IMC tipped to say no…

In tomorrow’s news today, The Sunday Times reports that the IMC is unlikely to grant the IRA a clean bill of health. The wrangle over Shaun Woodward‘s form of words last December continues. Hugh Orde speaking to the Young Unionists (come on guys where’s the eye witness report?) last Thursday, was not exactly slamming doors:

“There is no evidence to suggest that they (the IRA) are going back to an armed struggle. The people watching this will form their own view on how quickly any organisation, be it the UDA, the LVF, the UVF or the provisional IRA can move in that direction. You cannot be open for business one day and closed the next. The IMC report is so important. It will assess if the organisation is going in the right direction.”

  • oceallaigh

    I would love to know what kind of democracy reigns in the north when unelected bodies can influence or even stymie the whole democratic process.Lets be quite clear here there are not too many people in the north who aren`t somewhat tainted or without predjudice by what has gone on over the last 30 years or so ,so lets face it everyone has an agenda and the only way to get over that is to respect the electorates wishes wether we like the outcome of the voting or not .Sinn Fein has a democratic mandate and as such is entitled to their place in government .It is not within anyone`s remit or gift to grant them that ,it is a fundamental democratic right.It wasn`t that long ago that everyone was pleading with Republicans to adopt democratic principles and to come into the fold ,and if the reconstructed RUC,PSNI had any moral integrity they would keep their heads down in light of the fact that their members at all levels have been implicated in some of the most heinous crimes committed in the North by their collusion either by direct involvement in passing files on Nationalists/Republicans to Loyalist murder gangs or deliberately ignoring warnings from Loyalist informers that murders were imminent.
    Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.

  • slug

    “Let he who is without sin cast the first stone.”

    I think that’s why Lord Alderdice was chosen!

  • oceallaigh

    Slug…..
    Aah! I see ,so it`s all going to be ok ,Lord Alderdice is going to look after it .Try telling that to the many, many thousands of citizens that voted for Sinn Fein and the Good Friday Agreement.They might have thought they were exercising their democratic rights as UK citizens but the British goverment didn`t like the the outcome and have appointed one of their “Lords” to give the duly elected representatives (well not all elected representatives just Republicans) a clean bill of health .Now if that isnt a colonial attitude I don`t know what is .Exactly what kind of democracy are you looking for here?

  • slug

    Lord Alderdice is a Lib-Dem peer: he was nominated for life to the upper house by Lord Ashdown. All he is doing is monitoring. I don’t think that elected representative should be involved in monitoring, you need someone above elected politics to have the independence.

  • Keith M

    Oceallaigh “I would love to know what kind of democracy reigns in the north…”

    Unfortunatly one where a group with both a political wing and an active paramilitary wing get the support of 1 in 4 of the electorate and due to the cowardice of the only other party representing the minority of the population, an agreed cross community coalition, that would be the norm in almost every other democracy, cannot be formed.

  • oceallaigh

    I really don`t care who or what “Lord Alderdice” is , all I am saying is what democratically elected party anywhere on this planet is subjected to this form of ” monitoring ” ( more like vetting)before they can take office,PLEASE SHOW ME A PRECEDEDENT ,I am all ears.For all the politial discourse that goes on here there is really not a solid appreciation of democracy as the rest of the western world knows it ,sadly maybe some of you have lived too long under the yoke .

  • Keith M

    Oceallaigh, if you are looking for precedents perhaps you could give us one where a group that has been rsponsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of people, attact the support of barely 1 in 4 of the electorate while continuing to engage in criminal acts but are still able to hold up the democratic process?

  • oceallaigh

    Siin Fein is not the only party in the north with a history of a military wing .The UUP had a one party rule in the North for 50 years backed by a military wing otherwise known as the RUC ,the RUC (99%unionist/protestant then)was formed mostly by members of the original UVF ,an illegal organisation that smuggled guns under cover of darkness into the north and were willing to fight the British army and declare unilateral independance if the Irish were granted Home Rule ,so there is such a thing as political evolution even though it took the UUP 50 years and an uprising to change their ways .Rome wasn`t built in a day so to speak .

  • slug

    “what democratically elected party anywhere on this planet is subjected to this form of “ monitoring”

    Lord Alderdice is not monitoring the elected parties, he is monitoring the activities of the main paramilitary groups.

  • Nic

    “so lets face it everyone has an agenda”
    Well said, oceallaigh. At least the content and tone of your posting leaves us in no doubt what your agenda is anyway.

    On the matter of “democracy”, I would like to point out that it has been shown on several occasions and in several polls that the vast majority of Irish people consistently abhor the IRA. That is why the deomcratically elected governments have proscribed the organisation. Dare I suggest that defying this most fundamental public will is where the political problems start for the shinners?

    And yes, that’s my agenda.

  • oceallaigh

    Keith do you always answer a question with a question ?

  • oceallaigh

    Nic …of course I have an agenda and that is a normal democratic civil society flourishing in the north of Ireland where EVERYONE`S vote counts .A society based on fairness ,equality,human rights,freedom of religion and personal dignity .It can be achieved but only by non-violence ,empathy and trust .The clock is running out ,if you don`t do it for yourself do it for your kids .

