“Return to your cumanns and prepare for Irish unification.”

In the Belfast Telegraph, Eilis O’Hanlon comments on the recent flurry of “displacement activity” from Sinn Féin.  From the Belfast Telegraph article

So, what better way to distract the republican home crowd than with some conjurer’s cheap tricks? Don’t look at that hand, look at this one.

Don’t mention my ineffectiveness on a range of issues that actually matter, look at all these things I’m saying and doing about something that doesn’t matter in the slightest.

It’s not as if there aren’t plenty of things Sinn Féin could be doing to pass the time between its beloved elections.

Instead of worrying what banner future footballers should be playing under, how about coming up with some concrete proposals as to how farmers and manufacturers and small businesses in Northern Ireland are meant to cope with the serious consequences of Brexit?

Unfortunately, when Sinn Féin had the chance to do so, at the Taoiseach’s all-Ireland forum on the matter, it skipped the chance to make a positive contribution in preference for blaring out slogans about Irish unity.

Arlene Foster should have gone, if only to listen to the concerns of the business community; but at least she didn’t turn up and start singing God Save The Queen.

Sinn Féin manages to turn everything into the same ‘Four Green Fields’ pantomime; and if it thinks anyone is fooled that this is a sign of strength rather than weakness, it is sadly mistaken.

One concrete proposal on economic growth would be worth a hundred policy documents on who gets what after Irish unification.

Irish unity isn’t coming soon, but Brexit is.  Is Sinn Féin content to let Arlene Foster call the shots on that too?

[Look into my eyes, the eyes, the eyes, not around the eyes…? – Ed]  Indeed.

Read the whole thing.

, , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

  • T.E.Lawrence

    “A real game changer is if Alliance were to publish a paper but I think that could be a bridge too far” Yeah I noticed the “Munchkins” singing Ding-Dong the Witch is Gone – The Wicked Old Witch of the East (Anna Lo) !

  • Skibo

    I think you missed the most important phrase in the post above, “if they wish”.
    Declan is not saying they have to go and I do not think he is even suggesting that it is necessary for Unionism to leave for reunification to be a success.
    What does need to happen is for those who claim to be Unionist to be shown they have a place here if they want it.
    There is no need for mass emigration 12% of the citizens within the South are British citizens. They do not have to leave. They chose to live there.
    Northern British citizens will have the same choice.

  • Skibo

    John, I assume you would be in support of the rule of law in such a circumstance and those breaking it would bear the cost.
    Midulster Man who posts here occasionally is a firm believer that the UVF were merely sabre rattling in 1912 and did not resort to violence. Would this be your version of sabre rattling?

  • Skibo

    Like I said, in Belfast when the demographics moved in favour of Nationalism, Alliance were caught in the middle and tied to resolve the issue of flying the flag. had they stayed neutral, Nationalism would have been able to remove the flag completely.
    If Alliance are true to neither Nationalism or Unionism then democratically, they should support the majority.

  • Katyusha

    If that sentiment is accurate, it’s unbearably sad that those people see their fellow citizens as an enemy rather than, well, their fellow citizens.

  • Cináed mac Artri

    Are you referring to the “if they wish” part of the quote I used in the opening line of my post? 😀

  • john millar

    I suggest you watch the election results in NI and look for confirmation that ”
    “twenty percent of the Protestant population according to recent polls either support Irish Unity”

    (These are the same polls that suggest 40% or more of Roman Catholics Don`t support a UI)

  • john millar

    “You lost me. What has this got to do with reunification and if you have a problem with sexual incontinence, could I suggest a visit to the doctor?”

    The proud?? boast on unity is essentially based on out breeding (larger family size) the prod population. hardly an economic argument

    Unless of course virgin births are big in the RC pop or additional populations have arrived from space.
    Have you any other explanation ?

    “As for me coming up with the resistance to a UI, I do not see them. I see the reunification of Ireland as a positive for both parts of the island but mainly for NI
    The Unionist community have the issues. If it is distaste, anger and resentment perhaps it is time to get round the table and discuss your feelings. It is good to talk.”

    You problem remains in getting them to listen they have been sort of deafened by the last 100 years or so.

  • john millar

    “They can move to the UK if they wish ”

    Those unhappy in NI could move to the ROI in the same way ?

