Sinn Fein loses to Unionism?

Malachi O’Doherty argues that Gerry Adams’ mistrust of the Republic’s Minister of Justice is fair enough, but that Michael McDowell nonetheless has a democratic office which “enables him to make that assessment and gives him authority abroad”. And more than that he argues that Sinn Fein has lost the last roll of the dice, by playing only to it’s own interest, and showing serial bad faith to the other community.

  • PaddyCanuck

    The fiery Phoenix will surely rise again, and Malachi will be once again be proven wrong…

  • ulsterman

    SF and Republicanism lost many years ago. Adams and co bluffed their way for as long as they could. The GFA was indeed a humiliating defeat for all Papists. The fact that both sides presented the GFA as a victory when it was pie in the sky tells its own tale.SF have hi-jacked Irish Nationalism and turned it in to a blood stained criminal mafia organisation.

    Today in 2005 the Union is more secure than ever. Even the majority of Papists support it. The Irish government has woken up to the threat SF poses to the Irish state. If SF were to win 15 Dail seats no party may be able to form a government.

    The DUP stood up to Adams and called his bluff. He fooled Trimble,not the DUP. Adams has like all other Nationalist leaders in Ulster, led the Papists to the top of the hill only for them to fall of it.

    The Union is safe.

    SF, the IRA, Dublin and the Pope have all got their asses kicked.

    The DUP will be well rewarded come May.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Malachy

    ..gives him authority abroad..

    I read this article and I am wondering what does the writer mean by this ? What authority does McDowell have abroad?

  • tadgh

    SF, the IRA, Dublin and the Pope have all got their asses kicked.

    Ulsterman, that’s a hot opinion.

    I suppose that’s the kind of statement one should expect from the point of view of a group that has been under siege for so long – a minority on an island distant from their foreign queen.

    At some level deeper than your vitriolic language, I hope that you would at least acknowledge your enemies are resourceful, resilient, and have proven over and over again that their demise has been greatly exaggerated – as I believe is the case today with SF / IRA.

    I suspect that these recent ‘troubles’ SF / IRA are facing in the media simply serve the republican agenda by forcing SF to face it’s criminal shadow and deal with its current identity crisis. Notice Dublin and Westminster are not calling for SF’s exclusion in the peace process, as they realize that SF’s inclusion is critical to the validity of any power sharing agreement. Once this issue of criminality is dealt with SF will emerge stronger than ever.

    Ironically the issue of criminality just created a cross border agreement between PSNI and the Garda Siochana. Ulsterman how do you feel about RoI police on the streets of Belfast? What’s next cross border cooperation on economy, health, employment, agriculture?

    As PaddyCanuck stated the fiery Phoenix will surely rise again.

  • IJP

    It’s a very good article.

    But I think Malachi slightly underrepresents the sincere view held among many non-Unionists that we must at least go through due process before coming to such conclusions.

  • Friendly Fire

    Can you guys not see the wood from the trees?

    Bertie is lining up a Sinn Fein Coalition with FF for the next general election, without prawn cocktail liberals from D4.

  • Cadiz

    Malachi O’Doherty is a man bites dog kind of journalist. Justice Minister McDowell’s authority in Limerick, Dundalk and Galway is rather slight.

    I am therefore puzzled to learn that his authority abroad is in any better shape. The moral authority of the Republican Movement is certainly not faring much better.

  • Gourmet

    I think the key piece of unionist doublethink comes in the articles last paragraph and its the kind of “we have always been at war with east asia” nonsense the far right does a lot.

    “Unionist leaders, for all the dissension they had to cope with, proved themselves willing to deal. It was the leadership chosen by the majority of northern nationalists who walked away. I don’t hear unionists gloating about this. Perhaps, like most nationalists, they are waiting for this amazing reality and its implications to sink in. Among those implications is the inability of any future nationalist leader to blame unionism for the failure to create a stable and democratic society here”

    So lets get this clear, Republicans walked away first from the assembly? First from the decommissioning body? First from the peace process?

    The fact is that no member of Sinn Fein or the SDLP wants the assembly suspended but we have had Unionist erected roadblocks every time there was a danger they might have to sit down with republicans.

