“Perhaps for the citizens of the Republic too, the Belfast Agreement is in fact a settlement.”

It is, perhaps, symbolic that, rather than attending Sinn Féin’s Irish Unity Conference in London, David Adams, Martin McGuinness, et al, found themselves stranded on a Belfast runway in an ice-bound Aer Lingus jet. It meant they missed Paul Bew’s contribution to the debate. And in the Irish Times today David Adams, belatedly, has his say

It is often forgotten that unionists are not the only ones who need to be attracted to the idea of a united Ireland. The people of the Republic must endorse a unitary state as well. It has always been taken for granted that they would jump at the chance of reunification with the North, but it would make more sense if in fact they preferred to stick with the existing arms-length relationship.

Whatever its faults, the Republic is settled, cohesive and self-contained. Why on earth would its people want to gamble all in some new dispensation with nearly two million troublesome Northerners – most particularly if it were the case that a substantial number of their erstwhile neighbours were being dragged into something against their will?

Maybe republicans aren’t rocking the boat in the South because they realise that the people there aren’t any keener on a united Ireland than unionists are. Perhaps for the citizens of the Republic too, the Belfast Agreement is in fact a settlement.

, , , , , , ,

  • RobertNoonan

    Pete

    You are very correct. There will many people put out when this does happen.The Northerners are for sure not such an easy push over as the present day Southerners are.The GFA is merely a step along many a step to Unity.I look forward to the huge contribution that the Northern protestant can make whne Ireland is United.

  • Dec

    Perhaps for the citizens of the Republic too, the Belfast Agreement is in fact a settlement.

    Has Davey any figures, polls, statistics to back this up? No? Thought not.

  • Pete Baker

    Robert

    I don’t know which post you’re agreeing with me on.

    But it clearly isn’t this one.

  • scarecrow

    Is this the same Paul Bew who was a screeching leftie? Went on PD marches and looked to the socialist workers party?

    My not only things have changed but the people too.

  • Dec

    btw Pete

    I would have interpreted that symbolism as reflecting a united independent future for Ireland cut off from London but that’s just my take. I presume you favour the ‘parked on the runaway’ motif.

  • Munsterview

    “……Whatever its faults, the Republic is settled, cohesive and self-contained. Why on earth would its people want to gamble all in some new dispensation with nearly two million troublesome Northerners – most particularly if it were the case that a substantial number of their erstwhile neighbors were being dragged into something against their will?……”

    The Republic is settled………. only because up to the so called Celtic Tiger era emigration was accepted as a norm and few aside from Republicans questioned the governance or structures of the state. People like me are no longer voices in the wilderness, almost every political conversation I have these days is about political and financial corruption. Southern politics are now seen for what they are, the service industry for a small golden circle of elites that are above and outside the mass of society who are left to pick up the pieces for their extravagant and stupid ways.

    No jobs abroad anymore and a mainly third level well educated young population that have been given a taste of what things could be in prosperity. They are still in shock but the anger is now kicking in big time!

    Cohesive…….. Dublin 4, The Law Library mob and what the late John Healy, political journalist referred to as ‘ The Permanent Government’ of senior civil servants etc certainly are in their unity against the rest of the populace. Ask the people of Waterford and the South East, Co.Galway or Mayo in the West or Donegall in the North how much they feel a cherished part of the State?

    There was a weary toleration of the status quo in the hope that some of the apparent prosperity would come their way. Now all the house keeping money is spend and they are still as they were except that they are now annoyed and hopping mad.

    Self contained……. again only while the status quo remained unquestioned. Williams and others have shown the true face of the Builder, Banker and W****er lot and how bankrupt of political ideas their political associates were. The smugness is well gone, there is concern for neighbors, and that includes the North and a new appreciation of the E.U.

    People have opened their eyes, they are questioning the status quo in a way I have never seen before and if this translates into a demand for new structures and new politics then everything is on the table including some kind of all Ireland Association. This will also present an opportunity to have decentralized power back to the Provinces and Regions where there can closer scrutiny, accountability and more local involvement.

    During the height of the Celtic Tiger, Pat Rabbit fought the election with the slogan ‘ But are you Happy’ ? It was laughable at the time but if the same question is asked now there will be a resounding no with several expletives deleted comments regarding our former ‘water walkers’ following. However as to Sinn Fein making hay while this sun is shining…….. well terms like organizing, piss-up and brewery comes to mind!

  • David Crookes

    Certainly no one in Dublin is thinking about the 50%-plus-1 day when the 26-county tricolour state will swallow the 6-county Hibernia Irredenta. Whatever happens, there will always be a separate assembly in each part of the island. Only persons who have no commitment to reality will vote for chaos and unease.

    Dubliners as far as I can see are happy about the idea of a royal visit to their city. If there is any discord on the day of the visit you can guess who will make a special journey to cause it.

  • Greenflag

    Excellent article by David Adams and he strikes the right note for the times that are in it. People in the Republic have far more important matters to contend with for the next several years than a UI whether it be on a near or far horizon .

    SF should probably bite this particular bullet for the present and take their seats at Westminster and thus ensure that their constituents get the representation they voted for . They can like the Irish Home Rule Party pursue their UI objective simultaneously . Forget the principles and focus on the pragmatics for now .

    David Adams point’s re the inherent contradiction between SF Republicanism and the RC Church role in the Republic is one that needs more examination not just by republicans generally be they SF or anybody else but by ALL the parties in the Republic .

    The role of the RC church in Ireland is changing This is perhaps less seen in Northern Ireland where ‘themmuns’ i.e non RC’s complicate the issue by virtue of their politics more so than their religion.

  • Jud

    All speculation without some form of referendum (which will almost certainly have to happen when the time comes).
    Such a referendum will trigger enormous debate on the direction, values and objectives of the nation which will be a valuable and overdue thing in its own right.
    I find it hard to see any outcome other than a majority in favour of an end to partition.

  • Greenflag

    munsterview ,

    ‘However as to Sinn Fein making hay while this sun is shining…….. well terms like organizing, piss-up and brewery comes to mind!’

    Well yes but is there any evidence that Ireland is unique (other than it’s more recent ‘prosperity’ ) in the way it’s tackling the recession and the bubble burst than say the USA or UK or elsewhere ?

    It seems to me generally that if there is a ‘left ‘ or even ‘pragmatic ‘ alternative out there if it’s not being heard it’s because it’s either non existent or has’n the answers that will work given the present global economic situation .

    This is not an excuse for FF mind you . They deserve a decade in opposition but I have little faith in FG and even less in Labour . Richard Bruton might make a good Taoiseach but apart from Alan Shatter none or front bench spokespersons have made any impact on the national psyche . Like the Brits in their upcoming election when faced with the choice between the status quo and an opposition which doesn’t seem to know it’s arse from it’s elbow we may choose the devil we know for now .

    ‘This will also present an opportunity to have decentralized power back to the Provinces and Regions where there can closer scrutiny, accountability and more local involvement.’

    If you know your history of Governance in Ireland (ROI) you would know that one of the reasons why the earlier Free State had to centralise was because ‘close scrutiny, and accountability ‘ were demonstrably lacking and the local involvement ended up in the hands of ‘special ‘interests and factions .

