Saturday, April 30, 2016

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‘The Bold McElwain’ Remembered As 30th Anniversary Commemoration Approaches

From the 1916 Societies Monaghan Republican and Ex-POW John Crawley with a graveside oration at the Easter Commemoration to Seamus McElwain in Scotstown.

Unlike many here today I didn’t have the privilege of knowing Seamus McElwain personally. I found out only in the last fortnight that he and I were members of the same Colour Party in 1980 but with all the activity on the day I don’t believe we had the opportunity to speak to each other.

I do recall the first time I heard tell of Seamus. I was in a house at another part of the Border and a Volunteer from this end of the country told me about a young lad who showed particular promise and was shaping up to be an outstanding IRA Volunteer. I looked forward to meeting him but between prison sentences and one thing or another I kept missing him.

I was in Portlaoise prison in April 1986, serving the first of three sentences when news came through that Seamus had been killed in action. Jim Lynagh had been released from Portlaoise prison only a week previously. Little did Jim know that he would shortly be attending the funeral of his friend and comrade Seamus McElwain or that his own funeral lay so close ahead, just over a year later, along with seven of his comrades killed at Loughgall. That was the dangerous world IRA Volunteers inhabited in 1986 when Seamus lost his life.

Few of us knew then what was ahead of us but all of us knew what we were fighting for and let nobody tell you different. We were on precisely the same mission as the men and women of 1916 – to put an end to British Crown sovereignty in Ireland and to establish a 32-county republican government of national unity based upon democracy and social justice. To that end we were prepared to engage in both military and political activity.

Militarily, Seamus was a legend. A highly motivated, courageous and inspiring Volunteer, he placed himself continually at the tip of the spear, at the cutting edge of resistance, leading from the front, leading by example. In any conventional army Seamus would have been a highly decorated soldier, recognised and acclaimed for his audacity and gallantry. But in the secretive and perilous existence of an IRA Volunteer, involved in a guerrilla campaign against such overwhelming odds, his exploits would, for the most part, and of necessity, remain known only to a select few. Such courage and commitment cannot, however, be kept completely secret in all its aspects and his reputation grew and spread among his comrades in the IRA and among the many supporters of the republican struggle who, at great sacrifice and personal risk, opened their homes to Seamus and his comrades.

In addition to his military activities Seamus was also active politically. His father James was a member of Monaghan County Council for 20 years and Seamus himself had run in a 26-county general election in 1982, while on remand in Crumlin Road prison, receiving an impressive vote.

In 1986, political activity was encouraged by most thinking Volunteers. The IRA campaign could not be allowed to become a spectator sport, with a small number of Volunteers taking all the risks to life, limb and liberty. We needed to make ourselves relevant to people’s lives and build alliances both foreign and domestic. A larger portion of the populace had to become involved in the republican struggle, had to be educated in the necessity of Irish Unity and independence and had to become an integral and engaged part of what we believed would be the final stage in Ireland’s long War of Independence.

Make no mistake that when Seamus was killed in 1986 republican politics, for the Active Service Units in the field and for the captured Volunteers in the prisons, was about furthering the aims, ideals and objectives of the 1916 Proclamation. Political opportunism and careerism was, in our view, strictly reserved for Castle Catholics and partitionist poltroons.

The British government, for their part, took us on militarily and politically. When you take on the Brits you are taking on a lot, utterly ruthless they are world-renowned experts in counter-insurgency. According to one British historian, of 196 countries in the world today the British have invaded or established a military presence in 171 of them. So it is not surprising that they have evolved a multi-layered and coordinated approach to achieving British strategic objectives through the focused use of applied violence and the manipulation and co-option of indigenous leaderships, groups and movements.

Militarily they used their informer directed SAS ambush teams to kill IRA Volunteers in direct combat. Behind the scenes they used Loyalist death squads, armed and directed by RUC Special Branch and British Military Intelligence, to murder republicans, their supporters and totally innocent Catholics whenever they judged it opportune to do so. Their agents bombed Dublin and Monaghan and carried out a host of other black operations, North and South and overseas. They killed who they could, they jailed who they could and they bought who they could.

In parallel with their military efforts the British had a political strategy. They outlined this very clearly in a discussion paper produced after the so-called Darlington Conference in September 1972. In this paper the British government published what it called ‘some unalterable facts about the situation’ and ‘some fundamental conditions… which any settlement must meet’.

These included UK parliamentary sovereignty over all persons, matters and things within the Six Counties, All-Ireland endorsement of the Unionist Veto, the need for a reformed Stormont giving Nationalists a share in the exercise of executive power, public confidence in, and collaboration with, the locally-recruited British constabulary, and the need for Dublin government buy-in to the new arrangements, with a special focus on the removal of Articles 2 and 3 of the Irish Constitution and increased security collaboration with the 26-county state.

In a separate strategy, the Brits also hoped to lure republicans into protracted and ambiguous negotiations, in order to gain intelligence and gradually ensnare them into a habit of interfacing with agents and agencies of the UK government as part of a British state legitimation process. Softly, softly catchy monkey.

So British policy, from the very beginning of the Troubles, was to dismantle the Orange state and replace it with a viable political entity which would preserve the political and territorial integrity of the United Kingdom. To do this the British needed to defeat or neutralise the IRA and bring the vast bulk of nationalists on board as stakeholders in a reformed Stormont. As their strategy evolved, they realised they needed to do more to convince unionists that these moves did not flag up any disengagement from Ireland. The Downing Street Declaration of 1993, which outlined British preconditions for a settlement, refers to the Unionist Veto eight times in its twelve points.

The British can be quite practical. If you oppose the British state in what they consider the wrong way they may imprison or kill you. But the British will pay you a salary and expenses to oppose them if you agree to become bound by their terms and conditions. When British Prime Minister Tony Blair announced the train was leaving the station and any party not on it would be left behind he didn’t mean the freedom train to a United Ireland but the gravy train to Stormont.

A constant battle was fought between republicans who wanted politics to be about revolutionary advancement and British counter-insurgency strategists who were trying, through the judicious use of bribery and butchery, to nurture a loyal nationalist opposition and an insurgent leadership fit for purpose.

What was that purpose? To shape the strategic environment in a way that allowed Britain to define the nature of the conflict, shape the parameters of Irish democracy and determine the boundaries within which Irish opposition to British rule must operate. For Republicans, democracy in Ireland is the expression of a united and free people, fully informed and without outside interference or impediment. For the British, democracy in Ireland is any mechanistic exhibition of electoral theatre which, despite the use or threat of force, bribery, censorship, partition, gerrymander or sectarian interventions, achieves a desired result.

At present there is no mechanism to advance Irish Unity that isn’t comprehensively ringfenced by British constitutional constraints. A glaring example is the proposed six-county Border Poll under Britain’s Northern Ireland Act 1998, which permits the Secretary of State (presently an English politician without a single vote in Ireland) to determine if and when a poll may be called, the wording of the poll and who qualifies to vote. Even if passed, the British parliament retains the final say on whether or not the result will be endorsed by the UK government.

The British have a remarkable capacity for channelling Irish political trajectories in a particular direction, harnessing Irish leaderships to drive the strategy and then making the Irish believe it was their own idea. James Connolly called it ‘ruling by fooling’.

A core concept of Irish republicanism is that Irish constitutional authority derives exclusively from the Irish people and does not defer to laws or decrees emanating from England. The signatories to The Proclamation believed that in April 1916, every republican believed that in April 1986 and, despite all the inducements to do otherwise, many of us believe it still.

We are told by the political establishment north and south that the 1998 Good Friday Agreement represents the democratic will of the Irish people. We were once told that the achievement of Home Rule represented the democratic will of the Irish people. Then we were told that the 1918 General Election was the democratic will of the Irish people. Then the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty was the democratic will, except this time the only democratic will that mattered was that of the Irish people in the 26-Counties. And so it goes ad nauseum.

A Fine Gael TD and former Dublin government minister claimed that the results of the 1998 referenda on the Good Friday Agreement were, ‘the purest form of self-determination ever given by the Irish people’. Yet in 2000 and again in 2002 British Colonial Secretaries, who between them had never received as much as a single vote in the whole of Ireland, were able to scrap the Good Friday institutions and reinstate British direct rule. So much for the democratic will of the Irish people, dismissed with the stroke of an English pen. Under the principle of UK parliamentary sovereignty the British government can do this at any time it chooses without reference to a single member of the Irish electorate. The Brits are able to do this because in Stormont Irishmen and women hold office but England holds power.

We are often advised we must not dissent from a political process which bestows upon Britain democratic title in Ireland because it could undermine the peace. Liam Mellows TD said during the Treaty Debates in 1921, ‘if peace was the only object why, I say, was this fight ever started? Why did we ever negotiate for what we are now told is impossible? Why should men have ever been led on the road they travelled if peace was the only object? We could have had peace, and could have been peaceful in Ireland a long time ago if we were prepared to give up the ideal for which we fought.’ Liam Mellows was later executed by the Free State government for defending the Republic and resisting British attempts to impose a treaty which partitioned Ireland and re-defined Irish democracy in British Imperial interests.

Being an authentic and active republican has often been a serious and dangerous business. We know from Irish history what a soft bed can be made from a tissue of lies. There have always been those who service the lie at great personal profit and those who act on the truth at great personal cost.

Seamus McElwain died acting on the truth. The same truth spoken by James Connolly at his court martial 100 years ago when he said:

we went out to break the connection between this country and the British Empire, and to establish an Irish Republic… Believing that the British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland, the presence, in any one generation of Irishmen, of even a respectable minority, ready to die to affirm that truth, makes that Government for ever a usurpation and a crime against human progress.

Breaking the British connection was what the struggle for Irish freedom was about in 1916. That is what the struggle for Irish freedom was about in 1986, when Seamus died for it, and that is what the struggle for freedom is about now. In the words of Padraig Pearse:

we know only one definition of freedom: it is Tone’s definition, it is Mitchel’s definition, it is Rossa’s definition. Let no man blaspheme the cause that the dead generations of Ireland served by giving it any other name and definition than their name and their definition.

