“We cannot impose; this has to come from within Northern Ireland.”

Nothing in politics, nor in life, is “inevitable” [except death and taxes! – Ed] Indeed.  That includes a “border poll” – despite the protestations of the former International Representative for West Belfast, then temporary Crown Steward, now Louth TD, and Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams.  The Irish Times reports his latest outburst

“A border poll is inevitable. Mr Patterson knows this. It is only a matter of timing,” said the Sinn Fein leader. “By definition that will come when the people of our island have formed a cordial union of Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter,” Mr Adams said.

“When a border poll is held Owen Patterson will have no vote on that issue. That is as it should be, entirely a matter for the people of Ireland.”

The Louth TD, who was speaking ahead of a party meeting in Gulladuff in Co Derry, added: “The political landscape in the North has been transformed in recent years and there is growing support for a united Ireland.

“A border poll is inevitable. Mr Patterson knows this. It is only a matter of timing.”

[Riddikulus! – Ed]  Well, we know Sinn Féin’s preferred “timing”…  But, as the BBC reported, the Northern Ireland Secretary of State, Owen Paterson, has no intention of playing along.  Here’s what Owen Paterson told the House of Commons on Wednesday.

Mr Paterson: I can reassure the right hon. Gentleman on that. As Secretary of State, I have the right to call a poll when I feel like it; I have an obligation to call a poll when there is a clear indication that there would be a vote for a united Ireland. Given that only 17.4% were in favour of that option, and the fact that I have received hardly any phone calls, e-mails or letters on the issue, I have no intention of calling a poll at the moment. We should concentrate on the economy and on building a shared future; that is the real priority for the people in Northern Ireland. [added emphasis]

What’s more, if a “border poll” is called, it will be for the people of Ireland and Northern Ireland to decide separately.  The BBC report has more of Gerry Adams’ outburst [for the faithful? – Ed]

“British Secretary of State Owen Paterson has dismissed the possibility of a border poll,” Mr Adams told a Sinn Fein rally in south Londonderry.

“He has also blocked an enquiry into the killing of Human Rights lawyer Pat Finucane despite this being part of an inter-governmental agreement at Weston Park.

“He is also blocking a Bill of Rights. And he has been less than helpful on other matters like the Irish language. And his imprisonment of Marion Price is entirely stupid and unjust.

“But Mr Paterson would not be one the most adroit or skilful British secretaries of state to have been imposed on us. His remarks on the border poll have to be seen in this context.”

[Once again, I’m sure the feeling is mutual… – Ed]  Well, he’s no Peter Mandelson.  But neither is he the speech-writing genius that was Jonathan Powell[Hmmm… – Ed]

And he didn’t “[dismiss] the possibility of a border poll”.  But you’re free to make your case for unification, Gerry…  Assuming you’ve revised it since 1999.  Btw, “Hollow nationalist rhetoric will not do.”  On the other hand, it may just be another case of that occasional nostalgia.

And if Gerry Adams is wrong about Owen Paterson “[dismissing] the possibility of a border poll”, which he is, he’s even wrong-er about the NI Secretary of State “blocking a Bill of Rights”.

The blockage to a Bill of Rights in Northern Ireland [and an Irish Language Act – Ed] is the lack of consensus within the NI Assembly.  More specifically, the lack of consensus within the Office of the First and deputy First Ministers.

The logic, such as it is, behind Adams’ latest finger-pointing is that he wants those things imposed upon the NI Assembly  [Direct Rule Now! – Ed]  Indeed.

The UK Bill of Rights may be heading to a Commission for now, but there’s still room for a debate about it.  And as Hugo Swire, on behalf of the Secretary of State, also told the House of Commons on Wednesday

3. Paul Murphy (Torfaen) (Lab): What meetings he has had with political parties in Northern Ireland on a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland. [97675]

The Minister of State, Northern Ireland Office (Mr Hugo Swire): In September, my right hon. Friend the Secretary of State wrote to party leaders suggesting the possibility of the Assembly taking forward work in this area; we have yet to receive a response. Ministers and officials have continued to discuss this issue with human rights organisations since.

