“But what if this is just more terrible negotiating?”

Newton Emerson has clearly been doing some thinking about the future beyond the Hokey Cokey of the last few months. In yesterday’s Irish News column he makes two seminal points about SF’s strategy (or lack of it).

Firstly, SF as a good negotiator. It seems to have escaped the notice of the press (but not I suspect of some of their former SpAds), that SF has a tendency to come up empty handed from encounters with the DUP. [What, not even a post dated cheque? – Ed]

The subtext of Sinn Féin’s position at Stormont is that it is a terrible negotiator. How else could it have let London, Dublin and unionism away with two decades of allegedly ‘outstanding commitments’?

Sinn Féin’s message in walking away from the executive is that it has learned its lesson and there will be no return to the status quo. But what if this is just more terrible negotiating?

Three months ago, republicans had the DUP bang to rights over the Renewable Heat Incentive scandal. Turning that into a landmark election victory put the whole of unionism on the run.

Now Sinn Féin has lost the run of itself, demanding that everything it did not pin down over the past 20 years be delivered overnight, with no devolved government or direct rule if it does not get its way.

Now, it has to be said that in binding unionism to the often “very odd and archaic” DUP (caused structurally by that malign (nay, stupid) tweak at St Andrews) will be damaging to Unionism in the long run. However, says Newton…

…the long run in this context is somewhere between 10 and 30 years, during which Sinn Féin will not become the largest party and cannot conceivably win a border poll.

That is too long a period to play the current game at Stormont.

It assumes voters will continue rewarding Sinn Féin for knocking devolution over, blame only unionists and Tories for the limbo that results and keep the flame of anger alive at some memory of ‘disrespect’ that already looks like an excuse to stir the pot.

Sinn Féin grew its vote during the five fraught years of suspension from 2002 to 2007 but the prize then was replacing direct rule with devolution. Replacing devolution with deadlock is a much harder sell.

All the magnificent anger in the world does not make politics any less the art of the possible.

Sinn Féin’s only realistic options in the next few years are to return to Stormont with a fraction of what it is asking for or admit it has given up on power-sharing altogether, reverting Northern Ireland to its British and unionist default.

How is that a success?

It would, of course, free them from responsibilities and allow SF to go back to protesting. But after all this time, that’s hardly a success. Nor is it sustainable to keep the nationalist electorate in a state of high dudgeon for that long.

At 69 at his next birthday, Adams no longer has the luxury of the long game he’s been playing as party President since 1986. If unification is ever to become realistic, the main questions being put in front of the Northern Irish people will have to change.

It would require the experiment with notions of ‘exchange’, both with friends [when does West Belfast get a payoff? – Ed] and enemies. It would embrace multiplicity of identity, uncertainty, development of new connections, cohesion, synthesis and ambivalence.

Sinn Fein’s old soldiers do know how to win elections. We see that magnificent performance time and again. But where does it go, and what effect does it have on other non-unionist players?  And what effect, over time, does this profound lack of delivery have on its base?

As Micheal Martin said in the Dail this week:

Northern Ireland has the highest poverty rates on these islands. The crisis in its health service gets worse every year. Sectarian incidents have increased as have shootings and beating by paramilitary thugs.

And of course we have the British government moving forward with the historically destructive Brexit process with no political leadership speaking for the people of Northern Ireland.

Stephen Collins was not just (as his namesake, but no relation, Jude saystalking this week about narrative, he was talking about the long established strategy of the Irish government to bolster and support Sinn Fein as the leading party of nationalism in Northern Ireland:

If Sinn Féin makes it clear in the next few weeks that it is not prepared to engage with the institutions established in 1998 the Government in Dublin will need to take a long, hard look at the strategy it has been following for more than two decades.

That strategy involved giving aid and support to Sinn Féin at every stage in the tortuous negotiations that resulted in the Belfast Agreement and its successors. If the party now effectively abandons the agreement a serious rethink of that approach will be will required.

The Greeks broke narrative into two integral parts: mimesis, the showing of a compelling story; and diegeses, the sphere or world in which narrated events occur. A purely mimetic story may be compelling but without sufficient diegesis, it bears no relation to the world in which it purports to exist.

