Gerry Kelly: “a British problem”

Mark is covering the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis below and there are various speeches on the Sinn Fein website. One from Gerry Kelly is interesting. Kelly has never seemed much in to unionist outreach. However, even by his standards this speech is non conciliatory. At the end he came out with “…it wasn’t an Irish problem, it is a British problem in Ireland.” He seems to be ignoring the fact that Sinn Fein signed up to the Belfast Agreement which in the section on Constitutional Issues states:

The participants endorse the commitment made by the British and Irish Governments that, in a new British-Irish Agreement replacing the Anglo-
Irish Agreement, they will:
(vi) recognise the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and accordingly confirm that their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments and would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.

How the issues in Northern Ireland being “a British problem” sits with this the birthright of people here to be British is difficult to grasp. To misquote: “They (the British) haven’t gone away you know.”

Kelly’s next point was:

Secondly and most importantly, to all those out there, fighting for justice, freedom and equality. There are no intractable problems, nothing is impossible in struggle.

It might be worth asking just how Kelly intends to solve the “British problem” if nothing is indeed impossible. Kelly is of course well acquainted with various putative “solutions” to the birthright of people here to be British. Maybe unionists should consider those words before supporting the devolution of policing and justice next week.

  • Mark McGregor

    Turgon,

    Lets be honest. Alan is covering the SF Ard Fheis and we are leeching his content 😉

  • british citizen

    ‘Unionist outreach’ is a myth.

    If Sinn Fein want to reach out to Unionists they need to apologise for the loss of innocent lives and admit their campaign has made a United Ireland less likely – not more likely.

    Gerry Adams saying things like volunteers ‘should look back with pride’ on the activities they carried out will not soften Unionist opinion on a United Ireland.

  • Alias

    “If Sinn Fein want to reach out to Unionists…”

    I doubt it really matters. Much like the former nationalists, you’ll be told what to think when it suits the British state to tell you (and like them, you’ll be led to think that you’re determining your own affairs).

    However, a united Ireland will only come about within the UK, so you’ll end up with a version of Home Rule and with similiar power-sharing arrangements as you have now. In that regard, it won’t be any different to life as you know it now.

    That’s the theory anyway, but how long such a ‘Nirana’ can be sustained by state brainwashing is something others will discover in due course…

  • Paddy

    If you are a home sick Brit, go to Britain, using any passport you like. If you live in Ireland, you are either Irish or a cuckoo. What could be simpler.

    Gerry Kelly’s problem is he is too conciliatory. OK, he does not join Orange Order marches and disrupt masses at Harryville, but he is part of the British apparatus in Ireland and, as such, as reactinary as any of the Unionist dinosaurs he is supposed to be enthralled with.

  • Coll Ciotach

    He is correct – it is a British problem – they have imposed a divisive border and maintain this imposition.

  • Kevsterino

    Whatever British problems exist in Northern Ireland (is there only supposed to be one?), will inevitably be solved only by the British.

    I really don’t understand what unionist people want to hear from someone like Gerry Kelly. I mean, it isn’t as if he could ever make them think differently of him by saying anything.

    It is like the Irish road signs. Certain people would object strenuously to them even if they said “The King’s Highway” in Irish.

  • John O’Connell

    Northern Ireland is not a British problem. It is about values. The solution is for all to give their allegiance to the New Testament value system, rather than many unionists and Sinn Fein supporting Old Testament values, centrally the Irish/British state as a God and to fall down and only worship their cultural aspirations or identity.

    If compassion was the goal, the conflict cannot happen. If the flag is the god, there will always be conflict.

  • KieranJ

    Mr. O’Connell, that is an incoherent posting.

  • David Crookes

    Paddy (#4), you say, ‘If you live in Ireland, you are either Irish or a cuckoo. What could be simpler.’ The answer is NOTHING, but who wants to be a simpleton? If the children of our recent Chinese, Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian immigrants are not Irish, are they cuckoos?

    The idea that everyone who lives on one piece of land should have the same nationality belongs to the kindergarten of Blut-und-Boden. We don’t tell Norwegians that they should really be part of Sweden. Furthermore, to tell unionists whose families have been living in Ireland since the sixteenth century that they should go back to Britain is to prattle like a infant.

    Some of us have been lambasting the UUP for its failure to look forward, but when I listen to today’s Ard Fheis I realize that many members of SF are no better. The unionists of NI are not going to go away. Neither are they going to be absorbed by a republic that flies the tricolour. If you really believe in a UI, you must renounce outdated malevolence (e.g. calling people ‘cuckoos’)and outdated constitutions.

    On my side of the fence some silly semi-literate fantasts talk about an Ireland for Protestant, Catholic, and Dissenter. That is plain stupid. Many Irish people attend no church whatever, and the word ‘Dissenter’ has lost its meaning. On the same side of the fence some ungenial souls ask us to keep faith with what the founding fathers of unionism believed. That is equally stupid. We have to live now, and our grandchildren have to live in the future. What the republicans A and B thought a century ago, what the unionists C and D thought a century ago, must not bind their great-great-grandchildren.

