TUV lay out vision of “voluntary coalition and vibrant opposition as path to durable devolution” #TUV2015

The TUV conference attracted 300 or so members to the Hilton Templepatrick hotel today to hear party representatives and guest Kate Hoey MP. A small number of exhibitors had stalls in the foyer, including the local office of the European Commission whose pens seemed more popular than the institution.

Henry Reilly’s appearance under the TUV umbrella must signal the end to any electoral cooperation between the two minority unionist parties. Though his presence in the party at last creates a potential succession plan for leadership beyond Jim Allister. Other unionist parties hoping that the TUV will eventually wither on the vine may be disappointed to realise that the proportion of enthusiastic young people matches what I saw at recent UUP and DUP conferences.

TUV 2015 membersThere was no doubting members’ enthusiasm and fervour as they applauded, jeered and constantly heckled those talking from the podium. There’s an element of banter and pantomime familiar to all political events. Some snippets from the speeches today would not have been out of place on The Blame Game.

Listening to the rhetoric, some of what Jim Allister says makes good sense. His analysis on the lack of effectiveness of the Stormont institutions rings true. But why does the TUV message fail to garner more support? Tackling greed and squander wastage, mismanagement and hypocracy should be good for votes? The party is well organised, and from the look of the silent collection on the way out to lunch, well funded. So why does the TUV not do better at the polls?

Is it the tone that hampers the message’s appear? Does the sharpness of the biting criticism and caricature of politicians from other parties – and the wholehearted audience reaction – jar with the evangelical framework that underlies the TUV’s principles? It goes beyond critique and steps into nastiness? Perhaps a few sermons on James 1:26 and James 3:10 would be useful on Sundays in November. Using an instrument “sharper than any two-edged sword” needs to be balanced with belittling other human beings?

01 Ivor McConnellParty chair Ivan McConnell began the public session of the eighth TUV conference by aiming his verbal blunderbuss at other parties. Peter Robinson, Mike Nesbitt and Martin McGuinness.

[Jim Allister] may not have the warmth of Peter. He may not have the unwavering convictions of Mike. Or the personal charisma of Mr Ford. Or the ecumenical vision of David hug-a-paramilitary McNarry as I like to call him … but [Jim’s] still our party leader and he still has my vote.

Henry Reilly received the first of many welcomes and rounds of applause during the five hour conference.

It would be churlish of me at this point not to say something nice about Peter … and I will … should anything come to mind … Peter couldn’t retire if there hadn’t been an agreement and there couldn’t be an agreement – certainly not such a poor one for unionism – if Peter hadn’t been in such a rush to stand down before he suffered the same fate that his predecessor had.

During an extended analogy about the Executive that imagined Peter Robinson driving Noddy’s Toy Town car with Martin McGuinness beside him, “Mr Ford” and “Colm Clint Eastwood” as back seat drivers, and Mike in the boot, Ivan McConnell misspoke and then corrected himself with an off colour remark:

Marty’s hanging himself. I should rephrase that. That was a Freudian slip there. Just wishful thinking on my part. Marty’s not hanging himself. He’s laughing loudly to himself …

02 Willie RossParty president William Ross joined in the critique of unionist parties.

I find it rather sad to listen to those former members of the UUP who now sit as senior members of the DUP and attack us. They left the UUP because of betrayal of the principles we still espouse only to be let down by the DUP betraying those same principles. I do think, however of the story of the Medes and Persians taking over Babylon.

He criticised British Prime Ministers who “have as a primary duty the maintenance of the Queen’s Realm” but failed to keep their promises on the Constitution. The last PM in office “who gave his word to Unionism and kept it” was Jim Callaghan.

Quite simply Stormont doesn’t work because it can’t work and that has little to do with those elected to it. It’s because the whole concept and structure created by the Belfast Agreement is founded upon a false pretence. The latest agreement rests upon that same foundation. Therefore to those who laud it as a bright new dawn I say “sorry, no one really believes you”.

Ross said “thank you lad” to Sammy Morrison who had filled in for the missing National Anthem at the Stormont Remembrance Day event … an example of “the whole republican body politic constantly trying to erode the British identity of Northern Ireland”.

In a final section he compared NI policing with the French security force reaction to terrorism in Paris. An “endless succession of inquiries into the actions of the security forces combatting the IRA” blackens and blames security forces.

The French security forces and Government take a different approach. Those forces assaulted an occupied block of flats killing and capturing the terrorist gang within. A ferocious barrage of automatic fire was used. Will there be complains about the use of excessive force? Would the French government ever allow inquiries? No! There will not, for the French nation and government will live by the dictum of De Gaulle that “A nation which cannot defend itself is no nation”. Where is the major party in this nation who lives by that standard, especially dangerous world in which we live?

Four Assembly election candidates and councillors spoke about security, TUV’s vindication, economy, agriculture and health.

Party leader Jim Allister rose from his seat to come on stage to the strains of Johnny Cash’s “I won’t back down” (written by Tom Petty).

Stand your ground. Many of the heroes of Ulster history have demonstrated the necessity of that imperative. Next year we’ll mark the centenary of the Battle of the Somme. And if ever men from Ulster in face of the greatest possible adversity stood their ground, it was the men who battled at the Somme. We have much to be grateful for for those who stood their ground. And for those who don’t back down. Think of the men of the Covenant and their spirit which in spite of the odds was “we won’t back down”. And TUV won’t back down.

