Beyond Stormont: where does power lie?

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Picture by John


I see the percentage of people from a Catholic/nationalist background in the PSNI is now just over 30%, which is hardly satisfactory when the population percentage of Catholics is 45%. The 50-50 PSNI recruitment of people from Catholic and Protestant backgrounds was abandoned in 2011 and that’s part of the reason we have this lopsided  figure now.. Mind you, even if those from a nationalist and those from a unionist background were evenly balanced, there’d still be another crucial question: how’s the balance in the senior ranks of the PSNI?

That said, the PSNI situation is the usual one in our society: we check how themuns are doing as opposed to ouruns. But Winston Churchill had a point when he introduced a fresh young MP to the House of Commons by jerking a thumb over his shoulder at the serried ranks of Conservatives.“There” he told the neophyte “is the enemy”. “Don’t you mean these people, sir?” the neophyte asked, pointing to the other side of the House. Churchill shook his head and jerked his thumb behind him again.

Here, the big division in nationalist ranks is between those who support the SDLP and those who support Sinn Féin. Is that reflected in the different professions? For eample, in law? If the Right Honourable Sir Declan Morgan, Lord Chief Justice of Northern Ireland (and a graduate of my old school, St Columb’s in Derry) had been a republican, would he have got the job he did? And how many republicans are there within the ranks of the legal profession? My guess is, pretty few. Of course it’s only a guess – we don’t ask people to tick the SDLP or Sinn Féin box on an application form, let alone enquire during interview. We might know but we don’t ask.

If there are fewer republicans within the law profession, it’s out of kilter with the voting patterns of the nationalist population here: Sinn Féin hold more than twice as many MLA seats as the SDLP. Why then is that not reflected in the legal profession? I don’t know.

Or take education. In Catholic schools, what percentage of teachers would be Sinn Féin supporters and what percentage SDLP? Again, if they were to reflect the population generally, there should be twice as many teachers  supporters of Sinn Féin. Even more interesting: how many people in senior positions in Catholic schools – say, principals and vice-principals – are SDLP supporters and how many are Sinn Féin supporters? Again, we can only guess, because I’m sure there’s no box on the application form and there’s no question during interview about political proclivities. Although it would be interesting to know, wouldn’t it? Even more interesting would be to know if my hunch – and it’s only a hunch – that the overwhelming majority would vote/support the SDLP. But as with law, you may be sure of one thing: the appointing panel know whether the candidate is an SDLPer or a Shinner.

Influence in a society doesn’t begin and end at the gates of Stormont. And influence in professions isn’t solely a matter of how many are unionist and how many nationalist. There’s also the divisions within unionism and within nationalism, and how those match with positions in the professions. Maybe it’d be handier if we got applicants to come out and say?




42 Responses to Beyond Stormont: where does power lie?

  1. Iolar October 25, 2015 at 1:45 pm #

    Where does power lie? According to the TUT today,

    “Politicians of all parties can no longer turn a blind eye to the role of the IRA army council in the politics of the Republic now that the issue is out in the open…. thanks to a British government report.”

    An early morning review of the papers on RTÉ included a reference to the need for future leaders of Sinn Féin to have strong IRA credentials and the review went on to name two specific individuals and a third with former links to another political party.

    It was rich to hear anxieties being articulated today from within the Retail Federation about the impact of having to pay a ‘living wage’ next year!! What about this year? Pejorative references were made to “the black economy” and a return to “cash in hand payments,” followed by “these charges will have to be passed on…”.

    What should we make of Mr Blair’s statements in advance of the Chilcot Report. There clearly is no rest for the spin master. He tells us, now, the intelligence he got was wrong. His ‘liberal interventionism’ (darling words, Joxer) contributed to the rise of the Islamic State. The delay associated with the Chilcot report is a scandal given it is expected to criticise the use of intelligence.

    Back here in the Emerald Isle, spooks, spies and agents continue to ensure that the facts do not get in the way of mediocre journalism.

    • Jude Collins October 25, 2015 at 4:12 pm #

      Mediocre? You are too kind, Iolar, too too kind…

  2. Perkin Warbeck October 25, 2015 at 2:09 pm #

    Although with Sunday morning coming down here today an hour later than normal, Esteemed Blogmeister, there was no absence of normality. Indeed, if anything,there was almost a surperfluity of normality. Almost as if it was a compensatory measure.

    Uniformity was, as always, paranoia for the course.

    Which meant quite a bit of box-ticking on the controlled wireless stations on Liffeyside. No mention made of the SDLP, mind. But then there was hardly any need: the ones wearing the cleanest dirty shirts were, or course, the Shinners,

    Certainly, if the unrelenting shellacking to which Sinn Fein was subjected was anything
    to go by. But two example out of 22 will suffice.

