Gerry Adams: It’s not about the oath

On BBC NI’s Talkback the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, was asked whether, if elected, Sinn Féin candidates would take their seats in Westminster if they didn’t have to take, or affirm, the Parliamentary oath of allegiance.  Answer, “No”.  There’s a Parliamentary research paper on the history of the oath and Sinn Féin’s legal challenge in 1997 here [pdf file].

The research paper contains a quote from an Irish Times report dated 5 December 1997.

 

Mr Adams said the question of the oath was “a bit of a distraction”. While a change might be good for British democracy, it would not alter Sinn Fein’s position. Asked if he could see himself sitting in the Commons following a change to the oath, Mr Adams said: “No, because the issue for us is the claim of that parliament to jurisdiction in Ireland.”

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  • TheHorse

    Apoligies there Pete!!

  • Michaelhenry

    ARE YOU

  • Michaelhenry

    the british army ran from the war in IRAq, like they ran from the ra.

  • Henry94

    I ignored it because you saw an analogy where none was intended. I was not comparing a French imposition with the GFA at all. I was offering as a scenario where the legality or otherwise of the GFA would be rendered irrelevant by a change in circumstances.

    I don’t see the GFA as imposed but agreed in a context. And it is difficult to see that context changing to a degree that would render the Agreement obsolete.

  • Pete Baker

    “I was offering as a scenario where the legality or otherwise of the GFA would be rendered irrelevant by a change in circumstances.”

    A change in circumstances “that made a united Ireland a feasible military objective”. And nevermind the legality.

    Catch yourself on, Henry.

    You may simply be trying to rescue the position you put yourself in earlier in this discussion.

    But, when in a hole, stop digging.

  • Michaelhenry

    the good friday ageement came about for one reason, the provos won the war.

  • old school

    Michael, were you one of those mad eejits in the ” victory cavalcade” of August 1994??
    You write some dung here on behalf of Sinn Fein.
    Keep up the sterling work.

  • Alias

    Henry was just trying to play south_armagh for a muppet in support of the Shinners playing his ilk for muppets.

    The spiel is essentially “Ah shure never mind that ye formally accepted the legitimacy of British sovereignty over the state and your own status as a non-sovereign nation with no right to self-determination when you endorsed the GFA because that’s only an oul piece of paper that ye can tear up any time ye like.”

    They have given up their right to be a sovereign Irish nation, and they are now in the process of normalising British rule. However, they have to present that formal rejection of national rights as merely an expedient transition to a state wherein those renounced rights can somehow be reinstated without the veto of another nation or its state. That, of course, is not possible and nor is it the constitutional position as set out in the British Irish Agreement were a majority in Northern Ireland ever to agree to unity.

    That’s just a fraud, and wee Henry shot himself in the foot proffering it here.

  • Henry94

    Alias

    I’m not familiar enough with your posts to know what perspective you have but the argument you make is one made by some unionists and some dissidents. If you are a unionists then I assume it means you are happy with the Agreement like most people so fair enough.

    If you are some form of dissident then your position means the entire dissident effort is useless because nothing can ever change again no matter what happens. In which case there is no justification whatsoever for the bombings and shootings.

    If you are neither then I’m happy to hear your suggestions for a way forward.

    Pete

    when in a hole, stop digging

    I’ll dig away as long as people are interested in discussing it.

  • John East Belfast

    Henry

    “I wouldn’t say it means nothing (legality of GFA). But it doesn’t mean as much to me as the right of the Irish people to national self-determination”.

    You need to go an read the GFA again.

    Whether it is a staging point or not who knows – however it clearly defines how a UI will come about and if that appears it is not going to achieve it then going back to violence would be totally illegal.

    If you put a Yes to the GFA then you cannot hold any other position and retain any kind of integrity

  • John East Belfast

    Henry

    The problem though is you just eventually bury yourself in that hole which is what you are doing.

    You are saying you are not a unionist (and hence not a constitutional nationalist either) and you are also not a dissident. You are also saying you are not a Pro Agreement republican (or a totally dishonest one if you are) therefore what are you ?

    There is no 4th way

  • John East Belfast

    The Horse

    What exactly is it you want in practical terms that you think you are missing out on ?

  • Henry94

    JEB

    Sean Lemass once described his party as slightly constitutional and I was tempted to borrow that but the reality is that I’m a supporter of the Agreement and will remain so in every foreseeable circumstance. However, if I had a magic bullet I’d use it as I believe every nationalist would.

