“and people will just have to be tolerant of that..”

A RTÉ report notes some of the comments by out-going Taoiseach Bertie Ahern, on the 10th anniversary of the 1998 Agreement, in an interview on RTÉ Radio’s This Week. Other points to note in the interview include Fianna Fáil “grave reservations” at amending articles 2 and 3 of De Valera’s constitution [approx 9min 20s in.]

Ahern’s thanking Sinn Féin for not using posters campaigning against that constitutional change – despite having them printed [approx 11min 30s in]. And on the prospects of a united Ireland under a single administration of government – after a process that seems to echo Michael Longley’s “opposite of war”. From the clip from This Week [RealPlayer file, approx 12min 30 sec in]

“That can only happen in the long term future. How long that will be I don’t know. If it is done by any means of coercion, or divisiveness, or threats, it will never happen. We’ll stay at a very peaceful Ireland and I think time will be the healer providing people, in a dedicated way, work for the better good of everyone on the island.

If it doesn’t prove possible, then it stays the way it is under the Good Friday Agreement, and people will just have to be tolerant of that if it’s not possible to bring it any further.”

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  • Dewi
  • Dewi

    Asolutely wonderful tthat Sinn Fein printed posters against changing the constitution….they negotiated the deal!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    The precoccupation of Unionists with these articles allowed the British government to pressurise unionists into acceptance of the GFA. Articles 2 and 3 were valueless and swapped for a constitutional say for ROI in affairs of Non Iron.

    Dewi,

    I have the pleasure of reminding you we are now quits – as Munster are still in the HC and Ospreys are not. It’s a real shame as the semi final at millennium would have been a cracker.

  • Dewi

    Yeah Sammy what a disappointment. That bit of a fluke straight after half time a real blow………..but I don’t care – a life long Cardiff City fan.
    “I never felt like singing the Blues when Cardiff win and Swansea lose….”
    A Grand slam and an FA Cup here we go!!!
    (blasted soccer so boring couldn’t even watch all the game…)

  • Dewi
  • Greenflag

    ‘The precoccupation of Unionists with these articles allowed the British government to pressurise unionists into acceptance of the GFA. Articles 2 and 3 were valueless and swapped for a constitutional say for ROI in affairs of Non Iron. ‘

    Absolutely true . Unionist politicians were always suckers for the ‘written’ word . Probably comes from the myriad of interpretations/interpreters of what some desert philsopher meant by ‘begat’ or ‘begot’ or the visions /revelations in biblical tracts etc etc . Meanwhile the real world just passed them by and will continue to do so .

    Bertie and Albert always knew that Articles 2 and 3 were paper tigers . Unionists believed Papa Doc would save them from the Fenians sharing power . Now I ask yiz who was the winner ?

  • “Now I ask yiz who was the winner ?”

    Albert – gone; Bertie and Ian – going, going …

  • “Bertie Ahern has said each of his Fianna Fáil cabinet colleagues broke down in tears when he told them he was stepping down as party leader.” BBC

    lmao

  • Dave

    “Now I ask yiz who was the winner ?”

    The unionists?

  • Pete Baker

    A couple of quick points.

    Articles 2 and 3 are only mentioned, by Ahern, in reference to the reaction from Fianna Fáil and Sinn Féin.

    And the main topic of the post is the quote from Ahern on what will be required to achieve a united Ireland.. and what will act to prevent it.

    Now, have we any evidence that any particular parties are adopting Longley’s “opposite of war” approach?

    Or is there evidence that any particular parties are simply carrying on as before?

  • Pancho’s Horse

    Isee in the Corrections in today’s Letters of the Sunday Times that Niall O’Dowd nails the lie that he said “Adams must go”. It’s surprising to find Liam Clarke getting it wrong!

  • DC

    Yes Pete but as you know too well yourself we are awaiting the devolution of policing and justice to get to that point…given the implementation of the GFA it will probably take around another 3 years.

    Though, it was probably agreed as such last year between the DUP and SF for it to happen 3 years in, the rest is just grandstanding to save face on former belligerent policy, save seats and blow trumpets to settle the constituencies while the big parties consolidate power. Am I too cynical?

