Thursday, January 3, 2013

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Eriu is our Queen

Guest writer David McSweeney with an analysis pinpointing the shortcomings of the Good Friday Agreement.

“Eriu is our Queen” - the letters spelt out above a massive tricolour on the hills above West Belfast. It was June of this year, the British Monarch was in town, Irish Republicans wanted to make a political point. It was a brilliant piece of political activism, observable from several miles away. The response to this peaceful, positive political expression? A gang of up to thirty loyalists armed with golf clubs, pipes and hatchets attacked the Republicans causing serious injury to two people and less serious hurt to others.

A Facebook page appeared hours after the attack, it showed a group of twenty men armed with golf clubs and other cudgels boasting of the attack. Faces were not covered. You can surf the net for as long as you want and you will not find a word of condemnation from the “process” parties. The courts didn’t have to put any time by to hear cases against the facebook heroes not one of them was charged.

A man who has been charged recently in the six counties is Stephen Murney a member of the registered political party, Eirigi. Among the items cited as being of “use to terrorists” in Stephen’s home were stencils, those staples of political activism the world over. I sat in the courthouse in Newry several weeks ago at a bail hearing for Stephen, his legal representative felt the need to state the following to the judge:

the Good Friday agreement was all about enshrining peoples right to express their political views without fear, while you, and indeed I may find those views distasteful that is what my client has been involved in, expressing his political viewpoint, nothing more.

Simon Cursey is an ex British solider. In the early weeks of December he told the Daily Mail newspaper of his actions in a secret British army unit called the Military Reaction Force in Ireland. The article explained how the unit had shot twenty people in nationalist areas, never giving a warning on any occasion, Cursey pointed out. “Murder and mayhem” is how the British military figure characterised his actions and those of his colleagues. Mr Cursey added he had no “moral issues” over what he had done in Ireland.

Cursey lapped up the attention of his disclosure obviously free of any worries of repercussions for his admission of multiple murders in Ireland. At the very same time two Republicans served prison sentences in Maghaberry. The two men Rab Jackson and Padaric Mac Coitir were imprisoned arising out of being arrested for a peaceful sit down protest against the Orange Order in Ardoyne.

“Creating space for a culture of political expression outside a violent context” and similar turdish empty clichés were central to the imposition of the Stormont deal/ GFA.

Any pretence that the Stormont agreement of 1998 was anything other than a pacification process is petering out. Indeed the leader of the DUP, Sinn Fein’s closest political allies in Ireland, speaking at a party function in Antrim in the last weeks of 2012 stated:

the republican goal of a United Ireland is further away than ever. Their grand plan by their grand strategist Adams, has failed. To avoid the hard truth of home, he wanders the world trying to convince the ignorant and the gullible that it will happen any day now. The dirty work of playing the sectarian card he leaves to his henchmen, something he was always wont to do.

A decade and a half of Sinn Fein “reaching out” to the Unionist community, some results. The political process and its out workings since have required not one thing from unionism other than to pocket each concession and relish each humiliation.

The Stormont deal of 1998 had a pre-determined outcome; no one can claim they were unaware of this. The unionist veto was enshrined in both the Downing Street Declaration and the Framework documents. Indeed some members of what Sinn Fein claimed were a “nationalist alliance” were quite clear about the agenda of the process. An example of this were the words of then Tainiste, Dick Spring in early 1996, when he wrote the following in reply to a question posed in a Belfast community newspaper,  'a united Ireland forms no part of the discussions now taking place between the British and Irish governments and the political parties on the island.' A starker example were the words of Dublin Minister of the time David Andrews, who according to the Sinn Fein script was going to enter negotiations battling for self-determination. Andrews had stated at the time 'there will be no united Ireland in my lifetime.' He also felt the need to add the caveat 'and not for a long time after that.'

Two weeks after becoming British Prime Minister Tony Blair visited Belfast. In an address to an invited audience he stated:

Northern Ireland is a part of the united Kingdom alongside England, Scotland and Wales. The Union binds the four parts of the United Kingdom together. I believe in the United Kingdom. I value the union. I want to see a Union which reflects and accommodates diversity. I am am against a rigid and centralised approach. That is the surest way to weaken the Union.

Six months after the Stormont deal of April 1998 Blair addressed the Oireachtas in Dublin. Mr Blair pointed out to those assembled, 'you have voted to end the territorial claim over Northern Ireland, essential to the agreement.'

The only transitional arrangements outlined in the deal were those which sought to change British rule in Ireland from a framework of direct rule to one of internal assembly. As Blair’s quote above in Belfast shows this less centralised approach was a strategy to strengthen the Union. As the Republican Network for Unity pointed out so well in their recent strategy document the whole deal elevated naked sectarianism as something to be embraced. The Sunday Business Post newspaper in their editorial the week after the signing of the deal pointed out an aspect of the dynamics of the deal which is never mentioned or has never been denied. The editorial said:

a grandiose local government comprising 108 elected representatives is to be put in place, along with a cabinet of 12. Even this though does not come without strings attached. It would appear in the dying hours of the negotiations Trimble secured from Blair a pledge that regardless of the electoral mandate enjoyed by Sinn Fein; no member of that party could wield “cabinet” power prior to the decommissioning of weapons by the Provisional IRA. In other words the price for Gerry Adams or Martin mc Guinness taking their rightful place in a Stormont cabinet (Sinn Fein has 16 per cent of the vote and would by right be entitled to two seats) is decommissioning.

