Sinn Fein running John Finucane in North Belfast

The Westminster contest in North Belfast just got serious.

Sinn Fein have announced their intention to run Belfast-based solicitor John Finucane in the constituency at next month’s Westminster election.

After nationalists succeeded in taking a majority of seats in the constituency at the Assembly election in March, Sinn Fein are clearly seeking to capitalise on the resurgent nationalist vote, and the candidacy of John Finucane will make this into a straight Dodds vs Finucane contest.

The candidacy of John Finucane marks a new departure for Sinn Fein.

The Finucane name carries significance within northern nationalism- and across Ireland and abroad- on account of his family’s quest for justice following the brutal assassination of John’s father, Pat Finucane.

But John Finucane’s own personal and professional reputation, as a solicitor and former Antrim county footballer, marks a significant departure for Sinn Fein, a party that has traditionally struggled to attract candidates from professional backgrounds.

In the North Belfast constituency in particular, Sinn Fein has to date failed to put forward a candidate capable of galvanising support from across nationalism from the lower Antrim Road to the more affluent upper Antrim Road and Glengormley areas in a way that could credibly challenge a single unionist candidate in the form of Nigel Dodds.

There is no question but that Finucane will be able to do that.

In March’s election, the combined SF/SDLP vote represented some 42.5% as compared to 42.8% for the combined votes of the DUP/UUP/PUP.

However, Sinn Fein would be confident that the vast majority of votes for the People Before Profit candidate, representing some 3.8%, would likely favour Finucane over Dodds, leaving the Sinn Fein candidate well placed to challenge Dodds for the seat.

For the first time ever, there is a prospect of a nationalist MP being returned for North Belfast.

 

  • the Moor

    Who the fedora mentioned provo ideology? Many if not most political ideologies are premised upon a schismatic or sect–arian reading and interpretation of history, culture and geography. As you’ve raised it (highlighting your own preoccupation?) Irish republicanism is fairly typical in its essential characteristics of the ideology of nationhood, whereever and whenever one chooses to examine it (notably in the teleology of ‘national salvation’. As a matter of interest, Peter Alter tells us there are two basic types of nationalism – civic and ethnic.)

  • grumpy oul man

    And Nigel,does he still support the ” right” of a band linked to a terror gang to walk past the homes of relatives that terror gang murdered.
    Just asking because you didn’t seem to notice that.

  • grumpy oul man

    Care to explain that.

  • grumpy oul man

    So lawyers can be killed if someone disapproves of their clients.
    You really have problems understanding either the legal system or democracy don’t you

  • grumpy oul man

    Ok to kill Johny adairs lawyer then.

  • Gavin Smithson

    People who vote DUP also would support a Tory government so that’s a positive. Silly republicans who vote & in some cases elect SF will end strengthening thr party they hate.

    Funny how SF hate the Tories when they’re not so inept at making money for themselve. Mr Average Industrial Salary Adams owns several homes, unlike people who earn the average industrial salary.

    Where would provo smugglers be without the border ? They’d have to find a new one to financially exploit

  • dfoley

    good luck John. lets hope this signals the end of dodds and the dup (dinosaur unionist party) in n.belfast.

  • Gavin Smithson

    Well yes but since they won’t be in the division lobby, it won’t really matter in the end. DOnt worry, we’ll get over it. Keep
    Voting for your gombeen murder supporters if that makes u happy

  • grumpy oul man

    And would you also comdem the Unionist who vote for the politicians who worked with terrorists.

  • Socaire

    In Irish you don’t address a person as ‘mo chara’. It is ‘a chara’, a chara.

  • Granni Trixie

    No, nothing can change the fact that his murder was deplorable. However, as we saw last week end Sf glorifies the acts and actors in the IRA. Seems rather inappropriate that someone who has felt the impact of the troubles would support that kind of eulogising etc.

  • Granni Trixie

    Are you assuming he is prepared to take a seat in Westminster?

