No brolly? It could rain cops and prods..

After a year of SF Councillors resigning in constituencies across Ireland one with unusual previous loyalties steps up to the plate as the shinners’ newest MLA

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Is he a Prod? Is he the only example of a Fenian or a Prod representing the opposite camp in Stormo?

  • Drumlins Rock

    might be only one Sammy since Sir John Gorman retired, bout time that changed shall we swap sides?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Drumlins Rock,

    RE. “shall we swap sides?”

    Could be a really interesting reality TV show.

  • Sam Thompson

    reminds me of Peter Robinson once saying on tv that David Trimble had more positions than the Kama Sutra, could be applied to Mr Leonard MLA

  • borderline

    Could I ask my unionist sparrers on this site to agree a protocol?

    (We could look to the famous Tommy-Fritz WW1 Xmas day trench football match as an example.)

    We must disown turncoats. It makes the losers feel betrayed, and the gainers suspicious.

    It is most unhealthy for both camps.

    We can arrange dead-of-night swaps if you like.

  • Scaramoosh

    One is reminded of Ronnie Bunting of the INLA and that Catholic member of the Mount Vernon UVF (name escapes me).

  • Scaramoosh,

    And how about “Mark Kennedy, a 28-year-old Catholic from south Belfast,” who is currently on trial in cornnection with the LVF’s murder of Martin O’Hagan in 2001?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2009/nov/15/martin-ohagan-craigavon-courthouse-loyalists

  • Skintown Lad

    I’d love to know did he have that beard before he decided to become a Shinner?

    Surely voters would not trust a man who’s changed his politics more often than underpants?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Prod Cops joining Sinn Fein and Presbyterians from Scotland singing in Gaelic
    http://sluggerotoole.com/index.php/weblog/comments/gaelic-psalm-singers-in-beal-feirste-cois-cuain/

    Whatever next – Nelson spotted draped in a tricolour at Casement Park?

    Fair play to Billy and great to see him make the hard walk across to the other side. Wonder if there are any fenians expected to stand for Unionism at next Stormo elections? Little bit embarassing for the ‘on-tribal’ UUP if there aint.

  • harry

    Isn’t Billy Leonard married to a Catholic and raised his children as Catholics?

    He is a convert but I don’t really regard him as a Protestant nationalist, more like a Protestant-converted Catholic.

    I also feel Sinn Fein are only bringing him into Stormont to try and appeal to more Protestants and show that Catholicism and republicanism are not synonymous. I don’t think it will do Sinn Fein much good among Protestants anyway. Very few Protestants are nationalists and those who are surely would support SDLP over a party that was linked to a organisation which killed many Protestants and possibly family members. I wonder what sort of reception Leonard will get from the DUP? They certainly will see this as a betrayal. I though am fine with it TBH. The more we can convince people that unionism and Protestantism and Catholicism and nationalism are not synonymous, the better it will be for community relations in Northern Ireland.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    re. ” The more we can convince people that unionism and Protestantism and Catholicism and nationalism are not synonymous, the better it will be for community relations in Northern Ireland. ”

    Agree totally – and it helps to measure the extent of a party’s non sectarian appeal if they can get other-siders into their party AND get them elected. The sectrianism with the UUP that results in all/most/many of its elected leaders needing to be seen to be Orangemen is a serious challenge for the party and one they seem to be in some denial about and something the Tories should have insisted on before touching them with an electoral barge pole.

  • DaithiO

    I’ve met Billy, a complete gentleman and a true republican. He has served for years as a Finn Fein councillor in Coleraine.

    We all take a different journey to reach where we are in every facet of our lives. I believe it’s politics we are discussing here, not religion!

    However I guess this put’s to bed the myth of republican sectarianism. But this being Slugger the whatabouters will be here any moment now. Yes they are gathering just below me here…

  • DaithiO

    *Sinn Fein councillor

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    DaithiO,

    I think one FF is more than enough.

  • Ramzi Nohra

    yeah good news generally if it helps people separate birth religion/political viewpoints.

    As for consistency, he seems to be at about the level of Eoghon Harris.

    He hasnt done too bad has he?

  • Skintown Lad

    “However I guess this put’s to bed the myth of republican sectarianism.”

    Yes, just like the BNP’s recent Indian recruit means they’re not racist…

  • Mark McGregor

    Mick is out of the country so there may be a delay in removing libellous comment. Apologies on his behalf. I’m sure he’ll spank bottoms once he has the time.