Paul Murphy: The Minister will know, of course, that the establishment of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland was part of the Good Friday agreement, and that it is a matter for all people in Northern Ireland. Will he not accept, however, that both he and his right hon. Friend the Secretary of State have a duty to bring about consensus rather than simply to listen to what people are saying without doing what is right and proper to ensure that we get consensus among all the political parties in Northern Ireland?

Mr Swire: The House will want to acknowledge the right hon. Gentleman’s part in the Good Friday agreement in trying to pursue the Bill of Rights. Frankly, however, that was when he should have pursued it, instead of squandering the good will that he and his Government had generated at that time. Let me give the right hon. Gentleman a couple of quick examples of our problem. First, the Secretary of State wrote to the First and Deputy First Ministers and all the party leaders back in September, but he has had no reply to his letters. Secondly, the Secretary of State for Justice wrote to the Office of the First Minister, asking it to nominate someone for the commission. It is now March, but no reply has been received. We thus face a problem, as we see no way forward without consensus.  [added emphasis]

———–

Lady Hermon (North Down) (Ind): As well as corresponding with the leaders of political parties in Northern Ireland, will the Minister kindly tell us whether his right hon. and learned Friend the Attorney-General actually believes that Northern Ireland needs a separate Bill of Rights?

Mr Swire: My right hon. and learned Friend came to Northern Ireland several times when we were in opposition. He was always of the belief, as we are, that any rights particular to Northern Ireland should be tagged on to any UK Bill of Rights. I alluded earlier to a lack of consensus. The hon. Lady will be aware that in a debate in the Assembly last year, Members voted by 46 to 42 against a motion calling for a robust, enforceable Bill of Rights. As I said in answer to the right hon. Member for Torfaen (Paul Murphy) earlier, that is a perfect example of the problem we face. We cannot impose; this has to come from within Northern Ireland. When it does, we will respond accordingly.  [Added emphasis]

In the meantime, Gerry, “let’s go on a journey…”  Before more people realise start “thinking that you are slightly bonkers“.  [Look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes… – Ed]

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  • Alias

    “When a border poll is held Owen Patterson will have no vote on that issue. That is as it should be, entirely a matter for the people of Ireland.”

    And it is entirely a matter for the British minister to self-determine whether or not it ever becomes “a matter for the [two peoples] of Ireland” to self-determine in seperate acts of self-determination. That is the abolute veto that Mr Adams signed up to.

  • Pete Baker

    “That is the abolute veto that Mr Adams signed up to.”

    Well, not quite “absolute”, Alias. As Owen Paterson pointed out, “I have an obligation to call a poll when there is a clear indication that there would be a vote for a united Ireland.” That clear indication would have to be within Northern Ireland to begin with, natch.

    But it does appear that Mr Adams is not as enamoured as he once was with the “indigenous” deal.

    It’s another symptom of a political psychosis…

  • Paddy Power is offering 3/1 on a referendum being held. Seems like good value to me. That arrogant ‘I’ll call it whenever I feel like it’ Englishman, whoever he is, will do as he’s told when the time comes. If the SDLP man-up to their manifesto and row in behind SF there will be a referendum. My guess is a date being set before the end of this Assembly term.

    @Alias “That is the abolute veto that Mr Adams signed up to.”
    I think you might be mistaken. Gerry and Martin might have banked a few but I don’t think they “signed up” to anything. The current dispensation suits for now

  • cynic2

    “He has also blocked an enquiry into the killing of Human Rights lawyer Pat Finucane”

    Well Gerry, can we have one into Jean McConville’s murder as well?

  • Coll Ciotach

    Cynic – That is not one for Gerry Adam’s to call.

