SDLP man accepts gong…

PROMINENT nationalist commentator and SDLP member Tom Kelly has accepted an OBE from the Queen. Naturally, Sinn Fein has leapt on this apparent breach of SDLP policy, which the Deputy Leader has defended, to attack the party. The Irish News notes the “SDLP’s attitude to members receiving honours from the Queen appears to have softened”.Will Scholes provided some background, for those without subs to the Irish News:

A party spokesman said it was a matter of conscience whether members accepted honours.

“This was a personal decision for Tom which I am sure he took after a lot of discussion with his family and close friends,” he said.

Only one elected SDLP representative holds a royal honour.

Castlereagh councillor Rosaleen Hughes has an OBE, though this is not mentioned in a profile of her on the party’s website.

Other SDLP representatives have previously faced heavy criticism for accepting honours.

Hugh Casey, a former Lurgan councillor, resigned after accepting an MBE in 1994.

He had received backing from Mark Durkan, the party’s national chairman at the time, to accept the award because it was for his community work and not political involvement. But he left the SDLP after claiming he had been ostracised by some of the party.

In 1988 Mary McSorley, a former chairman of Magherafelt District Council, also resigned from the SDLP after accepting an OBE, claiming she had been “forced out”.

One of the SDLP founders, Gerry Fitt, was much criticised by the party when he accepted a peerage in 1983. Another SDLP founder, Paddy Devlin, accepted a CBE in 1999. Unnamed nationalist politicians turned down honours, offered in recognition of their work in securing the Good Friday Agreement, in the 1999 new year’s honours list.

Sinn Fein believes that nationalists should not accept awards which make them members of the British empire.

  • heck

    does anyone know if you get any money with one of these things?

    If not why would anyone want one?

  • DerryTerry

    So is that a Republican OBE then for the new Republican SDLP?

  • john P

    I am puzzled by the SF complaints about the SDLP member accepting the gong at the the same time that SF had prominent members accepting cash from MI5.

    Do SF not collect westminister wages ? Taking a gong from the brits or taking money from the brits, whats the difference ??

  • It doesn’t take away from the main point that much, Gonzo, but to be accurate, and from what I remember of the discussion, such as it was, on TalkBack yesterday, Tom Kelly pointed out that he hasn’t been a paid-up member of the SDLP since becoming an independent member of the Policing Board in 2001/2.

  • DerryTerry

    john p, I have no problem with a member of the SDLP taking a gong from the Brits, that’s entirely a matter for the person concerned.

    But i am unable to explain how a member of an Irish Republican party, as the SDLP tell us they are, can do so and keep a straight face.

    The gong is the Order of the British Empire, an Empire that brought civilisation to the world at the barrel of a gunboat, and is presented by the British Queen, a family gig that is a monarchical, not a republican model.

    If you don’t see the point, its probably because you don’t want to.

  • John P

    DerryTerry

    I dont follow your logic. How can SF, a republican party, accept money from the British establishment and then complain about somebody taking a silly piece of metal from the same British establishment.

    As regards “If you don’t see the point, its probably because you don’t want to.”….I think that cuts both ways 🙂

  • DerryTerry

    John, just listening to Talkback and all i can say is that I’ll raise my glass to your argument.

  • eranu

    whats the big deal? loads of people round the UK get these awards for work they’ve done. i thought we were all trying to get past this ‘anti this’ and ‘anti that’ bitterness.

  • Crataegus

    DerryTerry

    “An Empire that brought civilisation to the world at the barrel of a gunboat,”

    Not dissimilar from Republicans who tried to bring about a united Ireland by bomb and bullet. There are few angels in history so better to deal with the here and now. .

    He has been awarded in recognition of work done, which is fair enough. It’s his personal decision to accept and not the SDLPs. Though I must confess how any one who claims to have socialist leanings could contemplate acceptance is beyond me, but if he personally is happy fine.

    Beholding subject and all that, the thought of it is more than a bit off, but I suppose one has to accept in the spirit that the offer was made and recognise and accept the deep felt traditions of others. But that the problem here, intolerance of the traditions of others and reading in deeper meaning than is in fact intended. The levels of hierocracy generally beggar belief. This is trivial and a personal decision.

  • John P

    DerryTerry

    “John, just listening to Talkback “.

    Didnt hear it. What was it about?

  • DCB

    What did SF say when St Martin took his gong

  • Northern FF

    Derry Terry, you said:

    “But i am unable to explain how a member of an Irish Republican party, as the SDLP tell us they are, can do so and keep a straight face”

    I don’t understand – why would you try? Tom Kelly is not a member of the SDLP. A prominent supporter by all means, but not a member.

    Is a political party to be responsible for the attitudes and acts of all those who support it?

    Now that would be fun…

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Kelly evidently thinks there is some kudos in being an Officer in the Order of the British Empire, shiney beads for the natives.

  • DerryTerry

    John, Talkback had a very strange row between John Dallat and Billy Leonard about whether the former had stood for a toast for her maj at a Chrustmas do.

    Whilst JD said he was standing at the time he didn’t raise a glass, and anyway BL had a nerve questioning his Republicanism, and that he would be talking to his solicitor.

    I’m still trying to work out where the court case is, and his case wasn’t helped when another Councillor phoned in and said he was at the do and JD was standing, and why wouldn’t he?

    Pricesless stuff.

    DCB, what St Martin and what gong?

    Northern FF, did Tom Kelly’s departure from the SDLP coincide with the ditching of post nationalism and its rebranding as a Republican party?

  • TAFKABO

    Is this a little glimpse into the future of a united ireland run by republicans?
    recently the Daily Ireland (fast becoming Irelands own hatemongering leader) have been running hate pieces on how those disgusting brits sneered at de Valeras funeral, and unfounded (invented) allegations of Loyalists setting up chapters of the KKK in Ballymena.

