Questions for the parties?

In light of the recent statement from the IRA, we are inviting readers to pose questions for the parties regarding their response. Depending upon the response, we’ll chose a short selection for each party. We hope to have their responses by early next week.

  • PS

    I would like the DUP to compare the volume of their statements condemning the IRA’s historic move with the volume of statements they have made condemning the attacks by Loyalist thugs on Catholic homes in Ballymena and ask them why they seem to more interested in the former rather than the latter.

    Perhaps they could also comment on their leader and the MP for the area’s silence on the latter issue.

  • TAFKABO

    Simple question.

    Will Sinn Fein now sign up to policing?

  • Henry94

    How are the DUP going to keep together their coalition of those who want devolution and accept power sharing as the only way to get it and those who don’t want power sharing at any price?

  • maca

    Big Ian said of Adams a while back “I’ll not be talking to him as long as he keeps his guns and his terrorism”.
    Will he talk to him now or how many months/years probation will SF have to do first?

  • circles

    To all the parties:
    In the light of their chief argument for existing going out of business, what would now be necessary to get the unionist paramilitaries to disarm?

    To the DUP:
    What else do you want?

  • Mick

    Can we try for a bit more variety in the questions?

  • PS

    To all parties,

    1. What’s your leaders favourite colour and why?

    2. Who runs the best blog on the blogophere? (And if the shinners say you, Mick, I’m announcing my retirement!)

  • circles

    These are the pressing issue Mick, and there have only been 5 posters so far – the variety and nuances will come yet.

  • Jocky

    Now IRA volunteers have been ordered to dump arms and cease all other activities, what will the IRA’s response to rogue volunteers who disobey these order? Will the matter be dealt with internally or will it be referred to the PSNI?

  • Congal Claen

    Whatabout the Northern Bank money? Let them away with it or demand they hand it back?

  • TAFKABO

    Will the two main Unionist parties concentrate efforts and use any influence they have to produce similar statements from the Loyalist paramilitaries?

  • yerman

    Maybe Reg Empey can tell us why he’ll dismiss this statement yet ran headlong into Government on several ocassions with SF/IRA on the basis of even less than this!

    Actions not words are still required.

  • interested

    To all Parties : Where would you like the Devolution process to be at in 12 months, 3 years and 5 years ?

  • CottonTrader

    Do you think a new flag for the 6 counties which would represent all of its people would help in the healing process in the same way as the new South African flag did ?

  • THFGKW

    to all the Unionist Parties :

    Do you accept the legitimacy of the Republican cause to politically reunite both parts of Ireland and would you accept the outcome of a Border Poll if it went against your position ?

  • Macswiney

    Cotton Trader I know I should be posing a question here but I just cannot allow that nonsense to go unchallenged.

  • maca

    Assuming PIRA follow through on their promises, what do the Unionist parties see now as the main stumbling blocks to working with Nationalists/Republicans?

  • GreenStar

    To All Parties – What implications will there be for the 6 counties if/when Sinn Fein become a Government party on both sides of the Border ?

  • Macswiney

    (Sorry Continued…) This is the same drivel that John Alderdice came out with following the signing of the agreement in 1996 when (on behalf of The Alliance Party he invited schoolchildren todesign a new flag for Northern Ireland. I was totally amazed at how an individual so closely involved in signing the agreement simply didnt ‘get it’. The agreement was then (and is now) a supposed meeting of minds between those who favour union with Britain and those who wanted some sort of unification with The Republic.The agreement was meant to be a recognition of the respect for each community’s right to regard either the Union Flag or The tricolour as the flag of ‘their’ country. The middle classes for some reason took this as an impetus to call (ridiculously)for a new flag which would have only served in diluting the beliefs of both communities. Alderdice’s suggestion died an incredibly quick death in 1996 as will yours…

  • Yokel

    Variety in the questions Mick? You must be joking. This is Nortern Ireland home of a bunch of people who don’t know how lucky they are so spend their time whinging about one another. And yes, Shankill bomb, Bloody Sunday and on and on, if they are still going on about them, they are whinging, they are gone end of story……

  • Hektor Bim

    What impediments still prevent Sinn Fein from serving on policing boards?

    For all parties: what pressure are you willing to bring to bear to shut down the loyalist paramilitaries?

    For all parties: what impediments prevent the resumption of devolution?

  • CottonTrader

    Macswiney :

    1. in that case why the Change in Police emblems etc. – sure the old one would have done- is this not a further outworking ?

    2. Flags are not eternal…

    3. Should both the Tricolour and Union Jack fly from all shared public buildings or no Flag fly ?

    4. Let’s be having your suggestions…

  • TAFKABO

    “3. Should both the Tricolour and Union Jack fly from all shared public buildings or no Flag fly”

    Unionists should agree that the tricolour flies alongside the Union Jack, on the condition that should there be a united Ireland, the Union Jack will continue to be flown where it is now, and also be flown in Dublin.

    Fair enough?

  • CottonTrader

    This comes back to my point TAFKABO – if there is a United Ireland and a United people I don’t care what the flag looks like – I would be happy to drop both Flags and go with a Green Flag with a Cow and a PC on it

  • Alkaline Solution

    To all parties:

    Do you accept that the economic development of Northern Ireland has been sub-optimal due to the overwhelming nature of Politics-Related-to-the-Troubles? Can you now give the Northern Ireland economy the attention it deserves with a view to securing real economic opportunities for the population? Is your party equipped to deal with “normal” policy issues such as this?

    HINT: any response to this question that refers to unionist/nationalist/loyalist/republican/catholic/protestant/dissenter “communities” means that “YOU DON’T GET IT!”.

  • circles

    “if there is a United Ireland and a United people…”

    Green flag with a cow and PC works for me. Paisley could design it if he wants, and I’d wrap it round me too.

  • George

    Will Sinn Fein now push to make the Provisional IRA no longer a proscribed organisation?

  • spirit-level

    Can we have a referendum NOW ( border poll? )
    Because if the majority want a united Ireland, we can go straight to discussions on implementing that option, rather than waste time sopping the unionists, or talking about devolved this or direct that, or photos, or policing. We can go straight to complete unification: Brits out, Gardai in charge of all areas. The only issues then will be: Do the DUP MP’s sit in Stormont or Dublin or Both. We can get on with dealing with how the exchequer of Dublin funds and finances the North, and/or get EU funding.
    We can get tourism going etc etc.
    My question is called the Leapfrog option.

