Póg mo Haass



My first feeling was one of embarrassment. Whatever we may think of unionist politicians, they are our fellow Irish men and women. And the sight of them standing shed of their garments, politically naked, without the teensiest fig-leaf to cover their not-an-inchery, is something that provokes more discomfiture than satisfaction.

The first thing we must face is that the talks have been a total failure.  Haas and O’Sullivan set out using a deadline to bring politicians here together in a unified front on flags, parades/marches and the past. They quickly conceded that they could do nothing final with flags, so we all swallowed hard and pinned our hopes on agreement about parades/marches and the past. Much optimism, to the surprise of many, appeared to be emerging regarding the past. Now all optimism is ended. Dress it up how you will, how Haass will, how Jeffrey Donaldson will, the outcome is the same: failure.

And not failure because the deadline was too tight. When you’ve got room to respond to objections not once or twice but seven times, you’re not exactly trying to bundle somebody into buying a pig in a poke. Dear Jeffrey has told us that the final draft failed because “some of the language in it” was simply unacceptable. What – you mean there were swear words in there, Jeffrey? No? Then what possible words? When I was an English teacher, if a student had presented an assignment and I had asked her to re-write it, giving advice on what points I found acceptable and what not, I’d expect her to reach a reasonable standard in the second or at a stretch the third draft. If I found myself faced with a seventh draft where the language was still totally unacceptable, I’d begin to worry that either I or the student was a basket case.

So is Richard Haass or Meagan O’Sullivan a  basket case? I think not. They come with the highest credentials and the widest experience – and, above all, a deep reservoir of patience. So if the people who made the seven drafts are not to blame, the only possible conclusion is that it’s the people who are responding to it. The fault lies not with the document but with those to whom it was presented.

Which brings me to my second surprise about this whole affair: the guilty parties are named. Sinn Féin negotiators have said they’ll recommend accceptance of the document to their party, the SDLP has said the same thing albeit a little less enthusiastically. Alliance is on board. Which leaves the two unionist parties. Amazingly, neither Haas nor O’Sullivan nor the reporting media are attempting to say “The parties couldn’t agree”.  They’re saying “The unionist parties wouldn’t agree”.  For once the spotlight hasn’t been directed at all our parties with blanket accusations of their inability to achieve anything. This time the DUP and the UUP are centre stage, caught in the spotlight, with never a G-string or copper’s helmet to hide their shame.

For it is nothing short of shameful that the DUP refuses to accept the revised and revised and revised again document that two of the world’s leading negotiators have put forward and consider fair. But while I may feel shame, you may feel shame,  the DUP and the UUP feel nothing of the sort. They are in fact proud  to be bringing back to their followers proof that they are not people who are prepared to roll over and let the fenians have their way.

Except of course the Haass document involves no rolling over and no one having his or her way. It is a document which calls on all parties to give and take in all our interests. Unfortunately unionist politicians have shown either that they’re in thrall to their backwoodsmen and have acted against their better judgement, or that they themselves are the backwoodsmen.

What next? Publish the document in full, as Richard Haass has urged, and let the people judge what unionist leaders saw fit to reject. In the meantime, let’s join with the man holding the little placard outside the Stormont Hotel yesterday: let’s pray to Jesus that somehow, someway, unionist politicians will  finally learn the meaning of the word “compromise”.

50 Responses to Póg mo Haass

  1. willow December 31, 2013 at 9:58 am #

    What the hell is going on here, you’re saying that Alliance is on board, as is Henry McDonald reporting David Ford, in the Guardian, yet the Telegraph is saying that Naomi Long is not willing to endorse proposals on flags and parades?

    • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 7:20 pm #

      Point taken, Willow. Just saw Naomi Long on TV saying she rejected item on flags because…Because it was supposed to be parked anyway?

      • Ryan January 3, 2014 at 8:11 pm #

        This is what Naomi Long said on Facebook:

        Naomi Long: I agree – it’s the reason we won’t endorse the flags section as people just refused to even discuss it at all, which is bad faith in any negotiation. However, given the importance of the issues at stake, we are willing to try to progress the other areas as far as we can and to participate with the Commission on Identity constructively.
        31 December 2013 at 23:38 via mobile

        Sounds like there were a lot of ‘NEVER, NEVER, NEVER’s’ being chanted by certain parties….

