“the battle for the heart of Sinn Féin is lost”

The Irish News has some more on the resignation of Strabane Councillor Gerard Foley from Sinn Féin, noted previously. Meanwhile, in Dublin, another Sinn Féin Councillor, Louise Minihan, has resigned from the party. Via Politics.ie, an Indymedia report has the quotes.

Explaining why she has left Sinn Féin Councillor [Louise] Minihan said, “I joined Sinn Féin in 1998, when I was sixteen years of age. At that time I believed that party to be committed to its stated objectives of ending British rule in Ireland and the establishment of an Irish Democratic Socialist Republic. It is clear to me today that this is no longer the case.

“Sinn Féin has, over the course of the last twelve years, moved steadily away from the core values of Irish socialist republicanism and is no longer willing, or able, to challenge the British occupation of the Six Counties or the rotten capitalist system which is causing so much hardship to working families across Ireland today. Sinn Féin is taking the wrong position on a whole range of national, social and economic issues, resulting in that party becoming largely irrelevant to working people.

“For years I voiced my disquiet within Sinn Féin about the direction that party was headed, in the vain hope that radical politics might triumph over reformism. Like thousands of other republicans before me, I have come to the conclusion that the battle for the heart of Sinn Féin is lost. While wishing those many genuine activists who remain within Sinn Féin well in the future, I believe that many of them will sooner or later come to the same conclusion that I now have.”

But Gerry’s on a World Tour for Irish Unity! Is it already too late for that other conversation?

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  • RepublicanStones

    Its patently obvious that for a party that advocates society working from the bottom up, there is far too much top-down in its structure.

  • Doire Abu

    SF have had to sacrafice their principles for political power. Maybe they feel they can do more by conforming to the centre-right, but if this is a strategy, then it usually over time inevitibly becomes policy. A difficult decision, but maybe they feel they can change more from the inside. They are in dire need of an adept, intellectual economic strategist to win over the nay sayers still clinging to the Friedmanite, free-market liberals who still believe in the trickle down effect. If they can’t make a definitive stand now in the midst of economic meltdown, then it seems that all hope is lost. And James Connolly’s plaque still has pride of place on SF’s HQ on the Falls Road. Sad times indeed.

  • Dave

    “SF have had to sacrafice their principles for political power.”

    It’s more a case of demoting their ‘principles’ to promote their principals. A principle is, of course, an absolute rule, so it is not subject to expediency. You can’t ‘sacrifice’ a principle. If you don’t adhere to it, you never held it.

  • Ingram

    Anyone smelling the coffee yet ?

    Ding Ding

  • belfastpaul

    It seems over the past few years that there has been a sort of leaving in a drip drip way. Does anybody know how many have left in the past decade.

    Clealry a lot of people aren’t happy, but then again that’s what happens when you enter the real democratic world-people want their say.

    The main problem for SF is who will replace the leadership when they trundle off to retirement. Is there anyone coming up form behind who has the carisma or cache? Not Mary ‘who’ McDonald’! But who? WHo are the new faces who will get people out to vote.

    Morever, a stable NI won’t help SF fortunes…of course the unionists will screw that up and make sure SF voters keep turning up at the ballot box.

  • NCM

    Sinn Fein has “jumped the shark.” Up eirigi!

  • Dave

    belfastpaul, Martin Ingram could probably give you a better guess about who the next leader of the Shinners will be. It’s his former employers who will make that decision, not the muppets at a Shinner Ard Fheis – they’ll just rubberstamp it, thinking it was their decision.

  • Balconite

    I do wonder what goes on in the heads of republicans. Now as it appears that there is a drift away from the poster boys and girls of Sinn Fein who will be next to take up the mantle?

    Eric Hee seems to be jostling for the part and when they fail to deliver the dream that is the “democratic socialist republic” they too will be cast aside, no doubt after much intervening pain and sorrow for the rest of us.

    What is it with republicans? Did mummy and daddy not buy them that longed-for Christmas present, is it to do with the catholic religion; all that passion and suffering? Maybe they are just fixated on dissatisfaction, perhaps they need to hold on to their self-awarded MOPE status at all costs?

    What is their major malfunction? (with apologies to the scriptwriters of ‘Full Metal Jacket’

  • Dave

    “What is their major malfunction?”