Stand your ground. What a contrast to the slipping and slithering of rollover unionism that last week renewed its vows in government with the IRA. It’s already been suggested that events since our last conference have validated and comprehensively vindicated the TUV analysis and our stand. Who was it that constantly challenged the convenient contention that the IRA decommissioning was complete? TUV. Who was it that derided the pretence that the IRA had disbanded? TUV Who was it dared to say the IRA Army Council was still there? TUV. Who was it that wasn’t afraid to talk about the continuing IRA criminality? TUV. And who was it that perpetuated the myth that all was well, that the IRA was gone, that the Army Council was a thing of the past? Those who all the time who were keeping them in government.

Remember the dishonest pretence over devolving policing and justice. Remember Jeffrey Donaldson coming out to tell us that we’ll not be agreeing to policing and justice so long as there’s an Army Council. Jeffrey reminds me of on of those pesky kids who was always in your class at school. And every time the teacher wanted something done: “Me Miss! Me Miss!” And Peter would say “Who will go out and say that the Maze shrine is a great thing?” “Me Peter! Me Peter!” “Who will go out and say the Maze shrine is a bad thing?” “Me Peter! Me Peter!” “Who will go out and say we’ll have no policing and justice as long as there’s an Army Council?” “Me Peter!” Now it turns out the TUV was right all along.

04 Jim AllisterReminding TUV members about previous DUP assurances over being able to remove SF from government:

All that macho man Gregory Campbell [someone in audience heckles “Curry My Yoghurt”] could plaintively tell Nolan: “we can’t get them out”. Last year Gregory was worried about yoghurt. This year’s he’s swallowing murder.

Jim Allister’s voice dropped to a theatrical whisper as he noted Sinn Féin’s
tributes to Peter Robinson’s retirement.

They have much reason to be grateful to him. What a legacy for the man who once said that the only cabinet the IRA should be in should be one with brass handles. This is the man whose legacy is the IRA in government. But as Peter Robinson’s peerage inevitably follows, maybe as a title Lord Trimble-esque would be suitable. I see Martin McGuinness is going to take him fishing … better than shooting I suppose.

The Fresh Start was “a trade-off of climb downs”.

Sinn Féin climbed down on welfare, accept £385m when a year ago they had £564m. The DUP’s climb down … much more shameful. They climbed down on murder. But they tell us “Ah, but you don’t understand, we’ve got a strategy in place to deal with paramilitarism. They’ve going to have to sign up you know.”

Here’s the problem. Those they’re going to ask to sign up to deal with paramilitarism Sinn Féin say “Us? We haven’t got a paramilitary organisation so there’s nothing for us to do.”

Here’s the inherent flaw.

On the National Anthem:

This year we reaped what they sowed. What they did in electing a Sinn Féin speaker in Stormont. As that Speaker surgically removed the National Anthem as an integral part of Stormont’s remembrance service. Then he hadn’t reckoned with Sammy Morrison! Well done Sammy. And wasn’t it good to see that where the TUV leads, others follow. And unlike some we’ve no apology to make to an IRA commander for honouring Her Majesty at a remembrance service particularly recalling what the IRA did at Enniskillen. No apology whatsoever. And shame on those who grovel by apologising for the singing of the national Anthem.

Allister saw a challenge in A Fresh Start agreement to the SDLP.

Are they going to rise from the doormat and stand up for themselves and be a party that isn’t constantly stood [on] and have others wipe their feet on them in an Executive in which they are irrelevant?

The parties that spent 12 weeks in Stormont House. The SDLP, the Alliance – they wouldn’t really care, they were just glad to be there – and the Ulster Unionists. They knew no more about what was going on than I knew. They were kept wholly in the dark. And 45 minutes before the Executive approves it, they’re handed 67 pages and asked to dutifully agree. And I’m sure some of them will. But the SDLP need to stop being a doormat for Sinn Féin in this Executive if they ever want to assert themselves as a viable alternative.

The Ulster Unionists. Well, they did the right thing by getting out of the Executive. Think of it. The once mighty DUP outmanoeuvred by Mike Nesbitt. Could it be any more humiliating than that? But he did the right thing. I hope he sees it through. I hope it’s not just a ploy to get through the next election. And then if he can get two seats in the Executive he’ll be back in quicker than anyone. I hope that’s not the case.

This party – the authentic voice of opposition – doesn’t blow hot and cold. We stick to our course, and so we will. And one of the warning signs from the Ulster Unionists – though they’ve done the right thing in pulling out of this Executive – one of the warning signs is that in the same breath MR Nesbitt says that his vision is to get back to the 1998 vision of the Belfast Agreement. And what was the vision of the Belfast Agreement? It was no opposition, mandatory coalition. So if he’s taking himself out of the Executive and his vision is to reinstate the very thing that opposition is incompatible with, then it does leave you wondering about whether or not that particular policy has a sell by date.

The TUV leader sought “liberation”.

We want to see liberation at home and abroad. Liberation at home from the shackles of failed mandatory coalition. And liberation of our nation from the chains of the EU.