  2. Baxter h December 31, 2013 at 10:47 am #

    My friend Vladamir whenever he encounters a problem , he simply put his hands over his face and says to me Baxter …what to do ? Then repeats .. What do to?

    Like being held hostage to the past . Living with these imbeciles . The naysayers , not an inch not a mile . In fairness to Sinn Fein they’re always trying to go that extra mile .

    Great article jude . Exasperation around on this eve of year .

    Bah humbug stormont

    • Ian Mooney December 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Sinn Fein are bound to go the extra mile as all they can do is gain ground, whereas the unionists can only lose.

      • Chris December 31, 2013 at 5:05 pm #

        Ian is another Unionist who feels equality for all is a compromise proof if any is needed of the bigoted intransigent nature of the beast we have to deal with!

      • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 7:21 pm #

        Are you suggesting that there’s an imbalance now, Ian? If so, surely we all should welcome a redress of that?

      • Chris January 1, 2014 at 2:10 pm #

        Yes Ian that’s because loyalists have had it all their own way since the creation of this false state. Let me explain balance to you Ian – take a scale one side ( eg loyalists) than the other( eg nationalists) no balance – take something from the side that has most and put it on the side that has least – balance or equality

  3. CheRB December 31, 2013 at 10:57 am #

    Really enjoyed this article, what bugs be about one of the ‘alleged’ sticking points, was to provide Jamie Bryson and the “Working Class Unionists” with paid positions in some sort of Mega-Bellend council.
    If this is one of the tiny ‘add ons’ coupled with a failure to agree on the language of the document, I feel its only fair that the people who foot the MLA bill get a shifty at all versions of the Haass proposals.

  4. MPG ..... December 31, 2013 at 11:51 am #

    Spot on, Jude!

  5. paul December 31, 2013 at 2:21 pm #

    One of your best. It is vital that the wider public is educated on just “who” stalled these talks and any possible progress that may have resulted from them. From an outside point of view, I see republicans acknowledgeing the hurt they caused, but nothing from the other side. I firmly believe that the Unionists see it all in black or white terms. they may pay lip service to ‘shared’ power, but they still resort to playing the Orange or Unionist card when it suits them. A fair number of the current Unionist politicians had(have) ties to violence( Peter, remember the invasion of Clontibret or paisleye Third Force). It beggars beleive when they talk of “threats to democracy”. They are not interested in democracy, they’re waiting for Carsons ghost to rise again

    • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 7:22 pm #

      Just heard Mike Nesbitt’s description of the past – ‘Terrorist campaign’. I’m tempted to start swearing at this kind of decontextualised sloganeering crap.

  6. Diane Greer December 31, 2013 at 3:34 pm #

    Great article. I have to say though I held no hopes of agreement in that timeframe, I hold no hopes of agreement in any timeframe. I have high hopes for ‘understanding’ though and that takes time. It also takes a lot of communication with grassroots and in turn that also takes a lot of time to do properly. I am desperate for a society based on equality, respect for diversity and inter-dependence. I understand Unionists reluctance to sign-up to even the tiniest change to anything that smacks of loss or loosing for their people. The work has yet to be done, ‘managing change’ demands such high level skills – something I fear might not be in big supply. I’m not excusing them, I’m trying to understand. I’m also telling them that leaders with great vision have courage, they bring the people with them, they do the work educating, communicating, they challenge the most prejudice and discriminatory among their own. I know that isn’t easy but it’s what they are being paid to do. It’s what we all should be doing actually.
    Anyway, as my old granny would have said, “Where there’s a will – there’s a way”. I’m glad she’s not around anymore to see that we are still hostages to the past about here.

    Peace Up……Always!

    • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 3:40 pm #

      Well said, Diane. I think any leader – unionist or other – who pushes people towards acceptance of equality and respect should be congratulated. And the opposite applies: those who drag their heels or allow others to drag people back – should be identified and condemned. I agree completely with the difficulty this can mean for some unionist politicians but it’s past time it began, fifteen years after the GFA. I’d be interested in NI 21’s response to the Stormont Hotel debacle.