Although some former comrades now call on us to respect the British connection as a gesture to Irish Unionism, breaking that connection and establishing a united national citizenship free from Britain is the historic mission of Irish republicanism.

Seamus McElwain was a good republican, a good soldier and a good man. His death at the hands of the British army of occupation near Roslea, Co. Fermanagh on the 26th of April 1986 was an incalculable loss to his family, his friends and his comrades. His life is remembered by them with love and pride. To those who did not know Seamus personally, or were not even born when he was killed on Active Service, his truth, courage, honour and commitment are an inspiration and an ideal to be aspired to. Fuair sé bhás ar son Saoirse na hÉireann.

105 comments :

larry hughes said...

That is a fantastic piece, as good as I have read in a very long time. Tragic to think of Seamus in the grave and Sean Lynch his comrade, also neary killed in action, now in Stormont with McGuinness and McCartney and Co. deluding themselves they are carrying on the 'struggle'rather than aknowledging they have left it all behind for a cozy political career. Incredible also how things evolve politically but at the same time there's nothing new in that historically. SF has long since moved away from the defence of Irish nationalists and nationalism, regardless of the cunning speeches of Adams at Ard Fheis. Irish men are presently being slung into jail without being given a reason or a charge. Arbitrary incarceration at the whim of an unelected British Minister on this island and not a word from anyone in SF. Families are left in the dark with no recourse. It is judicial terrorism as the Brits are cherry picking who they sling into jaol and when and the obsession with the protection of the SF electoral strategy at all cost is the cushion/buffer that permits the Brits to carry on their selective war. It is embarrassing that SF continue to cling on to past volunteers memories as they forge on with their meaningless dead end career politics and turn a blind but profitable eye to the British continuation of their dirty war through their 'injustice system'.

SF has flat lined in the 26 counties and FF-FG have seemingly come together to form a government. That is the only unity achieved by the electoral strategy since 1981. The Free Staters of all shades have had 100 years of cute hoorism in the 26 counties and they enjoy it. SF wont shift them any time soon. They are not the SDLP. The twin headed (Adams and McGuinness) 'nordy beast' may be running out of track. Time will tell. They will possibly have another four years to ponder that notion as FF - FG seem intent on making sure there is no election re-run any time soon.

Henry JoY said...

As someone who attended Seamus's funeral in Scotstown; who saluted his coffin and watched his father Jimmy single-handedly fill the grave I have to say that some thirty years later I read this tribute with very mixed feelings.

Times and circumstances were certainly different back then but it pains me today to read this piece which seeks to hold onto the over-simplified 'bad bwits' narrative. A narrative which plays the blame game and steadfastly denies the complexities of our intertwined and evolving histories.

Some people, just as the leaders of 1916 did, fail to acknowledge the rights of Unionists to dissent from their 'nation'. Whilst affirming their own right to dissent they fail to afford similar rights to Unionists. They have no coherent plan to address this nor do they engage Unionist and become persuaders for their preferences.

Given such failures one can hardly blame a majority of Unionists for fearing that many of these 'Republicans' have any strategy for uniting the country save giving 'it right fcukin up them'!

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

Unlike ethnic minorities in other nations, the Irish in Americ and Britain for example, the British planter/ex-pat community on this island have never had the interests of Ireland at heart. Nor indeed the interests of Britain at heart. They proved that during WW2. They are a self obsessed little 'interest group'. It is no accident they identify with Zionists in Palestine. When they emerge from that 1690 'religion-for a living' stance then maybe they could be taken seriously. You wont have a 32 county independent Ireland ever, if you base it on the consent of the British ex-pat community in the North East of Ireland. Begging them to love you is just funny.

sean bres said...

HJ, I get what you're saying about unionism and the need to reach an acceptable compromise that respects our two traditions but it must take place within the nation. And your 'bad bwits' are hardly irrelevant to the situation here as you would nearly claim. Indeed it was Britain and her assassins who had Seamus killed when all's said and done. I can see you're searching for a new understanding but sometimes things just are what they are...

AM said...

I found this an interesting piece. And Larry's raised eyebrow towards Sean Lynch is shared by myself although I am not in the slightest surprised. I always had a lot of time for Sean and to this day have absolutely nothing personal against him. But he was always going to end up being where the project is.

I remember Seamus dying. One of his co-accused, Marcus Murray, died earlier this year. I did not know Seamus but knew Marcus. A straight talking, gruff but essentially compassionate human being.

While I have not the time to pursue the exchange to any great extent, I think Sean Bres has an opportunity to show how the phrase "it must take place within the nation" is not by implication coercive. "Must" invariably implies compulsion. All states operate by coercion: speed through a red light and you grasp that much. It basically says "you must stop or you will be coerced into stopping". So we can't simply say coercion is always wrong. Sean earlier told Steve in a useful exchange that coercion was out yet we see here that it seems to be back in.

What nobody seems to explain about OIOV is how the North is going to be compelled against its wishes to become part of a unitary state. IRA coercion failed: Sinn Fein persuasion is perhaps even more of a failure. What can change that situation?



sean bres said...

OIOV intends on a mandate for a New All-Ireland Republic. Were that mandate to be secured I feel a national conversation to shape the New Ireland can and should follow. None of that means coercion but instead is a fully democratic programme.

We've discussed this before and I don't know what else can be said, Irish republicanism does not seek to coerce anyone and in the past has forwarded an imaginative and flexible approach to the issue of Ulster. We can do so again and indeed I feel we will need to. Republicans seek no more than that our national rights go forward and nothing beyond that. How they manifest is a separate matter and in my view should be the subject of a national conversation, as spoken of above, that leads to an agreement between our people. This is currently disallowed by a foreign government.

There is then no coercion immediate to the republican position and indeed the coercion is the other way around, given our national rights are withheld by this 'coercion' that keeps getting thrown into the mix. This seems to pass now without challenge, with all the talk focusing on republicans seeking to coerce people while ignoring that we ourselves are subject to coercion.

In the event of a mandate for a New Ireland we should seek to agree how best that New Ireland can be set up, with the consent of the people a necessary prerequisite. How any of the above translates into coercion really is beyond me. What we are essentially saying is that the right of the Irish to self-determination should proceed and what is to follow should manifest through a fully democratic engagement. That in no way translates into coercion or an effort to coerce anyone. Heading to Dungannon here for a march so can pick this up later if needs be.

Henry JoY said...

Sean

to attempt to see things as they are one needs to take multiple perspectives.

As AM pointed out whilst I was busy searching for that photo in the link there is yet again a failure on your behalf and on John Crawley's to absorb the fuller picture. Sure, you have a legitimate right to state your preferences but not one to coercively impose it. If you are to successfully achieve your goal without coercion then we'd really like to hear about it.

Larry

we're all operating from positions of enlightened self-interest. Strip it all back and we're all driven by ego, fear and greed. The challenge of all civil societies is to reach some sort a compromise and workable solution between competing needs of various constituents.
Ultimately this will happen regardless of the ills of the past. The trick is to minimise violent conflict whilst this unfolds. Focusing on the the hurts of the past and the tendency to blame them'uns merely prevents us from dealing with challenges as they arise.

I had lunch in the Native American Museum in Washington last week. There was more to chew on than the bison steak!

larry hughes said...

Mackers

Democracy his been absent on this island all down the centuries. The British interfearance here perpetuates that. Republicans/nationalists don't have a flawed analysis. They have a continuous series of 'leaders' who end up being sucked into and seduced by personal advancement and self preservation. Pseudo republicans in SF are now sucking up UK salary and expenses while endlessly giving themselves a 'leg-up' on the heap of corpses they enticed to fight the good fight while they mapped out their own path to celebrity status and wealth. People need to stop viewing the SF leadership through a BBC lense.

Adams and McGuinness wanted Gerry Fitt and John Humes fancy clothes. They achieved that. FF + FG have a 100 year tried and tested cute hoor support base. SF must operate in the 26 counties minus the 30 years of conflict, a fatigued population and a borrowed vote for the sake of 'peace'. SF wont progress further in the south. The 'tactic' is at an end.

Politics is driven and shaped. It is not magically uniform and universally understood by the population in unison. 1916 proved that. OIOV and the 1916 Societies remind me of the H-Block Committees in the late 70s early 80s. They are doing a power of good. When Adams and McGuinness are gone to retire surrounded by their ill gotten wealthy and lifestyle, there will be a new era. The Societies will be ready for it in my view. Where the scoundrels and coolies who swarmed the ranks of surrender SF go at that stage is hardly relevant. Back under their tones no doubt. Mary Lou back to FF and D4 I expect.

The Societies are pushing for a genuine democratic vote on an All-Ireland basis. Unionism wouldn't know democracy if it was wrote large on a Shankill Rd gable wall. So, I'd worry about them after the event. Allah Akbar-demographics rule!!

AM said...

Henry Joy,

it is in the constraints we try to impose on our own greed, fear and ego that often differentiates us. We are capable of moral reasoning.

Larry,

Democracy where it exists anywhere exists to degrees. As so often with the OIOV people their description is not so wrong as their prescription is limited. Much as I have long thought about Marxism.

there is an old dirty that goes something like this.

Here lies the body of William Jay
Who died maintaining his right of way,
He was right, dead right, as he sped along,
But he's just as dead as if he were wrong


Exercising a right is not always the wisest or safest way of doing things. The world changes for the better only very slowly.

Sean,

I am not really any clearer in my mind after that.

If coercion is off the table, then the North cannot be coerced out of the UK nor can it be coerced into a UI.

If, for the sake of discussion, you take your conscientious objection and principled opposition out of the equation, how then is your position in terms of realpolitik functionally any different from Sinn Fein and the SDLP on the question of partition? Without coercion we have what we have now. And you oppose coercion so all you are seemingly left with is persuasion but we know that is a failure.

Henry JoY said...

AM

indeed we are capable of moral reasoning.
Constraint of our more primitive drives is generally rewarded by the benefits of community and civil society. This is what I refer to as enlightened self-interest. Enlightened self-interest sees victory in surrender: it realises gain in acts of restraint.

The capacity to moral reasoning is often corrupted by prejudiced and doctrinaire positions. Positions of passion rarely enhance one's efficacy at reasoning, moral or otherwise.

sean bres said...

