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Should Adams and McGuinness retire? April 12, 2014

Posted by Tomboktu in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, Sinn Féin, The North.

Norman Tebbit’s remark during the week — the he hoped Martin McGuinness would be shot in the back — prompted a thought. Should McGuinness and Gerry Adams consider retiring from activie politics at this stage? They are the only leaders to have remained in place as leaders from the start of the peace process through the signing of the Belfast Agreement, and the first years of the operation of the Assembly and Executive. Tebbit’s comment show that despite the huge changes they led Sinn Fein and the IRA through, they are still lightning rods for hatred and distrust. Would it be better for the stability of the process and politics in the North if they were to hand over the rein of Sinn Fein to a new generation?


1. ivorthorne - April 12, 2014

Perhaps, but it would depend on who replaced them and how much support those people had.


2. CL - April 12, 2014

They should hold on for a knighthood or an O.B.E. And certainly not before shaking the hand of Prince Charles at the GPO in 2016.
And if Paul Bew can become Baron Bew of Donegore, why not Lord McGuinness of Bogside or Baron Adams of Ardoyne? In an era of reconciliation abstentionism is no longer needed.


WorldbyStorm - April 12, 2014

Jesus, I hope that day never comes – though I’m presuming you’re at least part joking. It’s one thing to extend a degree of courtesy to others – we can’t choose or arrange how the British conduct their affairs, any more than we can the Saudi’s or the Dutch. But that doesn’t mean we have to embrace the forms that others adopt, let alone actually accept them (in terms of taking titles).

Just on the point re Bew et al I’m always amazed at how few people, even self-avowed radicals (at one point or another in their lives) are unable to accept titles. It’s very depressing.


6to5against - April 12, 2014

I think they quietly check out in advance if a title would be accepted. We presumably never hear of those who say no.


Michael Carley - April 12, 2014
ejh - April 12, 2014

I think they quietly check out in advance if a title would be accepted.

That’s basically right, but we do get to hear of it.


Jack Jameson - April 12, 2014

‘Hilarious’, CL.

I do hope posters here don’t become like the trolls on Politics.ie.


benmadigan - April 13, 2014



3. Michael Carley - April 12, 2014

They might prefer to go on conducting lightning for as long as they can, e.g. McGuinness in the presidential election, so that whoever succeeds them is `sanitized’, or pick some symbolic date to hand over the reins.


4. shea - April 12, 2014

they are probably holding different tendencies in the party together. Just resigning may not be as simple as that. Would Mary lou or john o dowd be able to say ‘you know who i am’ to the rank and file over stunts like last week.


5. roddy - April 12, 2014

You all can ramble away but SF MPs never have or never will take their seats at Westminster because they will not take an oath to the British queen.Last weeks events were a gesture to that half of the northern population that regard Lizzie as their leader.It was telling those people that republicans accept that their fellow citizens have a different view on these matters.


Bob Smiles - April 12, 2014

White tie and tails with Lizabrit was more about down here than impressing Unionists. It was about impressing Sean free state that SF are all mature and grown up.
Agree they will never go into Westminister – why would they? It advances nothing. Nor will Adams or McGuinness retire before 2016. They are central to the whole movement


WorldbyStorm - April 12, 2014

But the movement stretches far beyond them. I think shea is right that they (or those around them too) hold it as closely together as it remains, but it’s notable to me how big it is all things considered and not just in the North.

And I wouldn’t entirely dismiss the notion that it sends a message to unionism. The Phoenix has an analysis which suggests that participation in the visit sent a message in no uncertain terms that SF was represented in both parts of the island whereas unionism is from only one part. Sure, unionism is linked through and to the UK but…

Though I do agree that the Republic figures highly too – although I wonder how many transfers it will garner. Precious few I’d imagine.


Jack Jameson - April 12, 2014

Unionism is obviously not the monolith it once was. I think that the Garden of Remembrance wreath laying by the British monarch and this week’s Windsor Castle events will surely be seen differently by ‘soft’ unionists v the DUP and increase the divide with the hardliners and the Union flag mobs.


