DUP regard Sinn Fein as just another party…

THERE’S a kind of theme running in the DUP’s gloating over Sinn Fein’s dismal election performance down south. From the party’s spiritual wing, Rev Willie McCrea thundered out the message that republicans “are now facing the unpalatable situation of being part of the British establishment”. Over at the more pragmatic end of the party, Iris Robinson writes: “Now that they no longer pose a violent threat, the apparent magic has evaporated and they pose no greater threat than any other constitutional nationalist party.” Leaving the rhetorical glee both politicians feel aside, it’s another sign that others in the DUP have followed Paisley’s lead in that they now regard SF as they do other democratic parties – something of a revolution in attitudes.

  • Sam Hanna

    Wee Willie is being what he sings of “a preacher on the fence.” It amazes me how gullible the average DUP backwoodmen are in sitting there swallowing this tripe.

    9 years ago Willie was swearing all kinds of Doomsday argumenst and pejorative insults at David Trimble for doing exactly what he is now doing.

    I am glad to see that 60K helped his stomach problems!

    Iris Robinson – does anyone take her seriously?

  • Belfast Gonzo

    The News Letter must, as she’s their new regular columnist.

  • pop

    Some people can’t open their mouths without being triumphalist, which would probably only increase support for the Shinners. Newton Emerson’s article from the other day had the right idea.

  • curious

    All Unionists should be pleased with the Election Results in ROI.

    1. There will be no Sinn Fein presence in Government in the south for the next five years at least.

    2. Paisley & Ahern seem to get on well – their common adversary (Sinn Fein) is out of the picture, in the ROI at least, for five years.

    3. Unionists feel that Ahern has no hidden agenda, no threatening attitude & his support has been instrumental in the forming of the Executive assembly at Stormont

    4. Ahern recognises the principle of consent & seems to have dropped the old United Ireland agenda. (articles 2 & 3)

    5. The old theory “Our enemy’s enemy is our friend” clearly illustrates Unionist minds.

    6. The Cross-Border Institutions contain no uncomfortable personalities on the ROI side – whereas if Sinn Fein had gained seats in the IR Government this aspect of the Good Friday Agreement would have presented obstacles for DUP Ministers.

    7. Neither Bertie Ahern (FF) nor Enda Kenny (FG) expressed any contentious objectives in their pre-election promises. Unionists should be more confident than at any time in the last decade.

  • Martin Walker

    Willie McCrea has little to gloat about. If he had any principles he wouldhave joined Jim Allister in leaving the DUP.

    His love of money is well known and the desire for a McCrea dynasty was tooo strong a lure !

  • Comrade Stalin

    All Unionists should be pleased with the Election Results in ROI.

    Actually, I don’t see how a unionist, by the book, should give a damn about the election results in the RoI. Even if SF did get into government there, the role they could have in accelerating reunificaton is pretty negligible given the provisions of the GFA. In fact, I could think of ways in which their silly antics as part of an Irish government could actually further antagonize opinion in the RoI against reunification.

    I agree with your general point that it’s a very good thing that there is a nice thaw in cross-border relations, especially coming from the DUP. People talking and listening is definitely good. Complementary to my point in the last paragraph, this is the kind of thing that would actually make fully consensual reunification more likely – the border starts to blur in people’s minds.

  • confused

    Even if SF had success in the South and had a minister in the cabinet Unionists should not be unduly concerned.
    SF have agreed that the Queens Writ runs throughout the whole of NI.
    Any authority a SF minister from ROI may have ends just south of Newry and has no authority or jurisdiction in the North.

  • sammaguire

    Sinn Fein’s poorer than expected performance down here had absolutely nothing to do with Northern politics. They just pitched their tent too far to the Left (at least this was the perception). Adams also backed the nurses huge pay claim rather too easily (might have won them a few nurse’s votes but not the smart thing to do in a well managed economy). I do give credit to SF for running a 32 county party. I think it’s about time Fianna Fail, by far the largest nationalist/republican party on the island, organised north of the border.

