Micheál Martin: Legacy of 1916 is to build rather than to divide the Irish nation…

Just out of embargo, here’s today’s speech from the Fianna Fail leader made just now at Arbour Hill church, where the leaders of the 1916 Easter Rising were buried. The added emphases are mine:

Every state should take time to commemorate and celebrate the people and events of their founding. This commemoration is organised by Fianna Fáil the Republican Party, but we come here as Irish men and women to fulfil our responsibilities to the great generation of 1916.

After 97 years their deeds resonate even more than ever. They saw an Ireland which should not accept limits on its future. They committed everything to the vision of a country with the right to shape its own destiny.

As we quickly approach the centenary of the Rising no one can doubt that the Irish people see the men and women of 1916 as noble and courageous. No one can question their central place in our history.

It is right that we take the time to come to this place as a mark of our gratitude for their vision and sacrifice.

On the 24th of April members of the Irish Volunteers, the Citizens Army and Cumann na mBan came out to take a stand for a people who had suffered much and been denied the right to their own state.

They were from all parts of Irish society but were united by the strength of their commitment to their country.

What is still so deeply impressive about them is how they understood and were part of the international spirit of their time. They were leaders of a rising people, long downtrodden but reclaiming the right to their country and their culture. They represented not just a movement towards national self-determination but a movement to genuine republicanism.

Even though they had amongst them many people who had taken the lead in working for the revival of our language they also both respected the role of the Anglo-Irish tradition. For example, Thomas MacDonagh’s most important academic work, which is still taught in our universities, was a passionate argument for how works in English produced in Ireland had a uniquely Irish voice which should be recognised and valued as a national treasure.

The men and women of 1916 were at the vanguard of patriots who helped preserve our national language in the face of the ravages of official policy and depopulation. Many people have quite wrongly said that they used the language as a divisive force – that they saw this island as divided between Gaels and foreigners. This is completely untrue.

They formed part of a long and inclusive tradition which saw a shared gaelic heritage as something which should unite everyone on this island. The first printed book in Irish was the Book of Common Prayer. Time and again over two centuries it was scholars of non-nationalist traditions that had the biggest impact in helping preserve folk memories and to turn Irish into an accessible written language.

The men and women of 1916 were inspired by the Gaelic League and the prospects of reviving the language – equally they were inspired by the potential of the language as something which could reach across class and traditions.

I believe we need to be true to this in our support for the language today. More children than ever are being taught through Irish and for the first time there is a proper long-term strategy, published three years ago, for its permanent development.

This party will always be true to the vision of a country where our cultural history is open to all and can unify all.

In a travesty of analysis some people try to point to 1916 as a narrow and sectarian affair. Nothing could be further from the truth.

The Proclamation provides a statement of values which are profoundly generous and reflect enlightened European thought. There is much there that any modern liberal democracy would be proud to have in its founding document.

At a time when Europe was engaged in the largest war the world had ever seen and extreme ideologies were on the rise, Pearse and his comrades set out a different vision. They took up arms for the rights of all citizens, not just those they shared an allegiance with.

The Republic they founded did not seek the mastery of one group but guaranteed “religious and civil liberty, equal rights and equal opportunities to all”. This was a guarantee for “the whole nation and all of its parts” and sought to overcome the division “of the minority from the majority”. Radically, for that time, they also said that the right to vote should be held equally by men and women.

These are generous and timeless values which are as relevant today as they have always been. They are values which can be shared by all Irish people no matter what their background. They are values which we, as republicans, must have at the core of our response to citizens who continue to seek full equality.

Unfortunately there have been groups who have claimed allegiance to the Proclamation but have continually undermined its values. They have been deaf to the demand that none who claim to serve the Republic “shall dishonour it”.

There is not the slightest connection between the Republic declared in 1916 and the Provisional movement. Their campaign was waged against the constantly reaffirmed and overwhelming opposition of the Irish people. The inhumanity of many of their actions, the lasting damage they caused and their sectarian behaviour disqualifies them from claiming to be part of an unbroken chain.

Through their sacrifices the men buried here and their comrades radically transformed the opportunities for this country. There is no greater insult to them than claiming that nothing changed, that the same methods they used continued to be required up to recently or even to today.

If we want to know where the men and women of 1916 would have stood in later years all we have to do is to look at what most of those who lived did – and this shows that they took the route of constitutional republicanism.

I always find it amusing that another party names cumainn after Constance Markiewicz but fails to acknowledge that she chaired the founding meeting of Fianna Fáil and was elected as a Fianna Fáil TD.

The Irish republican tradition is one which has constantly developed over more than 200 years. Its great strength is that it does not stand still, it always responds to the needs of today. Constitutional republicanism has had the allegiance of the Irish people for many decades and I believe it will continue to because it is as relevant as ever.

The Good Friday Agreement marked a triumph for constitutional republicanism. A framework was agreed for the shared development of this island and it was endorsed by an overwhelming majority of the people.

This government has taken a more partisan approach to commemoration than any predecessor for at least 30 years. It has constantly failed to properly acknowledge national milestones when they are linked to other parties and traditions. This is narrow-minded and petty.

The failure to mark the anniversary of the Good Friday Agreement in any meaningful way stands in contrast to the wider civil society which has used it as a moment to reflect on what has been achieved and what is not working.

Unfortunately, what we are seeing today is a clear and dangerous lack of commitment on the part of both the Irish and British governments to making sure that the institutions established under the Agreement are working properly and that there is no backsliding.

The flag protests, increased dissident activity and growing public discontent at a dysfunctional Executive and Assembly have coincided with two years of a hands-off strategy from the Irish and British Governments.

Northern Ireland’s political establishment, in the form of Sinn Fein and the DUP are too deeply invested in their own party self-interest to be left to get on with things by themselves. Sinn Fein in particular seem content to allow the Northern Executive cruise along on autopilot while they focus all their energy on trying to pull together some sort of coherent plan in Dublin. Of course, for a party like the DUP, whose raison d’être is maintenance of the status quo, this suits just fine.

Peace has been too hard won and is too fragile to be taken for granted, yet this is exactly what we are getting from the two governments.

No one expects there to be the same type of intensive contacts that there were when the agreements were being negotiated and regular roadblocks to implementation were being confronted. But what no one should accept is the relegation of the peace process to set-piece meetings and empty communiques.

The Taoiseach recently told the Dáil that everything is fine because there are lots of meetings. The government has many important things on its agenda, and I respect that, but there is no excuse for the failure to shown any serious engagement with the North.

When I first pointed to the increasing dysfunction of the Executive I was loudly criticised by Sinn Féin in particular. They claimed everything was fine and they were achieving great things. However, over the last year public dissatisfaction has become clearer by the week – so much so that even the DUP and Sinn Féin now acknowledge it. In the last week they have each put out statements admitting that the Executive isn’t working, but have of course said that the old bogey man – “the other side” is to blame.

They continue to prioritise manoeuvres which make short-term gains over each other and over their direct competitors.

In a recent exposé, The Irish News reported that in the Assembly only 11 pieces of legislation have been passed in the two years since the last election. The majority of these have been essential pieces of financial legislation required to keep the lights on at Stormont. Parties elected on platforms of “delivering” for people have signally failed to use the Assembly to do this.

In the Executive, Sinn Féin and DUP ministers show no interest in using their strength to bridge differences – in fact they do the exact opposite. More than at any stage since they took control of the Executive from the SDLP and UUP, they are adopting a strategy of playing to their own section of the community, even if this means attacking the very institutions they are supposed to oversee.