  • Snapper

    To the DUP – after allowing some time to digest the statement, can you offer Republicans and Nationalists some clarity and openness on your plans for powersharing? We have jumped first, will you now end your war?

  • NMC

    SF – If the chucks wind down their activities, who is going to protect the catholic people from scumbags, nutcases and joyriders? The police can’t do it, as they are scum and not to be trusted.

  • tomasmaguire

    Mick the question Id like you to ask the leadership of Sinn féin is … do they feel no shame at their implicit acceptance of British occupation in Ireland?

    For despite the rhetoric and the sickening self aggrandisement (smug Mary-Lou in particular) as per the betrayals and sellouts of yesteryear, Adams et al have shamefully bequeathed the national liberation struggle to a future generation of Irish Republicans … to our sons and daughters, just as official Ira did in the seventies.

    And yet ‘ar agaigh go deo, ar agaigh don phoblacht’ (Séanna Walsh – Bobby Sands memorial lecture) they cry without an ounce of personal affront !!! Shame Shame shame !!!

    Their reward will be the slaughter of our children !!!

  • Snapper

    TomasMaguire –

    I suggest you take your coca cola baloney to the inaugural meeting of the Anthony McIntyre appreciation society. Don’t let the fact that the meeting will be held in a phone box put you off.

  • tomasmaguire

    Thanks for the suggestion snapper, ill take it into consideration, yet the fact remains that a sell out, is a sell out, is a sellout !!!

    No matter what kind of spin you effect on it the Sinn Fein leadership have abandoned their republican ideals and settled for much much less than i would have ever believed. A British occupied six county state and from a personal perspective I served time with Séanna Walsh and Gerry kelly both, neither of them have been able to illustrate exactly what the alternative is, what the project now consists of and how its reasonably to be achieved? They have moved in the HOPE that the other protagonists will do … its a game of chance for Sinn Féin !!!

    No other force has willingly resigned themselves to history in such a sense, (this story has so much more to run) the loyalists have made no such resignation, nor have the Brits, nor have M15 … something gerry kelly freely admits is the case. UTV live is congratulating Paisley on seeing off the IRA … I feel physically sick to the stomach !!!

    FYI

    Mackers et al have long ago publicly stated that armed struggle has no place in today’s Ireland and that’s their prerogative.

    Marian Price (armchair chancer) and the real IRA are more concerned with watching their backs from Bobby’s boys, (PIRA Belfast Brigade) and are paralysed with fear of being arrested that’s ‘if’ they carry out any operations because of touts and tell you aye, yes we have things in the pipeline we are re-organising (all from the warmth of the rocking horse in Derry or the Black staff.)

    Your ignorance, while not surprising, is as degrading to you as your ‘assumptions’ are to me. Still keep the knee jerks coming snapper they are amusing if nothing else !!

  • Keith M

    I’d like to spead the questions to the parties operating in the Republic. Who (if anyone) would be prepared to accept SF/IRA as a coalition partner if there was to be an election in this country in the morning?

    To SF/IRA I would ask, “how can any party be allowed to be involved in making the laws of the land, when it does not support those that are asked to enforce those laws?”

    To the DUP I would ask “what lessons have you learned from the unionist rejection of the UUP after allowing SF/IRA into the executive?”

    To the UUP I would ask “where can my dog get a good haircut?”.

  • George

    Tomasmaguire,
    another force, or most of them at any rate, did and they were called the Fenians.

    The overwhelming majority of the Fenian Movement gave up violence as achieving their ends after the fiasco of 1867 rising and joined the New Departure, where they worked with more extreme Home Rule elements to try ensure independence and reform. Westminster was even considered as a viable vehicle.

    Interestingly, the physical force option re-entered the Irish mainstream with the creation of the unionist UVF private army in 1912.

    Let’s just hope history doesn’t repeat itself.

  • Keith M

    Nice bit of revisiom there George. However I think Lord Cavendish (and others) might dispute it had he not been the victim of the continuing Irish nationalist murder campaign. While most of the Fenians (who were actualy much stronger in the US than in Ireland) gave up their killings, other offshots did not.

    “Let’s just hope history doesn’t repeat itself.” Indeed.

  • Snapper

    What exactly am I ignorant of? I will settle for the FACT that the Sinn Fein analysis carries approximately 25%(and rising) of the vote in the northern counties. How many people subscribe to your’s? I just can’t get that phonebox analogy out of my head.

    Shamefully using the iconic words of Bobby Sands to back up your argument only add to the contempt in which you are held by the overwhelming majority of Republicans. No-one has the first clue what Bobby Sands would say today. In what way is it possible for you or your misguided comrades to know how the events since his death would craft his thinking?

  • George

    Keithm,
    former Fenians, members of the Invincibles, the Real IRA of their day.

    I said the overwhelming majority went for peaceful means not all so don’t accuse me of revisionism.

    Just showing there is a precedent for a group ending violence without having achieved its final goal

  • IJP

    Cotton Trader

    Since I was open on the issue at the time when I wasn’t in the Alliance Party, I might as well be so now – no, not yet.

    NEVER compare South Africa and Northern Ireland. They are utterly different situations.

    In NI, we need to focus on developing a single, civic society to which everyone owes allegiance. But kneeing Nationalists in the groin by reminding them about partition symbolically is not going to achieve that.

    I do not agree with macswiney however. Alliance’s view has always been that a sectarian carve-up whereby two ‘communities’ live entirely separate lives cannot work. While of course differences remain, we need a single, inclusive society in which we are all part, not two parallel universes. Carve-up only breeds ignorance which only breeds fear which only breeds hatred…

  • Keith M

    George the bit of revisionism is “Interestingly, the physical force option re-entered the Irish mainstream with the creation of the unionist UVF private army in 1912.”

    Firstly in the most of the island the “physical force” option was far more in the mainstream in the three decades before 1912 as I provided an example above.

    Secondly far more people died through through acts of political violence in the same period than were killed in the 1912 to 1916 period.

    Finally you appear to have forgotten 1916, unless your revisionism stretches to the idea that Peasrse and co. were acting in response to the the LVF inporting some guns. That would be award winning revisionism!

