Is Spain Northern Ireland’s gateway to Switzerland?

For all the pessimists, one of my colleagues over at the Daily Telegraph, Patrick Nathanson, reckons, Northern Ireland has at least a fighting chance of punching sufficiently above their weight. And he’s reasonably sanguine about Lativia’s chances against the mighty Swedes:

Just two years later, the Latvian football team had their fans dancing to a different tune when they qualified for Euro 2004. And Northern Irish fans will be heartened to know that Latvia’s qualification was secured courtesy of a final game win away to, you’ve guessed it, Sweden.

In this qualifying campaign, the baltic side have been something of an enigma. They put eight goals past Iceland, who beat Northern Ireland home and away, and stunned the Irish with a 1-0 win, yet they were severely embarrassed by a 1-0 defeat to tiny Liechenstein in March.

But even if it doesn’t result in a trip to the finals for the first time since Spain in 1986, the team can be happy their prospective draw for the next World Cup will be considerably eased next time out. Goalkeeper Maik Taylor:

“But if we don’t qualify it will not be a failure considering where we have come from. We improved in the last campaign and we have improved again this campaign.

“Before we were 120th in the Fifa rankings so it was always going to be difficult but they have improved and if the draw is kind for the next tournament we will be in an even better group which gives us more of a chance.”

  • RepublicanStones

    gerry lvs castro, armed republicanism entered the troubles because of unprovoked attacks on nationalists, remember the I Ran Away slogans unionism used to taunt nationalists with regarding the ABSENCE of the IRA. and when the ira then went on to go on the offensive against crown forces, loyalism/unionism continued targeting innocent people based solely on their religion, the IRA bit their tongue, most of the time. as evidenced by the vast majority of IRA activity being directed at crown forces and anyone who administered british rule in ireland. you might try and dredge up a few atrocities, but its documented fact loyalism/unionism was infintely more sectarian in their actions so don’t try that one. its also documented fact the IRA didn’t start the troubles, unionism/loyalism did, not only with the denial of civil rights but with their violent suppression of the attempts to gain as much. so it was pretty mature of the IRA to be the first to call a ceasefire, although if things were done in order, loyalists should have made the first move.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    RS, like so many Republicans, you’re equating Loyalist paramilitaries with mainstream Unionists.

    For the record, the vast majority of Unionists regard the Loyalist paramilitaries as at best a complete embaressment to their supposed cause, at worst a bunch of cowardly, sectarian, drug-dealing thugs. Don’t take my word for it — check out their electoral mandates.

    ‘as evidenced by the vast majority of IRA activity being directed at crown forces and anyone who administered british rule in ireland.’

    A pretty broad brush there RS huh? Administering British rule ranged from honouring war dead at Enniskillen cenotaph to doing cleaning work at a police station. The IRA murdered over 1700 people during the troubles — exactly how many were ‘crown forces’?

    I’m not disputing that prior to the dissolution of Stormont, a section of the Nationalist community were under threat, but the provos, far from defending their communities, brutalised and abused them over the next 20+ years whilst carrying on a murder campaign which could in no way be justified. Hindsight proves just how pointless and immoral that campaign was.

    ‘it was pretty mature of the IRA to be the first to call a ceasefire, although if things were done in order, loyalists should have made the first move.’

    Mature? Try expedient RS. They were getting nowhere, they were riddled with informers and their murder campaign was hobbling the SF vote.
    As for loyalists, their murder campaign should never have begun.

  • RepublicanStones

    yeah sure David Irvine was lying when he referred to how mainstream unionists used loyalists and abandonded them as they pleased, the quote was something about remebering their ‘wallpaper in their houses’ or something if i remember correctly. and again after even me mentioning the usual ploy in my previous comment you still use the old tactic of listing atrocities. at least you don’t deny the fact loyalist/unionist violence was viciously more sectarian.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    RS my summation of Loyalist paramilitaries speaks for itself and I doubt many mainstream Unionists would argue with it.

    As regards ‘listing atrocities’, I didn’t even get started. The provo campaign, despite increasingly desperate attempts to dress it up as a noble struggle that actually achieved something, was nothing more than an excuse for protracted and sadistic murder.

    Over the course of the troubles, the IRA managed to murder over 640 innocent civilians as well as 180+ of their own Republican community. Those figures account for almost half their total killings. Perhaps you would describe this as collateral damage or a price worth paying for a magnificent victory?

