Paisley: governments must deliver genuine Equality

Ian Paisley has been insisting that the riots arose directly out of Unionist alienation from the stop start peace process that has seen visible benefits for Nationalism and none for Unionism. He wants the government to tackle ‘blackspots of discrimination against Protestants’ and called for “an economic deal must be established to deliver equality.”

  • bootman

    Unionists need to get over it man! There now exists a swíng towards equality,íf they cant deal thats their problem. When a child throws the soother, you dont give it back until they learn.

  • reality check

    Blackspots of discrimination against protestants?they are banned from marching down catholic roads were they go out of their way to offend catholic residents,is this discrimination Ian

    Considering Ian himself was prominent himself in the 60’s enforcing discrimination against catholics.That man’s nothing but a hypocrite

  • nmc

    Well said bootman. How could benefits have been given to unionism, when they started with everything. The only way things could have gone was against unionism, towards equality.

  • Denny Boy

    “Mr Paisley’s party colleague, East Londonderry MP Gregory Campbell, said he fears the main threat to unionist communities now comes from their own people.”

    The main threat to unionist communities is Ian Paisley.

  • Lonely Pint

    Victimhood and MOPEry.

    I’m waiting on the ire of pro-Unionist commentators to be directed at Papa Doc and the rest of the unionist ‘leadership’ for such displays of the above.

    They certainly give it out, hard and straight, to nationalists down through the years. Is it not time that they appealed to that staunch, hard-working, no-nonsense and utterly mythical Unionist fortitude – tell them to pull their socks up, maintain a stiff upper lip, chest out, that’s it…

    Let’s get the Proud to Be a Prod Newsletter on the case – The Pride of Northern Ireland will stiffen the backbones of their readership and give them direction. I’m sure they wouldn’t produce mealy-mouthed, whimpering editorials that would encourage their readers to feel sorry for themselves…

  • fair_deal

    Ok boys and girls.

    Tell prod communities the equality agenda does not apply to them they are the obstacle to it and they’ll just have to move out of its way and shut up.
    Tell prod communities there aren’t any imbalances in funding or when it is shown there are its is their own fault for not developing the infrastructure but if they claim they have weak community infrastrusture its all sectarianism.
    Tell prod communities the human rights agenda does not apply to them e.g. Articles 9-11 of the ECHR do not apply to them (Oh that’s right the recent appointments to the NIHRC already told them to forget about the human rights agenda for three years).
    Tell prod communities they do not have needs to be addressed.
    Tell prod communities the pleas of their political leaders are to be ignored lock, stock and barrel.

    I am sure this will be a superb recipe for engagement with politics, the delivery of positive change and an openess and willingness to engage with government statutory bodies and other communities.

  • Lonely Pint

    OK, Fair Deal. I’ll play…

    Tell me what rights I enjoy that Protestants don’t. I’m, a male Catholic living in west Belfast – what rights do I have, that the people living on the Shankill or Glenbyn or elsewhere don’t.

    I’m all ears.

    If you take the time to read reports on funding, you’ll find that in actuality, Catholic areas are still underfunded in comparision to Protestant areas. That is a fact.

    As for the equality agenda – why is that a threat to Protestants? Who is telling Protestants to move aside to allow equality to flourish? Why should that be a threat to the Protestant community?

    I don’t doubt Protestant working class communities have needs that have to be addressed – but it is disingenuous to suggest that these all stem from Sean Kelly being released, watch towers being dismantled and RIR battalions being disbanded.

    Methinks parasitic loyalist paramilitaries, and negative, and neglectful political leaders pointing across divides that they temselves have maintained and saying THEY are the reason you are poor and disorganised, is the reason for the current malaise.

    The truth will set you free.

  • nmc

    Fair deal,

    you know your stuff. Good points.

  • Mick Fealty

    Before this thread descends into another name calling, whataboutery exercise, can I ask Nationalists and Unionists to focus on defining what for them is a genuine Equality agenda?

  • overhere

    No longer do republicans represent the greatest danger to unionists, he said, it is now the loyalist paramilitaries operating on their doorstep.

    At long last the penny drops, the Unionist/Loyalist politicians were having fun on their great pay and not actually helping those in their communities who needed help as the Nationalists were doing.

    The only thing now is like the OO they are blaming everyone else but themselves.

  • fair_deal

    Lonely Pint

    “Tell me what rights I enjoy that Protestants don’t”

    I have already highlighted the relevant articles.

    “If you take the time to read reports on funding, you’ll find that in actuality, Catholic areas are still underfunded in comparision to Protestant areas.”

