Greens: SF must face up to it rubicon moment

Trevor Sargent, leader of the Irish Greens, was less damning but said he felt the Republican movement faced a rubcion moment over the issue of policing, arguing that the movement’s “equivocation does not help to build trust and certainly doesn’t help the family to get any closure on the traumatic events of their brother’s murder”.

  • Scarlet

    “The Dublin North TD defended the right of Irish government ministers to campaign for parties in the General Election North of the Border after criticism from senior Sinn Fein figures that it could compromise their role in the peace process”.

    How odd that SF should complain when a Green TD steps across the border when they themselves campaign both sides of the border. Is this a sign of things to come? How on earth could it compromise their role in the peace process?

    Perhaps the political future here could be a lot more complex as parties from the South take an interest in this place. Perhaps SF see this as the beginning of a wedge that could threaten their long term position? After all, it seems to be, that with SF self interest always comes first. Hence the statement.

  • barney

    yerman,

    SF have never objected to TD’s campainging for the SDLP, or whoever, in a private capacity. The objection is to Ministers, who represent the government of Ireland, campaigning at taxpayers’ expense. That would be a resigning issue in most democracies.

  • Scarlet

    Barney

    I suppose then they should not have a position or make statements and if so it would all be so much cosier here in the North?

    Personally I am glad to see TDs up here saying what they think and urging progress. Descent people (not necessarily Unionist) The Green TD seemed to be making a fair and reasonable point in a very measured manner and I hope many more follow.

  • Jim Bob

    To Scarlet

    “Personally I am glad to see TDs up here saying what they think and urging progress”

    Yeah sure. What part of Irish Govt. interference in the election process don’t you understand?

    Everyone from Mark Devenport and and even Trevor Sargent above seem to understand the distinction. Why is it that people like yourself and Peteb have such problems grasping it?

    Might it be more difficult to argue a case if you had to address the real issue for once?

  • Snapper

    As for Gerry Adams having a brass neck because he campaigns acoss the border – considering he is the only leader of the only all-Ireland party, I think he has every right as it was a member of his party who was fighting a by-election seat.

    As previously stated – if ministers become involved this is contradictory to their ministerial role of fighting for benefit of all in the GFA.

    You have to wonder what the SDLP and their fellow traveller’s would do with themselves if Sinn Fein didn’t exist. Do they think about anything else?

  • Scarlet

    Bob

    To the best of my knowledge Trevor Sargent is not a government minister and I think the issue is his statement that “the Republican movement faced a rubcion moment “ which (in full) struck me as fair, measured and reasonable. I could be wrong but I believe the statement was made with a Scottish Green Assembly member. t would seem that the Greens don’t quite see boundaries as clearly as some here do. Again I welcome this as anything that blows a bit of fresh air into the stagnant atmosphere of NI politics has to be good.

  • Logybird

    Gerry Adams has been compared to Yasser Arafat in the past. I can now see the connection because if Arafat was responsible for scuppering a possible peace deal in 2000, then Adams could be accused of doing the same regarding the devolution for a photograph issue.

    This relates to Adams’ comments because, like Arafat, has an ego and pride which gets in the way of acheiving his stated aims.

  • Scarlet

    Snapper

    You have to wonder what the SDLP and their fellow traveller’s would do with themselves if Sinn Fein didn’t exist.

    Simple get on with building a better society for ALL. SF are the obstacle because they are ruthlessly using, abusing and twisting the Peace process for their own very narrow advantage

  • barney

    Logybird,

    nothing like arriving a day late and a dollar short.

    Scarlet,
    what are you on about? The ‘rubicon moment’ refers to policing, not campaigning.

  • Snapper

    Scarlet –

    Sad, but predictable.

  • Jim Bob

    To Scarlet

    “To the best of my knowledge Trevor Sargent is not a government minister”

    I know. But the point is that he knows the difference between a TD and a govt. minister going to the North to support the SDLP, because he specifically addressed the point. Others have tried to downplay that distinction.

