Further Newry reaction to SF vote

The Deputy Mayor of Newry and Mourne, Martin Connolly, was on the BBC’s Radio Ulster TalkBack explaining why he has resigned from Sinn Féin following the vote at yesterday’s Ard Fheis. We’ve seen resistance to the decision in that area before

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  • mickhall

    These days some members of SF remind me of the type of people within the Stalinist communist parties that the Trots used to tell jokes about.[Big Red Joke Book, published in the mid-1970s]

    A man wants to advance his career and so applies to join the Party.
    At the interview, he is asked a series of questions:
    ‘What is your view on economic policy?’ ‘I agree with the views of the party.’
    ‘What is your view on foreign policy?’ ‘I agree with the views of the party.’
    This pattern goes on and on.
    Eventually the exasperated interviewer asks,
    ‘Have you no views of your own?’ ‘Yes, but I disagree with them.’

  • Yokel

    Its to be expected that some will go ok.

    Bear in mind though that its impossible to say that members walking is the same as its electorate.

    It may be worse for the party at the ballot box than inhouse dissent suggests, it may be better.

  • Sean

    3 resignations handed into Dundalk SF offices this morning.

  • Crataegus

    This is shaping up to be a more interesting election than I originally thought. The question is will the independent Republicans stand, how well organised will they be and how well will they do. Also who do their voters transfer to? Would they for example transfer to say the Greens in South Down to snub SF and elsewhere who do they transfer to or vote for? Do they stay at home in some constituencies like South Antrim? Also will there be any drift from the SDLP to SF or has that peaked?

    Hope something happens to liven up the Unionist side of the equation.

  • Yokel

    Sean

    Funny that, looking at posts on politics.ie, some posters were suggesting a lot of the apparent opposition at the SF conference yesterday seemed to be from Southern party members. I don’t know if that us the case but I’m sure a SF type can let us know.

    Crataegus

    Bob McCartney & associates as well as independents will certainly stand but I notice Bob is quiet. It’s not surprising, he and the religiously based fundamentalists types who seem to make up much of the internal DUP opposition are not natural bedfellows. Here’s another question, would Bob’s own seat be under threat? That would be interesting.

    The original Bertie, Albert Reynolds, has apparently spoken to some of these DUP ’12 apostles’ recently and although there are differences it appears theres little likelihood of any of them actually leaving the party. What I expect is as I’ve posted before, the main people who differ on substance or timing ir whatever will pretty much stay in both parties (DUP & SF) and take the position of keeping their leadership up to the mark whilst respecting where the memebers and electorate signal them to go. The idea that every single senior SF members was absolutely for this exact motion at this exact time is fanciful, but they are pragmastists. Sounds like its much the same at the top of the DUP. Anyway, why leave the DUP if you want to be its future leader?

    I think that we can pretty much forget correlating the internal machinations of each party with the wider voter base at this point in time. I’m sure plenty will try it though….

  • Glensman

    All opposition was from the southern delegates. A lot of people are looking at the bigger picture outside the context of policing, ie that the ST.A agreement isn’t a good deal.

  • Yokel

    Ah but Glensman is that not the phenomenon of ‘the further away from the frontline, the more vocal you are for war’?

    I don’t mean war literally but you get the point.

    The St AA on paper doesnt really seem to give Republicans much in addition to what they got in the GFA but I suppose that maybe wasn’t the point of the exercise. Either that or the DUP shat on them.

  • Paul

    The splits in 86 and 97 were also dominated by Southerners.

  • Glensman

    It’s not so much that as the fact that southern members are less leadership orientated as we are somewhat ‘detached’ from the leadership and can think for ourselves more freely. Also I agree we have no gained from St.AA but we have also lost in some aspects. For example, bare with me… If the Unionist vote were to split and SF were to grow to become the biggest political party in the north under GFA, we would nominate first minister, under St.AA the biggest party from the biggest denomination would get the nod (DUP) which I would view as sectarian politics.

  • Glensman

    The above is just one of the reasons delegates such as myself voted no yesterday…

  • gerry

    meltdown hopefully.