As recently as last weekend for example, Sinn Féin’s Justice Spokesperson and member of the Policing Board Gerry Kelly led the party’s condemnation of the PSNI, demanding the removal of the Chief Constable. His crime? He had the temerity to follow through an investigation and arrest a Sinn Fein party member in a murder investigation.

The DUP are little better. As we approach another marching season with trepidation; as residents in enclaves like Belfast’s Short Strand continue to deal with the effects of regular sectarian attacks, it is worth remembering the intervention of DUP Leader Peter Robinson last August. Instead of insisting the loyalist bands comply with legally binding decisions, he co-signed an open letter condemning the Parades Commission – the statutory body established to deal with parading.

What we are getting from these parties is what has rightly been termed all politics and no governance.

But what they don’t seem to understand is that if the Assembly and Executive are not focused on the issues of concern to people every day like jobs and living standards – if all they do is reinforce suspicion, division and confrontation – then they are promoting disillusionment and failing to fulfil the promise of peace and reconciliation. As a party that claims to promote a Republican ethos, Sinn Fein is also letting down nationalist and republican voters in a very profound way. No number of half baked border poll gimmicks should be allowed to distract from this basic fact.

The DUP and Sinn Féin are creating a dangerous vacuum. We watched this year as the flags protests exploded onto the streets. All of us who care about the North should worry about what will move next to fill that vacuum.

Fianna Fáil will never back away from its commitment to active and constructive engagement between all parts of this island. We will never accept that the new dispensation so eagerly grasped by the people should be allowed to be undermined through a combination of neglect and partisan self-interest.

Next weekend we will have our Árd Fheis. Thousands of members will come from every part of the country to participate in debates on the full range of issues and In my speeches I will address what I believe are the key challenges which must be overcome if our country is to recover strongly and do so in a way which is fair.

I will leave these issues until then but it is important to refer to the fact that this week trade unionists rejected a national agreement for the first time in over a quarter of a century.

A modernised and motivated public service is an absolutely essential foundation for the success of our country. In recent years our public servants have made a significant contribution to helping bring the public finances under control. This contribution deserves to be acknowledged and they should be respected as partners in helping Ireland to recover.

Instead of this, a government always obsessed with public relations over substance has treated them as if they are to be faced down and fought. It has briefed against public servants, disrespected their work and introduced a policy of trying to divide and conquer. Worst of all have been the threats which caused so much damage in recent weeks.

This is a crisis of the government’s own making. The only way to begin to undo this damage is to go back to negotiations, to treat all public servants equally and respect their good will towards the process.

Fianna Fáil is absolutely committed to being a strong, effective and constructive opposition. We know that the people want every party and every representative to focus on getting Ireland through this crisis and building a fairer future.

We have rejected the destructive opposition policies followed by Fine Gael and Labour before the last election and this is one of the reasons why we have been able to reengage with people.

Our membership is rising, our organisation is reformed and we are absolutely committed to renewing ourselves in the spirit of our great founding generation.

In doing this we will always remember and work to be true to the inspirational words and actions of the men and women of 1916.

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  • socaire

    Does he attack the ‘old enemy’ who still interfere in the top half of his country? No! He saves all his vitriol for the Provos who have a better claim to the men of 1916 than the greasy grubby brown envelope brigade that brought the Free State to beggary and worldwide shame.

  • Mick Fealty

    And theres an argument attached to that attack. That is he is not employing ad hominem attack lines…

  • socaire

    There is not the slightest connection between the Republic declared in 1916 and the Provisional movement. Their campaign was waged against the constantly reaffirmed and overwhelming opposition of the Irish people. The inhumanity of many of their actions, the lasting damage they caused and their sectarian behaviour disqualifies them from claiming to be part of an unbroken chain. If that’s not ad hominem – or whatever the plural is – then what is?

  • tacapall

    The IMF in return for its granting of loans that the Irish people will never be able to pay off, runs the financial affairs of our county Socaire. The Crown topped that up with another X amount of billions, do you really believe we are free or will ever be free from British influence in Ireland, regardless of what way the people vote, in one fell swoop, the previous owners have retook the county without spilling a single drop of blood, the old enemy is back in control and the clock is now ticking until we are once again the property of the crown. The IMF is the Crown.

  • Cackle Daily

    It’s not a massive point and I know expecting accuracy from FF is a bit of a forlorn hope but was Gerry Kelly not responding to the PSNI response to the ‘fleg’ situation? (as opposed to the arrest of P Wilson?)
    As I say, given that a FF elected rep responded to the riots outside City Hall in December by condemning republicans we should hardly hope for anything as crazy as (gasp) fact checking

  • socaire

    tacapall, to carry your analysis further, you could say that China owns USA or EU bank owns Greece. However we can still pretend that we have some national pride left. It’s not beyond belief that FF will win the next election. How can people have such short memories? Anyway the Brits could be running to the IMF for money pretty soon.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ad hominem fallacy: http://goo.gl/WXkfh. You may experience Martin’s argument as some sort of secular or political heresy, but it is certainly NOT ad hominem…

  • babyface finlayson

    socaire
    “If that’s not ad hominem – or whatever the plural is – then what is?”
    Surely the paragraph you quote is dealing with the actions of the provisional movement?
    To wit, their ‘campaign’, their ‘actions’, their ‘behaviour’.
    If we cannot comment on any of that what are we left with?

  • MrPMartin

    “The inhumanity of many of their actions”

    What, just “many” and not all? Does this slip of the mask, sorry tongue imply that some of their actions were not inhuman according to Mr M Martin?

    As for condemning the Provos for lack of support – this is an unsound basis for deciding what is right and wrong. I don’t recall the people who tok over the Dublin GPO (I hope they looted the stamps to make it worth their while) having a lot of support. Also would bombing and shooting innocent people be ok if the Provos did have majority support? If so, then one would have to query the rights and wrongs of Hitler then but I know we won’t

    Terrorism is wrong, period. If a majority of the people support terrorism then it merely means that the state would be a terrorist state. Democracy is not just the slavish 50%+1 principle many people dumbly believe it is.

  • Rory Carr

    They saw an Ireland which should not accept limits on its future.

    Indeed they did. They fought, suffered and died for it. Unlike Mr. Martin’s own party which completely abandoned six counties of Ireland except for empty and often blood-curdling rhetoric for political gain at commemorative events. They rattled the bones of our patriot dead for gombeen advantage while allowing all that they had dreamed of to turn to ashes in the mouth.

    It was from this neglect, and the misery of the neglected, that the necessary burden of completing the business of that failure was taken up by the abandoned children of the nation. Yes, it was a bloody and bloody awful struggle and, yes, at times the ideal of the Republic has been dishonoured, as indeed it also was in the War of Independence, as indeed all ideals have been in all wars. But we shan’t hear Mr Martin dwell on that, except perhaps to attempt a time-warp culpability on the guerrillas of the recent struggle for the atrocities of the “Old IRA”. Constance Markiewicz, for example, whose name Martin chooses to make much play with, struck out with the cold-blooded murder of a hapless DMP man when his instruction to the volunteers under her command on Easter Monday to cease digging trenches in the street seemed likely to take effect. She justified the action as necessary to shock the Volunteers and stiffen their nerve for the combat to come. Any military man would have applauded her tactic in the circumstances and Fíanna Fáil fund-raisers have excited many an after-dinner occasion ever since with the gory details, or those of Soloheadbeg or many other actions little different to those he would condemn.

    Whatever spin he may try and put on it, the Belfast Agreement is a direct consequence of the Provisional IRA’s struggle and owes more to the actions of the most humble, least educated nail-bomber than to all the wizardry, however admirable, of Albert Reynolds or Michael Manseragh.