    Dodgy motions passed by their Ard Fheis on the basis of lies from their leaders? I seem to recall one around January 2007. It’s probably getting harder for them to trust liars, I suppose.

  • Davros

    Peaceful campaigning for a united Ireland just isn’t sexy, she wanted Che romanticism, she got debates about wheelie bins and potholes. As ludicrous as Gerry’s current tour is, it’s all you can really do now that ‘blowing stuff up’ is no longer on the to do list. Ah democracy.

  • Dave

    Where does she say that she wanted a revival of SF’s defeated sectarian murder campaign?

    “I joined Sinn Féin in 1998, when I was sixteen years of age. At that time I believed that party to be committed to its stated objectives of ending British rule in Ireland and the establishment of an Irish Democratic Socialist Republic. It is clear to me today that this is no longer the case.”

    She makes it clear that it is not, as it is presented to the muppets, a case that the means to an end has changed but the end itself. In that she is correct.

    While she is obviously a dreamer for believing in socialism, she is a realist in that she understands that unity was about extending the Irish nation-state into Northern Ireland and extending the realisation of Irish national self-determination to those who were denied it, but that it is now about removing the right of the Irish nation to national self-determination and dismantling the Irish nation-state and relacing it with a replica of Her Majesty’s dominion of Northern Ireland.

    Unity has become an anti-Irish nationalist and a pro-British nationalism agenda. It is about the promotion self-censorship of Irish nationalism, with the muppets engaging in that dismal exercise because they have been led to see removal of the border as being the end in itself rather than the means to the end. They don’t see, of course, that the aim of Irish nationalism has been replaced with an entirely different agenda.

  • hodgie

    sinn fein under adams have abandoned the people of no property to ingratiate themselves with the bankers who brought us to the economic nightmare we are in.

    a party which abandons its core people so readily in pursuit of personal agrandisement for the leadership clique neither deserves nor should receive any votes from the people of ireland.

  • J Kelly

    Hodgie your first paraggraph may have given us a bit of scope for deabate but when you descend into the usual nonsense spouted by concerned republicans/eirigi/32csm who by the way work closely with the INLA a bunch of criminals your credibility goes out the window. In case you didn’t notice Sinn Fein got over 200000 votes from the people of ireland about six weeks ago.

    Lets talk politics not personal gripes and grudges. The struggle is more important than who fell out with who or the reasonn why such and such was dismissed.

  • GGN

    As someone who believes that one does not have to be a socialist to believe in Irish independence I would be interested in finding out why others judge the believe it to be a pre-requisite.

  • Mark McGregor

    GGN,

    This is Irish Republicanism you are talking about not constitutional Nationalism. It is meant to be about being commited to establishing the Republic declared in the Proclamation and recommencing the work of the Democratic Programme of the 1st Dail. That requires a commitment to socialism.

    Some believe supporting the foundations of republicanism are now optional extras and that these basic central planks of republican ideology can be ignored.

  • kensei

    Mark

    This is Irish Republicanism you are talking about not constitutional Nationalism. It is meant to be about being commited to establishing the Republic declared in the Proclamation and recommencing the work of the Democratic Programme of the 1st Dail. That requires a commitment to socialism.

    80 years, no growth, no new ideas? Take your exclusionary ideas elsewhere, boss.

  • “As someone who believes that one does not have to be a socialist to believe in Irish independence I would be interested in finding out why others judge the believe it to be a pre-requisite.”

    The only difference made by replacing the bourgeoisie of one nationality by those of another is the colour of the postboxes. However, it is sheer lunacy for the party of the ‘armed struggle’ which led to the murder of innocent Protestants to expect to ever unite the working class of Ireland. Hence, I suppose, the emphasis on postboxes and the vacuous trips to America.

  • Ha Ha

    I have met mr foley and louise is young still. You all made a bollox of it.

    Most of the replies seem to have been made by students. Post no. 4 seems realistic.

  • John East Belfast

    Dave

    “unity was about extending the Irish nation-state into Northern Ireland”

    I have noticed you using the above statement on a couple of threads.

    Maybe I am reading too much into your choice of words but something isnt quite right about it from a traditional Republican position which from your posts I suspect you are ?

    ie I thought traditional Republicanism didnt recognise the northern state – indeed SF Ministers in Stormont provide us with much bemusement as they verbally tie themselves in knots trying to not to say it.

    However once you start talking about Northern Ireland then “extending the Irish nation-state” sounds more like invasion than unity ?