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  • North Down dup

    There is a guy on hear called Sean I think , really smart you should ask him did the Ira prevent the complete anihalation of the Catholic community, do you think he will agree with you

  • Jimmyz

    Sorry, my bad, you can see how easy it was to confuse with discriminatory Catholic Church decrees that helped massively reduce the protestant population in the south.

  • andrewjohn

    More Loyalists were arrested because they didnt have the same intelligence skills as Republicans.

  • Jimmyz

    Absolutely, it is a necessary evil.

    How else do you think intelligence is acquired that eventually leads to the defeat of terrorist groups like the IRA ?.

    The difference is state actions are for the greater long term good, whereas terrorism such as the IRA’s was just senseless and pointless slaughter, usually of innocents for no gain and had to be stopped.

    What method do you think they should have used to defeat the IRA ?

  • North Down dup

    No I will look it up

  • Jimmyz

    But why would they need “intelligence skills” if the RUC and UDR were working with them ?

    Surely they would not have been arrested if there was the scale of collusion as some claim ?

  • Jimmyz

    In another post you told me that Republicans had better “intelligence skills” than loyalists and therefore less arrested, but above you are saying half the republicans were state agents.

    Which is it ?

  • andrewjohn

    Try to seperate the two. Try not to ignore facts that do not suit your position. It doesn’t mean you have to change your point of view. But it will help you engage more credibly and steer the discussion logically.

  • Jimmyz

    “A Church who’s leader and a few of its ministers created a terrorist army”

    Define terrorist ?

  • North Down dup

    Is this a fact

  • johnny lately

    Get you now. Your tribe murdering and using terrorism was morally right but others using the same tactic were morally wrong. Only in your eyes and only in British courts. By the way was there no loyalist terrorists in your world and were their victims murders somehow justifiable ?

  • andrewjohn

    The DUP have given in on an ILA. They included it in their culture initiative thingy which was nonsense but at least they have accepted an ILA is going to happen.

    Opposition to a bill of rights is essentially a childish objection to something that can serve everyone. The Shinners want it so we’ll be against it. That mentality has to be challenged.

    Legacy issue and the British national security objections is understandable. The Brits colluded, we know that, its no shocker. But their refusal to allow investigations suggest it went deeper and further than anyone can imagine. But it does need to be tackled.

    Respect and equality issues is really just code for suggesting Unionism needs to accelt they are a minority now and no longer in charg. Its time therefore to start behaving as Christians should.

  • andrewjohn

    Is that the sectarian pact thing?

  • johnny lately

    Sorry make that hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of murders I’m going by the statements of a former police ombudsman who has seen the evidence. Perhaps you could post up some evidence that she’s wrong.

    http://www.irishtimes.com/news/ireland/irish-news/claim-that-hundreds-of-deaths-in-north-happened-due-to-collusion-1.2230050

    Where in ANY of my posts did I suggest or claim that ALL UDR/RUC officers were state murderers perhaps what I’m writing with my keyboard is somehow coming up different on your screen.

  • andrewjohn

    Nope, i said ‘apparently’.

  • andrewjohn

    Yrs indeed. ‘Apparently’.

  • andrewjohn

    I dunno, but he will certainly direct me to a good book about it.

  • mickfealty

    “whataboutery: the art of avoiding the issue.” – https://goo.gl/AB8WLG.

    That enormous kill rate was done at the behest of the Army Council, making it hard to hide wider organisational responsibility.

    It itself may have been saturated with British spies, or not. If it was, the British national security interest will continue to operate to keep them all in place.

    I suspect the British are underplaying their hand right now in this regard.

  • mickfealty

    Nuala uses that broader term, because she rightly holds the cops to the highest possible accounting. But I doubt she’d agree to your more squalid definition of what it adds up to.

  • mickfealty

    Nope.

  • The Irishman

    Excellent post.

