It’s all over, now quit the shouting…

John A Murphy (soberly) wishes Sinn Fein and the DUP well in their new enterprise together…

Widespread lamentations that such an agreement should have happened back in 1974, and deploring the subsequent waste of lives over the last 30 years, are now beside the point. What matters is that, despite all the horrors, a new beginning is possible – though with many hazards ahead.

In these columns on Easter Sunday, 1998, I shared the euphoric reaction to the Good Friday Agreement, shouting Hallelujah with all the rest. Nine tortuous years later, all those engaged in this fresh enterprise must be soberly wished well.

That naive but idealistic 19th-Century patriot, Thomas Davis, failed to square the circle of nationalism and reconciliation like all of us since then. But he meant well, and his fervent hope must be echoed at this momentous time:

Oh, let the orange lily be thy badge, my patriot brother,

The everlasting green for me, and we for one another.

  • ingram

    Agreed 30 years of waste and thousands of dead all for WHAT ?

    Personal fortunes for the special few and ?

    The same old political position minus articles 2& 3 and hundreds of orphans.

    Ding Ding

    Martin

  • Henry94

    Any update on the O’Loan revelations Martin?

  • CIARAN10

    AND WHAT OF THE REST OF US .THE SOULS WHO HAD TO LEAVE .THE FAMILIES OF THE DEAD AND TORTURED THE MUGS WHO KEPT WORKING AND LOOKING FOR THE INVISIBLE SUN WHAT OF US .THE BULLY BOYS NOW HAVE THIER DAY WHAT LEGACEY WILL THEY LEAVE ,HISTORY HAS A STRANGE WAY OF REPEATING ITS SELF AND WE ALL KNOW ABSOLUTE POWER CORUPTS ABSOLUTLEY

  • Greenflag

    ‘The same old political position ‘

    Not quite . Neither O’Neill or Chichester Clark or Brian Faulkner had a Deputy Prime/First Minister in their Cabinet . Nor 3 SF Ministers .

    Was it worth it ? Now that’s a horse of a different colour /religion/nationality . Perhaps you should ask those UUP irredentists of 30 or 40 years ago who did’nt want to sit down to power share with the SDLP !

    Why not ask was the conquest of Ireland by England (1550 to 1700) worth it ? or British Colonial rule in Ireland 1700 through 1922 (ROI ) (NI to the present) worth it ?

    The history of British political involvement in Ireland did not begin in 1969 .

  • Greenflag

    ‘The history of British political involvement in Ireland did not begin in 1969 .’

    And the sooner it ends the better for both the British and the Irish both in Ireland and in Britain !

  • Ondine

    What really strikes me is that Republican and Loyalist diehards are both saying exactly the same thing: “This wasn’t what our comrades fought and died for”. Translation: we have to keep fighting until TOTAL VICTORY otherwise we wasted fourty years. Face facts, guys: not everyone gets to be Winston Churchill and demand unconditional surrender.

  • saenzmct

    Greenflag
    needs to take a reality check.He/she should also look up the meaning of “irredentist”.He/she uses it to mean “hardliner” and applies it to those unionists who opposed power-sharing in the 70’s (as if the Republican movement did not do so also).

    “Irredentist” means “one who seeks the recovery of national territory colonially occupied “. Southern Nationalists were irredentist towards the six counties prior to the dropping of Articles 2&3.

    In the early 70’s the Official IRA/”Stickies”/Republican Clubs/Workers’ Party adopted a policy of partitionist power-sharing devolution based on the consent principle and a North-South dimension. Sound familiar?

    The Official IRA had come to the position that a campaign of “armed struggle” to unite Ireland was pointless and would only set the Protestant and Catholic working class at each others’ throats.

    Adams and the Provos espoused socialist ideology (not much of it nowadays) but were actually communal,sectarian, catholic nationalist militants in the Defenderist tradition. Much more Patrick Pearse than Che Guevara.

    It took Adams and co more than a full generation and thousands unnecessarily dead, maimed and bereaved to enventually wise up. Adams success has been in managing the belated Stickieisation of the Provos. “Sunningdale for (very )slow learners” – and all that.

    I am surprised that John A Murphy sees this as “besides the point”. And I wonder what the families of dead Republican volunteers must really think when they see Adams and McGuinness ushering in Paisley as First Minister in a protestant-vetoed British six county parliament, with no green flag waving above it?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Irredentist” means “one who seeks the recovery of national territory colonially occupied “.’

    Perhaps in Wikepedia it does. Would ‘colonially occupied’ refer for instance to Kosovo which in ancient and not so ancient times was part of Serbia but now has a population of 90% Kosovars (Albanians ) ? Who are the colonial occupiers ? Serbs or Kosovars ? There are probably hundreds of ‘border’ disputes around the world many of them the legacy of colonial occupation but many also the result of wars between neighbouring countries/states/nations . Many border disputes also result from a changed demographic make up of the population in a particular region .

    The present NI 6 county State exhibits all of the above ‘symptoms’ in it’s legacy . When you add real and/or perceived religious differences into the mix then it’s not surprising that the area has been politically dysfunctional since it’s establishment as a separate political entity. The NI State (6 County area) does not have and never had the ‘demographics’ which would have enabled it to have the widespread democratic support required to be a ‘normal’ democracy.

