Progress or disgrace?

Albert Reynolds and John Major were granted the Freedom of Cork by the Council for their role in the peace process yesterday. To mark the ceremony three Union flags were flown from Cork City hall along with the Irish Tricolour. John Major descibed the gesture as a sign of progress. Three Sinn Fein councillors (and one socialist councillor) boycotted the ceremony on instruction from party headquarters. A SF councillor called the flying of the Union flag a disgrace and the party lodged a formal complaint. A 32 CSM protest described the ceremony as an insult to the memories of Tomas MacCuirtan and Terence McSwiney.

  • RepublicanStones

    Rebel county me bollox.

  • DC

    Big deal…no?

  • Dec

    Purely out of curiousity, why 3 Union flags?

  • abucs

    Well, whatever it is, it’s not a disgrace..

  • Shore Road Resident

    Very odd behabiour from SF. How can they be meeting George Bush at one end of the island while refusing to meet John Major at the other.
    It’s Major who is showing grace here – the IRA very nearly killed him.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘It’s Major who is showing grace here – the IRA very nearly killed him’

    Grace? Are you suggesting every corkonian was in the Ra?

  • not in my name

    And yet FD, your party remains wedded to them. If you feel so strongly about this, why stay in the DUP?

  • im from cork and the big wigs in the city hall are a pack of morons. theres only 4 decent councillors here who are in touch with the
    ordinary people, 3 from sinn fein and one from the socialist party.

    each year the morons who run the show in city hall pick someone to get the freedom of the city and its nearly always tied in with the peace process. they think its politically cool to be seen giving the freedom of the city to someone involved with the peace process, for example john hume got it one year, and the two langers albert and major got it yesterday.

    a poll was done by the local radio station down here and 92% of those polled, opposed the giving of the freedom of cork to major who was a minister in the tory cabinet during bloody sunday, who sanctioned collusion between loylists and the ruc and who led his country into the 1st gulf war.

    no one here in cork is impressed with what happend yesterday, only the shower of langers who rule the roost in city hall

  • Such nonsense as always by Sinn Féin. I’m sure the United States flag was flown above City Hall when Presidents Woodrow Wilson and John F. Kennedy received the Freedom of the City. If this is the petty form of protesting they must resort to in an attempt to keep their core vote then their political success within the Republic has already peaked.

  • not in my name

    “major who was a minister in the tory cabinet during bloody sunday”

    Minister for what exactly? Seeing as he became an MP nearly 10 years after bloody sunday.

  • Ulsters my homeland

    Seems like some Irish are still as bigoted as ever. It’s bred into them, they’re learned to hate anything British from knee high!

  • smcgiff

    ‘a poll was done by the local radio station down here and 92% of those polled opposed the giving of the freedom of cork to major’

    I doubt if even 92% of SF supporters would object never mind 92% of normal people.

  • Seems to me there’s going to be war in NI soon anyway so whether there are flags in Cork or not doesn’t matter. As for McGuinness how much does he make IRA policy these days? He’s just a PR geezer.
    Does the average Cork voter really get wound up by all this.? Personally I suspect the average English voter thinks the difference between the IRA and UDA ( sorry PSF and DUP ) is the difference between leukemia and brain cancer to quote the memorable Bosnia war analysis.

  • Harry Flashman

    “major who was a minister in the tory cabinet during bloody sunday”

    No he wasn’t.

  • Garibaldy

    This seems utterly childish and pointless. PSF meet British ministers all the time, and we all saw the extent of the friendliness with Jonathan Powell. What is the problem with Major? That he moved too slowly? Well so did Paisley, and they don’t boycott him. Pointless gesture politics, that are an embarassment.

    As for young irelander, if the rest of the councillors are out of touch with ordinary people, how did they get there in the first place?

  • GavBelfast

    Hilarious contribution, Young Irelander, even by your standards of MOPEry and inaccuracy.

    Narrow nationalists would surely need to get used to seeing a lot more Union Flags across Ireland, on an official and informal basis, if and when unity ever occurred – it would be a representation of and respect for the British community on the island, they’re not going away you know. One wouldn’t to swap one alienated minority for another, would we?

  • fair_deal

    NIMN

    “And yet FD, your party remains wedded to them.”

    So what?

    “If you feel so strongly about this”

    Where did I say I felt strongly about this? I simply put up a story for slugger users to debate. I made no comment on it.

