Gerry Adams dons the mantle of McGuinness and holds out his hand to unionists

 

In an interview with Sky News on the eve of the resumed interparty talks, Gerry Adams addresses familiar charges levelled against him by more than unionists. In a move clearly designed to  win greater trust, the Sinn Fein president is  at pains to deny that  he is raising the bar so high as to guarantee that the talks will fail, with the  ulterior motive of abandoning the Assembly and exploiting Brexit to pursue a strategy of Irish unity based in the south.  He’s also seeking to disabuse his critics of the stereotype, that he is the hard man who believes all the pressure for equality is really a Trojan Horse to achieve a united Ireland, compared to McGuinness  “the patient man” who was sincere in his dealings with unionists.

However in a lengthy version of  the interview carried in the Belfast Telegraph, Adams warns  that Sinn Fein will require more progress from the DUP than they might have done, had Martin McGuinness still been leading the party in the Assembly.  “ If  a power-sharing deal was made at Stormont tomorrow it wouldn’t last unless it is “sustainable, due to the absence of Martin McGuinness”.

“When you have somebody as big and as strong and formidable as Martin he could carry that to a certain degree for the rest of us. Martin’s gone so even if we were able to cobble something together tomorrow it wouldn’t last so I want it to be sustainable.”

His repeated references to McGuinness seem aimed  at  holding firm to Sinn Fein demands while trying to reassure unionists that he is genuine about restoring the Assembly. This is in accord with  McGuinness’ post-resignation interview carried on the Sinn Fein website when he addressed the implied criticism that he had been too soft on the DUP.

Even though some people might have been impatient with me in terms of decisions I came to, I thought it was very important to maintain the institutions. But just as importantly to try to convince the British government and the unionists that they needed a sea change in their attitude…

I do believe that many people in grass roots unionism.. are likely to see that all out best interests are not served by a hard Brexit.

I do accept there were many people who were agitated that I didn’t move quicker. But I’m a patient man. I’ve been around negotiations for a very long time.  I thought I had a responsibility to everybody and I was trying to do my best to make the process work.

Gerry Adams is saying in terms that while he is patient man too, McGuinness’s successor Michelle O’Neill cannot politically afford to be quite so patient as Martin was.      

Asked why agreement could not be reached at Stormont over relatively minor issues like an Irish language act last week:

“The issues we have to deal with are not as difficult as the issues which we have dealt with in the past and resolved in the past.”

“It isn’t that we’re reluctant to share power, I believe fully and we’re wedded to the Good Friday Agreement and the political institutions.

“But as Martin McGuinness said there can be no return to the status quo, so what went wrong was that terms of previous agreements and accords were not implemented and not delivered.”

During the interview Mr Adams also denied that a special designated status  for Northern Ireland post-Brexit would be a united Ireland by the back door.

He said there was little doubt the Irish border would become a “hard economic frontier” following Brexit unless Northern Ireland was given special status.

He insisted this would not infringe on the constitutional issue.

“That can only be sorted out if a majority of people in the north and the south vote for it,” he said.

“But we have to deal with what is essentially an English problem. The English government are ignoring what the people of Scotland want, they’re ignoring what the people of the north of Ireland want.”

Asked why he had not followed the lead of the Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon in asking the Prime Minister for an independence referendum he said: “I’m very conscious that a republic should not be seen in anyway as exploiting the consequences of Brexit. The type of Ireland we want has to be one in which unionism, decent unionists, are content.

“It needs to be agreed, it needs to give them their place, it needs to respect everything that they want in terms of the way forward. It can’t be like putting the shoe on the other foot. We don’t want, I don’t want, as someone who was born into a state that didn’t want me I don’t want a new Ireland to be anything other than a harmonious fraternity of all the people who live on this Ireland.”

Asked by Sky News  if he would talk about his long-alleged involvement in the IRA if an independent truth commission was established:

“Yes, I have said and Martin and I said this together and we’ve said it quite a few times, that we would both do our best and we would also encourage other Republicans to come forward if there was a satisfactory arrangement put in place and that’s my commitment.

“Martin’s not here, but that’s still my commitment.”

Adams denied that his party was focused only on the actions of British soldiers during the conflict.

“Our position has been for an international, independent truth commission that everybody can make use of but we compromised on this issue,” he said.

“I believe that victims of the IRA, or at least their relatives, have the right to truth and I believe that those who are victims of British Army violence or state violence also have the right to truth and the British government is holding that back.”

So far, an independent international truth commission is not on the table.