    Am I wrong in thinking that an agenda exists to foment hate against all aspects of britishnes,and those who dare to accept any part of it?
    Where is the parity of esteem when any aspect of britishness is treated with such open hostility?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘ the Daily Ireland (fast becoming Irelands own hatemongering leader) ‘

    Come on, it will never ever beat the News Letter.

    The point on De Valera’s funeral came from released British State papers, so blame your own government.
    It seems quite natural that groups like the BNP and KKK would look at Ballymena as fertile ground, why the astonishment?

  • TAFKABO

    Come on, it will never ever beat the News Letter.

    I defy you to show a single instance of the newletter publishing an article in which the entire irish or nationalist people are demonised the way the Daily Ireland regularly does with the unionist people.

    The point on De Valera’s funeral came from released British State papers, so blame your own government.

    No, the point is the interpretation and presentation of the released papers in the daily Ireland, which served no other purpose that to vilify the British and foment hate.

    It seems quite natural that groups like the BNP and KKK would look at Ballymena as fertile ground, why the astonishment?

    There speaks the truly blinkered.You can’t understand why anyone else doesn’t share your own view, and neither can you grasp the inherrant predjudices in what you just said.
    I have read reports for literaly years in which it is claimed the BNP are going to be setting up in a specific unionist community.
    It never transpires, but every year a version of the same story keeps resurfacing, with the subtext being that nationalists are fed the lie that unionist areas are breeding grounds for hate and bigotry.

    Are you happy being manipulated in this way?
    Posted by Pat Mc Larnon on Jan 04, 2006 @ 03:25 PM

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘I defy you to show a single instance of the newletter publishing an article in which the entire irish or nationalist people are demonised the way the Daily Ireland regularly does with the unionist people. ‘

    The News Letter is a hate filled rag that deliberately down played the violence emanating
    from unionist anfd state forces since the inception of this sad statelet.

    The interpretation of the views of British officials is quite relevant given recent events here. If they have a trait of sneering condescension that is for them to sort out. As stated it is all there in British Government black and white.

    Are you happy to deny the level of violence directed against Catholics in Ballymena in particular and North Antrim in general in recent times? Are you happy to deny the organised unionist paramilitary attacks on immigrants?

    With blinkered reasoning like that you would be at home in the News Letter.

  • TAFKABO

    Pat.

    I have never once denied that violence emanates from the unionist community.
    What I have done is suggest that all unionists are demonised because of the actions of a few, and this demonisation is carried out by various organs of the republican movement, including the daily Ireland.
    I further suggested that the equivalent tactic by Unionist leaning newspapers waere non existant (for example, ever see the Newsletter talk about nationalist paramilitaries, or nationalist death squads?)
    What you have just done is list certain opinions and unfairly ascribe them to me.
    It’s a juvenile and rather pathetic debating technique.

    I’ve no time to be wasting with the likes of that.

    Slàn.

  • DK

    I don’t think that the British government has any gongs that it can give that don’t have some sort of mention of “Britain” or “British Empire” in them. The award is the highest recognition that the state can give to someone and to reject it on grounds that the award has the name of the institution offering the award is plain wierd.

    It is meant to be a nice thing, not a sinister attempt to co-erce the awardee into a securocrat or some such nonsense.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    TAFKABO,

    you tried the old let’s get the DI technique and were confronted on it, even at this early juncture it is a dud hand.

  • Nathan

    This whole honours business is a Castle Catholic phenomenon, it is them rather than any other denomination in Ireland (e.g. southern protestants) who are the disloyal citizens of Ireland.

    The Irish government needs to take a stricter line on all those Castle Catholics who opt for an OBE – I suggest that, in the future, citizens of Ireland should be given a choice – Irish citizenship or deference to the monarchy but not both.

    Sadly, the Irish government are employing double standards. If it were a prominent southern protestant opting for the Honour, then there would be an uprour from every quarter. But when its a jumped up Castle Catholic betraying the republican ethos of this country (e.g. the likes of Michael O’Kennedy, former Fianna Fail Minster and Tom Kelly), no-one (apart from Sinn Fein, to their credit) bats an eyelid. Are they spared the abuse because their catholics I wonder? What about southern protestants in the 20th century (e.g the Dockrells et al)? Were they spared the abuse from members of the Irish government, when they themselves remarked in the Dail, that they prefer deference to the Crown as opposed to the new republican order?

    Its about time the Irish government squeezed the Castle Catholic lemon until the pips squeak, they’ve been let away with too much (in contrast with southern protestants) for too long. In future, I’d like to see the Dept of Foreign Affairs deny citizenship to all those consciously opt for an Honour. The only reason they are not following this route is because it would affect catholics disproportionately, when compared with other denominations. Shame on them!

  • irishman

    Tom Kelly is a senior figure within the SDLP. Whether or not he has paid his membership dues in the past several months is beside the point.

    He attends the annual conference, is a recognised member of the Policing Board as an SDLP member, and was an official election agent of an SDLP candidate in the 2005 elections.

    Therefore, we can only deduce that this development was taken with either the prior support and encouragement of the party leadership; or, as worryingly for the party, with not the slightest regard by the man for how the party would look in its aftermath.

    Tom Kelly is a long-time proponent of post-nationalism. Following the 2001 election disaster for the party, Kelly argued publicly for Hume’s head and Durkan’s ascent to the leadershiop position- which occured shortly afterwards.

    He continues to use his platform in the Irish News to articulate SDLP policies. So I think we can put to bed the nonsense that his actions should not affect the SDLP in any manner.

    Taking the OBE runs against all previous utterances by SDLP figures; Prior to this announcement, the party had always proclaimed itself to be opposed to the Royal Honours system- indeed, former members booted out of the party due to taking the same course of action as Kelly will bear testimony to this fact.

    So, wither the SDLP? It would appear to me that this has arisen precisely because there is such confusion within the party as to where they are now, and perhaps more profoundly, where they want to be.

