OFMdFM’s little domestic tiff over the Maze ‘Reconciliation Centre’ goes embarrassingly public…

And so the Tweedledum/Tweedledee dialogue of the deaf between the only two political parties in Northern Ireland that have substantial political power continues after the First Minister’s ‘address’ to his own senior politicians. First of all, Raymond McCartney for Sinn Fein:

“Peter Robinson, who has himself of course been totally absent over recent weeks, talks about difficulties around issues like parades and emblems. Surely then this should be all more reason why a Centre for Peace and Reconciliation should be built. Peter Robinson has not issued one word of condemnation about the violent attacks on the police in Belfast on Friday night.

He has been silent on the attack on the Belfast Mayor. Yet he now claims to be exercised about a peaceful parade in Castlederg and can find the time to pen this lengthy letter, but time couldn’t be found to deal with much more serious and immediate issues on our streets.

“People will find it strange that the DUP are now turning their back on such a project and does raise very serious questions about the commitment of elements of the DUP to conflict resolution and peace building. That is a question which the DUP now need to address.[Emphasis added]

And Sammy Wilson goes into bat for the DUP:

Sinn Fein have shown a complete disregard not just for the feelings of innocent victims in recent weeks and months, but for community relations right across Northern Ireland. Following a deliberately provocative strategy may be Sinn Fein’s way of relieving political pressure put upon them by dissidents, but it does nothing to help build a shared future.Unionists have witnessed Sinn Fein’s commitment to a shared future which does not include the ability to share a road.

Sinn Fein’s commitment to a shared future however has included naming a playpark in honour of a dead terrorist and the lauding of criminals in Castlederg whilst victims are left seeking medical support to deal with the fresh trauma heaped upon them. Its not only that the words of Sinn Fein don’t match their actions, but the words of Declan Kearney on reconciliation don’t match the words of Gerry Kelly.

Sinn Fein have created a situation where consensus does not exist within the community for such a centre to be built.  Rather than blame unionists its time instead they stepped back from their recent actions and demonstrated a real commitment to peace and reconciliation.Those proposals for a peace centre only took up a tiny fraction of the overall Maze site.

There is absolutely no reason, except republican petulance, for the economic development of the Maze site not to continue. The potential still exists for the 5,000 jobs which would make a huge impact on issues such as youth unemployment and the continuing battle to rebuild Northern Ireland’s economy.’

Etcetera, etcetera, etcetera…

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  • Neil

    I’d have thought this was also wort quoting:

    “This is an hysterical reaction by Peter Robinson to the unionist paranoia whipped up by rejectionists like Willie Frazer and Jim Allister. They are leading the DUP on this issue. It is also cowardly, Peter Robinson is issuing this statement here but has long since departed on his holidays.

    “He pens a letter telling how he is standing up to the TUV and UUP, yet what he is actually doing is following the agenda they have set for him. It is further evidence of weak political leadership.”

    Emphasis added. As you say.

  • Mick Fealty

    Well, we’ll have to agree to differ on that… That’s opinion, the bit I highlighted from Mr McCartney was, in my, view robust analysis..

  • Neil

    Opinion that he’s following the TUV, UUP agenda? I’d say it’s an irrefutable fact.

  • Greenflag

    It could be worse . At least they’re talking about not talking . Not too long ago they were’nt even talking about not talking they were or their surrogates /proxies- shooting at each other . Some including a now ‘arrested ‘ Belfast Councillor gave vent to nostalgia for the good old shooting days 🙁

    Weak Leadership ?

    I’d say thats an overstatement .

    Standard operating procedure for Unionist politicians seems to be

    ‘There goes the mob -I must follow them ‘

    Inevitable but then they helped create the mobs so I guess theres a certain logic to their political cowardice . Mobs have been known to turn on their ‘lundies ‘ .

  • “OFMdFM’s little domestic tiff over the Maze ‘Reconciliation Centre’”

    Mick, surely there are two tiffs: one on the use of the listed buildings and the other on the use of a new peace and reconciliation centre in a different part of the site. Would it be generally known that two sets of separated structures are involved? I’d have thought that the main focus of ire by his unionist opponents would have been on the use of the listed buildings.

  • Mick Fealty

    Wouldn’t pass the Gradgrind test… 😉

  • Can I have a response in plain English, Mick? 🙂

  • Neil

    I think that was for me. Google provides…

  • Perhaps, Neil, but I still prefer plain English – the sort of language that plain folks like myself can understand. 🙂

  • Mick Fealty

    You? Plain Nev? Nev-er, never, never (never)… 😉

  • Very good, Mick 🙂

    To avoid any misunderstanding, perhaps I should say that I don’t owe fealty to the Rev and the Rt Hon. the Lord Bannside 😉

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    As a sidenote, Robinson is half-way through a six-week sojourn in his Florida home. That is absolutely scandalous. Yes, politicians deserve a few weeks rest: but six weeks, thousands of miles away, at the height of the marching season while you’re paid tens of thousands to lead? Really, that’s outrageous.