    Is this the SEUPB official report? Official reports are so good at getting to the bottom of things aren’t they? Lets ignore the fact that independent research has shown the European Peace funding tracking system to be useless. Also when the same independent researchers asked for the latest figures SUPB wouldn’t release them citing the Data Protection Act.

    SEUPB a body with such a commitment to equality except when it comes to having a balanced workforce. However, it’s not alone in that is it the Community Foundation of Northern Ireland, the Rural Community Network, EGSA and even the body which is supposed to represent the needs of community groups, Northern Ireland Council for Voluntary Action all have an under-representation of the Protestant community in their staff.

    Do you know which Section 75 groups have never had a publicly funded body to carry out research and advocoacy about the treatment of their group? Yep the Protestant and Unionist community. The DUP asked for it over 18 months ago and they are still awaiting government’s answer.

    “these all stem from Sean Kelly being released, watch towers being dismantled and RIR battalions being disbanded.”

    I never said they stemmed from them. These simply added to the belief by many that Unionist concerns are to be ignored.

    “parasitic loyalist paramilitaries, and negative … THEY are the reason you are poor and disorganised, is the reason for the current malaise.”

    They are causes but not the sole causes. The process of change for Unionist community will involve Unionists changing too.

    “Who is telling Protestants to move aside to allow equality to flourish?”

    Did you not read bootman’s opening comment?

    Mick

    On the equality agenda are you talking broad brush ie principles or specific policy suggestions or both?

  • Mick Fealty

    For the purpose of adding some ballast to the flights of fancy that have dominated some of the recent conversations here, specifics would be more useful.

  • middle-class taig

    fair_deal

    “Tell prod communities the equality agenda does not apply to them they are the obstacle to it and they’ll just have to move out of its way and shut up.”

    Nobody is doing that.

    “Tell prod communities there aren’t any imbalances in funding or when it is shown there are its is their own fault for not developing the infrastructure but if they claim they have weak community infrastrusture its all sectarianism.”

    There are such imbalances, but they are no longer so much on a green/orange basis, but on a community by community basis.

    “Tell prod communities the human rights agenda does not apply to them e.g. Articles 9-11 of the ECHR do not apply to them”

    Oh give over!. The human rights act is there if you want it. Like the critics of Daily Ireland said over its spat with McDowell, “Sue or shut up!”

    “the recent appointments to the NIHRC already told them to forget about the human rights agenda for three years”

    why, because fenians got appointed? is tha thow nationalists should see appointment of protestants to public positions? dry your eyes.

    “Tell prod communities they do not have needs to be addressed.”

    Nobody’s doing that. In fact, the press is falling over itself to talk about the needs of those communities.

    “Tell prod communities the pleas of their political leaders are to be ignored lock, stock and barrel.”

    Nobody’s doing that. It would be an interesting experience for you guys to get a glimps of nationalist life here 1920-1998, but it’s not one that should be forced on you. And it isn’t being.

  • Ringo

    Mick –

    Paisley: governments must deliver genuine Equality

    Shouldn’t that read government? Caught my eye because I thought it unusual that he would be looking to Dublin for assitance in helping Prostestant areas.

  • Denny Boy

    Caught my eye too, Ringo, but I believe it was meant in a general sense.

    In fact I was heartened to see that Paisley might at last have changed his mind on the equality issue. If only he’d thought that way in 1964….

    Still, never too late for a sinner.

  • Dessertspoon

    IP Snr is simply beginning to see and understand the law of reaping what you sew and along with him all the misguided people who voted for him and his party.

    Good Doctor you may rest assured, your deeds will return to you!!

  • John East Belfast

    Paisley is the Master of the Self Fulfilling Prophecy.

    He and the other ‘No’ men have spent years forecasting doom to the unionist community so that he could come to power.

    However in the eyes of the majority who believe him ‘Push Over Unionism’ has been replaced with ‘Walk Over Unionism’ as the British establishment almost positively enjoy treating his brand with contempt.

    The lunatics who thought they were getting the keys to the asylum are now wrecking their cells in frustration and Paisley is pointing the finger at everyone else.

    The bottom line is that, unless these idiots wreck it, the moderate unionist plan remains on course.
    ie strengthening the Union by making NI a prosperous and stable place where the vast majority of its citizens are happy they are being represented and most either support its political arrangements or are content with the status quo.

    As a unionist I feel neither insecure nor discriminated against.

    I do feel very let down – British Govt who didn’t punish, garden centre prods who don’t vote, SDLP who had no courage, other unionists who believed Paisleyism and the Republican Movement who didn’t deliver.

    However overall I don’t lose sight of the long game, the bigger picture and the future continues to look bright – we even beat England 1-0 last week.

