More different understandings

The build up to the next IMC report continues in earnest, with RTÉ reporting that Prime Minister Tony Blair is to meet Taoiseach Bertie Ahern on Thursday, as does the Belfast Telegraph and the Irish Examiner. Interestingly in the Examiner Harry McGee reports that, “The Irish Examiner understands that the report will be largely positive and will pave the way for intense engagement involving the governments and Northern parties.”, that’s not a universal understanding, as noted here previously.Also of interest are the members of the Government delegations meeting on Thursday, as reported by RTÉ

The Taoiseach will be accompanied at the talks by the Minister for Foreign Affairs, Dermot Ahern, and the Minister for Justice, Michael McDowell.

Mr Blair will be accompanied by the Northern Secretary, Peter Hain.

Notice any names missing from that list? Like the NI Security Minister, Shaun Woodward?

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  • martin ingram

    Eh Pete, Uncle Tom Cobbley could attend this meeting but the reality is the DUP have the ball and they are not coming out to play? or at least untill they have a clear set of rules.

    Martin

  • seabhac siulach

    Unless the governments put real and sustained pressure on the DUP to engage will any of this mean anything. They have signally failed to do this up to now for unknown reasons. That the DUP has not been held to account (by the media, governments, etc.)for at least some of the political stalemate is, to me, remarkable. And a little too unbelievable to be merely by chance.
    The IRA completely decommissions and yet it is the IRA that is holding up the restoration of the assembly? Ridiculous.

    In any case, the DUP already have their ‘comfort blanket’ following the ‘leaked’ comments of Kinkaid. Irrespective of the IMC’s findings they can choose to frustrate progress simply by referring to the ‘criminality’ alluded to by Kinkaid. It is (as it has always been,…sigh) for the two governments to force the DUP to the negotiating table, through restoration of the assembly in their absence or by bringing forward proposals for joint authority. When did the IMC become the arbitrator of political progress. It is absurd.

    I am not optimistic for the future.

  • martin ingram

    Seabhac,

    “I am not optimistic for the future”.

    Shame that.

    “When did the IMC become the arbitrator of political progress. It is absurd.”

    Both Govts agreed to this proposal.

    “The IRA completely decommissions” Oh yes and the tooth fairy is joining the CRJ in South Armagh with Chris Gasket.

    Made my night.

    Martin

  • onanothermanswounds

    Seabhas Siulach,
    You should know better than arguing with GOD aka Martin Ingram

  • seabhac siulach

    Martin Ingram:

    ““When did the IMC become the arbitrator of political progress. It is absurd.”

    Both Govts agreed to this proposal. ”

    Great system. The British intelligence services employed by the British govt. pass intelligence to the IMC, which was set up by the British govt. to advise it using the very same intelligence that was already available to it from the same intelligence services. Yep, makes sense to make the IMC the arbiters…what was I thinking…
    They surely are ‘Independent’.
    The IMC wouldn’t just be a convenient device to pander to Unionist fears/intransigence, would it?
    Its Alice in Wonderland stuff.

    ““The IRA completely decommissions” Oh yes and the tooth fairy is joining the CRJ in South Armagh with Chris Gasket.”

    In the make believe world of the 6 counties, it has been decided that they have…whether you choose to believe or not. For political purposes they have, that is accepted by all unbiased commentators, and this is the most important thing. There was a little matter of a truly independent decommissioning body taking care of the decommissioning, by the way, witnessed by two churchmen, one a protestant minister who would be very unlikely to lie about IRA weaponry…
    Who can deny that perhaps some pistols were kept back for protection, but then decommissioning was always only a political gesture. Weapons can be easily both on the blackmarket for those with the money and the desire. The fact that loyalism still has its weapons stops no one from talking to them, funny that…so any further talk or delay relating to decommissioning is not credible.

  • martin ingram

    Seabhac,

    “Great system. The British intelligence services employed by the British govt. pass intelligence to the IMC, which was set up by the British govt”.