    Post-nationalist, republican, or simply nationalist- or none? The party faithful appear rudderless, and in that context, determine policy on their own whim.

    So Kelly accepts an OBE with the enthusiastic endorsement of Deputy leader McDonnell; and the party’s Coleraine contingent rise to toast the British Queen- at a Christmas function, no less!

    All in all, not a good week for the SDLP. Looks like that light at the end of the tunnel has gone off again….

  • DerryTerry

    DK, its not the name its the principle. The British awards system is for British subjects. Well done to all those British subjects who will recieve their gongs from their Queen at some event at Buckingham Palace. What any self respecting Irish citizen would be doing at such a gig is beyond me. Wonder if Kelly’s passport is green, and will he be raising any glasses to his new Queen?

  • DK

    DerryTerry,

    No it isn’t – it’s given to people from lots of countries, not just Ireland. It’s a recognition, not a secret subject-maker. You’ll be saying that Irish citizens should accept BAFTA’s next!

  • Ringo

    In fairness, Irish government papers make Dev’s funeral sound like a poorly organised tinkers wedding, with FF TD’s running around like feral pigs.

    Nathan –

    What do you make of Wogan’s knighthood? Surely it isn’t the same thing as Sir Anthony of Abbey St?

  • Ling

    Wow, such fear. It’s like homophobic people flinching from contact in case they get gay on them.

    If a state honours someone for work they have done, then allow them grateful, whether it’s the Irish, British, French, American or whatever government. The SDLP are part of the British polital system, they have seats in Westminister, so when someone involved with them recieves an honour from the head of that state why the big broohaha?

    Honestly I’d be more bothered if only unionists in NI recieved honours. At least then you could have an argument based on discrimination.

    Petty nonsense…

  • Nathan

    Ringo,

    Wogan naturalised himself as a British citizen not so long ago (according to RTE news), so his knighthood confers upon him, exactly the same perks as Sir Tony O’Reilly.

    You fail to assert your position on this matter

    What do you think of it all.

    I presume that the malleable Irish government were consulted, prior to the dishing out of a gong to opportunists like Tom Kelly.

    Why did our government, a so-called ‘republican’ entity, devoid of any backbone, give the all-clear to people of his ilk? After all, our government is entitled under Article 40, Section 2 of Bunreacht na hÉireann, to withhold consent in relation to any Irish citizen who wishes to defer to a foreign monarch, by opting for a gong.

    Its not as if the Irish government would be doing an unprecented act by preventing its citizens from opting for a gong. The Canadian government have long forced their citizens to renounce Canadian citizenship (e.g. Conrad Black), when they decide to opt for foreign titles/privileges. The Irish government, in my opinion, should follow suit, particularly when there is precedent for a country saying NO to one of its citizens opting for a British title.

  • Labourite

    “I don’t understand – why would you try? Tom Kelly is not a member of the SDLP. A prominent supporter by all means, but not a member. ”

    I thought Tom Kelly was the man trying to establish Fianna Fail in the Six Counties? Didn’t he pen a number of articles in the London Observer calling for an FF/SDLP merger.

    Is Kelly really a serious contender to replace McGraddy after he retires?

  • DCB

    Nathan

    Is Martin O’Neil a Castle Catholic?

    PS – change the words from Birtish to Irish and you sound like you could be in the DUP

  • Nathan

    DCB

    If he’s an Irish citizen, then yes O’Neill is a Castle Catholic.

    Unlike the Irish government, I accord a parity of disesteem to all those who defer to the monarchy.

    What I like about Sinn Fein’s Mr O’Dowd is that he couldn’t care less about where Tom Kelly goes to church on a sunday – a disloyal Irish citizen is disloyal full stop. He doesn’t grant a special exemption to Mr Kelly, merely because he’s a catholic.

    So well done to him, he appears to be one of Sinn Fein’s very few non-sectarian Republicans.

  • Posted by DCB on Jan 04, 2006 @ 02:07 PM :
    *What did SF say when St Martin took his gong *

    when St Martin O’Neill, ex manager of Glasgow Celtic, accepted his award he made very specific and exact reference that he was accepting this on behalf of the team, club and fans for their performance in the UEFA Cup Final in Seville. He noted that he was receiving the gong as a figurehead of the club rather than recieving it on a personal basis.

    The Celtic club made special note of the awards received from UEFA for the excellent behaviour and humour of their fans. I imagine that this meaningful UEFA award is held in high esteem to the club and fhans rather than *the doddery donors award* handed out by the Windsor’s at year end.

    I can’t imagine that the Shinner’s would have a problem with this and I don’t recall them speaking about it.

    John Lennon took to best approach by accepting the medal and then treating the whole occassion with contempt by smoking a joint in the bog and letting everyone know..!??!

  • DCB

    Nathan

    There are many who would disagree

    Also add Bob Geldoff to your list of Castle Catholics.

    You’ll also fine that the Canadian government had it for the Lord of Crossharbour as he escaped the Canadian tax net by making dodgy non-compete payments from himself to tax haven based companies.

    Niall

    He still took it, so it’s ok to bend the knee if your doing it on behalf of someone else

    Hold on, isn’t it worse if he’s taking it on behalf of CFC, rather than just as an individual. I think the Shinners, wisely, didn’t make a song and dance about it as they knew that O’Neil was above criticism

    Basically I think it’s a total non-issue, blown up by the usual professional oppressed.

  • Tom Kelly

    I note the debate with interest. In particular ‘ irishman’ who seems determined not to let facts get in the way of his rant. I elected to take an an honour following consultation with my family and not the SDLP.

    I am not member of the SDLP though I am an active and proud supporter – a position which in the absence of actual membership – is more vocal and active than most constitutional nationalists – in or out of the Party.
    I don’t attend annual conference and have not for four years. I was not an election agent for the SDLP in the 2005 elections. Or indeed any election since the mid 1990’s. I did call for a change in the SDLP leadership citing the longevity of the then leadership and the lack of organisation in the party.