  • RyanAdams

    Ulick,
    This attack on Owen Patterson comes from a man who lost any say over domestic affairs in the United Kingdom when he resigned all elected offices he had here. I thought Gerry had finally learned that Martin simply does this constitution stuff better and the Beard himself is better keeping his mouth shut but I guess old habits die hard.
    Scotland had what I would call a reasonable expectation of a referendum as a party advocating constitutional change as one of its key policies won a majority of seats in that nations devolved administration.
    Now as for their Irish counterparts …
    They have NO majority
    They have NO consensus between them on how to fight such referendum
    NEITHER has a unified plan on how it would work if a ‘Yes’ vote won.
    And I would very much doubt Alisdair McDonnell has any intentions of ‘rowing in behind SF’ at this moment in time.

    And believe me, this is coming from someone who wants a border poll as soon as possible to shut the issue up for seven years.

  • Alias

    Pete, the ‘obligation’ is entirely discretionary, conditional on ministerial opinion. There is no constitutional obligation on any basis other than British ministerial opinion as stipulated in the GFA (“if at any time it appears likely to him” that a border poll would be won).

    As it would obviously be lost, the Shinners know there is no possibility of the minister calling for one to be held. By calling for one now, the Shinners get to appear “all republican” without risking the loss of the British state jobs and pensions.

    “I think you might be mistaken. Gerry and Martin might have banked a few but I don’t think they “signed up” to anything. The current dispensation suits for now.”

    Shouldn’t they tell Conor Murphy? He claims>/a> that the British minister’s veto was inserted by his party.

    And I think you might be mistaken if you think you can alter the constitutional position at your whim even if it doesn’t suit for now or the next century.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ulick, where? I’ve looked but can’t find it.

  • Reader

    CollCiotach: Cynic – That is not one for Gerry Adam’s to call.
    But just think – if Gerry added his weight to calls for such an inquiry, that would be a substantial boost to the campaign. And it’s possible that he could do a deal with unionist politicians over Pat Finucane too.
    That would be a powerful cross-community initiative. Twin inquiries would still cost an absolute fortune, when times are already hard. However, an indigenous tit-for-tat deal like that would have a much more cleansing effect than the tit-for-tat inquiries imposed from outside that we have seen to date.

  • tacapall

    If the British and Unionists are so smug about only 17.4 % wanting a United Ireland then why don’t they put it up to Sinn Fein and actually prove that figure and secure the status quo for another generation. The arrogance of Peterson and indeed the British establishment in regards to this and other matters including the Irish language act and the Pat Finucane inquiry prove beyond any doubt that perfidious albion will never honour any agreement when it comes to Ireland unless it suits their best interests.

  • Drumlins Rock

    “I have an obligation to call a poll when there is a clear indication that there would be a vote for a united Ireland. Given that only 17.4% were in favour of that option, and the fact that I have received hardly any phone calls, e-mails or letters on the issue,”

    So, we now have a Secretary of States Defination of what constitutes a “clear indication” and he has chosen the opnion poll figures, I don’t believe that it was challenged by the opposition so for any border poll to take place that 16-18% regularly recorded in the NILT survey must increase to 51% for a border poll to occur.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    ‘As Secretary of State, I have the right to call a poll when I feel like it…’

    I couldn’t believe he actually said this. I had to go and check Hansard, just to be sure.

    The arrogance of the colonial satrap.

    Whatever the merits or demerits of a referendum at this time, I hope the SDLP and SF bash Viceroy Patterson over the head with this remark relentlessly.

    One cannot one be happy to live under such a twit and retain a shred of dignity.

    But I suppose goodies may be available, so I suppose that’d be the unionist strategy.

    Union = goodies
    Unity = dignity.

    NI decides.

  • We currently have a DUP/SF mutual veto in the OFMDFM so it’s hardly surprising that Gerry, whilst addressing a PRM audience, should attempt to apply pressure on Enda Kenny to apply pressure on David Cameron at tomorrow’s meeting of the two premiers.