  • onanothermanswounds

    If the current strategy being pursued by republicans has succeeded in ANYTHING it is to highlight once again the essential anti democratic nature of the Northern State, that partition has failed and that Britains presence in Ireland is wrong and not in Irelands interest.

  • oceallaigh

    “Lord Alderdice is not monitoring the elected parties, he is monitoring the activities of the main paramilitary groups.
    Posted by slug on Jan 22, 2006 @ 10:38 AM”
    respectfully I must say this sounds like semantic bull s**t .
    who is policing the police ?
    who paid Donaldson to spy on a democratically elected party?
    who gave Donaldson the evidence to plant?
    who is spending millions infiltrating a political party ,democratically elected by thousands of the norths electorate?
    WHO MONITORS STATE TERRORISM ?

  • Keith M

    Oceallaigh, we’re talking abou the current situation. The RUC are history, the UUP heading in that direction. Unfortunatly SF/IRA STILL has an active active paramilitary wing.

    slug, has answedered your question, now perhaps you can answer mine; “can you could give us a precedent where a group that has been responsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of people, attact the support of barely 1 in 4 of the electorate while continuing to engage in criminal acts but are still able to hold up the democratic process?”.

    I’m pretty well up on world affairs and I can think of none from today or from recent history, but perhaps you know better?

  • oceallaigh

    Likud

  • onanothermanswounds

    Keith M
    Maybe i made my point to subtly, let me try again: what democratic process? The Northern State since its creation in 1920 was / is essentially an anti democratic exercise.

  • Keith M

    onanothermanswounds; there is absolutely nothing anti-democratic about Northern Ireland except the current process which hands a veto to criminals. Partition has not failed, the (eventual) success of the REpublic is testimony to that. The IFS could not have survived with 1M+ people who did not want to be part of the state. There would have been archy from the start a situation would have developed such as that which exists today in Sri Lanka (informal partition) or Cyprus (formal partition). Partition has been a corner stone on which the Republic was build.

    As for Northern Ireland, it would help if people there (from both communities) stopped living in the past, be it constantly commemorating the Boyne, 1916 or denying partition, 1968 etc. Move on, deal with the current situation. Eliminate the legacy of the last 30+ years. Separate politics from terror and criminality for once and for all and build a country that works to benefit all its inhabitants.

  • spartacus

    farcical retreat, keith. oceallaigh calls your bluff and provides you with a perfect example of a precedent, albeit one you hadn’t thought of, and all you can do is complain that this is ‘history’. any precedent would necessarily have had to come from ‘history.’

  • Keith M

    oceallaigh there is no comparison between Likud and SF/IRA except that both stemmed from paramilitary groups.

    If SF/IRA makes the same progress in moving away from illegal activity as Likud did, then they should be welcomed in a voluntary coalition as they have been for many years in Israel. However Likud was NEVER in a position where they got the support of 1/4 of the electorate and still managed to stop the democratic process, so this isn’t a precedent. Try again.

  • oceallaigh

    keith ….the spooks in MI5 and Special Branch who probably don`t have 100 votes between them were able to bring the whole house down by deceit,lying and double dealing .

  • onanothermanswounds

    ocealligh,
    you are being far too generous in your numbers; a handful of the ‘untouchables’ brought the whole house down and have ensured that there is ongoing dispute over the ruins. Bill Lowry brought down the institutions, Mc Quillan with his wild goose chase in Manchester added his share, Kinkaid with his recent tuppence worth. What odds that the latest shenanigans from the PSNI a.k.a the Historical Enquiry Team will be used to ensure that an environment is created that means ‘there isn’t a fenian about the place’? Ooops but that is history now. Well isn’t it?

  • Keith M

    Ocealliagh, the only thing that brought the assembly down was a complete lack of trust in the assembly and the agreement. SF/IRA played a huge part in the breakdown of trust and the death of the Belfast Agreement. I appreciate your need to blame others but some root cause analysis wouldn’t go astraty.

  • oceallaigh

    The Assembly was brought down as a result of state agents infiltrating and interfering with a legitimate democratically elected party thereby manufacturing a crisis.Donaldson was a paid agent of the British Government and as such facilitated the whole “spy ring affair” while being the man in charge.It`s not rocket science to see how the show was choreographed.The one thing that amazes me is the people who shout the loudest about upholding democratic institutions are very conspicious by their silence when these same institutions are threatened .Just because they dont agree with the policies of the party being targeted
    is no reason to abandon their erstwhile democratic principles .If it was the Conservative party and not Sinn Fein that had been targeted by Blairs MI5 I am sure the whole country would have been outraged and calling for his impeachment.Who might be next we may well ask?

  • Henry94

    I wouldn’t go by what “security sources” told the Sunday Times. Lets’s see what the report actually says.

    We are after all talking about te paper that bought the Hiter Dairies.

  • lib2016

    Unionists are caught between a rock and a hard place. To continue saying ‘No’ to powersharing as voted for by the vast majority of the electorate will further isolate them from the mainstream both in Ireland and in Britain whereas to move forward into powersharing will inevitably bring further splits.

    They never modernised their supremacist idealogy in the 80’s and 90’s. Now it’s too late and they have lost their freedom to manoeuvre.

