‘This is not the time, there may never be a time’

An excellent and well handled debate hosted by Stephen Nolan on his show this morning. It doesn’t happen often, but the cracks within Sinn Fein got a full public airing on the show. John O’Dowd was firm in telling Davy Hyland that his deselection was a result of lack of support, while Hyland was hanging it on the policing issue. On policing, Hyland made the quote I’ve used in the title, and said his end-game was an All Ireland police force. He also said that there was a ‘large swell of support for my stance throughout the country.’ O’Dowd on the other hand still believes in the magic police: as long as you tell ‘someone’ about the crime, and it gets solved, your civic duty is done. Ian Paisley Jnr claiming that Catriona Ruane and Michele Gildernew about to ‘jump ship’, and accurately pointing to the difficulties within the party. No matter what the outcome over the next few days, a very uncomfortable cat is out of the bag and Sinn Fein may never be the same.

  • gerry

    miss fitz your link takes you to the nolan show, but it is yesterdays show. Do you have any idea as to when todays show will be on, will it be later today, or tomorrow?

  • Caoimhín

    I am very disappointed in Davy Hyland. One of the reasons he was deselected by his local party comerades was that he had not really done a good job in publicly profiling himself in recent years.
    The same guy obviously knows how to achieve maximum publicity, as he is proving in the past few weeks. He is now the darling of the media and looks as if he will be replacing Anthony Mc Intyre in the run up to the fortthcoming elections to bash SF. Davy has fallen hook, line and sinker for this media trap.
    Why was he rarely in the media before his deselection? Would this be personal by any chance? I think 3 votes out of 63 at your local selection convention says it all.

  • Miss Fitz

    I linked it in anticiaption. The show is normally up around 12 o’clock. I would really suggest a listen, there were a lot of nuances and interesting interchanges.

  • Observer

    Sinn Fein is crumbling at the foundations!

    Good excuse: ‘No positive response’ – Internal tensions a more likely reason.

    Republicans will never change their attitude to Northern Ireland, to Unionism or indeed to the Police force of this province.

  • gerry

    will do miss fitz, thanks for the heads up

  • DK

    See this 3 votes out of 63 that DH got: What did other people get. Maybe there were 20 people nominated and the best was 5. Makes 3 look a lot better then! If it was 3 in favour and 60 against him specifically then that is worse. Can anyone clear this up before the spin gets too hysterical.

  • eolas

    Can’t believe that IP Jnr said that Gildernew and Ruane were about to jump ship. What a fool!!

  • Miss Fitz

    He said it alright, but it wasnt pursued. I imagine he was just stirring the mix a bit with that comment. What I thought was interesting was that O’Dowd had been linked to the ‘dissenters’, but was certainly taking a pro party line on the show.

  • Yokel

    Scrappy Doo (Paisley Jnr) is sticking his neck out there. I suspect he’s just stirring the pot and/or talking bollocks. If he’s right I’d be surprised.

    What is does point out however is that, now that Sinn Fein have to make a decision and the wheels have been set in motion, those unhappy with it will have to make their minds up. Do they stay within and try to provide a ‘keep them up to the mark’ hard line whilst accepting the vote due on the issue. Do they part ways with the party knowing the vote is going to go for the leadership. Or (again) do they acquiesce?

    I said months ago on this forum that the Paisley old time gospel band may have really put one over on Sinn Fein. Quite possibly they always felt that Sinn Fein could not swallow the policing & law courts requirement without damage.

  • lurker

    Blow me – Sinn Fein is beginning to sound like a normal democratic party which airs differences. Progress indeed.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    I believe for the whole constituency there were 9 candidates.

    Miss Fitz,

    Was it put to Davy that had he been selected to stand on the SF ticket would he have been quite happy to fight the SF corner? One can only assume so since he allowed his name to go forward.

    Also if he had been selected would there have been the same deafening silence on (alleged) lack of internal debate on policing etc. Seeing he never seemed to mention it before.

    Also on O’Dowd, he was indeed mentioned as being close to the dissenters etc. In that respect some posters are simply mixing or involved in telling porkies. Awful lot of heat in these discussions but not an great lot of light.


