us, what lies behind them. Why were you asking me if I thought the Bloody Sunday killings were murders? Why are you so scared to explain yourself?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    George.

    Ignore Willowfield. That’s the best advice I can give you.

  • willowfield

    You’re pathetic, Billy.

  • George

    Rebecca,

    “I believe working for the government means being a civil servant.”

    That is patently ridiculous. A civil servant is a public official. The Cairo Gang were not public officials. It’s obvious you were unaware of who these people were so just admit it.

    “The point I was making was that there was provocation, does being a spy eliminate ones entitlement to life?”

    It was war. The country was under occupation by a foreign army. The cabinet of the democratically elected Irish Republic met and passed sentence that 20 out of 35 spies (foreign insurgents) were to be executed.

    They duly were. Very simple really. You’ll be telling me that the 70 odd Anti-Treaty IRA men executued in the Civil War were murdered next. Were they atrocities too?

  • willowfield

    George, what were you trying to get at with your questioning? Why so secretive?

  • willowfield

    By the way, George, the country wasn’t “under occupation”: it was still part of the UK at that stage.

  • mogo

    Davros doesn’t i ran away suggest that there were no armed republicans in the area which was my point. Your comment seems a veiled attempt to mitigate/understand the context of the defenceless being burned out by loyal sons of Ulster

  • IJP

    Assume?

    What have you done about this issue? Have you challenged the legitimate authorities on whether these people are still serving? If so, what response were you given? If not, why not?

    Perhaps you and apologists for the police force should ask themselves how such a situation arose and still does exist.

    1. The answer the that question is easy – terrorists who have no interest in democracy or law-and-order have taken over and their existence continues to be justified by major political parties and those who vote for them. Which indicates they have no interest in democracy or law-and-order. They should at least be honest about that. That’s not unique to ‘republican heartlands’ (a totally ethnic nationalist term used by SF, lest anyone think it’s not an ethnic nationalist group), it is also found in many ‘loyalist estates’ (likewise re Unionist representatives).

    2. You imply that I am an ‘apologist’ for the police force. Kindly explain.

    Do you consider yourself an ‘apologist for terrorism and those who oppose democracy and law-and-order’?

    Try to understand why only 6 people visited Rosemount Barracks in a single year.

    I know fine well – intimidation, general culture of opposing law-and-order and democracy, etc etc etc. Again, far from unique to ‘republican heartlands’.

    The rest of your post wanders off into Alliance Fantasia, (an unsightly place) that doesn’t merit a reply

    That’s code for the fact that my post makes points you can’t deal with, which is in turn the sign of a lost argument.

    Deal with them, based solely on what I write, and I’ll deal with yours, based solely on what you write. That way we can all have a satisfactory debate.

  • IJP

    Ignore Willowfield. That’s the best advice I can give you.

    Not that the response is much better, but that’s blatantly man not ball.

    Why can you not just deal with the points raised? Not doing so would indicate to me that your argument is weaker than it originally appeared.

  • maca

    “Why can you not just deal with the points raised? Not doing so would indicate to me that your argument is weaker than it originally appeared.”

    Speaking of black and white Ian 😉
    Sometimes there is just no point, of course that’s just my own view of that discussion.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Which indicates they have no interest in democracy or law-and-order.’

    So in that analysis everyone who votes for SF has no interest in law and order and democracy. A very sweeping statement, based on what? A clear indication pf why Alliance is rotting and collapsing. Ever wonder why people in these areas, in the sanctity of the ballot box avoid Alliance like the plague? It would be more honest to state that they don’t have any interest in your version of democracy and law and order.

    ‘I know fine well – intimidation, general culture of opposing law-and-order and democracy, etc etc etc. Again, far from unique to ‘republican heartlands’

    Again very sweeping with no evidence to back it up. A more honest assessment would be that the people of that area despise the police because it is inherently sectarian and was a force that was and is used as a political weapon against them. Take a few of your Alliance colleagues, go up to Ballymurphy and do a vox pop on the PSNI pre Xmas raids. But then again that would spoil the version of life in Alliance Fantasia.

    Please save the propaganda for the

  • Davros

    Davros doesn’t i ran away suggest that there were no armed republicans in the area which was my point.

    Hardly mogo – that would be YWT. You Weren’t There.That republicans shot 2 men dead during the disturbances proves that they were there and they were armed.

