Ford sets out benchmarks for progress

Courtesy of the excellent Newshound. In The Irish News William Graham reports that “The Alliance Party has set out a series of bench-marks against which it believes the British and Irish governments and other parties should assess any future IRA[et al] statement.”

Alliance Party leader David Ford “said that throughout the peace process, too much attention has fallen on decommissioning at the expense of a full debate on what was required of republicans and loyalists.” –

The Alliance Party suggests the following benchmarks:

– the IRA must declare an end to all involvement in any paramilitary and criminal activity and, through exclusively lawful means, ensure that its activists desist immediately

– where individual republicans are involved in paramilitary or criminal activity, others must pass on any information to the lawful authorities

– the republican movement must accept the full legitimacy of both the northern and southern states with respect to policing and criminal justice

– all IRA ‘front’ organisations and organised crime networks must be dismantled

– the IRA Army Council must end all recruitment, training and intelligence gathering and stand down all its rank and file members. Once this is carried out and weapons are decommissioned, the organisation, including command structures, must disband

– the republican movement must renounce the right to engage in ‘community policing’ or to engage in what is termed ‘internal housekeeping’. There must be an end to all paramilitary beatings and shootings

– the practice of exiling both inside and outside Northern Ireland must come to an end

– all illegally held weapons and explosives to be decommissioned under the aegis of the Decommissioning Commission

– republicans must co-operate fully with the Commission for the Disappeared and both police services in recovering the remains of ‘the disappeared’

– republicans must give a commitment not to export their terrorist techniques and expertise to other organisations.

It’s an interesting list.. but it’s unlikely to be fully matched by any eventual statement from the Provisional Movement – never mind any of the other paramilitary groups.

My own view.. for what it’s worth.. is that what will emerge is a statement that holds out the promise of meeting some of those benchmarks.. as part of a process that is reliant on further moves by both the Irish and British Governments.

And around we will go again…

  • Belfastwhite

    I think the Alliance Party need reminding again that there is more than one side in this conflict. It’s all very well setting benchmarks that republicans must adhere to but I don’t see any benchmarks for the British Goverment, PSNI/RUC, Unionist Parties (including Alliance) and last but not least Loyalist Paramilitaries. Maybe Mr Ford and his Party thinks that these groups are hunky dory! I for one would like to see the Alliance Party benchmark for each and every one of these organisations. Any chance Mr Ford?

  • peteb

    BW

    If you read the article, you’ll see that David Ford does address the benchmarks to all paramilitary groups.

  • bigwhitedove

    Who is David Ford?

  • maca

    “Who is David Ford?”

    Go back to sleep! 😉
    2nd paragraph … “Alliance Party leader David Ford”

  • Alan2

    If what you say is correct Pete then it simply will not be good enough for Alliance or the SDLP let alone the DUP. More of the same will not suffice. We have been there and done that (three times and look where that took Trimble). Only a clear, concise statement will do not wishy-washy language with full of ambiguities and promisies that should have been fulfilled within a couple of years of the signing of the Agreement.

  • jocky

    Belfast White, what benchmarks would you like to see applied to the British Goverment, PSNI/RUC, Unionist Parties (including Alliance)?

    Ford covers the Loyalist paramiliteries.

  • peteb

    Alan2

    It is unlikely to be enough for the local political parties.. but it will be aimed at the British, Irish and US governments.. and they have shown a remarkable reluctance in the past to adhere to the kind of benchmarks that the Alliance Party is suggesting.

  • DerryTerry

    Having read the Alliance wish list can anyone explain to me how if the IRA disbands, goes out of existence etc how will “Republicans” ensure that everything they want to happen happens?

    Just as an example, if the IRA disappears how can it ensure that former members do not export techniques, or where individuals are involved in certain activities who would be the “others” who should pass information?

  • Belfastwhite

    Pete maybe you are seeing something different than me here if so please highlight references to PSNI/RUC, British Army, Unionist Parties and Loyalist Paramilitaries in the benchmarks above! Would you agree that Alliance should publish benchmarks for these organisations as well? I’ll start them off :

    1) The Alliance Party should support power sharing with republicans on every Council (even Lisburn)

  • Belfastwhite

    Jocky for a start the words British Army/Government, PSNI/RUC, Unionist and Loyalist could be inserted in place of Republican Movement/IRA in the benchmarks above but it more important in my opinion that the Alliance Party show Equality when dealing with participants in this conflict after all they proclaim that they are the main centre party.

