“I have never proposed doing anything other than attend and watch the match”

The Secretary of State for Wales, etc, Peter Hain is attempting to recover any lost ground in his campaign after the criticism levelled at him in the Sun.. and, reportedly, in some other important areas[and on his Birthday too – Ed] – by issuing an official statement on the Ireland V England rugby match at Croke Park next weekend, claiming that he had “never proposed doing anything other than attend and watch the match”.. Hmm.. just a reminder of what he had said.. “That’s being considered and discussed, the question of marking it.”..Given that the British government had already ruled out any ceremony the RTÉ headline, “Hain rules out Croke Park gesture”, could be said to be somewhat misleading

ANYway…

From the NIO statement

“..let me be clear: I have never proposed doing anything other than attend and watch the match at the specific request of the Taoiseach and Prime Minister.

“I will be there as a guest at what will be an historic occasion and, I hope, a great game of rugby.

“As for which team I’ll be cheering on, I represent the people of Northern Ireland in the Cabinet – so it’s right and proper, at this match, that I back the boys from Ulster playing in this game.

“Above all this is a sporting occasion between two great friends and rivals. May the best team win.”

And when Ireland played Wales at Cardiff..?

, , ,

  • harpo

    “As for which team I’ll be cheering on, I represent the people of Northern Ireland in the Cabinet”

    Mr. Hain:

    And the people of Northern Ireland are against the present policies of the IRFU which means that the Ireland team does not represent Northern Ireland.

    I ask that you remain neutral with respect to this game.

    ‘that I back the boys from Ulster playing in this game’

    So now you represent all of Ulster and not just Northern Ireland?

    Make your mind up.

    You haven’t actually said which team you will be cheering on, of the 2 on display.

    Instead you said you will cheering for a small group of individuals. Boys from Ulster.

  • nickyg

    Gonna repeat what I said on a similar thread:

    Look at the utter tosh the Sun writes, and which dictates the thinking of a large body of the British public (deliberately left out the spurious prefix : “Great”)

    Read the opinion above the “Croke Joke” opinion. Aside from the glaring hypocricy between two articles appearing beside one another, it’s funny (or not) how they didn’t see things this way when IRA bombs killed civilians unintentionally in the so-called “fog of war”.

    Same old , Same old. They never fail in making me want to pull out my own teeth and hair whilst simultaneously trying to eat my own fist.

  • Henry94

    I represent the people of Northern Ireland in the Cabinet

    No you don’t. You represent the Cabinet to the people of Northern Ireland. Cheer for Ireland by all means but you are not cheering on anyone’s behalf.

  • páid

    I see Harpo and Peter Hain have something in common: both claim to represent ‘the people of Northern Ireland’, a somewhat tricky task when it comes to issues of identity.

  • Phil McAvity

    He represents nobody in England or Ireland, isn’t English or Irish and has no reason to even be at the game. The farce of which nation he should be supporting (along with his fellow traveller Brown’s support for a nation that he neither comes from nor represents hosting the football world cup) shows that the whole concept of the UK “nation” is a sham. The sooner people in power realise this and gives independence to all of the nations of these islands, the better the relationships between them will be.

  • Diluted Orange

    Judging by the tone of his complexion I reckon he represents Orangemen everywhere.

  • Reader

    Phil McAvity: The sooner people in power realise this and gives independence to all of the nations of these islands, the better the relationships between them will be.
    But we, the voters, are the ‘people in power’. It’s just that we don’t vote for what you want us to vote for. That is, of course, our right.

  • iluvni

    He wasnt to keen to declare his support for Northern Ireland when we were playing England at Windsor.

  • Plum Duff

    ‘…independence to all of the nations of these islands…’

    Good man, Phil!
    Let’s hear it for Copeland Island!
    Rabbits of the world, unite!
    The great are only great because we are on our paws. Let us rise!

    Re Hain: What’s lower than a snake’s belly that he can crawl under?

    I leave it to the imagination of the Sluggeristas.

  • Cahal

    “He wasnt to keen to declare his support for Northern Ireland when we were playing England at Windsor. ”

    This makes sense. He needs to remain neutral. Like it or not, almost everybody in the north who is interested in sport wish the Irish rugby team well.

    The northern soccer team is a long way from achieving this level of cross-community support no matter what anybody says.