  • I’m surprised that Martin allegedly opted for two-site split:

    Since I became First Minister I have reached several significant agreements on the Maze with the deputy First Minister. We agreed that the Peace Centre should be a stand-alone building rather than being incorporated within the retained buildings as had been suggested in the UUP-led plan. We agreed to it being located away and across the road from the former prison buildings. We further determined that the character and content of the Peace Centre would have to be jointly agreed before construction and operation. We also resolved that any use of the retained buildings had to be jointly agreed.”

    The two-site split seems to have been about as far as they’ve got on this aspect of the overall site development. The subsequent playing of the green card has naturally lessened the possibility of progress in this sensitive development.

  • Tir Chonaill[3.11]Robinson want to revisit the idea of staying in Florida as Thatcher should have done over her absence from Westminster in 1990. The mood in the DUP has already forced him to revisit the Maze issue and his grip on the party is now looking more a grip the party now has on him.

  • michael-mcivor

    Sammy Says-

    ” May be Sinn Fein’s way of relieving Political pressure put upon them by dissidents ”

    What political pressure is this-the dissidents have no political or military wing-they flap about but there is no take of about them-
    I can see a few DUP rats leaving the sinking ship to start anew or join the unionist dissident TUV-

  • redstar2011

    With all due respect the Shinners faith in this out of touch pointless sham at Stormont has been shaken- good

    Ffs wake up. Youre living on scraps from the table and will never get anything else if you accept a totally internal deal based on a unionist veto.

    Even Sos put you in your place just to remind you that playing at politics at the behest of the British establishment is not only pointless but dishonest in that you know it will never deliver

  • Brian Walker

    Fascinating, rambling repetitive letter, full of nervous self-justification. And there’s me thinking the scheme was all done and dusted without ever having given it much thought. Reads slightly ambiguously. Is he simply choosing the moment to shaft SF now that the RUAS goes ahead and the Peace Centre will never happen, which is what he wanted in the first place? I’d have thought that if that’s the case it will quite seriously shake the Executive for the first time.

    Or reading between the lines, might it just be a muffled cry to SF to help him out? It’s slightly better if he reacting under pressure but not much.

    What happens now? Would it be heretical to treat it as a practical problem? I know slugger readers prefer sectarian poker or whatever you call it rather than to trying to solve a problem but here goes a lone voice.

    If they want a Peace Centre what are the ideas for the content? Surely they exist. Let’s have them out in the open. If amazingly no outline scheme for content exists, hand it over to historians and exhibition architects and they’ ll do a fair job without making it a terrorist shrine Put it out to competition and publish the well illustrated bids for general comment and screaming and shouting.

    Put the accent on international/comparative for the foreign tourists. NI in a world setting, that sort of thing. Easy peasy.

    But what on earth do they do with the old eyesore buildings? Do they stand empty and more sinister than ever? This is no Kilmainham gaol whose heritage is consensual.

    So.. why not bite the bullet( sorry) and have a loyalist wing, a republican wing and a screws area, son et lumiere, rough bath time for the dirty protest, Gerry’s Kelly’s breakout and all. ( No, I’d draw the lien art smellies). This would be no shrine; it would be vivid and searing and balance out. One simple death bed bereft of other imagery would be quite powerful without crawling sentimentality.

    No? Ah well, I suppose they’ll go for the usual default – deadlock. But this one just might turn the clock back. Worrying. To make power sharing stick, leaders have to be fairly strong.

  • michael-mcivor

    redstar2011-

    ” Even Sos put you in your place ”

    The Sos is a un-democratic outsider who has no right to tell democratic Sinn Fein what do to on their home turf-she can yap yap yap all she wants-

  • Granni Trixie

    For me the question is why did the DUP ever agree to the Maze project initially.’Turkeys voting for christmas’ comes to mind given that the symbolic charge of the site gives a distinct advantage to SF in the telling of the narrative of Troubles in NI. Has to be there was more self interest than we know or straight forward pragmatism – the only way SF would agree to the development of the maze as a commercial site.

    Interesting too that people power has prevailed – first in the case of the SPADS issue and now with the MAZE. makes me hopeful for the future of politics.

  • redstar2011

    Loyalist people power you mean

  • Tir Chonaill Gael

    Brian
    admirable attempt at drawing out practical answers to practical problems, but it ignores the rabid loyalist fringe now massing behind Allister, Frazer and the UVF. They’ll have none of it; they spook the DUP backwoodsmen who, in turn, spook Robinson.

  • So what are Brian and Peter saying about the separate Peace and Reconciliation Centre?

