“It is madness that there is no political voice for Northern Ireland …”

For completeness, here’s the Minister for Foreign Affairs laying it out in very plain language… “It is madness that there is no political voice for Northern Ireland actually speaking for people and for businesses and for families here…”

For the record, it is mad. And none of those holding up the democratic institutions have come up with one single coherent or consistent reason why after nearly nine months, they are still dodging the solemn responsibilities they were elected to accept.

  • jokerswild

    Remind me Mick- when have FF / FG or indeed any Southern party came to the aid or support of Northern Nationalists …….

  • mickfealty

    And your point is…?

  • Superfluous

    Northern Ireland raised its political voice in the EU referendum – and it was promptly ignored by the voters of England and Wales and then the new UK Government – until the DUP gained utility, and now a certain minority political niche in Northern Ireland has a bit of a voice – which I guess is at least something.

    What’s the actual point in Sinn Fein reentering office – have any of us any faith that they will be heard, especially after they bend over again on stuff that was supposedly agreed years ago?

    The Union does not serve us well – it ignores us when it can ignore us, and it’s condescending when it cant. There’s certainly no incentive for nationalism to try make this mess work at the minute. Let’s just sit back and munch popcorn, let the Brexiters dig their own graves – and be ready to take advantage of the mess they leave behind.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    To smother the very idea Norn Irishness and any discussions that may foster it…

  • NotNowJohnny

    You don’t take your seats in the Union’s parliament and then complain that the Union ignores you. Are you sure it ain’t a case of you ignoring the Union?

  • james

    “Northern Ireland raised its political voice in the EU referendum – and it was promptly ignored by the voters of England and Wales and then the new UK Government”

    It’s tiresome, this argument. The vote was by and for the UK as a whole – of which NI is a constituent part. If you break down the UK into chunks, some areas voted leave, some voted remain. A majority of people in NI voted remain – not an overwhelming majority, but a decent majority. This put us roughly in line with the balance of votes in many parts of London. But the vote was not a region by region vote – it was a UK vote. The majority in NI who voted to remain were not ‘ignored’ any more than the majority in those parts of London were ignored.

    The majority in the UK, unfortunately, voted leave.

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    I would burn in a Hindenburg-esque manner in terms of hypocrisy regarding my disdain for nationalism (note: NATIONALISM, not just Irish nationalism) and support for such a thing were there to be a northern Irish ‘nationalist’ party.

    Irish nationalists, british nationalists and northern Irish nationalists; at least it would liven things up a bit…

  • murdockp

    And the unionists rejected the majority view for Ireland to become and independent nation resulting in the broke starlet that is NI

  • mickfealty

    Voice? Irish nationalists in NI currently have no one to speak for them. No one. That’s just plain queer, in the old sense of that word.

  • Karl

    And lets say Stormont was to go back to work tomorrow. There is no unified voice from the executive. You have the DUP playing the hard Brexit line (no customs union) and some how pretending there wont be a border and SF saying that nothing short of nothing changing is all thats acceptable. Neither the EU nor the UK will listen to that guff, although May may have to pretend.
    There will be no agreed position from Stormont or the Executive, therefore it is pointless for nationalism to rely on the institutions to further its aims.

  • Karl

    When there was a firm unionist majority, there was no northern irishness, only britishness. Now that the majority has slipped, the nation building narrative is replacing britishness. This was predicted years back.

  • William Kinmont

    Is it not a tactic . Precipitating a crisis that will eventually have to be resolved by removing a bit more of British input.
    The two previous posts suggest conventional direct rule is not coming probably just a continuation of civil service rule with no political master or policy decisions. Keeping g the crisis going along nicely. Eventually some changes will have to be made to GFA to get a workable system the direction of travel will have to be green.

  • Barneyt

    The assembly has collapsed and even if Sinn Fein handled it poorly and issued revised and retrospective rationale, it cannot be reestablished without a proven change on the DUPs part. The DUP are being let off the hook here and currently there is no scope to PowerShare with them. All reasonable parties should see that and bring pressure to bear.