    Alias says (#3), ‘a united Ireland will only come about within the UK.’ I salute his prescience, but quarrel with his word ‘within’. It is possible that some new and warm-hearted relationship will be devised by the people who live in these islands of ours. There is no point in trying to make the future conform to our own notion of what the past should have been. I mean to say, the RoI has had nearly ninety years to create an Irish-speaking population, but its present population doesn’t want to speak Irish, and on the other side of the border only a tiny minority of SF MLAs can speak Irish fluently. Some vociferous persons profess to love things that they aren’t prepared to work at.

    Let us all get real. Anyone who doesn’t want the people of our islands to enjoy a friendly relationship is not fit for adult society. We have no duty to live in accordance with the notions of thosr who died nearly a hundred years ago. Canonized humans make perfectly rotten gods.

  • KieranJ

    “Neither are they going to be absorbed by a republic that flies the tricolour.”

    Yes, they are.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, KieranJ (#10)! Bearing in mind that the GFA was backed up by twin referendums in the RoI and NI, please tell us how.

  • joeCanuck

    Turgon,

    I wouldn’t get too exercised over his comments. Most of us know that this bunch frequently speak with forked tongues and, unfortunately for their aspiration, too many of them think that the Northern Irish people who say they are British ought to go “home”.

  • Marcionite

    David , don’t give Paddy any attention.

  • DerTer

    I’m with Turgon on this one (though I’m disappointed at his failure to comment on apparent TUV support for the Stoneyford marchers). It comes as a startling insight to me that Gerry Kelly doesn’t really know or understand that the GFA undermined, disposed of, rejected, negated or whatever – once and for all – the fundamental tenet of the republican belief system that the Brits were ‘the problem’. The real problem is of course that even the mighty Brits are powerless in face of unionist resistance – that’s why the consent principle is at the core of the GFA. Get the message – you’ve got to persuade them.

  • KieranJ

    Mr. Crookes,

    You will agree that the GFA was cobbled together after the British government realized that the bombing campaign in the six counties was spreading faster and faster to cities in England such as London and Birmingham to name a few. They managed to get some cooperation from the Republic and thus a bandage was placed on the massive wound that is northern Ireland.

    That bandage has just about absorbed all that it can and now belligerence is once again about to return. I believe the British public will now choose a complete amputation rather than another bandage to correct the problem.

  • Paddy

    “If the children of our recent Chinese, Polish, Lithuanian, and Latvian immigrants are not Irish, are they cuckoos?
    The idea that everyone who lives on one piece of land should have the same nationality belongs to the kindergarten of Blut-und-Boden.”

    David Crookes: You probably see the contradictions in the above. People hark for the old sod, be in Pakistan, Italy or, in the case of Irish Americans, Ireland. Chinese and other immigrants wil lget caught up in the push of the new and the pull of the old.
    Unionists never integrated. Theirs is the laagar culture of white South Africans.
    Relocating a million vor so Unionists would not be such a big deal in the big sway of things. The Six Counties is not democratic, never was and never will be.

    Your other points, especially saying Republicanism has outlived its shelf life, is so obvious even members of Sinn Fein should see it. But that ain’t going to happen because they have to live within their myths as well.

    Others suggesting Ireland (26 + 4 + 2) should reintegrate back with the fading island power to the east does not make sense.

    Your point about the Irish language is also telling and one “Republicans” etc do not want to hear. There have been, im – uncontroversial – ho, three excellent novelists in Irish in the twentieth century: Seosamh MacGhrianna, Breandan O hEihir (the only book in Irish that ever topped the Southern charts) and Maiirtin O’Cadhain. All three of them were scathing about the Irish language industry. (Only O’Cadhain had been in the IRA).

    My view is simple at one level: Unionism is a reactionary belief system and is at the root of much of our troubles. It spawned a reaction (under a Republican flag). Unionism must be destroyed but having PIRA/RIRA/CIRA etc fil vacuums suits no one. Perhaps Ireland’s destiny is to be as petty as Paddy Kavanagh painted it.

    DerTer: The Brits CHOOSE to be @powerless in face of unionist resistance” A few slaps would have sorted Paisley out. The Unionists got the velvet fist in the velvet glove. The PIRA got led up the garden path, the tougher ones decommissioned and the house trained ones co opted.

  • joeCanuck

    Ah Paddy; a coherent post. You must have taken my advice about the medication. Keep it up.

  • Paddy

    Gerry Kelly is an Irish problem, if you think about it. Unionists are so perennially unsure of themselves that they feel their passports/parades/passions are all for the bonfire.
    Pity the native Irish, stuck with Gerry Kelly to represent them. Isn’t it odd how Gerry’s old pals (well, not Ivor Bell etc) got in on the spoils.

    If Sinn Fein was an ordinary political party (it “used” to be part of a Movement), there would have been ructions of sorts at that Ard Fheis, with Southerners asking the Northerners to get off their backs.

    I guess there will be a big booze up tonight. Hookers won’t do so well as on Fianna Fail’s big night but I guess well connected Pervies don’t have to buy it.

    I find it interesting here that one thing that unites the Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter (to use a hackneyed phrase) here is scoffing at Sinn Fein. Without the guns, they become a joke. And, then, wahtever brains were in the militant wing of the Republican Movement moved with Gerry and Liam, or retired. Leaving us with RIRA, and with CIRA looking forward to the one hundreth anniversary of this, that and the other.

    Still, more French people appeared on the streets of Paris than came out to celebrate its 1944 liberation so who knows what the future will hold?