    I would also point out that it was John Hume not I who thought the ‘politcal game’ was at the post nationalist stage at that time. I pointed out that it was not and that it was electorally damaging to the SDLP to suggest it was back then. Gerry Fitt and the others alluded to by Irishman – left the SDLP – no one in my memory was drummed out the SDLP over the taking of ‘honours’. Those involved left more than often because of personality differences -that were at times acrimonious and bitter.There are those with honours within the SDLP.

    There were no discussions with anyone in the SDLP on my decision -as a courtesy to my friends among whom I count Eddie Mc Grady – I told on the 30th of December. I can’t help it if others want to let their imaginations run wild on any other interpretation of events prior or post this.

    Thankfully much of that has disappiated under the leadership of Mark Durkan.
    I took a decision which I felt was right for me and the times we now live in. Of course I knew there would be politcal fallout but if the personal response in Newry and other places ( which has been from all sections including prominent members of SF) the decision was right and will I believe in time prove to be right. For the record Alasdair McDonnell did not say he agreed with my decision -as a friend – he wished me well and said ‘if I was comfortable with my decision’ – he was too. Given people I disgree with wished me well it would have been bizarre in the extreme if those I am friendly with did n’t. Or do different rules apply in politics.
    I doubt if I qualify as a Castle Catholic – if I do- I don’t meet the normal qualifications and those that say otherwise have not read my articles in the Irish News. I had hoped not make a comment on this but in reality like Talkback felt it was unfair to allow others to feel they had to take up the cudgel on my behalf. And that is most definitely not my way.My irishness is real and unquestionable – I am finding the maturity to express it within the context of where and what I am – the older I get. Not everyone will agree with the way I do it but thats not my way either.

  • TK…. will you take a toke like Lennon…?!?!

    Posted by DCB on Jan 04, 2006 @ 07:59 PM: * Basically I think it’s a total non-issue, blown up by the usual professional oppressed. *

    I don’t agree. I think those that accept these trinkets pidgeon hole themselves. I can’t see how a lefty could allow himself get slapped on the sholders with a sword by Mrs Saxe Goeburg.

    It’s all bullshit initiated by the Windsors giving out these trinkets and those that are foolish enough to accept them. It might be worthwhile if the Windsors sectioned off acres of valuable land for those who stroked their ego over the year. What was all that centuries ago about prima noche…but trinkets?? FFS
    (ramble over)

  • irishman

    So glad to get that confirmation from you, Tom.

    Yet you still fail to articulate how receiving an honour ‘For God and Empire’ – as an Order of the British Empire- can be consistent with a claim to be a ‘republican,’ in either an Irish or international context?

    Furthermore, I note with particular amusement your efforts to distance yourself from the SDLP on this one. Let’s be clear: you have been more than happy to appear on television and radio programmes- never mind in the print media- and be introduced as a member and/ or ‘Advisor’ for the SDLP.

    For their part, the SDLP have appeared at sixes and sevens on this one: no matter what you say, Alisdair McDonnell did publicly express his delight at the award for you; yet the party’s chair- a Mr. Cosgrove (?) sent a terse one-sentence statement to Talkback disowning you as a party affiliate.

    All of which leads us to one simple conclusion, Tom. The party you associate so intricately with (if not belong to, ahem) is in an absolute mess.

    Party members don’t know whether to break away completely from a nationalist stance and strive (vainly I predict) to become a new Alliance, whilst others are deluding themselves that they can out-do Sinn Fein by joining Unionists in badgering the Shinners at every opportunity; most amusingly, some even believe they can call themselves republican and attempt to con us all into believing the SDLP is interested in striving for Irish unity in anything beyond a rhetorical sense.

    With the party in such a ‘state of chasis,’ little wonder poor wee John Dallat didn’t know whether to sit, stand or stand and raise his glass to toast the British Queen.

  • Nathan

    Out of interest, Mr Kelly – what would your response have been if the Irish government had forced you to choose between your citizenship and the Honour?

    I know its a hypothetical question but would it have deterred you in any way from doing what you’ve just done?

    I don’t think it would be an injustice for you to lose your citizenship if you had opted for the latter (you knowing all the material facts and implications of your actions). It would only be inequitable if the Irish government turn round some time in the near future, and apply Article 40, Section 2 of Bunreacht na hÉireann in retrospect to yourself. Naturally enough, I don’t believe you should be punished for an act committed before the strict application of Bunreacht na hÉireann. So if its ever applied strictly in the future, your off the hook in relation to your Irish citizenship. Satisfied, TK?

    By the way, I stand by my claim that your a Castle Catholic, and a petty provincial at that -don’t take it personally.

  • Tom Kelly

    Unlike most contributors – I don’t feel the need to hide my identity which is always a problem when it comes to a proper and frank discussion on any subject matter. However people so ill at ease with their own identity are hardly qualified to discuss wider issues of national identity.
    I still firmly believe that politcally speaking the realignment of the SDLP and other parties is inevitable. Also given former Irish Foreign Minister and EU Commissioner Michael O Kennedy FF took a CBE last year and that De Valera’s Grandson Eamon o Cuiv has argued for some years (in the proper context) Irelands rejoining of the Commonwealth_ – a few slugger commentators would need to brush up on their current affairs knowledge before rushing to print.

    This whole issue is over blown –

    I had the privilige of of being the Chair of Newry Town Centre Partnership when we bid during the competition for City Status under the Queens Jubilee five years ago. Sinn Fein at the time refused to publically back the campaign. Newry won city status – as joint sponsor of the bid along with the Chamber of Commerce and the Council – I had to receive the charter from the Queen. The then Sinn Fein Chairman of Council( now an Assembly member) did not attend the ceremony but did later show and speak at the celebration at the Bank in Newry. At the actual street party to celebrate city status – attended by about 25,000 people = alot of Castle catholics – obviously- you could not keep SF members from the stage.
    Subsequent Sinn Fein members of Newry and Mourne Council have been happy to hold the title of Mayor rather than Chairman – as a result of us winning city status.

