Taoiseach pins blame for Northern Ireland’s impasse on Sinn Fein

As noted previously, Micheal Martin’s public determination to isolate SF seems to be giving rise to those aforementioned wider consequences. From playing up to SF a few weeks back, if this exchange is anything to go by, the Taoiseach is hardening his line:

This section is part of a longer tetchy exchange (the Belfast Telegraph has a more complete video copy which shows where the Taoiseach set out from, ie putting blame on both the DUP and Sinn Fein, gets blown off course by the intemperate nature of Mary Lou’s intervention)…

The fact that Sinn Féin and the DUP have not come together to form a Government is letting down the people of Northern Ireland. It is not good enough always to be asking others to make compromises. Politics is about compromise and Sinn Féin will have to make compromises to allow an Executive to be established.

Is it any small wonder that the people of Northern Ireland don’t have a First Minister or deputy First Minister, [or] an Executive or an Assembly? Because this is the attitude of Sinn Fein: constantly hectoring, smart Alec remarks, lack of temperance, lack of respect for other people, and inability to listen to them and an inability to listen to compromise.

It should be of no wonder whatsoever that we’re in the situation where the people of Northern Ireland have no government, have no voice because this is the style of politics and this is the style of debate and the style of negotiation favoured by Sinn Fein, which is to interrupt people, to shout them down and just show total disrespect for anyone who doesn’t share their views.

No ambiguity there.

UPDATE: In conversation below and digging back through the record at KildareStreet.com it seems this was the moment it all started getting interesting:

Deputy Micheál Martin: In August, the Taoiseach unveiled his new Brexit policy in Belfast which, in spite of the enormous spin, amounted to saying that he was not going to propose anything until London had proposed something. After nearly a year and a half, he could have come up with something better than that. Without question, the Brexit debacle and mess is 100% the fault of the British Government. However, the lack of specifics in our position is becoming ominous. That is particularly dangerous in the context of Northern Ireland, where the assembly and Executive are not running. Northern Ireland essentially has no coherent voice in respect of the Brexit negotiations.

I have been very critical of the collapse of the Executive and believe Sinn Féin was instrumental in contriving it. Given the enormity of Brexit and the extraordinary negative consequences emanating from Brexit for this island, it is incredible that the Executive and assembly are still not up and running. While all parties have to contribute, including the Democratic Unionist Party, I do not buy what has been happening for the past nine months. This periodic, serial creation of crises in the Good Friday institutions and framework is not acceptable.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: Deputy Martin’s words demonstrate remarkable ignorance.

Deputy Micheál Martin: I have been there. I have been in negotiations with all parties.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: I have been there with the Deputy.

Deputy Micheál Martin: She was never in negotiations.

Deputy Mary Lou McDonald: I have, and I have seen Deputy Martin at close quarters.

Deputy Micheál Martin: When I was Minister for Foreign Affairs, Deputy McDonald, was nowhere. What tended to happen was that certain people came out for the photo calls. The Deputy was never at negotiations with me or Shaun Woodward. Commitments that were given then were not dealt with or seen through. Every now and again it suits to create a crisis. There is a media acceptance of this which, at times, we all get a bit tired of. The endless crises, the suspension of judgment—–

Deputy Peadar Tóibín: The Deputy should get on the field and puck the ball.

Deputy Micheál Martin: We have the same sort of choreography going on there all the time – the same drama and melodrama of meetings, and will the crisis be resolved?

Clearly the removal of that mysterious fourth wall (sustained by still a too pliant and incurious media) by which the polite fiction is continuously spun by hacks (who do actually know better) that SF’s public voices have any real role or voice in what the party ends up doing was too much for the Deputy to endure.

Perhaps it’s this sidelining of the party’s own democrats which is fuelling the flow of resignations from its southern councillors? It also demonstrates a longer game where Martin has been positioning himself strategically between (at least) two senior opponents.

  • Croiteir

    And the entity responsible is at the talks

  • Reader

    Croiteir: And the entity responsible is at the talks
    Tony Blair? Or some drone of the unionist borg?

  • mickfealty

    We ask our politicians to do all manner of things that might apall us in our lives, but It’s a mark of endurance when a political party can survive long periods of unpopularity and eventually break through to such moments.