    Ireland is too small a country for ‘regional ‘ governments and or assemblies . It’s a two hour drive to Galway from Dublin and 3 hours to Cork with Belfast an hour and a half away .

    Despite the conventional wisdom that people in Ireland (north or south ) are supposed to have long memories the truth is that some seem to know and care more about what happened in 1690/1798/1916/1922/1969 etc than what happened in the mid 1980’s when the IMF were knocking on the door demanding that the Irish Government cut it’s public spending . At the same time 250,000 young people left the country for greener pastures elsewhere . We should recall the words of Brian Lenihan then a Government Minister who made the point that Ireland was too small a country to provide a future for all it’s people i.e the people born there ?

    His son our present Finance Minister has not yet stepped up to the mark to repeat his father’s words . Presumably the influx of some 400,000 immigrants into the country during the past decade msy have complicated his thought processes ?

  • Dec – I just polled myself (an expat Southerner) and found Adams to be right on the money.

  • Dec

    Mark

    I’ve been e-mailing my southern friends and relations all morning and they’re 100% certain Davy’s talking out of his arse.

  • George

    “It is the firm will of the Irish Nation, in harmony and friendship, to unite all the people who share the territory of the island of Ireland, in all the diversity of their identities and traditions, recognising that a united Ireland shall be brought about only by peaceful means with the consent of a majority of the people, democratically expressed, in both jurisdictions in the island.”

    That was what received a 95% yes vote south of the border the last time the electorate in the Republic was asked to vote on their State’s position on this issue.

    I have a lot of time for Mr Adams’ view on many things but in this instance I’ll accord more weight to the 932,000 votes for the above text.

    The main reason for this, apart from the obvious democratic weight of the latter, is that the southern electorate is acutely aware of the dangers of not maintaining a unified position on this issue for the Irish State.

    Without doubt, plenty of southerners might think life would be easier if things stayed as they are but they are also aware that if social cohesion and a stable state is to maintained then the unity bullet will have to be bitten once a majority north of the border so wish it.

    Our Republic will cease to be settled, cohesive and self-contained the minute permanent partition is declared a settlement or we don’t step up to the plate when the time comes.

    To think otherwise, is not only naive but dangerous.

  • George

    Correction to above post: it was actually 1.4 million who voted yes not 932,000.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Ah Paul “I was at Burntollett too” Bew……who is now in the Henry Jackson Society, just like “Lord” Trimble, who was not at Burntollet (so far as I know).
    And Paul Bew is now also “Lord” Bew.
    At least other Lefties were more consistent.

    Sooner or later all Trots and Lefties give it up…but rarely as dramatically as Bew.

  • PJM

    I can never quite understand why people here think the south would reject unification. I spent 35 years there and found that most people would support unity as a political ideal. There is little interest in the north and no sympathy for it, though. Unity would be expected to be on the basis of straight integration; no NHS for Malone Road while Sligo keeps its rubbish health service. The people of the south that I know don’t expect unity to solve anything. Remember that the Germans did it despite the economic and social problems that followed.
    BTW my understanding is that this is also the reason for FF setting up a shadow organisation in NI. They can’t afford to be absent if northern votes suddently start mattering.

  • Paddy

    “I look forward to the huge contribution that the Northern protestant can make whne Ireland is United.”

    Valliant warriors like Ms Calder apart, what possible contribution could they make to anything? Protestants do not have a democratic tradition and whatever semblances of culture they have is anal retentive.

  • joeCanuck

    You did sound semi-coherent there for a while, Paddy. Prescription ran out?

  • Greenflag

    I suspect that if a UI ever comes about we in the Republic will be as prepared for it as the Germans were when Germany was reunited in 1989?

    Who would have predicted in 1987 that there would be a reunited Germany in 1990 ? Sometimes history can move very fast indeed . Even so I can’t imagine any UI coming about inside the next decade at least .

    George strikes the right note in #13 above . The Republic won’t run away from it’s responsibilities if the day ever dawns -just as the UK can’t run away from it’s responsibilities to NI in the present .

  • Paddy

    “You did sound semi-coherent there for a while, Paddy. Prescription ran out?”

    More ignorant, unfounded remarks. You cannot answer the question because it shows the nothingness at the heart of Unionism. It is a bankrupt, corrupt, reactionary political ideology.

  • Greenflag

    paddy,

    ‘Protestants do not have a democratic tradition ‘

    The RC Church was always more opposed to ‘democracy’ than Protestantism. From the time of the French Revolution the Papacy has been opposed to democracy , republicanism , jacobism and any type of government that gave the mass of people any say in their governance . The RC Church is not a democratic institution being more akin to a religious aristocracy . The only election is the Rotten Borough one ,whereby about 100 Cardinals get to elect the Pope who is then appointed for life .

    [keep it civil – edited moderator]

  • Greenflag

    paddy ,

    Try and distinguish between ‘unionism’ and ‘protestantism’ . The former is a political ideology the latter is a religious philosophy . 99.999999% of the world’s protestants are NOT unionists 😉

  • Alan N/Ards

    Davey Adams is spot on. The only people ranting on about a UI are hardline republicans. I’m sure most people in the south think it would be great to have the island united, but it is not the first thing on their minds when they wake up in the morning.

    I have met many people from the south on holiday both abroad and down south and the conversation has never come up. Not once.

    I see Paddy is on his usual anti prod rant. I belong to the presbyterian church and we democracticly elect our leader every year. Unlike your RC church. Abviously Paddy doesn’t know any prods as we our a broad church when it comes to culture. What sort of culture do you lie Paddy? Come on, enlighten this philistine on what you do in your spare time – apart from the sticking pins in home made protestant dolls ritual, which you and your family do behind drawn curtains.

  • Alan N/Ards

    That should read “what sort of culture do you like Paddy”?

  • joeCanuck

    Alan,
    The answer is plain to see. He loves spewing hatred.

  • Alias

    “Nationalism, of whatever type, is by definition narrow and exclusive, so perhaps in some quarters, regardless of the fine-sounding rhetoric, there is a view that, come the day, unionists will just have to fit in as best they can.”

    Why does he think that British people are not nationalists? Presumably it because the four nation that comprise the UK are all non-sovereign nations, and ergo they do not assert a right to self-determination. That is just sloppy. They all share British nationality, so their nationalism is British.

    Why does he think that four non-sovereign nations that all share British nationality merit the term “inclusive” as a contrast to a nation-state when it excludes the rest of the world’s 7,000 nations and when the UK is a de facto if not de jure nation-state for the British nation?

    The UK is a sovereign state that exists to promote the interests of the British nation, and it is completely fraudulent to argue that it is in any way separate from nationalism.

    “Genuine republicans, however, cannot adopt that position. The ideology they claim allegiance to is the very opposite of narrow nationalism – it is broad and inclusive. They of all people should appreciate that more than one type of Irish person must be catered for in this supposedly dawning new dispensation.”

    Adams is just making it up as he goes along. A republican is simply a nationalist who advocates a republican form of government as opposed to a monarchy. How exactly Adams can contrive to think that “genuine republicans” can be “broad and inclusive” enough to attract unionist monarchists is beyond me. A republican is the diametric opposite of a monarchist so it rather obviously will exclude them.