  • North Down dup

    Try not to ignore facts that do not suit your position, come on now your talking about most people on hear then , with you being the biggest one,
    But it will help you engage more credibly – this is comeing from someone who openly supported what the Ira did and justified the killings of innocent man woman and child by the hands of the Ira,
    As you said once to me you left a rich British army protestant history to support the Ira.even your family don’t agree with you , maybe you should get Sean to talk to them. (Credibly -brilliant )

  • mickfealty

    I thought the Greek references might go over your head Neil. 😜

  • Deeman

    Strange and bizarre comment, you could say the same for the numerous rangers or NI supporters clubs in the shankill and sandy row etc.

  • Deeman

    You are obviously on a wind up. The UDR were an absolute disgrace.
    The even managed to disgrace the British army which is saying something.

  • Brian Walker

    Negotiations are different from the noises off which naturally dominate comment in Slugger. They start with agendas and relate them to the formal state of the Executive before the breakdown. A good chair would prevent recriminations and whataboutery. Sinn Fein’s agenda is well known. The DUP’s seem mainly reactive. The two governments are playing a curious role as a sort of referee, neither fully engaged nor active chairs. Despite all the noises off we know little of substance, perhaps because there hasn’t been much. They have to move up a gear if they’re to make progress or even get some clarity about the way ahead without an early restoration.

  • Jimmyz

    Define terrorism ?

  • Jimmyz

    Just as Loyalist Volunteers protected the protestant community from complete annihilation by the catholic death squads of the IRA ?

  • Jimmyz

    It’s not strange if you have basic English comprehension skills.

    How many trophies or grounds have IFA named after UVF/UFF Volunteers ?

  • Jimmyz

    “Where in ANY of my posts did I suggest or claim that ALL UDR/RUC officers were state murderers”

    Gret, now we are getting there, you are quite right, there may have been a few bad apples in the barrel the same way as there were murderers in the GAA.

  • Deeman

    By dealing drugs to their ghettos before putting on the UDR uniform in the morning.

  • mickfealty

    Take the Bill of Rights? It’s not the DUP blocking that, is it? See my point about learning the ‘value of exchange’ above? And Newton on the ‘art of the possible’. What you’re seeing is valid, but largely only visible if you put your eye to the wrong end of the telescope. 🤓

  • Reader

    johnny lately: So what makes the use of terrorism and murder by the state any different than the terrorism and murder carried out by others ?
    The numbers. What else could justify an anti-terrorist strategy if it didn’t try to minimise loss of life in the long term?

  • Deeman

    Maybe in Bangor but you would have a very different view if you lived in Newry, West Belfast, Coalisland or Derry.

  • Nevin

    “The Greeks broke narrative into two integral parts: mimesis, the showing of a compelling story; and diegeses, the sphere or world in which narrated events occur. A purely mimetic story may be compelling but without sufficient diegesis, it bears no relation to the world in which it purports to exist.”

    From my limited understanding, diegeses is the narrative or story and mimesis, an imitation. Neither need have anything to do with the real world but perhaps relate more to myth-making.

    One of my late aunts could seamlessly fill in the gaps in an account of actual events when some of the pieces of the jig-saw were unknown to her; some op-ed writers appear to have a similar skill. As the world of investigative journalism continues to shrink much myth-making as well as ‘alternative facts’ will go unchallenged in the mainstream media.

  • North Down dup

    He was posted in downpatrick, I would like to think most ruc men in West Belfast Newry and derry were protecting the whole community there, am sure they saved plenty of lives,

  • Nevin

    “A basic problem is the absence of an active chair, so the talks may fall at the next hurdle”

    Brian, the two governments are still sticking to the line that it’s up to the local parties to reach an accommodation. Noises from the smaller parties would suggest that the DUP and/or SF are blocking plenary sessions which would involve the joint chairs as well as representatives of all of the local parties.

  • andrewjohn

    Show me were i said the killing of innocent men and women was justified?

    Families do not have to agree to respect and love each other.

