Ard Comhairle to sign off details of the forthcoming ‘Martin meets Elizabeth’ gig…

One of the stories that’s been hanging in the air for the last few weeks has been will Martin McGuinness meet the Queen, or won’t he? Well, it seems he will. Though the i’s and the t’s remain to be dotted and/or crossed.

In recent weeks Slugger understands that the leadership within Sinn Fein have deployed some very senior members ‘of the Movement’ in selling ‘the deal’ to their own activists.

Slugger also understands that the party’s Ard Comhairle (high council) will consider a concrete proposal for the deputy First Minster to meet with the British Sovereign next Monday or Tuesday, tomorrow morning.

Does it really matter, now that Queen Elizabeth has been welcomed by all parties in the Republic, along with its own political sovereign in the form of President McAleese?

Indeed, most Northern Irish unionists seem to have been highly reassured by the popular reception given the British Queen on her visit to the Republic last year.

Yet as one Republican told Slugger..

A lot of people have suffered a great deal in opposing everything she represents. In the north there’s been a history and a tradition of sacrifice. And there is a risk of trouble in the ranks.

We don’t have any precise details of the location (or choreography) of the meeting. But in principle, if there is a handshake it’s unlikely to be photographed.

And it is unlikely to be at Hillsborough but rather in a venue associated associated with some all Ireland identity.

The news, when/if it eventually arrives, will surely just be one more welcome step on the journey towards the normalisation of relations on these island.

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  • tomthumbuk

    I know the Queen has done a splendid job and is dedicated to serving her country.
    However, is it not a step too far to ask her to greet a person at the top level of an organisation responsible for murdering her relative?
    She’ll probably do it out of a sense of duty, but you can’t help feel that, to put an elderly woman through this, is just a bit much.

  • Mick Fealty

    She’s head of state. It comes with the territory.

  • seamus60

    The 2 men who own the party will have already decided without fear of trouble in the ranks.

  • cynic2

    Given that SF have been working for the Brits so long, surely it will be like one of those company visits by the boss from Corporate HQs to tell staff “you are all doing awfully well!”

  • Mick Fealty

    Don’t knock it. These internal party processes are wringing ‘historic’ headlines out of big media north and south.

    Just like those oft repeating UUCs in the early noughties, though in that case there was always some doubt about the outcome.

    In this case Gerry’s just been talking to the mirror again…

  • And all this is important, because … ?

  • Little James

    I dont get the significance, Mc Guiness and Adams couldnt spend enough time with “war criminal” Tony Blair and indeed hasnt Mc Guiness attended the Conservative party conference a couple of years ago. The Queen is nothing more than a figurehead pensioner. It is the government of the day in Westminster that holds the power and has secured the North in the Union for the forseeable future.

  • Cooperation Ireland – whose joint patrons are the Queen and the Irish President are pleased to announce the birth of a do-able scenario

    Co-operation Ireland is organising an event in Belfast next Wednesday, 27 June, bringing together the Joint Patrons and a small number of guests to recognise and celebrate the transformational strength of the arts and culture across the community in Northern Ireland and throughout Ireland. We are inviting the First Minister and deputy First Minister to join us.

  • SDLP supporter

    Complete stuff and nonsense, to distract the Sinn Fein voting fodder and to persuade them that every day in every way things are getting better and better and to give a few more orgasms to the complaisant media.

    Had to laugh at Danny Morrison just there on RTE revising Irish history yet again. According to DM’s 2012 version the late Frank Maguire, MP for Fermanagh South Tyrone, didn’t turn up for the November 1979 vote which brought down the Callaghan government, and so let Thatcher in, because the Brits wouldn’t sort out the H Blocks. Doesn’t DM remember that the reviled Gerry Fitt at least had the balls to turn up at the Commons and abstained as well?.

    RTE is worth listening to because there’s a wonderful clip of McGuinness saying “this decision will be taken when the Ard Comhairle will be appointed, sorry elected…” Democracy how are ye?

  • J Kelly

    On the surface this is very difficult for some republicans, myself included, but I can see what Sinn Féin and Martin McGuinness is doing. He is setting the agenda and putting it up to unionists and those sections of the British System that don’t understand equality and respect. The issue of sovereignty is not settled, so long as 45% of the population in the six counties vote for United Ireland parties. The presence of the Irish President as a co-equal participant along with the English Queen at any meeting on Irish soil involving the north’s joint First Ministers moves the whole debate closer to joint sovereignty than ever before. Nowhere else in the so-called UK would, could or should that happen. The total abnormality of partition is once again exposed.

