Gerry Adams: “Even if I’m wrong [about the continued existence of the Provisional IRA…]”

With the Northern Ireland Assembly teetering on the brink, there’s just time to highlight two appearances by the Sinn Féin president, Gerry Adams, on RTÉ radio last week.  Firstly, on News at One on Wednesday 9th September.  Here’s what the RTÉ report notes

Speaking on RTÉ’s News at One, Mr Adams said the IRA, as we understand it to be, is gone and there is no rationale, logic or evidence to suggest there is any organisation in mainstream republicanism, except for Sinn Féin.

He said there is no reason why he would be telling any untruths about the “going away of the IRA”.

[Apart from the one he just outlined? – Ed]  As we understand it to be…  He returned to that same point in an appearance on Morning Ireland on Friday 11th September.  [Some of Adams’ excursions in answering have been omitted for the purposes of clarity]

[Gerry Adams]: There’s only one republican organisation in the field at this time, and that is the organisation that I’m part of, which is Sinn Féin.  There’s only one republican leadership, which is the Ard Chomhairle of Sinn Féin, which is duly and transparently elected at our Ard Fheis.

And a key exchange,

Presenter: When everyone else says the Provisional IRA exists, and you say they don’t, is everyone else wrong?

Gerry Adams: Yes.  The IRA was not involved in those killings because the IRA is no longer there.

Presenter: There’s a credibility issue here.  You say that everybody else is wrong, and that you’re right.  But you have denied ever being in the IRA, you’ve denied the IRA in the past murdered Gerry McCabe, you denied the IRA was involved in the Northern Bank robbery, you said the Colombia three in 2001 were studying flora and fauna when they were arrested.  But you’re telling the truth this time, yes?

Gerry Adams: Well, first of all, even if I’m wrong, how does the current machinations assist the process of bringing peace and democracy.

How indeed… [Has he told his party he might be wrong? – Ed]  Apparently not…

Of course, if he is wrong, again, then the crisis is not contrived, and he will have to explain the relationship between the leadership of the Provisional IRA and that of the other public leadership of his party.  But that’s his problem.  Not Somebody Else’s…

One final quote [5min 40sec in]

[Gerry Adams]: And people can take whatever position they want on this issue of the IRA…

[Thanks Gerry, I will! – Ed]

As I may have mentioned…

It’s not the still-extant Provisional IRA structures that are the immediate cause for concern, although “stupid” questions could, and should, be asked about their ultimate purpose, it’s the involvement of those Provisional IRA ‘structures’ in the events leading up to, and including, the murder of Kevin McGuigan, and the continued denials [of that reality! – Ed] which have followed.

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  • Thomas Barber

    Is there any credible evidence whatsoever that either former members of the PIRA or current members of Sinn Fein were involved in the murder of Kevin McGuigan. We’ve heard from various members of the renamed RUC that dissidents, drug dealers and former and current members of the PIRA were involved yet after 18 arrests of former PIRA prisoners and current Sinn Fein personell in a blaze of publicity no-one has been charged with any part in the murder, no dissidents arrested and no drug dealers arrested, we’re waiting on the PSNI to drive about the streets with loudhailers asking if theres any former PIRA prisoners about, especially those connected to Sinn Fein, that they haven’t arrested yet in connection with the murder.

    The PSNI must think everyone is zipped up the back, this whole charade is about publicaly pointing the finger at those within the republican movement who would cause maximum offence to Unionist politicians then releasing them without charge after their agenda has been achieved.

    I wouldn’t believe a word that comes out of Gerry Adams mouth but neither would I believe a word that comes out of the mouth of George Hamiliton, after all he’s the man who is directly responsible for the deliberate delaying and witholding of information in dozens of inquests in which some of his former collegues are accused of colluding with those who carried out the murders.

  • Redstar

    Game set and match sir, especially your final paragraph with which I couldn’t disagree with a single word.

    Gerry and his new found friends in Psni/ Ruc are a match made in heaven

  • Poppy Madsen

    Nothing more than a whining “Daddy-Cameron-he-hit-me” stunt from so-called Unionists for direct-rule because they have just realised they must serve all of the people, not just tick-box protestants. While we’re on the subject of whether tick-box organisations may or may not exist…anyone been speaking to any high-serving commanders in the Masonic Order of late these days? A wee favour here or there, arrest a high profile republican to suspend public disbelief?. Hmm…hmm some more…hmm.

  • terence patrick hewett

    If you could see her from my eyes

  • Zeno

    “Is there any credible evidence whatsoever that either former members of the PIRA or current members of Sinn Fein were involved in the murder of Kevin McGuigan.”

