(Yet) Another Jim Wells Election Campaign Moment

Jim Wells is in the headlines again.

Betcha that’s a sentence which makes the DUP press team despair….

This time, Mr Wells has made the news for his proclamation that Sinn Fein is “not welcome” in a “unionist town.”

Mr Wells made the comments on Twitter in the aftermath of Sinn Fein election workers canvassing the small town of Rathfriland in the South Down constituency.

His (now deleted) tweet read:

Many complaints about Sinn Fein canvassing in Rathfriland yesterday. They are not welcome in this unionist town- particularly on a Sunday.

The description of Rathfriland as a “unionist town” provides some insight into the mentality of Jim Wells.

If we consult the NINIS website, which uses census data to provide an accurate representation of geographic areas, the demographic composition of Rathfriland does not seem to support Wells’ assertion.

According to the NINIS site, Rathfriland’s population is just under 40% Catholic.

If we were to employ the same logic in order to characterise cities, towns and villages from which unionist politicians should not be welcome (due to having 40% or less Protestants amongst inhabitants), then there would be no unionist canvassers welcome in Derry, Newry, Crumlin, Glenavy, Omagh, Castlederg- and, if projections are accurate, even Belfast in the next decade!

And that’s before we reflect on whether or not Mr Wells believes such ‘Nationalist’ towns should have to host Loyal Order parades….

Of course, there is a serious point in all of this.

Political party activists should be free to canvass any and all areas, and there has been tremendous progress on this front over the past 20 years as we have moved away from the conflict period.

The overwhelmingly majority nationalist village in which I reside has posters for candidates of many parties dotted along Main Street, and canvass teams from at least one of the two main unionist parties have gone door to door (as is their entitlement) in parts of the village in recent days and weeks.

Jim Wells’ comments are reflective of a mindset which seeks to dominate and exclude expressions of ‘The Other,’ seemingly opposing even the right of political parties to canvass mixed communities like Rathfriland.

The fact that he tossed in a reference to ‘Sunday’ is even more troubling…..

Sinn Fein’s South Down candidate, Chris Hazzard, did not appear deterred by the message:

“Our message of equality, rights and Irish unity was well received during our canvas yesterday in Rathfriland.

Sinn Fein will not be deterred by Jim Wells or anyone else from bringing that message to the electorate of South Down.”

 

 

  • john millar

    “Newry, Mourne & Down DC put them up. I don’t suggest you advocate criminality on this site.”

    Where rate payers find them offensive/threatening get their political representatives to lobby for their removal. Look at the equality legislation see what can used there Require (under equality) that the signs be duplicated in Ulster Scots .
    Extend the process by demanding that all Council documentation is produced bin Ulster Scots
    The opportunities are endless

  • Casper

    If there is one good thing to come out of this Brexit/Election malarky it’s that it brings lots of racists/bigots out into the public view and shines a huge spotlight on them. Though this is still not quite up there with that huge ‘Smash Sinn Fein’ campaign of yesteryear that failed so spectacularly.

  • Casper

    Ballycastle is approx. 75-80% CNR population and currently Orange parades are definately not wanted there.
    Unless of course they learn to tidy up after themselves, cut out the sectarian swearing and chanting, wearing ”Orange Feet Marched Your Streets” and ”Yabba-Dabba-Doo any Taig will Do” T-Shirts, stop breaking glass etc.
    In short if they could behave like civilized people they might be more warmly welcomed, or at least tolerated to a larger degree. Silver Plains flute band have a lot to answer for.

  • Casper

    If/when a UI arrives I think you won’t enjoy it too much John. By your own reasoning there will be no unionist/loyalist streets so no need for any Orange marches. Sad way of thinking there John, don’t you agree?

  • Casper

    In a few short years you might be in the minority and wishing hard for equality, I wonder if anyone will mock and sneer at you as you have just done here?

  • john millar

    So all the streets in Ballycastle are off side to the OO members who live in Ballycastle?

  • Casper

    I know many Protestants living in the RoI and I can assure you that every single one I know leads a much more content and fulfilled life than most of the same persuasion who post on here. I never hear those in the South complaining about republicans or nationalists, they get on with life and love every minute of it. And their Orange parades pass without anyone batting an eyelid, not even any need to re-route!

  • john millar

    “We know you are aware of gustys murder gang and the OV bombs.
    You seem to have missed the widespread discrimination carried out against catholics in jobs infrastructure and housing.
    And as proved by the attacks of the civil rights marchers ( and gustys crowd) the willingness of unionism to resort to violence to protect unionist rule.