So long as mandatory coalition is in place there will be no democratic, functioning, workable, durable devolution. The only path to workable, durable devolution is the path of voluntary coalition where those after an election who can agree on what they’re going to do about health, about welfare, about education and who can together can command the requisite majority. They form the government. Those who can’t, they form the opposition. A real opposition not the neutered shadow of an opposition that the Fresh Start suggests.

He referred to the TUV’s leaflet “A path to making Stormont work” which outlines their vision of a voluntary opposition as “Plan A”, describing it as “our preferred option”.

But for slow learners who find it hard to face the reality that mandatory coalition has failed, will fail and will go on failing, we have a second plan. Until they come to that realisation. But since it patently hasn’t worked at Executive level you salvage from Stormont what has to a degree worked: the law making powers, the scrutiny powers.

You give the MLAs those functions and until you get to the point of being able to form a voluntary coalition then the Executive functions are exercised by British ministers. But they exercise them through the Assembly. Their laws going through the Assembly. Their ministers being scrutinised through the Assembly. And then when the penny finally drops that the way forward is voluntary coalition, you’ll let a local Executive be formed. That’s what we call Plan B in our document.

That is our positive vision as to how we liberate ourselves from this scandalous bind that you can’t vote a party out of government, you can’t change your government, you can’t even have an opposition.

Manufacturing was in crisis, epitomised by the end of Michelin and high exorbitant energy prices.

What does our hopeless, out of depth, DETI minister say? He says “don’t let anyone tell you that manufacturing in Northern Ireland is in a difficult place”. Eye on the ball instead of eye on the camera would suit some of our ministers better.

Yesterday we had that shameful slap in the face for Wrightbus and Northern Ireland manufacturing when another DUP minister proudly announced that a huge contract for a huge fleet of buses isn’t going to Ballymena, it’s going to Belgium. And then they wonder what’s wrong? Then of course they don’t see a problem.

And as for energy, this Executive has pursued this all-Ireland centric policy that has widened the gulf between our energy prices and the lower GB prices and aligned us bit by bit with the higher Republic’s prices. And meanwhile our vital Moyle interconnector lies only in half use, broken down, needing repairs. And meanwhile DETI prioritises the most expensive, highly subsidised electricity of all, that produced by wind.

Wind bags and wind farms are putting us out of business.

On welfare:

Money is tight yet this Executive prioritises benefits over jobs. This Executive prioritises keeping benefits recipients at the level to which they’ve become accustomed over adequately funding our health and our education. By creaming off £585m – not new money ladies and gentlemen, not a handout from Westminster – coming off our Block Grant, money that would otherwise be spent on your roads, on your health, on your education. DUP/Sinn Féin deal is throw it all at benefits.

Budgets are stretched but not so stretched it seems that Mervyn Storey wasn’t able to find the money to fund the Outburst Queer Arts Festival to stage an offensive and blasphemous play. Shame on him.

In Stormont “greed and squander were alive and well”. Jim Allister said he was “still being pretty generous” with his legislative proposal to only OFMdFM’s number of special advisors from eight to four and to link salaries to a Civil Service grade. When the bill came before the Assembly, he said “the DUP was half on strike”.

They couldn’t come in to debate autism. They couldn’t come in to debate waiting lists. They couldn’t come in to debate cancer. But you couldn’t have held them back to come in to come and vote down the bill – to protect their own. The shameful scandal of waste and squander protected by those who waste it. Think of it, hadn’t time to debate the scourge of cancer, the problem of our autistic community, but falling over themselves to get through the lobbies to vote down anything that would kerb the squander on special advisors.

The squander and the greed is evident at every level. Take the Emma Pengelly example. It speaks volumes about the DUP. This lady on £92,000 a year as a special advisor resigns so to speak on a Friday and on Monday she’s appointed as an MLA on £48,000 a year. But when she leaves her office as a special advisor she gets a golden handshake of £46,000, £30,000 of it tax free. And the next day so to speak she walks into another public post, that of an MLA. And she pockets the £46,000. And three weeks later without so much as having made a maiden speech as an MLA she’s a government minister on £80,000 a year. Does that not speak volumes of where that party has got itself on the basic issues of probity and right and wrong. It certainly does to me.

Think of the squander on hospitality, wining and dining. Stormont departments and their arms length bodies last year spent £1.8m on wining and dining. That is £35,000 a week. Twice what many a man is earning in a year … Your money … You’ve spent over £100,000 on coffee, scones, fruit platters for MLAs at committees as well as providing them with free mints in the chamber. And then the spin doctors. 160 spin doctors it takes to spin the good news of Stormont. I think 159 of them spend their time looking for the good news.

But they cost you £5m a year to try and convince you that their misgovernment is good for you. The joint first ministers have 454 staff More staff than Downing Street!

Then the photographers …

Stormont has spend £400,000 of your money on photographers so that you can admire their every move. [Someone heckled “Mervyn Storey”] The Minister for Photo Opportunities, yes. In the upcoming election this party will be making the greed and squander of Stormont an issue at the polls. I serve notice of that today.

The TUV leader promised “to lay out our positive vision of voluntary coalition and vibrant opposition as the path to durable devolution”. He said that the TUV “were the trailblazers for democratising Stormont”.

The TUV will ensure that on the fifth of May voters have that alternative and all who proclaim themselves unhappy with the failures of Stormont will have the chance to prove it for voting for the party of positive change.