    Or is it uniting with Northern Ireland nationalists and invading NI unionists ?

    Therefore when you criticise SF’s strategy are you complaining they have given up the Armed Struggle ?

  • Glencoppagagh

    It’s taken her all ten years to discover SF isn’t a socialist party? It never has been. Some people might have been confused by their tireless efforts to extract as much as possible from the British welfare state on behalf of their constituency.
    SF sometimes pretended to be socialist to curry favour with international right-ons but they certainly weren’t when they were passing the plate round in the US. For that audience, they were good old fashioned Brit-hating, mass-going Irish patriots.
    Now they’ve got no idea what they’re for, apart from a united Ireland and they’ve got no idea how to achieve that.

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathy C

    rather ironic with sinn fein meaning ‘we ourselves’ that it will soon be just that…a party of gerry adams and martin mcguiness. Martin can elect gerry as president and gerry and appoint martin to what ever martin wants….hey…sorta like what is being done now.

  • LURIG

    Ask some of the trade unions in the North what they think about Sinn Fein’s, and the Stormont Executive’s, right wing policies and they will give you an answer. This is an anti-trade union administration which has engaged in the privatisation of public services by stealth. Sinn Fein has embraced a low paid, anti-trade union, call centre jobs culture in the North at the expense of real jobs and decent industrial relations. The private companies who have been brought in already to run some public services are making a complete mess and balls of it. It really is ANIMAL FARM where everyone is equal but some are more equal than others. Sinn Fein are trying to pretend they are socialists but they are fooling no one. Some republicans in the North, especially in Belfast, have most definately embraced capitalism as many of them have very big property portfolios. They buy up big terraced houses and small strips of land and turn them into rabbit hutch bedsit land where they can cram as many in as possible. That in turn adds to the crime ridden, drug infested ghettos that much of North & West Belfast has become so every time I hear Sinn Fein going about lack of housing, crime and drugs, slums etc I spit fury. Many of their greedy absent landlord members are the very cause of it.

  • onmehols

    apologies for sidetracking.

    As un Ulster Prod with no real aversion to an UI, could someone tell me if there is such a thing as a capitalist republican party?

    I fear socialism/marxism/communism more than an UI.

  • [i]As un Ulster Prod with no real aversion to an UI, could someone tell me if there is such a thing as a capitalist republican party?[/i]

    Fianna Fail? No, seriously.

    [i]I fear socialism/marxism/communism more than an UI. [/i]

    Spot on. As someone who’d love to see a secular 32-county Irish Republic, I’d rather remain ruled by London than be administered according to the finer points of Das Kapital. Although SDLP-esque social democracy wouldn’t bother me at all.

  • hodgie

    13.Hodgie your first paraggraph may have given us a bit of scope for deabate but when you descend into the usual nonsense spouted by concerned republicans/eirigi/32csm who by the way work closely with the INLA a bunch of criminals your credibility goes out the window. In case you didn’t notice Sinn Fein got over 200000 votes from the people of ireland about six weeks ago.

    Lets talk politics not personal gripes and grudges. The struggle is more important than who fell out with who or the reasonn why such and such was dismissed.

    i think my first and second paragraphs say the same thing: abandon the socially deprived to climb among the socially advantaged.

    i am not a member, supporter, sympathiser, helper, fellow-traveller, or whatever of eirigi, inla or anybody else. please don’t resort to slander, my point was a political point, not a personal point.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘could someone tell me if there is such a thing as a capitalist republican party?’

    Not a follower of American politics are we?

  • Dave

    John East Belfast, the ‘logic’ in that your post addressed to me above is so deranged that sticking “therefore” in front of your conclusion/question reads like a feeder line to a mildly amusing punchline. I assume you didn’t read my reply to you a few days ago because if you did, you might have a little of the clarity that you lack – or perhaps you did read it and your bizarre punchline was a cathartic response?

    “I am an Irish man with a love and support for the Union.” – John East Belfast

    So, the right of self-determination of Irish people is inseparable from the right of self-determination of British people. In other words, there is no right of self-determination for Irish people. That is a very self-serving argument – if one happens to be a British nationalist.

    The trick in this censorship of the right of the Irish nation to self-determination is to redefine Irish nationalism as support for British sovereignty. In effect, to make the Irish nation stateless.