    ” and I think the issue is his statement that “the Republican movement faced a rubcion moment “ which (in full) struck me as fair,”

    It’s irrelevant posturing. Republicans can manage their own Rubicon crossing as and when the conditions in the North permit. The best judge of things like that will be Republican leaders and not semi-detached outsiders coming up just because there’s an election on.

    “measured and reasonable. I could be wrong but I believe the statement was made with a Scottish Green Assembly member. t would seem that the Greens don’t quite see boundaries as clearly as some here do. Again I welcome this as anything that blows a bit of fresh air into the stagnant atmosphere of NI politics has to be good.”

    We have specific local problems to address over and above what concerns Finchley and Dublin 4.

    And no amount of pretending that we don’t will make those problems go away.

  • Scarlet

    Snapper

    No what is sad is making excuses for Thugs and creating the climate in which they thrive.

  • Jim Bob

    To Scarlet

    “No what is sad is making excuses for Thugs and creating the climate in which they thrive.”

    The climate in which they thrived was Unionism’s inability to reform itself.

    And we’re still living with the legacy of that.

    There is a way through it of course, but you can be sure that the answers won’t be coming from the SDLP or their supporters in the South or anywhere else.

    That’s why people on the ground in the North are supporting Sinn Fein. They understand the realities.

  • Scarlet

    Bob

    The problem is they are not entirely local and Dublin 4 is not Dublin North and Finchley is not in Edinburgh As for the Republican movement knowing the right time let me tell you that was years ago. THe Republican movement are sowing seeds that will cause problems in Ireland in the future.

  • Jim Bob

    “The problem is they are not entirely local and Dublin 4 is not Dublin North and Finchley is not in Edinburgh”

    The point is that we have specific local problems, and outsiders pretending that ours is just a criminal problem doesn’t help.

    “As for the Republican movement knowing the right time let me tell you that was years ago.”

    If it was years ago then that’s when it would have happened. And increasingly voters in the North are agreeing with the pace at which Sinn Fein have moved things along.

    “THe Republican movement are sowing seeds that will cause problems in Ireland in the future.”

    What they’re actually doing is ensuring that this time the issues are sorted out once and for all.

  • plain joe

    To hell with SF if there is a God they will end up there anyway.

    Seems fair enough to me that Greens from various parts should be meeting here after all the rivers, and oceans and air movement don’t stop at the border and Greens do take a strong international position on many issues. I agree with Scarlet good to see some fresh air.

    If Franz Ferdinand support them they can’t be all bad can they?

  • Scarlet

    Bob
    What they’re actually doing is ensuring that this time the issues are sorted out once and for all.

    No what they are actually doing is using the peace process to maximise their gain. It is an abuse of the good will of the people in Northern Ireland, in Ireland and in Britain. Worse than that it is corrupting the politics of this place.

  • Jim Bob

    To Scarlet

    “No what they are actually doing is using the peace process to maximise their gain.”

    How are they doing that?

  • Fergus

    I would prefer pronouncements from southern politicians and a few travelling north to the lorry loads of illegal rubbish which seem to traverse the border unrestrained.

    There are organisations that see things the other way round. Don’t like criticism and don’t mind pocketing a few Euro.

  • El Matador

    Herr Adams’ comments on Ahern/McDowell etc. show the inherent partitionism and self-service of Spin Féin.

    SF claim to want a united Ireland, but God forbid that someone from the southern government should come up here. SF jealously guard the north better than Big Ian because partition fuels their sectarian campaigns.

    In a democracy, people are allowed to express their opinions. SF have yet to learn this.

    Throwing toys out of prams might have been ok when you were a minority faction bombing and massacring people, but you’re playing with the big boys now.

  • Snapper

    The bottom line is that powerful and heavily mandated Catholics are a threat to the state and the continued existence of Unionist control. It wouldn’t matter a jot if they had an unsullied background.

  • El Matador

    JimBob: That’s why people on the ground in the North are supporting Sinn Fein.

    A lot of Spin Féin supporters seem to be “on the ground.” What’s wrong- a bit too much poteen?

    I guess that would explain their irrational voting.

