“Republicans don’t accept that…”

Despite sitting in a Northern Ireland Assembly that requires Royal Assent to enact any legislation passed, the NI deputy First Minister, Sinn Féin’s John O’Dowd, has told the BBC that he would not be prepared to meet the UK Head of State (Queen Elizabeth II).  From the BBC report

[John O’Dowd] “There are a number of issues which need to be resolved before such a scenario would arise, including from a republican point of view, we were meeting a family who would claim to be our heads of state.

“Republicans don’t accept that.”

Which is also their stated reason for not attending Parliament.

As to why things are, apparently, different for the once-and-future NI deputy First Minister, and Sinn Féin’s candidate in the Irish Presidential election, Martin McGuinness, MP, MLA?  From the BBC report

[John O’Dowd] told the BBC’s Inside Politics that “the situation here is different”.

[Partitionist! – Ed]  Indeed.  Of course, the ‘different’ situation here is the flaw in the argument from the still-Peace Processing, now former, shadow NI Secretary of State, Shaun Woodward – as reported by the Irish Times.

[Shaun Woodward] said he could not understand how people in the Republic made a distinction between North and South: “If any individual is up for being first minister or deputy first minister from whatever political party he or she may be drawn, if they are good enough for the North then, frankly, they ought to be good enough for the South.

“If you are a fit and proper person for the North, it seems to me to be a very strange set of rules that have been put on the table to say, ‘You’re fine to be a fit and proper person to be first minister or deputy first minister, but you couldn’t be a fit and proper person in the South.’

As Anthony McIntyre acutely observes

There is no denying that Martin McGuinness was central to ending the IRA’s campaign and creating the political climate that allowed the emergence and bedding down of the Northern executive. Nevertheless, none of what has been secured in the North resulted from Martin McGuinness standing as an overarching, inspiring, presidential Leviathan trafficking unity into those regions where division is most prevalent. His function is more akin to that of a tribal chieftain managing his fiefdom while simultaneously competing and liaising with his opposite number in the rival fiefdom.  His achievement has been to manage division within the North not unite society there. His political experience lies in division not unifying.

Read the whole thing.

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  • Also interesting in the same Inside Politics interview was O’Dowd’s verbal gymnastics over the Executive’s position on a 3% increase in public pension contributions. After lambasting the leaker of the story and the media, O’Dowd then couldn’t deny that the Exec would have to buckle to Westminster’s threat that it would keep back £5m a month unless they did as they were told.

  • andnowwhat

    Denis Skinner sits in Parliament, after his annual fingers crossed ceremony, and no royalists he.

    What’s the big deal?

  • Alias

    Woodward declares that McGuinness is a fit-and-proper person to assist in the administration of British rule in Northern Ireland. That is a highly contentious proposition.

    But even if McGuinness has passed the tests that the British state and unionists set for him, why does he assume that the same criteria should automatically be used by the Irish electorate and that they don’t have any democratic right to decides these matters for themselves?

    This is the same arrogance that compels him to refer to Ireland as “the South” to thereby imply that it is not properly a sovereign state but just one region of an island controlled by the British state.

  • Cynic2

    ” if they are good enough for the North then, frankly, they ought to be good enough for the South”

    ….or vice versa.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Whether he’s good enough for the North is a matter for the North and we must accept their decision. We are not however bound to reach the same conclusion that they have. We have the right to insist on higher standards if we wish.

  • fourwinds

    Alias, most people in the North refer to the 26 counties as “the South”. Like it or not the southern state is just one part of the island.

    Amazing hypocrisy from southerners on this issue. “we have the right to insist on higher standards” etc. The southern government was very much involved in the good friday agreement negotiations and along with the british government applied immense pressure on Unionists to go into government with Sinn Fein. Where was all your talk about democratic standards then?

  • Jimmy Sands

    I’m not sure what violation of democratic standards you see here. The GFA was approved by plebiscite. You have the system you voted for, as do we.