    As usual the benefits of others actions – are reaped in the back door by Sinn Fein – the Dail – Stormont – Westminster – and even their use of the now frequently recognised British Courts system – never mind the collusion between informant members of the provisional movement and the British Government – which may -( we will never know) have led to the unnecessary loss of life to protect these informants. As for drumming people out of a party for daring to be different = what about the SF treatment of john Kelly or Francie Molloy-Martin Cunningham?

    Or better still should I stop or anyone else who supports English Premiership teams stop – because Prince William( now Prince Andrew) is to be head of the FA? Enjoy the craic lads but get real! or will the raft of Sinn Fein members including elected members who regularly go to Parkhead issue a statement condemning fellow northern Martin O Neill for accepting his gong while managing at the most holy of holy grounds – I doubt it.
    But then again as the party most committed to a new multi purpose national stadium at the Maze – a bit of politcal bi polar disorder is okay for the Provisionals!

  • TK… I take it you don’t hold an Irish passport etc or got permission from Bertie and co …..

    * Bunreacht na hEireann

    Article 40:
    Section 2.1.Titles of nobility shall not be conferred by the State.
    2.No title of nobility or of honour may be accepted by any citizen except with the prior approval of the Government *

    Nice one Nathan.

  • Tom Kelly

    Irishman = I don’t for a minute doubt that the SDLP has not found a clear road to pursue – unlike ‘normal’ politics (left -right) our middle ground is not over crowded but there is a blurring of boundaries – in which the main beneficaries are the DUP and SF.
    Yes -I am put for forward as a commentator and my history with the SDLP is part of that = though I am usually asked on (and check with the media) when I have said or written something at variance with orthodox SDLP thinking at any given time. By the way Mr Cosgrove is actually a Mrs and is a friend – who thought they could clarify things by pointing out that I was not a member.
    As for Nathan – I have not really thought about having to make that choice – it is a non runner and would against my natural european leanings. You would appear to prefer a world which is either black or white – thankfully it is never as dull as that.

  • Well, further to my posting about pigeon holing those accepting the trinkets….I found what might be the list from last year – interesting (sic) reading

    http://www.number-10.gov.uk/files/pdf/QueensListdfjh784575hekjfffffff4435.pdf

    Included for OBE is a John Joseph Devine, Bangor, Down, lately journalist, Irish Independent, for services to journalism and a Dennis Licence, Dunadry, Antrim, managing director First Trust, for services to banking.

    How anyone in any way can consider an Irish Indo scribbler deserving of an award for journalism is beyond me. The rag distributes the worst of pulp fiction and aims for the lowest level of journalism (most recently reporting on the death of Liam Lawlor). It’s nearly as ridiculous as considering an AIB head deserving of an award for banking. Isn’t this bank the most corrupt entity in Ireland which has been fleecing customers and citizens for years (see Gene Kerrigan’s book “The A – Z of Irish Scandals”?

    So you can see why I’m not too enamoured with the whole idea of the Windsor’s Yearly Trinkets and I have precious little respect for anyone who might accept one of these ‘awards’.

    TK, you’ll have done a disservice to the sdlp by accepting the trinket. If John Hume can’t accept one then no one, who has any participation in the Sick Counties society on behalf of nationalists, should even think about accepting one as most (you included) wouldn’t be fit to tie his shoes.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    There’s a point in all this which has been missed and it’s this. The Queen’s Honours system is a two-tier sort of deal, with honours available to both British subjects and to foreign citizens. Bob Geldof and Tony O’Reilly are at least two Irishmen I’m aware of who received their gongs as foreign citizens. Stormin’ Norman Schwartzkopff is another foreign Knight, no doubt there are countless others.

    What it means that they get their honour and it is conferred by the British crown but they do not in any way compromise their own national identity. The queen gets to give them the royal seal of approval but claims no sovereignty over them in return. They do not travel to Buckingham Palace for the award – instead they are honoured at the British embassy in their own country. I think Pierce Brosnan got a gong in Dublin a couple of years back.

    Technically these non-British honorees are not supposed to style themselves “Sir” but when they are resident in Britain, it’s a custom more observed in the breach. Geldof, for example, is not actually “Sir Bob” at all but the media have made sure that’s how he’s regarded. (Actually, O’Reilly styling himself “Sir Anthony” while resident in and a citizen of the Republic of Ireland, is very unusual and is considered bad form, but that’s another matter.)

    So I suppose I ask myself, as an Irishman with no enmity to any nation but no loyalty to any but Ireland, what would I do?

    If I was offered an OBE or MBE or a Knighthood or whatever and was invited over to Buckingham Palace to kneel before the queen, I would quote Heaney in reply – “my passport’s green, there was never a glass raised in our house to the queen”. Frankly, I cannot understand how any person who is not British could do so. I mean, prostration before someone else’s head of state is central to the whole thing. I find it doubly hard to understand how an Irishman could do so and trebly hard to understand how a northern nationalist could do so.

    However if the queen wanted to offer me an honour as an Irishman, and wanted her ambassador in Ireland to confer the honour that would be quite another thing. After all, I am an Irish citizen and I mean no disrespect to Britain when I say that the British citizenship to which I am entitled is of no interest to me.

    Which kind of honour have you been offered Tom? Will you be displaying maturity and respect towards the British state by shaking hands with its ambassador in Dublin (which is consistent and self-respecting) or will you be kneeling in Buckingham Palace?

    (Incidentally, I would refuse any honour on socialist, anti-imperial and anti-monarchical principles, but who’s interested in that debate?)

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Niall

    Just for clarity, it was the Sunday Independent, not the Irish Independent that ran the Lawlor story. Your description of “the rag distributes the worst of pulp fiction and aims for the lowest level of journalism” is a fair one if you’re talking about the Sunday Independent but not the Irish Indo.

