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A telling omission… (reprise) July 1, 2020

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Not entirely surprised to learn that former Unionist Senator Ian Marshall learned that he would not be renominated to the Seanad on social media. He may well be correct when he says:

“I’m not sure who made the decision. The silence is interesting, no one is taking ownership.”

The “optics” did not look good, he said. He had come under a lot of criticism when he took up the Seanad seat in 2018 and had been warned it was “tokenism”, but he had reassured the critics that the Seanad “was not a cold house for unionists”.

He isn’t wrong. At a minimum one would think there would be a number of seats in the Seanad ear-marked for representatives from Northern Ireland – at least short of wholesale reform or abolition. And difficult to disagree with the following:

Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill said on Monday it was “very unfortunate” there was no unionist or northern appointment among the Taoiseach’s nominees.

Ms O’Neill described Mr Marshall’s previous election in 2018 byelection as “something that was very positive and very engaging and something that’s right and proper as we plan for what the future looks like here on this island.

Currently there’s only:

Sinn Féin Senator Niall Ó Donnghaile is the only member of the Upper House from Northern Ireland. He is a former member of Belfast City Council and has been a member of the Seanad since 2016.

Comments»

1. sonofstan - July 1, 2020

Another example I guess of politicians in the republic preaching cooperation and ‘reaching out’ to those in the north while refusing -or just forgetting – to do so themselves.

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2. Joe - July 1, 2020

“At a minimum one would think there would be a number of seats in the Seanad ear-marked for representatives from Northern Ireland”

Why would one think that? Should there also be a number of seats ear-marked for, say, emigrant reps, LGBTQ+reps, ethnic minority reps, traveller reps, reps of the trade union movement, reps of women, reps of people with disabilities…?
There’s an argument to be made for all of them too.

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3. Roger Cole - July 1, 2020

There is a substantial number of people living in the Republic of Ireland that are totally opposed to a United Irish Republic which I estimate is about 30-35% of the population. They are now represented by Fianna Fail ‘The Republican Party’ and Fine Gael
‘The United Ireland Party’ . So of course they have no interest in appointing anybody from Northern Ireland to Seanad Éireann.
The two parties are also strongly in favour of Ireland being a US Aircraft Carrier and the creation of a European State an EU Army via PESCO.

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4. sonofstan - July 1, 2020

“At a minimum one would think there would be a number of seats in the Seanad ear-marked for representatives from Northern Ireland

Why would one think that? ”

Because there is a substantial number of Irish citizens in NI who are not otherwise represented in the Oireachtas?
This could also be solved by allowing citizens from outside the state to vote in Dail elections. Other countries do this – Romania is the only one I can think of, because I work with someone from there who was surprised at me making a special trip home to vote. Romanians abroad have 4 seats in parliament AFAIK?

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WorldbyStorm - July 1, 2020

+1

And there’s two other reasons I can think of. I don’t have a problem with continuing east west representation to the House of Lords in the UK for unionists if they so choose in any future dispensation. But it makes sense that representation north/south is also available or made available. Secondly, this was a voice from within Unionism seeking some form of representation in the south. Perhaps that’s self-serving, though he seems to have been sincere and hard-working and open about his own position as a unionist. I cannot see but how that is valuable.

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5. roddy - July 1, 2020

Derrys Elisha McCallion is also a senator.

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6. tomasoflatharta - July 3, 2020

In Dublin Sinn Féin is the largest Dáil opposition party up against the new right-wing FFFGGG Coalition. In Belfast the same party is part of a coalition headed by the far-right Democratic Unionist Party at Stormont.

The Northern Ireland State is almost a world-leader for practicising racism, bigotry, and discrimination. The “Protestant State for a Protestant People” spent decades discriminating against a nationalist minority. That still happens, but has been scaled down. Rebellions helped – and mass struggle caused progressive legal change – for example the lifting of legal bans on abortion and gay rights. But, in 2020, this state discriminates vigorously against other minorities, especially immigrants.

Derry People Profit highlights Sinn Féin moving in the wrong direction on these issues :

https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2020/07/03/stormont-crackdown-on-black-lives-matter-rallies-in-derry-and-belfast-dail-greeniights-special-criminal-court/

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7. roddy - July 3, 2020

Would people please stop comparing the North with a normal state .The “coalition” in the north is not voluntary and you have 2 options.Either boycott and give reactionary unionism total control over the lives of Republicans or stay in and blunt their worst excesses.PBP would mouth from the sidelines whilst the people I live among suffer and if things got really bad (ie a return to a 60s style junta which the way England is going could never be ruled out),it would be SF style Republicans like Bobby Storey who would have to step up to the mark while the PBP would mount a few futile gestures before running home to their mammys!

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