North Southery moves into mission creep mode

The Ulster Unionist Party have come to the shocking realisation that ties between the north and south of this island continue to be strengthened despite the fact that there is no Assembly.

“We are greatly concerned that North South Bodies have gone into mission creep. Internal and external issues were supposed to exist as mutually dependent entities. If the Assembly falls, the North South element should also fall. But regrettably this has not been the case,” says South Antrim MLA Jim Wilson.

“Not only are the organisations formalised under the Belfast Agreement operating beyond a care and maintenance basis, but a substantial sub-strata of north-southery has evolved which is entirely independent and unreflective of the wishes of the people of Northern Ireland.”

But the UUP, who now seem to be operating under the slogan “united Northern Ireland not dividing it”, believe they have the answer:

“That’s why the Ulster Unionist Party has created North South Watch. This gradual expansion of North Southery must be highlighted and challenged,” says Wilson.

North South Watch has so far highlighted the following subversive activity:

“19th December 2005 Northern Ireland Office announce extension of terms of appointment to North/South Body boards (Foyle, Carlingford & Irish Lights Commission; North/South Language Body; Intertrade Ireland; The Food Safety Promotion Board and; Tourism Ireland.

9th February 2006 Department of the Environment and Department for Regional Development announce intention to cooperate with Irish Transport Ministers on driving disqualifications.

17th February 2006 SDLP launch document on calling for increased level of North/South cooperation.

2nd May 2006 Meeting of British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference held at Iveagh House, Dublin. Joint Communiqué informed that the following matters were discussed:

Renewed Political Developments
Current security situation and continuing cooperation between PSNI and An Garda Siochána
A range of issues in relation to Policing, Parades, Loyalism, Inquiries (Hamill, Wright, Nelson, Finucane)
Human Rights, Equality and Human Relations· North/South and East/West matters, including the Northwest region, Northwest Gateway Initiative, Derry/Letterkenny Gateway and the 4 local council areas of Derry, Strabane, Limavady and Donegal.
An examination of the potential for joint investment in key infrastructure projects: Tourism, Skills Training, Further and Higher Education, Business Development, Co-ordination of Public Services etc, etc.

The Conference also:

Reviewed progress on the development of a more competitive and prosperous all-island economy and welcomed the involvement of the business community in this study.
Discussed all-island sustainable energy and development of communications strategy and an all-Ireland free travel scheme.
Noted work to host a cross-border Child Protection Conference
Discussed the recent Review of Public Administration and Review of Quangoes

26th June, 2006 Intertrade Ireland call for funding for high-speed rail link from Belfast to Cork.

28th June, 2006 Ulster Unionists demand the government drops its “Plan B” for enhanced North/South cooperation in the event of Assembly collapse.

13th July, 2006 Rooker, in reply to Lord Kilclooney said: “If the noble Lord is concerned about discussions between the United Kingdom government and the government of the Republic, he will be more worried after 24th November because discussions will deepen.”

25th July, 2006 Meeting of British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference held at Hillsborough. It contained a raft of proposals for enhancing North/South cooperation.

17th August, 2006 Sinn Fein’s Mitchell McLaughlin calls for an all-island strategy on the economy and a single currency.

21st August, 2006 Sinn Fein calls for creation of 9 new cross-border bodies and an expansion of existing organisations. Bodies to deal with:

Justice
Policing
Social economy
Energy
Rural Development
Pollution Control and
Mental Health

30th August, 2006 Hain announces he and Minister Ahern would carry out a North/South economic audit.

Week commencing 4th September, 2006 Sinn Fein hold meeting in Strasbourg with Transport Commissioner re:

An upgrade of road from Donegal to Dublin.
Sinn Fein proposal for an all-Ireland agriculture policy following a Republic of Ireland announcement of a package of £100k to restructure their milk industry.

4th September, 2006 Ministers Paul Goggins MP and Michael McDowell TD together with Garda Commissioner Noel Murphy, Deputy Commissioner Fachtna Murphy, Deputy Chief Constable Paul Leighton and Assistant Chief Constable Peter Sheridan meet to discuss cross-border cooperation on policing. They expressed confidence that cooperation in cross-border policing “rests on a solid foundation” and agreed to hold further regular meetings.

8th September, 2006 Dermot Ahern’s speech at British-Irish Association had two pages devoted to North/South cooperation. Excerpts as follows:

“We (British and Irish governments) have given our frank assessment that if November passes without agreement, measures must – and will- be taken to prevent any further drift…

“Let me begin by telling you what it won’t be. It won’t be a shelving of the Good Friday Agreement…..the alternative to devolution can only be the fullest implementation of the Agreement by the two governments………The two governments will bring forward partnership arrangements to ensure that the Agreement is actively developed across all its functions……….There will be a step change in North-South cooperation……..We have agreed on this and are prepared to give practical expression to it.

