Ahern: no speaking rights for Northerners…

According to the Irish Independent today, Sinn Fein will not be getting speaking rights for Northern Irish public representatives in the Dail that they’ve been pressing for – well not from Bertie at least!

  • smcgiff

    ‘well not from Bertie at least!’

    And if they don’t get it from Bertie, then they have two chances of getting it from FG/Labour.

  • J Kelly

    never say never. After the next general election Bertie might just need Sinn Fein for support and speaking rights will be a small price for Bertie

  • DaithiO

    If it was up to the Irish Independent Irish elected representatives would only be able to speak in Westminster !

  • missfitz

    Speaking of speaking, did anyone hear Margaret Ritchie on 7 Days, Radio Ulster yesterday? I found her performance truly amazing…… she sounded almost hysterical

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´never say never. After the next general election Bertie might just need Sinn Fein for support and speaking rights will be a small price for Bertie´´

    Exactly. A politican´s understanding of the word never is not the same as other people´s. Didn´t the big German parties, SPD and CDU say they wouldn´t negotiate a ´Grand Coalition´ before the elections? Guess what they´re doing now?

  • smcgiff

    ´Grand Coalition´ – Bit like NI then, eh?

  • Tom Griffin

    Funny how the SDLP never gets a mention when this story comes up.

  • J Kelly

    The SDLP are a northern ireland party with very little interest in matters all ireland. They already speaking rights in their chosen parliament.

  • cladycowboy

    Is it a case of bottom-up,inverted racism, what with the northern master race being denied speaking rights? 😉
    It will happen eventually.

  • Brian Boru

    Bertie said on RTE Radio 1 yesterday that while he wasn’t going to bring in speaking-rights in the Dail, he might explore rights of Northern MPs to participate in Dail Committees. Would that be ok or would Unionists feel threatened? Would it impede restoration of the executive?

  • Jeremy

    if SF were allowed to be present on Oireachtas committees would that fall inside or outside Bertie’s definition of Dail speaking rights.

  • Keith M

    This isn’t ever going to happen.People in this country won’t stand for it. If people from Northern Ireland want to speak in the Dáil they need the mandate of people in this country, not in part of the U.K. People like Austin Currie have done it, so why can’t others?

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Keith M

    What exactly is YOUR mandate to speak for the people of the Republic?

    You and I both know that very few Irish people instinctively see the six northeastern counties of Ireland as “part of the UK” – although it is of course universally accepted that that is the present constitutional set up.

    On the contrary, I could swear I read somewhere about it being the “firm will” of the Irish people that those six counties return to the national fold as soon as that great and noble ideal can peacefully and democratically be achieved.

    So we know that this “firm will” exists, expressed by this political generation just seven years ago by a majority of, I think it was 96%, wasn’t it?

    What we’re talking about is the right of the representatives of Irish citizens from the north to be heard in the national parliament. Not to vote, not to participate in the full legislative process, but just to be heard. How would that be incompatible with “firm will” expressed by the Irish people?

    No doubt you will advance that old canard of sovereignty. Well, I repeat that no-one is talking about voting rights, so legislation will still be the exclusive preserve of 26-county representatives.

    And anyway: how can Irish people infringe the sovereignty of an Irish republic?

    There is also a clear precedent. When the defence forces of the Republic were mandated by Dail Eireann to fight the war of independence, one of the leaders of the government and head of the armed forces was the MP for Armagh. Later the same man, still MP for Armagh, negotiated the Anglo-Irish Treaty. Then the MP for Armagh led the Republic’s defence forces in the civil war. Today Fine Gael consider him to be the spiritual founder of their party.

    Do you know who he is yet? He’s very famous. By your reckoning, after 1921 he became a foreigner and was not entitled to play any further role in southern politics.

    “People like Austin Currie have done it, so why can’t others?”

    Er, is that a serious question or just your little joke? I’ll give you a clue: it’s not about the careers of individuals.

  • DaithiO

    Tom Griffin – “Funny how the SDLP never gets a mention when this story comes up.”

    I thought it went without saying that *in the event* the speaking rights would be extended to all MP’s in the 6 counties.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Keith is correct on this one; strictly speaking, there is no democratic justification for unelected politicians to have speaking rights in the Dail. I don’t think it’s anything to do with the border; would nationalists living in Ireland really want Ian Paisley or his contemporaries to be able to intervene in the running of their country from outside ?

  • Keith M

    Billy P, any poll I’ve seen in this country has rejected the idea of NI MPs speaking in the Dáil. Every political party (bar one) which stands in this country rejects the idea. If it was a popular idea, do you not think that others would support it?

    You seen to have a bizarre idea of what the the Dáil is there for. It is to enact legislation, based on the mandate of the people of this country. It is NOT a talking shop.

    If Irish citizens want to be represented in the Dail, they have the freedom to live and vote in this country. If they wish to live in the US, UK etc, then they have voting rights there. Whatever happened to the cherished “one man one vote”?

    The first legitimate Dail only came into operation in 1922. Quoting the actions of a group of insurgents as a precedent for an internationally recognised sovreign state is a nonsense.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Keith M

    You need to be more careful in your nomenclature.

    You say “there is no democratic justification for unelected politicians to have speaking rights in the Dail.”

    Quite right. But these ARE elected politicians, every single one of them. Elected by people in constituencies like Newry and Armagh, West Tyrone and South Belfast. They aren’t elected in the Republic, I grant you – which is why I would not argue that they should have any decision-making role in a parliament which, for better or worse, only has jurisdiction over the southern three quarters of the country.

    But it is also a national parliament, set up as such in 1919 with representatives from (as indicated) Armagh, Down, Derry, Anrim, Fermanagh and Tyrone. Irish citizens in these areas still elect representatives. Why should their voices be barred from the national parliament, which their forbears helped to found?

    “I don’t think it’s anything to do with the border.”

    This is either the most naive or the most disingenuous comment I’ve come across in a long time.

    “would nationalists living in Ireland really want Ian Paisley or his contemporaries to be able to intervene in the running of their country from outside?”

    Oh, where to start?

    “Would nationalists living in IRELAND…”

    Ireland? Which Ireland are you referring to, exactly? I’m from Armagh, living in Belfast. I’m a nationalist living in Ireland, am I not? Or am I living in Timbukfuckingtu?

    But I digress.

    “…would nationalists living in Ireland really want Ian Paisley or his contemporaries to be able to intervene in the running of their country from outside?”

    First off, you should check “contemporaries” in the dictionary. The Republic IS run by Ian Paisley’s contemporaries. Always has been, at least since he was born.