    Except that none of it achieved anything. SF have signed up to partition, consent, the NI police force and are administering British rule in Stormont, having decommissioned IRA weapons. A UI is decades away, if indeed it happens at all. Virtually no-one south of the border wants to know about SF and the ultimate irony is that their political survival now depends on continued partition.
    Not one loss of life in the troubles achieved anything at all.

    Maybe some day there will be a majority vote in NI for a UI, but if it happens it will be in spite of, rather than because of the provo campaign. One thing that Republican and Loyalist paramilitaries have in common is that their violence was entirely counter-productive.

  • RepublicanStones

    you seem to think that Sinn Fein and Sinn Fein alone wish for a united ireland?????? and sinn fein did not sign up to partition, what they signed up to was the principle of consent, which was denied to nothern nationalists for decades while the union was ‘copper-fastened’. and trying to dress up the republican campaign as noble is not what im doing. merely highlighting the hypocrisy of unionism which tries to perpetuate the belief that republicans started the troubles and were the sole reason the north enterd a dark period, when they shopuld instead look closer to home (the mirror perhaps) to find out who had a bigger role to play. feel free to ignore reality and stick your head in the sand as unionism or ostrichism tends to do !

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”you seem to think that Sinn Fein and Sinn Fein alone wish for a united ireland??????”

    I never said that. They are however largely alone in considering murder to be a justifiable means of achieving that end.

    ”tries to perpetuate the belief that republicans started the troubles”

    I never said that either. What I did say was that the provos carried on their murder campaign for literally decades entirely pointlessly, and are now attempting to glorify that period.

  • RepublicanStones

    i never said you said that, i was referring to the typical attitude from unionism, which if your honest, is that republicans were to blame.
    it was completley pointless, so the principle of consent was on the table since 1921 was it. well you could have told someone !
    and if republicans want to learn how to glorify something all they need do is watch an orange order march !

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Yes indeed RS the campaign was completely pointless. Perhaps you can point out anything that the provo campaign actually achieved after 1972.

  • RepublicanStones

    are you going to try and tell me that the stoops and the stoops alone brought the british govt to the negociating table? and i’ll admit its decent of you to not try and deny the skeletons in unionisms closet !

  • ND

    Read the first page then the last on this blog, and try the same on a few others, in fact any with 50 plus messages.

    Madness,

  • I hate to quote scripture in support of such a mundane objective, but with regard to my previous comment, here’s Mark 4:4-5:

    “And some fell on stony ground, where it had not much earth; and immediately it sprang up, because it had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up, it was scorched; and because it had no root, it withered away.”

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”are you going to try and tell me that the stoops and the stoops alone brought the british govt to the negociating table?”

    More hilarity RS. The only thing being negotiated was how the provos were going to decommission, when they were going to endorse the police and how much their Brit salaries would be.
    Items such as British withdrawal, UI timetable or even a border poll just weren’t on the agenda.

    ”i’ll admit its decent of you to not try and deny the skeletons in unionisms closet !”

    Hey RS there’s plenty of faults on both sides here. However only one side is seeking to glorify their role in what was a wretched, squalid and pointless little conflict.

  • RepublicanStones

    sure gerry, so the principle of consent was on the table since 1921, and the north south ministerial council was there always to. oh and as i said if you wanna know to glorify something, watch an orange order march.

  • Mike

    “sure gerry, so the principle of consent was on the table since 1921”

    The Provos opposed the principle of consent up until 1998 – they called it the ‘unionist veto’. Indeed their violence was in the main aimed at overthrowing this principle. It’s been around since 1949 (the Ireland Act), and in its ‘vote by a majority of the people’ form since 1973 (the Northern Ireland Constitution Act). In the Sunningdale Agreement in 1973 the UK government specifically said if a majority in NI voted for a united Ireland, it would introduce legislation to effect this.

    “and the north south ministerial council was there always to”

    The Provos rejected the Sunningdale Agreement in 1973 and continued their violence. It contained a Council of Ireland, with both ministerial and parliamentary tiers. Up until the 1990s they said this was nothing, a sop in an attempt to buy off nationalists to British rule.

  • Mike

    Mick – apologies for such an off-topic post, I’ve saved my football comments for the other thread as this one’s a lost cause.

  • Doctor Who

    Frank Sinistra

    “It’s a case of slap it up ye big time since the IFA started a campaign to prevent Irish citizens playing for our team.”

    You are a very boring, tedious and pathetic little man. Yawn, Yawn.

