Investigation may put back constitutional re-start

Well it looks like the DUP source who joked about four years till the restart of politics may have been closer to the mark than was previously obvious. David McKittrick wonders that if the current investigations do find the large scale money laundering operations hinted at in the media, what are implications for the process – mandate or no mandate.

  • fair_deal

    I don’t quite follow the logic of this.

    If the ARA and CAB investigations of republicans continue and are successful why would that be an impediment? Does it not show the system is working?

    PS I notice David McKittrick blames the IRA for the Northern Bank robbery too, these ‘securocrats’ really are getting everywhere.

  • Keith M

    I’ve always thought that 4-5 years was closer to the mark. SF/IRA chose not to decommission in a transparent manner (assuming they did actually decommission). The IRA refused to disband. THere is no evidence of the ending of criminality. These were the three hurdles that the Provos had to overcome. Failure to do that means an extended decontamination/trust building period. 2010 has a good ring to it.

  • Henry94

    KeithM

    Would those unionists who, we are told, rioted because of the decisions made under direct rule be happy to see it continue that long?

  • fearganainm

    the northern economy will have completely collapsed by 2010 if institutions are not restored and the british government is allowed the freedom to go on selling off everything that isn’t nailed down and cutting back on the subvention,

  • Gum

    Do the DUP really believe that pursuing this strategy will preserve the union? Until they make NI look viable and an attractive place to republicans (I mean all those in favour of a UI) its future under Britain is uncertain. Until they deal with such a massive percentage of the citizens here wanting the end of the state, the continuence of the union is at risk.

  • Yokel

    It’s about time the government stopped putting so much money, I’ve never seen such an ungrateful bunch as in Northern Ireland. Let them float, though I think a joint authority system should be offered if the Irish goverment was willing to pay half the costs of running the place. I’d like to see the response to that in Dublin.

    Anyway, the DUP don’t realise that they are playing the stupid dog in this entire exercise. It appears both governments but paticularly the Irish government plan to to do an Al Capone job on the paramiliatries and really make them suffer in their back pockets. They love Paisley because they throw out bone and Paisley bites on it and growls and shouts blue thunder thus enabling him to be seen as a really incompetent and useless leader over time, slowly ensuring that the unionist population shift back away from him to people who the governments can better talk and negotiate with.

    In Northern ireland polticians who appear very smart ad calculating are in fact pretty average outside this little pool. Coming up against entire British & Irish (to a lesser extent) government systems full of generations of clever machinations and manouvering, they look deceidely amateur. The lot of them could get mugged rightly.

  • fair_deal

    Gum

    McKittrick doesn’t offer any comment from the DUP to back up his speculation about the impact of the ARA stuff.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Yesterday’s raids just confirmed what I’ve said before on Slugger; that Thomas “Slab” Murphy is one of the biggest racketeering fuel-smugglers on the island of Ireland. He’s worth an estimated £40 million but doesn’t lead an overtly lavish lifestyle…it’s only logical to equate that the majority of his ill-gotten gains have been pumped into the Rafia war-machine. This would go some way to backing up what I already know is true, that he sits on the 7 man Provisional IRA Army Council as Chief-Of-Staff.

    And Unionists are supposed to share power with the political wing of this beast???

  • Jo

    I think that another 5 years of non-engagement and the accompanying and uninterrupted “concessions” to Nationalism would suit rightly…er…but who…?

    As time goes on, I wonder if the Unionists of Northern Ireland are possibly the WLP (Worst-Led-People)of all time…

  • D Exile

    Yokel:

    Are you having a laugh? The republican people of the republic of Ireland actually PAY for joint authority?
    We won’t even pay for our own social services to be dragged out of the middle ages – we’re a bunch of Tory mé-féiners on the make, pay for anything, especially ‘up there’? You must be joking.

  • Harris

    Concerned Loyalist

    “it’s only logical to equate that the majority of his ill-gotten gains have been pumped into the Rafia war-machine. This would go some way to backing up what I already know is true, that he sits on the 7 man Provisional IRA Army Council as Chief-Of-Staff. And Unionists are supposed to share power with the political wing of this beast???”

    CL, even if your allegations were true, now that the IRA have completely disarmed and have stood down their volunteers from any and all activity, it is imperative that unionists reengage with the political process. And how could Sinn Fein be the political wing of an individual? It’s nonsensical to maintain your assumption that Sinn Fein is the political wing of anyone, let alone a group.