    The other outlet is Westminster. Presenting Westminster as a forum, given the qualification criteria is a non starter. I know many suggest sf should cross their fingers, bite their tongue and effectively compromise their very being. That attitude is surely fuelled by a level of arrogance that dismisses a legitimate view and stance for any kind of republican. .

    If by some miracle sf do issue a solemn declaration of allegiance to the queen and hierarchy……. I’ll just let that sink in for a moment……it will only serve up 18 and more months of opportunistic technique to their opponents who can counter every sensible point made by refering to the sf past and how they are now licking the queens of England’s boots rather than the issue at hand.

  • mickfealty

    “The Assembly has collapsed”, that’s the sort of passive voice that Orwell warned about in the use of English in politics. It quietly removes agency.

    Far more accurate to say “Sinn Fein collapsed the Assembly”. To which the proper follow up is: why? And that takes us to a whole different territory.

  • Pang

    Why do people vote for parties that won’t go into government?

  • Am Ghobsmacht

    Much to my disdain.

    That article about the NI Celtic cross coin reminded me that even back then I wanted ‘Celtic’ symbols in a NI context.

    I never wanted us to be the north eastern Atlantic Falklands…

  • ted hagan

    Nationalists spoke for themselves at the ballot box when they voted overwhelmingly for Sinn Fein (twice) in recent months. There is a stalemate and it needs, as has been said many times, a concentrated effort by all sides, with a neutral mediator, to break it. To have Brokenshire in that role, considering the Westminster deal with the DUP, is plainly ludicrous. The media consensus, (or is that the’unionist’ media consensus, and I include Newton Emerson in that) currently seems to be trying to pin the blame for the stalemate solely on Sinn Fein.
    One only had to listen to Sammy Wilson on RTE this morning to recognise the validity of the Sinn Fein (nationalist) position and its demands for fairness and respect.

  • ted hagan

    Starlet? If only.

  • ted hagan

    Northern Ireland, rightly or wrongly, is in a unique position in having a land border with another EU country. It also has a unique independent agreement with the Republic. To dismiss the majority Remain vote in Northern Ireland as irrelevant is naive and facile

  • mickfealty

    Not you too Ted? If we leave the media theory out of it for a moment, was anyone offering the electorate a prolonged collapse of democracy? If they were, I’d love to see where that’s what they were offered?

    To be honest with you Ted, it’s all a bit more crack suicide squad than imminent liberation:

  • Conchúr

    The Union ignores NI regardless as long as bombs aren’t going off on the “mainland”.

  • mickfealty

    It’s the weight it’s given that matters. To abandon ship and refuse to represent that Remain voice is pure self destructiveness.

  • babyface finlayson

    Is it a stretch to suggest that SF have changed their tactics in the wake of the whole RHI/ felons club debate?
    Where they previously were trying to win small but significant gains for their voters through the Assembly such as an ILA or the A5 development, legacy issues and so on, they are now shifting to a strategy of making the whole place unworkable.
    The idea being that instability from within combined with the instability of Brexit will provide enough momentum for a ‘Yes’ vote in that referendum in 5 years time.
    In the meantime we will stumble along in a half governed limbo.

  • mickfealty

    All we can say for certain is that last November it was all Marlene and heavy lifting. After Martin got ill it was abandon ship.

    I buy the base thing, up to a point. But that’s either careless stakeholder management or poor constructed narrative.

    But the why question is not being asked at all.

  • Reader

    murdockp: And the unionists rejected the majority view for Ireland to become and independent nation resulting in the broke starlet that is NI.
    Well, quite. The overall position being that the majority in the 6 counties wanted the 6 counties to be part of the UK. Therefore Northern Ireland will leave the EU along with the rest of the UK.
    But if you close your eyes and wish really hard Brexit might swing NI opinion in favour of a United Ireland. I wouldn’t bet on it, though.