  • AntrimGael

    Absolutely. When we see some of the stuff coming out about the Glenanne gang, Brian Nelson, Mount Vernon, John Stalker etc there is NO way the British State, RUC, UDR can or ever will be absolved from the100’s of murders they were involved in. The media especially need to start accepting this instead of pushing their nonsensical, honest broke line. It is deeply, deeply insulting to their victims and families.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Hi ND, Seaan actually (an old spelling current before Partition).

    Its a complicated issue. The IRA hardly existed in the north in 1920, when this violence all really started. The Unionist mobs targeted the local constitutionalist nationalists, many of whom had even fought for Britain in the Great war. The IRA started the claim of defence of the Catholic communities at that point, even though there was open violent between the IPP supporters trying to protect Catholics against sectarian violence and the developing IRA. In 1969, with the vicious organised onslaught against vulnerable Catholic interfaces in Belfast and a return to the burnings out of the early 1920s, the IRA was pretty ineffectual, being pretty much the old Marxist Officials, who had been running down their military capacity for about a decade then. It was on this ineffectual performance as protectors (an echo of what occurred in 1920) that the split occurred where the Provisionals were formed. they instigated the Bombing campaign shortly after.

    But the Provos came into being directly as a result of the serious threat which Unionist mobs created in the August 1969 flare up of violence. Without the regular growing threat of violence posed by Paisley’s little militias against the NICRA and the PD’s peaceful demand through civil disobedience for regular British Civil Rights, the IRA was becoming moribund, as every person active at the time can confirm. Their biggest recruiters were Bunting Senior and Paisley, who established a pattern of blanket violence in which the PIRA were only too willing to outbid them, with better funding from overseas sources attracted by the world reporting of Unionist violence against peaceful protest.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Jimmyz, the pattern of development of violence in the north from the state’s inception in 1920 shows that up until the PIRA were given their big public break by the willingness to resort to extreme violence that was nurtured through 1968/9 by Bunting Senior and Ian Paisley, the minority community posed no serious threat whatsoever to the majority community.

    To suggest that this was somehow an equal handed affair in its inception is grossly ahistorical.

  • North Down dup

    Very good post, someone below said there was a poster called SEAN I should listing to him , I said in another post you should ask Sean that’s the way he spelled it , I do enjoy your liberal views

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you for your kind words ND. My concern is that we should all honestly accept the realities of our murky histories and that we should in doing this be able to come together again as one community. The only way to get out of this hole we’ve all dug ourselves into as I see it is to in-fill it with some really accurate history until we are back on level ground again.

    “Seaan” is the old spelling much used in the north when the Gaelic League was first flourishing as an expression of the whole communities desire to link to their mutual past in a rich identity which goes back in an unbroken chain of cultural development to the Classical world. Few of us in the north are without ancestors from both planter and Gael strains, and we all have claims on these shared ancestral links.

  • North Down dup

    Am all up for bringing the two communities together, and bringing the past to a closure,
    And my ancestral links are Scottish and my grandmother was from the good southern county sligo

  • johnny lately

    Naula uses the broader term – What does that mean Mick and I’m sure Naula or Denis Bradley would not be the type of people who would massage the facts to suit their own agendas. Perhaps if you had access to the same information they both had access to you might agree with their assessments that the Stae could have prevented hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of murders. Think about those numbers Mick, could those hundreds be over a thousand or more.

  • johnny lately

    Hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of murders allowed to happen by the state in order to supposedly stop hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of murders – Once again what makes that type of state terrorism any different than the terrorism they were supposedly attempting to stop ?

  • johnny lately

    I simply said not All UDR/RUC were state murders, there was lots of serving members of both the RUC and UDR who were also members of loyalists paramilitaries and who committed murder but the state murderers who were allowed to murder hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of innocent people were those state agents in the various paramilitary groups on both sides of the religious divide.

    Bizarrely you claim just a few bad apples in the RUC or British intelligence controlled those state agents who were spread across Northern Ireland however others would strongly disagree with your viewpoint and for obvious reasons.

  • Jimmyz

    It was a war, what do you expect ?

  • Jimmyz

    Johnny, would you have killed baby Hitler if you had the chance ?