  • beano; EverythingUlster.com

    The loyalists should obviously adhere to the same benchmarks set out above. However the governments have no political power to wield as a carrot for them since they have not got that oh so famous ‘mandate’ Sinn Fein speak of. Unfortunate in a way, but a reflection of the fact that certain sections of society are less comfortable voting for murderers.

  • Gum

    Beano, I dont want this to descend into another case of whataboutery or to start the old debate one more time but do you really think sections of UUP and DUP support didnt sympathise with loyalist killers?

    There is evidence that ‘decent people’ supported these killers: David Ervine’s speech in the Assembly in which he accused the leading unionist parties of hypocrasy is one example. He stated that he had been invited to (unnamed) MLA’s homes in his capacity as a member of the UVF.

    Anyway, we arent going to get anywhere if we label everyone who votes for SF as murderers or terrorist symapthisers.

  • Dessertspoon

    After so many false dawns over the years when the IRA make their statement will anyone be that bothered to draw the curtains to look at yet another one?? I know I won’t be…..wake me up when they actually DO something.

  • Davros

    Gerry’s faux-initiative in which he asked the IRA to stop doing things he has spent the past few years categorically denying they were still doing will doubtless be met with a faux-reply.

    Will the DUP give a positive faux-response?
    ( Looking forward to sharing power with you Gerry when the IRA actually do something rather than when they agree to do something at some time in the future…..)

    Business as usual.

  • Henry94

    – where individual republicans are involved in paramilitary or criminal activity, others must pass on any information to the lawful authorities

    – the republican movement must accept the full legitimacy of both the northern and southern states with respect to policing and criminal justice

    These are the unacceptable ones in my view. Nobody can be obliged to accept something as legitimate. That is a matter of free political opinion. And nobody can be obliged to become an informer.

    The issues of policing and justice are not settled and can’t be simply declared settled.

    I’m glad they locate the decomissioning issue with the commission and don’t go in for DUP-type stunts. Not a bad effort over all but lacks understanding of the republican position on policing and justice.

  • jocky

    Also from the article, Mr Ford said: “It should be stressed again that all the above also apply to loyalist paramilitary groups.”

    As for replacing Republican with British Goverment, PSNI/RUC simply doesn’t work.
    It would for points 1 & 2 but the rest would be a nonesense.

    If they did points 1 and 2 would you be satisfied BelfastWhite?

    Regarding points 1 and 2, what do posters estimate the extent of Army/PSNI collussion with paramilitiers is and extent of criminal activity?

  • Belfastwhite

    It would be a start Jocky but at least you’re beginning to see where I am coming from. I just hope the Alliance Party does likewise but somehow I can’t see it.

  • bigwhitedove

    Maca,
    It was sarcasm!, I can see why anybody would get worked up over Ford or Alliance, they are irrelevant,
    Does anyone seriously believe the Brits, Irish,Americans & even Unionism will not move if the RA dont meet Alliances demands?

  • jocky

    Cheers for the reply BelfastWhite.

    Henry94, How can you not accept the legitimacy of the Northern and Southern states re policing? it’s not a matter of political opinion it’s an acceptance of reality.

    You may not like them, they may have faults / need reform, but how can you not accept them. The alternative is what? The point is paramilitaries cant have a veto on democracy dpeending on wether or not they like a certain aspect of policy.

    Does this principle apply to other aspects of politics, you don’t like a governemnts economic policy, what you stop paying taxes?

    What happens if a U.I. occurs and SF/IRA have a problem with the Gardai? back to square one?

    Henry, sorry Im ranting a bit, can you explain for me the republican position on policing and justice? I briefly read the SF manifesto and considering this is such a big issue for republicans I couldn’t see anything that substantial in their manifesto about it.

    It’s often quoted on here but I’ve as yet to find a substantive explanation of it.

  • Henry94

    jocky

    No problem with the south but the northern state has no legitimacy on policing or anything else from a republican perspective.

    We can certainly discuss the details but my point here is that making such a recognition of this entity a pre-condition for anything is bad faith.

    The loyalty of republicans will remain with the republic proclaimed in 1916. What I want to see is a dedication to peacful means in pursuit of the objective not the abandonment of the objective itself.

  • Young Fogey

    The issues of policing and justice are not settled and can’t be simply declared settled.

