Belfast City Council debate on inviting the ROI & NI football teams to City Hall

Tonight  Belfast City Council rejected two amendments by the DUP and UUP that would have changed the original decision by the council in December to invite the Irish Republic and Northern Ireland football teams for a reception in Belfast City Hall.

Here are some live tweets from myself and Rebecca Black from the Belfast Telegraph from the debate

The debate went on for roughly an hour and was one of the first items up for discussion. The actual debate was relatively civil with little heckling, but there were little surprises in the positions taken by parties.

Sinn Fein, SDLP, Alliance, People Before Profit and  Green Parties held to the original decision taken by the council just a few weeks ago.  Whilst the two main Unionist parties attempted to amend the original motion propose by Cllr Declan Boyle and Cllr Niall Ó Donnghaile.

The DUP had an amendment in saying that this council;

Welcomes the attendance of the Northern Ireland Team, manager and coaches and IFA management at the civic reception held at City Hall on 9th November in celebration of Northern Ireland’s qualification for the European Championship tournament in France.

And also welcomes the qualification of three other national teams from the British isles, England, Wales and the Republic of Ireland-and agrees that the Lord Mayor should write to all four national football associations expressing our congratulations and best wishes to them for the Euro 2016 finals.

This motion was defeated 34-22.

The UUP had an amendment to host a reception for the England, Wales, NI and Republic of Ireland teams.

This amendment was defeated 33-20.


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  • John

    It’s the fact that they let NI do all the donkey work at underage level never mind the massive cost. Then players who are thought to be catholic are targeted by the ROI. That is the frustrating thing.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’d second that on both counts. The “Saeva Indignato” is always a valuable insight in Dan’s comments, but could be expressed well within the language constraints on Slugger usually, I’d find. It would be a pity to loose him on something that only needs a bit of fore-thought and discipline.

  • Granni Trixie

    I suggest that the answer to sectarianism in Ni or in individual organisations is (a) to have the will to change (b) cultural values in which sectarianism is disapproved of…connected to (3) leaders by example have a key role in promoting/encouraging sectarianism.

    Problem is that some political parties not only have not the will to address sectarianism but actively exploit it to try to gain votes. Others ofcourse try to appeal to both voters who have sectarian attitudes and those who want to live in a non sectarian society.

  • Robin Keogh

    Apparently in Cork a councillor was expelled during the summer for alleged bullying.

  • Robin Keogh

    I take your point there, it seems childish for that man to be running around dismantling plaques although i am not sure if it is really sectarian.

    The same poll showed 30% would like to see a united Ireland with only 46% against the idea in the long term. And remember the scottish vote? Two years before the ref the yes side had less than 30% support. After 24 months of debate they got 45% on polling day so dont be too cosy in your cot there fella.

    Some Unionists simply cant get into their thick sectarian skulls that 40% of the active electorate vote for parties wedded to irish nationalism. They have a mandate to represent their voters on a range of issues, even silly ones like making a cup of tea for a few footballers.

    These same Unionists dont oppose a reception for sportsmen, they oppose anything and everything that elevates nationalist interests onto an equal footing as unionist. Therein is the problem, always has been the problem and most likely always will be. But the game is nearly up.pardon the pun. Unionism can only stem the tide for so long against a dwindling unionist population and a growing nationalist one.

    As for the flag. If the six counties is to be shared by both political traditions, there is no reason why both the tricolour and union flag can not fly side by side. It would be a hugely significant moment in the history of this island and in the quest for reconciliation. But sadly, for some within unionism, reconciliation with nationalism is a no no. Themmuns must be kept down through any manner or means.

    If the day ever comes that 50 plus one creates a United Ireland would you like to have your British identity protected and respected? Would you like to have parity of esteem for your culture,traditions and important symbols? I am a republican and will certainly fight with you for that right.

    Unionism could change tack and lead by example. So if the day ever came, nationalist could not justify ditching Unionist identity the way Unionism has treated non unionists.