  • George

    Keithm,
    how many people died through acts by the Fenians in Ireland between 1867 and the IRB’s actions in 1916?

    You talk about “political violence” but have named just one event, carried out by the Invincibles not the Fenians. How many other acts did the Invincibles carry out for that matter?

    1916 happened after 1912 and the foundation of the UVF.

    Pearse himself was so exhalted about how successful the unionists had been in furthering their cause through force that he joined the IRB – in 1913.

    Prior to that, he was still in the constitutional fold.

  • George

    But all this has nothing to do with questions so I shall desist.

    Ask Sinn Fein what was said to Sen. Peter King or the Whitehouse as they seem be have “an understanding” that there will be no more support of “foreign terrorist” groupings.

    The Whitehouse “doesn’t talk to terrorists”, officially at any rate, which leads me to conclude the understanding was “officially” hammered out with Sinn Fein.

  • cladycowboy

    Keith M,

    ‘I’d like to spead the questions to the parties operating in the Republic. Who (if anyone) would be prepared to accept SF/IRA as a coalition partner if there was to be an election in this country in the morning?

    To SF/IRA I would ask, “how can any party be allowed to be involved in making the laws of the land, when it does not support those that are asked to enforce those laws?”

    To the DUP I would ask “what lessons have you learned from the unionist rejection of the UUP after allowing SF/IRA into the executive?”

    To the UUP I would ask “where can my dog get a good haircut?”.’

    Tut,tut. All this ‘SF/IRA’ craic, meaningless suffix, may as well be ‘SF/Newry book club’. Oh, and without the Ulster Covenant, there’d be no NI.

  • Young Fogey

    • Who gets to pick the Catholic and Protestant clergy who’ll validate the acts of decomissioning?
    • Could the Protestant cleric be Paisley?
    • How do Republicans propose to see the policing vacuum in republican communities filled?
    • Can we implement a security solution against the squabbling little gangsters of the UVF/UDA/LVF now? Please?
    • If some Republicans now get caught in gansterism/racketeering/smuggling/whatever, are people who diss those people to the police safe?
    • What about exilees?
    • When can we move on to real issues, like the fact that we have a non-functioning economy entirely dependent on fiscal transfers from Great Britain?
  • Nick

    Hi Mick,

    Great blogging today by all on slugger!

    I would like to ask a couple of party political questions.

    I would like to know where each party sees itself in ten years time and what their ambitions are – their level of success (or recovery in the case of the UUP, SDLP and APNI), which other parties they will be working with, and in what political environment (i.e. Westminster, devolved Parliament, Dublin, EU etc).

    I would also like to know what each party believes makes it distinctive, especially what their policies, ideas and ideology have to offer ALL the people of Northern Ireland in the next decade.

  • tomasmaguire

    Snapper

    “What exactly am I ignorant of?”

    You are ignorant in the sense that your spiel suggested my comments were better placed with mackers et al when in fact Mackers etc have very publicly renounced armed struggle as a legitimate tactic in the 21st century.(http://lark.phoblacht.net/openletter.html)

    You are also ignorant in associating me with the real IRA, (Nor am I member of the continuity) a very definite misplaced assumption. In assuming such nonsense you make an ass out of u & me 🙂 (ass-u-me)

    “I will settle for the FACT that the Sinn Fein analysis carries approximately 25%(and rising) of the vote in the northern counties. How many people subscribe to your’s?”

    It isn’t and never was a question of numbers Snapper its a question of individual conscience and real politic in my opinion. Your enemy has a gun? You try get a bigger one !!

    The old IRA had but a handful of members in the thirties one of whom was a close relative, double figures in the forties and fifties and in the mid sixties in Ardoyne, people spat on them in the streets, shunned and ridiculed them but their cause was just and the flame was kept alight. Its was just then and in terms of the occupation of our country by a foreign force its a just cause today.

    Armed resistance is a legitimate tactic in my opinion, sin é. I’m not looking for some kind of mandate or pseudo legitimacy from you or your apparatchik ilk. So, when you condemn militant republicanism on the basis that it does not have popular support, you are in fact ridiculously saying “our minority was bigger than your minority”. Or worse your bomb bad .. our bomb good !!! For Irish Republicanism, the legitimacy of an armed campaign does not stand or fall on the support of the majority of the people, but on the fact that if the British maintain a presence in the North of Ireland through force, any Irish person has the right to use physical force to resist British occupation.

    My use of the Bobby Sands quote was but a clever pun, in no way do I claim to represent him or his thoughts today, it was simply a play on words to make a very serious point. Just as Sinn Féin attempted to make a point by using Séanna his cellmate to read out the statement.

    “Contempt by the majority of republicans?”

    That’s a stretch but okay fair enough that’s how you’d like to see it – being in contempt for holding a point of view that many of us held most of our adult lives? In face of surrendering to the British way, way short obtaining republican goals I find that a reasonable place to be, its sits better with me than cowardice. PIRA have forfeited the right to bear arms against the British, they have (like you) attempted to illegitimize that right which is something you nor they have no authority to do … especially not when not only are the Brits still here in force so is the poverty, corruption, inequality, and injustice. Is all there is to show for our efforts?

    Let me finish with a relevant quote from Sand’s
    poem the ‘Rhythm of Time’ written as a response to riducle at his beliefs.

    There’s an inner thing in every man,
    Do you know this thing my friend?
    ……………..
    It lies in the hearts of heroes dead,
    It screams in tyrants’ eyes,
    It has reached the peak of mountains high,
    It comes searing ‘cross the skies.

    It lights the dark of this prison cell,
    It thunders forth its might,
    It is ‘the undauntable thought’, my friend,
    That thought that says ‘I’m right!’

    Tomas

  • Chris Gaskin

    tomasmaguire

    You accuse Sinn Féin of being sell outs, what exactly is your alternative?

    I am sick and tired of listening to dissidents bitch from the sideline. They have loads to say but very little in the way of suggestions.

    They are riddled with touts and couldn’t organise as much as a tea party.

    Oh, don’t get me wrong, when it comes to freeing Ireland from the bar stool they are second to none.

  • Young Fogey

    I am sick and tired of listening to dissidents bitch from the sideline. They have loads to say but very little in the way of suggestions.

    Shit! I agree with Chris Gaskin! This is scary.