    But I’m digressing again. If Ian Paisley or some future Paisleyite figure shocked us all and took his seat in Dail Eireann ahead of a united Ireland, he would in no sense be “intervening in the running of their country from the outside”.

    First off, Antrim is only “the outside” to partitionists. That’s what partitionism is. Secondly, Ian Paisley would no more be “intervening” than Mark Durkan or Alasdair McDonnell would be. Thirdly, the Republic of Ireland is not a “country”. It is a state. It is recognised as such in its own constitution, as is its essential unwholeness. (Hence it is the “firm will” of the people that the northeastern corner of the country be united with the rest, so we can have a proper nation-state on this island.)

    Ireland is a country – and, headache though it is, people like Ian Paisley and places like Bally-bloody-mena are as much part of that country as Mary Robinson and Ballykissangel.

    I know it’s not easy but there it is.

  • Keith M

    Billy P, I think you are confusing my comments with those of Comrade Stalin. I shall therefore let him argue with the points you have raised.

    Just one thing that would aid a better level of debate. In a political discussion the word “country” is at best ambiguous. “Ireland” is an island on which there are two political juristictions. Therefore by some definitions Ireland is a country and by others it is not.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Oops. Incidentally, my previous post should have been addressed to Comrade Stalin, not Keith M.

    But this one IS for Keith M

    I have put forward the argument that the extension of northern speaking rights in Dail Eireann would be consistent with the “firm will” of the Irish people expressed in the constitution. Do you disagree with that opinion? Do you think it would be inconsistent? Surely the constitution is of greater standing than any poll? Or indeed every poll ever taken?

    “Every political party (bar one) which stands in this country rejects the idea. If it was a popular idea, do you not think that others would support it?”

    Actually that’s incorrect. Both Sinn Fein and the SDLP are in favour, so that’s two. But I take your slightly erroneous point that all the rest are fairly nebulously opposed and generally wary of the idea. You play possum, suggesting that this wariness is based only in a perceived lack of political advantage, as if their wariness is purely passive.

    OF COURSE the established parties in Dail Eireann are wary of change. Established anythings are always, as a rule, wary of change. Is this reason enough that change should not occur? Who are we talking about here? FF, FG, Labour, PDs, Greens. All have been in government in the last decade and the one before that. All being well, as will be in government again in the next decade. All have good reason to resist any upheaval within their closed shop. Fair enough, understandable. But that ain’t no moral imperative. At some future point, probably within the next decade, Fianna Fail and Sinn Fein will enter government together, at which point it will happen. My point is this: there is no moral or legal reason why it should not happen now. You might argue that a majority are opposed, and you may even be right, but I would still make the argument that there is no moral or legal justification why they should be opposed. There is only partitionism. I understand partitionism, and precisely because I understand it, I have zero sympathy for it.

    “You seen to have a bizarre idea of what the the Dáil is there for. It is to enact legislation, based on the mandate of the people of this country. It is NOT a talking shop.”

    Ah, this old canard. Of course it’s there to enact legislation, and of course northern representatives should not have voting rights this side of political reunification. But on the other hand, it IS a “talking shop”. All parliaments are talking shops, staffed by some of the greatest salesmen and bullshit artists in the jurisdiction. You say it’s simply there to enact legislation, as though that legislation just arrives magically and TDs shovel it out mechanically. That’s an incredibly mendacious and reductive portrayal of what a parliament is.
    Any parliament is all about talking, debating, deliberating, horse trading and everything else. It’s about creating policy. It’s about thrashing out the issues that affect us all. It is also about theatre. It is very palpably the national stage, on which the great national issues are played out. It’s the arena to which the citizens send their best and brightest to steer the country. (Well, that’s the theory.)

    So although northerners can have no right to vote in Dail Eireann until reunification, that doesn’t mean they can’t still play a valuable role in the national parliament.

    “based on the mandate of the people of this country (sic)”

    It goes without saying that all northern representatives would have as democratic a mandate as as a TD from Kerry North or Galway East or any other part of the country.

    “The first legitimate Dail only came into operation in 1922. Quoting the actions of a group of insurgents as a precedent for an internationally recognised sovereign state is a nonsense.”

    That “nonsense” is the official history of the Irish state, as you well know. The first Dail recognised by the present Dail Eireann was elected in December 1918, as you well know. Sinn Fein and the IRA have frequently, and quite rightly been castigated for their refusal in the past to recognise the legitimacy of Dail Eireann. (Their support is still unsatisfactorily forthcoming.) Yet you do not recognise the legitimacy of the first Dail?

    So basically, you will go so far as to dismiss the legitimacy of the state when it suits your political rhetoric to do so? You’re no better than the provos.

  • Tom Griffin

    I thought it went without saying that *in the event* the speaking rights would be extended to all MP’s in the 6 counties.

    True, but it seems to me that a lot of people ignore the fact that Dail speaking rights are SDLP policy as well as SF policy, the better to be able to reject the idea out of hand.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Keith M

    “Just one thing that would aid a better level of debate. In a political discussion the word “country” is at best ambiguous. “Ireland” is an island on which there are two political juristictions. Therefore by some definitions Ireland is a country and by others it is not.”

    Agreed 100 per cent. And it’s not often either of us say that to each other!

    Where there is ambiguity, debate is the best possible means of filling the gaps. You and I have our own ideas of where Ireland the state and Ireland the country overlap. Fair enough. I look forward to many more jousts with you.

  • beano

    Sorry BP but “Actually that’s incorrect. Both Sinn Fein and the SDLP are in favour, so that’s two.” ignores that we were talking about parties who stand in the Republic. The original assertion that only one party supports it would thus seem valid.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Not so Beano. Keith M said: “Every political party (bar one) which stands in this country rejects the idea.”

    The SDLP stand for election in this country, as do parties like FF, FG, Labour, SF, DUP, UUP and so on. Different jurisdiction, I grant you, but most definitely the same country.

    (I guess we all know where we each stand on this issue. I’m in favour of moving on. It’s fairly arid ground.)

  • southern observer

    ‘People in this country won’t stand for it.’

    Speak for yourself,Keith.

  • martin

    IRELAND ON SUNDAY SEPTEMBER 18 2005 BY RONALD QUINLAN.

    Bertie and ex-girlfriend refuse to say if they were given cut price jewellery to promote Chinese store.

    BERTIE AHERN and CELIA LARKIN were last night at the center of a potentially damaging mystery over cut-price Chinese pearls.

    During an official state visit to Beijing the taoiseach and his former lover posed for a photograph in an up market store that is known to sell pearls and other jewellery to VIPS at heavilly discounted prices.

