Constitutional issue settled?

UUP leader Reg Empey has welcomed Taoiseach Bertie Ahern’s comments that the constitutional issue is solved.
“The constitutional question is now settled. The use of violence to achieve a united Ireland is a thing of the past. Many people, including myself, aspire to a united Ireland, but it will not happen without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland,” Ahern said on a visit to Belfast. Mick Hall goes into his speech in greater detail in a piece in the Daily Ireland.
Meanwhile, Gregory Campbell has said the agreement could not form the basis of the future relationship between Northern Ireland and the Irish Republic while Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams has repeated his view that a united Ireland will happen in his lifetime. Good to see everyone agreed on the future.

  • Dave

    The Taoiseachs comments are those of the Irish people as assrted in the 1998 referenda, the first act of all-ireland self-determination since 1918.

    The issue of Adams assertion that he unity will occur in his lifetime raises interesting and important questions.

    Bearing in mind that Adams has accepted the principle of consent through his party’s acceptance of the good friday agreement he must accept that the sole path to unity is by the peaceful convincing of unionism.

    Unionism will not be peacefully convinced as long as the masterminds of the provisional campaign are seen to lead or have a leading role in that process of convincing.

    For Irish Unity to become a real thing people like Adams and the current leadership of SF will have to leave that stage.

    Bearing in mind that Adams has become a clear liability for SF in the South because of his inability to grasp economic realities of 26 co. life – mabye its time for Gerry to exeunt stage left.

  • lib2016

    Now we’re into an era of 32-county politics the issue of what shape re-unification will take can’t be avoided. Do unionists accept powersharing and the GFA or reject power-sharing and accept that Norn Ireland is a failed entity?

  • The constituonal has been settled since 1998 i the Good Friday Agreement. The GFA is the cormerstone , the articles and its princibles are enshrined in international law. There is no alternative to that agreement since it cannot be parts of the island.

  • Apologies: I need a larger keyboard. The comment posted at 3:42pm should have been full stopped (.)after,” There is no alternative to tht agreement.”

  • lib20165

    parnell,

    As a republican and a democrat I accept your argument that the GFA rules. My point is that the unionist factions controlling the DUP and UUP do not accept either powersharing or the GFA, nor do they call for another referendum.

    It would seem to me that they are intent on proving that NI has failed. Being run as a colony doesn’t work and integration isn’t on offer.

    Does anybody know just what the unionist proposals are for running the North?

  • There’s a certain irony, that in the week of SF/IRAs shambolic Dail motion on unity which didn’t even get enough support to force a division that Ahern is actually out there doing his bit to convince Unionists.

    In his heart Ahern knows there won’t be a “united Ireland”, in the most commonly used sense. Northern Ireland will remain an integral part of the United Kingdom long after everyone alive today has passed away.

    For all their bluster, Irish republicans have accepted the “Unionist veto” and there’s no sign of any ssignificant part of the pro-union camp being persuaded of the merits of a “united Ireland”, although it has to be said that any attempts at persuasion have been largely vacuous.

    What I believe we’re going to see over the next couple of decades is the idea of an “agreed Ireland”. This will be an Ireland where people realise that the idea of a single sovereign state may be a non-starter, but where co-operation on areas of mutal interest and concern is only natural, and will not be seen as a threat or a “united Ireland” by the back door. Such co-operation existed in the Benelux prior to the treaty of Rome, but never led to a single state.

  • lib “Does anybody know just what the unionist proposals are for running the North?”

    There are none so deaf as those that choose not to listen. Both the DUp and UUP support devolved government, both accept power sharing with democratic nationalist parties. It’s up to SF/IRA that they are a democratic party, and without transparent decommissioning, the only way this will happen is through a decontamination period, when people can be sure the bank robbies, punishment beatings, bar stabbings etc etc are a thing of the past.

  • eastofthebann


    “What I believe we’re going to see over the next couple of decades is the idea of an “agreed Ireland”. This will be an Ireland where people realise that the idea of a single sovereign state may be a non-starter, but where co-operation on areas of mutal interest and concern is only natural, and will not be seen as a threat or a “united Ireland” by the back door. Such co-operation existed in the Benelux prior to the treaty of Rome, but never led to a single state.”

    I enjoyed this comment – this is how I too hope things will progress. What Keith outlines above is perhaps the optimistic scenario as to future unionist/nationalist relations, but it is something to which both unionists and const. nationalists can aspire.

    The parallel with the Benelux is particularly apt.

    A future based on respect for each other’s Irishness and Britishness is a deeper form of unity than any mere colour change on a map ever could be.