    Actually, I disagree a bit – they have nothing to say but they’re good at surrounding that nothing with over-flowery rhetoric about betrayal and martyrs.

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Shit! I agree with Chris Gaskin! This is scary”

    LOL, embrace the dark side 😉

  • tomasmaguire

    Chris

    my alternative is the ‘War of the Flea’ sin é

    “Analogically, the guerrilla fights the war of the flea, and his military enemy suffers the dog’s dis-advantages: too much to defend; too small, ubiq-uitous, and agile an enemy to come to grips with. If the war continues long enough —this is the theory — the dog succumbs to exhaustion and anemia without ever having found anything on which to close its jaws or to rake with its claws”

    I agree with you regarding touts particularly when the British can fork out 10,000’s of pounds as loose change without a second thought. Indeed nowhere were there and are there more touts than in the PIRA !!!

    Yet someone, somewhere is resisting touts or not (http://www.sluggerotoole.com/archives/2005/05/rerouting_the_r.php) Scroll down to Irish news reader …

    And I firmly believe that resistance will continue – until the British disengage … the tragedy is that the Sinners know this and have happily shunted the responsibility onto another generation of republicans for short term, some might say personal, gain.

    Tomas

  • Snapper

    TomasMaguire,

    Can we agree to disagree – nothing as unsightly as republicans airing their dirty linen. If we fight amongst ourselves, then we are doing the brits dirty work.

    Let me finish by suggesting that we give this opportunity a chance. If I am wrong then I will gladly eat humble pie.

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Analogically, the guerrilla fights the war of the flea, and his military enemy suffers the dog’s dis-advantages: too much to defend; too small, ubiq-uitous, and agile an enemy to come to grips with. If the war continues long enough —this is the theory — the dog succumbs to exhaustion and anemia without ever having found anything on which to close its jaws or to rake with its claws”

    Isn’t that what happened for almost 30 years?

    “Indeed nowhere were there and are there more touts than in the PIRA !!!”

    Don’t think so Tomas, coca colas and contros have that award covered.

  • Comrade Stalin

    YF, I agree with your questions and you have hit the nail on the head.

    To me the cornerstone of this whole thing is policing. The police are clearly not properly endorsed either within nationalism or unionism. In the case of nationalism there is historic lack of confidence which I feel is more bark than bite and can be overcome, but within unionism there is a deeply ingrained issue of law and order self-righteousness combined with an ongoing tolerance for paramilitarism – unionists right now refuse to take responsibility for the active support of paramilitarism among their constituents, which clearly exists going by the lack of complaints received by the police, and the open declarations of support for the UVF which were published right on the BBC’s news site.

    If the IRA’s disarmament procedure is completed, I think it’s time to take a close look at the loyalist ceasefires and make a declaration about their validity, followed up by some police action.

  • Young Fogey

    If the war continues long enough —this is the theory — the dog succumbs to exhaustion and anemia without ever having found anything on which to close its jaws or to rake with its claws

    And if the rest of us are all dead, maimed or exiled long before this who cares, eh?

    PS – that also presupposes that the IRA were winning the war pre-94. I’d put it more as a high score draw, with the Brits starting to move ahead clearly on points.

  • tomasmaguire

    Certainly snapper, your maturity is very commendable and rates much higher than mine, thank you for the chance to debate and learn.

    Chris its been going on for almost 800 years in one form or another and surely this suggests they will continue until they leave, its inevitable …

    As i said i agree 100% with you regarding touts, its an occupational hazard if militant republicanism is your lifestyle choice. Yet there have been numerous incidents since Autumn last year and no one has been charged – Up to and including the blast bombs in Ardoyne so perhaps you are simply believing the hype Chris?

    Yet as I said someone, somewhere is resisting (strangely you failed to comment on that point) and that flame of resistance has not been extinguished today for even the most casual observer of nationalist and Republican Belfast can see there are scores of young people chomping at the bit to get stuck into the Brits.

    My point is that the aging leadership of Óglaigh na H-Éireann and Sinn Féin presently constituted have succumed to the lure of constitutionalism and the glamour of the world stage as did others before them and have knowingly and criminally shunted the national liberation struggle onto another generation of republicans all the while attempting to illegitimize any future armed resistance. I think this is cowardly, totally dishonest and completely self-serving – shame !!

    Tomas

  • Henry94

    tomasmaguire

    Chris its been going on for almost 800 years in one form or another and surely this suggests they will continue until they leave, its inevitable …

    The point is that the form it takes is a tactical question and armed struggle is not a default position. A case has to be made for it just as a case had to be made for the peace strategy. The republican movement and the republican people have had that debate in detail over the last ten years and the result is crystal clear.

    The overwhelmingly vast majority of Irish republicans want to advance the struggle through peaceful and democratic means.

    Anyone who denies that is a liar and anyone who defies that is a traitor.

  • tomasmaguire

    Cheers Henry,

    Been waiting for a fully paid up Sinner to bite all night, please can you in nice simple words tell me how the present Sinn Féin position vis-a-vis today’s statement is going to achieve a 32 County Socialist Republic?

    Tell me if you would, how the GFA as a party policy position (the only show in town) is or ever will be a resolution to Irish sovereignty, and will secure an ending of the British presence in Ireland and further the stated aims of Irish Republicanism a la the 1916 proclaimation.

    Incidently it was the Republican ‘leadership’ who had a debate over the last decade and then proceeded to drag the membership by the nose with them both by subterfudge and deceit (not an ounce etc …)

    Your implicit suggestion that the movement was fully consulted at every stage is total nonsense and lies, I distinctly remember Jim Mc Veigh OC of the blocks declaring the night before the 1994 ceasefire that the ‘Ra would never be calling a ceasefire short of british withdrawal !!

    So dont try and lecture me about detailed debate, as for your comment on traitors? That is just laughable … coming from the party who have willingly joined the ranks of the Workers party, the SDLP, Fianna Fail, Fianna Gael etc and who are going to administer British rule in the 6 counties at Stormount as constitutional nationalists for the forseeable future …

    “take it down from the mast Irish traitor!!!”

    Tomas

  • PS

    Been waiting for a fully paid up Sinner to bite all night, please can you in nice simple words tell me how the present Sinn Féin position vis-a-vis today’s statement is going to achieve a 32 County Socialist Republic?

