Meanwhile, back in the North… September 26, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.
Interesting piece in the current Phoenix on the Gilmore comments on the ‘perception that Irish governments had not done enough to defeat the IRA during the Troubles.’ As the Phoenix notes, this was singularly inept as an effort to ‘curry favour with northern unionists’, and as noted here earlier today, he [rightly] hedged his comments with so many qualifications as to the supposed culpability of said Irish governments that any serious analysis would hardly have left them satisfied. And as to the substance of his remarks, as the Phoenix also notes ‘all parties in the South ignored them’, which displays good sense on their part. When we’re into the realm of those sort of ‘perceptions’ we’re in deep trouble in terms of serious politics.
But be that as it may, another point that was made in the piece is pretty disturbing, well two other points. One is that Gilmore might have been using this tack to get back at an SF which is now poaching councillors from the LP and ‘basking in polling percentages twice his own’ and therefore add to that a dynamic that ‘the war is over and the bad guys won’ he is all too happy to ‘resurrect the ancient Stickie-Provo feud by trying to co-opt unionists to help him embarrass SF’. One can only hope that that analysis is incorrect, and not just because the issue is so toothless, and very clearly so in the way he made the comments. It’s probable that any negative effects are likely to come back to haunt him rather than SF.
But what of this?
‘Unfortunately, Gilmore’s antipathy towards SF means he has zero relations with Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness, which is bad for north-south cooperation and is one of the main reasons the Irish government has disengaged form the North during a particularly fraught period.’
If accurate that suggests an attitude towards the broader dispensation that is dangerously adrift of the realities on the ground. The very last thing Northern Ireland requires is any diminution of interest from Dublin. I’d go so far as to say that that would open up the potential for a critical breach in the dispensation. And the flags protests of earlier this year demonstrated how instability can feed back into the mix in unexpected ways and at unexpected times. According to the Phoenix at the recent Richard Haas led talks with the Stormont executive about various issues including those protests there was no Irish government participation, the first time since 1985 that that has been the case. It’s perhaps a sign of the complacency of this polity in relation to matters in the North that more has not been made of that.
By the way, one other thing from the Phoenix which sent me back to the main text of his speech. I’d missed this invite from Gilmore. :
Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore said he hoped to host representatives of the royal family and the British Government, along with the leaders of unionism, at commemorations for the centenary of the Easter Rising in 2016.
This should be interesting.