    And Lonely Pint you are right this ‘hard done by’ whinging is not the kind of values placed on me growing up in Working Class East Belfast and find it all embarrasing.

    Fair Deal the kind of concessions being given to Republicans now are generational and cosmetic and will do nothing to my passport.

    Unionists are picking the wrong battles – more important ones may be what the US and UK Govts might be concocting in order to get SF into the police. Some of that stuff about Community Police Officers could be scarey and that would be worth a protest – by that time all the energy will have been expended.

  • Mike

    “It would be an interesting experience for you guys to get a glimps of nationalist life here 1920-1998”

    So the ’50 years of unionist misrule’ is now extended right up to the GFA? Hmm. righto. Guess no lessons in MOPEry required all round then.

  • fair_deal

    MCT

    I’d went for the point by point response but as you exactly exemplify the point I make in nationalists attitudes I’d rather let them stand. Unionists are not to make complaints about equality, human rights etc we either have to “shut up” or “dry our eyes”.

    Mick

    Some suggestions

    Reform of appointments to the Equality Commission and Human Rights Commission

    This needs to be two-fold.
    1. The ‘independent members’ are representative
    2. I think key boards like this should follow the Policing Board model of political appointees and independent reps

    Funding for an independent monitoring group for employment and other issues for the protestant and Unionist communities

    A political think tank for Unionism to encourage its political elite to think more in policy terms.

    Selling Human rights agenda to prod communities

    There is a good historical and cultural context for selling human rights to the prod community e.g. the origins of human rights in Europe is largely the protection of Protestnat religious minorities but it is never sold in this way.

    Education

    Prods have two core problems at either end of the educational spectrum.
    1. Too many of the best and brightest leaving (the Equality Commission’s latest research highlights this as a threat to maintaining equality of opportunity but employment law doesn’t cover it)
    This has deep historical roots e.g. the presbyterian tradition of studying in Scotland. However the massive expansion in 3rd level education has increased the ‘brain drain’ massively.
    This needs a three-fold strategy:
    a) tackle the culture of prod grammars encouraging study in GB
    b) lifing the cap on student numbers at the local Universities (although the issue of accomodation must be addressed at the same time as this)
    c) raising the standard of local unis -Queens has been pro-active on this but UU really needs to get its act together to attract a high quality of candidate.
    d) Reforms of the Student Unions

    2. Too many leaving with no basic education This will need a host of approaches and there is a particular problem with young males.

    An end to cultural demonisation.

  • Henry94

    John East Belfast

    Fair Deal the kind of concessions being given to Republicans now are generational and cosmetic and will do nothing to my passport.

    The split in unionism as I see it is between reasonable people like you who think an equal society in NI is a good thing and will copperfasten the union and those who consider an equal society to defeat the whole point of the union in the first place.

    My impression is that your side are a minority.

  • pacart

    Does anyone have a firm handle on how all these “community development funds” are spent and the value delivered? People used to laugh at Johnny Adair being described as a “community worker” but was he picking up a salary as such? Who else is?It seems there is a lot of money sloshing around between Govt money, EEC money, Lottery money and the rest. Apparently many millions of Big Lottery grants across the water has been frozen until various police investigations have been completed. It is generally accepted that such bodies can be victims of fraud, not to mention waste and incompetence. How carefully monitored is the spending in NI? Can the public access the figures? If not, why not? a good bit of it is taxpayers money.

  • fair_deal

    Pacart

    Regrettably “community worker” has become a much abused term and a media cover tag for “This person is a paramilitary but we can’t say so wink wink” and means many tar the rest of us with the same brush as the ‘wink, wink’ ones.

    From asking questions about funding down through the years I have found government very reluctant to provide figures etc (this is not unique to any one community I’ve talked to nationalists researchers and they meet the same brick walls). There is a distinct lack of transparency around a lot of funding.

    I remember trying to find out about Department of Education funding I’d went through their website and publications and talked to some staff members but couldn’t find an appropriate stream for the project I had in mind. Then at a meeting a DENI official mentioned in passing a fund they had with a budget of £1.5m a year , a not insignificant sum that there was no publicly available information for. I asked for details of how to apply, who was presently funded for what amounts and to do what. All i received in response was the list of groups who got money but nothing else.

    On availability of information there is radically different approaches from complete openess to closed doors.

    I haven’t had a chance to try asking under the Freedom of Information stuff though the legislation does not apply to many of Northern ireland’s funders.

    JEB

    There is more to live and identity than a passport.