  • Alias

    “Bearing in mind that the GFA was backed up by twin referendums in the RoI and NI, please tell us how.” – David Crookes

    If I had a penny for every time folks have repeated this falsehood. In fact, nobody in Ireland voted for the GFA. We voted for the 19th Amendment, and for the British Irish Agreement. The only reason we voted on British Irish Agreement id because that agreement gave sovereignty over institutions of the Irish state to the United Kingdom, and Article 5 of the Irish constitution invests sovereignty in the Irish nation so they must approve of any request by the state to give that sovereignty away to a foreign state or transnational agency.

    Incidentally, the “within” (your other post) is essential, since it is not to be determined by the Irish nation and has already been pre-determined by the British state. I’m speculating about a single state government even if the GFA and the British Irish Agreement does not allow for this (the requirement that the government acts with “rigorous impartiality” between two competing nationalism rules it out).

    The actual plan is for a Confederated Ireland with the exercise of the sovereign powers of the Irish state being gradually transferred to the NSMC, wherein these powers are jointly exercised with the British state. This removes the sovereign power from the Irish nation to determine its own affairs in its own national interest and renders these affairs subject to a veto by the British state and the constitutional condition that they are exercised to give parity of esteem to the national interest of the British state. This means that while the Irish nation still retains sovereignty to determine its own affairs and promote its national interest it has chosen not to do this but rather to allow the British state this veto and so this national interest is no longer advanced – or, more accurately, it is not advanced outside of equal consideration of the British national interest. In other words, it remains a nation-state in name only since it now operates as a bi-national state and a bi-sovereign state (both ghastly constructs).

    Of course, nobody would vote for this if they were told about it, so the Irish state simply promoted this transfer of sovereignty from the Irish state to the British state “cross-border cooperation in areas of mutual interest” without explaining the constitutional implications of it. The British state uses the Irish nation in Northern Ireland to front this transfer of sovereignty, presenting it as co-operation between the Irish nation rather than as the British state reclaiming sovereignty over Ireland (in addition to the sovereignty that it consolidated in Northern Ireland).

    So, just as it uses the Irish nation in NI to hold this newly-acquired sovereignty over Ireland, it uses the British nation in Northern Ireland for the same purpose of holding onto its territory by deliberately conflating the British nation with the British state, declaring the presence of the former mandates the latter.

    There is nothing whatsoever about the presence of the British nation that requires the presence of the British state. The British state will claim that this British nation requires its presence, as it does in other disputed territories wherein it has planted its nation, and will do this by allocating a bogus right to self-determination to it, knowing that it will be never used by the British nation to remove the British state, when no nation is entitled to a multiplicity of states under international law.

    Having engineered this emergent Confederated Ireland within the UK it has no intention of allowing the competing claim to self-determination of the Irish nation to undermine its sovereignty, and so it has masterfully undermined it, replacing the original purpose of unity (which was to extend to the right to national self-determination to the formerly disputed territory) with its new purpose, which is to remove the right to national self-determination from the Irish nation in the non-disputed territory and replacing an Irish nation-state with a replica of Northern Ireland.

  • Alias

    One other point, the British state is under no obligation under international law to maintain its ownership of a territory just because the British nation in the territory that the British state has colonised uses its bogus right to self-determination (given to it by the British state) as an expedient to secure the British state’s ownership of the territory. So it an invalid argument to claim that the bogus right to self-determination in the colonised territory overrides the right to self-determination of the colonising territory, and that the British state must therefore remain for as long as others wish it to remain. That is simply a old trick that the British state regularly uses to retain ownership of disputed territories.

  • One day soon Ireland is going to discover that not everyone on this island is Celt, or Catholic. On that day the cries of “if you are not one of us get out!” are going to sound even more rascist and bigoted than they do now.

    It is our problem. We must persuade unionists to join us, we dont need all, just a majority, but as long as we sound like rabid bigots we will not get one of them.

    S/F at long last, are moving in the right direction. G Kelly is being a bit cynical. He knows the problem is ours but he knows what the die hards want to hear. It is time we grew up.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks for the advice, Marcionite (#13), but I can’t resist an argument. KieranJ (#15), I really don’t recognize the version of recent history that you have set down. Paddy (#16), if unionism must really be destroyed, how or where do you start? Finally, Alias (#19), if the British strategy which you describe so diligently is factual, then it is incredibly brilliant!

    Sorry to be so terse, boys, but my eyes are closing and I’m going to bed. Have a good night.

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    Paddy writes: “If you are a home sick Brit, go to Britain, using any passport you like. If you live in Ireland, you are either Irish or a cuckoo. What could be simpler.”

    Ah yes, I remember the Unionist hard liners at the start of our bloody troubles saying the Catholics could go South if they were so “Irish.” This is just pure sectarian thinking of the lowest intellectual variety.