  • jimbob622

    Nice suggestion Reader, but maybe instead of wishing for what he wants, what Murdockp should really do is arm and recruit a paramilitary volunteer force to get what he wants a la UVF 1914. You know if the majority in Ireland wanted something but the majority in the 6 counties wanted something else, then it should follow that if the majority in the UK want something and those in the 6 counties want something else, sure it would just be history repeating itself.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    They have been conditioned by political mis-leadership to have a particular view of democracy in which functioning government is an option, not a must. A long alienation from both of the two conventional state structures which cover our islands, on deep ideological grounds, persists (despite the GFA’s creation of a shared set of relationships). It’s deeply embedded in Republican political culture, it seems.

    SF can act like this because not taking part in democratic institutions is perhaps seen as all part of the rich fabric of life among its voter base – it may not provoke the frustration and disgust it might do outside the Republican bubble. SF has licence from its voter base to pull the plug on democracy, because its voter base does not seem to care enough about the rest of the people. It’s a symbiotic thing between leadership and voters. The leadership fosters a sense of unique victimhood among its voter base that makes the latter feel it deserves special treatment; its political messaging has long dehumanised the unionist population, so that the SF voter base is inured to complaints from unionists. So they do what they want and really don’t care.

    Alliance and the Greens are finally calling SF out for their de facto abstentionism and SDLP to some extent. It’s important now all parties make it clear SF’s strategy is unacceptable to everyone else. This should not be left to unionists alone to do and SDLP and Green voices will be much more effective in pulling Sinn Fein’s crowbar out of the spokes on this than unionist parties ever can be.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you sum up the thinking of SF – forgive me if I find it badly wanting. It seems to care little for politicians doing what they’re elected and paid to do.

    Northern Ireland people had the same vote everyone else in the UK had in the EU referendum – don’t try and pull that one. Maybe you think it should have had its own vote and a veto over the overall result – but that has never been how national referenda have been conducted in the UK. It was always clear it was a single, UK-wide vote on the issue. Regional results are interesting but no more than that.

    London voted Remain too, and has unique economic issues around Brexit, should it get a veto or opt-out too? It’s a moot point – that simply isn’t the system we have and we didn’t vote on that basis.

    And the point of SF being in office is supposed to be to serve the people of Northern Ireland and make their lives better. Does that no longer motivate Republicans?

  • Akaelu, Chidiogo Ifunanya

    educative post indeed. please check out unn.edu.ng

  • MainlandUlsterman

    My take: this is a big strategic thing linked to the opportunity SF has seen in the Brexit vote – which excites SF greatly – and their call is that maintaining political instability in N Ireland during the Brexit negotiations fosters a sense of flux which plays well for SF. I think it has come to see the GFA institutions as a straightjacket, because they produce either compromise or stasis. SF is not about the boring real business of administering N Ireland well – that just makes people doze off in semi-contentment and forget about a united Ireland. SF’s united Ireland agenda, which it has rediscovered with verve, requires it not to get locked into consensual cross-community politics.

    The complaints about the DUP blocking what SF wants to do are weak, because they merely describe what you would expect to happen in any coalition government between two very different parties, based on cross-community consensus. The other lot are entitled to block stuff you want to do and you are entitled to block stuff they want to do. So what? SF has been no more accommodating to the DUP, or nice to it, than the other way around, if we’re honest. Or if they have been, I’ve missed it.

    The SF grassroots has got restless perhaps because of three things:
    (1) over-expectation of the kind of “progress” nationalism itself was ever likely to make in a consensus-based system;
    (2) underestimating how irritating SF’s politicians are to others (the “crocodiles” comment being raised as if Republicans are the sole recipients of negative labels in NI politics – unionists are called much worse on a daily basis and get on with it) – so imagining they are being unfairly slighted when it’s really just fairly even mutual slagging;
    (3) poor diplomacy on the DUP’s part – gloating a little too much over their ability to frustrate SF. The temptation must be overwhelming but they should resist. However, I don’t ask them to be friendly to SF until it disowns the IRA campaign, just civil and businesslike.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Northern Ireland does not have an agreement with the Republic that is “independent”. It is rather at the centre of a three-stranded agreement involving itself, the UK government and the Irish government as well as all the local parties. That agreement leaves the UK sovereign in N Ireland and on that basis, N Ireland voters took part in the national UK vote on Brexit.

