There may be troubles ahead…

[Cue music] This autumn looks like it will be time for our new found friends to face the music and dance.There are some obvious candidates for causing trouble between the Houses of Ian and Martin, that have already been extensively discussed here on Slugger:

Key issues over policing and criminal justice are by no means agreed, despite the target date of next May, and a row is definitely brewing over the introduction of an Irish Language Act. “These and other items offered fissile issues that could destabilise the Executive and impair inter-ministerial relations,” it warned. ” In particular, dealing with Northern Ireland’s ‘troubled’ past had the potential to derail the new arrangements.”

But the report also highlights on of the early failures of the new joint administration:

Having failed to persuade Prime Minister Gordon Brown to provide a significant transitional package or to align corporation tax in Northern Ireland with the Republic, there are also difficult decisions to be faced on local taxation, spending and local-government reform.

[Music fades to end]

  • I’m not surprised by this report’s conclusions as it seems that unionists are blind to the fact, after all that has happened with IRA decommissioning etc, that they know must live up to their end of the bargain. It’s not enough for ministers to take up well paid positions on a powersharing executive, they must in fact share power.

    I don’t need to restate my position on the necessity of a strong Irish Language Act which covers areas such as broadcasting, education, dealings with the state as a POLITICAL gesture from unionism to show that it is willing to share space with natiionalism. It’s my version of the John Hume single transferable speech – the single transferable post.

    For too long now, unionists of all hues have been codding themselves that they’ve somehow defeated nationalists and extinguished their identity and aspirations for the future. That’s not the case. Neither should nationalists try to extinguish the unionist identity – but the onus is on unionism at present, as far as I’m concerned.

  • interested

    There will be some tougher issues ahead but they’ll no doubt be dealt with.

    In fairness ‘dealing with the past’ might be the toughest, but the others:

    Shared Future – well I think the question needs to be asked about SFs commitment to this. After all it was SF who were blocking the release of the report into the cost of division in Northern Ireland. What have they got to fear?

    Irish Language – Done to death on a multitude of threads. It aint happening and why on earth will the world fall in if we dont get some piece of language legislation.

    Policing & Justice – Dont see that being devolved for some considerable time to come. Again, devolution can continue quite happily without it being devolved and its no reason for some huge crisis.

    Something which actually does need sorted out is the issue of post-primary transfer from schools. Academic selection is on the statute book and its up to the Education Minister to pull her finger out and get something sorted on that issue. Its something which actually does affect people’s lives.

    Unfortunately for you unionists are living up to everything asked of them – they should not be asked to simply agree to every nationalist/republican demand no more than SF would accept every DUP demand. It would seem however that nationalists are the people putting forward the more unreasonable demands. There have been no ‘unionist specific’ issues brought forward by either DUP or UUP Ministers. They’re actually getting on with their job and its the nationalists who cant get their head around the fact that all their crying isn’t going to bring the big white knight forward to hand them everything they want before they throw their toys out of the pram.

    If you think unionists or unionism has the power to “extinguish” nationalist identity then you really need to look at your insecurity complex and there’s nothing unionism can do to help you there.

  • I have no doubt that the Irish identity in the north is secure as far as nationalists are concerned – however that doesn’t mean unionists – remember Simply British, the UUP logo of a few years ago, what was that about? – aren’t trying to extinguish it. (The UUP’s extinction now appears more likely than the Irish identity. The ‘on death’s door“ Irish language is reviving – see Millward Brown survey issued a number of weeks back and discussed here – while the UUP is losing ground left right and centre, 1MP and counting.)

  • barnshee

    Results of Audience Research commissioned by Irish Language Broadcast Fund
    research which has been conducted by Millward Brown Ulster on its behalf over the last two years”

    Says it all really– piper and tunes spring to mind

  • slug

    Does this research ask questions in Irish Gaelic to determine proficiency in Irish Gaelic? Surely that would be a very credible way of determining fluency and worth funding?

  • Oliver – you are becoming a figure of fun.

  • interested

    Your ‘simply British’ stuff is absolutely ridiculous. By the extension of that ‘logic’ then the promotion of any kind of Irish identity automatically would wipe out British identity – therefore yet again you promote Irish as somehow more legitimate than British. You can have any culture you like so long as its Irish.

    If nationalists continue to keep building this ILA up as the be all and end all of everything then they’re going to come in for a huge disappointment. They’d be better off downplaying it now and preparing their community for a soft landing on the issue.

    Also – why aren’t you getting worked up about rates, post-primary transfer, our massively public-sector reliant economy or the other real issues which the Assembly should be dealing with? They probably aren’t ‘Irish’ enough issues though and might actually benefit everyone. We couldn’t have that now could we…..

  • I appreciate Z’s sense of irony. the fact that he describes “Oliver” as a figure of fun says more about his own myopic and less than tolerant nature than it does about ”Oliver” who ever he may be.