Although he is inviting  some kind of response  from the DUP and  the other parties to the talks, Gerry Adams revealed no new policy positions including anything on the their opposition to Arlene Foster’s immediate return as first minster – even though he has already said he believes  her to be innocent of serious wrong doing in the RHI affair.

 

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  • Tochais Siorai

    Gavin may not agree…………

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Thank you T.E. I’m all for a full and lucid memory of the twists and turns of our painfully contradictory history! When I was discussing the Civil war of 1688/91 with people here twenty years back I used to delight in slipping in the term “Loyalist” (as it was used at the time) for those who lost all, land, position, family, lives even, in affirming their unshakable loyalty to their anointed (and surprisingly liberal-minded) king, James II & VII. People at both ends of our current political squabbles could take offence, as could most people below county Armagh. The truth is seldom painless.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I’ve a horrible feeling he’d keep my own little acre above Larne out of its proper place in a United Ireland for a few years more, if such a thing were possible.

  • Enda
  • SeaanUiNeill

    The clever thing if they Unionists were looking at things in the long term would have been to set a precedent for joint sovereignty in the Belfast Agreement itself, as Richard Kearney suggested in the heady days leading up to the Agreement. But they would have their dreams of a few more years of “pretend” British sovereignty………….

  • Skibo

    Problem is that ever since, the British Government has done all in it’s power to defend the position of Unionism within the UK rather than show how they could make reunification work.
    In their defence the political parties in the South have not done anything of any significance since the inception of the southern state.
    It was as if they had suffered so much during the civil war that they were not prepared to do anything to antagonise the Unionist community.
    I do not propose antagonism but do think it is time that the Dail started wooing the Unionist community and show how reunification could work and how it would be in their interest to make it as smooth a journey as possible.
    Sometimes good leadership is about preparing your electorate for the inevitable rather that just preparing for “the good fight”

  • Tochais Siorai

    You may have to declare the little acre to be an independent republic, Seaan.

    Could be the West Berlin of Ireland.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But what is achieved by voting the same old one trick pony with cod policies back in again and again, it simply encourages the sort of laziness which let everything break down with Arlene’s failure to step down in the face of a significant scandal. If you are serious about the Union appealing to more people then genuine reasons are required to vote for the Union, over and above simply “keeping themuns out.”

    This needs a party which is either offering something more from the Union than a continued membership of the “ten poorest regions in northern Europe club” or intelligently preparing the section of our community that currently votes Unionist for a future change of constitutional status which they must take full advantage of to properly develop the place in which they live. Unless NI finally wakes up to find it is actually the “Square MIle” itself this is unlikely to ever happen in a Britain which can boast 9 out of 10 of the poorest regions in northern Europe, certainly not under a party whose greatest aspiration is simply to be in control of the management of handouts from Westminster. That is the reality of what busing the electorate to the polling stations to vote DUP is selling us.

    http://www.tomforth.co.uk/poorestineurope/

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Might just squeeze a few more years out of that but in the e vent of problems it would make the Berlin Airlift look like a quiet afternoon’s recreation. Now as the six counties were never economically sustainable on their own, I’m just wondering……..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Did that twenty years ago, just no-one noticed……..

  • SeaanUiNeill

    When I talk to some of the peripheral “great and good” socially in Dublin (or on holiday in west Cork) they are full of concern for re-unification and its opportunities, but that may just be out of politeness to someone living in the north.

  • Marcus Orr

    It makes no sense to make another partition, sorry. Whichever way you draw the map you are displacing huge amounts of people – big pockets of unionists have to leave majority nationalist Armagh, Fermanagh and some parts of Tyrone to go to the “rump NI”, and even if you say Antrim and Down are strongly unionist, what do you do up the north Antrim coast, and above all what the heck do you do with West Belfast and large parts of North Belfast too ? Sorry, but it’s a mad idea.
    And apart from that, in the surrender of the British Govt. to Sinn Féin/IRA back in the Belfast agreement in 1998, there is no allowance for a further partition anyway. Everything’s been sorted out and signed & sealed already. Every 7 years a referendum can be held in NI, if the province votes to remain British, this is just a contingent vote, we wait another 7 years and then try again….and again…and again. The moment 50,000001% vote for a united Ireland it’s all over we have a United Ireland for evermore. GFA: one way street to a United Ireland.
    So don’t bother about the partition idea, it’s a non-starter. Everything was settled back when our govt. conceded defeat to the provos in 1998.

  • North Down dup

    Do you know what equality really means, think about it Equal marriage means the same, (equality) heterosexual and homosexual are not the same , there is a major difference between the two,

  • the keep

    Do decent people support a party leader who let his niece get abused and do nothing about it yes or no?

  • the keep

    So anti Protestant behaviour didn’t exist then?

