“we cannot allow old hatreds to fester and renew themselves..”

The BBC report focuses on a small element of the statement on Northern Ireland by Taoiseach Brian Cowen to Seanad Éireann, as does the iol report, but the full text is wider in scope.

The continued existence of sectarianism, of peace walls and of deep communal divisions in parts of the North is an affront to democracy and to a civilised society. It defies belief that this is continuing in the year 2009. It must be energetically tackled and confronted by political leaders and by the wider community. The Irish Government is more than willing to play our part, as indeed we try to do in all our work on a daily basis.

I am firmly of the view that over a decade on from the Good Friday Agreement, Northern Ireland needs to move proactively to reach the goal of a shared future. People from all communities, and especially those who have been marginalised in the past, need to see hope and opportunity for their children. We all know that poverty and hopelessness provide a fertile ground for disaffection and alienation.

At a time of economic crisis across the world, to which the North cannot be immune, we cannot allow old hatreds to fester and renew themselves. The task of reconciliation and of ending sectarianism will not be easy. It will take time and effort, and it will be a long road, but it is vital for the future of everyone on this island.

And we’ve seen the “face of bigotry, sectarianism and intolerance” recently. Of course, his predecessor had some thoughts on that too, regardless of what others may say.. Although some won’t be here to worry about it. But how is that shared future progressing anyway?

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  • Ulsters my homealnd

    Glad to see the Irish Government playing it straight. They know that they hold the key and its in their hands how this all plays out.

    [don’t want to put any pressure on anyone] tea and biscuits with the UDA chief, cough, cough, LOL

  • Ulsters my homeland

  • Dave

    What answer would Brian Cowen get if a poll was conducted that asked the Irish public question, “Do you wish to transfer sovereignty over vital cultural, political and economic institutions of the Irish state to the British government and thereby pervert democracy by handing power to quangoes and foreign governments who are not elected by you, are not accountable to you, and do not operate in your national interest?”

    Supposing a second poll was held that asked the question, “Did the Irish government inform you that you amended the Irish constitution in accordance with the Crotty Judgement to allow the government do exactly the above and that, consequently, the British government how holds joint sovereignty over vital institutions of the Irish State?” If that were done, you would find that 99% of the Irish population haven’t the faintest idea that they are now living under British rule.

    These muppet quislings in FF continue to transfer power to Her Majesty’s government under the British government’s “island of Ireland” agenda which they then try to pass off as being a progressive agenda rather than treason which seeks to dismantle the nation-state of Ireland without the knowing consent of the Irish people and replacing Irish rule with British rule.

    As with recent examples of electricity supply and gas supply, their methodology is to justify it under a pretext of North/South co-operation when it is actually joint sovereignty between Ireland and the United Kingdom (the propaganda terms North/South being substituted for the names of the two states in order to foster the bogus impression that it is one state and that there is, therefore, nothing treasonous in the abnormal arrangement). To this end, there trick is always to commission a report which concludes (in accordance with the agenda) that “North/South” co-operation is mutually beneficial in the new areas of Irish sovereignty that are to be transferred to the British government.

    But justifying the transfer of sovereignty on this ‘pragmatic’ basis is, of course, never followed up with reports that show that the promised benefits are ever delivered, so although the transfer is justified on this bogus pretext, there is no monitoring conducted to see that it is still “mutually beneficial” and if it isn’t, to revert the sovereignty to the Irish State. There is no monitoring because there is no intention on the part of these quislings that the sovereignty should ever be retrieved from the British government.

    Presumably, the Irish public might think (were they to be told about the true nature of these cross-border institutions) that bought-and-paid-touts like Martin McGuinness would operate these bodies to the benefit of the Irish economy rather than honour his legally-binding duty as a member of Her Majesty’s devolved administration to promote the British national interest, but what do they think that unionists will do, not just as a British First Minister, but when mandatory coalition becomes voluntary coalition and MI5/Mi6 touts sit on the backbenches? Mutual interest? No, British interest.