  • Brian Boru

    Yes the constitutional issue is settled. However that doesn’t mean that SF does not have the right to persuade by peaceful means. Now the DUP should accept cross-border structures as part of what the Irish people North and South decided in 1998. Waterways Ireland, Tourism Ireland etc. are not going to be scrapped because the DUP says so. The N-S Ministerial Council must also be restored.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Both the DUp and UUP support devolved government, both accept power sharing with democratic nationalist parties.

    I have seen no evidence of this. The DUP and UUP spent decades fighting any kind of government with nationalists in it.

    It’s up to SF/IRA that they are a democratic party

    Why don’t the DUP have to prove that they are a democratic party ?

  • BB : “However that doesn’t mean that SF does not have the right to persuade by peaceful means.” To persude you need good arguement and when are SF/IRA going to start offering those and abandon stunts like this week’s Dail fiasco?

    I also think that pro Union people should start making the case for the union and not simply rely on a sectarian headcount or risable slogans like “simply British”. Making an arguement for something is not a defensive gesture (as many unionists seem to think). The case for the union is strong and should be stated at every opportunity.

    “The N-S Ministerial Council must also be restored.” This can’t happen effectivly until the executive and that isn’t going to happen this week or next (or this year or next in all probability).

    Comrade Stalin, I’m on the internet for 10 years next month, do you not think I can stop a troll at this stage? You really must try harder!

  • Mick O’Tick

    “Constitutional issue settled?”

    At least for the forseeable future, anyway. As British policy in NI will surely change (goal posts moved) when there is a 50+1 majority on the nationalist/republican side, so to will the Republic’ constitutional question on the north.

    When everything is in order, a simple referendum will take it to the next stage.

  • Conor

    The UUP are a true party, intent on sharing power with nationalists and moving this process forward and making this country a better place. Im a republican and i can see that. we all know that the party holding this process up in complete deadlock is the shameful party, the DUP. they accept NOTHING. when is the last time any of us, and be honest have heard anything POSITIVE come from their bigoted mouths? they will never be happy sharing power with anyone never mind Sinn Fein. they are absolutley reveling in Direct Rule. we hear comments saying Sinn Fein should ‘leave the stage’, well i think thats just rubbish. Sinn Fein have achieved one of the most momentus, historic developments in Irish modern history and that is persuading the IRA to give up the armed struggle and embrace democracy. why should they leave the scene? what have the DUP done which comes anywhere close to a development of that magnitude? its about time the DUP left the political scene and Sinn Fein, SDLP and the UUP work together to restore the Assembly and work within the Good Friday Agreement, approved by the majority of the people of this land, north and south.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Comrade Stalin, I’m on the internet for 10 years next month, do you not think I can stop a troll at this stage? You really must try harder!

    You may regard mention of the DUP’s paramilitary links as trolling. To those of us in the real world, they are a very serious matter. Why does Gary Blair, a DUP member, think that LVF prisoners should be released ? Why did the DUP admit Mark Harbinson, an individual connected with the Orange Volunteers, into their party ? Why did McCrea never get punished for taking to a podium with Billy Wright ? Why did DUP members refuse to unequivocally condemn the rioting and disturbances associated with the Love Ulster protests over the rerouted Springfield Road march which were clearly orchestrated by paramilitaries, even though one of their own offices got burnt down ?

    I share your desire to see a devolved government in Northern Ireland which is free from paramilitarism. What I don’t share is your apparent implicit trust of people who associate with the most dangerous active paramilitaries who are walking our streets today. I want to see them eliminated – the DUP want to see them brought in from the cold without disarming or disbanding – that is the fundamental issue at stake here.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Conor:

    The UUP are a true party, intent on sharing power with nationalists and moving this process forward and making this country a better place. Im a republican and i can see that.

    I’m not a republican or a nationalist, but I’m well aware that the UUP opposed power sharing for most of it’s history. Any time they’ve shared power is because they were forced to do so, and anywhere they have a majority they block powersharing as far as they can get away with it – look at Castlereagh borough council as a case in point. Unionism cannot be trusted by itself any more than nationalism to deliver powersharing – its true objective is a return to Stormont-style majority rule.

    The UUP have lately been cuddling up to extremists and loyalist paramilitaries.

    Sinn Fein have achieved one of the most momentus, historic developments in Irish modern history and that is persuading the IRA to give up the armed struggle and embrace democracy.

    I always get a laugh out of this. Sinn Fein and the IRA are two parts of the same thing. They have taken up the commitment to democracy as a single movement. Sure, some people in that movement had to persuade other people, but it has moved forward as one body.

  • Conor

    Comrade Stalin, had you nothing to say on my points made about the DUP?

  • Comrade Stalin

    I broadly agree with your points about the DUP, except I think they’ll probably be pressurized by the government into doing a deal in the same way that Trimble was.