      • Ryan January 3, 2014 at 8:26 pm #

        Jude… these politicians are not stupid men. They know what is best for this country and they know all about equality and respect for other traditions.

        However, what has happened to every other Unionist politician who ever espoused anything approaching equality? that’s right, they got booted out by their parties and their electorate.. thats not going to keep any MP in a nice £75k salary or the equivalent in Stormont.

        So what do they do? They realise that they are there to represent people who sadly are saying ‘no’ and they do that….

        Look at it another way… I for one would like Tony Blair up before the Hague for starting the Iraq war with his co-accused Bush. The voters in 2001 didnt vote for that, but look at what they got. Voters want their politicians to represent them and do what they want.. Sadly In this case Blair went to war despite a million on the streets of London protesting.

        Back here, those politicans played the cards their electorate exactly wanted them to play, especially a bunch of people in Belfast where a certain Mr Robinson wants his seat back… he’s not going to get his seat back if he legitimises the Alliance position of nominated days for flag flying.. so the only alternative was to derail the entire thing….

        There are only two things which will solve this.. Mandatory voting and maximum terms for MP’s… cant see that happening.

  7. Bangor Unionist December 31, 2013 at 3:44 pm #

    It’s very clear the first draft was pro-nationalist. Of course they are going to agree, they could have drafted it themselves!

    Had the initial draft or the latest draft for that matter suggest that nationalists should accept the flying of the Union flag, or that they should show respect for Unionists wanting to march home when celebrating their culture, then you may well have been blaming the nationalist parties for the failure of Haass. Unionists were stupid for inviting Haass in the first place it was obvious the US would take a pro-nationalist stance, after all they did help fund the IRA’s bloody terror campaign.

    • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 4:33 pm #

      Oh dear. Bangor Unionist, you’ll really have to do better than that. Do you see Richard Haas as pro-nationalist? Really? On what grounds do you base this assertion – that some Americans once collected money for the IRA maybe thirty years ago? A moment’s thought will show you the daftness of such an idea. I think it’s more likely that Haas and O’Sullivan tried to cut down the middle from the very start and were sent back to revise by unionist dissatisfaction with such a notion as equality and balance. As for respect for the Orange Order ‘marching home when celebrating their culture’ : you know and I know and the world knows that the Orange Order is an anti-Catholic organisation and that the ‘returning home’ route is aimed at impressing on Catholics that Orangemen march where they choose, when they choose. Certainly their response to the Parades Commission rulings suggests this supremacist attitude. And while we’re on it: why in God’s name does the Orange Order and other loyal orders need to have over 3,000 parades, all reminding their nationalist neighbours who won some battle hundreds of years ago? If you heard about such a situation among some remote Amazonian tribe you’d describe it as primitive. Parading/marching is a wedge driven between people here and if we’re serious about coming together it should stop. Full stop.

      • Gary December 31, 2013 at 5:38 pm #

        Dear Jude, you are ranting a bit here of something you know little, you nor Bangor unionist know what the Haas document contains so none of you can comment of it’s green or orange swing. secondly the Orange order is not anti-Catholic, it’s anti- Catholic and Presbyterian (who are protestants) and the battle you refer to was won by a dutch man who was fighting a french man over the throne of England, why would any sane person be annoyed by that or want to celebrate it, keep it real

        • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 7:26 pm #

          Dear Gary – you may be right. Or then again you may be wrong. I seem to remember the Orange Order was established in reaction to Catholic action in Armagh. Its documents refuse membership to any Catholic, anyone married to a Catholic, anyone who attends Catholic worship, it talks of Popish idolatry…Does it do the same sort of thing with Presbyterianism? If so, they’ve been remarkably quiet about it. As to the famous battle, it is celebrated in sectarian terms – ie, the Protestant William vs the Catholic James. The fact that the two of them should have been put in a bag with six hungry ferrets is beside the point.

          • Gary December 31, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

            yes Jude the orange order was set up to uphold the law of the land (penal code) unjust as it was against the catholics and the presbyterians, seems your not researching impartially, and yes protestant william vs catholic james but there were catholic and protestants on both sides, as there was catholics and protestants on both sides during the united irish men uprising, the divide is not as clear as your making out, there are many Protestants appalled at the orange orders antics and there are many catholics appalled at decadent republican antics, all our cultures should be celebrated inclusively and peacefully, not stopped. full stop, that would be a very sterile society your advocating. Just my opinion, enjoyed your article not your one sided rant.