    These shopping expeditions are normally arranged by foreign diplomats.Visiting dignitaries pose for publicity photos–used around the store and in advertising brochures—and in return receive handsome discounts. Cherie Blair wife of the British PM,is at the center of a growing storm—inevitably called Pearlgate–after a number of Chinese Jewellers claimed that they had given her discounts of up to 90% on expensive pearls she picked up on official visits.

    But last night neither the Taoiseach nor MS Larkin would explain the circumstances in which they were photographed with the owner of the ‘Fanghua pearls and jewellery shop’nor would Larkin reveal where she acquired several expensive-looking pearl necklaces that she has worn regularly in recent years or how much she paid for them.

    All Celia Larkin–recently appointed by Mr Ahern to a prestigious position on the National Consumer Agency–would say was=”LIKE ANY ANYBODY, I HAVE JEWELLERY”

    Last night the Taoiseach and his ex-mistress were accused by an independent TD of allowing themselves to be used in a cheap and sleazy way.
    Issues like this seriously damage and take away from the image of politics=said Dublin north central deputy Finnian mc Grath.

    ” It shows a complete lack of respect for public office and only feeds into the negativity and cynicism towards politicians from the general public.

    Officials at the Department of the Taoiseach were were unable to make any comment on whether Mr Ahern or MS Larkin had declared the purchase of a neckace or neckaces to customs officials on their return to Ireland.

    According to the Revenue Commissioners, any imported item worth in excess of 175 euro must be declared to customs and excise upon arrival,where it becomes subject to VAT at the standard rate of 21%.

    With prices for single strand freshwater pearl necklaces at ‘Fanghua Pearls and jewellery’ starting at 6,000 yuan=607 euro,
    the purchase of such an item would be liable for VAT of 121.40 euro upon returning to Ireland.

  • D’Oracle

    For the first time ever, I have to agree with Keith M here -the Dail is there to enact legislation and is not (at least, supposed to be )a talking shop.

    I share Billy P’s. concern to find some suitable speaking mechanism but whatever about that, as long as the entire take of NI taxes is not paid into the Irish national exchequer, NI politicians of whatever hue can have no role in deciding the Republics laws or how funds are spent.This Dail speaking idea for Northern politicians thats about is, without any doubt whatsoever, a 100% non-runner

    The sooner energies – passions even- are re-focused on finding some other more suitable way to address the case for an islandwide speaking forum for politicians the better.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Ireland? Which Ireland are you referring to, exactly? I’m from Armagh, living in Belfast. I’m a nationalist living in Ireland, am I not? Or am I living in Timbukfuckingtu?

    Wind your neck in; there’s no need for profanity. The Constitution says that the name of the state, in English, is Ireland. Since I’m an Irish person myself, I have no business trying to deny the same from anyone else.

    First off, Antrim is only “the outside” to partitionists. That’s what partitionism is.

    Partition, a concept legitimized throughout the island of Ireland by the Good Friday Agreement, is the reality of two sets of laws, two tax systems, two administrations, speed limits, currency, constitutions. You may not like it but to deny it is absurd. I am not a unionist, I don’t mind whether the union stays or goes, but I don’t see the logic in denying the existence that the republicans spent years trying to end through armed struggle. I lived in Dublin for a while and while I won’t try to pretend that my experience was representative, I saw no evidence that anyone there thinks partition is a figment of someone’s imagination.

    Antrim is “outside” the state which is governed from Dublin, whose name I won’t mention in case it offends your sense of parity of esteem.

    Extending speaking rights to people outside of a state – whether we say “state” or “country” has feck all difference – buggers up democracy and shouldn’t be done.

  • Brian Boru

    I think that while it is probably true that they shouldn’t be given voting rights down here, I think that observer-status on committees, involving the right to question those being questioned by the Committee shouldn’t be seen as “intervention” from outside. While I recognise the North is part of the UK while a majority there want it, I find it extremely hard to consider NI as some “foreign” land like France or Germany. Yes, it is jurisdictionally separate and part of a separate state, but I regard those in NI who consider themselves Irish to be part of the same national identity as me, and as such I think that letting Northern representatives have some non-voting committee role would be ok.

    The original Government of Ireland Act 1920 provided for representatives of North and South to speak (but not vote) in each other’s parliament anyway.

  • foreign correspondent

    ´´Extending speaking rights to people outside of a state – whether we say “state” or “country” has feck all difference – buggers up democracy and shouldn’t be done.´´

    Rubbish. It won´t bugger up democracy, it is a perfectly sound idea in this case and it should be done. There is also a hell of a difference between state and country. The Irish Times usually has the good sense to distinguish in its articles between the State of the Republic of Ireland and the country of Ireland for example. Anyway I stll think Ahern is just posturing with the usual empty politician´s platitudes. If he really thinks Northern politicians don´t deserve speaking rights in the Dail then Fianna Fail need a new slogan: The Real Partitionist Party for example.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    We should in my view be flattered by the interest taken by northern provisionals in our legislature. In the spirit of closer involvement I propose we experiment with allowing Mr. Adams and his colleagues the opportuinity to participate by obeying its laws.

  • spartacus

    Jimmy:

    Why should Adams or anyone else be held to a higher set of standards than those currently holding office in the South?

  • Jimmy_Sands

    I take your point, and I would urge the PDs paramilitary wing to disband also.

    When in doubt, whatabout.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    I take your point, and I would urge the PDs paramilitary wing to disband also.

    When in doubt, whatabout.

  • barnshee

    “I’m a nationalist living in Ireland, am I not? Or am I living in Timbukfuckingtu”

    Well er yes you are from the N/Irish equivalent.

    PS Would love to have the ROI grant speaking rights to NI Politicans- at least the would fuck off to the ROI hopefully regularly (and if they chose to take Armagh with them even better)

  • D Exile

    Isn’t it the case that SF are making such a clamour to get their northern MPs in to speak in the Dail because their representatives elected in the south are so poor in comparison? Aengus O Snodaigh is inarticulate in at least two languages and O Caoilean comes across like a smug schoolmaster. The only one of them who impresses at all is Arthur Morgan and he has the sense to keep his mouth shut most of the time.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Billy P,

    “Ireland is a country – and, headache though it is, people like Ian Paisley and places like Bally-bloody-mena are as much part of that country as Mary Robinson and Ballykissangel.”

    Is Ballykissangel not a fictional village? Avoca?

    On a more serious note, there are many of your ‘country’men who consider that the British Isles should be the ‘country’ that we all live in. I don’t consider partition of the island of Ireland any less natural than the partition of the British Isles?

