“The peace process was always intended to be about more than an absence of violence…”

Fianna Fáil leader Micheál Martin’s criticism of the Irish Government’s ‘complacency’ over Northern Ireland echoes that of the Labour Party’s Vernon Coaker in regard to the UK Government.  And that was more a disagreement on strategy, rather than a difference of opinion on the problems with the NI administration – as outlined in July by former NI Secretary of State, Owen Paterson.  All of which somewhat undermines Louth TD Gerry Adams’ attempted defence of the northern wing of his party.

ANYhoo… the Irish Times has the relevant quotes from Micheál Martin’s Bodenstown address.

“The peace process was always intended to be about more than an absence of violence,” he said.

“The people of the North deserve a political system that delivers progress, that demonstrates that politics works and is about making their lives better.

“Any calm and objective analysis of the performance of the Assembly and Executive over the last year would, very reluctantly, have to question whether they are delivering in these terms.

“There have been notable successes – the Our Time, Our Place [tourism] campaign has been excellent, but we have seen just five pieces of legislation pass through the Assembly and we have seen the news dominated by old parades politics.

“More depressingly, we have also seen things get worse across a range of key indices.

“For example, the North was confirmed as having the highest levels of child poverty in the relevant comparisons, with an average of 28 per cent. West Belfast currently has a staggering 46.2 per cent of children living in poverty.

“Most of the major advances in the peace process required years of work in getting the DUP and Sinn Féin to change their policies. Getting them to accept the principles of the [Belfast] agreement in all their dimensions delayed its full implementation for nearly a decade.

“It is at best foolish and at worst reckless to step back and believe that the DUP and Sinn Féin are capable of working in the interests of all groups. They have constantly shown an interest in putting party interests ahead of broader interests.

“Playing politics and putting their party interest first is a consistent part of [Sinn Féin’s] ideology – something we see every day in the Dáil,” he said. “They have also refused to acknowledge the founding logic of the peace process . . . that the campaign of violence and division was wrong.”

None of which should come as a surprise to anyone…

Adds  See also Mick’s earlier post.

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  • “They have also refused to acknowledge the founding logic of the peace process . . . that the campaign of violence and division was wrong.”

    Has Micheál Martin been adequately briefed? The founding logic can be explored in the Derry Experiment and in the TUAS document, neither of which make any such acknowledgement.

  • Dixie Elliott

    “His attack on Sinn Féin is equally bogus. The end of conflict, the peace process and the power sharing institutions are among the greatest achievements of modern years.” – Adams.

    No they are not….All of the above was on the table since 1973 and Sunningdale. And then there was the Peace People in 1976, a time when Adams said, using the example of the 1919/21 campaign;

    ” they allowed unscrupulous politicians and so called “Peacemakers” to gain the upper hand. […]

    There is only one time to talk of peace and that is when the war has been won not while it is raging. The time to talk of peace is when the British have left Ireland, otherwise they will find some excuse to remain.”

    Speaking of unscrupulous politicians and so called Peacemakers, does Adams, The Carpetbagger, actually believe his own nonsense?

  • redhugh78


    that old bogus chestnut,

    ‘ All of the above was on the table since 1973 and Sunningdale’

    Do you actually believe YOUR own nonsense?

    I think your letting your obvious failure to come to terms with the Peace Process and whatever chip you have on your shoulder cloud your judgment if you seriously think that.

  • weidm7

    redhugh78, perhaps you’re not familiar with http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ad_hominem attack.

    Instead of that, can you explain how that was not ‘on the table since 1973 and Sunningdale’, a claim you say is ‘nonsense’.

  • Pete Baker


    As fascinating as I’m sure it is to some, the original post is not about what happened in 1973 [nor 1993 – Ed].

    It’s about what’s happening now.

  • Dixie Elliott

    redhugh78, I haven’t heard the old ‘chip on the shoulder’ used in quite some time, an old one from the old hat eh?

    OK, so you deny that Sunningdale is the same as the GFA except for a few changes in wording like, Fitt being the Deputy Chief Executive to Faulkner’s Chief Executive….McGuinness now being Deputy First -to Robinson’s – etc.

    However would you say that the Peace People were right at a time when Adams was urging others to do what he wasn’t willing to do himself, fight a war until it was won?

    Was he wrong to come to terms to that Peace Process to use your words?

    What is coming to terms with the so called Peace Process anyway?