    Derry, Belfast, Ballymena, Cappagh, Camlough and every town in the 6 counties are different and not as British as Finchley. The Queens knows this, the British Government know this and so do the DUP. On Thursday or Friday of next week when the dust settles its time to start discussing the implications and ramifications of all of this. Is this new Ireland that republicans want to create with plenty of room for British citizens and their traditions and culture.

  • DT123

    A whole load of spoofing and blethering before Marty dips his head to her Maj next week.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Sinn Fein agree to meet their head of state to signal defacto joint sovereignty! Jonathan Powell I salute you! That is first division spinning.

    There is a tiny silver lining for HM. Any future occasion when the cost of the monarchy is discussed Palace officials need only mention this gathering. Jeez money wouldn’t pay you to be in the same room as McGuinness never mind having to exchange small talk with him.

    You’ve just got to admire the Queen.

    Perhaps we’ll be treated to one of Marty’s ‘poems’ to mark the occasion in a kinda Poet Laureate stylee?

  • Strange isn’t it that in a week when Sinn Féin is on the ropes for its questionable policy re ‘unvouched expenses’ and their ‘average industrial wage’ it suddenly comes up with the wheeze of meeting the British Queen to distract us from their use of public funds to finance their drive for power….

  • “bringing together the Joint Patrons”

    ‘Professor’ Higgins will be meeting My Fair Lady, Eliza Doolittle, in Belfast on Wednesday; it’ll be his second UK visit within a week 😉

  • J Kelly @ 10:39 am:

    To be fair, large stretches of north County Down (e.g. Crawfordsburn) and similar benighted areas plagued with numerous golf-courses may be “different”, but they are far, far more “British” than multi-ethnic Finchley. And loudly so.

    Something similar used to infect Ootacamund (“Ooty”) and Pune (“Poona”). All that’s now just a tourist come-on.

    Another major difference is that Finchley and environs have no post-colonialistic frettings about “traditions and culture”. But that’s a NI-specific ailment found, in different ways, digging with either foot.

    In Finchley, social conflict amounts to a proposal for an eruv, or Saracens RFC proposing to move from Vicarage Road to Copthall.

    Apologies: I cannot take this thread seriously.

  • “Derry, Belfast, Ballymena, Cappagh, Camlough and every town in the 6 counties are different and not as British as Finchley.”

    or as Irish as Blarney, J Kelly. We are truly a place apart!

  • Jeepers – going by the reactions of sniffy, snidey, and snotty on this thread it certainly looks as though this gesture is less for moving SF supporters in a different direction that putting one up to the “other side”. It looks to be working.

  • Mick Fealty


    I’d challenge that a bit. The constitutional status of Northern Ireland is not settled. And until and unless is moves into a union with the Republic it will always remain under question.

    But there is no dispute that the lady Martin and Peter send packets of legislation to London to sign is the constitutional head of the United Kingdom.

    It’s her Treasury that collects and disburses all public monies in Northern Ireland, including said gentlemen’s wages.

    It’s part of the infrasture of the state in which we currently reside. It does not mean that Republicans stop being Republicans because they have to partake in such formal moments.

    But, beyond the references made in the quotation above, it’s not really such a big constitutional deal since this is merely acknowledging the de facto status quo since MLAs started drawing their wages in the wake of the 1998 all Ireland referendum that mandated the current arrangements.

    As you may have noticed from the Twitter feed, I have some difficulties taking this whole show in any way seriously…

    But seriously, the late SF Mayor of Cashel had way more gumption than the whole SF Republican leadership put together last year when he just did the decent thing and represented the sincere feelings of the people of his town last year.

    This is just belated catch IMHO… What fool who had come this length into the new dispensation thinks this is about anything more than getting top billing on Morning Ireland and GMU…

  • Mick Fealty

    I guess its the tedium of the self narration that gets me… SF are not the only ones who do it. The SDLP and the UUPs do it too, though possibly less emphatically…

    Strangely I think only Alliance and the DUP have spent any real time thinking about how to message in this post industrial day and age.. They get to say what they mean to say, than telling the rest of us what we should think they mean…

    If that’s not too convoluted…?

