It was just nine years ago today…

Reader and occasional commenter Jamie Gargoyle reminds us that it was nine years ago today that the Belfast Agreement was signed. Nine years and three terms later, and the legislative Assembly has sat for about 18 months. Let’s hope the next nine years see more benefit from “Ian and Martin’s Work In”.He recalls:

I remember sitting slack-jawed on a mate’s sofa, while someone blethered about historic moments and Seamus Mallon fought a losing battle against dozing off after 30ish hours on his feet.

  • SuperSoupy

    Personally the 23 May is the more important anniversary to me, until then it was all just paper.

  • Let’s not.

  • Oh they’ll do well together I’m sure.
    You could say they’ve alot to make up for !

    Mick my interest relates to Newt’s article on class; and am curious to see how the Assembly plays out.
    The contrast being that both Eire and Britian are pretty much middle class liberal democracies, whereas the partnership of DUP and SF is of a more lower-middle class nature.
    What effects will this have on both countries?

    I’m sure mickhall will oblige if he’s online .

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”Nine years and three terms later, and the legislative Assembly has sat for about 18 months.”

    And acheived exactly what in that time? The Derry commander and Barbara Brown managed to make health and education decisions as sectarian as possible and er Brid did something on foot and mouth. Anyone care to enlighten us as to what our local yokels acheived in that time that direct rule ministers wouldn’t have (at a fraction of the cost)?

  • GavBelfast

    Did SF ever get round to actually formally endorsing the GFA?

  • Tori

    I was satisfied when Good Friday Agreement was signed,because I believed(and I still believe)a cooperation between unionist/loyalist moderate(UUP and PUP) and nationalists/republicans was(is)fundamental to reach a social stability,and a good platform to try in building our target:an United Ireland.But I wish to remember we had to pay an highest price:our republican prisoners,from that date,have lost their real name:POLITICAL PRISONERS.
    And now,10 years later,what’s the result?Unfortunately very poor.DUP members are strenghtening their extremism and sectarism,british soldiers are still in Ireland,Stormont powers seem ineffectual and useless for Northern Irish people,PSNI are still the armed wing of loyalist violence,like the RUC.
    SDLP(my party)and Provisional Sinn Féin should understand Stormont(THIS STORMONT,MADE WITH THESE MANNERS) is the death of 32 counties dream.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”our republican prisoners,from that date,have lost their real name:POLITICAL PRISONERS.”

    Political prisoners? Exactly what is political about blowing up pubs, town centres, hotels and railway lines and murdering entirely innocent civilians? Bloody Friday, Darkley, Enniskillen, La Mon, Claudy… Get a grip Tori.

  • Christopher Eastwood


    Let it die then. It doesn’t matter if we live in a United Ireland or a United Kingdom. If the people aren’t united, we don’t stand a chance either way.

    Now, given that sectariansim is our only real problem, and given that symbolism is everything in N.I, then these symbols of peace and reconciliation (i.e. Marty and Ian together) have the power to neutralise bigotry like nothing else.

  • pith

    Apparently it was also on a 10 April that the Titanic set sail for New York. If only the DUP had been around then there would have been lifeboats for everybody.

  • Liam

    Mick, the above poster claiming to be David Vance appears to be a fake, the link on his name isn’t even correct. Now I don’t agree on very much he has to say usually, but I detest impersonators and sockpuppets.

  • Tori

    Gerry Lvs Castro,
    Obviously not all republican/nationalist actions have been praiseworthy.You wrote about ruthless acts,that I don’t approve and they deserve a strong blame.Those men,who killed many civilan victims,are only criminal,who deserve to stay in prison.
    For me,political prisioners are those volunteers who decided to fight against an oppressor,exclusively attacking its military structures.However,I have never supported IRA bombing campaign(I’ve been endorsing SDLP politics since I was a young student).I firmly believe in a not violent fight against England,for achieving our aims.Hunger strikers were political prisioners and patriot,like Gerry McGeough now.I’m sorry if I seemed a supporter of terrorism(for me,terrorism is actions against civilian persons)

  • Tori

    Cristpoher Eastwood,
    maybe you are a moderate unionist.I don’t judge your ideas.We may have a different political way,but it would be useful finding out an agreement:for example,you’re allright when you say:”Sectarism is our only real promlem.”I’ve got a dear fellow in UUP.However,peaceful cooperation between catholic and protestant community is the alone way to reach a social stability,whether in a United Ireland(that will be my aim until I die) or in UK.

