Kearney “Together the DUP and British government currently represent an anti-equality axis”

Sinn Fein Chairperson, Declan Kearney made an address today to the Derry and Antrim Easter commemoration in the Loup, County Derry. In his remarks he put the blame for progress in the talks on the DUP and the British government. I have highlighted a key passage.

The DUP and British government remain in denial that the political landscape has changed.  They both refuse to ‘get it’.

“The last two phases of talks show no evidence they are serious about resolving the political crisis and re-establishing the political institutions on the basis of the Good Friday Agreement.

“They want the institutions to be up, but they don’t want to tackle institutionalised bigotry, sectarianism or intolerance in wider society.

In recent weeks they and others have maliciously suggested publicly and privately, that in the absence of Martin McGuinness, Sinn Féin is not committed to the re-establishing the institutions; is seeking to humiliate the DUP; and, is weaponising the Irish language. “This disgraceful narrative is an attempt to deflect away from their joint opposition to a rights-based society in the north.

“Together the DUP and British government currently represent an anti-equality axis.  Unless they step back from that position they will continue to cause political deadlock.

“But there will be no return to the status quo.

“Equality and rights are not negotiable.

“This is not about orange or green. None of us have anything to fear from equality.

“None of our children should have to live in fear from inequality or discrimination; from sectarianism or bigotry; and from austerity or poverty, anywhere in Ireland.

“All the children of the nation should be treated equally.

“No section of this society is ever going to the back of the bus again.

“The political institutions will only have value again when they operate in the context of equality and rights.

It is a national scandal the Irish government has repeatedly failed to live up its obligations. As a matter of urgency it should publicly stand up in support for the equality agenda.

“The next phase of talks will only make progress when that happens, and all participants collectively agree to entrench a rights-based approach at the heart of government in the north.”

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  • Sinn Fein blames everyone else. Shock.

  • ted hagan

    Sinn Fein seriously overplaying its hand. What hs changed so dramatically since it was playing footsie with the DUP only a few months ago?
    And not even a mention of RHI.

  • james

    Once again, Shinglish strikes:

    Inequality in·e·qual·i·ty
    [ˌinəˈkwälədē] NOUN – A word which can be used as a weapon, any situation where any Sinn Feiner, leader or minion, feels that they aren’t getting their way in all things.

  • Gavin Smithson

    I sometimes wonder if the RHI scandal was a Trojan horse built by both SF & DUP to trigger a 2 step process to get rid of their minnow political foes once and for all. A second election would galvanize unionism to rally behind the DUP and ditto for SF resulting in an assembly that would be

    37DUP
    35 SF
    4 UUP
    4 SDLP
    8 Alliance
    1 Green
    1 PBP

    Such a result will result in UUP definitely shutting up shop. The SDLP would fight on or fray at the edges to join Greens or Alliance or such but the SDLP would be rendered obsolete in large swathes of NI esp West Belfast and areas outside LDerry and S Down

    In short we are at the mouth of Step 2 and this will ossify politics for generations to come. From where would a true opposition arise?

    Would such a system be considered just as unhealthy and undemocratic as the old Stormont? A perpetual consociational duopoly is just as bad as a perpetual monopoly.

  • Gavin Smithson

    Shinglish. Ha. Love it

  • Jag

    Here we are on 16th April, six weeks after the election, and this is the language deployed by senior SFers about the current impasse. What hope is there for a resolution in the next fortnight? And all this nebulous talk “to entrench a rights-based approach”. Fresh elections in June presumably then.

  • The Living End

    An ILA is the absolute minimum we require for re-establishing the institutions. Without one we will know the Unionists are not at all serious about power-sharing, so what would be the point?

  • Croiteir

    Well said that man, at long last unionism is being confronted with the consequences of their actions.
    They and the British will have to learn the stark reality that they cannot impose rule on Ireland, any part of it, without the permission of the Irish people.
    But what I want to know from Sinn Fein is this. Why are housing and other issues like the Maze not on the list?

  • The Spelegraph

    How many more elections? One every 3 months forever?
    The quickest/only way to stop this nonsense is to cut their salaries and return to direct rule. I’d bet there’d be a deal within 24 hours.

  • Granni Trixie

    And why have they resurrected demand for a civic forum, a body which had promise it did not fulfil?

  • Granni Trixie

    You will have to explain to me why and how an ILA got to be the top most consideration? I would have thought Legacy or POC warranted that place.

  • Granni Trixie

    No, my reading is thAt in the last week or two SF, having read the Public mood, have switched to do a deal. They don’t want to have the blame laid at their door for an election nobody else wants.