  • Jesus Christ

    Paul:

    Those splits were dominated by Martin and Gerry. Although Gerry comes form a Republican family, Martin does not. Long term I reckon SF are fucked. The future lies with [text removed – moderator] Mary Lou and her type. They will eventually split from the Gerry Kelly types when the whiff of a bit of rough loses its thrill. Of course the Provos will get the votes and IRSP/RSF won’t as abstentionism doesn’t work and most voters just want peace and bottled porter. This does not make the voters right though.

    Sinn Fein should do the right thing and split with most joining FF, the Greens, the Capuchins or the RUC, depnding on their personal preferences. Right now, it is like Pat Rabbitte and co before they joined Labour.

    The Provos are not republican, not RUC, not FF, not Green Party. They are nothing but another recycled political flavour being chaired by a woman.

  • Yokel

    Glensman

    Really? Wasn’t fully aware of that.

    I can understand that for members of SF in the South the scenario is different. Question is, why then did the leadership go for the St AA and thsi vote?

    One thing I havent seen raised at all is that up in West Belfast, the leadership’s real stronghold, the policing regime up there has been, apparently, rather more civil than in other areas. I’m just wondering is thats a local policy by the cops or a much higher level desicion, a kind of case study or an acknowlegdement that it would help the leadership if West Belfast.

  • marty (not ingram)

    JC,

    Out of interest, what’s your problem with McDonald (other than the fact you have an issue with her chin)?

  • mickhall

    “I’m just wondering is thats a local policy by the cops or a much higher level desicion, a kind of case study or an acknowlegdement that it would help the leadership if West Belfast.
    posted by Yokel”

    Yokel
    No it could not possibly be as you ask, as Mr Adams has told us all, the PSNI do not act in a political manner, nor on the nod from London. You will be telling us the plod break the law next, which is unthinkable. If you carry on like this, that nice ‘DR’ Paisley will be collapsing the Assembly before MM has his bum in the seat of his ministerial limo and then what will he have to show for a lifetimes work.

    Glensman

    If it is true, well done for raising it, as I doubt few realised this. But then the GFA has always been a sectarian set up.

  • joeCanuck

    Aren’t there any moderators around to delete these disgusting remarks?

  • damnable

    i’ve seen two faces on SF party delegates, but never noticed two chins. is this relevent? god help john taylor if this becomes a topic!

  • marty (not ingram)

    ’ve seen two faces on SF party delegates, but never noticed two chins. is this relevent?

    The reason I asked JC is to find out what the underlying issue is with McDonald and perhaps move to a more constructive debate.

    I don’t endorse his opinion!

  • Oranges for Sale

    Gerry

    ‘meltdown hopefully’

    Regardless of the proportionality of the yes/no vote from the various Sinn Fein party members, it will be interesting to see what the ordinary republican on the Falls road will think when the next PSNI baton comes down on the next republican skull (which will inevitably happen). It will also be even more interesting to see Sinn Fein’s response when this happens. For republicans, the policing issue isn’t over by a long shot (no pun intended!) and could prove to be a step too far.

  • interested

    Yokel
    “Bob McCartney & associates as well as independents will certainly stand but I notice Bob is quiet. It’s not surprising, he and the religiously based fundamentalists types who seem to make up much of the internal DUP opposition are not natural bedfellows. Here’s another question, would Bob’s own seat be under threat? That would be interesting.”

    Indeed Bob isnt a natural bedfellow with a lot of the others in groups like Voice4Democracy, much less the Clifford Peoples and co who seem to be flocking to those groups.

    Bob’s interview on Inside Politics really does deserve its own thread on here. He virtually admitted defeat and said that any opposition to the DUP was in the DUP’s own hands and would only come from its own memebers. Also after issuing the rallying call for people to come under his banner and run in the election he was spectacularly unable to name anyone who had answered the call – only managing to state that Paul Berry had declared he would run in opposition to the DUP (well he does get a better severance package that way) and that Willie Frazer had stated he might run.

