in pursuit of critical mass

IN the Irish Examiner, Fergus Finlay calls yesterday’s announcement, of decommissioning, a welcome step.. but not one we should be grateful for. He also has an interesting view of the process so far, and of the still distant prospect of SF in government.

From the Irish Examiner

Those who believe, for instance, that Sinn Féin might be a part of our next government, assuming (which looks almost inevitable now) that Fianna Fáil and the PDs can’t make up the numbers, are wrong. And they’re wrong for this reason: Sinn Féin is not interested not yet. It is pursuing a political strategy which is aimed at making it the dominant political player in both jurisdictions on the island of Ireland. Until it reaches the critical mass it’s aiming for, it won’t take the risk of participating in government down here. In Northern Ireland it already has that critical mass – not only in terms of its size, but also in terms of the way government is structured. To coin a phrase, no Sinn Féin, no government.

In other words, it already holds the effective balance of power in Northern Ireland. It will not be content and it will not risk entering Government here, until it really holds the balance of power. And it knows that that’s going to take more than one more election. After the next election, even if it was to double its existing number of seats and Fianna Fáil was able to do a deal with them, it would only mean a couple of cabinet seats for Sinn Féin.

That’s not real power and Sinn Féin knows it.

Sinn Fein has demonstrated, if nothing else, that it is committed to effective control. It has controlled its own communities for years. It operates within a culture of secrecy and hidden chains of command. As the Northern Bank raid, the return of the Colombia Three, and the recent visit by the “leadership” to Castlerea prison all demonstrate, it operates to its own agenda and no one else’s. That agenda is about the ascendancy of Sinn Féin in both jurisdictions, and the selling of that ascendancy as the first tangible mark of a united Ireland.

  • Betty Boo

    And I was left thinking being in power or for this matter having any was the core ambition of any political party.
    And wasn’t there something about who has economical power has political power.
    Sorry, I forgot, the Shinners robbed the Bank. But in today’s world I doubt very much that £26 million manifest economical power. It must have been frustration that they burned some.

  • aquifer

    Finlay has it right. Why would the irish separatist elite associate themselves with the corrupt cute hoors of FF when they can sell themselves as outsiders concerned for the economic underdog, while building a tight young organisation of attractive overachievers financed and bolstered by gangsterism. Mary Lou looked a bit shaken by the jackboots and rifles on parade on saturday in dublin though.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    One of the best articles I’ve read in a long time. Instead of squabbling over the minutiae of decommissioning, we should all be asking SF some hard questions concerning their ‘Ireland of equals.’
    They’re bidding for govt.in the Republic and ultimately the whole of Ireland. What exactly does their ‘wealth redistribution’ entail? Do they equate an ‘Ireland of equals’ with a fully-fledged democracy where they are forced to constantly share power with other parties or do they perhaps prefer the idea of a one-party state? Does their membership of the EU communist grouping and their hero-worship of Fidel Castro have no bearing on their plans for ‘taking power in Ireland’? And exactly how does a 32-County Socialist Republic differ from a 32-County Democratic Republic?
    No-one, particularly south of the border, should even consider voting for this dubious bunch before these questions and many more are answered.

  • ulsterman

    what utter rubbish. SF will never poll any more than a small vote in the south. In the north there will eventually be a DUP/SDLP/ALL coalition.

    SF/IRA are a bunch of murdering fanatics. They are as far away from power today as they ever were.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Dream on Ulsterman.

  • stu

    I’ve never read any of Finlay’s stuff before, would his views speak for a majority in the Republic? If so, a UI might be a good idea…

    Gerrylvscastro

    SF’s Ireland of equals? Allow me to quote Orwell:

    “For once Benjamin consented to break his rule, and he read out to her what was written on the wall. There was nothing there now except a single Commandment. It ran:

    ALL ANIMALS ARE EQUAL
    BUT SOME ANIMALS ARE MORE EQUAL THAN OTHERS

    After that it did not seem strange when next day the pigs who were supervising the work of the farm all carried whips in their trotters. It did not seem strange to learn that the pigs had bought themselves a wireless set, were arranging to install a telephone, and had taken out subscriptions to John Bull, TitBits, and the Daily Mirror. It did not seem strange when Napoleon was seen strolling in the farmhouse garden with a pipe in his mouth-no, not even when the pigs took Mr. Jones’s clothes out of the wardrobes and put them on, Napoleon himself appearing in a black coat, ratcatcher breeches, and leather leggings, while his favourite sow appeared in the watered silk dress which Mrs. Jones had been used to wear on Sundays”

    Photoshopped images of Gerry in the Governor-General’s residence in Phoenix Park with a pipe and a copy of the Times are welcome…

  • no-hope-here

    If Sinn Fein have developed a strategy to take control using electoral support, are they not guilty of doing exactly what the FF and FG did not so long ago, except their forefathers werent asked to decommission first.