  • 9countyprovience

    Fair_deal,

    Some good, well thought out responses there. Refreshing to hear positive ideas. I am curious about the point of selling human rights to Protestant communities. The fact that human rights had to be sold to a whole community sent a shiver down my spine. Surely the much revered book sells human rights when it states love thy neighbour and do unto others as you would have done onto you. It’s my opinion that human rights shouldn’t have to be sold to anyone. It is a basic building block for a modern democratic society. Look towards Britian itself where secularism and tolerance are the new buzzwords of a modern British society, if not the buzzwords for a modern European society.
    Why is it that the civil rights marches in the North occured around the same time as those in the U.S., yet human rights still need to be sold to the Protestant community?

  • Richard Dowling

    Max Hastings (in the Guardian) believes a United Ireland is
    inevitable, mostly for economic reasons. But, of course, he also
    admits that he was wrong about that in 1969, when he believed
    it was inevitable for political reasons. But, if ‘English’ taxpayers
    (his words, not mine) are reluctant to subsidise ‘Norn Iron’ any
    further, why would the South (‘Sun Iron’, let’s say) be quick to
    take on the ‘political subsidisation’ of the North, when that
    agenda is being driven by Sinn Fein, still backed and partly
    subservient to the Provisional IRA — which still has its own
    Constitution ( and a history of murdering its opponents to get its
    way).

    As I can’t see into the future, I have no way of knowing if
    Max Hastings ‘historical inevitability’ will come to pass. And,
    judging by his past form, neither does he. So relax. It aint
    necessarily written in the stars that we give in to the terror
    campaign of the IRA, or that we suspend our critical faculties to
    accommodate a ‘simul-cast’ production by Sinn Fein — still only
    the political ‘wing’ of a very determined Republican ‘movement’.

  • susan

    fair-deal DEL or DENI as they used to be are typical of the civil service in Northern Ireland. They are dictatorial and deliberately opaque. Funding is deliberately complex with criteria applied arbitrarily. One of the only good things we lost with the assembly was the Northern Ireland Public Accounts Committee which was developing some sharp teeth. Currently the only independent scrutiny for Public Accounts in Northern Ireland is the UK Public accounts Committee and it rarely has the time or the interest to look at Northern Ireland public accounts. The Freedom of Information legislation applies to all Northern Ireland funding bodies – I am not certain about the EU. If you don’t get the information you need complain to the Northern Ireland Information Commissioner who can act on your behalf – failure to disclose information is a criminal offence. You need to ask the questions in the right way – there are exemptions but the law clearly states @ the balance is on disclosure’.

  • fair_deal

    “Some good, well thought out responses there”

    Thank you 9county I do try to do more than complain but this site tends to get bogged down on the legitimacy of the complants rather than solving them.

    “human rights still need to be sold”

    There are a number of perception barriers to human rights in Prod Communities (I personally don’t share them but not going to deny others have issues).
    1. It is states that sign human rights agreements so in the last thirty years the issue of human rights has been associated with state bashing and raised by nationalists. In the sectarian zero sum this means people buy out of the conversation. Sinn Fein attaching the ‘human rights agenda’ to everything they want reinforces this.
    2. The appointments to the first and second NIHRC have done a good job of reinforcing the notion it.
    3. There is a fundamental lack of awareness about human rights their operation and implementation.
    4. I know I’ll get crucified for this one but the singular failure to protect Articles 9,10,11 in terms of Orange parades has made many buy out.

    Unionism’s attitudes are effectd by four influences within it
    1. Unionist discource has not modernised its language Civil and Religious Liberty is oldspeak for human rights.
    2. The conservativism of Unionism lends itself more to supporting ‘negative’ rights ie Civil and religious liberties however human rights groups have pushed for the development into ‘positive’ rights especially in social and economic rights. This is not helped by the human rights lobby misrepresenting positive rights as a fait accompli when their adoption is far from universal.
    3. The NIHRC being wrapped up in the Agreement wasn’t going to make buy in far from automatic but the NIHRC wrapping itself in the Agreement and getting caught up in trying to interpret it (and failing badly) made a good chunk buy out.
    4. There is a string equal citizenship strand in Unionism and it naturally dislikes the belief people in NI should have more rights than someone in GB.

    Also on a general point the human rights lobby tends to represent the situation around rights internationally as there being a consensus about them when that is not necessarily the case. This closes down debates we need to be having.

  • looking in

    fair_deal makes some points that ought to be looked over

    without going into specifics the list can be addressed as follows, with caveat of the outsider looking-in.

    Nationalists/republicans have mobilised themselves for themsleves as a reaction to the state that the statlet of NI had become. This has invloved massive engagement with equality issues and education. I’ll ignore the stereotypical images bearded blanket men reading literature/writing in the maze and bombers getting higher degrees. The reality is to paraphrase a late father of a friend speaking to his children “.. get an education becuase the prods can’t take an education from you, and with an education you can rise above them” OK

    This underlies the changes that are taking place a whole generation of 3rd level educated nationalist/republicans are occupying senior positions all throught the state where 30 years ago there would have been few. This makes for an environment that highlights the EQ agenda. Loyalists have to get with the program too.