Mick Fealty - April 14, 2014

Agree with that WBS. The reality of the post GFA world is that there’s no future for Irish republicanism without some form of interpenetration of the institutions north and south.


workers republic - April 13, 2014

A key point there! THE OATH ; PSF make a big deal of the OATH because they know that an alternative to it can be pulled out of the hat, when it suits the Normalization Policy. People don’t regard oaths today like they different in the 20s. For example SF allowed teachers and civil servants to take the oath ,if they renounced it at their local cumman , subsequently the oath for teachers/civil servants was abolished.
The oath is a bogy ’till they bide their time
They’ll never sit at Westminster? Some who looked very like they Pat Doherty and other PSF politicians were there when M.D.Higgins addressed it.
And they would never,never enter Stormond , they said at an Ard Fheis when they voted to enter Leinster House
I would’nt wager too much money,that they’ll never change policy on Westminster, but it won’t be just yet.


6. roddy - April 12, 2014

As I have said before ,if you want money or honours ,join any party but SF


7. Mick Fealty - April 13, 2014

Back to your question, should they? Probably. When? Well, not now. They need a strong centre to keep the two state strategy together.

That means keeping the Army structure in charge to ensure discipline so that when tough stuff like the Windsor dinner last week happens, people line up and do exactly what they are told to do.

For me the time to have done it might have been before the ‘big push’ in the south began. Now it is fully underway, discipline will matter more than ever with new blood coming into the party via the locals.

The party in the north has effectively withdrawn their labour from government for fear of frightening southern horses, even though between Peter and Martin they’ve hammered out a welfare package that is the most generous in the UK.

Any cuts to welfare would be used to undermine them by rivals in the south. It takes discipline to order ministers not to do anything. All the ministers who sat in the 2007-2011 executive are out, and three of them aren’t even in the Assembly any more.

We don’t know for sure why, though it is thought by some that some of them were taking the job too seriously. The one that plainly wasn’t is the only former portfolio minister still in the Assembly.

When asked these days Adams gets less and less patient with the question. He and the former army council are there for the foreseeable.

No southern TD (bar Mary Lou) has much exposure to the northern party. And Adams and Marty are it as far as the south are concerned. Most of the others you can think of easily are firmly ensconced Northerners.

The back office authority is all based in LH but is mostly flitched from the best party operators from Stormont. The skeleton crew left behind are barely across the most basic aspects of Ministerial policy (http://goo.gl/8nGNZ2), and are managing expectations through a phoney war with the DUP.

The other thing worth noting is that the middling ranking MLAs are being cleaned out bit by bit by younger MLAs (it’s automatic when it happens in midterm).

Interestingly it’s not made a huge difference to their overall age profile (it has come down, but not by much) because it mostly doesn’t affect the aging leadership group.

So, in brief, there is only one tainist, and that’s ML. But she doesn’t yet have the authority to take over. They are not going to change leaders whilst the party is walking a tightrope between the north and the south, unless it is forced upon them by circumstances beyond their control.


que - April 13, 2014

Sinn fein seem to have choosen to instead of ditching the leadership and denied the past instead gone the other route of sticking to saying the war was an appropriate response and an option which was appropriate to consider but yes there were people hurt on all sides and let’s work on peace. Sinn fein are now in the low 20s in southern polls.

Oh to have problems like that


shea - April 13, 2014

When you say no southern TD bar mary lou has much exposure to the north how do you mean?

Are PD and PML part of the Ulster Cuige?


8. Gerryboy - April 13, 2014

Among republican rank and filers in Northern Ireland the concept of ‘apostolic succession’ is still important, so the continuing involvement of Gerry and Martin in high level politics is needed. Many supporters still belong to the urban and rural sub proletariat, the sectors from which the provos drew their initial infantry when the split happened. The class background of Gerry and Martin matters. Each was an early school leaver with natural intelligence that was to be developed in the rugged university of life. Their extraordinary lifestyles and general reading have made them into distinguished self-made men who command respect beyond their core socio-political support. It is not easy for self-made men to thrive in mainstream politics – in the republic I can think of Frank Sherwin, Frank Cluskey, Jim Kemmy and Tony Gregory. Mainstream politics needs more people from the grassroots who have sufficient conviction not to spurn those roots. Just look at the Irish Labour Party and the British New Labour currently – the self-made men and women have no policy clout, and Ukip and the English crypto fascist groups are sweeping up the slack.