    BW: “Put the accent on international/comparative for the foreign tourists. NI in a world setting, that sort of thing. Easy peasy.”

    PR: “A Peace Centre advocates the use of exclusively peaceful and democratic means to resolve disputes. ..

    The Peace Centre could have facilitated international exchange, education, research, teaching and learning, along with programmes relating to a shared future for Northern Ireland.”

    There you have it – great minds, more or less, thinking alike. 😉

  • Gopher

    In the little game that is being played out Peter is simply bowling short and pulling the field back and inviting the hook. It’s what happens when two sides are making no progress. SF won’t hook and they have effectively run out of shots outside an unforeseen event gifting them a boundary.

    The present situation is pretty predictable nobody will budge on anything outside the Haas talks. It’s not weak leadership, its not strong leadership, it is not bad leadership, it is not good leadership it’s certainly not inspired leadership. It just leadership suited to the trench warfare politics of Northern Ireland. Letting the DUP get to the safety of the trenches is as must testament to the incompetence of the other polical parties as it is to the DUP.

  • Comrade Stalin

    You’re more optimistic than I am Gopher, I don’t see why they’ll budge inside the Haass talks never mind outside. If the Haass talks do make a leap forward, that will be great but the question would have to be asked – why can’t we do it by ourselves ?

  • Morpheus

    The Haass talks will be an eye-opener for loyalism.

    Robinson: Yeah, their side marched in Castlederg Mr Haass.
    Haass: Ah, The Derg. I know it well. Nationalist majority right? How many parades has your side had there this year Pete?
    Robinson. 19
    Haass: And your side Marty?
    MMcG: Just the 1 which we re-routed voluntarily and went off peacefully even though the Parades Commission banned my side from the ‘shared’ town centre.
    Haass: And naturally these same restrictions were placed on your side too Pete.
    Robinson: Well no.
    Hasss; So your side had 19 unrestricted parades this year and Marty’s side have had 1 restricted one. Interesting. What’s this I hear about Coleraine?
    MMcG: That’s a UVF commemoration of some bombers who also blew themselves up
    Haass: Like the guys in The Derg? Naturally Peter you wholeheartedly condemned this?
    Robinson: Well no, I didn’t say a word
    Haass; Just how many parades has your side had this year Peter?
    Robinson; Over 3000
    Haass; All peaceful?
    Robinson: Well no, funny story…

  • Gopher

    It’s quite likely none will budge in the Haas talks. SF have high hopes for the next Republic general election and hope the 1916 hullabaloo to try and get past the flatline in recent elections. The DUP don’t have to do anything 1916 and a hostile Republic suit them fine and the other parties have ensured they don’t count.

    We can’t do it for ourselves because the middle ground keep taking sides instead off defending the middle ground. We empower morons

  • Comrade Stalin

    What’s this thing in Coleraine you’re talking about ?

  • caseydog

    The Guardian takes a more benign view of community relations in today’s editorial, commenting on Peter Robinsons statement on the Maze. The view from London is not despairing..

    ‘It takes generations, even centuries, before the wounds heal sufficiently for rival communities to share a historical narrative. Think how difficult it is for Spaniards, Americans, or the English to agree accounts of their own civil wars, even today. The people of Northern Ireland are no different in finding these things hard – and have had a lot less time. Fewer suspicions and more co-operation would obviously be desirable. But in context, even now, the big reality is not Northern Ireland’s enduring divisions but the progress still being made to reduce them.’

  • Brian Walker

    The practical problem seems to focus on the old prison buildings. But the more you look at it, the less the letter objects to what happens at the site. It’s mainly about the loyalist menu of grievance for the year which Robinson has now adopted as his own. Where paramilitary activity failed to split them, the Maze and what lies behind it may provoke the first major issue of confidence between the two main coalition partners. And that’s a matter for serious regret and I guess comes as something of a surprise.

    This is now way beyond political poker. True, the leaders failed to come together over flags and have never seemed to coordinate smoothly ever since. Instead of flags and marches being kept carefully at a certain distance from the core of the coalition, the ranting letter has moved them centre stage. Robinson is exposed as less of a master in his own house than McGuinness is in his. SF always plays it more disciplined and closer to the chest.

    That being the case, can McGuinness keep his cool and avoid making it a full issue of confidence for the partnership? Both might well have anticipated an impasse like this and saw the need for a Haass- type mediation which if it works will let both of them off their awkward hooks . His role is now prove more necessary than ever. The stakes seem pretty high, not for survival exactly, but for any hope of the Executive beginning to close the gap between the working class communities.

  • michael-mcivor

    Robinson still wants the prison officer’s and the Loyalist’s to
    get their storys told at the Maze/ Long Kesh site-he just wants the Republican story to be kept Quiet-something which Robinson has no power over in those listed buildings and when the site does get a face-lift-

  • Mick Fealty

    Brian,

    I agree with your practical suggestions. What we are missing is a practical OFMdFM.