    Instead of moaning and complaining that it is not fair and you want a fair-deal get of your arse and earn it. Stop being enthralled to the scare and envy tactics of ingnorant, barely literate, poorly educated politicians and pseudo-community leaders. The former croppies seem to be doing OK. Maybe there is a lesson in there somewhere

  • George

    Fair_deal,
    on your suggestions,
    “- Reform of appointments to the Equality Commission and Human Rights Commission.”

    Surely it is more important that the appointees are independent, qualified and competent? That’s all that is needed. Best person for the job, not one of our own.

    “Funding for an independent monitoring group for employment and other issues for the protestant and Unionist communities.”

    Surely this is the job of unionism’s elected representatives, and God knows there’s enough of them, to monitor their community and to come up with policy suggestions? They should be the sounding board and think tank. Why another quango?

    Why not place the blame where it lies, on unionism’s elected representatives rather than giving Northern Ireland another layer of bureaucracy when there are already 100,000 too many public sector workers.

    On selling the Human Rights agenda, if you have to sell it, then Protestant communities don’t understand. Why? Because their elected representatives have told them it’s something to fear.

    On education, these are problems Scotland is also facing where the population is dropping and the country’s brightest are heading south.

    The entire union will have to change and it isn’t going to, just to placate NI Protestants’ fear that their best are leaving the country.

    As a former emigrant myself, I can say the only way to stop emigration is to give people a reason to stay.

    The only problem is that only Westminster can implement the changes that will help NI compete with the rest. And it won’t implement them because it is looking at the big UK picture rather than little NI.

    On encouraging study, students need to know their best options, even if they are outstide NI.
    On lifing the cap on student numbers at the local Universities, who will pay?
    On raising the standard of local unis – great idea.
    Reform of the Student Unions – no idea.

    “An end to cultural demonisation.”

    While unionists are demonised on occassion and this should stop, unionism is an ideology that seems to live on demonising the Irish state and people to justify its permanent separation from them.

    Get Ian Paisley to shake Bertie Ahern’s hand, have unionist politicians slam their people for their fondness for burning the Irish national flag throughout NI on an annual basis and we might be on the road to ending the mutual demonisation earlier than you think.

  • Animus

    I agree with fair deal that the human rights agenda has passed the protestant/unionist community by. Part of this is because it’s seen as a nationalist issue, but part of it is a lack of capacity by protestants to see what they might get out of it.

    I disagree with point 4 though (in your second para) I think unionism, which is by its nature conservative, doesn’t like the idea of the state ‘giving’ things like rights to anyone. It seems to believe that people should sort themselves out and that rights cost money. I totally disagree that parading is a rights issue though, that’s a misrepresenation of human rights.

    Pascart some funds are closely monitored, like Peace II, but then gov’t sticks its oar in and uses the money for what it wants. Community groups are subject to site visits, evaluation etc, but then leftover money was used to fund a bridge in Toome. Most organisations funded by DENI, DSD and the like are evaluated regularly – my current post is subject to a number of outcomes, etc as are a number of other people in the voluntary/community development sector. I am a community worker (in the broad sense of comm development) but I would NEVER describe myself as such.

  • fair_deal

    George

    “Surely it is more important that the appointees are independent, qualified and competent? That’s all that is needed. Best person for the job, not one of our own.”

    1. Why can they not be independent, qualified, competent and representative of society?
    2. Public bodies are supposed to be conscious of the concerns of the various sections of society, a represntative board provides that.
    3. Meritocracy is an interesting suggestion. Will you tell the PSNI or shall I?

    “Surely this is the job of unionism’s elected representatives”

    Every other section 75 group has had such a public funded group. If government sees the need for all the other groups to have a publicly funded group (ethnic minoirties, sexual orientation, women, catholic/nationalist/republicans) why not the remaining two? Why the double standard?

    The DUP were active they asked for the same provision as others and got no response.

    It is the job of politicans too but in the Western world the limitations of political parties have become recognised and that is why public discourse is augumented by independent research groups and it also helps govermnment produce better policy.

    “all the politicians fault”

    Yawn. Unionists haven’t been in power since 1972, they were politically powerless (except if you wanted buried or had to licence to your dog).

    Politicans are a convenient and lazy blamehound for something that involves more than just them.

    “when there are already 100,000 too many public sector workers.”