    Adams is simply spinning a line that the Irish nation should allow another nation to hold a veto over it. The “self” in [b]self[/b]-determination refers to a nation as a collective. If that nation allows another nation a veto then it no longer has a right to self-determination.

    That, of course, is the constitutional position of those four non-sovereign nations who have given up their respective rights to self-determination as members of their respective nations and have accepted a shared right to self-determination as members of the British nation – which now forms their nationality and which is the nation that is sovereign in the UK.

    So all Adams is doing is arguing – by different means – is that the Irish nation should give up its right to self-determination and convert itself into a non-sovereign nation.

    Why should it do this? No reason other than the UK always argued that it had no right to national self-determination and unionists argued this too in support of the UK. The sovereignty of the Irish nation challenges the sovereignty of the British state and so the British state seeks to undermine Irish sovereignty by undermining the nationalism that asserts it and underpins it.

    Natually, it must lead them to renounce their right to national self-determination and to dismantle their nation-state without telling them that is what they are being led to do.

  • Dec

    I’m sure most people in the south think it would be great to have the island united, but it is not the first thing on their minds when they wake up in the morning.

    Alan

    Is the union the first thing you think about when you wake up?

    I belong to the presbyterian church and we democracticly elect our leader every year. Unlike your RC church.,/i>

    The conclave of Cardinals elects a new Pontiff upon the death of the incumbent. Whether that’s a better or worse system than the Irish Presbyterian Church is a matter for debate, I suppose. You could argue that presbyterianism gets rid of its moderator just as he’s getting to grips with the job.

  • Cormac mac Art

    AT LONG ******* LAST, it gets through to them!

    Yes, to us it is a settlement? Why? When was the last time you heard a republic-based party with a large following call for unity? Me neither.

    Dec – 96% of us here in Ireland (the republic) voted for the GFA. That’s pretty damm conclusive. And: “I’ve been e-mailing my southern friends and relations all morning and they’re 100% certain Davy’s talking out of his arse.” Isn’t that because all of your freinds share your views?

    RobertNoonan – “The Northerners are for sure not such an easy push over as the present day Southerners are.”
    What???

    Munsterview – Bollocks. When before the Tiger was there EVER a concerted push by a party in the republic to gain unification? The only party doing it was SF, who are based in the north.

    As it stands, the republic IS Ireland. Any talk of unification will have to convince us first, and a party based in another country – Sinn Fein – will have to ask OUR permission. They can’t grant it. Only we can.

  • GFASupporterButRealist

    Well, there you go again, Paddy, playing the sectarian game: “Protestants have no democratic tradition.” Hmmmm….so those Ulster Presbyterians who sailed to America in the mid 18th century and contributed the Presbyterian church government notions of elections by all (which is how they chose their clergy), separation of powers etc, and who played a major role in the Constitutional Convention in Philadelphia. Hardly an example of no “democratic tradition”? Oh dear. Big mistake, methinks.
    The French Revolution, in contrast, in a major Catholic country, was not so democratic and led to the ….Terror. Read any history, do you ? Or just being economical with the truth ? And of course the Reformation with all its faults was based on reforming the Church and Luther’s “priesthood of ALL believers” was in opposition to Rome’s central authority. And remember I’m citing the 18th century and before as examples. You’re a bit behind the times. Mind you, I suppose you’re part of the mad crowd who say the Irish “people” had no “right” to vote for the Treaty, eh ? Fantasy land. As for culture, let me just throw in C S Lewis for one, from Belfast who had immense influence in liberal Christian thought and scholarship.

  • Munsterview

    ‘Protestants do not have a democratic tradition ‘

    Paddy, I readily admit only interfacing with this site for the past few months but I still have problems deciding as to whether your observations are a colossal piss take or from abysmal ignorance! May I remind you that hundreds of Ulster Presbyterians of 98 who when faced with a choice of living on their knees or dying on their feet, they choose to die!

    Contrast that with what happened in Glin in Co. Limerick, for example; the Knight Of Glin a Protestant Landlord assembled his tenants and the surrounding populace and incited them to rebellion. Their local Parish Priest The Reverend Michael McDonnell then addressed them and told them to go home…… which they did and West Limerick had no Rising.

    Another interesting fact of history for you; the great Fr. Murphy of Bulavouge fame. He first preached against the rebellion, he helped collect any guns or other war material in his area and he pledged his loyalty to the Crown. It was only when the North Cork Yeoman Calvary, who were rampantly sectarian, arrived and burned down his church and other property that he had build with his own personal funds, the he ‘lost it’ and then led his disarmed parishioners now carrying whatever farm implements they could use as weapons, into battle and subsequent slaughter.

    What a contrast to the Fort and Bargy landlords who raised out their own tenants and led them into battle.

    If you are not deliberately stirring the pot, could you at least get an outline grip of Irish History as you are not doing either yourself or the cause of Irish Independence any favors!

  • Alias

    “…will have to ask OUR permission.” – Cormac mac Art

    Like the State had to ask your permission to transfer more of your sovereignty to the EU? They asked. You said No. They asked again, and you said Yes.

    Just like with the EU, they’ll tell you it is in your national interest and scare the shit out of you with propaganda about all manner of misfortune that will befall you if you do not do as the State tells you to do.

    The core concept of republicanism – where power is invested in the people and not in the state – no longer exists in Ireland since the State has consistently asked your permission to give your sovereignty away as it must do under Article 5 of the constitution, and you have consistently agreed to give it away to the point where little to none of it still belongs to the people and not to this state, the British state, the EU, and a plethora of international treaties. In theory you can revoke most of that but in practice you will find it impossible.

    So when it comes time to rejoin the UK as a united Ireland you will put your little X in the box where the state tells you to put it, thinking that serves your national interest.

    The outcome of the current process is pre-determined with its designers knowing full well that the muppets will always do as instructed, and with all opposition neutralised. And if you think the Irish state is still promoting Irish sovereignty and Irish nationalism, think again – it even gave the British state joint-sovereignty over the Irish language. The game plan is to gradually censor all aspects of Irish culture that are distinct from British culture and which the Irish nation might feel requires the protection of a nation-state and to harmonise the institutions of the Irish state with the British state, thereby facilitating its smooth reintegration into the UK.

    It isn’t that the British state wants this sovereignty over Ireland since its sovereignty over Northern Ireland is sufficient for its national security purposes but it is ensuring that should unity occur then it will occur within the UK, thereby protecting its national security interests. For example, it has pre-determined that British citizens in NI will not be required to become Irish citizens if unity occurs, so how do you think that a sovereign state can manage one million people who are not its citizens if it is outside the constitutional structure of the UK? It can’t, of course, so that practicalities of it pre-determine that outcome.

    Unfortunately, the ignorance of the Irish wherein they were encouraged to live in a ‘post-idealogical’ wonderland where everything is possible and everything is ’emergent’ will be their undoing as a nation…

  • Munsterview

    Cormac Mc Art

    “….. Munsterview – Bollocks. When before the Tiger was there EVER a concerted push by a party in the republic to gain unification? The only party doing it was SF, who are based in the north…..”.

    So Sinn Fein were only based in the North? During my time in the Ard Comhairle for most of the seventies, to the best of my recall most of that body around 75% of it in fact lived in, worked in and were based in the Twenty-Six Counties.