    I’m sorry, Henry, but that sounds to me like Republicans on the one hand holding up the Agreement as the one immutable gold standard for all time, and cherry picking it with the other.

    Of course, Republicans have the right to argue for changes to the current arrangements in policing. But to refuse to recognise, as a matter of practical reality, those arrangements is to leave a dangerous law and order vacuum which will be filled by someone, and doubtless to the particular detriment of working-class Republican communities.

    Does anyone seriously believe the Brits, Irish,Americans & even Unionism will not move if the RA dont meet Alliances demands?

    Bigwhitedove, do you really think Unionism will move with the Republican Movement doing any less than what’s on that list above? And do you really think the British and Irish government can move without the DUP on board? Be realistic.

    As for the Americans, those murdfering hypocrites can take their noses out of Irish business. I am not remotely interested in what they have to say.

  • IJP

    Henry

    ‘Republicans’ accepted the legitimacy of Northern Ireland and of its position within the British State in 1998. They can argue that shouldn’t be the position, but they can’t argue it isn’t.

    Or are you admitting that SF is, in fact, anti-Agreement?

  • jocky

    Henry, so who does SF/IRA? As Young Fogey says to deny the practical reality of the situation is for want of a better word, eh, bonkers.

    Fair enough, you have the principal but while working towards your objective you have to accept the reality and then move on. I dont see how that is bad faith? Your not altering your objective by accepting the reality. And besides, as IJP says isn’t that what 1998 was all about?

    As for the effectiveness of that tactic, leave that for another day.

  • PatMcLarnon

    I see that Alliance has stuck to the tried and tested formula of all the unionist parties when referring to loyalist violence. Launch a tirade against republicans and do the little add on at the end where loyalists are added.
    They are no different from the other unionists in their approach to such violence. Sometimes we have had the UUP and DUp use a thirty minute programme to denounce (sic) violence. For twenty nine minutes and forty five seconds it will be, ‘IRA this’ and ‘republicans that’ and then right at the end we get ‘of course we condemn all violence’. Yeah, sure you do.

    On the broader point it is car crash television watching Alliance trying to appear relevant, let it go Ford even your sponsors in the NIO think you are crud these days.

  • Zorro

    PatMcLarnon

    Still in your self-righteous ivory tower I see Pat? You really outta get out more, in to the real world. Only SF sycophants talk in the manner you do. It is worth noting that as the oldest political party on the island of Ireland (did you spot the obvious and over used SF spin!?!) SF have done little, if anything, to change our society for the better. Is he a great man for asking the Bhoys to do what the rest of Ireland asked them to do when they voted for the GFA? I don’t think so. SF and the Republican movement are stuck in a 1916 style rut. They realise they are part of the problem as well as any possible solution. This society needs fresh ideas, new faces and a different approach to the one offered by the leading parties. The Alliance may not be the largest pro-agrement nationalist party (sorry, more obvious and over used SF spin!, but they do represent a different way forward and surely that’s what is needed.

  • Davros

    The loyalty of republicans will remain with the republic proclaimed in 1916.

    Gaelic, Catholic and Inward looking- While the rest of the world struggles with globalisation Irish Republicans continue their march to Nua Albania….

  • PatMcLarnon

    Zorro,

    it is right to point out the similar trains of thought that are consistent right across the unionist community. At a time when unionists are looking at gestures and actions from republicans how about unionists using less dismissive language?
    To continually add on loyalist violence as an annoying aside is contemptuous to those who have suffered at their hands.

    BTW stick to asking relevant questions and lay off irrelevant observations about what I might or not be. I tried to make the same point to you last night but it was removed by a moderator.

  • Henry94

    Tempting as it is to get into yet another debate about the basics I would sooner stick to contemplation of Ford’s wish list.

    I think it demonstates either an abject failure to understand republicans or else is designed to set the IRA up for rejection of any move they make.

    How realistic is it to demand that the IRA become informers? It’s simply impossible to take seriously.

  • Zorro

    Pat

    To continually add on loyalist violence as an annoying aside is contemptuous to those who have suffered at their hands.