    Currently unionists remain isolated on the margins of the British political system where they make up 2 per cent of the population. In a united Ireland unionists would make up 20% of the population and be able to exercise real authority, power and influence.

    Unionists and Nationalists in NI are both isolated in the UK political system; they’re also isolated in the UK and Ireland exchanges, especially now that the PRM has currently set aside the use of violence to lever political change.

    Gerry is hardly in a strong position to promote a New Republic; he should also note that 80% trumps 20% when it comes to ‘authority, power and influence’.

  • Mick,
    getting a date for the referendum has been SDLP policy for a decade or more, only it’s SF alone who get into the cross-haris when the subject is mentioned. Which is my point, the SDLP have done absolutely nothing to achieve this policy objective and the contrast with the SF events and conferences over the past few years is stark. It’s about time they got the finger out lest we begin to think they’re full of it. Wouldn’t surprise me if they were waiting to use it as a bargaining chip with SF as they know both nationalist parties will have to be actively campaigning for the date to be set before it’ll happen.

    Their manifesto has a section on “uniting Ireland” and when it was launched Ms Ritchie made it clear they wanted the referendum set during this Assembly term.

    – From Slugger archives (http://goo.gl/tpxxr): “During the next mandate, we will seek a referendum on a United Ireland”

    – From SDLP policy document 2003, ‘A United Ireland and the Agreement’ (http://goo.gl/T9FRS): “In the forthcoming review, seek agreement on a date for a referendum on a United
    Ireland.”

    – From SDLP Manifesto for Assembly and Local Government 2011 (http://goo.gl/7nFYX): “During the next mandate, we will seek a referendum on a United Ireland for which the SDLP will campaign vigorously in favour of a ‘yes’ vote.”

  • PaddyReilly

    Currently unionists remain isolated on the margins of the British political system where they make up 2 per cent of the population. In a united Ireland unionists would make up 20% of the population and be able to exercise real authority, power and influence.

    No, only 11% of the voters in the recent two General Elections in Ireland voted Unionist, and we may safely assume that in the event of a reunification, that number would decline, possibly disappear, as there is no point voting for something that is going to lose.

  • “it’s SF alone who get into the cross-haris when the subject is mentioned”

    Ulick, SF can get into the cross-hairs when ANY subject is mentioned!

    Here’s a little more context for the current bruhaha:

    Hugo Swire (March 7): Inevitably, we have heard much discussion about the signing of the covenant. We should remember that that came after the third Home Rule Bill, in reaction to it, and I am pleased to say that we are in co-operation and co-ordination with Dublin. I pay tribute to the Minister Jimmy Deenihan with whom I have been working on creating the architecture within which we can set this decade of commemorations. That starts next week in Westminster Hall with an exhibition on the third Home Rule Bill. We hope it will then travel on to Dublin and to Northern Ireland.

    I suppose if it’s a London-Dublin venture some Unionist noses may be put out of joint!

  • Reader

    Billy Pilgrim: ‘As Secretary of State, I have the right to call a poll when I feel like it…’ – I couldn’t believe he actually said this. I had to go and check Hansard, just to be sure.
    I wouldn’t worry about it. While he is entirely correct, he knows perfectly well that Dave Cameron would give him a severe slap on the wrist for wasting money and raising tensions, if he went too soon, on a whim. So he will call a referendum when he is obliged to do so. I think most observers probably think he would call a referendum when if ever there is a nationalist plurality – or maybe majority – at Stormont.
    By then the opinion polls might have been sorted out to your satisfaction

  • weidm7

    Who else would like less of the referendum talk when it’s a) never going to happen and b) wouldn’t pass anyway, I’d prefer less tension-stoking and more bridges being built between the communities, to get to a point when neither community is viscerally opposed to either outcome and where the idea of ‘community’ has fallen by the wayside and we’re just left with ‘Irish’, not a Catholic, Gaelic, Republican Irish, a diverse, multi-faceted Irish, where we can respect each other’s opinions and acknowledge atrocities regardless of who committed them.