    Look how the collapse of communism led to the assertion of national rights in Eastern Europe. How many solemn agreements made between communist governments were burned in that bonfire.

    The next 100 years will see more change in Europe than the last 100 in my opinion. Will there be opportunities there for Irish nationalism and republicanism? Who knows. But I know that if I was a unionist I would be talking advantage of this period of relative calm to make the north as warm a house as possible for nationalists. Not trying to make them swear oaths to the Queen or forcing Orange marches through their neighborhoods.

    A very clever man once wrote a book called The End of History. But history trundled on regardless.

  • John East Belfast

    Henry

    If you mean by a magic bullet you would revert to murdering your neighbours and bombing our towns then I hope you dont speak for every nationalist.

    You signed a deal and there is no going back – not for those who value their word anyway

  • michaelhenry

    you have never known victory, and if eejits keep following the armed brit loving dissidends they will never know victory either, how could they fall for what the dissident journalists wrote.

  • Michaelhenry

    you have never known what victory is like, what about the defeatests who follow the armed brit loving dissidends, they will never taste victory, how could any one fall to what the dissident journalists wrote.

  • TheHorse

    “You signed a deal and there is no going back – not for those who value their word anyway”.

    What does this mean then John, page 21 Hillsborough aggreement.

    “The First Minister and deputy First Minister will oversee an exercise of examining the St Andrews Agreement and identifying all matters contained within it which have not been faithfully implemented or actioned”.

    Strange wording indeed and who do you believe this wording is aimed at.

  • Henry94

    If you mean by a magic bullet you would revert to murdering your neighbours and bombing our towns then I hope you dont speak for every nationalist.

    I don’t speak for any nationalist except this one and I certainly would not contemplate bombing Irish towns or shooting anybody. I’m imagining a hypothetical situation where Britain was so changed or so week that the only thing sustaining the union was nationalist acquiescence.

    If they still existed Sinn Fein and the SDLP may wish to hold the line for the Agreement but other voices would emerge within nationalism at that stage without question and people would have a decision to make. Do we take advantage of a historical opportunity or do we continue with partition.

  • John East Belfast

    TheHorse

    I dont have the GFA or St Adrews agreements in front of me but I dont think there is anything strange in the words you have quoted.
    The document is subject to review – but I dont think anywhere in any of the documents agreed the last 10 years was acheiving a United Ireland by violence against the will of the majority of NI citisens.

    ie the Consent principle which is now set in stone – unless are a dissident

  • John East Belfast

    Henry

    What are you talking about ?

    When you take advantage of this hypothetical weakened British position to end partition militarily what do you think the unionists are going to do – just role over ?

    or is a bloody civil war part of your “magic bullet” solution ?

    And what about the ROI – would they want to invade a friendly neighbours territory in breach of all international law and agreements ?

    You really do need to catch yourself on

    “Do we take advantage of a historical opportunity or do we continue with partition”.

    You continue with the historic and internationally binding deal you signed up to.
    Is breaking deals that they do with the unionists and the British just part of the Republican way of doing things ?

  • Michaelhenry

    the good friday agreement came to every ones letter box before the elction for people to read, then a week later the people of the 32 counties voted yes and give there CONSENT, i made sure to read every word, thats why i voted yes.

  • TheHorse

    I am not saying and nor have I, that violence is a way of achieving a United Ireland or an equal accommodation with Unionism , on the contrary, I believe this present republican leadership are not capable of undertaking that challenge because they are morally bankrupt. They are no different than the Robinsons, its not about the people its about themselves and what they can get out of it. They can be bought, just like Robinson and they are. I accept that Nationalism has to come to an accommodation with Unionism but Unionism has to accept the same principles about Nationalism, our culture, our political beliefs and our sense of equality has not been addressed.

  • TheHorse

    John I hardly think the British could lecture anyone about honour, where does the term perfidious albion come from – past experience. Did the DUP sign up for the SAA and did they break their word. They say no but it seems everyone else involved seems to think they did.

  • John East Belfast

    TheHorse

    I queried you this morning above at 8.29 about what it is exactly that you think you are not getting ?

    I think you are talking about Irish language and cross border relationships ?

    On the language I am relaxed about it and see no real problem that it cant be treated as Scottish and Welsh is although Ulster Scits would equally have to be given such credence.
    However I dont want to pay for it and there is a practical limit to how much you can put on a multi lingual sign.

    Regarding the ROI – mutually beneficial relatiobships of course – if the south are building a road heading north and the north sending one in the opposite direction then it makes sense they talk and try and make them meet somewhere.

    Same for all island power generation.