What is so difficult to understand here, I just don't get it? A National Referendum can mandate a New All-Ireland Republic which can then be agreed through a further democratic engagement. Where anyone finds coercion in that God knows. That aside, such is not the position of New Sinn Fein or the SDLP as you intimate. With the other contracting parties to the Good Friday Agreement, they hold that Irish Unity be subject to the Unionist Veto and British Triple Lock - which are anti-democratic measures designed to frustrate and not empower Irish Unity. Our campaign is entirely separate but they are most welcome to endorse and run with it if they should choose to do so. If only they would...

AM said...

Sean,

how do you get a national referendum when there is no current national entity with the authority to organize it?

If you refrain from using coercion, then the Northern veto stands.

There can be no united Ireland if the North does not agree to it.

I completely fail to understand it and I don't think I am all that bad at understanding politics!

sean bres said...

On the contrary Tony, the 'national entity' with the authority you make mention of is already here and established. It is the Irish people - pure and simple - the only authority that matters. Should their will be for Irish Unity then democracy would demand this go forward as a national imperative. A democratic mandate for Irish Unity can only bolster the campaign to see it realised. Surely that is a given and why coercion keeps being brought into the discussion I cannot understand. As an Irish republican I reject the right of Britain to rule here and instead demand that the right of the Irish to self-determination proceed in its stead. That is a democratic position and all day long, no matter how anyone might twist to the contrary.

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy's post fills me with a dread of a return to the croppy boy scenario. I think SF have aready been sailing too close to the wind in that regard for a very long time. That is tragic. On the coercion front, I think the unionist/loyalist veto perception may be wide of the mark. My family are RC and make no secret of the fact they would NOT vote for a united Ireland. So, things may have moved beyond the notion of a 'loyalist' veto on Irish unity.

AM said...

Larry,

I think that is spot on. There is a Northern veto, not just a unionist veto.

Sean,

that is more a mystical statement than a political one. In strategic terms it amounts to zilch. The Irish nation you outline can make absolutely nothing happen because as a political entity capable or organising an all Ireland referendum it does not exist.

You refuse to coerce the North out of the UK - is that right?

You refuse to coerce the North into a united Ireland - is that right?

If the answer to both is yes, then how do you persuade the North to leave the UK and join a united Ireland?

Not addressing these matters is ultimately going to leave OIOV exposed as a paper tiger.

A strategy needs much more than rhetoric. You have not yet told us how this referendum is going to be organised and by who. I think the public have a right to know and the Societies are obligated to set it out. There seems to be no sign of anything happening there.

Steve Ricardos said...

Larry/AM,

Out of curiosity, why are some in the 'RC' community saying they would not vote for a united Ireland?

Henry JoY said...

Larry

what specifically in my my post draws out such angst?

sean bres said...

One Ireland One Vote is an independent and citizen-centred initiative, proceeding from the citizens of the would-be Irish Republic and not the institutions of partition rule. It intends that a New and All-Ireland Republic, in line with the 1916 Proclamation, go forward through a National Referendum on Irish Unity. It's really as simple as that. That might read as rhetoric or as flawed in your book but no matter and as I've pointed out many times, the referendum will emerge from the people and will be a popular initiative and not of the state. It will emerge when the people demand it but in the meantime the position is on record as an alternative to the mechanisms contained in Good Friday. And we are working towards empowering it - and with it the Irish people of themselves. Our object at this time is to realise a progressive campaign on the ground in the community, bringing the conversation on Irish Unity back into the community and putting the concept of a New Republic back in the minds of the people. We are slowly doing that. Why you constantly seek to do down that effort I struggle to comprehend. We seek a positive realignment of the republican base, and in turn of the nation with it, around the notion that the inalienable right of the Irish to freely determine their own future has not been vanquished by surrender agreements dictated to Ireland by an unlawful and alien government. Its core objective might not be actualised today or tomorrow but the position is there and intact for those who wish to work towards that end. What else would you have them do?

AM said...

Sean,

I don't try to do it down but have asked for some logical explanation to the most simple of questions which you thus far have avoided providing. The most dissuasive aspect of it is the case you make for it. To me it is wholly unpersuasive and grossly unfair to those you ask to back it. Much like Hume/Adams of the GFA where anybody not persuaded by the obvious frailties was accused of trying to do it down.

I ask the same category of question of it that I asked of SF when they tried to sell us the line that they had it all worked out and a united Ireland was the end result. All of it was rhetoric supported by nothing of substance. Most bought the guff but I did not. Nor will I buy it here.

So I guess I know how tenuous arguments are made and the tricks used to get them across the line. It seems to me that your argument is characterised by the same deficiencies as those I challenged when the Shinners made them.

Steve,

a general answer would be that they feel their interests are better served within the UK. They also know that there is no threat to their position in UK and the rule of thumb is let well be alone.


sean bres said...

I still don't understand what it is you're saying to be honest. What is 'tenuous' about the idea a New Ireland can arise from a National Referendum on Irish Unity? Do you say it can't?

If you're asking how its result would be implemented then the logical answer is they will be so on the strength of the democratic mandate the referendum would provide, making the reconstitution of the Irish Republic a national imperative. That is the fundament shift that can arise from 'One Ireland One Vote'. It can transform the dominant narrative around the issue of Irish Unity, which you seem not only to have acceded to but embraced.

As for the claim your questions haven't been answered, I don't understand your thinking here either as I have explained this and have done so several times. Our position is that the referendum should be a popular as opposed to a state initiative and that it should be organised after a consultative process specifically mandated to set out the terms and conditions, and with them best practice, for a referendum as that we envisage.

I have also said that should a 'Yes Vote' proceed there will need to be some form of Constituent Assembly that actualises its results by determining an agreed model for the New Republic, itself in turn to be put to the people by National Plebiscite for endorsement. All of the above will be implemented through democratic processes deriving from the nation, not artificial states within it.

What is it you can't see and again I ask, what else would you have us do? Give up?

The only strategy I can give you is the only one we have - the only one we ever had - which is that we will work as best we can towards realising the above through hard work and hard work again. Unfortunately there is just no other way.

For me, what is of equal importance in this (in terms of One Ireland One Vote) is that we set forward a credible alternative to notions forwarded by Good Friday that 'concurrent self-determination' can realise and embody our national rights. Our position is a challenge to that and will be there as and when required, should the Irish people ever set forth to demand those rights go forward. That they do not at this particular time does not mean we go home and put the feet up, resigned to defeat. We work and work harder again. There is no other way

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

'Enlightened self-interest sees victory in surrender: it realises gain in acts of restraint'.

This stance cut no ice with Stormont in the past nor with Arlene Foster and Co. today. I do not buy into submissive aquiensence of Fascism. That statement sounds like the OIRA/WP on valium.

Steve Ricardos

I can only guess that many see the South as the corrupt tin pot scoundrel riddled hole that it is politically. I live in Donegal and if I can avoid thinking about the political set up down here I have to say I love the place deeply and the people. as does my wife from Manila but now with an Irish passport, who considers herself a Donegal girl. On a personal /family level my mothers dad was at Dunkirk and D-Day with the Royal Ulster Riffles and my dad was in the RAF in the 1960s/70s. We spent time in Singapore and Lincolnshire before returning home to Lurgan in early 1973. They are castle catholics in their own heads rather than reality and my mother in particular has an undying need to feel siuperior to her neighbours. The Singapore venture is still a 'melter' topic every time she gets an audience. Why other RCs are against the idea of Irish unity is probably a matter of the devil you know.

Sean Bres

I think the ground swell of public fatigue and desperation as the piss-process was incubating permitted Adams and McGuinness to dump all and sundry and implement their handlers/British agenda for bringing the conflict to an acceptable conclusion for London. It was celebrated by every weasel/tout and chancer who flooded into SF over night out of the woodwork. I think personally things come in waves and as long as the societies and OIOV are working away then they present a vehicle in the future if and when one is required. I honestly do NOT see unionism ever democratically agreeing to any vote in the future if there emerges a significant RC majority in the north. The problem just now is people are much more agitated and vexed in the South about austerity and water charges. SF will sooner or later falter. I think they are parked on a sand bank in the South as of now. Their vote has flatlined. That last election was their big-hope of a breakthrough. Stagnation is about to set in. They can thank their lucky stars the 'dissidents' are incapable of lighting a firework at a Chinese New Year event.

AM said...

Sean,

I have also said that should a 'Yes Vote' proceed there will need to be some form of Constituent Assembly that actualises its results by determining an agreed model for the New Republic, itself in turn to be put to the people by National Plebiscite for endorsement. All of the above will be implemented through democratic processes deriving from the nation, not artificial states within it.

if Sinn Fein were to give an answer like that what seriously would you think of it?

It answers nothing and is an exercise in evasion, ignoring totally the questions you have been previously asked about "How?"

You could outline a better step by step argument for praying as a strategy: if only enough of us do it the next step will be divine intervention leading to a united Ireland.

While we might rubbish the notion we can at least see the logic laid out. Here there is nothing.

I'll ask the questions again as you seem to have missed them.

They are very simple. There is no need for anything other than a direct answer.

You refuse to coerce the North out of the UK - is that right?

You refuse to coerce the North into a united Ireland - is that right?

If the answer to both is yes, then how do you persuade the North to leave the UK and join a united Ireland?

If the North is not to be compelled to leave the UK or come into a united Ireland what is the difference between your attitude to partition and the SF one?

In fact SF might have the advantage on you: few other than party fools actually believe there is going to be a united Ireland emerging from SF strategy.

What should you do? Make a serious political critique accompanied by a strategy of equal gravitas. Desist from talking in platitudes or resorting to mystical waffle. Confront the criticism with better responses rather than evasion. Tease out the serious limitations in OIOV and make the necessary adjustments.

There is a lot more you can do. Living in Wonderland is what crippled the SF base and rendered it ineffectual as a force for challenging the leadership drift into partitionism. You seriously need to encourage a sceptical grassroots asking the type of questions that have been asked here for months and to which your answers have been pretty weak, as some sort of insurance policy against drift within the 1916 Societies: a drift which will surely come if the base remains compliant.