  • Cináed mac Artri

    I hope and believe that you are wrong. If moves to a unified state ever become a practical reality they will occur in an atmosphere of respect and understanding. They will be lead by the majority on the island, those who reside as of now in the Republic. Only a very small minority of southerners are infected by the bitterness that is all too prevalent within northern nationalism.

    The south is not going to drag any body of people to within its borders who would become a drain on state resources in a way that would be detrimental to Irish society.

    Ireland is a small country. It will not want to see its international reputation put in jeopardy simply to support a nationalist ideal of the kind fostered in the north. For example, the southern establishment invites the Orange Order to the President’s residence, it does not jeer at it from the roadside, or the blog page.

  • john millar

    ” their fellow citizens as an enemy”

    Substantial numbers of ” their fellow citizens” have been attacking their right to remain in the UK (and murdering them in the process)

  • john millar

    I`m a big fan of the rule of law ( it was not well supported in NI where for a lot of people its legitimacy was rejected.)

  • john millar

    Thinking in the costs area mostly — if some groupings suffer economically as a UI evolves who will pay the bill?
    Surely those who promoted the UI?

  • Declan Doyle

    I imagine Those in the six counties who see themselves as nationalist or republican are quite happy living in Ireland.

  • the moviegoer

    Like only the 52 per cent will pay if Brexit causes economic damage? Don’t think so.

  • Skibo

    If we keep referring to the lowest common denominator on each side, we will find enough detractors of “the other side” on both sides who were prepared to use violence for their aims.
    The bottom line will be, when 50% plus one votes for reunification, it will happen. The legislation is there. Why not get involved in the discussion of reuniting and having an input rather than ignoring it.
    Remember the hated Anglo Irish Treaty? The one that was only replaced when Unionists agreed to sit in Stormont and share power with Nationalists and Republicans.

  • johnny lately

    Fight to the death T.E. so does that mean regardless what the majority say, working class loyalism and unionism will never accept Northern Ireland not being under British control ?

  • Skibo

    John you and I are talking from the same hymn sheet in a sense.
    I believe in the near future the demographics will show that reunification is a certainty. What I am suggesting is for Unionism to get involved in the conversation, one to prepare their community for the inevitability and two to be able to exert a certain amount of pressure on the outcome.
    Should they wait too long, the rest of us may not be so willing to take their suggestions on board.

  • john millar

    “Like only the 52 per cent will pay if Brexit causes economic damage? Don’t think so.”

    My point exactly those responsible will avoid accountability-hardly fair ?

  • john millar

    “that reunification is a certainty.”

    Unity is being together or at one with someone or something. It’s the opposite of being divided. This is a word for togetherness or oneness.

    It took the north to win the Civil War, it assured the “unity” of the United States.

    I suggest you visit “Dixie” if you have not done so already to see how that has worked out.

    NI will not join a UI voluntarily Republicans are dependant on
    Coercion (that went well) and now family size to bring about “Unity” Hardly sound economic policies

  • john millar

    “I imagine Those in the six counties who see themselves as nationalist or republican are quite happy living in Ireland.”

    What then is the issue?

  • the moviegoer

    Just realpolitik. You can’t decide not to pay taxes because you didn’t vote for the party that won the election.

  • Declan Doyle

    its who seems to have an issue

  • Katyusha

    The fact that they are not governed by a parliament in Ireland, but rather by a foreign party in a faraway Parliament with sweeping powers, by a set of MPs that no-one in NI voted for, and who don’t particularly care whether Ireland exists or not.
    When was the last time votes cast in a Westminster election in NI actually meant anything in terms of power and government policy?

    Did you really miss that this is, at heart, a political issue?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    When a Loyalist takes an oath that is what he swears to do JL !

  • eireanne3

    Much of NI is “self excluding” –

    I suggest many diehard Unionists/loyalists exclude themselves en masse from any onward progress in Northern ireland and any civil interactions with their neighbours.
    And even think their life-style is normal!!!
    And that everyone else acts like them!