    However we are fiscal competitors and I am totally opposed to tokenism of no added value to anyone.

    I am not sure what else exactly you want

  • TheHorse

    John maybe you are confusing equality of esteem with giving Nationalist the scraps from the Unionists table. You say you can accept our language just as you could accept Welsh or Scottish or even Ulster Scots but you feel you shouldn’t have to pay for it, why not its the native tongue of Ireland, but we as Nationalists are expected to accept and pay for Unionist culture. Where is our parity of esteem politically we still have to accept being governed by a foreign country, joint authority is an equal playing field. Equality it seems in your eyes means that Unionism will allow Nationalism a seat at the dinner table but are only allowed to eat the leftovers.

  • John East Belfast

    TheHorse

    I think you are confusing your culture and your politics.

    You have ample opportunity for your culture – it is all around you – just open your eyes.

    But yes I am reticent in an age when thousands are going to losing their jobs that public money is squandered on a language which only a very small minority is even half proficient in.

    If it is new street signs I dont object – but you need to include Ulster Scots – something I dont particularly care about either – but the Ulster Scots think they deserve parity fo esteem too and that has to be taken on board. That makes it pretty impractical

    As for joint authority – that was never on the cards – and nor should it be – setting aside the problems for unionists you need to be aware the 26 counties are our competitors – did you not hear Lenihan’s blast at ROI shoppers shopping in Newry – or the debacle over 26 county beef only ?
    You need to wake up and smell the coffee and realise who jams your toast.

    As for being governed by a foreign country ?

    FFS you are voting in elections tomorrow for people going to stand in that parliament (unless it is SF of course who want to exclude themselves and then complain like you do). Not to mention how we govern ourselves at Stormont anyway.

    What you mean is your parliament sits in London and not Dublin.

    But do you really want that small a talent pool with the result that crooks like Charlie Haughey govern you and people like Bertie Ahern who has memory loss about how piles of cash gets into his safe ?
    Not to mention the golden circles and cosy realtionships of the banking and property elite.

    Your notion of a separate Ireland governed from Dublin is not how I see it and to be honest I dont trust them to have any say in my life whatsoever.

    And of course as I dont vote in their elections – and neither do you – they bloody well shouldnt.
    – that’s what I think of Joint Authority.

    The cross border bodies – as I said if they pay their way and are mutually beneficial – fine – but if they are a symbolic talking shop costing tens of millions to both jurisdictions they should be chopped at the earliest opportunity

  • TheHorse

    For a start John I dont vote and I never have, and can I really express my identity if I am stopped in the street by the police can I use my native tongue or will I be arrested for obstruction. Ulster Scots is hardly a language more a dialect and are traditional orange marches my culture so why should I have to pay to accommadate them. Is Charlie Haughey, Bertie Ahern any different in morals than Tony Blair, Peter Mandelson, Peter Robinson, Gordon Brown etc and are their relationships with the bankers any different than British politicians. Did Unionism and Nationalism supposedly come to a compromise ? Just what did Unionism compromise ? I dont trust the British Government and never will either as for Unionism honouring their commitments, well page 21 of the Hillsborough agreement says it all.

  • John East Belfast

    TheHorse

    “can I really express my identity if I am stopped in the street by the police can I use my native tongue or will I be arrested for obstruction”.

    Do you expect all members of the PSNI to be Gaelic speakers ?
    Could Poles and Chinese not make the same complaint ?
    What about when you go to the doctor or into a post office or a bank ?

    Do you not think you are being OTT ?

    Surely it is good manners to use English if the people you are conversing with are not proficient in any other language rather than expecting the vast majority to base themselves around you

    I dont disagree with you on Ulster Scots but those who consider it very much part of their culture would see it differently.

    As for paying for Orange marches I am not sure how much that is but I am sure the AOB, St Pats Day and west belfast festivals etc run up bills as well.

    I simply dont fancy adding to the bills.

    On Haughey v the UK PMs – yes I do feel the former is worse. The UK has a far more viscious and enquiring media that the ROI doesnt have.
    As far as I can see Charles Haughey is still a hero in the south and was effectively given a state funeral even after all his misdemeanours were made public.
    His career ended in disgrace but that is not how it is seen – I ca assure you he wouldnt have got that treatment in the UK.