  • michael-mcivor

    sdlp supporter-

    ” Gerry Fitt at least had the balls to turn up at the commons and abstained as well ”

    So he did not vote yes or no- aye- he had some balls on that big vote-

  • SDLP supporter

    McIvor, so you would have wanted him to vote for Thatcher? SDLP are notified of the Labour whip at Westminster, though are not bound by it, and it gutted Fitt not to vote for Labour as he had done on crucial occasions in the previous 13 years.

    But at least SDLP has the guts to attend Westminster, not go skulking around the corridors, drawing your “expenses” like your crowd do. Current SDLP MPs are the only ones who have spoken out against the welfare cuts, while Sinn Fein stay silent and their government partners, DUP, support them.

  • SDLP supporter


    Freud had a phrase for it, ‘the narcissism of small difference’. But while media continue to marquee this non-story stuff, absolutely trivial as it is, it’ll inevitably draw comment and, sadly, it is clear that a large part of the electorate are gullible enough to buy the nonsense.

  • Be honest: the only person to come out of the 28 March 1979 debâcle with even a smidgeon of personal credit was … Jim Callaghan himself.

    The SNP were being opportunist in the extreme (itself no great political matter); and were duly rewarded by the loss of nine seats (out of eleven). The support of the three Plaid MPs is supposed to have been “bought” — but the main “concession” was the threat from a new Tory government to the compensation scheme for slate-miners with industrial injuries.

    Fitt and Maguire were motivated in large part by the proposed increase in NI constituencies — and the likelihood of extra Unionist MPs. Maguire, despite later “rationalisations” about “abstaining in person”, was allegedly persuaded not to vote only at the last moment, by his wife who had sat in the Gallery, and who had attended to Fitt’s arguments.

    Even so, the Labour Whips promised Callaghan a tied vote (and therefore survival by the Speaker’s casting vote) if the Labour MP for Batley and Morley, Dr/Sir Alf Broughton, were rushed down the M1 from his hospital death bed. Callaghan refused, saying to do so was “obscene”.

    Moral: be careful what you wish for. You might get it.

  • Greenflag

    What’s the fuss ? Ian Paisley took 40 years to shake the hand of SF . And when he eventually did the ‘Union’ did’nt collapse nor did the world end . Ditto for Martin McGuinness shaking Queenie’s hand as representative of the British State of which Northern Ireland remains a part until a majority of NI subjects/citizens decide otherwise.Deputy First Minister Mr McGuinness will remain a Republican and First Minister Mr Robinson will remain a Monarchist/Unionist. .

    West German leaders shook the hands of Soviet leaders for decades before the ‘Wall’ fell and Germany was reunited .

    Now if either Queenie or Robinson or McGuinness were to shake the hand of Government Sachs Chairman Blankfein, or Jamie Dimond of Morgan Stanley or any other of the 10 or so world’s biggest banksters (now even bigger than they were before they were judged to be too big to fail back in 2007/2008) then perhaps Republicans and Unionists might both have cause to be ‘upset ‘.

    As it is -storm in a tea cup. . If NI wants more ‘attention’ international or otherwise then the local tribes have to return to killing each other en masse again .

    I would think that by now most NI people with more than one or two brain cells to their name would realise that you don’t catch a fish by climbing a tree -(its Friday ) .

  • galloglaigh

    I recall getting a red card for comparing Jim Allister to Pat Finucane. I didn’t call him a serial killer though. Again, certain Sluggerites can type what they want, knowing that they won’t have to worry about censure!

  • Henry94

    Most republicans will have mixed feelings about this but morally and politically it is better to be accused of going too far for reconciliation than not going far enough. Her significance to our process is not so much as British Head Of State but as an emotionally significant figure for the British people who live on the island.

    If you snub their Queen you snub them and the role of FM/DFM is one where snubs must be avoided if possible.

    The political upside will be largely in the south where voters tend to turn away from Sinn Fein having seriously considered voting for them. That is largely down to perceived baggage. Abandoning baggage is always good in electoral terms. Where a party can lose its way is in failing to distinguish between baggage and principle. The only principle is to increase reconciliation. If we can get to the point where unionism is a political preference rather than a reaction to fear we will have done a lot.

  • lover not a fighter

    It is all about the South.

    But can it/will it make a big difference ?

    I suppose its hard to argue that if Sinn Féin are willing to take this step and the Queen (though I can’t see how she has a choice, though her refusal certainly would put a cat amongst the pidgeons).