But he was aware of the need to turn discontent into votes. There was an echo of an altar call as he drew his leader’s speech to a close:

The question I have for every single voter in Northern Ireland is “Are you happy with what you’ve got?” … And if anyone … honestly says I’m not happy with what I have at Stormont, then commit today to doing something about it by voting TUV. For you will be heard loudest and clearest and no one will misunderstand what you’re saying when you vote TUV. That is the vote that allows every concerned citizen to say “enough is enough”.

Last year Henry Reilly – and it’s great to have Henry in our ranks to strengthen our cause and I very much welcome him to our team and he won’t be the last – Last year Henry Reilly and I had £100,000 votes between us in the European election. I want to speak directly to each one of those hundred thousand voters. You voted for us because you respected and believed what we were saying. You knew we were right. We by your choice were your voice. I want to say to each one of those hundred thousand voters. You can guarantee that Stormont will never be the same again by voting net year for TUV again.

Give this party the chance. Give this party the mandate that that volume of votes speaks to. And I guarantee you Stormont will never be the same again. That’s the challenge. That’s the opportunity. Make sure none of us miss it. It needs to be done. It can be done.

05 Kate HoeyAfter lunch [Ed – no fruit platters, and the only mints were provided by the hotel!]  Labour MP Kate Hoey spoke about the case for leaving the European Union.

She characterised the opportunity of the UK leaving the EU as “emancipation” that would allow the UK to sell freely across world, including Europe. How dare the Republic of Ireland government tell “us” that peace in Northern Ireland is dependent on staying in the EU.

Cautioning against believing that the EU has kept Europe safe, Hoey said “it’s been kept safe by our membership of NATO”.

06 Henry ReillyEx UKIP and now TUV councillor Henry Reilly was introduced as having “found his true home” in the party. He proposed a vote of thanks to the guest speaker.

I speak with absolute sincerity when I say that I am humbled and honoured to be here among kin …

He spoke about the DUP’s divergent views of Europe:

Nigel Dodds – great man, you would think – he said when cosponsoring a Parliamentary motion that we should leave the EU: “the EU is an overbearing, anti-democratic superstructure that has intruded on almost every aspect of our lives”. Now you might say “brilliant stuff from the DUP”. A few miles away – you couldn’t make this up – Peter Robinson said “our new office in Brussels would ensure that Northern Ireland remains at the very heart of Brussels” and that “Brussels has been a loyal friend to Northern Ireland and a shoulder to lean on” and he even thanked the EU for the £20m for our conflict resolution centre at the Maze. One of my proudest moments was when I stood with Jim Allister and we beat that proposal.

Henry Reilly moved to “the UK Independence Party in Northern Ireland led by a man called David McNarry”.

David’s claiming to be the sole heir and successor to Euro-scepticism in Northern Ireland. (laughs) I actually done a wee bit of research on him. Just before David transferred over to UKIP after he left the UUP: “I repeat my party’s call for the creation of a dedicated Stormont committee on European Affairs to give a proper focus and to coordinate the province’s European funding and policies that would enable us to use Europe far more and become an active part of European policy formulation which would ultimately create an act of financial and policy support here for the Assembly”.

So here’s a man who now calls himself Euro-sceptic that wants to bypass Westminster, the properly constituted parliament of this country, and run in Brussels and do deals with Brussels’ bureaucrats. That’s not a Euro-sceptic. That’s a Euro-phile. I actually though maybe David had been out to Syria and been helping those moderate rebels e hear about and maybe he had had some sort of Damascus style conversion before he came over to us. That’s out with the jury.

He asked “where do [the Ulster Unionists] stand on anything now?”

Jim Nicholson has apparently gone so native that he speaks French a lot of the time. Apparently he was speaking to Mike Nesbitt recently and said [in a poor French accent] [“Mike Nesbitt get off the fence or your bottom will go sore”].

[Ed – unionist mocking of Irish now extended to other European languages? Maybe UU right to scrap some modern language courses?]

07 Richard CairnsThe hotel fire alarm and power problems disrupted TUV vice chair Richard Cairns’ closing speech about the Path to Making Stormont Work policy. Sammy Morrison reprised his November 11 role of starting off the National Anthem, to which one wag added “No Surrender” to the end.




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  • Robin Keogh

    By the way… my black sheep status within my family has nothing to do with my SF membership. Can u guess what it might be?

  • Gaygael

    Hello paddy, thanks for the aside.

    10.9% in Westminster 2015 for the others. That or above in an upcoming STV will do nicely. Not a Big Bang, but a significantly growing alternative.
    9.7% in the last assembly elections 2011 brought in 8 alliance and 1 green.

    PBP look guaranteed in west Belfast. Foyle may be on the horizon for them. They could add to the pot of others. Greens are snapping at south and east Belfast. Agnew has been solid on welfare and that may to the Ross and Clare’s appeal.
    As I have said, alliance are looking at north Belfast (from SDLP) east Antrim (from SF) north down (from DUP) and outside, east (from DUP) and south Belfast (from UUP or SDLP) for an extra.