  • fourwinds

    I didn’t mention any violation of democratic standards. The south voted for the GFA too. Why all of a sudden have you discovered this new moral high ground?

  • Jimmy Sands

    We didn’t vote for the GFA. We voted to amend articles 2 and 3 to help you along. You’re welcome. How you run your glorified county council has absolutely no bearing on our choice of Head of State. There is simply no useful analogy to be drawn here. I don’t know what you mean by sudden. I’ve been banging this drum a while now.

  • fourwinds

    Ok Jimmy perhaps you were against the GFA on moral grounds but the vast majority of the southern media and political establishment were for it.

    Why didn’t they support Unionist objections to sharing power with Sinn Fein at the time?

    Are Sinn Fein worse now than they were then?
    Double standards you see. Hypocrisy.

  • Jimmy Sands

    I’ve already given two reasons why your analogy is flawed. I don’t now how to make it any clearer.

  • 241934 john brennan

    Martin McGuiness didn’t sign the GFA. Sinn Fein opposed the deletion of articles 2 & 3.
    Martin McGuiness then signed on at Stormont for his full MLA salary and also signed a ‘pledge of office’. Does that make him a supporter of the Crown, or just the half crown?

    Did Marty rescind a sworn IRA oath on “The Green Book”, including the words: “I do not and shall not yield a voluntary support to any pretended government, authority, or power within Ireland”? At that time the IRA neither recognised the Dail, or Stormont, as legitimate governments.

    Given that John O’Dowd was never in the IRA, it is difficult to understand why he is taking a harder republican line than Marty. Perhaps it is because SF is playing a game of two halfs – supporting financial cuts in the North, while opposing them in the South : hard-line republican in the North and pussycat monarchist in the South!

  • sonofstrongbow

    Seems that Irish Republicans are back swimming in that big river in Africa. What else can be expected from folks who appear to fear spontaneously combusting if they were to utter the words ‘Northern Ireland’?

  • Limerick

    I think that people are a bit too sore on Coco and his efforts for peace.

    Under his watch the Eskund’s cargo was captured ensuring that no ‘Tet’ style offensive could happen.

    East Tyrone PIRA, and potentially anti peace process types, were wiped out.

    Sinners started standing for election in the UK.

    Sinners started sitting in the Dail.

    Sinners started sitting in Stormont.

    Physical force republicans were sidelined. (Gibney etc)

    The South Armagh ‘Sniper’ team were captured.

    etc etc etc

    It’s almost as if someone was directing him.

  • Cynic2

    Gee Jimmy. Thank you for your Colonial Condescension

  • Alias

    “The south voted for the GFA too.” – fourwinds

    Actually, nobody in Ireland voted for the GFA. The Irish electorate voted to ratify the British Irish Agreement, which is a treaty between two sovereign states. It is often confused with the GFA but it an entirely seperate agreement.

    How could the Irish electorate vote for the GFA when they had no role in negotiating it? The GFA was negotiated at all-party talks between British political parties in the sovereign jurisdiction of Northern Ireland and quite properly excluded all Irish political parties from the seperate sovereign jurisdiction of Ireland and also excluded the Irish government.

    Do you really believe that only British political parties in Northern Ireland have the right to determine the affairs of the Irish state and the Irish electorate have no right to determine those affairs for themselves and are therefore excluded from the talks? The arrogance of folks from Northern Ireland is astonishing.

    That might be a peculiar attitude among those who have had their understanding of self-determination warped by the Shinners but it isn’t the common understanding of the Irish electorate. If the GFA applied to us then we would have been present at the all-party talks determining our own affairs.

    We didn’t vote for the GFA because we didn’t negotiate it and it isn’t applicable in this sovereign jurisdiction. But say we did get an opportunity to vote for it and duly rejected it whereas the people of Northern Ireland accepted it, what then? Would the minority have a veto over the majority? Yes, because the GFA would still have been accepted by the voters in Northern Ireland.