    To answer regarding the last concerted push….. probably the Fine Gael led Government of 1948, the same ones who declared the Free State a Republic after over twenty years of Fianna Fail prevarication, doddering, lost opportunity and failure to do so!

    Finally if you must refer to male genital appendages to make a point could you at least use the correct term of testicles? No need to leave the side down by resorting to vulgarisms in front of the ‘other crowd’, is there now old chap?

  • Cormac mac Art

    Alias –

    “Like the State had to ask your permission to transfer more of your sovereignty to the EU? They asked. You said No. They asked again, and you said Yes.”

    My point exactly. It was put to a vote.

    “The core concept of republicanism – where power is invested in the people and not in the state – no longer exists in Ireland” A sign of new times; republicanism started before the people had a state. Now we do, and move on.

    “So when it comes time to rejoin the UK as a united Ireland …” WTF?

    “The outcome of the current process is pre-determined with its designers knowing full well that the muppets will always do as instructed” – as they did in the first Lisbon referendum? You don’t have much respect for people’s legal right to vote as they choose.

    “And if you think the Irish state is still promoting Irish sovereignty and Irish nationalism, think again – it even gave the British state joint-sovereignty over the Irish language.” Why not? NI is in the UK. Its their country.

    “The game plan is to gradually censor all aspects of Irish culture that are distinct from British culture and which the Irish nation might feel requires the protection of a nation-state and to harmonise the institutions of the Irish state with the British state, thereby facilitating its smooth reintegration into the UK.” Whatever about a united Ireland, a united Ireland AND UK is something no-one wants! Gimme a break from paranoia.

    “Unfortunately, the ignorance of the Irish wherein they were encouraged to live in a ‘post-idealogical’ wonderland where everything is possible and everything is ‘emergent’ will be their undoing as a nation… ”

    You must forgive them. They have grown to hate ideologies such as republicanism after seeing how they were practised during the troubles.

  • Cormac mac Art

    Munsterview –

    The fact that you are calling us the 26 counties instead of the republic, or indeed, Ireland, isn’t appealing.

    “So Sinn Fein were only based in the North? During my time in the Ard Comhairle for most of the seventies, to the best of my recall most of that body around 75% of it in fact lived in, worked in and were based in the Twenty-Six Counties.”

    And remind me how many TD’s you had? Thirty, forty, surely on a par with our own ones?

    “To answer regarding the last concerted push….. probably the Fine Gael led Government of 1948, the same ones who declared the Free State a Republic after over twenty years of Fianna Fail prevarication, doddering, lost opportunity and failure to do so!”

    And I applaud them. Exactly how would it benifit my country to inherit two political misscarriages of parties (SF and whoever’s the biggest Unionist party of the day) that would screw up my country? They can’t even agree among themselves. We’re quite well outta it. Or rather, them outta us.

  • Jud

    Cormac – while I understand your position I’m glad for your sake the people who opened the first Dail and the people who declared a republic in the forties did not share it.
    There were certainly views like yours around on both occasions, but thankfully greater ambitions prevailed.

  • Munsterview

    Cormac,

    almost two decades ago I was in the Supreme Court while a former member of the Ard Comhairle of Sinn Fein argued his case in person as a Lay Litigant claiming that R.T.A. convictions against him were politically motivated. In the course of that address he said that people like him were continually told to play the game and use constitutional processes.

    This person claimed that he had done just that, and was attempting to use The Superior Courts to defend and assert his civil rights. However the State response to his playing the game he said, was ” to nail the ball to the pitch and then kick the goalposts all over the field”

    Your original point was that Sinn Fein was a Northern based organization which I responded to by pointing out that during most of the seventies while a member of The Ard Comhairle, that 75% of that body was Southern Based. However my response was ignored and the goal posts have now been shifted to ‘how many T.D. did Sinn Fein have during this period ?.

    Could I remind you that Sinn Fein and all Republicans were banned from all radio and television for over a quarter of a century from the early seventies. Likewise newspaper media, for every paragraph of newsprint that Sinn Fein got in any print media The Independent Group can show a full page attacking the S.F., it’s members, party and politics. Remember for instance the efforts to deprive them of Tallish Community Centre to prevent them of caring out a National Delegate Conference when no other hotel or conference venue would accommodate due to State interference?

    What of the open intimidation by State forces at all public S.F. venues where all attending were photographed and arising from this Special Branch visitations to the places of work or to the parents of ‘new faces’ ? What of the person that phoned in a gardening program in R.T.E. with a query about mushrooms who then said that he was a member of S.F. and was immediately cut off on air.

    Try organizing a political party on the face of that state suppression or carrying out normal political activity where just keeping the organization branches in existence and functioning becomes an end in itself, as indeed the State intended it to be, and then see what electoral progress can be made. And all of this as we now know, just to protect what was and still is a corrupt and corrupting status quo !.

    Finally may I remind you that despite all of this and the Gardai and other State forces working against Sinn Fein in every election in the South by improperly and unlawfully supplying intelligence for use to establishment political parties for use against S.F. as shown in the recent Willie O’Dea saga, Fianna Fail, the party that have a stranglehold on the State and it’s institutions for most of the past half century ( with all that patronage etc) are currently less than two and a half times ahead of S.F. in poll % support.

    What would these figures be if there was a level playing field and if S.F. did not also have the fight well resourced State forces in every election for the past four decades?

    Cormac, the measure of a Democracy, especially one that claims to be a Republican Democracy is how it accommodates and treats those opposed to the consensus politics of it’s ruling elites. However like all who unconditionally support this bankrupt state and political bankrupt politicians and other establishment sectors, that hurled us headlong into the current financial and other abyss, the matters I raised are non issues for you and your kind.

  • Neil

    Here is a poll:
    http://archives.tcm.ie/businesspost/2006/04/02/story13121.asp (or a synopsis of the results) from 3 years ago putting support for a UI in the 26 at 80%. Not that I think for a second that will convince the die hards (the last occassion I had a discussion on this one poster told me that the majority of the 80% would change their minds in a real vote, such is the Unionist desire to piss on the Republican parade that sourced information should have no bearing).

    That aside, these are real figures from a real poll. Not the opinion that has been cultivated inside someone’s head that they now believe to be the only opinion. If someone could provide me with some other figures I’d love to see ’em, but in the mean time – 80% of people in the 26 support a UI. Anything else is unproven, unbacked up conjecture (who’d a thunkit Cormac mac Art, you aren’t representative of your countrymen – but I reckon you knew that already.

  • Cormac mac Art

    Jud – I’m not sure what you mean, so could you enlighten me before I respond? Thank you.

    Munsterview –
    “almost two decades ago I was in the Supreme Court ..”

    I don’t know anything about that case so I can’t comment. Could you please provide details so I can reseach it?

    “Your original point was that Sinn Fein was a Northern based organization …”

    But Munster, no matter how many southern members were on the Ard Comhairle, what counted was the size of party membership, how many TD’s they had, and how well they represented their views in the Dail. Not how well they represented and excused millitant action by republicans.

    All I can say in response to the membership in the 1970’s is that they were soon supplanted by northerners, and northern people continue to make up the bulk of the party, who’s core issues are concerned with northern, not southern, matters. Therefore to me it is a northern party, and one based in another country.