    For the TUV it seems Ruth has chosen to go independent in south Belfast. Maybe the TUV hardline on social issues put her off? I’m senses that the new modern DUP may move on these issues so sticking to his guns will gain him DUP hardline votes. They look likely for south down at the expense of the DUP. I can’t really see anywhere else for them to gain……

  • T.E.Lawrence

    When Beirut got carved up into ethnic cantons, it was pretty easy, people numbers and location distributed in this city dictated the cantons : North – Sunni, South – Druze, East – Christian, West – Shia
    You would have some job trying to Canton out Belfast. Its two main ethnic tribes are scattered in districts all over Belfast. If you ever come up with a plan Robin send me down a copy ?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you Nevin! I had not heard about Martha before and found it most informative. There was a big buzz in the period about McKinley as an “Ulster” president, and Frank Bigger for one was a big fan. My grandfather told me that one of wee Cathal O’Byrne’s songs was “Mr McKinley”:

    “Pre-si-dent McKinley he didn’t do no harm
    He went off to Buffalo where you buffalo along
    For to lay him down boys, for to lay him down

    Zolgotz went to Buffalo, he didn’t go for fun
    He went to shoot Mr McKinley with a Johnson forty one
    For to lay him down boys, for to lay him down”

    The nearest I’ve found to this version (there are many!) anywhere was the one Robert Graves the poet used to sing which was taught to him by his father, A.P. Graves, Bigger’s long time friend. Graves sang it for me when I visited him in my twenties and mentioned FJB.

  • Anglo-Irish

    ” Part of a wealthier and internationally powerful nation “.


    Those red white and blue spectacles appear to be impairing your view of reality.

    The UK is only wealthier than Ireland if you count the states wealth, most of which belongs to the crown.

    If you count individual wealth which is more important to the man in the street then Ireland is in a far better position.

    Ireland is ranked 7th in Europe and 11th in the world compared to the UK which is 14th in Europe and 19th in the world.

    As for ‘internationally powerful’ we are third rate these days and beginning to look a bit embarrassing in international terms.

    Which matters not one bit to any sensible person that isn’t still dreaming delusionally about ‘ the captains and the kings’.

    Most of us are more concerned about the future of our children and grandchildren than boys own adventures.

  • barnshee

    “Ask yourself why it is that there are Protestant communities throughout the Republic that appear to have no problem living alongside their neighbours in friendship.”

    Reminding you– less than 3% –keeping their heads down is hardly “no problem living alongside their neighbours in friendship.””

    Make the journey I suggest and look at the evidence

    “Whilst the treatment of all protestants in the Free State may not have been perfect, to compare it with the treatment of Catholics in NI shows a breathtaking lack of knowledge.

    Where are they then -all those protestants who had no problem ” living amongst their neighbours”

    I note you carefully avoid the direct information I give you esp that on the state promotion of the Roman Catholic Church

    The ROI ?? “Whilst the treatment of all protestants in the Free State may not have been perfect,”

    You ain`t whistling Dixie

  • barnshee

    Oh dear

    I thought you were talking about republicans

    An obsession with murdering the opposition = check.

    A love of rallies and invective speeches = check

    A wish to control people by force if necessary to be subservient to their wishes = check (see 1 abvove)

    A subservience to a higher power -The Republic = check

    A delusional feeling that they belong to the master race = check (Our day will come etc)

    A wish to impose their culture upon people of a different race and tradition = check (

    And of course the real family is Irish so it all fits in nicely

  • Anglo-Irish

    In comparison to the treatment of Catholics in Northern Ireland the treatment of Protestants in the Free State and then Republic was benign.

    Out of the original 60 members of the first Seanad 20 were Protestant meaning that a population of less than 10% had a 30% representation.

    The first Irish president Douglas Hyde was a Protestant and the fourth Erskine Childers wasn’t only a Protestant he was also an Englishman.

    Can you show any corresponding actions from Unionism in the north toward the CRN community?

    I know those who are prejudiced against Ireland like to make out that it was six of one and half a dozen of the other, but that is arrant nonsense, there is no comparison between the two areas.

    As I said my father had personal experience of the situation in Ireland in the early 60’s and had no problems.


    Here are a couple of further explanations why Protestants left the country. Far more believable than some imaginary pogrom dreamed up in the fevered imaginations of some PUL supporters who can’t understand that not everyone lives with their level of inbred hatred of ‘themuns’.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Anyone attempting to compare the IRA to Nazis shows such an inability to understand simple concepts as to be laughable.

    The Nazis were State forces attempting to bring other States under their control by force.

    The IRA were fighting against State forces in an effort to free their country from the control of a foreign state.

    If you wanted to make a comparison to an organization which resembled the IRA then the French Resistance would be closer to the mark.

    A group of organized civilians who were regarded as criminals by the imposed law of the land and who bombed and shot the occupiers, sometimes with fatal results for innocent civilians.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Most of these dreary 16th Century cults are doomed to extinction anyway: they will go the way of the Dodo and the Muggletonians. To maintain a religious movement over generations you need critical mass: breakaways from the Catholic Church peter out after a while, except where they have state support.

    So yes one would expect Anglicanism and Presbyterianism to decline and disappear in Ireland, where they merely represent the outdated ideology of a superseded Imperial power: a bandwagon which, under Republican administration, it is no longer profitable to be on.

    And not just in Ireland: near where I once lived in London there was a beautiful Anglican church, surrounded by copious numbers of white, mainly English people, with a congregation of about one. The Vicar got so desperate he would lurk outside the lych-gate trying to lure people in, promising them there would just be socialising and debate and no religion.