    Since the state is the sovereign territorial entity by which a nation realises its right to self-determination, a nationalist is anyone who supports the nation-state and thereby supports the right to self-determination of a nation.

    You support a nation controlling its state (you support the British people controlling the British state), so you are a British nationalist, not an Irish nationalist.

    As Article 1 of the UN’s ICCPR expresses it “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” It is not possible for a nation to have self-determination if it does not have a state that it uses to “freely pursue [its] economic, social and cultural development.” It is also not possible for two nations to share one state (it’s like a car with two drivers who want the car to go in different directions) which is why every nation that has attained the right to national self-determination has a nation-state and which is why that is the international law. That is especially not possible when one of those two nations defines itself by not being the other nation.

    “Adams really needs to go if this is the best Irish nationalism has to offer. Almost embarrasing watching him clutching at straws.” – John East Belfast

    Adams is promoting the interests of British nationalism, not Irish nationalism. That is what Her Majesty pays her touts to do. Adams does not support the right of the Irish nation in Northern Ireland to national self-determination, since he has led them to formally renounce that right, downgrading it to the status of an aspiration that is now legitimately subject to the veto of another nation. Nor does he support the Irish nation-state, since he has led the Irish nation in Northern Ireland to formally repudiate the nationalist concept of the nation-state and replace it with a bizarre and utterly unworkable concept of a bi-national state (a state where two nations veto each other).

    Adams usefulness to his paymasters is that his organisation was used by them to claim ownership of Irish nationalism and thereby allow his paymasters to redefine Irish nationalism as being support for British constitutional structures and for British nationalism. Since you can kill the man but not the idea, it was deemed a smarter move to take control of the idea and redefine it so that it promotes your agenda.

    In regard to unity: the aim of Irish nationalism was to extend the Irish nation-state into Northern Ireland and thereby extend the realisation of Irish national self-determination to those who were denied it. That is what unity meant to Irish nationalism.

    By focusing on removing the border as being the end in itself rather than the means to the end, Adams’ paymasters were able to switch the objective without the muppets noticing it. To that end, unity is no longer has an Irish nationalist purpose but rather it has the new purpose of dismantling the Irish nation-state and removing the right of the Irish nation to national self-determination. In other words, rather than Ireland annexing Her Majesty’s dominion of Northern Ireland, Her Majesty’s dominion of Northern Ireland would annex Ireland. Ireland then would not be reunified under Irish sovereignty but under British sovereignty.

    The way the Shinner voters look at it, they’d be better off as 85% of a unified Ireland than they presently are as 45% of Northern Ireland. So they don’t care if that unified Ireland is a replica of Northern Ireland and defeats the Irish nation because they’re motivated by a purely self-serving agenda of “What’s in it for me?”

  • Dave

    “It’s taken her all ten years to discover SF isn’t a socialist party?” – Glencoppagagh

    Well, what should the Shinners saying ‘let us build an agreed Ireland’ and not saying let us build an “Irish Democratic Socialist Republic” mean for someone who supported them for the latter agenda? It should mean, of course, that the Shinners are not promoting what she thought they were promoting. But you are dealing with what is essentially a cult and with a ‘peace process’ wherein rationality is abandoned and duplicity is accepted as a legitimate – and even a desirable way – of achieving goals. Before that, you’d have the SDLP saying that solemn oaths declaring loyalty to Her Majesty were “just an empty formula of words” and then you had the GFA itself where ambiguity allows the Shinners to dress defeat up as victory and allows unionism (which lost majority rule) to do the same – and of course, allows both sides to claim victory on the constitutional issue. That’s just the culture that envelopes Northern Irish politics.

  • Dave

    John East Belfast, just to return to the issue of an ‘Irishman’ who doesn’t support the right of his supposed nation to national self-determination but rather supports the ‘right’ of another nation to govern his own nation. Now, without prejudice to how you see it (and you are fully entitled to your own inner constitution), as an Irishman who does support the right of his nation to national self-determination, I would see you as a fifth columnist. No nation has the right to govern another nation. That perverse position is contrary to the cornerstone of international law, which specifically stipulates that all nations have the right to govern themselves (Article 1 of the UN’s ICCPR).