    You seem to have forgotten the Irish Govt is also involved here and provides its own members to this body. It also provides Intelligence from its own excellent resources.

    You have what you have got. Deal with it.

    As regards the Arms. You make a good point.

    Martin.

  • slug

    seabhac siulach

    Lord Alderdice is one of the people on the IMC.

    All he is doing is monitoring.

    Lord Alderdice is a Liberal Democrat nominated peer, as nominated by Paddy Ashdown who was then leader of the Lib Dems.

    His moral integrity is very highly regarded.

  • onanothermanswounds

    Seabac Siulach
    Only after finding out from an Irish speaker what the english version of your name is. Hawk from the Walk? Brillaint, have not stopped laughing. Martin Ingram will be highly amused.

  • seabhac siulach

    slug:

    “Lord Alderdice is a Liberal Democrat nominated peer, as nominated by Paddy Ashdown who was then leader of the Lib Dems….etc.”

    So, he is on the side of the angels, so what? He is merely a mouthpiece for whatever the Brit./Irish govt. choose to feed to him.
    In any case, my point is that the IMC is largely irrelevant and a mere cosmetic device set up years ago in an attempt to ease the fears of the unionists and tempt them into talks. Unfortunately, it has now grown into a monster holding up progress. The strange thing is that the govts. are seemingly happy with this situation of their own making and appear happy to continue to pander to the obstructionism of the DUP. Why? Is Sinn Fein the only ‘baddy’ in the piece?

  • seabhac siulach

    onanothermanswounds:

    “Only after finding out from an Irish speaker what the english version of your name is. Hawk from the Walk? Brillaint, have not stopped laughing. Martin Ingram will be highly amused.”

    Yep, I am only here to amuse Mr. Ingram…

    Just for the record, such as it is, ‘seabhac siulach’ can be perhaps more accurately translated as the ‘wandering/roving hawk’.
    (there is, of course, a missing fada on siulach).
    Whether that is amusing or not, of course, is entirely up to yourself…

  • martin ingram

    Yep, I am only here to amuse Mr. Ingram

    And amuse me you do indeed.

    Martin.

  • slug

    seabhac siulach:

    My point is that Lord Alderdice is a man that a lot of people would respect. If he takes the view that he is satisfied that the IRA have stopped any connection whatsoever e.g. with smuggling of diesel and other crime then a lot of people will sit up anyd take note. He is not anyones bitch, he is a man of the highest moral integrity.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It is (as it has always been,…sigh) for the two governments to force the DUP to the negotiating table, through restoration of the assembly in their absence or by bringing forward proposals for joint authority. When did the IMC become the arbitrator of political progress. It is absurd.

    I would like to agree but I’m afraid you are wrong. Even when it became clear that the GFA talks would proceed with Sinn Fein with or without the DUP, the DUP still stayed out right until the end. Now that they are much larger this will simply not be possible to do in a credible way.

    Apart from that, I find your view objectionable. The politics of exclusion is not the right way to address this matter. The DUP will come around soon – they have no alternative. But I don’t think that blackmail will work with them, any more than it could work with SF. Like SF they must feel they are working to their own terms.

  • Comrade Stalin

    On Alderdice :

    So, he is on the side of the angels, so what? He is merely a mouthpiece for whatever the Brit./Irish govt. choose to feed to him.

    Sounds a bit like Sinn Fein these days. I wonder how many more spies will be outed.

    On criminality, there is clearly still a great deal of fuel laundering going on in the border counties, and you’d be barking mad to try to argue that the IRA weren’t heavily involved in it. The taxation matter is one thing, but the dumping of large quantities of highly toxic chemicals and acids near water supplies and where kids etc could be playing is utterly irresponsible. Recently significant cleanup costs have had to be undertaken by councils in Monaghan to get rid of the toxic substances. I don’t believe that the political process should be stopped over this, but clearly this ongoing criminality on the IRA’s part is not in the interests of anyone in Ireland and cannot be allowed to continue.