    Nevertheless there is, in Ireland as well as Britain, ample growth in religious movements which bring some new ideas into the field: Buddhism and various forms of Hinduism. You probably ought to consider these as the successors to the Protestantism of two centuries ago.

    Otherwise I would recommend you consider such cults as the Amish, the Mennonites, sects which believe in hard work, separation from outside and having lots of children. These are the only forms of Protestantism which are likely to last out the century.

  • John Collins

    Well it was not much good to them during the time of the Act of Union from 1801 to 1922. During that period the population of the main island increased by about 150% which the island of Irelands decreased by 20%. Enough said. They are gone and we never want them back. Between the famine, being ridiculed in Punch Magazine and being treated with absolute meaness where any form of state investment was concerned we know enough about what to expect under British rule. The experience of Derry City and the failure to allocate a university to it gives us a fair idea how Catholic cities in the South would be treated under ‘Mother England’

  • John Collins

    You really should not quote nonsense. It was 3,8% at the last census and rising. It was never more than 10% in the 26 counties anyway.

  • Greenflag 2

    They don’t care –
    Indeed . Which is why they are in the political position they find themselves .
    So its a UI by default . Fair enough .And after ? Who will remember or care about the non caring Unionists ? The British ?

    Unicorns don’t exist and are known only in fairy tales .

    As to being happy to being happy to be bought out ? I’d have said it would be more a case of relief . Not relief at leaving the UK but more a relief of not having to deal with a political entity i..e NI that quite frankly is not fit for purpose and has’nt been for a very long time if ever .

  • barnshee

    I see my relatives all left for the better weather up north
    There are none so blind as those who will not see.

  • barnshee

    “and not just in Ireland: near where I once lived in London there was a beautiful Anglican church, surrounded by copious numbers of white, mainly English people, with a congregation of about one. The Vicar got so desperate he would lurk outside the lych-gate trying to lure people in, promising them there would just be socialising and debate and no religion”

    You are carefully avoiding the point — the English may have declined in religious observation– they are unlike the protestant in the republic still there.

  • Skibo

    but you would be quite happy with 25000 killed in Dresden during WW11 in your name? It seems scale has alot to do with what is acceptable and what is not and who can do the bombing!

  • barnshee

    “Can you show any corresponding actions from Unionism in the north toward the CRN community?”

    There was universal sufferage for all including the CRN

    The stupid prods failed to adopt local authority legislation quickly and reform the property vote ( a vote which incidentally disadvantaged more protestants than roman catholics a vote which the father of a previous president of Ireland took full advantage of) This was used to pretend that roman catholics did not have “the vote”

    The CRN demanded were funded a wholly separate education system which ensured that potestants could not be employed -therin whilst expecting full access to employment in the state sector

    ALL citizens has full access to free health services and social services.

    The CRN community occupied more than their share of public funded housing . Independent reports showed that the major discrimination in housing allocation occured against protestants


    “As I said my father had personal experience of the situation in Ireland in the early 60’s and had no problems.”

    By 1960 the prod in the ROI was already nearly extinct

  • barnshee

    The French resistance were a state supported organisation

    Which state supported PIRA? surely not the ROI? oh dear
    Answer plse

  • Nevin

    “So why does the TUV not do better at the polls? Is it the tone that hampers the message’s appear?”

    Media commentators’ negativity might also play a part. They were a bit thin on the ground during the ‘Save the Dal’ campaign. This was very much a cross-community cross-party affair and Jim received a very warm welcome from the Ballycastle audience.

  • Skibo

    Where in the GFA does it delegate for repartition? Non starter!

  • Paddy Reilly

    No, there is no difference at all. The Anglicans in the Republic have intermarried with Catholics and their children are still there, just not Anglican. The English in London have married all sorts and their children are still there, just not Anglicans, at least not of the sort that want to go to church.

  • Greenflag 2

    Thats NOT what I wrote above . I was referring to the TUV strategy which Paddy stated will lead them nowhere . I was suggesting two other destinations -repartition being one and the other assuming Allister means what he says about having a democratic opposition party in Parliament was the Dail . Repartition is a non starter I agree but its not impossible given a complete breakdown in civil society in NI which hopefully won’t happen .

  • barnshee

    From your own post -they are no more

  • Robin Keogh

    Well i was thinking more in larger terms such as cantonising east derry with most of antrim. North Down with most of east belfast etc.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Quite so, there are none so blind.

  • Anglo-Irish

    So according to you there was no discrimination or gerrymandering of electoral areas in Northern Ireland?

    The division of Derry – a mainly CRN city – into three wards by splitting the Protestant minority area into two and leaving the Catholic majority area as one never happened?

    NI was a positive paradise for the CRN community, makes you wonder what all the fuss was about really.

    Forming a civil rights movement and then arming and fighting an armed police force and professional army, presumably that was just done for a bit of a laugh was it?


    And the corresponding action which I was looking for evidence of was Catholics in positions of power elected into those positions by Protestant votes.

    You know, like 20 Seanad members and two Presidents.


  • Kevin Breslin

    Need to correct “£100,000 votes”

  • T.E.Lawrence

    Very difficult to do especially if people who have lived in a certain area for generations refuse to pack up and move and decide to fight to ‘last man standing’

  • Anglo-Irish

    Your not very good at this are you?