    Interested: I am not concerned about the issues which you outline as somehow benefiting us all as they are decisions that will probably be taken by civil servants and rubber stamped by ministers. It has nothing to do with their “irishness’ or not – the post that started this off mentioned the Irish Language Act as something which would cause a rumpus – and it will, mainly because of unionist ignorance, obduracy and their ‘never say yes to Irishness’ attitude.

    My point about Simply British, far from being ludicrous, is that it rebutted your point about unionists not wanting to ‘extinguish Irish identity’. The UUP have made it clear that they have no interest in an Irish identity and are doing nothing to encourage it – even going to the lengths of not including any Irish on their ‘multi-lingual’ website.

    Barnshee: Are you suggesting, for a moment, that a professional polling company such as Millward Brown compromised its professional standards by delivering a poll result to the specification of its client? If so, I’d be careful as that’s a libellous accusation. But ‘piper calling the tune’ seems to suggest that to me.

  • Oliver I’m sorry to be the one to point it out once again, but you’re making a fool of yourself. All your posts constitute is endless ranting against “themmuns”.

    I’ve already explained my attitude to the Irish Language and that I have no axe to grind. Fair play to RG Cuan, he bothered to digest what I’d written and attempted to answer me without recourse to rants about the evils of unionism. You meanwhile simply empty your bladder every time the subject is raised which certainly doesn’t advance your cause one iota.

    Your views on identity and culture are so un-nuanced as to be laughable. Simply British = anti-Irish slogan. Irish = Irish language / Gaelic culture. Britishness / unionism = anti-Irish.

    There’s a debate to be had about the nature of unionists’ Irish identity, but I’m afraid you’re too bigoted and limited to play any useful part in such a debate, so there’s little point setting off down that route.

    When a thread about the possible troubles ahead for the Stormont Assembly is a jumping off point for you to rant about the other side, I think you should reexamine who exactly the “Neandethal” is.

  • Dawkins


    Might I suggest that a little basic courtesy goes a long way. It induces a chap to take you seriously.

    If you insist on doing OILibhear Chromaill the discourtesy of not using his nickname and calling him a figure of fun, consider yourself wiped from my Christmas card list.

  • The neanderthal is the person who doesn’t the basic courtesies – such as addressing me as Oilibhéar rather than Oliver. That seems to me to illustrate fairly clearly the anti Irish nature of your form of ‘civic unionism’. I wish your label of ‘civic unionism’ was something other than a false flag.

    You object to my pointing out that the unionist response to the entire Irish Language Act debate has been of the neanderthal nature – the prejudicial statements of Ian Paisley, Peter Robinson and co, the stupid and illconceived UUP MLA motion – and, yet, on your own blog, you warn against the dangers of engaging in the typical Unionist politician’s neanderthal and kneejerk response to the proposal for an Irish Language Act.

    Having read your website, which I find difficult to reconcile with your apparent neanderthal attitude, I think it’s instructive to point out to you that I am not in favour of translating everything available in English into Irish. I want more Irish on the BBC, currently we only get 17 hours per year compared to 194 hours of Scots Gaelic in Scotland (that’s despite 10% of NI’s population saying they have some knowledge of Irish while, in Scotland, the numbers of Gaelic speakers amounts to 2%), I want better resources for Irish language education in the education system, I want the ‘top 10’ forms that are demanded by the public available in Irish, I want the right to conduct court cases and business with the state as Gaeilge (and I don’t think that means compulsory Irish for civil servants – there are other ways, more practical and,yes, cost effective – eg a call centre, recruiting civil servants (who are needed anyhow to offset natural wastage) with those who have Irish. I just think that legislation is the best way of doing this and am dismayed at the reaction from neanderthal unionism. (Is there really a civic unionism which reacts to Irishness with something other than a kneejerk?)

  • Perhaps you should focus on the strengths of your own argument rather than merely referring to unionists as neanderthals then?

    Perhaps you should acknowledge that their is actually a debate to be had about whether there is any need for Irish in public life rather than dismissing that view as the crassest kind of bigotry?

    Perhaps you might acknowledge that unionists do have understandable problems with the language due to its political past and attempt to address their anxieties rather than rave about their beliefs?

    Perhaps you should accord the same respect to unionist traditions and the British identity that you expect to be accorded to your conception of Irishness?

  • Why would I address you with a name I can’t spell and would have to cut and paste btw? Are you actually called OILibhear Chromaill? I assumed that was a hibernicised version of Oliver Cromwell. If you were genuinely christened OILibhear Chromaill I humbly apologise.

  • Bretagne

    “If you were genuinely christened OILibhear Chromaill I humbly apologise.” The wife is preganant and we were trying out names- I’ll suggest Ziznivy – I fancy a night in the spare room.