    All states require loyalty to the nation and to the state as a condition of citizenship. British citizens have a common law duty of allegiance to the crown. This is a constitutional requirement of the Irish state: “Fidelity to the nation and loyalty to the State are fundamental political duties of all citizens.” (Article 9.2). So there is a clear distinction there between the nation and the state – the former is a duty of nationhood and the latter is a political act. What we have then is nationality, nation and state.

    I suspect that you definition of Irish is purely based on the principle of jus soli. But you are neither loyal to the Irish nation nor to the Irish state so your brand of ‘Irishness’ would simply be treasonous to Ireland. You declare yourself Irish but your definition of Irish is synonymous with the definition of British, and your political loyalty is not to Ireland or to the Irish nation but to the United Kingdom and to British people.

    The acceptance of your definition of Irish would usurp the right of the Irish nation to self-determination. Since it is the nation that has the right to national self-determination, your tactic is to declare yourself Irish but to apply a political meaning to it that is the same as British. Therefore, since the Irish nation is British, it must have a state where British people hold the sovereignty in accordance with Article 1 of the UN’s ICCPR – by declaring that what is actually British national self-determination should be regarded as Irish self-determination.

    That is just the shabby trick of the imposter who turns up to claim a legacy from a will. In effect, placing yourself like a cuckoo into another bird’s nest, and claiming what rightfully belongs to another. It is like a group of German settlers in Israel and declaring themselves to be Israelis and then demanding that Israel censors its culture and agrees to live under German sovereignty because that is the actual right to self-determination of Israelis according to how these self-serving Germans would define it (queue Republican Stones).

    You can declare yourself to be a member of any nation you want (it’s very subjective sans nationality), but unless you are a citizen and are loyal to the state and to your nation, your declaration is worthless.

    You asked my view earlier and it’s all set out in the two articles below:

    Article 1 of Bunreacht na hÉireann:
    “The Irish nation hereby affirms its inalienable, indefeasible, and sovereign right to choose its own form of Government, to determine its relations with other nations, and to develop its life, political, economic and cultural, in accordance with its own genius and traditions.”

    Article 1 of the UN’s ICCPR:
    “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.”

    Simple, isn’t it? All nations have a right to national self-determination (not all nations have attained that right, however). As you already have a “sovereign territorial entity” (a place called Great Brittan already exists) where your right to national self-determination is available to you, you have no right to deprive another nation of their right to national self-determination. Were you forced to argue your case under the relevant international law, you would lose it. However, you did have the might of the UK to enforce your claim to territory that wasn’t rightfully yours, and you do now have (subsequent to the GFA) the moral authority and the constitutional authority of those who formally renounced their formerly dispute claim to that territory. And that’s where it is at – Northern Ireland is British.

  • Dave

    [b]Continued[/b]

    My personal view is that I no longer support unity, and I’m still debating with myself if I ever should have supported it at all. I held the view that there were two traditions but one nation but I now hold the view that there are two nations (and the GFA states that, anyway). Since two nations cannot attain national self-determination in one state, and since there are two nations, I don’t support unity because it cancels the right of national self-determination for the Irish nation but leaves the claim of self-determination for the British nation (BG will continue to exist) intact.

    It is also not possible to have unity outside of British constitutional structures (and I’m more than happy to explain why if you’ve read this far), but even if it was (and it isn’t), the veto would still exist because another nation would still hold it and use it to censor the Irish nation and its culture. In fact, the British government is already doing that in regard to the Irish language since joint sovereignty between the British and Irish government over the national language is held via the Ireland/United Kingdom (North/South) Language Agency which has granted ‘parity of esteem’ between that vital part of Irish culture and identity with a farcical made-up dialect called Ulster-Scots that any dunce you speaks English with an accent can speak and Irish culture is being duly censored/vetoed according to that agenda.

    Finally, to self-determination as stated in the Irish Proclamation of Independence: “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.” The censorship is contrary to that destiny being “unfettered”. It doesn’t matter in effect if it is a another nation or their foreign state that is doing it or if it is self-censorship done without the knowledge or consent of the nation at the behest of either. There can be no veto of any type on the right of a nation to national self-determination.

  • Scamallach

    Dave

    “I held the view that there were two traditions but one nation but I now hold the view that there are two nations (and the GFA states that, anyway). Since two nations cannot attain national self-determination in one state, and since there are two nations, I don’t support unity because it cancels the right of national self-determination for the Irish nation but leaves the claim of self-determination for the British nation (BG will continue to exist) intact.”