    NI is now on the way to having an ‘interim’ power sharing Government which every Unionist knows deep down suspects cannot last – and which every Republican deep down wants to replace at some point in the future by a UI.

    That’s about as good as it will get.

    On the other hand ‘irredentist ‘ Unionists and Republicans might want to have another go at the following options ?

    a) A demand from die hard Unionists for the unconditional surrender of Irish Republicanism and mass conversion of NI nationalists and republicans to the UK Union for ever and ever amen .

    Probable result – Resumption of widespread sectarian conflict resulting in a forced repartition of NI .

    b) Unconditional forced surrender of Unionism in NI and mass conversion to a UI for ever and ever amen .

    Probable result – Resumption of widespread sectarian conflict resulting in a forced repartition of NI .

    c) Permanent Direct Rule from Westminster with greater Dublin control/influence over political and economic decision making in NI (Plan B/C/D etc).

    Probable result – Continued relative decline of NI compared to other regions in the UK , in particular in comparison to the Irish Republic .
    Short term peace -medium term security -longer term permanent state of political uncertainty.

    d) A fair and agree Repartition of NI administered by a neutral international agency supported by both sovereign Governments .

    Personally I prefer option D but it appears that most people in NI are not yet ready to go down that path . Perhaps that option’s time /window of opportunity is now past .

    Que sera sera !

  • Skintown Lad

    “NI is now on the way to having an ‘interim’ power sharing Government which every Unionist knows deep down suspects cannot last”

    That’s where you’re wrong. You underestimate the will of most people in Northern Ireland, of any creed, to live in peace and “get on with it”. The number of such people, and their resolve, will only increase when they see and experience the benefits that settlement will bring. There will be no appetite for destabilising change once this talk of ‘who won’ subsides. In time the people will realise they are both winning.

  • George

    I thought the saying was that it’s all over bar the shouting so shout away I say.

    Skintown lad,
    “There will be no appetite for destabilising change once this talk of ‘who won’ subsides. In time the people will realise they are both winning.”

    You could be proved right. But what if the people look around them in the coming decade and see the UK and Republic pulling further and further away? Then the people could well get the feeling that they are losing and losing big.

    There is no guarantee that, in the future, Northern Ireland will be able to deliver to the standards of its peers in terms of prosperity, opportunity, freedom of cultural expression etc. It has failed to do so to date.

  • seanzmct

    OK Greenflag;

    So how do you define “irredentist” and what is an “irredentist Unionist”? Do you simply apply the Humpty Dumpty standard to the use of such words ie – they mean just whatever you choose?

    As for your preferred “Option D”, it is entirely the stuff of Through The Looking Glass fantasy politics. A “window of opportunity” that never existed.

    How would the region be re-partitioned
    eg what would happen to the Catholics of West Belfast if the reduced Northern Ireland were to be Antrim and Down? And what of the Protestants of Fermanagh and Tyrone?

    You are delusional if you actually believe that there is such a thing as a “neutral international agency “. And even if there were, it is highly unlikely that the UK would invite it in and be a party to the diminution of its own sovereignty.

    Repartition was never a serious starter. Please lay off the mushrooms man.

  • Greenflag

    ‘That’s where you’re wrong.’

    It’s early days SL . One swallow and all that .

    ‘ You underestimate the will of most people in Northern Ireland, of any creed, to live in peace and “get on with it”.’

    Actually I don’t . I just question the ability of the ‘power sharing executive’ to deliver. Not because they don’t want to deliver but simply due to the economic realities and policy power limitations which will ensure that they ‘can’t deliver’ ‘

  • Greenflag

    ‘How would the region be re-partitioned ‘

    This has been discussed at length on other threads . I refer you to the archives where you will find several threads one with almost 700 replies which discussed the issue at great length .

    ‘Repartition was never a serious starter.’

    It did’nt have to be . It’s been happening across NI for the past 40 years not through direct Government policy more ‘indirect’ neglect I’d say. Look around at NI today . Over 90% of residents live in areas that are almost 100% protestant or catholic . The divide between the East of NI and the South and West has become greater than ever .

    If you can have one Partition then why should you not have another particularly when the first was badly drawn up and implemented unilaterally at the point of a gun !

    Best to have a neutral international agency . Fairer all round you see.

    ‘Please lay off the mushrooms ‘

    Don’t have to .Never liked them . And as for the mushroom treatment well I’ve made it clear I’m no Unionist so it has no effect on me !

  • seanzmct

    Greeflag-

    This simply will not do. We deserve to be treated to your definition of “irredentist” and we want to know what “irredentist unionists” means.Out with it man.

    Despite your protestations we are not convinced that you are not an avid imbiber of psychedelic fungi.For, despite all all those long hours you have immersed yourself in the online La La Land of impractical constitutional solutions for Northern Ireland, you are now resorting to conflating a population movement within the existing border and a re-drawing of that border.

    PS. you were not accused of the dreadful crime of being unionist -just of displaying logical befuddlement.

  • seanzmct

    PS to Greenflag,

    You keep banging on about some “independent international agency2 to run the affairs of the north. Name one.

  • seanzmct

    Where is your response Greenflag? Or as an obsessional re-partitionist should that be twenty-nine and a half thirty seconds of a Greenflag??