This issue is of particular pertinence as it shows “votes” and “electoral mandates” could be struck down at the whim of Vanguard Dave if the Provisionals were unwilling to surrender.

The Unionist veto and the removal of Articles 2 and 3 were central to the British strategy of defeating Irish Republicanism. The journalist Tom McGurk  in March 1998 a month before the agreement was signed wrote:

it would not take a genius to see that the primacy of London’s policy is not about agreement in the north, but about winning a referendum that both reequips Trimble post Articles 2 and 3, and gives a mandate to London to deal with paramilitarianism.

The unionist veto is enshrined no less than five times in the section of the agreement titled “Constitutional issues”. The thoughts of the sitting Teachta Dala for County Louth, Mr Gerry Adams as outlined in an Irish News article in September 1997 are a very clear articulation of why Irish Republicans reject the Stormont agreement as the basis for a peaceful and just future.

 It is worth quoting Adams at length:

 Currently in politics the issue of “consent” is very much in vogue. This tempts me to paraphrase Dr Johnson “Consent is the last refuge of the scoundrel!”. By that I mean that for the British government “consent” is the last refuge, a camouflage behind which it is attempting to conceal the reality that British policy is for maintaining the union. It suggests that ending the union is a matter  for people in Ireland. In fact the triumvirate of legislature, courts and armed forces act in every conceivable way to maintain the union.

If I am wrong  let them says so. Let then tell the Irish people that they have no interest in maintaining the union. Let them set the scene in which the politics of consent becomes a tangible political concept with which to come to grips through discussion and dialogue, and not another bank of hot air which seeks to deny rather than provide substance.

Otherwise consent, as designed by Westminister, will remain the bogus deceit it was intended to be. British policy on the “union” and “consent” are inextricably linked, one serves the other.

So abused  has the issue of consent become that it is in fact, and in effect, the unionist veto on progress of any kind, the unionist veto dressed up in  democratic garb. This was acknowledged by the New Ireland Forum report which stated “this has been extended from consent to change in the constitutional status of the north within the United Kingdom into an effective  unionist veto on any political change affecting the exercise of national rights. This fails to take account of the origin of the problem, namely the imposed division of Ireland which created an artificial political majority in the north” Therein lies the nub.

Yes indeed Gerry and as we enter 2013 it is still the nub of the issues which need to be addressed.

The removal of Articles 2 and 3 was central to the British strategy. These articles defined the territory of the nation as the island of Ireland and its islands. The Supreme Court in Dublin had insisted as a result there was a constitutional imperative on the Dublin government of the day to work for the unity of the island. It also sent a message that while Britain could hold the six counties because of its military superiority it defied the wish of the vast majority of the people of Ireland to see national self determination. With the articles gone the British establishment was in a better PR position with regard to its interference in Ireland. The Sunday Business Post editorial from 1998, quoted above, put it well in relation to the removal of Articles 2 and 3 when it said:

It is of course obvious that the consent of northern nationalists is not being sought in relation to the constitutional changes. These changes will mean that Irish people living in the six counties enjoy the same status as Irish people living in Kilburn or Boston. Mary mc Aleese might reflect next Christmas when she puts her “candle in the window” that she will henceforth be part of the very Diaspora that she seeks to encourage with her Christmas candle.

The agreement to legislate for a United Ireland in the context of the unionist veto, in others words never, is contained in the Ireland act of 1949. It is in the Northern Ireland act of 1973, it is in the Sunningdale agreement and the Anglo- Irish treaty. The stormont deal was just another chance for the British to give the two fingers to the nationalist majority in 30 of the 32 counties. This fact puts in embarrassing perspective the recent mutterings from Sinn Fein of a “Border poll”.

The referenda held to copper-fasten the agreement were the biggest piss take of all. Two separately worded texts. One of those texts, the one in the six counties carried primacy with regard to acceptance of the deal. The twenty six county text was simply a Trojan horse to ensure the deletion of Articles 2 and 3, a referendum on which was held the same day. Fianna Fail’s message plastered everywhere, including cinemas at the time was “Vote Yes for Peace”. That was how sophisticated the debate ever got at the time. While votes of the people which show 93% plus levels of approval are cause for ridicule in places like North Korea in “process” Ireland they were mighty.

It should also be remembered that the referenda were held in the presence of 30,000 British troops, a multiple of what the British military have in Afghanistan at present for example. There was also the very real and not subtle implication that if the British state was not allowed achieve its objectives the loyalist death squads would be unleashed again. The name the death squads operated under at the time was the Orange Volunteers . This group carried out a sustained and vicious campaign of sectarian attacks in the lead up to and well after the signing of the agreement.