    “why stay in the DUP?”

    As I explained in my threads about the St Andrews Agreement, Unionism had a Plan B post-Belfast Agreement (the DUP) but my assessment there was little opportunity for a Plan C.

    I also have pointed out that I think Allister leaving the DUP was the wrong decision.

  • fair_deal

    Dec

    “Purely out of curiousity, why 3 Union flags?”

    I don’t know, I assume they must have six flag poles.

  • Henry94

    The event was a damp squib. If it wasn’t for the protesters hardly anyone would have shown up. I don’t mind honouring the former PM and Taoiseach but flying the British flag over the city hall was a disgrace considering the record of the British forces in Cork.

    It will help Sinn Fein in the local elections next year.

  • not in my name

    Trimble would be proud of that argument FD. You may as well have stayed in the UUP.

  • aquifer

    Give Mugabe the freedom of the city, he is a great Brit-Basher

  • obsever

    I don’t mind honouring the former PM and Taoiseach but flying the British flag over the city hall was a disgrace considering the record of the British forces in Cork.


    Given the actions of the IRA and Irish government the flying of the Tricolour in NI is a real disgrace

  • fair_deal

    NIMN

    Yawn, the inability to look beyond the personal strikes again.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Given the actions of the IRA and Irish government the flying of the Tricolour in NI is a real disgrace’

    So you must agree then that given the actions of the British government in Ireland, north and south, the flying of the union jack is a disgrace.

  • Dec

    I don’t know, I assume they must have six flag poles.

    According to the report, 3 Union flags and the Tricolour were flown. If that’s the case I’m puzzled (but not stirred) by the significance.

  • observer

    So you must agree then that given the actions of the British government in Ireland, north and south, the flying of the union jack is a disgrace.

    Posted by RepublicanStones on Jun 21, 2008 @ 02:25 PM

    Not at all, if it werent for the British presence , protestants would have been removed from NI just as they have been cleansed from the south.

  • not in my name

    If you don’t want people questioning your position you shouldn’t be blogging. Trimble would be proud as he wrote your argument.

  • jerryp

    It was hilarious to see one overweight , red faced guy who turns up at every protest in Cork roaring his head off. About 20 protesters in all, most of them looking as if they had swopped their Dutch Gold for a placard for a half an hour.

  • observer

    NIMN – Do you agree with Jim Allister that the litmus test for SF in government is the disbandment of the army council?

  • Greenflag

    ‘It was hilarious to see one overweight , red faced guy who turns up at every protest in Cork roaring his head off. About 20 protesters in all, most of them looking as if they had swopped their Dutch Gold for a placard for a half an hour.’

    Thick as planks this lot . Next they’ll be protesting at the fact tht Cork has an ‘English Market ‘ These people no more represent the people of Cork than the 100 odd gobshites in Dublin do who attacked the ‘love ulster ‘ shower a couple of years back.

    Reynolds deserves the award for his efforts for peace . I’m not sure about Major given his longstanding opposition to SF reps being allowed visas to enter the USA . We all know of the ‘unreturned ‘ phone calls from the White House when Clinton allowed Adams his ‘entry’. Once matters moved on major at least listened to Reynolds advice re finding a way out of the cul de sac in which all sides found themselves and for that he deserves credit.

    Major deserves something for at least keeping the lid on at a very difficult time and lets face it the IRA did try to kill him and his cabinet and very nearly did !

    Not that it would have made any difference to the eventual outcome anyway .

  • Peat Blog

    What pointless drivel. Ourselves Alone – how apt.

  • 0b101010

    How progressive. How inclusive.

  • Robbie

    Let the protesters have their microsecond in the sun – there’s little else to console themselves in life. They probably knew not even where they were. Major was one of the most important contributors to the peace process, and, a pretty decent man compared to some British representatives.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Not at all, if it werent for the British presence , protestants would have been removed from NI just as they have been cleansed from the south.’

    Ahh, ok, so Britains activites in Ireland were ok in your book, which were ones of conquest and colonization, hence the importation of said protestants. Tell me what you thinked happened to catholics during this? to resist is disgraceful? is that your line of thinking? Are you sure your not just bitter that the reformation failed in Ireland? I suppose maybe we needed a fat ginger kings carnal desires for it to take root perhaps?Also please give details of this cleansing of protestants in the south, demographics and variables etc….not one or two examples of poor farmers.