    Well I am ready to move on.

  • michael-mcivor

    sdlp supporter-

    ” so you would have wanted him to vote for thatcher ”

    of course not- but Fitt did not vote against thatcher in that major vote-thats the point-he might as well have stayed in the outside corridors skulking-

    ” Sinn Fein stay silent and their goverment partners,DUP,
    support them ”

    Did some-one not tell you- the sdlp are partners in goverment also- no matter what they dont like the sdlp will never walk out of goverment-

  • Mickaline

    “Here a party can lose its way is in failing to distinguish between baggage and principle.”

    This act will culminate the complete hollowing out of republican principles by Sinn Fein, so of course those right-thinking republicans will have a problem with this.

  • between the bridges

    fair play to HMQ for meeting the vanquished foe, arise sir martin, hopefully phil the greek will have a few choice words, mind you he could mistake marty for one of the porter makers…Your comment is awaiting moderation… ok i apologize for offending prince philp…

  • sonofstrongbow

    So Marty has a few days to get the curtsy right. Perhaps when he’s down there he can ask about a Royal Pardon for Gerry McGeough?

  • cynic2

    “45% of residents vote for parties that support a united ireland”

    Dream on. Most people don’t vote at all because this lot on all sides are such a squalid shambles

  • Henry94


    Would it be fair to say that in your view right-thinking and new-thinking are incompatible. If all the thinking has already been done for us then what’s “right-thinking” but non-thinking acceptance of what has been handed down.

    I’d have a problem with an ideology or a method that can never be deemed to have failed because its effectiveness has been put beyond thinking by its correctness.

  • Trapattoni

    Strange isn’t it that in a week when Sinn Féin is on the ropes for its questionable policy re ‘unvouched expenses’ and their ‘average industrial wage’ it suddenly comes up with the wheeze of meeting the British Queen to distract us from their use of public funds to finance their drive for power….

    Strange also Concubhar that you never expressed anything but admiration for Sinn Féin while writing for the Daily Ireland and or Andersonstown News .

  • 241934 john brennan

    Arise Sir Marty, now deputy leader of the real stoop down low party

  • Alias

    “This act will culminate the complete hollowing out of republican principles by Sinn Fein, so of course those right-thinking republicans will have a problem with this.”

    Not quite. They’ll be required to endorse the British army in due course as part of the normalisation agenda. To that end they’ve already invited a member of the British army (David Latimer) to address their conference to test the waters, and the results were very positive. The trick, as always, is to sell it to the sheep as something other than normalisarion of British rule, e.g. reconcillation, political maturity, outreach, parity of esteem, ‘moving-on’ or whatever you’re having yourself.

    However, as you could never be a republican and a Shinner, the sheep don’t mind just so long as they’re led gently and are thereby left with enough room to play let’s pretend…

  • keano10

    Never mind all this predictable sparring here across the divide. What about the real question – Will Bono turn up for the historic photo of this landmark event ??

    The fekker seems to be in just about every one… 🙂

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    All to predictable I’m afraid. The sinners have been building this up nicely over the past few weeks. Whilst building up the media, they’ve given the grassroots time to adjust to the idea of wee marty become Sir Wee Marty. As i say, a slick operation.

  • cynic2

    Seats in the lords anyone?

  • Dixie Elliott

    The Adamsites better get used to the Queen’s Own Shinner meeting old HM as this is just the beginning….

    Before you know it the party will be making their excuses for Marty’s Knighthood…

    It’s that loop-sided smile of his that gets to me…It smacks of someone who knows he got away with it.

  • the future’s bright, the future’s orange

    How well will this go down in the working class republican areas of NI though? Do grass-roots not care at all? I would have thought this would have alienated quite a few from the SF leadership but to be honest I have no idea. Just asking?

  • Dixie Elliott

    the future’s bright etc.

    The Brits by funding SF projects across the North have ensured the ‘loyalty’ of those shinners wishing to keep their jobs.

    Therefore each time something like this comes up for ‘consultation’ the grassroot shinners know that they are being ‘observed’ regarding their ‘opinions’ and therefore agree with what the leadership expect them to agree with…

    From now on anyone opposing Royal visits etc will be seen as dissidents.

  • Lionel Hutz

    Does anyone really care? Will ordinary people care? Has the horse bolted for this be considered historic?