  • Brian Walker

    Why can’t they more precise? Repeating this kind of rhetoric helps no one. It might occur to SF that the DUP genuinely don’t understand every bit of what he vaguely talks about and that he doesnt fully understand their position even after all these years.. Entirely likely as to the best of my knowledge they’ve never had a proper debate about what both think are fundamentals.

  • Brian Walker

    Because the politicians feared civil.society would expose them Granni. A five person civic panel was appointed on a restricted agenda just before the breakup as promised in Fresh Start Don’t ask me what happened to it.

  • Robin

    Would like to hear what the proposals are to tackle poverty and austerity.

  • Granni Trixie

    I can’t believe that even DK really believes that the narrative he refers to is a result of DUP spin. Rather, people in Ni who are probably more politicised than in any other part of British Isles, read into what they observe namely that SF seem to be working to an agenda other than doing what is good for NI and that clearly they have appropriated Irish culture/language as a resouce in their political game.

    In other words their bone fides are in question.

    Even if we get the wheels back on the Stormont bus i thnk its clear it will not be the power sharing we expected.

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    You’ve been busting your wee bum for weeks now to attempt to blame Sinn Fein on the whole impasse. Nobody on here is buying your brand though and the general public certainly arent.

    The best thing for this place, and for us all, is to have previous agreements (especially the 19 year old GFA) finally implemented in full. Or do you disagree? Implement what was agreed years ago in good faith and we can move on.

    To help you better understand things, I suggest getting a notepad and pen. Answer the following questions on your notepad:

    1. Who is most vocally and ideologically opposed to an Irish Language Act (agreed years ago btw)

    2. Who is most vocally and ideologically opposed to marriage equality?

    3. Who was responsible, on a personal and party political level, for the RHI scandal?

    4. Who has demonstrated, through their words and actions in public, in print and in broadcast media also, that the concept of power sharing and parity of esteem is a step and challenge too far?

    5. Which political leader has offended the most groups of people in the last twelve months?

    Once completed, cast your eyes over the answers you get. If you see a theme emerging then chances are you are looking at the main obstacles to progress

  • Ciaran O’Neill

    We’ve been waiting 19 years on one. How much longer are we expected to wait?

  • The Living End

    There are and have been many issues, which the DUP view as ‘a battle a day’. So it’s line in the sand time, are Unionists serious about this whole project? Do they intend to move on, and to begin showing respect to the nationalist community? Here’s a simple test – ILA, something agreed to a long time ago. That will show our community some ‘parity of esteem’ and we can then get back to business with the knowledge that even though they don’t like us, they are at least beginning to deal with us.

  • Gavin Smithson

    Rubbish. Everyone speaks English as their first language. It’s a non issue except for extremists

  • The Living End

    Really got your finger on the pulse there hey Gavin?

  • Gopher

    I honestly dont know why the DUP are not using the penalty kick around inequality that is the POC and demand wieghted majority that SF are stumm on. It is absurd that a vote for the Greens or Alliance carries less wieght than the 4 other parties. Infact the DUP have been in rabbit in headlight mode for sometime now. The conclusion of the last election is simple, there is nothing to the right of the UUP or DUP so they can be as reforming as they like, they really need to get some momentum going.

  • Redstar

    Lol

    You unionists never learn.

    It was exactly that sort of intolerant language against Irish that gave SF such an election result!!!

    You’re coming across on here a bit like Snarlene-a great electoral asset for the Shinners!!!

  • Brendan Heading

    Well said that man, at long last unionism is being confronted with the consequences of their actions.

    Unionism may well be being confronted with the consequences of their actions, but I’m not sure where this confrontation is going to go.

    They and the British will have to learn the stark reality that they cannot impose rule on Ireland, any part of it, without the permission of the Irish people.

    What does this mean in practical terms ? If the British reintroduce a form of direct rule as a consequence of the failure to return to devolution, what exactly are SF going to do about it ?

  • Brendan Heading

    Given that “civil society” elects these politicians it’s not clear to me where the threat would come from.

  • Brendan Heading

    This is all a bit daft. The status quo is the status quo that Sinn Féin operated in government for over ten years. As late as last October, they were writing articles about how well it was all working. Take marriage equality for example; they put the DUP right back into power last May without securing any movement on that issue, or the Irish language act, or anything else.

  • eireanne3

    yes, but then Martin Mc Guinness called a halt to the merry-go-round.

    He was going to anyway in May of this year -after 10 years of giving people enough rope to hang themselves.

    A parting/Parthian shot, indeed

  • Blamigo

    SF do a great job going round the country, endlessly virtue signalling to themselves in their own echo chamber. Preaching about respect, while constantly bad mouthing the DUP, the Tories, “the Brits” and Unionists in general. With their haughty attitude, you would think they received an 82 percent share of the Assembly election vote, instead of 28 percent.