    The people at both ends of the island of Ireland voted to cement the Unity by Consent Only principle but like the loonies of the Provos (and now the dissidents) you, Paddy, no doubt would tell us that we have no “right” to disagree with the “mandate” of the First Dail etc. What a lot of codswallop. Hard line Republicans lost. Hard line unionists like Jim Allister lost. They are both a distinct minority. The majority of people in NI want to say within the UK. A vast majority of Catholics in NI are democrats who accept this. The Irish Government accepts it. Let’s put the bloody border aside for God’s sake and deal with making Northern Ireland a decent place to live for our children and their children. As Hume always said, “You can’t eat a flag,” whether union jack or tricolour variety. Views like yours, Paddy, remind us of Cromwell telling the Taigs to go to hell or Connacht. Your time is over and your votes count for nothing. Run in an election and see how much support you have. Like the Bourbon monarchs, you have learned nothing and forgotten nothing. Cuckoos ? You are the one living in Cloud-Cuckoo-Land, a lonely pathetic place.

  • Coll Ciotach

    No – we do not have to forget about the border and we wont

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    Coll Ciotach: noone is asking you to FORGET about the border, if that is your personal choice. I asked your to set it aside, pro tem. But are you against making the place work until your choice has been democratically accepted ? If there was a united Ireland tomorrow, I wouldn’t expect the unionist community to “forget” about their ethnic and historic connection with the union but I would expect them to make the most of the Irish “unity” which they were now part of.

  • joeCanuck

    Unification in 2016 Coll Ciotach?
    It will not come about until the vast majority of present day Unionists can be persuaded along with a fair proportion of nominal Nationalists.
    It will be a long wait unless….

  • Marcionite

    Let;s take a sidestep, I work for a firm in NI where coworkers were intimidated by management for attempting to organise a trade union.

    How free am I, how free are us, how free are you?

    You can build a Dail or a Stormont on every street but when workers dignity is so affronted, then what is the point?

  • british citizen

    “They managed to get some cooperation from the Republic and thus a bandage was placed on the massive wound that is northern Ireland.
    That bandage has just about absorbed all that it can and now belligerence is once again about to return. I believe the British public will now choose a complete amputation rather than another bandage to correct the problem.”

    Posted by KieranJ on Mar 06, 2010 @ 10:07 PM

    You’ll need a lot more than a bandage to patch up the wound that would be left after that young man.

  • Rory Carr

    “No! We won’t forget about the border.” says Coll Ciotach, stamping his foot before turning to his wife, “Now where did I put me hat? Minnie, have you seen me hat?”

    Just so long as you remember the overwhelming endorsement of the GFA, Coll, all will be well. Honest.

  • David Crookes

    Marcionite (page 2, #2), where are the £72,000 per annum commissioners when you need them? They should be compelled to read what you have written, to investigate the firm that you mention, and to take exemplary remedial action. You are right. The whole imposing structures of state are worth NOTHING unless ordinary people are able to feel perfectly safe both in their home areas and in their places of work.

    Here is the real corrupt world. While the Big Boys and Girls get Big Salaries for expensively pursuing fatuous trivialities at law, ordinary people are afflicted by persons who with complete impunity deny them their basic legal rights.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alias,

    If I had a penny for every time folks have repeated this falsehood. In fact, nobody in Ireland voted for the GFA.

    [boring right-wing drivel snipped]

    They voted for the British Irish Agreement which says:

    The two Governments affirm their solemn commitment to support, and where appropriate implement, the provisions of the Multi-Party Agreement.

    Please explain to me how it would be possible for someone who opposes the GFA or it’s provisions to vote for a document which contains the above clause ?

  • Coll Ciotach

    GFASupporter

    I have no interest in making partition work – I want it to fail and keep failing, and it will.

  • Coll Ciotach

    JoeCanuck
    2016 – cannot see it myself – I wonder why you raised that hare?

    And as for the GFA – it will also fail. It is creaking at the seams now – the unionists cannot accept equality

  • Jud

    My opinion is that a 32 county republic will come sooner or later, but it absolutely has to be in the best interests – and with the consent – of the NI protestant community.

    If the six counties came in with ‘special’ constitutional status and guarantees it could put the northern combined vote in a very powerful position – similar to how Quebec holds many of the levers of power in Canada.

    All of us would be so much better off in such a position. Playing the role of a distant county council that Britain could not care less about will never give us the power to control and improve our collective futures.
    We would, however, make a formidable voice in the dail.

    The sooner we start this process the more power we have to negotiate strong constitutional advantages.

  • lamhdearg

    jud “32 county republic” What happened to socialist,post 2 dito, I have had the misfortune to stand close to gerry when he been on full hatred mode, A leopard won’t change its spots.

  • Jud

    LD – don’t mistake my position as Sinn Fein ‘orthodoxy’. My issues with the party and its positions are many.

    In many ways this needs to move beyond current republicanism and on to the things I mentioned – northerners making selfish and strategic moves to secure our future in the world.

    That won’t come from the current SF model I agree – but it will come, and my point is the sooner it comes the better off we all will be.

    Socialist, capitalist, naturalist – whatever – I don’t care.

  • Turgon

    Jud,
    “Socialist, capitalist, naturalist – whatever – I don’t care. “

    You do not care it seems as long as it is not British. The problem is that the overwhelming majority of unionists see themselves as British, have the right to do so and further have the right to remain part of the UK until such time as they are no longer a majority.

    It may confuse you but unionists do not see holding any levers of power (assuming the RoI government and people give them that power, and why should they) in a united Ireland as better than being part of the UK.

    In addition without any resort to sentiment I am afraid there are a whole wealth of practical reasons why unionists want to remain in the UK.