  • I Wonder

    The DV link doesnt work but then neither has the link on many, if not all of his recent comments – nor indeed does his perspective of the world we live in. 😉

  • Christopher Eastwood


    Apologies, but I found it quite hard to decipher your point in post 12.

    Nevertheless, you’ll be interested in hearing my response to the one part of the post that I did understand, namely “You may be a moderate Unionist”. I am a nationalist, Tori. I hope and dream of an Ireland united at some stage in the future. Where I disagree with you is that I cannot envisage reaching a future UI settlement through any other means that we are currently (or very soon to be) travelling. If this current vehicle involves us “back-seating” our constitutional aspirations, then so be it. It seems awfully pretentious to do this, but let me quote my own earlier soundbite:

    “It doesn’t matter if we live in a United Ireland or a United Kingdom. If the people aren’t united, we don’t stand a chance either way”.

    Uniting the people (i.e. dissolving sectarian sentiment) MUST be our priority. The future is a big unknown; both frightening and exciting. But if we adopt this noble target as our lodestar, where we end up cannot be anything other than a great place. My feeling is that this approach will ultimately lead to a United Ireland. But, as I say, that is not (can not) be my priority at present.

  • Tori

    Christopher Eastwood,
    I respect your nationalism a lot.But,that dear fellow in UUP has been stating:”It doesn’t matter if we live in a United Ireland or a UK.” for many years.I support your statement number 14,but if you hope and dream a United Ireland,how can you say that?I’m not a dissident,but we must work together for building the national unity.We aren’t sectarian.In a possible Republic of 32 counties,I’m firmly convinced Protestants will have all rights.But,now,unfortunately,we can’t cancel centuries of oppression and sectarism executed by unionists against us and our fathers.Remember Jim Allister and his supporters:they are sectarian and racist,not us.

  • Christopher Eastwood


    Let me quote Ryszard Kapuscinski in ‘Shah of Shahs’:

    “What should one write to ruin an adversary? The best thing is to prove that he is not one of us — the stranger, alien, foreigner. To this end we create the category of the true family. We here, you and I, the authorities, are a true family. We live in unity, among our own kind. We have the same roof over our heads, we sit at the same table, we know how to get along with each other, how to help each other out. Unfortunately, we are not alone.”

    This “them and us” attitude is the very definition of sectarianism; the very thing we need to get rid of.

    The point, Tori, is that no matter which sovereign flag we live under, these six counties will still be the same 6 pieces of land, inhabited by the same people, and these people have different (and conflicting) cultures and political visions. This is true of anywhere, though the fact that our differences are divided along constitutional lines makes it much less easy to resolve.

    In order to resolve it, we need to find a way to live together. And, until we can do that, what exactly is the point of this hypothetical talk of a United Ireland? We’d only most likely be plunged back into despair when a forced UI settlement creates a new “disgruntled minority”. Even if this option was open to us, somehow revenge doesn’t strike me as a pragmatic policy option.

    In the meantime, can you honestly let phoenix-flame symbolism prevent you from joining me in the urgent work that needs done? The truth is that we are not alone. Nor are we ever going to be. That is what the political parties are currently doing. We need to do likewise.

    p.s. Reality check ~

    *we are part of the EU, with Free Movement of Persons, etc. – free to travel anywhere on this island.

    *We are afforded Irish citizenship by virtue of our being born on the island of Ireland.

    *Under the GFA/SAA, we are afforded the opportunity to participate in an Irish assembly, with significant legislative powers to govern ourselves in the six counties.

    *Given the recent symbolism of Gerry and Ian meeting, we are for the first time in Irish history afforded the opportunity to lay to rest the sectarian divisions between Unionism and Nationalism in the North.

    *We’ll be getting loads of doe to fix this place up…..

    …. and you’re still pessimistic? You say the dream is dead? I say the nightmare is over 😉

  • Token Dissent


    I find it frankly absurd that you consider Gerry McGeough to be “a patriot”. Compared to McGeough Jim Allister is a bleeding heart liberal!

    McGeough is a rabidly sectarian, homophobic, sexist fool. And that is without even considering his Provos activities.

    Consider for example this fine example of tolerance from his Hiberian magazine. Sick but also extremely amusing in revealing the man’s fascism.

