Outgoing Gongs from Columnists

Both John Coulter and Brian Feeney have been looking back at ’08 and dishing out unwanted awards in the process. Feeney has picked out the Paisleys as the big losers of the year on the local scene, as well as Mark Durkan. Contrastingly, Feeney has Peter Robinson and Sinn Fein as the main winners; the former for finally succeeding Ian Paisley as leader and the latter for forcefully making the point to Robinson that “the Good Friday Agreement requires equality for both first and deputy first ministers.”

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    “Robinson had to endure five months of humiliation as Sinn Fein taught him that the Good Friday Agreement requires equality for both first and deputy first ministers”…

    …and Pete Baker spent most of the 2nd half of 2008 trying unsuccessfully to tell it otherwise.

  • ulsterfan

    Did Robinson give SF a date.
    What will McGuiness say at the Ard Feis if there is to be one this year.
    We are still waiting.
    Robinson has bought time at the expense of SF who will now explain their broken promises.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Did Robinson give SF a date.

    Yes.

    What will McGuiness say at the Ard Feis if there is to be one this year.

    The DUP are in the bag.

    “Robinson has bought time at the expense of SF who will now explain their broken promises.”

    Promises, Promises, Promises

    We will smash SF.
    There will be serious consequences.
    We will not enter government with SF.

    etc,etc,etc

  • ulsterfan

    Do you believe everything said by politicians.
    This subject has been very quiet since McGuinness stood down and came to heel like a good lap dog.
    Make no mistake about it—Robinson is in charge.
    There will be devolution but at a time and in conditions agreeable to Unionists.
    Still no date despite assurances.

  • LURIG

    Don’t kid yourself Ulsterfan, you DO protest too much. Time is something that Nationalists & Republicans have plenty of and they don’t get worked up about dates anymore. The events of the year showed Robinson and the DUP that it was meant to be shared government and they finally got the message. At one stage the Shinners were seriously in danger of walking away from Stormont and the 2 governments knew it. They called Robinson’s bluff and he gave way, after a decade of playing the submissive poodle Sinn Fein bared it’s teeth. Evolution NOT Revolution will bring about the devolution of P & J and an ultimate Nationalist majority will come within a decade. I would also say that the debate about eventual unity of the island will start sooner rather than later. A referendum will happen within 20 years on this and the youngest child alive today will undoubtedly die in an Ireland that is ONE nation. I am NOT saying this as a wind up or bait for Unionists to bite on. I really believe this to be the case.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ulsterfan,

    happy new year.

    “Make no mistake about it—Robinson is in charge”

    Seasonal reply – oh no he isnt.

    “McGuinness stood down and came to heel like a good lap dog”

    Talking of dogs – not a whimper out of deputy dog Dodsy – since Robbo signalled his throwing in the towel.

    Suggestions that the margin for error in Dodsy’s Westminster seat mean he may do a runner to Europe. What do you reckon?

  • ulsterfan

    Lurig

    I admire your patience.
    It will be tested many times in the years ahead.
    Sf would never walk away.
    They need GFA more than Unionists.
    They have no where else to go.
    Lets not hear any nonsense about joint authority or plan B which never existed.
    Unionists mandate will have to be accepted until nationalists gain a majority and that will not happen in the timescale you suggest.
    How can you or I speak for unborn generations of Irish/British people living in NI

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ulsterfan,

    Robbo, Deputy Dog Dodsy and the the big fellah himself have stated that they were coerced into signing up to the STA because of a fear of plan B – i.e. papal/fenian influence from the ROI.

    Many Unionists, including yourself, seem to be in denial about this – presumably as it must sit uncomfortably with their unrequited loyalty to the Englezes.

  • cynic

    “Robinson had to endure five months of humiliation as Sinn Fein taught him that the Good Friday Agreement requires equality for both first and deputy first ministers”

    Oh dear, oh dear.

    Usually we have to wait a year before they start to try to rewrite history.

    Let’s try it again. SF blocked business and threatened to collapse the Assembly. Robinson called their bluff. They backed down. Period. The Assembly business is running again.

    By the way, who is the Deputy First Minister these days? Has anyone seen him recently? He’s gone very quiet

  • cynic

    “papal/fenian influence from the ROI”

    My Sammy, just what century are you living in?

    Papal influence in Ireland? Don’t you ever watch Father Ted?

    As as for the fenian element, perhaps them fenians from the South are much more our sort of people than the ones we have to live with up here. Modern, pragmatic, forward looking. And with the added assurance that their main (unstated) policy aim is to stop at any cost the Northern contagion spreading south.

    So what exactly do we Unionists have to fear then?

  • cynic

    Lurig

    “I really believe this to be the case.”

    My daughter believes in Santa Claus and perhaps that is just as rational a judgement as yours. The evidence is just as strong (at least from her perspective)

    But time will tell and, as a democrat,I honestly have to say, who cares? That’s all so last Century’s politics and by the time the EU is finished the difference may be marginal anyway.

  • LURIG

    Furthermore I wouldn’t worry too much about Sir Reg’s link up with the Tories OR the possibility of a Tory government. It’s akin to the dog and lampost relationship and we know who’s pissing on who. The senior Daily Mirror journalist Kevin Maguire pointed out the stark truth to Empey on the NI Question Time version before Christmas. He tore him apart about the reality of Westminster politics and Sir Reg didn’t know where to look or what to say. The UUP are a pawn being used to make the Tories look like a BRITISH party NOT an English party which they are. The Scots & Welsh long ago gave the Tories the heave ho and they are only left with the naive NI Unionists to legitimise this BRITISH link. Also with Obama in the White House, Hillary in the State Department and the Democrats in power for a while the Shinners and SDLP won’t have to worry. As Bill Clinton showed when he told John Major to shove it when he objected to a visa for Gerry Adams Washington will call the shots in Ireland, as always. Have a nice day ye all!

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Cynic,

    “So what exactly do we Unionists have to fear then? ”

    Feck all – we are a very generous people.

    But when discusing the DUPs fears it is always necessary to slip back a few centuries as Unionists have elected a party to represent them that believe in 17th Century science i.e. pre-Darwinian and in 17th Century politics i.e. they want to re-enact the battle of Boyne and crucify anyone who strays into a Catholic church by accident or design and march up and down through routes they claim are centuries old.