        • Chris January 1, 2014 at 9:54 am #

          Gary you cannot ‘celebrate your Culture’ by deliberately offending others and rubbing their noses in it! And YES it isn’t as clear cut as Taigs V Prods the OO Fought with the British against their fellow Irishmen (Catholic, Protestant and dissenter) in the 18th Century and the British are still shoring them up in the 21st! Time to cut the apron strings and let US Irish (Catholic Protestant and Dissenter) manage our own affairs!

        • jess January 1, 2014 at 12:16 pm #

          “the Orange order is not anti-Catholic, it’s anti- Catholic and Presbyterian”

          Thats like saying the klu klux klan werent any black, they were anti black and anti-catholic, anti-imigrant etc…

          The fact the klu klux klan modelled themselves on the orange order should not be lost in what exactly the orange order has as its roots.

          While I am sure there are good people in its ranks, their actions as a whole suggest they remain an extremist organsisation and should be treated as such until their actions reflect the peaceful culture they claim to promote.

          Marching as a cultural identity is one thing, but with over 3000 marches per year and a total unwillingness to coopeate over a small number which cause offense to their neighbours, have a financial burden on the economy and strain on the authorities, their actions suggest it is an engrained culture more akin to mein kampf than any natural identity.

          I hope someone can prove me wrong here, but seriously how can these few marches be pur forward as a core issue on the worlds stage in its current economic times, and will they be when the UK eventually turns off the bottomless money pit required to enforce such extremist unionist principles.

  8. James December 31, 2013 at 4:29 pm #

    Was there ever going to be an agreement of any significance between unionism and nationalism? Failure to accept, recognize and respect another’s tradition, now that was always going to lead to this inevitable conclusion, it had, and has nothing to do with politics! For politics isn’t what our executive members dabble in up at the Big House, or for that matter in any of the civic councils across this state! Sectarianism on the other hand is the order of the day, it is rampantly raw and systematically used, it has enveloped and dictated the outcome of everything that’s connected to each of our daily lives. Until it has been eradicated fully there isn’t any point to this continuation of an excuse for politics! The double/trebble jobbing debacle wasn’t long readdressing the status quo with that regard. Maybe it’s format needs looked at again, to possibly eradicate their interference and influence being manipulated by those affiliated to these sectarian group’s, after they have been elected! Is it not so, that we have been, and are being held to sectarian ransom by a small minority, who without their elected associates continuing to play the sectarian card an agreement would have been long agreed?

    • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

      I agree with the small number of sectarian bigots, James. But sectarianism takes subtler forms in most sections of our society. I wouldn’t suspend all other work until we’ve cured the sectarian patient – it may take rather a while…

  9. barbara mccarry December 31, 2013 at 4:53 pm #

    Once again Jude, you have hit the nail firmly on the head. Well said!

    • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 7:29 pm #

      What an intelligent, beautiful woman you are, Barbara…

  10. Colman December 31, 2013 at 4:54 pm #

    Wow Jude, sounding a trifle exasperated in this article. Yet, both you and I forecast a few blogs back that these talks would in failure.
    Why? Because Ulster Unionism is what Ulster Unionism does, to borrow from a well known movie.
    It is based on supremacy. It is anti democratic. It is fascist, and it is a polp on the body of Ireland.
    What hopes have you now for a border poll or of getting Unionism to accept an outcome that does not cement their cancerous stranglehold on the six north eastern counties of Ireland?
    Gerry Adams said years ago in his Pathway to Peace that the constitutional issue would have to be settled first before reconciliation could be attained between the two identities on the island.
    Hume and others persuaded him otherwise, that a reconciliation between people must happen before settling the constitutional issue.
    Fifteen years on, let’s ask. Who was right?
    Unionism hasn’t moved an inch toward reconciling with the rest of us.
    It is time for a strategic rethink of all nationalists and republicans?

    • Chris December 31, 2013 at 5:08 pm #

      The Brits MUST force the Unionist hand, they did so with the GFA!

    • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 7:31 pm #

      At this moment, Colman, I’m inclined to agree with you. But maybe when the steam stops coming out my ears I’ll think otherwise. I’d agree that reconciliation with unionism has a long way to go – but there has been some movement. I’m not sure that locking a million unionists into a reunited Irish state would be a recipe for reconciliation – and in the end that’s what we want. Irish men and women have been fighting each other for too many centuries.

  11. Cal December 31, 2013 at 5:00 pm #

    If London and Dublin allow unionists to torpedo a set of proposals Haas believes represents a fair compromise then I fear for our future. The reaction of the governments holds the key here, either tackle unionist intransigence or the north will continue to lurch from crisis to crisis. I’m not sure the will exists to tackle unionism, the coming months will tell.

  12. Michael December 31, 2013 at 5:01 pm #

    James need to have a read again my friend. Sinn Fein, SDLP and Alliance were all willing to endorse the 7th draft agreement. Unionism refused to endorse it. The DUP and UUP have not been in the working class unionists good books at the min so the cynic in me is saying that no agreement was ever gonna be reached as with elections just round the corner they wanna appear defiant to any agreement just so they can say “See, we can stand up to themuns when we want to”. Meanwhile everyone suffers so they can maintain their status quo and after election time they will again abandon working class unionists to slag heap to fend for themselves providing no leadership at all in showing them a clear path to peace, prosperity and acceptance of others.

  13. Francis Mc Laughlin December 31, 2013 at 5:15 pm #

    its pure disappointment that the unionists wouldn’t agree as usual. would of been interesting to see what the NI21’s response would of been. sadly one side do not want proper democracy. as long as they get their way they don’t care, time for them to get a grip of themselves and realize that they are not majority no more, be fair and accept others in society, i do agree with either equality or neutrality, both flags or no flags, its only fair on others then. one side of the community is left out,
    as for the marching, all marches should stay in their own areas, this this thing of wanting to rub it in other peoples noses must stop, will ease the tensions for sure

    • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 7:33 pm #

      Totally agree, Francis. Marching on the spot – fine. Marching to someone else’s spot – not on.

  14. Bongo December 31, 2013 at 5:33 pm #

    Embarrassment would be an understatement Jude. Once again all of us christened Protestant and who vote for the Unionist parties have been severely let down by the DUP/UUP. Seven drafts of a document!! And what on earth was Mervyn Gibson doing there?

    The proposals should be published in full, but in reality this is probably the end of it all. Parties will go back, discuss and their views harden. Very disappointing and same merry-go-round of parades etc in 2014

    What’s needed now is a strong pro-union leader to step up, start talking sense and move things forward. Nesbitt & Robinson don’t seem to be able, and wee Jeffrey looks as if he has thrown his toys out during discussions once again.

    • Michael December 31, 2013 at 6:53 pm #

      Good point Bongo. Mervyn Gibson is a staunch Orangeman who frequently shares platforms with those shouting “No surrender” so in what situation was he going to agree with anything apart the LOL getting their own way. There was never going to be any agreement. It was all a political pantomime to garner the votes they need in 2014. Unfortunately while they posture the people who suffer are the ordinary people on all sides.

  15. RJC December 31, 2013 at 6:01 pm #

    Well said Jude. I hope that the DUPs intransigence and continued pandering to extremists will prove to be their undoing. They are an utter disgrace. They do not govern for the people of Northern Ireland, but rather for the Brysons, the Frazers, the Gibsons and others of their ilk. They have no desire to work for peace, mutual understanding and prosperity. Sectarianism, division, supremacism, bigotry and hatred are their stock in trade. The DUP opposed the Good Friday Agreement, and by extension the entire Peace Process of which the Haass talks were just the latest step on the road to normality. They have blocked the path to peace every step of the way. History shall be their judge.

    • Jude Collins December 31, 2013 at 7:34 pm #

      I think you’re pretty accurate, RJC. But I don’t know if everyone wants to sit around and wait for history to deliver a verdict. We need to deal with the now.

      • RJC December 31, 2013 at 8:06 pm #

        You’re absolutely right. The way I feel right now I’d happily grab Robinson, Nesbitt, Donaldson and the rest of that shower and bash their heads together until what little brains they have start dribbling out of their ears. That said, I am a peaceful man so I shall calm down and wait until some clarity of thought returns. We do indeed need to deal with the now, so any suggestions are most welcome.