  • grumpy oul man

    Firstly it wasnt thousands and secondly nationalists had to watch loyalist killer get out of jail.
    I believe some run estates near you and are great friends with the DUP.

  • johnny lately

    Jesus your scraping the bottom of the barrel with that statement, you’d murder a baby to stop him maybe being a murderer in the future. How low could you go to justify the murder of hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of innocent people do you not think your not much different than that baby you want to kill who would maybe be a murderer in the future ?

  • Granni Trixie

    I was very taken with them, Mick.

  • Granni Trixie

    Am I alone in assuming that many who voted for the GFA thOught a reconciliation project was part of the deal? Not to mention power sharing which the DUP and SF have made unto a sharing- out system. So much for commitments to delivery.
    We have to start again.

  • Granni Trixie

    Sean,what is called ‘border campaign’ was started by Republicans in 1956 in mainly rural areas around the border but was called off by them in 1962 because of lack of support. Not least this is useful as a comparator to the Ira during the troubles which did gather support and momentum.

  • Granni Trixie

    Im pretty sure I heard someone say on the radio that Sf were blocking talks with the other parties and that DUP were agreeable.

  • AntrimGael

    …..but sure Unionists and the British said it was not a war but a campaign of terrorism. If it was a war why did the hunger strikers have to die for what most prisoners of war get automatically? If it was a war sure don’t the IRA, and Loyalists to be fair, have the right to be treated as veterans?
    However if it wasn’t a war shouldn’t Britain now be in the Hague for war crimes against it’s own citizens?
    Come on, make your mind up.

  • Granni Trixie

    When will Sf learn that playing nicely gets you further ahead in their goal of a UI? It’s good relations internally and with the Republic that will persuade not their usual tactics.

  • North Down dup

    Sorry hundreds of terrorists got out early, loyalist and republican unionists had to stand by and watch and there was nationalists too who had to watch aswell , that was a bad day for NI

  • grumpy oul man

    Not nearly as bad as the day it was decided that attacking peaceful civil rights marchers and convincing nationlists that unionists would oppose any attempt at creating a equal society with violence.
    Now that was a very bad day.

  • Aengus Millen

    You know another way to look at this is that SF under McGuiness has compromised and compromised to allow Stormont to work. I don’t say they do it disinterestedly, they have their obvious goals but it seems to me that if SF were collapsing the executive every other day over these outstanding commitments you would be equally critical. It seems to me true that a confluence of events including rhi, the Gaeltacht grant and lack of progress on SF’s issues led to the collapse of the executive and to SF taking a harder line this time. That doesn’t mean they’ll never go back into government. Unionists and supposed neutrals are always asking for Stormont to work like a normal government. In a normal governing system a party which made significant gains would be perfectly entitled to push its claims with all the political strength it has. Anyway my point is that you seem to be walking an untenable fine line between blaming SF for collapsing the government but suggesting that if they were better negotiators they would have done so earlier.

  • Nevin

    Does the ability to collapse the Executive trump a Petition of Concern?

  • Granni Trixie

    I’m not sure what you mean exactly but if you are getting at abuses of power neither good in my book. I also think SF in taking responsibility for collapsing the Exeuctuve are taking their voters for granted and narrowing their appeal.

  • John Collins

    Well they did not arrest a whole lot of them on internment day- not a single one in fact.
    As ever you are talking unadulterated mnonsense.

  • John Collins

    If the RUC were such Knights in shining armour why was the force disbanded?. No doubt individual members were good and decent men, like the senior officer who apealed to the PR to show restraint on Bloody Sunday, but there also had to be something wrong with the organisation, for it to be disbanded.
    And yes we have problems with Gardai down South also.

  • North Down dup

    Ruc was disbanded to please SF, British government sacrificed the Ruc to bring sf-ira on board, fit the sake of a so called peace process

  • mickfealty

    I honestly think it’s very important Granni.