    But NI’s joint majority franchise has passed from the bumbling middlers, to the urgent idealists.

    Many (myself included) once thought/hoped/believed if the baton passed to two parties who were deeply interested in acquiring power (and keeping it) we might get somewhere.

    Well, we were partly right.

    Certainly with SF and the DUP inside the tent the Executive did not lumber from collapse to collapse. A marked contrast with the stop start of what passed for normal before.

    Much of the casual nastiness on the ground has subsided from what it was in Slugger’s first tumultuous year: http://goo.gl/QE3rqG.

    So was this part of a cunning plan to shut out all but the RUAS from the Maze? Well, in lieu of better intel, I could be persuaded to acquiesce in the idea that it might have been.

    If so, it’s come at the end of two long and deeply unprofitable summers (not to mention a disastrous winter of malcontent) for the DUP over parading and flags.

    It feels like a reactive rather than a premeditated strike.

    But it’s as likely this was a tit for tat blow to SF for helping to stoke the PR fires under the DUP (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=My5cf2zlkpo) for well over a year.

    [DUP councillors insist that SF refused to discuss the BCC flag dispute, after the local elections in March 2011.]

    But in fact both OFMdFM parties find themselves with rather tightly bound feet.

    How much of the DUP’s support actually oppose ‘gay marriage’? I suspect far fewer than those who take their moral instruction from a Free Presbyterian Pastor.

    By the same token SF’s leadership (largely unchallenged since 1986) place a value on vindicating their own history that does not precisely chime with their own wider voter base.

    Both parties may be making the mistake of undervaluing the progress made under the famed northern Peace Process™.

    Or the degree to which they are now mutually dependent.

  • Kevsterino

    I would not be surprised if Robbo’s backing out of the Maze/Long Kesh deal winds up strengthening Sinn Fein’s position at the Haass talks. Sinn Fein must have allowed for this eventuality with events unfolding as they have this past year, what with Orangemen assaulting policemen (and policewomen), the Lord Mayor assaulted for daring to open a playpark in a protestant area, Loyalists assaulting policemen and starting fires etc etc.

    Robbo didn’t want to be ‘Trimbled’. He isn’t going to let anyone outflank him on the ‘most loyal of loyalist’ thing.

  • Time for a singsong; All together now:

    Anything you can do,
    I can do worse.

  • If you look at photographs of the FM, you can clearly see the deterioration in his physical being since he first announced that he had been cuckolded. He presumably is on vacation with the mentally ill, still recovering, wife in Florida and isn’t thinking things through.
    He needs to resign and accept his Lordship and gradually recover.
    I hope this is accepted as genuine advice and isn’t deemed to be “man playing”.

  • @Comrade Stalin,

    ” why can’t we do it by ourselves ?”

    For the same reason that most other deeply-divided societies can’t do it by themselves. The one example in recent decades that I can think of in which an internal conflict was resolved by a compromise solution without outside mediation was South Africa. And I think the reason for that was that while there was fear on both sides and resentment, there was not a deep bitterness caused by lots of atrocities. While the South African state carried out assassinations and torture of a number of ANC/UDF activists and politicians, and imprisoned many for long periods this was no worse than opposition figures experienced in most other African countries. And the ANC killed relatively few whites who were not military. Its first campaign, from 1961-63, was a pure sabotage campaign against infrastructure. Its next campaign, from 1979-90, was mainly against military bases and energy infrastructure such as SASOL coal-to-oil conversion plants and nuclear reactors and against other blacks who refused to cooperate in boycotts or were suspected of being informers. So Afrikaners had little reason to be bitter towards the ANC. And the Afrikaners were negotiating with the ANC from a position of strength after they had gotten the ANC expelled from all its military bases through out Southern Africa.

    Compare this to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, any of the Arab civil wars, the Tamil Tiger insurgency in Sri Lanka, the Bosnian civil war, the Kosovo war, etc. Most of these are much closer to the patter in Northern Ireland. And most end in either outright military victory or through mediation.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It’s mainly about the loyalist menu of grievance for the year which Robinson has now adopted as his own.

    Some items on that laundry list were put there by the DUP.

    When we consider how many councils in NI already have a designated day policy, the truth is that there wasn’t a flags controversy, until the DUP decided that there should be one. Had unionism taken ownership of designated days – which was inevitable – it would have blunted any sense that Sinn Féin had won a victory.

    Had unionism adopted a slightly more pragmatic view of parades – that occasionally they need to be rerouted or restricted for the greater good – they would have had the moral high ground over the republican parades at Castlederg and in Belfast which were nakedly provocative. Instead they look like a bunch of hypocrites.

    “No Surrender” isn’t working out.