    “Could I remind you that Sinn Fein and all Republicans were banned …”

    As someone who is passionate about free speech, this was not a policy I ever supported, though given the actions against the state its members advocated, I can understand the state’s position. I had then and have now no problem with such people makeing full use of free speech.

    “What of the open intimidation by State forces …”

    Again, I can understand, and to be honest to some degree support such actions because of the anti-democratic actions advocated and enacted by members of such groups.

    “Try organizing a political party …”

    It was still a corrupt status quo as voted by the majority of the Irish people. In a democratic society you have to put up with people arrerting their right to vote as they choose. If you want to do something about it, by all means create a political party. What is wrong is when such parties then refuse to engage in democratic process, up to and including acts such as robbery, kidnapping, murder, and efforts to overthrow the elected, legitimate state.

    “Finally may I remind you that …”

    Its a stranglehold voted, not forced, into office. We don’t have to like it but its democracy and that’s the way citizens of the state want it.

    Again, I fully support the state carrying out such investigation against a political party that supported the IRA, denied the legitimacy of the state, and who’s members continue to be found in dubious activies, such as the Northern Bank raid, the bank robbery and murder at Adare, etc.

    “What would these figures be if there was a level playing field and if S.F. did not also have the fight well resourced State forces in every election for the past four decades?”

    Probably the same, because the northern issue is an issue directly effecting northern people, and one which they themselves have to work out. It simply does not move citizens of the republic to the same degree. And so long as SF continues to support people engaged in millitant activities, and makes a united Ireland its core raison d’etre, that will not change.

    In any case, that has been what SF have been able to do since the 1990’s, in addition to been an extremely well-funded party. And the fact that they have failed to gain more votes demonstrates that.

    “… the matters I raised are non issues for you and your kind.”

    Oh? What kind is that?

  • Cormac mac Art

    Neil –

    If it comes to a vote and a majority in the republic want NI, then so be it. I can vote against it but given the nature of our democratic state I must abide by the wishes of the majority.

    As you said, the same 80% would change their minds in an actual vote, so that proves my point. Wanting something is one thing, but been confronted with the consequences in your daily life sobers you up.

    We certainly don’t want the kind of millitant actions, and current political impasses, that mark the north transferred to our country. That is the main reason why unification will continue to be an actual non-issue for us.

  • Pete Baker

    Neil

    That’s a fascinating poll. Even if it’s actually from 4 years ago.

    And look what it says

    Almost 80 per cent of Irish people would like to see a united Ireland. Almost a quarter of voters – 22 per cent – believe that ‘‘delivering a united Ireland should be the government’s first priority’’.

    More than half of voters, 55 per cent, say they would like to see a united Ireland, but ‘‘other things should have priority’’.

    Ten per cent of voters say no efforts should be made to bring about a united Ireland, whereas 13 per cent say they have no interest one way or the other.

    Which means, leaving aside the Sunday Business Post’s headline [and your] spin, that 78% believe at the very least “other things should have priority”.

    And 23% combined don’t care or opposed to any effort being made.

    As the SBP report says

    Overall, the figures show the enduring strength of the Irish people’s attachment to the ideal of Irish unity – even if most of them are in no hurry to achieve it in practice.

    The great mass of people are in the ‘soft green’ middle ground, with those who are either not interested or actively hostile to the idea in almost exactly the same proportion as those who are committed to the idea as the national priority.

    How that “soft green” middle would weigh up those other priorities is an unknown.

    Statistics! Dontcha luv’em!

  • Jud

    “Jud – I’m not sure what you mean, so could you enlighten me before I respond? Thank you.”

    Cormac – your position on unity appears to me to be analogous to the position taken by people who were against independence in 1918 (20-30% of the population I suppose if you take the results of the election that year)
    “Why should we rock the boat? Things aren’t so bad as they are. What good can come of this with a hostile private army in the North?”

    Out of interest how do you think you would have voted if you had been around for that election?

  • Cormac mac Art

    I’m not sure how you’ve come to this view. Maybe I didn’t write clearly.

    I would have voted for independece from Britain. No question about it.

    My points are –

    Once we achieved a representave Dail of our own, SF walked out when they could not get their own way, in spite of democratic voting, and started a civil war which 3/4 of the new state did not want.

    Ever since then, the various parties calling themselves Sinn Fein have acted against the interests of the state and its people. I include the current SF in that.

    We wanted independece from the Empire because it never acted according to our majority wishes or even in our interests.

    Once we achived that, SF should have abided by the democratic, representative form we fought so hard for. They didn’t. They choose to use force to achieve their aims, against the newly created Irish state and the people it represented.

    That is still something that at a basic leval is winked at by SF. Sometime, given their support for the killers of Gerry McCabe, and their oppression of Irish people in the north, its more proactive.

    An immoral, and amoral, party like that has no right to government in Ireland. They have no great representation here either, when compared to parties native to Ireland. Their business are purely northern matters, and it is to those they should focus before ventureing south.

  • Jud

    Cormac – so if a majority in the North voted that they also “wanted Independence from the Empire because it never acted according to our majority wishes or even in our interests” I read from your posts you would still object to unity.

    That is what I don’t understand.

  • Cormac mac Art

    Oh fair enough. No, if we had enough for a majority in the north, I’d have taken those areas. Not it all, mind, because all we would be doing would be storing up trouble. As in The Troubles. If there were – and there were – significant portions of the north that did not want to leave the union then then should not have been forced.

    Surely the likes of Derry, Tyrone, and heavily nationalist areas along the border should have joined us.

    But it didn’t work out that way, so we have to deal with the situation as we have it, and as the democraticly represented majority wish it, not by force.

  • Lugs Brannigan

    “Whatever its faults, the Republic is settled, cohesive and self-contained. Why on earth would its people want to gamble all in some new dispensation with nearly two million troublesome Northerners – most particularly if it were the case that a substantial number of their erstwhile neighbours were being dragged into something against their will?”

    A similar argument can be made as to the formation of the unstable Northern State with a 30% minority being dragged into it against their will. Why does David Adams feel an unstable Northern Ireland with a present day 40-45% minority, is more preferable to an unstable United Ireland with a 20% minority?

  • Jud

    I’m now starting to understand a previous poster’s reference to goalposts moving around a pitch.

    I actually agree with your view that violence over the national issue was not justified after the treaty was signed, but surely you can see that the entity you are now talking about (Northern Ireland) was indeed created (and maintained) by force and the threat of force, and was deliberately designed from the outset to create a majority which was the exact opposite of a ‘democratic majority’.

    Leaving out 3 full counties was not an act of compassion or generosity.

    Your position appears to require an ongoing redefinition of democracy, majority and territory.

  • Cormac mac Art

    “Your position appears to require an ongoing redefinition of democracy, majority and territory.”

    Perhaps. That does not mean its malicious. I’m sincerely trying to give an honest view on the way issue actually appears to me.

    Northern Ireland IS. We cannot do anything about its past, only its present and future.

    I don’t know what the polls are for/against the union in the north, but it does appear to be roughly 60/40 in favor of the union.

    Say if the situation was reversed, and you had a clear 60% plus wishing to leave the union. Fine.

    But what is there to say that the Republic will take them?

    My point is that because SF do not enjoy anywhere near the following in the republic as they do in NI, there is not any active wish down there for unification.