    What some right-wing elitist types fear most, is real control falling into the hands of those who have been disenfranchised, whether that be for sectarian reasons, ie in NI, or for capitalist reasons, ie ROI.

    The outcome could be more akin to the south African model.

    long live the revolution!!!!!!!!!!

  • Brian Boru

    They will get 10% in the next GE if the polls are correct, compared to 6.5% last time. They got 12% in the locals, euros, and by-election. Personally I would vote for them in the North if I had a vote there because I despise the border, but in the South we are already free so I won’t vote for them at the moment because I consider them too left wing, including their policy of raising corpo tax. They are also too liberal on immigration for me.

  • pakman

    Brian Boru

    “I would vote for them in the North if I had a vote there because I despise the border, but in the South we are already free so I won’t vote for them at the moment because I consider them too left wing, including their policy of raising corpo tax. They are also too liberal on immigration for me.”

    What about consideering them too murderous? What about their unique revenue raising schemes? What about their views on the legitamacy of YOUR state?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    I would agree with you on this one BB — up to a point I can understand SFs vote in the north, which is much more to do with the border than overall policies. However, I’m totally at a loss as to why anyone south of the border should be voting SF other than as a protest vote a la BNP.
    What exactly IS SFs policy on immigration BB? Would they expect all entrants to learn Irish and the ‘correct’ version of Irish history for instance?

  • Henry94

    GLC

    The anti-immigration ICP decribed Sinn Fein as the most pro-immigration of all the parties. I think that is something to be proud of.

    So is this

  • Brian Boru

    Gerry Lvs Castro, from reading their website, they say they are opposed to a numerical limit on immigration, and also are opposed to forcing the immigrants to give up their separate cultures. They opposed the Citizenship referendum in Summer 2004 – the one that changed the law so that people born on the island could only have Irish citizenship if one of their parents was born here. They wanted to keep the old system whereby being born on the island alone gave you citizenship. 80% of people down here voted for the constitutional change – including 68% of SF supporters. However at present, polls indicate that while uneasy about immigration levels, this is not at this stage the major political issue it is in the UK, i.e. seemingly it doesn’t determine someone’s vote. The referendum was held on the same day as the local-elections but SF still got 12% of the vote, which proves my point.

    Considering SF is a nationalist party, I admit to finding their open-door policy on immigration bewildering. It could be argued – though I may be wrong – that immigrants might be less likely to support reunification in a Southern referendum. They are presently 10% of the population down here, and at current trends they could be a majority by 2045. They may end up deciding the outcome of a Southern referendum on a UI therefore. Having said that, their children will be going through the Irish school system and so will be learning Irish history from a nationalist perspective, so maybe that would influence them to vote Yes as adults. Could go either way. Will be interesting to see.

  • Kelvin Doherty

    BB

    The profile of SF voters differs north to south. My understanding, though I may be wrong, is that in the south it is predominantly male, under 26, low income and educational attainment except in the border counties. For SF to get a real foothold in the south they will have to ditch many of their policies which aren’t palpable to many southern voters.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Considering SF is a nationalist party, I admit to finding their open-door policy on immigration bewildering”

    My thoughts too BB. Given the increasingly numerous disgraceful rascist incidents in the south, there appears to be a rumbling distrust of immigrants generally, and the current UK experience is such that Labour & the Tories seem intent on outdoing each other on tough immigration policies. In this climate, SFs policy, while surprisingly laudable, appears deeply at odds with their militaristic republicanism and absolute rejection of everything the Unionists hold dear.

  • T.Ruth

    People in the Republic should remember that if it looks like a fascist,has policies like fascists and generally behaves like fascists, murdering opponents,robbing banks to raise funds,persecuting those of a different religion;then welcoming them into government at any level is not a good idea.

  • Robert Keogh

    I don’t get the whole problem with immigration – I mean we already have the Irish and British here – who could be worse?

  • Yoda

    For SF to get a real foothold in the south they will have to ditch many of their policies which aren’t palpable to many southern voters.

    Agreed. There’s not much of a taste for lefty-politics in Ireland at the moment. Adams is a canny politician, and I wouldn’t be surprised if at least attempted the shift.

  • mucher

    Kelvin,

    You are right! the majority of S.F. voters in the South are young unemployed men under 26 yrs. That is why S.F. is so anxious to change its image. Gone, or soon to be, are the tracksuits, the baseballs caps, the scruffy jeans. In comes the business suit, the well groomed hair, he clean fingernails.
    Its goodbye Nicky Keogh, hello Mary Lou. Problems
    is how many Mary Lou’s are there out there willing to stand for S.F.?