  • LURIG

    Can the 2 governments do anything to ensure that this balloon Ulster’s My Homeland is deported somewhere as part of any future process? Anyway I have no real confidence or hope that the deep sectarianism and bitter hatred that we witness in our society, and on Slugger, will disappear soon. It runs through our society like lettering through a stick of rock and it’s time to be honest. Most of US hate the OTHER crowd intensely and blame THEM for the Troubles. WE didn’t play any part in it, THEY started it and WE are the only ones who suffered; EVERYTHING would be great if it wasn’t for THEM. There is a Unionist historian called Dr. A.T.Q. Stewart and I rememeber him from a documentary on the North years ago. It might have been Robert Keys famous series: IRELAND: A TELEVISION HISTORY. Dr. Stewart stated that in conflicts like the North there can be NO accommodation between tribes and that ultimately ONE community MUST come out on top and win decisively to ensure long term stability. I firmly believe he is right and that the EU, the UN, the US & the 2 governments must come together and state that that the political & economic unification of the island is the ultimate goal and that’s what they are working towards. It’s no secret that that’s what they all say in closed meetings and off the record but clarity is what we need now. It’s only fair that Unionists knOw what the internatinal community is working towards with regards Ireland. The US wants it as part of NATO and if that means a United Ireland within the Commonwealth to accommodate Unionists then that must be part of any solution but the longer that inevitable unity is put off the more that instability will ensure.

  • Dave

    It’s good to see your reverting to capitals, Lurig.

    We can always send you Brian Cowen in the spirit of Ireland/United Kingdom co-operation. Hopefully he’ll do ever bit as good a job of wrecking your economy as the unmitigated moron did on wrecking ours. 😉

  • percy

    20yrs ago the Berlin wall collapsed, Cowen is right to point out the shame of the so called peace walls , in this day and age.

  • 2050

    Deep divisions! bollocks. Thugs & Ejets on all sides (mainly youths) with to much time in the summer & bored !

    Media should get a grip ! Paintbombs on churchs , orange halls and pointless rioting by a few. Media also bored and nothing else going on so blow nothing storys out if all proportion as per normal! 12th over so it will all fade away till next year & a few thugs drag us all down again !

    In day to day reality most people integrate & get on with life here & see to their own lives but that’s not sensational

  • William

    I would have thought that the Big Ignorant F****r from Offaly [BIFFO] had enough problems in his own corrupt neck of the woods without polluting the atmosphere here in British Ulster.

  • RepublicanStones

    Ahh jaysus William thanks for that….none of us had any idea what Biffo stood for !

  • Comrade Stalin

    I firmly believe he is right and that the EU, the UN, the US & the 2 governments must come together and state that that the political & economic unification of the island is the ultimate goal and that’s what they are working towards.

    Well, LURIG, you’re in a minority. The Irish people, at the ballot box and in various referenda, support accomodation between the various cultures here and peaceful pursuit of political change.

    There are many aspects of the 12th that I find repellent (and I think most parts of the civilized world would find them repellent as well) but it’s an unfortunate fact that right now, the violence is coming from people calling themselves republicans, not from loyalists. The people in Ardoyne largely don’t support this so that makes it essentially a security problem which the PSNI need to proactively address.

    If the 12th happened during the winter, on a weekday when these wee spidey bastards were at school, half of this shit wouldn’t happen.

    And even in a reunified Irish republic, I’d expect there would be a 12th. I would also expect the Irish government, in such a scenario, to uphold the right to free speech and assembly and face down the threats of a minority group of spides, irrespective of whom they claim to speak for.

  • dub

    Dave,

    can you give us some examples of what you are talking about? are you talking about the cross border bodies? could you be as specific as possible as i think you may well have a point…

    dub.

  • Skintown Lad

    i love the fact that riots are never as bad when it’s raining. “here look at us being all oppressed so we have to throw stones to defend our community like. but not when it’s rainin obviously like”.

  • DoctorWho

    Lurig wrote

    “Anyway I have no real confidence or hope that the deep sectarianism and bitter hatred that we witness in our society, and on Slugger, will disappear soon. It runs through our society like lettering through a stick of rock and it’s time to be honest.”

    I just love your post´s Lurig, you do make me laugh at times. You are quite right about sectarianism, however your way of changing things is sectarian in itself, and you can´t see that.

    “the EU, the UN, the US & the 2 governments must come together and state that that the political & economic unification of the island is the ultimate goal and that’s what they are working towards”

    This is the old clutching at straws nationalist nonsense. Unionism blocking the only true progress. Lurig if the British are on your side why do you hate them so much?

    “It’s only fair that Unionists knOw what the internatinal community is working towards with regards Ireland.”

    Ahh thats awful nice of ya Lurig.

    “The US wants it as part of NATO and if that means a United Ireland within the Commonwealth to accommodate Unionists then that must be part of any solution but the longer that inevitable unity is put off the more that instability will ensure. ”

    Ok well im not so sure what you say is true Lurig, besides what a US administration wants and what people in NI vote for are irelevant to one another.