    “Robinson called their bluff” – he threatened serious consequences and did feck all for about 3 months – he has clearly agreed to the transfer – or SF would not have allowed Stormo to continue.

  • frustrated democrat

    Lurig

    Dreaming again, Maguire is a mouth piece for a PM who is rapidly returning to being seen for what he is an abject failure.

    You know nothing of what will happen in the UUP Conservative pact, who will stand, how elections will be run, and who will succeed, it may be VERY different from who you expect to see and what you expect to happen.

    But keep on dreaming, it will suit them just fine to have everyone doubt their will and capability to succeed.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The events of the year showed Robinson and the DUP that it was meant to be shared government and they finally got the message. At one stage the Shinners were seriously in danger of walking away from Stormont and the 2 governments knew it.

    I don’t agree, and if you look at the writing on the wall it should be very clear to everyone what is going on. Sinn Fein could walk away from Stormont, but if they did they would shut themselves out of their only access to power anywhere in Ireland and thus render themselves irrelevant. On the other hand, the DUP are right there in Westminster, and they have a key role in influencing British policy on NI and this will continue to be the case given the likely possibility of a hung parliament.

    I don’t think the joint authority threat was ever that serious, but in reality it is neither here nor there; strategically, Stormont is Sinn Fein’s only possible path; joint authority sees them permanently finished as an influential political force in Ireland – it is the worst thing that could happen to SF in the environment of a hostile British government, and a hostile Irish government. That is why they have jettisoned all their principles in pursuit of devolution, and that is why they agreed to end their boycott without securing a publicly verifiable date for the devolution of policing and justice powers. It is Sinn Fein who have been backing down and making concessions – over constitutional issues, over the Maze, apparently over the Irish Language Act which seems to have died a death (after their feeble attempt to appeal to Westminster to go over the head of the executive), and over the timing of policing and justice powers. They’re quite likely to announce the IRA’s disbandment during the next year, another key DUP demand which wasn’t in the StAA.

    It’s a bit bizarre to claim that Sinn Fein’s acceptance of the DUP demand that no nationalist will have access to the policing and justice ministry means that SF have won some sort of victory. Is it a victory to secure a deal which excludes you from power for the foreseeable future ?

    Sammy, as I have repeatedly pointed out, Sinn Fein quite clearly do not believe they have any leverage over the DUP. If they did, then the DUP would have provided a date. This is the second time that they have blinked, the first time being when they threatened not to nominate Marty as deputy FM. The DUP said “go ahead and do your worst”, and SF backed off.

    My suspicion is that SF asked the DUP to provide them with a face-saving “agreement” to get them off the hook, and the DUP complied without changing their position at all.

    Sir Reg’s Tory linkup is not likely to amount to much, but even if it does it’s not going to be good for SF. If the Tories find themselves in a hung parliament in need of DUP votes, they’ll drop the UUP in the blink of an eye.

    Also with Obama in the White House, Hillary in the State Department and the Democrats in power for a while the Shinners and SDLP won’t have to worry.

    The Americans won’t interfere in NI politics in any way that will either benefit or hinder SF. How can they ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    “Robinson called their bluff” – he threatened serious consequences and did feck all for about 3 months – he has clearly agreed to the transfer – or SF would not have allowed Stormo to continue.

    Sammy, SF have spent the best part of ten years, and particularly the last five, backing down to unionist demands – demands over constitutional matters, over decommissioning, Stormont, policing, and most recently the question of who will get the policing and justice ministry.

    What makes you believe that this time it was different ? SF are shit negotiators and they are backed in a corner. They need Stormont, without it they are powerless. The DUP on the other hand is fine-tuning it’s machine in Westminster. The only way SF could counteract this would be to drop their abstention policy and cancel out most of the DUP votes. Then the DUP would have something to worry about.

  • Billy

    Comrade Stalin

    “On the other hand, the DUP are right there in Westminster, and they have a key role in influencing British policy on NI and this will continue to be the case given the likely possibility of a hung parliament”

    Key role – yeah right! Any chance of you providing any evidence of this – because I sure as hell haven’t seen any.

    As for the USA not interfering in NI politics – where the hell have you been for the last 25 years?

    Jesus wept – Unionists have been hanging out for a hung Parliament for the last 11 years. It’s highly unlikely to happen – much more likely to be a David Cameron majority. I’ll just bet that he would love to be seen linking up with the homophobic, flat earth, sectarian DUP.

    Even in the unlikely event of a hung Parliament, what exactly do you think will happen? Do you think the DUP will be given free reign to discriminate against 45+% of the population?

    There is no doubt that the status quo re the Union will be here for the foreseeable future and, as long as the majority wish it, that’s right and proper.

    However, your wet dream where Nationalism has been “tamed” and we all sit around begging for scraps from th DUP table is laughable.

    If the DUP aren’t prepared to deal with Nationalists/Catholics on an equitable basis, then SF can freely walk away.

    Despite your, frankly pitiful, attempts at DUP propaganda, it is clear that some sort of compromise deal has been reached over P&J;.

    There is no way that SF will get their own way and I have no problem with that.

    However, the DUP learnt this year that pre 1968 Stormont is gone forever. If they can’t exercise power fairly and equitably, they they won’t be able to exercise it at all. SF showed them that.

    Please tell us what happened to these “serious consequences” that Robinson threatened. I didn’t see any did you?

    As far as I could see, SF brought the whole thing to a halt and the DUP either made a deal or lost their little kingdom.

    The truth is simple – SF can’t force anything through without DUP agreement. However, although it must upset you, the DUP can get NOTHING through with SF agreement.

    The days of croppie lie down are gone for good – it took the DUP 5 months to finally understand that but eventually they did.

    You, on the other hand, still don’t seem to have grasped it.

  • New Yorker

    Billy

    Your sentence, “If the DUP aren’t prepared to deal with Nationalists/Catholics on an equitable basis, then SF can freely walk away.” Once again you equate Catholic-Nationalist-SF and that is both erroneous and misleading. There are many Catholics and Nationalists who want nothing to do with SF, so don’t equate them with SF. In fact, they are probably the majority of the non-Unionist population in the North and many see SF as the problem, want to see the back of them and, quite frankly, consider them a disgrace to Irish Catholicism. You have made this error several times and in many posts, so it is not likely a mistake on your part. Please stop making that odious equation.