9. makedoanmend - April 13, 2014

That time of the year again? – altho it seems this perennial question is popping up more than once a year these days.

I think many people in SF, especially from the 6 counties, thought the so-called peace dividend would pay a better and far quicker premium in the South than it did. The vehemence of opposition from the establishment, and indeed many ordinary citizens, to the presence of Gerry & Co. may have caught them unaware in the early days. SF’s build up in the South has been slower than expected in many quarters, and at one time looked to be very becalmed.

This may have kept Gerry and Martin in harness a lot longer than they intended. When Adams first started to make the airwaves in the South he sort of assumed the elder statesman aspect. One wonders if the SF leadership thought they could sort of direct and influence the party from the sidelines in those days – kind of take it a bit easier.

These days it all hands to the pumps. The very people who want to see the back of Gerry and Co. and are most vociferous in their determination to rid us of this SF scourge might just be keeping Gerry and Marty in situ. O, the possible irony of it all.

As for Tebbit, would he ever borrow his old fella’s mythical bike and take a very short ride over a very steep cliff. The bullocks.


10. roddy - April 13, 2014

Note to cedar regulars,Mick Fealty has an anti SF and anti Adams obsession.He uses his Slugger website to a ridiculous extent to further this obsession. If anyone questions the motives of him and his cohorts he bans them from his site,often using the excuse of “man playing” He can see no irony in the fact that he indulges in anti Adams “man playing” on an industrial scale.He knows absolutely nothing about the inner workings of SF and comes on here as a self styled “expert” Take anything he says with the proverbial pinch of salt.


benmadigan - April 13, 2014

also take reports that prince william was in the IRA with a large pinch of salt!!http://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2014/04/12/oglach-liam-cymru-our-once-and-future-king-billy-was-in-the-ra/

Enjoy – hope it raises a smile!!!


11. CL - April 13, 2014

“At the banquet, Taoiseach Enda Kenny and British prime minister David Cameron were seen in extended jocular conversation with Northern Ireland Deputy First Minister Martin McGuinness.”
The inter-personal chemistry augurs well for cabinet stability in a future coalition.


12. roddy - April 13, 2014

I could be seen in extended jocular conversation with my neighbour every day.It doesent mean that I’m going to marry her!


13. benmadigan - April 13, 2014

and there’s a 5-year risk your cabinet-member neighbour will be evicted and no longer be somebody anybody wants to talk to!!


14. roddy - April 13, 2014

Workers republic .the oath is not being used as something to be got round at the appropriate time.Westminster is becoming totally irrelevant and its irrelevance suits SFs agenda of moving all power to the island of Ireland.Decades ago I heard SF people and supporters advocating entering the Dail and councils north and south.With the advent of the peace process entering Stormont was the only show in town.However in over 40 years of following republican politics,I have NEVER heard a single member of the movement advocating attendance at Westminster.


workers republic - April 13, 2014

Well Roddy , whatever you may have heard decades ago, granted we may have been talking to different people ,I never heard any Republican on the Provisional side, say that we should enter Leinster House.That’s what the Split was all about . I suspect you might say it was about there not being enough weapons available for defence; that’s the revised explanation.
Whilst defense was uppermost to many in Belfast Brigade it was hardly ( or at all) mentioned at the 1970 Ardor Fheis . I know as I was there. When the next Split occurred much the same people
walked out. The issue was the same! Abstentionism.

