SDLP In A Muddle Over Unity Moves?

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have been busy pushing motions declaring support for Irish unity through local government Councils in recent months. Sinn Fein are naturally unambiguous in their support, but many were perhaps surprised by the SDLP’s vocal support on many councils. Derry, Fermanagh, Omagh, Strabane and Moyle were to be joined by nationalist-controlled Limavady this week- until the SDLP councillors said ‘No.

  • Pete Baker

    Sinn Féin’s criticism on this would appear to be that individual SDLP councillors are able to decide how to vote, at the Council they are elected to, on another party’s motion, as sent out from, in this case, SF central office..

    Obviously, you’d never get that happening with Sinn Féin…

  • Valenciano

    The whole thing is a pathetic waste of council time anyway as councils have no say at all on the border. Councillors would be best placed doing the job that they were elected to do – bins bogs and burials. If councillors find themselves unable to do that then they should run for Westminster when the time comes.

  • kensei

    Can people stop missing the point. It has bugger all to do with a United Ireland. This is this politics from Sinn Fein. The SDLP have been trying to be more green in response to Sinn Fein’s growth, so SF have called them on it. Pissing off the UUP and DUP while they are at it is just a bonus.

    You may not like it but in terms of internal Nationalist politics it’s a clever move.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Stupid silly tribal stunts. Why can’t the SDLP and SF get on with providing quality services to their electorate rather than engaging in this silly timewasting.

    You may not like it but in terms of internal Nationalist politics it’s a clever move.

    Explain how :

    (a) this is clever
    (b) this is a “move”
    (c) how nationalism benefits in any way
    (d) how peace and reconciliation benefits ?

  • abucs

    Well i guess it’s similar to having a platform to decry the Dublin riots from Westminster.

    They are both just posturing and putting down on record what they think. (As if it made any real difference).

    I can understand what kensei is saying. There might be a few SDLP voters living in the Limavady area re-thinking who they will vote for in the new local elections.

    Does it benefit peace and reconciliation ?
    Most of what passes for politics fails to do this.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    SF criticism would in fact appear to be that although Durkan et al have accepted (at least electorally) that post nationalism is not the genre after all, but that a few backwoodsmen in his party haven’t.
    Thus while the SDLP at a national level are beating their breasts over their ‘republicanism’ and desire for ‘national unity’. It seems that not all these people are singing from ther same hymn sheet. It was always so, really Eddie Mc Grady a republican?

    It is only right that these people are exposed for their hypocricy and the voters within these council areas will be able to measure if the deeds of the SDLP reps are at odds with their words, talk being cheap and all that.

    At this juncture there are no other democratically elected platforms from which to measure such views, councils are not the preferable arena, but the only ones available. For that we can blame unionist obduracy.

    However, if councils should be curtailed to comments on the bins etc there should of course be consistency across the board, wouldn’t want unionists being accused of hypocricy either.

  • kensei

    “Explain how :

    (a) this is clever”

    Look it purely from a SF perspective. The SDLP are reviving a bit, and have put them on the back foot on a few issues. They are also beating their breasts on a UI. This presents a stark choice, causes the SDLP trouble and puts them on the back foot. It’s a clever move, like it or not.

    “(b) this is a “move””

    Oh please.

    “(c) how nationalism benefits in any way”

    It doesn’t, other than getting a UI talked about and mentioned. It doesn’t do any harm either.

    “(d) how peace and reconciliation benefits ? ”

    Oh, I’m sorry, I forgot peace and reconciliation means that Nationalism cannot declare support for a UI anymore.

  • DK

    Daily Ireland doesn’t really go into much detail as to why the councilors said “no”. Maybe there is a local issue, rather than SDLP in Limavady being Orange and the rest of the the SDLP being green.

  • eranu

    when i hear our elected representatives shouting about this sort of thing and doing pointless things like passing council motions rather than actually doing what they’re supposed to and run the council area, i find it extremely cringe inducing and embarrassing. i hope no one from another country is listening to the brilliant policies, ground breaking ideas, and modern 21st century thinking that politicians in northern ireland think important.
    the opposite of the united ireland talk would be a motion declaring that ‘ulster is british and will be british forever’ etc… both generate a cringe factor of 100!

  • Brian Boru

    I am now beginning to understand better why it was that former SDLP members joined FG when they ran for elections in the South e.g. John Cushnahan and Austin Currie. Aha!

    Cartan saying the time isn’t right. This could be just him acknowledging that a UI isn’t coming any time soon and therefore not seeing the point in voting for it on the council for fear of provoking Unionists. However I have a sneaking suspicion that the SDLP is not united on this UI question. No doubt SF will use this against them next time around.