  • Robert Keogh


    it will certainly be interesting to see which, if any, of the southern parties elect to organise in the north. I suspect that loyalist decommissioning will preceed any attempts at organisation. A desire not to antagonise unionism nor destabilise the assembly will certainly play a significant factor in the decision.

    With SFs recent performance I think there is reduced incentive/pressure for FF to organise in the north before the next election. After FF I think Labour is most likely to organise and may do so in the lifetime of this Dail.

    If I were a unionist I’d seriously consider organising in the border counties now but I reckon they won’t because it would be tantamount to admitting they’ve read the writing on the wall. A slogan of reclaiming the south for the UK would play very well in the 6 counties and as we’ve seen 2 TDs can hold a balance of power a kind of “Getting them in, to keep THEM out”.

    Interesting times but without the violence, who’d have thunk it?

  • páid

    …………or even thought it? 🙂

  • Gerry Kelly

    It is good to see Sinn Fein uniting Cathlic, Protestant and Dissenter, even if it is only scoffing at Sinn Fein and their bearded leader, the man with the luxury holiday homes.

  • curious

    ‘it will certainly be interesting to see which, if any, of the southern parties elect to organise in the north.’

    No ROI political parties will organise in the state of NI. To do so would be in the breach of the 1998 GFA, and the disolvement of articles 2 & 3 of the RIO constitution.

  • Belfast Gonzo


    good first post, but ruling Labour (either UK or RoI) out of NI is premature I think.

    Given the rcent hostility between the two though, which will come first?!

  • curious

    ‘good first post, but ruling Labour (either UK or RoI) out of NI is premature I think.’

    The UK labour party and the ROI labour party are two distinct different parties with different mandates to their respective governments and people.

    The UK labour party denied citizens of NI the right to belong to their party since 1922 therefore feeding bigotry and sectarian division (mostly amongst the lower classes) over the past 90 years.

  • The Dubliner

    It’s debatable whether the wheels came off PSF’s so-called “Republican strategy” of seeking political power in both jurisdictions or if the wagon simply got stuck in a bog north of Drogheda due to the weight of historical baggage and its leader’s ego, etc, but the salient point, I think, is that it is important to northern nationalists that they have a spokesperson in the south. However, pushing unrepentant terrorists forward to speak on their behalf isn’t smart politics.

    I’m undecided about whether so-called ‘speaking rights’ in the Oireachtas can fulfil that role or whether it has to be achieved by an electoral mandate. Either way, the role is just promotional since executive power to change the constitutional status of NI remains north of the border. In that case, an electoral role south of the border is surplus to the actual requirement – and is just PSF exploiting the concerns of nationalists for selfish party political gain in both jurisdictions. I would suggest a compromise whereby northern nationalists sponsor a strong party affiliation between the SDLP and Fianna Fail. The SDLP has earned the respect of southern political parties and of the southern electorate, while PSF has neither.

    The reason it has to be an affiliation and not a merger is blindingly obvious: you cannot have one party with two contrasting sets of economic, political and social policies. The north and the south are entirely different to each other; and such policies must obviously be formulated on the basis of the conditions that they nominally address! Hence, even if two parties did merge (or a southern party organised north of the border), they would find that one size doesn’t fit all and would effectively and expediently split into two parties again – or become Southern Fianna Fail and Northern Fianna Fail.

  • Aquifer

    The DUP never ruled out coercion and violence to achieve their political goals, so in a way they cannot sustain an objection to SF’s violent background as a matter of principle. i.e. SF’s past conduct is no dealbreaker politically, whatever the ripples of emotion among the devotees.

    There are downsides to joining a cult. It felt good at the time, but what really makes the leader tick? And how to manage succession without schism?

    The great thing about Paisley is that it is hard to imagine anyone upstaging him, or repeating his disruptive rise in this age. He even sickened the prod paramilitaries after using them, making them less likely to back another rejectionist adventure.

    Now, if he says its a deal, it is likely to stick.

  • curious

    ’good first post, but ruling Labour (either UK or RoI) out of NI is premature I think.’

    Its all been tried before, see here what happened.

    IRISH LABOUR PARTY : Won the Dock seat twice in 1953 and 1962, and held West Belfast at Westminster 1951-55. Still thriving in the Republic but does not seem to have fought an election in the North since Gerry Fitt left it for the Republican Labour Party in 1964.

