O’Neill criticises DUP & British Government; warns about another election

The Sinn Fein Leader in the North, Michelle O’Neill gave a bleak assessment today over where we are politically.

Taking aim at the DUP and the British government she criticised their approach towards the talks;

“We have been here five weeks during which time Sinn Féin has been fully engaged. We believe in the institutions and we have been working to restore them and to rebuild public confidence in them.

“However, to date there has been no measurable progress. And at this critical period there is no prospect of a political agreement unless the British government and the DUP tackle the fundamental issues, which Martin McGuinness addressed in his letter of resignation.

“There can be no return to petty-minded and bigoted ministerial decisions; no return to the treatment of any group of people as second-class citizens; no return to the arrogant disregard for the squandering of public money; and no return to the short-sighted dismissal of the need for genuine reconciliation and peace-building.

“Those are the issues which need to be dealt with if we are to take this opportunity to fix what is broken and to move society forward on the basis of equal partnership government and rights for all.

“But time is running out. We are now in a critical period and there needs to be substantial movement from both the British Government and the DUP over the coming days. If they again fail to do so then the people should have their say.”

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  • SDLP supporter

    The Republic is recovering strongly, but its public indebtedness figures are still horrendous. The Republic is one of the most open economies in the world, which lends buoyance when things are going well, but makes it particularly vulnerable if a Trump/Brexit protection war breaks out.

    Frankly, I’m not convinced of the certainty of a ‘Yes’ vote in the Republic in a United Ireland poll, particularly in the greater Dublin area.

  • George

    “The Republic is recovering strongly, but its public indebtedness figures are still horrendous.”

    Its public indebtedness is now lower as a percentage of GDP than the UK’s. That’s the advantages of having such a small and open economy. Thinks can go both south and north quite quickly.

    As for uncertainty about a yes vote south of the border and Dublin in particular (a telegraph pole being cut down is all that happened in Easter Week 1916 in Cork while the centre of Dublin was reduced to rubble), you really don’t get the southern psyche.

    The bottom line is stability and protection of the Republic. It took long enough to achieve it. A divided view on unification when the time comes will simply lead to instability. in my view, like with the vote for the GFA (94% yes) if and when it comes to a vote, there will be a consensus vote for yes.

    I can only describe it as naivety to think that the people of the Republic will deny the possibility of an all-island Republic. It would make the divisions arising out of Brexit look like a Sunday picnic.

  • hugh mccloy

    Brian is right it is totally pathetic that a never ending peace process has not produced a better society, what worse there is not even a remote chance of a return of violence.

    Parties here want power but no responsibility and that has filtered into the mindset of the public, the last election proved that and proves that people dont even realise that it does not matter who the largest party is they still have to sit down together.

    The ironic thing is every council is sitting and working with DUP & SF sharing POWER together.

    GFA was such a sacred document that it was renegotiated 3 times and parties have the cheek to say stand up to original agreements, lets stand up to the original one that lets first and deputy first members come form smaller parties and get the executive up and running.

    Lets face reality here both DUP & SF are laughing at the public for buying everything they throw at them

  • Obelisk

    That’s the trap of a Unionist pact. Once they do a pact you mark whatever the result is as Unionism’s high water mark. Anything below that means crisis.

  • Katyusha

    The lack of democratic accountability notwithstanding

    Northern Ireland must be the only place in Western Europe where people genuinely ask if we really need democracy.

  • hugh mccloy

    The Bill of rights will not give people here any extra rights that dont already exist, rights are not rights if you can take them away, they are privileges created by people to give you the illusion that you are actually protected

  • hugh mccloy

    SF went in with the shopping list, what else do they expect ?

  • Trasna

    You are midtaken or telling a deliberate lie. McGuinness did take part along with Michael D, Gay Mitchell. The other four did not take part.

    Gerry ‘s Irish is fine. A lot better than most TD’s, considering he was deprived of the language at school.

  • eireanne3

    Factor in a Conservative Government and its brexit plans and austerity cuts ( 3rd child support?).
    You might begin to see how different it would be to the past and really how bad it could soon become

  • hugh mccloy

    Before the last election it was argued that Arlene Foster was the best recruiter for a Sin Fein vote since 2002, after the next election it could well be that Michelle O’Neill is the best recruiter for the DUP since 2002

  • SDLP supporter

    hotdogx, I don’t know whether or not you are an Irish speaker but, if you are living in France, and if you don’t use the language at home, there’s a small chance that your kids will pick up much Irish watching Irish tv, presumably TG4.