    So that’s what you had: two seperate acts of self-determination on two seperate agreements in two seperate sovereign jurisdictions.

  • slappymcgroundout

    “I don’t now how to make it any clearer.”

    You can’t make it any clearer. I made the opposing point on politics.ie myself. If your position was that Marty was good enough for Unionists then he’s good enough for you. And the reason for that is that we aren’t talking policy here, as your President doesn’t make any. The objection to Marty is that he was and/or is a murdering scumbag. So, again, if you were okay with alleged murdering scumbag exercising power in another state, then why not your own state? His being an alleged murdering scumbag clearly cannot serve as the disqualification.

    Oh, and Alias, try reading the GFA. The separate agreement to which you speak is annexed to the GFA, expressly so. The terms of the GFA itself make the ROI an inseparable party to the GFA:

    5. … It is accepted that all of the institutional and constitutional arrangements – an Assembly in Northern Ireland, a North/South Ministerial Council, implementation bodies, a British-Irish Council and a British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference and any amendments to British Acts of Parliament and the Constitution of Ireland – are interlocking and interdependent and that in particular the functioning of the Assembly and the North/South Council are so closely inter-related that the success of
    each depends on that of the other.
    6. Accordingly, in a spirit of concord, we strongly commend this agreement to the people, North and South, for their approval.

    Add to Article 29 the following sections:


    1. The State may consent to be bound by the British-Irish Agreement done at Belfast on the day of 1998, hereinafter called the Agreement.

    1. Any institution established by or under the Agreement may exercise the powers and functions thereby conferred on it in respect of all or any part of the island of Ireland notwithstanding any other provision of this Constitution conferring a like power or function on any person or any organ of State appointed under or created or established by or under this Constitution. Any power or function conferred on such an institution in relation to the settlement or resolution of disputes or controversies may be in addition to or in substitution for any like power or function conferred by this Constitution on any such person or organ of State as aforesaid.

    1. If the Government declare that the State has become obliged, pursuant to the Agreement, to give effect to the amendment of this Constitution referred to therein, then, notwithstanding Article 46 hereof, this Constitution shall be amended as follows:

    i. the following Articles shall be substituted for Articles 2 and 3 of
    the Irish text:

    “2. [Irish text to be inserted here]

    3. [Irish text to be inserted here]”

    ii. the following Articles shall be substituted for Articles 2 and 3 of the English text:

    “Article 2

    It is the entitlement and birthright of every person born in the island of Ireland, which includes its islands and seas, to be part of the Irish nation. That is also the entitlement of all persons otherwise qualified in accordance with law to be citizens of Ireland. Furthermore, the Irish nation cherishes its special affinity with people of Irish ancestry living abroad who share its cultural identity and heritage.

    Article 3

    1. 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. Until then, the laws enacted by the Parliament established by
    this Constitution shall have the like area and extent of application as the laws enacted by the Parliament that existed immediately before the coming into operation of this Constitution.

    2. Institutions with executive powers and functions that are shared between those jurisdictions may be established by their respective responsible authorities for stated purposes and may exercise powers and functions in respect of all or any part of the island.”

    iii. the following section shall be added to the Irish text of this Article:

    “8. [Irish text to be inserted here]”


    iv. the following section shall be added to the English text of this Article:

    “8. The State may exercise extra-territorial jurisdiction in accordance with the generally recognised principles of international law.”

    4. If a declaration under this section is made, this subsection and
    subsection 3, other than the amendment of this Constitution effected thereby, and subsection 5 of this section shall be omitted from every official text of this Constitution published thereafter, but notwithstanding such omission this section shall continue to have the force of law.

    5. If such a declaration is not made within twelve months of this section being added to this Constitution or such longer period as may be provided for by law, this section shall cease to have effect and shall be omitted from every official text of this Constitution published thereafter.

