A shared space, well not quite yet…

Someone (the online version comes without a byline) in the Sunday Independent is unimpressed with Gerry Adams’ apparently more emolient tone towards Unionists recently. They cite a recent debate in Strabane District Council in which the party used its dominant position to adopt its own party position on the unification of Ireland, in spite of opposition from all the other parties.

I hope I’m wrong, but I still believe Sinn Fein strategy is to talk peace, yet destabilise Northern Ireland by winding up the Prods and then blaming them when power-sharing doesn’t happen. Still, the DUP is learning something. In Strabane, for instance, its spokesman countered the United Ireland motion by citing the views of several members of the Dail, including Bertie Ahern, Liz McManus and Liz O’Donnell.

Indeed. Even so the Strabane and Moyle manouevers seem aimed more at unsettling the SDLP than winding up unionists. And it is sometimes forgotten that as an independent political party, Sinn Fein is perfectly entitled to use whatever legal means it can to achieve it’s end.

However in terms of Sinn Fein’s perceived strategy of ‘winding up the prods’, the DUP appears to be calling time by simply playing the ball back. The fact that such ‘games’ as are open to ambitious parties of either stripe are ‘zero sum’ is a reflection of the lack of power available to anyone locally.

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  • slug

    Quite right that SF can do whatever legal things it wants. These motions are part of politics and
    I think the unionists have to (and I think will) raise their game and be unruffled by this sort of thing. Some signs of this – the DUP seem to exude a certain confidence these days. Rise above it, essentially, it matters little that a nationalist council votes for a nationalist motion.

    And the SDLP generally show themselves better at the practice of reaching out to unionists in the intra-nationalist battle-royal (as in the Antrim Royal Legion example).

  • fair_deal

    “the DUP appears to be calling time by simply playing the ball back.”

    The person proposing the motion was Mervyn Rea of the UUP so you are mistaken in presenting it as a DUP response.

    I think the comparison between the two motions can’t stretch as far as you are want it to. One concerns a clearly political issue “unification” that is being sent to all councils. The other civic congratulation for charitabe work in one borough which a SF councillor is trying to make into a political issue.

  • Ziznivy

    SF are not the only party guilty of wasting council time raising national and international issues, but this is a particular risible example. The point isn’t whether they can legally raise such motions or not. It’s the disparity between Adams’ rhetoric and the actions of SF.

    Not exactly related, but how can this site have Peter Taylor’s Provos “highly recommended”?! It’s one of the most appalling books about the republican movement ever written! A history of the Provisional IRA that barely mentions any of its atrocities.

  • grotbags

    In fairness, I think the recommendation comes from the advertiser amazon rather than slugger o toole. Man or in this case blog cannot live on air alone.

  • Jo

    Could something be done to make the typeface darker against this new blue background please?


  • Mick,

    That article (“SF’s love-bombing of unionists rings hollow”) is by Ruth Dudley Edwards.

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks John – sadly the article wasn’t in the paper version they publish in Britain.

    Re the recommendation, Z is quite correct in directing his ire towards me. I’m keen to give breadth to the recommendations. Although I note that Taylor added at least one corrective note to his antedotes when he came to research the second book in the series on loyalists; which might suggest the book is largely a journalistic rather than an historical work

    There is some merit in looking for the narrative without reference to the bloody details on the way. However, no one who wants to understand the movement or the troubles should accept one account as definative.

  • elfinto


    Are you an agent of influence for Sir AJF Baked Beans Tomato Ketchup?

    You were giving Harris plenty of airtime last week with his attacks on Kathy Sheridan for perceived ‘playing of the man’ towards Jim Cusack. She wouldn’t dare to that Eamonn McCann was his argument.


    Here Eamonn replies in style to Harris and Ruth Dudley Edwards.

    Boycott the Sindo
    57 Different Varieties of Anti-SF Propaganda

  • elfinto

    For the record, my previous comment was tongue in cheek.

    In response to RDE,

    Sinn Fein strategy is not to talk about peace. They have already delivered peace – in conjunction with others of course.

  • Mick Fealty

    I didn’t even know Ruth had been on Slugger last week – why didn’t someone tell me??

  • elfinto

    I just did – in a roundabout kind of way.