Mallon says Sinn Fein played Hume like “3lb trout”

Seamus Mallon has been speaking to Talkback (interview to be played later today on Radio Ulster) where he reflects on his career and comments on his views about his then party leader, John Hume.

Speaking to William Crawley, the BBC reports;

John Hume was “no fool” but that Sinn Féin leaders played him “like a 3lb trout”.

Mr Hume’s presence gave republicans a status almost validating what they did in the previous 30 years, he said.

Mr Mallon reiterated previous comments that the British and Irish governments should have made IRA decommissioning a precondition for Sinn Féin’s participation in the Northern Ireland Executive.

He blamed the failure to achieve disarmament for the severe political damage suffered by both the SDLP and the Ulster Unionists during the 1990s.

Continuing he criticizes the DUP and Sinn Fein;

“What worries me most is that the two major parties don’t seem to, in their hearts, believe in the whole thesis of the Good Friday Agreement,” he said.

“Is the present executive showing any benevolence, except to their own supporters and those who vote for them?”

He said he would not include all executive parties in his criticism, because it is a “two-party show”.

However, a defence of the Hume legacy did come in from a Sinn Fein spokesperson;

It is unfortunate that Seamus Mallon talks of his one-time party leader in this fashion, especially given John Hume’s current health.

“And in spite of the naysayers, which included Seamus Mallon and much of the Irish establishment, the courage and the vision of John Hume and Gerry Adams and others brought about the Irish peace process and an end to the conflict.

“The Hume/Adams document of 1993 became the catalyst for the achievement of the Good Friday and other agreements, which have underpinned the peace and political processes.

The interview will play at 12pm on BBC Talkback today.

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  • Roger

    By that logic, do you mean you think there is only one British government, not several? And that the Belfast executive is not British?

  • Robin Keogh

    Yes and Yes

  • Roger

    I presume you know the majority of NI people consider themselves British and vote that way too.
    So you deny the identity of the majority of NI people?

  • Robin Keogh

    I never said anything of tge sort. We were talking about the government not the people. According to the recent census only 40% of respondants claimed British as their identity. Hardly a majority.

  • Roger

    What was the percentage that said they were Irish?

  • chrisjones2

    1.77 m claim to have some knowledge of it not to speak it. That knowledge may understanding “An Lar” on a bus and noone wants to admit that they cant speak it – try asking an Orangeman to sing more than a verse of the British National Anthem – same thing

    The Irish Government’s estimates of the number of native speakers is 40000 to 80000

  • Robin Keogh

    Thats not the point, u claimed the majority are British, and u are wrong.

  • Anglo-Irish

    Well in the case of my own family several are fluent, most of the rest can conduct a conversation with the ones who are fluent and a few have no interest whatsoever.

    Probably not far off a reflection of the general population at least in the west.

    The point is that it is the language of the country and should be preserved if possible. Many of the younger ones are showing a new interest in it and I think that that is a good thing.

    Anyone who is against preserving the unique language of a people who inhabit their own country and are a nation should perhaps ask themselves why, and what business is it of theirs?

    I can think of at least one other tradition and culture that has a place in Ireland, which is in a minority in the country and has, unlike the language, been the cause of a great deal of suffering.

    If we are into eradicating aspects of someones culture I think we could start there.

    On the other hand perhaps we could try to live and let live?

    Lateral thinking in NI obviously, but possibly worth giving a go?

  • Greenflag 2

    Polish is ok apart from the lack of vowels . But Hungarian and Finnish are languages from another planet . Bilingualism has been proven to be a good defence against dementia and other associated mental deterioration effects of old age Which fact could explain why some mono linguistic unionist and other politicians become even less coherent in advancing years ?

  • ted hagan

    Mallon is a good man who spoke out consistently and bravely against all terrorists and renegade British security force members. Hume is a good man too, who could have hardly foreseen that his party would have been deliberately beached by the British government.

  • the rich get richer

    Perhaps Hume played them all like a three LB trout. After all the outcome is probably more similar (particularly peace;which will probably in the longer term bring more of Hume’s aspirations) to what Hume would have hoped for. Was the old/new/now Sdlp ever going to achieve any of Hume’s aspirations.

    Most of them were not that hard to play (far too predictable).

    Who is the most admired and respected at this stage despite being far removed from the situation today.

  • Roger

    Rather, the point was and is that you were air-brushing the majority identity in NI out of existence. There aren’t two “Irish” governments. There is only one.

  • Robin Keogh

    No i did nohing of the sort. There are two governments in Ireland, one in Dublin and one in Belfast. The identity of the population in the six counties is minority British. In the census 20% identified as Northern Irish Whilst 25% identified as Irish; meaning a greater number identify with Ireland rather than Britain.

  • Roger

    You are calling the arrangements in Belfast an “Irish” government. In what way is that not denial and air-brushing of British identity in NI?

    You’ve also cited numbers that say 40% of NI people call themselves British, only 25% Irish and the balance Northern Irish which isn’t the same thing as Irish nor does it suggest identification with Ireland. It clearly suggests identification with Northern Ireland.

    Why is it ok for you to call it an “Irish” government? Please explain and explain how you are not air-brushing British identity?

  • Robin Keogh

    I call the North of Ireland Irish in the same way as you call it British. Its a matter of personal choice. Stop getting yourself in a knot over it.

  • Roger

    What people call things is really important. The terms one chooses can denote respect or the lack thereof. These choices help to set the tone of discourse.

    Your description of the NI government as an “Irish” government shows little respect for the diverse traditions in NI. If you are representative of SF thought on this, it shows how hollow SF talk of equality and parity of esteem really is.

    Finally, a correction: I never described it as a “British” government.

  • Robin Keogh

    Roger i have no objection to u calling the six county statelet or its government whatever name or term you wish. i totally respect your right as a British citizen to reflect your views, your culture, your identity your religion and your political inclination in whatever shape or form you wish for so long as you cause no harm to others in the process. We have an agreement between the traditions that the current status quo on the constitutional issue remains intact until such time as a majority votes to change it. I respect that agreement and in that context i assert my belief that Ireland is a whole geographical entity of 32 counties divided into two political jurisdictions at the moment.

    None of the above disrespects your rights or airbrushes anything.

  • Mike the First

    Robin, you might want to to look at those census figures again rather than just regurgitating an illogical GA press release.

  • Roger

    Calling the NI government an “Irish” government blatantly disregards the diversity of traditions in NI. It disrespects the identity of the greater number in NI. It ignores core principles underlying the 1998 Agreement centered on respect and parity of esteem. Those principles apply to both sides. I encourage you to reflect on this. I encourage you to start calling it what it is: the “Northern Ireland” government, or executive to be proper. For clarity, if some one was insisting on describing it as a “British” government, I’d give the very same advice.

    It is 2016 and not 1959 but your attitude is in stark contrast to that of Sean Lemass who took office in Ireland that year. He certainly appreciated how disrespectful it was to call NI the “6 counties” or its government an “Irish” government, as you do.

    No one disputes that you, like me, are at liberty to disrespect whomever you or I like. That’s not in question so your last post was off-topic. But, obviously, I’m encouraging you to reflect more and do better.