    Your comment seems a veiled attempt to mitigate/understand the context of the defenceless being burned out by loyal sons of Ulster

    History is like that. It might suit some to edit out some parts and use emotive keywords to strengthen their case but they aren’t left with history, merely propaganda that ends up damaging their chances of reaching an accomodation with their opponents. I don’t think one should present these happenings out of context. Bloody Friday needs to be viewed in the light of Bloody Sunday.
    Greysteel in the light of the Shankill bomb.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Oh don’t scold IJP. Willow and I have an understanding…

  • Davros

    Maca, WF is being unfaithful to you with BP! 😉

  • maca

    Bitch!

  • IJP

    Billy

    Oh well in that case… 🙂

    Pat

    I note your inability to answer straight questions, like what have you done to improve the police service? Or do you think your cherished ‘republican heartlands’ gain from being run by ‘baseball-bat-first questions-later’ IRA militia?

    Let’s have some straight answers.

    So in that analysis everyone who votes for SF has no interest in law and order and democracy.

    No, I said that everyone who votes SF is casting a vote in opposition to democracy and law-and-order. That much is quite clear. They should not try to deny it.

    A very sweeping statement, based on what?

    1. SF’s belief that the IRA is the legitimate Government of Ireland rendering voting itself pointless.

    2. SF’s opposition to the legitimate police service and consequent failure to secure any improvements to it whatsoever, therefore rendering law-and-order in certain areas impossible.

    3. SF’s continuing support for private militia as a means of maintaining control over towns and districts.

    etc etc etc

    A clear indication pf why Alliance is rotting and collapsing.

    What do you base that on?

    I’m not referring to ‘my’ version of democracy and law-and-order, I’m referring to democracy and law-and-order under any objective definition.

    A more honest assessment would be that the people of that area despise the police because it is inherently sectarian and was a force that was and is used as a political weapon against them.

    People are turning away from parties perceived as more ‘centre’ in fear of the ‘other side’, as politicians have shown no ability to act responsibly on behalf of the whole community, instead preferring to MOPE on behalf of selected groups as part of the sectarian carve-up. That’s exactly the same in ‘loyalist estates’. SF and the DUP gain their votes by being the most loathed parties in NI, thus getting the ‘other side’ to vote for the ‘other extreme’. That’s where MOPEry gets you – mutual distrust, mutual ignorance, lack of respect, an unaccountable police service, an undemocratic state, and no prospect of progress.

    Some of us prefer to do something about it.

    Take a few of your Alliance colleagues, go up to Ballymurphy and do a vox pop on the PSNI pre Xmas raids.

    Take a few of your SF friends outside the ‘republican heartlands’ and do a vox pop on the IRA. Indeed, stay within the ‘republican heartlands’ and ask people what they really think of being run by private militia. They’d prefer a fair, accountable police service – but SF is doing precisely nothing to attain that, as we’ve already established.

    Your implication that everyone who lives and works in ‘republican heartlands’ speaks and thinks the same way won’t wash with me. I’ve seen the falling voter turnout, I’ve asked people in them precisely what they’ve gained since 1998 and received dejected response after dejected response – and basically I’m nowhere near as ignorant about ‘republican heartlands’ as you’d like to think.

    But then again that would spoil the version of life in Alliance Fantasia.

    Labelling again. Another example of a lost argument.

    Rational debate based on facts and what people actually opine is much more rewarding you know.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    IJP

    “SF’s belief that the IRA is the legitimate Government of Ireland rendering voting itself pointless.”

    But is that Sinn Fein policy? This is a charge that has been thrown around with great abandon in recent days, and it may well be the case, but didn’t Sinn Fein recognise the legitimacy of Dail Eireann at the schismatic Ard Fheis of 1986? And if they recognise the legitimacy of Dail Eireann, doesn’t that mean that they do NOT claim sovereign legitimacy for themselves?

  • George

    Billy,
    SF did vote to end abstention but I don’t know if that means they don’t recognise the IRA as the legitimate government of Ireland. Any party members about with a copy of the party’s constitution handy?

    Can
    I do smile at what Martin McGuinness said to those who walked out at the time:

    Don’t leave my friends, stay and I will lead you the Republic…..

  • George

    Billy,
    have this from Republican SF on the contradiction reflected in the Sinn Fein constitution towards the GFA where it states, “re-asserted the right of the Irish Nation to sovereign independence” and “Whereas the people of Ireland never relinquished the claim to separate nationhood”.

    The constitution continues, “A, That the allegiance of Irishmen and Irishwomen is due to the sovereign republic proclaimed in 1916.

    B, That the sovereignty and unity of the Republic are inalienable and non-judicable”.

    For your puritan Irish Republican I would assume that the GFA just meant the establishment of another partionist neo-colonial parliament on this island so I would extrapolate from that that the constitutional contradiction holds for recognising Dail Eireann.