The agreement also clearly sought to get a trade off between “Equality” and the abandonment of national sovereignty. The whole equality issue was a very public confirmation that equality was a stranger to the partitionist state for its entire shameful existence. Even in this area though those who claimed to represent Republican and Nationalist Ireland failed miserably. Brian Feeney wrote in April 1999:

 it is true the agreement is full of promises about equality, but no undertakings, you should note. Everything is subject to consultation and consideration. Meaningless phrases like “it is envisaged”, and “it is open to the assembly” litter the pages on equality. Most important of all though, apart the fact there is no undertaking to anything definite, there is no timetable for implementing any of it - even if “it” were ever to be agreed. Now Sinn Fein made the running, publicly at least, on the equality agenda, as they call it. It was their genius negotiators who agreed to all this candy floss - so they have nobody to blame but themselves if there is no timetable.

The perspective of time lets us see that literally no movement has come on making the six counties a more decent place for Nationalists to live. The Irish language still fails to be shown any respect by the state. There are more peace walls now than then, Belfast has recorded some of the highest rates of suicide in Western Europe in the last 15 years. 130,000 people are affected by unemployment in the six counties, including 23% of 18-24 year olds. In West Belfast 46% of children live below the poverty line.

While at the time of the deal people could be held for 7 days without charge that is now 28 days. Plastic bullets are still used along now with stun guns and water cannon.

Conspiracy laws have reached new levels of absurdity. The British state has indicated in 2012 its intention of bringing onto its statute books what it calls “closed material procedures” which means trials held in secret with victims denied even the most basic of legal protection like knowing the content of the evidence against them.


Anyone under any delusions about the PSNI should read the Committee on the Administration of Justice Report “The Policing You don’t See”.

The state torture of Marian Price and internment of Martin Corey are some of the examples of the criminalisation and internment of Irish Republicans in the six county state in 2013. Strip searches are still inflicted on Republican prisoners. The treatment of Brendan Lillis screamed of the vindictive poisonous nature of the present six county administration.

In the lead up to the signing of the agreement renowned international Human Rights activist Sr Majella McCarron joined the debate about “equality”. Fermanagh born Sr McCarron who had struggled with Ken Saro Wiwa against Shell in the Ogoni land of Nigeria issued a letter to the media. In the letter Mc Carron said:

I do not plead to be equal. I am equal. The issue is about my rights and not about my equality. I have political rights: to be a full citizen of an Irish Republic. I am not claiming my political rights on an equality ticket, they have their own integrity and value.

I suggest we cut out all references to the subservient notion of equality and get on with our pursuit of political rights.

Some feign a lack of understanding of those who articulate the Irish Republican position.

Louth Teachta Dala Gerry Adams again hit the nail on the head in an address he gave to the “American Irish Historical Society” in New York on the 27th of May 1998. At the event Adams said of the Good Friday Document:

after a general declaration, it commences with a view of consent and self determination that no Irish republican could accept. That is because it rests on the gerrymander of partition and is thus a violation of the principle of democracy and a denial of the right of the Irish people as a whole to freely resolve our own destiny.

Last word to the post agreement Sunday Business Post editorial:

bizarrely, under the terms of this pact, Irish people will be told it is no longer “respectable” for them to assert that the soil of Armagh, Tyrone, Fermanagh, Derry, Antrim and Down is Irish. English people who do not live or work in Ireland and who may never have even visited the island can continue to assert their ownership and proprietorship of the territory of the six counties through the Act of Union (1800) and the Northern Ireland Constitutional Powers Act (1973).

49 comments:

marty said...

Superb post by David, I had a mental picture of a commemoration ceremony picture that had taken place in Belturbet Co Cavan,in memory of two teenagers killed in a "loyalist" bomb attack on that town in 1972.I had read about it a few days ago and my thoughts were that Mary Mc Alese with approval of the Dublin government wined and dined the comrades of those who murdered these kids along with those murdered in Dublin ,Monaghan ,the Maimi showband the victims of the Shankill butchers and Patrick Benstead whose mutilated body was described as an act of depraved barbarity,and the many many others maimed and injured by agents of the state both in and out of uniform,I think if justice is ever to be served in this despicable place then Mc Alese and the quislings who infested the Dail have to be held to account,working class "loyalist" fools are once again given free rein to harass, intimidate, injure, and disrupt life here on a nod and a wink from their bigoted political bosses in the dup and marshaled by the well paid community workers,while death threats are ignored on facebook republican political activists are locked up on the flimsiest of excuses, its beginning to look a lot like pre 69.this time the unionist boot on our necks is aided by a kick in the balls by quisling $inn £ein and the cronies in the Dublin Government.the nationalist /republican community need to awaken to the fact that the fragmentation of republicanism and the subsequent sellout by quislings republicans may have produced a phony peace it is the same shit that went on in this place pre 69 the peace depended on the "loyalist" population being kept subdued by their political masters and clerics, if not then we will be political pinata,s to be attacked when the leaders of unionism need a deflection, the daft thing about this whole fleg dispute is that its got fuck all to do with flegs its a political attack by the dup on the Alliance party and a blind by both parties to hide and distract the population away from the cuts in benefits which the vast majority of the eejits on the streets are in reciept of,once again the sectarian card has been played brilliantly, aided and abetted by Mc Guinness and his quisling cronies.







itsjustmacker said...