    1. I have in mind about 3-5 member team so I will not be responsible for bankrupting the UK.
    2. The only party who have put forward proposals to cut the public sector have been the DUP.

    Demonisation

    Stop the demonisation and i think we can deal with the excesses. Chicken and egg scenario.

  • darthrumsfeld

    I asked on another thread for any nationalist to please make me an offer I couldn’t refuse. At least Michael McDowell has realised the question needs consideration, but he doesn’t really get beyond the platitudes. So,here goes (again)

    What’s on offer to fully accommodate my identity as a British Irish person in your shiny new tomorrow?

    Any takers this time?

  • Animus

    Fair deal – The groups you quote which receive money as section 75 groups were funded first, then came under sec 75 as a response to their inequalities. Do carers get funded by gov’t? (I’m not sure on this one myself) Age is another category (there are nine in total). The gov’ts funding of women has been short term project funding, so please don’t think that all the other groups are bringing in heaps of money while the unionist/protestant community languishes.Political opinion should not be funded on any side. Many of the posts funded are working on policy issues – surely it is up to politicians to cover their own backs on lobbying, advocacy and policy issues?

  • darthrumsfeld

    I asked on another thread for any nationalist to please make me an offer I couldn’t refuse. At least Michael McDowell has realised the question needs consideration, but he doesn’t really get beyond the platitudes. So,here goes (again)

    What’s on offer to fully accommodate my identity as a British Irish person in your shiny new tomorrow?

    Any takers this time?

  • P Ring

    Simple person’s guide to ‘community’ funding: Community needs money for development, creation, expansion. Fund accessing tricky. Somebody needs to know where and which funds might be available, know how to flag up the requirements of a ‘community’ and be able to present a good solid, clear and transparent case for the allocating of the funds. Also be able to give credible assurances that the money will be legitimately spent.
    My experience is that if a case is strong and/or justified then the money (or at least a proportion of it)will be there.
    So who identifies that there may be a need for funding support within a ‘community’? Usually or often it’s either a grass-roots thing which is then passed on to a local civic representative / political representative. They will then have to approach accessing the funding in the normal way: flagging up the problems, discovering whose got the lolly and how to get it, filling in forms, going to meetings etc etc….
    But significantly all this has to be approached in a methodical and measured way. Screaming your head off and jumping up and down may not work if the forms aren’t completed or the figures don’t tally. I suppose it’s simply called playing the game and it is a game where there is no longer any room for those who sulk and throw tantrums and take their ball home…….

  • Lonely Pint

    darthrumsfeld,

    I’ll answer you. You can have everything I have – all the rights and the equality – which is pretty much what you have today.

    What more do you want?

  • Mick Fealty

    George:

    “On selling the Human Rights agenda, if you have to sell it, then Protestant communities don’t understand. Why? Because their elected representatives have told them it’s something to fear”.

    That’s one explanation. But it’s not the one I’ve heard Unionists articulate.

    In short, those I’ve engaged in conversation in on this issue believe the HR contained within the Bryson Bill shortcircuits (future) parliamentary authority and forces to the state to take on burdens the extent of which they believe should more properly be decided by political parties.

  • fair_deal

    Animus

    Two issues seem to be merged in your last post. I am not talking about sectors being funded e.g. women but groups that work specifically on Section 75 issues. On the likes of the theme of age you have publicly funded youth and senior citizen charities working on these issues.

  • George

    Darth,
    just so we all know you are asking in good faith, maybe you could tell us what parts of your British-Irish identity you believe are already accommodated or can easily be accommodated by the Irish Republic and what parts you believe to be missing.

    I assume you have thought this out and are genuinely interested in finding accommodation or seeing whether accommodation is possible.

    Then people can then look and see very easily if there is room for accommodation or whether they can move to assuage your fears.

    I hope that, in 2005, you don’t believe that the current Northern Irish state fully accommodates all parts of your identity while the Irish Republic could and does accommodate none.

    Don’t tell be we are starting from scratch here.

    For example are you happy with the Irish Republic’s:

    Economic performance. Would it accommodate your career needs or do we need to do better?

    Method of government? Is PR fine or would you prefer lists or FPP or would we all have to swear an oath to the Queen? Does the President have to go?

    % spending on health care, education etc? Is the 1000 euro more per capita we spend every year on health and the fact that our surgical waiting list is 1/5 the size of NI’s despite having over twice the population evidence that we can accommodate your British and Irish health needs?

    Are our Immigration policies tough enough for your identity or should we try wriggle out of the European Convention on Human Rights?

    Is military neutrality alien to both your British and Irish identities or is there wriggle room here?

    Does the Euro accommodate your identity?