    Therefore, as you advocate giving speaking rights to those who YOU consider to be your countrymen should this not be extended to those I consider to be my countrymen ie those living in GB as well as NI?

    Should speaking rights be granted to elected representatives of the RoI in Westminster?

  • Jocky

    On a more practical level.

    Who would fund their trips to the Dail? As they would be providing a valuable service to the people of the Republic would they be reimbursed by the Irish taxpayer for expenses incurred? Or would they do it out their own (UK lined) pockets?

    Would this be a democratice surplus? representation where you dont have any constiuents? Would it make up for the democratic deficit?

  • cladycowboy

    ‘I don’t consider partition of the island of Ireland any less natural than the partition of the British Isles?’

    Teutonics and man-made borders as one

  • darthrumsfeld

    “Antrim is only “the outside” to partitionists. “

    Whoop de doop!!!!-“partitionists” are now the EU, the UN, the entire international community. Unionism stands shoulder to shoulder with international law while little irelanders gurn …

    “I share Billy P’s. concern to find some suitable speaking mechanism “….

    Why not plonk ’em on Rockall to bore the arses of the saeagulls/reassert the firm will of the Irish people that they own it too?

    I don’t care how many privileges you give bolshie northern politicos to use the bar at Leinster House or drone on in the farcical second chamber, pretending they’re part of the political process in Dublin ‘cos it will only be a substitute for the unattainable full membership of the Dail.

    Forgive the crudity of the metaphor, but it’s like comparing masturbation with sex-perhaps an apt comparison given the identity of some of the would be participants.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Cowboy,

    “Teutonics and man-made borders as one”

    I take it you mean tectonics otherwise I don’t see the German connection.

    If I understand your point are you saying that countries such as Japan, New Zealand, Indonesia, etc, etc shouldn’t be countries as they’re also spread across islands?

  • cladycowboy

    Claen

    Despite the apparent lack of proximity between ‘u’ and ‘c’ keys, i assure you it was a typo 😉
    My point is merely that Ireland and Great Britain are not one landmass due to the entirely natural workings of tectonics. The partition of Ireland required no such great force but merely the will of Govt on the neighbouring seperate island.
    Whether an island of Japan wants to be seperate from the whole is up to them in my eyes. Only vested interests of the other islands would stand in its way,not as natural as tectonics.
    Why don’t we ask the people of Ireland if they’d like the whole island seperate politically from its neighbour?
    Equally, should the islands of Cuba,Jamaica,Montserrat not be one big UK of the Carribean with your reasoning?
    Lets just ask the people,seems natural to me…

  • smcgiff

    Clady,

    ‘Despite the apparent lack of proximity between ‘u’ and ‘c’ keys, i assure you it was a typo ;)’

    A more obvious Freudian slip you’ll rarely find. Sure, we know they’re an autobahn across the English Channel away from being German. Who put the Anglo into Anglo-Saxon. Actually, come to think of it, where did the Saxons come from!

    😉

  • Betty Boo

    North of today’s Germany bordering Denmark.
    You find more information in Atlas of World History. If you find a way to get through all the stuff, can you please drop me the link.
    But as a Saxon myself I’m quite sure that’s where we are coming from.
    I hope I’m not in for a big embarrassment.

  • Betty Boo
  • Congal Claen

    Hi Cowboy,

    “Equally, should the islands of Cuba,Jamaica,Montserrat not be one big UK of the Carribean with your reasoning?”

    I agree with your point entirely. Conversely then, when we look at other landmasses should they be one political entity? For example, should the US and Canada be one, Haiti and the Dominican Republic, East Timor and the rest of Indonesia. Looking closer to home should Scotland, England and Wales always be one?

    For me, it entirely depends on the people living there. Politics is a manmade contruct. Islands, etc aren’t. Political entities should suit the people they are supposed to represent. Arguments for a UI need to based on something other than geography…

  • cladycowboy

    Hi Congal

    ‘Looking closer to home should Scotland, England and Wales always be one?’

    I’d suggest that its up to the people of those countries via referendum to vote whether to remain in the Union. If 75% of Wales decides to depart the Union, then that will should be endorsed in full regardless if the majority in northeastern Wales want to remain in the union. That is my take on democracy.

    ‘For me, it entirely depends on the people living there. Politics is a manmade contruct. Islands, etc aren’t. Political entities should suit the people they are supposed to represent’

    It is indeed a complicated business. It gets even more blurred when it comes to self-determination. Who receives and who grants it and on what grounds and who is denied it? My personal identity is not represented by a NI political entity. Could the self-determination granted to the hitherto non-existant NI state in 1921 not be extended to the county of Tyrone today, or even my house? 😉
    Fundamentally, i just want the people of NI who purport to be Irish to take pride in that identity and not support a political viewpoint that divides the Irish people in many guises. What other nationality votes to divide its landmass?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Cowboy,

    “If 75% of Wales decides to depart the Union, then that will should be endorsed in full regardless if the majority in northeastern Wales want to remain in the union”

    I don’t see why. If they were mixed throughout Wales, I’d say you’d have a point. But not in the case you highlight. Furthermore, what if 75% of the British Isles voted for a United British Isles. Why should that not happen even if 3/4s of 10% of the British Isles ie Irish Nationalists voted against it.

    I’ll agree tho’ it’s a complicated old business. Personally, I think borders should be drawn to please the most possible people, within reason of course. Therefore, if your house was close to the border and redrawing it to include you in the RoI did not upset anyone I’d support you in your request.

  • barnshee

    “Therefore, if your house was close to the border and redrawing it to include you in the RoI did not upset anyone I’d support you in your request.”

    Even if his house is not near the border, I am happy to redrawing it to suit him

  • cladycowboy

    Congal

    ‘I don’t see why. If they were mixed throughout Wales, I’d say you’d have a point. But not in the case you highlight.’

    So its to do with concentration of resistance? Maybe Conservative areas of Britain could grant themselves partial self-determination whilst Labour are in power.

    ‘Furthermore, what if 75% of the British Isles voted for a United British Isles. Why should that not happen even if 3/4s of 10% of the British Isles ie Irish Nationalists voted against it.’