    I think you’re using the word nation here to muddy the water. In the context of NI, the word nation can be deemed to mean one body of people with a similar outlook on the question of a united Ireland. But as this is basically a question of personal preference (admittedly strongly influenced by upbringing/family), i.e. it is not a racial or even anymore a linguistic division, it is able to be changed at any point in the life of an individual. In the event of a united Ireland the unionist minority would eventually dwindle and assimilate, much as the minority did in the south. Of course many would maintain a cultural tie with Britain and organisations such as the Orange Order would continue to function, but the more moderate folk would eventually find another group to associate with.

  • “dwindle and assimilate, much as the minority did in the south” … and in the north .. hmmm. I don’t think our history is that clean cut, Scamallach

  • John East Belfast

    Dave

    Your problem as I see it is you owe more allegiance to the island called Ireland than the people who live there. All who occupy it should serve that mother earth god and as in the past satisfy its blood lust with the sacrifice of its young men.

    I dont know what your last name is but i know Adams ancestors probably came over on the same boat as mine – along with probably most of the northern SF and PIRA leadership. Therefore most people in modern Ireland know its too late to start talking racially about “cuckoos in the nest”.

    Anyhow the flow of Gaels, Celts, Vikings, Saxons and others to and between these islands over the millenia most people basically are of the opinion that the vast majority of people living here now are legally entitled to do so.

    As for the Irish Nation State the concept of an unified Irish Kingdom was invented by the British and it only ever existed – with a capital in Dublin – under British Rule. That was fully cemented into the British State by the Act of The Union in 1800.

    In other words the concept of the British Nation State in Ireland actually pre-dates the concept of an Irish Nation State in Ireland. Therefore you are a couple of hundred years too late.

    There was no independent Irish Nation State in Ireland in the terms you are defining it – ie as everyone living in Ireland subserviant to the territory included on the island.

    What you are really arguing about is the people who live there choosing their own personal allegiance – those who see the Irish Nation State as defined by the 26 counties and those who see the British State as defined by the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland.

    I agree though some of the six county nationalists have been deluded (which may be what you are inferring to)in that because they can hold an Irish passport, can be Irish President or play for the ROI football team they are as part of the Irish Nation State as anyone from the 26 counties is.

    However what would you have done – had no Agreement with northern Irish unionists and continued an armed struggle ?

    All the SF bashers on this site dont appear to have a workable alternative – they just bitch off about a bad deal and betraying of past principals.

    As I asked you earlier – do you believe they should have continued with the “Armed Struggle” to enforce the right of the “Irish Nation” to drive the British State out of Northern Ireland ?

  • Dave, calm down. Like John, happy to be Irish of origin, but British just as my Sikh/Kenyan friends are in London. I am self-determinately British, an individual choice which is a long way from the 19th century fusion of romanticism and marxism that would have a State (led of course by the people) to make that choice for me.

    As for Scamallach, “dwindle and assimilate” is not how my folks in Cavan would describe their history since partition.

  • Cynic2

    Louise was young, foolish and was conned by the Shinners, as were so many others.

    But honestly she should think herself lucky. In the past and in the North many other young people were conned into murdering their fellow Irishmen for ‘the cause’. Many of them ended up spending the best years of their lives in prison or starving themselves to death just to put Shinners into well upholstered seats in Stormont. Now they find that their former Generals have even conveniently forgotten that they played any role in the military campaign. Perhaps they just dont want to hog all the ‘glory’.

    But Louise needs to even think a bit harder about how she was indoctrinated and used. She has even swallowed the biggest Shinner con of all – that its all about ‘Brits Out’ in the North.

    The reality is that the English would we off like a shot given half a chance. The Nationalist problem is that 1 m Prods who live here arent going away and feel more of a British identity than an Irish one – a position that has ben hardened by 30 years of violence.

    Has Louise ever been to Belfast and spoken to a real Prod? Deluding onself about the true nature of ‘the problem’ doesnt help any of us find a way forward on this island.

  • Scamallach

    Nevin, Dissenter,

    I think you’re trying to imply that I’m trying to get rid of Potestants or something. Nothing could be further from the truth – I’m from a half and half family and went to Protestant schools all my life – most of my friends are Protestant. I myself am an atheist so would have no interest in trying to push a Catholic agenda.