  • observer

    not one or two examples of poor farmers.

    Posted by RepublicanStones on Jun 21, 2008 @ 04:33 PM

    WHy? dont the experiences of farmers matter , or it that just protestant farmers?

    Also “In 1991, the population of the Republic of Ireland was approximately 3% Protestant, but the figure was over 10% in 1891, indicating a fall of 70% in the relative Protestant population over the past century”

    Keep your head in the sand if you must – the IRA was just carrying on the work in NI as was being accomplished in the Republic.

  • RepublicanStones

    “In 1991, the population of the Republic of Ireland was approximately 3% Protestant, but the figure was over 10% in 1891, indicating a fall of 70% in the relative Protestant population over the past century”

    Ahh and this was solely the work of evil republicans ethnically cleansing the south. Nothing at all to do with emigration, differing birth rates between the major denominations etc. What was that you said about head and sand?

  • fionn

    observer, you picked the part of RS’s question you wanted to answer. any chance you’s answer the other parts? to whit …

    ” … so Britains activites in Ireland were ok in your book, which were ones of conquest and colonization, hence the importation of said protestants. Tell me what you thinked happened to catholics during this? to resist is disgraceful? is that your line of thinking? Are you sure your not just bitter that the reformation failed in Ireland?”

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Thinked’….apologies folks, thats what i get for typing and cooking at same time. (note to self – men cannot multitask).

  • Observer / Obsever,
    That’s a great old chestnut but unfortunately for you it doesn’t stand up very well to reality. You just need to take one look at Protestant representation in all professions and walks of life in the south to see that the ethnic cleansing myth is just that. If Protestants went from 10% to 3% of the population in 100 years then there are many factors to explain this not least the fact that many British civil servants / military would have left post-1922 to be re-assigned to jobs elsewhere in the crumbling empire. Add to that natural demographic trends such as birth rates and protestants marrying into catholic families and the statistics you quote are hardly surprising.

  • George

    Just because a British security forces mob burnt down the last city hall in Cork and half the city with it, as well as murdering the lord mayor in his home in front of his family, doesn’t mean that Cork shouldn’t one day put this behind it and look to the future.

    Now seems as good a time as any.

  • This is clearly a Cork stunt to goad the kingdom men in advance of next week’s Munster football final.

  • Garibaldy

    RS,

    Yet the heaviest protestant immigration was not due to plantations, but due to ordinary population movement. Hence the fact Antrim and Down were never planted, and it was economic conditions in the 1690s in Scotland that caused another mass influx.

  • fair_deal

    NIMY

    “If you don’t want people questioning your position you shouldn’t be blogging. Trimble would be proud as he wrote your argument.”

    Double yawn.

    I will point out that the site tries to follow a ball not man rule, meaning discuss the issues not the person. So it is not open season on bloggers as you seem to think it is.

    When Trimble made his argument he was wrong. There was a Plan B, the DUP, as time showed who gained some changes. My assessment on Plan C could be wrong and I can cope perfectly well with being wrong.

    However, despite my better judgement I will spare you ten minutes to explain the pointlessness of your approach.

    To start a new political party from scratch is not a simple process neither is building a solid and growing political base. To do so requires significant skills among its leaders members and supporters in creating a cohesive organisation and a sufficiently sophisticated message to attract, build and sustain public support.

    With my scepticism/disappointment/disagreement about St Andrew’s, my disbelief in blind loyalty to organisations and my reasonable experience of polticial activity I shouldbe among the easier to persuade. After all I would have/do share most of the concerns Jim Allister highlighted at the time he left the DUP (although the list seems to get ever longer).

    Do you honestly believe saying I am a closet Trimblite will result in the metaphoric scales falling from my eyes? That it will somehow engender a more positive assessment on my part of your position?

    Turgon and I while diverging largely about means manage to keep the conversation civil and focused on the issues without retreating into name calling. I would suggest it is a more productive and in the longer-run more likely to persuade me of the value of the Plan C approach to politics and that my present assesssment is incorrect than sanctimonious name-calling.

  • I do think the awards to John Major and Albert Reynolds bear the hallmarks of an afterthought and a publicity seeking exercise by the cronies in Cork City Hall. Both Albert and Major are yesterday’s men. They had a hand in the 1994 ceasefire but so too had others, Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness.