  • seamus60

    Surely such a blow for freedom ( even in the long drawn out game) should be televised and sent round the world.
    Why should Martin go about this business like a thief in the night., could hardly be any shame to him , with him being an international peacemaker.
    Maybe he`s just missing meeting the brits behind peoples backs well away from the cameras.

  • The Raven

    “The Brits by funding SF projects across the North have ensured the ‘loyalty’ of those shinners wishing to keep their jobs.”

    Indeed, many such observations have been made (of both sides of the house) with regard to the Social Investment Fund

    Many of us will watch with interest how this particular pot pans out…sitting in limbo as it was, for months…ministerial appointments to steering groups behind closed doors and all…

  • socaire

    The one speech bubble will do: Welcome to my country! Thirty or forty years ago an old ‘Fenian’ said to me that there were too many Hibs in the Provos. How right he was!

  • Comrade Stalin

    The thread is bizarre. For some odd reason the local Stoops are showing up, inexplicably, to raise the subject of abstention. And then you get comments like this :

    Sinn Fein agree to meet their head of state to signal defacto joint sovereignty!

    Er .. meeting HMQ doesn’t change anyone’s position on sovereignty.

    You’ve just got to admire the Queen.

    I have to laugh at all these people who think the Queen has any say in the matter. She is a servant of the state and she does whatever the Government tells her to do. She wouldn’t be meeting McGuinness if the government were against it.

    I think Brian Feeney called this one about right. This is nothing to do with unionists or outreach. It is about making Sinn Féin acceptable to the middle class in the RoI.

  • seamus60

    And not a single resignation from any of the staunchies in the partry hmm

  • Little James

    The Raven – I think we know how this will pan out, a plethora of “co-ordinators” and “director” roles for the faithful SF activists in various “community/conflict resolution” projects.

  • The Raven

    Ah-ah, Little James…be careful…I clearly said “both sides”….

  • Little James

    Raven – I only know how the Shinners operate in that regard. They have the industry sewn up.

  • Rory Carr

    “Groundbreaking”, “Of great historical significance” were the buzz words in the lead news story tonight.

    Not everyone agrees it seems. Little James does not see the significance and I wholeheartedly agree with him – he clearly does not see the significance. Which is a pity but then I suspect that he is young yet and the significance will dawn on him eventually. But then I am not so sure about Malcolm Redfellow who does not seem to think it is important. Indeed so unimportant does he consider it to be that he has so far limited himself to only three interjections on this thread.

    Then there are the usual subjects who have never, ever applauded anything undertaken by Sinn Féin – Cynic2; Son of Strongbow, who, like the poor, “are always with us” and, for the same reason we may need them.

    The SDLP it seems are annoyed. At least John Brennan is. SDLP Supporter is seriously annoyed, but at least he was able to have a nice chat with Malcolm about important matters like what Frank Maguire and Gerry Fitt got up to at the Battle of Waterloo or somesuch event long, long ago.

    At least Nevin (in his first post) was deliciously wicked as was Michael and all in all a most enlivening and antertaining thread with Mick nipping in judiciously now and then to bring a much needed reality check when misunderstanding of the role of the monarch or a failure to grab the the import of the GFA and its afternath threatened to take the thread off-track.

    . Well worth a royal visit !

  • Lionel Hutz

    Rory hits on it. The significance of this event will be that people will believe its significant. Its self-fulfilling. And credit to Sinn Fein for pulling it off. They have been writing this narrative for so long that it has become important. If he had just gone over to Buckingham Palace unannounced and shook the Queen’s hand, it probably would have raised a few eye-brows but that’s it.

    Its been spun so well that the Tribunal finding of discrimination against Murphy is not even on the BBC website anymore – even though there’s news on the site that’s older than it.

    Symbolism > Substance

  • lamhdearg2

    lamhdearg is annoyed, as he cant get tickets (4) to see the Queen, and someone who probably/maybe ran with folk happy to see her murdered, gets to shake her hand.

  • lamhdearg2

    that reads wrong, ran with folk that would have been happy.

  • BluesJazz

    I see my “sceptical” post was removed. Not because it contained any inaccurate information. But it wasn’t ‘process friendly’. And slugger has to follow the msm agenda.
    Isn’t it all fantastic that we all now get along and nothing bad ever happened in the past. The sun is shining…..

    It might be appropriate to say *why* posts that ‘upset the media applecart’ are removed. But then the MSM agenda is the only approved one.