    This is the age old problem; trying to differentiate someone’s religion from their political beliefs. I don’t think, and I fervently hope, that the Protestant population of Ireland would not dwindle. BUT people like going with the crowd and I think that in a UI there would be a lot of moderate unionists who would just start voting for an all Ireland party so that their vote counted more.

    Furthermore, cultural aspects such as all-Ireland television channels, music charts and educational systems would help north and south integrate, much as they have served to divide over the past 80 years.

  • Scamallach, you are inferring something I did not say. Your background is completely irrelevant and of no interest at all to the matter queried.

    Your final point is centred around the Protestant poplulation being likely to ‘dwindle and assimilate’ and now you say you don’t think the population will dwindle. I am now confused as to what you are saying.

    My point was that ‘dwindle and assimilate’ is far from the process that my folks in Cavan would be describe in relation to Protestant life in the Free State/republic since partition, and therefore your propostion (by my observation) is simplistic and naive.

  • John East Belfast

    thedissenter

    I would be interested in hearing your folks in Cavan’s experience in the Free State post partition.
    There is another current thread where Objectivist is telling me that Protestants in the south had nothing to complain about compared to Catholics in the north.

    What were your relatives’ experiences ?

  • west1

    ”It is also not possible for two nations to share one state (it’s like a car with two drivers who want the car to go in different directions) which is why every nation that has attained the right to national self-determination has a nation-state and which is why that is the international law. That is especially not possible when one of those two nations defines itself by not being the other nation.”

    absolute gibberish.you’re basically saying the nation that doesnt have a nation doesnt have a nation.you don’t say…

  • HeadTheBall

    “Not a follower of American politics are we?”

    The US Republicans were bidding fair to handing Dubya the powers of an absolute monarch, so I suppose we can conclude that the GOP are republican in name only.

  • Mack

    Dave –

    The problem has always been the existence of large numbers of geographically concentrated British Protestants in Ireland. I don’t think it’s a new development that they regard themselves as part of a different nation (British). The hard part was always going to be building a new Irish nation that included them along with those who already regarded themselves as part of the Irish nation (“Uniting Catholic, Protestant under the common name of Irishman”). By and large that effort has failed so far. But that is what you rail against when you speak out against Unity because it means extending the British nation into the Irish nation. It does to a degree and always did, because it involves (and always did) a Belgian or Swiss style merger of nationalities into something new. Tone just happened to call that new nation Irish. It could never mean forcing Gaelic native Irish culture on the descendants of the planters.

  • Mack

    Uniting Catholic, Protestant and dissenter under the common name of Irishman

  • Guest

    “The problem has always been the existence of large numbers of geographically concentrated British Protestants in Ireland. I don’t think it’s a new development that they regard themselves as part of a different nation (British)”-Mack.

    Agreed.But the those who declare themselves British and Irish in the same breath are clearly impinging on the Irish peoples right to self-determination.It is obviously an internal British problem and I wish Mr.Salmond the best of luck in his endeavours.However,it is clear that an english parliament is the necessary step in ridding us all of the westminister empire mentality.

  • anne warren

    The real “father” of Republicanism in Ireland was William Drennan, a Belfast Presyterian with a medical practice in Dublin. In 1791 Drennan first proposed the formation of a democratic political party, the Society of United Irishmen, “the general aim” of which would be an independent republic. The United Irishmen were rationalists. They read Thomas Paine (The rights of man). Liberty, Eqality and Fraterniy were their principles.Drenan conceived republicanism as an international movement and assumed the United Irishmen would be in communication with “the leading men in France, in Engand and in America”. Jonathan Swift wrote “our bethren the Dissenters were always Republican both in Principle and in Practice”

  • Guest

    “But that is what you rail against when you speak out against Unity because it means extending the British nation into the Irish nation. It does to a degree and always did, because it involves (and always did) a Belgian or Swiss style merger of nationalities into something new. Tone just happened to call that new nation Irish. It could never mean forcing Gaelic native Irish culture on the descendants of the planters. “-Mack.

    This is exactly the point that Dave is hammering on about.Many in the south who have traditionally supported a united Ireland may no longer do so as it is becoming easier to envisage the form it may take.The idea that there would be a british tinge may be easy for northern Replublicans to accept simply because it is better than what they presently have, but southern republicans see in it but a ceding of their nationality to northern protestants who understand their “Irishness’ in the same way as others understand there leftyness and or rightness.
    Where I would take issue with Dave’s view is on North-south bodies.I defy him to cite Irish government projects that have been diluted into nsmc, as I can only see a duplication in case of agreement and silence in case of unionist intrangience.
    Once again, the solution is an English parliament and so the establishment of equilibrium between North-South and East-west where east is ni and not Island of Ireland .

