Mairead Farrell a Trojan Horse?

Given how ridiculous the idea of celebrating Mairead Farrell at Stormont was, which even the most devoted Sinn Fein supporter had trouble getting their heads around as a great idea, was the whole thing a trojan horse to arrive at this destination instead, which has already had a test-run in Limavady?

SF may seek to ban unionist symbols at Stormont and SF anger over IRA commemoration ban

Or is that just a face-saving exercise after a spectacularly daft suggestion?

What do you think of the tactic of pursuing “neutral space” – is it worth the bother, does it have any true meaning, is it a whitewash, rather than a co-writing of, of a shared history, is it a petulant idea, or a responsible one? Is there a difference between a shared space and a neutral one? Does this have any relevance to ordinary people’s lives? Is it a chimera for real progress, much like the arguments over symbols on the PSNI’s caps or flags in City Hall closets were? Or is it the sort of groundwork that reflects progress?

  • kensei

    I agree that figures from that period are less controversial, but the problem remains as previously stated: neither violent republicanism nor radical socialism were very popular in Northern Ireland and it is hardly appropriate, therefore, to have commemorations to figures of little import.

    Actually, the Belfast lockout was one of the few things that united Protestant and Catholic, at least for a short time and if you are looking for Labour icons, Larkin certainly fits the Bill. In fact Socialism was considered so dangerous Unionism moved form PR to FPTP. And as I pointed out, SF won the Nationalist vote in 1921 (including seats for both Collins and De Valera) and shall we say, current Nationalist sentiment is somewhat more favourable. Sinn Fein also won 2 seats in the 1955 elections in support of the border campaign. Republicanism has been present in the state since it’s inception, and it’s presence merely muted by a combination of suppression and abstentionism. To deny it every any place or significance here is a whitewash, just as it would be to say that it always carried a majority of Nationalists.

    And moreover, caution should be doubly taken when trying to use the past here as a guide, given the poisonous history of the state and the Parliament.

    That sounds rather more constructive, but I fear it does not represent the thinking within the Provos. I reckon they just want to glorify the killers.

    What the “Provos” think is irrelevant. Unionists attitude to symbols inflames Nationalist sentiment because there attitude is either “No” or “You’ll have who we tell you”. With constructive and creative compromise you can close off the hardliners while making most people happy, even plenty within SF (and certainly among their vote). The negative attitude taken merely hardens attitudes and plays straight into their hands.

    But the fact is Unionism does want any Nationalist symbols period, and rejects it outright when suggested.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Why not make statues of all the current republican leadership as nationalist symbols?

    Then, when they’re exposed as touts over time, they become British symbols?

    Or, if we want to represent where both sides have come from, why not the anonymity of someone in combat gear, carrying a gun and wearing a balaclava? It could represent terrorists on either side, as well as the police or army. A memorial to ‘the unknown gunman’.

    More seriously, everyone was able to agree on PSNI symbols easily enough, and this was as potentially divisive, so if heads are knocked together, I’m sure this is fixable.

  • doctor

    Willowfield
    “What evidence to you have of the UVF’s illegality? When was it proscribed? By what means? That fact that some of its actions may have been illegal does not mean that the organisation itself was illegal – that is a logical fallacy.”

    I just had to bring up that wonderful bit of reasoning from several pages back. It at least explains the British government’s attitude to the UDA up until the early ’90’s.

    Stormont, as a symbol rather than a building, has to symbolically represent both communities in a much wider sense than the increasingly pedantic guidelines and restrictions some people here are trying to create. People like Connolly mean much more to modern Nationalists of all stripes than some of the “acceptable” figures from years past that are being brought up on the basis that they set foot in the building at some point. Figures like Connolly have been extremely historically important in the long run due to his status within Irish republicanism, which in turn has been an important phenomenon in all parts of Ireland for several centuries now. To the nationalist community, these figures ARE important historical figures regardless of whether or not they sat on some Stormont committee in 1925.

  • Billy

    “PeaceandJustice”

    ‘Poots and the DUP need to get their act together and start pushing issues like the flying of the Union and Northern Ireland flags. There should be no restrictions on when they are flown. Gordon Brown last year relaxed the rules for the mainland instead of just having designated days. It’s time that was extended to Northern Ireland.’

    Have you been drinking? I honestly didn’t think that there was anyone who is stupid enough to think that this will ever happen. Here’s a clue – it won’t! No UK Govt (Lab or Con) is going to rock the assembly boat by bringing in legislation like that.