    Not exactly a resounding success – but then he did only get 90 people to turn up to his public rally in an area which was supposed to be the hot-bed of DUP opposition. I think Bob is finished before he has started. His own seat has to be under threat and that might take his mind away from organising anything else across the Province.

  • Sammy Morse

    One thing I havent seen raised at all is that up in West Belfast, the leadership’s real stronghold, the policing regime up there has been, apparently, rather more civil than in other areas.

    I’m not sure it’s so much that but the level of ‘ordinary decent crime’ is much higher in republican areas of Belfast than anywhere else in NI and Community Restorative Justice was a bit of a flop. If you want to stop the hooding wee bastards joyriding in your street there is no alternative (TM) to the PSNI. Down in Galbally things may look a bit different… hence, in my view, the Northern splitters being mainly from the country.

  • Rubicon

    Glensman – you’re understanding of hte StAA Act is correct. The legislation is in Section 8 subsections 4 and 5 that stipulate:

    (4) The nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be the First Minister.
    (5) The nominating officer of the largest political party of the second largest political designation shall nominate a member of the Assembly to be the deputy First Minister.

    As for it being sectarian – so was the GFA that introduced the notion of designations (though not to the extent of the StAA sa you’ve pointed out).

  • Yokel

    Mickhall

    No no the cops never act in a politicaly directed manner or get involved in directly involved politics.

    I also note the Chief Constables statement welcoming the SF vote…..

  • Glensman

    Of course I agree with you that the GFA was also sectarian but surely we should try to learn from it and try to form a better agreement. If and when St.AA is signed up to unionists (and i don’t blame them) wont give up notions such as a garauntee to be first minister… A sectarian aspect to legislature would not be accepted in a normal democracy so why should we settle for it?

  • Yokel

    Interested,

    The last I remember was Bob claiming 20 000 angry votes around the country were waiting or someone to pick them up….

    I took a look at his last Assembly election figures, he could well go out himself, not an impossible situation. The political ground was also different that time.

    There has been overall not the great wailing & gnashing of unionist teeth over this deal that some may have thought.

    Sammy.

    Duly noted and it amkes sense. It wouldnt surprise me if a different approach by the cops was being adopted and the situation on the ground as you state was causing locals to deal with the cops. Result: the virtuous circle benefit so to speak, but there is always the wider idea that the way things are done have a political bent.

    I suppose what matters in a case like that is that it works.

  • eolas

    Rubicon and Glensman,

    You are both incorrect in your interpretation of the Northern Ireland (St Andrew’s Agreement) Act.

    While Rubicon notices that Section 8 contains a revision to the original Good Friday Agreement act which gives nomination of First Minister to the largest party from the largest political designation and the Deputy Minister to the largest of the next largest designation. Critically that section 16A contains a provision…

    (10) This section shall be construed in accordance with, and is subject to, section 16C.

    Now Section 16C contains a provision…

    (6) If at any time the party which is the largest political party of the largest political designation is not the largest political party-

    (a) any nomination to be made at that time under section 16A(4) or 16B(4) shall instead be made by the nominating officer of the largest political party; and
    (b) any nomination to be made at that time under section 16A(5) or 16B(5) shall instead be made by the nominating officer of the largest political party of the largest political designation.

    So clearly you are incorrect in your interpretation.

    Glensman if this was the only reason you voted no – if you are indeed a member of SF – then you are a fool. The overwhelming support and logic voiced for the entry into policing and justice was thunderous at times.

    Let’s just hope that the DUP can run with this on their end now.

  • BetweenTheLines

    As a republican I couldn’t give a shit if the DUP gets first minister or deputy. At the end of the day its First Minister in name only, the two positions are equal in everything but name.

    Ian Paisley becoming 1st Minister is worse for the DUP than for SF for the simple reason that he will be accepting Martin McGuinness as his equal.

  • Rubicon

    Eolas – thanks for pointing out that section – I hadn’t picked up on it. It makes me wonder about legislative draftsmen – there must have been an easier way of putting this or at least flag the proviso in the appointment section.