  • Dave

    When I read the Fergus Finlay article I thought he was talking about the Nazi party, I had to blink and read it again,sure enough he was talking about the Nazi party.

    A Rose by anyother name etc!

  • Yoda

    hello Mary Lou

    …goodbye heart.

  • Gerard

    SF has been shifting from the left since the mid 80’s, with calls for socialism and internationalism gradually replaced with demands for a ’32 county national republic’, SF have also been making friends in business which doesn’t mix well with their socialist claims, they have failed to oppose, and in some cases implemented PFI. While in the south they have campaigned alongside working class issues, this is nothing more than gas and water socialism, and in the north the calls for socialism come mainly from Ogra Sinn Fein, rather than those in the party elite. Socialism is a buzz word that is used to attract those that may respond well to it, but it is not used too often ,as this could upset the amicable relationship Gerry et al. have been building with local business interests and with those across the atlantic.

  • Gum

    Sinn Fein’s position on immigration is something to be proud of. Of all the parties in Ireland, north or south, they have been the most welcoming, most tolerant, and most supportive of the various minority groups that have came to this island. Thos who want to charachterise SF as fascists will have to pick other issues. And as for there reasons for their policy? Maybe because its the right thing to do?

  • Tochais Síoraí

    In common with unionist parties, SF wouldn’t know a coherent economic policy (whether left-wing or right) from a kick in the arse. The economic decisions are made elsewhere. They’re going to have to do something though if they’re to continue growing in the ROI – my guess is they’ll keep their current vague ‘socialist’ one until that reaches it’s max potential of 10-15% of the vote and then ditch it in an attempt to appeal to the middle class.

    In the meantime, don’t ask them about tax increases, it’ll be like trying to ask them about the Northern Bank.

  • Gum

    By the way, Dave,

    you need to learn about Godwin’s Law: to quote from wikipedia –

    Godwin’s law (also Godwin’s rule of Nazi analogies) is an adage in Internet culture that was originated by Mike Godwin in 1990. The law states that:

    As an online discussion grows longer, the probability of a comparison involving Nazis or Hitler approaches 1.
    There is a tradition in many Usenet newsgroups that once such a comparison is made, the thread is over, and whoever mentioned the Nazis has automatically lost whatever argument was in progress. Godwin’s law thus practically guarantees the existence of an upper bound on thread length in those groups.

  • Brian Boru

    Gum, I would like to ask this question. Do you not think that by agreeing to allow so many immigrants in, that you are supporting a position that may frustrate attempts to get a Southern Yes majority in a future referendum on a UI? I may be wrong, but while I know from the latest poll 55% of us in the South want a UI, I would be quite concerned that people with no connection with Irish nationalism and no knowledge of the Northern issue might be less likely to support a UI in a future referendum. One possible reason would be that a UI would reduce their % share of the vote in future.

    This is a valid point on my part as immigrants are now 10% of the population and are predicted to become the majority by 2045. I am not racist but I think I speak for the majority of Irish people when I say that while some immigrants should be let in, there has to be limits. Also, the hospitals are already overcrowded and this is making it worse.

  • Hektor Bim

    Why shouldn’t immigrants to Ireland learn Irish?

    For example, immigrants to Quebec have to go to French-language schools, and it has worked very well there to fill its stated objective, which is to keep Quebec French-speaking dominant. Obviously, this is not a very liberal position, but it is perfectly defensible and complies with human rights laws.

    Irish is the official language of the Republic, last I looked, and it doesn’t seem strange to require immigrants to learn the official language of the country they immigrate to. There are no human rights objections to requiring all immigrants to send their kids to gaelscoileanna, for example.

    This post just seems to point out the very ambivalent view many people in the ROI have toward the Irish language. This has come up before on Slugger, but I am always surprised at the negative attitudes toward the Irish language displayed by the Irish themselves. What is the origin of the dislike?

  • red kangaroo

    BB – “I would vote for them in the North if I had a vote there because I despise the border, but in the South we are already free so I won’t vote for them at the moment because I consider them too left wing, including their policy of raising corpo tax. They are also too liberal on immigration for me.”

    Many people have speculated on a FF/SDLP merger, reading these comments more like a FF/SF merger then BB can have the best of both worlds

  • Betty Boo

    Brian Boru

    Chances are that immigrants properly vote for what ever their neighbour is voting or look at the size of this island, look again and conclude it is a bit small for accommodating two countries.
    On the issue of immigration itself I’m split. As a member of the EU I can live within its border where ever I fancy and as I moved to Ireland two Dubliners moved into my old flat in Munich. I find it, lets say not fair, that others do not have the same opportunity even if their reason for leaving their country is much more fundamental then mine. But I also see the problems arising from this issue only I feel its dealt with in not dealing with it. Keep them out and everything will be fine. And this can’t be a solution.