    I don’t think it’s a sign of maturity that the Irish establishment is handing out baubles to the likes of Major. Real maturity will be shown when the roles of McGuinness and Adams in the peace process will be recognised. After all weren’t the British and Irish Governments both at war with SF and the IRA.

    I’m no supporter of SF, not any more, but I do think that this was another cheap shot of the Irish establishment, another example of ignoring the elephant in the corner, following the recent invitation to Ian Paisley to visit Cobh and speak there. It’s an indication, too, of the paranoia of the Irish establishment about Sinn Féin and their electoral chances.

    I think SF’s bubble has burst as apart from a few talented politicians – the likes of Piaras O Dochartaigh, Eoin O’Broin and a handful of others, the party doesn’t have the political talent that it needs to prosper down south. That’s saying a lot when you compare the party to the bunch of losers – anyone care to buy a second hand EU treaty? Anyone? – in FF, Labour, PDs, Fine Gael – but I think it’s an accurate assessment.

  • RepublicanStones

    Gari, my refernce was to the protestants in the north, as Ulster was the provence most heavily planted, the term ‘importation’ is more than valid. Nevertheless, as I didn’t refer to this being the heaviest influx of protestants, I would still like to see your records/figures to show that this wasn’t the case.

  • Brooke

    So Mr Deal, if a suitable plan C were to trot along, you would follow that path, seeing as you have severe reservations about the DUP’s current activities? If I were a member of said party, I would be very suspect of your stickability. After all, you didn’t stick to the UUP, and are now being a bit iffy about the DUP. It sounds rather to me like all that’s stopping you from drifting away from and actively campaigning against the DUP is a coherent rival. Do the decision makers in the DUP know this?

  • Garibaldy

    RS,

    Ulster was planted, but not the two counties with the most protestants, Antrim and Down. Quite simply, there was no need because migration had already created large protestant populations there. As for the 1690s, Foster gives a figure of an alleged 50,000 families by 1715. Much more significant than the plantation in terms of numbers. As you know yourself, it was the failure of the plantation, and the need to keep Catholic Irish on the land as tenants, that created a lot of the problems that burst out in 1641.

  • RepublicanStones

    Gari, quite obviously Antrim and Down would have held the most protestants in the north pre-partition. I would disagree with you on your last point however…..

    ‘As you know yourself, it was the failure of the plantation, and the need to keep Catholic Irish on the land as tenants, that created a lot of the problems that burst out in 1641.’

    It was the plantation/conquest..call it what you like, which created the problem in the first place, not merely the residual catholic irish element keep as ‘tenants’ on their own land.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘pre-partition’ should read ‘pre-plantation’

  • Turgon

    Brooke and Not in my name,

    It may seem odd for me to defend fair_deal but surely he is adopting a pretty honourable position? He is not happy with the current agreement as indeed am I (and maybe yourselves). However, he has elected to stay in the DUP as he felt the alternative to the agreement was worse. I disagree with him but I do not think he is being dishonest: he has never told us that the agreement was the greatest thing ever.

    If fair_deal ever moved to a TUV position I would be delighted. However, questioning his personal motives on this is hardly going to increase his chances of jumping ship is it?

    Finally you may or may not think you now who he is. He does, however, like me and everyone else have the right to use a pseudonym and I would ask you to respect that absolutely.

  • Garibaldy

    RS,

    I phrased myself badly. Of course the intervention from across the water lay at the ultimate root of things. I meant to say that rather than being an unqualified success the plantations were a failure in many of their goals. That failure resulted in close contact between the various groups, and that close contact enabled a different type of violence than removing the locals from the land altogether would have achieved.

  • Dave

    As John Major wasn’t on a state visit, the flags were flown, I assume, as a gesture of respect to the British person who was being conferred with the Freedom of the City. Whenever we have a client from oversees visiting, we consider it courtesy and good business to fly their national flag for the day. I can’t see it being any different for the City Council in Cork. Perhaps they would fly the French flag if they were honouring a Frenchman or perhaps they were pulling a stunt, whatever.

    Either way, it’s an own goal for these fringe Republican groups to seek publicity in the tripe manner that depicts them as being flag-obsessed brawlers who have nothing else to contribute to politics. Perhaps someone should buy them a copy of “Public Relations for Dummies”?