    You are wrong in this assertion as I made no reference to Loyalist violence. My views are well documented on SLUGGER, in short I feel there is no social, moral nor ethical justification for any paramilitary group. For me there is no hierarchy of blame. All paramilitary groups cast the same unpleasant odour. Many, (though granted not all) of the problems of our society are linked to such groups. I do not accept that the wrongs done against you, in some way, justify you own equally wrong doing. This is the normal line of argument adopted by supporters of a paramilitary group and, in this respect, Pat you appear to be no different. Examples of this can be seen on numerous postings here on SLUGGER and fall under the term “whataboutery”.

    Your postings in this and other threads would suggest you are sympathetic to the Republican Movement. Am I not right then to try and engage you in debate? Would such a debate not increase mutual understanding? Is SLUGGER not a forum to express personal views and opinions? To dismiss, off hand, the views of someone merely because you disagree with them is, I feel, contemptuous. If you don’t wish to risk criticism nor engage in debate then why do you post on SLUGGER? If I were to find myself in the company of republicans at a social event, in a pub etc would we be able to have this discourse? I don’t think so. To gain further understanding, it seems sensible to try and debate contentious issues with people of opposing views and that’s what makes SLUGGER so great! I strongly suggest you reconsider your invitation for anyone to ”lay off irrelevant observations about what you may or may not be and try and see; it’s not about YOU Pat. It’s about what your views represent in the much broader sense. See what I’m saying about coming down from the Ivory Tower? Of course if you are unsure about your own beliefs and doubt the dominanat ideology of your own community, maybe SLUGGER isn’t for you? Finally, if the content of your posting wasn’t allowed by a moderator then I would suggest this says more about you than any criticism of I could post.

  • PatMcLarnon

    Zorro,

    the first sentence in your reply indicates that you don’t understand who or what I was getting at. Best to stop here as the rest of your post rambles.

  • bertie

    zorro,

    You’d think that it would be the default assumption that terrorism of all sorts is unacceptable, wouldn’t you?
    We should not accuse/beaccused of inconsistancy unless there is evidence of it.
    Or do we need to save a little signature but to put at the beginning of posts saying “I totally abhor all terrorist organisations, including their political wings, so when I specify the unacceptability of one of them I am not automatically justifying another, in the same way that when I put money into a charity tin for cancer research, I am not hoping that heart disease stalks the land and does for us all.”
    It might make the posts a but longer.

  • Bertie

    Bertie,

    I will admit to being a bit disappointed. I thought Pat could have done better…. Who knows, maybe I hit on a raw nerve? Maybe he is not able to articulate his views. I guess we’ll never know!

    I do know for a fact that many republicans are told how to deal with certain questions and issues. (Yes I can back this up with fact but that would result in being targeted by the men of violence so I’m not going to .) Don’t be surprised if you read Pat going someway to answering the points I make in later threads elsewhere on SLUGGER at a later date.

    Pat

    I agree and freely admit, I don’t understand who or what you were getting at. But then that is why I post on SLUGGER. Given your response I can only conclude either you don’t want to explain yourself are you are unable to explain yourself. Which is it?

  • maca

    bigwhitedove
    “It was sarcasm!”

    Brain frizzle is my excuse… 😉

  • Gum

    “Gaelic, Catholic and Inward looking- While the rest of the world struggles with globalisation Irish Republicans continue their march to Nua Albania….”

    Davros, away and take another look at the 1916 proclamation. Its an honourable document. Unlike De Valera’s constitution, the proclamation is not narrow minded nationalism but inclusive republicanism. The IRA have failed completely in acting in accordance with the values the proclamation asserted, and many of their actions are completely contradictory to what the seven signatories tried to enshrine.

  • PatMcLarnon

    Zorro or Bertie or whoever you are. I will give you a big giant clue. The thread is about the response of Alliance and other unionist parties to the actions of loyalist paramilitaries and their dismissive tone in referring to such. I think the 5.33pm post gives the game away.

  • tra g

    The Alliance Party in Pottinger have been totally silent regarding the loyalist punishment attacks within the ward.

    Does Maire Hendron have a voice ???

  • IJP

    Henry

    I don’t agree with you, but the fact you choose to defend your party’s position on the issues, rather than on daft labels, is something a heck of a lot of people could learn from. Disagreeing respectfully on the issues is part of the process.

    I think it demonstates either an abject failure to understand republicans

    No, I think it demonstrates an abject failure of ‘republicans’ (your definition) to understand what SF agreed to and what the people voted for in 1998.

