DUP backs SDLP man for Mayor…

Given we kicked off Slugger four years ago, on the very day of the announcement the first Sinn Fein Mayor of Belfast, it seems appropriate to note the election of the SDLP’s Pat McCarthy as Lord Mayor and the DUP’s Ruth Patterson as his deputy. The big news (if it is such) is that McCarthy got the backing of all parties, except Sinn Fein. In the strictest sense of rotation the office should have fallen to Sinn Fein, but the tiny Alliance group of four which holds the balance of power, made it known it would not back that party’s prospective candidate, the former IRA bomber Caral ni Chuilin.

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  • Just Me

    big news (if it is such) is that McCarthy got the backing of all parties

    Including the 2 PUP members…

    Shock! Horror! The SDLP must now be inextricably linked to the UVF

  • DK

    Wait a minute – I thought that the DUP were against power sharing with catholics? Does this mean we are starting to move to normal politics?

  • Loyalist

    Just Me

    Has Ervine joined the SDLP group in the City Hall?

    Whoops! Back to the drawing board, sunshine!

  • Just Me

    Loyalist,

    Nope… but the DUP have!

    Whoops! Back to election websites to try to find out whose who, sunshine!

    Please, facts would help

  • Loyalist

    Just Me

    “Nope… but the DUP have!”

    Presumably the UUP have also joined the SDLP as they also voted for Pat McCarthy?

    Sorry, but that makes no sense at all. There were 2 candidates put forward for Mayor, a Shinner and an SDLP nominee. The DUP went with the SDLP, just as the SDLP had went with the DUP the year before. This is smart politics by the DUP as it de-bunks the myth that they don’t want a Catholic about the place.

    You attempted to say that because Ervine voted for the SDLP man, that makes the SDLP linked with the UV’s – claerly an absurd proposition. There is a difference in someone voting for you, and opening the doors of your group and bestowing them the privileges that come with group membership.

    Good grief, the UUP typing pool at CunningPlan House really is grasping at straws.

  • Just Me

    Loyalist,

    Do you agree with Ervine/Smyth and the DUP sitting in the same group on the council (yes it is right no need to go check)?

  • Pat will do a great job for the city. It is disappointing that Sinn Féin refused to back his nomination despite the fact they knew it was mathematically impossible for their candidate to get elected without Alliance support.

    It seems it doesn’t matter to Sinn Féin that Pat has a proven track record as an effective councillor in nationalist working-class areas such as the Lower Ormeau and Markets, and also has the ability to reach out across the political divide, as evidenced by the fact that even the unionist parties supported his nomination.

    Maybe they don’t like the fact that people such as Pat McCarthy are the ones Building a Belfast of Equals, whereas Sinn Féin seems only interested in Building a Belfast of Provos.

  • fair_deal

    Just me

    “Do you agree with Ervine/Smyth and the DUP sitting in the same group on the council”

    Er no it is wrong. They don’t sit in the same group. The PUP sit in their own group and Frank McCoubrey Ind/UPRG is a member of the Ulster Unionist group.

  • Christopher Stalford

    Just Me

    The DUP Group in Belfast City Council has fifteen members:

    1. Robin Newton (Group Leader)
    2. Ian Crozier (Deputy Group Leader)
    3. Diane Dodds (Whip)
    4. May Campbell (Secretary)
    5. Ruth Patterson
    6. Jim Kirkpatrick
    7. David Rodway
    8. Margaret McKenzie
    9. William Humphrey
    10. Elaine McMillan
    11. Sammy Wilson
    12. Nigel Dodds
    13. Nelson McCausland
    14. Wallace Browne
    15. Christopher Stalford

    The PUP Group has 2 members:

    1. David Ervine (Group Leader)
    2. Hugh Smyth

    The UUP Group has 8 members:

    1. Sir Reg Empey
    2. Jim Rodgers
    3. David Browne (Group Leader)
    4. Bob Stoker
    5. Michael McGimpsey
    6. Ian Adamson
    7. Fred Cobain
    8. Frank McCoubrey (UPRG)

    I hope this clears up your confusion. You really shouldn’t take everything Reg says on H+M as gospel.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Pat will do a great job for the city.’