    People must try harder to take down the barriers, but when we see the sort of intolerance shown towards the Orange Order over the last few days, there doesn´t seem much hope.

    What I think annoys Nationalists the most, is that the OO is clearly trying to move on, it realises it has an image problem, we now have shops and pubs opened on the 12th just so Nationalists can make sure they get their pint of milk that always elluded them in the past. In fact normality within NI is the greatest enemy of Nationalism as it clearly shows how well the province can work.

    Lurig, if your being honest about your own sectarianism, would you not agree it´s because you hate everything NI and things that don´t conform to your brand of Irishness.

  • Different Drummer

    The Lights Are Going Out All Over Ballymeany

  • yearight

    DoctorWho says What I think annoys Nationalists the most, is that the OO is clearly trying to move on, it realises it has an image problem,

    Yea right we will know that the OO is clearly trying to move on when they stop trying to march where they are not wanted and never will be wanted EVER EVER EVER unless the Ardoyne and other areas become protestant/loyalist enclaves.

  • soandso

    I think DoctorWho is right about the idea of Ulster working annoys the Nationalists. But I also think it annoys the Unionists. Anytime the OO ties to be pregressive it’s shot down by republicans but anytime Sinn Fein don’t do something abhorent (I fail to think of something positive they have done but I thnk that’s mostly because of our education minister…) or if SDLP do something positive, loyalists don’t care and just go “Why are we working with murderers?”

    Looks like most of NI just wants to continue living in the past.

  • Peter Fyfe

    I think 2050 has a point, not everybody does hate each other. A lot of people don’t care and are happy to get on with whoever, whereever they may be from. There are small numbers of morons everywhere who can create newsworthy situations like throwing paint at a building or a home. I have not heard one other catholic I have talked to in Ballymena not refer to those people who burnt a family out of their home as scum. Normal people have no time for this scum in their own communities. Some youths worship them though which scares the hell out of me. We have morons on this site who act as cheerleaders but that is probably because nobody else wants to listen to them. Although we engage in a bit of your side done this, I would say most who contribute on here have no time for violence.

    The biggest thing we are all guilty of is not showing respect for the other point of view. People are very blinkered in this respect. It annoys me when I see people denying the GAA as nationalist as throughout my life I have been a regular to casement and croke and I always thought it was. It also does a disservice to the GAA who have played such a large part, in the last 100 years, in Ireland’s development as a nation. It annoys me to see people question why catholics are not allowed in the orange order. Why would they be? Though the same organisation then should not insist on public money being wasted to use whatever spaces they want, when they want. Is it a case that people refuse to step back and look at another point of view or are they that thick they are incapable of thinking beyond what somebody has told them to think?

  • slug

    “In day to day reality most people integrate & get on with life here & see to their own lives but that’s not sensational ”

    WHile this may be true I do think there are deep deep divisions and that government policy should start working on those.

    If your assersion that there are not deep divisions were true, then we wouldn’t have walls to keep religious tribes apart or such segregated communities.

    It will take work to treat these divisions and I welcome Cowen’s speech. It is now time to turn to this issue and try to address it proactively (as he says).

  • Republic of Connaught

    You won’t change the people of Northern Ireland, Mr Cowen, because communal strife and sectarianism is like a drug, and the people are inherently addicted.

    There’s an edge to life in the North just like there is in war zones. Warring clans always waiting to attack each other once again, always bickering, the tinder box waiting to expode.

    Normal society, by comparison, can often seem sedate or boring. Which is why for all the troubles, Northern Ireland’s population increased.

    And the finest looking women in Ireland, Catholic and Protestant, also reside in Ulster. So perhaps the heightened passions in the six counties result in more animalistic sex and better looking children?

    Wouldn’t it be pretty to think so, said Hemingway.

  • 2050

    There are areas especially along the peace walls
    were the 2 sides here are as far apart as ever & it takes very little to get a recreational riot going ! Then suddenly the BBC & sky if they are running low on interesting storys can always get there ” nothing has changed ” images off N.Ireland . This drags us all down and is a pity as it’s not balanced or true.

    There are lots off towns were green or orange is strong and again it’s the youths erecting the flags or painting the kerbs (not so much now) with probably a few adult mentors who are stuck in the past . Also lots of evenly mixed towns were differences (worship the same god in a different way & want this wee piece of turf run by either Ireland or UK ) are accepted & everyone integrates !

    I still think alot of it is bored youths with little to loose & no real experience making it seem worse than it is. When it gets down to it the divisions are quietly managed & accepted by the majority of people who live here most of the year .