    Lurig

    You state above, “Also with Obama in the White House, Hillary in the State Department and the Democrats in power for a while the Shinners and SDLP won’t have to worry.” That is true for SDLP not for the Shinners. SDLP has true friends in the new administration, SF does not. Our new administration will be very particular to issues of law and order and have no tolerance for those who lie to them: Guess who that leaves out?

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    ‘The truth is simple – SF can’t force anything through without DUP agreement. However, although it must upset you, the DUP can get NOTHING through with SF agreement. ‘

    I think this is where the problems arose Billy… The DUP are pretty happy with how things stand – how much ‘change’ have they been calling out for – certainly nothing controversial. It’s SF that wants to introduce an ILA, build a shrine and get rid of selection. Consequently, it’s SF that has to go back to the drawing board and come up with some compromises…

    Anyway, don;t worry, 2016 is a year closer – we’ll all be in an united ireland then anyway…

    http://archives.tcm.ie/breakingnews/2003/11/17/story121794.asp

  • cynic

    “he has clearly agreed to the transfer – or SF would not have allowed Stormo to continue”

    Sammy

    ….. ah ….another of those ‘deals’ and ‘agreements’ that SF had but which turned out to be made of pixie dust?

    But paradoxically I actually think it should be devolved ….. we just need to realise who is driving / controlling the process ….it’s the DUPs not the Shinners.

    On a seasonal note the latter now seem to sit like the new Oliver Twists of NI politics ….bowl outstretched …..”please sir, can I have some more” while the beneficent Peter doles it our. Now there’s an image to hold onto.

    Oh dear! Where did I put my tablets.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    cynic, CS,

    MOST likely scenario is that SF and DUP have agreed a compromise on the date for Police – we all agree it was not in either parties interest to continue with the impasse – though we disagree on who had the most difficulty with it.

    The STA is simply the GFA for stubborn Unionists and with everyone else (SF, SDLP, both governments) sitting on the other side of the bank waiting for the (formerly anti-agreement)DUP to sail across – everyone understands that it takes them time to deal with a few dangerous currents (e.g. the TUV) and with those threatening to jump ship (e.g Deputy Dog Dodsy).

    But as signalled by Robbo and Marty the good ship DUP – although crafted mainly of 17th century ideology – should arrive before the potential political storms of the Euro Elections in June.

  • ulsterfan

    Sammy

    What does Gerry think about this.
    After all he said devolution would be in place last May.
    Does Martin know something that Gerry does not know.
    This of course was debated ad naseum last year and we dont want a re run but it does show how much SF are removed from reality and how they have led their supporters—–not with distinction.
    Lets not forget Gerry.
    When was he last seen on TV?

  • dunreavynomore

    “Robbo”, “Stormo”, “deputy dog”, “Lap dog”.
    O.K. I had a wee drop over the holidays but have I missed something big? Are we all speaking a different language now?
    Happyo newio yeario
    to all dogs, deputy or lap. hopeio the wholeio lotio get what they deservio.

  • runciter

    he has clearly agreed to the transfer – or SF would not have allowed Stormo to continue

    By this fantastical piece of logic every SF concession is an SF victory.

    Sammy, how did you come by such unquestioning faith in the SF leadership? Is there no room in your mind for scepticism at all?

    MOST likely scenario is that SF and DUP have agreed a compromise on the date for Police

    Going on historical precedence, the most likely scenario is that SF have been played for fools once again.

    This time with the critical concession that power-sharing is no longer mandatory.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Runciter,

    Sammy, how did you come by such unquestioning faith in the SF leadership? Is there no room in your mind for scepticism at all?

    The line you quoted below shows there IS scepticism (hence the term MOST LIKELY ) it is possible the DUP have succeeded twice with the same trick – but I think a non partisan reading would suggest that there has been a compromise.

    “MOST likely scenario is that SF and DUP have agreed a compromise on the date for Police”

    It is not an issue of faith or otherwise in the SF leadership but in the Englezes determination to implement the STA/GFA (including dragging the DUP over the finishing line) – which for Nationalists I consider a good deal.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Billy,

    Key role – yeah right! Any chance of you providing any evidence of this – because I sure as hell haven’t seen any.

    Billy, I keep explaining this in very clear terms. Please listen this time. The British government has a slim majority. The DUP’s shopping list becomes the price for securing the position of the British government.

    As for the USA not interfering in NI politics – where the hell have you been for the last 25 years?

    The same place I have been for the last 8, during which the US government have done nothing except carry out requests from the British. If you’re going to argue that this will change, you need to explain why.

    Jesus wept – Unionists have been hanging out for a hung Parliament for the last 11 years. It’s highly unlikely to happen – much more likely to be a David Cameron majority.

    I’d pay good money to see the careful and informed psephology that led you to that conclusion. SF aren’t banking on it either.

    I’ll just bet that he would love to be seen linking up with the homophobic, flat earth, sectarian DUP.

    A British government will hook up with Satan to keep themselves in power, and there are plenty of precedents to prove this. You’re giving them a great deal of credit if you believe they’ll vote themselves out of office over principles in Northern Ireland. Not even the unionists would give them that credit.

    Even in the unlikely event of a hung Parliament, what exactly do you think will happen? Do you think the DUP will be given free reign to discriminate against 45+% of the population?

    No, the DUP will be able to influence the NIO on how NI is administered. That doesn’t mean discrimination will happen, it just means that the DUP will have de-facto power through organs like the NI Select Committee (which will likely be expanded in scope if Stormont falls for good), and SF won’t because they refuse to take their seats.

    However, your wet dream where Nationalism has been “tamed” and we all sit around begging for scraps from th DUP table is laughable.

    I’m glad you think it’s laughable, because scraps is all that nationalism is getting right now, due to SF’s policy of giving in to every DUP demand that they put on the table.

    If the DUP aren’t prepared to deal with Nationalists/Catholics on an equitable basis, then SF can freely walk away.

    Yes, SF can walk away, shutting themselves out of power and making themselves a political irrelevance. You’re absolutely right.

    Despite your, frankly pitiful, attempts at DUP propaganda, it is clear that some sort of compromise deal has been reached over P&J;.

    Yes, it’s obvious that the emperor has clothes. Only idiots can’t see them.