    With the IRA out of the picture, Sinn Fein stand soley by democratic nationalists and republicans in their representation.

  • Yokel

    Anyone else think its a runner and if so, why not? Surely the good people of Ireland would pay that bit more to have something closer to unification, then pay for it all to get total unification. West Germany subsidised the East and still does but isn’t it worth it? Look at Germany, fantastic model.

    Oh for those who go, ‘it wasn’t Britsh land in the first place’ its a bit late for that, like hundreds of years late. Fact: it is and you either accept reality or live with fantasy especially those those living in a quality of Housing Executive houses quite unmmatched in the proportion of good quality housing available compared to anywhere else in the UK or Ireland…lucky people as they are, I can’t get one.

  • D Exile

    Dear Yokel,
    I dont know how to break this to you but here goes. (There is no easy way). ‘United Ireland’ is a fantasy. Grown ups dont believe in it because its not going to happen, not next year, not by 2016, not at all. In fact if truth be told, the only people who really do believe in it are the DUP, but then, they also believe that line dancing is evil (not just ludicrous).
    The people down south dont believe in it either, the last thing they want is ‘Unity’ – think of the taxes daarling!
    So let SF have their wee fantasty and the DUP have their bogey man, and let the grown ups get on with it.

  • lib2016

    D Exile,

    Constant repetition of the lie that the GFA was finished didn’t make it so and constant denial that the vast majority of people on this island support a 32-county republic and vote for parties working towards it won’t alter those facts.

    It’s going to happen, it’s going to happen peacefully, and it’s going to happen fairly soon. Let the DUP and their fellowtravellers continue negotiating whatever scraps the Brits will let them have while the grownups get on with building a New Ireland.

  • Ringo

    Lib2016
    the vast majority of people on this island support a 32-county republic and vote for parties working towards it won’t alter those facts

    Really? Which parties would these be?

  • Ringo

    vast majority of people on this island support a 32-county republic

    sorry – what polls have you been ignoring over the past 12 months? The ones that suggest that it is 50/50 in the Republic, and the ones that gave unionists more votes than nationalists and republicans?

    Did you mean a vast minority?

  • lib2016

    The only polls I ignore are the Indo’s phonerounds but I’ll be interested in any information on ANY (just one will do!) successful politican in the South who does not wrap himself or herself in the republican flag.

    Those politicans who didn’t (like the Cruiser) were rejected and when Fine Gael were seen to be shaky as when they attacked McAleese’s run for the Presidency their candidate was rejected by the public.

    Take the advice of the aforementioned Cruiser and make your settlement now while you still have some bargaining power.

    The weakness and pettiness of the unionist position has been brought into focus during the recent rioting. Why keep embarrassing yourselves, and us?

    As for the Wee North? Look at the price of houses and tell me which population is expanding. Even more to the point – look at where the jobs are going!

  • D Exile

    lib2016:
    Dont tell us you fall for that oul guff. You put your finger on it when you ask what politician doesnt ‘wrap the green flag around them’? Of course they all do, its just like draining the Shannon or restoring the Irish language, one of our sacred cows that has to be nodded towards at election time and then forgotten about.

    Go and have a look at the election manifestos of all the main political parties in the south over the past 30 years. Does ‘United Ireland’ or even the conflict in the north get anything other than the most fleeting mention? Of course not. People are far more interested in day to day realities than in some fanciful, mystical, united Ireland.

    The rest of the country have come to the conclusion that the only unity worth having is a unity of people, not land, and pounding the old drum about Unity, is going to put that day further away, not bring it closer.

  • Yoda

    The rest of the country have come to the conclusion that the only unity worth having is a unity of people, not land, and pounding the old drum about Unity, is going to put that day further away, not bring it closer.

    So, are you saying that the majority of those in the Republic support repartition just because you seem to? A dubious claim.

  • lib2016

    D Exile,

    I suspect that our opinions are really quite compatible, just as the two parts of Ireland will prove to be compatible.

    Irish reunification when it comes will be propelled by changes in the North where powersharing will happen within the next year or so.

    The unionist population will soon find themselves in the minority in the North and in any case they have already shafted themselves by upholding policies supported by only one third of the electorate.

    That was the price the DUP had to pay for leading the retreat to a unionist heartland in East Antrim and N. Down and it will destroy them just as the previous decision to reject Catholic support for the Union destroyed the old Stormont.