“Greater North-South cooperation is critical to building a prosperous Northern Ireland…….At the last BIIC the Secretary of State and I launched wide-ranging North-South economic initiatives on trade promotion and trade missions….. The facilities of Enterprise Ireland and Invest Northern Ireland overseas offices will be made available to all businesses on the island. These initiatives are just the beginning. We are looking at massive investments in infrastructure on the island of Ireland in the next 10 years – better planning, better outcomes and better value for money. We can achieve more balanced regional development and a prosperous border region … promoting the development of the entire Northwest region.

“We will look at health, education and other public services in border areas and on an all-island basis.

11th September, 2006 Hain and Dermot Ahern met in Dundalk. On the agenda was ongoing work with co-operation on economy.

14th September, 2006 Information from contact in Telecoms:Northern Ireland Office officials looking at possibility of adopting a cross-border approach on telecommunications. Meetings with Ministers have taken place in Dublin, London and Belfast together with senior representatives from the Mobile industry. There is a belief that these discussions could lead to more than addressing cross-border roaming charges.

19th September, 2006 The Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety, Northern Ireland and the Office of the Minister for Health and Children in the Republic of Ireland at round table event organised jointly welcomed moves by governments on both sides of the border to further develop ways to safeguard children.

26th September, 2006 SDLP enterprise spokesperson Sean Farren said after talks in Dublin with the Republic’s Finance Minister Brian Cowen that the Irish Government will make cross-border investment in infrastructure a key feature of its next National Development Plan.

13th/14th October, 2006 The Irish Association Annual Conference – “A new Ireland dealing with change”

  • Frustrated Democrat

    All this happened when the DUP have been watching out for the interests of the Union – ‘not an inch’ more like 40 miles.

    That’s the DUP all hot air and bluster and when it comes to doing any real work where are they? … arguing as to who will follow RIP as boss.

  • smcgiff

    ‘But regrettably this has not been the case’

    Why is it regrettable. Is it regrettable because the North South bodies are not functioning correctly – If so, where? – or do the UUP wish to keep the jobs local for ‘the boys’?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    On the other hand, if this is the scariest material the UUP can come up with, they’re scuppered as well…

    When the cult of personality that is the DUP and the vaudeville act which is the UUP finally implode, what (or who) will be there to pick up the pieces?

  • fair_deal

    What exactly do the UUP expect from the SDLP and SF other than to push for corss-border bodies etc?
    Pretty much everything mentioned falls under the areas of co-operation or the cross-border bodies in the Belfast Agreement so how come the shock horror all of a sudden?
    How exactly is the Union threatened by a few decent roads in border areas and the chance of cheaper phone calls?
    The Irish Association do what they do every year, hold a conference. Panic. Panic. Panic. Where is a Clydevalley when you need one!
    A statement is issued that government will be nice to children. Run for the hills everyone!

    BTW the UUP said it would be impossible for cross-border bodies to continue in the absence of an Assembly. Have they changed their mind?

  • DK

    “Department of the Environment and Department for Regional Development announce intention to cooperate with Irish Transport Ministers on driving disqualifications”

    Hold the front page – It’s a united Ireland!!!! Truly pathetic attempt at scare-mongering and, ultimately sectarian shit-stirring from the increasingly frantic looking UUP.

    Maybe the SDLP counld launch an east-westery watch.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    f_d: “BTW the UUP said it would be impossible for cross-border bodies to continue in the absence of an Assembly. Have they changed their mind?”

    The problem is is that the things the UUP is hollering about are those things which, to a reasonable mind, represent good government — police cooperation, economic cooperation, etc.

    Could the UUP be so far gone that they confuse cooperation for integration?

  • smcgiff

    “Department of the Environment and Department for Regional Development announce intention to cooperate with Irish Transport Ministers on driving disqualifications”

    DK,

    This is one step away from an integrated North South (and by extension British & Irish) Sex offenders list. And what a travesty such cooperation would be. Will no one think of the Sex offenders!

    At least we can feel safe knowing the UUP are protecting us.

  • darth rumsfeld

    Ah yes- the North-South bodies that the UUP assured us could not function if there was no assembly. So their judgment ain’t exactly perfect.
    I mean, if you can’t even understand your own bloody Agreement- you know, the one you wrecked your party for- what’s the bloody point?