    Plus, the republicans actively acted against the Irish state, as well as the UK. People don’t forget that, and don’t see why they should choose a government that consists of the same people who commited voilence against them.

    Sinn Fein are the only party in the republic actively seeking unification. Not one of the other parties do so, because unification is a northern wish. The republic simply have no passion for it. Moreover, they see nothing but trouble in it for them.

    If it can be demonstrated to both the Unionists and the Republic that unification is a good idea, it will have my support. I have yet to hear a single good reason, thus it does not.

  • Cormac mac Art

    Lugs – A similar argument can indeed be made. But until you demonstrate to the Republic why Unification Is A Really Great Idea, they won’t take the north.

    Another point is that Sinn Fein have unthinkingly assumed that if it happens, they will automaticly become the Irish government.

    But the numbers don’t add up.

    Checking the ever reliable Wikipedia, it states Sinn Fein has 27 MLA’s. DUP 35, UUP 18, SDLP 16, Alliance 7, PUP 1, GNI I, Independents 2.

    In the Republic: FF, 75; FG 51, Labour 20, Green 6, Sinn Fein 4, Independents 7.

    Assuming it will be similar should unification be achieved, SF will have about 32 TDs. If FF and SDLP do merge (?), they’ll have 91. If they join either FG or Labour the numbers will be 67 or 36. I think they will, if only to outnumber SF. The collective (!) Unionists 54.

    So lets see how that works out:

    91 – FF/SDLP
    51 – FG
    54 – Unionists
    32 – SF
    20 – Labour
    10 – Independents
    7 – Alliance
    5 – Green

    Given that SF will certainly lose a few seats once unification is achieved, they will probably drop down further. The most they can hope for is as junior party in coalition.

    FF ‘might’ go for it, but probably not because 32 is too large a coalition number for them to work with. That’s why they useually go for independents, PD’s, Greens, and other transient parties.

    FG will not join with SF, and SF have stated they will not join FG.

    The short is, SF will lose their NI majority to an All-Ireland minority. And I don’t think they realise this. After all, who wants to lose politcal power?

    But look, all this is academic because the last 400 years have shown that the Unionists wish to remain in the Union. Until that changes, or the current SF leadership is entirely replaced, dreams of irish unification is all pie in the sky.

  • Jud

    Cormac – “If it can be demonstrated to both the Unionists and the Republic that unification is a good idea, it will have my support. I have yet to hear a single good reason, thus it does not.”

    Long story short – you are a unionist.

    Which is a fair enough position, but I still find it inconsistent with your claim you would have voted for independence in 1918.

    The Northern question was just as thorny then, and the election was held when there was no concept of a future border. A vote for independence then was a vote for all 32 counties.

    Either you would have held the same views then (and voted against independence on account of the Northern issue) or you have allowed a deep hatred for the modern form of SF to change your opinion on the national question.

  • Cormac mac Art

    If I was there. I was not, and cant do anything about it.

    It depends on what you mean by unionist. I’m Irish, I live in Ireland, and if someone can PLEASE come up with at least ONE good idea for unification, I’ll support it.

    No one has, and unification would bring us as a country more problems than we already have. So, I don’t agree with it.

  • Jud

    Relax Cormac – you are a unionist – no shame in that…

    “an upholder of the legislative union of Great Britain and Northern Ireland” – Random House Dictionary

  • Cormac mac Art

    Fair ’nuff.

  • Erasmus

    No generation in the ROI would want to go down in history as the one that rejected a UI. My guess is that it would pass in a referendum by about 3:1.

  • Ulick

    So Davey, which party in the south would oppose reunification?

  • Cormac mac Art

    Erasmus – I wouldn’t bet on it, but who knows?

    Like I said, as long as the current situation in the north continues, it will diminsh southern interest in unification.

    Ulick – THAT’S a good question. Can’t think of any of them that would like to go down in history that way.

    But look, unless you can convince both the unionists and the republic, it ain’t gonna happen. All this talk about it is hot air unless someone comes up with convincing reasons. I have yet to hear them. From anybody.

    So c’mon, try me.

  • Erasmus

    Cormac,
    I have to say that your commnets don’t chime with my own views and those I hear around me.

  • George

    “All this talk about it is hot air unless someone comes up with convincing reasons. I have yet to hear them. From anybody.”

    Give me convincing reasons for Great Britain to remain in Northern Ireland if the majority vote for unification.

  • Munsterview

    1. Cormac mac Art on Mar 12, 2010 @ 04:38 PM
    Cormac, your postings on this issue while not coruscating have certainly been enlightening regarding a certain viewpoint in the Twenty Six county State. Please excuse me if I do not take you up on each and every point raised, it is not that I am backing away from an argument, it is rather that it is a futile exercise attempting to argue with a closed mind!

    “ An immoral, and amoral, party like that has no right to government in Ireland. They have no great representation here either, when compared to parties native to Ireland. Their business are purely northern matters, and it is to those they should focus before venturing south”. 
Posted by Cormac mac Art on Mar 12, 2010 @ 05:29 PM

    Now to borrow a phase from Al Gore, an Inconvenient Truth for you, Fine Gael, Fianna Fail, Clann Na T., Clann Na Phobalacht, The Workers Party, The Irish Republican Socialist Party, even the Progressive Democrats can all trace their roots back to Sinn Fein. Sinn Fein it self has unbroken lineages back to it’s foundation year. While The Labor Party had it’s own roots time and again from the twenties to the present it has had direct intakes of ex Sinn Fein members.

    “… when compared to parties native to Ireland…” Indeed! A good polemic need not be objective but once it disregards all salient facts, it just becomes a rant!

    The objections that you raise to my nomenclature goes to the kernel of the issue, Ireland to me is a thirty-two County entity and I use terms like twenty-six counties, six counties to define what specific parts of Ireland I am referring to. I believe that,……. it is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland which includes it’s islands and seas to be part of the Irish Nation.

    As to your viewpoint regarding Irish National Independence, Sovereignty and acceptance of status quos, these issues also came up during the American discussions leading to their Independence and were amply addressed by Franklin at the Philadelphia Congress when he stated……..

    “ If ye love wealth better than liberty, the tranquility of servitude better than the animating contest of freedom, go home from us in peace, we ask not your counsels or arms. Couch down and lick the hands that feed you, may your chains set lightly on you and may posterity forget that ye were our country men”

    As to some of the other points raised, from the outset since I am no longer a member of Sinn Fein while I have taken public issue with the party on matters of politics and organization, I have avoided naming names or disclosing matters of confidentiality arising from discussions with active or former members. The former A.C. member I referred to re the Superior Courts is also following these postings and it is up to that person to join in this particular debate if so inclined.

    As to your support for free speech during those dark and dismal days of Cooney, The Cruiser and Donegan et al, thanks. It is always a thing of joy to find that there was yet another who was in disagreement with that State censorship. Like South African A.N.C. comrades finding post apatite that almost the whole of the white populace was working to dismantle apatite from within, I am also amazed given what I can recall of these times that there were so many of you involved in silent secret protest, it is really heartening. In fact given how many of you there really were, I am even more amazed that the State could have found the dozen or so individuals necessary to police the whole censorship system !.

  • Cormac mac Art

    Erasmus – what are your views?

    Munsterview – do I really come across as a closed mind?