Excellent piece by David, straight to the point as well.

as for Adams words ;
"after a general declaration, it commences with a view of consent and self determination that no Irish republican could accept. That is because it rests on the gerrymander of partition and is thus a violation of the principle of democracy and a denial of the right of the Irish people as a whole to freely resolve our own destiny."

But Adams signed up for everything which was against Irish Unity, Withdrawal of Articles 2 and 3 was the final nail in the coffin. we are now back to Unionist domination, SF puppets in stormont who can not change anything because everything has been handed to the British and Unionists on a platter, I am off the opinion that him with forked tongue "Adams", knew exactly what was happening, and what the end result would be. The Unionist knew exactly what they wanted and how to get it,and, they got it, by having articles 2 and 3 changed.
So I'm sure the men of 98 and 1916 , not forgetting all those who gave their lives for the cause of a United Ireland , especially those brave Hunger strikers and all those who took in the Blanket (Dirty Protest)of 1981. SF have a lot to answer for, as does the Irish government for surrendering the 6 counties to the Unionist and British, as being British.

Harry said...

"SF have a lot to answer for, as does the Irish government for surrendering the 6 counties to the Unionist and British, as being British."

itsjustmacker:

You leave out the fact that the vast majority of those who voted in the GFA related referendum in the ROI voted for everything that you've described.

You need to blame them too. The Irish government was only acting in line with popular sentiment in the ROI at the time.

Of the 1.5 million people in the ROI who voted in the referendum only 85,748 voted against the proposed changes to the ROI's constitution.

Republicans need to face the fact that their view is a minority view. Republicans can pretend that they are right and that everybody else is wrong, but 1,442,583 people in the ROI voted for the changes. As did most Sinn Fein and SDLP supporters in NI.

The vast majority of Irish nationalists on the island approved of these changes.

Harry said...

"As the Republican Network for Unity pointed out so well in their recent strategy document the whole deal elevated naked sectarianism as something to be embraced."

Is it naked sectarianism to be realistic and accept that there are two political aspirations on the island - 2 political aaspirations that cannot be reconciled?

What is the RNU suggesting that any peace deal ahould involve? Some deal whereby the unionist outlook is either buried, or plain ignored? How would that be of any help?

Harry said...

"Any pretence that the Stormont agreement of 1998 was anything other than a pacification process is petering out."

I never had any illusions that it was anything but a pacification process. The whole point of the exercise was to get the PIRA to end its campaign of violence.

In the end that was achieved relatively cheaply as the article points out.

From a constitutional point of view unionists ended up in a better position than they had been before the conflict - the ROI dropped the claim to NI contained in the original Articles 2 and 3.

I don't think the PIRA was engaged in armed struggle to achieve that. Yet unionists got that as part of the deal.

Harry said...

"as for Adams words ;
"after a general declaration, it commences with a view of consent and self determination that no Irish republican could accept. That is because it rests on the gerrymander of partition and is thus a violation of the principle of democracy and a denial of the right of the Irish people as a whole to freely resolve our own destiny."

But Adams signed up for everything which was against Irish Unity.."


itsjustmacker:

One does haave to wonder how he can say what he said and then act in the complete opposite fashion to his words by agreeing to the GFA.

If "no Irish republican could accept" the GFA then surely that means that Adams isn't an Irish republican any longer.

I've never understood why Sinn Fein supporters didn't hold Adams to account for this obvious contradiction.

From what I've heard I've concluded that while Adams made such contradictory statements in public, he was giving private assurances to Sinn Fein supporters that his words and contradictory actions were all part of some cunning master plan that would deliver a UI sooner rather than later.

That most Sinn Fein supporters swallowed this nonsense says more about the Provisional movement becoming a leadship cult than anything else.

menace said...

An excellent study of hypocrisy, another hypocrisy is the treatment of Irish POW's in British administered Ireland with alleged Muslim 'terrorists' in Britain now subject to TPIM's (rather than incarceration which would breach their human rights) with attendant tags, reporting requirement, control on movement yet not administrative detention enjoyed by Marian, Martin and those recently found in alleged possession of a super-rocket in Derry, not likely to be tried 'til 2016, locked up in the meantime, 'justice delayed being justice denied' seemingly not a consideration for our present administration.

itsjustmacker said...

@Menance:
Tpims replaced the old control orders, the reason they were replaced was, they introduced the "SECRET EVIDENCE", which neither the accused , nor the accused's solicitor was allowed to see or question.
and that is what is happening in the North Eastern Part of our Island of Ireland
Its the same old scenario by the British/Unionist Planters and Sinn Fein ; "DO AS WE SAY , NOT AS WE DO". Biggest sell out since the Free Staters.
This piece by RNU says it all in a nutshell. "Martin" , "Marian" , "Gerry" ,and the others should be released forthwith. No Dissenters allowed to protest, only unionists bigots being lead by top gangsters in uvf/uda allowed to protest/block roads/petrol bomb THEIR OWN CROWN FORCES, if that was Republicans the Baton Rounds would well and truly be used in abundance .These so called protests have nothing to do with the RAG FLAG.

menace said...