    75% voting for that is a big what if. Surely that scenario is little short of imperialism. Its like Russia deciding to vote for Latvia to come back into a greater Slavic union without a majority of Latvians voting for it. The sovereignty lies in the ability to opt-out as in EU harmonisation. Obviously its easier to define the will of the people if it has a clear figurehead,maybe like the Irish parliament of 1918 for instance. My point is that the will was not implemented and a section of the people represented in that parliament were in effect given the option of ‘Conservative’ self-determination after a ‘Labour’ victory.
    However, that misdemeanour is all in the past, its creation,NI has the ability to stay put or opt out. Its in legislation and so if the day comes where 50.0000000000001% of NI votes out of union then that will should be implemented.

    barnshee

    ‘Even if his house is not near the border, I am happy to redrawing it to suit him’

    Oh spring of sovereignty, i thank you. I’m used to having subjects of our fair majesty drawing borders all around me and gladly accept your proposal. I currently reside in Hammersmith W6 at moment though, is it still possible? We could work on same basis that NI was created, a little Irish republic in London(not derry) 😉

  • slug

    “Its in legislation and so if the day comes where 50.0000000000001% of NI votes out of union then that will should be implemented.”

    Supposing the NI electorate to be about 1,000,000 such a narrow margin would be impossible.

  • cladycowboy

    ‘Supposing the NI electorate to be about 1,000,000 such a narrow margin would be impossible’

    It all depends if barnshee re-draws the border properly. He may leave part of our house still in NI and i’m only granted 0.000000001 of a vote! 😉

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Comrade Stalin

    “Wind your neck in; there’s no need for profanity. The Constitution says that the name of the state, in English, is Ireland. Since I’m an Irish person myself, I have no business trying to deny the same from anyone else.”

    Apologies for the profanity. I’m sure you can understand how a patriotic Irishman might get annoyed at the implication that his home isn’t really in Ireland and that accordingly, he’s not really Irish? (Or at least less so than some others. I mean, that’s the implication of the Republic being “Ireland”, isn’t it?) Regardless though, there’s no excuse for bad manners and I apologise for losing my temper.

    “Partition, a concept legitimized throughout the island of Ireland by the Good Friday Agreement, is the reality of two sets of laws, two tax systems, two administrations, speed limits, currency, constitutions. You may not like it but to deny it is absurd.”

    I don’t deny the current legal and political reality. Partition is a fact of our political life on this island. It might even be the central political fact of life here. What I do believe, however, is that Ireland is one country, no matter how many states there are within it. I think it is incumbent on us all to resist any drift into a psychological acceptance of separateness. The border is a political and legal reality but that does not mean it needs to be a psychological or emotional one. I’m anxious that psychological and emotional partition should be resisted with all urgency.

    I’m committed to the principle of bringing about one set of laws, one tax system, one administration, one currency, one constitution and so on, but only by peaceful and democratic means. I think that argument alone should be used to bring this about, though I think it’s fair enough to argue relentlessly and ferociously. The GFA confirmed the reality of the border but also recognised the legitimacy of this advocacy of change. It did not require me to view my neighbours in Monaghan as foreigners. It did not require me to accept that “Ireland” is no longer my country, that it belongs to someone else. It does not negate my Irish nationality. On the contrary, it guarantees all of the above. I refuse to act as though the border makes Cavanmen foreigners to me, and makes me a foreigner to them. I refuse to linguistically acquiesce to that malign scenario by talking about “Ireland” as being somewhere else, or the Republic being a “country”, rather than part of one. I absolutely refuse to give the border any significance whatsoever beyond the bare minimum that the laws of both jurisdictions require. I will take issue with anyone who does so. I am not prepared to see my rightful place in the Irish nation questioned by a thousand careless remarks about “country” this and “Ireland” that. Forgive me if I feel strongly about it.

    “Antrim is “outside” the state which is governed from Dublin, whose name I won’t mention in case it offends your sense of parity of esteem.”
    Of course Antrim is not presently within the same state as Dublin. It is however, in the same country. That was my point.

    “Extending speaking rights to people outside of a state buggers up democracy and shouldn’t be done.”
    In what way does it “bugger up democracy”? Seriously, that’s a very serious charge. If I thought it would corrupt or corrode democracy in the Republic I would strongly oppose it. You can’t just make a statement like that and not back it up. Please, continue.

    Congal Claen

    “On a more serious note, there are many of your ‘country’men who consider that the British Isles should be the ‘country’ that we all live in. I don’t consider partition of the island of Ireland any less natural than the partition of the British Isles? Therefore, as you advocate giving speaking rights to those who YOU consider to be your countrymen should this not be extended to those I consider to be my countrymen ie those living in GB as well as NI? Should speaking rights be granted to elected representatives of the RoI in Westminster?”

    Well, I suppose that is the nub of our dispute here, isn’t it CC? You’re pro-Union, I’m pro unity, so of course that’s what we think, right? Well, I’m not going to accept the principle that one aspiration is as valid as another, because frankly I don’t believe that.
    Do I think the people of Ireland should send representatives to Westminster (or indeed the corollary, that the people of Britain should send representatives to Dail Eireann)? No. Neither do the people of Britain. The people of the Republic of Ireland don’t either. Nationalists in the north don’t. Jesus, even Ulster unionists don’t think that should happen, and they’re the only ones who sometimes pretend it’s a good idea. We’re talking about c.800,000 people out of 65 million on these islands who think it’s a goer.
    Right. Against that we’ve got the principle of an all-Ireland parliament. How many people on these islands do you think would consider that a sensible proposition? More than 800,000? More than 28 million? Maybe more than 28 million? 48 million? Maybe more?
    So sorry to dismiss your tit-for-tat gambit, but we’re clearly not comparing like with like, except on the most reductive and theoretical level. Which is nowhere really.
    You say: “I don’t consider partition of the island of Ireland any less natural than the partition of the British Isles?”
    Well, whatever way you regard it, your point is clearly a non-starter. Dividing lines don’t come any more natural than the sea, and we’ve got one of those between us and Britain. That need not be the end of the argument, and indeed it isn’t, but it’s clearly preposterous to suggest that a meandering squiggle running down the middle of Pettigo and making the post office and the grocers shop foreigners to each other is just as natural a boundary as the Irish Sea.
    Agreed, the Irish Sea doesn’t definitively prove that Ireland and Britain should not share a single political entity. Sadly for the unionist case though, everything else does.
    And as for this craic about other island countries: frankly that’s a mendacious distraction. We’re not talking about Japan or Hispaniola. We’re talking about Ireland.

    Barnshee
    “Well er yes you are from the N/Irish equivalent. PS Would love to have the ROI grant speaking rights to NI Politicans- at least the would fuck off to the ROI hopefully regularly (and if they chose to take Armagh with them even better)”
    Touche.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jimmy Sands

    “We should in my view be flattered by the interest taken by northern provisionals in our legislature.”