    Yes, they all trace their roots back to Sinn Fein. But they are not Sinn Fein, and have not done what SF have done in the past forty years.

    So what if SF has an unbroken lineage? Does that make it hereitary ruler of the nation? The newest political party has every right to be a contender as SF.

    nomenclature – okay, lets call it Eire and Northern Ireland. Both of whom are located in Ireland. How’s that?

    Philadelphia – Good man, Ben; but ideals are easier to proclaim than live up to. Real life knocked that lesson in, with scars.

    I just don’t agree with censorship. Its utterly contrary to why we wanted a country of our own in the first place. Problem is, you have to hear endless amounts of shite!

  • Greenflag

    Cormac mac Art ,

    ‘if someone can PLEASE come up with at least ONE good idea for unification, I’ll support it.’

    We’d no longer have to listen to or read the endless amounts of shite about the topic 🙂 !

    This would lead to stress reduction ,lower blood pressure , reduced paranoia and probably an increased life expectancy for those affected by the issue 😉

    To paraphrase Jack Lynch’s ‘crisis what crisis ‘

    Problems what problems ?

  • Erasmus

    There would be a certain fascinating irony if the north voted for unity and the south backed off. However if the north goes for it so will the south. Simple as.

  • Munsterview

    Since first responding to Slugger to support Ms Cahill and getting involved in subsequent debates ( old ways die hard ) I have been writing consistently in my postings that, one, we need a new debate for a new future on this island and, two, that the young, educated populace, still in a daze at the suddenness of the prosperity carpet being yanked from under their feet, had yet to get involved in the Twenty-Six Counties.

    Well!, congratulations to The Irish Times, it seems the great debate has just started in earnest in to-days edition with an invitation for the general public to join in. Declan Kibert, distinguished professor of English at UCD, kicked off with an excellent article some of which I have quoted in the following for any who do not normally get The Irish Times. The article can be called up at irishtimes.com

    All the quotes, unless otherwise attributed, are by Declan Kibert.

    “ Nobody knows what will happen next- not even our leaders. We walk as a community in darkness down a strange unfamiliar road, into a new landscape for which there are no maps. Except, possibly, newspapers”.

    “ The people with money have no balls and the people with balls have no money” Sean Dunn.

    “ Just a few weeks ago, politicians awarded themselves an allowance of up to E 15,000 a year in untouched expenses. Before that hundreds of the most senior civil servants had their incomes proofed against any pay cuts. While the newspapers were being drip-fed stories of Fas junkets, the nomenklatura was securing its financial future, if not that of the country”.

    “ Ireland is presently immobilized by process morons with blackberries and Iphones” Francis Wheen

    “ Every time a surgeon is told that an operation cannot be performed, the wisdom of a team of experts, arduously assembled over years of considerable effort is set at nought”.

    “Last November The Irish Congress Of Trade Unions (Ictu) presented a ten-point plan to combat unemployment, including a job sharing model. The model was rejected even though it has worked well in Germany. “ I think that most of the hostility came from the Department Of finance”…. David Begs, General sec Ictu.

    “ Before the Tiger years, Irish people understood that the real quality of life lies in those things that cannot be quantified”.

    The fore coming weekly commentators are equally interesting in that when all appeared to be going well and the Celtic Tiger roaring the loudest, these people while acknowledging the positives of the new situation, were also consistently expressing concern at the erosion of values, the choice of priorities in society, the political system on auto pilot etc. In short they had identified the chickens and the direction of their incoming flight long before they came home to roost.

    In as much as my personal opinion is worth anything, I think that this series and the associate debate will be well worth following by anyone interested in past, contemporary or future politics on this island.

  • Jimmy Sands

    The point is not that anyone would oppose unification in principle, where it could fall is on the small print and particularly the cost.

  • Cormac mac Art

    “The point is not that anyone would oppose unification in principle, where it could fall is on the small print and particularly the cost.”

    Exactly. It simply will not happen unless sound econmic reasons can be given.

    Erasmus – Not a chance. Two different counties, two different views on unification. Can you give me a good reason(s) why it should occour?

  • Greenflag

    Cormac mac Art ,

    ‘It simply will not happen unless sound economic reasons can be given.’

    Not true. There was NO sound economic reasons for Irish independence in 1922 or else they were minimal. German reunification took place not just because the former East Germany was economically destitute but because the state was seen to be ‘politically’ non viable post 1990.

    If a UI ever takes place it will not be because of ‘sound’ economic reasons but by reason of sound ‘demographic’ ones . Anyone who thinks it will happen because of any other reason is indulging in wishful thinking .

  • Cormac mac Art

    I understand your line of thought, but this is neither Ireland 1922 nor Germany 1992.

    I’m not apply ‘sound economic reasons’ to events of 1922. It was the outcome of a protracted, emotive process that took place with a great deal of violence.

    German unification took place in a state of europhia after the bloodless end of forty years of division. But to this day many Germans wish went more carefully because of the huge differences between east and west.

    Neither of those cases applies to us.

    But okay, I could be wrong. All I want to know, from the start, is WHY a united Ireland should exist?

  • Lugs Brannigan

    “There are those that look at things the way they are, and ask why? I dream of things that never were, and ask why not?”

  • Cormac mac Art

    I’m not interested in dreams – I want good, honest-to-god reasons. Can anyone give me some?

  • Munsterview

    Cormac,
    “…. but this is not Ireland 1922 or Germany 1992..”

    More moving goal posts it appears!

    On the one hand you seem to insist that we have a unique situation in the here and now that cannot be referenced even to even past historical events in this island like 1922 that gave rise to a fractured, divided country in the first place, never mind elsewhere in Europe like the unification of Germany in 1992 that have coped very well with the issue and has lessons to teach from the event.

    On the other hand The Department of Foreign Affairs has envoys going to political trouble spot around the world including the Middle East selling the ‘Irish Model’ as a possible solution and that includes the provision for long term unity.

    Yes no doubt there will be financial implications: your lack of generosity in this regard and narrow focus on finances only to the exclusion of all else is no different to the attitude that had the sick, the old and the infirm piled on stretchers along hospital corridors during the height of the Celtic Tiger prosperity era. Eiren O’Malley summed it up in his use of the Old Irish Proverb; ‘ It’s easy to sleep on another man’s wound’ for his book title, or to use a more colloquial version F*** you Jack, I am all right!

  • Greenflag

    cormac mac art,

    ‘I understand your line of thought, but this is neither Ireland 1922 nor Germany 1992.’

    I did’nt say it was. But if you step back for a minute or two from the peace process induced sense of ‘normality’ you should discern that the current NI State as a stand alone State would be economically ‘destitute’ and politically non viable.

    Unlike the East German One Party ‘democracy’ which got no support from West Germany for the 45 years it existed NI has had a ‘West Germany’ i.e England /Britain to ‘pay up’ every year since the state was established in 1920 .

    as to

    ‘All I want to know, from the start, is WHY a united Ireland should exist?

    A good question .As one who prefer a fair repartition of NI I don’t know . Why should a UK exist ? an EU ? a USA? a Burkina Faso ?

    Probably because most people want then to exist.

  • Munsterview

    A fair repartition? Fair to who?