  • TheHorse

    John Poles and Chinese are not indigenous of Ireland and neither is Ulster Scots and no I dont expect all police officers to be Gaelic speakers but I should not be arrested if I use the native tongue of Ireland. Of course you wont agree with me about Ulster Scots because that is your culture – You have no identity so you make one up. Are you seriously equating A.O.B St Patricks Day marches and the west belfast festival with the cost of policing orange order marches and the cost of clearing up your environmently unfriendly bonfires. On the matter of St Patricks day its celebrated all over the world yet in this part of Ireland its not even a holiday or is that a privledge that has to be negiotated as well. As for Charlie Haughey and the enquiring media, what about Ted Heath and Kincora or Gordon Brown and Peter Madelson and the child abuse inquiry concerning their links to it that have been supressed under the 100 year rule. When it comes to sleeze John people in glass houses shouldn’t throw stones, the British establishment just have meaningless enquiries that cost millions then cover up the results so no-one can see the truth.

  • John East Belfast

    TheHorse

    How do you make out that I “have no identity so I make one up ?”

    You have a very narrow view of people and culture.

    There are two main traditions on this island that largely (but should not be exclusively) fall along the Catholic, Gaelic Irish separatist line and the Protestant, Scots pro British one.

    Neither is more precious or valuable than the other and I dont accept that Dublin has any more jurisdiction in the North Eastern part of the island than it ever did through the millenia.
    Ireland was only ever united under the British and the relationship between the Northern Irish and the Scots is well recognised.

    However as nobody really recorded history that long ago I am quiote happy to go along with the view that the Plantation was simply a home coming for the dispossed real Irish driven out by the Gaels when they blew in from Europe.

    Possibly bullshit I agree but no more or less than your narrow definition of being Irish as hinted at above.

  • TheHorse

    Unfortunetly for you John recorded history is there, whether or not Ireland was united before the British invaded is irrelevant it was a single entity before they divided it. Partition wasn’t always there you know and it wasn’t the Irish people who partitioned it.

    By the way John you still have not answered if there was a compromise between Nationalism and Unionism and what has Unionism compromised on.

  • Marion Smith

    The Ulster Scots made Northern Ireland, when they arrived (whether they wanted to or not) it was an uncultivated barren wasteland, they toiled farmed eventually settled, in spite of frequent raids by the “wild Irish” who did not have aclue about growing mantaining crops. The Scots who persevered built homes Churches and some of the best architecture in the whole of Ireland! Introduced the Highland bagpipe, fiddles, Fifes, the harp is Welsh in origin the only instrument indigenous to Ireland are the uilean pipes.

  • John East Belfast

    Believe what you want to believe who the true Irish are – I am as Irish as you and I dont speak Gaelic

    Reagrding compromise – madatory power sharing with people we will always consider to be a shower of murdering bastards and prisoner releases

  • TheHorse

    There you go thats the stuff Loyalists are made of. Its as well you wear all them gold rings or your knuckles would be scraping the ground when you walk. The DUP can be classed in the same mould as Sinn Fein theres plenty of evidence to prove that and of course there were plenty of loyalists released as well under the GFA.

  • John East Belfast

    TheHorse

    You do yourself no justice with that last post which says more about you than me.

    I have opposed the DUP and so called loyalism all my life – night night – obviously nothing more of value to be discussed here

  • TheHorse

    Night night cheetah tell Tarzan I was asking

  • John East Belfast

    TheHorse

    Is that some pathetic insult to me that I am an ape or something ?

    You really are a waste of space

    What always amazes me is people on blogs who think they can hide behind key boards to make insulting remarks.

    Would you call me an ape to my face ?

    If you would give your contact details to Mick and we can arrage to meet – otherwise shut the F**** up

  • TheHorse

    John East Belfast. Was it not you that lowered himself to abusive language –

    “Reagrding compromise – madatory power sharing with people we will always consider to be a shower of murdering bastards and prisoner releases”

    You are a Unionist who says you oppose the DUP and loyalists all your life. Remind me then who is sharing power with Sinn Fein – Have the DUP not got a past that is connected to loyalist paramilitaries and where in the lines above that you wrote do you mention anything about that or about the murdering loyalists who were also released.

  • Alias

    “If you would give your contact details to Mick and we can arrage to meet – otherwise shut the F**** up” – John East Belfast

    I’d be surprised if Mick agreed to broker a fight on behalf of someone who suffered a mental breakdown on a message board which rather lamentably resulted in him issuing threats to other posters.

    If you don’t like being called an ape then stop acting like one.