    Ah ye see, it’s our legislature too. I can just about remember my grandfather, God rest him, telling the story of the day in 1918 he helped Collins, who was out canvassing in Armagh. He would have been a teenager at the time. Helped the Big Fella get elected to what became the first Dail. Horse of a man, apparently. Never stopped even for a cup of tea. Had one of those little moustaches that became satorially impossible after Hitler ruined it for everyone.

    Now, my granfather was a great story-teller, so it’s possible he may have imagined meeting Collins. My grandmother, no mean yarn-spinner herself, used to jeer that he “was always a fireside ranger”.

    Either way, the story demonstrates the point that Dail Eireann is our parliament too. We’ve just been unavoidably detained these past eighty or so years.

    “In the spirit of closer involvement I propose we experiment with allowing Mr. Adams and his colleagues the opportuinity to participate by obeying its laws.”

    Very good!

  • Jimmy_Sands

    Billy,

    “What I do believe, however, is that Ireland is one country,”

    As has been stated before, I know what “state” means, but this term “country” is a little vague.
    I suppose the question is what precisely does that mean? From our perspective we see a different society with a different culture. We see people who elect sectarian coat trailers, who cover all available public space in paint or flags and who like nothing batter than to relax by throwing things at policemen. To us it all seems, for want of a better term, foreign.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jimmy

    “As has been stated before, I know what “state” means, but this term “country” is a little vague.
    I suppose the question is what precisely does that mean?”

    Your question is a good one in that it’s a rigorous intellectual exercise and is also a cracking little refuge. It’s good to thrash these things out and investigate exactly what we mean by the terms we employ. Jesus, I live to debate.

    Ultimately though, it’s also important to have some convictions, to make some decisions. It’s important to scrupulously go as far as your intellect will allow logic to take you – but even that’s never quite far enough. In all decisions there’s an element of faith involved. Lifelong agnosticism is essentially cowardice and intellectual vanity.

    So I decided long ago, after many a tortuous night of the soul, that my country is Ireland. That’s actually what my instincts were trying to tell me all along, but I took the long way around. I think those instincts would be shared by most Irish people. Would you agree?

    Come on in and join me Jimmy. The water’s fine.

    “From our perspective we see a different society with a different culture. We see people who elect sectarian coat trailers, who cover all available public space in paint or flags and who like nothing batter than to relax by throwing things at policemen. To us it all seems, for want of a better term, foreign.”

    That’s one way to put it. When I look at the north I see Ireland’s quarantine area, to which our ancient national malaise was sectioned off in the hope that it would eventually diminish and pass. The symptoms that you refer to are indeed nasty and brutish and you’d be mad not to feel a bit NIMBYish about them.

    But you are vastly overstating the significance of these factors. If I looked south with an equally jaundiced eye I might judge the general state of society by the gangland killings or widespread heroin abuse or stabbings or political corruption that I so often read about.

    But that would be unfair, grossly so. To be so grossly unfair to a whole swathe of my countrymen would frankly be downright unpatriotic, really.

    Oh yeah, this bit: “different society with a different culture”

    Well, I’ll agree that strictly speaking, society and culture are different, in that they’re not the same. But they’re not so very different really, are they? I mean, we’re not talking about irreconcilable differences, are we? Let’s get some sort of proportion here.

    It’s my gut instinct that regardless of your many concerns, we’re presently seeing far greater cross-border traffic than ever before, and as far as the ancient national malaise is concerned, we’re actually on the mend. Not out the woods, as doctors say, but getting better all the time.

    Economic factors are important. South of the border there is lots of wealth. North of the border there are lots of places to invest. People were travelling from Cork last year to shop in Newry ffs. That stuff isn’t just quirky, it’s important. Economic link-ups between towns like Derry-Letterkenny and the Monaghan-Armagh software corridor is dissolving some of the hang-ups that exist on either side of the border. Cross-border infrastructural developments only serve to highlight the preposterousness of the division.

    Sure, there are areas and mindsets that are not pretty but frankly, those are less significant factors in life here than RTE and the Dublin papers might have you believe. (No dig at the media intended, it’s simply a fact of life that one street disturbance is more newsworthy than a hundred thousand cast-iron instances of normality reasserting itself.)

    And not just that: since I moved back up north just about three years ago or so I have noticed an exponential increase in the numbers of southern registrations on the roads and southern accents in the bars and coffee houses. You say the north seems foreign but I could name a dozen southerners in my own acquaintance who live here and who consider the north to be, rather than foreign, a kind of new world just beginning to open up within the old country.

    So I’d agree that the north you see on RTE and read about in the Irish Times would seem foreign to any civilised human being. Frankly, that north is foreign to me too. But the north that increasing numbers of people from the 26 are living and experiencing?

    It ain’t perfect, never will be, but it’s home.

  • Jimmy_Sands

    I’ve no problem self-identifying as Irish, I just don’t find it of any great relevance to my daily life unless there’s a football game involved.

    My caricature of NI culture was of course somewhat tongue in cheek, but the point is, as you accept, the two states are different. They seem to be no less different than, say, the Republic and England. So when you talk about a single country, unless you’re talking about geography or rugby, I don’t know what that means.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Jimmy

    “So when you talk about a single country, unless you’re talking about geography or rugby, I don’t know what that means.”

    Don’t worry mate, you’ll get there.

  • Alan2

    The way to knock this on the head is to have speaking rights granted to the NI Assembly AS A WHOLE rather than individuals. Thereby making the speaking rights accountable to the NI Assembly on a cross community basis.

  • Keith M

    A few observations. As I already mentioned, the word “country” is not suitable for this debate. It is ambiguous, and it is an ambiguity that cannot resolved through arguement.

    Billy P : “.., it’s our legislature too.” No it isn’t. The legislature is only for those who are effected by the laws passed in that legislature.

    As for the drawing of bprders, natural or otherwise. There is nothing more of less natural than a border draw over land than draw by sea. The planet is full of island groups which are single political entities and single island which are divided between two political entites. At the end of the day a political entity is defined by people not a geographic feature and at the moment the border is (generally) in the right place. I wish it were otherwise, but so be it.

    Finally (trying to move this debate on a bit from the sterile world of Provo fantasy) I do believe that Irish citizens should be represented in the Oireachtas. However the place for this is not the Dail (again it is not a talking shop), but rather in a reformed Seanad/Senate. The original Irish senate was supposd to be a place where Irish people of all persuasions could debate, but unfortunatly DeValera saw fit to abolish it and turn it in the ineffective coral of nodding donkeys that we see today.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Cowboy,

    In response to…

    ‘Furthermore, what if 75% of the British Isles voted for a United British Isles. Why should that not happen even if 3/4s of 10% of the British Isles ie Irish Nationalists voted against it.’