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    As someone has already alluded to presenting Major with a bauble is an embarrassment all round(Major apart, who seemingly is shameless). He chose Unionist votes in Westminster to keep his premiership alive over pushing on the peace process, indeed he stalled it all but destroying it. It strikes me that comparing his positivity with Reynolds over the peace process is akin to comparing Hume with Trimble and the shared Nobel prize. There really is no justice. And still the politicians shamefacedly march on, makes me wonder if having albino genes of the neck is a prerequisite.

    As for flying the Union flag in Ireland, there really should be no issues apart from ultra sensitive places. I’d certainly put Cork in this category, however it is upto the people of Cork and their representatives to ultimately decide.

    ps. Can I call for a moratorium on the nonsense about Prods in the 26 counties, you know genocide, ethnic cleansing, it is boring us to death, apart from being silly lies and insulting to peoples who have actually experienced this. We have had ample evidence in the past from Prods in the 26 counties, and also credible explanations regarding changing population returns. I’d like to think that we are above Orange hall echo chambers here, seeking to justify their own hatred and all that.

  • jonny

    a couple of things

    there is a fundamental difference between the IRA and the British Army. One is a law unto itself and the other represents a state. Cork was burnt by elements of the British Army. I’m not aware of the Irish Army ever doing the same to a British city. So i can understand Unionists/Loyalists attempting to equate the activities of the British army with those of the IRA. They obviously feel ashamed (and rightly so) of the British army’s activities in Ireland. However, the IRA does not represent the Irish State.

    second, the persecution of the Protestant population of RoI doesn’t really stack up. if the Protestant population of RoI fell from 10% to 3% then that means that:

    7% of 3.5million (approx popn of RoI 1980) = 245000 people

    same calculation for NI were the Protestant population has fallen from about 66% to roughly 53% (i think 53% represents people from a protestant background rather than actual protestants)

    13% of 1.7 million (approx popn today) = 220000 people

    hardly any difference, which is surprising considering that southern protestants were probably more likely to end up marrying catholics (catholics being more numberous) and that emigration from RoI was probably higher. I suspect that its true that there was discrimination against protestants in the RoI, which is something RoI should be ashamed of. But I sincerely hope that that isn’t the case now

  • jerryp

    Dave, there was an amusing incident some years back when someone from the African National Congress was visiting Cork. They couldn’t find an ANC flag anywhere to fly over the city hall, but a Glen Rovers flag ( similar colours ) did the trick and nobody noticed.

  • RepublicanStones

    Gari, I agree, the plantation was a failure in respect of ‘pacifiying’ the area. Perhaps they should have gone down the road of reservations as occurred to the first nations in the Americas. After all America has been hailed as the ultimate success of colonization in that they no longer needed the motherland for security or assistance, indeed the motherland became a burden.

  • Munster republic

    3 Butchers aprons, flying in the rebel county, clearly the “black and tans” would have been proud, but at the same time i dont really give a dame about the flags its the fact “major” got the freedom of the city, I would love to know half of the secrets he holds on the dirty war they pursed in the north.

  • Enough of this bollox about ethnic cleansing in the 26 counties. The Protestant population has risen in the last two censuses, with one quarter of Ireland’s Protestants now living in the 26 counties. And Garibaldy, change the freakin’ record. If it transpired that the British government or the Unionists were responsible for all the atrocities commited in history, you’d still find an excuse to defend them.

  • Greagoir O Frainclin

    Oh dear, the hardmen are out in force!

    Although he wasn’t as active with the Peace Process (he was restricted when in office by the playing of the ‘Orange Card’), however it was only right to fly the British Union flag to represent former British PM John Major. When our Irish dignatories visit England or parts of Britain, the TriColour (ye know, that’s the flag with the Orange bit on it)is flown to represent them, despite the same flag being used by the IRA who’s indescriminate bomb attacks left many many people dead and permanently maimed. The Manchester and London bombs attacks were not too long ago.

    BTW, Sure wasn’t the former First Minsiter the very Reverand Ian (and once the enfant terrible) down paying a visit to ye’s in Cork a few weeks back too.
    Times have changed, people have moved on, obviously you ‘hardmen’ haven’t, ye’s are no better really than the Unionist ‘hardliners’ in the north. Keep stirring the shit, keep the trouble going. ‘No’ is the only word you understand, that as well as a bit of thuggery!