    There is no way that SF will get their own way and I have no problem with that.

    It’s just as well you have no problem with that, because that’s the way things are. SF have backed themselves into a position where they have played all their negotiating hands and they’ve got nothing left. The only way for them to counteract the DUP and have influence in NI politics in the absence of Stormont is for them to take their seats in Westminster.

    However, the DUP learnt this year that pre 1968 Stormont is gone forever. If they can’t exercise power fairly and equitably, they they won’t be able to exercise it at all. SF showed them that.

    All I’ve seen is SF backing down to the DUP’s demands. SF have shown the DUP that they don’t mean business when they make threats.

    Please tell us what happened to these “serious consequences” that Robinson threatened. I didn’t see any did you?

    Since SF backed down, you’re quite right, we never got to see what the serious consequences were. I have no idea what, if anything, he had in mind.

    As far as I could see, SF brought the whole thing to a halt and the DUP either made a deal or lost their little kingdom.

    You’re absolutely right. The DUP made a deal on their terms and then made SF accept it.

    The truth is simple – SF can’t force anything through without DUP agreement. However, although it must upset you, the DUP can get NOTHING through with SF agreement.

    No, the truth that I saw on show is that if the DUP hold out, SF will eventually blink and back off. Note that SF’s demand for immediate devolution of policing and justice powers haven’t been met. And when the devolution does happen (on an as-yet undefined date), SF are ruled out of having the seat.

    You, on the other hand, still don’t seem to have grasped it.

    My grasp is just fine and it’s based on the reality of what just took place. SF’s demands for policing and justice by May 2008 were not met, and SF have now agreed to a vague process where the DUP controls the timing of when that will happen and who may or may not take the seat. I can’t fathom how you perceive a kick in the teeth like that as a victory. It certainly suits the DUP that you do.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy:

    MOST likely scenario is that SF and DUP have agreed a compromise on the date for Police – we all agree it was not in either parties interest to continue with the impasse – though we disagree on who had the most difficulty with it.

    Yes, we agree that it is in the best interests of both the DUP and SF to find an arrangement that allows Stormont to continue functioning.

    But the important point here is that the arrangement which was arrived at essentially amounts to an acceptance of the DUP agenda and timetable for devolution of policing and justice powers by SF. That agenda and timetable are outside of what SF claimed had been agreed in the StAA. That point is very important, because it means that the five months SF spent posturing and wasting time was for nothing.

    Frankly they need to get rid of Gerry. I’ll bet the boycott was his idea and not Marty’s.

    The STA is simply the GFA for stubborn Unionists and with everyone else (SF, SDLP, both governments) sitting on the other side of the bank waiting for the (formerly anti-agreement)DUP to sail across – everyone understands that it takes them time to deal with a few dangerous currents (e.g. the TUV) and with those threatening to jump ship (e.g Deputy Dog Dodsy).

    I think the STA is a lot better than that for unionists, because the DUP can unilaterally change it at will and SF will go along with it.

    But as signalled by Robbo and Marty the good ship DUP – although crafted mainly of 17th century ideology – should arrive before the potential political storms of the Euro Elections in June.

    My interpretation of the extremely vague agreement sees no strict requirement for anything in particular to be done before those elections. There are plenty of holes for the DUP to squeeze through, which is just how they like it.

  • runciter

    The line you quoted below shows there IS scepticism (hence the term MOST LIKELY) it is possible the DUP have succeeded twice with the same trick – but I think a non partisan reading would suggest that there has been a compromise.

    Based on what? The fact that SF made a number of major concessions and the DUP made none?

    How does a ‘non partisan’ reading of that equate to anything other than another negotiating defeat for SF?

    It is not an issue of faith or otherwise in the SF leadership but in the Englezes determination to implement the STA/GFA

    For a nationalist to place such faith in the British government seems bizarre.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Runciter,

    “For a nationalist to place such faith in the British government seems bizarre.”

    The Englezes have done a deal with the Provos (GFA) and have acted in good faith to date – whats bizarre about that? Thats how peace gets made.

    CS

    “That point is very important, because it means that the five months SF spent posturing and wasting time was for nothing.”

    No. 5 months as Mr Feeney pointed out that either the DUP played ball or they played feck all. 5 Months of the DUP having to explain why nothing was getting done and then being blamed by the government and the IMC for encouraging Republican dissidents. LOL

    And we had the laughable situation where Robbo threatened “serious consequences” for SF missing 1 executive meeeting and then had to endure months of the same with embarassinly little sign of the serious consequences except his blood pressure.

  • runciter

    The Englezes have done a deal with the Provos (GFA) and have acted in good faith to date – whats bizarre about that? Thats how peace gets made.

    As far as the British government is concerned peace is already made, and we nationalists are ‘on our own’.

    I don’t see them investing a lot of effort into fighting unionists on our behalf.

    Why should they after all? Good faith?

    Not all of us are so naive.

    And we had the laughable situation where Robbo threatened “serious consequences” for SF missing 1 executive meeeting and then had to endure months of the same with embarassinly little sign of the serious consequences except his blood pressure.

    Perhaps you missed the bit where SF came back to work having conceded the principle of power-sharing and got nothing in return.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Runciter,

    ” don’t see them investing a lot of effort into fighting unionists on our behalf.”

    Nor do I – they will simply ensure that Unionists implement the agreement. AFTER that then the GFA (which includes instutional ROI involvement and government of ROI involvemnet) will take over. The Englezes have/will ensure implemtation by threatening the DUP with an increased role for Dublin – this has been admitted by the Big Fellah, Robbo and Deputy Dodsy and yet there are STILL people who are in denial about it. Some very funny people out there.

  • runciter

    Nor do I – they will simply ensure that Unionists implement the agreement.

    Another article of faith?

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    runciter,

    Another article of faith?

    No. As I have mentioned above the Englezes track record since the GFA has been very good. It is not in their interest to allow the DUP to refuse the last fence (i.e. police).

    p.s. Which just goes to prove the old Chinese proverb that you CAN teach an Imperialist-running-dog new tricks.