    Tomas

    Can you articulate a better position which SF could take which is more likely to achieve the 32 county socialist Republic? Life is about facing realities. One of those is that this is the best way forward.

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Been waiting for a fully paid up Sinner”

    From what I know about Henry he isn’t a Member of Sinn Féin but if you want a discussion go here and you will find not 1 but 2 paid up Sinn Féin members

  • Young Fogey

    “take it down from the mast Irish traitor!!!”

    The only Irish traitors are those who wage an illegal war against the wishes of the Irish people.

  • DK

    Tomas

    “the legitimacy of an armed campaign does not stand or fall on the support of the majority of the people, but on the fact that if the British maintain a presence in the North of Ireland through force, any Irish person has the right to use physical force to resist British occupation.”

    this extract from your earlier comment appears to be the foundation of your position. The key word here is “force”. I put it to you that the British do not maintain a presence through force, but rather through the agreement of the Irish people, as expressed by referendum endorsing the GFA. That agreement recognised that Northern Ireland, (six counties etc), would remain under British administration while the majority of people within N.I. wished it. That is what the Irish people signed up to. They have made that choice. They didn’t have to. They were not forced to.

    Like it our not, the decision made by the pro unity Irish, is that persuasion of the pro British population, is a preferred tactic over armed aggression. Implicit within that is the fact that a British presence is required in the interim. No doubt the British will be hoping that the tactic pays dividends sooner rather than later, so that they can get out. No-one really believes that they want to be here, unless of course it better suits their own predujices.

    Was this a good choice that the Irish people made? We can all have our own view. The fact is that they made the choice. Britain is there by agreement, not by force.

    The foundation of your position is crumbling!

  • Henry94

    thomasmaguire

    Been waiting for a fully paid up Sinner to bite all night, please can you in nice simple words tell me how the present Sinn Féin position vis-a-vis today’s statement is going to achieve a 32 County Socialist Republic?

    The reason for the creation of the NI state in the first place was the maintenance of the privilege that the Protestant minority had once maintained on the whole island.

    By establishing equality by the full implementation of the agreement the actual reason for partition disappears. What we are left with is a residual pro-Brutishness in the unionist section of the population.

    By the workings of the cross-border institutions and by the development of understanding through working together we will demonstrate the economic logic of an all-Ireland approach. The British influence will diminish very quickly and soon the constitutional and political arrangement on the island will be regarded on their merits. In that case a united Ireland by consent becomes an unavoidable outcome because it makes sense.

    Contrast that with an armed approach in current circumstances. We all know that progress was only ever made by bombing England and that would have to be the key element of any resumed armed struggle. Do you understand how much of a disaster that would be in the era of Al Queada?

    In the past American opinion has acted as a restraint on the British but that would not happen now. Southern opinion would desert us too.

    Of course if the Armed Struggle is some kind of political sacrament then none of that matters but if you believe success in achieving our objectives is the criteria (and it should be) then there is no case at all for armed struggle.

  • Henry94

    pro-Brutishness

    Oops. You can thank the spellchecker for that particular pun.

  • Betty Boo

    Thomas,

    If no further progress towards a goal can be made by the use of armed struggle and resistance, why pursue it?

  • spirit-level

    Thomas maguire
    Don’t give up hope son. The SF strategy is to get into power-sharing before kicking off the debate of re-unification. I would like to have gone staright to a united ireland; but there’s an inbuilt majority of prods who just might have something to say about that!
    Persuasion is the only method, so my advice is to get stuck into the politics, and start campaigning. I’ll be doing my bit when the time is right for me. Cheer up. The arguement can be won, without a single shot or threat.

  • pete

    Spirit level
    Fair play.

    You could be delayed by unionists who wise up.
    But then again what’s the chances.

  • George

    Thomas Maguire,
    Legitimacy lies in the eye of the revolutionary.
    The Provos took their legitimacy from the 2nd Dail for feck’s sake so I wouldn’t be too worried about them “criminalising” armed struggle.

    I think your problem is that you haven’t got to grips with the fact that 95% of nationalists, north and south, voted for an end to armed struggle.

    In other words, this generation have tried to “pass it on to next generation” if I may be allowed use your parlance, not Sinn Fein and not the Provos.

    All SF and the Provos have done is realise that this generation, the overwhelming majority at any rate, doesn’t want to fight, it wants to try something else.

    Maybe it’s tired, maybe it never wanted to fight in the first place, but it clearly doesn’t want to fight now.

    According to Pearse, you have 50 years to begin the next insurrection or else the idea of revolt will be gone from living memory and Ireland’s will to fight for its freedom will be lost forever so why don’t you relax and ride this peace pony for a little while and see where it brings us.

    There is no point in a bunch of you heading down to Belfast City Hall with a few old rifles, a few sandbags to try hold out for a week.

    This isn’t 1916 and it’s not 1969.

    Ireland is changing by the day. We now have nearly 100,000 Eastern Europeans down here, for example, and there were 530,000 Irish passport applications in 2004 alone. The population here will be 5 million by 2020.

    Stay angry by all means but stay involved. Everyone has his or her part to play.

  • Alan McDonald

    Since people are still awake on this thread, I’ll ask a question:

    When are the next Assembly elections scheduled, or does the Secretary of State call them at his/her discretion?

  • tomasmaguire

    Thanks for replying henry, spiritlevel etc sorry in my delay in getting back …

    “By establishing equality by the full implementation of the agreement the actual reason for partition disappears.”

    Henry are you being serious? The underlying reason for partition is the presence of a foreign occupying force. This idea that the British are benign and nonbelligerent is cloud cuckoo land stuff you are so far embedded into your own analysis and peer group that you convieniently seem to forget about the Brits being here but I understand it is crucial to your analysis.

    I also understand that you are obligated now to the British (or society as Mr Adams put it) to A) protect the nationalist/republican communities. (I have just this to say on that … collusion/White City Hollywood) and you are relying on the British amongst others to underwrite your strategy of facing downing the Unionists and Paisley et al.

    Where is your evidence that any of these things are going to happen? You are but living in hope and whatever comes along in the meantime will do rightly, shame henry !!