    I know many racist attacks on householders take place mainly in Loyalist areas. Remember the mass expulsion of the Rumanians in 2009?
    I know many Protestant working class children do badly at school because they can’t cope with discrepancies between the sectarian, paramilitary world view they are brought up in and the views of the rest of society. They themselves said so! https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2013/09/21/we-will-not-be-the-generation-that-fails-ulster-youre-just-the-generation-that-fails-exams-in-ulster/

    I know there are successful integrated schools, Ever heard of lagan college?
    I know a lot of catholics send their children to schools like BRA and methody,
    I know there is an all -ireland rugby team, with one national team, governing body and league for both the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland
    I know lots of people who shop wherever they want and are well-treated by shop assistants wherever they go!
    But they don’t shop in Loyalist ghettoes so of course they are “self-excluding”.

    Talk about getting hold of the wrong end of the stick!!
    Need I go on?

  • johnny lately

    I understand TE but isn’t that oath of loyalty open to debate when you consider what side they were on at the Battle of the Boyne.

  • T.E.Lawrence


    Listen carefully to this Loyalist Song JL about swearing an oath. It will give you a better understanding of such oaths which are not only Crown oriented. I know of a few other such oaths.

  • T.E.Lawrence

    “I hope and believe that you are wrong” I don’t think I am CmA
    An old friend and I were returning home from Dublin not so long ago. We were having a coffee at the wee shop next to Madigan’s Pub in Connelly Train Station waiting for the 9.30am train back to Belfast. (Only for it being too early in the morning it would have been a pint in the Pub). We watched the hundreds of people coming off the trains on there way to do an honest days work and go to school in the Fair City.
    I said to my old timer friend. (Who goes all the way back to the remobilsation of Loyalism in the Mid 60’s) Look at all these people – Gawd if the Loyalists ever went back to war and planted a bomb in this place they would cause such carnage ?
    He replied back to me and said “If I gave you a bomb would you place it in this place to kill these people?” I responded back to him “I would not have the stomach to do it and kill such innocent people”
    He then said “OK ! If we ever lose a Border Poll you know that every Loyalist/Unionist will fly a Union Flag from their House in NI in Defiance as they did over a hundred years ago during the Home Rule Crisis.” “If a Republican Mob, Irish Army or United Nations Peace Keeping Force come to take that flag down from your house and I give you a gun, what are you going to do ?” I replied “Feck that’s some question ………… but I suppose I would shoot !
    He then shook my hand and said “Goodman Lawrence – You are a Loyalist with the same heart as mine”

  • johnny lately

    I understand very well T.E. but isn’t it true that those you call Ulster loyalists have a history of treachery against the very crown they supposedly swear to give their allegiance to ?

  • T.E.Lawrence

    That’s my point exactly JL their Loyality is to their families, homes, culture, land and ethnic identity more so that any other allegiance ! You are correct if they are forced to fight the crown to maintain these Loyalist Principles then they shall do so ! For a United Ireland to work I still believe these Irish/British People should be allocated self governing cantons in the North Eastern Part of the Island ?

  • Cináed mac Artri

    That is a profoundly depressing tale. It is beyond me that anyone could invest so much in a flag. Alongside that other romantic nonsense philosophy, religion, nationalism is responsible for much of humanity’s woes.

    In a modern connected world I can’t understand how anyone can place so much importance in such a nebulous concept as ‘nationhood’ when exercising cultural self-expression.

    The whole idea that something intrinsic is shared simply because of sharing a piece of human-defined geography is ludicrous. The opposite is of course also true, ie that not being from the same place must lead to a separation of ideas and desires.

    Where I’m sitting it is of no importance that the bunch of suits who ‘represent’ me are 300 or 600 miles away. Nor do I feel culturally closer to someone in Cork, Carlow or Coleraine simply because they were born on the same island. Or further away from anyone born in Colchester, Cowdenbeath or Caerphilly. And that position is expanded beyond this island group.

    I can’t imagine that any future political dispensation in these islands is going to be so interventionist as to even attempt to define your culture for you. You can fly any flag you desire. I’d simply ask that you reflect on how important that flag actually is. No ‘nationalist’ paradigm is worth dying for; much, much less killing for.

  • johnny lately

    I think your dancing around on a pinhead T.E avoiding the point I made which was a loyalist oath of allegiance is not something any British monarch or British government or indeed anyone outside of loyalism would view as being trustworthy. I dont think unionists/loyalists in any UI would be banned from expressing their identity, culture or ethnic identity whatever that means but I cant see there being a snowballs chance in hell of unionists getting self governing cantons in any new UI. The reality is the provisions for a border poll have already been agreed in the GFA once a border poll is called if 50% +1 of the population votes in favour then its a united Ireland there is no more negotiating to be done other than streamlining the former British controlled part of Ireland into the new 32 county Ireland.