''itsjustmackers' Ta bron orm, I forgot about the 'secret evidence' or here 'closed material' and you're right about the lack of action against the poor wee loyalists by the, other wee loyalists, BBC just reporting trouble in Belfast last night observed by 100 'riot police' the same laddies who used to snatch us off the street with batons for been out with our friends.

marty said...

Menace they are not exactly the same baton wielding thugs,they have a new name now and quisling $inn £ein support them,but you are correct a cara in every other respect they havent changed their tactics when dealing with street disorder,one rule for the "taigs" and thats hard as you can and softly softly for the boys..

michaelhenry said...

David McSweeny Quote's Dick spring-Tony Blair-the DUP leader-the sunday business post in order to bolster his argument against the GFA-i think he protest's to much for the unionist brit way for my liking-

David also points out a number of times that articals 2 and 3 were removed when they are still in place in the Irish constitution- why would he lie if he was right-

menace said...

Michaelhenry, methinks he has simply mistaken rewording for removal, fact is, the territorial claim is gone, we were told by the great and good that it was now a claim on the people of the six counties, not so. Why did Padraig McKearney, Dessie Grew, Bobby Sands, Francie Hughes et.al. die to provide the peelers the opportunity to play soft with prods but still kick the crap out of taigs?

michaelhenry said...

Menace-

David said removed a number of times- not my fault he cant get his wording right-

" we were told by the great and good that it was now a claim on the people of the six counties "

I read the Agreement myself-listened to others but went by my own judgement-you should try it the odd time instead of taking the word of the great and good-

Those were four great hero's that you named menace-only talked to one of them back in the day-they died for their people-their comrades and for their country-not for someone to try to make some point of difference over the internet-

menace said...

Michaelhenry, I wasn't attacking you so don't be so tetchy, it was an honest question regarding the major nationalist party's role in securing equality, regional government and proper policing for all taxpayers, youse are in power, what have youse done? In 2011 a Catholic is still twice as likely to be unemployed as a Protestant if you take the Poles out of the FE figures, the hypocrisy is everywhere and, like others I do not see Sinn Féin doing anything about it, so why did these and other Irishmen and women die?

frankie said...

Harry,
What is the RNU suggesting that any peace deal ahould involve? Some deal whereby the unionist outlook is either buried, or plain ignored? How would that be of any help?

This appeared on Ardoyne Republicans blogs a while back...I'll hazzard a guess any right minded thinking person would agree..

GARC accept that the Protestant, Unionist and Loyalist community have a legitimate right to express their religion, culture, heritage and allegiance to Britain. We do not wish to hinder those rights, however, parades should take place were they are welcome and this is clearly not the case on this stretch of Road. These contentious marches only serve to poison community relations and further alienate and polarise our peoples, and all just to pander to the will of a few bigots who use culture as an excuse to mask and impose their outdated and obsolete triumphalism upon our community.

Tell me what is sectarian in it? They [GARC] are on record saying no marches on the Crumlin road by anoyone. Every question you've asked me directly, I'll answer tomorrow (from an outsider who grew up in the murky streets of Ardoyne)..

@marty keep the faith I haven't gone away you know, tomorrow (later today) I'll clear up my confusion with Roy McShane, thanks for the correction.

itsjustmacker said...

Michaelhenry.

this is Paragraph 20. of the weston park accord:

20. Both Governments also recognise that there is an issue to be
addressed, with the completion of the early release scheme, about
supporters of organisations now on cease-fire against whom there are
outstanding prosecutions, and in some cases extradition proceedings, for
offences committed before 10 April 1998. Such people would, if convicted,
stand to benefit from the early release scheme. The Governments accept
that it would be a natural development of the scheme for such prosecutions
not to be pursued and will as soon as possible, and in any event before the
end of the year, take such steps as are necessary in their jurisdictions to
resolve this difficulty so that those concerned are no longer pursued.

as you are a member of sinn fein, can you please try and get me an answer on this question, it is very important to me and others, especially those who have had their licence revoked.

Paragraph 20 was withdrawn by Peter Hain MP, on 11 January 2006, and it was also withdrawn by the Eire Government, once they knew the British had withdrawn it.

WHY WAS THE RANK AND FILE NOT TOLD ABOUT THIS?.ex combatants are walking the streets thinking they are safe from being Re-Arrested and having their licence Revoked and being charged with something they have already been interned or sentenced for prior to the GFA.
Please I would love to know the answer.

itsjustmacker said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
michaelhenry said...

itsjustmacker-

Articles 2 and 3 are still in the Irish constitution-vote for peace- we got the peace process-

mi5/dup-sad fcuks who still dont know whats happining-

" Why was the rank and file not told about this "

Do you know the rank and file?- most have got the cards by now-

itsjustmacker said...

michaelhenry.