  • cg

    “Any party members about with a copy of the party’s constitution handy?”

    George

    The party has set up a working group headed by Pat Doherty to look into the constitution. My understanding is that this new revised constitution will be presented to the Ard Fheis in March for ratification.

    With regards legitimacy it’s my understanding that the Dail is recognised as the legitimate government. Hopefully Ahern will enact the changes recommended by the committee in relation to northern participation.

    For too long politicians in the 26 counties have just paid lip service to a United Ireland but now is the time to plan for it.

  • willowfield

    Further to Billy and George’s discussion about whether the Provos believe that the PIRA Army Council is the only legitimate government of Ireland, I, too, would be interested to know how this position is reconciled with the Provo decision in 1986 to recognise the Southern Irish parliament.

    Can someone explain?

  • J Kelly

    Take a few of your SF friends outside the ‘republican heartlands’

    IJP maybe you have been sleeping over the past number of years but the republican constituency stretches right across this island and growing. When you are at the golf club or in the pub at the weekend you maybe sitting beside a republican. Don’t panic its not infectious.

  • George

    cg,
    So Republican Sinn Fein obviously have a case about the contradiction then. Or is there another reason for updating it and sending it for ratification in March?

    Just wondering but do you believe it is possible that Bertie might have been advised that there should be no movement on the speaking rights for Northerners until this contradiction is removed?

    Or are RSF the only people who pore over the SF constitution with fine tooth combs?

    Willowfield,
    my brain hurts on this one but I think to have any chance of understanding the logic on this one you would have to come at it from the angle of the Provos and SF being two separate organisations.

  • Rebecca Black

    “I don’t defend any atrocity as a good deed, never have, never will. What hypocricy are you talking about that is making you so sick? I have never tried to depersonalise any murders committed by republicans.”

    Neither do I, I do however condemn atrocities, will you condemn the IRA killing of the Cairo gang?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘I note your inability to answer straight questions, like what have you done to improve the police service? Or do you think your cherished ‘republican heartlands’ gain from being run by ‘baseball-bat-first questions-later’ IRA militia?’

    I have already stated that nothing can be done until the murderers and perjurers are rooted out. They have to be vetted and shown the door. I have stated that should be a pre condition in any further negotiations. The PSNI will continue to be treated as pariahs by the majority of nationalists untiul this occurs. Wishing the problem away wont wash.

    ‘No, I said that everyone who votes SF is casting a vote in opposition to democracy and law-and-order. That much is quite clear. They should not try to deny it.’

    Baseless garbage, it could be argued that they are in fact voting for a new democratic order and in protest at a sectarian, biased law & order system that is in need of fundamental reform. Forgive me but you are the last person who could tell why 340k people vote SF.

    ‘What do you base that on?’

    The fall off in Alliance voters and their inabilty, through lack of a membership and structures to find seats across all constituencies is i’m afraid for you painfully obvious. East of the Bann you party is non existent and is basically confiend to unionist areas. Understandable since you belong to a unionist party.

    Youe analysis on why people vote SF (and to an extent the DUP) show how out of touch with reality you really are. People vote for SF for a wide variety of reasons, from out and out republicans to their excellent constituency work. You really are behaving like an ostrich and perhaps helps to explain the demise of Alliance.

    ‘Take a few of your SF friends outside the ‘republican heartlands’ and do a vox pop on the IRA.’

    They are despised outside their areas of support, only a fool would fail to recognise that. Just as only a fool fails to recognise the problems with the PSNI and unionist parties, including Alliance, in those same areas.

    ‘Your implication that everyone who lives and works in ‘republican heartlands’ speaks and thinks the same way won’t wash with me. I’ve seen the falling voter turnout, I’ve asked people in them precisely what they’ve gained since 1998 and received dejected response after dejected response – and basically I’m nowhere near as ignorant about ‘republican heartlands’ as you’d like to think.’

    Your analysis here is just plainly untrue. No one behaves in that manner and I did not suggest they did. In republican heartlands the
    Alliance Party is afraid even to stand candidates, such is the mauling they received. Do yourself a favour and go and look at the SF vote over the last couple of elections, since 1998 if thats your choice. It is rising you seem to be the only poster (nationalist or unionist) on this site who doesn’t seem to recognise that. An indicator that you really have your finger on the pulse of whats going on (not).

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Rebecca,

    I look at the Cairo Gang episode as an historical fact (90 years ago) and something I cannot identify with, even in sympathy. It has non of the immediacy of the last 30 odd years that affected everyone who lived through it. I would feel more competent commenting on that.