    I know they are sister papers but they are not the same. They are based in the same building but have different staffs, different editors, differing editorial lines and wildly different standards and ethics. The Sunday Independent is indeed the scum at the bottom of the Irish journalistic pond – and it’s a pretty mucky pond too – but the Irish Independent is a much more serious newspaper and doesn’t deserve to be tarred with the same brush.

  • Nathan

    Niall,

    With all due respects, I’m shocked that you’ve provided excuses for a prominent Castle Catholic like O’Neill in your 7:37pm comment

    O’Neill is a very successful Castle Catholic. Does that mean he can get away with whatever he likes?

    If your answer to that question if yes, then it would imply that your objections to the British institution of monarchy is not based upon any uncomprising beliefs i.e.) you are a brittle republican.

    Don’t worry your not alone – Sinn Fein were overwhelmingly silent when O’Neill got a gong and this sits uneasily with their usual denunciations of all things to do with the rancid institution of monarchy.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    TK,

    your descent into whataboutery during your 11pm post cannot disguise the fact that you have in the past described yourself as an Irishman; a nationalist and a republican. It is now quite a volte face to be an Officer of the British Empire.

    Your whingeing self justification is proof positive as to why the British have never needed to infiltrate the SDLP, you were never a danger to their position and could be bought off with the odd bauble.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Tom

    “As for Nathan – I have not really thought about having to make that choice – it is a non runner and would against my natural european leanings. You would appear to prefer a world which is either black or white – thankfully it is never as dull as that.”

    Jesus, you’re given a hypothetical choice between your Irish citizenship and a British honour and you answer “I’ve never really thought about it.”

    How much thinking is required?

    Most nationalists are unashamed of their patriotism and when asked their nationality, are unlikely to retreat to cocktail party blathering about how things aren’t as black and white as all that. In fact, most nationalists – nah, scratch that, most people in any nation you care to name – absolutely despise that kind of mercurial, pretentious babble.

    You’ll forgive me for saying it but if you were previously a senior player in the SDLP, then their loss of the grassroots makes sense. Undoubtedly you’re a conspicuously intelligent man and your views on economics are always vastly more enlightened than almost anyone else in the north, but a chara, if you’re not a castle Catholic then no-one ever was.

    (This is no partisan attack by the way – if I’m anything it’s a Mallon republican, I’d say.)

  • headmelter

    The word ‘honour’ just makes me titter.

  • DerryTerry

    Billy P, so Irish citizens, assuming TK is one, have the option of saying thanks very much, I’ll pick up my gong in the embassy in Dublin and fair play to you Brits for taking the interest in the affairs of an Irish citizen?

    That to me actually sounds a reasonable position if someone is busting their balls to get a gong and is looking to retain even a semblance of self respect as an Irish citizen.

    BTW i agree 100% on refusing any honour on socialist, anti-imperial and anti-monarchical principles. British subjects should decline these awards just as much as the citizens of any Republic.

  • Nathan

    Which kind of honour have you been offered Tom? Will you be displaying maturity and respect towards the British state by shaking hands with its ambassador in Dublin (which is consistent and self-respecting) or will you be kneeling in Buckingham Palace?

    According to the Irish Times newspaper which I read yesterday, Mr Kelly has indicated that he’s off to the Palace to bow and get whatever scraps Betty Windsor has in stall for him.

    BTW i agree 100% on refusing any honour on socialist, anti-imperial and anti-monarchical principles. British subjects should decline these awards just as much as the citizens of any Republic.

    Are you anti-honours (including republican ones) per se, or is it just honours from a foreign monarch you detest.

    By the way, our President already confers titles (the Saoi) to creative artists in Ireland who have made an outstanding contribution to contemporary Irish life, so its not as if the Irish Republic is a title-free zone.

  • eranu

    before someone starts going on about 800 years of oppression etc etc. 🙂 i was wondering if anyone knew if scottish or welsh nationalists have a problem accepting new years honours awards? as far as i know there isnt much of a problem. what is the big deal for nationalists in NI? you live in the UK like everyone else. reading some of the posts above trying to poke fun and insult every aspect of recieving an award it just looks like warped hatred to me.

  • Nathan

    eranu,

    Nominal republicans like myself are under no obligation to accord parity of esteem to Castle Catholics, who have always been a blot on the landscape of the Irish Republic and beyond.

    Its nothing personal against Mr Kelly, I just think he’s consented to a dishonourable act and from this day forward, alot of southerners will be thinking to themselves whether the Dept of Foreign Affairs should be asking for THEIR property back i.e. his Irish passport if he’s in receipt of one.

  • Gordon

    Many Scottish Nationalists aren’t republicans so have no problem accepting honours take Sir Sean Connery for example. Other other members of the SNP have refused to join the House of Lords I guess it depends on your views.
    BTW nobody in the UK is a subject anymore. I believe that was changed a few years ago to bring the rest of the UK in line with Scotland. Scottish people have always been citizens under Scots Law.

  • Ringo

    Nathan –

    regarding the Wogan/O’Reilly issue – I think that it is fair enough that Wogan would be honoured in Britain for his contribution to the national culture. The national system of recognition in Britain is at present the Honours system. I don’t think that because Wogan has earned national recognition from Britain that he should be denied Irish citizenship. However, aside from his contribution to the national fart industry I cannot see what the bean barron ever did to warrant an honour from the UK. So it isn’t a one-size fits all.

    You can argue about the form that the British recognition system takes – personally I think that a system for honouring people for modern day achievements and a royal pagent don’t sit well together, as Niall’s story of John Lennon brilliantly shows.

    But that doesn’t mean that by accepting an award for something that is deemed worthy of recognition on a national level in a neigbouring country that you are in any way lessening the value of Irish citizenship. Normally it is the opposite.