    Do you think like Martin McGuiness that it was dark forces trying to make life difficult for SF and the DUP??

  • Zeno

    “He said (Adams) there is no reason why he would be telling any untruths about the “going away of the IRA”.

    Well SF could end up out of government if Direct Rule is introduced. That’s one reason.

  • aquifer

    In terms of reliability it is not clear that I should bother listening to GA any more.

    On another tack. Does anyone keep a tally of all those threats of legal action and whether they ever materialise? If they never actually pay the lawyers to do anything or their court fees then it is a cheap way to get a headline.

  • Robin Keogh

    Blimey, talk about scraping the bottom of the barrell, the release of Bobby must have messed up your entire month. Anyway, GA is quite correct. Sinn Fein are the only manistream republican organisation with an inconvenient mandate to upset the POOPs. IF the IRA have re-formed in some guise or other; whoever they are they do NOT HAVE THE SUPPORT OF SINN FEIN and their criminal activities are just that CRIMINAL and they need to be caight and LOCKED UP. Sorry for shouting but I would rather believe that people are a little bit deaf rather than just plain STUPID.

  • Zeno

    Any loss of power would be a major concern to SF. I don’t really care if direct rule suits Unionists or Republicans or neither. They are incapable of government, so as long as the Assembly falls the vast majority of us will be very happy.

  • NotNowJohnny

    This is stunt politics. Stunt politics is an effective DUP party tool designed to fool unionists voters into believing the party will deliver for them what they think they want even though the delivery is not within the party’s scope.

    The objective of this latest stunt is to fool unionist voters into believing that the DUP can remove SF from the Executive. This is seen as a popular move as a significant proportion of the unionist electorate despises SF. Of course as is now becoming apparent, the DUP cannot remove SF from the Executive. Indeed, and rather incredibly, the DUPs bid to remove SF from the Executive has resulted in the DUP leaving the Executive while SF remain. How mad is that. Equally incredibly, the DUPs bid to adjourn the Assembly but retrain the Executive, has resulted in the Assembly being retained but the Executive effectively being adjourned. You couldn’t make it up. Most remarkable of all is the fact that Peter Robinson, the man who appears to be behind the stunt, is actually out of a job while the man who formerly commanded the IRA is still in his stormont office.

    Stunt politics is what the DUP does because stunt politics works. The traditional unionist voter is an unsophisticated type. The DUP has undertaken a lot of stunts. A couple of years ago it formed the United unionist forum in a bid to get the flag back up. Soon afterwards it launched the unionist graduated response which may have been another attempt to get the flag back up. Or perhaps not. I’ve forgot. Whatever it was it didn’t work. Today I heard that the DUP pulled another stunt by not turning up.

  • Thomas Girvan

    Funny enough I was speaking to a couple of high ranking Masons.
    They told me you are talking a lot of crap.
    P.S. Don’t let on, it’s a secret!

  • James7e

    Just to be very clear here: are you saying that the IRA, in whatever clothes they are wearing today, are criminals and should be locked up? I’d agree with that. But how are the IRA of today different from the IRA of the past? I’m guessing that you feel they were criminals in the past, too, and should have been locked up then. And if I’m reading you wrongly, perhaps you would enlighten me as to the difference between them then and now.

  • James7e

    By ‘hit’ do you mean shot?

  • chrisjones2

    “That wouldn’t worry Adams personally ”

    ….that’s so stupid I am reluctant to even point it out

    You seem to be American. Lets assume you are a democrat. Would you be happy to have say a Senator whose associates just shot dead a rival ina gang turf war?

  • chrisjones2

    Lots of new posters among the usual ones. Connelly house must be worried that the Message isn’t getting out.

    Bobby Storeys butterfly has been caught and is pinned to the board of public opinion for examination. its quite simple. In the past Sf used to scream about their mandate. Others have mandates too and are exercising them

  • chrisjones2

    “directly responsible for the deliberate delaying and withholding of information in dozens of inquests in which some of his former colleagues are accused of colluding with those who carried out the murders”

    Isn’t it shocking that hes complying with the Human Rights Act and doing that

  • chrisjones2

    But Robin we have seen all these senior IRA figures clustered around the SF leadership time after time.