  • johnny lately

    Anyone who doesn’t jump through your hoop is not acting in a manner that you would consider normal ?

  • Granni Trixie

    JF is likely also to be tested when asked how he regards murders by the IRA. If he comes off with the same old guff “all deaths are to be regreted blah,blah, blah…” then we will know it’s the same old,same old…

  • Granni Trixie

    Good grief! A real Protestant in the family? Which you have outed!

  • Nordie Northsider

    Johnny, I have no idea what you’re trying to say but it seems to be based on a complete misreading of the comment.

  • Granni Trixie

    Still doesn’t make it not an abuse of Parlimentary privilege. Or put it another way if I were an MP I wouldn’t like to have done so.

  • Granni Trixie

    I have no evidence to show PF supported the IRA and I have followed the case over the years.

  • johnny lately

    Its pushing the boat out to suggest that because John Finucanes three uncles were in the IRA others can be absolutely sure that John is also a chuck – A member of the now defunct IRA. Being a member of the IRA, which is still a proscribed organasition, if convicted in court, could lead to a prison sentence and throwing mud about alleging someone is a member of the IRA with no other evidence other than he must be because his three uncles were could also lead to a heavy fine or even imprisonment so obviously it would be wise for anyone promoting such allegations during electioneering to be careful what they say else they could suffer from the consequences.

  • SDLP supporter

    ‘Mo chara’ is a perfectly grammatical way of saying ‘my friend’. ‘A chara’ could be translated either as ‘Friend’ or ‘Dear Sir’.

  • james

    I think he must do, surely? Someone who lost a close relative to terrorists could hardly be an apologists for terrorists of a different flavour..

  • Dan

    all terrorist incidents bother me….this one included….yet I won’t be going off to represent a party which is the political wing of one of those terrorist groups

  • johnny lately

    “Finucane himself unfortunately seems to have supported the same injustice happening to other people”

    Your promoting the myth that being a Sinn fein supporter suggests you take a relaxed moral position on the torture and summary execution of your fellow citizens. So does that also mean that being a supporter of the RUC suggests you take a relaxed moral position on torture and summary execution when you consider that hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of murders were carried out by state agents controlled by RUC special branch and British intelligence, one of those state agents was responsible for the torture and murders of up to 60 people.

    Dont you defend and support the RUC ?

  • john millar

    “you consider that hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of murders were carried out by state agents controlled by RUC special branch and British intelligence, one of those state agents was responsible for the torture and murders of up to 60 people.”

    Links please (or that good old thing called evidence)

  • Enda

    Would it be better if there were links but not currently ongoing?

  • Socaire

    In English you may address a person as ‘my friend’ but in Irish you use the vocative case which is ‘a chara’. This may be a Belfast aberration,perhaps.

  • Nordie Northsider

    Read the comment again, Johnny – I didn’t say anything like that. I was quoting Malachai O’Doherty and making the point that this is the kind of nudge-nudge wink-wink stuff we’re going to be seeing a lot of in the Irish Independent/Bel Tel and other sources.
    And in fairness to O’Doherty I assume that by ‘a chuck’ he means a supporter of Sinn Féin, not a member of the IRA.

  • mac tire

    SF are their rivals, Granni. They fish for a similar type of voter. So it only needs to be SF who hold it against them.

  • mac tire

    When did Mairia Cahill abdicate? I only say this as ‘Republican Royalty’ is wheeled out every 2-3 years and she was the last ‘Royal’ I was told of.

  • grumpy oul man

    Did you ask the same question of Mrs pengally.
    Regarding her dad’s actual terrorist past.
    You see there seems to be a lot of anger in you for the son of a victim standing for election but you seem much more relaxed about a daughter of a actual terrorist being elected.

  • johnny lately

    Oh I know you didn’t say it Nordie sorry if what I said implied that you did. Malachi O’Doherty knows what referring to someone as being a chuck means, he was given his marching orders from the Felons club one time by the chucks..