  • Roy Walsh

    I agree with Ryan above, Alasdair McDonnell would not ‘row in’ behind SF in seeking a Border Poll since he’d fear the result might result in his loosing half his income at Westminster

  • TwilightoftheProds

    Adam’s real drive in talking this referendum up is just to cover how politically weak republican strategy on separation from the UK looks – in comparison to the political acumen of the SNP.

    SNP – 1 change of achieving independence- significant

    2 Death toll and legacy of political violence in achieving aim-zero

    Irish Republicanism – 1 chance of achieving unity – low for political and economic reasons in this generation
    2 Death toll and legacy of political violence- errrrrr

  • Framer

    Ironically the Price sisters and Gerry Kelly were jailed because of bombing the Old Bailey timed as a protest against the holding of the last border poll.

    And Paul Murphy is being disingenuous when he says, “The Minister will know, of course, that the establishment of a Bill of Rights for Northern Ireland was part of the Good Friday agreement”.

    It wasn’t. No bill was promised in the Agreement.

  • Adams proposes. Patterson opposes. Salmond disposes.

  • Angry Planner

    Its actually a pity a Border Poll won’t come out of this as it would be fun to see how SF would campaign on it, “VOTE YES FOR TROIKA IMPOSED WAGE CUTS TAX RISES AND SERVICE CUTS!!!”

    Any takers? Thought so! 😉

  • Politico68

    I really don’t understand why this is such a headline issue. I understand people being angry with Paterson, his attitude is pretty arrogant to say the least but the concept of a border poll in the near future is pretty silly for a number of reasons. Firstly it is bound to stir up unrest in the community particularly at flash point areas, crazy when one considers the efforts that are going into trying to bring the two together. Secondly, the current financial situation in both jurisdictions and the equally difficult employment situation should be the priority at the moment. Thirdly, it would be costly financially and has little or no chance of being carried. Fourthly, London has enough on its plate trying to tame Scotland; the last thing it wants is a tussle up North. It seems that some nationalists are counting on the democratic shift to change the colour of the North but the reality is that although there is a significant spike in the Catholic Population, a nationalist majority only exists in the under 35 age group, the vast majority of whom don’t vote or can’t vote. I think we have a while to wait yet lads.

  • Roy Walsh

    Agreed with Politico68 on the demographic profile but a poll now would cause division yet also determine the likely lenght of partition.
    perhaps (though I doubt it) the Telegraph and BBC polls are correct and re-unification will not happen in the Baron’s lifetime, or the next century, equally it might, there being strong economic argument for re-unification, that up to 46%of the population here will vote to reunite.
    I’ve said before, don’t believe vested interest polls, the only one which will count is that put to the people of all six counties.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Roy, but the SoS (without any contradiction from Labour it seems) has now publicly stated in Parliment the “trigger” for a border poll will be based on opinion polls not party votes.

    PS. Am I right in saying Owen Patterson is as entitle to vote in the border poll as Gerry is? At least Owen live here when he is resident at Hillsborough.

  • orly

    Have the vote tomorrow.

    It’ll be spectacularly funny. A landslide I’d imagine…and not for joining that other functionally bankrupt economy on the island.

  • separatesix

    I hope it’s not going to be an “all-Ireland” border poll, as only those who live and pay taxes and raise families in Northern Ireland should have a right to a say in the region’s future not some anonymous individual in Cork with no links to NI. If a border poll is imposed, unionists should refuse to take part in it, the results may be declared void if only the nationalist community participate in it.