    Apart from this, Spin Féin’s proportion of the popular vote categorises them as a small minority.
    Do the 75% of people in the north who don’t vote SF count. After all, you have made the sweeping statement that people on the ground in the north are supporting SF. They are also supporting the SDLP, UUP, DUP, Alliance, WC etc. etc. but I suppose these parties don’t count

  • Scarlet

    Bob
    How are they doing that?

    Where does one start for I don’t want to be seen as solely blaming SF. To my mind there is much that SF could have done on policing and decommissioning. To me the key to the Peace process is trust and no one trusts SF except themselves alone.

    I don’t particularly like the handling of the process by the British government and I think they have been bundling and inept right from the start of the process.

    It strikes me that in this process you benefit if you are wretched and threaten malice and if you do not you are sold out. I blame the British government for much of this and I understand that with that backdrop SF may not wish to be too flexible but if SF can’t see the tide has turned then they are making a serious miscalculation.

    Trevor Sargent strikes me as a careful sort and is not known for his criticism of SF. The Green Party in the South, I think, is in a ‘technical’ (if that’s the right term) working group with independents and SF. On this island does anyone other than SF not now believe that the time has come to move on?

  • Snapper

    El Matador –

    What exactly is irrational about voting for a party which represents me?

    And how is 25% a small minority?

    Don’t fight it – get used to the FACT that SF are here to stay and command a very sizable proportion of the NI electorate.

  • Jim Bob

    To Matador

    “I guess that would explain their irrational voting”

    Shrewd politicians never blame the electorate.

    That must be where sophisticated thinkers like yourself are going wrong.

  • Snapper

    Scarlet,

    What tide are you referring to? I think you will find on May 6th that no such tide exists. People are not stupid, they can see clearly through all the guff being levelled against Sinn Fein. I personally believe they will emerge stronger after the elections. I don’t expect you to understand or agree with their policies but I do expect and demand that you respect their mandate. Ian Paisley has contributed as much if not more harm on this God-Forsaken place than anybody – however, as much as I dislike the man I cannot have him censored or demand that he live up to my idea of what a democracy is or is not. The only thing I can do is choose not to talk or negotiate with him.

  • Jim Bob

    To Scarlet

    Decisions on policing and decommissioning will be taken in a timely fashion, taking into consideration the political context as a whole.

    That seems to be the most sensible way forward and Sinn Fein voters seem to approve. If those who criticise Sinn Fein on these issues were correct in their analysis then they’d be getting all the votes. The truth is that it’s not analysis of course. It’s just posturing. Even the most simple-minded journalist could tell you that, and they regularly spell out the problems in the policing issue. And funnily enough they don’t say what SF’s political opponents say. They never say that. So not even the journalist agree with SF’s opponents on this.

  • Logybird

    Barney – you’ve lost me.

  • Scarlet

    Snapper

    I have no love of the DUP and their role over the last 30 -40 years. It is not even worth commenting about that lot. As for the tide I do think it is turning and perhaps it will not show much in this election but there is a change of mood afoot. People are questioning the utter hypocrisy of the likes of what constitutes murder. For many of us murder is just that murder and not some unfortunate incident. Crime is crime no matter who does it.

  • PatMcLarnon

    Fair play to Sargent, at least the Greens have the neck to campaign and stand on both sides of the border. Unlile the political cowards of Ahern, Harney, Kenny and Rabbite.

    They are about as relevant as the Natural Law Party or Alliance Party but at least they measure their mandate.

  • harry

    “They are about as relevant as the Natural Law Party or Alliance Party but at least they measure their mandate.”

    You forgot about the Workers Party

  • Jim Bob

    “You forgot about the Workers Party”

    Who?

  • Fergus

    They are about as relevant as the Natural Law Party

    NO NO That is one lot organisation that really have gone away.

    If you look beyond these 6 counties in Europe Greens are perhaps a lot more relevant than SF but this is parochial Northern Ireland and dinosaurs flourish in these protected back waters.

  • aquifer

    I’ve bad news for the boys. You know the state the orangies had, with the lifetime jobs for the mates, in protected state industries, prosperous farmers, the ceremonials, pomp, flags and all that. Those states are gone, you are not going to get one. Get over it.

    It wasn’t so great being patronised by Irishmen with english accents anyhow, and the money was crap.