  • Alan N/Ards

    “It seems the justice system and democracy are foreign principles to unionists.”

    How many unionists do you actually know, or are you just tarring everyone with the same brush?

    I know politics is a dirty game, but surely it’s time we all stopped demonising the people we disagree with.

  • AntrimGael

    The Belfast Telegraph is just the other side of the DUP coin now. It is more or less the official newspaper for the DUP. There had been an obvious editorial decision within the Independent Group for the BT to become the Northern anti Sinn Fein version of the Irish and Sunday Independent. It tried the middle of the road stance for a while but realised that nothing sells better than pandering to the bigoted sectarianism within Unionism.

  • Cináed mac Artri

    No. I expect he will abide by the SF no-go policy. Perhaps he sees opportunities to buttonhole government MPs in the corridors or cafes? Do those that are elected who do not want to be part of the U.K. Parliament get inside the building?

    I can’t see the point myself. Representation without taxing yourself with actually taking part is a strange one.

    Reminds me of a child of my acquaintance. She accepts invitations to birthday parties with no intention of going; she feels that a lonely party-bag hanging in some distant hallway sends some kind of message to her nemesis-of-the-moment (I haven’t the heart to tell her that the trinkets earmarked for her probably evaporate in the general mayhem that is a modern child’s birthday bash).

  • AntrimGael

    Mistakenly?? Mmmmm…..

  • The Living End

    At least you’re honest, not using weasel-words like your fellow colonialists on this site

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Obviously yes Enda

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You would have thought

  • MainlandUlsterman

    What did you make of the O’Callaghan’s book? And I think the late Sir John Hermon made similar comment. The Da Silva report said there was no evidence he was formally an IRA member but was silent on his support for the IRA. When Ken Maginnis called them an “IRA family” they initially sued then withdrew and paid all his costs. And the family are very close to the IRA’s political wing, culminating in the son now standing for SF, which answers to the PIRA Army Council and which has a consistent record of justifying IRA activities and its “armed struggle” in particular. Then there is the dog that didn’t bark – no evidence of any condemnation of the IRA, which for a supposed “human rights lawyer” is decidedly odd.

    Seriously, what’s your best guess on his views about the IRA? I am happy to be proved wrong but it is a fair working assumption to say he supported the IRA. But of course SF want to keep him ‘clean’ as he’s more useful to them if that pretence can be maintained. But unless I hear compelling evidence otherwise – and I have seen zero refutations – I am assuming it is a pretence.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    When so many bad guys hide behind omertà and anonymity, parliamentary privilege is an important tool to use in exceptional circumstances to expose what’s going on and pull down the veil.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I expect he will but if he doesn’t it will be very interesting indeed. It would be the first time a SF candidate had outright condemned the IRA’s “armed struggle”.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    See your post to Ted Hagan earlier.

  • Granni Trixie

    I am uneasy about following on your train of thought about “are they or aren’t they an IRa family” – it just seems unfair to do so. Also, I have not read the sources you cite as they are not individuals whose opinions I trust (.especially Sean OCallaghan. I know friends of his who tell me he has first hand knowledge about PF but the jury is out as far as I’m concerned).

    So parking questions about “the family”, I look on JF as I do anyone who joins Sf which is that I am interested in their moral reasoning. Somebody, someday representing SF will bring themselves to show some remorse for what the IRa has inflicted on fellow citizens.

  • willow

    This is true.

    Yet SF being open supporters of terrorism isn’t disastrous for them.

  • willow

    AFAIK she has never expressed support for her father’s terrorism or terrorism generally.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Let’s hope so. We have been waiting a long time for them to discover their humanity.

  • willow

    How does a human right lawyer differ from any other criminal defence lawyer?

  • willow

    “Its pushing the boat out to suggest that because John Finucanes three uncles were in the IRA others can be absolutely sure that John is also a chuck – A memer of the now defunct IRA”

    ‘Chuck’ just means republican. But John has clearly now broken cover as a member of SF, so clearly supports the crimes carried out by PIRA. Is there much moral distinction between that and actually being a member?