  • Ray Lawlor

    As a general reply to most posters here… do you expect SF to come out and take the blame for the impasse?

    Would ANY political party? Is that what political parties do?

    “Hi everyone… We working through the issues here but we simply we can’t get over our own issues”

    Hardly likely.

  • Croiteir

    I am afraid I am not privy to the intentions of SF it will allow them to do what they do best, protest.

    However if you look at the polls that have been taken over the last while in the south it is most likely that they will be in govt in the south after the next GE, likely in the autumn, then the British have the problem of dealing with them as part of a European govt. The dynamics are changing, the old ways are over. New thinking is required.

  • Starviking

    Anti-equality?

    So speaks the party dripping with money from anonymous foreign donors, whose game-play appears to be caling elections until everyone else runs out of cash.

  • Jag

    “”Sinn Féin wants a deal. But if there is no deal then there has to be an election. The role and responsibility of the Irish government must be to assert that an election is the only legal course open to the British government, if the current talks fail to elect an executive.”

    So said Gezza yesterday at an Easter event yesterday in Tyrone.

    I think SF is still up for a second election, and your opinion reminds me of opinions in early January. There was genuine shock amongst some, especially SF’s partners in the Executive, when they pulled the plug. I think it’s 60-40 SF will seek fresh elections.

  • Jag

    Precision, Brian? A proper debate?

    Ah come on, are you saying “there will be no return to the status quo” isn’t detailed enough?

    SF doesn’t do precision. And truth be told, you would be hard-pressed to point to many tangible policies that SF has achieved in government in NI over the course of a decade. The plastic bag tax is one. Can you name any other?

    Hopefully, when FF launch here in another 18 months, there will be more focus on policy because that’s what proper political parties do.

  • ted hagan

    Mary Lou talking at the weekend of ‘the inevitability of a united Ireland’ does nothing to help the prospect of resurrecting a Stormont government in the here and now.

  • Granni Trixie

    No, I still think that the signs are that Sf get the message that they will be blamed and that it will not help them electorally N and S.

  • eamoncorbett

    This is what parties do with power , just look at Trump , I would like to know what your alternative is if power sharing becomes power grabbing, because I’ve posed that question quite a few times to people who post on this site and a lot go for direct rule , but that is a futile exercise because it means the SOS has to re-engage with the parties to reach a concensus.
    I’m not sure if you’ve noticed but Colm Eastwood has become emboldened lately and is the closest that party has ever been to answering a unionist pact with a similar nationalist one .

  • Mark Petticrew

    I don’t think the issue of an Irish Language Act should be underestimated. According to a 2015 ESRI study, 42% of sampled northerners stated that the government does too little for the Irish language; this rising to three-fifths amongst Catholic respondents.

    Furthermore, an Irish Language Act was classed as one of the top 8 issues mentioned in pre-election Lucid Talk opinion polls in January and February of this year; 22% of respondents mentioning it as such in the January one, whilst a further 29% mentioned it as a top issue in the following February poll.

    Similar to the ESRI study, these percentages likely rise amongst specifically Catholic and nationalist respondents. Indeed, given that these constituencies are Sinn Féin’s electoral neck of the woods, it’s therefore no real surprise that an Irish Language Act retains such prominence as one of their big ticket items.

  • Nevin

    “there will be no return to the status quo”

    Just another phrase to include in the list of cult mantras.

  • The Living End

    Dismissing us will not make us go away, you are going to have to deal with us.

    Arlene’s superiority complex almost led to a SF first minister, is the plan to carry on regardless and hope for a better outcome next time? Does Unionism have any other tools in their box?

  • Nevin

    TLE, surely it’s cults that have superiority complexes. I presume these little mantras are essentially comfort blankets for their followers.

  • BonaparteOCoonassa

    It’s wonderful really – a gift to both Republicans and the SNP. They just can’t help themselves – they have to express all their illusory superiority and arrogance, otherwise there would be no point to the union at all. God love the wee crackers, and more strength to their elbows. And thus, roll on the demise of the Empire.

  • The Living End

    So the answer is no, you don’t know any other way to deal with nationalists other than smug dismissal.

    Right so, best of luck with that strategy

  • Granni Trixie

    To know how the stats are reflective of the general population one would need to know the numbers being sampled. Does Lucid talk not question 1000 people?
    That aside, whilst ofcourse an ILA is important to language enthusiasts, I still think it says somerhing about our dysfunctionality that it seems to matter more than reforms necessary for good governance,preparation for Brexit,health,education etc.

  • Nevin

    TLE, I’m dealing with SF cult, not nationalists. Can’t you tell the difference?