  • Marcus Orr

    Gavin, you’re right to say more people speak Polish than Irish as first language.
    But you can’t say one place name in Northern Ireland without using the Irish language. In terms of cultural heritage for us, Irish has great value even if no-one is speaking the language.
    So, yes to an Irish language Act, but no to Irish being given the same status as English, it should be set up as 2nd official language after the English language.

  • Enda

    Do you have any evidence that suggests GA ‘let’ his niece get abused.

    That’s quite the accusation.

  • Enda

    In that case can I suggest you take up flying as a hobby – without the use of an aircraft.

  • Charlie

    But who wanted Ulster divided all those years ago ? Love Ulster !!

  • AntrimGael

    Could I suggest taking a walk around North Belfast and large parts of Glengormley. Most of the new housing builds, private and public, are being taken up by a younger Nationalist population.
    Look at places like the Hightown Road, North Queen Street, Bawnmore, Mill Road, Girdwood, Glandore, Skegoneil Avenue, Alexander Park Avenue etc.
    Virtually ALL of the new housing developments in North Belfast are populated by tbe Catholic community who are also increasing in numbers around East Antrim, Strangford, North Down etc.

  • Katyusha

    I like that actually. Great poster.
    SF should give the personal call not to emigrate more airtime as well, they do put out some material around emigration (particularly the youth wings) in the south, but mostly blaming the government for causing it.

    The “no freedom without freedom of x” tagline is superb as well.

    Speaking of election posters which look out of place in the modern day, I have to say this one is a personal favourite.

    https://irishelectionliterature.files.wordpress.com/2010/03/pbp.jpg

  • Glenn

    “The type of Ireland we want has to be one in which unionism, decent unionists, are content”.

    Who does Adams consider a “decent Unionist”??? Is he going to be marking off who he thinks are acceptable Unionists for his vision of an united Ireland??? I would contend that Adams statement has all the hallmarks of fascism, ethnic cleansing and discrimination and look where that lead to in the 30’s and 40’s.

    Maybe Adams can inform us as to who and what is his criteria to be an Adams defined “decent Unionist”??? And what “decent Unionist” would want to go into a united Ireland were Adams selects who he wants and doesn’t want???

    Is a repentant Loyalist paramilitary who murdered a “decent Unionist”??? But a politically active or ordinary Unionist who was non violent. But who refuses to accept Adams and his sectarian terror, are they not a decent Unionist???

    Adams vision of Ireland smacks of fascism, ethnic cleansing and discrimination.
    Is this Adams Ireland of equals an Ireland were all the children are cherished equally???

  • Marcus Orr

    Of course they won’t go to war over NI, they already surrendered back in 1998 to Sinn Féin/IRA ! I remember reading the minister Douglas-Home back in 1972 (when 70%+ of the NI population were Unionist) advocating that the British Govt. work for a withdrawal from NI rapidly).
    The British Govt. is just hoping to death (more than Sinn Féin is hoping) that the demographics showing a future nationalist majority in NI move a wee bit quicker than expected and that they can be rid of NI faster than they hoped. And let the Republic see how well their security forces can deal with the Shankill Road etc. if the loyalists take a leaf out of SF’s 1969-1998 playbook…

  • Marcus Orr

    Now, now, from the start of NI Catholic schools always got their full and generous funding from the state and retained all rights over the schooling of children from the Nationalist community in NI. No need to start to make things up.

  • Marcus Orr

    Steady on Glenn. I don’t like the guy either. But only because his hands are covered in blood. The fact is, he’s a clever man, a very talented politician and he’s been running rings around our ridiculous excuses for politicians on the unionist side for oh about 30 years now.

  • Katyusha

    Equal ≠ identical, ND!

    Equality does not mean “the same as”, it means “of equal value to”. Two bars represent an equality, but you need a third to show an identity.

    Lets play a little.
    Homosexual = heterosexual (equal to one another)
    Homosexual ≢ heterosexual (not identical to one another)

    /pedantry

  • John Collins

    As the GFA clearly indicates there is going to be no repartition and a bags was made of the first partitioning anyway with Fermanagh and Tyrone forced into NI against their wishes. The Brits nave said they have no selfish or STRATEGIC interest in remaining in control in NI without the support of a majority of the population.
    Now I, like several others of a Nationalist background, am not too pushed about a UI, but if a majority of NI people ever vote for it, it will probably happen.
    I think on all sides repartition is a non runner.

  • John Collins

    And it might surprise you to know that Protestants schools in the South were allowed to retain teachers when pupil numbers dropped below a certain number where RC schools were not and would have to let a teacher go.