    NORTHERN IRELAND LABOUR PARTY : peaked at 4 seats in the 1958 and 1962 Stormont elections; held one seat in East Belfast in 1973 Assembly and 1975 Convention; fought but did not win East Belfast in 1982 Assembly election. Former NILP figures are still active in a variety of groups.

    REPUBLICAN LABOUR PARTY: Founded by Harry Diamond and Gerry Fitt in 1964; both were already Stormont MPs. Fitt won the West Belfast Westminster seat in 1966. Diamond lost his Stormont seat in 1968 but the party gained a seat elsewhere. Fitt also held West Belfast in the 1970 general election. Shortly afterwards he co-founded the SDLP and became its first leader, bringing most for the Republican Labour Party with him. Diamond struggled on but the party was wiped out in the 1973 elections.


    These types of Labour (leftist) parties based on Connoly & Larkin’s policies are anchronistic in the 21 st century.

    The SDLP (Solicitors, Doctors, and Lawyers party) on the other hand became a voice for middle class Catholic nationalists.

  • fair_deal

    While there is schadenfraude to be drawn from what has happened, it is only one election result and thus a ‘temporary’ situation. As a small electoral party minor shifts in overall public opinion +/- 1.5/2% would have dramatic effects on the number of SF TD’s e.g. the drop of the PDs from 8 to 2.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Fianna Fail are unlikely to organize here. They are about as relevant up here as Sinn Fein are in the RoI. The culture of croneyism, gombeenism and cute hoor politics does not exist in NI to the same extent that it does in the RoI, and I don’t think people would be at all interested in it. They’d far rather vote in the safe security of their traditional tribal leaders.


    No ROI political parties will organise in the state of NI. To do so would be in the breach of the 1998 GFA,

    Please point out the clause in the GFA or the Northern Ireland Act 1998 which says that ROI political parties cannot organize in NI.

    and the disolvement of articles 2 & 3 of the RIO constitution.

    The RoI constitution has no jurisdiction in NI. Therefore it cannot be used to enforce which parties may or may not organize in NI. Even if it did have jurisdiction, there are no measures in the constitution that make any such restrictions.

    The UK labour party denied citizens of NI the right to belong to their party since 1922 therefore feeding bigotry and sectarian division (mostly amongst the lower classes) over the past 90 years.

    People in NI would not vote Labour, then or now, for the same reason they would not vote Conservative. They’re too scared to vote outside of their own tribe. It’s amazing that despite the total failure here recently of the Conservative Party, the NI Labour Party, the Socialist Party and others, that there are people who still persist in the blinkered belief that as soon as the UK Labour Party stand for a seat we’ll all realize the error of our ways and merrily vote for traditional left/right politics, and ditch the tribal parties forever.

    Dream on.

  • Ellie

    “The culture of croneyism…and cute hoor politics does not exist in NI to the same extent that it does in the RoI”

    I disagree. It appears every time someone from the legal profession decides to stand for public office, across the globe.

  • Intelligence Insider

    How many of the “32 counties” did the “32 county party” stand in?

  • The Dubliner

    It’s croneyism within sectarian tribes, Ellie.

    In the south, folks wise vote Fianna Fail because it has proven that it is, indisputably, the most successful government in Europe. Its economic policies and management have made the Republic into one of the richest countries in the world – and all done without the aid of oil and gold reserves, etc. Not voting for Bertie Ahern would be the foolhardy equivilent of Microsoft not voting to re-elect Bill Gates as chairman of the board.

    Fianna Fail recently opened a cumann in Derry. That is the full and final extent of its direct ‘political’ ambition in NI. It would consider an affiliation with the SDLP (if that would cut the wind to the Shinners’ sails regarding a ‘voice’ in the south), but it wouldn’t entertain the notion of ‘mixing it’ with the tribes up north beyond that.

  • Roger

    The News Letter must, as she’s their new regular columnist.