  • oilbhear@hotmail.com

    So the IMC is going to say ‘no’ – what do you expect from a pig but a grunt?

  • TAFKABO

    I have to laugh at the continued suggestions that unionism is somehow in crisis with imminent threats of major splits.

    The last election results show that it is Nationalism which is most divided between the two opposing ideologies.
    The DUP have things pretty much sown up these days.
    You might not agree with them, but they have managed to get most unionists behind them, for better or worse.
    And as for the idea that Unionists are isolated from from the powers that be?

    Ah ha ha ha ha ha…..

    You wish.

  • lib2016

    Taf.

    Who mentioned ‘major splits’? The moderates have been driven out of politics long since so that all that remains is the DUP. No-one does splits better than the ‘true believers’ as republicans know only too well.

    It won’t take much of a split in the DUP to bring them into an overall minority position and as you very rightly point out there is no significant unionist centre party to bail them out.

    It’s the very diversity of republicanism from the growing ‘shoneenism’ of the SDLP to the daftest marxist dissident that guarantees success to Irish republicanism.

    Whereas it was the insistence on a one party state which destroyed the original Stormont regime and every attempt at building a successor.

    …and you haven’t yet realised that the DUP are the elephant in the corner at Westminster and Brussels? Oh dear!

  • alfredo

    i see ‘oceallaigh’ is today’s pen-name for the sinn fein blog monitoring committee – ‘pat mclarnon’ and ‘chris gaskin’ obviously have a day off; poor dears they deserve it after putting so much work in on behalf of the big effort!

  • TAFKABO

    Lib.

    I see that you are not one to let the facts get in the way of your opinions.
    From all available evidence the DUP manage to comport themselves with dignity and skill, whether it is Westminster, or dirung visits to Dublin, where all who meet them praise their abilities and willingness to deal.

    The problem for the people who shout so much about the DUP being extremists is that the people who have to work with the DUP are able to see the situation for themselves.

    It might be helpful for you to keep in mind that it is not the DUP who everyody lost faith in.
    It is not the DUP who need a clean bill of health from the IMC.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    We are in the strange situation that the IMC can remain in position just as long as they keep making negative reports. It must be tempting to want to hang on to a £600 a day job.

  • slug

    “We are in the strange situation that the IMC can remain in position just as long as they keep making negative reports. It must be tempting to want to hang on to a £600 a day job.”

    The folks they monitor have an even greater temptation to hang on to their £26,000,000 a day jobs.

  • heck

    ” if you are looking for precedents perhaps you could give us one where a group that has been rsponsible for the deaths of hundreds if not thousands of people, attact the support of barely 1 in 4 of the electorate while continuing to engage in criminal acts but are still able to hold up the democratic process”

    keith M –how about the british labor party, about 1/3 of the vote, lead by a war criminal,and responsible for over a hundred thousand dead in Iraq.

    and they are holding up the democratic process in ireland.

    I suppose your view is that they are british so that is ok then,

  • Ultonian Scottis American

    I find it hard to imagine that anyone voted for the GFA with the thought that a paramilitary gangster party like Sinn Féin would even be allowed in the election, much less government.

    It seems to me that the power-sharing agreement is anti-democratic.

    Would the DUP share power with SDLP? If yes, then why aren’t voters switching from SF to SDLP? Is it because quasi-democratic power-sharing is not important, and that a peaceful prosperous NI is not what they want?

    Henry94 wrote:

    “We are after all talking about the paper that bought the Hitler Diaries.”

    WOW! – Major Godwin’s Law violation.

  • slug

    “We are after all talking about the paper that bought the Hitler Diaries.”

    To be fair, this isn’t claiming that the Sunday Times are fascist, so I don’t think Godwins law applies.

    Also to be fair to the Sunday Times, the Hitler Diaries were authenticated by a distinguished Oxford historian. I think it was really that historian whose reputation was in question.

    The historian never lived it down!

  • Ultonian Scottis American

    slug:

    I was just teasing Henry (sort of).

    Actually, I don’t subscribe to Godwin’s Law, except when invoking Hitler is totally irrelevant.

    In this case, out of the many things to criticise The Sunday Times for, the one chosen regarded Hitler. Nothing like invoking Der Führer to grab attention.

  • Shay Begorrah

    Come on folks, the GFA brought an end to the troubles and an implicit part of the understanding was that there would be power sharing and SF might end up in government despite Unionist distaste.

    The IMCs subsequent formation and operation and the three (so far) instances of what appear to be the special branch prosecuting a vendetta against a now peaceful republican movement are generating a lot of disquiet among Republicans.

    We have to ask ourselves:

    Are the the PSNI and NIO heavilly contaminated at senior levels by ultra-unionists who see no problem with using the police force and state apparatus for political means?

    What do Republicans do now that it turns out Unionists do not just want peace, stability and the major role in government but the anihilation of the political strand of Irish Republicanism also?

    How do we cope with the fact the the major Unionist party thinks that the major nationalist partys voters should not be represented in government?