    All of that comes before Strand One of the GFA. And to say that the ROI had no role in negotiating is absurd. The ROI is obliged to do any number of things by the GFA. For instance, Strand Two is the North/South Ministerial Council. Please, don’t be so foolish as to claim that the ROI didn’t negotiate with respect to Strand Two of the GFA. The very first part of Strand Two provides:

    1. Under a new British/Irish Agreement dealing with the totality of
    relationships, and related legislation at Westminster and in the Oireachtas, a North/South Ministerial Council to be established to bring together those with executive responsibilities in Northern Ireland and the Irish Government, to develop consultation, co-operation and action within the island of Ireland – including through implementation on an all-island and cross-border basis – on matters of mutual interest within the competence of the Administrations, North and South.

    Lastly, perhaps you missed that part of the one Peter Taylor series where he has your man Reynolds expounding on that part of the negotiations wherein Major snapped his pencil in half. And the GFA goes on to provide:

    9. The Irish Government will also take steps to further strengthen the protection of human rights in its jurisdiction.

    Strange thing to see in a document that they aren’t part of. Of course, as I said, given that the British-Irish agreement is annexed to the GFA, they are part of the GFA.

    Almost forgot, but the GFA also has in it, as part of Annex B:

    1. Both Governments will put in place mechanisms to provide for an accelerated programme for the release of prisoners, including transferred prisoners, convicted of scheduled offences in Northern Ireland or, in the case of those sentenced outside Northern Ireland, similar offences (referred to hereafter as qualifying prisoners). Any such arrangements will protect the rights of individual prisoners under national and international law.

    Well and truly lastly, Pete, Mr. Pensive Quill rarely if ever “acutely observes” and so he asked some other humans to incriminate themselves for the historical record.

  • Jimmy Sands

    “So, again, if you were okay with alleged murdering scumbag exercising power in another state, then why not your own state? ”

    Precisely because it’s my own state. That’s what it being my own state means I get a say. Nordies can elect Gaddafi if they choose.

  • HeinzGuderian

    ‘Your state’,may be pushing it a tad.
    Doesn’t it belong to the financiers of Europe now ? 😉

    You have ‘sovereignty’ to pay your debts/and vote Marty for el presidente.

    That’s about it.

  • Jimmy Sands

    Cruel HG, very cruel.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Tis a cruel world Jimmy……………(you can still comment on all things ‘Nordie’ though) 😉

  • Brian

    Tis a far, unimaginably far crueler world for those people who found themselves at the mercy of your hero Heinz Guderian’s conquering, occupying, and eventual retreating armies.

  • Alias

    Slappy, that copy-and-paste spam doesn’t refute any part of my comment and nor does it support your bizarre claim that the Irish government was a participant at the all-party talks.

    Again, you are confusing the British Irish Agreement – a treaty made between the two governments – that was ratified by the Irish electorate by referendum in the 19th Amendment to the Constitution and the Belfast/Good Friday Agreement which was an agreement between the political parties in the seperate jurisdiction of Northern ireland (and excluded all political parties from Ireland) and which was not ratified by the Irish electorate.

    So while folks in NI voted for an Agreement that would include the Shinners in mandatory powersharing, nobody in Ireland voted to give the Shinners a place in government. There is no hypocrisy at all in Irish people pointing out what the people of NI agreed to and then saying that McGuinness is fit for office on the basis of that agreement but not fit for office in Ireland on the basis of an agreement that nobody in Ireland agreed to.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, the only two entities that could actually deliver a united Ireland – the British and Irish governments – were excluded from the all-party talks so while the Shinners were busy bullshitting their gullible supporters about a different outcome, the only outcome that there could have been was an internal settlement.

  • fourwinds

    “on the basis of an agreement that nobody in Ireland agreed to”

    Keep saying it Alias, eventually maybe you’ll start believing it’s true.

    Letting former terrorists into government is beneath the high moral standards demanded by the 26 county republic!