  • John

    What a load of baloney! You call me paranoid in one post and then say don’t be so cosy in your cot in another?? Listen there is little or no support for a UI I know you as a typical republican will take any tiny part and spin it into something it’s not but sure that’s nothing new.

    The last time I looked it was the nationalist vote that was dwindling not the other way around. I have nothing against nationalism, just bitter republicanism. You talk about the decline in Unioniosm. It’s a bit of a fake hope for you. All of my friends from a Protestant background absolutely see themselves in the silent majority now. They don’t vote politically, they don’t go to church but I have no doubt what way they’d vote on a UI referendum. Unionists/former/non practising prods are much further down the road to secularism than on the nationalist side but nationalism is catching up.

    My fiancé was big into her Camogie at a stage. If Down won the All-Ireland or any Northern team for that matter i’d be delighted to see them host at a similar reception. Most of us aren’t anti-nationalist, just anti bitter republicanism which you support.

    Your flag comment is that pathetic it doesn’t warrant a response. Your party murdered, maimed and tortured as if i’d believe they’d have my best interests as somebody who considers themselves equally IRISH/British, at heart. Catch a grip.

    Ps. What do you do for a living because all you ever seem to spend your time on is this sluggerotoole!!

  • Robin Keogh

    Posted twice sorry

  • Greenflag 2

    That Trojan horse has been flogged to death 10 years ago or more . Flogging the dead smacks of necrophilia

  • Robin Keogh

    I am flatterred you follow me on Slugger, u must have little to do with your time. I currently work as pilates instructor having just graduated from Uni. Why u need to know that is beyond me but anyways there u go.

    Getting hysterical and shouting words like Baloney dont really constitute an argument. Nevertheless, someday we will get a vote on Unity, and as per the GFA we will settle on the result and carry on. That day, that vote is the only poll that matters, until then lets try not get too worked up over serving tea in an irish city to irish footballers.

    I have no doubt the lives of your girlfriend and buddies are shockingly interesting but anecdotal evidence means little to the grown ups who study demographic shifts and their socio-political consequences.

    The census figures do not lie.

  • Robin Keogh

    Oh that ! Lord Above.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    “The first thing he preceded to do was get all of the plaques and emblems removed that had been donated to the local council office shortly after WW2 from military regiments in the USA and Britain. In the interest of ‘equality.’ Instead of promoting his own culture his only state of mind was to remove the other. From this small time experience of my own it is blatantly obvious to all that this is happening on a larger scale throughout NI”


    That is a fantastic example of the malicious side of SF and another example of them riding on the back of whatever catchphrase is popular at the time (these hobby horses are soon dropped whenever they can be used against them e.g. shared space: “Public spaces should be free from intimidating surroundings!” “Like McCreesh park?” “Erm…..”).

    They will eventually shoot themselves in the foot with all these acts.

    But it’s hard to put the SDLP proposal into the same category as this.

    Rather I’d blame the childish Northern Irish culture of “they have something, we want something too” e.g. the politicisation of Ulster-Scots.

    Both sides do it and it’s fostered a zero-sum perspective which means if someone gains something at no detriment at all to anyone else there’ll be some form of bleating and yapping that it’s ‘not fair’.

    Alas, this is where we are and nearly everyone does it, but it’s certainly not up there with SF bloopers such as yapping about poultry with union flegs on the packet or complaining that McDonalds doesn’t translate its menu into Gaelic.

  • Jollyraj

    Oh, I see. Is that no longer policy? Goodness knows that Islamist fundamentalists like ISIS have borrowed almost all their tactics from the IRA, I suppose it’s only logical that Republicans would repay the compliment by using some of theirs. But you’re telling me that TH is no longer favoured by Gerry now?

  • Jollyraj

    Was that the ‘local difficulty’ thing? Also, one wonders if that wasn’t more about unsanctioned bullying than just bullying. What about the sectarian element you mentioned. Have any of those got the boot yet?

  • Robin Keogh

    Who specifically?

  • Robin Keogh

    I have absolutely no idea what u are raving about mate. Whatever it is, no doubt u have your mind made up one way or another anyway.