  • heck

    shay begorrah

    I agre with the point you make. The issue in not guns, crime or the fact that someone calls unionists nazis. The problem is that unionists won’t work the GFA because they don’t want upity fenians in government. The unionist population killed that GFA at the last election by voting strongly for the DUP. (not because of the in built divide as claimed by eammon mccann and others)

    “How do we cope with the fact the the major Unionist party thinks that the major nationalist partys voters should not be represented in government? ”

    there are two ways–either 1 go back to war–which will not happen in this generation —

    or 2 start a push for full joint authority and by pass the unionist politicans.

    I favor the second.

  • Ultonian Scottis American

    heck & shay:

    Why not vote SDLP?

  • Shay Begorrah

    Heck, if the Unionist majority will not not go for power sharing I can not imagine them being well disposed towards joint authority and the kind of bad disposition I imagine is not peaceable. Meaningful JA is not on the cards unless there is a substantial change in the ethnic balance of NI at some point in the future. In fact I think that the assembly is a dead duck.

    The only plausible way forward for the moment is a kind of local government driven balkanization where much more power is devolved to councils allowing nationalist and unionist areas to pursue different agendas rather than agree on one. Coleraine will get grammar schools, Derry modern comprensives and so on.

    This will of course lead to more sectarian division but what other option is there?

  • Shay Begorrah

    “Why not vote SDLP?”

    – Ultonian Scottis American.

    I know a post from the black propaganda arm of the Sinn Fein monitoring committee when I see one and I am not falling for your attempt to brand the SDLP as Uncle Tom figures, however easy it is to make the case.

    Nice try.

    Also being a citizen of the Irish Republic (our motto: “300000 US troops transported and still neutral.”) I can not vote in NI elections without resorting to personation and an implausible Darry accent.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Is there no possibility whatsoever that the PSNI are telling the truth, that the IRA are still involved in low-level crime ? We are being asked to make choices between the credibility of the PSNI (which isn’t great at the minute) and the credibility of the IRA.

    Let’s look more closely at the IRA’s credibility, since there are some people contributing to this thread who seem to be indignant about the very idea that the IRA might not have completely retired. They initially denied the murder of Robert McCartney. Subsequently, it turned out that it’s members had murdered McCartney – but the murder was not centrally sanctioned. Subsequently, it has been alleged that the individuals behind that incident have not been disciplined.

    They also initially denied the murder of Garda Jerry McCabe during a post office robbery. When it’s members were arrested and charged, it admitted that – again – the operation had been undertaken by it’s members without authorization. Subsequently, there have been no suggestions that the IRA intended to take disciplinary action against those who shot McCabe and conducted the robbery. Indeed, Sinn Fein have been actively pursuing their release as a key requirement to moving the political process forward.

    Further, the IRA have denied the Northern Bank robbery. Jury’s still out on that one, although I’ve yet to encounter anyone who isn’t a rabid chuckie who believes that they didn’t do it.

    A skeptical person might have difficulty with this notion that people in the IRA are doing their own thing without authorization; it seems to happen quite often and the IRA never seem to do anything about it, at least not in the examples mentioned above. A skeptical person might go on to ask about precisely how IRA operations do get authorized – what are the distinctions between sanctioned and unsanctioned operations ? Does the IRA always take care to distance itself completely from unsanctioned operations, even if they are favourable from a PR point of view ?

    So what do we know for sure about the IRA ? We know that a lot of operations take place which are unauthorized. We know that it denies having anything to do with those – but only when it is caught, otherwise it denies that it was ever involved. Given these facts, we really have no basis upon which to dismiss the IMC’s findings out of hand. The IRA’s credibility isn’t sufficiently watertight.

    That said, what upsets me about this cycle of IMC reports is the fact that there is basically no way out. If the IMC produces a favourable report, the DUP and UUP will say that the IMC report was deliberately bent and interfered with by the government in order to appease republicans. On the other hand, if the IMC produces even a slightly negative report (like this one looks to be, eg “they’re slowing down but still doing bad stuff”) it will be seized upon by the unionists and regarded as a securocrat conspiracy by the Shinners.

    This leads us into a very nasty cul-de-sac – there is no document possible that the IMC can ever produce – either way – which will, in itself, pave the way for further agreement. There is no way forward other than for the government to call all-party talks at once, that way we can hammer out whatever it is we need to get straight between the parties. I doubt that given the present government’s disasterous management of the situation here that this will ever take place, unfortunately.

  • slug

    CS – interesting post but I think there is a way out and that is when there is a general feeling amongst those in the know that IRA crime (and paramilitary organised crime generally) is at an end. This is something verifiable by all kinds of experts.

    I also agree that in the end the solution is for the local parties to find, but that will not be for a while. Why would the unionists want to jump into devolution right now after the whirlwind 2005 that Sinn Fein had – Northern Bank, Robert McCartney, the IRA statement, decommissioning, Donaldson, and now an adverse IMC report. These events have changed the context of NI politics quite a lot and resulted in a focus on IRA crime.

    I think that the political debate will be too focused on IRA crime in 2006 for things to move forward to devolution. Once the IRA crime issue is dealt with – and as I say this is something that the public can get a sense of through expert opinion – things can move forward onto social and economic questions and devolution.

    Things are changing and there is some evidence that NI politics is moving on a bit to social and economic questions, particularly economic. This is a good sign but will require a good bit more progress before these are the main issues in the political arena.

    At the moment things are too up in the air and people on all sides need time to see how the context of NI politics has changed before committing to a new agreement.