  • John Collins

    And Bomber Harris in old age did not express the slighest regret for bombing 50,000, mainly innocent civilians, people to death.
    And Dan Breen when asked if he had any regrets, and he shot many, trenchently replied ‘I regret the lads I missed’.
    Those boys seldom apologise.

  • Marcus Orr

    No, it doesn’t surprise me, I know that in the South, as in the North, schooling and general religious freedom was not an issue.

  • John Collins

    JR
    Just a friendly and genuine intervention. The Irish Language is not the sole property of SF and indeed several Protestants have done a lot more to preserve the Irish Language than SF ever did.
    However Unionists, at least in the long term, may need a good level of Catholic support to maintain the Union. Insulting and belittling some thing many RCs, even those who have no interest in learning or speaking it, consider a part of their culture, may not be a bright idea on the part of Unionists.

  • Mike the First

    Are “decent” unionists the ones among the “bastards” that you’ve managed to “break”, Gerry?

  • John Collins

    Not always the case in GB. In the the Maamturk Murders Trial the trial was conducted completely in English without Irish translation, despite the fact that the defendents were from Connemara and and had no English.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Gavin, reparrtition is not going to happen. If a new, agreed Ireland (a United Ireland sounds too much like provo talk) comes about, unionism should not desert any of its kith and kin and leave them on a different side of a boundary. It happened before and it was wrong. If it’s one in, then it will be all in. United we stand and divided we fall etc. What will probably happen is over a ten year period is that many young unionists will move east and settle in majority unionist areas. Not everyone will do that, but west of the Bann will become a place for elderly unionists

    We have to realise that it’s not 1922. The catholic Ireland of de Valera and his cohorts is gone (thankfully). The likes of Haughey have gone, too. A new all island state (if it happens) will be nothing like the 1916 rebels died for. Many republicans will be disappointed by that. The Tricolour and Soldier’s Song will be gone and unionists areas will not be patrolled by the Guards. The PSNI will still be doing the job.

    “Decent nationalists” will not mind the changes in their island if a genuine unity happens.

  • John Collins

    Thanks for the reply. Where parties north and south tried to be fair are never mentioned.

  • Oggins

    Thoughtless and day dreaming.

  • North Down dup

    Your making equality what ever you want to make it , equality does mean the same , gave me a link to say otherwise,
    Homosexual – heterosexual is not equal to one another, (common sense tells you that )

  • Oggins

    Gavin,that would be nuts and pointless

  • Katyusha

    Probably the ones that there was never any need or desire to “break”, because they’re not afraid of equality. We’re building a republic of equals, after all.

  • Oggins

    Well said

  • Marcus Orr

    No, you’re right. Usually it’s just an attempt to score points against each other. But there were relatively few issues in the South, after some initial problems in the early 20’s. It would be a lie to say that protestants were generally badly treated.

  • John Collins

    Oh course there was, but mainly in the early days immediately after independence and was that entirely surprising, if utterly unjustifiable.
    The Catholic population were just coming out a period of about three hundred and fifty years in which they were regarded by the establishment as second class, while the said establishment regarded themselves as the Ascendency.
    Rightly or wrongly being Protestants may have been seen as at least been sympathetic to that Ascendency.
    Having said all that nobody Catholic or Protestant should h have been killed or terrified out of their homes and the Ne Temere Decree was an absolute scandal and, even though a Catholic, I have held that view for decades.

  • John Collins

    Absolutely sensible and up todate assessment. Reunification,if it ever hapens, cannot be seen as a victory for either side.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Can you point me to the part of his statement that indicates that ethnic cleansing is part of his vision for Ireland?

  • NotNowJohnny

    The British are abandoning this place as soon as they get the result they crave in the border poll. It’s already enshrined in an international treaty and cannot be undone. It’s a pity you weren’t around in 1920 as that was the time to make your point. So I’m afraid that wherever it is that you live, your town is going to become part of a UI along with Larne, Carrickfergus, Lisburn, Ballymena and Portadown so the sooner you get used to the idea the better. Of course those who classify themselves as British and who want to live in Britain post reunification will still be free to do so. But it won’t be as a result of repartition. No sensible person thinks that this is a runner. Only those who live in a fantasy world.

  • NotNowJohnny

    I know that loyalists tend to be a bit thick politically speaking, but what would be the objective of a military campaign by loyalists on the shankill road?

  • Marcus Orr

    Mindless terrorism. SF’s terrorism was not mindless, it was brutal and evil but not mindless, they had solid support from all the plastic paddies in the USA enabling the weapons to be bought from Colonel Ghaddafi, FARC etc.
    The loyalists, who have no political support and no international support (ulster unionism is not a beloved international cause like irish nationalism is) will just think “oh well they did it, it worked, let’s do the same thing”. They don’t have the arms the IRA had (never had the same international backing) so will just carry out mindless disgusting killings of supposed “enemies”.