  • The Living End

    But it’s become so much more that that now Granni. The ILA for a lot of people is a litmus test for how serious Unionists are about sharing NI with us. If they will not let this pass despite it having been agreed to by the British government a long time ago, then there is little point in us continuing the whole power-sharing charade. You appear to be tone deaf on this point.

  • The Living End

    Aye dead on, dismissing nationalist voters of SF as cult members. That’s not smug dismissal (or a superiority complex), at all.

    You’re becoming quite the self-parody. I remember when you used to pretend to be cool (yes I have been lurking here that long)

  • Nevin

    TLE, you really are struggling! People vote for candidates for a whole range of reasons. I am cool and will continue to remain cool!

  • Granni Trixie

    I agree on your last point. Maybe it’s because I keep listening to stories of hardship as a result of having no budget etc and there is where my sympathies lie.

    But you would be wrong to think that I do not want sufficient resources to be given over to the education of Irish Language.
    .

  • The Living End

    I will admit I sometimes struggle to make sense of your replies

  • murdockp

    The equality narrative is starting to get wearing indeed.

    Lets us take the following scenario, the polish language is spoken by more poles than Irish speakers on a daily basis. A polish political group asks for equal status for their language and request polish only schools and street signage in polish.

    Do the shinners respond by:-

    (1) Telling them no, that Irish is the indigenous language of this Island and despite their higher numbers of polish speakers, equality will not be extended to them as it is a language not from these shores and this is the way it is always going to be, Irish people are more equal than every body else who lives here.

    (2) Saying yes, great idea given they are the party of equality where every citizen on the island has the equal rights, they will support any legislation that gives the polish language representation in law as after all, evidence based policy based upon the number of speakers of polish over and above Irish speakers will ensure that equality is upheld.

    The answer is obviously (1) above as the shinners still look at everyone else who lives here who is not an Irish Republican or Nationalist is just being here on a temporary basis.

    The equality they speak of is Animal Farm type equality. The sooner this is picked up by the electorate the better.

  • Mark Petticrew

    To know how the stats are reflective of the general population one would need to know the numbers being sampled. Does Lucid talk not question 1000 people?

    In their February poll, Lucid Talk outlined their methodology:

    The project targeted the established Northern Ireland (NI) LucidTalk online Opinion Panel (6,926 members) which is balanced by gender, age-group, area of residence, and community background, in order to be demographically representative of Northern Ireland.

    3,011 full responses were received, and a data auditing process was carried out to ensure all completed poll-surveys were genuine ‘one-person, one-vote’ responses, and also to collate a robust and accurate balanced NI representative sample. This resulted in 1,580 responses being considered in terms of the final results – the results presented in this report.

    All data results have been weighted by gender and community background to reflect the demographic composition of Northern Ireland resulting in 1,580 responses being considered in terms of the final results. All data results produced are accurate to a margin of error of +/-3.0%, at 95% confidence.

    An ILA .. seems to matter more than reforms necessary for good governance,preparation for Brexit,health,education

    Brexit, health and education were actually mentioned more so than the Irish language regards the stated top issues in the January (24%; 49%; 40%) and February (36%; 53%; 45%) polls.

    Nonetheless, the current prominence of the Irish language in our political discourse wouldn’t be so if not for the concerted attempts in recent years from the curry-my-yoghurteers to stifle any form of legislation in the first place.

    The issue of an Irish Language Act has been hovering about in the background of our politics for the guts of two decades now with effectively no movement on it; culminating in what appears to be an intent by Sinn Féin – unless they retract from their hard-line stance – to finalise the issue once and for all.

  • murdockp

    It will ensure that SF are not connected with the rationalisation of the public service, job cuts and expenditure cuts that they needed to bring in to balance the books. With direct rule they can say it wasn’t them.

  • murdockp

    Don’t under estimate the affect an economic boom has in returning right of centre parties. That is the elephant in the room for SF, if people feel rich, they don’t need to vote for the populist party

  • Granni Trixie

    Thank you for that explanation.

  • Nevin

    TLE, that admission reads like faux ignorance!

  • Croiteir

    I agree, why protest when you feel at least content and more hopeful for the future. But look at the trends in the polls it appears that the big two, FG and FF, are locked in a tussle with very little between them. The others, various flavours of extreme left, the near destroyed Labour, and the independents do not make enough for either of them to make a govt, leaving only two, for FG and FF, horrible scenarios. Either a grand alliance, leaving SF as the opposition, or SF as partners in govt.

    Neither FG or FF have an easy choice to make, personally I believe it is easier for FG to team up with SF than it is for FF.

    Interesting times ahead.