Adams: DUP accept priniciple of power sharing

David McKittrick’s interview with Gerry Adams is interesting for two things. He mentions, almost casually, that Donaldson told Sinn Fein nothing of his work for the British (which may raise interesting questions about Stormontgate). And, on the subject of the DUP, he says “there’s no doubt they have conceded the principle of power-sharing, but beyond that you just get involved in endless speculation with no real foundation to it”. Combined with a call to Republicans to “work hard to try to get the DUP into the power-sharing executive” rather than asking the British to move on may also suggest that some hard political realities finally being accepted.

  • fair_deal

    A piece of good media management through a soft interview and an attempt to shift the narrative of the process.

  • Rory

    A fair analysis of McKittrick’s piece, Fair deal, but the question remains,is this not now where the narrative of the process needs to be shifted if there is to be any worthwile progress for democratic dialogue within a six-county context?

  • fair_deal

    Rory

    “if there is to be any worthwile progress for democratic dialogue within a six-county context?”

    No. The successful narrative is one that highlights the concerns of everyone.

  • circles

    Then from the DUP point of view FD, what would that be?

  • fair_deal

    circles

    I cannot speak for the DUP but here are some thoughts.

    In my view, the republican movement mantra of “We have a mandate” in practice means “No matter what we do it should have no negative consequences for us because we have a mandate.” Forming any sort of relationship between Unionism and Nationalism will be difficult but on such a basis as that it won’t work.

    The DUP tends to analyse what happened to the UUP as good guidance for them. They do not want to be hung out to dry as Trimble was by republicans e.g. Florida gunrunning, Columbia, the foot-dragging on decommissioning, Stormontgate and most especially the collapsed deal pre-Assembly election 03.

    Some view the Comprehensive Agreement and the Northern Bank robbery as their close call for a repeat of such behaviour. The DUP would have been in a significant political hole if the Comprehensive Agreement had been signed one week and the IRA robbed the Northern Bank the next. There were safeguards in the Comprehansive Agreement that the DUP would not have had to fulfil its obligations in such circumstances. However, the narrative would still have been “You were prepared to trust and look at what you got”.

    This behaviour is also seen as republicanism not taking Unionism seriously as an entity in its own right ie some sort of adjunct of the state. Adams comments in this interview hint at a shift away from that.

    This wariness transforms into a policy of go slow as the expectation is the Provos are going to be caught doing something they shouldn’t have been.

    This wariness transforms into proposals for a voluntary coalition, the SDLP aren’t going to be caught spying robbing or shooting providing a basis of trust to begin working together.

    This wariness transforms into opposition to forced coalitions (D’hondt) as the DUP don’t want to be stuck in an executive with a partner who has just done them over.

    This wariness transforms into the call for the full disbandment of the IRA. If it has disappeared then it can’t be caught doing something.

    Unfortunately, this wariness is interpreted by the nationalist community as a refusal to share power. When in my opinion the DUP would share power if there was a good enough deal and there are a variety of options to overcome this wariness.

    The Unionist community is also fed up with internimable process and as I think most of the general public are too. Thus the next deal, must be as the last one intended to be “comprehensive”.

    The DUP also operates on the basis of mandates, so I think they’ll want an election before a full executive ie “It’s time for a the fair deal” was asking the electorate for a mandate to negotiate.

  • Dessertspoon

    “this wariness is interpreted by the nationalist community as a refusal to share power.”Not just the Nationalist Community!!!Why not just be honest(obviously not a poltiticians strong point),the DUP just don’t want to share…with anyone.

  • circles

    I appreciate the outline FairDeal, but there are really so many holes in that logic that I honestly do have problems taking all the arguments seriously (which could of course reflect my republicanism but sure….). If your thinking reflects that of the DUP in any way then its hard not to hang the head.

    Lets first look at the issue of trust. The three points that are of most relevance to the process so far were probably decomissioning, Stormontgate and possibly the Northern (although am not to convinced of its seriousness).
    Had unionists had any concept whatsoever of the difficulty decommissioning posed to the republican community in general, and then to pull this off with relatively few cracks showing, you do have to give fair dues to the strategy of the RM. Any faster than they went and I believe there would have been serious and deadly fractures. Of course the loyalist paramilitaries have not really engaged in this process and the DUP flirt with the idea if actually doing something about this, but seem to prefer to keep the hungry dog on a short leash instead. So to cry “foot dragging” is really a distraction from the real issue of talks – which decommissioning always was anyway.