  • Politico68

    Yes it will be an All Ireland border poll. However each jurisdiction will have its own mandate from where it will proceed. There will be no UK wide poll either as that would seal the end of the Union. There has to be a poll in the south, lets face, it GB have been tryin to dump the North for years, lets not assume the Republic will gleefully embrace it

  • separatesix

    PaddyReilly unionists would end up like the Amish community in a All Ireland gagged and supressed, economically disadvantaged, discriminated against no cultural rights, marked out as different, there would be a witch hunt against them because they supported Britain and partition. they woulden’t get jobs and if they did they’d be picked on, there would be revenge attacks against them. Their religion could be weakened with mixed marriages. It’s dosen’t matter that the Republic of Ireland is in Europe. Europe is Catholic and they’ll turn a blind eye to protestants being brutalised in a United Ireland.

  • dwatch

    I suggest we have a border poll next year 2013, then another one in 2053. Having one every 40 years would keep in line with the last Northern Ireland sovereignty referendum we had in 1973 when Irish republicans refused to come out to vote.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Northern_Ireland_sovereignty_referendum,_1973

  • Politico68

    ‘separatesix’

    You clearly know very little about the Southern mindset. The Catholic church has long since lost its grip on Irish society; the country is very pluralist now with cosmopolitan towns and cities. The overwhelming majority of southerners see unity as a goal but, that ‘unity’ is now seen as people instead of territory and is no longer regarded as some sentimental debt owed. The younger generation have practically zero interest in a person’s religion or cultural background and less interest in politics. There is no way any Dublin Government would be allowed govern the way the Old Stormont regime did, not in a fit!! I understand your concerns re: your faith and how to protect it; u might find it interesting to note that unlike in the North, the Protestant population in the South has reversed its decline. Regarding the holding of a border poll. It makes no sense. In 2001 only 41.5% of those entitled to vote came from a Nationalist background while 56.2% came from a Unionist. Now its 44% – N, 53% – U. It will be at least 15 yrs before the N and U voters balance numerically. So I think u can rest a while on that.

  • separatesix

    Why not let’s have a border poll every single year and create even more political instability!

  • dwatch

    Did Gerry tell all his previous constituents in West Belfast if they voted for a UI and won they would have to fork out 100 Euros every time they visit the RVH A & E?

    “Emergency care is provided at a cost of €100 for a visit to the Accident and Emergency department.”
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Healthcare_in_the_Republic_of_Ireland

  • Sinn Féin’s record on the border is dubious. For example Gerry Adams has given wholehearted support to Slab Murphy, crossborder smuggler par excellence. Where would Murphy be without the border?
    As for his claims re Irish and the Secretary of State for NI. It’s beyond dispute that the NIO has been less than helpful to Irish – but then again SF have also been behind the mark. For years they refused to take the Culture Ministry – allowing it to fall into the hands of the DUP who went at the irish language like a wrecking ball. The Irish Language Broadcast Fund was axed by DUP’s Edwin Poots. It was later ‘rescued’ by Gerry Adams when the First Minister crisis occurred in 2008. He also set up his Irish language fund – http://www.ciste.ie – at that time and we’re left in no doubt by the website to whom Irish speakers in the north should be grateful in that regard…..

  • Politico68

    “Emergency care is provided at a cost of €100 for a visit to the Accident and Emergency department.”

    Incorrect. The charge is only applied for those who have not been properly triaged. In other words if u arrive by ambulance or via any other emergency service u don’t have to pay, secondly if u have been advised to go by your GP and he has written a note for the Hospital u also don’t have to pay. The system is in place to stop people with harmless aches and pains clogging up the A&E unnecessarily. I hope Gerry does however explain the lower tax burden in the South and the higher level of tax free income a person can earn. Not to mention the rates fees which are 70% cheaper. It would also help if he mentioned the welfare payments which are on average twice that of the North. Companies enjoy a far lower corporation tax rate too. Further, capital gains tax is 25% in the south 28% in the North.

  • Politico68

    ‘we’re left in no doubt by the website to whom Irish speakers in the north should be grateful in that regard’

    A large dose of begrudgery here I think. Gerry Adams is mentioned once on the site because he secured funding, reasonable enough i would have thought.