    It’s partly about knowing the limitations you begin with (no one wants to hear from you), slowly developing a core purpose in your new, reduced circumstances. Then not missing out on what your voters want from you, as well as understanding what they might need from you to achieve that.

    You must never forget that to grow you need to understand numbers, and that to grow you need not just to take to your base but to find arguments that will persuade people who have voted for other parties in the past to come and vote for you.

    And finally if you’ve done your homework and you’ve positioned yourself well over time, there’s no need to snatch at the opportunity when it comes (like hungry men who think it may be their last chance of good food), rather you quietly use it to layer up and make more visible a position that you already hold.

  • Hawk

    Which goes to show the complexities of politics and the tough choices political leaders face. Politics is a trade between as you said, the right thing to do and political advantage; your political beliefs and having the power to enact those beliefs, and I’m sure many others. That’s not how we would like politics to be but that is how it really is. Only yourself and a few others talk about this stuff but it is a lesson we voters need.

  • Easóg

    “At a guess” sums you up.

  • Stephen Kelly

    MainlandUlsterman can give you a smart arse answer but what you post is the reality on the ground and in the voting booth. Bad Catholics, bold nationalists. Maybe SeaanUiNeill post above and the very many very well documented atrocities that happened, plus the many unreported booting’s have something to do with peoples leanings plus they are a great party if you need help. Or so i am told.

  • Stephen Kelly


  • Stephen Kelly

    Politics very rarely has anything to do with doing the right thing and everything to do with gaining political advantage almost always at any price. The north east of Ireland and i think it was nearly 70 years (memory not so good anymore for dates) of total unionist domination taught us that, before the British had to finally say whooaaa there enough were closing this place down.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Huh ?

  • Stephen Kelly

    This is the very definition of anti democracy. LOLOL thats the one on this whole post. Anti democracy sorry Mick for that you have to go see the DUP. I think you may be tad biased against Sinn Feinn lol.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Holy Moses never knew that now. Man them unionists are cunning old devils when it comes to lining the pocket. Should give them all a five pound piece of roadside kerb as a bonus for thinking that one up. But hey up there is nothing to stop all of them donating the money to battered wives homes the homeless or the hospice is there.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Don’t believe you prove it.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Hang on they took the job on, the mortgage on they can take their chances like the poor unfortunates at Bombardie.

  • james

    Easog – ” I only have a limited vocabulary of 14000 words”

    james – “At a guess, I’d say about 1,100 tops.”

    Easóg – “At a guess” sums you up.”

    Sums me up, hmm? Well, I think we may have just inadvertently summed you up.

    My guess of 1,100 words in your vocabulary is simply that – a guess based on your limited repertoire.

    What is your figure based on for your personal vocabulary?

  • Stephen Kelly

    The story goes that during the second world war some yanks ended up at a Sunday church service in Bessbrook. After it was over on the way out the they stopped and talked to the reverend and he started complaining he wasn’t getting enough on the collection and the church needed work doing .It seems one of the soldiers spoke up and said reverend where i come from if it ain’t paying we shut her down. LOLOL great story the old ones swore it was true.

  • Stephen Kelly

    I don’t care I want one now lol. And i am serious couldn’t give a monkeys about thejournal. I am a newly awakened crocodile and i want fed ok.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Very clearly put now i understand what all of the above posts some very nasty were about thank you Neil.

  • Stephen Kelly

    AHH got you Tim E so she is McDonald and he is Mr Varadker. In my old role as a chief engineer when receiving personnel complaints, I always listened hard to the way they spoke of each other.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Do what i do. Mick has a great wee blocker you can get rid of the repetitive over and over and over same negativity by just pressing a few wee keys, makes for a more enjoyable reading experience on the blog.

  • Stephen Kelly

    I am now an ordinary crocodile Mick and i don’t feel that i am in constructive isolationism at all. But i do want to be fed and the ILA will do for a start, then its back in the door for the rest.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Get the message we don’t want bailed out stay away if you want. We will just carry on quietly taking over the councils and hopefully get some realistic bylaws in place.

  • Stephen Kelly

    (No more Mr Nice guy) Are you old enough to remember that line in Dallas it was great Jrs line was used for a laugh for years .