Nor did I even hear any Republican say we should enter Stormont, in any circumstances, such as Power-shall


workers republic - April 13, 2014

Powersharing. S. F. rejected Sunningdale and indeed the Movement never advocated a powersharing Stormont .Personally I never heard any Republican I knew (bar 1 Dublinman) advocated entering Stormont . But then those were mostly Vols .
And it was said at an Ard Fheis that SF would never enter Stormont. But then, Brian Keenan said publicly in Dundalk that they would never de-commission. Not a round, not an ounce!


15. Mick Fealty - April 13, 2014


Thanks for the glowing introduction…😉 (any actual arguments, debunks you have will all be gratefully received, although I note you’re not offering any).

Anyway, back to the topic. Yesterday’s Irish News has a column worth reading if you can get a hold of it. Here’s a brief highlights: http://goo.gl/0LIHzE.

This is non trivial stuff. I agree with Patrick Murphy that we are in a post or non nationalist state, but the national question has not run its course and remains capable of inspiring positive long term ends.

What Murphy gets right is that SF’s rise in the south is not driven by the national question but rather by a visceral social and economic reaction to rank inequality and austerity.

In building two separate projects with very different drivers SF is trying to do is both noble in its ends and difficult to accomplish. It relies on the purblindness of a partitionist media north and south.

FF will only start seriously contesting in the 2019 Euros.

That they have finally made such a decision is tribute to: one, SF’s trailblazing two state strategy; and two the GFA which licences such constitutional adventurism.

But they also need to learn that maintaining representation in two such proximate states needs careful strategic management and a careful pitch to the voters about what drives the project.

Just because unification personally means much to individual public representatives or the private life of the party, each will struggle to act upon their mandate if it’s not why their voters put them in office.


16. roddy - April 13, 2014

Mick,are you trying to impress those who would be unfamiliar with your modus operandi on the slugger site.If you managed to establish yourself on this site ,your faux reasonableness would soon disappear and you would be calling for me and those like me to be banned.


17. Mick Fealty - April 13, 2014


WBS knows both me and Slugger of a *very* oul date, but the CLR runs perfectly well with only occasional contributions from me.

I read the site most days and most days I don’t take the trouble to comment because I don’t think I have much to add.

However I have a strong interest in this particular topic, and felt easy adding to the conversation.

If you have a problem with that you should say so…?


18. roddy - April 13, 2014

We all know what youre “strong interest” entails.


ejh - April 13, 2014

Maybe, but although I personally typically disagree with Mr Fealty’s rare contributions to the site, it shouldn’t be impossible to give one’s reasons for one’s dissent.


19. makedoanmend - April 13, 2014

The erstwhile duel above seems to be generating more heat than light.

As for the original question of the title: I’m kind of in ‘who cares anymore?’ mode. A more pertinent question might be, given their ages, can they pave the way for a smooth hand-over of the party to another generation? It’s during this transitional juncture that the myriad enemies of SF might just throw a spanner or two into the mix. However, Gerry & Co seem adept at political manoeuvring during such phases of change.


Michael Carley - April 13, 2014

It would be genuinely interesting to hear something about the internal politics of SF at the moment. What are the main currents (McGuinness inside the NYSE when Occupy was being battered vs. a more `social’ SF, say) and what are their relative strengths? Who would be likely to lead SF if and when Adams and McGuinness step down?


CL - April 13, 2014

Or, how does post-nationalist populism differ from nationalist populism?


makedoanmend - April 13, 2014

Indeed, interesting questions. However, I can’t think of anybody whose going to tell us what’s percolating in the top echelons of SF other than from those within the top echelons. And we ain’t going to hear from them – no more than we find out what’s really happening upstairs in FG or FF until events unfold.

However, that said, I believe the departure of Adams or McGuinness will have a bigger impact on SF than say Kenny eventually stepping down from FG leadership – their longevity in politics; the historical implications; and the perceived personalities are just that bit bigger than the average. Whoever follows won’t be able to merely step into a prepared role.

I also don’t think the next SF leadership be able to emulate someone like Kenny who believes no government is good government, so that we expect little or nothing from him. His is the role of PR frontsperson or cheerleader for an ideology imho.