    I don’t think this will be a long-term phenomenon though; here columns are basically a DUP illusion of the political dynamics of Northern Ireland. Her writing skills are rather sterile and tedious, following stringently to the DUP’s agenda with a little bit of jumping on the bandwagon here and there. She has effectively made Gavin Robinson redundant (no big loss here) however much more interesting columnists such as Alex Kane have little to fear.

  • Comrade Stalin


    I disagree. It appears every time someone from the legal profession decides to stand for public office, across the globe.

    Please re-read my remark, with particular attention to the part where I said “… to the same extent that it does in the RoI”. It’s not so much the corruption and dirty dealing in Dublin that surprise me. It’s the fact that the electorate know it’s going on and continue to give it a resounding endorsement.

  • Bellaghyprod

    My how the worm has turned.I have walked behind many a coffin marched with the 3rd force and listened to Willie McCrea preaching his hatred for SF/IRA. What a fool I was.Now he is happy to put these people into government and to see his leader having tea and back slapping the Godfather of the IRA.Willie you should hang your head in shame and pray for forgiveness for all the lies you have spouted over the years.It is amazing what £200k can buy now that you and your son have sold out.It will be interesting to see how baby willie(Ian)treats SF on Cookstown council.

  • Gonzo


    What did you get up to in the Third Force?

  • Roger

    Its become apparent to all that the DUP were only ever interested in power and not morals.

    The only reason they rejected the Belfast Agreement was because it was constructed by the UUP, I find their hypocricy incredible.

    Jeffrey Donaldson jumped ship at the last minute because he knew that power in the future would lie with the DUP.

  • darth rumsfeld

    you’ve all missed the big story in Saturday’s Snooze Letter. Yup in the letters page Wee Jeffrey let the cat out of the bag- It was the DUP wot won it!!


    And in those days King Ian saw what others could not, yea that the Shinners would play the MOPE card and march into farawayland Government, but Ian spake unto his counsellors Pe-ter and unto Ni-Gel and saith unto them “We have smote the Shinners hip and thigh in this election,but now they can be smitten even more-yea not as much as we smote the Official Unionists obviously, since they are all smote out, but quite a bit anyway. By us taking them into our court, and thereby removing from them the victim card – which is of course the only reason the multitudes in the farawaylands vote for them- verily they shall be utterly cast down unto the third and fourth generation”

    And Ni-Gel and Peter heard what was said and it appeared good unto them (especially the bit about ministerial chariots). And though it did grieve them mightily to have to talk unto the heathen and break bread with them, they reasoned unto themselves that Pais-ley waxed old and would soon be taken to sleep with his fathers, and that his son was a balloon, who hideth from the wrath of the sodomites, and would not be any threat to their succession.

    And lo it came to pass that the DUP won the election in farawayland and great was the rejoicing in Cypress Avenue, and the king of farawayland came again to the banks of the great river Boyne bearing gifts to King Ian- but absolutely no cash for decorating the house no sirree

  • darth rumsfeld

    .. and yea some of the multitudes did murmer against Pais-ley , saying “What’s all this snuggling up to gunmen crap?”, and Pais-ley did grow exceeding full of wrath and said ” I am the Lord’s anointed, and those who murmur against me do murmur against the Lord himself, and shall be cast into the outer darkness, or Brussels”
    And the people did say “Ah, but if thou art the Lord’s anointed then surely so is McGuinn-ess, thy partner from the wilds of London-y?”

    And the great prophet answereth not, for he was greatly shamed, but Ni-Gel, Pe-ter, Jeff-rey and all the other acolytes did hustle him off for a rich tea and ovaltine, and his afternoon nbap saying “Listen not the the voters, for they shall not pass judgement on thee again”

  • jimmyjoe

    Excellent version of events.However you forgot to mention “and low the anointed one asked Mc Crea to sing praises to the crowd in the chapel and low Mc Crea did as he was commanded for he was the gutless one who betrayed his faith and principles for £100k(which is the same as twenty pieces of silver).And it came to pass that as Mc Crea started to sing the crowd left in a hurry as they did not appear to enjoy Mc Crea’s voice.This annoyed the annointed one who asked McGuinn ess to help.No problems big man was his cry and so he ordered his henchmen to shoot anyone who left.”