    You are aware that Gusty and co were promptly convicted and locked up ? And at least acknowledged the error of their ways?

    Unlike many we could mention

    The housing “discrimination” has already been debunked Funnily the enough the main offenders were er Roman Catholic Newry Council

  • john millar

    If/when a UI arrives I think you won’t enjoy it too much John. By your own reasoning there will be no unionist/loyalist streets so no need for any Orange marches. Sad way of thinking there John, don’t you agree?

    The protestants will disappear -perhaps overnight -?or do you see the parallel with the decline in the ROI

    Orange parades are a celebration of the survival of the reformed faith in hostile roman catholic Ireland. They bare unlikely to disappear.

  • Casper

    That’s not what I said and you know it. Learn some manners when on parade and people might be more tolerant. Basic common sense is all that is required.
    It’s strange but when I have watched Orange parades in places like Coleraine they don’t throw broken glass all over the place, it’s almost like it’s a deliberate tactic when parading in nationalist areas. As I said before, if the parades/marchers can be civil most people wouldn’t care. As it is now they are a disgrace.
    How do you feel about the marchers wearing those T-shirts I mentioned John? Do you think that endears residents to want the parades back another year?

  • Casper

    Orange parades are a part of Irish culture, they belong to me as much as you. It’s the malcontents that tag along breaking glass and urinating in public that grates on most people. Eliminate that aspect from Orange parades and I might even start going out to watch them again myself. Oh and remove all the unionist terrorist trappings/banners flags etc. they are not cross-community supported.

  • Casper

    Ugh sure it’s all themmuns fault… yawn.

  • Croiteir

    Your local informant would also be aware if such a enclave existed everyone would be aware of it anyway, but it doesn’t. So he or you are making that up. The young bandsman was killed by two people, one a Catholic and one a Protestant, I know their names and I know were they now live, if you want to say anything political about a non political murder you would describe it as a cross community endeavour, The steady decline of the local Protestant community is just a reflection of the decline everywhere, in fact nearby Glenarm which has Protetant majority is also seeing the same decline, and as for the conversion of the local school from Protestant to Integrated was due to the vote of the parents and the unequivocal support of local Catholics in order to allow local Protestants to have a school that they can attend so as not to accelerate the decline of Protestants. In fat the only thing that can be levelled at Carnlough is the burning of the Orange Hall but there again no one local has ever been arrested never mind charged with it in a place with a very high number of holiday makers.

  • Casper

    You seem to believe all republicans supported the IRA or were active in the IRA. That’s why you never fail to be amazed. Can I ask if you have personally ever met or spoke with a Protestant republican?

  • Casper

    I know for a fact that some of the Orange halls that have been burned down over the years were torched by their own members to get a grant for a new building. (And yes this info is with the PSNI already).
    I was hugely suspicious of the Dervock band having their band bus burned recently with all their instruments inside it overnight.
    Is there really anyone who would leave a bus full of valuable (not to mention sentimental) instruments inside a bus overnight in a non-secure area? Smells fishy.

  • Nevin

    “Betcha that’s a sentence which makes the DUP press team despair….”

    Sinn Féin wasn’t going to let the DUP hog the headlines:

    Sinn Fein woman under fire for calling Bangor a “s***hole”.

    The Belfast Telegraph contacted Sinn Fein and Ms Bailie for comment last night but neither the party nor the councillor was available.

    The SF councillor has since apologised.

    Is there something in the air in Mourne Country?

  • Croiteir

    No – I did not miss anything. But if you want to keep making up excuses were non exists, and, incidentally, in doing so undermine unionists mythology about loyalty, keep doing so. So to make it clear to you once again, in both percentage and absolute terms nationalists numbers fell between 1911 and 1981.

  • Casper

    When some unionists can’t even stand the thought of one word in the Irish language on a manhole cover in Ballymena it’s no surprise Jim Wells thinks SF are not welcome in Bangor. At least today Jim will know he is wrong. Massively wrong.

  • Casper

    I know many children 10< y.o. who are more articulate and polite than some of our political leaders here in N.I./UK. And they use social media with much more decorum.

  • Nevin

    How long will such children retain their decorum when exposed to the often quite crude form of communication that pervades social media?