  • ulsterfan

    Sammy

    The GFA is not like the Ten Commandments set in stone and given to St Gerry on Mount Stormont.
    It is an agreement made between various parties and can be smashed apart any time by any one of the main participants.
    It will not last in its present form and change will come NOT to the benefit of Republicans.
    The unionists have been very clever from the start.
    The DUP stood apart from negotiations while knowing everything which was going on.
    One Unionist party took part helped at times by HM government which on matters of national sovereignty supported the Unionist cause.
    The DUP could say that their aim is to destroy the agreement and if you look closely they have made a good start.
    On the Republican side everything was thrown into the negotiations.
    All nationalist parties , ROI government, American Administration , Irish America and every other caucus accepted the outcome.
    In other words the GFA is the best you can expect while Unionists can with some success to date mould it into their own image.
    Gerry made another great mistake when he said it was only a process on the road to unity.
    The agreement is there for all time for Republicans because they have no where else to go, but for Unionists we shall continue to hollow out those parts with which we do not agree and ever day this is being done without you realising it.
    Perhaps I should not have let the secret out but by this time most intelligent people would have known what was going on.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    ulsterfan

    “The unionists have been very clever from the start. ”

    Unionism has torn itself apart over the GFA and according to the DUP a majority voted against it. We now also have the added turmoil of the Tories and the TUV in the Unionist mix.

    The architecure of the GFA allows for an increased All Ireland dimension without recourse to the Englezes and deomgraphics are still heading in the good guys direction and the Englezes have accepted that IRELAND north and south decide the soverignity of Norn Iron and NOT themselves, as they very kindly repealed the Govt of Ireland act in return for the worthless articles 2 & 3.

    If these are the secret plans and clever tricks of Unionism can we please, please have some more.

  • ulsterfan

    The constitutional question has been parked for one generation.
    Some one in twenty years time will try to get it on to an agenda.
    For the time being no one is listening or give a damn about unity.
    Republicans are even bored talking to themselves without anything new to offer the debate.
    They have no where to go since they conceded the right of Unionists to determine the Status of NI within the UK.
    Westminster is sovereign and I wish SF would come clean and admit to their supporters they accept this position.
    They will eventually do so being dragged into the real political dispensation and then we can get on with proper politics debating right and left policies.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ulsterfan,

    “they conceded the right of Unionists to determine the Status of NI within the UK”

    The Englezes condeded that the Irish people North AND South have the right of self-determination. -and it is now a JOINT decision by Ireland North and South if there is to be a United Ireland.

    The Englezes surrendered their “right” to determine the constitutional status of Norn Iron as contained in the Government of Ireland Act.

  • Comrade Stalin

    No. 5 months as Mr Feeney pointed out that either the DUP played ball or they played feck all. 5 Months of the DUP having to explain why nothing was getting done and then being blamed by the government and the IMC for encouraging Republican dissidents. LOL

    If the five months of boycott was a successful for Sinn Fein and damaging to the DUP, why did SF decide to withdraw it, back down from their position, and accept a DUP-dictated timetable and agenda for devolution of policing and justice powers ?

    And we had the laughable situation where Robbo threatened “serious consequences” for SF missing 1 executive meeeting and then had to endure months of the same with embarassinly little sign of the serious consequences except his blood pressure.

    If Robinson was feeling the pressure then why did SF back down ?

    Nor do I – they will simply ensure that Unionists implement the agreement.

    If the British will ensure the unionists will implement the agreement, then why is it necessary for SF to make so many concessions and fragment their own electoral base and running the serious risk of a split ?

    The architecure of the GFA allows for an increased All Ireland dimension without recourse to the Englezes and deomgraphics are still heading in the good guys direction and the Englezes have accepted that IRELAND north and south decide the soverignity of Norn Iron and NOT themselves, as they very kindly repealed the Govt of Ireland act in return for the worthless articles 2 & 3.

    All this is, from a nationalist point of view, a drastically diluted version of Sunningdale – which republicans rejected at the time. It reads like a unionist wish list – separate consent over NI’s constitutional status; an NI veto over the North-South bodies. So the point here that you are helpfully making for me is that republicanism changed it’s position and acceded to the principles it spent nearly 30 years fighting a war against.

    Face it, the GFA is a unionist document (ulsterfan, I wish the unionists would come clean and point that out to their supporters).

  • ulsterfan

    Sammy

    You are making a very important mistake by not understanding the nature of Sovereignty.
    Westminster is the only sovereign power in NI .To morrow with the stroke of a pen the PM, with authority derived from Parliament could cancel GFA, restore Direct rule and tell republicans and the government in Dublin to bugger off and get lost and there is not one thing they could do except moan and complain.
    Some may think of returning to what they do best but in past performance that was a failure.
    Britain will do in Ireland what is in Britain’s best interest and will pay lip service to what any one else may say.
    That is real power and influence,agreed by signatories to GFA

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    CS,

    “a drastically diluted version of Sunningdale ”

    It was Unionists that brought down Sunningdale. The GFA incorporates the same principles and Unionists could still have effectively vetoed many areas of cooperation in Sunningdale that were to be decided later.

    From a Republican viewpoint there was NO repeal of Govt of Ireland Act, NO Right of the Irish people to Self Determination, NO abolition of the RUC and the UDR, NO release of Prisoners and NO guarantee of Government.

    As the newly released papers of 1978 show – Engleze government intransigence was a substantial reason for the ‘war’ continuing and it has taken them decades to stop treating Republicans as criminals and to start proper negotiations.

    Now that the Englezes have got their act together they simply need to push Robbo and Co – still trying to slow down the inevitable with the some old tired Unionist antics – over the finishing line. Robbo, Deputy Dodsy and the big fellah have all admitted – that the reason they are now doing as they are told – is because the Englezes have threatened them with greater ROI involvement – though I do appreciate that you are in denial about this – LOL1.

    But hey, keep up the good work.
    “Face it, the GFA is a unionist document (ulsterfan, I wish the unionists would come clean and point that out to their supporters). ” – LOL2.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Ulsterfan,

    “Parliament could cancel GFA, restore Direct rule and tell republicans and the government in Dublin to bugger off and get lost and there is not one thing they could do except moan and complain”

    We know they can be mad feckers – and who knows what they may get up to – and we will just have to see how they behave in the future. But to fair to the Englezes, it looks like they have learned the long hard lesson of last 40 years and they have now conceded to Ireland (North and South) the right to determine the constitutional status of Norn Iron.