If ever a campaign lacked strategic substance it is OIOV. That does not mean the idea is useless. It is simply badly serviced by those who would claim to be its strategists. If your main achievement is to have persuaded people that you have no serious idea of how it might succeed, why might they buy into it?

Peter said...

Sean
A few questions: Given the population of Ireland is 6.4 million how many signatures do the Societies believe gives them the mandate to call for a one Ireland referendum? What is the timeframe for OIOV?

Also, I have been monitoring the Societies' website, TPQ and your own Twitter feed regarding the murder of Michael McGibbon and there has been no mention on any of them. Given the catastrophic impact on this man's family and on the image of Independent republicanism in general I expected to see some public outrage. If the man had been murdered by the PSNI in an alley I suspect there might have been a lot more outrage from independent republicans. I am sure you are aware of the effect these actions have on public perception and it must make your campaigning for OIOV much more difficult so why do the Societies not publicly condemn republican murders and actively distance themselves from these enemies of the people?

sean bres said...

With all due respect, I think you have been badly confused along the way somewhere Anthony. I don't seek to convince the North to leave the UK but that Britain leave Ireland and relinquish her sovereign claim to the Six Counties, making way for a new and sovereign, Independent 32-County Republic. A referendum is for me a means to empower that end. The difference in that and what you and the Shinners advocate is that it holds partition and its pathway to unity as without legitimacy. I can see now that this is why you struggle to get your head around what I'm saying about coercion. I don't feel compelled to address your prompts about coercion - with a yes/no response or anything else - because they are simply not relevant to my position. Belfast Frankie addressed this in one of the other discussions, in the event of a 'Yes Vote' a new momentum will open up and it will carry the imprimatur of democracy. We can then argue that the democratic will of the people be respected and go forward - there is nothing negative or coercive in that. And as Larry says, it is a position that will become relevant when the timing is right or when the work has been done. You can't judge it on how things sit today but beyond that and what is important, first and foremost, is that the position exists in the first instance.

larry hughes said...

On the subject of coercion, do any of you think that 'come-the-day' when there's a significant RC majority in the 6 counties the UK government will coerce the unionist/loyalist community into accepting even the prospect of a referendum on the border? Personally I think they will politely give some mealy mouthed reason why unionist fears must be respected and enforce a repartition of the wee six before they do that.

As for delusion, check this out and try not to hurt yourselves laughing. It is a perfect indulgence in fantasy, and ideal for the Cameron retort to the Liverpool 96 families in their search for justice. "Martin is in a darkened room looking for a black cat wich simply isn't there". Don't know who Martin thinks he's talking here to but it definitely isn't Cameron or Arlene Foster.

http://www.anphoblacht.com/contents/21845

Henry JoY said...

Thanks Larry for replying.

Sure, I can see how my comment is more akin to to an OIRA/WP stance than it would be to a conventional and conservative 'Republican' one. For many years I would have come down as hard on such a stance as you appear to still do.

But with the vantage of hind sight it really does seem now, at least to me that the WP were better moral reasoners than those of us who where blinded by prejudice and doctrinaire positions. Sectarianism killed not just workers but mothers and children too. What did any of it achieve over and above what was essentially available through Sunningdale? Hard questions Larry and as painful as they are to address they need to be faced up to.

You seem to agree with Sean's position that the embers need to be kept glowing; I on the other hand am concerned as to for what reason should they be kept so? My concern is that keeping them so only allows the pot to get boiled again.

My current position is indeed closer to what I understand the old WP one was; that Republicans ought reach across the divide and take a stand together with those of no property. Just because some Unionists remain cunts ought not mean that we should remain forever so too.

In my opinion the 1916 societies would be much better advised to engage Unionism more and partake less in the commemorative pageantry.

Between 1971 and 1989 there were 178 murders/assassinations of Unionists, workers and small-farmers and mostly current or former part-time members of the Crown Forces, in Fermanagh/South Tyrone with no related convictions for 93% of them.
In that context does events like the Coalisland march and commemorating Seamus McElwaine do anything that serves or helps create a more civic society?

Such questions ought be the Societies litmus in evaluating the actions they put their efforts and resources into. For it is only if and when a time comes that uniting the country is seen to serve the interests of all its constituent parts that it will ever come about.

AM said...

Sean,

perhaps you could dispel all my confusion by explaining how getting Britain to leave Ireland is in any way different from getting the North out of the UK. No all Ireland referendum can achieve that. We don't even know how it is to be arranged because you won't tell us.

You failure to answer the very legitimate question about coercion is something that shall have to be simply noted rather than discussed any further. People will have to make up their own mind about it.

The way the argument for OIOV has been presented most people are never going to notice its presence and will be wholly indifferent to its effects.

In my view I have called this as right as I called it on SF. In the absence of any evidence to the contrary, best to stick with our instinct.

sean bres said...

Stick with your instinct by all means Anthony, I'd have it no other way, but let's break this down to its simplest level. We think it a good idea and in the public interest - both North and South - that a New and All-Ireland Republic give form to our national right to self-determination. We foresee an all-Ireland referendum as a vehicle to empower that end. Do you say such a political arrangement - a National Republic - is NOT in the public interest? If not then you should note also that it reads that way.

Should such a referendum go forward and deliver a mandate for change then how could that ever be a bad thing or something to be held as strategically moribund - as now seems the constant theme to your commentary on OIOV? Surely it would open up new pathways and new conversations, making Irish Unity the national imperative that it should be? No?

We should also bear in mind that just because a 'good idea' has yet to catch the public's attention or find a home in the policy of established parties it does not make it worthless by default. Not at all. We work to change that reality, not make adjustments to our policy to suit as you suggest, and that for me is the only pathway for OIOV to succeed.

Peter, I don't use Twitter as anything other than a vehicle to share the information on our website but I do use Facebook. You are more than welcome to add me and I have many unionists on my list who I enjoy discussing politics with. In terms of Michael McGibbon, I did discuss that matter and made clear my horror and opposition to what happened - and not because it might impact detrimentally on republicanism but because I just can't fathom how this can be held acceptable in this day.

In terms of what HJ has added about Seamus McElwain and his anniversary, I think the family are fully entitled to remember Seamus on what was a major anniversary without it being linked to the matters he attempts to drag in. They are also deserving of our support as fellow human beings. I do understand the point he makes but stand with the right of the family to remember their loved one. At the end of the day we respect the right of our opponents to remember their dead and the same should cut both ways.

Jerome G. said...

the entire msm, all the various talking heads - mary robinson bono bob geldof seamus heaney one direction the clintons graham norton and mister pantie will call for a no vote. and that will be that.

AM said...

Sean,

yet you refuse to tell us how this referendum is to be organised and how it is to become empowering.

Who is is going to organise it and how?

I agree with the idea of a national republic. I simply see nothing in this to bring it about.

OIOV seems strategically sterile as it fails to address any strategic matters: no strategy for making the referendum happen; no strategy for either organising it in or making it binding on the North; no strategy for outlining its enactment on a step by step basis. As currently constituted it is nothing other than a vaguely defined preference.

Henry Joy is quite right to introduce the points he does. I think he pays a greater tribute to Seamus McElwaine than many others do by showing that Seamus can still prompt discussion of current politics 30 years after his death. Your own site might be more suited to remembering the republican dead. This is more suited to discussion of ideas. Neither of the sites are wrong to do what they do but any suggestion that the deaths of volunteers should in some way be used to suppress discussion will be rejected. I accept that you don't try to kill discussion but I think, as with the death of Vinnie Ryan, you lose sight of what this blog actually exists for.

It is not as if Henry Joy is defacing an obituary. He is dealing in ideas.

sean bres said...

In the middle of making dinner here so this point might not come across as clear as it might do otherwise. First, I appreciate the opportunity to discuss all of this and accept all your criticism as valid - even if I think you're being deliberately harsh. At the same time that's fair enough and par for the course, I don't object and indeed encourage the criticism. Believe it or not it helps - as I've long considered is your true motive in all this: to help. So thanks again, as I've said previously. Beyond that, I've tried to answer your points best I can but clearly more work is required on this. I think that's something that will develop though on its own steam. In the meantime the basic position is clear: we foresee a national referendum emerging from a popular demand for the same and that an independent process will give form to the actual construct. I believe I've expanded on this elsewhere but haven't the time to dig out the comment or write it all out again at this moment (in truth because I'm turning pork chops and typing on my phone at the same time). In terms of my comment about HJ I never suggested he was wrong, I just gave an alternate opinion. It seems, as indeed was the case on the thread about Vinny, that only some are afforded the luxury you afford him to express their views. Way to eat here but no doubt we can continue later if you're still online and I will try and expand on the points just made above. I don't want held to this comment by the way as it's written in a rush and then some.

AM said...

Sean,

you would need to show us where Henry Joy has been allowed to express an opinion and where others have not. What luxury does he have that you don't? Where he sought to score points rather than make them he was told to cut it out. To his credit he did and makes valuable contributions to the discussion. The only comment we have pulled in months was last night because it was personal abuse. The commenter recognised it himself and was happy about the pull. No more was made of it. We will continue to pull such comments as they contribute nothing to understanding.

You used to claim that the site was dominated by unionist commenters when 4 out of 100 comments were from unionists. Best to deal with the ideas rather than throw out smokescreens.

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

Your WP position is perhaps OK for the moment, today in an atmosphere of peace. Do not forget that when the RUC and loyalists were burning Bombay Street in response to a push for civil rights, the D4, wine-bar leadership of Goulding and Johnston advised the people in Belfast under attack to 'reason' with the loyalists. As they sat in Dublin being as trendy lefty as they could. Does your rational extend to letting Orange parades through RC districs in order to show decorum and a superior level of respect? It has been a long hard struggle for local residents in places like Portadown and Belfast to get the RUC to restrict these biggoted drunken sectarian day trips. Personally I don't see any point fraternising with the 'love-Ulster' stuff.