    How would one go about trying to get odds on Hyland running as an independent?

  • Secur O’Crat

    Caoimhin: “deselected by his local party comerades”

    LOL. Sinn Fein does not work that way. In the past, captured IRA documents showed that the IRA Army Council controlled it. Do you think Democratic Centralism has been abandoned and that no more loose and read Caitriona Ruane types will be parachuted in?

  • Todays Nolan Show now available.

  • Ponykneel

    My information is that there were four candidates in total nominated for this ward. Davy got a grand total of three votes, the other two nominees each got a handful of votes and Mr Brady was the people’s choice, with an overwhelming majority support from those at the convention. It could be that Davy is preparing for a book following in the footsteps of his old friend Eamonn Collins. He too was a darling of the media.

  • Ponykneel

    The point that a lot of people seem to have missed is that had Davy Hyland been selected as a candidate he would have fought the coming election on the SF manifesto.
    Before being de-selected by his party colleagues he gave no indication at all of having any fundamental differences with Adams et al.

  • Eddie

    John O’Dowd said on the same Nolan show that Sinn Fein couldn’t support a police service that “had only solved one burglary in the area.” This raises the question: if the PSNI doesn’t get supported how can it solve more burglaries? Without making any party political point whatsoever, I’m trying to work out the logic of all this.
    The position would seem to be that the police aren’t solving crimes because they aren’t getting support, and they won’t get support until they start solving crimes.
    Have I got this right??

  • Yokel


    Try Paddy Power. They’d give you odds on anything if you were prepared to bet enough and there was demand but they’d never give you odds on a will he won’t we, more on the would he win a seat.


    Eddie, thats perfect.

  • Nationalist

    From listening to the thoughts of Davy Hyland I have to say that he is more inclined to be fighting for himself and not the community.

    The idea of not supporting a police force until such time as there is an all Ireland Police force and that will not happen until such time as there is unification.

    The situation today in the 21st century is different and today with the 50/50 recruitment the situation is continually changing and with the total involement of Republicans this can only get better.

    The overall position of Nationalists needs to be kept in mind and that is that there is now 43.8% of the population Catholic which is an increase of 5.42% on the 1991 Census. This will continue to grow at a faster rate year on year as the majority of Unionists are in the 55yrs and over age group.

    We at this point of time need to focus on healing the community relations and ensuring there will be a peaceful transition to unity.

    Poeple, and Davy, also need to keep in mind that even if there was Unity tomorrow the PSNI will still be the police force and the Law and Justice services will still be manned by the same people and the laws will still be the same. Sinn Fein being able to hold these institutions to account will be the thing that changes them.

  • I Wonder

    I wonder if the old SF demand for total disbandment of the RUC, i.e., total dismissal of all serving members of that organisation is what those in SF opposed to PSNI support still cling to?

  • BonarLaw


    I didn’t notice a “Unionist” or “Nationalist” tick-box on my last census form.

  • I am bewildered by the position of those Shinners who oppose any move towards endorsing the PSNI. Where did they think the process was going? Did they think it was all a subversive strategy to smash unionism and make NI ungovernable? Did they think they were getting a nod from Gerry that it was all a con? Has it only now, nine years after the Agreement, dawned on them that governing this place would require them to support the police and the courts? Did they imagine that they would be some kind of government in opposition?
    Do they really believe that Sinn Fein is changing direction and only now committing itself to partnership government? If so, what did they think Sinn Fein was actually engaged in the peace process for?
    Or did they, as republicans, prefer that policing would be a power reserved to the imperial government at Westminster?

    Answers please.

  • Nationalist

    BonorLaw, The figures were provided by the Census from those peol;e from what is considered to be a Catholic and Protestant background.

    On the whole most Catholics are Nationalist and most Protestants Unionist, although there will be a few from either religious breakdown on either side.

  • doh!

    And you wonder why, Malachi, some people refer to the SF grassroots as sheep, or worse, stupid.

  • BonarLaw


    I see- you subscribe to the politics of the sectarian head-count.