  • red kangaroo

    BB “They are also too liberal on immigration for me.”

    Is this the Irish right wing nationialist respnse to “no Irish/catholic need apply”

    I find it sad that Brian Boru can spend his time justify SF actions on numerous threads but on the one issue they should be supported on he disagrees. Perhaps his Irish nationalism is closer to the right wing DUP British nationalism that he would care to admit.

  • Brian Boru

    red_kangoroo, I don’t think that’s fair. I am certainly not a “zero-immigration” person, but there are already 400,000 immigrants down here, and it is causing a lot of problems with hospital overcrowding. Overcrowding in turn is encouraging the spread of MRSA in our hospitals. We have the worst record in Europe for the spread of MRSA, and this isn’t helping.

    Also, there are issues of job displacement by cheap labour. Irish Ferries started with “The Normandy” where they replaced the entire Irish staff with Eastern Europeans working for 50% of what the Irish were getting paid. Now they are bringing this practice to other parts of their fleet. They are raising the flag of the Bahamas on their ships and taking down the Irish flag so they are now subject to the labour-laws of the Bahamas. This is totally unfair and is reported by the trade-unions to be widespread in the Irish economy, including the construction-industry. It seems to me that unless this issue is tackled in the next National Wage Agreement, that racial tensions could rise. I don’t want that to happen. So we need safeguards. Ireland, the UK and Sweden are the only countries in the original EU of 15 members that have agreed to let everyone in from the new EU member states in Eastern Europe. I have no problem with these new countries getting financial aid from the EU because the Irish state got 38 billion since we joined in the 70’s.

    But the sheer scale of immigration is putting severe pressure on our hospitals. This is not the fault of the immigrants but rather of government policy. Unfortunately, the Opposition who are criticising the problems in the hospitals so much are likely to be even more liberal on this issue. There is too much political-correctness – especially in the South – on immigration. If a politician opens their mouth they are lambasted as “racists” etc. But when people actually vote on the issue e.g. Citizenship Referendum, it is clear the silent majority have concerns, whatever the Holier-than-though PC brigade think.

  • Ringo

    but there are already 400,000 immigrants down here, and it is causing a lot of problems with hospital overcrowding

    Hear hear BB

    With all those Phillipino nurses milling about the hospitals there is hardly room to move.

    If we got rid of them, the Asian doctors and Eastern European orderlies, sure, our hospitals would be like hotels.

  • George

    Brian Boru,
    so you believe we shouldn’t allow free movement of workers within the European Union?

    The other 12 countries will allow free movement from 2011 either way so we just jumped first together with Sweden and GB.

    These 70,000 Poles, Lithuanians etc. in Ireland today aren’t overcrowding our hospitals, they are paying for them.

    They have no entitlement to any social welfare so they are all working or at least not a “burden” on the public purse. Which is more than can be said for many of those out of their heads clogging up A&E.

    On the citizenship referendum, which I was against by the way, it put Ireland in line with the EU and UK, nothing more, nothing less.

    It has no effect on the number of legal immigrants from the new EU10 but does on the number of asylum seekers.

    Do you not differentiate between asylum seekers and immigrants?

    On EU cash, Ireland is the second biggest net contributor after Germany when you add in Brian Lenihan’s abdication of Ireland’s fishing rights.

    Don’t know what the Estonians have had to give up but I’m sure it’s valuable.

  • Brian Boru

    “On EU cash, Ireland is the second biggest net contributor after Germany when you add in Brian Lenihan’s abdication of Ireland’s fishing rights. “

    That’s only hypothetical. No-one is completely sure.

    “Brian Boru,
    so you believe we shouldn’t allow free movement of workers within the European Union?

    The other 12 countries will allow free movement from 2011 either way so we just jumped first together with Sweden and GB.

    These 70,000 Poles, Lithuanians etc. in Ireland today aren’t overcrowding our hospitals, they are paying for them.

    They have no entitlement to any social welfare so they are all working or at least not a “burden” on the public purse. Which is more than can be said for many of those out of their heads clogging up A&E.”

    I think we should either have all let them all in from Day 1, or that we should wait until the other countries let new EU citizens in. That way the burden on our hospitals is fairly shared. BTW, on your social-welfare point, the EU Commission is threatening infringement proceedings because they think it might not be legal. Interfering bureaucrats.

    We could train enough doctors and nurses in this country but for the stupid cap on medical-college places introduced in the 80’s by the Government.

  • DK

    SF voters are primarily driven by the the emotional Republican mythology of the great gaelic national struggle against the Anglo Saxon oppressors. It is a one issue party that will easily pick up and set down other issues depending on their target audience. Their soon to be jettisoned socialist policies are a throw back to the earlier part of the last century where their “heroes” of the past nailed their colours to the communist/socialist side of the ideological debate of the day. It also served them well in the seventies to gain friends amongst the trendy British left and the socialist governments in Europe.