    That has yet to be seen and is merely the opinion of an SDLP cheerleader.

    ‘It is disappointing that Sinn Féin refused to back his nomination despite the fact they knew it was mathematically impossible for their candidate to get elected without Alliance support.’

    As pointed out in the lead in article the rotation agreement indicated that it was the turn of SF to get the mayoralty this year, typical of the SDLP not to keep their word on anything.

    ‘It seems it doesn’t matter to Sinn Féin that Pat has a proven track record as an effective councillor in nationalist working-class areas such as the Lower Ormeau and Markets,’

    As does Carol in North Belfast, what’s the point?

    ‘and also has the ability to reach out across the political divide, as evidenced by the fact that even the unionist parties supported his nomination.’

    It is more a case of anti SF than pro SDLP, similar in fact to the grabbing of the Deputy Lord Mayor post by Mc Carthy’s ward partner Mc Donnell when he was willing to be used as a pawn at that time.

    ‘Maybe they don’t like the fact that people such as Pat McCarthy are the ones Building a Belfast of Equals, whereas Sinn Féin seems only interested in Building a Belfast of Provos’

    Petty, only highlighting the fact that the SDLP has been unable to get over the success of the Maskey year in office. A year that was followed by the anonymous tenure of Martin Morgan.
    Keeping the SDLP relevant really is a problem of late.

  • Loyalist

    Pat

    Maskey’s term of office was memorable only by virtue of the fact that he was the first Sinn Feiner to hold the post and really Sinn Fein supporters are in no position to gurn about exclusion, when they happily conspired with SDLP, Alliance and the UUP to exclude the DUP from the Lord Mayors post during the last council term.

    What really terrifies the Shinners is that the SDLP and the DUP refuse to be bound into voting for someone simply because they sit on their side of the council chamber.

  • Wonder what the family of Markets man Owen Devine think of Pat’s election? The Sundays know, watch this space.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘Maskey’s term of office was memorable only by virtue of the fact that he was the first Sinn Feiner to hold the post’

    While an element of that is true only a knave would fail to recognise that Maskey did earn a lot of plaudits from within the broader unionist community.

    ‘Sinn Fein supporters are in no position to gurn about exclusion,’

    Nobody is ‘gurning’ simply pointing out that the propaganda of El Blog should not be taken at face value.

    ‘What really terrifies the Shinners is that the SDLP and the DUP refuse to be bound into voting for someone simply because they sit on their side of the council chamber.’

    As above

  • [Removed]

    Owen Devine – 26 August 1973 (24) Catholic
    Status: Civilian (Civ), Killed by: Irish Republican Army (IRA)
    Found shot in derelict house, McClure Street, off Ormeau Road, Belfast.

  • Keith M

    It kind of puts a hole in the “not wanting a Catholic about the place” arguement. It also proves that when the democratic parties work together they can create a power sharing environment. Lessons for Stormont?

  • Pat-

    “typical of the SDLP not to keep their word on anything.”

    It was the Alliance that had the casting vote- they were not going to support SF. Irrelevant what the SDLP thought.

    “merely the opinion of an SDLP cheerleader.”

    Your point please? Does the ‘opinion of an SDLP cheerleader’ not count? Does the opinion of a Sinn Féin such as yourself count? If not, then why bother commenting?

    “SDLP has been unable to get over the success of the Maskey year in office.”

    When was that? Oh yeah, had forgotten about that. And if Maskey was so successful, how come in his (and Pat’s) Laganbank ward SF only polled 1,600 FP votes as opposed to the SDLP’s 2,835 and had to withdraw a candidate?

  • godsgog

    El-Mat I am beginning to seriously wonder about you, you obviously have never met this man otherwise you wouldnt be espousing him as the saviour of the SDLPs working class credentials. Yes he got elected with a solid vote, but lets be honest the SDLP could stand a donkey in South Belfast and they would still outpoll SF, Pats year in office is going to be even funnier than Eric Smyths, he even started off well by referring to “Her Majesty the Queen” last night, sure he may get a knighthood out of it,
    As for his ambitious plans for the city, FFS, LMAO if by the end of the term he understands his innaugural speech then it will be an improvement

  • Owen Devine was murdered by the Sticks in a punishment shooting gone wrong

  • Loyalist

    paul

    Are you claiming that the Lord Mayor of Belfast was involved in this?