    There are special considerations needed for NI of course in the working out of the Brexit deal, no one is saying otherwise. But the implication of your comment is that because a fairly narrow majority in NI voted Remain, that that should dictate how the border arrangements post-Brexit are made. That cannot be right. NI people’s interests of course should be very strongly considered, but the fact there was a big Remain vote is kind of history now – we lost and Brexit is happening. This is now about how Brexit is done and coming up with arrangements that will work long term.

    How the land border with the ROI is dealt with cannot be wholly divorced from what we end up agreeing on future cross-border dealings with the rest of the EU 27. For example, if we’re in the Customs Union, great, it will make things a lot easier with the Republic. If not then we need other structures etc. But it’s all interrelated. Therefore, we shouldn’t expect quick agreement on it, patience is required.

    With luck, parliament can in time push May into something close to single market membership. But there is much politics to be done this autumn and beyond. After the election result, all is to play for.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    GFA-Watch: forgotten it again? Remember when the whole of nationalism agreed the legitimacy of N Ireland? Keep up 🙂

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think the IRA already tried that. Didn’t go so well for them …

  • jimbob622

    I was speaking hypothetically in case you didn’t notice and in the case of the IRA, history didn’t repeat itself. Is there any indication that the majority in the UK actually want NI? In the Brexit poll the majority in Northern Ireland wanted to remain in the EU, it was not a vote for a united Ireland. Apart from the UVF 1914 being akin to the IRA, your analogy is poor.

  • Roger

    The same way Connacht’s voice was “ignored” in Ireland’s divorce referendum of 95 I suppose….

  • Brian Kann

    That vote should always have been conditional to support in a majority of the four constituent parts of the UK. Actually, I believe motions were tabled on that from the SNP and SDLP (amongst others) which were soundly ignored in a parliament 90% composed of English seats.

    You can argue the legal merits of it but there was always going to be a political cost to this being decided in England (and Wales, granted, although its essentially a principality of England). Even if Scotland and NI somehow voted remain by 100% it might not have made a difference if enough people in England voted leave. Further, NI didn’t figure in that debate one bit, and there’s no point pretending otherwise. Worse, we now have an English-centric interpretation of the referendum result that is seriously contentious, from a government of mostly English people with next-to-no consideration of either Scotland or NI’s wishes. How many in that government have any relation or connection to NI? None. And yet they can decide our fate for us, even if it is likely to be terrible for us. Even if NI had an executive, what good would it do on that front? Now the final blow is all of this gets implemented thanks to the support of the DUP, which seems to fly right in the face of the GFA itself.

    In NI’s case, the whole “red, white and blue” Brexit promised and the sheer Britishness of the whole thing was always going to cause serious issues for nationalists. Surely unionists can’t be surprised at this.

  • Roger

    Any indication….Yes. Decades. Indeed generations of subventions and support. Plus, alas, the blood of quite a few of their sons.

  • Roger

    UKNI does not have any agreement with Ireland. The UK does.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The vote of a UK citizen in N Ireland counted exactly the same as a vote of a UK citizens anywhere else in the UK. The winning Leave total included votes from England, Scotland, Wales and, yes, N Ireland. At the risk of being repetitive, it was a UK-wide vote. It’s a bit meaningless to say ‘England’ voted Leave, as if everyone did – it’s just an odd way we have of talking about results as if they were all or nothing. England was very divided. The bulk of the UK population is in England so most votes are there in a UK-wide vote. If you treat England like it’s Mars, that might be problematic, but if you don’t it really isn’t. NI chooses to be in the UK, it has not been forced. And all the evidence suggests it still overwhelmingly chooses to be in the UK even after the Brexit vote.

    I’m not surprised nationalists are very disappointed about the vote. But as Irish citizens, they are better off than most. I don’t even have that – I will lose my EU citizenship, they won’t. And in reality, all involved want as little change in NI as possible. Given that, you would expect we’ll all work something not too bad out for NI. Not much is likely to change. But let’s see how it goes. Democracy doesn’t always go the way we’d like.