  • john millar

    “They are not cross-community supported.”
    A bit like the Irish language and GAA (now there is an organisation big on terrorist trappings and flags)
    Unlike the GAA the OO has no pretence to “cross community support”

    PS “the malcontents that tag along breaking glass and urinating in public” are very poor second to the crowds at the Auld Lamas Fair

  • Casper

    It’s a poison more than a blessing these days Nevin imo. Parents send their kids to bed at say 9-10pm thinking they are all safe and snug, yet if the kids have a pc or smartphone the reality is the entire world is potentially in the bedroom with them.
    It seems to be true what they say – the internet makes clever people smarter and stupid people louder.
    Lets hope the younger generation cope with social media better than the oldies and maximize its potential. If their parents have manners/respect in their daily lives I’m sure most kids will cope ok in the long run.

  • john millar

    “No – I did not miss anything. But if you want to keep making up excuses were non exists, and, incidentally, in doing so undermine unionists mythology about loyalty, keep doing so. So to make it clear to you once again, in both percentage and absolute terms nationalists numbers fell between 1911 and ”

    How did they do between 1951 and 1981 ?

    What impact did partition wW1 WW2 the great depression 1929-39 have ?

    Hint partition produced a substantial transfer north of the Prod

  • Casper

    The Auld Lamas Fair is not political and DOES have cross-community support. Except of course when the UVF tried to detonate a huge car-bomb there to kill indiscriminately. If it had went off reports say it would have been worse than the Omagh bomb.
    I’m beginning to feel sorry for you now John, all that whataboutery and you have gotten nowhere. Good day.

  • Croiteir

    Between 1951 and 1981 – 471,460 in 1951, 414,532 in 1981 – decline in absolute numbers.

    34.4% in 1951 and 28.0% in 1981

    Decline – willing to cede now that all those excuses that actually are self defeating and riddled with inconsistency and inaccuracy if not outright lies were wrong and reality is totally different? Or do you wish to proceed to further embarrassment?

  • mac tire

    That’s ok. I see you have retreated from your “Take the signs down and send the bill to NDDMC”. Good.

  • john millar
  • john millar

    “Your local informant would also be aware if such a enclave existed everyone would be aware of it anyway”

    Kind of proves my point

    “Themmuns are in decline everywhere”

    It wasn`t us burned down the hall– must have been a holidaymaker

    LOL

  • john millar

    Try facts and links

  • grumpy oul man

    Oh dear could we see your evidence please.

  • Tochais Siorai

    Wow. Catholic families had 3 times more children than Protestants? So how is it John, that the overall percentage of Catholics between 1920 and 1970 in the Northern Ireland population decreased?

  • Croiteir

    It entirely disproves your point as you cannot name an enclave that apparently everyone knows, and the fact that an Orange Hall burned down proves nothing whatsoever as to local culpability. You also have not commented on the other points that you were making up and again held to account for. I believe that your local correspondent is Google. A local would know that the murder of the bandsman was done by a Protestant and would never have made that mistake, a local would know that the local school was voted by Protestant parents into integrated status. But keep making it up – at the minute it is a source of amusement, no doubt I will tire of it at some point – but until then, fill yer boots.

  • Tochais Siorai

    The emigration one I’d say is the biggest reason for the discrepancy. As someone who spent enough time on building sites in London and New York, I seldom came across NI Protestants, never in New York and rare in London but there was no shortage of the other crowd.

  • Croiteir

    Emigration was the norm for Catholic families – as quoted from Martin Mansergh

    “This meant incorporating six Ulster counties, rather than four or nine. The policy of the Northern Ireland (NI) Government in the 1930s, rarely explicit but occasionally blurted out, was not just to keep down the Catholic population at close to a third of the whole, but to discourage it from staying.

    When my father, Nicholas Mansergh, a Tipperary Protestant and young political scientist at Oxford, was researching his book The Government of Northern Ireland: A Study in Devolution, he interviewed at the Ulster Club on April 16, 1936 the Minister for Labour, J.M. Andrews, later Prime Minister and the Attorney General, Anthony Babington. His unpublished notes record: “Both regarded diminishing no. of R.Cs with undisguised satisfaction. A. confident that they would be ‘progressively eliminated’ – Babington hopeful, but a trifle anxious.”

  • North Derry Celt

    1 Sure no power ever comes from being a MP here this state has always be subservient to the wants and needs of England, sure just look at the timing of calling this election for example, proof if ever proof was needed.

    2 Rather it was the gerrymandered local elections that wielded the power of housing, education and the rest. The state used poverty as the weapon of choice and some prods would have been a victim as well, some might even call it collateral damage but sure that’s the price you pay for this divide and conquer strategy.

    3 I know quite a few people from Dungiven town and showed them the picture you provided, not one persion knows any of the bandsmen shown, Strange that, for a Dungiven Band.