    I no longer agree with violent means to achieve our objective – too many young people have been sacrificed by and carried to early graves by Adams and McGuinness – however the Peace Process turns my stomach each time I hear it mentioned, and why?

    Because those in Stormont now taking orders from the British Tory party are the same people who urged others on both sides to kill and the War would either be fought until won or there’d be No Surrender to Rome Rule.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Pete you were posting yours as I was typing mine…

    However I was referring to Adams quote linked in the article above.

  • Dixie Elliott

    correction..The above should read.

    Was he [Adams] wrong in his failure to come to terms to that Peace Process [1976] to use your words?

  • Pete Baker


    I know what you were referring to.

    But the topic is now, not then.

    The fact that Gerry, Martin, et al, lied during the process isn’t exactly news.

    The topic is what has that process delivered?

    Or not…

  • Alias

    “Playing politics and putting their party interest first is a consistent part of [Sinn Féin’s] ideology…”

    Ironic, given that Martin is highlighting the Shinners’ poor performance in ‘government’ in Northern Ireland in order to make folks in Ireland thinking of voting for them (and not voting for FF) think twice and is also pointing out that the Shinners aren’t actually republicans (but a self-serving sectarian mafia) for the same competitive purpose.

    As long as FF only talk-up “the North” at Bodenstown and such places and ignore it the rest of the time then such sentiment won’t adversely their actual republican vote (which is 26 county in focus) but he’ll scare away the mainstream if he managed to overdue it and give the bogus impression that he actually thought that any significant number in Ireland wanted the Irish state to have a greater role in the internal affairs of Northern Ireland or wanted to annex the dismal place.

    He has to keep it barstool green for those who like to sing the old songs of a nation once again after a few pints but who would never actually vote for any of that romantic tosh.

  • “The people of the North deserve a political system that delivers progress, that demonstrates that politics works and is about making their lives better.” .. MM in that branch from the Bodenstown tree

    So why did a FF government, in association with Blair’s UK government, design a political process that not only rewarded paramilitaries but delivered us a DUP/SF OFMDFM?

    Considering that FF and SF are running neck-and-neck in a recent poll we shouldn’t be surprised that Micheál is ‘playing politics and putting their/his party interest first’; his anti-SF jibe isn’t really about better governance in Northern Ireland.

  • Dec

    ‘All of which somewhat undermines Louth TD Gerry Adams’ attempted defence of the northern wing of his party.’

    In your fevered mind, maybe.
    In other news, pot calls kettle black.

    I’d be interested to know just how Fianna Fail have made the people of Ireland’s lives better in the last 5 years or so.

  • The problem with Northern Ireland politics is that there is no price to pay, politically, for doing anything wrong. That is the essence ot tribal politics. So it is hardly surprising that Gerry Adams comes out with a statement that sounds like “Thats not true and you are wrong” rather than condescending to any particular point. That is all he needs to do in order to pacify his supporters.

    The problem of tribal politics is not unique to Northern Ireland but the power-sharing constitution is an obstacle to progress because it locks in sectarian politics and impedes the shared experiences that right-thinking people want in order to give Northern Ireland a much better future.

    Some new political thinking is needed in relation to Northern Ireland. Where that emerges from or what form it will take is anybody’s guess.

  • There isn’t going to be any new thinking from a never lay in the ditch psychopathic non-member of an armed wing of a political party whose membership is left wing but whose leaders are as far right as you can get. “Real” socialists don’t generally indulge in the indiscriminate murder of innocent civilians.

  • Roy Walsh

    I should point out Baron Adams made the point on ‘Morning Ireland’ yesterday that he has been involved in politics since 1964, and, like him or loath him, he does so in both jurisdictions, as does his party. Micheal Martin’s party does not. Adams reaches out to core Fianna Fail voters in the clip below which is what Martin and his party are frightened of most.
    The good Baron however does claim credit for an UUP idea, free prescriptions, and fails to mention his party, in government, role in cutting wages and services both at health-care and education levels.

  • BarneyT

    Ye know when I started working in the republic in 2006 (after many years studying and working abroad) I was surprised to see SF regarded as a) marxist and b) left wing.

    Being a nordie border man, I always regarded SF supporters and by extension their membership as at least middle of the road and if truth be told, Thatcherite in terms of enterprise, survival of the fittest, distribution of wealth…real politics. My view was and still is that the left side of the republican movement stayed put and those with a propensity for a faith based conservative Ireland moved with the Provisionals.

