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FF must “recommit to unity…?” January 13, 2022

Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
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Interesting piece in the SBP just before the Christmas where political editor Michael Brennan talked to FF MEP Billy Kelleher who it appears has decided that:

his party needs to recommit to its long-standing policy of achieving a united Ireland.

Kelleher is planning to bring a motion to the Fianna Fáil ard fheis in the spring, which will ask members to back this as a policy commitment. He has said it would be “reckless” of the party to allow others become the prominent political force in actively advocating for such an outcome, a clear reference to Sinn Féin.

There being a slight problem with this, because FF already has a policy on this area.

Martin has been careful not to engage in public rhetoric about achieving a united Ireland, due to his belief that this will further alienate unionists at a sensitive time in North-South relations. He has been concentrating on his “shared island” unit which has a €1 billion budget for cross-border infrastructure, research and dialogue.

So…

The Ireland South MEP insisted, however, that he is not challenging the strategy of Taoiseach Micheál Martin.

And:

“If you look at Micheál’s ministerial record, but also as leader, he’s always been very engaged in this process. But what I’m saying is, it would be reckless of us if we were to continue to allow others to be the ones that are the advocates of a united Ireland,” he said.

Though the Taoiseach appears to differ:

When asked about Kelleher’s planned motion, Martin told the Business Post that Fianna Fáil already had an existing policy of achieving Irish unity. “There you are. It’s already there,” he said.

Martin has said that there is no “preconceived Constitutional outcome” from the shared island process. But he has said that Fianna Fáil’s policy of achieving a united Ireland is a separate matter.

But how is it a different matter? How can a party that seeks unity when in power not seek unity? And even on its own terms it’s odd that Martin wouldn’t seek a broader engagement with and about FF’s own stated desire for achieving unity.

This is a dilemma and Kelleher is right to point to it. Moreover it strikes me as not coincidental that as FF drew away from an attachment to unity SF gathered support. Of course economic reasons torpedoed FF’s support base, but in some ways that merely emphasised the sense that FF stood for very little at all.

Kelleher isn’t offering an entirely traditional line either. His concerns are apparently driven by Arlene Foster’s very public statement that in the event of a vote for United Ireland she would ‘move away’ which he, understandably, feels is a problem since if the Foster’s of the world can’t be convinced to stay what of others more hardline?

Kelleher said that a border poll, which has been strongly advocated by Sinn Féin, would just be a “sectarian headcount” if there was no agreement on what a united Ireland would look like. He said there would need to be agreement first on education, police services, flags, anthems and much more.

“If a united Ireland is to come about, it will be a shared united Ireland, where not everybody will feel completely like the victors. If one group feels like the victors, then the other group are the vanquished, and we can’t have the vanquished in a new united Ireland,” he said.

All pretty moderate and sensible. But not moderate enough for Martin’s FF?

Comments»

1. EWI - January 13, 2022

So, Martin did this the other week:

O’Sullivan’s notoriety on social media comes from being the sort of anti-Northerner attack dog that would make EH blush. ‘Shared Island’ is just more FF obfuscation on the issue.

Liked by 2 people

EWI - January 13, 2022

Furthermore, O’Sullivan, Blaney, McGreehan (three of Martin’s nominees to the same body above) were all participants in this disgraceful bit of baiting of the Ireland’s Future people, when they presented in the Oireachtas:

https://www.oireachtas.ie/en/debates/debate/joint_committee_on_the_implementation_of_the_good_friday_agreement/2021-06-01/3/

Liked by 1 person

benmadigan - January 13, 2022

was shocked at the hostility O’Sullivan, Blaney, McGreehan displayed in the link you kindly provided

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