  • Davros

    Gum – regardless of what the fine words – which are cheap – of the Proclamation said – are you saying that the resulting “Republic” recognised as having been in continuous existance by certain republicans from 1916 wasn’t ‘Catholic and Gaelic’ ?

    Thinking here of the Democratic program of the First Dáil in 1919….

    “it shall be the first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children, to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter, but that all shall be provided with the means and facilities requisite for their proper education and training as Citizens of a Free and Gaelic Ireland”.
    (my empases in bold)

    Even today SF documents carry a whiff of this. Although things have moved on from the ambivalence Richard Kearney discussed in 1986:

    “The key word here is ambivalence. The prison campaign showed that the Republican movement operates in terms of two distinguishable, if not always distinct, discourses. On the one hand, there is a rhetoric that leans towards the Gaelic Catholic Nationalist idioms of myth, tradition, piety and martyrdom. On the other hand, there is the secular discourse of military action, political electioneering and social work; and it is here that we find the new Sinn Féin vocabulary of class struggle, advice centres and liberal pluralism (e.g. their ‘progressive’ attitude to matters of sexual morality such as divorce, contraception or the recent Amendment debate on abortion).”

    page 69, Myth and Motherland, Richard Kearney
    Ireland’s Field Day, Field Day Company, 1986, US edition, University of Notre Dame Press.

    As I say, SF has virtually abandoned the Gaelic Catholic issue -but it still gets reaffirmed in a recent document from 2004

    “The Democratic Programme also makes a specific commitment in terms of addressing child poverty: “it shall be the first duty of the Government of the Republic to make provision for the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of the children, to secure that no child shall suffer hunger or cold from lack of food, clothing, or shelter, but that all shall be provided with the means and facilities requisite for their proper education and training as Citizens of a Free and Gaelic Ireland”.
    Sinn Féin reaffirms this commitment and this document is an attempt to provide a Republican approach to delivering the goal of eliminating poverty in our society – a society which must set itself the objective of guaranteeing these rights to all our citizens.”

    How else do you read a commitment to ‘spiritual well-being’ and a ‘Gaelic Ireland’ ?

  • bertie

    the last “bertie” was zorro (judging by the comments and by the email).

    Our views on terrorists do seem to align and I often find he (using the pronoun generically) posts comments that I was about to make, but we are not the same person. I get the impression (perhaps wrongly so please correct me ) that he is Alliance or tending that way, which I am not (although I did have a lot of time for Oliver Napier.)

    The main reason for focusing on IRA/Sinn Fein terrorism is that there is little danger (thank God) of us having UDP or PUP in ministerial positions at Stormont and terrorists in government is a big issue.

  • trev

    “The main reason for focusing on IRA/Sinn Fein terrorism is that there is little danger (thank God) of us having UDP or PUP in ministerial positions at Stormont and terrorists in government is a big issue.”

    Thats of little consolation to the families of the ever increasing number of victims of unionist paramilitarism within the community.

    Are you saying that loyalists who cripple people are not worth putting the spotlight on.

  • D’Oracle

    Thats a long lot of “musts”!

    Looks like the Alliance Party is in a bit of a panic for some reason. Why on earth would they need to fabricate obstacles or to continue conflict? This just doesnt make sense. Are they some kind of a front or goofy amateurs on an ego trip.

    I thought they were supposed to be awfully nice etc people

  • bill

    No comment from Ford on the 13 men who have been crippled by loyalist paramilitaries over the last three weeks.

    Surely this MUST have deserved at least a few lines of comment

  • bertie

    FFS! trev

    I first thought that you had to be joking, but I’m hoping that you would not use victims to joke with.

    I repeat my previous post:-

    “You’d think that it would be the default assumption that terrorism of all sorts is unacceptable, wouldn’t you?

    We should not accuse/beaccused of inconsistancy unless there is evidence of it.
    Or do we need to save a little signature but to put at the beginning of posts saying “I totally abhor all terrorist organisations, including their political wings, so when I specify the unacceptability of one of them I am not automatically justifying another, in the same way that when I put money into a charity tin for cancer research, I am not hoping that heart disease stalks the land and does for us all.”
    It might make the posts a but longer.”

    Of course “loyalist” thuggery should be highlighted. However because there has been so much discussion about having Sinn Fein in government there this has to give rise to speculation about IRA terrorism and capability. Which explains a particular focus on that.
    My views on terrorism, republican and “loyalist” has been strongly expressed all over this site.

