Last arrangements in place…

UTV Live has flashed up that the two churchmen, one protestant and one catholic are said to be in position to witness the final act of decommission of the modern IRA. It follows choreographed moves in Dublin today when Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams met the Taoiseach for the first time since the Northern Bank robbery, and is followed tomorrow by the largest rally the party has organised in many years.

  • Chico

    We won’t believe it when we see it. Big Fellow.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Mick, your link’s broken.

    I’m looking forward to Dr Paisley’s reaction. Specifically, how he is going to justify not accepting the disarmament despite the witness by a Protestant church minister..

  • Alan McDonald

    Comrade,

    Try this link.

  • Moderator

    Links fixed. Thank you.

  • rusty musket

    If loyalism has always been reactionary

    Will THEY react by destroying their illegal weaponry ?

  • Brian Boru

    Get ready for more preconditions from the DUPes.

  • brian conway

    Does anyone know who the Protestant Churchman is?

  • spirit-level

    Great news Mick, someone in SFein has been watching “swan lake”, because you don’t get choreography like this without practice 😉

  • peteb

    When the idea, of one Catholic and one Protestant churchmen being suitable independent witnesses for this society, was first suggested I noted that it was a continuation of the policy of placing sectarian division at the core of The Process

    Regardless of the individuals secretively selected that remains the reality.. and the problem.

  • Yoda

    peteb

    Genuine question: Ideally, what would you like to see the process centered on?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”The IRA has observed an open-ended truce since 1997 after killing nearly 1,800 people in a 27-year campaign to overthrow Northern Ireland by force. The IRA was supposed to have disarmed fully by May 2000 under terms of Northern Ireland’s 1998 peace accord.”

    Or ‘bunch of murdering thugs disarm over five years late.’ And we’re expected to get excited about this?

  • peteb

    Glasnost.. [not the opaque Process we have now].. followed by perestroika, Yoda.

  • Comrade Stalin

    pete, I agree it’s absurd tribalism, and feels like it came straight from the desk ot Jonathan Powell.

    Yoda, a solution in this place isn’t going to be about carving it up equally for prods ‘n’ taigs. It’s going to come when people start to realize that it doesn’t really matter who is a prod or a taig (or neither). We’re nowhere near that yet, in fact, we’ve not even started to get there.

  • spirit-level

    Gerry Lvs Castro
    You could get excited over the prospect of a permanent peace, presumably you’d like stability
    and safety? It might lead to better things for everyone you know. Just a thought!

  • peteb

    “feels like it came straight from the desk of Jonathan Powell.”

    Indeed Comrade.

    I keep asking.. but who is Blair’s Chief of Staff in negotiations with at the minute?

    His last public appearance was when loyalist paramilitaries were [supposedly] asking for £70 millions.

    Something for an investigative journalist to look into.

    [/sarcasm]

  • elfinto

    Whoever this Protestant clergyman may be, I feel sorry for him on account of the abuse that is about to be heaped on him from hysterical unionists and their paramilitary friends.

  • Yoda

    Yoda, a solution in this place isn’t going to be about carving it up equally for prods ‘n’ taigs. It’s going to come when people start to realize that it doesn’t really matter who is a prod or a taig (or neither). We’re nowhere near that yet, in fact, we’ve not even started to get there.

    See, here’s where I run into difficulty.

    You say that NI is nowhere near looking past the prod/taig divide. Fair enough. But are we to wait until it is? How long might that take? What happens in the meantime?

    The current process, for all its many flaws (my biggest bugbear is the “all or nothing” aspect of it), has wrought changes, I would argue, for the better in NI: things are not as they were decades ago. I’m not saying it’s perfect, just a bit better. It’s a start, and I believe in starts, Brother Rabbitte.

    The process at least has some ideas for dealing with the situation as it stands: it doesn’t require waiting for the day when sectarianism may be a thing of the past. In fact, I’m not sure that sectarianism can ever be abolished. It might be renamed, however.

    Given the choice between the GFA and nothing, I’ll take the GFA. Given the choice between scrapping it and starting again…well, I dunno. I’m not opposed to it, but…I dunno.