  • smcgiff

    ‘Could the UUP be so far gone that they confuse cooperation for integration?’

    Doesn’t matter. The UUP are in such a sorry state they can’t think beyond the strategy of trying to come up with something (ANYTHING) that will be popular. If it’s good policy (unlikely) that’d be a bonus.

  • fair_deal

    DC

    I honestly don’t know what the UUP are at. They can’t find a single narrative nor stick to one – one day the DUP are incapable of making a deal then the next they are about to sell everyone out. One day the DUP are ripping out important parts of the Agreement the next it’s only minor tinkering. They seem to be trying to do a little bit of everything and hoping that’ll work. So far it hasn’t been.

    Unionism does need a competitive 2nd party but I am increasingly doubtful that the UUP can become that.

  • Nice one yet again by the UUP. Come up with a scaremongering story which is so weak that it might convince some of their constituency that a united Ireland might not be a bad thing after all. 🙂

    Although I’m not sure how that high speed rail link to Cork would work when NIR can’t even manage a low speed one to Lambeg…

  • baldrick45

    As a unionist, I fail to see what is so sinister about this “creeping hand of doom” ((TM)-UUP 2006).

    The local politicians have sat scratching their arses for 4 years. Government and the Bodies have carried on doing their jobs and (surprise, surprise) have found new areas where co-operation with the South could deliver benefits to business or the public IN BOTH JURISDICTIONS.

    What’s the f*ckin’ problem? If someone has found a way of delivering more for my hard earned taxes then Congratulations!

    “Oh, but it helps those bloody Southerners too…. and you have to talk to Southern Ministers to do this”

    Well then, that’s completely outrageous! Let’s just ignore any benefits to us so that we avoid helping “Them” and avoid allowing perfidious Eireann to influence the affairs of God fearing Ulster.

    For f*cks sake! Let’s stop with this puerile “Nothing good ever came out of Dublin” attitude and applaud any development which helps us all. Much as some twats might wish to ignore the fact that we are part of “The island of Ireland” its a fact and I welcome any and every aspect of co-operation that helps North and South.

    Had we had a continuous Executive over this period the N/S agenda would by now have been just an accepted part of political life and it would probably have grown vastly in advance of the few changes which have occurred.

    But if politicians want to abdicate responsibility to lead us but still want the right to block any developments they don’t like or they haven’t been invited to “bless” then they deserve every piece of ridicule they deserve.

    God it feels good to get that off my chest!

  • Roberto

    Why are the UUP obsessed with north-nouthery? They just come across as trying to copy the DUP. Why not open up some clear differences between the two instead of trying to compete to be the most narrow-minded. Look at this: unbelievable!

  • Tochais Siorai

    I’ll say one thing, if the UUP keep going like this they won’t win any Dail seats in the 2016 election.

  • smcgiff

    ROFL Tochais!

  • lib2016

    Not strictly relevent but most nationalists I know are quite happy about East-West growth so long as it is done on a basis of equality in addition to growth elsewhere, i.e. with Brussels etc.

    When are unionists going to take their place in the Inter-Parliamentary Body and start making a serious contribution rather than producing silly reports nobody reads? It is about making friends and influencing people as Hume showed er- I meant networking.

  • Brian Boru

    North-Southery should include:

    A: Euro membership.
    B: All-Ireland Health-Service allowing patients to be taken to the nearest hospital on the island rather than in the jurisdiction. This will save lives.
    C: All-Ireland energy/gas/bus-market allowing more competition with Northern and Southern power-companies allowed to compete in both jurisdictions.
    D: Re-opening of cross-border railways.

  • Elvis Parker

    13th July, 2006 Rooker, in reply to Lord Kilclooney said: “If the noble Lord is concerned about discussions between the United Kingdom government and the government of the Republic, he will be more worried after 24th November because discussions will deepen.”

    Rooker is such a prat

  • Darth,

    Good for you to confirm that I am not suffering from Alzheimers. For I also remember the Purple One c. 1999 telling us that the North-South bodies couldn’t function without the Assembly. A bad judgment, methinks – fancy that!

  • Yokel

    Well done the boys of the UUP. I have one question

    So fecking what?

    Two countries next to each other do, if they have any sense, look at cross border projects, enhanced communications, enhanced trade etc. It makes good sense.

    This is picking on the wrong issues and people making statements that count for nothing. Sinn Fein suggests more cross border bodies? Well I never, I’m shocked. Wait until they find out that Sinn Fein is calling for unity.