I do think the embers should be kept smouldering. There is no guarantee politics will see things to the ultimate conlclusion in the end game. This is Ireland and a small number of British ex-pats cannot mess the entire population around forever, even with the British Army behind them. Demographics and politics will play their roll as they are doing, but democracy and acceptance is not in the Loyalist DNA so I am not fooling myself on that score.

I am also aware of the success rate of the Fermanagh Tyrone brigades of the Provisional IRA and it causes me no sleep loss. I was saddened to see Mackers refer to the death of Marcus Murray. A good man for sure.

larry hughes said...

Sean Bres

PORK CHOPS!!? you INFIDEL!! how dare you. Allah Akbar return to the faith Allah Akbar!!

sean bres said...

There is no smokescreen here Anthony. You said I lost sight of the blog's purpose because I defended, as is my entitlement according to your own rules, the right of Seamus' family to commemorate their cherished son, this after 'Henry Joy' suggested there was a wrong in their doing so, that it would negatively impact on civil society. And that's what Seamus McElwain was and will always remain, a cherished and much-loved son. I don't see you drawing such inferences with others as you sometimes do with me and thus the tail-end of my comment. You can throw out your own smokescreens or dress it how you please but that is a fact. You ask what luxury he is afforded that I or others are not when it's clear from the exchange that you clamped down on my right to an opinion while his goes forward unmolested. You could have spoke in defence of the McElwain family and their right to commemorate their son on his 30th anniversary but instead you elected to have a pop so sad to defend this HJ character for whom you vouch. Fair enough but at least drop the feigned indignation about smokescreens and all the rest for I've better things to be at than playing silly-boogers

sean bres said...

And for the record, three out of the commentators above are unionist. Excluding yourself as blog host, that is 50 percent. When I made that comment there was indeed a concerted drive by the unionist commentators on here, backed up by the erstwhile Henry Joy, to shout down narratives that the principle of consent was not, as they claim sacrosanct. They were also advancing that the IRA was terrorist. I don't remember you checking them but it was another matter when it came to me. I could be called fascist and reactionary, among many other things, but you never as much as flinched. When I responded in kind it was another story. That you throw up my comment about unionists dominating the blog yet again suggests to me you're aware that I had a legitimate point at the time.

AM said...

Sean,

your comments at the time were laughed off the blog, given that we did a count of the previous one hundred and found four to be from unionists. You failed to address that discrepancy at the time. Too late to do it now. It was a nonsense comment.

By my reckoning 2 people commenting above were from the unionist perspective who restricted themselves to two comments. That leaves about 34 comments from a non unionist perspective. Henry Joy is hardly a unionist. If anything he has moved towards the Hume school. So if you want not to play silly boogers, how about desisting from playing it?

Seamus's family were not commemorating their son on this site. They wrote nothing for the site. The site featured a post from the 1916 Societies blog. There is no blasphemy law here: people are free to comment as they like on posts that are carried. Henry Joy was totally right to express his view and that holds no less strongly even if he expressed a view others consider wrong. If people want to oppose commemorations should they not be allowed to? The families' right to commemorate their son was a given. The site here covered it in full and gave it the week's prime slot - the Saturday Nightrider. It has taken more than 1500 page views. What seemed in need of defence was the right to express a view about the politics of commemoration which you appeared not to want Henry Joy to be free to express. We are under no obligation on this site to protect articles from another site from criticism or scrutiny. Why would we? We don't protect our own pieces from critique.

If people want to view the IRA as terrorist, they are quite within their rights on this site to do so. We have never prevented anyone from saying that. We have never prevented you from saying likewise about the UDR. I have been called quite a few names on this site - worst than terrorist, so we don't get too excited about labelling here. If it is gratuitous personal abuse we don't want it.

I am no more worried about you being called fascist or reactionary than I am with me being called it. Have been called much worse here. Much as I am not worried about you calling others the same. If people see you that way should they be prohibited from saying it? What would give you the privilege not to be called a fascist if people feel you are one? My view that you are not one is irrelevant to the matter of others being free to state it if that is what they feel. If you start calling each other child abusers and wife beaters we would take a different view.

You have been afforded maximum freedom on this site but it seems a matter of common agreement that you have been nasty and abusive towards many of those who disagree with you. Many of us have tried to nudge you back into the ethos of the site which is to debate robustly but not abusively. I think it has worked because you have adopted a different approach without losing the thrust of your point.

Long may it continue.

sean bres said...

I read back over all the exchanges a while ago and would contend I was only abusive to those who were abusive to me, yet no-one spoke of them and their abuse - only me and mine. That includes yourself. I've also noticed that some of those concerned have since deleted their comments, as it comes up as 'the author deleted their comment'.

I never wanted nor asked for your defence, or that you worry on what anyone calls me. I didn't care myself - why would I, it's the Internet - and asked only that you treat all the same way and which I still believe you did not do. You pulled me while others got away with trolling and name-calling unperturbed - or at least in public.

All that aside, I never said Henry Joy was wrong to express his views above and if I had I might see your point. The fact remains that I did no such thing but don't let that get in the way of a yarn. I would certainly maintain his above view is wrong but that's another story and, indeed, a view I am entitled to both hold and express without being labelled in the manner you labelled me.

That you labelled me but not him while both of us did no more than express a view tells me you have a wee bias in these matters and are quick to clamp down on me but not others, albeit only occasionally.

One other thing is that the piece did not just appear here because it was lifted from our site. That's just the easier way for me to send you the information. It would have been sent another way had we not got a site. And thanks as ever for carrying it and giving it the prime slot it received. It deserved no less and I'm sure you'd agree.

Sin é a chara, we'll not fall out about it and when all's said and done and as I said all along, to me it's not a big deal but just something I've noticed. I don't think there's any point in continuing the discussion along these lines though, so unless we're going back to the OIOV I suggest you have your right of reply and we leave it at that for now.

AM said...

I'll forego my right to reply!

larry hughes said...

Sometimes I feel quite 'uncontroversial' now and then. Aaagh, nice.

sean bres said...

I'll send on the article on self-determination and see where it leads in terms of the discussion. Hopefully Steve and Peter might weigh in with their thoughts, we'll see. On a separate though related matter, I read earlier the piece Liam sent in his circular - the interview with Bangers. It was noticeable how he ripped Éire Nua and the idea of regional assemblies apart. As I say, we'll see where the discussion goes and I'm sure OIOV can be factored in somehow. That in large part it deals with the notion of consent and how it could or should be applied is also of relevance to the conversation earlier. Oiche mhaith anyway and one last thing, fair play to plucky little Leicester... Amazing story and great to see.

Steve Ricardos said...

For the record, I've never pulled a comment so I don't know who Sean is referring too.

And Anthony has given me a bollocking once or twice which in hindsight was thoroughly deserved.

But Sean..

The problem I and no doubt others have with your articles or comments is that it seems that when a fellow Republican asks you to outline the mechanics of your vision, you wilt away from the firebrand evangelical soapbox and are left with soundbites and slogans in place of actual strategy.

When 'PUL' community members ask you similar (and I have long given up trying to explain where I sit-but for insight I try to proffer their thinking), you display either indifference to their concerns, or simply imply they would be happier in a 'Greater Ulster' assembly within an Eire Nua set-up. When asked why would they simply give up the Status Quo for the unknown you fall back into 'we cannot be bowed by threats of Uninionist/Brit coercion'...seemingly failing to see the direct threat that Unionists would take that statement for, which is why I asked in a previous thread who is really threatening coercion?

I've even tried in some small way to give you ideas about how to start a truly grassroots initiative by encouraging Gaelic culture within Loyalism, and while I realise that is a big hurdle, it is the only way to get rid of the fear and unite the people, which to my mind, Unification should be really all about.

But you start to worry me when you pointblank refuse to answer Anthony's questions a number of times...

"You refuse to coerce the North out of the UK - is that right?

You refuse to coerce the North into a united Ireland - is that right?

If the answer to both is yes, then how do you persuade the North to leave the UK and join a united Ireland?

Replying...

' I don't feel compelled to address your prompts about coercion - with a yes/no response or anything else - because they are simply not relevant to my position. '

^^^ This is a most extraordinary statement.

If you are trying for a political idea of OIOV or indeed any other political enterprise and someone asks you basic questions that most certainly SHOULD be relevant to your position, what kind of answer is that?? Its like a kid saying he's not going to answer because he doesn't like the question!

Actually, now I think about it, perhaps you truly are a politician!



Larry,

What political party IS'NT a self-interest group?

Henry JoY said...

"It seems, as indeed was the case on the thread about Vinny, that only some are afforded the luxury you afford him to express their views. ............ I don't want held to this comment by the way as it's written in a rush and then some."

You may not have wanted to be held to account Sean and indeed you did literally have your hands full at the time of writing but you have been called out on this. AM has rightly called on you to validate your allegation. So far, it doesn't appear that you have.

Time to man up Sean and withdrawn your accusation. Otherwise you appear to defame AM's integrity.

It appears to me Sean that in finally managing to successfully overcome your previous tedious tendency to ad hominem(s) you've now, when on the back foot, developed one for misdirection and diversion!

larry hughes said...

Steve Ricardos

I don't class the British ex-pat community in the North East of Ireland as a political party per say. In the same way I don't class all Jews in Palestine as members of Likud or the Zionist Union. Unfortunately Protestantism/Loyalism/Unionism is and always has been about seperation/exclusion/difference for a living on this island. An island they are unable to profess allegiance or loyalty to. In general and iunlike Henry Joy I have no interest in crawling to those people and that agenda. Indeed I have often joked if I win the lotto I will hire a hit-man for my parents for returning to Lurgan from Lincolnshire in early 1973. I think Mackers could be looking for work these days.... Must buy a ticket.

I notice your point on cultural engagement and find it interesting. I was speaking to a Garda recently who is originally from Belfast and big into the Irish language. He was telling me one of his aquaintances/friends in the Irish language circles is a Unionist from Lurgan who is 'mad' into the Gaelic in a huge way. He wished there were more like him so fair play on that. You obviously have a point.

Yourself and Peter make well structured and interesting points and I enjoy reading them. But for me as far as loyalism / unionism is concerned they need to figure out their long term destiny for themselves. I'm not a shrink nor a social scientist dealing in ethnic minorities. Either they move away from exclusion/fascism in order to consolidate the wee six, as Peter Robinson has alluded to, or they abandon the not a taig about the place mind-set for real and fast forward to 2016.

larry hughes said...