  • Marcus Orr

    I think it’s useful to remark on the fact that the loyalist terrorists got at their highest point less than 2% of the total votes in NI (PUP & UDP together back in the 90’s). DUP and UUP, for all their faults, always condemned any and every killing by the loyalist paramilitaries.
    On the nationalist side, Sinn Féin asked for the prisoners from the “war” to be freed, and quickly got that concession from the defeated British govt. in 1998 (with kind assistance from Billy Clinton). I did not want criminals like Michael Stone to be released as “prisoners of war” but he was. I don’t know any unionists who wanted the loyalists murderers freed. But they were. Along with their fellow “prisoners of war” from SF/IRA.

  • Marcus Orr

    “but refered to a war long over”

    You mean a successful terrorism campaign long over…

  • Gopher

    “Caral Ni Chuilin had already produced the basics of an Irish Language Act”

    Yes we know the basics its called an Irish Language and and it involves the Irish langauge and taxpayers money.. SF have not explained anything else.

  • NotNowJohnny

    That sounds remarkably like what loyalists did during the period 1968-1994 so I’m not quite sure why you referred to Sinn Fein. But I get your point.

  • Marcus Orr

    Because Sinn Féin/IRA got both sides, themselves and the loyalists, off back in 1998.

  • Katyusha

    Well, I was playing around with mathematical language, but since you asked, I’m happy to oblige. Equality means two things have the same value, not necessarily that they are the same thing.

    https://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/equality.html

    Definition of Equality
    The state of being equal. Having the same amount or value.

    If the two sides of your equation are not only equal, but always equal, then your two functions are not only equal but identical i.e they express exactly the same thing.

    https://www.mathsisfun.com/definitions/identity.html

    Definition of Identity
    An equation that is true no matter what values are chosen.

    God created all men equal, but obviously He did not make them all the same.

  • Mark Petticrew

    I’m interested in this idea of cantonisation that was mentioned in the linked article as an alternative to simply transferring the 6 county jurisdiction and its associated institutions from the British state into a new all-Ireland one.

    I can’t see unionists ever fully embracing a new 32 county political arrangement, but through the creation of Swiss-style cantons in say Bangor, Carrickfergus, Lisburn etc, they’ll at least be able to feel like masters of their own house in their respective unionist strongholds.

  • Mike the First

    When you use something as a “Trojan Horse”, you’re pretending to be offering something benign so you can launch an attack.

    So no-one’s “afraid of equality” in the Adams Trojan Horse scenario – just wary something masquerading as “equality” but being used as a an attack weapon.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Or we could just make unionism a political ideal, not one related to Protestantism or the OI.

    Before Christmas this site abounded with unionists quoting polls that stipulated how little of an appetite there was within the nationalist and Catholic communities for a UI, clear evidence that the status quo has some appeal.

    Why not prise open that particular door and make the union even more appealing?

    There is NO need whatsoever for the preservation of the union to include loyalist symbols or the automatic support of the Orange Order whenever it gets into a tight spot yet these are the things that political unionism often insist upon.

    Why shave off bits of Northern Ireland when you could have them voting to stay?

  • grumpy oul man

    I mean a name used by some people, your reading to much into it.

  • grumpy oul man

    Am no the DUP and UUP rerely condemned loyalist murders.
    Why dont you put up some links of the leaders of any unionists condemning loyalists during the troubles.
    Sorry Marcus but i am no lover of the shinners or what the RA done, but a history that absolves the unionist parties from blame over thier actions (and inactions) during the troubes wil not float.
    The Shinners arnt the only ones with a past.

  • Marcus Orr

    The difference is that DUP & UUP didn’t kill anyone and weren’t the political wing of any terrorist organisation.

  • Zorin001

    That is separate to the matter in hand. Gavins statement was that we have as much equality as any Western Democracy, I was simply pointing out that that statement is false as we don’t even have the same level of equality as every other constituent part of the UK.

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    You ever heard of Ulster Resistence?

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    Why? Even excluding the five West Belfast MLA’s recently elected, out of the remaining 15 in South, East and North Belfast only six are unionist. That is less than half. What is it that you are basing your assertion on? Belfast isn’t a unionist city. Not by a long stretch

  • Marcus Orr

    Who did they kill?