    You replied…

    “75% voting for that is a big what if.”

    It could be argued that the 1918 Westminster results reflect an even greater majority than the 75%, closer to 95%. Additionally, SF’s vote was way short of the 3/4s of the Irish vote at 46.9%. So, the big “what if” was met in 1918.

    “I currently reside in Hammersmith W6 at moment though”

    Typically…

    Hi Pilgrim,

    “Well, I suppose that is the nub of our dispute here, isn’t it CC? You’re pro-Union, I’m pro unity, so of course that’s what we think, right? Well, I’m not going to accept the principle that one aspiration is as valid as another, because frankly I don’t believe that.”

    Ye serious?

    “Dividing lines don’t come any more natural than the sea, and we’ve got one of those between us and Britain.”

    Except that it could be argued that it’s the sea that unites us. The sea, until relatively recently, being the highways that our ancestors used. Hence, the links all along the Western fringe of Europe.

    Hi Keith,

    “At the end of the day a political entity is defined by people not a geographic feature”
    Couldn’t agree more!

  • cladycowboy

    Hi Congal

    ‘It could be argued that the 1918 Westminster results reflect an even greater majority than the 75%, closer to 95%. Additionally, SF’s vote was way short of the 3/4s of the Irish vote at 46.9%. So, the big “what if” was met in 1918.’

    It wouldn’t be a convincing argument, if the 1918 elections were actually a referendum with the question of ‘Ireland remaining in the Union’ then you’d have a clear case. If that referendum was put to Ireland in 1918, i’d argue that the pro-independence vote would have been a majority vote well exceeding 50%, as indeed it would today.
    I also think that the majority of GB would vote in favour of Irish re-unification today if a referendum was held on that issue.
    One thing is for sure,the democratic legitimacy of the UK,NI and RoI is all murky territory, why not hold a referendum on the best solution?

    “I currently reside in Hammersmith W6 at moment though”

    ‘Typically…’

    You joking? Sure isn’t it all the same country? 😉 I left Tyrone in 1990 but return regularly so i don’t class myself as naive,and i’ve the right to work in any EU country

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Keith M

    “No it isn’t. The legislature is only for those who are effected by the laws passed in that legislature.”

    Oh I know. Still, there’s a little corner of Dail Eireann waiting for us, but as I said, we have been unavoidably detained. We’ll get there one day. (Incidentally, it’s interesting that you earlier cited the example of Austin Currie. He tells a great yarn in his autobiography of the time he was invited as Stormont MP for East Tyrone to sit in on a session of Dail Eireann, along with other nationalist MPs like Hume, Cooper and Fitt. They were allowed to add their names to the official documentation of that particular sitting, as though they were the TDs for East Tyrone, Derry City, East Derry and West Belfast respectively. Beside his name Currie scribbled: “Here, as of right”.)

    “As for the drawing of borders, natural or otherwise. There is nothing more of less natural than a border draw over land than draw by sea.”

    Try telling that to the grocer in Pettigo or the publican in Belleek.

    “The planet is full of island groups which are single political entities and single islands which are divided between two political entities.”

    That’s not in dispute. The fact remains that a border on THIS island is absolutely daft.

    “At the end of the day a political entity is defined by people not a geographic feature and at the moment the border is (generally) in the right place. I wish it were otherwise, but so be it.”

    Agreed that it’s what people want that’s ultimately the deciding factor. Still, sometimes even the most intelligent people can want really stupid things. Sometimes people want things that frankly are not good for them. I acknowledge that there is still a majority in the north of Ireland who want the border, who want Britain to have sovereignty over as much of Ireland as is possible. That’s a reality that can’t be ignored, but I’m still entitled to think those people are wrong, and I do. Hey, they have a right to be wrong, but I have a right to point out that to maintain a border on this island is still absolutely insane, no matter how popular it might be.

    All the empirical evidence supports the thesis that an UK-governed enclave in the northeast is a really bad idea for the whole island according to every meaningful criteria. Politics on both sides of the border remain hamstrung to varying extents by the existence of the border. Our economic and infrastructural development is forever compromised by the great slice across the country’s throat, notwithstanding recent successes. Society in the south still bears the scars of the civil war and is still home to a strong republican tendency 80-something years after independence. As for northern society, we won’t even go there.

    So what does this all mean? To my mind it means this: those who advocate partition and the union are wrong in their analysis. They and I differ profoundly. I respect their right to be wrong, that’s democracy. However, I don’t accept that I should keep a respectful silence and play Cassandra while we move inexorably towards the next misstep.

    I respect people’s right to hold any opinion or aspiration they want but that doesn’t mean I have to give credence to opinions and aspirations which are empirically and logically unsound. To support partition and the union after the last 80 years we’ve had is empirically and logically unsound. That’s just my opinion.

    “…at the moment the border is (generally) in the right place. I wish it were otherwise, but so be it.”

    This is a remarkable statement. Not even unionists would tend to agree with this. In fairness, if we were to partition Ireland strictly according to sectarian geography, “Northern Ireland” would probably be about a third the size it is now. All of counties Fermanagh and Tyrone would be in the Republic. So would Derry city and the south of the county from the Tyrone border up to at least Dungiven. You’d have most of county Armagh, with the exception of a heavily-populated Tandragee/half of Craigavon borough-shaped lump taken out of the side – obviously all the south of the county would be in “Ireland”, as would the city and the southern shores of Lough Neagh. The southern half of county Down would also be in the Republic. West Belfast, big chunks of south and north Belfast, the northeast Antrim coast and Rathlin island would all have to be non-contiguous territories of the republic. (Or you might have a narrow corridor connecting north Armagh to the western half of Belfast, leaving “Northern Ireland” as two large halves connected only by a narrow corridor in east Belfast.)

    (Exhales.) To say the border is in the right place is insane. How do you justify that statement? Have you missed the last 40 years or what?

    But I must say I’m heartened and somewhat surprised to hear you say you wish things were other than they are. There’s hope for you yet!

    “Finally (trying to move this debate on a bit from the sterile world of Provo fantasy)…”

    If that was directed at me then it’s a disgraceful and libellous slur and I think I’m entitled to an apology. This is sneering, thuggish stuff. (Seriously, we know you refuse to recognise past sessions of Dail Eireann and you demonise and libel those with whom you disagree. Which of us more closely resembles the provos?)