    I am afraid you just do not get this whole unionist thing do you?

  • joeCanuck

    whatever – I don’t care.

    Are you really really sure about not caring, Jud.
    What about those Nationalist Socialists posing as real socialists?

  • lamhdearg

    Jud i do not agree,I belive our (people of ulster)position shall not be inproved by the incorporation of the north in to the south.

  • Jud

    Turgon – I understand your position, but I don’t want to change things just because it is currently British.I just believe people are better served when they can make decisions and form policy which directly impacts their lives.
    The NI/Stormont/Westminster model comes nowhere near this (and to be fair its been given a long time to produce results), but an Ulster/dail one could.

    No reason British citizenship could not be supported under such a model (similar to Irish citizens in the north today)

  • Turgon

    Jud,
    “I just believe people are better served when they can make decisions and form policy which directly impacts their lives.”

    You are missing (or ignoring) the point. Unionists just believe that they are best served in the UK: them being unionists.

  • Jud

    LD – fair enough.
    I, on the other hand, see the imagination, energy and talent the people of the north would bring to the table.

    With the opportunity to drive policy and shape a nation the possibilities are endless.

  • Jud

    For the sake of argument Turgon (and I understand it is a complete hypothetical), if you truly believed you and your family would be better off in every way imaginable – would you reconsider your position?

  • Alias

    “Please explain to me how it would be possible for someone who opposes the GFA or it’s provisions to vote for a document which contains the above clause ?” – Comrade Stalin

    I’ve no problem helping the learning disabled but in this case it won’t involve more than using bold font:

    The two Governments affirm their solemn commitment to support, and [b]where appropriate implement[/b], the provisions of the Multi-Party Agreement.

    The British Irish Agreement is a treaty between two sovereign states. Idiots such as yourself regularly confuse it with the GFA, which is a document that only involves the political parties of Northern Ireland and which nobody in Ireland voted for or negotiated.

    Where it is appropriate for the Irish government to implement the relevant provisions of the GFA is in its strand two provisions which give sovereignty over institutions of the Irish state to the United Kingdom.

    So the reason they voted for the British Irish Agreement is “because that agreement gave sovereignty over institutions of the Irish state to the United Kingdom, and Article 5 of the Irish constitution invests sovereignty in the Irish nation so they must approve of any request by the state to give that sovereignty away to a foreign state or transnational agency.”

    As for the “solemn commitment to support” the GFA, I think you’ll find that such sentiments were expressed by many governments without in any way committing their respective nations to its irrelevant provisions, but then you are learning disabled so I don’t expect you understood that part.

  • Turgon

    Jud,
    “With the opportunity to drive policy and shape a nation the possibilities are endless.”

    Once again ignoring the point. Which part of this are you not able to understand? We do not want to be part of France, Germany, the Netherlands etc. etc. and we also do not want to be part of the RoI. It is very, very simple. We are unionists and we see our best interests as being best served within the UK.

    You telling us that we are wrong is actually rather condescending and in many ways simply an update of the whole unionists are really Irish but do not understand it yet and we will bomb and murder them into accepting it. Now whilst you may well not agree with killing anyone you are still disrespecting us by telling us that you know better than us about how our futures would be.

    Remember Ian Smith told the blacks in Rhodesia that they were better off under white rule. Now was he entitled to tell them that or was it a colossal form of arrogance?

    Are you beginning to understand? I do not believe I and my family would be better off, as such your comments are utterly irrelevant and I am afraid arrogant.

  • lamhdearg

    We already bring it to the table, the world table,I am an ulster nationlist,a small pea in the worlds pumpkin.in the modern age one is one,you may not think that we do not get support from britain that eire would supply i don’t, Without londons intervention belfast would be reykjvik.

  • Alias

    By the way, Comrade, just to add (because I’m sensitive to your affliction): as you noted, the “two Governments affirm their solemn commitment to support” the GFA and as I noted many other governments also gave this “commitment to support” it (the Yanks particularly) but it doesn’t follow, as you seem to think it does, that this commits either the folks in London or the folks in New York to live as the good folks in Northern Ireland have decided to live.

    The only document that has any legal relevance to Ireland is the treaty that was signed between the two states – the British Irish Agreement.

    The GFA is just an internal agreement between political parties in a region of the British state. Irish political parties were not involved in it, and the Irish nation took no part in its negotiation, and nor is the Irish nation or the Irish state in any way bound by it.

    If it didn’t sink in that time, let me know and I’ll see if I can upload pics of alphabet blocks to aid your comprehension.

  • joeCanuck

    C’Mon guys. This argument is a valid one but there is no need to descend into petty name calling.
    PLAY THE BALL

  • lamhdearg

    joe explain

  • Alias

    Joe, you’re right of course, and any man who joins the Alliance Party has clearly suffered enough at the hands of the sensible electorate.

    I’m often amazed by the arrogance of the state-pampered Northern Irish. They honestly believe that it is up to them to decide the future of another state, and that the political parties of that state don’t even need to be involved in negotiating that future and neither to the citizens of that state!

  • lamhdearg

    alias what da fuc are you talk*************.i agree state-pampered, we dont think we should decide the future of another “state” Just our own.