    In historical terms a bunch of killers were killed by another bunch of killers before they could start killing themselves, says it all really.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    after some searching (not soul I must emphasise)here’s the 1998 constitutional amendment for the Good Friday Agreement “to enable successful Sinn Féin candidates to participate in elected institutions on the island of Ireland.”

    “Therefore, sections 1b, 1f, 5 and 6 of Sinn Féin’s Constitution & Rules as amended will now read as follows;

    Sinn Féin Constitution and Rules. (Sections 1b, 1f,5 and 6) as amended.

    1. Membership.

    (b) No person who is a member of any political party organisation or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who, if elected, intend taking part in the proceedings of the Westminster parliament, or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who sign any form or give any kind of written or verbal undertaking of intention to take their seats in this institution, shall be admitted to membership or allowed to retain membership.

    (f) No member of the British armed forces shall be eligible for membership.

    No person who has taken any oath of allegiance to the Westminster parliament shall be eligible for membership so long as he/she retains the office or position involving such oaths or until he/she repudiates the oath of declaration in writing to a cumann.

    5. Sinn Féin candidates in Westminster Parliamentary elections shall, on selection and before nomination, publicly and solemnly pledge themselves, as follows:

    “I ………………………. freely and solemnly declare:

    “a That, if elected, I will not sit in, nor take part in, the proceedings of the Westminster Parliament.

    “b That, pending the establishment of the parliament of the Irish Republic, in all matters pertaining to the duties and functions of an elected representative I will be guided by and hold myself amenable to all directions and instructions issued to me by the Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Féin.

    “c That, pending the establishment of the parliament of the Irish Republic, I will, at any time, if called upon to do so by a majority of the members of the Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Féin, resign my seat as an elected representative of the constituency of ……………………………….. .

    “dThat I take this pledge voluntarily, of my own free will”.

    That Sinn Féin candidates will take pledges 5b, 5c and 5d.

    6 The Ard Chomhairle must ratify all candidates selected to contest elections….”

    Cg,
    I never knew SF had its own Rule 21 in place, banning British soldiers.

    I assume PSNI officers are allowed be members of the party. Do you know any?

    Rebecca,
    I hate to be repetitive but the Cairo gang were executed under the orders of the democratically elected Irish government, Dail Eireann, in a time of terrible war and danger to our country so why on earth should any Irish citizen be asked to condemn it?

    These people were in Ireland to usurp democracy by violent means.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    after some searching (not soul I must emphasise)here’s the 1998 constitutional amendment for the Good Friday Agreement “to enable successful Sinn Féin candidates to participate in elected institutions on the island of Ireland.”

    “Therefore, sections 1b, 1f, 5 and 6 of Sinn Féin’s Constitution & Rules as amended will now read as follows;

    Sinn Féin Constitution and Rules. (Sections 1b, 1f,5 and 6) as amended.

    1. Membership.

    (b) No person who is a member of any political party organisation or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who, if elected, intend taking part in the proceedings of the Westminster parliament, or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who sign any form or give any kind of written or verbal undertaking of intention to take their seats in this institution, shall be admitted to membership or allowed to retain membership.

    (f) No member of the British armed forces shall be eligible for membership.

    No person who has taken any oath of allegiance to the Westminster parliament shall be eligible for membership so long as he/she retains the office or position involving such oaths or until he/she repudiates the oath of declaration in writing to a cumann.

    5. Sinn Féin candidates in Westminster Parliamentary elections shall, on selection and before nomination, publicly and solemnly pledge themselves, as follows:

    “I ………………………. freely and solemnly declare:

    “a That, if elected, I will not sit in, nor take part in, the proceedings of the Westminster Parliament.

    “b That, pending the establishment of the parliament of the Irish Republic, in all matters pertaining to the duties and functions of an elected representative I will be guided by and hold myself amenable to all directions and instructions issued to me by the Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Féin.

    “c That, pending the establishment of the parliament of the Irish Republic, I will, at any time, if called upon to do so by a majority of the members of the Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Féin, resign my seat as an elected representative of the constituency of ……………………………….. .

    “dThat I take this pledge voluntarily, of my own free will”.

    That Sinn Féin candidates will take pledges 5b, 5c and 5d.

    6 The Ard Chomhairle must ratify all candidates selected to contest elections….”

    Cg,
    I never knew SF had its own Rule 21 in place, banning British soldiers.

    I assume PSNI officers are allowed be members of the party. Do you know any?