        I hope that the abhorrent behaviour of the DUP/UUP pushes more Protestants towards an Alliance/NI21 centre ground of Unionism. Our Protestant neighbours/friends/relatives/colleagues aren’t going anywhere, but attempting to negotiate with supremacist bigots whose answer to everything is ‘NO!’ is a complete waste of time. The brand of Political Unionism practiced by the DUP/UUP needs to be destroyed once and for all.

  16. jess December 31, 2013 at 10:43 pm #

    “Hume and others persuaded him otherwise, that a reconciliation between people must happen before settling the constitutional issue.
    Fifteen years on, let’s ask. Who was right?
    Unionism hasn’t moved an inch toward reconciling with the rest of us.
    It is time for a strategic rethink of all nationalists and republicans?”

    Reconciliation is actually happening where individuals meet so the climate is right, yet Stormant looks as divided as the politicians here ever did.

    Sinn Fein appears to be making genuine efforts at reconciliation, perhaps in the hope that this will prove or disprove the theory above colman mentioned.
    There would be no guarantee that would be unification as it would be truly up to the people here to decide and is the way I think it should be and I do consider myself republican.

    Unionism I think does not like the thought of leaving it up to a reconciled people whether to remain British or not, and as a result seem to be slowing down reconciliation where they can and using victims and everyone they can to achieve this.

    I would say their strategy is to keep the place British as long as possible and hope that eventually enough people here get used to northern Ireland being British enough to see northern Ireland as a country of its own and as part of the uk. The GFA does and any truly shared agreement would recognise both traditions here which would go against this strategy so how can anything haas could come up with based on these shared principles ever have been acceptable with any number of redrafts? He would have to have breached his remit to achieve unionist support.

    I dont think any strategic change is needed.

    A 6 county state is not economically viable as a country.
    The unionist strategy is wasting public purse money at an alarming rate.
    The biggest earner would be the maze site; a shrine to bobby sands would rake in money and do more for tourism than the lough ness monster does for Scotland.
    England has a 10 billion deficit paying for here

    While they may have been able to justify this as part of a military budget, they will find it much harder to swallow out of their public finances. If Scotland votes for independence, they simpy won’t be able to afford us without an economic agreement involving the republic and an independent Scotland leading to a three state management.

    The truth will come out eventually but there is not going to be any quick fix for at least another generation but can the british economy afford to wait that long?

    • Neill January 1, 2014 at 10:24 am #

      It’s an interesting blog and the responses well what would you expect.

      Jess I’m assuming you don’t understand economics Britain is the 5th largest economy in the world what it spends here is nothing.

      Try telling Monaco Luxembourg Greenland Andorra Estonia Latvia etc that they are not viable.

      Perhaps when people come to table and start talking rationally then we could get some solutions!

      • jess January 1, 2014 at 10:36 am #

        I wouldnt be an expert by any means but none of those countries mentioned have a gdp in negative equity whereas 6 county northern ireland I believe costs the UK tax payer 10 billion per year mostly due the public sector propping up the economy. Is that not accurate Neill? I am open to correction as said, I am no expert. I agree it is an interesting blog though.

  17. michael c December 31, 2013 at 11:01 pm #

    just to avoid any confusion,as there now seems to be 2 Michaels posting on this site,I will “redesignate” as “Michael C” !

  18. philipkelly January 1, 2014 at 9:17 pm #

    the IRA carried out a bombing campaign in England its now time for a different type of bombing a bombing of truth to the British people of what their government are supporting and what their sons and daughters died for and what their 12 billion of grant payment goes to to support, people who disrespect the queens law disrespect her flag (something the British people are very proud of) as Harold Wilson said in 1972 they are spongers of the British state who feel that the British owe them a living parasites all. should Britain want to press home any deal all they have to do is give that block grant it the Irish government AS A FORM OF COMPENSATION along with the six counties and any loyalist who wishes to remain British should then return to their homeland then we can all live in peace and harmony for their will be no bigotry or anyone getting more than the other in regards to civil rights and religious freedom a lot more than can be said for the present setup

    • jess January 1, 2014 at 10:36 pm #

      The days of bombing are long gone thankfully.
      Anyone considering that route need not expect any sympathy.