    Thing is, though, I am not a DUP-SF voter and would just wish they would get on with it, justice too. Why wait, the families need it and we need to move on just like you are suggesting.

  • Pete Baker

    No, DC.

    That particular part of devolution is likely to form a part of Longley’s approach.

    But the repeated claims of public commitments that never existed don’t help. In fact, they actively work against it.

    I’m not, btw, suggesting that we “need to move on”.. rather that we need to pay attention to the detail as we move on.

  • BonarLaw

    2016? Anybody… anybody?

  • Dewi

    2016 anybody ? – I still think it’s on and it’s from the “unionists” the pressure will come…we’ll see.

  • DC

    There hasn’t been much detail in this process, even when you consider the point when Paisley turned up at the Assembly and said “certainly not madam speaker”; after that the then transitional-speaker, Eileen Bell said that Paisley had agreed to nominate. SF then of course went on to get an assurance of backing the police from party members if policing and justice were devolved. Paisley and Adams sat down thereafter and the smiling Martin joined at his hip in May 07.

    We still await devolved PJ, so Sinn Fein are in a halfway house, they are on the Policing Board, they issue strong statements backing support for the police encouraging people to come forward and talk too; however, in the detail, the party’s previous Ard Fheis set in 07 would indicate otherwise. So while there is detail certain actions, as shown in two examples above, prove incongruous to that ‘detail’.

    Why give a shit for detail now Pete whenever there hasn’t been much of it for the last ten years. And we have indeed moved on due to the overwhelming need to. This need would appear to rest outside of the Assembly away from the elite ‘face-savers’, the need is in the minds of the public who are awaiting further progress, as polls go to show and the 71% who backed the GFA 10 years ago.

    Even Paisley now knows the people have truly spoken. This stance after he got his majority of course but the hint is the ‘extremes’ are somewhat up for it now. Some aren’t, so let Jim Allister take the split from that difference and perhaps the UUP can come back next time round if they can find anyone who can actually stand them and thus stand for them!

  • BonarLaw

    Dewi

    given your expressed views on unionists and unionism I suggest what you present as insight is really wisful thinking. As you say, we’ll see.

    For what it’s worth, my prediction for 2016 is an intact UK without primary lawmaking powers in Cardiff Bay.

  • Pete Baker

    DC

    If you want to talk about P&J, in particular, then I suggest you do it on an appropriate post.

    Btw, your detail points to one of the problems on that issue.

    “Why give a shit for detail now..”?

    Well, I’ve always given a shit for detail.. even if no-one else has.

    Ask Dewi about the need to pay attention to detail – “2016 anybody ? – I still think it’s on and it’s from the ‘unionists’ the pressure will come…we’ll see.”

  • Dewi

    “For what it’s worth, my prediction for 2016 is an intact UK without primary lawmaking powers in Cardiff Bay.”

    Do you care, Bonar Law , about what we decide? Is the fate of Wales a pressing issue for you ? Delighted you are taking an interest!

  • BonarLaw

    Dewi

    you seem to care a great deal about this part of the kingdom so just consider it as returning the favour.

  • Dewi

    BL – I was not being nasty – really pleased you are taking an interest – sorry if I sounded sarky…

  • BonarLaw

    Nos da, Dewi.

  • Personally I believe that before Policing and Justice is devolved – as it surely will be – that broadcasting needs to be devolved as is being proposed in Scotland. It’s time to end the pretence that somehow someone in London knows better how to spend the licence fee fund for the entertainment and education of people in the North better than they do themselves. I say that being a non payer of the licence.

  • Martin Mansergh:

    “Part of the price paid for peace is that, if you are a democratic statesman and peacemaker, receipt of funds not fully accounted for some time ago may act as more of an impediment to continuing to hold high office than it would if you were a former paramilitary leader turned politician and minister, regardless of acts once authorised or committed.

    Such is the tariff set by the ethical high priests of our society. ..