  • Stephen Kelly

    LOL Nice one.

  • Stephen Kelly

    Calling her “tetchy” is tantamount to asking “time of the month, luv?”, LOLOL thank you showed the wife that one.

  • PeterBrown

    Unfortunately in the absence if an ILA giving them powers to put realistic bye laws in place councils have few if any powers to do so but it wouldn’t be the first time the Irish language ball has been dropped would it?

  • Stephen Kelly

    Been reading your posts and learned nothing. A lot of people on here have some good points to make some with great humor. But fek you would really cheer a guy up in the pub.

  • mickfealty

    A much politically smarter operation could have had some class an ILA years ago.

    So let me ask you: what part of your own personal set of demands could possibly justify this class of delay?

  • Stephen Kelly

    Are you serious (They can’t negotiate, because they’ve demonised Unionism) I am sorry Mick but Arlene and the Christmas gift man and the curry my yogurt man and Nelson and their linkage to a still running terrorist organisation, the UDA has demonised them now its up to them to cuddle up to this crocodile and feed it a little morsel or two.

  • Stephen Kelly

    I am thinking more on the line of unwanted marches UVF flags painted kirbstones, bonfires, anyone’s nasty gun-toting murals etc. Oh and coming up my Avenue and pissing and dropping number twos while the lisburn road parade goes on. Make them pay for toilets and make them pay for cleaning up the road. It is a total disgrace after they pass and they call themselves nice people nearly said decent unionists LOL.

  • PeterBrown

    All of which also require primary legislation from Stormont before there could be further council bye laws – this straw clutching is reminiscent of SF claiming the DUP are in breach of a previous agreement when actually they themselves let Blair off the hook!

  • mickfealty

    Yes. What’s the problem?

  • Stephen Kelly

    Give us the ILA which will show good faith after all the curry my yogurt crap and the Líofa cut for instances. Or close it lol slugger and probably the news outlets are the only people really missing it at the moment. Then with some trust restored its back to work and i do want the same sex marriage act, whats the problem the Tories voted for it and i want abortion sorted out. Oh and i want another three billion on the grant this place is broke and always will be so if were staying feed us properly. Capital gains tax my bum give us real money, this place will never ever make money. Oh and send us another five thousand good civil service jobs, their that,s a start I know to you Mick my answer probably sounds moronic or simplistic but i wonder how many ordinary crocs and DUPrs feel just like this. I know i know we are not worthy of a vote. Oh and the money is there, two useless aircraft carriers and no planes and were having to pay hundreds of millions extra for planes that are not ready and if the poor pilot is to tall he will break his neck if he has to eject. and on and on the money is there give to the nhs and scrap the bloody carriers before we waste billions more on them and bloody trident that the Americans hold the firing codes for you couldnt make it up. And on political blogs people talk about smart and caring politicians. stop Stephen. Sorry dump this rubbish if it annoys you Mick. Thought i was back in the pub LOLOL.

  • mickfealty


  • MainlandUlsterman

    if only the IRA could talk … if only there were some spokespeople they had, perhaps in a political party, with knowledge of those facts, who could tell us …

    In the absence of openness or reliability on the part of Irish Republicans, historians have to go on the best information they have. Army intelligence from that era is a good starting point. After all, they had penetrated the IRA to a crippling degree through recruiting informers, so had quite a large amount of inside knowledge. But if you have better information, please share it.

  • Reader

    Stephen Kelly: Don’t believe you prove it.
    Stephen, I can’t read John’s mind, So I can’t know for sure what was going on in there. As for what I described, there are quite a few references to SFs practices with its representatives’ incomes. for instance:
    And that article inspired me to find:
    … which doesn’t seem to support John’s claim, though perhaps you could point out the relevant part to me, since John appears to be AWOL.
    As for the councillor:

  • Ben De Hellenbacque

    It seems that the life of the unborn … etc.

  • John

    I am unsure as to how SF got embroiled in this. So you are saying that no such legislation exists on the Stormont “book”

  • Tim E

    Stephen K,
    You seek deeper meaning where none actually exists. Still, to quote a finer mind than mine, “I disapprove of what you say, but I will defend to the death your right to say it.” 🙂