    More broadly, it’s your attitude to unionists that worries me. I agree with your sentiments about the DUP and their teeth-grindingly awful people like McCausland and Poots. But, like it or not, if you are a true Irish republican, you have to believe that they are fellow Irishmen, that-as John Hume said-the land of Ireland is united, it’s the people who are divided, that irish unity is a matter of those who believe in it persuading those who don’t believe in it, that

    “Difference is the essence of humanity. Difference is an accident of birth, and it should therefore never be the source of hatred or conflict. Therein lies a most fundamental principle of peace: respect for diversity.”

    Instead, mo chara, you wish the worst for your fellow Irishmen, that they hit the metaphorical iceberg, Shame on you.

  • Trasna

    FFS, the language is Irish, not Ulster. Stop the fudging.

    There is no Ulster language. Stop the fudging or unionists will actually start believing that Irish is actually called something else. It’s mindless stupidity.

    I thought there was going back to the status quo.

  • hgreen

    So get the assembly up and running and push through your agenda.

  • eireanne3

    it’s not my agenda –
    Sinn Fein’s list of pre-conditions before they will agree to set up Stormont Assembly is Full Implementation of all Previous Agreements
    The Stormont Assembly cannot be set up without their participation.
    It will not apparently be set up unless previous agreements that were signed up to are implemented in full.
    What’s so hard to understand?

  • ted hagan

    The British and Irish governments should knock heads together in Northern ireland instead of indulging them. For too long the leading political parties have been allowed to act like bad-tempered toddlers. It really is beyond a joke. Sinn Fein have milked this cow for all its worth. Time to get real and start addressing the state’s real problems.

  • Katyusha

    If that were the case, Arlene was kinda silly to run her election campaign on the Gerry Adams bogeyman.

  • Granni Trixie

    I think the public (voters?) will judge Sf more harshly than the DUP
    as this time round Sf have not appeared as stakeholders who want to make Ni work. Whilst this might make little difference to their core vote I think their last result was a consequence of their appeal beyond that.
    Plus The public don’t want another electiOn,they voted for results and sf alone have been the ones calling for another election.
    Are they mad?

  • eireanne3

    wouldn’t you include perfidy among NI’s real problems?

  • Granni Trixie

    Mike..a Mandela? There’s a thought.

  • Granni Trixie

    People are losing jobs – no budget, no government ..the time is here.

  • ted hagan

    Do we really need an Irish act right now? Would it be the end of the world? I doubt, in the real world, it would matter that much to most people, who would prefer if were talked through and politicians got stuck into issues like health and the economy, and housing and social deprvation and homelessness. .I think the Northern Ireland people, as a whole, have been indulged for far too long.

  • ted hagan

    Time we matured and grew up, that’s all I can say.

  • Granni Trixie

    Sf might be miscalculating. They are the sole party going for yet another election for which the public have no appetite. They seem to be banking on past good election outcome. They should take note of the public mood and how their role in pulling down Stormont plays out south of the border.

  • Granni Trixie

    Btw, David the occasional “Northern Ireland” would be helpful in setting the scene.

  • Granni Trixie

    Sounds like you think we need a crutch. I would prefer our politicians to grow up.

  • BeanRua

    Good point Jag. There are a lot of young people actively involved with SF who were not even alive during the troubles. From what I can tell, it appears to be a forward looking party that is attractive to young nationalists who are confident of their place in the world.
    The DUP on the other hand seem to be clinging desperately to the past and come across as stubborn, dogmatic and resistant to change.
    They also send out a strong message that they still believe in “a Protestant parliament for a Protestant people”, so any concessions towards equality are considered a failure.
    A sad state of affairs, and one I can’t see changing unless Brexit proves to be an economic catastrophe for the north

  • Granni Trixie

    But what about those who voted thinking that the GFA was the road to reconciliation? Were we duped?

  • Granni Trixie

    Michele O’Neil has delivered Sf lack of engagement with the peace process and lack of will to do a deal which results in better government in NI. An own goal.

  • eireanne3

    nit-picker – Having said that I always use Northern Ireland myself – people may or may not have noticed – but I am convinced
    people should refer to NI by whatever name they want and whatever name they are used to – Northern Ireland, Nahn Aland, Norn Iron, the 6 Counties, the occupied 6, the North, The North of Ireland –
    What difference does it make? We all know what they are referring to.
    Why should anyone have to conform to some imagined, “bon ton” prescriptive use of any name?