  • Jollyraj

    You told me there were those of a sectarian bent in the Republican family. Presumably some of those are in Sinn Fein. Those ones were the ones I’m referring to. Have they been weeded out?

  • Robin Keogh

    Well none have risen their heads to date

  • John

    And at the same time I see you changed it to be less patronising about your so called Catholic dominance in the future…

  • Robin Keogh

    I have unionist family members. Al are fine with exception of just one nut job

  • Robin Keogh

    There’s that paranoia again 🙁

  • Jollyraj – young Phil seems a fairly sectarian sort of chap with comments like these….

  • Robin Keogh

    I am not sure u understand the meaning of sectarianism maybe

  • Jollyraj

    How would you describe him?

  • Robin Keogh

    I dont know him

  • Jollyraj

    Fair enough. But would you agree that his over-developed tweeting thumb and the crassness of many of his online musings are damaging to the party to which you seem so devoted?

  • John Collins

    Give that steed a bucket of oats.

  • John Collins

    Only if you enjoy it.

  • Robin Keogh

    Devoted? Lol. I have never followed him on twitter so i have no idea what his comments are like. It seems he has been pulled up for calling a dickhead a dickhead. He is taking his medicine for that. Now if he had called him a protestant dickhead; that would have been a different story.

  • Jollyraj

    Uhmm no Robin….he was ‘pulled up’ for libel, having accused Elliott of shooting people. He has since been forced to apologize and will pay damages. Some within SF were in the past members of a terrorist organization and some apparently did murder people. Some of them even went to jail for such. Normal political parties are not composed of such people.

  • Robin Keogh

    I am not condoning his comments but we were talking about sectarianism and while his musings might be offensive they were bot sectarian.

    Most major political parties and governments have been occupied by fighters who were once regarded as terrorists at some stage. Israel, South Africa, ireland etc. Nothing abnormal about it at all.

  • Greenflag 2

    A case of No Popery but lots of Poopery -sorry could’nt resist RK 😉

    Full equality anyway would mean the demise of unionism as a separatist political force on this island -so Poopery of some kind or other is inevitable for that section of unionism which a generation ago would have taken to the streets in tens of thousands or 40 years ago would have gone on the rampage burning Nationalists out of their homes .

    I hate to say this but Poopery pathetic though it is, can be seen as an ‘improvement ‘ in community relations . Not enough of course but not nothing either 😉

  • Greenflag 2

    Obviously some on this thread do 🙁 But count me out .

  • Robin Keogh

    I often wonder if unionism stepped up and said ok, lets share. Two flags, two anthems, joint sovereignty. A united ireland and a United Kingdom all in one. What woukd tge response be?

  • Greenflag 2

    Would’nt bother me apart from the joint sovereignty bit which has’nt worked anywhere in the world it’s been tried -or not for very long either . Its a bit like an employee having two bosses with all the possibilities for misinterpretation and miscommunication which that would incur .

  • Robin Keogh

    I am not so sure. If stormont had greater autonomy while Dublin and london jointly oversaw , currency, defense, abd trade. Maybe it could work.

  • Greenflag 2

    Nothing is impossible of course but human nature and the track record would make very much an odds against success scenario of short duration . . IMHO I think the place is ‘overgoverned ‘ as it is and any more layers of government will make matters even worse . . I understand there are those who say its necessary from a political process point of view and for maintaining the uncertain peace -but seriously almost 50 years of holding hands for the local politicians is more than OTT for me anyway . Seriously there are only three options 1) What they have now with all its inefficiencies etc , 2) Full integration within the UK and the permanent abolition of Stormont ( But the UK has rejected that possibility ) and 3 ) a UI negotiated to ensure recognition of the British minority in NE Ireland and an updated constitution .

    Any other ‘solutions ‘ are wheel spinning for ever and a day or until the lid blows off again .

  • Alan N/Ards

    As far as defence goes, it’s unlikely to happen until the ROI joins NATO.