    Rebecca,
    I hate to be repetitive but the Cairo gang were executed under the orders of the democratically elected Irish government, Dail Eireann, in a time of terrible war and danger to our country so why on earth should any Irish citizen be asked to condemn it?

    These people were in Ireland to usurp democracy by violent means.

  • willowfield

    Pat McLarnon

    I have already stated that nothing can be done until the murderers and perjurers are rooted out. They have to be vetted and shown the door. I have stated that should be a pre condition in any further negotiations. The PSNI will continue to be treated as pariahs by the majority of nationalists untiul this occurs. Wishing the problem away wont wash.

    How come PSF is not making this a condition for supporting policing, then? And what happened to the previous excuses about “Patten”?

    George

    my brain hurts on this one but I think to have any chance of understanding the logic on this one you would have to come at it from the angle of the Provos and SF being two separate organisations.

    The “Provos” refers to the Provisional movement, which includes both PIRA and PSF. I can’t see how one can recognise the Southern parliament and the other cannot. That is a huge contradiction.

    Thanks for digging out the constitutional amendment, but it doesn’t answer the question about recognition of the Southern parliament vis-à-vis claiming the Provo Army Council is the legitimate government of Ireland.

    As an aside, though, what did this 1998 change mean? What was the previous position regarding Westminster? The Provos had been standing in Westminster elections long before 1998.

    I never knew SF had its own Rule 21 in place, banning British soldiers.

    Nor did I? I wonder is this unlawful discrimination?

  • George

    Willowfield,
    the “Provos” refers to the Provisional IRA only in Irish/nationalist/republican/southern circles.

    Apparently, the SF Constitution changed in 1986 by removing a section in Part 6 that stated going into Leinster House or Stormont “will be regarded as an act of treachery, to be dealt with as such”.

    Ruairi O Bradaigh in his 2004 Ard Fheis speech says SF broke its constitution by going into Dail Eireann and believes the 1986 Ard Fheis to be unrepresentative.

    His party sticks to the older constitution but I don’t know if the one below is one before the 1969/1970 split or before the 1986 one. It’s hard to keep up.

    1. MEMBERSHIP
    […]
    (b) No person who is a member of a political party organisation or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who, if elected, intend taking part in the proceedings of the British parliament or partition assemblies by which Ireland is ruled, or who approves of or supports the candidature of persons who sign any form or give any written or verbal undertaking of intention to take their seat in these institutions shall be admitted to membership. Any such person automatically dismisses himself/herself from membership.”

    Candidates contesting election to (the All-Ireland) Dáil Éireann are required to take a pledge which includes the wording that they accept that taking their seats in Westminster or partitionist assemblies is “an act of treachery, to be dealt with as such”.

  • cg

    George

    I very much doubt if any members of the psni are members of Sinn Féin

  • Davros

    Why do you think Bertie and Tony are so certain then cg ? 😉

  • cg

    “Why do you think Bertie and Tony are so certain then cg”

    Certain about what?

  • Davros

    SF having advance knowledge …..

  • cg

    Of what?

  • Davros

    Of the IRA participating/not participating (delete as appropriate)in a certain robbery 😉

  • cg

    What so called robbery would that be?

  • Davros

    I cannot say, it’s sub-judice. ( Is that the right terminology ? I’m just a simple yokel from the sticks)

  • cg

    “the sticks”

    So you don’t just vote stoop but you’re a stickie as well, now that is interesting 😉

  • George

    cg,
    do you know why the SF constitution is being revised/updated. Surely a reason has been given.

  • cg

    “it’s sub-judice”

    It’s a pity more commentators weren’t like that 😉

  • cg

    “cg,
    do you know why the SF constitution is being revised/updated. Surely a reason has been given.”

    My understanding is that its updating is for clarity amongst members

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Pat

    Would you apply your ‘No killers allowed’ rule to the Policing Board, to any future Policing Minister, or the District Policing Partnerships?

  • George

    “My understanding is that its updating is for clarity amongst members”

    That’s certainly a politician’s answer.

    What needed to to be clarified and what brought about the need for a clarification?

  • Davros

    George – the reason is given here on AP/RN

  • George

    “My understanding is that its updating is for clarity amongst members”

    That’s certainly a politician’s answer.

    What needed to to be clarified and what brought about the need for a clarification?

  • cg

    “That’s certainly a politician’s answer.”

    LOL, what else did you expect

    “What needed to to be clarified and what brought about the need for a clarification?”