  • Neil

    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/news/politics/dup-leader-peter-robinsons-aboutturn-on-maze-a-humiliating-retreat-29503827.html

    Worth a read. There’s a suggestion that Robinson’s being led by the nose by the TUV and UUP and that his leadership’s over.

  • FDM

    Neil 16 August 2013 at 10:37 am

    There’s a suggestion that Robinson’s being led by the nose by the TUV…
    ——————–

    Really?

    and the mob.

    and the UUP.

    and the rest of right wing nutters [to quote Jimmy] who can’t stand to have an Irish/Nationalist/Catholic about the place [delete as appropriate].

  • “It feels like a reactive rather than a premeditated strike.”

    Perhaps opportunistic is the appropriate word, Mick; the PRM parade in Castlederg presented Peter with an open goal. Martin, so far, has kept a low profile but both are tough cookies so, no doubt, we can expect a reaction in the not too distant future.

    Both gentlemen, I’m sure, would have preferred to cultivate a smiling caricature in order to woo UUP and SDLP voters respectively but such a strategem is problematic due to the activities of dissidents on both sides of the fence.

    The current tussle between FF and SF is something of a bonus for Peter.

  • Barnshee

    “The Sos is a un-democratic outsider who has no right to tell democratic Sinn Fein what do to on their home turf-she can yap yap yap all she wants”

    If you want to make sure you know where your next Armani suit is coming from I would be a little more polite ]about your paymaster

  • Nevin[11.45] I’ve put my theory of that open door kindly presented by shinners, elsewhere. Apart from a cue to pull out of Maze deal, to possibly even give Robinson an unmissable cue to pull down Stormont which SF don’t want to have to resort to themselves as they must know, most SF voters don’t want sharing with DUP. This looks like the final throes of the Marty/peter er….relationship, and from thence, end of Stormont.

  • Daniel [1:59], it’s not easy to predict the future of politics here. The TUV is likely to continue to pressurise the DUP to pull out of government with SF but I suspect the DUP will sit tight. I’d imagine that the PRM will continue its ‘war of attrition’ in order to narrow the unionist-nationalist gap, partly because of the pressure in the build up to the 1916 commemoration and those that follow sound afterwards. Being in Stormont maintains SF’s political profile so I doubt if it will be keen to pull the plug. The quality of governance is unlikely to improve 🙁

  • Alan N/Ards

    Why do we need a Peace and Reconciliation Centre at the Maze? The people at Corrymeela have been doing this kind of work for years. Give them the money.

  • redstar2011

    Lets just put this to bed once and for all

    To all Shinners and supporters

    Give Nat/ Rep voters any reason to continue giving this discredited charade any more support?

    Many many Republicans including your supporters were sceptical about whether this dubious set up could deliver

    Now that we know that your partners, hate , distrust and will shaft you at the drop of a hat why should any Republican support this tool of continued British rule

    Shinners the games up

    Lets go forward together

  • ayeYerMa

    Extremely extremely naive comments from Brian Walker, and confirming by view that the greatest threat to true long-term peace in Northern Ireland comes not from Republicans (whose pathetic threat of violence can be eliminated easily by British military strength) but by middle class Protestants who believe themselves to be so “liberal” and obsess over compromise and are so scared by the threat of Republican violence that they think that our society depends on giving Republican terror justifiers everything they demand.

    This weak appease-terrorists-or-they-will-bomb-again attitude seems to stem from British government policy, and also seems to be dominant within the dire analyses spouted by BBC journalists today who seem to be more concerned with egging on SF/IRA retaliation rather than making much mention of numerous breaches of Agreements by Sinn Fein in the last few months. That includes the disrespect of Northern Ireland’s agreed sovereignty and numerous illegal glorifications/support of proscribed organisations through not only gatherings in military uniform, but speeches made by McGuinness in Derry and Kelly in Belfast which would result in the arrest of anyone else who said much less (e.g. Ruth Patterson or Willie Frazer doing little more than demanding justice). We cannot keep going on with the situation whereby SF/IRA spokesmen are rewarded for acting as if they are untouchable.

    The idea of a “peace centre” giving sections dedicated to TERRORISTS is also a contradiction in terms. It’s time to stop this nonsense of pretending that peace is possible by always defaulting to compromise with terrorists and start finding common ground amongst those who have no desire to glorify proscribed terrorist organisations.

  • michael-mcivor

    Barnshee-

    ” I would be a little more Polite about your paymaster ”

    You can arse-lick all you want but she is only a tory brit-nothing to worry about-

    AyeYerma-

    ” extremely naïve comments ”

    Aye-by yourself-
    You say Brian Walker is naïve yet you think that the two dumb
    speakers that are/were Ruth Patterson – Willie Frazer
    are talking sense-its the way you tell them-

  • roadnottaken

    I have no doubt now that Robinson will be gone soon. This is the final game play for him. Like his predecessor before him, to keen to appear that he can work with McGuinness, will it be a quiet word in the ear from those around him? Or will it be a more brutal affair, as the DUP turns into the old Unionists in their final hours of strength, with daggers very publicly drawn?

