Thursday, November 30, 2017

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Has Ten Years Been Enough?

Martin Galvin with a letter in The Irish News on 27 November 2017.

A chara,

A decade into the Troubles, the slogan "Ten years is enough " appeared on walls, left by British Army patrols. Republicans answered by reminding why they resorted to armed resistance. "But 810 years is too much" they painted underneath, referring pointedly to British rule.

Jim Gibney writes (November 8th) after the "failed experience" of ten months of futile talks with the DUP "Republicans will be asking if the north is ungovernable". Ten futile months might be enough to ask. Ten preceding years of what Gerry Adams described as "deliberate provocation, arrogance and disrespect" should be too much to ask for more.

Jim's question, about the six counties being ungovernable under power-sharing, or any form of British administration, is not new. Books are written about the north being a 'failed political entity'. Unionist columnists like Alex Kane explained why Stormont power-sharing would inevitably collapse. Republicans once professed, that because British hegemony was based on sectarian divisions and privileges, it made the six counties inherently ungovernable, or irreformable.

Sinn Fein sought to remove partition and build a national democracy that could give equality and parity of esteem to all, precisely because it did not rely on sectarian differences. They tried to make power-sharing and partnership at Stormont a platform for building cooperation and trust.

Greeting English royals, 'sorry' initiatives, "Towards an Agreed and Reconciled Future" etc. were all supposed to build goodwill with DUP members and, eventually, dispel unionist fears about a united Ireland. In May 2007,the late Martin McGuinness became Deputy First Minister. His credentials enabled him to offer concessions beyond anyone else's ability. 

Instead of good faith and cooperation, the DUP took concessions as weakness, or insulting bribes to lure them into a united Ireland. They think themselves entitled to their favored status indulged by British ideology.

Today the DUP profess faith in British courts but block funding because British courts and inquests might prove Britain's legacy is not so innocent. They deny Irish influences warrant an Irish language act then go home to places named Derry, or Enniskillen, or Fermanagh. Agreements get made then renegotiated, never implemented.

Britain's interests are secured. The DUP can block any moves towards unification. The British decry a lack of agreement while fostering the sectarian system and ideology which insure disagreement.

Sinn Fein may have proven that a six county administration is irreformable or ungovernable, even with Sinn Fein making unbelievable efforts to reform or govern it. Ten months of futile talks is enough. Ten years of "deliberate provocation, arrogance and disrespect" are too much to ask for more.

Martin Galvin is a US Attorney-At-Law.


DaithiD said...

As a 16 year old George Washington wrote out 110 rules for civility in dealing with others. I think without this sort of self restraint, agreements cant get implemented. As civility retreats from public life, the State steps in with legislation to mediate our interactions, becoming the arbiter and enforcer,thus agreements establish sides, not unity. I would of thought the initial aim of the IRA was creating the conditions for civility.