Bertie to propose cross board Dail committee…

Looks like Bertie’s taking out an old kite to see if it can still fly. PA: “It is understood the ground breaking proposal set to be put before the Dail would see the formation of a new joint committee on the peace process made up of members of the Irish parliament, but with seats available to Northern Ireland`s Westminster representatives”. No votes, no actual power… and a subject matter that’s about as woolly as they come… so it might just stand a chance of getting through the southern house…

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  • Crataegus

    One I would welcome and should be viewed positively. It would help increase the opportunities and outlook and hopefully help foster closer cooperation.

  • Henry94

    It’s about time a start was made on this issue.

  • Nevin

    It looks as if Bertie is trying to act as a recruiting sergeant for the DUP. Here’s another kite.

    “TAOISEACH Bertie Ahern has warned Ian Paisley it would be “a serious error” by the Democratic Unionists if they chose not to share power with Sinn Fein.”

    Unsurprisingly, there is no mention of an FF-SF powersharing arrangement.

  • Henry94


    Different systems. If Sinn Fein win a majority of seats they would form a government in the south. They are on the same basis as every other party.

    In the north they are also on the same basis as every other party.

    If Sinn Fein won a majority of seats in the north they could not form an executive on their own.

  • Burning Bushwhack

    It is a reasonable offer as a harmless sop to NI nationalists, throwing Gerry a bone as it were, and giving the allusion of 32-county democratic politics at work, all the while being a toothless talking shop.

    That said, the notable toothless talking shop that we know, the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body has had a “net positive” influence on affairs.

    But I wonder why the same Bertie Ahern does not establish the Fianna Fail party in Northern Ireland, if the all-inclusive, all Ireland soft Fianna Fail-style nationalism is something that has any value for these Soldiers of Destiny?

    Or is is really true that Fianna Fail is the ultimate partitionist party…

  • Briso

    I agree. Merge FF and SDLP.

  • JR

    “all the while being a toothless talking shop.” says BB.

    With Southern investment in The Northern infrastructure set to increase over the next number of years it would be the ideal advisory committee for implementing this funding. The Unionists should get involved to help target the funds.

  • Nevin

    Henry94, not so very different systems. Either SF is fit for government in the two jurisdictions or it isn’t. It is hypocritical of Bertie Ahern to apply different standards; a little bit of NIMBYism in action.

  • Sorry, Nevin, but it is completely different, for a number of reasons:

    1. The government of the Republic of Ireland is the government of a sovereign state; while the “government” of Northern Ireland is the executive branch of a devolved assembly, subservient to the government of a sovereign state, i.e. the British government in London. The Irish government can enter into treaties, join or leave alliances, change currency, set its own tax rates, etc., none of which the Executive of the Northern Ireland Assembly can do.

    2. Sinn Féin have yet to formally disown the IRA, and their position in this regard remains repugnant to the Irish Constitution.

    3. As Henry points out above, there are different systems at work in the two jurisdictions. In Northern Ireland mandatory coalition is required under the Good Friday Agreement. In the Republic, it is voluntary coalition, and governments are formed based on negotiations between the various parties. Bertie Ahern has stated that he would be unwilling to go into government with Sinn Féin, due to the incompatibilty of their economic policies with those of Fianna Fáil.

    If you think that mandatory coalition in Northern Ireland is unfair, then you should campaign to have the Good Friday Agreement overturned.

  • Nevin

    GerryOS, they’re still governments and Bertie is still a hypocrite no matter how you try to dress it up.

    Sinn Fein is the political wing of PIRA and the Army Council manages all aspects of PIRA, including its political wing. What we saw in the RDS was a little bit of window-dressing.

    Loyalist and republican paramilitary fascism and mafiaism should be considered repugnant across the UK and Ireland. Sadly, London and Dublin will act as appeasers in order to contain their manifestation mainly to NI.

    The 1998 Agreement was a bit of a dog’s dinner. It mandated our politicians to work the common ground together within a constitutional context that encouraged them to pull on either end of a tug-of-war rope. Hence my previous suggestion for devolved government under shared sovereignty, the merger of strands 2 and 3 – and no hiding place for the paramilitary godfathers.

  • Junior Apparatchik

    You do have to be careful about what “Dáil Committee” means, but in principle this makes sense.

    Few Unionist businessfolk or academics will be worried about the idea that NI reps have a say in cross-border issues!

    It’s the Unionist political backwoodsmen who are determined to stick their heads in the sand and ignore reality that there are issues they should have a say in that are actually all-island.

  • BonarLaw

    Junior Apparatchik

    “Few Unionist businessfolk or academics will be worried about the idea that NI reps have a say in cross-border issues!”

    But isn’t that what the North/ South Ministerial Council for?

  • Teach

    Isn’t there already a public gallery for spectators to sit in ?

  • lib2016

    Nationalists would claim that the reason for enforced powersharing in NI is because of the unionist record when they held power. It would be interesting to hear why unionists think that they are the only party in Western Europe which will never be allowed to hold power alone?

  • Burning Bushwhacked

    In 1962, one of the pillars of South African apartheid law was laid down with the passing of the so-called “Sabotage Act” which allowed for the State to punish anything “dissent”, ie government opposition, with punishment extending including house arrest going right up to the death penalty.

    One of its proponents, Balthazar Johannes Vorster (then SA Minister for Justice) offered a concession to the SA opposition: he said he would be “willing to exchange all the legislation of that sort for one clause of the Northern Ireland Special Powers Act”

    And that, my friends is an indication of why the Northern Ireland Unionists will never be allowed to rule alone ever again….

  • Reader

    Burning Bushwhacked: One of its proponents, Balthazar Johannes Vorster (then SA Minister for Justice) offered a concession to the SA opposition: he said he would be “willing to exchange all the legislation of that sort for one clause of the Northern Ireland Special Powers Act”
    Go on then, for extra points – *which* clause in the Special Powers act? And then, tell us whether that clause was ever invoked.

  • Junior Apparatchik

    Bonar Law,

    Last time I looked, the NSMC consisted partly of Ministers from the Republic of Ireland, and partly of Ministers from Great Britain.

    I’d prefer a Northern Ireland say.