    Either way, I’m sure, as they have been doing, SF will play this one well, as they sit back and watch.

    For the rest of us.. Popcorn at the ready! Watch as Pete’s potential successors emerge in disarray and acrimony and begin to pull each other’s hair!

    The Executive may well fall, but the DUP, no matter what the outcome, will be keen to keep those pay cheques coming.

  • Nevin[2.36] To paraphrase Shakespeare , the quality of governance is not strained in these parts
    Redstar[5.38] If SF decide they need the pay cheques coming and, against all logic, carry on at Stormont with the political cuckold Robbo, then SDLP should prepare for an influx of shinners voters but most of those will just stop voting.

  • The deputy First Minister, who was apparently on the run at the time of the Castlederg commemoration, has peered over the parapet at Ballinamore in Co Leitrim:

    “However, it ignores the political reality and ignores the fact that the vast majority of unionists want to see this process succeed.

    “They are not interested in re-fighting battles that are long over, or harking back to a time that has long gone.

    “They want to see their political leaders get on with the job of reconciliation and delivering in the government.”

    Martin seems to be more in step with his ‘no regrets’ junior colleague, Gerry Kelly, than these unionists; mind you, I suspect most unionists are not as liberal as he attempts to portray them.

    Meanwhile, in that place of great enlightenment aka Bushmills, his party colleague and Moyle DC chair, Cara McShane, received a rather frosty welcome yesterday afternoon. She had the misfortune to unveil a piece of public realm art – a cow [jpeg] 🙂

  • redstar2011

    Mmgs cringeworthy speech really laid it on the line for his coalition partners who shafted him!!!!

    What a wimpish performance.

    And heres a tip Marty- why bleat on about getting agreement in Haass talks when the Dup have already shown they dont have to stand over any agreement they sign up to and now more than ever know SF will just roll over and take it.

    Grow a pair Marty

  • “What a wimpish performance.”

    MMcG doesn’t strike me as a wimp, redstar2011, and the only agreement between Peter and Martin seems to have been that they had to agree on the nature of two parts of the Maze project; an agreement that appears not to have been signed and sealed.

    I view the duo as prisoners of the 1998 Agreement with the power to share out, a power limited by the power of veto. The warders in London, Dublin and Washington are likely to continue to play the NIMBY card and ordinary decent folks here will be left to stew.

  • redstar2011

    Nevin

    He and his party were royally shafted on a deal they had with Dup

    His response- nothing- apart from rambling on that he looks forward to getting another deal with them at Haass.!!!!!!!!!

    Why in gods name does he think they will feel bound to stand over any deal there now that they know SF just lie down and take it when shafted.

    Weak, lost, and lacking any credibility

  • Comrade Stalin

    Nevin,

    Whatever the agreement was it seems pretty obvious that there was an agreement, and that it has now been broken. There is no such thing as a completely binding agreement in these cases; all people have to go on is trust, and the breach of that trust is the single most significant issue here.

    redstar2011, I don’t think there is anything weak about SF’s position. It may seem weak from an orthodox republican perspective, but then again that has been the case since 1998. They’re in a position of strength because they are still in control. SF are making a big play out of making modest concessions to the unionist position and juxtaposing this against the violence, rioting and inflammatory conduct of the unionist leadership during the same period. I don’t calculate that SF are going to suffer electorally from this at all.

  • redstar2011

    CS

    You are probably right on that since many of their supporters seem virtually brainwashed into seeing defeats as victories- they have to see things that way as otherwise they wouldn’t have agreed to a totally internal settlement

    I do however think that as time goes on the amount of voters in Rep areas- particularly younger voters- are seeing Stormont for the pointless charade with no credibility that it is.

    Its this lack of increase in their vote that definitely grinds with the Shinners

  • redstar2011

    Sorry should have added that the increasing amount of young voters in Rep areas who abstain is what grinds with SF

  • “all people have to go on is trust, and the breach of that trust is the single most significant issue here”

    CS, I suspect there was little more than an agreement to disagree on the details. Whatever Peter’s stance, the Castlederg paramilitary parade reduced the Parades Commission positioning to one of farce; it also presented Peter with an open goal.

  • Redstar[11.41]It looks like Marty has resigned himself and SF to putting up with progress at the slowest DUP bigots rate, but this pusillanimous response to Robbo’s shafting of shinners will be remembered by their voters at the elections and they will see the result of their pathetic non-response in the redcuction of votes then. If Kelly fails to beat Dodds in N Belfast to westminster seat, they will look back on this week as a lost opportunity Dodds can be beaten in NB but SF need to cancel that Girdwood deal/stitchup of catholics on housing list for that to happen but what’s the betting they’ll pass on it?.