    ‘We need to celebrate our Ulster-British culture more in Northern Ireland’

    Slight problem there – in case you hadn’t noticed. The UK govt is disengaging from NI with a fair head of speed – they certainly seem quite happy to let the RoI Govt have a substantial and increasing input (political and financial) into the running of the North.

    The vast majority of the UK electorate don’t understand NI and don’t care. If there was a UK wide referendum on NI, I reckon total turnout would be less than 20% and a reasonable majority of those would vote for GB pulling out.

    Celebrate your Ulster-Britsh culture all you want. However, if you delude yourself that more than a very tiny minority of UK folk regard NI as being as ‘British as Finchly’, it really shows that you have problems with reality.

    What about the proposed E-Borders for GB, kind of illustrates that they don’t quite see NI as an integral part of the UK, wouldn’t you say?

    The plain truth is that the vast majority of UK people don’t give a shit about NI. It has been an international embarassment to successive UK govts and a bottomless pit of financial waste (SPONGERS!)for decades.

    There will be no legislation to tighten NI links with Britain (such as your suggested flag regulations). I predict that the UK govt will in fact encourage greater input and influence from the RoI govt over the next few years.

    Despite the Assembly, the real power lies with the UK govt at Westminster. Some Unionists may not like the increasingly stronger RoI govt influence however, in reality, there is absolutely nothing that you can do about it.

  • francesco

    “In Gibraltar, keys to a car found in her handbag led to the discovery in Spain of five packages of Semtex explosive”

    tell me lies sweet little lies

  • PeaceandJustice

    To Billy – a nice succinct post as usual.

    How many people in the Republic would want to be associated with a bigot like you?

    You may remember that in 2000 the Government brought in the flags regulations to bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK – approved by the majority of MPs in the Commons. The decision was based on the principle of consent i.e. the wish of the greater number of people that Northern Ireland remains part of the UK.

    Therefore, it seems perfectly reasonable that MPs should once again bring Northern Ireland in line with the rest of the UK given the new directive from Gordon Brown.

    The question is, can the DUP be bothered to pursue it? So far they have been a major disappointment to most Unionists.

  • Muad’Dub

    I thought Mplex on the Shankill had relocated to Smithfield Market, every time I go to the one at the Argyle Centre it is closed.

    On topic the whole thing is a farce. A public drama concocted bt Sinn Fein in conjunction with their DUP partners in crime to take the attention away from that fact that in almost a year they’ve done sweet fanny adams. In reality what has the Executive done that couldn’t have been done under direct rule with a lot less guff. Like the majority of the electorate I don’t want to see a return to Direct Rule. I want to see the politicians working for their community, instead of being able to hide their incompetance behind a sectarian agenda.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    francesco

    Oddly, Máirtín Ó Muilleoir appears to believe those ‘lies’.

    Are you saying you know something he doesn’t?

  • Johnny

    And he was and is honoured in other places around the world, just not in this colonial backwater.
    Aye, except for the country which he so desperately wanted to be a part of. Neither the Dail or the Senead passed a motion of sympathy on his death, unlike numerous IRA victims.

  • Billy

    “PeaceandJustice”

    Being called a bigot by someone like you is laughable. What you really dislike is me being an “uppity taig”. Sorry to disappoint you but we’re not 2nd class citizens any more and never will be again. That obviously upsets you so – tough shit!.

    Try to get a grasp on reality. The UK govt are well aware that Nationalists in NI (SF or SDLP) and the RoI GOVT will NOT accept such legislation therefore they won’t introduce it.

    Hence NI being excluded from the changes.

    The DUP, especially the next leader Peter Robinson, is an arch pragmatist. He knows that there is no way that he or the DUP can get this through (I doubt he’s that bothered). Therefore, he and the DUP won’t bother pushing it.

    The bottom line is that you and the dwindling number of fellow “Protestant parliament for a Protestant people” losers can whinge all you want.

    There will be no more UWC strikes – the “Orange card” has been well and truly faced down.

    The days of Unionists getting legislation passed that was totally unacceptable to Nationalists are long gone and won’t ever be back.

    No UK govt will risk the future of the assembly on this. It doesn’t effect them directly and they don’t care. The vast majority of voters in their constituencies couldn’t give a shit about NI Unionists and their flags. Despite Unionist whinging, the six counties have never been regarded as being as “British as Finchly” and they never will be.

