SF Lord Mayor to step down before having to meet the Queen…

Well, whilst Martin is thinking about meeting the Queen Short Strand based Councillor Niall O’Donghaille is not taking any chances. He’s going to be outta there a few days beforehand, in case there is the least chance of being tainted with the Queen’s Jubilee celebrations which start on 1st June this year…

The Mayor’s blushes are to be saved by shifting the election of the new Mayor a few days earlier than expected, apparently as the result of a deal with the DUP which should see SF provide backing for the DUP candidature in time for the 1912 anniversaries…

  • Scáth Shéamais

    The BBC took a lighter angle on the story and didn’t mention any of the unionist response.

  • Blue Hammer

    Yet another tawdry deal by which the DUPes prop up their new best friends in SF. Accommodating this slur against the monarch plumbs new depths in how low the DUPes will crawl to keep their Provo chums happy.

    [text removed – mods]

  • Mick Fealty


    You’re not suggesting that the Beeb just ran the SF presser?

  • salgado

    It’s a bit of a carve up, and he’s not done his reputation any good, but it’s probably for the best. I’m sure a DUP mayor would be a lot more suited to the jubilee celebrations.

  • andnowwhat

    Why couldn’t the deputy mayor have ….erm…..deputised?

  • Drumlins Rock

    I presume the election is usually the first Monday (or is it Tuesday) in June, as both are bank holidays then the earliest would have been the Wednesday, now I’m guessing Her Majesty is a wee bit busy over that weekend, just a guess there, but a tour of Northern Ireland is surely unlikely between the 1st & 6th of June. But a tour is obviously on the cards and not just a flying visit, if it is in May then Niall will I hope preform his duties as required by the office, however if it is later in June (more likely at my guess or maybe she will head the 12th parade!) the Mayor will have changed anyways.
    So why the move? well lots of streets, halls, churches and community groups will be having celebrations over that weekend, Niall prob would not be that comfortable at them nor would his presence make some of the organisors and participant comfortable, I think it was a wise call, and I hope other councils follow suit if a similar situation is likely.

    I know shock horror I actually agree with a SF/DUP stunt.

    Now maybe Niall could go up to Limavady and talk to his party colleagues who are are being extremist party poopers.

  • Blue Hammer

    And can’t you just see the choreography now – a SF mayor (s)elected in June 2015 to cover Easter 2016, followed by a DUPe sliding in for the Somme.

    Simply sickening.

  • Here’s another take on the forthcoming Jubilee celebrations and the Shinner’s support for a Beacon on Cavehill;

    “Let no one pretend that those who suggested Cavehill summit as a venue for erecting a beacon in honour of the British monarch, were unaware of the great significance which that spot holds in the psyche of Irish republicans, separatists and revolutionaries, in this country and beyond.

    There in 1795, against great odds and considering death in the face of all to probable a defeat, Tone, McCracken, Thomas Russell and other comrades vowed “never to desist from our efforts until we have subverted the authority of England over our country and asserted our independence.”

    Further still, it was to this spot that Henry Joy McCracken, commander of the republican armies of Ulster took shelter following the United Irish defeat at the battle of Antrim in 1798, and from where he unsuccessfully planned his escape to America, ultimately meeting a horrible death via brutal execution.

    Songs, books, drama’s and documentaries have since been written and recited the world over, praising Cavehill and claiming for it a place in the hearts of freedom loving people everywhere.

    The Queen’s jubilee celebrations are being planned at both ‘direct’ and ‘local’ British government level. Considering this and the elements which make up ‘local government’ here, it is fair to assume that prominent amongst the planners were those in the upper echelons of Orangism, resolutely hostile to republicanism and fully aware of its historical protestant origins.

    It is equally fair to assume that the same people (aware of Cavehills role in the struggle for independence), hope to debase any historical and emotional value which the summit still holds by forcing onto it, an overtly high profile celebration of the British monarchs role in Irish affairs.

    Whatever the motivation of its planners, the Queens beacon on Cavehill must be opposed by republicans, in defence of the integrity of Tone & McCracken and the principles of Irish independence that they set out to achieve and ultimately died for.

    Where a beacon for tyranny is allowed to burn unnoposed, it goes without question that the flame of freedom will be harder to see”.


  • RyanAdams

    Knew that there would be a degree of either Unionist / Alliance co-operation with this. Nationalists don’t have the numerical strength to chnage the rules on their own. Have to say I wish both would grow up and do the job properly. If you don’t like the roles and responsibilities that come with the job, leave it to some of the other parties who will treat the job with the integrity it deserves. I honestly hope the widely tipped Gavin Robinson will do a better job of ‘being a mayor for everyone’ than Niall has.

    Ps I wonder how long before the cabal agree on “First and Deputy First Mayors” … Who will be equal in all but name!

  • Carsons Cat

    “SF backing for a DUP candidate”

    BCC uses d’Hondt now so that can’t exactly be true – parties get their go on the allocation – no deals or backing required.

  • Blue Hammer

    Beacon for Tyranny indeed. I have seen some nonsense posted on here but really this does take the biscuit.