    As far as “loyalist” terrorism is concerned I do not use the euphimistic and glamourising term of “paramilitarism”.

    By the way are you saying that its all right to torture squirrels? You haven’t specifically denounced this!

  • tra g

    The Alliance Party in Pottinger have been totally silent regarding the loyalist punishment attacks within the ward.

    Does Maire Hendron have a voice ???

  • bill

    No press releases on the Alliance Party website about the huge increase in loyalist paramilitary attacks. ???

  • Comrade Stalin

    “but I don’t see any benchmarks for the British Goverment, PSNI/RUC, Unionist Parties (including Alliance) and last but not least Loyalist Paramilitaries.”

    To be sure, the Alliance Party needs to stop robbing banks and kneecapping people.

    Belfastwhite :

    “1) The Alliance Party should support power sharing with republicans on every Council (even Lisburn)”

    Alliance doesn’t have the balance of power on Lisburn as far as I know (??), so isn’t in a position to do this. In the past the party has supported SF into such positions where they have held the balance of power, including in Belfast.

    “No press releases on the Alliance Party website about the huge increase in loyalist paramilitary attacks. ???”

    Huge increase ? I wasn’t aware that the loyalist paramilitaries had ever slowed down with their usual repertoire of random assaults and attacks.

    AFAIK APNI has been the only party in NI trying to get paramilitary flags taken down, and achieved some success in Holywood; as a result Alliance councillors and local activists have had bricks through their windows. David Alderdice had his house picketed and abuse thrown at his schoolchildren by loyalist thugs over the election of Alex Maskey as Lord Mayor in Belfast. Is it possible that some of the republican contributors could consider these facts before trying to say that the party has some sort of interest in sustaining loyalist paramilitarism ?

    I think these point alone show that APNI is rather distinct from unionism, which isn’t interested in combating loyalist paramilitarism at all.

  • Comrade Stalin

    bill and trag, there’s nothing on the Sinn Fein website about loyalist attacks either. Are you guys SF activists or something ? If you are you could at least try to get your own house in order first.

  • Davros

    bill and trag, there’s nothing on the Sinn Fein website about loyalist attacks either.

    Ouch. Nice one Comrade.

  • tra g

    cs

    My point was in relation to the silence of Maire Hendron.

    There has been 5 loyalist shootings in the Pottinger area in the last 3 weeks.

  • Davros

    Something that’s worth asking here – has she been quiet or have the media not carried comments she may or may not have made ?

  • IJP

    Davros

    It’s called ‘avoiding the issue’.

    Like I say, credit to those like Henry who debate properly without resort to lies and labels.

  • Gum

    Point taken Davros, I think our only disagreement is on whether words (and in particular those used by Pearse, MacDonagh, Plunkett etc) are cheap! As a lawyer I have to say they are my most valuable resourse!! 😉

  • Henry94

    IJP

    There is little point in trying to tell people what they voted for in the Agreement in relation to the IRA. The IRA did not sign the Agreement and are not bound by it let alone bound by a unionist interpretation of it.

    They will make their own decision and I think we need to be realistic about what will be a good decision and what will not.

    But Unionists will probably not be. The British government will have to push them into the institutions in the end because they lack the political maturity to make the decision themselves.

    I understand the Alliance need to position themselves to pick up unionist tranfers in a new assembly election. But then they can’t complain when nationalists see them as just another unionist party.

  • Davros

    Cheers Gum. ( A wise man once wrote ‘always be agreeable to lawyers’ )

  • IJP

    Henry

    Don’t twist words.

    You said other people didn’t understand ‘republicans’. I pointed out that ‘republicans’ don’t understand other people.

    Furthermore, ‘republicans’ are represented politically by SF, which agreed to the Agreement.

    That the Agreement legitimizes NI and places it wholly under British sovereignty is not ‘interpretation’, it’s in the text of that Agreement.

    Perhaps you are accepting that SF and its followers are, in fact, anti-Agreement?

    I understand the Alliance need to position themselves to pick up unionist tranfers in a new assembly election.

    Please don’t talk rubbish. The only seat where we really needed big transfers in the recent local elections was Pottinger, where they came from Nationalists.