  • Barnshee

    “its interesting to note that unlike in the North, the Protestant population in the South has reversed its decline”

    The “rise” is entirely due to immigaration— largely our brothers in Christ from Africa The native prod south of the border is all but extinct.

  • ranger1640

    Concubhar, your right of course on the shinners not taking to culture portfolio, that,s because they see more advantage in having influence over Unionist parental choice and taking the education portfolio.

    Border poll a waste of money.

  • Greenflag

    Nothing will happen referendum wise in Northern Ireland until Scotland has it’s ‘referendum’ and the result of the latter will have some impact on any future NI scenario I would think .

    2020 would seem to be about the soonest any NI referendum could take place . By then the ‘tribes ‘ and factions within NI will have had almost another decade of relative peace and they can look back in hindsight on both the ‘troubles’ 1969-1998 and on the economic recession , property bubble burst 2008-2014 and the resumption of economic growth in the 20014 -2020 period .

    And by then the demographics should be close to giving a small majority to the overall nationalist republican vote which of course by itself does not make the result ‘inevitable ‘.

  • Greenflag

    ‘largely our brothers in Christ from Africa ‘

    Don’t forget your sisters in Christ for without them the brothers cannot contribute to a rising congregation .

    And of course RC ‘s also have their ‘brothers and sisters in Christ from Africa and even Australia as this comedian explains in the gospel according to Luke .

    ‘The native prod south of the border is all but extinct.’

    Not at all I had a work colleague who was Methodist and before they had 6 children .

    Wonderful people and a very happy family . When accused of trying to outbreed the Catholics his tongue in cheek reply was that if they supplied the women he’d have a go !

    As for the native prod becoming extinct ? Native churchgoers of all denominations are becoming extinct . Its called secularism and its a worldwide phenomenon .
    Get used to it .

  • Greenflag

    Remember now Barnshee it’s only the Bible it’s not Gospel 😉

  • I felt Gerry would be disappointed with today’s UK-Ireland meeting between the two premiers:

    “It is the job of the Irish Government to assert Irish national and democratic rights and to put the case for a united Ireland as strongly as the British Government promotes the maintenance of the Union.

    “Today’s meeting in Downing Street was a missed opportunity to rebalance Irish-British relations.”

    Instead of greater separation there’s to be closer integration:

    We intend that this Joint Statement will be the starting point for realising the potential over the next decade of even stronger relations for current and future generations living on these islands.

    We have asked our respective Secretary General/Cabinet Secretary to take forward the work necessary to give effect to this new phase of our relationship.

    We have agreed that there will be regular meetings at Secretary General/Permanent Secretary level, working with the relevant lead Departments, and through formal exchanges of civil servants.

  • Politico68

    ‘ largely our brothers in Christ from Africa The native prod south of the border is all but extinct.’

    … I have to assume u are a bit nuts mate.

  • Greenflag

    @Nevin,

    The case for any UI rests in the hands and votes of all the people of Northern Ireland . Neither Mr Kenny nor Mr Adams can do a whole lot about that situation nor indeed can Mr Cameron . Mr Cameron is trying to prevent Scotland exiting the union and ditto NI .Whether he will succeed longer term who knows .

    In the meantime it’s business as usual and closer cooperation and integration just makes sense for all sides .
    No idea what SF mean by ‘re-balancing ‘ but I’d have thought that the ‘re-balancing’ that needs to be done is not between Britain and Ireland but between the powers of the banksters of the world and democratic governments everywhere .And thats a re-balancing which so far has not seen the light of day .And exchanging one Humphrey for another in Dublin or London won’t have any impact on the bigger picture of the world economy and it’s functioning on which the economic prosperity of both Britain and Ireland (and Northern Ireland) depend .

    Mr Adams is gallery playing methinks but then so are most of the leaders of all western governments including Britain and Ireland and elsewhere as they continue to pay homage and subservience to the Mammon Paper Gods of Wall St and the City of London , Frankfurt , Paris etc 🙁

  • Barnshee

    “As for the native prod becoming extinct ? Native churchgoers of all denominations are becoming extinct . Its called secularism and its a worldwide phenomenon ”

    There you go– confusing protestantism with church going

    Protestant = NOT Roman catholic
    End of.