    Being exclusive just doesn’t work!

  • pakman

    lib2016 [sic]

    “That was the price the DUP had to pay for leading the retreat to a unionist heartland in East Antrim and N. Down”

    Take it from one who knows, unionists weren’t led from the border areas they were driven. And not by the DUP.

  • Realist

    “The unionist population will soon find themselves in the minority in the North”

    Lib2016,

    Really?

    How “soon” will that be?

    On what basis do you you arrive at that definative conclusion?

  • lib2016

    Unionists, having fought and lost a sectarian struggle west of the Bann are now repeating all the same mistakes in the east with the same results. They will go on from their initial success to find that they have destroyed their own communities and made themselves easy targets for every sectarian yobbo on either side.

    In the South the Protestant population has realised the need for integration and is expanding again at last. The Northern Protestants will learn the same lesson but, as recovering alcoholics say, they will have to hit bottom first.

  • Denny Boy

    lib2016

    “In the South the Protestant population has realised the need for integration and is expanding again at last.”

    They’re not the only ones expanding. Last time I visited the country I noticed the (some might say) awesome expansion that Dublin is undergoing. The old “Pale” seems to be creeping steadily northward, with business parks and suchlike extending a long way into County Louth. There seems to be a great influx of southerners into Newry and other border communities. Understandable: shopping is cheaper, houses are cheaper, and the train service is excellent.

    Before long the “immigrants” from the south might just make the unionists a minority in the north.

  • slug

    Denny Boy:

    We have recent Census Data on this question from the two countries.

    The UK (2001) census that reeported that 2600 people moved from ROI to NI over the previous 12 months.

    The ROI (2002) census reported that 3500 people moved from NI to ROI over the previous 12 months.

    Assuming that the flows do not fluctuate widely from year to year, this suggests a net outflow.

  • lib2016

    All politics is local, or to put it the way my very traditional nationalist father did “it’s all about houses and jobs”.

    Check the Equality Commission statistics, or Gregory Campbell’s comments about where the jobs are going, and any estate agents office for where to buy a cheap house.

    The only way for unionists to use this tide is to jump in and go with the flow and to do it now while times are good. The nationalist population is doing well and there’s plenty for all to share.

    It’s in the Protestant/unionist interest to embrace the Southern economy and give their own brightest and best a reason to stay here. Anyone who looks around the North can see for themselves that the unionist community needs help.

    Can they really believe that help is going to come from Britain?

  • slug

    lib2016

    “It’s in the Protestant/unionist interest to embrace the Southern economy and give their own brightest and best a reason to stay here.”

    We have some data on the number of people coming to NI from GB.

    Each year UK statistics publishes internal migration data, based on NHS re-registerings.

    Although the data is imperfect in certain ways, the trends shown are a fairly reliable indicator of change.

    Looking at the last 8 years, there seems to be a turn-around in the direction of migration between Northern Ireland and Great Britain. The following data are from UK National Statistics.

    The following figures are in 1000s:

    1997: inflow: 11.2; outflow: 12.6 (i.e. 1.4 leave NI for GB)
    1998 inflow: 11.7 outflow: 12.4
    1999 inflow: 11.6 outflow: 12.5
    2000 inflow: 11.2 outflow: 11.9
    2001 inflow: 12.7 outflow: 11.1
    2002 inflow: 10.8 outflow: 11.1
    2003 inflow: 12.1 outflow: 11.7
    2004 inflow: 12.5 outflow: 10.2 (i.e. 2.3 leave GB for NI)

    The figures show that up to 2000 the outflow exceeded the inflow. But after that there has been a net inflow as more people more from GB to NI than vice versa.

    Most but not all of the people moving from GB to NI are returnees (the religious breakdown is somewhere between GB’s and NI’s – according to the 2001 census, 30% of the returnees are Catholic).

    They come from all parts of the UK with the largest numbers from Scotland and London.

    The increase in the number of people moving to NI is presumably due to a number of factors — including cost of living in London — but one of these factors must surely be recent improvements in political stability and economic opportunity in NI.

  • slug

    Erratum: that sentence in my 08:47PM should read:

    “according to the 2001 census, 30% of those migrating from GB to NI are Catholic by community background”

  • Robert Keogh

    slug,

    interesting stats, I wonder how many of these migrants are students returning home as opposed to other types of migrants. You don’t happen to have any stats on migration into NI from the rest of the EU?