    It is precisely because of the obvious link between the men of 1916 and those of 1970 that Martin feels so threatened and must at every turn attempt to blind the public to that heritage – the very one that his party grew fat on over the decades while brave men and women and boys and girls fought, suffered, endured imprisonment and died for – just like the Volunteers of 1916.

  • Alias

    It’s quite funny to hear Micheál Martin describe the GFA as a “triumph of constitutional republicanism” given that the citizens of Ireland and every political party in Ireland – including his own – were excluded from the all-party talks that signed off on the British state document. Only British citizens and British political parties were permitted to attend the talks. It’s a “triumph of constitutional unionism” but it has nothing at all to do with constitutional republicanism.

    John Hume regularly used the phrase “constitutional nationalism” but never bothered to point out that the constitution he was supporting was the British constitution which laid claim to sovereignty over Northern Ireland and not the constitution which rejected that claim.

    It’s true, of course, that the Irish constitution has been duly amended to recognise the legitimacy of British state’s territorial claim and to repudiate the legitimacy of the Irish state’s former territorial claim so it’s probably fair to say that Irish “constitutional republicanism” now supports British national interests but it was most certainly the defeat of Irish constitutional republicanism as it formerly existed that brought about the change, and not by any means a triumph for it.

    The comedy will be complete to see Micheál Martin and the rest of the gombeen political class standing outside the GPO in 2016 with the full knowledge that the sovereignty that actual patriots gave their lives to achieve was squandered and given away by FF and ilk to two supranational authorities who now hold that sovereignty and with the Irish State itself having arguably less sovereignty than it would have enjoyed under Home Rule.

  • tacapall

    Socaire all the central banks of the world belong to the same small group of people including the European bank, the UK is not a country, its a corporation controlled and directed by those globalist bankers that have their own state called inner city London. A law unto themselves just like their counterparts in Washington DC, they follow the same principles, bleed other nations dry of their resources and when thats gone, enslave them in debt. Ireland now is in perpetual debt, a debt that will enslave our people to accept whatever those financial overlords impose. Ireland is once again under foreign rule, aided and abetted by a so called republican government that filled their pockets with thirty pieces of silver in the name of progression but in reality treason. It matters not who is in government we no longer decide our own destiny, that is decided by others elsewhere.

    “The Irish republican tradition is one which has constantly developed over more than 200 years. Its great strength is that it does not stand still, it always responds to the needs of today”

    No Irish political party today is truly republican anymore, FF,FG, SF, SDLP all claim to be of the people and for the people but in reality they are closet capitalists, individuals striving to accumulate personal wealth and family fiefdoms, a leadership of landlords and unethical gombeens who have their own interests rather than the people and the country at heart.

    No political party now can carry the mantle or the integrity of the men of 1916 or indeed those of 1798. Present day pseudo republicans have brokered the sale of Ireland to a global corporation. When our water is privatised and our resources plundered, when there is no profit left to suck out of Ireland maybe then we will be free to decide our own destiny.

  • latcheeco

    So, a marginalized and vilified microgroup of reckless dissidents with few weapons and no clear plan for victory go out in Dublin and cause mayhem against the wishes of the vast majority of the Irish people, a people who had emphatically chosen Home Rule as their prefered relationship with Britain- and there’s clearly no connection to be made whatsoever because, according to an Taoiseach, they were only responding to the needs of their day. It would be much better if they’d leave it alone instead of this silly annual gymnastics gala.

  • tacapall

    “a people who had emphatically chosen Home Rule as their prefered relationship with Britain”

    Indeed latcheeco but they also emphatically stated that Ireland was not the dominion of an English monarch, that Ireland alone would decide its own destiny.

  • Barnshee

    ” There is no greater insult to them than claiming that nothing changed, that the same methods they used continued to be required up to recently or even to today.”

    It was/is all right for us to do it but nobody else is allowed to do it —-hmmm

  • Alias

    It doesn’t work that way. The “will of the Irish people” or of any nation is a function of national self-determination. As the purpose of the Easter Rising was to obtain national self-determination there wasn’t any legitimate “will of the Irish people” prior to it – only a will imposed by the foreign nation and state who governed them. You don’t abide by a condition that doesn’t exist.

    Since national self-determination is the nation determining its own affairs, once that nation was sovereign then “will of the Irish people” was central and paramount to the affairs of its state. As it then self-determined that its will was to unite the island by exclusively peaceful means (or, at any rate, to ignore the hell hole north of the border) then it was a clear violation of the principle of national self-determination not to act as the nation had duly self-determined.

    The Shinners always violated the principle of Irish national self-determination – and that disregard for it was, of course, central to the national security interests of their British paymasters.

  • latcheeco

    Tacapall,
    “they also emphatically stated that Ireland was not the dominion of an English monarch, that Ireland alone would decide its own destiny.” Who did and when?

  • dcfc

    It’s a pity that no-one seems to be dealing with the substance of what was actually said, particularly around the workings of the Executive.

    In the week that John Cunningham delivered the shuddering truth of Stormont’s inadequacies, it seems that Micheal Martin’s arguments and contributions for over a year now have been proven to be absolutely spot on. If anything, actual delivery on policy issues at Stormont has gotten worse.

    Martin seems to be the only leader on the island who has consistently spoken with a clarity and authority on this issue. As far as I’m concerned, it is a contribution which is badly needed and thus very welcome.

    ‘All politics and no governance’. Spot on.

  • Rory Carr

    As it [the Irish nation] then self-determined that its will was to unite the island by exclusively peaceful means (or, at any rate, to ignore the hell hole north of the border)…

    Really, Alias ? I never knew that. Could you help me please elighten my ignorance by directing me towards some decision, some document, some act or convention or whatever where I may find the niceties of such determination enshrined ?

  • Rory Carr

    p.s. How could only a portion of the nation determine that it alone constituted the nation and the remainder of the nation (“that hell hole north of the border” as you so charmingly put it) counted for naught ?

  • Alan N/Ards

    Interesting speech by Micheal Martin. The question that I would like to ask him was why after winning independance from a foreign power did they hand control of the state to another foreign power…The Vatican.

  • tacapall

    Latcheeco was the Crown of Ireland Act 1542 and Act of the Union 1801 not imposed on the Irish people, did Irish people have a choice in the matter, was John Redmond a supporter of the monarchy ?

  • Mick Fealty

    I think dcfc has a point (as does Mr Martin)…

  • latcheeco

    Tacapall,
    I am not sure we disagree,but I don’t know because I’m not sure what point you’re making?

    If the British government set the menu and limit the choices that’s hardly being able to choose freely is it? Or did you get to take part in a nationwide vote on unification in 1998?

  • latcheeco

    Or, as an avowed republican, Mr. Martin could have pointed out the obvious, that the continual disfunction in Stormont is clear evidence of the continued failure of partition.

  • tacapall

    Latcheeco apologies we obviously crossed paths.

    “Or did you get to take part in a nationwide vote on unification in 1998”

    No I dont think there was a nationwide vote on unification in 1998.

  • Mick Fealty

    Latch,

    “the continual disfunction in Stormont is clear evidence of the continued failure of partition.”

    (I mean this seriously btw) Isn’t this akin to reciting the catechism, as opposed to trying to agitate for change?

  • Droch_Bhuachaill

    “Fianna Fáil the Republican Party … come here as Irish men and women to fulfil our responsibilities to the great generation of 1916.”

    Surely if the really wanted to fulfill those responsibilities they would have organized north of the border by now?

  • tacapall

    Mr Martin has a point on what Mick – Bad government.

    Lectures from the party that sold Ireland to the banking elite, the same party that indentured our children and their children to pay for their bad government.