  • Ultonian Scottis American

    shay wrote:

    “I know a post from the black propaganda arm of the Sinn Fein monitoring committee when I see one and I am not falling for your attempt to brand the SDLP as Uncle Tom figures, however easy it is to make the case.

    Nice try.”

    LOL – That’s a new one!

    If you are not a citisen of the UK, then yes, you can’t vote in NI elections, at least you shouldn’t be able to.

    I frankly couldn’t care less if NI unionists suddenly did a volte-face and demanded admittance to the RoI.

    But the issue is power sharing between NI “Irish nationalists” and NI unionists.

    I can see why the DUP wouldn’t want it under any circumstance. As a citisen of the RoI, when the majority of RoI citisens makes up those of Nigerian heritage, and want the RoI to become part of Nigeria, then you will too. Even more so if the Irish Nigerians waged a terrorist campaign to get their way.

    But if the NI “Irish nationalist” vote went overwhelmingly to SDLP, the DUP would have a hard time not forming an executive with them due to pressure from the UK and US gov’ts. I hardly think that a nonviolent SDLP is the same as an Uncle Tom.

    As to being a Sinn Féin spy, listen, I for one have no problem with a shoot to kill policy against terrorists, no matter how much they whine about unfair treatment. And if a beleaguered gov’t hires a NGO to do a little extra-curricular side work, so what? Just be sure to not target innocent people.

    However, it seems that it should be time to move on. Voting for SDLP should be able to represent NI “Irish nationals”, no? If not, please tell me why.

  • heck

    shay begorrah,
    You suggest that because unionists will not go for power sharing they will not go for joint authority. I would beg to disagree. It is because they will not go for power sharing that makes JA one of few options left. JA can be imposed by the two sovereign governments over the heads of the unionists. How would they object—through violence? The would just add extra proof to my argument that their refusal to implement the agreed on, and voted on, GFA, has nothing to do with violence, crime, guns, or the fact that priests sometimes call them Nazis.
    In 1974 they called a general strike to bring down a power sharing administration but the economy and the demographics have changed so much since then that I don’t believe this is feasible anymore.

    The majority of the majority is a minority in Northern Ireland and this sectarian minority has to be confronted not given a veto by honest Tony.

  • Ultonian Scottis American

    shay:

    Much like the tribunes of ancient Rome, NI unionists do have an effective veto.

    What do you think of the possibility that JA might lead to a Unilateral Declaration of Independance?

  • Lib:

    “They never modernised their supremacist ideology in the 80’s and 90’s”.

    You’re implying a lot of things here without ever being specific. The DUP is undoubtedly a modern party, in some respects more modern than SF. The rest are still struggling well behind the curve.

    As for supremacist? Well, we can only judge them (and all parties) on their policies and actions in government. I can’t recall anything in the last five years that could fit that discription.

    But I’d be happy to be proved wrong?

  • martin ingram

    Comrade Stalin. A well argued piece, the IMC is a sticking plaster designed to cover the wound but in the end it may delay the healing.

    Sinn Fein have enjoyed a good few years of growth and success. That success has been made on the basis of it achieving a UI in this generations life time. This promise is almost impossible to achieve in the life time of anybody on this board.

    If this process was a game of poker, the DUP ( Big Ian and three hangers on) are sat with Ace King suited,Adams is sat( Dennis Donaldon, Martin McGuinness and Gerry Kelly) with with 7/2 off suit. SDLP (Mark Durkan is sat with his mother in law and a fat cleaner) they are sat uncomfortable with a pair of fours off suit. The UUP have folded. Everyone checks the bet.

    The flop comes and the DUP are sat with a nut flush, the Shinners are sat with fuck all not even a low pair, SDLP have a pair of fours.

    First round of betting.

    The DUP check. The shinners bet, the SDLP fold.

    The DUP knowing it has the the best hand sits tight and matches the Sinn Fein bet, this strategy is designed to trap Sinn Fein.

    second round of betting.

    Sinn Fein has nothing but is intent on not losing to the DUP so instead of laying the cards down and waiting for a better hand decides it will bluff. It raises the bet to five times the big blind,this bluff is designed to scare the DUP into folding its hand. The DUP look relaxed and comfortable, not wishing to scare the Shinners from possibly over committing to the pot they dont raise the bet , they just match it. The shiiners looked puzzled, but fall for it .

    Sinn Fein look down at their chips and they see they are pot committed, that it to say they have too much invested in the game . Adams says bravely, all in, he sits passively hoping the DUP will fold . The DUP without a moments hessitation calls the bet.

    Everybody turns the cards over and Adams looks shaken,but he knows he is beaten.He quickly decides to not re buy into this game.He wisely decides to retreat ,he feels this is the best option open to him so he leaves the table in a calm manner.

    When Gerry leaves the table and the room the dealer greets Big Ian with a warm hug, to everyones surprise big Ian was playing with a stacked deck of cards.If that was not enough, at least one person at the Sinn Fein team was using a mirror to reflect the cards in Gerry`s hand in the direction of Big Ian. Poor Gerry he has been had.

    Gerry will soon leave this ship( Sinn Fein with a pocket full of money)) before it reaches choppy waters and turn his attentions to the next Irish Republic presidential elections.