    In terms of the McGuigan murder its simple and I too will shout so you understand


    They have finally wrecked all confidence and, while many Unionist want a fair open and inclusive government, we don’t want it in this basis. All the brazen laying about PIRA just confirms the view – they cannot be trusted

  • chrisjones2

    …and its an illegal organisation

    and his party is employing many senior IRA figures

  • chrisjones2

    “tick-box protestants” …clear sectarian derision

    The Masonic didn’t murder 25000 people and aren’t an illegal organisation

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Welcome to the “Northern Command” Mary Lou !

  • Zeno

    “The traditional unionist voter is an unsophisticated type. ”

    Do you mean with no qualifications and unable to even speak properly or use grammar? Like the SF Minister for Education?

  • chrisjones2

    Look racist bigotry like this is best just exposed without descending to the same level

  • chrisjones2

    “so what would you suggest they do?”

    Lets start with obey the law? Not murder people they dont like?

  • chrisjones2

    “does anyone actually believe that Sinn Fein is in control of a still operating fully functional PIRA?”

    Its not a matter of belief. The Chief Constable has said they exist. Hes said they had a role in the murder of McGuigan I assume that is informed by clear intelligence from the informers who riddle SF and PIRA.

    Senior “Ex” IRA Men hover around SF like flies around a horses ass. Some of them seem to hold senior paid positions in SF

    The IRAs own rules make it clear that SF and the ARMY are both controlled by the Army Council

    So does SF control the IRA? Perhaps or perhaps not. But it does sit alongside it and there are very close links. And some senior SF Members used to sit on the Army Council (whatever they call it now to take the bad look of it)

    And all of that is the problem

  • Mike the First

    I see the tin-foil hat brigade have been well and truly marshalled by Marty’s dog-whistle rambling about “agents” (a la the “dark forces” last year)…

  • Mike the First

    “Given that ‘loyalists’ are still in possession of weapons, it is inconceivable that they should leave themselves open to assassination without any chance of defending themselves,”
    Yeah, loyalist terrorists murdered so many republican terrorists during the Troubles, right enough.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Yes clearly it’s all a plot

  • Zeno

    IRA arms are held in a dump by a Quartermaster. They offer no protection against an attack. They may act as a deterrent because if anyone attacks or murders an IRA man, which happened recently then retribution will follow. So your case is really allowing terrorists to take revenge if they are attacked?

  • Nevin

    “Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee. The hands can’t hit what the eyes can’t see.” ― Muhammad Ali

    The UK and Ireland governments are likely to continue to avert their eyes when it comes to loyalist and republican paramilitary organised crime, ‘punishment’ beatings and exclusion. ‘Community representatives’ will continue to be included in various parts of our justice system in Northern Ireland, a practice that would not be tolerated elsewhere in these islands.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Or it could be people are just fed up with SF getting away with murder, with no come-back.

    I don’t see unionists seeing a future in anything other than devolved government and power-sharing. But the IRA needs to leave the stage AND the whole theatre, OR Sinn Fein needs to formally sever its links with it. Pretending the IRA is not there won’t work. Maintaining its ties to an IRA that is trying people in a kangaroo court and executing them won’t work. Trying to hide those ties won’t work.

    All people are asking for is a bit of honesty here and a bit of clarity. SF has fudged through for a while on the continuing IRA stuff, but it’s been rumbling around years. It’s long overdue that it was dealt with once and for all so we can move on. I accept SF isn’t mainly about armed struggle any more – that didn’t work and SF realises at some level, though I don’t expect they’ll ever admit it, that it was wrong. I would fully accept SF want peaceful politics now. And that basic commitment to peaceful means is of course necessary. But it’s not sufficient.

    Time for another one of my top metaphors. (Eventually one of them will catch on.) SF finds itself handcuffed to a beloved, dying Rottweiler. The Rottweiler ran amok in a school playground some years ago and savaged some kids and was then supposed to have been sent to the pound and put down. But SF couldn’t bear to part with it. They told everyone the dog was dead, but secretly let it live in the backyard in a muzzle, where no one can see it, wandering around in confused circles. Occasionally SF lets it out under cover of darkness for a walk and even lets it off the leash and looks the other way. Poor old mutt, let it have its fun in its old age. But occasionally after such evenings, a neighbour discovers its dog has been mysteriously attacked; and people out late have had a nasty bite on the legs.

    Neighbours have knocked on SF’s door to complain, but SF just says the Rottweiler’s dead, what are you talking about, there is no Rottweiler. The neighbours complained to the police but got told: nothing we can do, maybe it wasn’t that Rottweiler but one of its stray offspring that are also known to attack other dogs and people; and it’s best not to rattle the Rottweiler’s owners, they are a reformed criminal family and we’re trying to build a relationship of trust with them to encourage them to stay on the straight and narrow. This Rottweiler thing’s not worth upsetting the apple cart over.