  • Comrade,

    You’re forgetting the hazardous hospital waste that was also dumped.

  • BTW, I see Sven’s going to quit the England job after the World Cup. Wonder will he be taking up that £11 million job in the middle-east then. Not quite as lucrative as managing the Northern Bank job though 😉

  • slug

    I think it inevitable that the people will want the IRA to stop its crime.

    The £26m Northern Bank raid was a real spectacular. But it drew our attention to a massive web of criminality in our society, a criminality associated with the paramilitary groups.

    People have grown intolerant of this crime and its a sign of progress that we have got Lord Alderdice looking into this and making a fuss about it.

    Basically, lets not settle for second best – a criminal tendency in the background. Lets settle for first best. Where the paramilitary crime gangs are made to stop. The people want it.

  • Chris Gasket

    Martin Ingram

    My name is Chris Gaskin not Chris Gasket.

  • Martin,

    Surely you can make your points without trying to wind up your opponents. Now this is all very minor stuff, but it is constantly pushing people away from the point.

  • A Bridle for the Horse
    A Rod for the Fool’s back

  • Nicholas Pugachev

    certainly “Martin” is beginning to act like ……your typical hotshot web forum bandit.

    reel it in son.

  • oceallaigh

    “I think it inevitable that the people will want the IRA to stop its crime.The £26m Northern Bank raid was a real spectacular. But it drew our attention to a massive web of criminality in our society, ” by slug

    I think I must have missed something ,is the trial over? who was convicted ?what ever happened to innocent until proven guilty,due process and the right to a fair trial .Such speculation is unbecoming even for an Alliance supporter .

  • heck

    slug/Comrade Stalin

    now you are going on about the northern bank raid and smuggled oil in south Armagh. First it was guns now it is something else! One could be forgiven for thinking that unionists did not want to share power with nationalists and were just looking for an excuse.

    A few months ago it was IRA arms. Now it is crime. Why don’t unionists be honest as say they don’t want fenians in government. I said the arms issue was and excuse for holding up progress not a reason –and I was right.

    Just be honest and say the unionist population do not want nationalist to have share of executive power in Norn Iron. Therefore the only way to move forward it through a system of joint authority where each community can be represented by the appropriate sovereign government.

    With regard to Lord Alderdice, at least he is not one of Martin Ingram’s collegues (well I hope not!!) but he is a “paid up” member of the British house of lords and on the british payroll. The same paymaster as Martin Ingram!!

    you said “My point is that Lord Alderdice is a man that a lot of people would respect. If he takes the view that he is satisfied that the IRA have stopped any connection whatsoever e.g. with smuggling of diesel and other crime then a lot of people will sit up anyd take note. He is not anyones bitch, he is a man of the highest moral integrity.”

    Unionists did’nt sit up and take notice when truly independent people like John deChastelain, Cyril Ramaposa and Martti Antisarri (sp?) vouched for IRA actions, are you telling me they will see the light when Alderdice gives the word? Bull shit!!

    And why should anyone else take note of someone who in on Tony Blair’s payroll?

    Lets be honest this is not about someone smuggling diesel!!!! It’s about keeping upity taigs out of government–and it is about time people said so!!

    you say that his report will have credability

  • Reader

    heck: With regard to Lord Alderdice, at least he is not one of Martin Ingram’s collegues (well I hope not!!) but he is a “paid up” member of the British house of lords and on the british payroll
    There’s plenty of people on the British payroll. All of the MPs, and all of the MLAs for a start. Including Gerry Adams. So it’s hardly a decider, is it?

  • DK

    Heck,

    “One could be forgiven for thinking that unionists did not want to share power with nationalists and were just looking for an excuse”

    Not nationalists, just Sinn Fein. They are starting to clean their house up (IRA decommissioning), but still have a way to go. To be fair, I think they are trying, but have to drag things out in order not to alienate important parts of the grass roots.