  • Paul McMahon

    ” The more we can convince people that unionism and Protestantism and Catholicism and nationalism are not synonymous, the better it will be for community relations in Northern Ireland. “

    Absolutely agree, in a wider context, I personally know two IRA ex prisoners who were both born Protestants and lived untill their late teens on the Shankill Rd, (one even has a red hand of Ulster tattoo on his arm!!)

  • lie detector

    I am shocked at some of the bile posted here. the fact that so many of you are entrenched in your tribal camps sounding off with inaccuracies beyond belief. how do you ever expect to achieve peace or a viable system that takes that part of the country out of its diar rut. olivia you are a disgrace and your libellous comments amongst others have been noted and passed on. also prod this and prod that- check out Wolfe Tone start there, read a few books. get a job and wise up.

  • Ulster Native

    “”(one even has a red hand of Ulster tattoo on his arm!!)””

    The Red Hand of Ulster is an Irish Gaelic symbol.

    And fair play to a Protestant for moving up within the ranks of Sinn Fein!

    Remember people, Republicanism wasn’t founded by Catholics- But Protestants!
    You ‘could’ say he is making his forefathers proud.

  • Paul McMahon

    “The Red Hand of Ulster is an Irish Gaelic symbol”

    Fully aware of that UN but it obviously has different connotations for British Unionists in Ireland.

    “Remember people, Republicanism wasn’t founded by Catholics- But Protestants!”

    When did France become a Protestant nation?

  • Mick Fealty

    I’d been speaking at a conference in Barcelona when some of you decided to go off on one about Billy Leonard. To those who think you can use Slugger as a clandestine means of getting at public figures (and I don’t care who they are) using annonymity as a cover, forget it.

    Understand this. If you break the law on Slugger, you are potentially subject to that law. I will not not stand between you and the consequences of your own words. Even short of actionable behaviour you run the risk of being ‘outed’ publicly if you egregiously choose to play the man rather than the ball.

  • Lie Detector

    semantics Paul are a bit immature in fairness but yeah good point. just needs a simple tweek- Irish republicanism was spawned as a movement by a protestant- Theobald Wolfe Tone

  • Paul McM

    True LD.

    Don’t take comments above too seriously. It was made flippantly with my tongue firmly implanted in my cheek.

  • DR

    There is actually currently one NI senior unionist politician, Lord Ballyedmond, ( edward haughey) ok he has switched to Conservatives from the UUP but same dif.
    Probably the most notable in the past was Denis Henry http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Denis_Henry, yes it is a shame there arent more, hopefully that will change soon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catholic_Unionist

    Just one more thing I know nothing about Mr Leonards current religious views, but to be a Protestant Republican or Catholic Unionist I think you probably still have to identify or practice in someway that faith.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    DR,

    re. “Just one more thing I know nothing about Mr Leonards current religious views, but to be a Protestant Republican or Catholic Unionist I think you probably still have to identify or practice in someway that faith. ”

    The important thing here is somone from a community background that is Fenian or Prod moving across to the other camp – faith is irrelvant. Billy is a community background Prod and should rightfully be celebrated a such – hopefully he does well.

  • Billy’s family do seem pretty republican/nationalist to me. Someone by the name of Leonard, presumably a close relative contested Billy’s original seat in Skerries in 2005 (twice). I understand at least one of his children(perhaps he only has one, I don’t know) went to Loreto in Coleraine.
    His religious and political beliefs seem about as constant as each other to be fair.

    All in all, the man was probably a very poor day’s shopping for the SDLP.

    Interestingly, nationalist representation in East Londonderry now seems very Coleraine based. If the SDLP had sense (doubtful I know) they could perhaps find someone with a significant connection and vote base in the Dungiven or Limavady parts of the seat to run for Westminster, but that might make Cllr Dallat MLA a little worried.

  • DR,

    There is actually currently one NI senior unionist politician, Lord Ballyedmond, ( edward haughey) …

    Um, ‘politician’ … really? Can you point to the elections he has ever contested?

    Do you think everyone appointed to an undemocratic body (like the HoL) can really be called a politician, if they’ve never actually participated in politics before they bought their peerage?