    But now something has changed, because it’s come to light that the police now know the Rottweiler wasn’t put to sleep, it’s still live; what’s more, its teeth marks and saliva match those found on several dog-attack victims. The police say it will take a while to get all the evidence together. In the meantime, the neighbours – that’s us folks, all non-SF people – have a dilemma:
    – We can just carry on as before, live with the fear of this mutt attacking again and live with the guilt when another dog or person gets hurt that we could have stopped it but did nothing; OR
    – We can get together as neighbours and demand that SF finally takes its Rottweiler off to be put down.

    The answer for some people on here – friends of SF, with affection for the errant dog perhaps – is just to leave killer dog be. But they make the rest of us live in fear of its occasional unwanted presence in the park. Its attacks are less frequent these days, but only takes one to make people feel unsafe for months afterwards.

    Those people may love the dog but they have no right to inflict it on everyone else. They should be politely told – enough is enough. It should have been put down years ago. The only humane and right thing to do is to put it to sleep now.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It’s “I’ve forgotten”.

    It doesn’t matter, really. But if you’re keen to appear more sophisticated than your opponents, brushing up on the old grammar might be an idea 😉

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Take a step back though and ask a bigger question: why are we all having to guess about all this? For example, what SF knew, what the relationship between SF and the IRA is? In the answer, you’ll find why we’re where we are.

    It’s good old Republican omerta.

    They have their internal code of ‘honour’ (I use that term so loosely it has no meaning) which they put before any duty to the public – they won’t grass on their mates.

    When you’re in public office, that is a massive problem, because:
    (1) there’s a conflict of interest between your perceived duty to your mates and your actual duty to the public;
    (2) lack of transparency over these secret arrangements and relationships leaves everyone else in the dark and disempowers them; and
    (3) other parties resent the unfairness of this one party getting an out from the rules of public probity and transparency that are applied to everyone else.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you think disarming paramilitary groups is a bad idea?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It is embarrassing. Thugs have been allowed to affect the rule of law.

    I was all up for the compromises needed in 1998 to get the Good Friday Agreement. I still hold to that agreement and urge everyone else to. If we recall, it was about moving towards a violence-free society based on democracy and co-operation. There were always going to be transitional wrinkles. God knows we gave SF enough time to get its act together on decommissioning. But we have to draw the line under the IRA now, surely, in 2015? Republicans should be embarrassed and apologetic about them still causing trouble. I’m not hearing that.

    Instead, the response seems to be to blame those who point out the IRA’s continued activity. What are we supposed to do, pretend it’s not happening? It’s really not our fault those people are addicted to violence and power. They can only sort it out themselves. So, SF, pay for shrinks for these guys (you’ve got enough money), get them some counselling and just get your house in order.

  • Spike

    Lots of conjecture and comments being thrown about here with no actual proof. No smoke without fire and 1 +1 must equal 2. Maybe until we see actual proof, a chargeable arrest, SF conclusively proved to be part of the IRA and Peter Robinson’s bank statement issued for all to see it would be best to stop slinging all this mud about….some of it might stick, or heavens above we would have trial by media in a democratic country. All this reminds us is that we aren’t moving on from the lack of trust between ‘us’ and ‘them’.

  • Robin Keogh

    My views on the IRA that were active during the conflict would be very similar to those held by the current British shadow chancellor.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I don’t know anyone ( in NI) who is relaxed about paramilitary/terrorist groups still having weapons. Both sides have held on to weapons because there is no trust between them. The fear is still there. That is why the so called “peace walls” scar the city of Belfast and elsewhere. Unfortunately, somewhere down the line these weapons could be used to drag us back to the past. You might be relaxed about it, but the people here ( on both sides) are not.

  • kensei

    Right, so the entire article is based on Gerry using a rhetorical device. Completely. Pathetic.

  • Zeno

    “By the way, I very much doubt your ‘dump’ theory, under the pillow case and taped to the bottom of the dining room table is far more likely.”

    That just doesn’t happen.

  • James7e

    I’m sorry, Robin – I asked if you could clearly state your view. Not refer me to someone else’s. Would you care to do so?

  • Robin Keogh

    You completly ignore in all ur posts the simple fact that security services on both sides of the border have clearly stated they believe Sinn Fein are totally committed to peace and democracy and they have never suggested that SF are linked to the criminals that have caused all this bother.

