SF to hold seat after unionists declare intent…

THE two main unionist parties are to contest the West Tyrone seat in the Westminster election, despite independent Assembly poll-topper Kieran Deeny’s appeal for others to stand aside. The news means that the seat is almost certain to be held by Sinn Fein’s Pat Doherty.

  • DoireLad

    Is Kieran Deenny for real,
    asking the sitting MP and others to stand aside for him to take a westminister seat…

    Did he honestly think they would stand aside?

    Well i supose any Publicity is…

  • PS

    asking the sitting MP and others to stand aside for him

    The sitting MP is Pat Doherty. and he will be sitting for quite some time yet, I believe.

  • Rebecca Black

    At least Kieran Deeney is a democrat and what he wants to stand for is clearly a cause the sitting MP is doing nothing about. And in fairness how can he when he won’t even take his seat in Westminster and represent the people of Tyrone in the way they deserve to be represented.

  • PS

    The people of West tyrone choose to represented by a man who refuses to take an oath of alliegance to a foreign queen. That is their right and that is what democracy is about. The real affront to democracy is the fact that such an oath exists.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Affront to democracy? The Queen is head of State, the Belfast Agreement settled that! Surely if Pat loves the agreement so much, he must take the oath to his Queen!

  • PS

    Yes but it is a matter of debate as to whether the Queen should even be the head of state. The oath is as offensive to British Republicans such as Tony Benn as it is to Irish Republicans. The GFA also settles the right of the people of the north to define themselves as Irish so surely an oath to a British monarch should not be mandatory for them.

  • Rebecca Black

    Personally I find the fact that American children have to sing their national anthem every day in the morning alot more offensive than member of the British Parliament having to swear an oath of allegiance to queen and country.

  • PS

    And you may well be right Rebecca but do you think it’s fair that either rule exists?

  • Rebecca Black

    I think its fair enough that if you are an MP you have to swear an oath to the country. I imagine it’d be the same in other countries with a monarchy. Majority rules, thats democracy.

    However, I don’t think having kids recite oaths every morning is fair, thats a different league of nationality.

  • DerryTerry

    An oath of allegiance to the descendant of German immigrants, and her heirs, who must surely qualify as among the most dysfunctional families on the planet, who also happens to be the head of the Church of England. For once i’m in total agreement with Ulsterman, God Save the Queen from herself and her family, and God Save the rest of us too.

    The sooner such rubbish is abolished and we see Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh Republics the better for everyone.

  • willowfield

    Rather pathetic that Provos choose not to take their seats because of a silly oath. They should get their priorities in order and stop letting petty complaints get in the way of properly representing their constituents.

    On the subject of the thread, it’s a great pity that the unionist parties are going to oppose Dr Deeny.

  • Henry94

    Rebecca Black

    I think its fair enough that if you are an MP you have to swear an oath to the country

    It’s a matter for the British if they want to have this stupid ritual but Docherty’s loyalty is to Ireland and the voters appear to agree with him.

    As a rule the only qualification for sitting in parliament should be a mandate from the voters.

    PS

    The oath is as offensive to British Republicans such as Tony Benn as it is to Irish Republicans

    If enough of them refused to take it then it would be gone.

  • Butterknife

    Maybe the UUP should stand aside in West Tyrone. After all what have they got to loose?

  • slug9987

    Is it the fact that it is to a monarch head of state, or that it is to a British head of state that is the problem?

  • willowfield

    Good question, slug!

    BTW, I thought Pat Doherty was Scottish?

  • cg

    “Rather pathetic that Provos choose not to take their seats because of a silly oath”

    It may seem silly to you willow but to the vast majority of Irish people it’s not a silly little oath. It’s an oath of allegiance to a foreign queen. A foreign monarchy that specifically bans Catholics from marrying into that wretched institution.

    “They should get their priorities in order and stop letting petty complaints get in the way of properly representing their constituents”

    Sinn Féin MP’s represent their constituents more than adequately with no need to attend Westminster. Contrast to the sdlp who take the oath but hardly bother to go at all.