  • Nevin

    Perhaps we should call upon the services of one of my contemporaries at QUB, Brian Arthur, to deliver a talk on complexity in NI politics – where histories really do matter:

  • jimbob622

    All well and good Roger, but I wasn’t referring to state subventions, support nor blood spilt. Nor was anyone else.

  • Roger

    You were referring to whether there was “any indication that the majority in the UK actually want NI”. I’ve pointed out indicators that the majority do. The indicators I’ve cited are their willingness to pay taxes over generations to support UKNI and, regrettably, send their sons to die in UKNI when needs be too. They are pretty concrete indicators.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I’d still confess to being an Irish nationalist, but I get it … we have far too many “nationalists” and not enough actual patriots for want of a better word.

    When times are bad and people feel a chilly economic climate the comforts of a flag gives people a false sense of hope and absolutely no self-discipline nor sympathy for their fellow man.

    We are getting the worst of British and Irish that way.

    Both should be offering visions rather than fears … visions based on personal effort and community effort. It’s that reason why I joined a party which although isn’t at the top of the tree is fighting ambitiously to do the best with what it has from where it is.

    I used social media to spread the word about a local lad who needed help returning home and repaying large medical bills for contracting an illness overseas ….

    Pretty much everyone from the Protestant Coalition and the Ulster Political Research Group on one front to Republican Sinn Féin and the 1916 Societies on the other got behind it.

    Deep down despite our flags we are still very much compassionate human beings. Nations are at the end of the day the homes we make for ourselves, rather than a nostalgic identity complex.

  • Nevin

    Shared goals/concerns can make a difference, Kevin – they can even put the TUV and SF on the same platform.

  • james

    “To dismiss the majority Remain vote in Northern Ireland as irrelevant is naive and facile”

    I’m not dismissing the majority remain vote in NI as irrelevant (I voted remain, too), just as I am not dismissing the majority remain vote in London as irrelevant.

    The fact remains, though, that the UK is a single, unified national unit and the vote was conducted as such.

  • Brian Kann

    Agreed with the last point but MU, that is why for many of us (and please not all are SF/IRA) the question on NIs status is back on again. We all know we’re a part of the UK and no one disputes that. The question is do we still want to be and are we happy with an English government dictating such monumental change on our society in a way that has been long forgotten. People are entitled to oppose that and make arguments for another form of government that cares more about our unique status. I don’t see the issue with pursuing that as with Brexit and the DUP deal, the cat is well and truly out of the sack now. Incidentally, SF would be better served addressing that in my opinion although this is awkward given their previous stance on EU issues.

    Also you don’t lose your “EU passport” because of the vote but rather your own personal choice, presuming you were born in NI.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I was born in NI and am British. I would like an EU passport but I’m not going to pretend I belong to another country to get one. Fine for nationalists but not something I could do.

  • james

    Ireland and (what is now) Northern Ireland were in effect two different countries long before that reality on the ground was formally recognized in law by the act of Partition. Given the circumstances, it was the only rational thing to do.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    that was the whole analogy though

  • jimbob622

    A willingness to pay taxes. Does one have a choice? They didn’t send their sons for the purpose of dying. They sent their sons here as a last ditch attempt to manage the unrest and violence that had spilled over due to…….. let’s not go into the reasons. Some certainly died, some also killed. All this is besides the point, the actions of the state do not represent the majority opinion of the people.

  • Brian Kann

    That’s fine but I wouldn’t then use it as a sympathy point or an area where nationalists somehow have an advantage. It’s your own choice. Ultimately, I understand you as a unionist can ultimately accept Brexit as it essentially recasts NI within the UK more. You have to understand equally that Nationalists want less UK not more and Brexit is simply a Horror Show for us in this respect. Hence why all this is going to cause serious problems that a Tory Government doesn’t seem to have even considered.

  • Barneyt

    Surely there are two different issues at stake. Now we can debate the assembly issue and whatever we both argue there is a form of abstention. This is not based on ideological grounds. They’ve been there before and might return if two things happen. Sf stick to the respect and equality issues that genuinely represent a red line and the DUP respond positively to this.