    Other posters have already pointed out your problem with maths and it appears that you also struggle with history.

    The French State from 1940 until 1944 was the Vichy government under the leadership of Marshal Phillipe Petain and they most certainly were not supporting the Resistance.

    The IRA did not recognise the ROI government as they believe that the treaty and partition of 1922 were a betrayal of Ireland the nation.

    The IRA killed members of the ROI security forces and were in turn killed by them.

    They based their belief that they had a legitimate cause on the 1918 general election which took place throughout the whole of Ireland.

    The result was a victory for Sinn Fein who won 73 out of a total of 105.

    That was many peoples view up until the referendums which were carried out in 1998 as part of the GFA.

    Following those results any dissident has no claim to any legitimacy and the normal process of democracy will hopefully finally resolve the problem.

  • barnshee

    “And the corresponding action which I was looking for evidence of was Catholics in positions of power elected into those positions by Protestant votes.”

    Catholic republicans looking for protestant votes in NI –some mistake surely?

    Republicans in the ROI (protestant or catholic ) voted into office by republicans— hardly surprising

    Study the detail in


    for the detail on where the discrimination actually was

  • barnshee

    So in short the ROI did not support PIRA Haughey and the gun running did not happen— wonderful

  • Paddy Reilly

    This conclusion you arrive at by thinking the church you attend is more important than you are. I take the opposite view. Discarding Anglicanism is no more important an event than discarding the old porch you had in front of your house. The person goes on.

  • Robin Keogh

    Well there should be no need for anybody to move

  • Galena

    If Jim wasn’t such a hate filled creature you’d almost admire his one man opposition show up on the hill. If only we could have someone in the same mold who focused on bread and butter issues instead of harking back to a past that caused the current problems in the first place.

  • barnshee

    You miss the point Prods regard any Catholic support for the “Union” as predicated on the British welfare/health system.It’s bought and can thus be sold to perceived higher bidders. The prods then have no need appeal to emotional ties since one exist.

  • Anglo-Irish

    ‘ Republicans in the ROI ( protestant or catholic ) voted into office by republicans ….. hardly surprising ‘

    What is even less surprising is that once again you reveal your lack of knowledge on the subject that you hold such prejudiced views on.

    The members of the original Seanad included The Earl of Wicklow, Sir Bryan Mahon.The Marquess of Headfort, The Earl of Mayo, The Countess of Desart, Sir Thomas Esmonde, The Earl of Granard, Sir John Keane, The Earl of Kerry, Sir Horace Plunkett, Sir Hutcison Poe, The Earl of Dunraven and Mount-Earl, Lord Glenavy, Sir John Griffith, Sir Nugent Everard and WB Yeats.

    All of the above stood as independents, few if any republicans among them.

    What they were however, were people who were prepared to accept the will of the people as expressed in the 1918 election.

    Had the rest of the country been so democratic all of the last 93 years of sectarian trouble would have been avoided.

    There is no comparison between the attitude of the ROI to minorities and that of NI.

    Anyone trying to claim there is is either prejudiced or ignorant or possibly both.

  • Anglo-Irish

    No, the STATE did not support PIRA, as I recall Charles Haughey and Neil Blaney were both sacked from their government positions and charged with conspiracy.

    They were subsequently acquitted but it took Haughey years to recover from the scandal.

    So no the ROI State didn’t support PIRA.

    Howeve,r the same cannot be said for the British State can it?

    The British State colluded with ‘Loyalist’ terrorists armed them, provided them with targets and joined in the killing of civilians using State security forces didn’t it?

    Didn’t really think that one through, did you?

  • Greenflag 2

    The Prods regard wrong then very wrong . Catholic support for the Union is directly related to how NI was governed in the past but more importantly how its ruled now .Since the GFA there is support for the PSNI which hardly existed in the past for the RUC/B Specials /UDR . Economics is of course not the only factor . A UI is not a guaranteed outcome but Unionists can ensure that outcome if they don’t wake up and face facts demographic and otherwise.

  • eamoncorbett

    What do the Somme and 1916 have in common ? They are both over and done with and it’s time to move on.

  • Greenflag 2

    Again basic math – 0 does not equal 200,000 or 135,000 or even 2 .
    Gravity is also a fact of life as is evolution , death and taxes . Remember you are a unique individual just like everybody else .

  • barnshee


  • Anglo-Irish

    I’ll give you this, you are quite amusing in a ‘ roll the eyes ‘ kind of way.

    You are the one who made the allegation, I am the one who pointed out the facts as to what actually took place.

    Sacked, charged with conspiracy, acquitted.

    The burden of providing proof rests with you, got any?

    While you’re at it, got any examples of the Unionist controlled Northern Irish establishment showing some consideration toward their neighbours of differing views, as I have provided from the Free State/ROI jurisdiction?

    Any Catholics appointed into a position of influence in order to represent their point of view?

    Any equivalent to the requirement in the Irish written constitution that it should have ” Special regard to the providing of representation for groups or parties not then adequately represented in Dail Eireann “?

    I await with baited breath examples of Unionist magnanimity shown to their Catholic neighbours.

  • John Collins

    Just a hint. In a few centuries despite laws being enacted forbidding them to marry native Irish, wear native dress, speak the Irish language, wear native dress or shock horror play hurling the English had to admit that the Fitzes ‘had become more Irish than the Irish themselves’.