    George you certainly are a suspicious Free Stater 😉

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Gonzo,

    convicted IRA members are not to be allowed to join the police, because it would be of grave concern to the people and would cause concern primarily in the unionist community. My gripe is with those who were not pursued with the same vigour or in cases where the legal process turned a blind eye to their activities. In that case I ask others to take note of my concerns

    As for your points on the Police Board etc I am asking for consistency right across the board. Put simply, yes.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow.
    I know I’m wasting my time here, even though I am about to counter your assertions with fact, but here goes anyway, just for the record.
    “The “Provos” refers to the Provisional movement, which includes both PIRA and PSF.’’
    There is no such thing as `Provisional Sinn Fein’. It doesn’t exist. There is Sinn Fein and Republican Sinn Fein. There used to be an Official Sinn Fein, and a Sinn Fein the Workers Party. But the Sinn Fein of Adams and McGuinness is, and always has been just Sinn Fein. I don’t know why they got to use the simple title while the others had to add prefixes and suffixes. I don’t know why they get to use the 1918 title where the others do not. But that is the fact.
    Furthermore, there is no such thing as the “provisional movement’’. You are referring to the Provisional IRA and the party to which they are linked, Sinn Fein, but they are not a movement in themselves. They are part of the republican movement. I haven’t bothered pulling you up on it when you previously referred inaccurately to Sinn Fein as the provos because it wasn’t really worth the effort. But just so you know, you’re wrong.
    It’s the old argument of whether Sinn Fein and the IRA are the same. The truth is they’re not a single entity – more like Siamese twins. They are essentially separate in function and structure but are joined at the hip and each has great difficulty functioning independently of the other. However neither one can really fully control the other either, so if say one twin committed a crime, it’d be extremely difficult to know how culpable the other twin was.
    So you might be right to say that Adams and McGuinness are provos, but it’s their membership of PIRA that makes them provos, NOT their membership of Sinn Fein.

  • Davros

    convicted IRA members are not to be allowed to join the police, because it would be of grave concern to the people and would cause concern primarily in the unionist community. My gripe is with those who were not pursued with the same vigour or in cases where the legal process turned a blind eye to their activities. In that case I ask others to take note of my concerns

    That’s a reasonable point pat.

  • willowfield

    George

    the “Provos” refers to the Provisional IRA only in Irish/nationalist/republican/southern circles.

    How do you know? “Provo” is short for Provisional, and applies to both the terrorist and political wings of the Provisional movement.

    Apparently, the SF Constitution changed in 1986 by removing a section in Part 6 that stated going into Leinster House or Stormont “will be regarded as an act of treachery, to be dealt with as such”.

    Yes, I know. But I’m asking about the 1998 changes that you quoted. What was the previous position regarding Westminster?

    Billy P

    There is no such thing as `Provisional Sinn Fein’. It doesn’t exist.

    There is. And it does. It is that part of SF that broke away in 1970.

    There is Sinn Fein and Republican Sinn Fein. There used to be an Official Sinn Fein, and a Sinn Fein the Workers Party. But the Sinn Fein of Adams and McGuinness is, and always has been just Sinn Fein.

    They may call themselves “Sinn Féin”, but they are Provisional SF. They are the Provisional version of SF, which has many versions.

    I don’t know why they got to use the simple title while the others had to add prefixes and suffixes. I don’t know why they get to use the 1918 title where the others do not. But that is the fact.

    I refuse to play along with the pretence that PSF is the original SF entitled to use that name alone. Fine Gael and Republican SF have the best claims on the name, certainly not the Provos. The party currently using the name SF is the Provisional brand.

    Furthermore, there is no such thing as the “provisional movement’’. You are referring to the Provisional IRA and the party to which they are linked, Sinn Fein, but they are not a movement in themselves.

    They are a movement in themselves, and they even claim to be a movement!

    It’s the old argument of whether Sinn Fein and the IRA are the same. The truth is they’re not a single entity – more like Siamese twins. They are essentially separate in function and structure but are joined at the hip and each has great difficulty functioning independently of the other. However neither one can really fully control the other either, so if say one twin committed a crime, it’d be extremely difficult to know how culpable the other twin was.

    Yes. They’re both part of the Provisional movement.

    So you might be right to say that Adams and McGuinness are provos, but it’s their membership of PIRA that makes them provos, NOT their membership of Sinn Fein.

    Any member of the Provisional movement is a Provo.

    Pat McLarnon

    I have already stated that nothing can be done until the murderers and perjurers are rooted out. They have to be vetted and shown the door. I have stated that should be a pre condition in any further negotiations. The PSNI will continue to be treated as pariahs by the majority of nationalists untiul this occurs. Wishing the problem away wont wash.

    How come PSF is not making this a condition for supporting policing, then? And what happened to the previous excuses about “Patten”?