  • Garibaldy

    Have I defended any atrocities? I think not. Perhaps you should try reading what I actually say insttead of what you think I am saying.

  • jonny

    despite the best efforts of Norhtern Loyalist/Unionists and All-Ireland militant Irish Nationalism, the majority of Irish people wish to develop a better relationship with Britain. I hope the latter succeed.

  • DC

    You guys still going on about this here! Sure didn’t they lower the Irish flag to half-mast when Princess Diana died, etc. Big deal, no?

    Besides it was Reynolds who I think said, “who’s afraid of peace?”, well it appears that it is now a case of “who’s afraid of progress?”.

    The answer would appear to be those groups protesting, as what was once solid ground on which to base opposition has now been pulled from under them as the positioning of relations has changed making the Shinners look a little stupid down in Cork.

    How is it that one can rally the crowd in the face of peace yet fail to marvel also at the progress?

  • Oilifear

    “Seems like some Irish are still as bigoted as ever. It’s bred into them, they’re learned to hate anything British from knee high!”

    Yes, sadly this is very true. Thankfully, they could only muster 20 from the length and breadth of Munster and beyond.

    “… a minister in the tory cabinet during bloody sunday …”

    Oh, look! There’s one of them now.

    “I don’t mind honouring the former PM and Taoiseach but flying the British flag over the city hall was a disgrace considering the record of the British forces in Cork.”

    As the building itself is a physical symbol of reconciliation between Britain and Ireland (having been paid for by the British as a gesture of reconciliation to replace the one bunt down by the Black and Tans), it’s difficult to think of a better place to fly one in a spirit of friendship.

    As for word of how offended the burgers of Cork might be at the sight of the butchers apron, some of you may be better educated by paying a visit to Counihan’s, next door to the GPO (in Cork, that is, not Dublin). In the back-left corner, just at the end of the stairs, is a 1910’s era photo of Patrick’s Street – ABSOLUTELY BEDECKED with union flags. The event, I don’t know.

    Another view on the subject was once to be seen in the Gateway on Barracks Street (now closed). Inside the door, on the right, facing the bar, hung an oil painting. It showed a military band marching outside the bar, date unknown as the bar is very old. The painting depicted the street outside lined with people of all classes, joyously waving bright union flags – or at least originally it did. The flags, when I saw them, had been crudely painted over with green!

  • Regardless of the rights and wrongs of this, Sinn Féin’s position is a bit hyprocritical. A union jack flies over Belfast City Hall every day- do they boycott events in it? No- indeed, the party currently holds the post of Lord Mayor of the city. So are Belfast people entitled to a lower level of indignation from SF than Corkonians? It’s somewhat partitionist of SF to throw a fit over something happening at one end of Ireland when they seem to accept the same thing happening at the other.

  • john major….was’nt he the fella who…..edwina curry????

  • fair_deal

    Brooke

    Apologies for not replying sooner I didn’t spot your post.

    “If I were a member of said party, I would be very suspect of your stickability.”

    Organisations are a means to an end. It is the success in the battle of ideas that is more important. Part of unionism’s problem has been its obsession with the alphabet soup.

    “After all, you didn’t stick to the UUP, and are now being a bit iffy about the DUP. It sounds rather to me like all that’s stopping you from drifting away from and actively campaigning against the DUP is a coherent rival.”

    Almost a decade in the UUP was hardly a dash for the door and it wasn’t as if unimportant things did not occur in that time. Also my former membership of the UUP is common with a reasonable proportion of DUP members (including two of the DUP’s ministerial team).

    I don’t think a coherent rival exists or is possible/likely. The best means to achieve what I think needs to be achieved is within the process and through the DUP. I also try to be reasonably active in the party.

    My acceptance that my analysis could be proven wrong seems to be interpreted by you as a lack of stickability. I consider it good sense unless you believe in human infalliability.

    Also I actually joined the DUP post-St Andrews so rather than sitting in the party looking for the door I went in the other direction. So my concerns did not push me away fromthe DUP but to get active within it.

    “Do the decision makers in the DUP know this?”

    ROFLMAO I do not have the ear of the decision-makers in the DUP and I would be stunned if any had spared a second of thought about my motivations. They have much more important things to be doing. Some may read my threads on here but that would be it.