  • lamhdearg2

    robbo,”We recognise that this will be a difficult ask for Her Majesty The Queen, like it!.

  • Drumlins Rock

    Might as well throw in my pennys worth, it is a welcome move, a necessary step to normality, the snub during the visit to the Republic certainly reduced the credit SF could have earned from it, but all the same they deserve some credit.

    Sybolism is important, because it unlocks the door to so many other things, I trust we will now see SF cllrs. take more normal roles in civic occasions and society, acknowledging such things as the honours system and titles.

  • “I think Brian Feeney called this one about right. This is nothing to do with unionists or outreach. It is about making Sinn Féin acceptable to the middle class in the RoI”

    “It is all about the South.”

    I’ve heard variations of this argument from SF people a lot today, but I still don’t buy it. If I did but it I’d be extremely worried that SF are about to repeat past mistakes by chasing opinion polls in the south. Thinking back the 2007 general election the defining moment for me was not the mythical leaders debate with Gerry A and Boots McDowell, it was SF’s last minute volte-face on taxation in an attempt to cosy up to FF. That didn’t end well for the as we know.

    Now we are being asked to believe that Martin meeting the Battenberg’s is somehow going to help translate southern opinion polls into votes because her visit to the Free State was such a great success. No, I don’t buy that for a few reasons.

    Firstly, I credit the electorate in the 26 counties with a lot more intelligence. The Free State media may have gotten carried away with her visit but the left leaning republican vote we are actively courting did not. Neither did the hard pressed rural constituency increasingly alienated from the establishment with septic tank charges, household tax, turf cutting, unemployment, emigration, EU diktats, failing health care, collapsing roads and an all encompassing feeling that those c***s in Dublin have bled the country dry. In my anecdotal experience they were sickened by the Dublin establishment running around after the foreign royals (Obama included). Are people seriously trying to tell me that SF will have a better chance of getting that vote by falling-in with the sycophantic flag waving Blueshirts? Bollocks to that…

    Secondly, the rise in the opinion polls by SF has come despite the Party ignoring the royal circus last year. That says to me that the people in the south fully understand our (northern) objection to the acceptance of British monarchy in this country in any form. SF refused invitations to all the events on a point of principle and by doing so they reinforced the idea that they were a Party that not only had principles, something sadly lacking with the others, but could be trusted to stick with them.

    Nah, the southern vote thing doesn’t wash unless some naive individuals in high places believe our objectives can be achieved by manipulating a fickle electorate via media stunts. I believe past lessons have been learned and that’s not what’s happening.

    Which brings me back home.

    “How well will this go down in the working class republican areas of NI though? Do grass-roots not care at all? I would have thought this would have alienated quite a few from the SF leadership but to be honest I have no idea. Just asking?”

    How well will this go down? Mostly like a lead balloon I’d say. The average “post-normalisation” northern republican isn’t as politically engaged as he was “pre-peace process”. That’s not a criticism, just a fact of people getting on with their lives after the relentless urgency of the conflict era. As a result they don’t have time or inclination to consider the detail of strategy moves. Instead we mostly tend to revert to gut reactions and search for an anchor. We think about fallen comrades and the deceased family members who raised us in the republican tradition. What would they think of us accepting a British queen into our country while we still don’t have complete independence? They would disown us as “sellouts” thats what.

    But is that’s what’s happening? I don’t think so.

    Taking that view is akin to taking an Indo/Sindo or even British tabloid headline or opinion piece at face value. It completely misses the detail and nuances that are at play as well the complexities of the game. My gut reaction when I heard Martin was going to meet her was one of disgust and horror. A comrade describe it was though the sky was collapsing down around him. The discussion around unionist outreach and that we must appreciate that she is close to the affections to ‘a million’ people with which we share this island, did not convince. I was sympathetic to the debate about building bridges with families of those we have hurt and bereaved, but that cuts both ways. However, what made me sit up and take notice, as a politically engaged northerner, was the opinion that this move is about neutralising political opponents or more specifically, unionist positions of opposition. I was a little sceptical before but from observing the media today and listening to the barrel being scraped by the Stoops and the more hard-line unionists, I’m inclined to believe that comrade has it spot on.

    “From now on anyone opposing Royal visits etc will be seen as dissidents.”

    I’m afraid not. Anyone I’ve SF people I’ve been speaking with today, even those opposed to are determined this is not an issue to break ranks with the Party over.