    The only difference between FF and Sinn Fein is one robs from the Irish people while the other robs from the British people.

  • latcheeco

    Mick,
    You can’t undermine the partition of your country by calling on people to try harder to make it work. And he certainly isn’t agitating for change, he’s trying to shore up his flank in the South, else he’d be in the North showing how FF do good govt.

  • Mick Fealty

    Stressing it with military force hasnt exactly been a great success though, has it?

  • latcheeco

    You and I might think so, but many many unionists would disagree; anyway the points you’re avoiding are about the twin hypocrisies of honoring violent republicanism while preaching about the evils of violent republicanism, and horrendously mismanaging government while preaching about mismanaged government

  • Harry Flashman

    Martin is talking a load of tosh.

    If you genuinely think that the men of 1916 were right in what they did, and I can certainly respect the position of those who do, then you must also accept that the Provisional IRA and, after the Provos sold out the dissidents, were and are correct in their analysis of the situation.

    It is absolutely black and white, either you believe in a free and united 32-county sovereign Irish Republic won by force of arms against the British and their so-called “constitutional” Nationalist cohorts in Ireland or you do not.

    It is absolute cant and hypocritical twaddle to say one group of armed Republicans was justified and the next group wasn’t.

    And I am not a Republican.

  • boondock

    One quick point if he believes he can do a better job then why has FF still not organised up here. Labour obviously dont want to upet the SDLP, FG I think have forgotten Northern Ireland exists but whats FF’s excuse other than an epic fail at the polls

  • Greenflag

    Excellent speech by Mr Martin-and what he says about SF & DUP failure in governance is the b***ding obvious’ .

    Perhaps FF are on their way back – Good that he mentions the men of 1916 and their high ideals in a world then gone mad with imperial blood lust . Taking the long view Europe’s long term economic and demographic decline can be sourced to WW1 and it’s economic and political aftermath .

    There is however more than a little cant in Mr Martin’s admonition of good governance for Northern Ireland when his own party FF were governing the Republic with their eyes wide shut for the first decade of the 21st century .

    Of course it’s always a case of never mind what the man says -watch what he does . I suspect this speech has more to do with ‘party ‘ rehabilitation in the Republic more so than anything bar a verbal warning to the ruling parties in NI that they should not take the ‘peace ‘ for granted .

    Which is of course something that should’nt be taken for granted .

  • Alias

    “It is absolutely black and white, either you believe in a free and united 32-county sovereign Irish Republic won by force of arms against the British and their so-called “constitutional” Nationalist cohorts in Ireland or you do not.”

    That misses the point of the original Easter Rising insurrection: to obtain national self-determination.

    “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”

    National self-determination, being a collective right, is the will of the people as expressed via its sovereign parliament (elections, polls, laws, etc). It is a contract that all members of the nation and all citizens of the nation-state must abide by. It is not an individual right so individuals or groups do not have the right to usurp it. That attempt is an utter perversion of national self-determination.

    Those who believed in the principle of national self-determination were of course bound by it once it had been achieved. Therefore, if the will of the people was to end partition by exclusively peaceful means, they had to abide by that will.

    Hence the Shinners’ regional sectarian murder campaign was a perversion of the core principle of national self-determination. Furthermore, as there is only one right to national self-determination per nation, and as the Irish nation had already obtained national self-determination, the Shinners could not have been acting to secure a right that had already been secured.

    Ergo, they are a sectarian murder gang with no legitimate lineage to the Easter Rising.

    This fundamental lack of the understanding of the principle of national self-determination as proffered by the Shinners served their paymasters’ interests very well.

    As the actual republican purpose (nothing to do with non-republican murder gangs such as the Shinners, INLA, et al) of ending partition was to extend Irish national self-determination to Northern Ireland, their paymasters were able to use the Shinners to promote the post-GFA consensus that the new purpose of ending partition should be to promote British national interests on the island of Ireland. To this end, the murder gang led its tribal supporters to renounce their former right to Irish national self-determination in its entirety. They no longer assert a right to Irish national self-determination or to a nation-state. Instead they assert that Irish national self-determination should be removed from all of the island and replaced a self-contradicting form of ‘bi-national determination’ where ‘fettered control of Irish destinies’ is to be given to a foreign nation and its state.

    The Shinners are as close to being republicans as Micheál Martin is to being a europhobe.

  • weidm7

    Is anyone else annoyed at Mr. Martin’s blatant hypocrisy? He has the gumption to try interfere in northern politics from his middle-class Cork suburban two-storey. Where was he in 69 or 81? If he was politically active, then he was on his soap-box telling those under fire to try to organise peacefully in fellowship with those shooting at them. And he won’t even put his money where his mouth is and run up North? What a *****.

  • Reader

    weidm7: Where was he in 69 or 81? If he was politically active, then he was on his soap-box telling those under fire to try to organise peacefully in fellowship with those shooting at them.
    He would have been 8 or 9 during 1969. And, if he was telling people to wait and see how the 1968 reforms settled in, then he would have been demonstrating more sense and maturity than a lot of the people actually on the spot.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Ergo, they are a sectarian murder gang with no legitimate lineage to the Easter Rising.’

    They are part of the Government of Northern Ireland and elected by the people of Northern Ireland so whats not legitimate about that ?

    They are there because Unionists could’nt abide with the SDLP and it’s peaceful and moderate approach to voluntary NI power sharing .Its as simple as that .

    Your eyes are seeing what your ears are not hearing and vice versa . Human nature trumps legalistic sophistry all the time -go read your history .We muddle through if we have to and thats exactly what SF and the DUP are doing -Nothing else is possible .

    There will probably be a United Ireland achieved peacefully and there will have to be official recognition given to the British minority who remain at some point in the future . Should’nt be too much hassle in theory anyway . Not worth another life though and not several thousand or tens of thousands of lives.

  • Greenflag

    SF appear to have learned that much at least .There are some however out there in NI on both sides of the sectarian divide who would relish another bout of blood letting . They’ll never see reason or compromise because thats not what they are about . For them it’s winner take all even if that ‘all ‘ amounts to a wasted desert and a destroyed economy 🙁

  • Mick Fealty

    Here’s a bit I didn’t highlight, but which might be worth looking at:

    Sinn Fein in particular seem content to allow the Northern Executive cruise along on autopilot while they focus all their energy on trying to pull together some sort of coherent plan in Dublin. Of course, for a party like the DUP, whose raison d’être is maintenance of the status quo, this suits just fine.

    Any thoughts?

  • Ruarai

    Mick,

    I think you’re a little frustrated that more people didn’t “engage with the substance of the speech”, as they say. But this misses a key point: FF’s (and MM’s) points ring hollow while:

    (1) they remain a 26 county party and

    (2) they’re worthy of a Brass Neck of the Century award for preaching on competent governance.

    (I should add that FF’s continued uncritical celebration of mandate-less Republican violence in 1916 is nothing less than irresponsible, immature and transparently, selectively self-serving. FF clearly don’t do introspection so they’d do well knocking off attempts to lecture others on the need for more reflection and revision.)

    Having said that, should FF organize in the north then we can have a conversation.

    Until they do, all their attacks on SF (and acareful voidance of any critiques on the SDLP) achieve is a demonstration that they’re content playing the same old status quo 26 party politics (prompted by fear of SF and hereby enhancing intrigue in SF’s potential “march”), all-the-while while failing to build anything national, or even try.

    Where’s the Republicanism in that Mick?

  • “Time and again over two centuries it was scholars of non-nationalist traditions that had the biggest impact in helping preserve folk memories and to turn Irish into an accessible written language.”