    Ireland is and has been generally a conservative country. Socialism does not sit well with the majority of the population. SF realise this and will adjust accordingly to advance their plans for gaining position in the south.

    Brian Boru, you seem a good example of a SF supporter driven by an emotional response to a particular teaching of Irish history and no doubt the odd rebel song in the pub. Outside of the border issue, the adherence to SF policies becomes less certain.

    Given the concern about immigartion and the risk to your view of what Irish nationalism should be, I would question the logic of striving to incorporate a million potentially beligerant protestants into this happy state. I rather suspect that you would quite like the North minus the protestants.

  • George

    Brian Boru,
    fish are real and 11% of Europe’s waters is a real figure. Where did you get your 38 billion figure by the way?

    You mean money should have been spent in the 1980s when the national debt was 130% of GDP and 70,000 Irish people a year were leaving?

    There was no money and there was no other choice in the 1980s. Dark days. It was a time of Ray Crotty on the Late Late saying we should default on our national debt like Brazil.

    It was a time when a loan for student fees charged 18.75% annual interest and when nearly 20% were unemployed and the average wage was 8k.

    There was also a huge brain drain; 80% of UCD Science graduates emigrated in 1992, for example.

    Ireland “letting in” fellow Europeans is the right move and we are reaping and will reap the longterm benefits of it.

    They are equal members from the second they join and Ireland and the UK are right to treat them as such.

    This won’t be forgotten by our new members in 10 years.

  • Brian Boru

    “Brian Boru, you seem a good example of a SF supporter driven by an emotional response to a particular teaching of Irish history and no doubt the odd rebel song in the pub. Outside of the border issue, the adherence to SF policies becomes less certain.

    Given the concern about immigartion and the risk to your view of what Irish nationalism should be, I would question the logic of striving to incorporate a million potentially beligerant protestants into this happy state. I rather suspect that you would quite like the North minus the protestants.

    I am not a SF voter. I said that I am a Southerner who does not vote SF down here but would vote for them in NI solely because of the border. Also, I reject your last statement, as NI Protestants hardly constitute “cheap labour” as they are from the First World so the risk of displacement does not pertain. Also, it’s not as if they would suddenly migrate South and put pressure on the Southern hospital system, since there is already one in NI. I have no problem with having a large Protestant minority in a future Irish state. I am aware that leaders in the 1798 rebellsion included Protestants for example.

  • Shay Begorrah

    BB said “I have no problem with having a large Protestant minority in a future Irish state.”

    Brian, I hope you are very young, very old or very tired but the unconscious sectarianism implicit in that statement is very uncomfortable to read.

    I suggest before you pen any statement about a religous group you replace the chosen religion with the word “Jews”.

    If, after that alteration, you still feel comfortable with the statement, go ahead and use it.

  • ch in dallas

    This discussion certainly rings true with me. As an American you must at least admit I might know something about the effects of immigration on a society! Immigration is not a zero sum game, where someone must win and someone must lose. All can win if it’s handled properly. Your problem as I see it is that the floodgates are open and the influx can’t be assimilated properly. No political party will touch it because they see potential voters to woo. Someone mentioned them learning Irish. Get real. They aren’t going to be speaking English. Say anything and you’re a racist. Yesterday I was at the gas station, and the guy from Africa who spoke English was getting frustrated with the Mexican who didn’t. I speak enough Spanish and intervened, whilest the Muslim lady in the abaya looked on. At this very moment, I’m watching Senior Santos mow the lawn. But like I said everyone can win if it’s handled properly, and the food gets more interesting too. That’s why I find the RC/Prod debate so interesting, because y’all don’t realize that E.U.membership is making it moot. You’re not NI and the ROI anymore, you’re both Euroland West, and you haven’t realized it yet. Now, someone quickly try to post something nasty about Texas…I figure that with the speed that it’s usually done, there must be a slugger prize. 🙂

  • Tadhgin

    No one seems to have thought that perhaps SF are actually looking for votes with their anti-rascist rhetoric. Remember that all EU citizens can vote in local elections and as immigrants begin to take up citizenship they will be able to vote in all elections. They have the organizational capicity to provide assistance to immigrants wrt dealing with welfare etc. which will give a supply of votes when the time comes.

  • ch in dallas

    I’m not sure about SF comments, but the 1st pol to the mike sets the tone of the debate. Now anyone with a different immigration view is racist. Gerry’s been to the states many a time, Dallas, in fact, and has learned well. Really does’nt matter in the long run, b/c the decisions are made in Brussels, i think.