  • Barnshee

    ‘ largely our brothers in Christ from Africa The native prod south of the border is all but extinct.’

    … I have to assume u are a bit nuts mate.”

    Presentt pop in ROI of prods is some 3% – the tiger and the black rhino have better chance of survival.

  • andnowwhat

    Barnshee (profile) 13 March 2012 at 2:31 pm
    “As for the native prod becoming extinct ? Native churchgoers of all denominations are becoming extinct . Its called secularism and its a worldwide phenomenon ”

    There you go– confusing protestantism with church going

    Protestant = NOT Roman catholic
    End of.”

    This’ll be news to Shatter

  • Greenflag

    @ barnshee ,

    Protestant = NOT Roman catholic

    Brilliant deduction .You are a veritable genius . Ipso facto

    Protestant = NOT Islamic
    Protestant = NOT Jewish
    Protestant = NOT Jehovahs Witness
    Protestant = NOT Mormon
    Protestant = NOT Orthodox
    Protestant = NOT Buddhist
    Protestant = NOT Bahai
    Protestant = NOT Hindu
    Protestant = NOT Atheist
    Protestant = NOT Zoroastrian
    Protestant = NOT Sunni Islam.
    Protestant = NOT Shiite Islam

    All of the above are less numerous than Southern protestants apart from Atheists who are growing in numbers .

    Perhaps you are mistaking ‘protestants for unionists in which case you are already too late as ‘unionists ‘ in the political sense are extinct in the Republic bar maybe a handful of eccentrics here and there .

    I know that one of my local TDS is Church of Ireland and he was elected by an overwhelming Catholic (nominal vote ). But then it was’nt because he was a Protestant it was because he was a good man and an excellent candidate with a strong record in community politics .

    Of course I understand that kind of thing is impossible still in Northern Ireland but hopefully someday you will overcome your ‘paranoia ‘ about ‘themmuns ‘. 😉

  • Pete Baker

    Focus, gentlemen…

  • Greenflag

    andnowwhat ,

    ‘This’ll be news to Shatter’

    I know it’s an awful pun but I can’t resist the temptation .

    Shatter will be unshattered by the news . Being Jewish he is ‘unshatterable ‘ after all most of his voters worship the eh ‘descendant of David ‘ as their living God a.k.a the Jewish carpenter and member of the Nazarene Carpenters Union est 55 BC 😉 A great man to some a prophet to others and a messiah to still others and a miracle worker and of course an anti imperialist vis a vis the Roman Empire but a non violent one .

  • Politico68

    http://census.cso.ie/Census/TableViewer/tableView.aspx?ReportId=74641

    Shows a clear increase In Protestant population since 1990’s

  • Barnshee

    “Perhaps you are mistaking ‘protestants for unionists ”
    Hardly What possible politics couls a cowed irrelevant rump make

  • Greenflag

    I would’nt describe Senator Norris as cowed nor Shane Ross nor Alan Shatter .The former polled three times as many votes as the traditional RC candidate in the Presidential election and could have done better and Shane Ross topped the poll in his constituency ?

    You need to lie your head down on a railway track and broaden your mind . It sounds as if its the only way its going to work for you . shame 🙁

  • Barnshee

    “I would’nt describe Senator Norris as cowed nor Shane Ross nor Alan Shatter .The former polled three times as many votes as the traditional RC candidate in the Presidential election and could have done better and Shane Ross topped the poll in his constituency ?

    You need to lie your head down on a railway track and broaden your mind . It sounds as if its the only way its going to work for you . shame ”

    Spent my life being insulted by catholic republican denial of anti protestant, discrimination violence and theft even when I have personal family history to prove it.

    A poor shot at an insult. tho entirely typical of the denial mind set