  • Reader

    Mark McGregor: …shinner’s newest MLA
    OK – I still don’t know – has he actually been co-opted, or is he just one of the next batch of candidates?
    He has been an SF MLA candidate before. Whether because of uncommonly poor vote management by the local SF branch, or because SF were let down by their voters, he got half the votes of his running mate.
    But if he really has converted, as previous posters have suggested, things might be a little easier for him this time round. Easier still if SF are planning to run only one candidate this time!

  • Drumlins Rock

    Horseman, Leonard hasnt been elected yet either, the new EU foreigh minister isnt, most of the US cabinet hasnt ever been, our current “deputy” PM currently isnt, yes its better to be elected not necessary to be a politician.

    Without getting into anyones personal life, where you come from is interesting and tells a bit about who you are, but its what you currently believe that is important.

  • Drumlins Rock,

    Actually Leonard has been elected – just not as an MLA. He’s been a councillor since 2001 at least. Even standing for election makes you a politician, whether or not you are elected. Leonard contested East Derry in 2007 and 2005.

    As for your other examples, in some cases you are right, but in others you’re wrong. Mandelson has, of course, stood for election (in the past) and been elected. Ashton is a technocrat, pure and simple. But what is Haughey? He neither stands for election nor carries out a technocratically political role.

  • Sam Thompson

    daithi – ‘however I guess this put’s to bed the myth of republican sectarianism’

    the vast numbers of blatantly sectarian murders by the republican groups during the troubles wont exactly be evened up by his joining SF. and i remember a great deal of uproar from republicans on shows like talkback when he switched to SF from the SDLP.

  • john

    I wonder if he is still working for the police, but undercover.

    A modern day trojan horse.

  • Reader

    john: I wonder if he is still working for the police, but undercover.
    Highly unlikely. But I’m sure that the rest of the party don’t speak too freely about some aspects of the past in front of him – for other reasons.

  • Fabianus

    I do wish we could use this as a great opportunity. At last we can get beyond the religious labelling.

    Let’s simply see Mr Leonard as a Nationalist politician. Why should his religion matter?

    But it does to our less enlightened brethren. The British Humanist Association are running a poster campaign at the moment, in Belfast even. The thrust of the message is that religions have no right whatsoever to lay claim to children.

    Naturally the usual suspects disagree. One even goes so far as to insist that “every child is born as a Muslim. Religion is not given by the family, but it is a natural religion given by our God at birth.”

    Hmmm. This probably explains why only Muslims self-explode on an almost daily basis in Afghanistan, taking many more with their sorry arses.

    Oh and of course David McIlveen is in the thick of it: “It is the height of arrogance that the BHA would even assume to tell people not to instruct their children in the religion.”

    Yeah right, David. You’ve never indoctrinated children eh? Fucking tosser.

    Oddly enough, the only sort of sane voice was that of a Roman Catholic priest:

    Fr Gary Donegan, from Holy Cross in north Belfast, said he hoped the campaign would open up debate on religious issues.

    “One positive thing that could come from this is if it opens a debate on faith. I am not offended by it, but perhaps the money used for it could have been channelled better into a humanitarian cause.”

    Read more: http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/local-national/humanist-poster-stirs-up-religious-storm-14566599.html#ixzz0XRjpcRNp

  • The Raven

    On the issue of picking this particular chap, rather than whether or not he has suffered some sort of mental break, where were some of the “longer term”, more established candidates? What was the competition for the post?

  • Paul O’Toole

    We are so used to the idea that protestant equals unionist and catholic equals nationalist that it seem anathema that an orangeman could be a shinner, but it was not always so.

    Someone above mentioned Wolffe Tone, there was a time in Irish political history when the driving force behind the idea of a separate Irish nation were Ulster protestants and it was the catholic landowners who were most fiercely “loyal” to the crown.

  • Cara

    Some people put their careers before religion.

  • Lie Detector

    Cara, he actually doesnt practise religion anymore, and as discussed before religion does not and should not totally determine your political viewpoints or what party you vote for. social status should over ride this (e.g why does a working class protestant on the Shankill vote for an elitist party who by nature is conservative?) . its so irritating to come across people who take the basic pakage of ‘im a prod so i guess im unionist’ and vice versa. if you are working class and need a voice then im afraid the party that will look after your interests in Ireland/N.Ireland is by default, Sinn Fein- yes there are others but they lack effectiveness and have little power.