[It’s apparent many (bar a faithful) have some axe to grind with SF throughout this thread. Yet I wonder if SF doesn’t have some Realpolitik lessons that some on the left could learn? Given the vehement opposition, they still survive and often thrive. I’ve heard 3 1/2 decades worth of reasons why SF is borrowing votes/stealing votes/failing/going to fail/are unfaithful/are frauds/are… and they’re still here – being discussed. Plenty of things I don’t like about SF myself – but then I can say that about every political party and grouping I’ve come across. Damned politics.]



Mick Fealty - April 13, 2014


As a northern focused blogger, I have far more idea what’s going inside FG than I ever will of SF. And I say that even though I have had far more conversations/interviews with SF reps at all levels than FGers?

FF is much more of a closed book than FG or Labour but even there, almost ninety years of constitutional engagement mean that cracks come over time, and we can see some of the tensions that have arisen over time.

That, I have no doubt, will happen over time with SF. But as I said above the military past gives them a discipline that makes them very hard to penetrate. That, and the stability of the leadership, is a powerful weapon in the political marketplace.

But its a culture that’s very hard to replicate, especially on the left.


I’ll buy that on the MPs. But it’s a sidebar to my main point above which is that SF are running a skeleton Ministerial crew in the north.


WorldbyStorm - April 14, 2014

Just on a point of information, Mick and I have had the occasional friendly cup of tea or coffee over the year! I’m certain we probably have different views on many matters but that’s neither here nor there.

One thing that is interesting, and I can’t attest to the nature of things at Stormont, is that the LH team is certainly one that has a strong component of people from the North. Frankly I think that’s a good thing, just as I think it’s good to have a Belfast voice like in the Dáil chamber – how long is it since that was the case?


Michael Carley - April 14, 2014

Certainly, there is something to learn from SF in terms of building a machine, but I’m not sure the left would want to use those means even for those ends.

As for Adams and McGuinness stepping down, they have not only been in the leadership for forty odd years, they have taken SF through various, sometimes contradictory, political positions on the way (Ed Moloney lays it all out). A new leadership might have to pick one position and stick to it.


20. roddy - April 13, 2014

Workers republic your argument might carry some weight ,if entering Westminster carried any advantages.A perfect example of how futile attending Westminster can be summarised in 2 words Mark Durkan!


21. roddy - April 13, 2014

In case Mr Fealty somehow thinks that he cant be taken down by force of argument,may I be allowed to comment on the fallacy that SF ministers were taken out of the assembly for “taking their jobs too seriously.At that time all parties were under pressure to end what was known as “double jobbing” ie holding Westminster and Stormont seats at the same time.For Michelle Gildernew and Conor Murphy to stay in their ministerial posts would have entailed Westminster by elections .Michelle had succeeded in winning Fermanagh south Tyrone against all the odds when facing an agreed unionist candidate and an SDLP candidate in the unique first past the post system.She conducted a barnstormer of a campaign and took the seat by 4 votes.No other candidate could have pulled this off and to take such a risk would have been political madness.Conors Newry Armagh seat was won on less than 40 percent of the vote and while much less of a risk could still have been vulnerable with a weaker candidate and the possibility of unionist /SDLP tactical voting.The 2 byelections that did take place were in the SF fortresses of W Belfast and Mid Ulster which the party won convincingly.The strategy at that time ensured that hard won Westminster gains would not be put at risk and though the party abstains from Westminster it cannot allow others to usurp its vote and create a false political identity for the areas concerned.For Bobby Sands seat for example to be held by a tory whip taking unionist would be a travesty.


22. Mick Fealty - April 14, 2014

Agree with that WBS. The reality of the post GFA world is that there’s no future for Irish republicanism without some form of interpenetration of the institutions north and south.


WorldbyStorm - April 14, 2014

And continued links east west, or more precisely north west/east. It could make for a very interesting political structure(s) in the next twenty five years potentially unlike anywhere else on the planet.