  • John Collins

    During the ‘troubles” Sinn Fein only received very minimal support in the south yet Paisley who marched armies up mountains was widely supported in the North

  • Paddy Reilly

    Really? In Deya?

  • TruthToPower

    I agree. Gerry Adams could be the first to leave. Adams is a planter name

  • TruthToPower

    Ridiculous? It’s only so to those in these times where such solutions are not the mode

  • TruthToPower

    Aha! Crown and Armstrong , good planter names. I knew British stock was key to the fine treatment you thankfully received. All tongue in cheek jousting of course. I honestly can’t tell why you’re a black sheep as you put it but that’s none of my business.

    Serious question, why did you join SF when there are so many other perhaps less contraversial parties such as the Greens ?

  • Greenflag 2

    You’ll be waiting a while yet 😉 Godot may turn up first .

  • Greenflag 2

    Heres some truth

    Northern Ireland’s health minister has backed the establishment of an all-Ireland children’s heart surgery centre in Dublin in the Republic of Ireland.

    It means surgery in Belfast’s Royal Victoria Hospital will cease.

    Jim Wells made the announcement to the assembly on Tuesday, following a review of children’s cardiac services.

    In 2012, it emerged that services at the Royal were not sustainable with many operations taking place in either England or Dublin.


  • Robin Keogh

    I joined after they voted to accepted policing. Three reasons amongst many minor ones. They were very active on the ground unkike most traditional parties. Theie left wing slant seemed genuine and not overly extreme. They recruited many younger intelligent voices. They also had a progay stance going back to the 80s and of course Irish Unity which is important to me. The greens seemed too middle class and tge corruption and backscratching disgusted me in FF/FG. They are more in tune with people on tge ground and i was imprseed at how they kept the reublican community entact against all the odds juring the peace process.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Yes, Deyá, in the 1970s. He was rather in decline with loss of sight and also serious problems with his short term memory at that time, but I had a number of London friends who knew him. I was invited to accompany him by a friend who had boarded with Graves’ sister in Oxford in the 1960s, and had becomes something of a regular Summer visitor at Deyá, but wanted someone who knew Graves’ work and could talk to him to relieve the possible tensions.

    Graves was intrigued when he heard my name. He’d met my grandfather in 1916 on the Somme and remembered him. Through his father, with whom he’d had a rather poor relationship, he’d learnt lots and lots of Irish songs, which he sang rather tonelessly in a sort of high tenor at any occasion, such as after the late evening meal. “Mr McKinley” was one of these, and one which he associated with Ardrigh.

    You’ll need to wait for my autobiography for more detail, however.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Medicine like all other sciences has international colaberations these days. Medicine has been international ever since the dawn of trade and civilization, do you know that?

    British medicine does sound a lot like Deutche Physik .. as if human physiology or the laws of the universe simply change when you go across an artificial border.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Love it when unionists complain about foreigners coming over invading the place … and then every summer attend a parade celebrating a Dutchman doing exactly that.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I don’t think the Alliance party will run three in East Belfast just yet, they probably should though, though a lot like McDonnell in South at the 2007 election there’s the Arrow’s Law effect of really having two in the race at Westminster.

    A few number threes from Alliance might be useful to the Green Party there though.


  • Sir Rantsalot

    I think an acceptable government and opposition is easy to achieve if sectarian balance principles are applied. As far as I know there are still rules to require employers to balance the religious levels in NI in the workforce. I’m an expat of many years so I don’t know if this is still required in NI?? Why not apply this to government?
    Any majority party or coalition should meet roughly 60/40 either way in its MLAs assigned to ministerial posts. If one party can manage a roughly even election of candidates to the assembly. Then they could form the government and meet these requirements. If the largest party could not meet these requirements then they would need to form a coalition with a sectarianly opposite party to make the balance.
    If no balanced coalition could be formed then proceed with the all party nonsense we have at the minute.

  • Gaygael

    I think it’s only sensible that alliance run 3. They got almost 17,000 in 2015, up from almost 13,000 in 2010. Both contests were pitched as a two horse race. They converted that great 2010 score into 2 assembly seats and 8500 odd votes in assembly 2011. They can hope for over 10,000 at assembly 2016 so running three makes perfect sense.

    Alliance are increasingly attacking the Green Party. I can’t see them doing a pact, unless I’m out of the loop locally. They want to be the only viable ‘other’ so supporting Ross to get a seat would be counterintuitive. They will hope that their third candidate would be ahead of Ross and benefit handsomely from his transfers.

    The killer is that Long will murder their transfer and vote balancing plans. Also if Judith stands down (which apparently she is) they will need a third runner. Will it be a locally popular councillor? Maybe one who also shares the surname of their big hitter?

    All to play for. I see the dup holding 2, alliance on 2, the UUP safe with Allen, and the last seat a coin toss between green, third alliance and more likely pup.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I only suggested “pact” for the irony.

  • Mer Curial

    This has to be a troll, seriously?

  • Gaygael

    Fair enough.
    East will be another interesting seat. Notable the DUP won’t have Robinson, and as you said Douglas standing. Newton is also getting on a bit, but his son (what dynasty politics) is a local councillor so may inherit the mantle.
    Plus they will have the co-option to replace Robbo. Let us see.