    I am compelled to ask, who do this recent development really benefit? Who are the primary beneficiaries of PIRA leaving the stage? Is it republicans? nationalists even? Or is it just possible that its the culmination of a very clever counter-insurgency campaign by the British to defuse militant republicanism, constitutionalism the struggle, stabilise the status quo and render their presence in Ireland secure for the foreseeable future.

    But of course you, like spirit-level will argue its a question of stages, stage-ism is surely the last refuge of those resigned to defeat and surrender you are now nationalists by your actions and not in the least Republican.

    Again i ask how could Óglaigh na h-Éireann leave the field, hand over their weapons and de facto accept partition in light of the prevailing circumstances where loyalism is in the ascendancy, where the British are insidiously pursuing a security agenda where even the best guess leaves 5,000 of them based here.

    Often I hear the analogy between the aftermath of the hungerstrikes where the POWs entered into the prison system and began to agitate from within. Sure enough some escaped, some gained back remission and all benefited from a more relaxed humane regime. And YET they were all STILL IN JAIL however comfortable we ended up on the blocks in the late 1990’s.

    Ditto with the six counties … regardless of how comfortable we get and how much fusion there is with the north-south bodies we will still be living in an occupied 6 counties and that is just unacceptable, it should be resisted by all and any means necessary.

    How might Irish bombs in London be a disaster Henry? It would be an enormous pressure on a state already in dire straits … there would be no better time to engage them as far as I can see. This American and British against you senario is just as its ever been, is an enlarged fear designed to immobilise you. What chance would you have? You have the same chance as everyone before us had, resistance and thats simply a question of individual conscience …

    You have nothing in your piece but “hope for the best Henry.”. This liberal, bourgeois ‘common sense’ fatherly attitude has definately, certainly consigned the next generation to have to finish the task.

    And so be it, get out of the way, call off your stomountista’s with the black hoods and interrogation squads, call off the child beaters and sociopaths with scores to settle and let history take its course.

    You have abandoned your core beliefs and your path is ultimately flawed because you are depending on the old enemies to underwrite your success as well as your pay packets … shame!

    Maith an Lae daoibh uile
    Tomas

    ps

    George

    We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible. The long usurpation of that right by a foreign people and government has not extinguished the right, nor can it ever be extinguished except by the destruction of the Irish people.

    As relevant today as it ever was,
    Sin é

  • DK

    Tomas,

    you failed to address my point. Perhaps you felt it not worth addressing and you were more intent on idealogical combat with the SF line. Anyway, I reiterate that the Irish people have excercised their right to determine how they want their destiny to be played out. They want the GFA. Nobody has the right to upsurp their decision on this matter.

    On another point, I am bemused that you think Unionism is in the ascendancy. As someone from that community, I have the total opposite view. Unionism is in tatters with no place to go. I actually believe that SF are correct in their analysis that Unionism will have to face up to the unity debate. It is going to happen because Britain want out. Northern Ireland is an international embarrassment to them, a drain on their finances and a distraction to their current policies. Why do you think that they want to stay? Don’t say “because they are here”. They need a certain environment to be able to leave. There was never any chance that a British government was going to openly concede to the demands from the IRA. Their electorate would have seen this as humiliation and would have crucified them. Also, they cannot be seen to boot British citizens out of the Union, much as they would like to. They will be much more content to work with SF and Irish nationalism to create an environment which pushs unionism further into a corner. That’s the agenda. Can’t you see that?

    Now that the PIRA have left the stage, and I believe they have, it is indeed time for Republicanism to start the discussion on “what does unity look like”. They should engage people from a Unionist background, who have the maturity to think the unthinkable. There are plenty to choose from. Even if the vast majority of unionism refuse to take part in such a discussion, they will keep an eye on it from a distance, as deep down we all think that unity is a possibility based on a mistrust of the British Government. It would be a challenging discussion for nationalism and they should expect to have to sacrifice some sacred cows. The real plus for nationalism is that by starting such a discussion in the public domain, raises the profile and puts the whole project centre stage.

  • George

    Thomas,
    as I said legitimacy is in the eye of the revolutionary.

    I was actually going to put in my previous post that all any young republican buck needed to legitimise his/her decision to be involved in insurrection against British rule was to read the Proclamation of the Irish Republic but you’ve done it for me.

    You don’t need Sinn Fein or the PIRA to legitimise it so, accordingly, they can’t criminalise it.

    However, the man who is widely accepted to have written that proclamation, Pearse, surrendered to prevent further losses to his troops and to civilians.

    The question you have to ask yourself is whether, today, in 2005, it is in the welfare of the Irish people to continue to fight or not or to wait for a greater deed from a future generation.

    That greater deed might not involve war, it might involve Ireland finally becoming a fully functioning, vibrant society, not blighted by emigration, grinding poverty, religious domination and economic backwardness.

  • tomasmaguire

    George

    The greater deed? Meanwhile we do nothing?

    “Waiting is a trap. There will always be reasons to wait. The truth is, there are only two things in life, reasons and results, and reasons simply don’t count.” R. Anthony

    I see your point re: Pearse however was it not his very ‘act’ of resistance and sacrifice that made him who he was, not the specific conditions of the last part of his life?

    DK thanks for the reply and the opportunity to have a discussion. I did miss that one and I apologise as I was rushing out at the time.

    Actually what I said was that loyalism is in the ascendancy they (LVF, UVF and UDA)can seemingly operate at will and with impunity and even can face down the Brits and PSNI in some estates without any real effort on their part.

    But to answer your point … The GFA vote? The agreement that the British haven’t even deemed to implement in full by any objective assessment? That’s what you are basing an argument on? Being an Ulster Unionist i can see why but surely the last elections and the rise and rise of the DUP vote, the polarising of the two diametrically opposed political viewpoints render that particular vote invalid? I’m not a 100% but I think it does.

    Not that it matters as i do not believe for one millisecond that the British given an electoral marching order from the majority in the North of Ireland would simply pack up and leave I disagree entirely with your assessment on their agenda … not the bit of it. Again you are another one presenting the British as honest brokers and somehow benign in all of this … such naivete.

    Ive just had my dinner and am feeling full so lets you and I test the election ‘will of the people’ theory?

    I’ll join the RM, (the referendum movement) that calls for a referendum for the whole people of Ireland, all those who have a stake-hold in the national question. Everyone from here, from the 26 counties, England Wales, Scotland everyone who holds an Irish or British passport in fact anyone around the world who holds either passports to vote on the question of British presence in Ireland.