    “I do believe that Irish citizens should be represented in the Oireachtas. However the place for this is not the Dail (again it is not a talking shop), but rather in a reformed Seanad/Senate. The original Irish senate was supposd to be a place where Irish people of all persuasions could debate, but unfortunatly DeValera saw fit to abolish it and turn it in the ineffective coral of nodding donkeys that we see today.”

    Interesting idea, worthy of further advocacy.

    Hi Pilgrim,

    “Ye serious?”

    Absolutely. I accept that one’s right to be pro-union is equal to one’s right to be pro-unity. I accept that both the pro-union and pro-unity arguments are valid. I accept that both aspirations are moral. However I don’t accept that they are equal. I am utterly convinced that the pro-unity argument is stronger than the pro-union argument. Of course I do. I reject the ridiculous platitude that both should be treated as equals despite what I perceive to be the overwhelmingly superior body of evidence in favour of one over the other. Why would you question whether I’m serious about that? Is it so shocking that I think one argument is substantially more compelling than another?

    “Except that it could be argued that it’s the sea that unites us. The sea, until relatively recently, being the highways that our ancestors used. Hence, the links all along the Western fringe of Europe.”

    Fine, then argue it. I would argue that the sea makes Ireland and Britain ideal partners. I think it provides us with a wonderful space in between us. I think the sea has allowed us to be substantially different from one another but also sufficiently alike that there has been a tremendously enriching exchange of ideas going back millennia.

    I think the destiny of Ireland and Britain is to be as close and symbiotic as it’s possible or imaginable for two sovereign states to be, and I think the sea makes that possible, in that it provides both a mutual space but also a fundamental distance and disconnect. The latter is crucial and is yet to come about. The relationship between Ireland and Britain must be between two equals, both must be sovereign partners. In fairness I think that the overwhelming majority of people in Ireland and in Britain now accept this and are anxious to see those circumstances come about. When they do then I think we’ll see the flowering of what should be the natural relationship between Ireland and Britain.

    Wouldn’t that be okay with you?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Cowboy,

    “It wouldn’t be a convincing argument, if the 1918 elections were actually a referendum with the question of ‘Ireland remaining in the Union’ then you’d have a clear case. If that referendum was put to Ireland in 1918, i’d argue that the pro-independence vote would have been a majority vote well exceeding 50%, as indeed it would today.”

    In 1918, SF achieved 46.9% and they were the only party advocating an independent Republic. The IUP and LU achieved 28.3% who wanted to maintain the Union and IIP achieved 21.7% and wanted Home Rule within the Union. A combination of 50%. There was no majority vote for independence. And this, despite the widespread intimidation of voters by SF and their little helpers.

    “You joking? Sure isn’t it all the same country? ;)”

    True. I just think it ironic that you’re on for a UI that would have a massive change on my life. When what you’re advocating won’t affect you, as you’ll still be over in Hammersmith.

    Hi Pilgrim,

    “Absolutely. I accept that one’s right to be pro-union is equal to one’s right to be pro-unity. I accept that both the pro-union and pro-unity arguments are valid. I accept that both aspirations are moral.”

    Good. I agree. But then this is rather ruined with…

    “That’s a reality that can’t be ignored, but I’m still entitled to think those people are wrong, and I do. Hey, they have a right to be wrong, but I have a right to point out that to maintain a border on this island is still absolutely insane, no matter how popular it might be.”

    And…

    “those who advocate partition and the union are wrong in their analysis.“

    I have a view. You have a view. They are opinions. There is no right or wrong!

    “Fine, then argue it.”

    I thought I just had! The sea was the “highway” that our forebears used and linked these islands. Much in the same way that motorways link our towns and cities. The sea was not a barrier but a link.

  • Henry94

    In 1918, SF achieved 46.9%

    25 seats were won by Sinn Fein unopposed and are not reflected in the total vote. The mandate for an Irish republic can’t be honestly disputed.

    If the DUP ran unopposed in 4 constituencies in the north, the final tally of votes would show a nationalist majority. But it would not reflect reality.

  • Mike

    Billy Pilgrim –

    “I acknowledge that there is still a majority in the north of Ireland who want the border, who want Britain to have sovereignty over as much of Ireland as is possible”

    Hang on a minute – I doubt there are many people if any who want Britain to have sovereignty over “as much of Ireland as is possible”.

    “All the empirical evidence supports the thesis that an UK-governed enclave in the northeast is a really bad idea for the whole island according to every meaningful criteria.”

    And this evidence is?

    “Politics on both sides of the border remain hamstrung to varying extents by the existence of the border…Society in the south still bears the scars of the civil war”

    A civil war which wasn’t fought over partition. It was fought on the issue of Free State versus Republic.
    (a situation which would have been much more complicated and intractable with ‘Unionist Ulster’ thrown into the equation, incidentally)

    “As for northern society, we won’t even go there.”

    Society here was divided before partition. It’s pure conjecture to say how it would have turned out had things been done differently in 1921.

    “The relationship between Ireland and Britain must be between two equals, both must be sovereign partners”

    I don’t see what is wrong with a relationship between two eaul sovereign partners, the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Henry,

    “25 seats were won by Sinn Fein unopposed and are not reflected in the total vote. The mandate for an Irish republic can’t be honestly disputed.”

    Rather depends on why they were unopposed…

  • George

    SF got the same % of seats in 1922 Congal so whatever the reason they were unopposed, it had no effect on the SF vote.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “SF got the same % of seats in 1922 Congal so whatever the reason they were unopposed, it had no effect on the SF vote.”

    Different times George. First past the post inflated Sf’s vote. In actual votes cast they received less than 50%. It will and can’t ever be known what SF would have got had all seats been contested and there been no intimidation.

  • Brian Boru

    “In 1918, SF achieved 46.9% and they were the only party advocating an independent Republic. The IUP and LU achieved 28.3% who wanted to maintain the Union and IIP achieved 21.7% and wanted Home Rule within the Union. A combination of 50%. There was no majority vote for independence. And this, despite the widespread intimidation of voters by SF and their little helpers.”

    OK but maybe it was over 50% in the 26 counties?

    In any case, the widespread support the Old IRA got from ordinary Nationalists in the War of Independence period 1919-21 right across the island would seem to indicate that by then a majority on the island – including former Home Rulers supporting it in 1918 – were by then in favour of All-Ireland independence.

    Remember that the sudden arrest of almost all the newly-elected SF MPs would have outraged nationalist opinion.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Boru,

    Agree with all you said. Essentially, SF won the propaganda war. Aided by some bad decisions of the government at the time.

    Perhaps, the present government could learn some lessons as they try to deal with modern day terrorism…