  • Brian MacAodh

    “we voted on British Irish Agreement id because that agreement gave sovereignty over institutions of the Irish state to the United Kingdom”

    What institutions were those? All it did was amend Articles 2 and 3? So the ROI gave up its claim on the 6 counties. How was it’ sovereignty in the 26 counties effected?

  • Alias

    lamhdearg, that’s what I said – you don’t get to decide the future of another state.

    The “Multi-Party Agreement” involved all of the parties of Northern Ireland and none of the parties of Ireland because it only applies to Northern Ireland and not to Ireland.

    If it applied to Ireland, then the future of a separate state would be determined by the political parties of a foreign state, with all of the political parties of that state excluded from determining its own future.

    That’s the arrogance of those who think it does apply to Ireland, and that we voted for it. We didn’t vote for it because we don’t hold a veto over the citizens of a foreign state, so you don’t need our approval to determine your own affairs.

    Brian MacAodh, it was affected by the Irish nation unwittingly permitting its state to give sovereignty over institutions of their state to the United Kingdom. The national interests that were promoted by these institutions are no longer promoted by the Irish state in the interests of the Irish nation but have been devolved to executive bodies over which the United Kingdom has joint-sovereignty, thereby giving the British state a veto over Irish national interests.

    The executive powers that have been transferred from the exclusive control of the Irish state to the British state are already quite extensive and are being continually expanded, with the intention that the United Kingdom should have progressively expand this newly acquired sovereignty over the Irish state o the point where the only policies of the Irish state that it doesn’t share joint-authority over are those that the UE has sovereignty over!

    That transfer of sovereignty is the only reason that the British Irish Agreement was included in the 19th Amendment. It is not constitutionally possible for the Irish state to give the Irish nation’s sovereignty away to a foreign state without the permission of the Irish nation, as that sovereignty resides with the Irish nation under the constitution and not with the state.

  • Brian MacAodh

    Did anyone recognize this at the time?

  • Alias

    No, they were told that it was innocuous sounding “cross-border cooperation” which was mutually beneficial. Irish people are mostly ‘post-ideological’ (I’m not even sure what this means myself) so they don’t think these things through, and take them on trust. If they thought about it at all it was only that it meant that Ireland also gained control of the institutions of Northern Ireland, and would not have considered the reverse.

    Just to jot back to Article 5 of the Irish constitution. The problem with this is that it declares that sovereignty resides with the nation and not with the state. Unlike other states in the EU, the Irish state does not have ownership of this sovereignty so it cannot give it away without seeking the permission of its rightful owners:

    “The State’s organs cannot contract to exercise in a particular procedure their policy-making roles or in any way to fetter powers bestowed unfettered by the Constitution. They are the guardians of these powers – not the disposers of them.” – Irish Supreme Court, Raymond Crotty v An Taoiseach and Others

    What the Irish state is doing by transferring the sovereign powers of the Irish state to these executive bodies wherein the United Kingdom holds joint-sovereignty is engineering an “Ireland of equals” where “parity of esteem” is given to British national interests. It is establishing the principle that the Irish nation can be subject to a veto of the British state and the British nation without appearing to suffer any averse effects from the loss of sovereignty (but only because it refuses to measure the averse effects of no longer promoting Irish national interests).

    In this way it is converting the Irish nation into a non-sovereign nation where equal national rights is acheivable by creating an “island of Ireland” that is shared between two non-sovereign rights and where “rigorous impartiality” (a requirement of the British Irish Agreement) can be exercised between these two non-sovereign nations via the emergent ‘government’ to which the Irish state is gradually transferring its sovereignty.

    Why is it doing this? My guess is that it is simply a case of having a corrupt head of government who was prone to taking large sums of cash from kindly strangers and a couple of Anglophiles in the department of foreign affairs. There is no other reason why the Irish state would collude with a foreign state to undermine the sovereignty of its own nation.

  • lamhdearg

    Alias i will look back at this again, right how i have a 2 year old screming in my ear

  • Paddy

    The Irish (Catholic) people voted for the GFA because they are violence phobic. They lost their guts fro the Troubles after MI5 did the series of Dublin bombings.
    The Orange state is and always has been anti democratic. No amount of window dressing will change that.

  • Paddy

    Paddy (#16), if unionism must really be destroyed, how or where do you start?

    Unionism is one problem in Ireland. But Sinn Feinism is another. Think of the Irish (Northenr Prots included)as a dysfunctional, totally f-ed up family with the Brits making things worse. That is where to begin.

    And to acknowledge things good and bad, and to differnetiate between them. So unionism = bad, Republicanism = outdated romanticised clap trap.

    That is a beginning.

  • Michael Gillespie

    Some proposals for a peaceful future.

    “ The participants endorse the commitment made by the Irish and British Governments that in a new British/Irish Agreement replacing the Anglo-Irish Agreement they would
    (vi) Recognise the birthright of all of the people of N. Ireland to identify themselves as Irish or British or both as they may so choose and accordingly confirm that the right to hold both Irish and British citizenship is accepted by both governments and would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.”

    Reading the responses to the above about N. Ireland / Ireland the same old hoary arguments are being trotted out and go on and on ad nauseam. In the above quote the G.F.A. has drawn up a special constitutional arrangements for the six counties and it’s a crazy one. In the six county state on the ground there is the de facto constitution of two conflicting Heads of State being involved along with two conflicting national flags, two conflicting national anthems and two conflicting national passports giving two conflicting citizenships. This special constitutional arrangement for N. Ireland is crazy and thus constituted sectarianism discord and violence will be endemic.