    Back to the thread, Did anyone actually believe that Deeny would win this election?

  • willowfield

    cg

    It may seem silly to you willow but to the vast majority of Irish people it’s not a silly little oath.

    How do you know? Any evidence for this assertion?

    It’s an oath of allegiance to a foreign queen. A foreign monarchy that specifically bans Catholics from marrying into that wretched institution.

    I wouldn’t worry about it. The Queen is only a figurehead, and she’s not foreign – she’s the head of state of the UK!

    If the Provos want to join other republicans in the rest of the UK in campaigning for a republic, or campaigning to get the oath removed, they’re entirely free to do so. Opting out by boycotting isn’t going to change it.

    Sinn Féin MP’s represent their constituents more than adequately with no need to attend Westminster. Contrast to the sdlp who take the oath but hardly bother to go at all.

    “More than adequately”? How is refusing to go to the chamber “more than adequate”? How is refusing to challenge government ministers, refusing to table amendments to legislation, refusing to vote on issues relevant to NI, “more than adequate” representation? Wise up.

    As for the SDLP’s attendance record, there is no reason why, if the Provos took their seats they would be bound to mimic the SDLP’s attendance. There would be nothing to stop them attending more often than the SDLP.

    PS. I note you chose not to answer slug9987’s question.

  • DerryTerry

    Have the SDLP got a candidate selected yet here? Might they still stand aside to save themselves a hammering, shout they are doing the right thing and pour whatever resources they have into neighbouring Foyle?

    The way it is shaping up i ould suggest that Mark Durkan could probably do with the support.

  • cg

    “I note you chose not to answer slug9987’s question”

    I didn’t know the question was for me but I’ll answer

    I would never accept republicans taking seats in Westminster as Westminster has no right over the Irish people

    I am opposed to all forms of monarchy whether British or not.

    BTW willow she is a foreign queen as she is not the Queen of the Irish nation to which I belong.

  • willowfield

    cg

    I would never accept republicans taking seats in Westminster as Westminster has no right over the Irish people

    So the oath to the Queen is a red herring.

    BTW, you are incorrect in stating that “Westminster has no right over the Irish people”. Northern Ireland is part of the UK, and Westminster is the parliament of the UK, therefore it does “have right” over Irish people in NI.

    BTW willow she is a foreign queen as she is not the Queen of the Irish nation to which I belong.

    No-one said she is “Queen of the Irish nation”! But she’s Queen of the UK, to which you do belong, assuming you are a UK citizen.

  • cg

    “So the oath to the Queen is a red herring”

    It’s not willow no, what I said was for me personally even were the Oath to be removed I still wouldn’t accept Republicans taking their seats in Westminster.

    “No-one said she is “Queen of the Irish nation”! But she’s Queen of the UK, to which you do belong, assuming you are a UK citizen.”

    The Irish nation consists of all the 32 counties of Ireland. I am not a UK citizen and never will be, I am an Irish citizen

    BTW willow “UK citizen” don’t you mean subject?

  • cgmoron

    Rebecca Black
    Personally I find the fact that American children have to sing their national anthem every day in the morning

    Rebecca this in not correct. What actually happens is school kids say the pledge of allegience.

    Now if you think about it this is not a bad thing. Because all the kids regards of colour race or creed say the same oath. I believe in a country as diverse as the USA this is a gr8 achievement.

    Do you think we will ever get all the people from the North together.

    I don’t think so the two major political parties are extremists. This does not point towards a bright future.

  • cgmoron

    Unionism and the SDLP should stand aside in this seat. DOherty and SInn Fein need to be punished for their betrayal of the GFA

  • Vera

    “Personally I find the fact that American children have to sing their national anthem every day in the morning alot more offensive than member of the British Parliament having to swear an oath of allegiance to queen and country.”