  • red kangaroo

    BB “as NI Protestants hardly constitute “cheap labour” as they are from the First World so the risk of displacement does not pertain. Also, it’s not as if they would suddenly migrate South and put pressure on the Southern hospital system, since there is already one in NI. I have no problem with having a large Protestant minority in a future Irish state. I am aware that leaders in the 1798 rebellsion included Protestants for example.”

    This is fantastic, an issue that can unite the bigots on both sides. Who care about themuns? at least they are white. Immigration from the thirld world, the perfect cure for Irish/British sectarianism

  • ch in dallas

    Red, As much as I hate agreeing with socialists, your’re assessment may be correct. Nothing like uniting a people as when the “Other” appears. However, by talking about it now, the Irish can avoid some mistakes and transition more smoothly to becoming a multicultural society. we don’t want an ultra-right Jean Marie Le Pen France pour les francais style party springing up, do we comrade? However, if you label every Irishman that questions unbridled immigration a bigot, you push them into the arms of the demigogues. And how is Australia handling those 100 million Indonesians to yer north? Lettin’em in mate?

  • red kangaroo

    Dallas “if you label every Irishman that questions unbridled immigration a bigot, you push them into the arms of the demigogues.”

    All countries have a right to an orderly immigration process. I gather what is being argued here is more than that. Some of the comments are very thinly disguised racism. “will they agree with “our” version of nationalism?” – “overcrowding hospitals” – “will they learn Irish?” blah blah blah.

    Countires that embrace immigrants such as Australia, USA and Canada usually find the immigrants pretty well settle into the overall ethos of the nation while at the same time adding and enriching the nation.

    The obvious comment of course is the various nations that have welcomed Irish citizens around the world. So open your heart and mind Ireland. Sure maintain your rights for a orderly program but base it on something more than their views on Irish nationalism.

    “And how is Australia handling those 100 million Indonesians to yer north? Lettin’em in mate?”

    We have about 300 million actualy and we seem to be getting on ok. Contrary to the fears of bigots most Indos dont seem that interested in coming here to live.

    I don’t think it’s my role to defend the policies of a reactionary lap dog of a government like the one I have to put up with but in the past I think Australia stand up ok, not perfect but ok. For example, as a % of population Australia has had one of the world’s most succesfull imigration programs. I am prepared to stand corrected on this but I think per capita it has been the largest since WW2 outside of the state of Israel, increasing our population from 6 million in 1945 to over 20 million now.

  • George

    Brian Boru,
    there are 49,000 thousand waiting for a surgical procedure in Northern Ireland and the British government spend 1,000 euros per capita less on health than the Irish Republic so actually they very well could become a “burden” on the Irish health service. Hard to believe when you see our health service but them’s the figures.

    Why do you consider Poles, Lithuanians, Estonians etc. who work here not to be of benefit to this society but instead to be people who are taking your sick bed or crowding your child’s classroom?

    They have as much right to be here as you or I. Maybe it’s the Irish skivers who are taking their well-earned sick beds.

    On controlling immigration, stop growing at 6% a year and creating huge demand for labour.

    The head of SIPTU and Garrett Fitzgerald have both suggested this year that Ireland should consider putting the brakes on economic growth.

  • ch in dallas

    Red Kangaroo,G’day. We seem to have a rapprochment going here between right and left! I whole-heartedly associate myself with your comment that the world has accected the Irish diaspora such as us, and it’s time for Ireland herself to step up to the plate. It it us in the diaspora in multi-cultural countries to help our cousins in their conversion to the new society that is coming. I’m glad that you agree with me that a state has the right to maintain an orderly immigration program. I don’t know if E.U. is now in charge or not. I hope not.

  • Brian Boru

    “The obvious comment of course is the various nations that have welcomed Irish citizens around the world. So open your heart and mind Ireland.”

    I come across this argument a lot in discussions on this topic, but the point is that the US is a hell of a lot bigger in population than Ireland. Also, you need to bear in mind that when most Irish emigrants went to the US in the past – i.e. in the 19th century – there was no social-welfare system. As such, they weren’t a burden on the State. Meanwhile asylum-seekers who come to the South get free accommodation at the taxpayers’ expense, on top of direct-provision vouchers. They are costing us 370 million euros per annum (about £280 million). It is clear that they are not genuine “refugees”. If they are, then where were they in the 1980’s when the Republic was poor? This is economic migration and we have legal mechanisms for economic-migration down here and I would recommend would-be economic-migrants try to get here legally to work instead of coming in illegally to sponge off the State with a cock-and-bull story about persecution in – Romania or Bulgaria 🙂 – countries due to join the EU in 2007.

    I think Australia’s tough asylum-system is something that Western Europe could benefit from learning about. Western social-welfare systems will collapse if getting access to sw-payments can be granted simply by travelling from the developing world to our countries. There is no racism in protecting our social-welfare systems from collapse. Nor protecting our hospitals which are already overcrowded. Too much overcrowding in hospitals leads to the spread of disease especially MRSA. I would not wish MRSA on anyone.