    If one excludes the fact that Irish was an “accessible written language” for a thousand years before the first printed books and that works in Irish were being printed in Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, Belgium and the Netherlands from the 16th century onwards. Oh well, best not to ruin some fine sentiment with a few inconvenient facts.

    “I believe we need to be true to this in our support for the language today.”

    Though apparently Fianna Fáil’s support doesn’t run to any of the party’s websites or literature. There’s a bit of truth for ya!

    “If we want to know where the men and women of 1916 would have stood in later years all we have to do is to look at what most of those who lived did.”

    Emigrated to the United States and never looked back?

  • Mick Fealty

    Ruarai,

    Not at all… Of course I’m not keen on ad hominem stuff, but there’s a lot of questions raised here which should be useful come the weekend Ard Fheis… On which, more detail tomorrow…

  • Ruarai

    Ad hominem shouldn’t be conflated or confused with credibility.

    These are questions of credibility and lack thereof, not personal attacks.

    Very basic and very large distinction.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m not for a minute saying that criticism of FF’s arms length approach to NI is above question. But I’m not hearing many people on here taking him on directly, which is telling, surely…

    As for P Wilson, G Kelly, and the PSNI here’s Ed Moloney: http://goo.gl/dWOLB

  • Alias

    “They are part of the Government of Northern Ireland and elected by the people of Northern Ireland so whats not legitimate about that ?”

    It’s completely irrelevant to the point. You may as well claim that the Tories, the DUP, Christian Democratic Union or the Sinistra Ecologia Libertà have a legitimate lineage to the Easter Rising if you are basing it on elected members of parliament.

    The Shinners don’t have a legitimate lineage to the Easter Rising because:

    (a) The Easter Rising came before national self-determination was achieved and had the purpose of achieving it. The Shinners and other assorted murder gangs came after national self-determination was achieved and therefore there murder campaign could not have had the aim of achieving it.

    (b) The men of the Easter Rising abided by the principle of national self-determination when it was achieved, whereas the Shinners violated it.

    (c) The men of the Easter Rising asserted the right to Irish national self-determination, whereas the Shinners gave up their former right to Irish national self-determination in its entirety.

    It’s like comparing apples to granite.

  • Alias

    Incidentally, Greenflag, if the British government decided to dump Northern Ireland back onto the Dublin government’s lap in the morning, not only would the Dublin government refuse to accept the place but there’d be riots in Northern Ireland by people who would refuse to accept Dublin jurisdiction – and it would be the Catholics doing the rioting!

    That is how successful the Shinners have been at promoting unity. Indeed, the Irish nation itself in that part of the UK has collapsed to the point where only 25% of its population now self-identify as members of it.

    As Micheál Martin knows full well, annexing a region where 75% of the population don’t want your jurisdiction is a complete non-starter. He knows, however, that if he can use the excuse of unity as means to undermine Irish nationalism, censor Irish culture, and to promote British national interests then he will be rewarded by favourable coverage in Sir Tony O’Reilly’s media and on RTE. This all helps with the ongoing rehabilitation of FF.

  • Kensei

    1. There is a certain amount of mom and apple pie here. Pointing out the influence of Protestantism within Republicanism is a neat way of appealing the base sneaking suspicion that we are somehow better than t’other, unless that message is transmitted to non nationalist communities and come packaged with someway of trying to make up for the loss.

    2. The 1916 Proclamation is a rather enlightened document, particularly considering the period in which it was written and some of the more unpleasant ideas in the ethe ri that period, but again meat and drink stuff. The suggestion that physical force republicans would have been less happy with physical force under present is circumstances is a stretch. Pearse was not particularly compromising, no. It is a stretch and revisionist for all the right reasons, but still speaks of an Ireland uncomfortable to face its own logic head on.

    3.To run through his criticisms:

    A. The British and Irish Governments have left a dangerous vacuum.

    At some point this place needs to govern itself, and the move away from constant peace processing has to happen at some point. That was certainly worth a punt in the last few years; perhaps it is too soon and it hasn’t worked out and we need to switch back, but I’m not sure I agree with him here.

    B. SF and DUP are politicing not governing

    There is some merit on this, but that argument ignores the difficulties of a forced coalition, and skips into a dangerous sort of pox on both there houses that fails to properly analyse the situation. I’ve not followed as closely as I once did but my sense is the DUP are potentially a little more effective but also equally more likely to block anything SF wants.
    It also ignores that if the SF and DUP are behaving in this manner, it is because it is what there electorate wants or is happy to tolerate. For all the talk and citing of various polls, there is no palable sense of a strong desire for change, and neither the UUP or SDLP have been able to manufacture it.
    Additionally, there is a lot of change coming form Westminster, and it is much harder to push through this sort of change in a shrinking rather than a growing environment.

    C. SF are a bit naughty protesting

    Sorry, but whatever the theoritical merits this is essentially naked dog whistle stuff. SF have a hard time managing their communities and keep them on board, and if they didn’t protest the dissidents would, and pull some people with them. FF themselves were a slightly constitutional party for a long while. I’ll take an imperfect in theory party that holds people over a perfectly moral one that doesn’t, even time.

    But the major problem is this. RFK said:
    “I do not run for the Presidency merely to oppose any man but to propose new policies”. There is a lot of criticism, but no concrete new policy. Not just in the “They won’t run here” sense, which is indeed annoying, but in the “What we’d do differently as an Irish Government” sense. What does a more proactive policy mean? What would they do if the British didn’t care? There is no meat.

  • Ruarai

    Mick,

    I’m not for a minute saying that criticism of FF’s arms length approach to NI is above question. But I’m not hearing many people on here taking him on directly, which is telling, surely…

    I certainly agree with that. Indeed, the only time a member of either SF or the SDLP (or one of their supporters) tends to make a spirited defense of their party is when the attacker (rather than the attack) is a member of the other. The ideas are gone but the grudges live long. And heavy.

    Northern nationalism is intellectually exhausted, increasingly introverted and possessed of an ever thinning skin.

    But skins can be shed.

  • GEF

    Interesting, like the PUP/UVF are seen by most Unionists to have sullied the name of the old UVF formed in 1913 during last weekend’s UVF centenary parade, so to does Martin of Fianna Fail think similarly about Sinn Fein.

    “Martin claims Sinn Féin has sullied republicanism. Fianna Fáil Micheál Martin has made a scathing attack on Sinn Féin and the Provisional movement, saying that they have “not the slightest connection” with the Republic declared in 1916.” http://www.nuzhound.com/goto.php?id=227794

  • Mick Fealty

    Thanks Ken… There is something in Ruarai’s idea that nationalism is intellectually exhausted. If anything that iz what Martin is pointing out/exploiting here.

    Put crudely, it looks to me like neither party had a plan for how to deal with the power sharing executive they asked for. I would also suggest that FF, having exercised power in Dublin for 80+ years is usefully exercising some of its political frustratilons by pointing that out publicly.

    SF, in its depths, does not like being seen as an establishment party and is deeply uncomfortable with the cops and the wider security forces. As for the SDLP they simply dont worry anyone but themselves with as Pete put it yesterday a pitch to replace SF as tribal tribunes.

    The questions people raise about organising in NI are legit, but not delegitimising. Like it or not Martin has every right to criticise or call into to question what he sees as the poor leadership being shown northern Irish nationalism.

    The more intriguing question for me is: what’s next Mr Martin?

  • Greenflag

    ‘FF themselves were a slightly constitutional party for a long while.’