  • willowfield

    I never knew SF had its own Rule 21 in place, banning British soldiers.

    Examining the Race Relations (Northern Ireland) Order 1997, one might conclude that Provisional SF may be guilty of racial discrimination.

    The Order outlaws racial discrimination, defining it (Article 3) as follows:

    3.(1) A person discriminates against another in any circumstances relevant for the purposes of any provision of this Order if – (a) on racial grounds he treats that other less favourably than he treats or would treat other persons; or (b) he applies to that other a requirement or condition which he applies or would apply equally to persons not of the same racial group as that other but – (i) which is such that the proportion of persons of the same racial group as that other who can comply with it is considerably smaller than the proportion of persons not of that racial group who can comply with it; and (ii) which he cannot show to be justifiable irrespective of the colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins of the person to whom it is applied; and (iii) which is to the detriment of that other because he cannot comply with it.

    It defines “racial grounds” and “racial group” as follows (Article 5):

    “racial grounds” means any of the following grounds, namely colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins; “racial group” means a group of persons defined by reference to colour, race, nationality or ethnic or national origins, and references to a person’s racial group refer to any racial group into which he falls.

    Article 25 includes within the scope of the law “any association of persons (however described, whether corporate or unincorporate, and whether or not its activities are carried on for profit) if – (a) it has 25 or more members; and (b) admission to membership is regulated by its constitution and is so conducted that the members do not constitute a section of the public within the meaning of Article 21(1); and (c) it is not an organisation to which Article 13 applies [i.e. a trade union]”.

    Article 25 makes it “unlawful for an association to which this Article applies, in the case of a person who is not a member of the association, to discriminate against him – (a) in the terms on which it is prepared to admit him to membership; or (b) by refusing or deliberately omitting to accept his application for membership”.

    So, Provisional SF, by banning British soldiers, may be applying an unlawful ban, on the grounds that people of British nationality are treated less favourably than people of other nationalities, by virtue of the fact that British people are more likely to be members of the British armed forces than people of other nationalities.

    The case would have to be proven by a British soldier applying for membership, being refused, and then having to demonstrate that he was less favourably treated than would be someone of another nationality.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow.
    You didn’t take on board a single thing I said. I don’t ask that you agree with me, just that you take my contributions at face value and deal with them as genuine. You seem interested only in puffing yourself up to dizzying new heights of pomposity.
    I was respectful enough to argue my case – but as I predicted, I was wasting my time. I was met with simple assertion.

    “There is. And it does. It is that part of SF that broke away in 1970.’’

    I should have taken my own advice to George yesterday and ignored you. There is no point is trying to have a discussion with one who is so intellectually dishonest. (Not least with yourself.)
    Just so I can prove Willow that you are wrong in your fundamental assumption that you know everything and have nothing to learn from anyone, allow me to demonstrate how incorrect it is possible for you to be.
    “Fine Gael and Republican SF have the best claims on the name (Sinn Fein)’’
    Fine Gael was founded in 1933 following the merger of Cumann na nGaedheal, the Centre Party and the Blueshirts. In a roundabout way FG was made up of three groups that had decisively splintered from Sinn Fein. CnaG fought a civil war with Sinn Fein ffs while the Blueshirts fought openly on the streets against the IRA in the early 30s. Fine Gael may lay claim to the legacy of Collins but they could NEVER claim to be the rightful proprietors of the name Sinn Fein, and would never do so.

    Your grasp on this particular element of Irish history is lacking.

    Republican Sinn Fein was founded in 1986 after it broke away from the Sinn Fein of Adams and McGuinness. You have argued that Sinn Fein is not entitled to the name, yet a splinter of that party is? Surely logic dictates that RSF have even less entitlement to the name?

    Your grasp on this particular element of Irish history is also lacking.

    I point this out just so I can demonstrate that you DON’T know everything, and are flat-out mistaken about some things.

    Let’s have a bit more respect and honesty in your postings from now on.

  • George

    Willowfield,
    “How do you know? “Provo” is short for Provisional, and applies to both the terrorist and political wings of the Provisional movement”

    I know the “Provos” refers to the Provisional IRA only in Irish/nationalist/republican/southern circles (85% of the population of Ireland), just like I know the Earth is round and a dog is called a dog.

    You can believe the contrary if you want or maybe it means something different in UK English, you know the language that calls the Irish Republic Southern Ireland and this archipelago the British Isles.

    I know very little on the SF constitution, which is why I asked the questions so you are asking the wrong person.