    Its just a matter of timing, the cards have been played.

    Martin.

  • lib2016

    Mick Fealty,

    The only significant moves in unionism have been the ‘Love Ulster’ campaign and the rejection of the UUP. The ‘Love Ulster’ campaign in particular has been an unmitigated disaster in that it has revealed the extent of the unionist cultural meltdown by it’s concentration on whipping up sectarian hate. This has nothing to do with anything in modern ‘Britishness’ which is on increasingly good terms with modern ‘Irishness’.

    Partition was built on the perceived need for Protestant Supremacy. There has been no change in that position and the rejection of those who have tried to urge moderation for tactical reasons from O’Neill to Trimble has been complete.

    Taf, Martin and anyone else who believes, or claims to believe that unionists have a veto,

    It was not a majority nationalist regime which had to have it’s power removed by Westminster. When a nationalist majority emerges (and continued Direct Rule will speed that day) then it will take power, hopefully in a power-sharing executive. Anyone who truly believes that any British Government would have the authority to close it down simply doesn’t understand the political realities, particularly in America.

  • seabhac siulach

    This is farcical…

    So, we are all waiting on the view of the IMC, a body that receives all of its information solely from government agencies, e.g., MI5, Garda Special Branch, etc. This information is already available to government ministers so why the need for the pretence of waiting for the report? The Irish and British governments could come out and state publicly now that the IRA is not engaging in any ‘criminal’ or other activity. Why do they not do so? Why do they wait for this unaccountable, undemocratic body, that was not part of the GFA to determine the future of political progress on this island? In the light of even a moderately negative report, which only merely hints at individual IRA members being involved in smuggling, for example, will be gladly seized upon by those elements unwilling to enter political talks, i.e., the DUP. In fact, it may already not matter due to the (un)timely intervention of Mr. Kinkaid…who had nicely handed the DUP another reason for prevarication, handy that…
    Strange how these things ‘leak’ out to the media, isn’t it…

    If Shaun Woodward/Peter Hain both believe that the IRA are not involved in any activity (basing these assessments on the very same information available to the IMC) then surely that should be the end of it. Convene talks. Put the pressure on the DUP to attend and if they do not, then remove their assembly privileges. It is quite simple if the political will is there…

    Why is that Sinn Fein, who have so far acquiesced to every demand made of them, that are in the political doghouse, while the DUP, who are stubbornly, hypocritically and illogically refusing to engage with other parties, are allowed to escape with no censure whatsoever?
    The media have a lot of questions to answer in this regard.

    The DUP is the party that frequently engages in talks with fully armed loyalist paramilitaries who have lots of innocent blood on their hands, but who will not meet with elected representatives of Sinn Fein, who have called for all weapons to be decommissioned and, having achieved that, have further campaigned that all non-political activity should end. The position of the DUP, as regards weapons decommissioning or demands for an end to IRA ‘criminality’ are in this light, truly bizarre. But, bizarre as their position is, it is not seriously challenged by either the media or government and so the stalemate continues.

    Sinn Fein, through Gerry Kelly and Gerry Adams have stated that 2006 is a critical and year for the peace process – a ‘make or break’ year. It is, or do some doubt it? Do unionists consider that nationalist patience is unlimited or is it their intention to stretch that patience to breaking point? Remember, that one should be careful what one wishes for. Make or break…

  • Betty Boo

    In the light of that it doesn’t matter what the outcome of this ICM report is as it will be used either way to delay further process by some, it does look a bit like an employment scheme for those who haven’t got a proper job out of it so far.

  • seabhac siulach

    The ‘leaking’ of Kinkaid’s comments were designed to banjax the IMC report, that, following Woodward’s earlier comments of last year, looked to be about to give the IRA a clean bill of health. It now merely gives the DUP yet another pretext for prevarication irrespective of the IMCs findings. It was clearly a pre-emptive piece of mis-information designed to sabotage any possible movement.
    Cynical souls might begin to see a pattern here (oh so convenient pretext after pretext for the DUP to delay) and start to believe themselves to have been strung along…
    Patience is not an infinite commodity. Where are institutions that were agreed nearly 8 years ago?
    How much longer must nationalists wait for those things that were promised? Remember, the IRA has now decommissioned as it was required to do under the GFA. Why, then, is the assembly not re-assembled with or without the DUP? When will pressure be applied to the DUP? The two governments have it in their power to do this tomorrow and yet they do not, preferring instead to pander to the DUPs whims. Why?

  • martin ingram

    Seabhac

    “Patience is not an infinite commodity”

    What is it you are saying here are you suggesting a return to war? if you dont get your own way, is that the threat? or am I being unfair to you.

    Martin

  • seabhac siulach

    Martin Ingram:

    “What is it you are saying here are you suggesting a return to war? if you dont get your own way, is that the threat? or am I being unfair to you.”