    In other words, where are we not accommodating enough and where are we getting the job done?

  • Animus

    I don’t think organisations are funded purely in response to Section 75 or to work solely on equality issues in respect of section 75.

    Fair_deal Going home early to try to beat the traffic – would love to pick up this thread though, as I think you do have a point, just not sure that I agree with you on the specifics.

  • George

    Mick,
    I’ll elaborate on “something to fear”.

    Unionism regularly puts forward the argument that republicans are in control of the Human Rights agenda or are trying to control it and using it for their own ends.

    If this is the view, then the logical corollary is that things submitted as being necessary from a Human Rights point of view are feared.

    Feared because they will blacken the reputation of the RUC, feared because they will discredit the former state, feared because republicans will use them for their own purposes etc.

    They fear republicans so they naturally fear anything that they have haven’t full control over and which they feel could be used to promote or further the republican agenda.

    Maybe, they use word “trust” instead of “fear” on many occassions but I believe the lack of trust is, to a large degree, down to fear, rational or irrational depending on one’s point of view.

    So, for example, we have the UUP supporting rights to “promote the British values of tolerance and inclusion”.

    The UUP will only support the NIHRC that “challenges the paramilitaries, not the state, as the real human rights-abusers”.

  • Mick Fealty

    THere may have been a ‘failure to communicate’ on this issue on the part of Unionists. That said, the reasons articulated above seem to me to be legitmately political.

  • Ling

    Lonely Pint

    I think you’re missing the point, what are you offering darthrumsfeld that would entice him to give up part or all of his identity, or what can you offer him that would mean he wouldn’t have to and also not become officially a foreigner in his homeland?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’m still not seeing any sort of serious evidence that Protestants are, on the whole, worse off than Catholics. Sure there are instances where Catholics currently seem to be better off. But then again there are instances where Protestants seem to be better off – see the row over unemployment statistics that took place on Slugger a few months ago.

    If the argument really is that the government are not listening to the concerns of ordinary Protestants, then why aren’t these people pressuring for the return of the devolved government ? Under that administration, locally elected politicians are the ones who make decisions about how resources are allocated. Under this system, properly organized and supported, it would not be possible for one side or other to take all of the cake and eat it.

    But the same people who are protesting now are the same people (such as Mr Stalford posting earlier on another thread) who I distinctly seem to remember saying that direct rule was better than the devolved system with Sinn Fein in it.

    There’s a real need for constructive discussion and negotiation. But I’ll tell you one thing, there’s no way I’m going to support giving a red cent to people who block roads and burn out cars just because people with a bomb-factory in their upstairs bedroom are getting lifted. Blocking roads and as a result blocking emergency services is no way to win my sympathy. Electing politicians and taking part in constructive discussions is.

  • fair_deal

    Animus

    Some examples of publicly funded bodies including s75 in their work. (sourced from their various websites.)

    Minority Ethnic groups

    “Racial equality services

    NICEM provides advice and supportive services to encourage statutory, voluntary and community sectors to set up good models of practice on racial equality, in particular ethnic monitoring in both employment and service provisions. These include consultancy work, policy planning, anti-racism and cultural awareness training, conferences and seminars. We also provide legal and supportive services to the victims of racial discrimination, harassment and attacks.”

    Age Concern for Northern Ireland

    “• Section 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (Equality Legislation) – this presents a significant opportunity for ACNI to challenge ageist attitudes which negatively influence the delivery of services to older people by Public Authorities.”

    From the Children law centre’s annual report.

    “CLC, SCF, Barnardos, NSPCC, CAJ, Include Youth, Children in Northern Ireland, Parents Advice Centre, Derry Children’s Commission and NIACRO lodged a formal complaint with the NIO and the Equality Commission on 6 May 2004 in respect of the NIO’s failure to fulfil their s75 duties.”

    Sexual orientation

    CoSO acts as a body with which public authorities may consult in order to fulfil their statutory duty under S. 75 of the Northern Ireland Act 1998. It will seek to ensure that the concerns of the entire LGBT Community are adequately articulated and acted upon.

    Nationalist communities

    West Belfast Economic Forum

    The Research Unit’s involvement in policy development has concentrated on New Targeting Social Need (New TSN), the promotion of statutory duty on equality (section 75 of the NI Act) and the work of the Voluntary Activity Unit (VAU).
    The designation of public authorities to produce draft equality schemes has produced a staggering volume of work for the WBEF. For the Research Unit this has entailed considerable extra work. This included the development of an equality template for community groups to use in response to draft schemes as well as running two seminars with the FCC to garner community opinion, disseminate information and facilitate the community response on the implementation of the equality duty

    Disabilities

    Disability Action has a policy unit which covers these issues too.