  • Rory Carr

    Lamhdearg, you’ve got it really so wrong. Republicans would most certainly not have been happy to see the Queen Elizabeth murdered. An excellent and entertaining way for you to understand this might be to get hold of a copy of the 1975 movie. Hennessy starring Rod Steiger and Lee Remick the plot of which concerns a former Brit army officer whose expertise was in explosives whose wife and child on the way home from school are caught up in the traditional “matinee” and .machine-gunned to death by an army patrol in Belfast. Maddened by grief, he hatches a plot to infiltrate the state opening of parliament with a waistcoat of high explosive under his jacket in order to blow up the government, the opposition and the dear queen.

    The Special Branch and MI5 (Richard Johnson) are hot on his trail but so are the IRA (Commander, Eric Porter very closely resembling Daithi o’Conaill) who are horrified believing that such an avt would inevitably bring such military repercussions as they would be unable to withstand.

    Unfortunately I can only locate a VHS copy (one only) on Amazon going at £25 + £2.80 postage which is a bit steep. It never seems to pop up on TCM or Film 4 or any of the SKY movie channels in my experiebce which is a pity as it nicely intercuts documentary footage of the actual state opening with the film action so that Thatcher, Callaghan et al and Her Maj all appear in the action of the movie at its most exciting point. (They play themselves admirably well I might add.)

    And please don’t bring up Mountbatten. That act of maddness (and vicious madness at that) I cannot explain, never mind attempt to justify. But it most surely was a political aberration among all the other things, vile and unjustified, that it was.

  • BluesJazz


    She has had to meet Mugabe and Assad (Syria) so one more is just an unfortunate part of the job.

    The sooner we get this latest one ‘done’ the better .
    I’m sure Joanne Mathers family are in bits but *the process* is a rich terrain, and boy is it being mined.

  • lamhdearg2

    I do like Steiger, very good in heat of the night, also his part in Dr Zhivago. that (hennessy) however sounds far fetched.

  • Alias

    Ulick, that was a rather longwinded way of saying that you’ll follow the party line.

  • Rory Carr

    You don’t consider the plot of In the Heat of the Night to be far-fetched? Certainly the plot of Hennessy when set against all the actual plots successfully undertaken or narrowly failing is far from far-fetched. Entirely, uncannily plausible more like.

    Anyway no one wanted to murder the Queen at least not in the Republican movement. There was a disturbed young Englishman, Marcus Serjeant, who attempted a shooting assassination during the Trooping of the Colour in 1981. He was subsequently sentenced to five years in prison. After there were calls for the Queen to be provided with an armoured vehicle much like the Popemoblie rather than continue to risk exposure in an open horse drawn coash. I ws initially surprised at the time to read a leading article in The Times which roundly attacked this idea saying quite brutally, more or less, that such risks are what we paid them for and that pagentry however risky was all part of their function and if they wer not up to it then we may as well get rid of them. I don’t know why I was surprised because now it all makes perfect sense royalty is only there to provide a colourful focus of loyalty for the masses and to distract them from the nefariousness of the real masters in charge, the City, the corporate interests.

  • Alias

    I agree it is nonsense to suggest that the Queen was ever in any danger from the murder gangs. The Shinners were used to successfully contain any ‘republican’ militancy to NI. Almost 99% of all murders during the period were successfully contained within NI. Why were PIRA so obliging to British national interests in confining their activities to killing Paddies in NI? You’ll have to ask their handlers.

  • Mr Angry

    Will the new republican catchphrase be tiocfaidh ár lámh?

  • lamhdearg2

    Alias, I did not “suggest” that the Queen was ever in any danger from the murder gangs.
    Rory, views on films aside, (for now)” no one wanted to murder the Queen at least not in the Republican movement.” if You would extend that to , no one wanted the Queen murdered at least not in the republican movement, then in my veiw that is far fetched.
    “shooting assassination”, Marcus Sergeant, fired blanks, was he hoping Her Majesty would fall from her horse?.

    “One isn’t that quick to shoot a king or a queen.
    The majesty of royalty, you see.”

  • “At least Nevin (in his first post) was deliciously wicked”

    Thanks, Rory. It came about by a strange quirk of fate. I couldn’t think of the President’s name but when I looked it up it all came to me in a slow burning flash 🙂

    The second post was from the same stable: ‘As Irish as Blarney’. I wonder if it will ever catch on 🙂

    I do have form when it comes to ‘wickedness’ – just look at minders two and three and a nervous minister on one of his first public outings.