    Thanks for the reminder Kensei .Thats a point which Alias et al above conveniently ignore /forget . One would expect Mr Martin to be more versed in his own party’s history . Kevin Boland ,Neil Blaney , Paudge Brennan , among others were a major faction within FF when the troubles commenced and they very nearly staged an internal coup against the party establishment . CJ Haughey while identifying with the coup cabal in rhetorical terms distanced himself enough to sail through the ensuing fracas to emerge as Taoiseach a decade later.

    I believe it was Sean Lemass who actually fought in the 1916 rebellion and who could be described as our most pragmatic ever Taoiseach who in an RTE interview with Professor Basil Chubb of TCD referred to FF as a slightly ‘constitutional party ‘ . That was I believe before the start of the late 1960’s troubles in NI. Lemass’es comment to Professor Chubb left the affable Englishman more than somewhat perplexed . I guess it’s not often one comes across the elected leader of a Government party in a western democracy and moreover of the party which legislated /wrote the 1937 Constitution describing itself as slightly constitutional ?

    The politics of whatever you’re having yourself I suppose or just a pragmatic nod to the FF rank and file who in their hearts still hankered over the UI objective but in most of whose minds matters of cost , practicality and a desire to avoid unnecessary bloodshed ranked uppermost.

    And still do I might add.

  • Kensei

    I’m not sure people lacked plans going in. It’s just few of them survive contact with opponents. I imagine that both the SDLP and SF thought they’d be able to leverage some concessions out of Unionism, and both have discovered they can’t, because the DUP seems to derive a fair whack of its political ID in denying Nationalism anything. I mean – the flag protests came as a shock to anyone sane, when you consider what was actually agreed.

    There is a certain amount of intellectual exhaustion. The basic idea of getting into power North and South and doing something is sound, but it stops there. How to connect the dots? Make coherent moves both sides. It’s a tough one.

    As is also the ability to reach beyond traditional voters in a situation that remain very defensive. It is easy to pontificate about taking bold risks to move things on, but even easy to cock that up and lose your core support. That are difficult strategic question as well, about how and to what extent you look to expand but there has been no real thinking.

    Anyone can criticism anything: we live in a democracy. But the big leaps come from proposing alternative directions. Maybe this is only the first stage and Martin will come up with solutions. But tactically the criticisms serve a dual purpose of hitting both the government and SF at the same time. There is little evidence of actual strategic thought on the North, as yet, so be wary of overegging the pudding.

  • Greenflag

    ‘what’s next Mr Martin?’

    Mr Martin’s main agenda remains the rehabilitation and revival of FF in the Republic . I can’t imagine FF at this time seriously considering establishing any political base in Northern Ireland . Other than well meaning sound bites and reaffirmations of support for the ‘peace process ‘ there is nothing that FF can do apart from split the nationalist/republican community in three rather than two ? Both SF and the SDLP anyway already occupy to varying degrees any FF votes in NI with the former occupying the (1920’s /1930’s ) style rawer FF in barely constitutional or reluctantly constitutional mode, and the SDLP being the more 1980’s style -FF establishment model minus of course its effective and energetic grass roots party machine .

  • Alias

    “Thats a point which Alias et al above conveniently ignore /forget .”

    At what point did Lemass say that he was not the Taoiseach of the legitimate government of Ireland? Along with De Valera he put aside his objection to Dáil Éireann and the Free State such that de facto recognition became de jure acceptance.

    At any rate, it doesn’t matter how expertly or how poorly historical figures such as Lemass understood the principle of self-determination since its meaning exists independently of their mind-sets.

    That is a pure fallacy. If Lemass beat his wife would that make wife-beating acceptable?

  • Greenflag

    1926

    ‘Along with De Valera he put aside his objection to Dáil Éireann and the Free State such that de facto recognition became de jure acceptance.’

    1974

    Along with Austin Currie and Paddy Devlin John Hume put aside his objection to Stormont and the Northern Ireland Statelet such that de facto recognition became de jure acceptance.

    Sadly Sunnigdale was a bridge too far for Unionists and the ‘voluntary ‘ power sharing coalition was sacrificed to the baying unionist mobs .

    1998 ‘

    Along with Adams and Hartley , McGuinness put aside his objection to Stormont and a Northern Ireland State and in effect such de facto recognition has become de jure acceptance.

    2025

    SF are the majority party in Stormont and the DUP their junior partners .

    Despite Mr Martin’s semantics or Alias’s spinning or other SF bashing on Slugger or elsewhere there is no doubt that SF have won the confidence and loyalty of the vast majority of Northern Ireland’s nationalists and republicans. How could they not ?

    And that won’t change well not for another quarter century or more . By then ‘Unionists ‘ will be adjusting to their new found minority status as voters in NI most likely assuming there still is an NI State at that time .

  • Greenflag

    Alias ,

    ‘At what point did Lemass say that he was not the Taoiseach of the legitimate government of Ireland? ‘

    He did’nt nor did I state he did . What he said was that FF were a slightly constitutional party in the mid 1960’s . He saw FF as more of a national movement than purely a political party . The old guard in FF – Aiken , McEntee and others considered him a little too radical in his economic thinking for the time .As for his afternoon tea with Captain O’Neill -as you’d say yourself oy vey 😉

  • Mick Fealty

    GF,

    “that won’t change well not for another quarter century or more”

    You’re a braver man than I…

    To give an unrelated scenario as an example of how things can change in unpredictable ways, I thought back in 1999 that in a best case scenario it would take Man City five years to be able to compete for honours in the EPL, but more likely ten…

    It turned out to be 12 (ie to 2011)…

    You might well be right of course. We’ve only won once and Sir Alex has snatched the trophy we coveted for so long straight back off us again (then again, who else was going to win it if we didn’t)…

    Change does happen, but serious change only seeps in over a longish period of time…

    The SAF of 1999 (they snatched the European Cup last minute, we snatched the old division two cup last minute) would have laughed in my face if I’d presumed to make such a prediction back then…

    Win or lose this year, he’s not laughing any more… 😉

  • Mick Fealty

    Audiobooed thoughts from earlier this evening…

  • Alias

    Greenflag, either Sean Lemass’s claim that FF is “a slightly constitutional party” (at the time of making it) has a meaning in the context of this thread or it does not.

    You seemed to be using it to proffer the view that FF was not a party of constitutional republicanism or was ambivalent about its position. Lemass could wink and nod at the old guard within his party who still spouted the Free State/Southern Ireland Parliament waffle on bar stools all he liked but the fact remains that he regarded himself as was Taoiseach of the legitimate government of Ireland so all the winks and nods to alternative ideology were just that.

    You might also note that Lemass administered Irish rule whereas the Shinners administer British rule, and it is that de facto recognition that has become de jure acceptance.

  • “Peace has been too hard won and is too fragile to be taken for granted, yet this is exactly what we are getting from the two governments.” .. Michéal Martin

    One of the early actions of Bertie Ahern, his FF predecessor, following the 1998 Agreement, was to release paramilitaries from jail without a quid pro quo on decommissioning. Eight years later in 2006 and still during the course of an Ahern administration we had President McAleese endorsing the loyalist and republican paramilitary Finaghy Crossroads Group. Has Michéal seen fit to apologise for this FF appeasement of paramilitarism?

  • Greenflag

    ‘Alias’

    ‘You seemed to be using it to proffer the view that FF was not a party of constitutional republicanism or was ambivalent about its position.”

    FF originated from the SF national movement following the Easter rising and the Civil War . FF was formed from the irregulars who were defeated by Free State Government forces .