A referendum was held to have Articles 2 and 3 amended from the Irish Constitution, the placards said, "VOTE YES FOR PEACE".

Old Article 2 =
The national territory consists of the whole island of Ireland, its islands and the
territorial seas.

New article 2 =
As amended, Article 2 provides that everyone born on the island of Ireland has the right

to be a part of the Irish nation. The intention is partly to allow the people of Northern

Ireland, if they wish, to feel included in the 'nation' without making what might be

perceived as an extraterritorial claim. This is a reflection of the provision in the

Belfast Agreement recognising
the birthright of all the people of Northern Ireland to identify themselves and be

accepted as Irish or British, or both, as they may so choose, and accordingly confirm that

their right to hold both British and Irish citizenship is accepted by both Governments and

would not be affected by any future change in the status of Northern Ireland.
The new wording of Article 2 also had the legal effect of granting to everyone born on the

island the right to Irish Citizenship. However this right has since been qualified by the

Twenty-seventh Amendment. Adopted in 2004, this amendment did not alter the wording of

Articles 2 and 3 but nonetheless limited the constitutional right to citizenship to those

born on the island to at least one Irish parent. Article 2 further recognises the "special

affinity" between the people of Ireland and the Irish diaspora.

, so in effect the Irish government with the vote of the Irish people has given up the right to claim the 6 counties as a part of EIRE.

*I deleted my previous post because i stated in it that articles 2 and 3 were removed, which was untrue*

itsjustmacker said...

michaelhenry:

"Do you know the rank and file?- most have got the cards by now"

Marian,Martin,Gerry and the others have not got there cards yet!".
Can you have them located because
P Wilson got his okay!, but then again, he is one of those who does as you say. Who next from SF will be arrested! and released on bail? with there get out of jail card.

michaelhenry said...

itsjustmacker-

I dont have to delet any of my comments-

itsjustmacker said...

michaelhenry

"I dont have to delet any of my comments"

That,s because you can't see what you type or, your brain is in distance mode, I will correct or delete any post which I have deemed as incorrect, I will also state, I should have searched more before making my post, so I will state, "You were correct in stating that articles 2 and 3 were still there, You didn't state that the change to article 2 and 3 was against the will of the 1916 declaration of independence.

AM said...

"Eriu is our Queen":

Itsjustmacker,

good points raised about the Weston Park deliberations. But some deal was cooked up because people whom they could easily arrest and jail are still walking around. I would like to know what it was.

This is what Matt Cooper recently wrote about Articles 2 & 3

The alacrity with which people in the south voted to dump articles 2 and 3 of the constitution in 1998 following the Good Friday agreement, surrendering the republic’s aspiration to the boundaries of Ireland being the island itself, was stunning.

Simon said...

As I am aware all the talk of an Amnesty was scuppered later but the Weston Park deal still stood regarding historic cases. Why was the HET set up if Weston Park still stood? I think therein lies the answer to your question to itsjustmackers regarding "some deal was cooked up because people whom they could easily arrest and jail are still walking around."

Simon said...

Maybe Paragraph 20 of the Weston Park deal was annulled by Peter Hain in 2006 but how could he do this unilaterally? This suggests that there was a nod and a wink regarding some offenders. Perhaps on the other hand it was akin to the British governments attitude to "internal housekeeping" and they kept away from arresting certain people to avoid rocking the boat?

The HET was set up before paragraph 20 was annulled and was an obvious contradiction. Maybe from Weston Park in 2001 they worked paragraph 20 to keep Sinn Fein on board and to get the DUP on board in 2005 they set up the HET perhaps not pursuing people whose arrests would upset Sinn Fein and thus keeping both major parties happy.

itsjustmacker said...

Simon:

Once paragraph 20 of the weston park accord was dropped by Peter Hain, HET jumped on the band wagon, but, they were secretly doing this anyway.
Read this Gerry mc Geough to be released on the 29th jan 2013

Simon said...

itsjustmacker- thanks for that. The HET was set up before Hain's statement about the removal of paragraph 20. The same logic applies in any case no matter what the timeframes.

Personally I think Sinn Fein and the SDLP should've accepted the general amnesty idea which came along after Weston Park and would've included all offences including those by state actors as lets face it they've got an effective amnesty anyway.

Simon said...

AM. Itsjustmacker.- From today's news. Eamon O'Cuiv TD thinks the Weston Park agreement should still stand. Can one party to an international agreement annul an important part of that agreement? I suppose they can as there is no sanction for reneging.


http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/ireland/2013/0204/1224329605840.html

itsjustmacker said...

Simon

Its doe's still stand. except paragraph 20.

Simon said...

Eamon O'Cuiv was talking about Para. 20. How can a party to an international agreement unilaterally renege on one of the most important parts of that agreement?

The answer to that is if the other parties to that agreement don't protest against the unilateral derogation the derogating party will do what it likes.

Simon said...

I just did a little digging and found that Weston Park Para. 20 was scrapped because it didn't have the support of Parliament. That must be why the governments and the political parties later suggested a wider amnesty to include state forces.