    Stormontgate was clearly an operation of the British intelligence services – dogs on the street etc. The fact that it pulled the insitutions down is still astounding – the fact that despite what has been revealed, that is still used as a stick by unionists to batter republicans is farcical. C’mon FD – we know who was behind that one and it was the SF/IRA bogeymen.

    And then there was the Northern. The jury really is still out on that one, so unless unionists want to assume guilty unitl proven innocent, it should be taken of the hymn sheet.

    The fact is that we are maybe 16 years into a conflict resolution process that was innitiated by nationalists, with unionists being literallt dragged in huffing and puffing and determined no to play. This they have done and will continue to do – the only initiatives being stalling initiatives. Such as the call for “full disbandment of the IRA” – I mean is this supposed to be serious? How would this be monitored? Who is going to believe it? Sometimes I really do expect a demand for Adams beard to go before anything continues. And why do the DUP say nothing about loyalist violence?
    Why water down any condemnation of loyalist paramilitaries; and squeal “the IRA are at it again” whenever any half-cocked opportunity arises. Is this how unionist want to reach a comprehensive deal?

    If the DUP do want to do a deal as you suspect, then they really are the worlds worst salesmen. Had they been selling me a used car, I’d have sauntered off a couple of years ago. Its not that they want to do a deal – they have to.

  • circles

    of course what I meant was:
    “C’mon FD – we know who was behind that one and it was NOT the SF/IRA bogeymen”
    😉

  • fair_deal

    Circles

    Your argument seems to be Unionist don’t trust republicans and the way to establish trust is to just believe everything republicans say cross their hearts hope to die.

    “Had unionists had any concept whatsoever of the difficulty decommissioning posed to the republican community in general,”

    The Unionist community were of course just overjoyed about the difficult things they had to put up with in the peace process.

    “Any faster than they went and I believe there would have been serious and deadly fractures.”

    If it was so difficult they shouldn’t have signed up for it within two years NOR should they have went out and bought MORE. Poor Provo can’t sleep without an AK under his bed, poor snookums.

    So the Provos have to be given whatever period of time they need for difficult issues? Hmmm.

    ” distraction from the real issue of talks – which decommissioning always was anyway.”

    Decommissioning was to reduce republican options and as a demonstration of peaceful intent.

    Bruton once admonished Mayhew that “a concession held on for too long no longer seems like a concession” and that’s exactly what happened with IRA decommissioning plus McCartney and the Northern Bank brought criminality into focus.

    “Stormontgate was clearly an operation of the British intelligence services”

    I’ve seen the information that was held on the Stormontgate files of a number of friends it included private correspondence to public bodies, minutes from cross-community meetings etc. So blame Denis and the securocrats doesn’t wash.

    Furthermore, Stormontgate cost tens of millions in relocation of those listed, if these mysterious creatures called “securocrats” had wanted to mess things up they could have achieved that aim without costing a fortune for the public purse.

    Also IRA members were convicted of collecting information on southern politicians, the RoI of Stormontgate. Are you saying they are british agents too?

    ” The three points that are of most relevance to the process”

    Your choice of three is interesting by what you omit. I note you ignore Florida were there were convictions (can’t claim banana republic justice like with the Colombia three).

    The McCartney case were republicans said they weren’t involved, then admitted they were involved and then to demonstrate their commitment to peace offered to kill people.

    Funny how you ignore the ones with clear and unambiguous evidence.

    Plus Trimble being led up the garden path in 03.

    “The jury really is still out on that one”

    The jury of the government and irish government is in and it says Provos.

    Also the Northern Bank was not an isolated incident. There was the makro robbery and the Gallagher hijackings along the border.

    “they really are the worlds worst salesmen”

    They haven’t had to sell a finished deal. They certainly had no internal problems in the management of the process so far.

    “Its not that they want to do a deal – they have to.”

    That line may have worked on the UUP but not anymore.

  • andy

    Regarding adam’s comments: I’m afraid I find it v hard to believe that Donaldson would not have been completely debriefed. If he had not disclosed all the information he knew then he could not have come to an “arrangement” with the provos.

    If he had no arrangement then surely he would have been mad to stay in Donegal?