  • grumpy oul man

    Im not anxious about anything.
    You answer everything with a reference 15/20/30 years ago.
    Any time a unionist does something stupid or displays their secterian plumage. You dont comment on it you bring up or example something GA sain 20 years ago. But try to get you to actally respond to the post or incident and your back 20 years again.
    Why are you incapable of being critical of unionists and must you resort to shouting themuns.
    And another point, when something asks you for your point, it usually means that your point is unclear, refering back to the post that they asked about or telling them to go find out themselves is not the way to explain something.

  • Zorin001

    I live in Bangor, it is a bit of a dump but we get tetchy when its out of towners saying it.

  • Nevin

    Moan, moan, moan! Bye.

  • Nevin

    I’m a north coast culchie but I can see how out of town criticism can generate a hostile response. We’ve now lost the remaining part of a small gem and my update went sort of viral on Tuesday: 100-150 page views on a very quiet day was rattling along for several hours at the same count per minute!

  • grumpy oul man

    And when asked to prove something you toss in a insult, tuck your tail between your legs and run away.
    Hardly the way to prove a point.

  • Nevin

    Poor wee diddums. You obviously get narked when I mention/quote Gerry and his ‘on the run’ brigade. Perhaps he’ll write you a comfort letter. Now why don’t you do a little research on developers, politicians, parapoliticians, etc at Companies House, instead of whinging?

  • Cináed mac Artri

    Mr Wells was grossly wrong in his comments. ‘No Go’ areas should be a thing of the past.

    I’ve just read about a SF politician called Bangor a “sh@thole” a couple of days ago on social media. If that is the case perhaps Shinners are best to avoid the place?

    If I were a conspiracy theorist I start to believe that this tit for tat social media insult vibe is all agreed and preplanned by SF and the DUP to play to their respective bases. This being an election time and all that.

  • grumpy oul man

    Oh dear. Now your just being nasty.
    But i suggest that next time you make a claim, back it up.
    Say whatever you want about. Gerry i dont care.
    But what does annoy me is that everytime a unionist does something stupid or comes out with a load of secterian BS you try to cover for them with dead cat politics.
    And could i suggest that instead of asking people to prove your points for you, you actally supply the facts yourself.
    And you couldnt even get that post out without a bit of dead catting at the end.
    So to sum up,
    When you make a claim provide the proof dont expect people to go on a wild goose chase to back up your musings for you.
    PROOF is acyual quotes that can be checked out not a reference to a whole blog or goverment document.
    Now nevin i am sorry if your taking this personal bit all i ever asked was for you to prove your claims .
    It is a pity that you cant.

  • james

    Sinn Fein reps are frequently foul-mouthed – even those from the back country of Fermanagh. Michelle Gildernew’s language has been, at times, atrocious in her public statements – so much so that I am often surprised that people in a place like Fermanagh vote for her in any number. Martina Anderson seems cut from similarly classless cloth.

  • james

    That’s the goal is it, Casper?

  • Reader

    Croiteir: So perhaps, based entirely on the logic that you have brought to the discussion, the number is exceedingly large, personally I believe that enforced emigration has a lot to do with it too.
    How can you tell the difference between the enforced emigration of Catholics from Northern Ireland and the exuberent emigration of Catholics from the rest of Ireland?

  • Reader

    Croiteir: Why?
    Well, it’s either to confirm that you really are a local resident; or because the councillors would like to keep a list for future reference.

  • Croiteir

    Because there was/is a border between the two

  • 05OCT68

    John the stats provided show a 20% fall in population between 1911 & 1920, Protestants opposed to home rule moved to Ulster, where the largest Protestant population reside. Given this was before partition they moved from one part of the United Kingdom of GB & Ireland to another. The next 20% fall in the protestant population took 20 years & is explained in the survey as a result of Protestants who remained in the Free State marrying Catholics & the resultant offspring being raised catholic ( an abomination of the Catholic church forcing offspring of mixed marriage to be raised catholic), that is not a population shift but a change in religious adherence. I do not deny that Protestants in the Free State experienced murder, violence & intimidation, many left because of intimidation, many more left out of fear of intimidation a, mute point if your that person living in fear, but a distinction all the same. A picture was painted by another poster of hoards of refugees heading North, I thought it was dishonest that’s all.

  • 05OCT68

    Sorry Mick, but Jim Wells designated Rathfriland Unionist, I referenced the Republican mantra “what we have we hold” to make the point that Jim was as territorial as elements of Republicanism. My reply to John Miller today I hope explains any comments that angered you.