    In the period 1922 to 1932 the ‘irregulars and later FF from 1926 were regarded by the then Irish religious and political establishment as ‘Reds ‘ and were even called ‘communists ‘ by some members of the RC hierarchy . In the 1932 General Election when FF won a majority it was’nt a foregone conclusion that they would be ‘allowed ‘ to take power . Many FF deputies carried weapons into the house as they feared the Cosgrave Government might have them arrested or worse.

    On achieving power De Valera rehabilitated himself with the Church authorities and the establishment by rewriting the Constitution which gave a special place /status to the RC church while recognising the freedom of other Christian denominations and Jews to practice their faiths.

    So FF gradually evolved into the mohair suited brigade of the 1960’s and 70’s via increased prosperity and through long periods as the ‘natural party’ of government .

    As for Lemass administering Irish rule and not accepting British rule ? Up to 1949 the Free State was still part of the Empire and the Governor Generalship was only abolished in 1936 .

    In 1932, Fianna Fáil won power in the Free State, remaining in government for 16 uninterrupted years. The party which Lemass had described as only a “slightly constitutional party” in 1929 was now leading the Irish Free State, a state that de Valera and Lemass had fought a civil war to destroy a decade earlier. ( This may sound familar to those who take an interest in Northern Ireland modern day ‘politics’ if thats the word ‘ De Valera appointed Lemass as Minister for Industry and Commerce, one of the most powerful offices in the Executive Council (cabinet), and a position he would occupy in every de Valera government.

    In short Alias you can bend over every which way but backwards to find a credible spinner’s yarn that would ‘remove ‘ SF (from republican tradition ) in NI but it isn’t gong to work . I mean the voters have told you so haven’t they ?

    As for SF acceptance of British rule -it’s no more and no less than FF’s acceptance of the Governor Generalship or Imperial membership and we know in hindsight how they ended .

  • Greenflag

    @ Mick,

    ‘Change does happen, but serious change only seeps in over a longish period of time…’

    The ‘serious change ‘ which ended the Soviet Union’s existence to all intents and purposes ended overnight . It’s also an example of how things can change in unpredictable ways,

    On the other hand the contradictions inherent in the Soviet Centrally planned economy had been ‘seeping ‘ for decades so if one accepts the ending of the Soviet Union as a serious change (which I do ) then both ‘seepage ‘ and non predictability were instrumental in that change among other factors of course .

    I would never have predicted the ending of the USSR without a nuclear exchange which would have certainly destroyed Europe and possibly even led to humanity’s extinction.

    That said in ‘predicting ‘ NI politics one is on firmer ground or one would hope so. I can’t see any seepage in support for SF or the DUP . If there is any it’s minimal . I can’t see any change in Westminster’s attitude/approach to the NI situation nor any change in that of the Dublin Government . . Whatever ‘deus ex machina ‘ is out there which can break the moribund status quo which prevails now in NI is out of sight -does not exist -or is yet to form . I can’t imagine even a yes vote in the Scottish referendum making much of a difference at this stage.

    The only seepage is demographic and that is or was at a slow enough pace to make any swap in major party designation look like a decade away at least ?

    I’ll not comment on Man City as I ‘ve been since my teenage years a darker shade of blue supporter . I can recall a time when the only thing you could predict about Chelsea was that they would lose at home and win away .For ‘normality ‘ and less unpredictability a visit to Craven Cottage to watch Fulham was considered the antidote 😉

  • Mick Fealty

    Good example GF… It’s the inherent contradictions that I think account for the sudden collapse (like a certain rail viaduct in North Dublin) the action took years to effect any noticeable change.

    But (if you listen to the Audioboo) Martin has already those and is looking to neutralise them before SF gets to trade off what’s only a good story if you don’t engage with the granular detail…

    That’s not something many of would have foreseen even a year back…

  • BarneyT

    Like many of the articles you post regarding Martin, much of this makes sense and he is right to hold the main parties and the executive to account (not withstanding counter arguments with regard to his own parties recent exploits in the Republic), but as always he cannot resist a swipe at SF, which sometimes serves to undermine him and his party.

    To suggest that “there is not the slightest connection between the Republic declared in 1916 and the Provisional movement” is ridiculous and I expect he would extend that argument other factions of republicanism (officials etc…) Whilst SF were not directly involved in the rising (as far as we know) they like FF and other republican parties view this very shared event as significant and those that mobilised in the 70’s saw their activities to some degree as an extension of this rising and of course more. They were resurrecting and continuing the fight as they saw it.

    The PIRA campaign lost legitimacy over the years. Whilst I understand the need to take the “war” to the “Brits”, I personally think the PIRA campaign lost direction and headed down a dangerous, indiscriminate path. If you pursue an armed struggle in any part of the world, you need to target your enemy and be consistent in that approach. Had the IRA restricted their attacks to real combatants i.e. the occupying forces, they could have drawn freely as many parallels with their campaign and any campaign of the past. The path they unfortunately chose (bombing towns, killing civilians…some targeted others excused as casualties of war) leaves them duly exposed and I can justify Martins attempts to disenfranchise them from a shared past on that basis alone.

    However, the rising in 1916 was and remains part of the provisional fabric (regardless of the path they took and whatever views Martin establishes) and he knows that. This is politics and represents a sharp dig to the SF ribs and nothing more.

  • Greenflag

    @ Mick ,

    I listened to the audioboo and I can agree with most of your tack but I’d also agree with Barney T’s assessment that it represents a sharp dig to the SF rib and not much more .As you state yourself there is not that much interest in the Republic for the minutae of NI politics and progress in NI from the Republic’s perspective is still seen as the absence of killings , bombings and large scale sectarian violence . The fact that SF and the DUP are having difficulties is not unexpected and nobody seriously expects a forced coalition with mandatory power sharing to be anything other than uncomfortable for the main participants . Eventually at some point the GFA will go the way of the Dodo if for no other reason than it will become simply too onerous a cross to bear . But for now it’s crucifixion time for the main party politicians and they know it . They have no option but to carry the cross .

    There are of course those who will accuse Mr Martin of trying to raise the FF profile with the electorate by dumping on SF with a view to an electoral benefit in the next General Election in the Republic . There is some currency in that although I’d say there are far more Labour voters to be won back to FF than SF . As of now SF in the Republic is polling much better than Labour and given the vagaries of the PR transfer system the expected drop in Labour’s vote may rebound to the benefit of SF more so than FF .

    Focusing on SF’s performance in NI makes up I suppose for the lack of any serious opposition to the current Coalition Government in the Dail .When there’s hardly a piece of paper between FF and FG/Labour on the main issues facing the Republic’s people -it should come as no surprise that Mr Martin is making a mark /hay /mayhem wherever he can .

    Good luck at the Ard Fheis -I was at a couple of them a number of years back before I lost the ‘faith ‘ .

  • Alias

    “I mean the voters have told you so haven’t they ?”

    They haven’t. The Shinners are a fringe party in Ireland. And neither do voters determine elections by reference to definitions of self-determination in international or constitutional law so your, ahem, ‘argument’ is a tad flawed – as in utterly mangled garbage. The fallacy of appeal to popular support would place Boyzone as among the world’s most gifted music artists.

    Incidentally, the full text of Lemass’s remark is recorded in Dáil Éireann records from 1928:

    “I think it would be right to inform Deputy Davin that Fianna Fáil is a slightly constitutional party. We are perhaps open to the definition of a constitutional party, but before anything we are a Republican party. We have adopted the method of political agitation to achieve our end, because we believe, in the present circumstances, that method is best in the interests of the nation and of the Republican movement, and for no other reason.”

    Did he understand the principle of self-determination? Yes, but he applied it to 32 counties. Had he understood it better, as he later came to, he would have realised that the other 6 counties would not have made a difference to the determination since the majority – and it is a majority right as a collective right – would still not have supported unconstitutional methods.