Sean BRES

The stick you are taking is a result of your undiluted republican stance and agenda. I have 'got into' you myself in the past trying to force a clear - cut strategy position. As much from my own frustration and failings on that score as anything else. In any case it is all par for the course. You are young, energetic and enthusiastic and partitionists of whatever hue or guise may be uncomfotable with the fact people like yourself and the 1916 Societies are relentless and unyielding. Personally I find it reassuring. I'd not panic about not having the silver bullet or magic wand politically just yet. Show me any party or individual who has!! Treat it as a learning curve, you have plenty of time. Keep up the good work on the ground. Those pesky partitionists love you deep down!

Steve Ricardos said...

Larry,

If you don't class them as a political party that's entirely up to you, but they are under that impression themselves and hold considerable political power in the wee 6 and in Westminster where they are the 5th largest group.

Sean is not getting any stick, he's being asked basic questions that all. I've no interest in keeping anybody 'down', I'd much rather help than hinder as its my nature, even though the aul anger gets the better of me sometimes I am trying to control it!!

sean bres said...

Basically what this comes down to is that I say the Irish people have the right to freely determine their own future while almost all others above - all bar Larry it seems - do not and instead submit to the British-shaped 'principle of consent'. Just because you're in a minority though does not mean you are wrong. The principle of consent, as set out under Good Friday, is for me no more legitimate than the right to break into someone's house and then claim the upstairs bedroom as your own. It wouldn't stand and the talk about 'coercion' is erroneous. I don't want nor intend to coerce anyone but that the democratic rights of our people go forward and be respected - you can work to realise that without physically coercing anyone.

The idea this does not separate from what the establishment have signed up to is nonsense. Our initiative respects and is in line with the right of the Irish to self-determination whereas the other, quite simply, is not. If Anthony can't see the nuance in that then it's because he doesn't want to. I can't see it any other way, knowing how intelligent the man is. I find the idea a One Ireland One Vote referendum would be 'strategically sterile' as bizarre to say the least. Even if it did not carry the legal imprimatur Anthony refers to it would open up the conversation on Irish Unity, with a New Ireland becoming a national imperative. Where he sees sterility in that is for himself. For me and others it is a pathway to expose the false narrative of Good Friday and bring about change, even if at this moment it's still a work in progress.

AM said...

Sean,

as so often you seem to miss the point.

It is not that people buy into the consent principle but rather that you persistently fail to show how you are going to overcome it. Not one idea as to how it is to be removed nor how to even organise a referendum. Which sort of reduces the conversation to waffle.

There have to be more productive things to discuss.

But keep trying and see what support you are able to garner.

I think you could do much worse than take the whole thing back to the drawing board, consider the shortcomings of it, as you seem to acknowledge there is much to be worked on, and see where it goes.

The strategic choice is that the North is either persuaded or coerced. If there is another option, you should take time out to think about it and develop it as a fully blown argument.

This whole thing just goes round in circles. The onus is on those who want to effect change to outline how it is to be done. I have seen little that suggests you have any serious notion of what is required. And OIOV will eventually find it has no more impact than the 32CSM proposal to take the matter of Sovereignty to the UN. It was an idea for sure but an effective one?

So, unless, the slogan is fleshed out with strategic ideas rather than the current reiteration of strategic nothingness, I see no point in continuing with the discussion.

Larry, if I read him right, will at least argue for the North to be coerced first out of the UK and then into a united Ireland even if he does not outline the mechanisms. That at least allows the next question of how that coercion is to be effected: should it be a campaign aimed at international isolation of the North and the British, should the Dublin government invade the North and reclaim it?

On these matters, from yourself, nothing.

sean bres said...

Are you saying that the Good Friday Agreement can actualise Irish self-determination or that the process which birthed it has already done so? Because if that's where you're at after all these years then we simply no longer agree. What I'm saying contests that narrative and holds that the right of the Irish to self-determination should proceed through a fully democratic engagement. That's not waffle.

That you would describe a campaign to secure Irish Independence backed by a National Referendum as 'strategically sterile' amazes me and that you ignore the possibilities it would open up on that basis is mind-boggling. I think you would say anything at this point to undermine my argument but that aside, how does what I have argued for translate into coercion or an effort to coerce anyone in the first place? If anything it stands in opposition to coercion, opposing the right of Britain to coerce the Irish people into accepting partition and their bastardised version of self-determination which exists to uphold it. If you want to wax lyrical about coercion then what of that?

The idea you got nothing from me on these matters is pure nonsense. What you seem, again, to have missed is that the north is not a lawful part of the UK but a British-occupied territory within Ireland that has been claimed by Britain unlawfully. Campaigning that the British leave our country and that the Irish Republic be reconstituted is not something we can go back to the drawing board and revise: it is a fundamental tenet of the Republican Constitution. Hold the referendum and then use it as a license to advance Irish Unity through a democratic engagement. The idea this constitutes coercion or that it would not bolster the argument for independence, being 'strategically sterile', just does not add up and you know it.

AM said...

Sean,

there is no point.

If you say something that I find insightful, I will respond.

Steve Ricardos said...

Sean,

What wording would you use on this 'One Ireland One Vote'?

Peter said...

Sean
I sympathise with you. It is clear that this is all very straight in your head but it isn't in ours. We don't understand the mechanisms of how OIOV will work and you are not laying it out clearly. If a majority in the 6 counties votes no to unity what then? You need to explain exactly by what mechanisms OIOV will deal with this outcome. AM is doing a great job of trying to tease this out of you and all he gets is obfuscation and a barracking for not supporting you.

sean bres said...

As I've said previously, my thinking is that for a referendum to meet with the confidence of the people, in turn establishing its legitimacy, it must be sure to avoid the legacy of partition, its discredited history, how it came to pass and how it has been upheld in the years since. As such, the process leading to the referendum must remain independent and free from state control, predicated instead on the Irish people, alone and of themselves. We might describe this as an extra-democratic ‘citizens-centred' initiative, beyond the partition-system itself.

Thus, some form of 'constitutional convention', where all interested parties, individuals and focus groups can decide together through open and democratic discussion the relevant matters at hand, should be the instrument which determines the mechanics of any referendum process. Accordingly, the people will be the guarantor of the process and it is the Irish people who will afford its outcomes legitimacy, both in their direct participation in the convention and in their eventual vote in the referendum to follow.

The 1916 Societies can provide a forum for as much but equally should be prepared to engage in the same process should it be developed by others - providing, that is, it remains inclusive and transparent throughout, ensuring maximum participation in the setting out of its proposals while its remit remains at all times the ending of partition rule, with the establishment of a sovereign all-Ireland republic to succeed any 'Yes Vote' to emerge from the same process.

Now there might be nothing in that for you in terms of who and how the referendum will be organised but I contend otherwise. It will be organised by the people of Ireland as is their democratic entitlement. It is our job to encourage them onto that path and facilitate the above as far as we can. That requires hard work on the ground, yes, but it first-off requires a position. That postion is simple, regardless of its strategic worth at this particualr time: a new republic in Ireland can be realised through a national referendum on Irish Unity. The work to advance that end is only beginning.

sean bres said...

Steve, if it were up to me the question would be as simple as this: Should Ireland be an Independent and 32-County Republic in line with the 1916 Proclamation? Yes / No.

Peter, as I've said above and before your comment was loaded, we envisage the mechanism through which an all-Ireland referendum will be set up as an independent 'constitutional convention' that consults and determines on best practice. There will be no vote in the Six Counties to measure, it will be a single-constituency referendum, so the majority we will be looking to will emerge from there and there alone.

Should a 'Yes Vote' proceed it can then, in turn, be used as a mandate to effect a British withdrawal from Ireland. The means to do so will be through engagement with all relevant parties to secure that outcome. That is not coercion.

We believe that the will of the Irish people is to freely determine their own future in a sovereign all-Ireland republic. We intend giving form to that will, to allow it be expressed clearly and for all to see, through a national referendum on Irish Unity. There is nothing in between, behind the lines or between the lines: it's as simple as that.

Peter said...

Sean
Britain has sovereignty in the 6 counties and unionists would demand their rights be upheld. How do you get around denying that sovereign right? In short, do you force unionists to forego their sovereign right? If unionist refuse to acknowledge the legitimacy of your new republic what will you do then? This is at the crux of what we don't understand. If there is a unity referendum and Arlene calls for a border poll at the same time, and unionists win the border poll, the sovereignty of Northern Ireland will take preference because there has never been a 32 county sovereign Ireland. It all comes back to AM's question on coercion, how will you get unionists to accept the sovereignty of a 32 county republic over our own sovereign entity agreed under the GFA?

larry hughes said...

Presyterian 'Loyalists' coerced themselves out of Home Rule and into a sectarian 6 county state-let. They gave not a hoot about RCs within it or other Protestants mainly COI 'without' it. Treating them like coercion is a dirty word and the notion of it being an attack upon an innocent people is just funny. I don't think they will require coercing. I think a portion of them will require a bloody good facing down in the final analysis and the IRA experience at the hands of FF during WW2 should serve as an example of what's to come if necessary. That will be their call when demographics are in order. My only worry about Sean and the OIOV is not the correctness or sincerity of his project, but the attempt to force it too early. Time is on Ireland's side. The national territory will be reunited eventually and unionism/loyalism can contemplate their collective waste of centuries and rue the fact there is no Empire to swan off into. Henry Joy can cry all the crocodile tears for loyalism he likes, they are just laughing at him. The bedroom analogy is the correct one. If I stole your car, how long must i keep it until it is legally mine?

sean bres said...

Peter, you proceed on the basis that the British sovereign claim has legitimacy whereas OIOV does not. Unionism does not have a sovereign right or at least one to be held as anything other than the product of violence. It is without legitimacy and derives from conquest. You and others would attempt and have attempted the claim that the current arrangements represents the will of the Irish people. If you really believed that you would not fear, as you plainly do, an all-Ireland referendum - sure it would only reflect their will. Let's hold the vote and then deal with the consequences either way. To do otherwise is to concede to the power and threat of force and I refuse to.