      Fianna Fail milked the celtic tiger dry and almost led the country to bankruptcy, who in their right mind would give the current irish government a cent?

      Loyalists here are just as Irish as you or me and your comments are totally against what republicans have fought for here for centuries.

      Any future worth having will have to be all inclusive and cater for all traditions willing to cooperate. The irish republic is a bannana republic and could do with a fresh start as much as the north needs stability. Unification will never happen without a complete revvamp of the whole irish state, and nor should we want it to. It would be the blind leading the blind.

      Perhaps new thinking is needed that will improve standards of living for all of the people on both these islands. Like it or not, Britain is Irelands closest ally, perhaps through necessity but that works both ways. Perhaps it is time to put the past behind us and start making a difference. Britain have provided a framework for their withdawal, it is up to us to show we are up to the task. The eu will not allow unification here unless there is economic stability, things habe changed considerably since partition. Ironic, but unification here will likely require britains support and assistance and more than just financially.

      Perhaps it is time we all moved out of fantasy and into the real world.

      • philipkelly January 3, 2014 at 4:33 pm #

        i think you misunderstood what i meant by bombing the uk media these are facts 1 John major only got into the Irish question after the ira bombed the financial heart of London ie the city of London it was after the first bomb of its kind and resulted in major contacting Albert Reynolds for a meeting which led to the downing street framework for peace to which the unionist objected to and tried to scupper but what we did not know was that the Brits were talking to the ira at the same time which led to the first cease fire 1994 and so started the quest for peace with the ira and sf which led to the gfa which only succeeded because Ahern and Blair faced the unionist down with the threat of joint sovereignty by Dublin and London it was the gfa or plan B JS the good friday agreement looked the better deal so what we got was a half baked agreement which even the uup could not agree to with the sdlp who were the champions of comprise and uniting the people so what happens the sdlp and uup get destroyed at the polls and SF/DUP come out on top so much for comprise and uniting the people then we tried another round of talks at Weston park then we had Hillsborough all the time SF pulling the DUP along and going that extra mile to give them space to lead their people into the future and every time they came up short because the OO and billy hutch and the UVF and UUP would not go with them and always looking over their shoulder at Dodds Cambell Poots Wilson so my suggestion of a media bombing or blitz of the real problem in Northern IRELAND ie the UUP and OO publish their constitutions let the people of England and Wales see what their money is supporting and what their sons and daughters died for, a gang of anti catholic bigots who suppressed a person because of their religion and their right to be seen as Irish after all when you go to the uk the all call you irish no matter what part north or south TIME TO LET THE PEOPLE KNOW THE TRUTH

        • jess January 3, 2014 at 7:47 pm #

          Apologies Philip, I do understand exactly what you are saying but I think we also need to understand just how much things have changed and not get cought in a pointless loop or reiteration of past events.

          Even the terminology of bombing is going to be so counterproductive for whoever uses that language that I would try to distance from it.

          The media are not interested in the truth especially in the republic and the english dont really care about northern ireland as it is not a part of britain anyway so they are actualy totally accurate that we are all irish on this island north or south whether unionists want to be or not. Our future is not of their concern and why should it be?

          Unlike Scotland we have an agreed mechanism for british withdrawal once the majority here wish for it, though it may still take longer than the british would actually like it to.

          In a very short time, all of the border counties will be totally in nationalist control and I would hope to see much better cooperation in particular with the ulster counties of the republic in terms of jobs, health, education and utility interests.

          The ball is in our court, we dont need the english or unionist permission to unify ulsters 9 counties and make it a prosperous and worthy home for all of its people.

          The biggest risk I see is dissidants being successful in keeping the british military in control here.

      • Sheila mc Coy January 5, 2014 at 3:32 pm #

        Jude I do not know what we would do without you the only political analyst who speaks the truth. if only the blind could see.
        You are brilliant!

        • Jude Collins January 5, 2014 at 6:07 pm #

          Thank you, Sheila. It’s clear to me that you are a highly intelligent and almost certainly beautiful woman of very good taste…


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