  • willow

    Or in this case a ‘human rights lawyer’ who specialised in representing human rights abusers.

  • Granni Trixie

    You mean they’re not inclusive? Hardly progressive is it?

  • Granni Trixie

    I disagree.

  • johnny lately

    And has John Finucane expressed support for terrorism, generally ?

  • johnny lately

    Criminal lawyers like Edgar Graham and Jim Allister (typically unionist) expoused the use of paid informers during diplock trials that were used to convict others on no other evidence other than the word of those paid informers, human rights lawyers like Patrick Finucane and his son John oppose/d the use of paid informers.

  • John Collins

    Just to clarify. Eilis O’Hanlon is an Irish Independent Journalist, who comes from a very active Belfast Republic family. However she is an ardent critic of SF/IRA. The father of Eoin Harris was an old IRA man, yet Eoin, who had Republican sympathies in his youth, is a along time critic of SF/Ira.
    Moral of the story is that just because your relatives took a particular view it certainly does not follow that one follows them sheepishly.

  • the Moor

    Well yes, you’re right, but that was four posts ago! The subsequent posts and the one you commented on where on the subject of the particularist character of political ideologies in general and the ideology of nationhood in particular. You then reintroduced the parochial element which I’d been trying to distance the discussion from. No matter. Points and general and particular duly made.

  • johnny lately

    Chuck means IRA volunteer and suggesting all Sinn Fein supporters support terrorism is like saying all RUC special branch officers and anyone who defends them supported using terrorism or supports using terrorism. After all weren’t RUC special branch just as responsible for all those hundreds upon hundreds upon hundreds of murders carried out by their state agents in the various paramilitary groups. Is there much moral distinction between controlling a state agent and actually being a member of the paramilitary group the state agent belongs to ?

  • johnny lately

    Progressive ? What road are we going down now Granni ?

  • Redstar

    I think we all know he hasn’t an earthly chance of success but it’s a bloody good base to start to build from for future elections

    Meanwhile it’s good to see the DUP back to their sectarian best over the Irish language at BCC last night

    And to think some on here were easily sucked in by Arlene s blatantly shallow ekectioneering with her ” Irish outreach” guff

  • Granni Trixie

    Only my wee joke. You know what I’m like.

  • grumpy oul man

    “finucanes father wasn’t” no he was a innocent victim.
    Could perhaps give us a link to Pengally condemning her father for bringing in weapons that were used to murder 70 nationlists,
    Only you seem very sure she has done this .
    So nothing like her he’s the son of a man brutally murders in front of him and she’s the daughter of a terrorist.
    Perhaps you should be asking her to explain herself.

  • grumpy oul man

    So the loyalist gang that was controlled by British agents hold full responsibility, was no collusion then.
    What did David apologize for.

  • the keep

    Sorry I thought Lee Reynolds made some good points if you are going to appoint an irish officer its only fair you appoint an Ulster Scots one or neither.

  • the keep

    And very much like the republican contributors on this blog as well.

  • the keep

    That is exactly what he is.

  • Redstar

    Rubbish

    There’s a specific need for legal protection for promotion of the Irish language specifically because of bigots like Campbell, Dodds, Wilson etc

  • the keep

    If Irish usage was as strong as you suggest it wouldn’t need protection more likely you are just interested in jobs for the boys.

  • Redstar

    Lol

    Yip Dinosaur Unionist Party is back to normal!!!!

  • willow

    You haven’t answered the question.

  • willow

    “Chuck means IRA volunteer”

    No it doesn’t.

    “and suggesting all Sinn Fein supporters support terrorism is like saying all RUC special branch officers and anyone who defends them supported using terrorism or supports using terrorism.”

    No it isn’t. SF’s stated public and very fundamental position is in support of PIRA. It was its political wing. They revel in it.