    Firstly they pull out by former fascist youth Trimble from the decommissioning process because, damn it, he just didn’t get what he wanted from de Chastelain and that meant he would scream and scream until his party was sick and the ayatollahs of the DUP had supplanted what passed for moderate Unionism.

    Secondly the supposed culinary spy ring in the assembly (a trial sometime soon we are assured, two years later). The Irish government has to take most of the blame for this – the NIO might as well be the UUP and suspending the assembly because republicans wanted to join in the orgy of leaking was the most cynical and inappropriate action so far in the entire process.

    Lastly we have the IMC – another sop to Unionists as it wasn’t enough that Blair supports them, that they have had the assembly suspended several times for the political benefit of whoever was the current scream of Unionism or that they own the machinery of government. Using its magical powers the IMC have looked into the minds of Adams and co and found clear psychic emanations of guilt. Case closed. Lock them up.

    And the IRA still has not apologised for not joining in the war in Iraq. When will republicans intransigence end, eh?

    I have no desire to see the return of violence in NI but the minority of republicans who said that Unionists were not ready to deal yet have been proved right again and again. Soon enough (perhaps marching season) we will see unionist paramilitary killings again and magically all the fault will accrue to Republicans for not surrendering in suitably abject style.

  • IJP

    Gourmet

    All that is not unreasonable, but one-sided.

    Unionists would not, for example, have walked away from the Assembly had the SDLP applied Annex A to Strand 1 of the Agreement it claims to support 100% and ensured SF’s suspension three years back.

    Likewise now, who is walking away from the Assembly? SF is suspended but the SDLP will not allow it to be set up.

    The fact is we are dealing with a great deal of (often justified) mistrust. Neither ‘side’ can be entirely blamed for that, but neither ‘side’ is recognizing all its responsibilities either.

    And let us not forget the most basic fact of all, that we are dealing with post-Agreement (and therefore legitimate) institutions of law-making and law-enforcement, which one party in particular fails utterly to recognize. Not that other hurdles would not subsequently appear, but that is the only direct hurdle to democratic progress right now.

  • Gourmet

    I am not familliar with the Annex A issue so I will not erupt in righteous anger until I have found passages in the (dis)agreement that support my position or undermine yours. This could mean I never mention it again.

    Now blaming the SDLP for the current morass is just cruel and unusual. No one wants or needs the assembly back more than them (well maybe the alliance party did) and every month that passes without it lowers their stock. However they can not join in the attempt to remove non-pacifist nationalism from the political process while representing their voters honestly.

    As far as being post agreement I would argue that SF has no reason to see the agreement as implemented as long as their participation in government is at the imagined whim of the unionist street.

    Lastly would it be jesuitical to suggest that a political party has no reason to accept the legitmacy of the policing service to police until the policing service in turn accepts the legitimacy of the political party to engage in government?

  • willowfield

    I think Malachi is wrong on this. PSF will continue to be the majority nationalist party and the two governments will continue to deal with them. There’ll be a hiatus, but they’ll be back engaging as per usual soon enough.

  • willowfield

    Gourmet

    So lets get this clear, Republicans walked away first from the assembly? First from the decommissioning body? First from the peace process?

    Republicans refused to commit to exclusively peaceful means. Unionists stayed in the process, nonetheless.

    I have no desire to see the return of violence in NI but the minority of republicans who said that Unionists were not ready to deal yet have been proved right again and again.

    How’s that? Unionists did deal! The ultra-nationalists reneged.

  • IJP

    Gourmet

    If the SDLP needs the Assembly, it could have it up tomorrow. Indeed, it would be in a position to negotiate a still better deal for itself in a fully voluntary coalition.

    The SDLP has a heritage of talking exclusively about democracy and peace, for that it usually gets my highest-preference vote among the ‘Sectarian Four’. However, its actions do not support that heritage. What distinguishes it from SF is that the SDLP makes tactical mistakes, whereas SF commits cynical ploys. But they are mistakes, and costly ones, nonetheless.

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    Gourmet, nationalists need to get used to the idea of putting Sinn Fein out. The SDLP need to sink or swim.

    I voted for the GFA and swallowed the pain of the prisoner releases, but I voted to allow them out in the hope that they’d return to a quiet life of mowing the lawn or driving black taxis, not robbing banks and post offices, and I think that’s the case for a lot of SDLP voters also.