    There is no threat from me, merely an assessment of where I now see the situation. You can interpret my comments, of course, as you wish.
    In any case, there are many forms of showing ‘impatience’ that fall far short of ‘war’; marches, civil disobedience, etc. Who knows, of course, where these things can lead.
    What I am saying is that those that think that the present limbo can continue indefinitely are deluding themselves. Nature abhors a vacumn. Sectarian divisions are more acute than ever in the statelet and it would not take much to push us all back to the inglorious past. A fresh generation have grown to adulthood over the 12 year period of the peace process. Are we to believe that these young adults, unfamiliar with the years of the troubles but brought up on the poisonous sectarian atmosphere of the last decade, will merely be content to leave well enough alone?
    Will these young adults be willing to wait indefinitely for their full rights? Hardly. Therein lies the danger…
    Prevarication on the restoration of the institutions (for petty party political reasons) is literally playing with fire. The DUP are playing a dangerous game…

  • pakman

    seabhac siulach

    if not a threat then sabre rattling.

    For my own information what rights are these young adults of yours being denied? The right to have your party of choice in government? That “right” was denied Labour voters between 1979 and 1997 and has been denied to Tory supporters ever since. Spare a thought for the Liberals who have been denied this “right” since 1918.

  • Realist

    “Sinn Fein, through Gerry Kelly and Gerry Adams have stated that 2006 is a critical and year for the peace process – a ‘make or break’ year. It is, or do some doubt it? Do unionists consider that nationalist patience is unlimited or is it their intention to stretch that patience to breaking point? Remember, that one should be careful what one wishes for. Make or break…”

    That’ll be music to the ears of the, fully armed, loyalist paramilitary groups.
    It wholly vindicates their decision not to decommission.

  • seabhac siulach

    Pakman:

    ‘…what rights are these young adults of yours being denied? ‘

    Let’s see. How about all of the ‘little’ rights, policing, cross border bodies, language rights, etc., that a majority of voters (unionist AND nationalist) North and South voted for in the GFA. Why are these still being denied now that the IRA has verifiably decommissioned all of its weaponry and is no longer a threat to any but HM customs (perhaps)?

    How about the right of seeing their own elected representatives (DUP or Sinn Fein or whoever) administering the governmental functions in their own statelet…little things like that. The right to not be ruled by an unaccountable direct rule English or Welsh minister. Ministers who were not elected by any of the major parties in the 6 counties, and who, furthermore, are members of a party that Northern voters cannot even vote for! Yet, we are supposed to be happy with this level of ‘democracy’? The DUP certainly seem to be…
    What kind of unionism is this? The brain dead type in which every hare-brained idea that comes from London is accepted (with perhaps a little show of disapproval just for the cameras), while local democracy is to be denied, merely because the opposite party has, what?, catholics in it? There is now no logical reason for the assembly not to be restored. Further delay is completely unjustified and is merely based on party political posturing, i.e., the DUP and UUP each trying to out-do the other in being the most intransigent.
    Ah, unionism, truly a visionary ‘ideology’…

  • martin ingram

    Seabhac,

    You following comment is unfair, they are unlike Sinn Fein a Normal democratic political party.

    “The DUP are playing a dangerous game”…

    The DUP are not doing anything they did not tell the electorate at the time of the last election and of course they are the largest party in the North. This is normal politics and of course you cant stamp you feet and jump up and down when you are the minority, you have to make the argument and hope you carry it through to a majority position.

    That will not happen over night, today`s youth have been promised much from Sinn Fein but like everybody else, they will have to wait for the point of consent .Sinn Fein should not write cheques it can not cash.

    Martin

    Martin

  • seabhac siulach

    Martin Ingram:

    “This is normal politics and of course you cant stamp you feet and jump up and down when you are the minority, you have to make the argument and hope you carry it through to a majority position.”

    To even refer to six county politics as normal is a sick joke, I’m afraid.
    In no normal democracy is the largest party allowed to delay the restoration of the democratically elected local assembly, as is the case with the DUP. If this is normal then God help us.

    The DUP do not have to make any difficult political decisions, merely sit back and let the unaccountable Brit ministers do all of the unpopular heavy lifting. In that sense, why would the DUP want to get local government back. They are effectively being paid to do nothing. A popularity that comes from doing as little as possible and holding up all progress. Brilliant.
    And the strange thing is that the governments appear happy to let this situation continue.

    Realist:
    “That’ll be music to the ears of the, fully armed, loyalist paramilitary groups.
    It wholly vindicates their decision not to decommission.”

    Ah yes, these same loyalists that were supposedly only in existence as a reaction to the presence of the IRA. Well, the IRA has now totally decommissioned. Something verified by a completely independent international body. So, what is the excuse for loyalists maintaining their weapons, for existing? I have not heard many(any?) unionist politicians anxiously demanding loyalist decommissioning. How strange…ah, but then they were only killing catholics, is that it?
    The stench of hypocrisy…and yet, the media is silent…

  • Realist

    “Ah yes, these same loyalists that were supposedly only in existence as a reaction to the presence of the IRA. Well, the IRA has now totally decommissioned. Something verified by a completely independent international body. So, what is the excuse for loyalists maintaining their weapons, for existing?”

    SS

    Emm…veiled threats that if PSF/PIRA don’t get their way soon, it could be back to the old way might have something to do with it?

    Rising support for other militant republican armed death gangs?

    The fact that PIRA haven’t gone away?

    You tell me!

    “I have not heard many(any?) unionist politicians anxiously demanding loyalist decommissioning.”

    You haven’t been listening too hard then have you?