  • North Down dup

    Your still playing around, you said the definition of equality means the same .( Same thing ) that’s what I told you.
    Definition of identity I don’t care this was about the definition of equality .
    God created all men equal – they will be equally judged.
    God said when man and woman come together (maraige )their soul will become one .
    As I said common sense tells you heterosexual and homosexual are different

  • Katyusha

    Equality means two things are of equal value, not the same thing, ND.

    For example, today, €1 = £0.85545
    Those two quantities have the same value. But they are not the same thing; if I have a euro in my pocket it is different from having eighty-five pence.
    Tomorrow the euro might be worth eighty-six pence. So it that case €1 = £0.86. So the euro and its equal value in sterling are not the same thing.
    However if I have two fifty cent coins, it will always equal one euro. The two things are identical. So I can write €1 ≡ €0,50 * 2.

    That’s enough maths for now. If you believe that homosexual relationships are of less value than heterosexual ones, that is your own value system and you’re entitled to hold it. But there are a lot of people out there who would not agree with it.

  • North Down dup

    We do have as much equality as any western democracy, (some say to much ). you pointed out gay marriage as equality am pointing out to another poster equality and gay marriage is not the same,
    Talking about the UK ask a English man about equality water chargers etc that’s equality

  • North Down dup

    The definition of equality means the same your last post was spot on explaining the definition of equality.I don’t know your point with this money business, I can see were your trying to come from.
    You can be gay if you want that’s up to them . But using gay marriage and equality to suit someone’s views is wrong
    Ps your one of the good posters on hear

  • Laurence Rocke

    Will your capital city be Ballymena, Gavin, because Belfast has definitely a substantial non-unionist majority already?

  • Katyusha

    I’m only teasing out the semantics of the language, ND, I’m not really arguing with you.
    I’m an engineer by trade, so I find it interesting how the nuance conveyed by words changes when you have to be very precise with your language, like you must in mathematics or the sciences – such as how the words “equal” and “identical” mean different things in mathematics but similar things in everyday speech. Dealing with hard figures means you need to be precise with your logic. It’s that distinction that I’m playing on, but you don’t have to think anything of it.

    Nevertheless, there is an important point underlying all this. We use the term “equality” to compare the equal worth of different things. It is a subjective concept, the implications of which varies from person to person depending on their own system of values.
    In the past, we built societies where men and women were not equal; and so women could not vote. We built societies where people of different races were not equal, especially marked in the slave trade and during apartheid. We built societies where rich and poor were not equal, where the landowner and the tenant were not equal, where the aristocracy and the commoners were not equal, where people of different religious beliefs were not equal. Nowadays, in our modern, Western societies, we recognise this as foolish and wrong.

    I believe the same acceptance of equality for the LGBT community will come in time, if it has not done so already (indeed, as has been accepted in law in both GB and in the south). Personally, as a republican, I want to build a society where everyone is equal no matter about their background or identity, and that includes LGBT marriage and it includes the equal rights of the unborn child.

    And thank you ND. I enjoy reading your posts also; you’re a good and honest man.

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    Several hundred people. I’d recommend doing a bit of research chief

  • Marcus Orr

    Ah, Ulster Resistance killed several hundred ? Care to give me any links ?

  • Marcus Orr

    Still waiting for that list of hundreds killed by Ulster Resistance, Ciaran….

  • Jollyraj

    Thanks John. A gentlemanly comment deserves a sincere riposte and, yes, I know it isn’t. I have no particular issue with the Irish language – my concerns are economic ones. I simply don’t see the benefits attached to the likely costs – and am concerned at the lack of realistic cost estimates and apparent lack of enthusiasm for a cap on spending. Have we learnt nothing from RHI?

    My thinking is, sure, let’s have it if people want it – though put equal funding into Ulster Scots, since it is clearly a cultural rather than an economic benefit we’re investing in. Instead of a narrow focus on language alone why not bring Irish and Scots music, dancing etc into it, too. Why not have storytelling – traditional Irish folk tales and the Scots migration epics. House events in the same locations so we can promote cross-cultural pollination – and maybe community centres rather than schools (segregated education being one of the very worst things we are inexplicably continuing to allow). All of that could be great, but keep the political parties and their activists far, far away from it.

    And, in keeping with common sense, cap the spending.

    Am I being unreasonable?