    “Brian Boru,
    there are 49,000 thousand waiting for a surgical procedure in Northern Ireland and the British government spend 1,000 euros per capita less on health than the Irish Republic so actually they very well could become a “burden” on the Irish health service. Hard to believe when you see our health service but them’s the figures.

    Why do you consider Poles, Lithuanians, Estonians etc. who work here not to be of benefit to this society but instead to be people who are taking your sick bed or crowding your child’s classroom?

    They have as much right to be here as you or I. Maybe it’s the Irish skivers who are taking their well-earned sick beds.”

    Hello. Immigrants get sick sometimes and inevitably many will end up in hospital. Fact. Also, regarding “per capita”, in decades from now we will be much richer than we are now at current rates of economic growth, and that won’t be as much of a burden for us. And anyway, you don’t take account of to what extent reunification might be self-financing with taxation going to Dublin instead of London.

    In any case, looking at how the excellent French health-service works, it is clear that universal health-insurance is the way forward. Simply throwing money at hospitals isn’t the way forward. Hospitals treat those on health-insurance quicker because the hospitals are paid by the insurance-company to do so. Unlike public-patients. The obvious conclusion is that the universal health-insurance found in mainland Europe is the way to sort out the problems in the UK and Irish health-services. Maybe that will happen because this is Labour’s health policy down here.

  • ch in dallas

    bb, As a chemist, i agree with you about the MRSA and health care in general. I wish Ireland had sovr. control of her borders. But the bull’s outa the barn already b/c of the E.U. Now, what to do?

  • Brian Boru

    Ch in dallas, I don’t fully agree. As part of the Enlargement in 2005 to 10 Eastern European countries, it was agreed that members of the Old EU-15 could impose immigration controls until 2009, after which they could apply to the EU Commission to extend them until 2011. The Rep.of Ireland, the UK and Sweden were the only countries who chose not to implement such controls.

    Our government should avail of the controls.

  • Gum

    BB, sorry its taken me this long to get back to your question following my last post. Whether increased immigration frustrates efforts at a united Ireland is an issue to be ignored. I would like to see the border go, but combating racism, sectarianism and anti-semitism in our societies is a much bigger problem and if I had my choice this is the issue tha I would resolve.

  • George

    Brian,
    “They are costing us 370 million euros per annum (about £280 million). It is clear that they are not genuine “refugees”. If they are, then where were they in the 1980’s when the Republic was poor? “

    If you don’t believe in human rights that’s your own affair but the Irish state does. If the bill for humanity is 370 million I’m willing to pay it.

    Or should we forget our international obligations. What happened during the breakup of Yugoslavia? 400,000 asylum seekers in Germany alone. Did they throw them out? No.

    Sure there are economic migrants claiming asylum but only because they can’t migrate here. You won’t have a single Bulgarian asylum seeker when they can work from 2007.

    You don’t like asylum seekers yet seem to have as little time for legal immigrants.

    Why shouldn’t a Pole who works here and pays his/her taxes not be entitled to a bed if he/she gets sick? Do you believe Irish people should get priority?

    It’s Poles who are building our hospitals and schools but they shouldn’t be treated as our equal. The only reason we will be as rich as you think in the future will be because of the help of migrants.

    By the way, if you want a European health service, pay the 300 euros a month I had to pay when in Germany. Something tells me Labour won’t be advocating that. They won’t be advocating the 150 euros a month refuse and water charges either.

    “Western social-welfare systems will collapse if getting access to sw-payments can be granted simply by travelling from the developing world to our countries.”

    There is already legislation in place throughout Europe to stop “dole travellers”.

    Something tells me you’re an Irish person who has never worked illegally in a country in their lives never mind trying to claim welfare. Jaysus man get out there and live.

  • Dave

    FAO Gum.

    I do know about Godwin’s Law:

    DO you believe everything you read?

    I thought Finlay was talking about the nazis, as it turned out he was.

    Goodness me seem I have lost the argument again.

    That would mean that members of the Republican movement and the irish government would have lost their argument when they made the same reference about SF/IRA.

    Making a comment which equates SF/IRA akin to the nazi party is not losing the argument, just stateing the obvious.

    There I go again losing the argument, good God will I never learn?

    Nice try Gum but the old trick of quoteing Godwins rules won’t work.

    auf Wiedersehen.

  • ch in dallas

    George, You ask BB if he has ever really lived and worked illegally in a country and claimed welfare. I must be misunderstanding. Certainly you’re not advocating that. That’s called breaking the law. While I have sympathy for the migrant, we have millions here, it is unfair to those who try to take the legal path. But like I say, I must be misunderstanding. Ten hrs at work and counting.