    Shinners are not in the habit of condeming republicans. That has been one of the main criticisms it has recieved. Now, SF are united in their condemnation of recent events on every level yet that is seen as… what exactly?

    Moreover, you have no idea what information SF members or associates may have passed to police on these crimes. U dont know that because the police are not in the habit of releasing to the media information about from whom they recieve info.

    So, ultimately it does not really matter what SF do or say. It will never be enough for certain Unionists who insist on creating strawmen in order to try and pervert the political process and the institutions. Its a repeat of the sixties all over again. Unionism not happy about sharing power and their declining influence deliberately set about destabilising society in the hope it will urge their loyalist minions into starting a war.

    There is no IRA bogeyman to blame. The recent murders were committed by criminals and it is the job of the police to deal with them appropriately. It is the job of politicians to stay out of it and get on with the task of running the place. It is too late in the game for Unionism to suddenly realise they gave the taigs too much. Deal was done and power sharing is the only way to go until Unity.

  • Robin Keogh

    No i wouldnt actually simply because i have no interest in a tit for tat vacuous conversation.

  • Zeno

    I live here.

  • Robin Keogh

    I agree, it appears that it has only dawned on Unionism in the last few weeks exactly what they signed up for in the GFA and Saint Andrews, its like they have suddenly woken up to dind taigs crawling all over the place and they cant get over the shock.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I don’t know how many unionists you personally know, but most of us get on with our lives, pay our taxes etc. Only one of my circle of friends was opposed to the GFA and it was because SF would end up in Government. He has changed his mind since then.

    Some unionists might hark back to the so called good old days. The ones were they lived in slums with outside toilets etc, but their politicians lived in grand house, but they are few and far between.

    I know orange members who voted for the GFA and I know that the vast majority of unionists just want to live their lives in peace. They also want the guns removed from our streets.

    As far as bonfires go, they need to be banned. I can’t believe that they are allowed.

  • Sharpie

    re No 3: not to mention relationships with developers and opaque party funding. Northern Ireland is the least transparent society apart from North Korea.

  • John Collins

    Nothing would amaze me in the North. Back in 66 Republicans were freely blamed when four major electricity installations were blown up in quick succession in the North of Ireland. It was only when a similar facility was in the process of being blown in Donegal that the Lord intervened and one of the bombers blew himself up that the truth came out. So convinced were locals that Republicans were the culprits that a priest was called to give the fatally injured bomber the last rites. Shock horror it transpired that the bombers were loyalists just trying to cause trouble. One hopes that said fatally injured bomber found the administration of Extreme Union to be of great spiritual consolation.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Yes, that was a bit of subterfuge. Loyalists can be as bad as Republicans for that, I agree.

    Famous last words but it does seem a bit far-fetched for the McGuigan murder to be the work of Loyalists, the British State, or any of Republicans’ other betes noires. Tempting to blame them, after that incident in the 60s, but I’d be very surprised indeed. And no one with knowledge seems to be saying that.

    Oh and it’s ‘Northern Ireland’ these days. “The North” sounds a bit irredentist, which I’m sure wasn’t your intention. Sorry to be pedantic.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Sorry, not sure what you mean by the last spot of bother … which of the many spots of bother are you referring to? I’m struggling to think of one that happened because of paramilitaries not having guns.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You’re misreading: (3) isn’t letting parties off those rules, or saying no one else has breached them, it’s saying the same rules should apply to everyone. I’m glad you agree those things are important and apply to all parties. I hope Sinn Fein agree with you and open up to us all about their relationship with those stunningly patterned IRA butterflies. It is currently murky to say the least.

  • James7e

    Interesting. So effectively having and expressing one’s own opinion is pointless? Much better to default to the receiced opinions of politicos. Votail Sinn Fein! I’m starting to see how this works.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Thankfully the majority of people in NI have too much sense to get involved in Slugger’s debate. In the main, I enjoy it but, at times, I find it pretty depressing with the whataboutery that goes on. ( Yes, I have also done it). When do we stop blaming each other and move on as the future has/needs to be better than the past.

    The majority of NI (both sides) want a devolved government
    that works. The nonsense that we have at the moment really needs to end. Instead of sharing out the power – we need power sharing for the benefit of all the people. Probably the only parties that have tried to do this are Alliance and the SDLP. I had high hopes for the Ulster unionists, but have been disappointed by them.