    Also if anyone is a regular reader of the site none of this will be a revelation to them.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I find the idea that flying the union jack, in these circumstances, is a disgrace to be repugnant. Atrocities of all kinds have been committed under many national flags, or by the countries represented by those flags. If the peace process is about anything, it’s about moving forward with an eye on the past, not about being defined by the past. Are Sinn Fein asking for the USA flags festooning Dublin right now to be taken down because of the Iraq war ? This is just silly coat-trailing.

    John Major is one of the unsung heroes of the peace process. Admittedly, I don’t think he would have been as decisive as Blair was – even if he was unconstrained by the slim majority that ultimately prevented him from being as effective as he could have been. However, he set the scene by increasing communication with SF and the IRA, cajoling the unionists, putting the apparatus for all-party talks in place, and working hard on improving the Anglo-Irish relationship which was crucial at the time. I am hopeful that history will come to judge the work that Major’s administration did in a positive light, and will not be judged by the temporary regression into barbarism on the part of the IRA in 1996.

  • earnan

    the IRA did not regress into barbarism. barbarism would have been mass atacks aimed at getting civilian casualties. in 96 at canary wharf they wanted to show the damage they could create so they could not be ignored in the peace process.

  • Turgon

    earnan,

    Quite correct the IRA did not regress into barbarism: they were and remain in a state of barbarism. Blowing things up and killing people because one does not get one’s own way is a pretty tyically barbaric way to behave. Not that such actions were exactly new for the IRA.

    Anyhow from memory mass attacks on civilian casualties were pretty common or maybe the Collie dog club of Ireland, Darkley and Enniskillen were actually military targets. Maybe the collie dogs were being bred for the army?

  • Comrade Stalin

    earnan, two civilians died in the completely barbaric, murderous and entirely unnecessary attack at Canary Wharf, an attack which was completely and utterly opposed by the Irish people as a whole who had been persuaded that the IRA was serious about peace. It was an attack which was planned right while the Sinn Fein leadership were playing host to Bill Clinton. It was a stab in the back for everyone involved, and they achieved nothing for themselves except their exclusion from the political process.

    The only saving grace was that it led to the eventual defeat of the IRA that we are now all enjoying the benefits of.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Turgon,

    What gets to me is the double standards involved here. It’s like claiming that the Bloody Sunday massacre was a valid attempt by the British Army to put down republicanism; what we all know is that the opposite happens. If you show up and kill people, you do not win the argument – you harden hearts against you.

    It’s pretty well known what actually happened; the militant wing of the IRA temporarily wrested control from the Adams faction. It’s a complete and total lie to say that the IRA were unified on this matter.

  • Garibaldy

    CS,

    You really believe that Adams temporarily lost control? I seriously doubt it.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Garibaldy, I’m not convinced that the IRA was unified on the decision to return to violence. Adams ‘ faction may have strategically backed it in order to underpin their own position rather than get sidelined, but I’m not sure that they really wanted it.

    If you’re of the point of view that the IRA was essentially defeated and that the peace process was their face-saving ticket out, the IRA’s behaviour at that time makes no sense.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    Tovarich

    I almost chocked on my crisps reading this;

    >>John Major is one of the unsung heroes of the peace process. Admittedly, I don’t think he would have been as decisive as Blair was – even if he was unconstrained by the slim majority that ultimately prevented him from being as effective as he could have been. However, he set the scene by increasing communication with SF and the IRA, cajoling the unionists, putting the apparatus for all-party talks in place, and working hard on improving the Anglo-Irish relationship which was crucial at the time. I am hopeful that history will come to judge the work that Major’s administration did in a positive light, and will not be judged by the temporary regression into barbarism on the part of the IRA in 1996.<

  • Garibaldy

    CS,

    I’m not of the view they were essentially defeated but. They weren’t going to win, but could have carried on indefinitely. They gambled they’d get a better deal from Blair. I don’t think there’s any evidence of serious factionalism given how small the Real split was. Rather ruthless behaviour by the leadership.

    PE,

    Major was talking to the Provos before the first ceasefire at what was considerable political risk. He may well have mishandled things – although the Provos were hardly being realistic about certain things either – but I’d broadly agree he deserves more credit than he gets.

  • Prionsa Eoghan

    >>He may well have mishandled things< >the Provos were hardly being realistic about certain things either<