    Except we don’t. I’ve never sung the national anthem in school except at a football game.
    In some schools the pledge of alleigance is said, but it is completely voluntary and courts have upheld time and again that no one can ever be required to say it. I declined to say it in school because of the “under God” part, and I can personally vouch for their being no consequences whatsoever.

    Now that little misunderstanding is cleared up.

    There are alot of things I dislike about Sinn Fein, but their stand on refusing to take the oath is absolutely correct. The idea of swearing loyalty to a person (any person, I don’t care what nationality!) just seems wrong, and having it be a hereditary monarch makes it even worse. Any one who takes an oath to a monarch (of any nationality) has no right to call themselves a republican (of any nationality). I’d sooner die than take such an oath myself, and I’d sooner die than vote for anyone willing to take such an oath.

    Sinn Fein voters know they are voting for abstention, so you can’t say their MPs are not representing their wishes. It is one of the few (maybe the only) truly principled stands Sinn Fein takes, and since it is a peaceful form of protest, unionists shouldn’t get their panties in such a wad about it.

  • Davros

    cg – if and when you apply for a British Passport, you’ll find that you are a British Citizen.

  • Fraggle

    WF

    “”that specifically bans Catholics from marrying into that wretched institution.”

    I wouldn’t worry about it. The Queen is only a figurehead”

    so can catholics (the roman variety) become prime minister?

    um…………..no.

    so RCs are banned from becoming the non-figurehead leader or marrying the figurehead leader.

  • willowfield

    cg

    It’s not willow no, what I said was for me personally even were the Oath to be removed I still wouldn’t accept Republicans taking their seats in Westminster.

    So the Provos WOULD take their seats at Westminster if the oath were removed?

    The Irish nation consists of all the 32 counties of Ireland.

    Says who? The “Irish nation” is an imaginary intangible concept believed in by nationalists. Regardless of the “Irish nation”, the fact remains that Northern Ireland is part of the UK, and therefore Westminster does, indeed “have right” over Irish people in NI.

    I am not a UK citizen and never will be, I am an Irish citizen

    So you’re not from NI, then?

    BTW willow “UK citizen” don’t you mean subject?

    No, I mean citizen, not that there is any distinction in a constitutional monarchy anyway.

    Vera

    There are alot of things I dislike about Sinn Fein, but their stand on refusing to take the oath is absolutely correct. The idea of swearing loyalty to a person (any person, I don’t care what nationality!) just seems wrong, and having it be a hereditary monarch makes it even worse.

    I wouldn’t get too worried about it, it’s just a silly formality. It doesn’t actually mean anything. No need to get your knickers in a twist about it.

    Any one who takes an oath to a monarch (of any nationality) has no right to call themselves a republican (of any nationality).

    Nonsense! You could take the oath and not mean it, and then campaign to get it removed and to establish a republic!

    I’d sooner die than take such an oath myself, and I’d sooner die than vote for anyone willing to take such an oath.

    My God! You’re in serious need of a chill pill! Get your priorities in order!

    Sinn Fein voters know they are voting for abstention, so you can’t say their MPs are not representing their wishes. It is one of the few (maybe the only) truly principled stands Sinn Fein takes, and since it is a peaceful form of protest, unionists shouldn’t get their panties in such a wad about it.

    I couldn’t give two hoots if the Provos took the oath or not. I just think it’s silly. They’re doing themselves a disadvantage by not participating at Westminster, so it’s actually good news for unionists.

  • TroubledTimes

    Three points to make:

    1. Unionism has just handed the seat to Pat Doherty of Sinn Fein – congratulations to the braindead Unionists in West Tyrone!

    2. Unionism has no chance whatsoever of winning this seat.

    3. Any true Irish Nationalist or Republican would not entertain Westminster, which is why I believe that the SDLP and SF should stand aside here. At least Deeney will use this power to retain the Hospital in Omagh.

  • willowfield

    Fraggle

    so can catholics (the roman variety) become prime minister?

    um…………..no.

    ???????? Says who??

    so RCs are banned from becoming the non-figurehead leader or marrying the figurehead leader.