  • NotNowJohnny

    I’m struggling to see how this could be interpreted as a response to my post. My post was about the DUP. On the grammar thing I don’t normally comment on grammar however since it seems important to you may I suggest that it may be worth deciding whether you are going to treat ‘Sinn Fein’ as singular or plural and then adopting a consistent approach. Using the term ‘SF realises’ in one sentence followed by ‘SF want’ in the next doesn’t look good for someone who goes around pointing out grammatical errors.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    very sophisticated 😉

  • NotNowJohnny

    I don’t think your question is worthy of a response.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Can you point me to the racism which you are referring to?

  • Thomas Barber

    Who was responsible for murdering Patrick Finucane, who was responsible for supplying the weapons that were used in the Ormeau Road bookies murders in which five people lost their lives and also the Devenish Arms shooting in which one person died, who was responsible for directing the Mount Vernon murder gang that murdered over a dozen people, I could go on but why bother, Unionists dont see Catholics as victims nor do they see those RUC officers as doing anything other than returning the serve. We’re all still waiting on George Hamilton and the PSNI to inform the victims families if those RUC officers are going to be charged, were reprimanded, are still serving police officers or that there was even an inquiry. In fact if truth be told there has been absolutely no proactive effort by the PSNI to bring to justice all those so called bad apples who in your eyes are guilty of nothing more than a misdemeanor. We dont need to believe in any plot to disregard the claims of the PSNI who dont seem able or willing to prosecute former and possibly still serving police officers who directed murder gangs, who colluded in the murder of innocents, supplied the murder weapons and ensured those who carried out the murders evaded justice.

  • Thomas Barber

    So tell us Zeno who was murdered, shot or even punished by the PIRA for murdering Bap Mc Greevy not too long ago ?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    the thread is about SF and the IRA though. You were switching it onto the DUP; I was switching it back again. But in any case, it’s all good

  • MainlandUlsterman

    the point is too that we don’t know what is going on; are having to rely on intelligence reports because we can’t get straight answers out of SF or the IRA; and that we should really be told.

  • Robin Keogh

    The cheek if them people chris with their taigy views coming on here expressing themselves, next they will be looking for power sharing, honestly !

  • Thomas Barber

    “Loyalists have form when it comes to not being happy with nationalists having any influence about the place and being prepared to use violence to try and prevent it”

    Dont forget Unionist politicians too. It wasn’t long ago that the DUP formed its own paramilitary army who imported 100s of weapons into this country with the help of British intelligence, theres no proof other than the word of the DUP that they have no connections to nor still have control and access to the lots of weapons that Ulster Resistance still hold today. Not a word of condemnation or of clarification either to the threat by the DUP’s Jeffery Donaldson to Jeremy Corbyn that Unionists will not stand idly by if he doesn’t act like a unionist. Just what does “Unionists wont stand idly by” mean ?

  • Glenn Clare

    Gerry’s past was an issue that would have been questioned in the case of his brothers pedophilia.

  • submariner

    Chris republicans didn’t murder 2500 people either where did you get that figure from.

  • Jack Stone

    I don’t see why you think Direct Rule is the most likely outcome when it seems more likely according to the St. Andrews and The Good Friday Agreement that dual rule from the governments of The Republic and London (as laid out in the Good Friday Agreement and later recalled in an Annex of the St. Andrews Agreement … you know the one that prevents London from imposing direct rule?) Now, imagine this, Sinn Fein triggers an election (which it clearly can) in Northern Ireland, and the Unionist vote is split. Sinn Fein gets the (largely ceremonial) title of First Minister. Unionists collapse Stormfront, only for The UK and the Republic to appoint a joint council of somesort like is laid out in the Good Friday Agreement and mentioned in the St. Andrews Agreement. Well all fine and good, Sinn Fein is out of the cold (but now with something powerful to campaign on and turn out the vote with). What happens if Sinn Fein wins enough votes to become a jr. partner in government with Fianna Fail? Would Gerry Adams sell Sinn Fein as a minor coalition partner in 2016 if he got the Foreign Affairs and a major seat at the Northern Ireland table? Would the majority be happy if Sinn Fein and the Conservatives were now the farmer and the butcher, leaving Unionists the pig? Again, this obviously a possible but at this point quite hypothetical and unlikely situation. But be careful what you wish for.