    I feel the absence of the SDLP and alliance from Westminster as there is one skewed body representing us all over there. I perhaps might compromise myself in attending London so I could shout down the body’s and views that were a risk to those I might represent. I might not make it across the threshold as I would voice my disdain for any kind of monarchy. Perhaps I could make it clear I would lie to gain entry and then solemnly declare an allegiance i surely do not feel. Would that be possible or would I bring the institution into disrepute? Is that mockery?

    Sf has stonger views than this. Entering Westminster is very different from recognising the dail in 86 or taking up joint office in Northern Ireland in the noughties. Would those that pressure sf to attend take a stark opposite stance on matters important to them? I doubt it but because we all have to accept British rule and all that goes with it. Republicans will be steamrollered into a decision against their will and very being. I state this for all types of republican and not just those across the British and irish divide.

  • Barneyt

    Yes no argument regarding assembly and the why’s and not could be clearer. Was it Rhi? I thought so and other matters were more secondary. That however does not lesson the DUP and even uup attitudes to the Irish and the native language.

    I’d love to see someone put together a case for republicans joining a parliament that has an allegiance to a monarchy. Oh but how else are you going to have a say? That’s perhaps workable for English republicans. Add the English/Irish question into the mix and you get many taking the view that one side must dsssolve who they are to get a foot in the door. The argument of more pressing matters has been made by many but what will they jettison in response. I’ve not see anyone take that on properly here

  • Mick, you might like to share the body of “Fit for Future Purpose with Government Officers?” . Interested Parties can then consider all presented and Super Conditions for Available Lead Programs.

    And yes, it is IT 0n/in Live Operational Virtual Environment Operations.

    Want to Play AIGreat Games for Realisation of Virtually Augmented Reality?

  • jimbob622

    For the reasons I pointed out it isn’t an appropriate one.

  • Concubhar O Liathain

    Here’s the latest update on an ongoing poll in the Belfast Telegraph. It’s unscientific but it seems to point overwhelmingly towards an upset on the question of the border. https://uploads.disquscdn.com/images/eb92ccf55043deba514a4469928265820d6c2ab8d1434020637b203cbafb0fa8.png

  • babyface finlayson

    I would broadly agree with you, certainly on your point about Brexit.
    It has definitely energised republican/nationalist thinking and Gerry himself has said ‘never waste a crisis, never waste a difficulty’ in a little callback to the days of ‘England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’.
    Whether he is overestimating the opportunity remains to be seen, but it appears to me they are going for increasing the instability in an effort to add to the appetite for a UI.

    As for the DUP I do think they should have found a way to agree to an ILA long ago It would have made them look good without a huge cost. But more than that it would have been the right thing to do.
    Ok maybe they didn’t technically agree to it at St Andrews but in the spirit of that agreement it should have happened. That lack of generosity of spirit will cost them in the long term, but they seem to prefer short term gain in contrast to SF who play a long game.

  • NotNowJohnny

    Of course that’s an easy statement to make. What particular attention are you looking from the Union? What (more) is it that you want the Union to do for NI?

  • Superfluous

    Almost all Unionists replying to my post have iterated that it doesn’t matter what Northern Ireland votes for – it’s the UK as a whole which decides. And they are right – the northern Irish nationalist vote and voice is now worthless in this debate. That is quite a queer constitutional position to defend, as a nationalist.

  • Neiltoo

    “The question is do we still want to be and are we happy with an English government dictating such monumental change on our society in a way that has been long forgotten.”

    As opposed to the EU dictating such monumental change as in Hungary and Slovakia?

    Is it the change or who is dictating the change? I’m not suggesting that of you, but there does seem to be a certain amount of that feeling in the comments whenever Brexit is discussed.

  • james

    “the northern Irish nationalist vote and voice is now worthless in this debate.”

    No, it isn’t. Almost all Irish Republicans, and a much smaller number of nationalists, seem to again and again make the same mistake.