    My own view after reading Davros’s link is that it will be gone in a couple of months so I think I’ll just wait on the new one rather than wrecking my head.

    Davros,
    thanks for that, loads of detail. So it’s not just the contradictions pointed out by RSF.

    Cg,
    on suspicious Freestater:

    Old Irish saying: Trust me, look at thyself.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    “So, Provisional SF, by banning British soldiers, may be applying an unlawful ban, on the grounds that people of British nationality are treated less favourably than people of other nationalities, by virtue of the fact that British people are more likely to be members of the British armed forces than people of other nationalities.”

    The British race? Jesus, first you extol the Blueshirts, then you start coming over all Moseley on us…

    Just joking. I suppose the legal defence would be that there is no ban on people of any nationality joining the party. British people are not banned from joining – indeed one of Sinn Fein’s senior press officers is an English guy. Oh yeah, and the party vice president is Scottish. Applicants are banned not because of their nationality but because of their profession – what they do, not what they are.

    One could argue that it’s perfectly legitimate for an organisation to ban applicants on the basis of what they do rather than what they are.

    After all, one doesn’t get a choice in, say, ethnic background, but one does get to decide whether to join the armed forces.

  • Davros

    George I don’t think the new constitution will be available for the general public.

  • Alan

    Billy P,

    We’ve been here before with the title Provisional – see

    http://sinnfein.org/index2.html

    The issue is when, if at all, PSF became SF.

  • George

    Are serving British soldiers even allowed be members of a political party? I would be very surprised if they are.

    Davros,
    really? Surely one of the new associate members that they are creating can leak it. Care to sign up?

  • willowfield

    Billy Pilgrim

    I should have taken my own advice to George yesterday and ignored you. There is no point is trying to have a discussion with one who is so intellectually dishonest. (Not least with yourself.)

    There’s nothing intellectually dishonest in putting forward a different view than yours. If you want everyone to just agree that you are right, that’s fine, but it doesn’t make for very interesting discussion. You think it is fine for you deny that Provisional SF exist, but when someone says they do exist, apparently they are being “intellectually dishonest”. Catch yourself on.

    Re. Fine Gael, they are the descendants of the majority SF party from the first split in 1922, that is why I say they have a stronger claim on the name than Provisional SF, who were the minority party of the 1970 split of the minority party of the 1926 split of the minority party of the 1922 split.

    Re. Republican SF, they are the last remaining party clinging to the original constitution/”theology” of SF, hence that is why I say they have a stronger claim on the name than Provisional SF.

    You have argued that Sinn Fein is not entitled to the name, yet a splinter of that party is? Surely logic dictates that RSF have even less entitlement to the name?

    I never said Republican SF was entitled to the name. I just said they had a stronger claim than Provisional SF.

  • willowfield

    Billy P

    The British race? Jesus, first you extol the Blueshirts, then you start coming over all Moseley on us…

    I never mentioned “the British race”. Please don’t misrepresent what I say, even as a “joke”.

    I suppose the legal defence would be that there is no ban on people of any nationality joining the party. British people are not banned from joining – indeed one of Sinn Fein’s senior press officers is an English guy. Oh yeah, and the party vice president is Scottish. Applicants are banned not because of their nationality but because of their profession – what they do, not what they are.

    Yes, but there is a concept in anti-discrimination law called “indirect discrimination”. This means that an indirectly discriminatory qualification is just as unlawful as a direct ban on a certain “racial grouping”.

    The argument would be that a ban on British soldiers is indirectly discriminatory against British people, since British people are more likely to be British soldiers than people of other nationalities.

    One could argue that it’s perfectly legitimate for an organisation to ban applicants on the basis of what they do rather than what they are.

    Not if that ban is indirectly discriminatory.

  • slug9987

    Billy

    The term Provisional Sinn Fein is used on this (I assume official) Sinn Fein site.

    Just scroll down a little and there it is.

  • Rebecca Black

    “I look at the Cairo Gang episode as an historical fact (90 years ago) and something I cannot identify with, even in sympathy”

    by that logic, how do you sympathise with the victims of the first bloody sunday, surely then its an historic fact too?

  • slug9987

    Just wondering if those disputing that the name Provisional Sinn Fein is correct can explain why the term Provisional Sinn Fein appears half way down the front page of what appears to be one of Sinn Fein’s websites (sinnfein.org).

  • slug9987

    Actually, not 1/2 way down, more like 8 lines from the top in a heading.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘by that logic, how do you sympathise with the victims of the first bloody sunday, surely then its an historic fact too?’

    Have I stated I have sympathy with anyone? Yet again Rebecca you are making assumptions.