  • Zeno

    I’ll take whatever it says in the agreement. Anything is better than this nonsense.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    so we should be grateful for the meagre information scraps SF feeds us?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    There was more feeding into the Troubles kicking off than just the civil rights issue. It was an important catalyst of course, but the reason it became a bone of contention at all was, ultimately, the fundamental lack of consensus between the two communities over sovereignty. That’s not to excuse the ridiculous attitudes of hardline unionists towards civil rights. But the anti-partition rhetoric of nationalist politics over decades meant that any protest movement championed by nationalists was immediately distrusted by unionists. And here’s the crucial thing – that mistrust was not actually unreasonable. It was unreasonable to treat anyone as a second class citizen because of it, but the mistrust itself should have been priced in by nationalist leaders when they opted to oppose the very existence of the entity of N Ireland. It’s a bit like how, conversely, it’s predictable and not unreasonable for nationalists to distrust the DUP now: nationalists weren’t born yesterday and know the DUP’s history of having other, non-conciliatory, agendas.

    I’m not blaming nationalists for wanting a change of sovereignty, but I don’t think nationalism has always given due regard to the reasonably foreseeable consequences of their stridently holding to that position. It generated anxiety about hidden agendas to undermine the state, as night followed day.

    As to the IRA in the 60s, of course we now know the previous story
    about the organisation winding down to be a myth, In fact its membership
    grew steadily as the 60s progressed (see Prof. Richard English in
    ‘Armed Struggle’) and it was arming. The arms were not conveniently
    accessible in Belfast when they wanted them in the late summer of 1969,
    but they had them (mainly in dumps in the Republic).

    As to unionist attitudes to power-sharing, they have changed since 1968. There was a logic to being against it: Stormont followed the same system as Westminster and unionists won the Stormont elections fair and square (or at least irregularities were so minor as to not have a significant impact on seats at Stormont – see Marc Mulholland’s “Very Short Introduction to Northern Ireland” on that). Power-sharing would have been a remarkably magnanimous gesture given the size of the electoral mandate for the government and they had the additional argument not to do it that the nationalist opposition was opposed to the very existence of the state and so not to be allowed into its inner sanctum – especially when it lacked the votes and seats to put it there. We apply the logic of the later decades of the 20th century retrospectively if we say that was a wholly unreasonable position in the 1940, 50s etc. But people like the SDLP and Alliance and even Faulkner did us all a favour in winning the argument that while the Unionist Party was right in theory, the ethnically divided politics of NI meant in practice nationalists – which in reality were a distinct ethnic group not just a political standpoint (and therein lies the rub) – were excluded from any chance of power. In such a divided society, some form of power-sharing is the only way. It is wrong for one ethnic group to hold such a monopoly of power over another in that way – something worth remembering when we consider the effect any future united Ireland might have on Ulster.

    Power-sharing is now accepted within unionism, even with the DUP form of it. Yes, there is a lingering thought among some that majority rule is not completely undemocratic – and they’re right, it’s not. But there is a consensus within unionism, as I see it, that the devolved institutions are the only show in town and are broadly fair. The changing balance of numbers between the communities has sealed the deal and is the big factor really. When it was two-thirds vs one-third, it required a magnanimous gesture by unionists in circumstances where they were embattled and threatened. That was never going to happen. Now that we’re at virtual parity, the electoral arithmetic demands power-sharing. Along with the end of the IRA campaign and nationalist commitment to N Ireland institutions, guaranteed by the Irish government too, it’s made power-sharing possible.

    The big discomfort and resentment with things comes mainly from the fact that nationalists have elected SF as their main party. Given SF’s anti-British murder record and aggressive anti-British rhetoric, that isn’t easy or comfortable for the British population in Northern Ireland. People are entitled to grouse about having to do business with such people. But even so, unionists have sat down in government with them and made things work. SF tends to get the credit for the new dispensation, for giving up violence; but unionists made the braver leap, by being prepared to sit in government with former terrorists and take them on trust to have given up their former ways. The breach of that trust is what the current crisis is about.

    So credit where it’s due there and let’s remember the vast bulk unionists want this to work too. To work though it needs the remaining smouldering embers of the Troubles to be fully extinguished now. We are entitled to no longer be choking on its smoke.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    “with the help of British intelligence” – evidence for that?