    Apologies for the error.

    Having now read the supplementary section I began wondering what the purpose was and started to work out scenarios. Essentially, it means that – for as long as unionists remain the largest designation they must get either First or Deputy First position. If SF emerge as the largest party they get First Minister but the largest unionist party would get the Deputy – even if that party was smaller than the 2nd largest nationalist party.

    The same guarantee does not apply to nationalists (for as long as they are the smaller designation). So – if the APNI emerged as the largest party the Deputy would not then be the 2nd largest party but the largest party within the unionist designation.

    I think I’ve got the above right this time. If so, given that the First Minister can’t operate independently of the Deputy First Minister unionism has been given a guarantee that nationalists haven’t.

    No wonder the DUP aren’t so concerned about splits!

  • pete Whitcroft

    How many areas are going to field anti SF republicans.
    Surely there are 6 seats a piece for anti unionists and republicans, if they get organised.
    Separately or with the help of MI5.

  • Sean

    I think you dont give the electorate enough credit. thay are far more pragmatic than you believe and when it comes time to vote only the hardest of the hardliners will vote anti-SF. If anything i think the SF will pick up many of the votes of SDLP and even some soft line unionists. i think Paisley will have a race on his hands to keep his Largest party designation.

    We may see the use of those clauses mentioned above long before they were intended to be used

  • pete Whitcroft

    SF will no doubt pick up more votes from the SDLP than they will lose to anti psni republicans and will no doubt get most back as full value second preferences.
    If they antis got organised I think they could get a few seats.

  • Glen Taisie

    Anyone notice how quickly Ruane FORCED her way from the back of the stage to the front row of the pack when the cameras start flashing.

  • Gerry & the peacemakers

    In most areas SF have a safe margin eg in Fermanagh/south Tyrone they had 2.4 quotas for their two seats. Therefore Gerry McGeogh would have to poll more than the two front runners for SF i.e 4000 votes – a tall order. The places where they may have some difficulty is Foyle (2.2 quotas for 2 seats) and mid ulster (3.2 for 3 seats).

    Overall the worst case scenario for SF is probably 21/22 seats and best 27 seats. The result will probably be a net + or – of one, so somewhere between 23 and 25.

    I don’t think the anti-sf vote will 2nd prefence to SF, that would defeat the purpose I would argue. They will have to get as many 1st pref to have a chance of taking seats.

  • Sammy Morse

    How many areas are going to field anti SF republicans.
    Surely there are 6 seats a piece for anti unionists and republicans

    For Anti-SF republicans the best bets must be:

    Tier 1
    Fermanagh/S Tyrone – an prominent candidate in place in Gerry McGeown, a large Republican vote to begin with, and a certain tradition of non-aligned Republicans from Frank Maguire to Dessie McPhilips. However, it has a significantly smaller Republican vote to play with than other constituencies; McGeown will probably need to pull off about a third of previous Sinn Fein voters to win.
    Newry and Armagh – whatever the boys in Sevastopol Street might like to think, Hyland has deep roots in Newry Town, having topped the poll there three times in a row. South Armagh has plenty of people disillusioned with the Adams/McGuinness view of Republicanism as well. The weakness of traditional Republicanism in the Armagh half of the constituency, where he has shallow roots anyway, might be Hyland’s achilles heel though. Sinn Fein performed poorly here until the 1994 ceasefire, not usually a sign of deep traditional republican values, and while former INLA hunger-striker John Nixon can usually poll close 10% in Armagh City, this might be more of a personal vote than an anti-Adams one.
    Mid Ulster – South Derry and East Tyrone are heartlands of traditional revanchist Republicanism and the resignation of two Assembly members – John Kelly and Geraldine Dougan – in recent years shows how deep the disquiet with the Adams/McGuinness direction goes here. Paul McGlinchey has been mentioned as a possible dissident candidate here and his family name would undoubtedly carry weight with some republicans, especially in South Derry. Places like Pomeroy, Galbally and Coalisland have their share of true believers as well and with an existing SF vote close to 50% this is arguably the best opportunity for the dissidents to win an Assembly seat.