    I simply cannot see tyranny in a beacon lit to celebrate the milestone of our monarchy’s sixty year reign. QE2 has the respect of the world, yet a few ne’er do wells sit around in their shibeens and whine about tyranny and expect to be taken seriously?

    Her place as our Monarch was confirmed in the otherwise iniquitous GFA, and unless and until a majority vote otherwise will remain so confirmed.

    Get with the programme AR. Even the provos help to administer this part of her realm. She won’t be going away you know.

  • > BCC uses d’Hondt now so that can’t exactly be true – parties get their go on the allocation – no deals or backing required.

    In this case, doesn’t d’Hondt give the proportions, but the parties agree (ie, negotiate and reach consensus) on the order. Wouldn’t do for a minor party to be mayor in the run up to council elections and get extra vote-winning publicity …

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Mick, I’m not suggesting anything, except that maybe the BBC has more of a glass half full outlook in comparison with the Indo?

    Alan, I think your right on the allocation. If I recall correctly, the next four years of the BCC mayoralty had already been agreed as SF, DUP, SDLP, SF. Not sure about deputies though.

  • An Irish solution for an Irish problem.
    Parity of Esteem is a work in progress. And one tradition is allowed more parity of esteem than another tradition so long as “Norn Iron remains part of the UK”.
    Seemingly DUP have no problem with it all. The next Mayor of Belfast will get an OBE or a knighthood or whatever.
    So there is no real issue.
    In truth some unionists love this kinda dilemna for republicans. Most republicans dont actually have a dilemna with it at all. They dont want anything to do with the Jubilee because they dont need to have anything to do with it.
    Makes perfect sense to me.

  • pauluk

    Gives new meaning to, ‘when the going gets tough, the tough get going’!

    What a pathetic response. Scurry away off into the corner, indeed.

  • tacapall

    I dont know what all the fuss is about it seems to me Sinn Fein and the DUP are in a win win situation, the shinners get good publicity from a republican perspective in that they are seen by their supporters as being republican, the DUP get what they want a possible audience with Mrs Windsor and all the kowtowing they like. No big deal except some elements of Unionism seem to think we should all be bowing our heads at her presence.

  • Exactly.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    The potential problem is that SF has supported the jubilee events, and Martin McGuinness has commented on his willingness to meet Elizabeth Windsor, so Niall Ó Donnghaile standing down from his position early looks like he’s running away (again).

  • tacapall

    Scáth Shéamais

    Martin McGuinness has to lead from the front he cannot expect nor command the likes of Niall Ó Donnghaile to share his views or cross the Rubicon for him, obviously some republicans can be and are more republican than others.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Michael Browne met her in Cashel last year.

  • tacapall

    Michael Brown is not the Lord Mayor of Belfast.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Once again, instead of SF showing the british people on the island of Ireland that their hand of friendship is genuine, they show us their forked tongue. Unionist’s have responded well to their president’s hand of friendship. She compared us to nazi’s but we forgave her and welcomed her back to our areas. The lastest president has been welcomed here as well. Well done Niall. Another blow for “irish freedom” as been struck. You are a true republican legend.

  • Hopping The Border

    As bad as it looks – which is preferable, to have a Mayor greet the UK head of state and not bow/show deference (or whatever is supposed to be done by subjects) or finish his term a week earlier and let someone who loves the Queen as their sovereign meet her and represent the city.

    Not ideal PR wise (for cross community efforts) but a practical solution nonetheless.

    A question for gentlemen of the red white and blue hue – would you prefer the Mayor to maintain his current course or relent and greet the Queen, but as he would any other visiting head of state (therefore not acknowledging the Queen’s position as his sovereign but doing his duty as a representative of the City of Belfast).

    That is the reason SF have no problem meeting QE2 in the ROI – she has no claim of sovereignty over Michael Brown or any other SF rep. (MMG as President proves more problematic, though I think in accepting the Presidency the individual renounces all other citizen/subjectships?)

  • Drumlins Rock

    SF Lord Mayor to step down before having to meet the Queen…


    Saturday 2nd June, 2012
    The Queen will attend the Epsom Derby.

    Sunday 3rd June, 2012
    The Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant: This event will take place on the Thames and consist of up to 1,000 boats assembled from across the UK, the Commonwealth and around the world. The Queen will travel in the Royal Barge which will lead the flotilla. This event is being organised by the Thames Diamond Jubilee Foundation,

    Monday 4th June, 2012
    BBC Concert at Buckingham Palace: There will be a televised Diamond Jubilee Concert at Buckingham Palace with tickets being available to UK residents by public ballot. The musical programme for the concert is still being planned and is expected to feature British and Commonwealth musicians. Details on how to apply for the concert will be available in due course. This event is being organised by the BBC.

    Tuesday 5th June, 2012
    Service of Thanksgiving and Carriage Procession: There will be a Service of Thanksgiving at St Paul’s Cathedral and a formal carriage Procession by The Queen.

    Can’t see the details for Wednesday 6th, but I think she might want to put her feet up for a day, certainly its unlikely NI is on the list.