    The first partition had nothing to do with fairness to the Nationalist and Catholic populace who formed the majority of the peoples on this island then as they still do. The establishing of the Northern Irish Statelet Regional state had nothing to do with the wishes of the overwhelming majority of the peoples on this island or even of the wishes of the majority inside that state.

    When Britain was faced with the inevitable they drew a line around the industrialized North East of Ireland held Derry for emotive historical reasons and otherwise included sufficient of a land area to make the area as large as possible without compromising the artificial majority for the foreseeable future.

    Just how much this was based on anything other than expediency was clearly illustrated by Churchill’s offer to Dev to give the whole Six Counties back to the Southern State in return for Ireland providing Port and other war facilities before WW2!

    Of more recent vintage Wilson at the meeting in Dr. .John O’Connells house in Dublin in the early seventies, offered the prospect of Irish unity to the Republicans present, an offer repeated to Gerry A and co at the secret 70’s meeting also. At heart most Unionist/Loyalists in the Six Counties know this bitter truth, the general population of England consider them to be Irish and accordingly, not an indispensable part of G.B. National identity.

    Likewise the British Establishment, while Cameron may try to court their political support to shore up his own lack of same, if he has a clear, unassailable working majority then the concerns of the Six Counties will be far down his list of political priorities save for it’s nuisance and irritant aspect in the U.K body politic proper.

  • Munsterview

    Cormac,
    “…………. but this is neither Ireland 1922 nor Germany 1992….. ”

    These particular views of yours are not without certain support in The Southern Irish State, they were to be found right through the Northern troubles and with all due respect to the lucidity of your arguments, they have been better articulated by the likes of the late Conner ‘Cruise’ O’Brien, by Owen Harris who was appointed a Senator by Bertie ‘ I won my unaccounted money on horses’ Ahern to say in Linster House, the things that it would not be acceptable to the Fianna Fail grass roots if uttered by one of their own T.D. or Senators.

    Connor was not a particularly effective Minister, in fact it was said of him that he ran everyones Department bar his own! His views were so important to the British Establishment that when he was booted out of office by his constituents for incompetence and a lack of concern for their ‘bread and butter’ issues, an indignant (English) Times thundered its disapproval and in their colorful terminology demanded that a lifeboat be send to rescue him from us natives. You may recall this failed politician and useless minister was given a well remunerated editorial newspaper job in ‘the mainland’ to continue his anti-Irish unity and indeed, anti-Irish diatribes.

    In fact so anti-majority Irish were the convictions of these two that they joined that other great paragon of democracy and tolerance, Enoch Powell in directly interfering in Northern politics by supporting the most inflexible, Unionist views that they could find. Another sources of these views in their most pristine form may be found in the interviews of ex-I.R.A. man and informer Sean O’Callahan, but then they would be as they are the well rehearsed ‘Masters Voice’ of MI5, MI6, M17 and a half or whatever, who speak with the real voice of the British establishment!

    I will concede that Harris was responsible for the line in Tremble’s speech that ‘ The North had been ‘A Cold House For Catholics’ which is the closest the latter group have ever come to getting an official apology from The Six County State for their dreadful treatment over the previous seventy five years, and only then when he could go as far away from The Six Counties and it was possible to be in Europe and so close to the North Pole that he could have also have commented first hand on the effects of Global warming in the Arctic Glaciers.
    From the outset of the Northern Troubles when it as obvious to the watching world that the problems arose from a failed statelet, there were but three possible outcomes,

    one, the first, the most effective, the ethical and honorable one was to address the Civil Rights rights and other issues in a way guaranteed to produce inclusivity, equal rights, peace and justice,

    second, maintain as far as possible the status quo which meant dribbling out piecemeal reforms that were grudgingly given and always too little, too late to make any appreciable difference,

    Third attempt to contain the dissenting views and fail to admit the extent of the problem until a full scale urban guerilla war situation existed, then do every thing possible to suppress this war by military means rather than address the underlying political issues until such time as the suppressed populace have shown an endurance to in the words of Terence McSweeney ‘ tolerate more than the oppressor can inflict’ and then come to the table with all utterly changes and relations soured for a generation if not generations.

    It has been always the third option for Britain as an imperial Power. In the present circumstances when the political bankruptcy of the Southern Golden circles could not be more transparent, there is a chance to re examine all options and that included viewing and dealing with the Island of Ireland as a single geographical, political and social entity with proper governance and decentralized power to local communities.

    In short we can learn from our mistakes of the past four decades and begin with the first option or we can make all the same mistakes all over again.

  • Munsterview

    Just seen this, makes for interesting reading, very interesting reading indeed!

    New politics and perceptions are indeed taking root in the Six Counties. The welcome debate started by the Irish Times will also hopefully ignite a debate in the South well outside the usual pedantic uninspiring party politics waffle that pass for discourse. Perhaps down here too we will get a rapid shift in perceptions an engagement in real politics concerning real issues.

    42% said they considered themselves Irish
    39% British
    18% Northern Irish

    And on unification:
    36% in favour of United Ireland
    55% to remain in UK
    (Can’t quite find out the missing 9%)

    Interestingly on expectations:
    Will NI still be part of the UK by 2021?
    Yes: 42%
    No: 42%

  • Greenflag

    munsterview ,

    ‘A fair repartition? Fair to who?’

    To both sides in NI. We don’t need a disruptive and alienated 850,000 Unionist minority in a 32 county republic just as Northern Ireland might have done better had it not had a 500,000 nationalist minority at the time the state NI was carved out of Ulster . Why repeat the shite ?

    Both Churchill and Wilson could promise all the United Ireland’s they wanted but both De Valera and John O’Connell understood that delivery would have been another matter entirely .

    What the general population of England or for that matter Scotland or Wales or the Channel Isles /Isle of Man consider in respect of NI being Not really British etc is virtually irrelevant or of little consequence to how people feel and act and vote within Northern Ireland. Remember who is dog and who is tail ?

    ‘In short we can learn from our mistakes of the past four decades’

    The TUV and UUP are not listening . They enjoy continual ‘repetition’ of errors as an aide memoire ;( and begin with the first option or we can make all the same mistakes all over again. The DUP may be in a more amenable mode although Arlene Foster’s self sacrificial offering in the interests of ‘united ‘unionism’ in order to deprive SF of a Westminster seat seems to fly in the face of more recent ‘agreement’ talk between SF/DUP.The Tories will make use of the UCUNF for just as long as it might help to lift them into power at Westminster . Beyond that the grystall ball looks very cloudy indeed.

  • Cormac mac Art

    Munsterview – thanks for #23. It sounds very reliable.

    I’m honestly not trying to ‘move goalposts’. All I want to know is why unification should be. If so many are for it, then all I want is be given reasons that might actually make me think “Wow, they are right I am wrong – lets unify.”

    Greenflag – “Why should a UK exist ? an EU ? a USA? a Burkina Faso?” I neither know nor care. Let other states do as they please, I’m only concerned with my one.

    Munsterview – post 22 went way off line. For the record, I held O’Brien and Harris contemptable. ‘Nuff said.

    By pointing out that Ireland 2010 is “neither Ireland 1922 nor Germany 1992” I mean just that.

    Once again, in lieu of virtually all of the responses that have gone before, I await a reply telling me the obvious benifits of a united Ireland. At this stage (post sixty-something) I really wonder if there is any, because none of you have given me any.