Surely this area needs revisited?

I suppose that vacuum leaves a truth process or a proper reconciliation forum in the dust. The recent flag protests are apparently due, to some extent, to the HET's focus on loyalists over the past while. Without a proper method of closure the discontent on all sides will fester. Surely something like an amnesty or a less encompassing nolle prosequi towards pre-Good Friday Agreement offenders coupled with a truth process is essential to peace? We've seen the danger of how things like the flag protests can spiral out of control.

itsjustmacker said...

Simon:

It was the British who reneged on it, the Irish Government had to do the same, because it was a joint document, The Irish Government should have kicked up a fuss about it and stated, "It was a legally Binding document signed by both Governments.

READ THIS:

Classified as an OTR (On the Run) following the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998 Gerry McGeough’s arrest was a direct result of the withdrawal of paragraph 20 of the Weston Park Accord 2001 by the former British Secretary of State Peter Hain on 11th January 2006.

para 20 Peter Hain

Simon said...

Itsjustmacker- The Irish government didn't have to renege on the spirit of para. 20.

It may have been a joint agreement but if one party derogates the other party doesn't have to. In fact unilateral adherence to para.20 was and is an option open to the Irish government. I don't want to get bogged down in detail but, as I understand it Hain withdrew the bill from Parliament because there wasn't support in Parliament not because he didn't support it.

itsjustmacker said...

Simon:

Hain withdrew the bill from Parliament because there wasn't support in Parliament not because he didn't support it.

You understand wrong Simon, he blamed SF for not agreeing to certain parts of it, and DUP, for not supporting it. He was using both of them as an excuse because those in the corridors of whitehall, known as the suits,MI5 told him it had to go, MI5 done exactly the same when the british secretary stood in Parliament and stated, There are Solicitors in Northern Ireland who are favouring the IRA, INFO HE RECEIVED FROM MI5.
I have Posted a transcript on TPQ of a question in the Dail regarding the Weston Park Agreement Para 20, and the Reply received (By Letter).

You are going on about legalities, they have gone out the window, George W Bush was the first person to mention the word, "NEW WORLD ORDER", and that's what is being created today, a UNITED STATES OF EUROPE, run by the most powerful billionaires in the world for there own benefit, powered by there secret service Intel Corp, which in Britain is MI5/MI6.

Simon said...

Apologies, I should have read a bit deeper. According to the Wed 16th May 2012 response by Eamon Gilmore to a question by Dessie Ellis in the Dail it was because there wasn't support in the Assembly for para. 20 and the only party to support it, Sinn Fein had issues with parts of it. So Hain couldn't put it through Westminster. I suppose there is logic to this.

I have read all the links you have put up itsjustmacker, I'm not trying to be contrary just trying to get my head around the entire scenario.

itsjustmacker said...

FFS, what next, is wee willie frazer right?.

'Horsemeat' found in Polish beef at Irish burger plant.

Poor Shergar, prime beef!.

Shergar Meat? Is this the anti treaty money scam?

itsjustmacker said...

Simon:
I know what you mean.
Good luck in your search for the truth, You will never Find it in any British Parliament , nor, within SF.
I simply print it all out, Read and digest it, then I make a jigsaw of it all, then cut it up with my electric jigsaw, and then Read it again, arrow points to MI5. They run the British Parliament. Logging off now, the other half is helping me to my chair lift. lol

AM said...

Simon,

Personally I think Sinn Fein and the SDLP should've accepted the general amnesty idea which came along after Weston Park and would've included all offences including those by state actors as let’s face it they've got an effective amnesty anyway.

While I agree I think the SDLP saw it as a way to squeeze SF and SF, who were alert to the danger of not doing it felt it might be step too far given the fact that state actors would have got off including the Bloody Sunday killers.

I suppose that vacuum leaves a truth process or a proper reconciliation forum in the dust. Surely something like an amnesty or a less encompassing nolle prosequi towards pre-Good Friday Agreement offenders coupled with a truth process is essential to peace? We've seen the danger of how things like the flag protests can spiral out of control.

I think it showed the strategic bankruptcy of SF. It struck an agreement that allowed its own to be prosecuted. The outworking of the process demonstrates the extent to which the IRA campaign failed. More could have been gained from it but this lot were more concerned in political careers than political progress.

Simon said...

AM- "I think the SDLP saw it as a way to squeeze SF and SF, who were alert to the danger of not doing it felt it might be step too far given the fact that state actors would have got off including the Bloody Sunday killers." I interpreted the reasoning behind it the same way but I'd be very surprised if the Bloody Sunday killers were sentenced. Although it's not impossible it is extremely unlikely. The same goes for the rest of the state force's trigger happy protagonists. I know SF couldn't expose themselves by accepting the deal with the SDLP going against it, which is why I included both parties in my question.