    Beforehand loyalism and unionism could of course convince Northern nationalists and republicans of the benefits of keeping the status quo but it seems unionism and loyalism feel theres no reason to do this, they assume they will always have the majority and Catholics regardless how unionism and loyalism treat them will always support the union.

  • john millar

    “Talk about getting hold of the wrong end of the stick!!
    Need I go on?”

    Separate education -90% children plus attend segregated schools As far as I am aware “integrated” schools educate some 7% of pupils. The prospect of a good grammar school education tends to trump political belief

    Separate sports ( The IRFU succeed because of its non political stance)

    Separate religions

    Separate housing

    A divided society

    Grasp the right end of the stick

  • john millar

    “You can’t decide not to pay taxes because you didn’t vote for the party that won the election.”

    The perennial problem — and the reason for minimising the states ability to spend taxpayers money

  • T.E.Lawrence


    Unfortunately 100 years on and the attached postcard message still remains in the mindset of Ulster Loyalism today. Notice the flag in the background being one of the items to defend !

  • T.E.Lawrence

    “they assume they will always have the majority and Catholics regardless how unionism and loyalism treat them will always support the union” Well JL I am a Loyalist who does not concur with such a crap point of view !

  • johnny lately

    I honestly dont think you are T.E but you and I both know you dont speak for loyalism you only speak for yourself.

    The Queen of Great Britain is – Head of State, Commander in chief of British forces also head of the church of England.

    Would you or would you believe unionism/loyalism would support a Catholic sitting on the throne ?

    Who was the last Catholic Prime Minister of the UK ?

    Why should Catholics in Northern Ireland support the Union when they are barred from reaching the highest levels of power ?

  • Katyusha

    Well, T.E., while I’m not wholly against repartition or cantonisation as a concept starting from a blank slate, the fact that NI has proven incapable of governing itself effectively over the last almost 100 years sets me dead against the idea. There is no good reason to repeat the disaster that carving out the first unionist enclave was on a smaller scale. That ship has sailed, unfortunately. If NI had been established only in such territory, it might not have failed the way it did.

    Quite apart from anything else, I’d like for Belfast to be able to return to its rightful place as a thriving industrial hub and one of Ireland’s economic powerhouse, which it can’t do if it’s locked into a little enclave permanently governed by either unionist party, or under the direct influence of either the Orange Order or “community representatives”. If we want to build a modern and prosperous state, we need a modern, pluralist system of government, rather than dividing the place along ethnic lines as if it were gangland territory.

  • the moviegoer

    The difference between now and 1914 is that if there’s a majority vote for a UI, the British government will side with nationalists, as will the Scottish Parliament, the Welsh Parliament, and the vast majority of the electorate on mainland Britain. When that penny drops, loyalism will have to acclimatize with reality.

  • Skibo

    John, not being that far travelled, I could not comment to primary evidence of the union of the USA. I would suggest that while there can be strife within the family, hit one member of the family and all will react.
    This is one of the issues that people raises about Northern Irish being different to Southern Irish yet the same commentators do not point out that an country OO member is different to a Belfast OO member.
    Unity will effect the whole community to a greater or lesser extent. There are those who will emerge themselves completely and whole heartedly, others will accept the name badge and carry on as nothing has happened. Some will find it so difficult to accept their part in a reunited Ireland that they find it impossible to merge with the concept at all. We have to find a way of accommodating them all.
    If you are right that NI will not join a UI voluntarily, what was the GFA all about? Are you considering the majority of the people or the hard right of Loyalism?
    Republicans WERE dependant on coercion but the majority have now moved to persuasion by political means.
    Like I have said before, either the economics of a UI is discussed along with the possible outcomes or demographics will come into play. That is not relying on birth rates for economics, just using the future demographics to ease Unionism to the negotiating table.

  • Skibo

    T.E. the ability to fly the Union jack is important to you and I accept that. What about a reunified Ireland where you can fly the Union jack on your house if you wish and nobody can take it down? If you can have your British passport and so can any of your future generations that wish it.
    Stormont continues for a certain time but both flags fly over it to recognise the allegiance of the Unionist people within it’s control.
    Would representatives from Donegal be permitted to sit and take part within the Assembly?