  • John East Belfast

    The Horse

    I dont speak for the DUP and if any member of SF asked me what I thought of them I would tell them that they are viewed by unionists (incluidng me) that their leadership is full of murdering bastards – that wont come as any surprise to them – lets be under no illusions a few generations are going to take those views to our graves SF have their own views of course and we have just agreed to disagree.
    The GFA was not some beating swords into ploughshares affair – it was cold hearted political pragmatism with an enemy

    As for so called loyalist violence that was plain illegal murder just the same and I want nothing to do with them

  • John East Belfast

    Alias

    How was I acting like an ape exactly – at least before I asked the abuser to call me it to my face – I wasnt challenging anyone to a fight ?

    Somebody runs out of an argument and starts throwing insulting names behind a keyboard.

  • TheHorse

    John I meant no disrespect and if I offended you I apologise I assumed we were having a reasonable debate untill the tone lowered a little. Whether you meant it or not this line pointed the finger at one party and one section of the community.

    “Reagrding compromise – madatory power sharing with people we will always consider to be a shower of murdering bastards and prisoner releases”

  • John East Belfast

    TheHorse

    ok – I apologise if I over reacted.

    You asked me how unionism compromised.

    You have to realise how diificult it was to sell SF power sharing and prisoner releases to the unionist electorate.

    It tore the UUP apart and that is something all of us who were in the middle off still bear the scars of.

    I am not expecting you to see it from where I am standing but you did ask

  • Joe

    Horse, as a nationalist I am saying this to you – we, the Irish, along with the British, WERE responsible for the partition of our island.

    WE were the ones who did not show any attempt whatsoever to come to an agreement with the northern unionists about a new shared state that they might feel allegiance to.

    All we, the Irish, did was try to force them into ‘our’ new country by sheer numerical advantage. What we didn’t realise until it was too late, is that we did not have enough numbers to force them along with us, nor did we realise the strength of their ties to Britain, nor the strategic importance of the NE to Britain (Ireland’s industrial heartland).

    We were the ones who, instead of coming to a compromise with our powerful neighbours, to become some sort of dominion state within the empire, much like Australia or Canada, were hell-bent on total and complete separation, even though in our midst were hundreds of thousands of British-identifying Ulster Irish. So please, think twice about simply laying all the blame at the Brits doorstep. It was us who decided to pick an unwinnable fight, and the disaster that follwed and who’s legacy we now live with, was the fault of both the British AND the Irish.

  • I have never seen such a bunch of pseudo intellectual mudslinging bigots. It’s 2010 GROW UP!

  • RepublicanStones

    However as nobody really recorded history that long ago I am quiote happy to go along with the view that the Plantation was simply a home coming for the dispossed real Irish driven out by the Gaels when they blew in from Europe.

    Hang on, I thought youse was the lost tribe of Israel? Nothing like making up fairytales to try and justify the deeply unsavoury policy of plantation. Or as you would probably call it john, re-rooting.

  • RepublicanStones

    I am as Irish as you and I dont speak Gaelic

    I have to laugh when people claim they are as irish as anyone else, but demand that another country rule ‘ their Ireland.’

  • TheHorse

    Thats where I dont understand John, people who are elected have a right to government its not a compromise. I do understand about the release of prisoners but they were released from both sides something Unionist politicians at the time rarely mentioned. I do believe you are an Irishman and if you want to exercise your right to give your allegiance to the British then thats fine and if you wish to express your culture thats fine too. But almost half the population here consider themselves Irish by identity and culture we must also be afforded the same equal rights as yourself.

  • John East Belfast

    TheHorse

    ” people who are elected have a right to government its not a compromise”

    Not quite – we have mandatory power sharing here – there is probably not a place in the world where that system exists.
    There is no point talking about SF past either as you obviously dont see it like me

    “I do understand about the release of prisoners but they were released from both sides something Unionist politicians at the time rarely mentioned”

    Unionist politicians opposed all prsioner releases equally – in the early stages it was a major cause of friction between UUP & UDP/PUP. It is one of the reasons why PUP despise the DUP even now.

    “we must also be afforded the same equal rights as yourself”

    I am not quite sure what rights you think I have that you dont but if you are taking this in the direction of Joint Authority again I would simply ask you what special rights Irish unionists were afforded within the newly constituted Irish Free State post 1922 ?

  • TheHorse

    I cant speak about what mistakes were made in 1922 I suppose the situation was forced upon them just like partition, the majority of the Irish nation did not want it but a minority got their way. The word democracy in Ireland and Britain means very different things to different people. We live in the present I can only give opinions on the now. If you believe in equality and accept that Nationalists have legitamate claims to give allegiance to Ireland and wish to be governed by an Irish government why not accommadate that and still have what you had before.