    The Bard said it long ago -”
    “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose
    By any other name would smell as sweet”;

  • erasmus

    I think SF smell blood and are going for the kill.

  • erasmus

    True enough. There will also be fraying at the edges: UUP voters that would not touch the DUP with a bargepole — and vive versa.

  • erasmus

    If you live in the South you can, if you want to, spend the whole day reading nothing but British newspapers, listening to nothing but British radio, and watching nothing but British television. The only difference is the currency you use to buy the newspapers.

  • erasmus

    A good point. Some 200,000 odd British nationals live voluntarily in the ROI; this somewhat invalidates a lot of unionist argumentation.

  • erasmus

    It would pass with about a 2:1 majority.

  • johnny lately

    Yes Granni obviously you were duped your no different than all those republicans who were duped into believing the British government and unionists would honour the commitments they signed up to rather than shaft their political opponents by cherry picking which parts they claim they actually signed up for.

  • erasmus

    I remember my father — awed by its prescience — recounting that quote: in 1969.

  • AntrimGael

    She has delivered exactly what SF voters demanded; no more of the party playing second fiddle to the DUP; a halt to back of the bus politics for Nationalists; exposing the lack of British/Irish government will to implement existing agreements; exposing the drastic impact Brexit will have. An own goal?? If another election is called I would expect the SF to rise even further. That is why tbe DUP is in such a blind panic over a Unionist pact, there us a real possibility SF could top the poll this time.

  • AntrimGael

    No; practical, election savvy and like all political parties on a high…..opportunist.

  • AntrimGael

    There’s been a big recruitment campaign going on in Republican/Nationalist areas since the last election. If SF could put another 10/15,000 on their core overall vote they could add another few seats and top the poll. I think they are putting all their money on the one colour by calling for an election but it could be very lucrative for them.

  • Croiteir

    There is the ILA for a start.

  • hgreen

    What’s hard to understand is why can they not go back into govt and get their requirements pushed through using legislation? What we’ve got instead is vague comments from O’neill on second class citizens and peace building.

  • hgreen

    Do they not have the votes to push this through at Stormont along with the other parties and excluding the DUP?

  • the keep

    No chance many people will vote Dup for the first time just to keep SF out and quite rightly so.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    It’s grossly offensive and childish to refer to Irish as ‘curry’. It speaks of the unionist mindset of lack of respect and it won’t benefit unionism.

  • the keep

    Stop bloody whining all the time I find it more offensive when SF bang on about equally after all the carnage they were involved in.

  • the keep

    What’s boring is listening to Republicans banging on how badly they are being treated mopery is alive and well here.

  • the keep

    Unfortunately they unlike Sf can’t rely on robbing banks and selling illegal diesel to raise funds.

  • Starviking

    What do you expect with the political baggage of the Irish Language?

    It was shoved down throats in school, used as a rallying cry by various terrorist groups, and there’s the political use in the South to worry about regarding and ILA.

    If you want Irish to prosper you’re going to have to have a laugh at “Curry my yoghurt”. Coming from a NC background I thought it was hilarious, with the added bonus that it might just have offended my secondary school Irish teacher who had the ‘beat it into them’ attitude prevalent in the CM Schools at the time.

    Irish needs no Act. It needs SF to quit using it politically, and let communities handle promotion.

  • Starviking

    How was he deprived of the language at school? Did he get schooled outside of the CMS?

  • Jag

    “However, there has been no progress made in the talks as the British government panders to DUP efforts to block equality and refuses to implement previous agreements…If the British government and the DUP continue to block progress then it’s back to the people to have their say in a fresh election.” says Mary Lou.
    http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/44211

    “No progress”? After five weeks?

    I’d now put chances of a second election at 65-35.

  • Granni Trixie

    Language is symbolic and when someone goes out of their way never to use the name of rhe country where you live their constant making a point is irritating – but no more than that, I agree.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    I wasn’t whining – merely pointing out a political reality which possibly you haven’t encountered given you’re hiding behind your drawbridge. In any case why are you worried about ‘equality’ – you can’t even spell it!

  • Granni Trixie

    By their intransigence sf are letting the DUP off the RHI hook, demonstrating that they are not driven by the good of the country.
    I know many sf voters and I do not believe that they support Sf on this one as you assert.