  • cynic2

    Will the new republican catchphrase be tiocfaidh ár lámh?

    More “A notion once again”

  • cynic2

    “And not a single resignation from any of the staunchies in the partry hmm”

    But sure none of them were even in the movement

  • Alias

    lamhdearg2, I wasn’t referring to whomever made the suggestion on this thread (if anyone did) but to the suggestion itself.

    Also, while the murder campaign was successfully contained within NI, it was also successfully contained to low ranking plodders and squaddies, in addition to the no-ranking Paddies. The officer class and the intelligence community were not touched.

    Expendables only…

  • Comrade Stalin


    Rather than focusing on the downsides you need to think of the upsides. The SF leadership will have spent some time thinking about the positive outcomes of the meeting.

    SF know full well that in the RoI they are not presently especially acceptable to middle class voters, and they know that if they want to sustain and expand their presence in the Dáil they will need to fix that problem. This is not new; they had exactly the same problem within NI in the 1980s, and it seems clear now that the “peace process” and everything associated with it was, among other things, a strategy which led to SF becoming acceptable to a wider number of northern nationalists, ably assisted by John Hume.

    Following the Queen’s visit (which even five or six years ago people were objecting to loudly – including SF) the ground has now shifted to the point where you can’t be taken seriously in the political mainstream while maintaining a boycott policy.

  • Mick Fealty

    Good spake Ulick. Have to say, if as I said this was about getting to the top of the news pile on both islands, top marks. And the framing narrative was powerful in its own way.

    I’ve no doubt that people will see it the way you say, if only from what’s planned in terms of Republican protestors. I’m pulling some thoughts together on this for Monday. Tiocfaidh ar Lamh, will certainly get a mention too.

  • Will Gerry be turning up in the gig or will he play Dev to Martin’s Mick (Collins)? Wouldn’t it be wonderful to see Gerry and Martin in the same frame on Wednesday, “Let’s go hand in hand, not one before another” (Comedy of Terrors)?

    Perhaps Jacky McDonald could join the duo as part of the reaching out process – as the three musketeers from the Fellowship of Messines?

    Will Martin be taking his turn to have a blatter on the Lambeg drum as an expression of the ‘transformational strength’ of arts and culture?

    The Irish state is going out of its way to provide cover for ‘the legitimate government of Ireland’ at the gathering in Belfast – President Higgins will be making a brief appearance – but when it comes to The Gathering 2013, the forsaken six has been left outside the door.

  • “a venue associated associated with some all Ireland identity”

    I’d have thought it would have been in Armagh but I’m hearing that the Queen is scheduled to meet Cardinal Brady on Monday – presumably in the company of other main church leaders.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Yes,very good spake Ulick…….(?),but one does begin to wonder what the last 30 years of nat/rep,sectarian genocide was all about ?
    Seats at Stormont were readily available in 1922,and I’m sure a handshake with HRM could have been arranged?

    Let’s hope Micks thoughts for Monday include the 3,500 innocents slaughtered……FOR WHAT ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Seats at Stormont were readily available in 1922

    For christ’s sake read a few history books.

  • ForkHandles

    If ‘Irish Republicans” can’t see that that they are only motivated by a list of things that they are brought up to hate, then i really dont know what to say to them. Its so obvious that a moron could see it. It really is beyond sad that they cant just get over it. Everyone else has moved on, but they just can’t get over their hatred ideology. its pathetic…. to read some of the nonsense arguments here to distract from the embarrassing bitter mind set of the caveman irish republican mentality only makes them all look even more stupid than anyone would have thought possible.

  • streetlegal

    When Martin McGuinness shakes the hand of Queen Elizabeth this week that moment will represent the final act of obeisance made by the Provisional IRA to the British Crown. It is of course entirely appropriate that Mr McGuinness, as a Minister of the Crown, should present himself to the Queen to ‘kiss hands’ – in recognition of the fact that he owes his position and personal fortune to the British Establishment.

    I understand that Mr McGuinness will be making further appearances this summer at Henman Hill and the Last Night of the Proms.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I don’t see what all the fuss is really, it has to happen eventually if SF want to be a serious political party, some think it should have been sooner, other think its too soon, thats life.