    With 18-33% of Catholics favouring the continuation of the Union (at least for now), and with the SF % of the Nationalist vote being around 57.1%, I think that there is probably further for the SDLP to fall yet if they are seen as a party of Castle Catholicism.

  • Brian Boru

    Pete Baker0 on Mar 10, 2006 @ 11:49 AM is Brian Boru. Must put down my name in future. 🙂

    (Brian Boru)

  • lib2016

    There seems to have been genuine anger among younger SDLP supporters over the recent acceptance of an OBE by a senior SDLP figure.

    These motions build on and exploit those divisions which is exactly what a rival political party, especially a rival republican political party should be doing.

    A good move, perhaps even a real stroke.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Cushnahan came from the Alliance Party.

  • Cahal

    I remember doing some work in Limavady during the early 90s. Above the council building there was a huge banner reading ‘Limavady says NO’.

    I hope they didn’t throw it away.

  • Alan

    So, technically speaking, are the SDLP post-post-nationalist or are they ante-post-nationalist.

  • Justin

    Quotation from SDLP website

    “The SDLP is 100% for a United Ireland. And we are 100% for the Good Friday Agreement. Indeed, the SDLP is the only party in the North that has participated in the Agreement’s institutions and worked to make all of them a success.

    More than any other party, the principles of the Good Friday Agreement are the principles championed by the SDLP for over 30 years – power-sharing, inclusivity, equality, human rights, North/South cooperation, East/West links. That is why we will not renegotiate the Good Friday Agreement. We will not weaken its protections.

    For the SDLP, the Agreement is a covenant of honour between two legitimate traditions on this island. We believe that its principles and provisions must prevail for all, regardless of the constitutional status of Northern Ireland.

    The Agreement provides for a referendum on the question of a United Ireland. The SDLP wants to see a referendum during the lifetime of the next Assembly and we will campaign in favour of a United Ireland.

    If a majority of the people in the North vote for a United Ireland, then there must be one. That is not just the policy of the SDLP – it is what the Agreement provides.

    Uniquely among parties in the North, the SDLP is clear that in a United Ireland the Agreement must endure. Its institutions – such as the Assembly and the Executive – will stand. Equally, the British Irish structures will continue, as will the Agreement’s equality guarantees and human rights protections.

    The SDLP’s vision of a United Ireland is based upon equality. We believe that the rights, protection and inclusion that nationalists sought within Northern Ireland while it is in the United Kingdom, must equally be guaranteed to unionists within a United Ireland.

    That is right in principle – since in a United Ireland we will still need to find a way of sharing our society as equals and that is what the Agreement’s institutions are all about. But it is also right in practice – since we are unlikely to win a referendum on a United Ireland unless we make clear that a vote for a United Ireland is not a vote against the Good Friday Agreement.

    The SDLP’s vision of a United Ireland is not only fair and workable, it is achievable. It gives unionists the reassurance that unity is not about the entrapment of a new minority. It gives the South the reassurance of stability. Above all, it gives voters the reassurance that unity does not mean constitutional uncertainty. They will be voting for the Agreement and for a United Ireland.

    Achieving a United Ireland will require the persuasion of some unionists and the reassurance of many others. Because of our unblemished record of peace and partnership and our unqualified commitment to the Agreement, only the SDLP can persuade a majority of the North in favour of unity – just as we persuaded a majority of the North in favour of the Good Friday Agreement. That is why only the SDLP can deliver a United Ireland. ”

    The SDLP is clearly for a United Ireland. While I would have voted for the motion if i had been in the position of the Councillors concerned. I understand why they took an alternative view. The constitutional postion is not a matter for local government and these motions will in all likelihood draw a response from Unionist controlled Councils.

    If the proposed 7 council model goes ahead will the first item of business for each be to vote on a United Ireland?

  • Reader

    (Not) Pete Baker6: The SDLP is clearly for a United Ireland. While I would have voted for the motion if i had been in the position of the Councillors concerned. I understand why they took an alternative view. The constitutional postion is not a matter for local government and these motions will in all likelihood draw a response from Unionist controlled Councils.
    Wise words. The final sentence is key – the SDLP knows how these motions will look to unionists, and I agree unionists have been no better in local government, with our own stunts. Maybe those SDLPers who voted for the motions hoped that they would clear the decks and allow them to focus on actual Local Government. Or they’re scrapping in the mud with SF for a suit of green clothes. Or they are getting their own back on the Jaffas. But how can we tell?

  • Jill Robinson

    Comrade Stalin had the best take on all of this with his rhyming slang post of 12.41 a.m.:

    “Stupid silly tribal stunts.”

  • Jill Robinson

    Sorry, Pete Baker8, that “rhyming slang” post was Jill Robinson.

  • RmcC