    Everyone in NI needs to position themselves to accept a wholly democratic society free of mafia and gangsters – ‘republicans’ included. I commended you earlier for not labelling, don’t let me down now… 🙂

  • Young Fogey

    Henry94

    The IRA did not sign the Agreement and are not bound by it

    Henry this is exactly why the political process is in crisis. The IRA don’t regard themselves as bound by the views of 80%+ of the Irish people. Until the IRA accept that they are not above the Irish people there can be no trust, and without trust no stable government. 1916 was a long time ago. Get over it.

    fabricate obstacles

    d’Oracle, Alliance are not fabricating obstacles here. This is reality. If you think the Unionists are easily knocked into shape by the Brits, think again.

  • redpaul

    Point of interest to Zorro. I notice you have dismissed some of Pat McLarnons arguments with references to ‘Ivory towers’. You did the same with a number of my views/experiences recently re: the positive role of paramilitaries in conflict prevention and reduction. Is it your actual belief that those with different views and experiences to you live in Ivory Towers?

  • Henry94

    YF

    If you think the Unionists are easily knocked into shape by the Brits, think again

    I’m thinking of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

    Until the IRA accept that they are not above the Irish people there can be no trust, and without trust no stable government.

    I don’t care what people think including the IRA. It’s what they do that matters. If the IRA renounce violence and disarm then that’s that. They are entitled to believe whatever they like just like Ian Paisley is.

  • Young Fogey

    I’m thinking of the Anglo-Irish Agreement.

    I’m thinking the world has moved on in the past 20 years. BTW, your lot weren’t too keen on the AIA at the time either, were they?

    I don’t care what people think including the IRA. It’s what they do that matters.

    Sure. Whatever. As long as they don’t act above the Irish people they can think whatever they like. I’m not a big fan of thoughtcrime myself.

  • Zorro

    RedPaul,

    Is it your actual belief that those with different views and experiences to you live in Ivory Towers?

    No. However, I have found that when listening to people voice support for and trying to defend the actions of the paramilitaries they adopt such a view. I do believe that rather than face up to the reality of paramilitarism, they adopt, what I would argue is, a simplistic and idealised view of the respective groups. I believe you demonstrated this view and I guess so would Pat if he had bothered to continue the thread. I am earnestly trying to understand how and why people can lend their support to such groups. Your previous postings went some way to explaining this when you spoke of seeing paramilitary activists working to avoid interface violence. I won’t go over ground already covered here but I hope you can see where I am coming from…

  • Zorro

    bertie,

    Please accept my apologies regarding the mix up with the name. It was a genuine mistake and wholly unintentional. Sorry!!!

  • D’Oracle

    YF,
    I’m ready to recant on fabrication if you give me an insight why Alliance seems to highlight a lopsided set of ethical pre-requisites in a way which seems less than helpful?

    Are they fools or charlatans ?Whats the rationale? Beats me1

  • tra g

    “The only seat where we really needed big transfers in the recent local elections was Pottinger, where they came from Nationalists.”

    Maire hendron must have left the country since her election to the city council.Is she not aware of the loyalist punishment shootings within Pottinger ?

    Perhaps she is busy looking for other council amenities to close, to further disenfranchise the Nationalist electorate within Pottinger.

  • pete

    Alliance mean well but want to hold on to their seats which only remain in unionist ares where the pro- union vote is clear so the middle -class float.
    The IRA scared the shit out of protestant unionist people, that is why the end of the IRA is so fundamental to them.

    The middle class prods have turned a blind eye to Loyalist activity because it is less likely to affect them. Hence the Alliance line.

    Any sensible unionist would protect the union by making more people vote to maintain it, there has yet to be such a party.

    Pete

  • bertie

    zorro

    No problem – easily done!

  • IJP

    Pete

    Ay, and voting in an SF Lord Mayor was a cunning ploy to win over more ‘soft unionist’ votes too…

    Did it ever occur to you that Alliance might actually be doing what it thinks is right? Why do you not debate the substance of the argument rather than making things up?

  • tra g

    ijp

    Have you heard from Maire Hendron,is she still in the country ?

    You must remember her,she wom a seat in Pottinger.

  • Roger

    The fact is that Alliance voted in a Sinn Fein ira mayor and therefore lost a lot of SOFT protestant votes.

    Bad decision ethically and a bad decision electorally.

  • IJP

    Roger

    That proves my point.

    Alliance makes decisions based on political judgement on behalf of the whole community, not short-term electoral gain for it itself.