    Of course if you were Gerry you probably wouldn’t want MI5 etc to know that Donaldson had told all.

  • fair_deal

    circles

    http://www.ireland.com/newspaper/front/2006/0411/1086286094HM1MCDOWELL.html

    Unionist wariness is potentially not looking so foolish this morning.

  • circles

    Just help me get this straight now FairDeal – if someone who was once convicted of being in the IRA is arrested for something, would you sugeest that the DUP should not entire an assembly with SF?

    I could work through the other examples that you gave earlier – for example the McCartney murder – and give you my interpretation of it. However I’m not sure that we are going to reach a consensus on those issues at all.

    And whilst you were busy pointing out what I did not mention (for lack of space rather than lack of willingness) I noticed you did not deny that unionists were dragged into the peace process in the first place. If we had been waiting on a unionist initiative to find an end to the conflict we’d still be at it.

  • fair_deal

    Circles

    “if someone who was once convicted of being in the IRA is arrested for something, would you sugeest that the DUP should not entire an assembly with SF? ”

    No. My focus is on the organisation not the individual. What I am saying is if the IRA are found to be engaging in ongoing criminal activity then no executive office for Sinn Fein.

    “you did not deny that unionists were dragged into the peace process in the first place. If we had been waiting on a unionist initiative to find an end to the conflict we’d still be at it.”

    No I don’t deny the present process was intiaited by Hume and Adams.

    Yes the failure of Unionism to come forward with an initiative was a significant failure on its part. A lesson the DUP have finally learned from hence taking the initiative in the process such as proposing a shadow assembly.

  • circles

    Hmmm – I don’t share your take on the shadow assembly being any real form of initative to resolve the conflict, but appreciate your generosity of spirit towards the DUP – I wish I could share it. Surely a bigger initiative would have been to engage with loyalist terrorists and ensure decommissioning there. Cynics could otherwise think that they prefer to keep the beasts on stand by.

    So if the focus is on the organisation and not the individual, what is the relevance of your post from this morning where an individual is arrested?

  • fair_deal

    “Surely a bigger initiative would have been to engage with loyalist terrorists and ensure decommissioning there”

    Every party has limited political capital and it is their decision how best to use it.

    The relationship between the SF and the IRA is not comparable with the DUP and the Loyalist paramilitaries. The chances of success are significantly lower.

    The DUP I think did look at that and have floated the idea. They had muted doing so in the context of the Comprehensive Agreement and had started to dabble with the idea in the past few months again.

    However, the sheer unreliability of Loyalist groups as any sort of partner I think made them back off. The removal of Rev Mervyn Gibson as Loyalist Commission chair and the internal mess the UDA have gotten themselves into over the past week shows it may have been a wiser decision than first thought.

  • harry

    How about an M60 shoved up the rear-end of Ian Paisley – would that encourage an executive, or would he want pictures of the event posted on the internet first before deciding to go ahead?

    Unionists on the basis of their carefully constructed slim majority think they can decide on the issue of power with all the patrician snobbery of the colonist. As if the constitutional and political position of 3/4 of a million people can be reduced to charicatures of individual hooded ne’er-dowells and can be made to depend on one convenient criminal incident or another.

    You are an intellectually dishonest people who know the end is drawing near and are desperatley looking around to find out what you can do about it or how you can stall it. Central to this effort is the idea of the irish as the criminal paddy, who must justify their existance at every turn according to your criteria. Their leaders must be subject to a rectal character examination every 5 minutes in the media to find out if they are criminal (in the south) or disloyal (in the north – which means ‘crminal’).

  • circles

    “The relationship between the SF and the IRA is not comparable with the DUP and the Loyalist paramilitaries.” There you do indeed have a point. SF never tried to pretend that they were not associated with the IRA – the DUPs on-off flirtation with armed loyalism has always been used to serve the best interests of the party. When things get too tight, the nod is generally given, the dogs are let go, and then some mealy mouthed call for the understanding of the frustration of the loyalist population falls out of a DUP mouth, and its more of a “we told you so” than a condemnation.

    “The chances of success are significantly lower.” Well if you don’t try – and of course the DUP don’t want to. They think they’re in the second half, are one-nil up and just need to stall until the ref blows the whistle – but you’d think that after trying to stall for nearly 40 years the Paisleyites would have released that this isn’t a game.