  • the keep

    Typical Republican always wants but never gives.

  • grumpy oul man

    And often used by Unionist to smear the innocent, Ian Paisley was at his most disgusting when he used parliamentary privilage.
    The harm done to the Tracey family using a forged report believed to been produced by manners of the UDR shows how the wicked will abuse such a privilege.

    You would wonder at the DUP using parliamentary privilege to excuse terror groups and smear the innocent,
    It is also a wonder that Unionist on this site (yourself included) are still using the same tactic .

  • grumpy oul man

    Why not?
    does the wage thing explain why Nigel is standing.

  • willow

    Pengelly doesn’t represent a pro-terror party. Finucane now does.

  • willow

    No. Only nationlist terrorism: He’s just been unveiled as a SF candidate.

  • ted hagan

    You are totally wrong. What David Cameron said was that Hogg’s remarks were not meant to contribute to the attack on Pat Finucane, which is totally different. The whole thing stinks, and I sense you know it.

  • grumpy oul man

    Really, you don’t remember all those times the DUP worked closely with the loyalists or the terror groups the DUP set up.
    Maybe you missed all those terrorists who joined the DUP,
    Did Peter and the UVF at clontribet get past you or him saying the loyalist murder gangs were not terrorists but counter terrorists!
    Sorry I know many Unionist have a blind spot about these things but it’s time you took the blinkers off.
    And didn’t I ask you for a link were She comdemed UR and her father’s gun running got that yet.

  • nilehenri

    “as a member of SF, so clearly supports the crimes carried out by PIRA.”
    that’s a bit of a jump.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I wrote that having read the Da Silva Report summary again recently and I’ve just gone back to check, it’s in Chapter 14. We’re both half-right:
    “14.62 I am sure that the Minister’s comments did not incite the UDA to murder Patrick Finucane. I am satisfied on the basis of the evidence I consider later in this report that the UDA were already conspiring to murder Mr Finucane prior to the Minister’s comments on 17 January 1989. I am also satisfied that Mr Hogg was unaware of the loyalist threat to defence solicitors before he made his comments. However, the evidence does suggest that the UDA considered the Minister’s comments to be significant. I believe that Mr Hogg’s comments may have, albeit unwittingly, further increased the vulnerability of defence solicitors, including Patrick Finucane.”

    It’s worth remembering also that Hogg did not actually name Finucane in his statement. All he said was that some solicitors acting for IRA terrorists were too close to the organisation. As far as I know, this was not an untrue statement. One that perhaps MPs should be careful about making. But the reality is, Finucane was targeted because he was a prominent Republican, not because of Hogg’s statement. Hogg’s statement might have been taken by the UDA as confirmation their suspicions were right about Finucane being particularly close to the IRA, but (1) I doubt they really needed it. He didn’t actually need to be a very active Republican for the UDA to target him, as they also targeted people with pretty loose and random Republican connections and people with none at all. They were after all a gang of sectarian murderers. And (2) Hogg didn’t name Finucane, he just referred to a generic issue.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    It just seems odd to me that an MP saying something that as far we know was true – certainly no one’s proved it isn’t true – gets the blame for the Loyalists targeting Republican solicitors. Really Loyalists were ‘targeting’ quite randomly and surely any Republican person in public life must have realised they were either on a hit list or not far off one, just as any Loyalist would have? I think people have been way too harsh on Hogg over this, he was just raising a genuine issue of public concern.

  • Macca

    “Let’s be honest, a lot of unionists think Pat Finucane had it coming, and take a quiet satisfaction in his assassination.”

    The same people who label SF terrorists, ironically.

  • grumpy oul man

    “Where would provo smugglers be without the border ? ”
    I suppose in the same position as UDA/UVF smugglers and every other smuggler probably.
    throw some of the evidence on Provo smugglers you have our way and the police would love to see it as well!

  • grumpy oul man

    what difference will unionists make in the lobbys, none at all!