    Being disenfranchised is *not* the same thing as holding an opinion contrary to the majority – and thus not getting your way in a democratic vote for something.

  • murdockp

    You haven’t lost it completely. You are entitled to an irish passport was well. It’s not an evil document.

  • Ruairi Murphy

    IF you are correct that this is all part of a SF long term strategy to destablise NI then why not call their bluff? Why not pull the rug from underneath them and agree to such relatively small things like an ILA?

  • Timothyhound

    The DUP never expected the Brexit referendum to be carried. The fact that is an act of deep economic self harm for NI is blithely ignored by them. Can’t help but wonder what Simon Hamilton would say if he had the balls to speak his mind!

  • Stephen Kelly

    Personally Brian i am sick of this SF/IRA crap that the DUP/UDA/UVF and on and on (Oh and the pretend i am so reasonable in the middle crowd) dole out but cannot contain their vitriol towards nationalist/republican voters. I vote Sinn Feinn and that’s that along with hundreds of thousands of others, get over it we are voters the British finally gave us the vote and they are never taking it back. I was reborn a crocodile lol.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Who cares really apart from yourself ho hum. British passport nice passport nice color enjoy. First passport i ever had was a British passport after four days of interviews medical examinations and psychiatric tests i filled out the form and it was bought and paid for by one of the worlds largest oil company’s when they first hired me. Never bothered me allowed me to go to work all over the world and earn a very good living ho hum what. Mind you when it came time for renewal and i was spending my own money i bought an Irish one why not.

  • Kevin Breslin

    British harm to NI, rather than economic self harm.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Martina Anderson is the only elected rep doing the job she’s been elected for. of course though, she’s going to lose it.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    exactly what I propose

  • MainlandUlsterman

    of course not but I’ll leave it for Irish people

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I agree with that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    some fair points but actually on the passport / Irish citizenship thing, it’s not a choice open to me as someone who rejects, and is entitled to reject, the Republic’s idea of there being a single “Irish people” that includes me and which the Republic represents. Nationalists may take that approach and they are entitled to, but I am equally entitled not to. That being the case, EU citizenship is not in reality open to me after Brexit.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    No, that implies ‘British’ is something only external to NI. So it is British self-harm, when we’re talking about DUP voters.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I was not saying SF’s staying out of the Executive was on purely ideological grounds, I was saying its alienation from UK, NI and ROI structures more generally is an ideological thing, and it’s that that makes staying out of the Executive unproblematic for them. The decision itself is not dictated by its ideology; but is in keeping with it and has strongly comfortable resonances for SF.

    Much of the commentary since Jan has started with an assumption SF feels an obligation to make the GFA institutions work, because it is signed up to them. I suggest it feels no such obligation, that it signed up partly for temporary political strategy reasons which no longer apply, and partly for PR reasons – so they can pursue an ethnically aggressive agenda while posing as champions of “peace” (and critics of this therefore able to be portrayed as anti-progress, stuck in the past, etc).

  • I imagine there would be an executive assembly exercising government initiatives in NI if government salaries were not paid to absent members. Do you get paid if you walk out of work?

  • travelmpq

    There’s no such legal entity as Northen Ireland. Doesn’t legally exist separate from the Republic of Ireland. BRITS OUT, PEACE IN.

  • file

    Here is one single reason: the DUP still have not shown that they understand how to do power-sharing, or that they want to do it. Thrice bitten, fourth time shy.

  • file

    What? When? How?

  • file

    I wish that were true, Mick. Unfortunately, when I turn on Radio Ulster by mistake having given it up for unLent recently, I hear the same tired voices speaking interminably in their Sisyphean nightmare. And if I want someone to represent my interests, Michel Barnier is doing quite a good job at it.

  • file

    Because the DUP cannot and will not do power-sharing. The DUP have yet to reject or even complain about the accusation that there are sectarian contained in McGuiness’s rsignation letter: maybe they are proud of being sectarian?

  • file

    Because, Mick, the DUP cannot and will not do power-sharing.

  • james

    What?

