Lessons then..

With Northern Ireland junior Minister, Sinn Féin’s Gerry Kelly, recently returned from the Philippines, I thought it might be useful to take a quick look at some other attempts to export the lessons from NI. Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness’ advice to Sri Lanka seems to have taught the government there that it would be better to wipe out the Tamil Tigers.. Although, in Iraq, the imposition of ‘peace walls’ and a surge in the use of the US military seems to have produced results.. A success then, perhaps. As for Gerry Adams’ 2006 self-styled “peace mission to Middle East” probably the least said the better.. But then he didn’t get the endorsement of George Bush in his efforts..

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  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    I join you in saluting the tremendously selfless eforts of these great Irish statesmen who have helped to bring a peaceful settlement to Ireland and who now wish to share their expertise abroad.

    The good people of Norn Iron, Unionist and Nationalsit, and indeed throughout all of Ireland can be justifiably proud.

  • circles

    Lesson 1: Don’t expect somebody fom the other side of the world who needed their entire adult life to come to grips with their own problems to be able to help you much with yours.

  • Turgon

    Even leaving aside my views on the assorted International Men of Hypocrisy, I do not think Northern Ireland has anything much to teach anywhere else. These sorts of problems whether one calls them criminal situations, wars or anything in between are all unique. Each has a history which is often impenetrable to outsiders. The similarities in all the cases are merely superficial: the differences are overwhelmingly more important.

    I tend to feel that there is at times almost a collective arrogance here within Northern Ireland that the rest of the world knew about or cared about what was happening here and a further arrogance that somehow we individually or collectively have anything to teach the rest of the world. The reality is that we do not: the junkets which our politicians and others go on may them feel that they are important and significant. If that helps ensure that they do not get involved in further criminality I suppose it has a bit of merit but that is about it.

    The only “useful” exchange of personal was the Colombian three going to help the FARC which seems to have coincided with that nasty group of narco-terrorists gaining the ability to make mortars. Security forces may learn a bit from one another in terms of stopping nasty criminals. However, in terms of political relevance to any “peace process”, I submit that the differences completely overwhelm any superficial similarities.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    Lesson 1: Don’t expect somebody fom the other side of the world who needed their entire adult life to come to grips with their own problems to be able to help you much with yours.


    You have advanced a most convincing explanation of why Unionists dont get involved in this type of activity – and I think we would all agree with the inference of your point that they could do with getting out a bit more.

  • It was Sammy Mc Nally what done it

    In striking contrast with the good Irish republican ambassadors for international peace -is Tony Blair. After his outstanding work in Norn Iron his appointment as middle east envoy – must rank as the most inappropriate international peace-maker appointment of modern times as he settled into his position with the disastrous legacy of his collaboration in the invasion of Iraq unfolding around him.

  • cynic

    I think you are too cynical.

    The more time they all spend abroad, the better. From my part I would be happy to pay them more to stay away more. We could save a fortune. Can we move Stormont to somewhere more sensible?

    There will soon be space and empty facilities at Guantanamo Bay. I will bet we could get them cheaply.

  • abucs

    The weather would be a lot better.

  • New Yorker

    The major lesson is it is very difficult to transition combatants into society. It has not been done successfully in NI and probably should never have been tried. History records very few instances where it has been successful. The Brits major objective was to assure there were no further attacks on their mainland in the least costly manner, no matter the negative impact on Ireland by letting sociopaths, trained killers and criminals of all types loose on society, even insisting they be in government. All done without any consideration of how to best deal with combatants and protect society. The planning on the wind-down in NI was faulty and was driven by the illusion of a quick and easy fix. London and to a lesser degree Dublin and Washington bear the responsibility for the dysfunctional and dangerous result.

  • Greenflag

    ‘The planning on the wind-down in NI was faulty and was driven by the illusion of a quick and easy fix.’

    So you call 40 years of serious and not so serios efforts by both Governments and the various factions in Northern Ireland inclusding it’s former Government up to 1972 a ‘quick fix ‘ ?

    Now pardon my French and my use of a well known ‘Bushism ‘ but just how long do or did you expect it would or will take to ahem utter the words ‘ mission accomplished ‘ in Northern Ireland ?

    As for the possibility of Stormont disappearing to Guantanamo I’m reminded of the old Hungarian joke uttered back in the 1960’s .

    Hungarian 1 :

    ‘Have you heard the latest news -The Russians have landed on the moon ‘

    Hungarian 2 :

    ‘ What’ ?’All of them ? ‘ ( hopefully )

  • dunreavynomore

    Gerry and co have a very simple message to take around the world, “just do as we do, cause death and strife for decades and then decide after all to accept the thing (partition) we fought about.Fight your enemy (in our case Britain) for ‘illegally occupying part of our country’ then decide it’s not illegal after all and take part in an administration overseen by the erstwhile ‘enemy’. That’s it, struggling people, just give in like we did, it’s really very simple.

  • cynic

    Now dunreavynomore, dont bge unkind.

    They didn’t just give in. They were beaten. That’s slightly different

  • New Yorker


    The policy makers screwed up decommissioning of arms and never addressed decommissioning of people. The first was symbolic and the later a major mistake. Had they properly addressed both republican and loyalist combatants, NI would be a better place today. Due to the quick fix there is an excess of criminals – murderers, racketeers, international smugglers, bank robbers and other neer-do-wells – running about with license to continue doing what they know best. What would you call it other than a quick fix?