  • Mick Fealty

    roadnottaken,

    Your prediction is duly noted… and bookmarked (does it have a sell by date?)

    Daniel,

    There’s two dynamics at play in the zero sum I mentioned here (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5f7Wv_wITGo). Before this summer, I would have said it was beyond Kelly (though not by much) to take North off Dodds next time.

    In lieu of a direct competitor, I’m not sure GK will lose much sleep if it doesn’t fall this time round. It’s a case of to what degree there’s been a wedge pushed between the DUP and its loyalist base.

    I think a bond may still be there, but since the Maze is about the only thing SF has publicly committed itself to, Robinson doesn’t have too many more hostages to throw out of the balloon.

    The long slow strangulation of Orange culture in north Belfast will likely continue, unless Haass has something up his sleeve.

    CS,

    “Whatever the agreement was it seems pretty obvious that there was an agreement”…

    This is exactly why political journalism is in such trouble, and not just in Northern Ireland… Larry Sabatto…

    …news has shifted heavily to opinion and away from fact-based journalism and investigation.

    Opinion is very cheap to produce on television. After all everybody’s got an opinion and there’s a endless supply of party hacks, whatever the country.

    Much of that discussion uninformed chatter and obnoxious bloviating from partisan perspectives.

    The only useful pundit is analytical. The only useful pundit is research-oriented. The only useful pundit is fact based.”

  • Mc Slaggart

    Mick
    “The long slow strangulation of Orange culture in north Belfast will likely continue”

    I find this remark funny. I am left to wonder who is doing this “strangulation”?

    “zero sum”

    Martin McGuinness is going about using Derrys walls as a methopher for what “Nationalists” should do with “northern Ireland” traditional institutions. He wants people to embrace them and to make them work for the good of all. {see the RTE Nationwide show is one example of him}

  • Mick Fealty

    I’ll look McS… Thanks for the heads up…

  • redstar2011

    Mick

    I agree GK wont take North Belfast.

    But I reckon the reason is because there and in other Republican areas there is a realisation that SF, these middle age well suited men in far off Stormont, cant/ wont deliver.

    When I was younger, 1980s, 1990s there was an almost rockstar/revolutionary feel about voting, assisting, helping SF esp at election times.

    They are now rightly seen esp by a steadily growing number of younger Rep voters as out of touch and simply part of the establishment up on the hill

    The same gusto and enthusiasm to turn out for them simply isnt there. Yes in Rep electoral wards theres still enough votes to send the same old faces back in again- but the excitement, enthusiasm and zeal neccessary to substantially expand is definetely lacking with a rising number of voters simply opting out.

    If ( massive if) there was a more organised approach, crucially with a recognisable face or two amongst non SF resident groups RNU etc, I have no doubt ( initially small) inroads could be madeby other Republicans into SFs vote, especially if the predicted hardening and uniting of loyalist/unionist factions comes about

  • michael-mcivor

    redstar2011-

    ” RNU etc “-

    15 years into the GFA and that is all that you have got-RNU etc- Sinn Fein will lose no sleep over that excuse for dissidents-Will Doods stand again in North Belfast-will he be the only Unionist to stand-its all to play for-

  • redstar2011

    Michael

    I made the caveats re organising and crucially recognisable faces.

    Alas your smug retort typifies the SF attitude that only SF are Republicans!!!!

    Furthermore its pretty obvious SF are looking over their shoulder particularly in places like Ardoyne- people on the ground there know the only certainty that no deal being made allowing any OO parade means sticking with non SF Garc.

    The people of North Belfast arent stupid- they can see how SF sold out badly needed housing for their own community in the squalid deal with Dup that came back to bite them.

    If SF would shaft their own community over a crucial issue like housing, they sure as hell cant be trusted re parades

    Furthermore the voting statistics I read a while back ( believe it was West Belfast) show the biggest increase in Rep areas is towards abstention. Not an endorsement of the career politicians in the big house

  • “The only use pundit is analytical. the only useful pundit is research-oriented the only useful pundit is fact based”

    Getting facts out of government is a challenging task but this task is compounded in Northern Ireland where intergovernmental exchanges between London and Dublin are not subject to parliamentary scrutiny.

    How important are facts? Just an opinion but I’d think many folks here will act on perception and/or prejudice and may even be immune to inconvenient facts. I prefer inconvenient facts to lies and lies to half-truths.

  • FDM

    Well I will go on the record and say that Doddsy’s goose is cooked in North Belfast.

    Dodds, McCausland, Spence and to a lesser extent Patterson have kicked the people of North Belfast repeatedly over the las number of years.