    Says who?

  • willowfield

    TroubledTimes

    Unionism has just handed the seat to Pat Doherty of Sinn Fein – congratulations to the braindead Unionists in West Tyrone!

    Totally agree. A ridiculous decision to contest the seat.

    Any true Irish Nationalist or Republican would not entertain Westminster

    Why’s that?

  • Jimmy Sands

    I’m curious as to where the idea that the oath is an issue took hold. As I understand it, abstention is their ideologiccal position and the removal of the oath would not affect this. Is this incorrect? Besides, none of them appear to have had any trouble with the non-violence declaration, so presumably they know how to cross their fingers.

  • willowfield

    As I said above, Jimmy, the oath would appear to be a red herring.

    Good point about the non-violence declaration.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Surely at election time the people will read the policies of the different parties and make their choice in the sanctity of the polling booth.

    With an incumbent MP like Doherty they will know exactly what they are voting for and whether they are getting sufficient representation through his abstentionist policy.

    The Deeney candidacy is self indulgent rubbish. There is an overall health strategy that involves the siting of services where most required and ease of access. His attitude smacks of ‘i’m all right Jack’ screw the rest of ye.

  • Davros

    Are RCs banned from Being Prime Minister ?

    This is an interesting speech. Wellington fought a duel when he was accused by Lord Winchilsea of being disloyal by promoting emancipation.

    The Act of Settlement must go

  • cg

    “cg – if and when you apply for a British Passport, you’ll find that you are a British Citizen.”

    Sorry Davros but I will never seek a British Passport, I’m Irish not British. It would go against everything I stand for and I am not a hypocrite 😉

    “So you’re not from NI, then?”

    I am from South Armagh, Ulster and Ireland.

  • Vera

    “Nonsense! You could take the oath and not mean it, and then campaign to get it removed and to establish a republic!”

    Do you often advise people to take oaths they have no intention of honoring? Does that go for other situations, such as swearing to tell the truth as a witness at a trial, or does it only go for loyalty oaths?
    Willowfield, I think you’re a pretty honorable guy, so I have to assume you don’t REALLY think oaths should be taken so lightly or that personal honor is meaningless.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Correct me if I’m wrong but Sinn Fein’s abstention from Westminster has nothing to do with the Oath of Allegiance? Surely their abstentionism is grounded in their refusal to recognise the legitimacy of Westminster’s sovereignty over part of Ireland? They boycott Westminster because they are fundamentally opposed to the principle that Ireland is any of Westminster’s business. That has been the fundamental philosophy of all the Sinn Feins since 1905: to withdraw from participation in the British state.

    That’s my understanding of Sinn Fein’s abstentionism, so they will continue to decline their seats, Oath or no Oath. The day Sinn Fein takes its seats in Westminster is the day it ceases to be Sinn Fein.

    But I agree with whomever it was made the point that the only requirement for membership of any legislature should be that they win an election. It’s anachronistic to say the least that anyone should have to pledge to serve anyone or anything except their constituents. Say you have a candidate in an English constituency who stands on a staunchly republican platform and denounces the monarchy, and the voters elect him. His first act as MP must be to swear allegiance to the very thing he has been elected to oppose. How can that be justified?

    Can a Catholic be Prime Minister? Surely there is nothing on paper which bars such an eventuality? Surely this issue would have come up when Ian Duncan Smith was leader of the opposition and technically (all right, very technically) the potential next Prime Minister?

    (There has also been some speculation that Blair is a de facto Catholic these days and will convert as soon as he leaves office. I suppose the question is, if he wants to convert, why can’t he do it while in office? Not that it matters in an NI context mind, but still.)

  • slug9987

    Billy are you a Sinn Fein voter?

  • slug9987

    Billy are you a Sinn Fein voter?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Willow

    “Any true Irish Nationalist or Republican would not entertain Westminster

    Why’s that?”