  • willowfield

    CUT THE BULL

    Winifred Carney married a member of the UVF I am not 100% sure of his name but I think it was Thompson.

    So? She’s still a figure of little significance or relevance.

    Surely she was able to cross the rubicon as far as politics was concerned therefore could you not cross that rubicon aswell in relation to a statue of her being placed in Stormont.

    Got nothing to do with crossing Rubicons and everything to do with appropriateness.

    She was also won of the most hard working members of the ITGWU in Belfast and she was born and lived in the Shore Rd area of belfast.

    So?

    She along with James Connolly campaigned on behalf of Mill and Dock workers in Belfast.

    So?

    I think they were very important within Socialist politics and the labour movement throughout the length and breadth of Ireland.

    Neither was elected to Stormont, or to any constituency in Northern Ireland (or indeed anywhere in Ireland). They are figures of little relevance to NI politics and it would be ridiculous to have a statue of either at Stormont.

    QUIZ MASTER

    Maybe a stutue of Henry Joy Mc Cracken might be more suitable. A Protestant and a Republican who sought to unite all our peoples catholic and protestant

    Good call.

    Kensei

    Actually, the Belfast lockout was one of the few things that united Protestant and Catholic, at least for a short time and if you are looking for Labour icons, Larkin certainly fits the Bill.

    Larkin was never elected in northern or Northern Ireland. Why commemorate him and not the many Labour MPs who were elected and served their constituents at Stormont? That’s stupid.

    And as I pointed out, SF won the Nationalist vote in 1921 (including seats for both Collins and De Valera) and shall we say, current Nationalist sentiment is somewhat more favourable. Sinn Fein also won 2 seats in the 1955 elections in support of the border campaign. Republicanism has been present in the state since it’s [sic] inception, and it’s [sic] presence merely muted by a combination of suppression and abstentionism. To deny it every any place or significance here is a whitewash, just as it would be to say that it always carried a majority of Nationalists.

    First, the possessive of “its” does not taken an apostrophe: didn’t you get taught that at primary school?

    Second, I already told you that 1921 was the only election that “republicans” outperformed constitutional nationalists, and by pointing that out you merely reinforce the point that “republicans” were constantly rejected by the nationalist electorate during most of NI’s history.

    Third, I have never denied that “republicans” were elected to Stormont, nor that “republicanism” has been “present in the state since its inception”. That doesn’t, however, alter the fact that constitutional nationalism was the dominant force.

    Fourth, the 1955 election was to Westminster.

    Fifth, “current nationalist sentiment” can’t rewrite history.

    “That sounds rather more constructive, but I fear it does not represent the thinking within the Provos. I reckon they just want to glorify the killers.”
    What the “Provos” think is irrelevant.

    It’s not: they are the majority nationalist party at present and they are the ones apparently making the moves towards a “neutral” environment.

    Unionists attitude to symbols inflames Nationalist sentiment because there [sic] attitude is either “No” or “You’ll have who we tell you”.

    Nationalist attitude to symbols inflames unionist sentiment because they are obsessed with glorifying terrorism and many people were murdered or had their lives destroyed by the terrorists whom nationalists seek to glorify.

    With constructive and creative compromise you can close off the hardliners while making most people happy, even plenty within SF (and certainly among their vote).

    I agree, but – as I already said – I fear that the Provos are more interested in glorifying killers than achieving a genuine creative compromise. I hope I’m wrong, though.

  • willowfield

    DOCTOR

    Stormont, as a symbol rather than a building, has to symbolically represent both communities in a much wider sense than the increasingly pedantic guidelines and restrictions some people here are trying to create. People like Connolly mean much more to modern Nationalists of all stripes than some of the “acceptable” figures from years past that are being brought up on the basis that they set foot in the building at some point. Figures like Connolly have been extremely historically important in the long run due to his status within Irish republicanism, which in turn has been an important phenomenon in all parts of Ireland for several centuries now. To the nationalist community, these figures ARE important historical figures regardless of whether or not they sat on some Stormont committee in 1925.

    Balls: Connolly has little relevance to NI. His ideas were rejected by the people here – both unionist and nationalist. Even those “republicans” who claim to admire him only do so because it sounds “hard” – they weren’t and aren’t really socialists: just extreme nationalists. Nationalists, in fact, were even less inclined towards socialism than unionists! Labour and socialist candidates always fared best in Protestant constituencies.