  • iluvni

    “Like it or not, almost everybody in the north who is interested in sport wish the Irish rugby team well”

    …considering some of the IRFUs decisions recently, I wouldnt bet on that! (even amongst all Ulster rugby fans)

  • Phil McAvity

    Reader,

    You and I are not and never have been “the people in power”. According to a recent poll, 68% of English people support the establishment of a national devolved parliament, whilst 45% support complete independence. There are however no political parties that support full independence and only one party (The English Democrats) that support national devolution. Of the two parties that are likely to win a general election, the Labour party want to partition England into nine regions with devolved assemblies, whilst the Conservatives want to stop non-English MP’s voting on matters that only apply to England, but still governed by a UK wide government led potentially by somebody elected outside of England.

    Can you tell me how the views of the considerable number of people who support a devolved national parliament or complete independence are being heard? The obvious solution is of course for everyone to vote English Democrats and for those of us who want full independence to hope that a devolved parliament is a first step along that road, but unlike in Northern Ireland the question of nationality isn’t as big a deal as schools, hospitals etc. and people are reluctant to vote for a party that in a first past the post electoral system is unlikely to win, even though a vote for Labour is likely to result in a minister from outside England being in charge of a department that applies only to England (for example Alistair Darling in charge of transport). Just because people vote for unionist parties does not mean that they are in fact unionists.

    Succesive UK governments have always been reluctant to put key issues to a referendum, especially when the answer that the people give is unlikely to match the view of the political elite (the Euro, capital punishment and the EU constitution are other examples that spring to mind). Add to that factors such as a head of state who is decided by an accident of birth and a second chamber filled with unelected people who were either born into the right family or have friends in the right places then we are left with plenty of unacountable people in positions of authority, so although in theory yes we do live in a democracy, you shouldn’t be fooled into thinking that we are the ones who have the power.

  • Reader

    Phil McAvity: Can you tell me how the views of the considerable number of people who support a devolved national parliament or complete independence are being heard?
    Well, they could vote for the party that you want them to vote for. Then you go on to say that it isn’t a enough of a big deal for the voters. Well, it certainly is a big deal for voters in NI – even at the expense of ‘real politics’. But over in England – it maybe isn’t even seen as a vote winner. One of the main parties *could* opt for English devolution. Maybe they will, if they think it’s a vote winner!

  • vc

    harpo:

    “And the people of Northern Ireland are against the present policies of the IRFU which means that the Ireland team does not represent Northern Ireland. ”

    approx 40% of the people of Ni are nationalist and are most likely quite happy to be represented by the Ireland team. Surely you mean the unionists people of NI?

  • Phil McAvity

    “One of the main parties *could* opt for English devolution. Maybe they will, if they think it’s a vote winner!”

    And that dear Reader is the great mystery of the Conservative party. Rejected by the Scots and the Welsh, they refuse to play the English card even though many of their members know that it would be a vote winner.

  • hogans hero

    Firstly mr hain shoukd not be representative of anybody at this game as he is just on another junket at the taxpayers expense. He is the vice-regal representative at a colonial sporting event. Shame mr hain has given up on his brits-out campaigning or maybe he will suprise us all and make a protest at the match, but somehow i dont think so.
    I think the Grab All Association should hang its head in shame that the british viceroy for the occupied six counties had to draw attention to the disgust and anger felt by many that the last time a group representing the english entered Croke Park they left 14 innocents dead, but then why would the Irish press or the GAA care, more money in the coffers, so we can forget about the coffins.

  • SuperSoupy

    I don’t think the GAA need Hain or your reminding them of the events of Bloody Sunday, any true fan would be aware of the memorial in Croker and the permanent Bloody Sunday exhibition within the museum.

  • hogans hero

    so whats your point soupy?

  • Phil McAvity

    The Black and Tans were English? Here we go again, yet another simpleton that doesn’t know the difference between the English and the British.

  • Greenflag

    vc,

    ‘ approx 40% of the people of Ni are nationalist and are most likely quite happy to be represented by the Ireland team. Surely you mean the unionists people of NI? ‘

    Very accurate VC . Harpo is in great form these days:) I’m getting worried about the lad -Those canadian winters can do damage to the neural connections .