  • kensei

    “It kind of puts a hole in the “not wanting a Catholic about the place” argument.”

    Nah. The DUP voted for the SDLP candiadte in an argument they couldn’t ever win. When they actually vote for a Nationalist over a Unionist due to it being “their turn” when there is some kind of contest, then it might actually mean something.

    “It was the Alliance that had the casting vote- they were not going to support SF. Irrelevant what the SDLP thought.”

    The SDLP could have refused to put forward a candidate, kept their word and forced the issue. As it is, it won’t do them any good as this will be reported as conspiring to nick SF’s turn and piss a lot of SF voters off – exactly the people they need to convince.

  • Loyalist

    kensei

    How in the name of St. Patrick’s beard was it Sinn Fein’s turn? If it was anyones “turn” it probably should have been the Ulster Unionists.

  • kensei

    “How in the name of St. Patrick’s beard was it Sinn Fein’s turn? If it was anyones “turn” it probably should have been the Ulster Unionists.”

    I know nothing about it other than how it has been reported. From the top:

    “In the strictest sense of rotation the office should have fallen to Sinn Fein,”

  • Loyalist

    That is not the case. The Ulster Unionists last Mayor was Bobby Stoker (I think) that was before Maskey. To be fair, I think it was the UUP’s to lose, and they did lose it via Reg’s link up with the UV’s.

  • Loyalist,

    Pat was imprisoned in 1971 for 11 months for being an alleged member of the Official IRA in the Markets/Lower Ormeau.

    Owen Devine was murdered by the Official IRA in that area. Perhaps Pat may have some information he can pass on to the police, or perhaps the Historical Enquires Team.

    Pat was, quite rightly, very vocal on the murder of Rab McCartney by the Provos in the Markets.

    I hope he can be as vocal on the murder of Owen Devine.

  • Don’t feed the trolls. They don’t get their way so they manufacture rumours. How worthy.

    Unlike the false rumours you are peddling about Pat, the Sinn Féin candidate for Mayor actually is a convicted terrorist. But why let facts get in the way of mudslinging?

  • Loyalist

    PAUL

    Imprisoned or interned?

  • woofus mcdoggus

    With the amount of shit now starting to spew forth about the level of collusion in wee Ulsters lovely past – im surprised that anyone still has the lack of wit to rant on about people being terrorists or ex terrorists.

    Our government are terrorists, most of the parties are linked or have been linked to terrorists.

    Wise up the lot of you and move on.

  • fair_deal

    I would remind posters of the commenting policy

    http://www.sluggerotoole.com/archives/2005/07/commenting_poli.php

    Please remember it is Mick who gets it in the neck if someone does seek legal recourse.

  • question

    And Slugger’s proceeds to bury legitimate questions on Mr McCarthy’s past as it initially did with the Mark Haddock story.

    Hint: Pat McCarthy can only take legal action if it’s untrue.

    Allegations of OIRA membership are unlikely to receive legal attention.

    Allegations of involvement in Mr Devine’s murder could attract legal attention but if merely asking what information he had on the murder and what he has done with it is unlikely to attract legal attention.

    Don’t let SDLP bluff and bluster (threats?) deflect from legitimate discussion on Mr McCarthy’s true history and actions.

  • Mick Fealty

    No threats. Just be careful how you word your accusations.

  • question

    Thanks Mick. Maybe I phrased my questions to El Matador badly and that was the reason for their removal? I’ll try again but can’t make them much less contentious than originally and still be worth asking.

    El Matador,

    You are a member of the SDLP?

    Is the SDLP officially denying that Mr McCarthy was a member of the Official IRA?

    Or denying he has knowledge of Mr Devine’s murder?

    Or both?

    I’d be very surprised if you are officially denying IRA membership on his behalf. You have asked him?