    “How strange…ah, but then they were only killing catholics, is that it?”

    Were/are they? They seem pretty fond of killing each other too, and destroying their own communities.

  • TAFKABO

    If killing catholics was enough to get tacit approval, then unionists would hardly have demanded an end to the IRA, after all who killed more catholics than them?

  • Yoda

    You haven’t been listening too hard then have you?

    So why isn’t it happening? Where’s the political pressure? Perhaps the cries aren’t loud enough? Funny, that.

    If killing catholics was enough to get tacit approval, then unionists would hardly have demanded an end to the IRA, after all who killed more catholics than them?

    I hate the numbers game, but your assertion is plain wrong. Out of 1522 Catholics killed, British Security killed 304, Irish Security 1, Loyalist Paramilitaries 730, Republican Paramilitaries 446, “unknown” 41. (In total, 1286 Protestants were killed.)

    And we still don’t know how many of these deaths were the result of collusion and agents. For example, Scap is reputed to have bumped off about 40 in his dual capacity as a British agent/ head of the nutting squad.

  • TAFKABO

    Yoda.

    I have no wish to get into the numbers game either, but I stand by my assertion that the IRA killed more catholics than any other organisation.

    Go to the Sutton index and do a cross tabulation of religion summary by organisation.

  • Yoda

    Go to the Sutton index and do a cross tabulation of religion summary by organisation.

    I did.

  • TAFKABO

    OK.

    The table I saw indicated that the IRA as an organisation killed more catholics than any other organisation.
    If you got a different result, tell me which organisation killed the greater number?

  • Yoda

    As I said, I feel uncomfortable with all of this; not just because scoring a point means nothing, but also because we still don’t know how many within the IRA were actually killed by security forces through agents and handlers, etc.

    If you add the IRA’s 340 to the 5 killed by the DAAD (Direct Action Against Drugs), then the total is 345.

    The combined flavours (and there are many) of the UVF killed at least 345 catholics. To arrive at this figure, you need to interpret the Sutton figures in the light of what is known about how Loyalist Paramilitaries operate. Loyalist Paramilitaries often used different names for the same organization (the Red Hand Defenders being one of the most interesting “flags of convenience” for the blurring of the LVF and the UDA).

    The 345 would certainly be even higher if one took into account the various umbrella Loyalist organizations such as the Ulster Army Council (UAC) and the Loyalist Commission (LC) and the Combined Loyalist Military Command (CLMC) which also coordinated Loyalist Paramilitary violence at various point in time.

    And again, these numbers do not include those killed by the security forces working in collusion with Loyalist Paramilitary groups.

  • TAFKABO

    Thank you.

    As I suspected, you were interpreting the results and giving your own spin on them.

    I’ll just stick with what the figures say if you don’t mind.

  • Yoda

    Forgot to add: there were an additional 201 catholics killed by “non-specific Loyalists Groups”: the murkiness and confusion that surrounds these deaths is a direct result of the MO of Loyalist Paramilitary goups I briefly outlined in my above post.

  • Yoda

    I’ll just stick with what the figures say if you don’t mind.

    Fair enough, but my post is not so easily dismissed as spin. The different paramilitary groups operate in different ways: historically, there has been much more crossover between Loyalist Paramilitaries. That’s just a fact.

    I wonder why you’re ignoring what I have to say?

    Does it make you uncomfortable to see one of the myths about the conflict challenged?

    The fact remains that the paramilitary groups that killed the most civilians and catholics remain armed.

    And I’m left wondering why there has not been the same amount of noise about this.

  • TAFKABO

    I didn’t see any myth challenged.

    I saw someone claim I had gotten my assertion wrong.
    I cited my source and was then old I had to interpret the data in a specific way.

    My intial point stands.
    The one who seems uncomfortable with that truth is yourself.

    anyway, back on topic.

  • Yoda

    As I suspected, you were interpreting the results and giving your own spin on them.

    Final comment from me: I’d like to see how any figures at all would be arrived at without the “interpretation” you derisively italicised.

    Interpretation saturates everything, and there is very little we can do without it.

  • Yoda

    My intial point stands.

    And I’m telling you it doesn’t.

    The one who seems uncomfortable with that truth is yourself.

    You are ignoring information that has a definite bearing on what the numbers in that index mean in order to be able to trot out the facile line that “the IRA killed the most catholics.”

    I’m just saying that it’s not that simple.

  • oceallaigh

    Its just a matter of timing, the cards have been played.

    Martin.
    Posted by martin ingram on Jan 23, 2006 @ 10:46 AM
    Ingram seems to be losing it with the card analogy even if it was a bit humourous,but he forgot to mention he was sitting with aces and eights.

  • oceallaigh

    ?

  • barnshee

    “The DUP do not have to make any difficult political decisions, merely sit back and let the unaccountable Brit ministers do all of the unpopular heavy lifting”

    This is not a bad ploy – all the shitty decisions– education, water rates, reduction in councils, civil service numbers, huge rates increases , (add fuel prices thru the roof) all are “imposed” by these damned direct rule ministers. Noo noo noo not us guv– honest itwas them and its all themuns fault because as we told you you cant`t trust them look at all the spying bank robbing nnoo noo not us ….