  • North Down dup

    They were disbanded to please SF, British government did it to bring SF-ira on board, sacrificing the RUC for the sake of the so called peace process

  • Marcus Orr

    This is the only way forward for unionists long term. We have not yet understood the full implications of the 1998 GFA surrender by the British Government to Sinn Féin/IRA under duress from the USA.
    Instead of waiting for the inevitable demographic change to unfold over the next 15-20 years, we unionists should be actively engaged in discussion with FF & FG now. The only goal worth pursuing long-term is to prevent a future Sinn Féin all Ireland govt.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    A surprising number of our families have complex ancestry patterns, especially when traced back to the eighteenth century (I have family papers and a few relatives as obsessed as myself with family history). Even the most strong appearance of seemingly Scots planter names can cover local origin, as with many instances of Craig and Campbell in Antrim and Down. So you never know……

    Sligo is a very interesting case, as it had a pattern of enduring Commonwealth soldier plantation during the interregnum which ensured the appearance of a strong military “Association” in 1688/9. Most planters appear to have been from the old Eastern Association, who even in the New Model Army used the old Earl of Essex colours of “Tawney Orange.” So they older planters probably used these “sashes” when called to the colours by Chidley Coote and Lord Kingston to oppose the Jacobite forces being raised by Oliver O’Gara and other Catholic gentry.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    While I imagine you now all this Granni, I’ll pitch in my own thinking about why this was so. Of course the 1950s could show a more “heeled in”, secure Unionism under Brookborough, with none of the internal existential crisis which Paisley and his supporters created just after the end of the Border Campaign. For the urban minority, the memories of the instability of the 1920s and the threat of possible “Specials” violent retaliation as had occurred only thirty years back in adult memory ensured a lack of interest in revolution. In the border areas the increasingly Marxist slant developing in the IRA attracted little interest from the settled farming communities. There was certainly a broad recognition amongst Catholics and liberal Protestants of pervasive discrimination, something much discussed politically but regraded as a hopeless situation to redress with the apparently unchallengable one party Unionist system. But the whole community was beginning to easily mix across the old party boundaries at last, especially in the middle classes.

    Paisley’s challenge to O’Neill’s apparent “Lundyism” structurally changed all that. The dissatisfaction amongst traditional Unionist working class support which had ensured a 25% Labour vote in 1962 was occasioned by the highhandedness of the Conservative Unionism of the UUP in areas such as East Belfast, and in turn this was taken up and directed against the minority community and any Civil rights activity as a development of Paisley’s original anti-UUP agitation. I have it anecdotally (from UUP elders) that Paisley’s “mentor” Inspector John Nixon’s enduring hatred of his “betrayal” in the 1920/30s by the UUP was a strong influence on his thinking in this matter. The events of August 1969, where the devastating attacks on Catholic interfaces which had been threatened since the beginning of public demonstrations for Civil Rights became a driving reality which brought the minority to support anyone seemingly prepared to defend them from the uncontrolled attacks of both civilian and uniformed thugs, inspired by the reckless rhetoric of Paisley’s own brand of “Ulsteria.” The polarisation produced by this sealing off of localities through Paisleyite extremism was the major factor in encouraging the run away growth of support for violent Republicanism.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Except for a few books written at the time such as “Politics on the Streets” by Bob Purdie, and “the People’s Democracy” by Paul Arthur, I’m quite unwilling to recommend any study of the period 1968-72.

    http://cain.ulster.ac.uk/events/crights/purdie/index.html

    I’m quite critical of more recent specialist work such as Simon Prince’s books, which draws conclusions I’d not feel are fully justified, perhaps by his being so reliant on textual sources.

  • Skibo

    Mick your comment on how the Southern parties deal with SF may change if they reject devolution. Will that mean that they accept them as not worthy of sharing power within the Island or that they will now accept them as a party worthy of sharing power with south of the border.
    They continuously told Unionism that SF were worthy of power-sharing north of the border but for some reason it was not the same south of the border.

  • Skibo

    Jimmyz the question should be how much of Hitler’s actions were as a consequence of birth and how much was a consequence of his upbringing?
    Had Martin McGuinness be born into a family in Dublin, would he have ended up in the IRA, I very much doubt it.