    I really don’t think the constitutional issue will just go away. I mean, it’d be nice if it wasn’t an issue, but it is. I can appreciate that some people just don’t care if they are in the UK or Ireland. I’m not sure I understand it, though.

    peteb

    What form would the openness take? Public hearings for policy formation and referenda?

    What sort of economic restructuring have you in mind? The USSR did go into a severe economic tailspin for a while. Parts of the former USSR are anything but stable. Or do you just mean weaning NI off the money the rest of the UK pumps in to keep it afloat? How far reaching would the restructuring be?

    Again, I am genuinely interested.

  • peteb

    You’re jumping too quickly from one to the other, Yoda.

    Glasnost.

    Publicity, alternatively, Openness… We haven’t even established that as a principle. In fact the opposite has been in operation here.

    Let’s get Openness established [in the face of opposition from all quarters] and then we can move on to reforming the economic situation.

  • pol

    peteb

    Should we ignore that this society is sectarian.

    Should we ignore this state was set up on an sectarian head count.

    Well if you excepted that as a fact,
    do you not think that the appointment of a representative from the protestant community to the verification of decommission could be seen as a genuine gesture towards reconciliation by the IRA.

  • peteb

    Pol

    You propose the acceptance of sectarianism at the heart of future progress.. that I reject.

    Let’s get Openness [Glasnost] established [in the face of opposition from many quarters]

  • Brian Boru

    “Or ‘bunch of murdering thugs disarm over five years late.’ And we’re expected to get excited about this?”

    It’s more that what the UVF and UDA have done. And yes if it brings peace closer.

  • Yoda

    You’re jumping too quickly from one to the other, Yoda.

    Indeed; I just wanted to see what way your thoughts were tending. My own opinion is that economic policy needs to be explored alongside the peace process. Given the global reach and logic of late capitalism, economic stability seems to me inseparable from most people’s sense of peace and stability.

    I can’t argue with you about the lack of openness in the process thus far. Perhaps the current process might even be re-energised if it is made more open from here on in. Openness might encourage more people to take ownership of and responsibility for the current process.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Bugger it’s late. Must be a case of Slugger insomnia.

    Yoda, I agree that I don’t know when we’re going to properly start the process of dismantling all of this tribal apparatus and baggage we’ve built up around ourselves (collectively and mentally as well as physically). I just know that it needs to happen before there can be a solution. I agree that the political process (I don’t like the term “peace process”, it’s a cliche that sets people’s expectations way too high) has delivered a degree of peace and stability and that we are much better off now than we were 10 years ago. I voted for the GFA, despite it’s warts, and have no regrets about doing so (although at the same time I think we need to take what we’ve got so far and start negotiating a new document to get us to the next level).

    But we’ll always be in danger of sliding back into conflict while the underlying problems still exist, and that underlying problem is the way that our society is organized around two tribes. Depressingly, I’m afraid it will get worse before it will get better. The riots a few weeks ago are just a taste of what is possible. Unionism seems to be readying itself to ratchet up the conflict, perhaps in time for the last waltz. The British government is too scared to call a spade a spade and counter unionists for their duplicity.

    The process has been one constant string of starts and stepping stones, all the way back to 1921 when Collins famously coined the “stepping stone” term to begin with. I’d like to dispense with the stepping stones and get down to the real meat.

    We’re nowhere near to having openness, particularly while unionism is still in denial about it’s links to terrorism. That denial is what enables people like that “Concerned Loyalist” posting on another thread to justify an escalating armed response from loyalists while simultaneously demanding unilateral disarmament and disbandment from republicans.

  • pol

    peteb

    Acceptance of sectarianism.

    Yes it does exist, now.

    Lets get openness.

    Was the appointment of two independent witness not oppenness.

    Small steps can lead to great leaps.

  • Robert Keogh

    This is Alex Kane in the News Letter in which he sums up the diverse fears we have recently heard articulated by various strands of unionism.

    * the IRA remains armed, active and unrepentant

    The IRA is disarming as we speak. It’s members have stood down from active duty. The campaign is over and a public statement to that effect has been issued. The IICD and IMC will soon be reporting the very same.

    The IRA has issued several apologies over the past decade, if they were unrepentant they would have issued none.