    When Paisley refers to the people of Ulster/Northern Ireland it’s understood by all that this translates as Unionist people . Fenians /Non Unionists don’t count . But I’m surprised at Harpo . Did’nt take for being a Paisleyite clone . Must be the effect of Queenie’s gizzard looking out at him from the canadian currency that’s got to him -that and the weather /climate 🙂

  • mick

    Ironic that the main thrust of a change to the anthem in International rugby comes from Canada ???

    I thin the GAA have decided there will be no ‘gestures’ at its ground prior to the England game

    “The association also dismissed rumours that a wreath would be laid commemorating the victims of Bloody Sunday before Ireland play England in the RBS Six Nations next Sunday.”

  • hogans hero

    McAvity, regardless of the make up of the regiment that commited bloody sunday, they received their orders from london, which the last time ichecked was the capital of england.

  • Phil McAvity

    Hogan,

    Were those orders given by the German King or the Welsh Prime Minister?

  • hogans hero

    mcavity
    who gives you your orders?
    this is a discussion regarding a proposed or non-proposed act of rememberance, my opinion is that there shouldn’t be a need for one as the match shouldn’t be taking place at croke in the first place. the very fact that you try to imply that the english had a minimal role in the actions of their soldiers just go to show how petty your argument has become. the english invaded and subjigated wales, scotland and ireland and then decided that all these subjects should be declared british. by your argument chechens would be fighting against themselves for independence. idiot.

  • Phil McAvity

    Hogan,

    I do not deny any involvement by the English in any aspect of British colonialism, I have merely pointed out to idiots like you who blame the English and only the English for the actions of the British state. Your warped view of England’s role in British imperialism is sadly typical of many in Irish, Scottish and Welsh nationalist circles and is one of the main obstacles to English nationalists working with you and your ilk against the common enemy. For the record, my orders come mostly from ‘er indoors!

  • Not sure if this is a breach of etiquette (moderator forgive me, I know not what I do) but this doing the email rounds, thought it would go nicely here:

    RTE News 15th February 2007 18.02PM

    British & Irish Governments Plan Ceremony in Croke Park
    Northern Ireland Minister Peter Hain has announced details of a joint ceremony before Irelands crunch game against England in Croke Park on the 24th February.

    The significance of the game is not lost on GAA followers and republicans who remember the infamous shooting of 14 players and supporters by the British Army on the 21st November 1921.

    However according to GAA spokesman Ulick Magee a plan being devised by the GAA and the Northern Ireland office, will attempt to draw a line under the incident.

    “We’ve spoken to the British government and they understand the significance of the event back in 1921. Back then 14 people were killed by British forces so in the spirit of the peace process and friendship we’re proposing that we shoot 14 of their lot before the match. Then maybe have fireworks afterwards or something.” Said Mr Magee.

    Government Reaction
    The plan has had a mixed reaction from Downing Street. Prime Minister Tony Blair thinks the idea has merit but said that it needs to be done properly and with dignity.

    “Frankly I think its a small price to pay for progression in Anglo-Irish affairs, but I think the idea of getting Ray Houghton to do the shooting would be too much for many English fans to take particularly after his goal against us back in 1988. And he’s Scottish which is worse.”

    Proposed Victims
    According to informed sources, the GAA and Number 10 have already drawn up a list of names for those to be shot. The list, which is not yet agreed, is thought to be a compromise of people that both the Irish and English public dislike. Among the names are moaney-hole singer James Blunt, foul mouth idiot Jade Goody, Trinny & Suzannah, Man Utd donkey Rio Ferdinand, cream cake expert Vanessa Feltz, “comedian” Russell Brand and any of the blokes who do outside broadcasts for Sky News.

    But discussions took an ironic twist when both sides agreed on shooting Belfast singer Brian Kennedy, but neither side agreed on what nationality he was. GAA representatives claim he’s British with their Foreign Office counterparts claiming he’s Irish. The Irish claimed no Irishman should sing or dance in such a manner and the English saying he couldn’t be a Brit because he had no tattoos on his forearm and didn’t wear Ben Sherman shirts. However there was eventual consensus that he should be shot regardless of his nationality.

    Plans agreed
    The shooting will be carried out my members of the 2nd Infantry Battalion from Cathal Brugha Barracks in Dublin. The original idea to get the FCA to carry out the executions were dropped when they revealed that their rifles are in fact made of baked-plastercine. Similarly the Garda Emergency Response Unit was discounted for fear they’d shoot more innocent civilians then claim overtime for it.