  • Loyalist

    question

    I think its disgraceful that SF supporters on here are attempting to malign Pat McCarthy on the basis that he may have been involved in activity which almost every single one of their party’s top people have engaged, only on a much larger scale and more recently in time.

    Have you people no shame at all?

  • Loyalist – doesn’t make it right though. And I’m definitely no Shinner.

  • question

    Malign him? If it’s true, it’s true.

    The only real issue I see is the APNI refusing to endorse the SF candidate on the basis of their past if the SDLP candidate had a similar past.

    Hardly the biggest issue in the world but relevant given the above trumpeting of cross party support (excluding SF) for a man who may be a former IRA volunteer unbeknown to his backers.

    Do you think the DUP will be happy if they have been unwittingly bounced into supporting a possibly unrepentant former member of the IRA?

  • Loyalist

    I doubt it very much that Pat McCarthy is unrepentent, even if this allegation is true. Perhaps our Sinn Fein posters culd answer my question re. was he convicted of any offence or was he interned?

  • question

    Mr McCarthy was interned but as this thread survives with allegations of OIRA membership and the SDLP supporters have fled the scene I think we can safely assume that the SDLP know this is true and are going to ignore it. Mudslinging I think they called it, not the case when it is true!

    The questions now lie with the DUP/UUP/APNI, did the SDLP reveal that Mr McCarthy was a former IRA volunteer before seeking their endorsement? If not how do those parties feel now? Why the difference between the DUP/UUP/APNI supporting a nominee with McCarty’s history but having problems with the SF nominee’s history?

  • Loyalist

    question

    I’m not a member of any party and cant speak for the DUP, but what I would say is that: (a) Pat McCarthy has never been convicted of any offence (b) he belongs to a fully constitutional and democratic party (c) he has demonstrated throughout his term in council that he renounces violence totally and abhors those who use it for political ends. Perhaps McCarthy was part of the Goulding tendency so despised by the Provos for wanting to end their bloody violence, hence the viciousness witnessed here? I don’t know and frankly I don’t care. From what I have seen and heard, he seems a thoroughly decent and up-standing person.

  • Loyalist

    PS. I repeat what has the Shinners rattled is that they can no longer bang the sectarian drum of “all-catholics together” and get the SDLP to blindly support them. No party has a natural right to the Lord Mayor’s position in Belfast. I for one happen to believe the development of a DUP-APNI-SDLP axis is a positive thing.

  • question

    Loyalist,

    I know, there has been a lot of this ‘good terrorist’ ‘bad terrorist’ stuff being exhibited recently.

    It seems Mr McCarthy alleged activity fits the ‘good’ label. Despite no one questioning what happened during his membership and what he has done since.

    Is The Devine killing relevant? Was he a member then? Does he have information? What has he done with it? What was he involved in, few join just for the uniform?

    These questions are inconvenient for his Unionist backers so will be ignored.

  • Loyalist

    question

    If the Crown Prosecution Service didn’t see fit to pursue action against him, if the police didn’t either, I fail to see why he should answer questions to assuage the malice of an embittered Provo-supporter whose party lost out of the Lord Mayor’s chain. Now be off with you my good man!

  • Reader

    question: I know, there has been a lot of this ‘good terrorist’ ‘bad terrorist’ stuff being exhibited recently
    Are you sure that the distinction isn’t one of – have they renounced violence? Because that’s surely the key distinction. Tactical disengagement comes nowhere close to that, though it’s as much as we can hope for in other cases.
    But it may be a cultural distinction that you just don’t get – to be born again (in a political sense). Or how about a different metaphor, since he’s an SDLP’er – grace *and* works.

  • Glen Taisie

    “And you dare to call me a terrorist
    while you looked down your gun
    When I think of all the deeds that you had done”

  • Garibaldy

    I’m surprised to see the fact a man was interned used against him by nationalists as evidence of anything.

    As for unionist responses to it, I can’t see the UUP having a problem (especially not at the minute) given that the DUP has people convicted of terrorist offences in it who have shown to the DUP’s satisfaction that they have abandoned violence why would they object to a member of the SDLP?