    * unionists believe that there is no bottom line to republican demands and no line in the sand which Tony Blair will not cross in order to accommodate those demands

    There is no helping the bizarre convictions unionists hold. This myth has become heavily entrenched in unionist minds and despite the staggering divergence from reality there is nothing you can say to convince them otherwise. How can the IRA simultaneously be defeated and victorious? How can the union be secured in the principle of consent and yet be under dire threat? Hello? Reality?

    The truth is that unionism is terrified of Sinn Fein. They are terrified of operating Stormont with a SF DFM. They are especially terrified of the benefits of north-southery becoming apparent – too late that process has already begun. Once those become apparent the antipathy to the south that unionism requires to survive will begin to melt away.

    * grief has been magnified by the fact that terrorists remain unpunished and that some are now regarded as bona fide political spokesmen.

    That cuts both ways and unionism hasn’t even gotten around to agreeing that a bunch of murders committed during the troubles were actually murders. Grief is the single unifying feature of the troubles. The past shouldn’t be forgotten but it shouldn’t trap us.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”You could get excited over the prospect of a permanent peace, presumably you’d like stability
    and safety? It might lead to better things for everyone you know. Just a thought!”

    Speaking as someone who had 3 close friends murdered by PIRA (none of whom were in the security forces), I find it particularly galling that we’re supposed to be grateful when these thugs decide to get rid of a chunk of their weaponry. If a bunch of drug dealers destroyed their stockpiles of crack and ecstacy tablets, would you be rejoicing?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Gerry,

    The whole idea of decomissioning came from the unionists. Unionists said that it would create confidence in the political process. For that reason, you must understand that opinions like the one you just expressed will be regarded by republicans as pure goalpost-moving.

    I don’t know if you’re a unionist or not, but I’ve seen a lot of this type of thing from unionists recently. For example, the other day fair_deal came on to say how the removal of articles 2 and 3 was not really a concession. But unionists used to constantly badger on about those articles, claiming that they were a horrible illegal claim on the country and how they justified the IRA. The impression I got is that once unionists receive a genuine concession, they water it down and pretend that it was not a very serious one. I’ve got a similar view about these opinions being expressed about decommissioning. The process has certainly taken far, far too long and is imperfect in many ways. But now that the process is apparently set to be completed and independently verified, unionists are trying to pretend that it isn’t really a big deal and it’s not really a concession at all.

    I am not a nationalist or a republican, but to me the unionists are by far the biggest block to progress in this place. How can any political process work if the unionists will not engage in it as honest players ? If unionists react with disinterest when their conditions are met, and if they refuse to specify unambiguously what their other conditions are, then how can we ever get anywhere ?

  • Patrick Brown

    The unionists’ problem with accepting any concessions made by their opponents is they believe they’re morally entitled to them, so once they have them, so what? they should have had them all along.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Comrade — my gripe is not that the provos are dumping arms or whatever they want to call it — that can only be a good thing — what I’m objecting to is the way Gerry, Martin & co are rushing round the globe making a big thing of it as if calling a halt to the murder of innocent people is somehow a laudable act in itself, rather akin to the school bully expecting to be feted for destroying his BB gun.
    For the record, I would describe myself as a moderate unionist. The closest we have had to a political moderate unionist in recent years was David Trimble. He attempted to trust and deal with SF and they threw his trust back in his face. It now appears that they have moved significantly on decommissioning — but only after moderate unionism was virtually destroyed, largely as a result of SF refusing to do what they now (belatedly) appear to be doing.
    We are now faced with a political landscape of hardline unionism vs hardline republicanism — not exactly what you would call a model for peace and stability. Depressingly, that suits SF and the DUP just fine — they both thrive on social and political unrest and the centre ground has been squeezed yet again.
    SF have made precisely no attempt to persaude unionists why they should ever vote for a united ireland, and the DUP have made absolutely no attempt to persaude nationalists why they should ever vote unionist.
    As to what unionists want, I suspect a very large chunk of unionists want to continue to live in the UK, want to see an end to the endless squabbling over parades, flags and the border issue, and to move Northern Ireland into the 21st century.
    In short, SF are demanding praise for getting rid of illegal weaponry and are simultaneously launching a ludicrous ‘make partition history’ campaign while embracing the principle of consent.
    Forgive me if I don’t cheer.