    If SF are genuinely left learning and truly are in favour of state ownership of key industries and resources, national health free at the point of contact, general wealth distribution and a scaled taxation regime…. I welcome it, but I can’t help feeling that are going to hit an entrepreneurial wall in South Armagh if we ever get an opportunity to focus on mainstream issues and the “fight” is truly over. I don’t ever see South Armagh becoming a bastion of socialism.

  • Old Mortality

    Barney T
    I’m sure the sharp lads in South Armagh are very capable of exploiting the state and as the state grows so so the opportunities. After all, you wouldn’t have much of a market for laundered diesel if it wasn’t for government intervention.

  • Glenn B

    The problem in the “Northern Ireland Administration” is simply that you have a mandatory foundation that locks in two opposing political ideologies who are hungry for power?

    Outside the ‘orange’ and ‘green’ sectarian reality that the Mandatory Government created, we have the DUP who are anti-GFA: They lobbied and voted against the Agreement (there are elements of the Peace Agreement that they’ve no interest in, what so ever).

    Sinn Fein are pro-GFA: Endorsed and lobbied for the Agreement and with vigor seek all elements to the Agreement implemented in full as a political process evolves.

    There are no caveats in place to assure deliverance and the modus operandi of Government restricts new thinking or the progressive agenda required for real social-economic change or reform. A real shared future as equals dies in the political game of one up man ship.

    Martin’s comments are playing to his home audience. They have more to do with fear at the electoral apathy by FF voters or, worse, the transfer of allegiance to the rising socialist star now vocally made by Gerry “the popular soundbite engineer” Adams.

  • Red Lion

    Joe at 9.25 – ace comment. The SF initials can also mean the ‘Socialist Fascist’ party

    Seymour at 9.17 – where a positive reaction against the carve up comes from is hard to say, here’s hoping the middle ground can somehow get together and increase the middle ground vote. The lack of choice within unionism especially, continues to undermine mature politics here.

  • IrelandNorth

    Actually the Northern Ireland Tourism logo (at least on the green line LUAS tram system in Dublin from Saint Stehen’s Green to Sandyford/Brides Glen (via the British Embassador’s residence in Glencairn)) was : “Your time – Our place.” Undoubtedly intended to be more than just a tourism advert, but a statement of territoriality also. But as already intuited by most, Fíanna Fáil’s new found interest in the lost province is more to do with a tussle for the holy grail of republicanism with Sínn Féin than genine interests in northerns.

  • IrelandNorth, it’s hardly surprising that Dublin and Belfast should emphasis the merits of their territories; they are in competition despite their shared international resource, Tourism Ireland. The desires and needs of visitors appear to have a rather low ranking in the priorities of both.

  • IrelandNorth

    Indeed, Nevin! A paradoxical effect of the partition of the island was that it caused the political class (caste?) in respective jurisdictions to be big fish in the small ponds of political parochialism. The relativity of increasing the size of the ponds leads to a shrinkage in the size of the fish. Real question is, can they catch(?) themselves on. Or will relative outsiders have to do it for them. Undoubtedly, it isn’t the first (or last) case in inter/intranational history where self-centered occupational ambition subverted civic progress.

  • “Or will relative outsiders have to do it for them.”

    IrelandNorth, things are seldom so bad here that political illiterates from London and Dublin can’t make them worse. If you think things are bad at Executive level, take a dive into local government; after about ten minutes, the average Joe or Josie would have lost the will to live.

  • IrelandNorth

    Point taken, Nevin! Other than the respective political administrations on the British and Irish Isles, I suppose I had in mind that of Federal(?) Government on the mainland in the interests of objectivity. Though admittedly, the cure can often be worse than the disease or malaise. Alas, Local Authorities in the 26 counties of ROI appear to suffer from the same or similar lassitude as in the 6 counties NI. I believe Sir Winston Lord Churchill once said someting along the lines that observing how the average man voted in elections was enough to turn one off democracy for life. I often fantasise about benevolent dictatorship myself, on observing local or state politics in the republic. Though I invariably pendulate back toward centrist politics. Not to be unduly sceptical, politics often seems to be about returning those who will do the least damage rather than those who will do the most good. Would that it were otherwise. Still proportional representation affords the opportunity of voting in reverse order for non ideal candidates. Like a Space Shuttel countdown at Cape Canaveral.