  • Marcus Orr

    Jollyraj, fair enough comment.
    I don’t believe in putting the same funding into Ulster Scots though, let’s be honest (I’m a unionist myself) it’s not a separate language but a dialect of English, isn’t it? I always kind of get the feeling that unionists are advancing Ulster Scots as a political counterbalance to the Irish language advanced by Sinn Féin, not because they actually really love & cherish Ulster Scots…
    If the DUP were thinking (they weren’t and don’t) this is one of the areas where they could be the most accommodating. The Irish language doesn’t threaten anyone, and I for one would love to learn it a bit.
    The DUP ought to have had the attitude from the start to promote the Irish language as 2nd official language (after and clearly in 2nd place to English).
    And of course cap the spending, but it’s the way the DUP oppose Irish that makes them look arrogant. They get hung up on each new Gaeltacht being named after Bobby Sands, or whatever…don’t they understand that Sinn Féin are only trying to provoke them ? Just accept it, move on, and make the least noise possible. We all know SF are trying to use it as a political tool. That’s not right. But who cares ? Making remarks only motivates the SF base.

  • George

    Peter Robinson, who went on to become leader of the DUP and by association unionism, refused to condemn the UDA or UVF as terrorists. As he said when working on behalf of UDA and UVF prisoners in the 1980s. “I make no apology for working on behalf of the prisoners”.

    On the murders, maiming and bombing of these groups compared to the IRA:
    “The only distinction that there can be is that they wouldn’t have been there in the first place if the authorities had countered the terrorism themselves.”

    Do I even have to go into Ulster Resistance and its links to the UDA, RHC and UVF?

    Any goodbye 1980s for now.

  • Marcus Orr

    http://www.nytimes.com/1991/10/29/world/protestant-gunmen-step-up-the-violence-in-northern-ireland.html

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/northern_ireland/4640781.stm

    “Do I even have to go into Ulster Resistance and its links to the UDA, RHC and UVF?”

    No, except you may want to mention (if you were fair-minded that is) that the DUP completely severed any links with Ulster Resistance after that one (now famed) appearance with them in November 1986.

  • Hugh Davison

    I though that word (indecent) was yours, not Gerry’s.

  • Hugh Davison

    Who used the expression ‘indecent Unionist’? I couldn’t see it in the OP.
    Honestly, this place is beginning to resemble the Trump White House alternative facts machine.

  • Skibo

    Marcus, first things first, Catholic schools do not get the full funding. Along with all faith schools, they get 90%.
    Secondly, the issue was always that you could be designated as to which community you came from by requesting the name of your school. In such ways, jobs for the boys could be directed to one side of the community or the other.

  • Skibo

    To what political agenda would the Loyalists on the Shankill Road be looking?
    If you have accepted that the British Government do not want you, why are you not in discussions with the Irish Government to secure the best deal possible for the Unionist and Loyalist community?

  • Skibo

    Look I accept that there was an element of persecution against the Protestant community but I think it was more a localised thing than Government directed as it was in the North.
    The South has moved on leaps and bounds while too many within the Unionist community are holding back the whole community.

  • Marcus Orr

    I’m not a loyalist, I’m a unionist. The loyalists during the troubles had basically no political wing, because they had virtually no political support.
    The loyalists agenda will be simple, to fight against the Irish flag flying in the North and the removal of the British state etc. Hopefully won’t happen but you never know.
    As to your other question, I agree with you that the only long-term goal that unionists in NI can have is to secure a good deal respecting traditions etc. and to find political allies in the South to prevent a future Sinn Féin all-Ireland govt. But unionists tend to have good ideas approx. 30 years too late. Nice idea from Mike Nesbitt with the whole UUP – SDLP ticket, but not discussed internally nor with the SDLP in advance, amateurish in execution. And the time for the UUP to have made an alliance with SDLP would have been back in the 70’s / 80’s when SDLP had twice or three times as much support as Sinn Féin did. Ok, SDLP leaders probably would have been knocked off by Sinn Féin/ IRA if a UUP/SDLP NI powersharing had been agreed without releasing IRA prisoners etc., but at least the effort should have been made.

  • Skibo

    Marcus I think you are being disingenuous with your comment on Loyalism having no political wing. While publicly both the DUP and the UUP condemned Loyalist violence, both were prepared to use the muscle supplied to a political agenda.
    If there is a border poll with a positive result for reunification then it will happen. The British Government is legally tied into making sure reunification will happen in the event of a majority vote.
    If the British government say no to a continuation of British rule in Ireland, how does Loyalism convince them to stay. So far, the British government have only looked for a solution when violence hit British streets (as opposed to N Irish streets). Will Loyalism bring their violence to the streets of London?
    On the issue of SDLP/ UUP power sharing in the North, it was tried before. It was called Sunningdale. Unfortunately it was rejected by the Unionist community.
    I believe the rejection of Sunningdale was accepted too easily by the UUP as it happened on a Westminster vote and not an assembly vote. Had there been a couple of more years to bed in and a reduction in violence, who knows what would have happened. All I know is it did not happen at the hands of the IRA but through a UWC driven by Big Ian and the rump of the UUP, ably militarised by the UDA, so much for your political representation of Loyalist violence.