  • Gopher

    It tells you more about that person an their latent feelings. He of course is free to use the term but again it is more a reflection on himself. I dont know what quack PHD course “North South relations” is but Im sure in real life you wont get far away from the keyboard addressing people using that effected nomenclature.

  • Jag

    Funny, I always feel the same when I hear “Roman Catholic” as opposed to just “Catholic”. I suppose it’s important to some to make sure no-one forgets the Pope is involved!

  • grumpy oul man

    If you have any proof of any of that please produce it.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    I don’t think the Beat It Into Them attitude was confined to Irish or the CM sector for that matter. This ‘shoved down throat’ cliche which gets trotted out in these discussions is so last century is ridiculous. Most subjects were – and are – shoved down the throats of pupils, apart from the efforts of some enlightened and enthusiastic teachers. The DUP’s contempt for Irish speakers and the language is what makes the Irish Language Act essential for progress. Most parties, not just SF, recognise this.

  • Croiteir

    And if the other parties do not play ball?

  • Granni Trixie

    I had no idea that RC had the significance you ascribe to it.

  • Zorin001

    While I agree that is the likely outcome where does that leave us? With more of the same old same old?

    We are in for a period of Direct Rule new election or not.

  • Zorin001

    I was considering this this morning Granni and i’m not sure. SF would be ill-advised to overplay the hand they have been given, if they are serious for moving towards a new election you would think they have conducted their own polling to confirm the mood.

    The electorate seems rejuvenated and with Brexit now in negotiation SF won’t want to risk losing the initiative.

  • Granni Trixie

    Was the Maze centre not a side deal in the first place? If it comes to pass it will provide yet more space to contest the legitimacy of the conflict. How is that constructive?

  • Granni Trixie

    Right to integrated education?

  • hgreen

    That’s democracy. SF can refuse to play ball on other matters of importance to other parties.

  • the keep

    I`m not worried about equality the only ones who bang on about equality are the ones who denied people the ultimate equality but then that wouldn’t concern you at all would it?

  • the keep

    A forward thinking party that revels in hero worshipping of dead terrorists who committed some really heinous acts what a classy party.

  • the keep

    Proof that the IRA robbed the Northern Bank really oh your quite the laugh indeed.

  • grumpy oul man

    No proof that SF get there money from bank robbery and fuel laundring.
    Pass this proof to the police.
    The electoral office cheeks SFs books and has not reported anything illegal but presumably you have evidence that proves them wrong.
    So let’s see it.

  • Starviking

    I’ll have to disagree. My Irish teacher had a near-fanatical approach to teaching Irish, and any mistake, no matter how small, was punished with the strap.

    Most other teachers did not have the same level of emotional reaction to errors in their lessons.

  • Alvin Straight

    I always thought they missed a trick when they named this statelet. They should have gone for Former Ulster Commonwealth Kingdom or Solitary Held Irish Territory of England.

  • ted hagan

    Can we presume no one will be playing second fiddle should Sinn Fein hold a majority? Somehow I doubt it.

  • hollandia

    In fairness to Peter, he was the last man standing regarding the maze. He just couldn’t bring the rest of his party with him. This is all fairly well documented, and actually key to what is going on right now. I suspect there is an appetite for a deal, however it is being held back by recalcitrant members of, in particular, the DUP.

  • ted hagan

    I honestly think the people here get a perverse enjoyment out of a good old ding-dong where they can trot out their encyclopedic knowledge of every atrocity. They should develop a TV quiz show around the theme, a la University Challenge, with teams entering on a purely sectarian headcount.

  • Croiteir

    And indeed they are

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    A shopping list? No. A list of items from previous agreements not delivered but paid for and conceded.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    There’s no monopoly by any side on denying the other ‘ultimate equality.’ http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-39563594

  • Jordy

    Wouldn’t be the first time he tried to bring the Europa down.

  • the keep

    Yes we will have direct rule for the foreseeable future

  • hugh mccloy

    Who is blocking it, we have had SF & DUP Ministers either or could have made that move ? Anyway that is not a right its a privilege that can done or undone at any time.