  • Comrade Stalin

    ulsterfan,

    Tomorrow with a stroke of the pen the PM could make law saying that UUP members are to be shot on sight. In practice, he won’t – indeed, in practice, he can’t. Likewise, he can’t just turn his back on international agreements like the GFA, or abruptly abandon his existing policy, without consultation and discussion – again, in practice. So pointing all that out is pretty much irrelevant.

    The GFA neatly summarizes what has effectively been British policy for most of the 30 years of the conflict, and what has been Irish policy during the later stages of it – and it copperfastens it with a referendum. It’s not going to just go away.

    Sammy:

    It was Unionists that brought down Sunningdale. The GFA incorporates the same principles and Unionists could still have effectively vetoed many areas of cooperation in Sunningdale that were to be decided later.

    Yes, it was very clearly the fault of the unionists for cancelling it (very stupid of them) although the hamfisted attitude of the nationalist negotiators vis a vis the Council of Ireland did not help. Nonetheless, republicanism opposed it and republicanism was still opposing it in 1996. Sinn Fein didn’t publicly accept the idea either of NI-based consent, or the idea of returning to Stormont, until very close to the time of the GFA. There was an Ard Fheis which lifted the abstention on Stormont, but I don’t remember exactly when that was.

    From a Republican viewpoint there was NO repeal of Govt of Ireland Act, NO Right of the Irish people to Self Determination

    Those two are the same thing, and they haven’t changed significantly in the GFA. The Government of Ireland Act had a technical change made to it (before the GFA, it permitted the British Government to act by itself without consulting the NI electorate) – this aspect could be equally damaging to unionists, and in the scheme of things this is small potatoes. It’s pretty silly for any republican to claim that fixing this was a major win. It’s right to fix it as a point of principle (Alliance made a major point of this in the GFA talks as I recall) but in practice it doesn’t change much.

    So the change in legislation was to change the consent policy to the British (unionist) position of consent within Northern Ireland being required before any change could occur. That’s not a concession for republicans or nationalists. The consent part of the GFA is what makes it a unionist document, IMO.

    , NO abolition of the RUC and the UDR,

    The GFA didn’t abolish the RUC or the UDR, and I remember at the time that a lot of republicans were very pissed off that their leadership had apparently signed up to something less. It took republicans quite some time to accept the Patten report as well (one reason being that it didn’t ban plastic bullets), and the PSNI that now exists, while it is a very different beast, is still built on the RUC’s foundations. I was in Whiteabbey station a short time ago, and there’s a plaque on the wall in the reception with a big RUC badge on it dedicated to an officer who was, quote “murdered by IRA terrorists”.

    I certainly accept, though, that the GFA addressed the issue of policing where Sunningdale skirted over it.

    NO release of Prisoners

    The political process at that time hadn’t approached the issue of buying off the paramilitaries with cheap trinkets like prisoner releases, so that is fair enough.

    and NO guarantee of Government.

    The assembly has spent more time not in place than it has been operating since the GFA was signed, so there’s a fat lot of good that did.

    So I don’t see substantial changes between Sunningdale and the GFA. There are a few bits of window dressing, the cheap buyoff of the paramilitaries, and the British government’s policy on consent remained unchanged but was now codified (Govt of I Act). The most substantive change was the section on policing.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy, some bits from Sunningdale :

    5. The Irish Government fully accepted and solemnly declared that there could be no change in the status of Northern Ireland until a majority of the people of Northern Ireland desired a change in that status. The British Government solemnly declared that it was, and would remain, their policy to support the wishes of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland. The present status of Northern Ireland is that it is part of the United Kingdom. If in the future the majority of the people of Northern Ireland should indicate a wish to become part of a united Ireland, the British Government would support that wish.

    The only change in the GFA is that this is now reflected in the Irish constitution and in British law.

    12. The Conference also discussed the question of policing and the need to ensure public support for and identification with the police service throughout the whole community. It was agreed that no single set of proposals would achieve these aims overnight, and that time would be necessary. The Conference expressed the hope that the wide range of agreement that had been reached, and the consequent formation of a power-sharing Executive, would make a major contribution to the creation of an atmosphere throughout the community where there would be widespread support for and identification with all the institutions of Northern Ireland.

    The wording is a lot weaker than in the GFA and it seems to suggest that fundamental reform of policing was not stipulated as being necessary by the SDLP during the talks.

    16. An independent complaints procedure for dealing with complaints against the police will be set up.

    This part turned out to be a bit of a joke.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    CS,

    On the constitutional point I disagree – the right of the Irish Nation to self-determination has now been recognised in international law by the Englezes. The swapping of articles 2 and 3 which were fecking useless for the “title deeds” to the union – the GOI act – is not just of huge symbolic importance and but also rules out the possibility integration with Britain. ROI consent is now needed for any change in the constitutional position of Norn Iron.

    The GFA effectively signalled the end of the RUC and that coupled with the prisoners getting out were crucial components which were not available in Sunningdale – without these we would probably not have peace yet.

    British attempts to criminalise Republican insurgents failed miserably and we now have a reasonable settlement which at least attempts to repair the damage done by the fiasco of partition.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Sammy,

    I don’t see the point in the constitutional part:

    – if you trust the Brits, then they’d already given their word, in writing at Sunningdale, that they wouldn’t change things without seeking consent, but that if the majority wanted to be in a united Ireland, they would support it. So fixing this in legislation is really icing on the cake rather than anything concrete.

    – if you don’t trust the Brits, then it doesn’t matter as even though the Act has been repealed and replaced with the Northern Ireland Act, the NI Act can just as easily be modified again given a sufficiently motivated British government. Note also that the new situation says that the Secretary of State “shall lay before Parliament” legislation to give effect to Irish reunification in the event that this is required but (oh no, not again) no timetable or deadline is stipulated. As we all know, the British government can enact legislation and make it into law in less than 24 hours.

    So either way, this part of the GFA does not count for much. Not as I see it. Remember that in constitutional terms, UK parliaments cannot bind future parliaments with legislation. But it is certainly worth doing as a matter of principle.

    The GFA effectively signalled the end of the RUC

    “effectively” is one of my favourite words, when I find myself in a situation where I don’t want to use a word like “didn’t” or “isn’t”. It’s in the top ten of the bullshitter’s lexicon.