    1. Repeated Donegal street debacles and post-debacle debacles by Dodds, McCausland and co.
    2. Girdwood.
    3. The Crum parades and the fall out.
    4. The fleg protestations.
    5. Raising the sectarian tensions leading to trouble in the Glandore area and ultimately Cliftonville fans not being allowed to walk the Queen’s highway to a football game, which forced the fans to boycott the last game at the Crusaders ground on the Shore road.
    6. Billy Hutchinson gave his quota away in North Belfast to shore up the DUP head count and I think they will want it back. I don’t think the DUP can rely on PUP goodwill nor their support base trooping along to put the X in the Deputy Dawg box.
    7. Very large demographic changes in the North Belfast wards in the census. Look up the stats yourself.
    8. Gerry is more high profile now. Is at the forefront of most of what SF are doing.
    9. The DUP sectarian campaign in North Belfast will have a sectarian response. Alban McGuinness voters [remember Alban?] will lend Gerry Kelly their votes just to see the look on Nigels face.

    I must admit I am looking forward to a scene similar to that of Martin McGuinness giving Willie McCrea senior his marching orders, and we Willie not having the guts to take to the platform with him.

    I actually think Nigel will be moved, either to another seat [East Belfast?] or to the European gig [move over Mrs.] to save him from the humiliation.

    Gerry Kelly is making plans for Nigel. I am sure that gives Nigel a warm fuzzy feeling.

  • Martin McGuinness on Nationwide and three young Protestants from the Caw in the Waterside on Sunday Sequence [8 mins in]; it would appear that the city welcome is conditional.

    Being in the minority in any of our historical hotspots or where tit-for-tat operates can still be a very unpleasant experience, in some places a lethal one.

  • Son of Strongbow

    I do so hope that redstar is on the money. There’s nothing I enjoy more than a good old ‘republican’ feud.

    Indeed it’s the only reason I can think off for hoping for the unlikely UI scenario to come about. We all know that it won’t be the ‘right’ sort of united Ireland for some nationalists. ‘Civil War’ Part Deux should be fun.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    What “tit-for-tat ” is operating in Derry?

  • Mc Slaggart, Derry is the historical hotspot; Coleraine has been moving in that direction as something of a tit-for-tat reaction to the Athboy conspiracy. What our young people were able to do in Coleraine – go just about anywhere and in mixed company – in the 70s and 80s appears to be largely a thing of the past; it was a relative oasis in a sea of troubles..

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    “Derry is the historical hotspot;”

    I asked what “tit-for-tat ” is operating in Derry? “Athboy” or “historical” in your answer do not give any sort of explanation for your claim.

    BTW:

    Derry is not Coleraine!

  • Mc Slaggart, it seems I have to provide you with a noddy’s guide 🙂

    Being in the minority in any of our historical hotspots [eg Derry] or where tit-for-tat operates [eg Coleraine] can still be a very unpleasant experience, in some places a lethal one.

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    What you wrote: City = Derry

    ” it would appear that the city welcome is conditional.

    Being in the minority in any of our historical hotspots or where tit-for-tat operates can still be a very unpleasant experience, in some places a lethal one.”

    I have asked for your example in Derry and you cannot provide one.

  • Mc Slaggart, there are two paragraphs, the first specific [Derry] and the second general. Derry is ‘one of our historical hotspots’. What’s complicated about that?

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin

    So you agree their is NO “tit-for-tat ” going on in Derry.

    Just clarifying that important point.

  • I’ve not looked at Derry in the ‘tit-for-tat’ realm so I can’t give a view on that, Mc Slaggart. Sorry to disappoint you 🙂

  • Mc Slaggart

    Nevin (profile)

    “I’ve not looked at Derry in the ‘tit-for-tat’ realm so I can’t give a view on that, Mc Slaggart. Sorry to disappoint you ”

    For someone “not looked at Derry” you already stated:

    “Mc Slaggart, Derry is the historical hotspot; Coleraine has been moving in that direction as something of a tit-for-tat reaction to the Athboy conspiracy.”

  • Barnshee

    MCI

    ” I would be a little more Polite about your paymaster ”

    You can arse-lick all you want but she is only a tory brit-nothing to worry about-

    Its not MY (grossly) excessive salary and expenses that the lady is funding

    http://www.niassembly.gov.uk/Your-MLAs/Members-Salaries-and-Expenses/Members-Expenses-2012—2013-April-2012—February-2013/

    A tad more than you previous employment?
    A degree of gratitude for the bounteous Brits would not go amiss-unless of course you are entirely self funding. Do tell

  • Barnshee

    So you agree their is NO “tit-for-tat ” going on in Derry.

    Having driven 17000 prods out of the City side( Foyle college finally got fed up having their pupils attacked on the buses and opted to move out) I would think” tit for tat” is no longer necessary and has served its purpose

  • BluesJazz