  • missfitz

    I share your concerns completely, I think today was the first time that I really heard the kernel of what SF thought was coming.

    Davy Hyland’s point that the only police he wanted was within a United Ireland demonstrates a complete contradiction to the kind of ‘partnership’ vocalised by Adams.

    The first peace that needs to be made is here and now. Here in Northern Ireland with the Unionists with whom catholics share space. Now is 2007.

    A United Ireland is a worthwhile aspiration, but the pragmatic reality is that our core mission should be about partnership in the present.


    Thats why I mentioned ‘magic police.’ O’Dowd thinks people should report things to ‘someone’, but not the police, not him, or not anyone he could think of. By this ‘reporting’, charges could be brought, and a sentence given.

    I have never said it before, but I will say it now. The Sinn Fein interviews on the radio this morning would indicate that they are AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES

  • kensei

    “A United Ireland is a worthwhile aspiration, but the pragmatic reality is that our core mission should be about partnership in the present.”

    No, our core mission should be to get a United Ireland, because it is the only context in which Republicans believe these problems can really be solved. However, as pragmatists we should be willing to make partnerships and commitments that may help people or our cause indirectly. It is a ubtlwe but important difference.

    Aspirations are things that never happen; a United Ireland has to be the single most important motive force behind Republicanism.

  • Reader

    Kensei: No, our core mission should be to get a United Ireland…
    Is that as an alternative to partnership? As a supplement? As a pre-condition? Or a consequence?
    Your actual suggestion seemed to be that a partnership should just be tactical – does that also imply it should be a temporary expedient, and not seen as desirable in its own right?

  • MÓG

    What exactly did Ian óg say about Gildernew and Ruane.

    The claim is ridiculous. Who could his sources in the republican movement.

  • cynic

    “Did they think they were getting a nod from Gerry that it was all a con?”

    ….errrr wasn’t that what they were all told at the start of the process …. this is just a ‘next stage’ ….part of a stategy towards a United Ireland…. they haven’t gone away you know etc

    Even the dimmest are now seeeing through that but this is a positive sign overall. Will the DUP be more willing to do a deal with a SF where the more extreme elements have been spun off? Perhaps.

    In amny case people now have to decide (on both sides); do they want to negotiate a deal and build a shared civic society or do they not? There is a real chance we will now be left with a large central majority who do and (inevitably) isolated rumps on each side that don’t.

  • kensei

    “Is that as an alternative to partnership? As a supplement? As a pre-condition? Or a consequence?”

    Current arrangements are not a goal in their own end. They are accepted because

    i. They move us incrementally towards a United Ireland
    ii. They offer the opportunity to improve our lot in the interim
    iii. It gives Republicans a platform and opportunities to build trust.

    Every decision republicans made should be weighed up in terms of how close it brings us to a United Ireland. It shouldn’t be the sole consideration, but it should be first in our minds. It might be better to take some short term damage in some instances because a United Ireland is by far the best context to solve problems long term.

    “Your actual suggestion seemed to be that a partnership should just be tactical – does that also imply it should be a temporary expedient, and not seen as desirable in its own right? ”

    No, the partnership should be strategic rather than tactical, as it gives Republicans an opportunity and a platform. “Partnership” is not a desirable goal in its own right. A properly and normally functioning democracy that lives up to the ideals of flag is a worthy goal in its own right. What we have now is a mess required only be the fact that no one trusts each other and should only ever be transitional.

    Are you asking me if I would take a UI over the heads of Unionism? Of course I would, just like present arrangements are over the heads of Nationalism. But in that event the first and most important drive for Republicans would be to build a state where Northern Protestants could be happy with and have their traditions respected.

  • Yokel

    The first people to press the panic button have been Sinn Fein. Quick get on the big red hotline to weak, egotistical Tony.

    This was always going to the case that someone would break first and that award has now been won. I can only guess that the Government wasn’t able to do the side deal that Sinn Fein wanted, whatever the detail was. Without this deal, Sinn Fein don’t believe they can carry enough of the membership with them without noticeable damage. The vote may carry the day but the dissent would be considered too much for comfort both there and in March.