    Tier 2
    West Tyrone – Dominic McGlinchey Jr has been mentioned as a possible anti candidate here but his name would carry less weight here than in South Derry. Although the Sinn Fein vote starts at 40% or so here, similar to the level in Fermanagh, the lack of a strong candidate and the relative paucity of genuinely hard-core Republican areas in this area, outside Carrickmore and a few estates in Omagh and Strabane, forces me to rank it lower in winnability for the dissidents. There seems to have been few resignations from Sinn Fein as well.
    West Belfast – on paper this should have the strongest possible base for dissidents to build on but facts on the ground dictate differently. So far, there is no strong candidate for dissidents to rally round, this is Adams’ heartland and Sinn Fein are supremely well organised in nuts-and-bolts election mechanics in this constituency. Also, the realities of living in high-crime West Belfast seems to pushing many local republicans into accepting the police even if it falls well short of their personal wishes. If there is a genuine anti-SF wave within Republicanism the dissidents will pick up a seat here easily. But that’s a big, big if at this stage.
    Foyle – Peggy O’Hara, mother of ‘successful’ INLA hunger striker Patsy will be standing here for the IRSP and is probably a good candidate for pulling at republican guilt-strings. However, Derry has never been quite as strong Sinn Fein and IRA territory as popular conception would hold (starting with an SF base vote of 33%). With the SDLP’s 3 seats and the DUP seat all looking very safe, the dissidents would probably need to pull in very close to a quota, or around 40% of the existing Republican vote, to be in with a chance here. A more interesting question might be if Eamonn McCann stands, would a fragmented Republican vote increase his chance of sneaking a seat.

    Tier Three
    North Belfast – there is no figurehead for anti-agreement Republicans to unite around here, the small group of IRSP activists who obtained a spectacular 50 votes here in 1998 are a bit of a joke, and the crime argument might even apply more strongly here than in West Belfast. Still, North Belfast has a history of producing odd, fractured election results and there are certainly annoyed Republicans here, especially in Ardoyne. Therefore, it would be a mistake to rule entirely out the possibility of them winning in an anti-policing wave but it’s far from likely. The only majority Protestant constituency where dissidents have even a remote chance.
    South Down – even though resigned Newry and Mourne mayor Martin Connolly comes from this area, this is not an area with a particularly strong Republican tradition. SF polled some derisory votes here pre-ceasefire and are still comfortably beaten by the SDLP. Still, it’s a constituency with a hefty Catholic majority and a reasonable Sinn Fein vote, so in a genuine wave it might be interesting. Unlikely though.

  • Patrique

    Dear God, some people never learn. The voters who want to support the police are wrong, the voters who want peace are wrong, etc etc etc. How many splits must there be before the PEOPLE of Ireland can be free to decide their future, without some wing nuts from the Free State interfering to tell them they are wrong, which justifies 4 or 5 people holding the country to ransom.

    How many times do you need to be told, a United Ireland is a crtainty, even if the entire nation rejects the idea. The international community, and the business people who run the world, they want one. All this acting, bringing us to the brink ever so often, it’s all a game.

    Inevitably we will end up in a United Ireland, probably dominated by a Fianna Fail/DUP co-alition, who could rule unchallenged forever. And the DUP know that. So do Sinn Fein, hence their reluctance for a United Ireland, but their objections will be bypassed.

  • Sean

    I dare say Patrique the first republic party that aligns with the DUP will have won their last election

  • pete Whitcroft

    Sammy

    Useful analysis.
    So 2-4 if they get their act together is the likelihood.
    Unionists are bound to do something similar at least.

  • Paul

    Glen Taise I noticed that also, she (Ruane) almost broke her neck to get by Adams side but this is the norm with her if you watch in the company of others.Sad really. She certainly isnt voted in for her personality or her hardline Republican views.

  • Yokel

    I’m stunned, some proper analysis rather than people banging on about their party……..

    Thanks Sammy.