    I hate defending SF but this was a sensible and mature decision to make.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I agree that it’s a win win. SF don’t want to meet the Queen, the DUP do, so SF are stepping aside to allow the DUP to handle it. Sounds like a good deal to me, and a damn fine example of co-operation and mutual respect.

  • USA

    “This is a case of good, cooperative politics in practice.”

    Yes, for me the glass is half full on this one. If it works for republicans and the DUP then happy days. The idea of rotating for the Somme, Easter Rising etc would seem to eliminate a lot of unnecessary aggro and alleviate the possibility of conflict on certain dates. Seems reasonable. Interesting that SF claim to have made their decision over a year ago.

  • sbelfastunionist

    Fully agree with Drumlins Rock. I don’t see what all the fuss is about. SF have supported funding for those who wish to celebrate the Jubilee but don’t wish to part of the celebrations themselves and are facilitating a Mayor being in place who will happily take part in any Council led festivities. Surely that’s fair enough.

  • Drumlins Rock

    USA, the decision was probably helped by the fact the elections were in May last year, giving the Mayor an extra week or two in office, so it can’t really be said he “cut short” his year, when the dates for length of term were discussed it is obvious the fact that the Monday & Tuesday were holidays hi-lighted the Jubilee, I guessing someone sensibly said, sure a Friday is unusual but its probably better having a Unionist Lord Mayor for the Jubilee and they penciled in 1st of June for the meeting.

    Stalin, how many times do I have to say it there is no chance of the Queen being in Belfast that week.

  • carl marks

    My first thought here is that when you agree to take on a job as Mayor.
    You should be prepared to represent the city to the end of the your term, whenever a person of importance (heads of state, religious leaders, etc) visits your city and you don’t like what they represent, you suck it up smile and be polite.
    The present mayor ( imho he was out of order on the Duke of Ed farce ) is not the first to let his politics get in the way of this duty, we have seen some beaut’s in the past, which have embarrassed us greatly.
    However on this occasion I agree with FJH and DR, I suspect the Nationalist view on the Jubilee is “it’s your party, have fun, don’t mind if we give it a miss, not our sort of thing ye know”
    Perhaps it a sign of us growing up a bit that the DUP and SF are working things out between them that 20 years ago would have been screaming match.

  • Harry Flashman

    Always happy to stick the boot into the Shinners when I get the chance but I fail to see the point on this occasion, on the contrary it seems like a nice piece of outreach.

    Would street parties and the like prefer an awkward or indeed absent Republican to represent them at their joyous event or would they prefer someone rather more in the spirit of things?

  • salgado

    Harry – I get the impression some of the unionist politicians who were complaining would prefer an awkward/absent Republican to be made to represent them.

  • This hardly comes as much of a surprise. During the 2010 Royal visit to the Giants Causeway and Rathlin Island, Arlene Foster appeared at the Causeway with a full entourage, Conor Murphy delegated a minor official from the DRD Ports and Airports Division to act as host, Alex Attwood arrived late at Moyle Council offices in Ballycastle and after the Royal party had departed for the island and Cara McShane, the then SF council chair, was available for the Attwood visit but not any part of the Royal one. My good friend Kevin McAuley provided the Rathlin photos.

  • Can we assume that the official opening of the new Titanic Centre will take place after the mayoral changeover? Such an opening could well be an occasion for a Royal visit.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Harry, it is hardly worth the title “outreach” just a bit of common sense, which I rate much highter than stunts to be honest.

    Nevin, I’m going to guess at a late June visit, if it was May details would have leaked, she probably wants to avoid the 12th Fortnight & stick round London for the Olympics. Any later looks like the visit is an after thought, no doubt aTitanic visit will be included, Marty might prevent it being a full official opening though?

    Was thinking the new hospital in Enniskillen is due to open then too, but the official opening isn’t till the Autumn. Not sure where else needs a ribbon cut, a North Coast visit might help boost the Open campaign.

  • Harry Flashman

    “she probably wants to avoid the 12th Fortnight”

    Her Maj has past form when it comes to visiting Norn Iron during contentious summer dates. In the 1977 silver jubilee she picked August 9th, the anniversary of internment to visit. I well remember the Royal Yacht Britannia and a destroyer moored serenely off Portrush as West Belfast and the Bogside rioted.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Thats the problem with doing a job for 60 years, “past form” can be over 35 yrs old like your example, if being “moored serenely” is the best accusation you can come up with for 60 yrs then here reign has been truely exceptional!

    BtwI wonder what Marty was up to that day? I doubt he was Moored Serenely anywhere!

  • Harry Flashman

    “Thats the problem with doing a job for 60 years, “past form” can be over 35 yrs old like your example, if being “moored serenely” is the best accusation you can come up with for 60 yrs then here reign has been truely exceptional!”

    Jeez, is it me or is everyone a bit cranky today?

  • “North Coast visit might help boost the Open campaign”

    DR, you should see what is happening in advance of this year’s Irish Open in Portrush [blog to follow]. There’s always the official opening of the new Visitor Centre at the Giants Causeway where I’m told they’re working night and day to have it open for visitors to the Irish Open.