Britain has no right in Ireland and will never have a right in Ireland. As I've said before, her claim to sovereignty is no different to the Nazi claim to the Sudetenland and that's the long and the short of it. We should be discussing how the New Ireland can be set up to reconcile its two traditions and not whether Britain has a rightful claim to sovereignty. How could she when her very presence in our country violates the sovereignty of the Irish Nation and the right to freely determine our own affairs? A New Ireland must emerge from agreement among her people but all of the people must be held as equal, with Irish sovereignty the bedrock on which all else goes forward.

AM said...

Larry,

there is a grasp of the strategic issue in what you say. And you at least don't evade the crucial question which is one of how the North is to be brought into a united country. There can only be two ways. It is either persuaded or coerced. You don't oppose coercion in principle although you think time will settle the issue. But even with the question of demographics, that seems to be very much a Northern thing. Because then if there is a six county referendum which I presume is what you suggest holding out for, and the democratic decision is one of withdrawal from the UK, then the argument for democratic coercion becomes centre stage. At that point there would be a serious case for enforcing the democratic will as expressed within the six counties and an institution democratically obliged to enact it. How that might work out in practice is a different matter.

The stolen car is not a good analogy because what is legal is decided by law makers. Morals and ethics don't meet. I find it a useless contribution to the discussion for people to say that partition is illegal. It is legal and our long opposition to it incorporated a desire to have it made illegal.

There is no such thing as an eternal nation. Foundational myths operate with nations as much as they do with religions. Nations are human constructs that evolved into being and at some point will evolve into something else. Ireland is no more an eternal timeless nation than Germany is. A belief that a nation always was and always will be is ahistorical. FFS we had completely different land masses in the world at one point that evolution and nature caused to break up. God didn't put Ireland where it was and give it to a specific group of people. Nations are political constructs. They will be debated and fought over by people. Pakistan is a nation, as is Bangladesh. In 1930 they were not.

Having followed the debate and participated a bit in it on OIOV, it is something that seems so marginal to anything in my life, it just seems a waste of energy discussing it any further. The only thing I have been persuaded of is just how limiting and strategically vacuous the whole thing is.

But for those who want to pursue it, fine. Much as I view those who go to mass. It is their right and they should be free to do so. It really has no impact on my life apart from chewing the fat here with Sean and others on it.

AM said...

Larry,

law and ethics don't meet is how that should read. Shows what happens when tedium grips the mind!!

sean bres said...

Let's knock this one on the head lf this is where it's now at. Thanks for carrying the article

larry hughes said...

Mackers

Your argument is flawed. Japan is also an island nation. If 1,000,000 Chinese were planted in Hokaido with no love or loyalty to Japan would that make Hokaido Chinese? Certainly wars have seen boundaries move back and forward. Mexico once owned California and Texas IO beleive. When the border moved the people obviously did not. Spanish is the majority language in California and that part of the USA as far as I am aware. Ireland is an island, the unionist self interest group have no alegiance to it. They are British ex-pats. You are being deliberately overly kind towardards your unionist contributors. That's your call.

Time is on our side. Demographics will fix it I expect. I do see a 6 county referendum on unity as anything but a foregone conclusion which is why I feel Bresser and Co. are a tad hasty. Should the referendum be confined to the 6 counties rather than 32 and once set in motion then the result should be respected either way once and for all. So timing is crucial.

AM said...

Larry,

a man born in a stable is not a horse!

larry hughes said...

Wellington was not Irish either, nor was he JC. He wasn't even YOU!!

sean bres said...

Anthony, I can only assume your above comment is to say the Ulster Protestants are not British, no matter how they choose to identify. Sin é from me as I'm off out for the evening.

AM said...

Sean,

as I used to say in the jail, we are British and we are trying our best to escape from being British.

I can no more tell the Northern unionist he is Irish than I can tell him he is a Catholic. He will probably tell me he is Irish and British. In the era of identity politics, where men can be women and vice versa, I am not going to waste energy on trying to sort that type of challenge. My wife told me today that some people now want to identify as wolves as they claim to be trans species. I don't have the patience to cope with all of that. It would put me on the drink.

AM said...

Larry,

I thought it was Lord Gray.

larry hughes said...

Had a palpatation there, thought your wife was going to say she was pantie bliss. Wellington was born in Dublin, there's a huge monument to him in Phoenix Park, the 'stable' quip was his retort to being reminded of his birth place. Looks like all that PC garbage has caught up on you. But I'd not blame PC for a need of a good gargle. As for the thread, whatever transpires if anything...will be. I just refuse to take the narrative of loyalism/unionism as victims here historically.

Madrid final again in CL.

AM said...

PC does my head in. It is used to silence opinion. Michael O'Leary said today cyclists should be taken out and shot. He will not get anywhere near the stick Adams got. Live and let live. There is no one size fits all panacea for the problems of the world.

James McErlean used to say in the jail "Lord pity me and fuck the rest". Can sort of identify with it today!!!

Peter said...

Sean
Yes best to leave it there. You consistently fail to say how you get unionism to give up its rights and accept a UI. Saying Britain has no rights/ no legitimacy doesn't cut it as they do under international law. You can't lay out the mechanics as I guess you haven't really thought it through. Everyone is bored with your evasion.

Larry
You have mentioned demographics in every post these last few days. I hope you are not holding your breath as catholics may be out breeding us, but yiz are producing scores of wee west Brits. The east of the province is full o'them.

larry hughes said...

I hate PC but I love the PC brigade I think 'God' created them for me when I'm in leprechaun mode! Get a big bottle of JD down ya, then delete ALL texts and emaild without reading them tomorrow. Trust me, it 'nearly' always works....Footie time!

larry hughes said...

Peter

Simples...hold a referendum when the time is right on July 14th. People will be i a good frame of mind.

Continuity Madrid 3 Allah Akbar City o
Ladyboy Ronaldo to score 2 and jerk off looking at himself on the big screen.
you heard it here first.

Steve Ricardos said...

Sean,

Whether you know it or not, Larry is on the money. A forced OIOV on the entire people of Ireland is coercion of one side or the other.

A presumable 'yes' to your question will meet with the question of 'so what?' in the North, as the majority (unionists/west brits) would say 'Stevie Wonder could've seen that coming, doesn't mean shit to us, and we abstained from the vote'

Then what do you do? Partition would still remain.

Simply ignoring a problem won't make it go away. The British CANNOT -NOTHING TO DO WITH 'WILL'- withdraw unless consent is given in the wee 6. On the International stage it could not be seen to give in during the Troubles, as it feared opening the floodgates to every guy with a gun in the colonies to hold someone hostage for gain. The fact is 'Britain' would love to be rid of the wee 6 but the Unionists hold them by the balls in Westminster, where Larry fails to see a sizable lobby group holding sway in hung parliaments.

The One Ireland One Vote campaign is an exercise in the bloody obvious, or worse a rigged ballot. What has me really scratching my head is that none of you have worked out that it would have no flesh on the bones at the end of it. Noble revolutionary ideals of the Proclamation are virtuous but flaccid attempts to rally a largely middle-class society these days as opposed to life in the early 1900's are going to make the 1916 Societies/OIOV campaigns nothing more than old fart clubs like the Hibs.

This is perhaps best evidenced by the Shinners rebranding themselves as a middle-class political party. They've worked it out and developed a strategy to get themselves at some point to effect a OIOV, and not just give soundbites for answers. They also seem to recognise that its a long road. Politics is about compromise.

And that's not something that appears to sit easy with you.

larry hughes said...

Steve Ricardos

Logic in what you say. I wonder from your viewpoint at some stage in the distant future should a majority in the wee 6 vote of a referendum and in that opt for unification, would you personally accept the vote? Do you believe loyalists/unionists would also accept the change in demographics and deal with it? Or would there be an ugly response? I personally can live with the notion of the majority in the north deciding the fate of the north at this stage. My concern and reason for supporting the OIOV is quite simply that I don't trust the Brits to honour any commitment at any time. You are 100% correct regarding the social differences today as compared to 1916. Never mind a Rising, you couldn't get the majority of dole-ites to rise from their settees in front of their wide screen TVs watching X factor and the Kardashians other than to get another ALDI beer from the fridge.

My football prediction hit the skidz again.... THAT'S why I'm living the lifestyle I do... But on the bright side, it let me practice my PC etiqutte for Mackers.

Steve Ricardos said...

Larry,

Absolutely I would accept it and if its brought about properly I don't think the PUL community would raise too many arguments with that result. We may get the odd dickhead here and there but there is no appetite for war, and no Paisley stirring up shit anymore.

The Brits would love to get shot of the wee 6, a result in the north would be their dreams come true. We're a pain in the arse to them.

larry hughes said...

Steve Ricardos

We ALL must remember the British establishment and people like Cameron don't have a written constitution, or a long term political agenda as such, they have 'interests' which change with the wind. I am happy to say your response and the forcefulness of it surprised and encouraged me. Hats off to you for that. I am thinking reading Mackers comments too regarding partition that the 'SF leadership apart' and their inability/refusal to aknowledge they are now partitionist and have dumped republican dogma/ideology/principles, that he actually concedes they-SF- have adopted the correct political strategy. In fairness for all the criticism, I usually end up voting for them myself anyway. Just to spite my parents and sisters, who I suspect vote Unionist! lol

AM said...

Larry,

SF have not adopted a correct political strategy if by correct we mean a strategy for uniting Ireland. There is no means of uniting Ireland without the consent of the North. SF embrace the consent principle as a pretence that it will lead to unity when there is not a chance of it happening. It is about institutional power, much like that pursued by everybody they condemned over the years for doing the same thing.

I don't support the consent principle. I think it is wrong. But not every wrong in the world needs put right by a greater wrong. And the greater wrong here is to wage war (the most hideous of things) in order to coerce the North into unity. Which means I do not support the consent principle but support war even less. It leaves me with limited options!!!

sean bres said...