  • Brian Boru

    “There is already legislation in place throughout Europe to stop “dole travellers”

    The Irish legislation is now the subject of EU Commission threats of infringement proceedings. We brought in a rule down here that immigrants from other EU countries could not claim social-welfare until they have lived here 2 years. We did this to avoid encouraging benefits-tourism. So it looks like our rules will be gone soon enough.

    Experience in the rest of the EU indicates that allowing mass-migration encourages rather than discourages racism. Examples include the rise of the Far Right in France, Italy, Austria, Denmark, Holland, and Belgium. 70% of Germans now say they don’t want any more immigrants.

    Today on RTE there has been a news story which typifies the damage a country can cause itself if it allows too many immigrants in. Irish Ferries has decided to replace around 500 Irish workers with cheap-labour recruited from Eastern Europe. They have already done this on “The Normandy” and are planning that all remaining Irish workers are this displacement will be employed on one ship. It is obvious what they are up to. The unions say this is the tip of the iceberg and is widespread in the construction-industry. Nothing is more likely to foment racial-tensions down here than the displacement of Irish workers in favour of foreigners simply because people from Eastern Europe are prepared to work for pathetic wages.

    Gum, unlike you, I put a UI first. I want a UI and am determined that we will not pursue, as a matter of policy, something that hands the decision on the result of a Southern UI poll to foreigners. We fought 700 years to escape from foreigners telling us what to do. The last thing we want know is to return to that kind of situation.

    European countries have a long history of borders changing based on an ethnic-group wanting its own state. I for one am determined that having lost the 6 counties, we will not lose any more territory from our sovereign control. This may not be a politically-correct position, but with 80% of Southern Irish people in polls stating that they are unhappy with the numbers of immigrants coming in, I am confident my view is the majority.

    Our southern politicians need to start listening to the Irish people’s views on this issue instead of pandering to the members of the Inquisition of Political Correctness, like O’Toole, Browne and so on.

  • ch in dallas

    bb, Question. In your opinion,why have so many European societies been unable to assimilate Muslim populations? France, Holland, and Belgium have millions, yet they are ghettoized. The 9-11 gang were from Munich. What happens in Ireland when the call to prayer sounds over Portadown and Shannon? Please everyone, this isn’t racist. It’s about the theo Van Goah’s (sp) and 7-7.

  • ch in dallas

    bb, On reflection, feel free to ignore this question, since you’ll be savaged however you answer.

  • Brian Boru

    “Making a comment which equates SF/IRA akin to the nazi party is not losing the argument, just stateing the obvious.”

    Dave, while of course I have to condemn the sectarian murders of the PIRA, surely comparing them with the Nazis is a bit strong. The Nazis killed millions of people. Keep a sense of perspective.

    “bb, Question. In your opinion,why have so many European societies been unable to assimilate Muslim populations? France, Holland, and Belgium have millions, yet they are ghettoized. The 9-11 gang were from Munich. What happens in Ireland when the call to prayer sounds over Portadown and Shannon? Please everyone, this isn’t racist. It’s about the theo Van Goah’s (sp) and 7-7.”

    Because most Islamic countries are theocratic and even where elections have started being held – and even in some of the so-called “secular” Islamic countries – elements of theocracy still pertain e.g. death penalty for homosexuals, women banned from driving cars, women denied the vote. Recent election results in Saudi Arabia seem to confirm grass-roots support for fundamentalism in the Arab world and much of the Muslim world. These are the ideas many Middle Eastern Muslims bring to the West. They actively resist assimilation as seen in the UK and other Western countries where a ghettoisation exists and is continued through later generations. Many want to create Islamic states in the West, modelled on the Sharia-law systems found in the Middle Eastern Islamic states. I think we should call a spade a spade and be willing to say it as it is. Political correctness is rife in the political and journalistic cultures in Southern Ireland. Most people are worried about this issue but open your mouth, and the media call you a racist. At least the UK media debate these issues without automatically calling you a racist if you want tighter controls.

    It is necessary in a democratic society to allow people to air their views on issues like this.

  • ch in dallas

    BB, I thank you for your frank and concise answer on the Middle Eastern issue. I tend to agree that the ghettoization problem lies on both sides of the fence. Here in America, it’s not as much of a problem. My good friend is a Muslim and I have seen it first hand. I have visited the mosque, but he won’t come to Mass to see my form of worship. I can eat at his restarants, but not likewise, (meat not halal & may be pork about). He’s starting to get the multi-cultural thing though. I said here in America everyone gets on because we respect each others religion, even if we don’t believe it. It’s the returned mutual respect he has trouble with. Very interesting aside. An imam in the states has said that his people need to learn the lessons of the Irish Catholics on how to assimilate here!!