    Sinn Fein’s policy was that the RUC should be disbanded. This was taken by most people to mean that a wholly new police force would be assembled and all police officers made to reapply for their jobs, and members of secret organizations be barred. Patten didn’t go this far, and the GFA established no binding requirement that this be achieved.

    and that coupled with the prisoners getting out were crucial components which were not available in Sunningdale – without these we would probably not have peace yet.

    The prisoner releases were crucial to the paramilitaries, but if the GFA had not gone ahead then they would all have been out by now anyway under the existing remission schemes. I saw them as a cheap concession and a lever to use against the paramilitaries, and I had no specific problem with them on that basis.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    CS,

    the abolition of the RUC, the release of Prisoners and the changing of the constitutional basis of Norn Iron were key republican demands which were not on offer in Sunningdale. The fact that you had/have no “specific problem with them” is good to hear – but the British did – and many Unionists still have.

  • Comrade Stalin

    the abolition of the RUC

    Which, technically, it wasn’t ..

    , the release of Prisoners

    Who would have been released shortly anyway ..

    and the changing of the constitutional basis of Norn Iron

    No changes were made to the constitutional basis of Northern Ireland. Instead, legislation was enacted to reflect British government policy concerning the circumstances under which it would change in the future if the electorate required it.

    I accept that these were key requirements for republicans, but the fact is that those key requirements were substantially less than republicans had traditionally demanded. The RUC wasn’t disbanded, and the regionally-organized policing expected by some nationalists was ruled out. The rules governing constitutional change which are currently reflected in law are the rules laid down by the unionists, not by republicans and they fundamentally recognize the NI state, which republicans up until then refused to do.

    My point is that these “key requirements” for republicans are substantially less than the key requirements they had in 1973/74. In fact, they’re substantially less than the key requirements the IRA obviously envisaged when it called it’s ceasefire in 1994; they’re far closer to Sunningdale (I do accept that the GFA represents an incremental step beyond Sunningdale – but a much smaller one than you’re claiming).

    My whole narrative here is that this process has been about republicans climbing down from their extreme position and normalizing themselves as constitutional nationalists, finding centre ground with soft unionism. It amounts to a slow-motion surrender for nationalism.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    CS

    The GFA was a compromise – the majority of Unionists were against Sunningdale (and arguably against the GFA), the vast majority of Nationalists very in favour of both.

    The GFA established the RIGHT of the Irish nation to self-determination. The GFA changed the constitutional basis under which Norn Iron’s future would be decided but left it current status unchanged. The Englezes conceded that it is the Irish Nation (North and South ) and NOT them that will decide its future. The “constitution” of Norn Iron is now Irish and not British – hence people like McCartney (correctly) claiming that the “title deeds” of the Union had been surrendered.

    This compromise was NOT avialable BEFORE the Provos starting their campaign and the intransigence of the Englezes (they rejected a ceasfire in 1978 as recent papers show) and the Provos led to it continuing far too long.

  • Granni Trixie

    How can one discuss the past year through the eyes of B Feeney without reference to his peculiar agenda? So clear is it as to who is in and out with Brian (although he is totally lacking in self-awareness) that you can always predict what he is likely to write? He is a disgrace to the Irish News who presumably aspire to a decent standard of journalism.

  • Comrade Stalin

    The GFA was a compromise – the majority of Unionists were against Sunningdale (and arguably against the GFA), the vast majority of Nationalists very in favour of both.

    I don’t read anything into that other than the obvious, namely that unionists (of the rejectionist flavour) are stupid. But we all knew that anyway.

    The GFA established the RIGHT of the Irish nation to self-determination.

    It did so in a way which enshrined partition, which up until then, republicans had rejected. A referendum held in Northern Ireland can veto a the result of the referendum held in the RoI. That’s not the self-determination that republicans envisaged. That’s the unionist veto.

    The Englezes conceded that it is the Irish Nation (North and South ) and NOT them that will decide its future.

    They conceded that at Sunningdale (and before then AFAIK). They just didn’t make it law. The difference, as I have said repeatedly, is more of a matter of principle than of practice.

    The “constitution” of Norn Iron is now Irish and not British

    Rubbish. The British parliament retains sovereignty in NI and it retains the capability and the right to change it as it wishes. The Northern Ireland Act makes no changes whatsoever to Northern Ireland’s “constitution”, double quotes or not.

    I don’t think the British will change their position, so this is all academic. But I’m trying to get to the bottom of why you think the GFA changes NI’s constitution. It didn’t.

    – hence people like McCartney (correctly) claiming that the “title deeds” of the Union had been surrendered.

    No, he was talking shit, and not for the first time either. The union exists just as it did before; the change is that the law codifies how the nature of the union may change, and that line for the first time was drawn. Nothing whatsoever stops the British from making unilateral changes to that, and McCartney knows that full well.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    CS,

    ” The union exists just as it did before; the change is that the law codifies how the nature of the union may change, and that line for the first time was drawn. Nothing whatsoever stops the British from making unilateral changes to that, and McCartney knows that full well.”

    You are going round in circles again – here is what you said on this point to our good friend Ulsterfan yesterday.

    “Tomorrow with a stroke of the pen the PM could make law saying that UUP members are to be shot on sight. In practice, he won’t – indeed, in practice, he can’t. Likewise, he can’t just turn his back on international agreements like the GFA, or abruptly abandon his existing policy, without consultation and discussion – again, in practice. So pointing all that out is pretty much irrelevant. ”

    The consent of the ROI is required for a change to the constitutional position of Norn Iron (which rules integration out) but the consent of Britain is not required for a UI. As the other Mc Cartney (Paul) said in that shocking song of his they have (constitutionally) given “Ireland back to the Irish”.

  • Dave

    Sammy, you’re just making this up as you go along, aren’t you?