    Gender

    Here is action on S75 with various public bodies
    http://www.womenssupportnetwork.org/
    policy_consultation.htm

  • Comrade Stalin

    Darth:

    “What’s on offer to fully accommodate my identity as a British Irish person in your shiny new tomorrow?”

    It’d be better to list your requirements.

  • scipio

    Fair Deal

    “Section 75 and Schedule 9 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 came into force on the 01 January 2000 and placed a statutory obligation on public authorities in carrying out their various functions relating to Northern Ireland, to have due regard to the need to promote equality of opportunity –

    *
    between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, racial group, age, marital status or sexual orientation;
    *
    between men and women generally;
    *
    between persons with a disability and persons without; and
    *
    between persons with dependants and persons without.

    In addition, without prejudice to this obligation, Public Authorities are also required to have regard to the desirability of promoting good relations between persons of different religious belief, political opinion, and racial group.”

    Can you please explain what is wrong with the above. It seems that much of the current anger is due to a feeling of instability and of being sold out which has been fostered by some Unionist Politicians for political gain – consititutionally Unionists have never been stronger.

    The desperate social plight of areas such as the Shankill has been inflamed by the appalling lack of leadership and by the ‘know your place’ attitude of so many of our population

  • Animus

    COSO doesn’t get funded as far as I know, not by gov’t. Lone parents had a PSI group with no moeny attached to those who are lone parents. Most of these organisations use the funding they get for other projects and work and divert it to work on s75. My job, incidentally, is working on policy, and section 75 comes under that remit. But the fact that other groups have incorporated s75 into their work is more of a mark that they are on the ball and adapting to the changing policy environment and that protestants aren’t. The protestant/unionist community’s failure to do so is not the fault of the groups who are getting accustomed to working on various inequality issues. This is what I meant by a lack of capacity, but also I think it is easier to rally around a set of similarities (even though disabilities say, vary enormously)

    Protestants need to get organised! And not in the way they have been for the past four days! I think looking a the anti-poverty strategy may be the way to go – it’s an issue which could unite catholics and protestants and those rioting tend to be suffering poverty, and I think that’s the real issue at stake.

    Community Relations Council is supposed to work on the good relations duty. Everyone is trying to avoid this duty, what do you think?

  • fair_deal

    Scipio

    “Can you please explain what is wrong with the above”

    Nothing nor did I ever say there was. I am simply asking for support to an organisation that monitors the implementation of it for Protestant and unionist communities.

    Animus

    1 Others have said on here there isn’t a problem with the infrastructure in Prod communities but you argue it is a lack of organisation or leadership on Prod communities part? It can’t be both so what is it?
    2 The DUP identified the problem and asked for the necessary support and got no response. Proactive leadership on a significant issue and the response, ignored.

    CRC – the one organisation that produced a consensus across all the parties in the last Assembly as a inept failure is given extra responsibilities – just about sums up public policy in Northern Ireland.

  • Animus

    I think the infrastructure is there but the leadership isn’t – or at least not on the issue of equality.

  • fair_deal

    Animus

    Can the infrastructure exist without the leadership to have created it?

  • Animus

    Yes, I think so. I think that community development in protestant areas has not focussed on equality. There is no one championing the importance of human rights and equality at a high level.

    I also think there is a hierarchy of equality interests, starting with nationalism and working its way down. I don’t agree with it, but it’s there. Also, re: section 75, all of us fit into the categories, but if you’re a protestant with a disability, you may be more interested in how the disability side affects your life. One thing I think the much beleaguered women’s sector has been good at is uniting women on a cross-community basis and concentrating on the similarities as women rather than differences in political shade.

    I warrant it’s men losing out, working class protestant men in particular.

  • Richard Dowling

    [ Mountrath }

    Belfast (as a whole) has paramilitaries — IRA, UVF, etc. What
    West Belfast has (in answer to a previous questioner) is Gerry
    Adams. Now Gerry, stripped to his shorts, is not your average,
    run-of-mill party leader. He has ambitions. And one of those
    ambitions appears to be to implement the will of the Irish
    Republican Army, and grab power by fair means or foul (mostly
    foul, you must admit).

    Buy, hey, that’s politics. That’s life. That’s the IRA for you.
    They haven’t gone away, you know (or perhaps you’ve already
    forgotten). And, pretty soon, they’ll be coming to a theatre of
    operations near you. And if you live in Dublin, rest assured
    they are already there. Have a nice day.

  • fair_deal

    Animus

    “I warrant it’s men losing out, working class protestant men in particular.”

    Which is coincident with the membership of Loyalist paramilitaries main source of recruits.