  • Garibaldy

    there should be an ‘and given that the DUP…’ in that last post by me

  • crom

    McCarthy was an active member of the Worker’s Party during the 80’s when the Workers Party/official ira were extorting millions of pounds from building firms tasked with improving the public housing stock in Belfast.

    In the Markets area (where McCarthy is from), The wp/officials ran all the building development protection rackets.

  • Provo mathematics:

    2+2=5.

    Nuff said.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘It was the Alliance that had the casting vote- they were not going to support SF. Irrelevant what the SDLP thought.’

    When there is a collection of parties who had previously voted together to form a pact evey party has a casting vote. Principle is everything in such circumstances, the SDLP have none.

    ‘Your point please? Does the ‘opinion of an SDLP cheerleader’ not count? Does the opinion of a Sinn Féin such as yourself count? If not, then why bother commenting?’

    Let’s wait and see what Mr Stick does, you are commenting as if he had served his term.

    When was that? Oh yeah, had forgotten about that. And if Maskey was so successful, how come in his (and Pat’s) Laganbank ward SF only polled 1,600 FP votes as opposed to the SDLP’s 2,835 and had to withdraw a candidate?

    Sth Belfast, one of the SDLP’s last remaining bastions in Belfast Irrelevant in terms of the Maskey contribution to cross community bridge building.

    ‘Unlike the false rumours you are peddling about Pat, the Sinn Féin candidate for Mayor actually is a convicted terrorist. But why let facts get in the way of mudslinging?’

    Are you going to remove the post on Mc guinness from your site or are you just going to be a hypocrite on the subject of false allegations?

  • question

    Garibaldy,

    ‘I’m surprised to see the fact a man was interned used against him by nationalists as evidence of anything.

    Internment isn’t an issue.

    Its knowing he was a former Official IRA volunteer and Sticky activist in the Markets for many years and knowing many in the SDLP didn’t know this never mind the Unionists who voted for him.

    The shinner was open about their past. The SDLP Mayor’s past is only widely known after the vote (and for a Mayor that was in the IRA very little is known)

  • Garibaldy

    I seriously doubt given the access unionists have to police sources that they didn’t know Pat Mc Carthy’s background. I also doubt the SDLP didn’t know this, particularly if he was a well-known member of The Workers’ Party in the Markets.

    I really don’t see what the problem is here. Are supporters of PSF saying someone with a, in this case alleged, paramilitary history should not be elected mayor? As for coming clean, does everyone believe Gerry Adams’ denial of membership?

  • abucs

    “Our government are terrorists, most of the parties are linked or have been linked to terrorists.

    Wise up the lot of you and move on. ”

    Agree completely.

  • Deisel Donaghy

    Sinn Fein Councillor Cathal Newcombe is also a former Workers party/Oficial IRA member, on page 13 of the Derry Journal 18 April 1975 he is qouted as saying

    “The Provos and the IRSP are not only guilty of politically antagonising Protestants, but have been engaged in a murderous sectarian campaign against them”

    Former sticks find a variety of new homes

  • tony

    As a former member of the workers party/ official ira, Pat is probably well used to drinking in illegal shebeens, perhaps he could use his year in office to try and clamp down on paramilitary drinking dens.

  • WellWellWell
  • roger

    One for the historic enquiries team, i think.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Would some of the chuckies on the thread explain why they are digging this up now, almost one full year after the business in question ?

  • frankie

    cl

    Perhaps its something to do with the front page spread in one of todays papers ??

    Some former comrades may have broken ranks from their former paramilitary past

  • Owen was shot in the buttocks. He would have survived had he been able to summon help on time. However, one of the Sticky gang that murdered him locked the door of the derelict house on McClure that he was shot in.
    [edited for legal reasons] NOTE TO ALL COMMENTORS Sluggerotoole and mick do not have the financial resources to fight libel actions let alone lose one. If you are certain of the bona fides of your claims then place them on a site of your own and put your own house at risk.

  • frankie

    paul

    You obviously have more details of the ‘alleged’ incident than most others.

    It would probably be helpful if those associated with & those with ‘an insight’ into the official IRA, (especially within the Markets area)around the time would come forward to help the family in the murder of the man.

    Perhaps a few journalists could use their contacts !