    Ahern’s refusal to contemplate Sinn Fein in government arose, not just from party political considerations, the paramilitary past, or even present policy differences, but from a horror of the whole sphere of government policy being held hostage to constant hardballing tactics on too many issues.”

    Isn’t hypocrisy just wonderful? Confine the plague of paramilitarism to the north at any cost to democracy [ditto Blair’s nimbyism]

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    ‘Albert – gone; Bertie and Ian – going, going ‘

    True but the GFA remains and will remain . So to will the Anglo Irish Agreement .

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    ‘Isn’t hypocrisy just wonderful? ‘

    No, but in Northern Ireland politics it’s been at least consistent , political hyocrisy that is . From 1920 through 1972 the Province went through the three monkeys routine with nary a Unionist politicians eye open to any possibility of reform of the quasi fascist Unionist one party political order imposed on the large nationalist minority . From 1972 to 2007 Unionist parties were dragged screaming and kicking to various political ‘solutions’none of which stuck until the most recent and even that seems shaky enough.

    Can’t you just simply face the single most important political fact of life within a 6 county NI that ‘normal’ democracy is just not going to be possible . expecting NI ever to ecome a normal democracy is the equivalent of expecting a dead baboon to compose a musical symphony during tea breaks in the Natural History Museum:((

    Thus any NI ‘fudge’ solution is destined to have ‘non democratic’ elements as part of a fix. In NI’s case that means putting up with the ‘solution’ that took after all 40 years to get. As for blaming HMG for stitching up the SF/DUP deal over a UUP/SDLP one well what else would you/could you/should you expect from Albion?

    Not hypocrisy surely ?

    Make the best of it Nevin -it’s about as good as it will ever get IMO.

  • CS Parnell

    Personally I believe that before Policing and Justice is devolved – as it surely will be – that broadcasting needs to be devolved as is being proposed in Scotland. It’s time to end the pretence that somehow someone in London knows better how to spend the licence fee fund for the entertainment and education of people in the North better than they do themselves. I say that being a non payer of the licence.

    ha ha.

    RTE is probably the strongest argument the unionists have got.

  • Steve

    Dewi might be on to something. If SF become the dominant power in nIreland politics, would the unionist community become more amenable to joining the republic just to reduce the influence and power that nationalists would have on their communities

  • Greenflag, the GFA has been altered and cherry-picked since 1998; the 50%+1 thing is a recipe for further confrontation or worse.

  • Greenflag, do you suppose Dublin was protecting its own butt when it facilitated the transformation of a socialist-led IRA to a ‘Catholic-Ireland’ one? In permitted the south to prosper while the north burned.

    I do want us to make the best of it. That was why I proposed devolved government under shared sovereignty, the merger of strands 2 and 3 and no hiding place for the hoodlums. What’s so very undemocratic or perfidious about that?

  • Greenflag

    Nevin,

    ‘the GFA has been altered and cherry-picked since 1998’

    True . Picking a few cherries will continue as will pruning a few branches but the roots and trunk will remain . SF and the DUP know that . The rest are engaging in wishful thinking -imo.

    ‘the 50%+1 thing is a recipe for further confrontation or worse.’

    If you read what Bertie actually said in his farewell ‘interview’ you don’t have to read betwen the lines to deduce that FF are not keen on any 50% plus 1 forced ‘unity’. Bertie knows and understands that it would simply not work .Biffo likewise.

    I don’t know why you are still going on about ‘Catholic” Ireland but from here it looks like most RC Churches are more than half empty on Sundays -and the average cleric seems to be 70 yrs old plus . There are few new recruits . The number one item on the papal wish list i.e the conversion of the protestant heretics of Northern Ireland and the restoration of the Duke of Bavaria to his rightful place on the British Throne when Gordon Brown repeals the Act of Settlement will have to wait . I suppose exchanging one German family for another should’nt be too much of a hiccup for our unionist monarchical forelock tugging fellow islanders:(

    ‘I do want us to make the best of it.’

    Well so do I except don’t expect too much and you won’t be disappointed . It’s not a new dawn just another curtain raiser for the main show sometime down the line -imo.