    It won’t always get them right, but at least it is trying to answer the right question. It is frankly outrageous to accuse it otherwise.

    Now, would anyone care to deal with the substance of Mr Ford’s points?

  • jed

    What substance

  • D’Oracle

    Pete,
    Thanks for what I take as an answer to my question to YF. It makes some sense but how does this sit with the Alliance effort to portray themselves as being some sort of cross-community if not actually some kind of living plea for sanity -a rational party. So much for their cover story. Their partiality puts them squarely in one of the two corners.

    A new middle ground anyone -please

  • IJP

    D’Oracle

    It is you who is stirring the sectarian pot, no one else. Self-evidently ‘Loyalist’ and other ‘Republican’ groups should decommission and go away.

    However, only one terrorist organization has a political wing with a mandate to serve in the Government of NI, and that is the hold-up to restoration of the institutions. Alliance is saying that this has to be dealt with, and is setting out how it must be dealt with before restoration of the institutions is feasible.

    Are you suggesting Alliance is wrong? If so, argue the case and tell us all how you think groups could be persuaded/made to decommission and disband. But stop playing irresponsible sectarian games.

  • bill

    ijp

    David Irvine is an MLA for East Belfast and sits on Belfast City Council.

    He is a member of the pup/uvf.

    His organisation is continuing to carry out punishment attacks,sell drugs and extort money from business people within unionist areas.

    Do the Alliance party have any issues dealing with a person who is part of this paramilitary organisation

  • IJP

    Bill

    Of course.

    People really should stop operating on the pretence that Ervine and his brigade are a force for good. They continue to destroy the very communities they claim to serve.

    But that is not a fundamental block on the political process. It is a fundamental block in the social process of achieving a stable, prosperous and peaceful democracy – it is precisely to deal with this that the political process must be put back on track.

  • Roger

    I am no fan of David Ervine that is one lowpoint that SOME unionists vote for violent paramilitarism its disgusting.

    Somebody working on the folks on the hill likes him though as he is always treated favourably.

  • IJP

    Roger

    I take your point of course, but the pity is that there are plenty of Unionists whose opposition to gangsterism is somewhat equivocal – and they’re not all in the PUP.

    In fact quite a few people who vote for Unionist parties, whether they realize it or not, are voting for people with uncomfortable links to paramilitarism.

    Unionists like to hint that they are somehow superior when it comes to voting for/against terrorists, but they have no right to get all ‘holier than thou’ about it. Unionism is, after all, founded on a document which is accepting of violence.

  • bill

    Robert Young who is charged with the murder of senior uvf man Jim Johnson is also a member of the Portadown Orange Lodge.

    Young is said to have been an active member of the uvf (and then lvf) for many years.

  • D’Oracle

    IJP,
    The sectarian pot stirring jibe is no help. Are we not entitled to be puzzled at a middle of road party now driving on one side. I take the point about the SF situation being different to the other side in the purely GFA context but the big picture-a wider sustained peace, surely needs a bilateral response.

    Why does the Alliance list of requirements slated (check out up top),in Ford’s own terms, as relating to both sides go on to address all its ‘musts’ to only one of those sides ?

  • Roger

    Bill

    If that is true you will find he is no longer a member of the orange institution.

    What about Martin Mcguniness 2nd in command of the IRA in Londonderry yet never did anything wrong thats absurd and adams denying he was ever a member is laughable.

  • IJP

    D’Oracle

    That’s the whole point – you are the one bringing ‘sides’ into it, therefore it is you being by definition sectarian.

    It’s nothing to do with ‘sides’. It is to do with one specific terrorist-cum-mafia group being largely responsible for holding up the entire political process.

  • D’Oracle

    IJP,
    I share your impatience to progress the entire political process but one reason it hasnt is precisely because there are at least two -lets call them facets – involved. Deny that and you deny reality. Accept it – if only as a tactical reality, and all manner of helpful responses become possible.

  • IJP

    D’Oracle

    That’s a very interesting and well-made point.

    I would argue though that the problem is not that Alliance does not recognize that division, but rather than others are rather too quick to deal with it as if the two ‘facets’ are mirror images of each other. They are not. And therein lies much of the problem with the assumptions being made to keep the current process on track.

    Until we recognize the distinct nature of the various ‘facets’ within our society, we are putting up a building on flawed foundations. We should not be surprised that the building keeps collapsing.