    There are established laws to not to live in fuel poverty, or the right for a child not to live in poverty, how are they getting on ? Creating a bill of rights will sit along side these and is meaningless

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    Nor on the island of Great Britain, either, with any luck at all.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    And the tories have not had a majority in Scotland since (from memory) before 1960.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    There is a lot of comment below about ‘Britishness’ Here is an interesting take on it at the New Statesman:

    The great gender philosopher and theorist Judith Butler posited that all gender is performance. She suggested that there is no fixed state of gender, but rather a continual process of gendering which occurs. She argued that this happens in every day life in a continual basis, but is encapsulated in drag queen performances, which pivot on gender being played out in parodic and playful proportions to achieve in high camp. In Gibraltar, we might see a similar performativity of identity, where Britishness is substituted for gender. Here, Britishness is played out in high camp, to almost farcical effect.

    This performativity of Britishness can also be seen among Protestant communities in Northern Ireland, another part of the UK where British identity is not stabilised or guaranteed but which is only achieved through daily performance. From Ballymena to the Shankill, Northern Irish Protestant communities engage in an elaborate performance of Britishness, from hanging portraits of the queen above family fireplaces, to decking homes in Unionist Jack bunting and ending community events with rousing renditions of God Save The Queen.

    Such heightened performed Britishness however, inherently undermines itself. In seeking to prove their similarities to mainland Britain, they only achieve in making a drag performance of constitutional politics. In engaging in flamboyant acts, they seek to be more British than the British themselves but in so doing they create a culture which few in Britain would recognise.

    http://www.newstatesman.com/politics/brexit/2017/04/tea-biscuits-and-exceptionalism-curious-performative-britishness-gibraltar

  • hgreen

    Well they aren’t because Stormont isn’t running.

  • Granni Trixie

    I’m inclined to agree with you but if there is to be a BOR this is one item you could say fits with the criteria “in the special circumstances of NI”.

  • Alan N/Ards

    The problem (for many unionists) was that they believed the Maze project was really about the hunger strikers, and nothing else.

  • Alan N/Ards

    I agree with you regarding a new format for the way we do government in NI. There is no longer any need for the parties to declare themselves as unionist,nationalist or other any more. The last election has proved that it’s unlikely, that unionism or nationalism, will ever have an outright majority in Stormont. Now is the time to let voluntary coalitions be formed to run this place.

    When you talk about abuse of power, you do realise that a SF minister was found guilty of discrimination (on religious grounds) against a protestant applicant.

  • babyface finlayson

    Granni
    If people are losing jobs yet still voting for the same two parties then we have not yet reached the tipping point.
    I am not saying we need a revolution but Lenin’s conditions still seem relevant.
    1.The regime is split; there is a crisis in the regime.
    2.The middle class is wavering between the revolutionary forces and the ruling class.
    3.The working class is ready to fight and make the greatest sacrifices.
    4.The existence of a revolutionary party and leadership.

    I don’t thing conditions 3 and 4 have been met as yet.

  • The Living End

    You’ll call us whatever you like and we’ll not complain, right? Shades of ‘Croppies lie down’ there

  • dfoley

    it’s called a failed state.

  • Granni Trixie

    But a difference is I’m not calling to pull the plug on self government because it hasn’t worked out as expected. And have you forgotten how hard it was for many to vote for the GFA knowing it meant that people who committed murders were straight out of jail? Compromise is the name of the game and voters will not think kindly if parties who bring us DR.

  • erasmus

    To distinguish it from ‘Anglican’ Catholic.

  • Croiteir

    The gift that keeps on giving

  • Reader

    eireanne3: Factor in a Conservative Government and its brexit plans and austerity cuts ( 3rd child support?).
    All of that happened while the Assembly was up and running. Do you think the Assembly can roll it back?

  • Reader

    Croiteir: There is the ILA for a start.
    That wasn’t in the GFA. Could you pass that on to MO’N please?

  • Croiteir

    They committed to a statutory duty. That will do me.

  • Jag

    It’s been 6 weeks since the election. A typical MLA has been paid £6k plus, has run up expenses of £12k. In total, we’ve incurred £1m paying for the 90 MLAs and what have we got to show for it? The odd MLA coming on a TV or radio show claiming to be “working hard”? No Assembly hearings, no parliamentary questions (save for one from Gerry Carroll to the Assembly Commission), no ministers, no Committee hearings, no legislation.

    As for the “negotiations” and the protestations that they’re not going to negotiate across the airwaves or betray the confidentiality of the negotiations, please, we know they’ve made no progress (the odd one or two MLAs has said as much), and does anyone seriously believe there are 90 MLAs “negotiating” for seven hours a day?

    And now, they’re on holidays?