  • North Down dup

    Don’t forget Johnston even stronger than Craig or Campbell, funny you said sligo has an appearance of a strong military association, my granny moved to Holywood during the second world war, joined the British army

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I have this theory that the name Johnston in South Armagh covers the descendants of my own illustrious namesake, Seán Donnghaileach Mac Cuinn Bhacaigh Ó Néill, as an Anglisation of “McShane.” The chaos of the year 1688 in Sligo following the King’s being deposed led to the formation of what were called “Protestant Associations”, a name which echoed the formations of parliamentary Miloitias in England in 1641 to fight Charles I. I’ve written about all this at some length in book still out with my agent at the moment.

    My own mother was in the WRAFF, but then by 1941 only my grandmother was not in some branch of the forces. We knew of a few other families who acted similarly, but it was appoint of contention that so many others who were “strong for the Union” were not equally strong at the recruitment office. Good to exchange with a person whose family was!

  • North Down dup

    When I hear the song ring out – 10 German bombers in the air and the RAF from ulster shot them down, I will think of your mum, ps only having a joke with you

  • Trasna

    How come you’re such a staunch unionist then?

  • Trasna

    Dublin and Monaghan x 2. An act of war against a sovereign independent state. If The Troubles were happening now, the UK would most probably be kicked out of the EU and facing sanctions.

  • Trasna

    Obtaining the name by royal prerogative doesn’t make an O’Neill.

    The name was once banned. The oldest royal house in Europe and still recognised as such.

  • Marcus Orr

    “…..but sure Unionists and the British said it was not a war but a campaign of terrorism. If it was a war why did the hunger strikers have to die for what most prisoners of war get automatically? ”
    You are well mixed up. Yes, it was not a war. Yes, it was terrorism. Therefore the hunger strikers were treated as criminals because they were…criminals. Got it ?

  • Marcus Orr

    “If it was a war sure don’t the IRA, and Loyalists to be fair, have the right to be treated as veterans? ”
    Yes, since the surrender of the British Govt. to Sinn Féin/IRA in 1998, the IRA and the loyalists have indeed been treated as veterans – all released if they had served a term of 2 years maximum, even for murder. I was against GFA in 1998 precisely because a thug like Michael Stone was released under the terms of GFA. Do you remember what that guy did? And after his release he tried to kill again (in 2006).

  • AntrimGael

    What was that you were saying Mick about playing the man?

  • Marcus Orr

    Oh dear. Playing the man means ignoring your actual argument and just calling you names.

    Playing the ball means analysing and critising the ARGUMENT put forward by the person. I criticised your argument. Look at it, read it again above.

    “…..but sure Unionists and the British said it was not a war but a campaign of terrorism. If it was a war why did the hunger strikers have to die for what most prisoners of war get automatically? ”

    I just said, it was not a war, and so the hunger strikers died…because their demands were not met…because they were criminals….got it? The whole reason why Sands died was because Thatcher was NOT prepared to recognise him as a “prisoner of war”. She saw him as a criminal (he did blow up the Balmoral Furniture company in 1976 after all)…

  • AntrimGael

    I have no problem addressing your points but telling people they are ‘well mixed up’ and calling them ‘silly’ I would imagine constitutes ‘playing the man’. Maybe Mick could clarify as he is in that sort of mood as he reminded me earlier.

  • Marcus Orr

    I’m saying that your points are mixed up and if you say Britain in 2017 is “colonial” then sorry that is silly.
    If you don’t agree, then by all means show me why I’m wrong to say that.
    Apart from that, nothing against you at all, my fellow Antrim man.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    How sweet, Trasna, that’s the first time anyone has accused me of Unionism in quite a while, although it has happened a few times before she posters are unfamiliar with my wider range of postings on Slugger. Are you perhaps being ironic? As David Crookes once told me on another thread it’s difficult to “do Irony” on Slugger without adding notes.