One Ireland One Vote offers another way forward, apart from both the failed pursuit of institutional power and the preceding failure of the armed struggle - neither of which have secured the goal of Irish Unity. We must work to empower that alternative instead of bowing to that which you concede of your own volition as wrong. I am glad you have made the acknowledgment you just have for like Larry I was beginning to think you had conceded the Shinners had actually got it right.

eurofree3 said...

could a lesson from Scotland provide a way out of the stalemate?https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2016/05/03/northern-ireland-and-the-end-of-british-politics/

AM said...

Sean

now why would you failing to grasp the issues not really surprise me? But as Peter has said, we are bored to the tits with it by this point.

sean bres said...

That'll do but in future it might be a good idea not to begin a discussion on something that bores ye. Slan

AM said...

The subject didn't bore me, just your inability to make a case. We now know that the referendum is to be a thingy sort of thing. If you think I have time for that jobberwocky you seriously misunderstand me

larry hughes said...

Ach Mackers...a tad rude....would have expected more from 'camp staff' wot say we have a nite with our UDR amegos... maybe they cud stump up a few beers? them lads dun well.

sean bres said...

Good man. If you think I've time to pander further to this type of nonsense then you underestimate me also. We'll leave it at that and as I said, don't bother engaging me in this discussion again. Carry the pieces from our site if you want to but aside from that'll do as far as I'm concerned. Why would I waste my energy to be met with the above. Oiche mhaith

AM said...

Larry,

not in the slightest rude, just blunt. Listen to Gerry Adams explain economics and you quickly see what jabberwocky is. I neither have the time nor interest. If people want to discuss initiatives they should at least be serious about it.

Fine, if you bring them down here. I can't go up LOL. We bumped into the screws one day when out in Botanic Avenue. They asked us what we wanted to drink. We declined but sent them over a round.

AM said...

I tried engaging you and met with endless evasion. I ended up concluding if OIOV is a good initiative, you are wholly unable to articulate it.

Steve Ricardos said...

Did Sean really just spit the dummy out??

sean bres said...

No Steve, I didn't spit the dummy out. Just no sense in continuing the conversation when you's are plainly all bored of it. I'm at a fundraising quiz here for our wee cross-community group in Omagh as we're sending a group of kids abroad at the start of the summer. I'm more concerned at missing the Europa League semi-final than anything above (though admittedly I'm sneaking a peek in the front bar at every rounds end lol). I enjoyed the conversation but it's plainly run its course. Take 'er easy...

Steve Ricardos said...

At least someones getting answers from ye Sean!

Peter said...

Larry
A night out with you? You must be fucking joking. In my experience when wee men with anger issues get drunk they end up wanting to fight the world or start crying into their beer. I'll give it a miss thanks.

larry hughes said...

Mackers

I'm up for a wee swalley with anyone... people in glass houses probably shouldn't lob van bombs... I'm just not giving any FAMILY details coz that's where 'they' go when angry. But absolutely up for a get to gether in the 'Best possible taste' Kenny Everet style, if WE can't laugh at US...who can? Bring it on....Clontibret? lol

larry hughes said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Steve Ricardos said...

Larry,

I've not lived in Europe since '99 and not drank in 5 years so I'll have to give it a bye ball this time. lol

larry hughes said...

Steve Ricardos

Mybe that is why you have the admirable democratic stand point you do. Certainly it was disarming in a manner Henry Joy suggested, but I am hesitant to believe a majority of unionists/loayalists would be as graceful. On the bright side, there seems to be an indication of a dent of sorts being put in the usual suspects/faces in elections here. Maybe people are confident the dirty wee war is sufficiently behind us at this stage in the North to start voting politically rather than just keeping the 'other side' out. We can only live in hope.

5 years off the hooch? Could probably do with trying that myself.

Henry JoY said...

Larry

and when you could probably do with trying that yourself ... what kind of probably is that probably ?

On a more serious note its great to see McCann get the seat in Derry. Some seeds of hope have been sown. Hopefully more people will now cross the old sectarian divide and vote for candidates who can rise above all of the old bollix of the past. All the old bollix of the past which the extremists on both sides strove and strive so hard to keep us stuck in.

Let the people unite and the rest will follow.

Steve Ricardos said...

Larry,

I don't think it would happen for good few years yet but at the minute there is definitely a swing to the left within grassroots loyalism. The people are sick of seeing the DUP tossers lining their own pockets and only being about when there is a photo or to stick the boot into someone, usually the shinners. Living in North Down doesn't give them a fair idea of whats happening on the shankill, not that they would dirty their shoes.

I've said before, and I think Peter has as well, that the PUP are absolutely on a socialist bent and long may that journey continue.

Imagine issue based politics in the wee 6! Enough to scare ye sober!

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy/Steve Ricardos

With a bit of luck the 'blackmail' of the SF peace process strategy votes for guns is lifting off the shoulders of voters in Nationalist/RC communities. West Belfast and Derry elction performance of PBP is inspiring. Billy Hutchinson was eliminated I think. Fleg protests maybe had a negative impact? But looking at the E. Belfast performance of Alliance you really have to say that there is a very large number of people in that area who absolutely do not fit the stereotype loyalist criteria. There is actually hope in the wee North if you look at it properly. I see the SDLP in Fermangh - S.Tyrone got in ahead of a SF candidate with OU transfers at the death. Either the candidate or SDLP tv pundit stated that is genuine Republicanism at work, uniting/co-operation between both sections of the community. Gerry Kelly must have loved THAT in the studio!! Laughed til I was sore at that. Eamon McCann after 50 years of trying is now elected. His claim to fame is having been a University 'drop out' and now at 73 years of age he is heading for the Stormont 'Naughty-Corner' what a story! Hope for Mackers yet. Orange juice here today.

Steve Ricardos said...

It's changing. The old manufactured sectarian hatred will breed itself to background noise.

Be a lot faster if they got rid of segregated schools.

Henry JoY said...

Hopefully the the old manufactured sectarian hatred will breed itself out Steve. Indeed an integrated education system would accelerate this process.

Perhaps Sean Bres might comment on this given his involvement in youth work around cross-community initiatives. It would be something I'd look forward to hearing his thoughts on. It would make interesting reading to hear of his experiences in this regard ... 1916 Societies PRO involved in cross-community initiative ... bit of a man bites dog story.

Larry

A bit of strategic voting in Fermanagh isn't that unusual. I'd guess there's quiet a few voters who use PR to its greatest affect.

Steve Ricardos said...

Yes HJ,

I too would be intrigued to hear Sean's comment.

I wonder if the kids across the divide know the ballads he sings? Maybe he sings them to them!

sean bres said...

As I said at the outset, I make no secret of my politics and all is readily understood. It could be no other way in a small community as ours. It's quite obviously yourselves who don't understand my politics or what my hopes are for the future. My vision for Ireland is a non-sectarian and secular all-Ireland republic founded on mutual respect and an agreement, on that basis, between the two traditions who make up our nation. I respect the right of the Protestant community to its identity, its culture, the heroes it holds and all of that. I ask for no more than the same in return but that we celebrate, or commemorate as may be the case, our differences with dignity. I don't expect that our Protestant brothers and sisters be forced to accept our narrative as the legitimate one - or vice versa. But that doesn't mean our alternative narratives should be hidden or not discussed. They should be if we want to understand each other. That they be subjected to Irish rebel ballads though would hardly be appropriate - just as my children should not have to endure the Orange alternate, unless of course they choose to (and as someone confident in my own identity I would have no problem with that if it helps make others feel accepted). I fully support the idea of a new and integrated education system by the way and the sooner this happens the better. The idea that this is some sort of 'man bites dog' scenario, coming from someone who claims to have known republicans of the stature of the great Daithi Ó Conaill, to me tells its own story of the agenda in play. It's not him I respond to, an utterly servile sycophant, but Steve, whose opinion I've come to value despite our locking horns in the past. I have recently been asked to participate in a local cross-community 'town-hall initiative' and present the Eire Nua policy as a model for a new Ireland. So the idea those I work with across the divide don't know my politics or that I somehow hide them, if that's what's being hinted at, is off the mark. I'm off for the afternoon here anyway but just wanted to respond to the prompts. Wherever you's are and whatever you's are doing may the sun be shining and the day be a good one. Sin é agus slán.

Henry JoY said...

Sean

thanks for your response.
There was no mal-intent behind the question merely a request for information.
The man bites dog quip suggested news worthiness ... nothing more.

It seems Steve, yourself and I have some commonality with regards to segregated education.

Steve Ricardos said...

Fair play Sean, cheers.

Must say, I am pleased that you responded without your previous 'forcefulness' in replies, I think you will get a lot further if you keep going this way.

And as HJ says, there is the common ground. If you truly want a people unified, get rid of what divides them. It's too easy and misses the problem to point all fingers at 'the brits'.

If our kids grow up together in the same school, the fear and segregation goes. And I think someone of your zeal could really effect this change Sean.

Good luck.

larry hughes said...

Steve Ricardos

I have no idea how typical you are but I remember unionists/prods moving out en mass from housing estates once RCs began moving in. That has been a practice until very recently. Integrated eductation is definitely something that has been floated for decades. It is something that kiddies of today and future generations would no doubt benefit from. A bit less history might benefit them too.

Steve Ricardos said...

Larry,

Yes, that was the direct result of fear and hatred bred by segregation from a young age.

But hopefully we are all passed that nonsense now. Nobody is born a bigot, its a learned behaviour.

larry hughes said...

Steve Ricardos

Socialisation plays a huge part also. I was returned to Armagh at 9 years old from a Lincolnshire RAF base and quickly got the sense of a 'them and us' Alamo experience in Primary school. Army/RUC activity at the time merely confirmed it. My family were in no way republican. Still are not.

I am looking forward to see how People Before Profit perform over the next Stormont mandate. It will be good to see a grass roots political approach injected into the debate rather than merely Alister, leader of the Transvestite Ulster Volunteer Party wabbitin costantwee bowt wuk awl. Who knows, McCann and his buddy may start a much needed thaw in norn-iron politics. SF acceptance of partition is well enough embedded now and has united FF/FG in the 26 counties. Funny how life has a habbit of turning out 'not-quite' as intended lol.