    “Should the British withdraw from Ireland and enable the inhabitants of the whole Ireland, North and South to determine their own destiny”

    If its a fair vote held on that single question and the British declare they’ll abide by it then I’ll abide by it also … what do you not say?
    You in or you out? I suspect you are most certainly out as would be the direct rulers !!!

    Regards
    Tomas

  • DK

    Tomas,

    you are making assumptions about my position. A trait that you chastised me for in the past. I am from what you could term, the Unionist community. That does not make me an Ulster Unionist.

    Personally, I don’t think the whole constitutional question is that important. Administration from Dublin as opposed to London will not solve peoples problems in life. It may make some people fell victorious and others bitter, for a generation or two, but in the long run, day to day issues will be pretty much the same.

    What I say to your suggested referendum is “bring it on”. I’m in. Given my stated position on the consitutional position of NI, I obviously don’t see unity as something to get worked up about. I am sure sensible arrangements can be worked out to ensure a “stick it to the prods” mentallity is not institutionalised.

    I have suggested earlier that unity is something that my community needs to start facing up to. I also suggest that the persuasion route can succeed. Republicans should start practicing.

    It seems to me that your disagreement with just about everyone on this thread, is one of tactics. I may be wrong, but you appear to favour the approach of ignoring the unionists until the Brits have been forced out and then deal with them as required after the fact of unity.

    That might work. I think the other approach will produce a better outcome.

    I am still struggling to understand the grounds for your insistance that the British government actually do want to remain in NI. I don’t see why they would. To be honest, I think the people in the 26 counties should consider serious counselling before taking us on. Maybe you can educate me on this one. Why do the British want to hang onto NI?

  • Henry94

    tomasmaguire

    Henry are you being serious? The underlying reason for partition is the presence of a foreign occupying force.

    That doesn’t contadict my point about why partition was established ie to perpetuate privlidge and inequality. The British occupation is the manifestation of that.

    This idea that the British are benign and nonbelligerent is cloud cuckoo land stuff you are so far embedded into your own analysis and peer group that you convieniently seem to forget about the Brits being here but I understand it is crucial to your analysis.

    I advanced no such idea.

    I also understand that you are obligated now to the British (or society as Mr Adams put it) to A) protect the nationalist/republican communities. (I have just this to say on that … collusion/White City Hollywood) and you are relying on the British amongst others to underwrite your strategy of facing downing the Unionists and Paisley et al.

    I don’t have a strategy of facing down the unionists. The only strategy I subscribe to is the implemmentation of the agreement.

    Where is your evidence that any of these things are going to happen? You are but living in hope and whatever comes along in the meantime will do rightly, shame henry !!

    It is as impossible to prove that something will happen in the future as it is to prove that it won’t.

    I am compelled to ask, who do this recent development really benefit? Who are the primary beneficiaries of PIRA leaving the stage? Is it republicans? nationalists even? Or is it just possible that its the culmination of a very clever counter-insurgency campaign by the British to defuse militant republicanism, constitutionalism the struggle, stabilise the status quo and render their presence in Ireland secure for the foreseeable future.

    I don’t think the British are particularly clever. I think that their stupid policy of refusing to negotiate prolonged the war but I’m glad that when they did negotiate that the republican movement had the current leadership rater than the previous one.

    But of course you, like spirit-level will argue its a question of stages, stage-ism is surely the last refuge of those resigned to defeat and surrender you are now nationalists by your actions and not in the least Republican.

    The blac hole in your reply to me is any strategic or analytical basis for an armed struggle in the curreent situation. In fact it is very clear that you believe in armed struggle for its own sake more than you believe in a united Ireland. You don’t have a defence for it because you don’t think it needs one.

    Again i ask how could Óglaigh na h-Éireann leave the field, hand over their weapons and de facto accept partition in light of the prevailing circumstances where loyalism is in the ascendancy, where the British are insidiously pursuing a security agenda where even the best guess leaves 5,000 of them based here.

    How many of them would be based here under your strategy?

    Often I hear the analogy between the aftermath of the hungerstrikes where the POWs entered into the prison system and began to agitate from within. Sure enough some escaped, some gained back remission and all benefited from a more relaxed humane regime. And YET they were all STILL IN JAIL however comfortable we ended up on the blocks in the late 1990’s.

    But they are no longer STILL IN JAIL because the Sinn Fein strategy got them out!! Maybe they should have refused to leave. What do you think?

    Ditto with the six counties … regardless of how comfortable we get and how much fusion there is with the north-south bodies we will still be living in an occupied 6 counties and that is just unacceptable, it should be resisted by all and any means necessary.

    The dispute is over the necessary means. It remains for you to justiy an armed approach. I don’t think you can.

    How might Irish bombs in London be a disaster Henry? It would be an enormous pressure on a state already in dire straits … there would be no better time to engage them as far as I can see.

    Then I’m sorry but you can’t see very far.

    This American and British against you senario is just as its ever been, is an enlarged fear designed to immobilise you. What chance would you have? You have the same chance as everyone before us had, resistance and thats simply a question of individual conscience …

    It’s far more than that. It is a question of analysis. Again you need to provide one.

    You have nothing in your piece but “hope for the best Henry.”. This liberal, bourgeois ‘common sense’ fatherly attitude has definately, certainly consigned the next generation to have to finish the task.

    I am a father and the next generation you speak of is flesh and blood to me. I will make sure that they will be well equiped to recognise the simplistic slogans of political nonces spouting simplicities and sick blood-lust.

    And so be it, get out of the way, call off your stomountista’s with the black hoods and interrogation squads, call off the child beaters and sociopaths with scores to settle and let history take its course.

    I have nobody to call off but I will stand against you and those like you in our community. Our doors will be closed to you and if Sinn Fein can get the accountable police service we need then I won’t hesitate to use it against you if necessary. This is the reality you have to face up to because we are in a new era and nobody is going to wreck it.

    You have abandoned your core beliefs and your path is ultimately flawed because you are depending on the old enemies to underwrite your success as well as your pay packets … shame!

    Violence was never a core belief of mine and never could be. It was always a manifestation of political failure on all sides. And my pay packet comes from my own work. I’m not a politican.