    Ah Willow, you’re being dishonest again. Don’t be so coy. Tell me: why do YOU think a nationalist might think that? (Please don’t do your usual thing and dishonestly pretend you don’t have the faintest idea.)

    If you were honest, you would argue that nationalists are wrong in their fundamental ideological totems. But you aren’t honest, so you instead take the hateful and dishonest approach of pretending you have no idea what those fundamental ideological totems are.

    Your dishonesty is one of the truly uglifying features of this otherwise great blog.

  • Davros

    Sorry Davros but I will never seek a British Passport, I’m Irish not British. It would go against everything I stand for and I am not a hypocrite 😉

    Fair enough. My passport says I’m a British Citizen, British Subject is very different.

  • slug9987

    It is possible to go to Westminster to argue your point while remaining true to the idea that your part of the UK should leave the UK.

    Such people are commonly called nationalists. Seamus Mallon and John Hume are cases in hand. As are Scottish and Welsh nationalists, who seek independence from London, yet go to Westminster to make their case.

  • Davros

    Is there an oath of allegiance in the present Dáil ? In the Proposed 32 County Dáil after Unification, would there be an oath of allegiance ?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Slug.

    That’s a very personal question. I’ll answer it, but only because I have stated it previously of my own accord.

    I have never voted for Sinn Fein. I won’t say I will never but I don’t think I will in May. Having had reason to have seen them close up there is much about the party I admire but also much that fills me with doubt, and even a little dread.

    I think the northern nationalist community needs a republican party with as much balls as Sinn Fein but far fewer achilles heels.

    Fact is, Ireland won’t be united by a revolutionary party destroying the state of Northern Ireland. It will be united when the commonality of the peoples of Ireland are brought to the fore in the everyday socio-economic existence of the people who live here. Partition will end when the border is worn away to nothing by the sheer volume of cross-border footprints crossing it.

    But it is abundantly clear that today, the Protestants of Ulster have a powerful emotional attachment to NI and they are not the sort of people who are prepared to be shaken out of it, no matter how self-defeating it might be.

    The strategy for republicans must be to highlight the inadequacies of British decision-making in NI and the wastefulness of the border – which should be an open goal in times of direct rule in the north and unprecedented economic growth in the south. But ultimately republicans have to accept the limitations of what they can achieve – they can make the case, but must ultimately trust in the ability of Ulster’s Protestants to know what their own interests are and make up their own minds that times have changed. They did it after 1798.

    Ireland badly needs a republican party with the intellectual cutting edge to articulate and advocate a new context for a union of the Irish peoples, while simultaneously contrasting this with NI, showing it up for the monumental folly it is.

    Sinn Fein isn’t that party, so no, I’m not a Sinn Fein voter. One hopes that the much-mooted SDLP/Fianna Fail merger will create the space for powerful all-Ireland republican momentum to be created, and a movement that – unlike the IRA-linked Sinn Fein – doesn’t give unionists an easy excuse to stick their fingers in their ears and walk away.

  • slug9987

    Billy thank you for that detailed answer.

  • JD

    Nice post, Billy.

    BTW, does anyone have any solid info on where the FF/SDLP merger stands at the moment?

  • slug9987

    One of the interesting things to come out of a recent academic study of the US is that cultural issues rather than economic issues are starting to determine the way people vote. If so then focusing on the economy (when people are in jobs) or on waste of the border may not get voters attentions. Barking up the wrong tree. Instead, try cultural values.

    For example, contrast the liberal individual attitudes of England, the decline of family values, with the greater retention of such values in the Republic. Talk about crime and how to stop it. Talk about social cohesion. Here you are talking about the things we have in common.

    Just a throwaway thought.

  • Vera

    “I think the northern nationalist community needs a republican party with as much balls as Sinn Fein but far fewer achilles heels.”

    Exactly.

  • TroubledTimes

    I find it funny that the people of Northern Ireland that consider themselves British are identified by the rest of the world as Irish, even in England!
    Im with you all the way Billy. I think the formation of a new all Ireland party is inevitable. There are many good heads within SDLP and Sinn Fein that dont belong in either party.