  • Scamallach

    Dissenter

    “Your final point is centred around the Protestant poplulation being likely to ‘dwindle and assimilate’ and now you say you don’t think the population will dwindle. I am now confused as to what you are saying.”

    Re-read my comments. I’m not talking about Protestants – you are. I’m talking about Unionism as a political belief dwindling post-reunification. You are being deliberately obtuse so as to force a debate on religious terms. Not interested thanks.

    Re your family: you’re claiming knowledge of the experiences of the wider Protestant community in the Republic based on one family in the (border county of) Cavan. THAT is simplistic and naive.

  • pete whitcroft

    The long game has been adopted.
    It will save many lives and will lead to gradual change.
    Sinn Fein leaders know this. Sadly like the DUP they lied to get power.
    If you are a Sinn Fein activist, the best way to a united and stable Ireland is by engaging with people who currently vote against your ideal and persuading them otherwise.
    A united Ireland with loyalists copying the IRA to undo it would not be the paradise you have been sold.

  • lurig

    Ehhmmm…..and what about the absentee landlord Republicans in North & West Belfast who have made a fortune from the property boom AND housing crisis in these places???? They have bought up ALL the big terraced houses and land and turned it into bedsit Disneyland with all the anti-social scumbags, drugs and other problems that this has brought. Sinn Fein are total hypocrites, they bang on about housing rights and anti-social activity BUT senior Republicans with massive property portfolios are contributing to most of this.

  • abucs

    I fully expected for unionist and nationalist politics to be well on the way to being transformed by this stage. I think Unionism has taken a step backwards and nationalism hasn’t really gone anywhere.

    The surprise for me is that Sinn Fein and the SDLP have not largely re-defined their politics.

    Perhaps because of the 4 (or 5) cornered political set-up, parties are in a sort of gravitationally forced straight jacket as far as developing their political agendas.

    If Sinn Fein do not at least double their support in the south within the next 10-15 years they will be dependent on finding (suitable) southern partners.

    Although having other political partners is extremely risky and will lead to some loss of support, it is the only way to practically have a permanent non ignorable Ireland wide dimension to the northern state (in the absence of a 20% support base in the south).

    The SDLP would do well to beat them to it and merge with the Irish labour party.

    If they did this they would lose some support but Sinn Fein will have nowhere to go politically except move closer to Fianna Fail that will cause more problems with its own support base.

    Alternatively, if Sinn Fein cannot see itself getting 20% of the southern vote by itself (and that looks to be the case) it should look very quickly at forming a co-alition with labour, or else risking a split and moving closer to Fianna Fail.

    A larger island wide party or co-alition would have access to more political ideas, more European clout, more governing experience, more global political and commercial connections and a more widely recognised ability to tackle the big questions facing the future.

    Much more than the induced straight jacket of political parties at present.

  • cynic2

    “those who declare themselves British and Irish in the same breath are clearly impinging on the Irish peoples right to self-determination”

    Rights of self determination v belong to individuals not people. They may be expressed collectiovely but they are individual rights so how they define themselevs is up to them.

    “I think Unionism has taken a step backwards and nationalism hasn’t really gone anywhere.”

    I dont think that collectively anyone has really gone anywhere. The DUPs have moved on to start talking but their position and underlying angst hasn’t changed. SF talk a good game but their grievous lack of depth in policy and skills is ever more apparent.

    Neither of them is prepared to try and lead their co0nstituencies towards a better place somewhere in the middle.

    Even away from ‘the national question’ politics at Stormont hasnt developed. Its appalling to liten to the debates on TV and sometimes hear the grunts catcalls and occasional animal noises being made while some MLAs are speaking. There is no drive to betetr servcies unles it involves spending huge more amounts of public money. The only progress seems to be that they now go to Downing Street and Millbank to wave the begging bowl together

  • Patrick McGill

    I am surprised that Carrie Twomey(Rusty Nail) did not write this article. Doesn’t she revel in delivering bad news to Sinn Fein. Ah eirigi the ones that have to lift seats!