  • heck

    DK—you might not like SF in government. I don’t like a party of homophobic bigots in government and I don’t like being dictated to by a government led by a lying war criminal like Tony Blair.

    The question is were do we go from here. We can fight about it –like we have done for 30 years –or we can implement the GFA (which I supported until the last election). The essence of the GFA is that nationalists don’t have a say in who unionists select to represent them and unionists don’t have a say in who represents nationalists. The issue of honest Tony was settled until 50%+1 decided otherwise. That was the deal. SF have held up their end. It is the unionist community who have refused to implement it.

    To paraphrase Hillary Clinton unionists still have a “plantation mentality” and believe they should decide who represents the nationalist community in government. That is the reason (not .Eamon McCann’s inbuilt sectarianism theory) that I believe the GFA failed. It is also why I believe plan B, joint authority, it the only non-violent option.

  • Ultonian Scottis American

    Refresh an ignorant American’s memory or misperception, please.

    UUP & SDLP brokered the GFA, then after elections, they formed a power-sharing executive. Was it successful or not, and why?

    Now, SF has the SDLP’s former vote, ditto the DUP the UUP’s.

    Why did the SDLP’s voters switch to SF. Were they not being represented?

    Has the DUP said that it won’t form an executive with SDLP?

    If unionists were asked which party the NI nationalist/republicans should vote for, I’m pretty sure that it would be DUP, not SDLP.

  • Comrade Stalin

    now you are going on about the northern bank raid and smuggled oil in south Armagh. First it was guns now it is something else!

    Of course. Don’t you find grand theft, environmental damage and tax evasion distasteful ? Or is republican criminality acceptable ? Or should we all just shut up about it ?

    One could be forgiven for thinking that unionists did not want to share power with nationalists and were just looking for an excuse.

    Unionists would probably be happiest if the old Stormont was back. It’s time they realized that this is not going to happen, and that powersharing is the only way forward.

    However, acceptance of that reality does not mean that paramilitary criminal activity is to be brushed under the carpet. Don’t you find criminality objectionable ?

    Just be honest and say the unionist population do not want nationalist to have share of executive power in Norn Iron. Therefore the only way to move forward it through a system of joint authority where each community can be represented by the appropriate sovereign government.

    I am being honest, and unionists do not want nationalists to share executive power here. I think that is pretty obvious. The only way they’re going to do it is if they’re forced, either politically (or possibly by the force of argument).

    I reject the notion of “each community”. There is one community in Northern Ireland, that of the people who live here, and we need to start working together instead of dividing ourselves into tribes. The British government generally do not act in my interests, and neither do the Irish government. Sinn Fein obviously feel the same way going by the way they feel so sore about people like Michael McDowell.

    Your solution is nothing new, it’s boring old sectarian tribal nonsense – basically for everyone to wrap themselves in tribal flags and sing loudly to try to drown out each other’s national anthem. That would lead to a civil war – and in any case the governments clearly would have nothing to do with it.

    With regard to Lord Alderdice, at least he is not one of Martin Ingram’s collegues (well I hope not!!) but he is a “paid up” member of the British house of lords and on the british payroll. The same paymaster as Martin Ingram!!

    The same paymaster as Gerry Adams too. Sinn Fein MLAs and MPs all pay their salary into the party, which does of course mean that the Sinn Fein “we ourselves” independence party is bankrolled lock, stock and barrel by the Brits. No wonder they were so sore about the sanctions placed on them as a result of the IMC reports.

    Lets be honest this is not about someone smuggling diesel!!!!

    This is about the IRA’s ongoing criminality. A major part of the IRA’s ongoing criminality is in the diesel smuggling trade, which rips off honest businesses (Irish and British), rips off the Irish and British exchequers, and damages the Irish and British environment. It is nothing to do with your silly tribal and political arguments, and I reject your suggestion that large groups of people should be allowed to engage in organized crime in order to help the peace process. This crime must stop at once, and politicians must be forthright in condemning it.