Joe - April 14, 2014

Yes, we will be the Island of Saints and Scholars again, exporting the principles of the successful and innovative Northern Ireland Peace Process ™ worldwide. 🙂 .

Great thread again btw. I was particularly taken by Mick Fealty’s post no. 7 (yes, Rodders, I would be wouldn’t I?). It’s an intriguing take on the internal life of SF. Some similarities there with the internal life of the old WP within which were the seeds of its own destruction. Some possible similarities but who knows how it will all pan out. It will be fascinating to watch though.

Here’s hoping it will all pan out with WBS’s very interesting political structures potentially unlike anywhere else on the planet. And peace in our time.


workers republic - April 14, 2014

I’m not saying PSF will enter Westminster, just that I would never rule it out.
I think Scottish Independence could make difference, especially for Loyalists and who consider themselves Ulster Scots / Scots Irish. The UK will be more the Disunited Kingdom. We could see UDI style ” Loyalism” (loyal to who?) emerging.
It will be interesting to see how the Scottish referendum goes and how the political parties/ organizations in the 6Cos. react to it.


23. Séamas Ó Sionnaigh (An Sionnach Fionn) - April 14, 2014

In relation to Sinn Féin’s participation in the regional administration at Stormont the impression I get from SF people is of a party in a “holding” position. They are have no real interest in governing the north-east at present because of two related reasons:

a) they are waiting for SF to become the senior partner in the Stormont administration or at least be on near 50/50 parity with anyone else in the power-sharing coalition (presumably the DUP). There is also some feeling that if that happens Unionists will be unable to continue in coalition and the whole thing may collapse anyway. Therefore it is not in their party interest to make things “work” to well at Stormont.

b) they believe the arrangements at Stormont are purely transitional in nature, a stepping stone to reunification, and its purpose is to keep things quite (though not too quite) while demographic changes work their way through the electorate, all the time keeping moderate Unionism on-side until it is too late and referendum is upon them.

Sinn Féin will never sit in the British parliament. Why would it when it has the game plan above to play out?

As for Adams and McGuinness they are still holding out for post-2016 retirements. The next round of elections and how SF performs will determine that. Big SF gains north and south and both will pass on the baton.

Or at least that is the view on things in SF as near as one can make out. As Mick indicates there is an element of Kremlinology in anything to do with Sinn Féin.


Séamas Ó Sionnaigh (An Sionnach Fionn) - April 14, 2014

Ignore the spelling mistakes. The curse of commenting via a mobile phone😉


Joe - April 14, 2014

a) and b) sound like a plan, as they say.

I’m intrigued by opinion polls that indicate a majority (?) of northern nationalists would vote against re-unification. I presume SF don’t believe those polls and are confident that they could deliver the nationalist vote in a referendum – and who is to say they couldn’t, given their impressive record of vote getting and vote management.
And I wonder have they any plan beyond b) around what to do about a unionist minority post a vote for reunification? Probably it’s a case of we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it – which again makes sense, there’ll be plenty of time to ponder that until the glorious day arrives and plenty of time and reason to ponder it then for sure!


Mick Fealty - April 14, 2014

Joe, they’re surveys not polls as such. And they are remarkably settled in their conclusions. IN the last one I think something like 17% of SF voters in the north said they didn’t want a united Ireland at all.

I think Seamus is spot on regarding the reasons for SF disengaging with the north. But I’m not sure its anything other than a convenience to shift capacity to the south.

In the meantime, they’re going to continue doing what they do well for a long time, which is play the oppositionist card. It works for most people in the north because: a) there’s no credible nationalist replacement; b) people think the peace still depends on keeping them in power; c) they’re buying that there’s not much damage can accrue from doing nothing; d) blame it on the Prods is a better long term bet than blaming it on FF will be in the south.

For one thing, Prods cannot easily change being Prods. So people blaming them for everything that’s gone wrong in government is a sound strategy. Even though a closer inspection would suggest something other than that the laager mentality kicks in and everyone is kind of happy.