    A firm slap is required.

  • Greenflag

    What Wilson says

    ‘“That’s why the Ulster Unionist Party has created North South Watch. This gradual expansion of North Southery must be highlighted and challenged,” says Wilson. ‘

    What Wilson means

    Because we’ll have nothing else to do when the Assembly is gone apart of course from sticking our heads further into the sand like the DUP .

    ‘I also remember the Purple One c. 1999 telling us that the North-South bodies couldn’t function without the Assembly. A bad judgment’

    At least their bad judgements have a really good track record of being bad 🙁

  • pith

    Who’s on these North-South bodies?

  • Nevin

    [i]What exactly do the UUP expect from the SDLP and SF other than to push for corss-border bodies etc?[/i]

    FD, they must have been a bit surprised when the DUP’s Gregory Campbell put his name to the SDLP style “Shaping Our Future” strategy document, the one that portrays NI as a region of the island of Ireland but not of the UK. Perhaps the revolving chairs episode disorientated the DUP ministers!!!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    f_d: “I honestly don’t know what the UUP are at.”

    S’alright — so long as its not just me who doesn’t get the joke…

    f_d: “They can’t find a single narrative nor stick to one – one day the DUP are incapable of making a deal then the next they are about to sell everyone out. One day the DUP are ripping out important parts of the Agreement the next it’s only minor tinkering. They seem to be trying to do a little bit of everything and hoping that’ll work. So far it hasn’t been.”

    Hey, throwing mud up on the wall to see what sticks in a grand poiltical tradition… but it does work best if you’re not seen just tossing things up to see what sticks. They’re trying to be all things to all folks and are not being subtle about it.

    f_d: “Unionism does need a competitive 2nd party but I am increasingly doubtful that the UUP can become that. ”

    Well, between the cult of personality of the DUP and this keystone kops routine, I’m not sure there is much in the way of leadership within Unionism… but at least the Rev. Dr. No has a firmly fixed compass… better the foe you can predict than this “wheel of chance” approach the UUP has taken up.

  • pacman

    I have another one for the UUP – 20th September 2006: 86 years on and 700,000 (or thereabouts)Irish people still refuse to be British. The B**tards!

  • aquifer

    More inclusive and attractive visioneering from the DUP I mean UUP. Could Bertie’s friend not just give them 50,000 euros each to get lost.

  • Nevin
  • kensei

    Nevin, how many times does it need pointed out to you that poll is deeply flawed?

  • Nevin

    Can you provide a link to a more accurate survey, Kensei?

    A Question of Identity 2001.

    Moxon-Browne in the late 1970s, according to Brian Walker in “Dancing to History’s Tune”, reported that 8% of Protestants chose the Irish label, 67% British and 20% Ulster whereas 69% of Catholics chose Irish, 20% British and 6% Ulster. It seems he didn’t offer Northern Irish as an option.

  • andy

    Hope this isn’t coming over as too patronising but I have been impressed with the maturity over these developments shown by the Unionists on this thread.

    Refreshingly free of any knee-jerk anti-irish sentiment (although I appreciate putting the boot into the UUP helps).

  • Nevin

    Andy, are you surprised that Gregory Campbell appears to have gone SDLP-lite vis-a-vis infrastructure development? Imagine a DUP minister leaving NI-GB infrastructure development in the hands of the North South Ministerial Council.

  • kensei

    “Can you provide a link to a more accurate survey, Kensei?”

    Yeah. The last election.

  • George

    Nevin and Kensei,
    have a gander at this survey:

    http://www.ccruni.gov.uk/research/qub/trew95.htm

  • andy

    Nevin
    I am a bit. Having said that I quite liked Campbell. Fairly hard core on some levels buthe is fairly practical and will engage – he must have been one of the firs if not THE first unionist politician to appear at the West Belfast Festival, for example.

  • Nevin

    Andy, I invited Peter Robinson and Jeffrey Donaldson to examine the implications of the post-1998 Agreement Common Chapter in Ireland’s NDP 2000-2006 when Peter was the DARD minister. It seems my invitation went unnoted.

    Gregory has also been prepared to speak out about the activities of developers. I wonder how many MPs, MLAs and Councillors would be unmasked if there was an inquiry into the relationships between developers, planners and politicians. Where are our investigative journalists?

  • Nevin

    Thanks, George, it puts some flesh on the NILT bones.

  • Nevin

    Kensei, the last local election results only told us about the voting choices of 63.5% of the electorate: DUP 18.8%, SF 14.7%, UUP 11.4% and SDLP 11%.