    My own ad hoc examination of the census and election data in NI leads me to believe that migrants to NI will likely be the group that holds the balance of power between nationalists and unionists and by extension determine the outcome of any border poll. It will be interesting to see which (and how) parties cosy up to these “swing voters”. For instance the Chinese community has always been UUP but over the past few years I’ve read some reports where the UUP doesn’t appear to be performing the constituency work that will retain their support.

  • lib2016

    slug,

    From the point of view of rebuilding a confident Protestant middleclass the return of those who left for educational reasons can only be good. Let’s hope that room for something similar can be found in the loyalist estates, as also needs to happen in the republican heartlands which have more than their share of drop-outs and delinquents.

    The surburbs are turning Catholic/nationalist but a balance will be found eventually. Sadly there seems to be no similar process for those on both sides who aren’t upwardly mobile.

    If it comes to a long sectarian campaign in the estates my belief is that the Catholics will win due to their expanding confidence and younger age profile, not to mention stronger community ties etc. but it will bring hurt to both communities needlessly.

    No-one seems to care about the loyalists, least of all their political leaders who haven’t even the bottle to tackle the paramilitaries.

  • PaddyReilly

    “The unionist population will soon find themselves in the minority in the North”
    Really? How “soon” will that be?
    On what basis do you you arrive at that definitive conclusion?
    In the last election to the European Parliament, the number of votes cast was 554,744. The “Ulster says no” brigade won the second seat on the basis of a (second preference) vote which was circa 30,000 greater than the opposition. This is down by about 30,000 on the last EU election. Presumably then the next EU election (in 2009) will return two Nationalist Candidates (or very nearly) and a referendum will be called which will dissolve the 6 county unit.

    So all in all in would probably be wise not to take advance bookings for Orange/Unionist conferences into the next decade.

  • slug

    Robert:

    We have data from the 2001 Census on the age profile of people migrating between NI and GB. I can present some detailed data for you if you are interested.

    The basic pattern is that the largest group leaving NI for GB are in the 18-24 age band.

    The people going from GB to NI are in all other age categories including childhood (with a concentration in the 25-35 age group, some of whom are presumably returning students).

    To answer your other query. I am sorry we do not have data on whether migrants are from the EU but I can give you the numbers (from the 2001 census) coming in from outwith these islands. Read on.

    We have the following data from the UK 2001 Census on ALL migrants into NI (including international migrants, GB migrants, and migrants from the ROI):

    – there were 18974 such people;
    – 38% of them were Catholic (by religion or religion brought up in);
    – 11539 of these were from GB;**
    – 7435 of these were not from GB.
    – 2600 of these are from the Irish Republic,
    – the remaining 4835 came in from outside these islands.

    (**The attentive reader will note a small discrepancy between the GB inflow given here and the GB inflow in my 08:47PM. This is because (i) the latter is derived from NHS re-registerings rather than the census, and (ii) the Census is recorded for the year to May 2001 and the NHS data is recorded for the calendar year 2001).

  • slug

    Robert K

    You say “I wonder how many of these migrants are students returning home as opposed to other types of migrants.”

    Each year the Department of Employment and Learning (NI) presents data on the numbers of undergraduate students from NI at GB and NI institutions, and where they get jobs immediately after study. The data give an interesting insight into the thoughts of NI’s new generation.

    Lets look at the 21 year olds. The following is the proportion of NI students at GB universities returning to NI in the 6 months after their course ends:

    1997 26%
    1998 29%
    1999 29%
    2000 27%
    2001 29%
    2002 28%
    2003 38%
    2004 36%

    The increasing trend is quite clear, and remember this is only those who return immediately. Many more will take a few years work away from NI before returning; as the census data I mentioned in my previous entry suggests, the drift back continues for all age groups.