    The craziness of this constitutional arrangement in the six counties can be looked at in another way by making some suppositions about the Irish in America. Suppose the Irish in America rejected the American Constitution and with it President Obama and recognised instead President Mc Aleese as Head of State. Suppose the Irish in America refused to fly The Stars and Stripes and instead flew the Irish Tricolour. Suppose the Irish in America would only travel on an Irish passport giving an Irish citizenship and wouldn’t travel on an American passport giving an American citizenship and suppose the Irish refused to sing the U.S.A. national anthem but insisted they sing Amhran na bhFiain. Under these suppositions America would be in a sorry constitutional mess with ructions between the Irish and the rest of America but all of these suppositions are a reality when transposed to the special constitutional set-up in the six counties.

    The thrust of this special constitution for here is to maintain a U.K. even though the U.K. is rejected by a significant section of the people. This constitutional problem, be it called Irish or British, is solvable using logic and reason if these attributes can be found on the island. To solve the problem will require The National Government of Ireland drawn up in Belfast and ratified at Westminster. The detail of the Act can be found in the novels –THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE —and –THE RAPE OF VIRGIN MUNCHINDUN—and these are available from Amazon Books. A brief summary of the Act follows: –
    The Act should redefine the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland as the Federal Kingdom of the Sovereign Nation of Ireland and Great Britain or vice versa depending where on is standing on these islands. This definition would require: –
    (1) One head of state for all Ireland –a reformed Crown.
    (2) One national flag—a redesign of the Irish tricolour using union symbols as the National Flag of Ireland and symbol of the Federal Kingdom defined as the Royal Flag of Ireland.
    (3) One Anthem acceptable to all.
    (4) One passport giving an Irish citizenship and recognising the Crown as Head of State the passport being written in Irish and in English.
    (5) One central government in Dublin called Dail Eireann with power devolved to assemblies in each of the four provinces.
    (6) One national police service—the Garda Sciochonna with a policing service devolved to each of the four provincial assemblies namely the Royal Connaugh Constabulary, the Royal Leinster Constabulary, the Royal Munster Constabulary and the Royal Ulster Constabulary.
    (7) These islands should be defined in the Act as the Isles of the North Atlantic with a Federal Kingdom army acting in defence of the Isles and of democracy. The Federal Kingdom Army should be divided into two commands – The British Army whose command rests with Westminster and The Royal Irish Army whose command rests with Dail Eireann. A ditto arrangement should be made for the Federal Kingdom Navy and Air force.
    (8) The Orange Order should be reformed in the Act and be open to all.

    To initiate these constitutional reforms will require the establishment of a new central party in N Ireland named Federal Unionism-Early Sinn Fein. This party should be Crown friendly, federal union friendly and United Ireland friendly.

    Michael Gillespie Federal Unionist-Early Sinn Fein

    (7)

  • Brian MacAodh

    Alias

    Thanks for explaining.

    Michael-
    I know those were the aims of the original Sinn Fein (or similar to them), but I think any unionist would object to any party with the name Sinn Fein in it.

  • David Crookes

    We’ll need need to exercise our imaginations if we are to discern the sense in Michael’s proposals (#9). At the moment mature people on both sides in NI are stuck in the same tardis, desperately trying to go back a hundred years: but jazz which is played from written-out parts is not real jazz.

    Many of are Sindbads who carry around on our shoulders, everywhere we go, a miserably outdated Old Man of the Sea. Let’s pull the plug on the Old Man of the Sea and go somewhere interesting. If our grandchildren decide that they all want to live in a modified monarchy, who will call them traitors, and whom will they be betraying?

    ‘Ireland Free’ when it comes will be whatever the Ireland of the future freely decides it wants to be. Anyone who demands the right to determine its constitution in advance is a lunatic. Some people in the 1920s believed that in time they would get an Irish-speaking society. Well, they didn’t get one. Let’s leave our grandchildren to decide what else they can do without.

  • Paddy

    POst 11. Well written, plenty of soft metaphors but where does it get us?

    “Some people in the 1920s believed that in time they would get an Irish-speaking society.” Not many. You had all the bandwagon jumpers and “old soldiers” to be bought off.
    I have a friend (anti Republican) whose uncle was one of the 77 the Free Staters shot and whose family knew Michael Mallin, the Irish Citizen Army guy executed by the Brits in 1916. He left a widow and child, one of whom became a Jesuit priest. The neighbours in Kingstown thought he was bonkers, dying for rabble (as James Connolly put it in the GPO). He died for Ireland but left his widow to carry the can with four kids and one on the way. Much nobler than dying for the German King of England on the Somme but just as futile.
    It is no good decommissioning weapons. Even the RUC/PSNI know that. It is minds that must be decommissioned. Not in my lifetime as they say.

  • Rory Carr

    “It is minds that must be decommissioned.

    You should be happy then, Paddy as there is already ample evidence presented here every day of the effects of such decommissioning.

    The insistence of the RIRA, the Continuity IRA, Oglaigh na hÉireann (and possibly some others yet undeclared) that they each alone represent the true government of Ireland and that their murder campaign represents the nation in arms is but the most batshit crazy manifestation of that process.