  • Tori

    Christopher Eastwood,
    I haven’t introduced sectarism in Northern Ireland from 1921 to 2007.Nothing will be able to change until we stay in UK.We must work for an Alone Ireland,because sectarism simply doesn’t come from us(US MEANS NATIONALISTS/REPUBLICANS).We’ll have to assure unionists all rights when a free Republic formed by 32 counties will exist.Obviously,now we can’t do it because we don’t administrate 6 counties.In Dublin,protestants and catholics live with no problems.

  • Christopher Eastwood


    I’ll resist pointing out how foolish you sound when you say things like…

    “sectarianism simply doesn’t come from us”

    .. I mean, come on… oh, sorry, I get it now, you mean that so long as everyone else is nationalist and sees thhings the way we do, then everything’ll be fine…

    That’s not politics, and it’s not realistic.

  • Token Dissent

    On behalf of all the Prods of “Alone Ireland” (haha) and all those of British nationality I would like to apologise for causing all sectarianism.

    Tori, thanks for your entertaining posts. Your parodies of ‘traditional’ Irish republicanism have cleverly revealed the vacuous analysis at its heart.

    You are joking right…?

    Ps, no response to the McGeough article?

  • Tori

    Token Dissident,

    Do you know Gerry McGeough had been arrested for something he’d have committed a very long time ago?Do you think it’s a democratic act?Do you know Gerry Mcgeough believes in a not violent way for the Irish Unity?

  • Token Dissent

    What in principle is undemocratic about arresting some-one for a suspected crime? When that crime was committed is totally irrelevant.

    Would you be happy if a the police told you – “look we have a suspect for the shooting of your family member, but hey it was twenty years ago, it would be ‘undemocratic’ to question him”?

    As for McGeough believing in “unity”, read the articles on his website, and then re-read Christopher’s sensible post no. 16. McGeough is a prize idiot writing articles such as “Cathoilc Power in 2007″. He wants his mythical Ireland to be Conservative, anti-women, anti-Protestant/”freemason” (!!!), anti-foreigner, and distinctly Cathoilc. There is no way that this man’s vision offers anything other than division and the roots of violence.

    I feel absurd even bothering to write about McGeough – talk about an easy target! The vast majority of informed republicans (nevermind the rest of the population) acknowledge that he is a dangerous right-wing nutter.

    Your attitude towards past Provo violence and naive in the extreme and utterly offensive. You say that you are supportive of a “non-violent” approach but then classify some murders as acceptable and others not. Bloody friday, Enniskillen, Claudy, the Shankill were examples of Provo strategy, they weren’t accidents or the actions or renegrades/

    Regarding the murder of civilans you say: “I don’t approve and they deserve a strong blame.Those men,who killed many civilan victims,are only criminal,who deserve to stay in prison.” Therefore you must have been opposed to the Good Friday Agreement – as all paramilitary prisoners, regardless of their conviction, were released.

  • Tori

    Token Dissident,

    I know very well McGeough’s ideas.Obviously I don’t endorse them.But,I simply said,for me,his arrest was unacceptable,’cause he had been accused for a SUSPECT crime that dated back to ’70.
    About IRA,you regard ALL members as ruthless terrorists.Do you think the same thing about Hunger Strikers?How do you define loyalist groups like UDA,UVF,UFF,LVF?
    Moreover,IRA,in history, have been the “police” for nationalist community,above all in Belfast suburbs,because RUC officers have never worked in our areas(Do you remember they didn’get off their vehicles?).Many times,IRA volunteers helped my dear fellows.Despite this fact,I’ve always condamned those accidents you wrote.Do you condamn all shameful actions whose Irish people has been victim?

  • Token Dissent

    Tori, yes to all your questions. I condemn all terrorist groups, and the criminal actions of the two states.

    I define the UDA/UVF/LVF as barbaric sectarian organisations.

    I condemn the hunger strikers as members of barbaric, sectarian, terrorist organisations.

    Your view of the IRA as an effective, banal police-force for all nationalist areas is complete and utter nonsense. Firstly it ignores the policing role that the RUC did carry out in many nationalist areas – especially pre-1969. You also ignore the reality that the Provos killed more Catholics than any other organisation. And you fail to recognise that Provo violence worked in co-operation with loyalist violence, to create a tit-for-tat scenerio that placed the Catholic community at greater risk. All in all they were a complete disaster as a defensive shield for ‘their’ community.

    I am pleased however that you have changed your mind about McGeough, and no-longer see him a saintly “patriot”.