I disagree to some extent with "It struck an agreement that allowed its own to be prosecuted." I disagree because before the deal was discussed there was an implied acceptance of no further prosecutions of pre-1998 actors. It didn't necessarily mean that without a deal it would revert to that allowance being abandoned. In fact such discussion should have strengthened the implied agreement even if the deal failed. The abandonment of the status quo was akin to throwing the baby out with the bath water which I suspect the British government did to punish Sinn Fein's scuppering of the express deal and the accompanying protection which would have been given to State killers.

Explaining to the families of those killed by the British the reasoning behind an acceptance of a deal- the unlikelihood of successful prosecutions against those responsible and a push towards some sort of truth and reconciliation process (which necessarily has to include State actors) would maybe give those families and all other victims of the Troubles closure. Many of the families were calling for the truth not prosecutions. Surely wounds are best healed by truth and reconciliation not re-opened by one-sided prosecutions?

Simon said...

AM- I thought I'd leave a follow up comment as I thought about the political risk that would have been taken if the State forces were given the amnesty in the absence of any proper mechanism for dealing with the past. Such a risk would be almost impossible to take but it's frustrating when you witness bad political judgment on all sides which has left us with no credible way of dealing with the past.

Alec said...

Another political prisoner has had his licence revoked by the British. He has been found guilty of nothing yet he now finds himself severing the remaining portion of a previous sentence. And who will raise the vioce on his behalf? What nationalist politician will have the balls to challenge this decision? Because something is cloaked in legality doesn't make it fair or just. Internment by decree/licence is on the increase and not a word has been spoken against it by the self appointed champions of the new political order.

AM said...

Simon,

I too doubted that the Bloody Sunday killers would be prosecuted. Now I am not so sure. I still feel it will be to no positive end because the only verdict that will be returned if a guilty one will be of manslaughter The Brits will then trumpet to the world that is troops did not murder on Bloody Sunday.

I don’t think it was SF intent to strike an agreement that would allow its own to be prosecuted. But the outworking is that this is precisely what they struck. I think there were two turning points at which SF failed to turn on this matter: the GFA and the policing arrangement. I understand It was explained very clearly to SF leaders in private by senior British security figures that they were not completely out of the woods on questions of prosecution. Despite the annoyance it produced SF still did not plug the gaps.

You are right – there is enough evidence to suggest that the pre GFA actors were going to be allowed to go quietly into the night. But when we interviewed Hugh Orde in 2004 he seemed clear that investigation of pre-GFA actors was going ahead. I think he was not too eager on it but it was what he was tasked to do by the politicos.

In fact such discussion should have strengthened the implied agreement even if the deal failed.

I can’t see how that follows. The opposite was more likely given that once things had settled in the absence of all bases covered there would be a certain reversion to form.


Surely wounds are best healed by truth and reconciliation not re-opened by one-sided prosecutions?

I have never been one of those people that have bought into the idea that truth reconciles. Even now it is being used for recrimination. I think it reconciles people with the fate of their loved ones but not necessarily with those that killed then. They might still want adequate recognition of that loss and might prefer punishment as a means of reconciliation with their loss.

Simon said...

AM "The opposite was more likely given that once things had settled in the absence of all bases covered there would be a certain reversion to form."

I only meant that when there was a culture of no prosecutions and then there were negotiations to harden that culture and then those talks failed the only reason to go back on the existing culture was spite. I know it's a reversion to form but the decision isn't based on fairness or logic. If we are in position A and move to position B and, when there, we negotiate to get to C from B it implies we'll go back to B not to A if the negotiations fail.

AM said...

Simon,

not really sure what that means.

Simon said...

AM-

Sorry, I find it hard to explain.

Position A is the time pre-GFA when they proactively prosecuted people.
Position B is post GFA when they didn't proactively prosecute people.
Position C is the position close to an Amnesty which would strengthen and make formal the position of no prosecutions.

We moved from A to B after the GFA. Then whilst at B they negotiated to go to C. So logic tells us if that fails and with no other agreement made we should stay at B.

Ho ho! Maybe it makes sense in my head only. That's possible. Many things only make sense to me... :)

AM said...

Simon,

I understand.

And while I agree this, nevertheless, is the sort of problem that arises when things are left open ended when dealing with the Brits.

SF was too eager to get into office and dived to suck the truncheon. It even undermined its negotiating position by manipulating such a large endorsement of the leadership position on the move. That merely convinced its opponents that the leadership could sell snow to the eskimos that made up the rank and file. The leadership could not say after that 'we have a difficult base that will challenge us if you push us too far.' The Brit and unionist response? It was a variation of an old song - Keep on sucking.

Simon said...

AM- I think Sinn Fein's biggest negotiating mistake was the triple lock veto after St.Andrews. There are many other issues apart from the present topic, like the "our turn now, your turn next" style of filling public positions like the police ombudsman and look where that got us. But they are still the party closest to my viewpoint.

AM said...

Simon,

a mistake or a case of where the party leadership knew exactly where it would end up? I think all the traces are there in the history that would allow us to conclude that it was on the internal solution course for quite a while.

That the party might reflect your opinion at least has not acted as an inhibitor to your very useful contributions on this site. We have an eclectic mix!

Simon said...

Thanks for that!