    Michael Gillespie’s suggestion that “The Orange Order should … be open to all” is only slightly batty in comparison, bringing to mind as it does visions of Legion of Mary members queueing outside Orange Halls after their Friday Rosary to sign up and don their new regalia.

    Next week – in Watts and Harlem the brothers are invited to join the KKK.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks a lot, Paddy (page 3, #12). You’re right about minds. Certain ‘futile’ things have to burn themselves out, no matter what side of the fence we live on. It’s a pity that we’re often constrained to move at the speed of the slowest and least rational minds. As for your last point, if the Troubles decided to start up again tomorrow in a really big way, people would contrive to get weapons from somewhere. They always do.

  • Michael Gillespie

    In reply to respondent one what you mean is that those unionists who can’t think for themselves won’t vote for a party with Sinn Fein in it so also those nationalists /republicans who can’t think for themselves won’t vote for a party with unionist in it. I’m not writing for those who can’t think for themselves but for those who can.

    Respondent two who is of the opinion that the problems and issues that confront our generation in our time should be left to be sorted out by our grandchildren is morally reprehensible. Each generation has a duty to resolve the problems of their own times and hand on a better world to their descendants. We have a problem with the constitution of our own country. The problem we are faced with now is a crazy constitution that is unwritten imposed sectarian and is designed and maintained by political lunatics. Our so-called politics is the real lunacy. As a responsible citizen I have put forward imaginative and responsible suggestions as to how to resolve the historic problem of our times in our own time. If respondent two doesn’t find the suggestions helpful then the onus is on him/her to identify the problem as of now and put forward a set of rational suggestions as a resolution in our times. To dump our problems on a future generation is gross moral cowardliness and irresponsibly in the extreme.

    Respondent three takes exception to my suggestion that membership of the Orange Order be made available to all. It would have been preferable if respondent had first of all read the detailed reforms needed by the Orange Order given in the novel—THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE—before making a thoughtless stupid useless comment about the Legion Of Mary.

    Michael Gillespie Federal Unionist-Early Sinn Fein

  • Turgon

    Michael,
    Not necessarily criticising your ideas but what if people do not want to agree with them? what do you do then? Suppose the Orange order do not want to be open to all? Do you intend to force them?

  • Michael Gillespie

    Questions Answered.

    In reply to the person who asked the questions (1) What if the people don’t agree with your ideas? What will you do then? (2) Suppose the Orange Order don’t want to be open to all? Do you intend to force them?

    There is no way I or anyone else can force the Order to do anything they don’t want to do. To arrive at a situation where the Order is open to all would require radical reform of the Order. This reform is set out in The National Government of Ireland Act. It is complex and can be found in detail in the novel —THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE—available from Amazon Books. The Order would have to see that such reforms are in their interest.

    To answer question (1) you will have to know something about myself. I’m not a politician. I’m a former teacher who left that to write on the theme– the Irish Problem. While that isn’t the stuff of best sellers nevertheless that is my
    writing interest and that’s what I do.

    To explain to you how I see the Irish problem being solved I will use the analogy of an engineer building a bridge. First of all a structural engineer has to draw up a solution to the problem on paper using ideas; then a civil engineer puts a team of people together to implement the paper solution on the ground.

    I claim in all sincerity and with due humility that the National Government of Ireland Act which can be read in the novel indicated is the solution to the Irish problem on paper. That solution on paper needs to be implemented on the ground by a team. To do that will require a new political party of the centre, which I see as Federal Unionism- Early Sinn Fein. This new party would have to be formed from a coalition of the U.U.P. the S.D.L.P. and the Alliance

    I’m a realist and realize that such a coalition isn’t imminent. The current political ideas in use by the parties are old –hat, threadbare and sectarian but the difficulty is that the people demand such ideas so the politicians supply them. However I reckon that in N. Ireland there’s an untapped market for new moderate ideas. Among my friends and acquaintances the politics of the assembly are laughed at. There is a decline in the turn out for elections and there’s a fall in the electoral register. The assembly is seen as dysfunctional and rightly so; its dysfunctionality rests in the assembly being a mandatory coalition of the far left and the far right. Such a coalition is a constitutional obscenity and will squabble and fail time and time again In my opinion there is an untapped market for new moderate ideas but how the market can be tapped into is a question I can’t answer. What is needed is a coalition of the moderate centre (and that is constitutionally sound) that will put the new ideas of the National Government of Ireland Act to a new market and thus implement the solution on the ground.

    As already noted I’m not a politician but a writer. I have two published novels on the Irish Problem —THE WAY IRELAND OUGHT TO BE —and —THE RAPE OF VIRGIN MUNCHINDUN —and I’m now working on the third book in the trilogy titled –SIZE MATTERS— In these I’ve said all I want to say about the Irish Problem. After that I have two options either to write on a different theme or to do a doctorate in education, an unfilled ambition of mine. But I’m at ease and rest content in the knowledge that I’ve done what is in my power to do as a private responsible citizen in shedding new light on an intractable historic issue, this new light of ideas being hopefully useful to other people. However it is clear to me that since The Government of Ireland Act partitioned the island only the National Government of Ireland Act can unite it.

    Michael Gillespie Federal Unionist-Early Sinn Fein Derry/Londonderry