    This isn’t incidental, but fundamental. It is also neither here nor there, as I have already tried to drum into your skull, since these meanings exist independently of individual understanding.

    Unfortunately, Irish people have little to no understanding of the principle of self-determination and that is what allowed them to vote for FF as they existed 80 years ago. You might think it obvious that the collective should not vote for a party that does not respect the will of the collective but the collective doesn’t always grasp the obvious.

    It is also a complete and total non sequitur to argue that the Shinners (a sectarian murder gang that originated in the late 60s) have any connection to 1916 simply because they murdered people for the well-paid and pensioned privilege of assisting in the internal administration of British rule. That’s like claiming that Tom Selleck was a Nazi because he had a moustache. Still, I bet you have his poster hanging beside your Boyzone posters, don’t you? Best not to answer that…

    Just as de facto recognition of Dáil Éireann became de jure acceptance for FF, de facto recognition of Stormont became de jure acceptance for the Shinners. That isn’t even their game plan – their paymasters know that the status quo is always accepted when it is improved.

  • Mick Fealty

    GF,

    As I also say, each time it comes out the card of look at our work in the north’ gets harder to play because Martin as a senior player in the southern game is using the ear he has in the southern media to simply shred it…

  • Greenflag

    ‘The Shinners are a fringe party in Ireland. ‘

    Were a fringe party in Ireland Alias . Today they share in the Government of Northern Ireland and are on course to becoming the biggest party there . In the Republic Gerry Adams topped the poll in Co Louth and Martin McGuinness did very well in the Presidential election -and it looks like SF will outpoll the Irish Labour party in the next election in the Republic- so how you can maintain they are a fringe party is perhaps just the view through those neo con glasses that skew your vision on matters Irish and even more so on matters to do with Sinn Fein.

    ‘Unfortunately, Irish people have little to no understanding of the principle of self-determination ‘

    Dear oh dear Alias has it come to this now 🙁 Your quote above would have been uttered by every true blue British imperialist, tory or grandee who ever set foot on Irish soil . Which of course resulted in their eh having to ‘rule ‘ us for our own good a.k.a (their ) benefit . Other parts of the world (about a quarter of the globe at one point ) were also found to lacking in self determination character traits even if they were well endowed with natural resources .

    I would have thought by now given your anti EU and anti Eurozone rants that you’d have found Sinn Fein to be the only party in Ireland bar perhaps some elements in the DUP to share your views ?

    Barney T’s above comment 24 April 2013 at 2:54 pm is I would think is probably the majority view of Irish people south of the border and a large number of people and voters north of the border.

    SF have a more difficult political task in the Republic simply because they have no ‘Unionist ‘ political opposition here and the ‘market’ is somewhat removed from what Mick calls the granular detail that passes for politics in Northern Ireland.

    Posters ? Nazis ? Selleck ? Boyzone ?

    Are you okay Alias ?

  • Greenflag

    Mick ,

    Thats also true but for those voters in the Republic who have more than an average interest in the politics of NI there would also be the realisation that SF have to work with the DUP in coalition . That in itself would win them a sympathy vote from not just those voters but also from the many for whom the acronym DUP equates to backward -troglodyte- bigot etc etc .

    Notwithstanding the retired Doc’s charm etc -voters instinctively understand that one swallow doesn’t make a summer and while they may not warm to SF as an alternative government party in ROI they’ll certainly award them kudos for keeping helping to keep the lid on in NI -despite the inherent difficulties of mandatory power sharing .

    Could SF replace the Irish Labour Party as number 3 at the next election ?

    Much may depend on how Kanzler Merkel’s continuing austerity solution is maintained after her upcoming successful re-election this year.

  • wee buns

    Prior to FF being decimated (unexpectedly no less!) in the last election – FF had begun an organized foray into the north, albeit in the form of soft young Ogra in QUB, So naturally these plans were shelved when survival mode kicked in. But time (in this case) heals even the harshest of punishments – now M. Martin cannot afford to ignore the north.
    Because the territory is all to play for. Why is it all to play for now and not twenty/ten/five years ago? Principally because SF has managed to expand their influence in the south. FF wants to play Sf at their own game of ‘brand republic’
    Chastened as FF now are, they unnerstand just how sincerely volatile the southern electorate can be.
    And may still are – as 2016 approached and collides with ongoing EU austerity. This is the cocktail to watch.

    But it’s not all about competition with SF.
    FF’s interest in the north also stands to gain an edge over FG/Lab whose northern context is currently zero, save a whipping stick for SF. Not hard to trump.

    While the populist view is that the south really does not really care a jot for happens northwards (as long as it doesn’t disturb our tourism type attitude) – I think that is disingenuous, and increasingly less relevant. Even prior to GFC this nonchalant attitude was actually only a skin deep truth. In the south there remain latent layers of concern about our connection or lack of, with the north. The concern may be practical/ historic/economic in the one breath – but it exists.

    And FF –like any threatened creature – knows this by instinct.

  • Greenflag

    ‘@ wee etc ,

    ‘In the south there remain latent layers of concern about our connection or lack of, with the north.’

    True enough and I broadly agree with your post above . The concern though is that of a householder who shares a fence with a fractious neighbour in whose backgarden there are two rabid rottweilers chained to posts cemented into the earth . The length of each chain is just long enough to permit both rottweilers to snarl at each other without coming to close enough quarters whereby they could kill each other. .

    From an ROI perspective the fence is very porous and not up to keeping out said rottweilers if they are ever unchained .. They’ve been charging at each other now for a decade or more since the GFA . The chain is fraying and the wooden uprights in the cement have started to rot and weaken . We live in hope that the cement holds until both rottweilers become too old and toothless to do more howl at each other before they shuffle off this mortal coil and be replaced with tamer versions of the species .

  • wee buns

    GF
    in whose backgarden there are two rabid rottweilers chained to posts cemented into the earth
    Yep – and that’s just the clergy 

    Martin – from his speech earlier tonight – brand republic much?

    ‘’We are a republican party which believes in listening to the people.’’
    ‘’I am the first person in my family to hold elected office. ‘’( keen to distance himself from the born-to-rule FF tradition)
    ‘’My parents taught us to respect different political views but, for them, republicanism came first and at its core was a duty to serve the community.’’
    ‘’We were founded as a republican party and republicanism remains our core belief.’’
    ‘’We will always believe in a united Ireland. We will work day and night to fulfil the republican ideal of uniting protestant, catholic and dissenter.’’
    ‘’If you believe in renewing the progressive republican tradition which built up this country, then join us.’’
    ‘’Ireland needs a viable and vibrant republican party.’’

  • Greenflag

    ’Ireland needs a viable and vibrant republican party.’’

    Indeed but not one owned lock stock and barrel by the banksters and gangsters of FF or any other party . I’m sure Eamon Martin’s a dacent man but theres not a paper width between himself and Enda Kenny other than civil war brand tag .

    FF’s core belief is to get power and even more so to hold on to power for themselves and themselves alone .We must not forget how they bailed out their big donors in Anglo Irish and the other banks and how under Bertie’s blind greed and ignorance the country’s economy was hung out to dry on the framework of a financial sector which behaved like teenage drunkards behind the wheel 🙁

    Nice words of course all very reassuring to the remaining faithful and those who suffer from attention span deficit syndrome . But my guess is that the Irish electorate remains somewhat volatile in it’s intentions both with the present government and any potential FF successor .Much will hang on whether Kanzler Merkel sticks to her austerity cure now that Germany is on the brink of recession and her re-election is in the offing .