    Now lets look at the 18 year olds – those choosing where to study. The following figures – also from DENI – give the absolute number of NI pupils going on to NI and GB institutions respectively, in each year:

    1997: 4286 NI, 2189 GB
    1998: 4729 NI, 2562 GB
    1999: 4730 NI, 2691 GB
    2000: 4741 NI, 2661 GB
    2001: 4989 NI, 2722 GB
    2002: 5243 NI, 2666 GB
    2003: 5500 NI, 2465 GB
    2004: 5645 NI, 2405 GB

    The above figures can be used to compute the proportion of NI’s pupils staying in NI for university study:

    1997: 66%
    1998: 65%
    1999: 64%
    2000: 64%
    2001: 65%
    2002: 66%
    2003: 69%
    2004: 70%

    There is an increasing proportion staying in NI, while the absolute number going to institutions in GB has peaked and is now in decline. These figures may suggest that NI is getting more attractive as a place to live and study for 18 year olds. With the introduction of student fees for students beginning in 2006, there will be an increase in the financial incentives to stay at home. Which could mean a continuation of the trend.

  • slug

    Lib2016

    You mention the question of housing estates. Over the last 15 years the most obvious change here is that there has been a dramatic fall in the proportion of the housing stock that is publicly owned. The following data from Department of Social Development (NI) shows the number of NIHE (Northern Ireland Housing Executive) houses and their proportion of the total housing stock. The proportion has halved in the last 12 years:

    1992 – 155,000 NIHE houses, 26.8% of total NI houses (580,000)
    1997 – 135,000 NIHE houses, 21.8% of total NI houses (618,000)
    2002 – 113,400 NIHE houses, 17.1% of total NI houses (662,700)
    2004 – 94,600 NIHE houses, 13.9% of total NI houses (679,200)

    As the figures clearly show, the fall in the proportion is due to (i) an increase in the total housing stock, resulting from the construction of private housing, and (ii) a decline in the number of NIHE homes, resulting from sales to residents.

    Much more of NI’s housing stock is privately owned in 2005 than 15 years ago.

  • astro

    Jesus slug, youre a wealth of information

    Any tips for the horses, tomorrow.

    I’ll slip you a few quid

  • Robert Keogh

    slug,

    thank you very much for the data. It’s interesting that the number of students going to UK peaked in 2001 rather than earlier considering the peace process was underway a good 6 years. I find it a good sign for NI’s future that more students are returning after studying abroad and more are opting to study in NI.

    Do the NIHE housing stats include derelict and abanoned buildings?

  • Brian Boru

    I hope these raids weren’t politically motivated like the spyring allegations seemed to be with the collapsed of the spyring trial.

  • Yokel

    This ‘you are better off in the Republic of Ireland because of the economy’ issue. Let me look back over my O level economics..whats better, being in the worlds 4 ot 5th largest economy or a smaller economy which has a greater proportion of the its revenues via foreign investment thus is more vulnerable to outside decisions…per capita income is not a reliable measure by which to measure the complete wealth of a country and more importantly its ability to sustain its wealthy status, not is purely economic growth figures.

    According to very detailed research, on current trends there is no chance on a Catholic majority in the North for some time. Ironically, the ‘war’ and also the inequality issue seemed to help stimulate the growth of the Catholic verus Protestant population.

    More Protestants outflowed out of NI as porportion of the population than Catholics dutring the ‘war’ period. I believe that is correct but some stats king can prove me wrong and I’m happy to listen.

    In addition, as Catholics have started to achieve upward mobility that was denied them by the evil Stormont, securocrats, London etc etc their population growth rate has slowed to a similar rate to the Protestant population.

    Anyone for a return back to war? I miss the phrase ‘he was only going to the shops for a bottle of milk and some bread for his ma….’

  • Brian Boru

    “This ‘you are better off in the Republic of Ireland because of the economy’ issue. Let me look back over my O level economics..whats better, being in the worlds 4 ot 5th largest economy or a smaller economy which has a greater proportion of the its revenues via foreign investment thus is more vulnerable to outside decisions…per capita income is not a reliable measure by which to measure the complete wealth of a country and more importantly its ability to sustain its wealthy status, not is purely economic growth figures.”

    Well Yokel, the fact is that economic liberalism is the tendency of British governments regarding mainland UK and this tendency may well spread to its NI policy if hints from Mr.Hain are anything to go by. In that context, the role of the State in NI can be expected to greatly reduce. In the event that the UK government were to privatise and cut back on its involvement in the NI economy e.g. state-owned companies, civil service, then the fact that NI would still be part of the 4th largest economy in the world would be irrelevant in terms of judging whether it’s better off in the long run being part of the UK or the Republic.

    If I am right, this will also make a future UI much easier for the Republic to afford.

  • Yokel

    Less painful to afford….