  • cgmoron

    it is time for unionists to wake up. They have no chance here. Stand aside and give deeney a clear run

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘BTW, does anyone have any solid info on where the FF/SDLP merger stands at the moment?’

    Apparently they’re still negotiating on who gets what envelope.

  • willowfield

    Pat McLarnon

    Surely at election time the people will read the policies of the different parties and make their choice in the sanctity of the polling booth.

    Or, more likely, they’ll not read the policies of the different parties and make their choice anyway before they get to the polling booth.

    With an incumbent MP like Doherty they will know exactly what they are voting for and whether they are getting sufficient representation through his abstentionist policy.

    They will. That doesn’t mean the abstentionist policy isn’t silly, though.

    The Deeney candidacy is self indulgent rubbish. There is an overall health strategy that involves the siting of services where most required and ease of access. His attitude smacks of ‘i’m all right Jack’ screw the rest of ye.

    Or more like, “I want to be all right, Jack”.

    cg

    Sorry Davros but I will never seek a British Passport, I’m Irish not British. It would go against everything I stand for and I am not a hypocrite 😉

    It doesn’t matter whether you seek a passport or not. If you are from NI, you are a British citizen.

    I am from South Armagh, Ulster and Ireland.

    Then you are a UK citizen (assuming you were born in NI of NI parentage).

    Vera

    Do you often advise people to take oaths they have no intention of honoring?

    No. The question rarely arises.

    Does that go for other situations, such as swearing to tell the truth as a witness at a trial, or does it only go for loyalty oaths?

    It only goes for silly oaths, like the one in question.

    Willowfield, I think you’re a pretty honorable guy, so I have to assume you don’t REALLY think oaths should be taken so lightly or that personal honor is meaningless.

    I’m all for getting things into perspective. Taking a silly oath that you don’t agree with is not much of a big deal when the alternative is excluding oneself from parliament.

    Billy Pilgrim

    Correct me if I’m wrong but Sinn Fein’s abstention from Westminster has nothing to do with the Oath of Allegiance? Surely their abstentionism is grounded in their refusal to recognise the legitimacy of Westminster’s sovereignty over part of Ireland?

    That’s what I’ve been saying. The oath is a red herring.

    Ah Willow, you’re being dishonest again.

    I’m not being dishonest, nor have I been dishonest in the past. Stop your accusations.

    As for the rest of your nonsense, it is a perfectly fair question to ask someone why you cannot be a “true nationalist” and “entertain Westminster”. Many true nationalists have entertained Westminster in the past and continue to do so.

    Stop your ad hominem comments and join the discussion.

    Fact is, Ireland won’t be united by a revolutionary party destroying the state of Northern Ireland. It will be united when the commonality of the peoples of Ireland are brought to the fore in the everyday socio-economic existence of the people who live here. Partition will end when the border is worn away to nothing by the sheer volume of cross-border footprints crossing it.

    Or maybe when Roman Catholics outbreed Protestants?

    TroubledTimes

    I find it funny that the people of Northern Ireland that consider themselves British are identified by the rest of the world as Irish, even in England!

    What’s funny about that? They are Irish. Do you find it funny that people in England who consider themselves British are identified by the rest of the world as British, even in Ireland?

    (Still waiting for some evidence of Fraggle’s “RCs can’t become PM” claim.)

  • cg

    “It doesn’t matter whether you seek a passport or not. If you are from NI, you are a British citizen.

    I am from South Armagh, Ulster and Ireland.

    Then you are a UK citizen (assuming you were born in NI of NI parentage)”

    Listen willow no matter what you think or say I will never be a British citizen. My mother is from the north my father the south both are Irish and no artificial British imposed border will ever change that fact.

    I hold an Irish passport and in every legal document my nationality is Irish.

    I suggest you take a look back at the Downing Street Declaration and see what your government says about your nationality.