    I know little about Tom Kelly or the reason for his award – I prepared to accept at face value that the man has made some form of contribution that is worthy of recognition, and no one seems to question this. But it is hardly the case that he is heading over to London eagerly anticipating a bit of knee-bending, procrastination and grovelling before the woman he sees as the supreme ruler of his homeland. Looking forward to a day out in a big fancy palace in London for himself and his family where he’ll get to meet loads of famous folks from all walks of life and get a medal from one of the most famous Grannies in the world sounds a bit more normal.

    It is like fairies – the only reason the royal myth endures is because people like loyalists, and even more bizarrely republicans insist on believing and propagating in it. She’s a sword wielding pensioner. Big deal. So what if you kneel down and she says some daft mumbo jumbo. It’ll be a good day out with the finest cup of milky tea in the world. And sure you can always go one better than John Lennon and have a toot of ‘the Royal Weed’ with Harry in his bedroom.

  • jooker

    I cant see Durkans election agent getting a gong from lizzie. Too many skeletons the ald spooks wouldn’t allow it.

  • spartacus

    i would allow the tosser to take his trinket on one condition: that he has to where it in public wherever he goes.

    ‘LONDON – Rastafarian poet Benjamin Zephaniah has rejected an honor from Queen Elizabeth II, describing it Thursday as a legacy of the “brutality” of British colonialism.

    Zephaniah, one of Britain’s best-known contemporary poets, announced he was spurning the invitation in an article published in the Guardian newspaper, breaking the convention that those who reject honors do it privately.

    The poet, who grew up in England and Jamaica, was recommended for an OBE award, or Officer of the Order of British Empire.

    But in a blistering criticism of Prime Minister Tony Blair and the monarchy, he railed against Britain’s colonial past and its support of the U.S.-led war in Iraq.

    Zephaniah said his proposed title reminded him of “thousands of years of brutality, it reminds me of how my foremothers were raped and my forefathers brutalized.”

    He added: “Stick it, Mr. Blair and Mrs. Queen, stop going on about empire.”‘

    now there’s someone you can respect.

    http://books.guardian.co.uk/poetry/features/0,12887,1094009,00.html

  • Nathan

    i would allow the tosser to take his trinket on one condition: that he has to where it in public wherever he goes.

    restrain yourelf please, there’s no whatsoever need for that sort of crude language round here.

    I don’t think that because Wogan has earned national recognition from Britain that he should be denied Irish citizenship.

    Like I’ve said before, I don’t believe past recipients should necessarily lose their citizenship in retrospect, should the Irish government up the ante on Castle Catholics in due course. That would be a grave injustice.

    It’s the future I’m talking about now, its future Irish citizens who need to be deterred, should Britain offer any more of these gongs. You know the people I’m talking about – Convent girls like Ruth Dudley Edwards for instance, who’d accept an Honour without a nanosecond’s thought, if she were offered it tomorrow.

    They need to be provided with a choice – the Irish citizenship or the Honour but not both. If Canada does it in relation to Britain, even though a great proportion of its citizens are of British extraction and they have a British monarch as HofS, then I can’t see any reason why the Irish government shouldn’t follow suit.

    But it is hardly the case that he is heading over to London eagerly anticipating a bit of knee-bending, procrastination and grovelling before the woman he sees as the supreme ruler of his homeland.

    I can’t understand why Kelly’s off to London though; if he’s as Irish as he says he is then the lesser evil would be to travel to the capital of Ireland and collect his wee box from Stewart Eldon, the British Ambassador. The fact that he’s not indicates that our Mr Kelly is nothing more than a dud Irishman, I’m afraid.

  • loyalist

    The fact that he’s not indicates that our Mr Kelly is nothing more than a dud Irishman, I’m afraid.

    And who are you or Pat McLarnon to decide who is or isn’t an Irishman? I think all this hysterical ranting about “Castle Catholics” is very revealing, lets just cut to the chase and admit that the whole Irish Republic is a balls up of an idea.
    Also Daily Ireland is fascist ethnic guff. Still I suppose they have to keep their own happy as they accept partition and admit military defeat. Prods are crap! Especially Ballymena ones. Man I hate them!

  • June76

    Once again Billy Pilgrim gets right to the heart of the argument. There is a two-tier system for British awards – one for British citizens and one for foreign nationals. People born in the north of Ireland have a right to choose their own identity and nationality. However honorary awards are not offered to those born in Northern Ireland and it is this proprietary claim of British “subjectivity” from the awarding body that is both insulting and a major turn-off for many potential recipients. Northern Nationalists are, by definition, involuntary and unwilling “Members of the British Empire” and for them to accept the MBE as a British subject is an illogical stance. Perhaps if the British Government was prepared to recognise the right of Northern Nationalists to define their own identity by offering honorary awards that recognise their right to define themselves as Irish citizens (just as American, French or any other foreign recipients have a right to retain their identities) then resistance toward acceptance would fade.

  • Nathan

    Hi loyalist

    Your comments are about as sharp as a bowling ball, aren’t they.

    You should have picked up from the course of this discussion, that it is well within the remit for the Irish government to renounce somones Irish citizenship – they can determine who is an Irishman or not, hence the reason for me focusing the attention on them throughout the thread.

    I used the term dud Irishman because Mr Kelly isn’t using his existing entitlements as a citizen of Ireland very well now – if he wasn’t such a dud then he’d have created a fuss, in the hope that special arrangements would have been made, so that he could receive the honour in Dublin.

    By the way, who gave you the right to decide whether the ‘whole Irish Republic is a balls up of an idea’ or not?

    I’ve discarded the rest of your post because its a load of dribble – what on earth has Daily Ireland got to do with a southerner like myself?
    Get a grip will ya

  • Headbangor

    “Yet you still fail to articulate how receiving an honour ‘For God and Empire’ – as an Order of the British Empire- can be consistent with a claim to be a ‘republican,’ in either an Irish or international context? ”

    The Empires dead, get over it & move on.