In this scenario a united Ireland is a jam tomorrow stratagem which in theory could happen any time from Tuesday week to forty years time. In reality what was not achievable by war and coercion over forty years will not be easy by constitutional means. Look at how difficult it is to the people in the south to say yes to almost anything in a referendum?

Still, no one’s looking too closely at exactly what it says on the tin. And besides when you are the only one offering the product in the political market place you don’t have to have a good strategy for a nominally popular policy, you just need one.

For now national unity is motherhood and apple pie, what’s not the love (so long as you’ve not spent too long on the wrong side of the Provo’s marriage proposal) I think in the longer term, this advice from Ezra Klein is sound enough (http://goo.gl/OKJOfu):

“The point of politics is policy. And most people don’t experience policy as a political argument. They experience it as a tax bill, or a health insurance card, or a deployment. And, ultimately, there’s no spin effective enough to persuade Americans to ignore a cratering economy, or skyrocketing health-care costs, or a failing war. A political movement that fools itself into crafting national policy based on bad evidence is a political movement that will, sooner or later, face a reckoning at the polls.”

This is what Labour singularly failed to prepare for in opposition, and the terrible vice their former WP elite have led them into.


shea - April 15, 2014

a few years ago unionists where hinting publicly at an aim to return to majority rule, prior to cameron wining the last election over there i believe he hinted something similar, about moving the north to ‘normal governance’. When the welfare stand off started i was wondering if it would it be the opportunity for unionists to play that card. They haven’t, maybe its a case of all talk or maybe its case of they haven’t done it yet. but if the shinners are only playing a minimal role in stormount then maybe its a case of so what from them.

I can see why they would not want a return to direct rule, but a majority rule senario with over sights from the two governments, could their be a case for it from them. If their eye is on a UI referendum then they have the matter of who writes the question. That matter of the question is still not clear.

One reading of the GFA suggests Dublin and London write it together, Since the Anglo Irish agreement Dublin are recognised minnow partners with consultation rights what ever that is, A shinner Taoiseach is just as likely to hear no no no as any other.

. Another reading suggests Westminiser, its a referendum in their territory they do it, if london has the power they could in theory partition Antrim or stick some new caveat in, on the taking the oath debate up the thread if london is the only body that has the power to write the question and a UI is the only game for the shinners then parnnell logic they could take there seats in westminster if the oportunity is right. But they could wait till kingdom come for the numbers to fall right for that,

another reading of the GFA the people of Ireland north and south, presumably manifested through both Parliments north and south write the question. If unionists have a veto through power sharing that has the potential to create a stalemate, majority rule in the north may be preferable. A majority shinner/ nationalist government in the north gets to write the question itself and put England’s claim of no selfish, economic or strategic interest to the test.

or they are not thinking that far ahead, they just don’t want to create room on there lefter n flank for Joe Higgans down here.


24. Republicanism and a new Ireland… | The Cedar Lounge Revolution - April 15, 2014

[…] piece from Newton Emerson in the Sunday Times this weekend (which links in with discussions over the weekend on the CLR). In it he discusses the McGuinness attendance at a royal function in Britain during President […]


25. Mick Fealty - April 15, 2014

Good piece shea. As that aging comic/digital sage Stephen Fry has said ‘history is the enemy of abstraction’… the great thing about doing nothing is that people are forced to speculate on what you are thinking or might be about to do. In so doing they disregard the ‘not doing’ as the most significant material factor.

Unionism under the DUP are as they have been for a very long time, devolutionists. And of course the money, the jobs and the unchallenged patronage helps. In Northern Ireland, we have two Fianna Fails!!😉

I think your last is the best bet!!


shea - April 15, 2014

true enough they could be doing nothing as well. problem with the left flank theory though is that after the elections in a few weeks there is elections in a general election in about two years, sooner probably unless enda matches bertie in leading the only government in this state to ever go full term. So that problem never goes away. They could bite the bullet one way or the other or as you point out continue doing nothing, which in fairness to them if it protects some of the weakest peoples payments is it a bad thing, proving your mature enough for government by kicking a sick person, not really.


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