    It’s about keeping upity taigs out of government–and it is about time people said so!!

    I’ve been called an uppity taig before, but I’ve never been interested in keeping anybody out of government. What’s this got to do with the need that we all have to stamp out the criminality within our midst ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    DK responded to Heck’s point about unionists not wanting to share power with nationalists :

    Not nationalists, just Sinn Fein. They are starting to clean their house up (IRA decommissioning), but still have a way to go. To be fair, I think they are trying, but have to drag things out in order not to alienate important parts of the grass roots.

    Oh, don’t give me the boring old “we’d love to share power with peace loving nationalists” line. Unionists had since 1921 to do that, and they barrackaded every attempt to do this, beating off the streets people who protested against them peacefully, describing those who even talked to nationalist politicians as traitors. Unionists hate the idea of powersharing, and a lot of them still don’t think it’s necessary.

    When are unionists going to clean their houses up and sort out the scourge of loyalist paramilitarism ? I’ve seen elected unionist politicians stand up on podiums with cold-blooded loyalist killers. What’s that all about ? How can anyone be sure that unionists are committed to completely peaceful and democratic means ?

  • heck

    comrade stalin,

    I don’t think criminality is the issue. Someone on another thread mentioned graft in Fianna Fail. That is not to say it is a good thing or that it does’nt exist but if the public vote for Fianna fail then they deserve to be in government. Graft or no graft.

    what unionists are saying is that if you nationalists vote for someone we approve of then we might let you share power. That view point is what annoys me–It tells me I am still a second class citizen. Hillary’s phrase “plantation mentality” describes it best. To use david trimble’s phrase he wants “house trained” fenians in the same way the racist whites in the south eastern US want “house trained” blacks.

    don’t shut up about desiel smuggling if that annoys you!! However at the end of the day it is the nationalist electorate who get to decide who represents them in a power sharing government not the DUP and you must convince SF voters.

    again -if the DUP won’t share power then I want my interest represented by elected representatives from NI sitting in leinster house and the loyalist interests can be represented by DUP members in westminster. Full Joint Authority.

    On criminality, I think Honest Tony is a war criminal but he still as the right to be in government as long as the British public are stupid enough to elect him. It is they who decide-not me and not you.

  • Reader

    heck: “house trained”
    You’re overworking that metaphor. A “house trained” dog doesn’t crap round the house. It seems reasonable to apply that metaphor to fuel smuggling, counterfeiting, punishment beatings and armed robbery. Why should you assume it has to mean anything else? It’s not as though you regard participation in those activities as a civil right, after all.

  • Betty Boo

    Reader,
    If someone tells me he wants me house trained, what is an expression I use when I think about my pets for not peeing outside their designated area, I’m quietly confident that this would be to his disadvantage.

  • heck

    you guys have obviously not spent time in the south east US. The term “house trained N*****” is a phrase with a long history going back to the cotton plantations. ” a house trained n*****” vs a “field n*****”!!!!

    are you trying to suggest david trimble just used the phrase by coincidence? Maybe it was as subliminal but I picked up on the word choice.

  • Reader

    Betty Boo: an expression I use when I think about my pets for not peeing outside their designated area,
    Don’t take it personally. I hadn’t assumed that *you* were involved in criminality. As for the republican movement, I’ll wait for the IMC report, thanks.

    heck: are you trying to suggest david trimble just used the phrase by coincidence?
    Are you trying to suggest he *didn’t*? I don’t know if he spent a lot of time with rednecks in ‘south east US’, but I doubt it. Here, in Northern Ireland, it’s used to refer to the requirements for sharing a home, and the obvious metaphors that generates. I’ve always seen the term in that context.

  • Betty Boo

    Reader
    When conducting official business between individuals or companies or making public statements, you are ill advised to use the same tone as with your mates.

    But then again, you could say that there is not much official business and politicians are just mates fooling around.