  • Newbie

    Doctor Who Pot Kettle Black

  • nmc

    Yes Newbie. Doctor, can you get your head around the man/ball thing? Clearly not, your version of an argument is boring, tedious, pathetic namecalling. At least you’ve moved on to three syllable words, well done. If the best you can do is to call someone names, then all your arguments do is prove that you don’t have the intellectual capacity to come up with an on topic argument. Which is pathetic.

  • kensei

    “The Provos opposed the principle of consent up until 1998 – they called it the ‘unionist veto’. Indeed their violence was in the main aimed at overthrowing this principle.”

    Actually, Mike, these are different things. If the Principle of consent had have applied to Ireland in 1921, partition would never have occurred.

    You are right that the idea has been kicking about for a while though.

  • darth rumsfeld

    We know the real problem about the NI team/fans/ province is that…we exist. Inconsiderate, inconvenient, and incontrovertible.

    Having been in Gran Canaria with one of the aforementioned “shocking” Union flags- the flag of my country BTW- I was especially pleased by the coverage in the local media the following morning.The La Provincia paper was fulsome in their praise of the friendly fans- the “mas de 5000 seguidores britanicos” and said that one of the best moments of the evening was the singing of “el himno nacional ingles” which – apparently- we knew all the words to.

    The Spanish impression?
    “Aun asi la huella de los irlandeses en las Isla perdurara para siempra”- someone better qualified than me will translate, but I’m told it means something like “the impression of the irish on the island will last for ever” ( or perhaps I’ve been lied to and it really means “your mother was a hamster and your father smelt of elderberries”)

    Anyway, they were very impressed and pleased with our support-police shaking hands of fans leaving the ground, fans congratulating us and asking for scarves, shirts after the game etc

    Yup- British and Irish. How inconsiderate. How sectarian. Er… how factually accurate. No wonder it annoys the MOPErs. Reality always does.

  • clive

    I believe the usual sectarian ‘party tunes’ were the order of the day in most of the bars pre- match.

    How utterly depressing

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks for the football related material darth! At least in the public diplomacy stakes it appears you made some significant progress.

  • kensei

    “Yup- British and Irish. How inconsiderate. How sectarian. Er… how factually accurate. No wonder it annoys the MOPErs. Reality always does.”

    Happy for you to the British and Irish team, as long as you stop trying to force people who aren’t British to play for it.

    I could add that it was somewhat fortunate that all the trouble makers were kicked off the place, but that would be childish. A bit like having a MOPE about Nationalists not really caring for the existence of NI.

  • darth rumsfeld

    kensei my dear chap, I’ve misunderstood you. So you do care for NI! I just knew that deep down you couldn’t resist our charms, and you realise we have a happy British and partitionist future together.

    And I promise you we’ll stop forcing all those non-British players to turn out for us. It’s a little known fact that we held Gerry Armstrong’s cat hostage for 10 years in the 80s to make him turn out for us under the utmost duress. Nowadays we’re much more sophisticated- we just threaten them that if they don’t play for us then they might end up turning out for a team below us in the FIFA rankings which gets spanked by Cyprus….

    “I believe the usual sectarian ‘party tunes’ were the order of the day in most of the bars pre- match.
    How utterly depressing”

    clive- you may well believe it, but perhaps you’d like to prove it. Were you there? Who did you speak to who was there? How many bars were they in, on their mission to spy out sectarianism? (Not as many as me, I’ll bet…:0) and I didn’t come across any)
    Or did you just come on here making something up because you really really want to believe it and because its feeding the paranoia of those who have to demonise anything which is a good news story about NI? How utterly depressing indeed

    Funny that no eagle eyed journalist found evidence of this- you’d have thunk some Irish News sub-editor would have thought it worthwhile sending out an undercover hack to expose this sort of thing. And all those local papers who were so impressed by the GAWA- have they forgotten Gibraltar?

  • kensei

    “kensei my dear chap, I’ve misunderstood you. So you do care for NI! I just knew that deep down you couldn’t resist our charms, and you realise we have a happy British and partitionist future together.”

    No, would quite happy to see the football team along with the state, but until circumstances allow I’m quite happy to ignore in a state of blissful apathy. Jackie Fullerton comes on, the TV goes off. It’s a great system.

    “And I promise you we’ll stop forcing all those non-British players to turn out for us. It’s a little known fact that we held Gerry Armstrong’s cat hostage for 10 years in the 80s to make him turn out for us under the utmost duress. Nowadays we’re much more sophisticated- we just threaten them that if they don’t play for us then they might end up turning out for a team below us in the FIFA rankings which gets spanked by Cyprus….”

    Well, as long as you are giving them the option.