    Worth remembering the DUP are good at forming ridiculous groups, flirting with the hard men and sabre rattling, but they have always run a mile at the first sight of anyone actually wanting to use weapons. Look up your history on Ulster Resistance there – the DUPers involved distanced themselves from the cadre within UR that went off-beam and ultimately they severed ties with UR. They have been silly, irresponsible and unhelpful – but the contrast with SF-IRA’s long and continuing espousal of and involvement in political violence is an extremely stark one. Raising UR – a brief and very limited episode – as if it were some counterweight to the IRA is like comparing Real Madrid with Stenhousemuir.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Hmm. That’s exactly how Irish nationalism comes across to us. We want you so much in our new shared United Ireland that we’re going to scapegoat you, negatively stereotype you, slag you off and treat those who attacked and killed you as heroes. Then blame our own campaign against you on you. And don’t worry about whether you want to join us or not, we’ll go over your heads to your government and get them to force you out. Not sure about you, but it kind of left me cold.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    There is a very basic piece of analysis of 1921 which counters that, I think decisively.
    Solution 1: united Ireland. British minority on ‘wrong side’ of (sea) border circa 900,000
    Solution 2: Northern Ireland. Irish minority on ‘wrong side’ of border circa 600,000.
    Clearly you choose Solution 2. It might only have been thought up as a late compromise, but it was unarguably better than the other solution on the table.
    Better still would have been a more accurate border between the two nations, that could have reduced the numbers on the wrong side of the border further.

    Obviously the main point with any boundary is to minimise the numbers finding themselves on the wrong side for them.

    So, not perfect, but better than anything nationalists were advocating. And now accepted by all, even the slow learners 😉

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I agree that the referenda should continue after any vote to go in with the Republic. Seems unfair to just keep going on referenda until one falls the nationalists’ way, then lock it down. So I’d hope Northern Ireland would continue as a unit within any future Republic, with the same regular votes on secession from it that are provided for now. For example, in the early years of any Irish regime in NI, it may go badly wrong – and NI should have the right to withdraw if that happens.

    All a bit academic though, as a united Ireland may well never happen.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    the UK isn’t hanging on to us though – we’re in the UK through the wishes of NI people. So it’s kind of irrelevant that there’s no great national interest at stake either way. But if you want 2 good reasons, cultural and historical ties will do. You could ask equally why the Republic would want us. Similar answers. Ultimately it’s not their call or mainland GB’s, it’s up to the people of N Ireland.

    Nothing inevitable about a united Ireland though. And I would add, be careful what you wish for.

  • chrisjones2

    I love the views …its the fact that they all suddenly appear and then having spoken for a day or two disappear

  • chrisjones2

    The causal racism that infers that Unionist voters are unsophisticated and thick – just like those in the 1930s in America who argued that it was pointless educating Negroes as they wouldn’t be able to understand

  • MainlandUlsterman

    except it wasn’t ‘appropriating a part of someone’s country’ – the area that became Northern Ireland was already in the UK and just stayed in the UK, with a new local government. It was just the Free State that left, by choice.

  • Reader

    Anglo-Irish: Given that ‘loyalists’ are still in possession of weapons, it is inconceivable that they should leave themselves open to assassination without any chance of defending themselves,
    You can’t defend yourself using weapons in a secret cache somewhere. I think you must be referring to retaliation instead. Are you?

  • NotNowJohnny

    Why did you add the words ‘and thick’ when you know very well that I never used such a term? (We can move to a discussion about the use of the term ‘unsophisticated’ after we clear this up)

  • Thomas Barber

    “with the help of British intelligence” – evidence for that”

    “An FRU report from July 1985 discloses that the army paid Nelson’s travel expenses when he travelled to Durban in South Africa that year tomake initial contact with an arms dealer. “The [British] army appears to have at least encouraged Nelson in his attempt to purchase arms in
    South Africa for the UDA,” Cory concludes. “Nelson certainly went to South Africa in 1985 to meet an arms dealer. His expenses were paid by FRU. The army appears to have been committed to facilitating Nelson’s acquisition of weapons, with the intention that they would be intercepted at some point en route to Northern Ireland.”

    Nelson is said to have told the FRU that the UDA possessed
    insufficient funds at that time to purchase any arms. “The evidence with regard to the completion of the arms transaction is frail and contradictory,” Cory says. As a result, “whether the transaction was consummated remains an open question”.

    In July 1987, the funds to purchase a large consignment of weapons were secured with the robbery of more than £325,000 from a branch of Northern Bank in Portadown, 30 miles south-west of Belfast. The proceedsof the robbery were to be used to purchase weapons that were to be
    split three ways between the UDA, the UVF and Ulster Resistance (UR), a paramilitary organisation set up by unionists in response to the 1985 Anglo-Irish agreement”

    Its your good self MU who needs to read up on local history By the way do you think this man has a bit of a brass neck to lecture anyone about connections to terrorists.

  • jessica

    Thats like blaming east germany for the berlin wall.

    Thats like blaming east germany for the berlin wall.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    In what way?

  • Poppy Madsen

    Umm…did you really just…go there? WIth big fancy fake stats and blind oxymorons?