  • Dualta

    This is unjustifiable in a party which claims to be both republican and Irish Nationalist.

    The SDLP, like SF, is a broad church, but this runs contrary to the very ethos of the party.

    He should reconsider his political position or his membership of that party.

    The British Empire was a crime against humanity, not a civilising force for good.

    How can the party which claims the mantle of nonviolence justify tolerating this?

  • Dualta

    TAFKABO wrote:

    [i]recently the Daily Ireland (fast becoming Irelands own hatemongering leader) have been running ……. unfounded (invented) allegations of Loyalists setting up chapters of the KKK in Ballymena.[/i]

    Sorry for going off subject on this one, but I can’t miss up this chance to have another run at this one.

    There are nothing unfounded or invented about the allegations.

    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/archives/2005/10/far_right_imagi.php#readcomment

  • Ringo

    Like I’ve said before, I don’t believe past recipients should necessarily lose their citizenship in retrospect, should the Irish government up the ante on Castle Catholics in due course. That would be a grave injustice. i>

    Ah, thats a cop out. If Wogan was due to get one next month do you still think that he shouldn’t have his contribution to Britain over the past 40 years recognised in the standard way that they do, unless he hands in his Irish passport?

    You know the people I’m talking about – Convent girls like Ruth Dudley Edwards for instance, who’d accept an Honour without a nanosecond’s thought, if she were offered it tomorrow.

    I don’t give a monkey’s what Ruth Dudley Edwards or the Mrs Bucket’s of this world do. People see them for what they are. I don’t think it is any worse than George Galloway getting honoured by Saddam Hussien, then having his arse licked from Malin head to Mizen Head while on a speaking tour.

    They need to be provided with a choice – the Irish citizenship or the Honour but not both

    I still don’t understand why Irish passport holders who have made a worthy contribution to our nearest neighbour – that they feel warrants a national award – should have their Irish citizenship revoked.

    I can’t understand why Kelly’s off to London though; if he’s as Irish as he says he is then the lesser evil would be to travel to the capital of Ireland and collect his wee box from Stewart Eldon, the British Ambassador. The fact that he’s not indicates that our Mr Kelly is nothing more than a dud Irishman, I’m afraid.

    Surely you aren’t suggesting that Wogan, resident of London for decades should have headed to Dublin to recieve his award, instead of what has long been his home city?

    Lesser Evil? Get a bit of perspective, man.

  • Ringo

    sorry – second paragraph shouldn’t be in italics

  • yj

    “it is well within the remit for the Irish government to renounce somones (sic) Irish citizenship – they can determine who is an Irishman or not”

    So you’re only Irish if you’ve got a Green passport? There was me thinking I had dual-nationality/citizenship, when all the while Bertie can revoke it at the drop of an honour. Or is there a difference between nationality and citizenship? And how do they “determine it”? And who are “they”? Perhaps it’s a race/genetics thingy. Maybe I need to get my eyes moved a bit closer together or something similar for the passport photo? Perhaps work on the accent?

    It’s all getting a bit Orwellian, but at least it keeps the Thought Police here off the streets (I hope)

  • * Posted by yj on Jan 06, 2006 @ 12:49 PM
    It’s all getting a bit Orwellian, but at least it keeps the Thought Police here off the streets (I hope) *

    …it’s written in the Constitution (Article 40, 2). Altho McDowell the Min of JustWhatHeDecides doesn’t feel the need to follow the constitution, we posters on this site can highlight the inconsistancies of an Uncle Tom picking up his trinket contrary to the Irish Constitution.

    TK is a public figure who’s accepting a public / royal (sic) award therefore can’t his activity be discussed by us plebs / serfs? Are you invoking the Thought Police that we shouldn’t make comment about his behaviour? Can’t we say that the “king isn’t wearing any clothes”?

  • yj

    “Are you invoking the Thought Police that we shouldn’t make comment about his behaviour? Can’t we say that the “king isn’t wearing any clothes”? ”

    Of course you can – the sartorially challenged must be constantly reminded of the fact.

    The point I was making was that I was under the illusion that being born on the island of Ireland made me Irish, that having a British passport made me British also. From what you’re saying, I’m only Irish if Bertie (or the Irish Verification Committee) says so, and that it’s purely conditional on me behaving myself.

  • * Posted by yj on Jan 09, 2006 @ 11:14 AM

    being born on the island of Ireland made me Irish*

    yes, that and other requirements fulfilled, means you’re Irish. One of these is obeying the laws of the land – the Constitution.

    From what I can see of TK’s acceptance of the trinket, he’s following the lead of Sir Beans and co and flouting the fore mentioned law – not that this should be considered a major issue as displayed by our current Min of Justice

    * From what you’re saying, I’m only Irish if Bertie (or the Irish Verification Committee) says so, and that it’s purely conditional on me behaving myself. *
    No, what I’m trying to say is that if you’re Irish, then you’re Irish and subject to the laws of Bunreacht na hEireann. Your citizenship isn’t subject to obeying the laws but your liberty (jail for breaking the law) might be in jeopardy

    Again, a technicality as no one in the Dail gives a fiddlers about these trinkets ….. or enforcing the Constitution for reasons other than party political benefit.

  • yj

    “Your citizenship isn’t subject to obeying the laws but your liberty (jail for breaking the law) might be in jeopardy”

    This, I can concur with (even if it is all hypothetical), but you will note that my original post referred to the following quote from Nathan.

    “it is well within the remit for the Irish government to renounce somones Irish citizenship – they can determine who is an Irishman or not”

    That is what I’m referring to. As far as I’m concerned, my Irishness is not something for Bertie et al to be able to remove at a whim. Which raises the question of another constitutional amendment. In the event of Irish unification, could all those who have at some time accepted an honour be liable to having their newly imposed citizenship removed? Both events are unlikely I know, but hey…..