  • Gourmet

    She said:

    So lets get this clear, Republicans walked away first from the assembly? First from the decommissioning body? First from the peace process?

    He said:

    Republicans refused to commit to exclusively peaceful means. Unionists stayed in the process, nonetheless.

    Why just the other day I saw Gerry Adams stab a soldier so he could escape from the vigourous and incisive argument going on in the assembly. Yes, unionism has proved once more they have no fear in confronting craven republicans in political debate and no hesitation in commiting themselves to exclusively parliamentary methods in governing northern Ireland and trying to decide its future.

    Man this acid is strong stuff.

  • Gourmet

    Three posts of the same article.

    Its either the moveable type interface or typical republican repetitiveness.

    My apologies either way.

  • slug9987

    I think there is a lot in that O’Doherty piece.

    In 1974 assembly fell, unionists had a story about how the settlement fell that blamed it on others, but in truth everyone else believed it was unionist intransigence. Many unionists thought it too, and that background shaped subsequent policy – and internal unionist policy discussion – in the 20 year period that followed.

    Track forward to today and two things have changed the dynamic.

    1. Nobody is really scared of an IRA campaign anymore. That fear distorted the normal principles people apply. In the absence of fear people are less tolerant of the IRA. Crucially, to the outside world, it is hardly an unreasonable position that the IRA should go away before powersharing. After the revelations this week – crime etc – it seems very reasonable!

    2. The DUP have changed what they say about powersharing: they say they will share power if the IRA go.

    Ergo, the nationalists are now the obstacle.

    That is, the SDLP won’t share power without SF and SF won’t get rid of the IRA. These are free choices by the nationalist leadership.

    We are in a “radically different” paradigm. That is, in organization theory terms, the old routines, the old ways of operating, don’t work anymore. Organizations that previously seemed successful have to change – or fall behind.

  • willowfield

    Sorry, Gourmet, your post appears to make no sense. Can you be more clear?

  • big white dove

    Cant remember a time when Malachy called it right

  • big white dove

    I have never known Malachi to call it right

  • George

    Malachi is looking at this from a partitionist’s perspective and is therefore looking at it from the point that if even just 30-40% of nationalists support a partitionist parliament to run Northern Ireland then everything will be hunky dory in the garden.

    Unfortunately for him, times have moved on and the centre of power for Northern Irish nationalists is not Stormont or Westminster but Dublin.

    In this brave new world we live in, the SDLP can’t cut a partitionist deal even if it wanted to and it’s quite funny to see unionist commentators thinking it can. Catch yerselves on.

    As hard this is for unionists to accept, the IRA’s and by extenstion Sinn Fein’s “redemption” (my quotes) lies in making peace with the Irish people not the British.

    This is the peace process the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland want to see happen, a purely constitutional SF accepting the legitimacy of Dail Eireann as the parliament of the Irish people and Mary McAleese as the head of Oglaigh na hEireann. What happens at Stormont is neither here no there in the greater scheme of things. If the IRA make peace with the Irish people, Stormont will look after itself.

    Unionists are bit players on this island in 2005 so therefore can neither win nor lose this game on their own. They can just take part and defend their “corner”.

  • Young Fogey

    Unfortunately for him, times have moved on and the centre of power for Northern Irish nationalists is not Stormont or Westminster but Dublin.

    Ballicks. No Northern Nationalist holds any power in Dublin (unless you count An Uachtarain as being in a position of political power), has ever held power in Dublin or will in foreseeable future hold power in Dublin.

    This is the peace process the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland want to see happen, a purely constitutional SF accepting the legitimacy of Dail Eireann as the parliament of the Irish people and Mary McAleese as the head of Oglaigh na hEireann.

    We’ve all been waiting for that for a long time. After 11 years, I think we’re entitled to see the goods.

    Unionists are bit players on this island in 2005 so therefore can neither win nor lose this game on their own. They can just take part and defend their “corner”.

    God almighty, who’s being triumphalist now!

    Not that this will have a big impact on the Shinners vote in the North, but I suspect they’ll slip back a bit in May, although still stay comfortably ahead of the SDLP, who’ve discovered that when you sin at leisure you get to repent at leisure as well. Might do them a bit more harm in the South, though.