  • George

    Thomas,
    I’m not advocating doing nothing but I am saying that for militant republicans, in the absence of armed struggle, a host of things can still be done to further the goals of a unitary Irish Republic.

    The idea that you keep fighting even when it is blatantly obvious that your actions are not helping, and are actually hindering, the achievement of your objectives is wrong.

    As with Pearse and his actions, this latest, much longer act has now been played out and it makes the Provos what they are today.

    Armed struggle may be legitimate but that doesn’t automatically mean that the 3-decade long PIRA campaign was legitimate.

    When the 1916 fighters surrendered, the leaders knew they were going to their deaths but all marched up to the Brtitish forces in uniform.

    None tried to escape, even though they could have disappeared into the crowds, which were everywhere.

    I’m not sure but I believe it was McDonagh who said the next generation shouldn’t be so stupid.

    Maybe militant republicans should look back on this latest act and ask themselves if they too were stupid and whether next time a deed is required whether anyone’s lives but their own should be put in the firing line.

    There is always passive resistance and if the will of the people is there and the British try to destroy it by force then back down into the mire we go, to paraphrase Tom Barry.

  • tomasmaguire

    George: There is always passive resistance and if the will of the people is there and the British try to destroy it by force then back down into the mire we go, to paraphrase Tom Barry.

    Tell me what you mean as a example of passive resistance? I’m interested as i know the struggle is multi-faceted …

    Which brings me to my ‘will and my voice’ and the point Henry made

    I have nobody to call off (???? really Henry then Bobbies boys were not acting in your name when they hooded men in west Belfast and took them to a house in andersonstown and questioned them for days on their alleged activities effectively having become British lackeys? This proves yet again to me how corrupt and in denial you crowd have become, you use violence when it suits you, you threaten violence when it suits you but Sinn Féin bemoan those who might advocate it against your paymasters?

    “Our doors will be closed to you and if Sinn Fein can get the accountable police service we need then I won’t hesitate to use it against you if necessary.”

    You wont hesitate to use it against me? More threats, more violence Henry tut tut is this ALL you have to offer in this new dispensation? The PSNI, those guys who are standing about at white city as i type this protecting the LVF? Here for all to see is the real politic of Sinn féin.

    This is the reality you have to face up to because we are in a new era and nobody is going to wreck it.

    In my analysis the only ‘reality’ is that while the conditions exist, ie. while the British hold power over a part of this Ireland it will be resisted and shall as we have seen even be resisted with political violence. This, no matter what dirty little deeds and agreements you and your agents of change have made with them in your self service and self aggrandisement.

    And might i say I’m not a lone voice here for regardless of the Sinn Féin ‘pro brit’ discourse there are hundreds and hundreds of political nonce’s from North Antrim to Dunloy to South Down to East Tyrone to south Derry to West and North Belfast who feel the exact same. And for this next phase of the struggle that’s all that is needed !!!

    To conclude Henry I’m not in the least bit interested in taking you on or feuding with your British paid local militia. So I say stand aside … you go your way I’ll go mine …

    Beir bua
    Tomas

  • Tomasmaguire

    DK

    thanks again for the reply i like the way you write, and to suggest counselling for the whole of the 26 counties will definitely make some of the always hard up counsellors I know smile 🙂

    Sounds like we have a plan for the RM, how might that start with a website and a petition do you think? Or would you need to do it city by city? Do you think we might get a grant for it? Are you free to begin it anytime before September?:-)

    Can I just jump in here again to respond to sideshow Henry? For that’s what this whole Sinn Féin project is, a side show from the real issue.

    Analysis Henry? My analysis is this … British army on our streets pointing guns at me,
    I either ignore it (oh well they are not doing any harm), or challenge it.

    Talking is no good, asking them to leave is no good, asking someone else to ask them to leave is no good. I’m opined to go and try and get a gun of my own and what i do with it is a question for my own conscience. Sin é

    Tomas

  • Henry94

    thomasmaguire

    (???? really Henry then Bobbies boys were not acting in your name when they hooded men in west Belfast and took them to a house in andersonstown and questioned them for days on their alleged activities

    No they were not acting in my name if such an event took place. I don’t speak for Sinn Fein or represent Sinn Fein in any capacity whatsoever. I’m just a Sinn Fein voter.

    I’m opined to go and try and get a gun of my own and what i do with it is a question for my own conscience.

    Your conscience? I think if you want to wage war on behalf of the Irish people you will have to do a bit better than that.

    there are hundreds and hundreds of political nonce’s from North Antrim to Dunloy to South Down to East Tyrone to south Derry to West and North Belfast who feel the exact same. And for this next phase of the struggle that’s all that is needed !!!

    If the next phase of the struggle involves complaing over pints then you are well set up. With the IRA statement the DUP aren’t the only ones out of excuses.

  • aquifer

    To Reg Empey

    Would you rather have Orange Parades on every street in Ireland or keep the border?

    Looks like a trivial question but keep asking a la Paxman. Its worth it.

    To Ian Paisley

    Can you achieve your political objectives without the help of protestant paramilitaries?

    He may not have achievable political objectives but ask him anyhow.

    To any Unionist:

    If the majority of British people vote to end the union, will you respect their wish?

    To Sinn Fein

    Will you be supporting ASBO legislation?

    To Mark Durkan

    Would you meet Adams in the circumstances John Hume did?

    If the answer is longer than 45 seconds take it as a no.

    To David Ford

    If the DUP and Sinn Fein cut a deal is your party redundant?

  • Betty Boo

    Thomas,

    Your wrath is more dangerous then anything loyalists could possible muster.

    Having said that, in the Irish Republic, ruled and run by Irish and a so-called republican party, the North West has been left out again so there will be no cancer treatment available. And where I live they don’t even have x-ray facilities in the twenty first century.
    Grianan Aileach our only known heritage site has been treated with contempt and despise and lies mortally wounded. A bomb explosion could not have done more damage to the monument then its excuse of a restoration.
    A foul smell of redundancy hovers over Inishowen and the North West. Even civil servants fight back hard against being boarded under the shadow of decay. That is the way in which the Irish are treating their own.

    And then you come along insisting on an armed struggle against the English and calling the few who are actually doing something in this written off place traitors.
    Personally I prefer a more constructive solution. Yours would be the exact opposite. But who needs it if you have people in charge who have as much condescension as any known conqueror.