    Consider these words spoken by Sir James Macpherson, Chief Secretary for Ireland 1919 – 1920, during the Second Reading in the UK parliment for the Government of Ireland Bill in 1920:

    “My right hon. Friend the Prime Minister (David Lloyd George) in his statement on 22nd December put forward four altenatives for the respective areas of these Parliaments, and after the most anxious and careful consideration of all the facts and circumstances the Government have come to the conclusion that of these alternatives the soundest and most practical is the one which was discussed if not decided upon in 1914, certainly it was decided upon in 1916, namely, an area of 26 counties for the Southern Parliament of Ireland and six counties for the Northern Parliament of Ireland. I cannot do better than state the powers, and, if I may say so, the infinite 928 possibilities, given a chance of these Parliaments, as described by the Prime Minister: We propose, he said, to clothe the Irish Legislature with full constituent powers, so that they will be able, without further reference to the Imperial Parliament, and by identical legislation, to create a single Legislature, discharging all or any of the powers not specifically reserved to the Imperial Parliament. [b]It will then rest with the Irish people themselves to determine whether they want union and when they want union. The British Government will have nothing further to say in the matter. If the Irish electorate so determine they can return a majority in each province of Ireland with a mandate, even at the very first election, to bring about a union of the North and the South.[/b]”

    The position you assume was a victory for Sinn Fein was actually Sinn Fein accepting the position that was the consistent position of the British government since “if not decided upon in 1914, certainly it was decided upon in 1916.”

    The supporting rationale that was proffered by Macpherson was:

    [i]”…broadly speaking, there was a general hope that the burning question should be settled in the interests of Imperial and domestic peace, and a feeling that if what was described as ‘a fairly solid, homogeneous, and loyal population in the north-east of Ireland, alien in sympathy, alien in tradition, alien in religion,’ desired — it was in the days before the common use of that barbarous word ‘self-determination’ — to govern themselves, in complete loyalty to the Crown, in their own way it would be an outrage in the name of self-government, to use the Prime Minister’s word, to place them under the remainder of the population.”[/i]

    Again, that was the consistent position of the British government, and it is now the position of Sinn Fein.

    Of course, it was not intended by the British government under the Government of Ireland Act that either parliment, North or South, should ever function as other than a puppet parliment wherein sovereignty resided with the UK parliment. In response to the Irish government taking a diffierent view and declaring a Republic in 1949, the British government broght in the Ireland Act 1949 which stated the Unionist Veto Principle of Consent as:

    [i]“It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of His Majesty’s Dominions and of the United Kingdom and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be a part of His Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.” [/i]

    Again, all the Shinners did was accept the legitimacy of the British sovereignty, declaring that their own claim to the territory – and right to self-determination – was the one that is properly illegitimate.

    The Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 states Unionist Veto/Principle of Consent as:

    [i]“It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom, and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part of it cease to be part of Her Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the majority of the people of Northern Ireland voting in a poll held for the purposes of this section in accordance with Schedule 1 to this Act.”

  • Dave

    [/i]
    [b]Continued[/b]
    There is no difference at all between the Unionist Veto/Principle of Consent as stated in the the Northern Ireland Constitution Act 1973 and as stated in the GFA. The only difference between the Unionist Veto/Principle of Consent as stated GFA and the Government of Ireland Act 1920 and the Ireland Act 1949 is that it will be exercised by plebiscite rather than by parliament. That is actually a step backward for northern nationalists because it would be far easier to get parliament to agree to unity than it would ever be to get the people to agree to it.

    Eventually you’ll cop-on that you were led to a position where the British government wanted you to be, i.e. endorsing the legitimacy of British sovereignty. As Margaret Thatcher stated in her memoirs “the minority should be led to support or at least acquiesce in the constitutional framework of the state in which they live.”

    By the way, this exchange between Captain Benn and Major O’Neill during the same debate about “two nations” would properly include the Shinners under the last sentence (and, of course, bog-standard British black propagandists such as Conor Cruise O’Brien, et al). 😉

    Captain BENN I do not think it affects the point I am trying to make, which is 1022 that there has been a steady growth in all the outward signs of Irish nationality, and the House will believe me that I do not want to make a controversial point. I would rather read some words written by Mr. Russell. Some people might sneer at Mr. Russell, but I do not think most Members of this House will. He is speaking of the Irish Nationalists to-day. They are inspired by ancient history and literature stretching beyond the Christian era, a national culture, and distinct national ideals, which they desire to manifest in a civilisation which shall not be an echo or imitation of any other. That sums up in a most concise and interesting way the spirit of nationality which pervades Ireland to-day. The answer I know that the Government make to this is, “Oh! there is not one nation in Ireland; there are two nations, and these two nations can never be reconciled, and the fact, therefore, has got to be met.” I should like to ask the hon. and gallant Member for Mid-Antrim (Major O’Neill) to which of the two nations do the O’Neills belong?

    Major O’NEILL The O’Neills were essentially Kings of Ulster.

    Captain BENN The O’Neills were Kings of Ulster, and Ulster was the most Nationalist of all parts of Ireland.

    Major O’NEILL As Ulster Nationalists.

    Captain BENN The hon. and gallant Gentleman will not deny that he is an Irishman, and proud of it. What about his hon. Friend, the Member for Canterbury (Mr. R. McNeill)? To which of the two nations in Ireland do the McNeills belong? We are told that the religious bitterness in Ireland is so great that it is impossible to allay it. I should like someone with historical knowledge to tell me this: During the time when the fires of Smithfield were crackling, how many martyrs were burnt in Ireland? Not one. Yet surely there were Papists, and what a unique opportunity to roast people! But they neglected it. These wild Irish—you cannot even civilise them up to the point of an auto-da-fé! They are an impossible people. When you talk about two nations in Ireland, why, Ireland has shown a capacity which no other country has shown for absorbing those people who have been sent over as planters and settlers. You talk about the great Irish Nationalist movements such as 1782 and 1023 1798. All those are historical facts, but the leaders of the Irish nation were Protestants—that is the amazing thing. Robert Emmet, a Protestant, Wolfe Tone, a descendant of a Cromwellian settler. What talk is this about two nations? Swift, Flood, Grattan—all the sons of English officials, sent over to govern Ireland. Smith O’Brien and Parnell—the descendent of Cromwellian settlers—and Father Mathew, the descendant of a Cromwellian settler. We must seek elsewhere for an explanation of the division of opinion in Ireland. It is not because there are two nations in Ireland. It is because this country has always had some party in Ireland prepared to do the work of England.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Davey,

    I understood that a section of GOI Act asserted the soverignity of the British Parliament in relation to Norn Iron – are you suggesting it did not? Will have to check this later.

    Prior to te GFA the constitution of Norn Iron was based solely on British legislation and its constitutional position could be decided by Britain alone.

    Since the GFA – which is an international treaty – the constitutional position is to be decided by the Irish Nation (North and South ) alone.