  • Marcus Orr

    The loyalists (UVF/UDA/UFF/LVF etc.) had a political wing, they polled approx. 1-2% top score during all the troubles. That’s why I said “virtually” no political support.
    The loyalist terrorists were never a part of UUP or DUP.
    They were around to help force the general strike to take down Sunningdale. Big Ian was allied with them in that regard, yes – for the strike. (by the way IRA terrorist activity continued straight through Sunningdale, so there was no chance for Sunningdale to work anyway). As Seamus Mallon teased Sinn Féin in 1998, GFA was Sunningdale for slow learners.
    A bit like the way NICRA was full of IRA activists in 1968, but it would be unfair to say John Hume was an IRA man, in cohorts with the gunmen, eh ? But for Paisley, well, any and every time he was seen near a loyalist, it stuck, eh ?
    Well, I can see by your comment accusing me of being disingenous (i.e. not honest) with my comment on loyalism, that there is no basis for continuing this conversation, as good faith is always required, and I can see when that is lacking.

  • Skibo

    Marcus, Nationalism always considered that both the UUP and DUP had Loyalist support any time it was required. Too bad David Irvine had to leave us before he could divulge the colour of the wallpaper in politicians good rooms.
    Do you remember a certain W McCrae sharing a lorry platform with a certain gentleman and I believe he was not the only politician there.
    As for the GFA being Sunningdale for slow learners, the GFA addressed the sensitive subjects of prisoners and weapons, something that Sunningdale had not even attempted..
    NICRA was not full of IRA activists. There was a presence of what was the IRA then but that was not the war machine that the PIRA assembled but a number of old men with older weapons who were more interested in following soviet style politics.
    As for the good faith required for debating, my republican credentials have been questioned on numerous occasions, I don’t just up and run away when someone says they don’t believe me. If you can explain away all the occasions that Unionist politicians sabre rattled and called men onto hills for a show of strength, then I will accept that Loyalism did not have political representation.
    I believe that Loyalism was used by Unionist politicians, taken out of the box when required and then put back in again. Unfortunately, I think that Unionists will threaten opening the box again if reunification looks like it is gathering momentum. Particularly if the Southern parties seem to be heading that direction.

  • John Collins

    Fair comment. I actually think you raise very interesting points there.
    And I agree if it is over costly it will eventually even turn middle of the road Nationalists, who are paying taxes, against the idea

  • Reader

    DanCan: The recent bout of bother often referred to as ‘the troubles’ didn’t start because of Catholics desire for a united Ireland.
    Except that the Provos insisted for decades that they were fighting for a United Ireland. Right up to the point where it became clear to even the dimmest of them that they weren’t going to get one.
    Even now, hopeful missionaries set out occasionally to re-write history to spare the pensioners’ blushes.

  • Macca

    The “Unionists”? Yes I love Ulster and the other provinces of Ireland too!!

  • mickfealty

    If you talk about ‘decent unionists’, you are immediately implying there are indecent ones. Simple logic Hugh (See the mock up below sent in from a unionist reader during the 2005 Westminster election).

    Why is that some so-called Republicans harbour the self defeating idea of an all island Res Publica which is only available to those “decent” Unionists who can be conditioned to think like them?

    https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/372af148f01a069fede5da62675d2e0d115709918f04b48cb9884e0d04fb205c.png

  • Hugh Davison

    If I say that so-and-so is a decent skin, I don’t imply that all other skins are indecent. This ‘indecent Unionist’ nonsense phrase was introduced into the discussion by your friend Gavin. and the well was poisoned from that point.
    As for your second paragraph, I have absolutely no idea what that means.

  • mickfealty

    That’s a figure of speech, not a direct reference. I’m not sure why you don’t get the logic of the inversion other than the possibility that you don’t care what unionists think about how SF reference them.

    On the not understanding, I suggest you either give it no further thought and move on regardless, or you look up the terms for yourself?

  • Hugh Davison

    What terms do you suggest I look up?
    To me, a decent Unionist is someone who values the union and wishes to preserve it, while accepting that his/her fellow citizens are entitled to express an alternative point of view.
    An indecent Unionist?? I was not aware that people up in court for indecency offences were being interrogated as to their political persuasions.
    As for the ‘logic of the inversion’ I obviously did the wrong degree.

  • Hugh Davison

    Which is the figure of speech? I looked up ‘figure of speech’ on Wikipedia and came away very confused: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Figure_of_speech.
    To what terms do you refer (that I should look up)?