    “Ireland and (what is now) Northern Ireland were in effect two different countries”

    When?

    “Long before that reality on the ground was formally recognized in law by the act of
    Partition. Given the circumstances, it was the only rational thing to do.”

    How? I think it was because most of the population of the northern part of the island – having moved there centuries before – retained a distinct identity and the two populations never really gelled.

    This age old problem, centuries old already by the start of the 20th century was finally resolved by formally dividing the two populations into separate states.

  • mickfealty

    It’s not the DUP who bust powersharing file. The public record is crystal clear. The rest sectarian id, and gossip.

  • mickfealty

    I hear he’s not much good with floods, sorting out NI’s NHS, untangling public finance. Seems to me northern nationalism is suffering with a bad dose of Cinderella complex. That can be fatal if the Prince doesn’t show up.

  • file

    Neither is anyone else any good at sorting out the issues you mention – particularly our local incompetents who would need to ensure that if too many Catholics were affected by floods that Protestants were then supplied with surplus water to have their fair share of flood and flood compensation. Most of the things you mention could, and should, be sorted out by competent civil servants, but we have a dearth of those too.

  • file

    What? The DUP find it nearly impossible to talk about or to the ‘other’ community without being insulting, never mind carrying out their GFA obligation to respect the ‘other’ community and its expression of its culture. SF is not going back into an arrangement with a party that has not yet shown that it knows how to do power-sharing. And I do not care who started it, Mick. That is the current situation. We are where we are, ya know?

  • file

    I like the ‘having moved there’ euphemism for the Plantation of Ulster. Whatever about the Planters, the displaced local population knew which nationality they were. You might actually have a better point if you cak into mythology and reference the Táin when the Province of Ulster squared up to the rest of the country (led by Queen Medb from Connaught, but she got the others involved too) and gave it a fair and square walloping and ‘sent them homewards, tae think again’.

  • mickfealty

    You may not, but you don’t have an argument worth the breath without proof. The public record is clear: it’s nationalism that’s borked on power-sharing (much to my own great surprise).

    How many glorious defeats before people smell a rat? Electoral strength is worthless if when you get into power you’re as weak as a political louse. Everything else is a desperate attempt to cover that weakness.

    Consider the Morrison test:

    …will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in this hand and an Armalite in the other, we take power in Ireland?

    We’re now at the thick end of that wedge, and it’s becoming clear that “taking power in Ireland” is going to be nowhere near as easy as Danny thought it would. After ten years in Stormont, they’ve entirely buckled.

    At the very apogee of SF’s electoral success (the tide will go out in the next Assembly election on both SF and the SDLP) there appears to be nothing on offer (from either) other than sustained collapse of democracy.

    That’s it. No ten year health plan, no completing the Derry – Dublin road link (direct rule minister’s with DUP guidance will see that one out), an ILA but at the cost of completely gutting it.

    And that’s not even mentioning a permanent seat on the opposition benches in Leinster House, and young talent like Mr Hazzard retired early in amongst the party’s Westminster pensioners.

  • Reader

    Online polls are great. Apparently Boaty McBoatface is a good name for a ship, and the most popular song in the world is “A nation once again”
    http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/entertainment/2591357.stm

  • file

    Northern Ireland is not South Africa, and I am not making that comparison, but Mandela shared power with de Clerke, and vice versa. The DUP has changed a ship’s name in case anyone thought ‘their’ country had any Irish cultural expression in it. I would not share a taxi with the unreconstructed bigots of the DUp never mind an executive table.

  • mickfealty

    I get that you aren’t. And nor am I when I when I go on to build on YOUR analogy and suggest that we have the equivalent of Mandela abandoning De Clerk ten years in.

    Maybe De Clerk didn’t matter as much, but Arlene does. And whatever her shortcomings (let no one deny they are real) she will and her successors will continue to matter very much. This is the block Republicanism must get past.

  • file

    Can the Block not just crumble until it is a pebble? Maybe Ian Óg will knock a few sizeable chips off it with even more wriggling to get out of what looks like a duck and walks like a duck and stinks of financial impropriety.