  • Cahal

    GLC

    “For the record, I would describe myself as a moderate unionist.”

    It is a simple issue, the union – you are for the union or you aren’t. What does moderate mean? You wouldn’t use violence to maintain it? You don’t really care if it ends? You are prepared to let nationalists have a say in the running of this place?

    “The closest we have had to a political moderate unionist in recent years was David Trimble.”

    One of the problems I have with unionism is that somebody like David ‘Vanguard’ Trimble is descibed as a ‘moderate’ – whatever that word means.

    “In short, SF are demanding praise for getting rid of illegal weaponry”

    Perhaps if the unionists hadn’t yapped on about it for so long and built it up into such a big issue it wouldn’t be such a big deal. Nobody else actually cared what happened the guns as long as they weren’t being used to kill people. It is becoming clear this week that it was just another attempt by unionists to stall progress and avoid power sharing with those pesky Irish nationalists.

    ” and are simultaneously launching a ludicrous ‘make partition history’ campaign while embracing the principle of consent.”

    Shocker: Republicans promote united Ireland. There is nothing inconsistent about being pro GFA and pro Irish unification. There is a mechanism within the GFA for bringing about a UI through the consent of the people of the north. And that is exactly what SF want to do I guess.

    “Forgive me if I don’t cheer.”

    You are forgiven, now say 4 hail marys……

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    What does moderate mean? You wouldn’t use violence to maintain it? Correct.

    You don’t really care if it ends? Incorrect.

    You are prepared to let nationalists have a say in the running of this place? Of course.

    ”Shocker: Republicans promote united Ireland.”

    I strongly suspect that everyone over the age of 10 on this island has already made up their mind concerning a united Ireland. Exactly how are SF putting up giant banners and yapping incessantly going to change that? Perhaps we’ll all get so fed up with their whinging that we’ll give in for a quiet life?
    Through the GFA, SF have accepted the principle of consent — and going by current demographics there ain’t going to be consent for decades, if ever, so get over it.

    ”You are forgiven, now say 4 hail marys……”

    I would if I was deluded enough to believe all that sad dogma that passes for religion in these parts.

  • David Vance

    Pity Leni Riefenstahl isn’t alive to capture this rally.

    I love the gaucheness of those who seem to think that unionists will suddenly BELIEVE the IRA because a Protestant minister – chosen by the IRA – witnesses something, somewhere.

    Far too many don’t even believe the Bible in these Churches, why would the wittering of a paramilitary approved cleric convince them. Time for nationalists to grow up.

    If the IRA has disarmed (yeah, sure) let’s see the video’s and photo’s splashed across our daily papers. Let’s hear Adams say it has STOOD DOWN. Let’s have evidence the RAFIA empire has been dismantled.

    Now THAT might make us believe 😉

  • Robert Keogh

    Now THAT might make us believe

    might?

  • colin

    “The uvf are an integral part of the unionist community” – Diane Dodds

    Third force, ulster resistance, loyalist commission, n&w Belfast parades forum, willieMcCrae/Billy Wright, purple berets, orange order/Brian Robinson.

    When will unionism come clean !!!

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    Colin,

    Any relavent recent stuff?

    I didn’t think so

  • colin

    “The uvf are an integral part of the unionist community” – Diane Dodds

    fyu

    Ask Dianne Dodds

    Thats what she said on Thursday night.

    The North & West Belfast Parades Forum met last week, it included Nelson Mc Causland(dup) & uda brigadier’s Jackie Mc Donald & Andre Shoukri(north belfast uda brigadier) as well as the uvf commander in the Shankill.

    The orange order carried a bannerette in the Whiterock parade commemorating Brian Robinson, a uvf commander who died after being killed after pumping 16 bullets into a catholic man walking along the Crumlin Road.Two bands who participated in the orange parade celebrate Robinson as a hero(uvf).Former udr member and convicted shankill butcher Eddie McIlwaine also marches(as a member of a local lodge) in this parade.

    The loyalist commision consists of senior members of the uvf(east belfast) & a representative of the uda as well as David Mc Narry (uup) and others.

    Any recent stuff ???