    Its shopping centres and DIY stores, expensive childcare, cars and mortgages, uncertain job prospects but probably enough to get by, for almost everyone. Its not so bad here in this small fraction of the European consumerzone, and the environment is in surprisingly good shape too. And the Irish people are cultured and generous, north and south. -They voted for the GFA, didn’t they.

    Crime and anti-social behaviour are a problem though, even if global drugs and terror problems don’t impact in a big way.

    So what are SFPIRA going to do about it?

    Hope SF don’t get hung out making excuses for the inexcusable, with the only effective borders the ones left inside people’s minds.

  • Davros

    Don’t knock the natural law party! They are sound.

  • A.W.

    Davros

    I like the monster raving loony lot myself. I always though their idea of giving sheep the vote was a satirical comment on Northern Ireland politics.

  • Snapper

    Scarlet,

    No one said the buisness of peace making was easy or perfect. Those who shamefully use situations like the McCartney murder(I dont mean you) for political ends know full well that the peace process may suffer. I for one have problems with the way Sinn Fein handled the situation but in no way will condone holding the party responsible for all that went wrong. Ask yourself the following question – should Bertie Ahern have been sanctioned as leader of Fianna Fail for the behaviour and subsequent jailing of former Minister for Foreign Affairs Ray Burke? Of course not. I genuninely believe that Sinn Fein are sincere about making peace but they have enormous baggage which they must also deal with. This takes time, which is exactly why it is called a process. I truly hope that people will persevere because failure is too awful too contemplate.

  • GavBelfast

    Sinn Fein/IRA cheerleaders are rapidly developing an arrogance and lack of humility that big-house Unionism would have been proud of in past generations.

    To be focused on message and firm on conviction is one thing, but the stark refusal to concede that others have a valid point of view that doesn’t have to be and should not be belittled is more than a little disturbing.

    Why would/should/could opponents of the RM be anything other than sceptical of its good intentions?

  • barney

    logybird,

    “Barney – you’ve lost me.”

    Sorry about that. I was referring to your belated Arafat angle, it’s already been done to death. You may be interested to know that Michael McDowell has moved on and is now comparing Adams with Robert Mugabe. It should play better with the white farmers of Antrim.

  • clug

    “but the stark refusal to concede that others have a valid point of view that doesn’t have to be and should not be belittled is more than a little disturbing.”

    This comment could discribe Paisleys thinking during his 40 year career

  • A.W.

    Dug

    Are you suggesting that Paisley and SF have much in common, well I never.

  • aquifer

    “Those who shamefully use situations like the McCartney murder(I dont mean you) for political ends know full well that the peace process may suffer. .

    .. I truly hope that people will persevere because failure is too awful too contemplate.”

    Nothing shameful in knowing murder is wrong and saying so, and the process needs popular limits. If SF fail to establish that the process is a political negotiation between equals with some basic shared values, rather than blackmail by an armed gang, breakdown would not leave participants willing to risk being blackmailed again ever. In a society so obviously divided, any awfulness should be the responsibility of those who restart street violence, with or without firearms.

  • A.W.

    Aquifer

    I agree and many people are trying to will the Republican movement to move foreword and it is not out of malice but out of a genuine desire to get agreement and get on with the real bread and butter issues so we can build a better future for us all.

    Trevor Sargent’s comments were fair and reasonable.

  • Logybird

    Funny barney, funny.

    So, Adams is now like Mugabe. That’s a rich assessment coming from a man who makes David Blunkett look soft on immigration.

  • Snapper

    I am simply referring to those who have never given a hoot about dead catholics in the past. Suddenly having an interest in a murder when no interest was ever shown to state murders, or loyalist killings smacks of political opportunism. I have consistently condemned in the strongest possible terms in all my comments the horrific and brutal death of Robert McCartney. I am in no way trying to absolve republicans from their past and present deeds, but sniping from the sidelines helps only those intent on destroying the peace process. Murdering people and not taking full responsibility doesn’t help the peace process either.

  • aquifer

    More catholics than protestants died in the last paramilitary adventure. Who cares to take responsibility for that?