    My only assumption is that this idea of the cross community vote for the justice minister idea is the one that would hold sway within the British government. Even if they had a solid timeframe for devolution in 2008 SF can’t get a decent enough guarantee that will give them a chance to get the position.

    The DUP, by proposing/backing such a solution have effectively appeared to compromise (not us not Sinn Fein, someone in the middle) and it makes the current toys out of the pram exercise look rather poor to be honest.

    It also shows Tony Blair up as desperate coming home early. It’s obvious thus that in discussions with the NIO mandarins & ministers that Sinn Fein haven’t got what they want or need to carry them comnfortably through the vote and they want it to be comfortable.

    My only hope is that it all dies down but this really does look bad and its probably time for the government to tell the parties enough pissing around, the basics are there now get it done.

  • brendan,belfast


    I suspect that some of the grassroots were in fact gullible enough to take the party line, hook line and sinker all the way. Remember that it wasn’t that long ago that Sinn Fein ‘rejected’ the Patton report – now they cling to it for dear political life.

    But back then Hyland and others may have actually believed the party leadership when they ‘demanded’ an entirely new police force. it was always unrealistic of course and that was clear to those of who take a wider view of life and politics. Those hunkered down in the SF incubator were never exposed to such thinking.

    it was surely always the case that this issue – police – was going to more problematic than decommissioning, ceasefires etc.

  • middle-class taig

    Malachi O’Doherty

    I agree with you (probably for the frst time ever).

    Will you be taking the logical step and praising Gerry Adams for taking hard decisions and leading his party and community into difficult territory?

  • Caoimhin-

    “One of the reasons he was deselected by his local party comerades was that he had not really done a good job in publicly profiling himself in recent years.”

    Well it doesn’t exactly help when one’s party forces one out of one’s council seat- notwithstanding that fact, clearly he had the public support to win that seat in the first place and hold onto it by topping the poll in the Newry Town DEA repeatedly, so your argument about profiling himself doesn’t really hold water- Davy’s election results speak for themselves.

    I personally don’t agree with Davy’s politics or those of his former party, but it is breathtaking the way in which he has been treated by Provisional Sinn Féin in recent years- unlike many of the brainless wonders who may have found themselves attracted to the movement during the Troubles, Hyland had intellect and sacrificed his career for his politics. Yet, lately he has been catigated by the provo movement for the very fact that he has brains and is capable of independent thought, rather than being a pre-programmed provobot who just follows the Connolly House line regardless. Provos may claim that they are ‘disappointed’ at Davy or that he is doing PSF harm- why on earth would he now give two hoots about a party which has royally shafted him?

    Meanwhile, the rest of us can merely sit back and watch in awe as the iron bolts which have heretofore so strongly held the Provisional Sinn Féin machine together rust and disintegrate.

  • miss fitz

    El Mat
    Not trying to be smart, but he ‘sacrificed his career’? I’m not too sure about that.

    While I wish to be respectful to Mr Hyland, I think we should stick to known truths and facts.

  • Miss Fitz-

    So has Davy’s career as an educator taken off since he joined Sinn Féin? I think not. Up until the advent of the Assembly in 1998, there was no real benefit to be derived from his membership of the provos, and even since the GFA he has only received an ‘industrial wage’ if Sinn Féin are to be believed. I don’t think there is anything inaccurate about that.

  • Mr.P

    So SF agreeing to the whole policing malarky is tactical ?

    So they are really only “ticking a few boxes” on a policy which will be dumped away down the line ?

    not suprising no one trusts them ?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    El Mat,

    while the SDLP has always and continues to encourage the fiefdom constituency politics that has bedevilled the party and contributed to its steady decline SF operates at a different level and thus the need of candidates to prove themselves from election to election may be alien to you.

    Your concern for the fate of Davy Hyland is I am sure genuine (not). Unlike the SDLP, SF go to the electorate as a party therefore there are no such things as personal votes.

    The basic facts that you seem to ignore is that out of his fellow constituency members only three endorsed his candidacy and if he had have received the requisite backing he would have been happy to accept the SF nomination.