    If you are entirely serious, what you may be reacting to is my clear detestation of what I believe to have been an entirely counter-productive recourse to violence by PIRA. I was involved in my teens with the small group which the PD would grow out of, later the PD itself, and still believe that the policy of pacifist civil disobedience would have had far more effect had it been permitted to run its course without a violent intervention which polarised the community and ensured pretty much full Unionist support for the NI state and even the Paisley position from even quite liberal Unionists who had tacitly supported the unquestioned need for Civil Rights (such as members of my own extended family). My own enduring position on the history is still with that of the old PD crowd, who were seeking intelligent ways to bring us all well away from the sectarian inheritance of the wee six and develop a one community approach, something which the recourse to violence entirely aborted.

    But I’d value clarification of what you are suggesting, as the one thing I’ve never considered myself to be at any point in my career is a Unionist of any hue!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The interesting thing here is that the current Ó Néill Lisbon, Don Hugo, is a good friend of the current Lord O’Neill of Shane’s Castle, and fully recognises him, and that Chichester branch, as part of the extended Ó Néill family. And as the current representative of “The oldest royal house in Europe and still recognised as such” I’d accept his word on the matter myself. I’ve personally been severely critical of Captain O’Neill’s politics on Slugger, but I’d never question his right to the name, howbeit through the female line.

    Regarding Captain O’Neill’s much over-rated liberal politics:

    https://disqus.com/home/discussion/sluggerotoole/the_life_and_career_of_martin_mcguinness_will_fit_neatly_into_derry_a_tale_of_two_sieges/#comment-3224206262

  • Trasna

    It’s just some of your posts led me to the conclusion that you were a unionist despite your user name.

    When in Irish history has constitutional nationalism ever got Ireland anywhere? Not O”Connell, Parnell or Redmond. Only the Land League managed to achieve anything of merit and that was down to violence and the threat of.

  • Trasna

    Ah hear, some years ago DNA testing was done on the Donegal football and found most of the panel to be direct descendants of the O’Neills. There’s thousands of people who carry the O’Neill surname on this island alone who have better claim to the name.

    Claims to ancient Irish surnames is not a gift to bestow by foreign monarchs.

    Not sure Don Hugo recognises Lord O’Neill as the rightful heir because he most certainly is not. He’s a usurper.

    Same goes Lord The Gus O’Donnell.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Don Hugo is hardly a “foreign monarch.” He’s internationally recognised as the O’Neill Lisbon, the head of the O’Neill clan, and in my book would make pretty good King of Ireland if we reverted to our inclinations rather than this Republicanism we’ve picked up from the Cromwellian planters along the way! I know Don Hugo to be a long term friend of Lord O’Neill. In those conversations we’ve had he has made this very point about recognition of his “cousin” as an O’Neill (not as any sort of “heir”though) and quite forcibly! You misunderstand, he’s not bestowing a gift in this but simply recognising that the current Lord O’Neill has an excellent claim to kinship with us other O’Neills through the female line, unless of course you only consider that men can somehow inherit the O’Neill genes……..

    Regarding the DNA markers for Niall Noígíallach, hundreds of thousands would be nearer the mark.

    How do you personally mark people up or down in permitting them their identity? Look, I’m not unaware of Chicester’s genocidal activity at the end of the Nine Years War, but that’s not Lord O’Neill’s only lineage. One of the problems of being locked up together on a small island for a few centuries is that things can get very mixed up, no matter how much the “pure bloods” of either camp would wish it to be otherwise. Most of us are examples of this, and one of the most accomplished of recent Lambeg experts had a name which clearly marked him as a probable warrior of my illustrious namesake a few centuries back.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    The sooner the better………

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Well, if the Unionists in the north had sanely accepted Home Rule it would have saved us all a century of violence and partition. And if you’re touting full independence, just think about Canada or Australia. I agree its nothing like as romantic or showy as killing people, but it would have delivered the goods more efficiently, just as the NICRA civil disobedience policy would have toppled Unionist hegemony far more efficiently than blowing things up and killing people. The point is Unionism’s taking up the gun in 1912 ensured we did not collectively have the option of seeing what boring old normal politics could achieve, rather than polarisation and blood.

    But this Unionist label you’ve taken up, its a bit like putting one hand into cold water, the other in hot and then putting them both into luke warm water together. To one it feels Unionist, to the other Republican…….