  • ulsterman

    Are these thugs going to return the money the stole from the Northern Bank?. Ahern should have more sense than to give Adams any credence, particularly as Ahern may find Adams denying him a majority come the next election.

    SF have lost all credibility with the Unionist community. No matter what they do they will never be in power at Stormont again.There will be no negotiations with murdering scum like SF/IRA. NO SURRENDER AND NO COMPROMISE EVER.

  • ulsterman

    Are these thugs going to return the money the stole from the Northern Bank?. Ahern should have more sense than to give Adams any credence, particularly as Ahern may find Adams denying him a majority come the next election.

    SF have lost all credibility with the Unionist community. No matter what they do they will never be in power at Stormont again.There will be no negotiations with murdering scum like SF/IRA. NO SURRENDER AND NO COMPROMISE EVER.

  • S*uinter

    Ulsterman, I’m glad to see that at last someone has conclusive proof of who robbed the Northern Bank. I assume you have passed all the relevant details to Messrs Orde & McDowell?

    “No matter what they do they will never be in power at Stormont again.There will be no negotiations with murdering scum like SF/IRA. NO SURRENDER AND NO COMPROMISE EVER.”

    I envisage B&Q doing a blistering trade in masonary paint today with your colleagues running around updating existing murals with your latest caveat of “….NO COMPROMISE EVER”.

  • Comrade Stalin

    On one hand we’ve got the republicans and the bank robbery. On the other hand we’ve got the unionists and their close association with active paramilitarism. How can anyone, from either camp, feel in a position to make demands from the other ?

    David Vance, your contribution constitutes another ambiguous demand from a unionist. You lay out a series of new conditions, and you won’t say for sure whether those conditions, if met, will satisfy your requirements. I don’t think you’re serious about letting taigs in power at all, are you ?

  • David Vance

    What a great opportunity to nail a lie enthusiastically peddled by Republicans and their apologists.

    Comrade Stalin alleges that I’m note “serious about letting taigs in power at all, are you ?”
    Answer. That’s right. Taigs, to use his terminology, that support terrorists need to grow up and realise that Unionism will NOT share power with their elected paramilitary stooges. Neither should “Prods” share Executive power with “Prods” such as the scumbag PUP.

    The real issue is not religion. The issue is that too many, including a large section of slugs here on Slugger (Hope that’s a suitable collective noun?)fail to see how depraved thei endorsement of terrorists actually is. That’s a problem for republicans in general – go deal with it and get back to me when you’ve done th necessary maturing.

  • Weapons of Crass Instruction

    Strange how DV self righteously bangs on about Republicanisms failure

    “to see how depraved their endorsement of terrorists actually is. That’s a problem for republicans in general”

    And completely ignores Colins comments at 11.55

    “The UVF are an integral part of the unionist community”

    It would seem that endorsement of violence isn’t a problem confined to Republicanism it appears that giving credibility to illegal armed groups isn’t just “enthusiastically peddled by Republicans and their apologists”.

  • ulsterman

    The Lundy Protestant churchman should be immediately spurned for the traitor he is. No doubt he will be counting his thirty pieces of silver without reflection upon his treachery.

  • ulsterman

    The Lundy Protestant churchman should be immediately spurned for the traitor he is. No doubt he will be counting his thirty pieces of silver without reflection upon his treachery.

  • David Vance

    WOCI,

    Given that;

    a/ I have categorically damned the UVF, UDA ad nauseum and;
    b/ Unionists, unlike nationalists, do not vote in significant numbers for the political proxies of terrorists

    your comment is pointless.

    Also, whilst I am no DUP supporter, I do not believe the DD “QUOTE” you and others have trotted out. Either supply the direct verbatim quote – and have it verified – or stop making up little Provo supportive arguments with those who see through such spurious nonsense.

    Cut to the chase; Many Nationalists vote for a Party inextricably linked to terrorism whilst Unionists for all their many faults..DON’T! It’s Irish Nationalism which is morally bankrupt and which will NOT get it’s way despite the stunt planned for later this week.

    There are 3 D’s;

    Decommission transparently.
    Disband permanently.
    Desist from all Rafia activity.

    I reckon we’ve got 0 out of 3 on offer this week so excuse me if I yawn at the hyperbole extended to a bunch of evil murderers and their fellow travellers.