    ‘That was why I proposed devolved government under shared sovereignty’

    Shared sovereignty is’nt practical . Too costly -time consuming and it’s never been shown to work anywhere for any length of time . This D’Hondt nonsense is enough s**te as it is.

    ‘the merger of strands 2 and 3 ‘

    Nevin – HMG and most Brits are just not that interested in strands 2 and 3 . Sorry but that’s the way it is .They want NI to go back to being just a quiet poor backwater with a lot of past , a peaceful present, and a politically and economically stunted future. The DUP and SF have signed up for the program .

    ‘no hiding place for the hoodlums’

    Not even Stormont ? Come on be practical .
    You should have learnt by now that politicians are the excrement by which the body politic is held together/functions . Malodorous aromas notwithstanding they (the politicians) are all that stand between a relatively peaceful bleak future for NI and another precipitous descent into further chaos .

  • PaddyReilly

    Dewi

    you seem to care a great deal about this part of the kingdom so just consider it as returning the favour.

    I think what BonarLaw is saying is “cnycha bant: no British interference in Irish affairs.”

  • Shared sovereignty is very practical, Greenflag. It’s almost there anyway; all it needs is for Dublin to hand over its share of the dosh!!

    I used the term ‘Catholic Ireland’ as the institutions of Church and State were both threatened by the ‘commie’ revolution 40 years ago. The Cruiser gives an more insightful view of evens back then than I can.

    If you think our restorative justice schemes are so good perhaps you could recommend them to Biffo!!

  • BonarLaw

    Greenflag

    The Anglo Irish Agreement has long gone. Do keep up.

  • Greenflag

    Nevin ,
    ‘I used the term ‘Catholic Ireland’ as the institutions of Church and State were both threatened by the ‘commie’ revolution 40 years ago. ‘

    Were they ? Sorry Nevin in any Dail Election 40 years the ‘commies’ got perhaps a couple of hundred votes in Dublin Central . The so called ‘left’ revolution resulted in Labour retrning to the Dail with fewer seats IIRC. Ben Briscoe the FF Jewish TD and later Minister used to poll about 8,000 IIRC as against the Commies 200 or so .

    Cruiser was an academic and an intellectual. He did not have his finger on the pulse of the Republic and least of all on Dublin. That’s why he lost his seat in Dublin Artane .

    ‘If you think our restorative justice schemes are so good ‘

    I’d rather not think about them at all . They come with the NI political territory such that it is .

    ‘Shared sovereignty is very practical- t’s almost there anyway; all it needs is for Dublin to hand over its share of the dosh’

    Sorry Nevin the dosh will be needed closer to home and Scrooge Biffo will be playing a tight hand for the next few years -he’ll want to play for a surplus come 2012. You’ll have to rely on the chuckie bros and co drumming up interest in putting money into a hole in the ground in NI .

  • Greenflag

    Bonar law ,

    ‘The Anglo Irish Agreement has long gone. Do keep up. ‘

    Not quite . As the AIA states hereunder and we have yet to see ‘full’ devolution.

    ‘However, if a devolved government were established in Northern Ireland, matters transferred to its power would no longer fall under the remit of the conferences.

    That is being seen as an inducement for unionists who want to remain part of the United Kingdom and keep Dublin at bay.

    But, for the first time, the British Government has officially committed to promoting legislation for a united Ireland if a majority is in favour.

    The deal has been met with anger and bitterness by the majority loyalist community in Northern Ireland.

    The 15 Ulster Unionist MPs have accused Mrs Thatcher of treachery and have said they will resign unless a referendum is held on the agreement.

    However, opposition leaders at Westminster have pledged their support and the government seems certain to secure a big majority when the deal comes up for approval.

    Irish MPs also have to approve the agreement which will be reviewed after three years.

    But don’t worry Bonar . You’re probably good for at least another 20 years of monarchical forelock tugging 🙂

  • BonarLaw

    Greenflag

    Why are you quoting from a defunct agreement? Check out Article 3.

    As I said, do keep up.