    Over on Newstalk FM,owned by a fine Fine Gael favoured fellow, we had failed Fine Gaeler, Norah Owens, the bones of whose message went as follows: ‘M. L. McDonald is not of the short list of future SF leaders because ‘she wasn’t around when the shooting, the looting, the punishment beatings, and the killings were going on’.

    This would obviously rule M.L. McDonald out of the chair of the Collins 22 Society, upon which Norah Owens has been parking her particularly ample rear mudguards since losing her seat in The Irish Parliament. When the voters of Dublin North said NO to N.O. !

    Thus, is N.O. finishing her political career where it started on the, erm, Grand Uncle Mick Collins bandwagon. Very helpfully, Norah O. revealed to the listeners that she was named for her Aunt Norah, the ancient actress who played the part of Godmother in ‘Wanderly Wagon’ for ages and ages.

    Wagons, it would appear, roll along the yonder N.O. family boreen in a fond and wanderly sort of way. As indeed do ventriloquists and pupeteers, if one is to, erm,judge by the characters in that long-rolling TV programme. In the latest instance, the ventriloquists of the MI5 vaudeville show seems to have a more than willing puppet in Norah Owens.

    Owens goals of the Season, candidates for ?

    Not wishing to be outdone we had the ever dependable Dame Dosh Finucane over on RTE Radio 1, clearly wilting as she neared the end of her exhausive 4 figure summed 4 hour week, rolled out a fine fellow name of Eddie Molloy.

    Apart from being the Honorary Consul of the Barbados in the FSS, Mr. Molloy is seemingly involved in something delightfully nebulous, ‘supplying solutions to enable people at risk of social exclusion to lead full lives’.

    Perkie’s inner exclusive socialite soon got to work on the following solution: by applying the MI5 list of newly revealed platitudes which a rather tetchy Dr. Molloy thoughtfully regurgitated this morning. By applying them to the merry melody made famous by Typically Tropical some years ago:

    -This is Captain Tobias Wilcox folding on runway 29, requesting ATC clearance for takeoff. Yes, Coconut Airways 372, clear for takeoff.

    ‘Whoa ! I’m going to Barbados
    Whoa ! back to the palm trees’.

    (Hmmm: memo to self. ought not be too difficult to replace Barbados with Barbarians)

    ‘I don’t wanna be bus driver all my life
    I’ve seen too much of Brixton Town in the night
    Fly away on Coconut Airways
    Fly away to Babrbdos Skies’.

    All in all, then, E.B. south of the Black Sow’s Dyke it has been a good week for box-ticking Honorary Consuls. Only a few days ago we had the Honorary Consul of the typically topical SDLP in the Free Southern Stateen, launching his compassionate tome on the ultimate abuse of children at the hands of the ‘alleged’ Republicans: ‘Children of the Rising’.

    That would have been (gulp) Joe ‘Heart on his Sleeveen’ Duffy.

    (Not sure if Erskine Childers in included).

    ‘Whoa ! I’m going to Barbados
    Whoa ! in the sunny Corribean Sea’.

    • Jude Collins October 25, 2015 at 4:11 pm #

      Stand by, Perkin, for a Stephen Nolan PLUS Marian Finucane Big Tent Show in about ten days time…I feel weak at the very thought…

      • neill October 25, 2015 at 6:51 pm #

        How much are they paying you?

        • Jude Collins October 25, 2015 at 10:19 pm #

          See my response to Jessica, neill.

      • Perkin Warbeck October 26, 2015 at 7:52 am #

        The tidings of great joy which you impart, Esteemed Blogmeister, about the great media event to be tentatively staged in ten days / just over a week’s time has left one also weak at the knees in anticipation.

        A giant and joint Steven Nolan and Dame Dosh Finucane Big Tent Show :wow !

        Mind you this is a wow-show in a tent just waiting to flappingly well happen. Ever since the demise of the Galway Tent where the Fianna Failures used to pitch their wares and play host to the host of hacks, apparatchicks and other hangers on during Race Week. Where the one trick pony was the main attraction and perennial winner.

        Now, alas that Thing of Looty has truly gone west and is now a Goodbye Forever.And ii were to be re-erected on its, erm tenth anniversary it would be of such diminutive dimensions that the only circus animal it could hope to accommodate would be, at a stretch, a pine marten.

        One supposes that the new Two Ring Media Circus featuring the Barnum and Bailey of Broadcasting Talent on the island of I-land will be pitched on Laganside rather than on Liffeyside. This supposition is based on the Wee Northern host’s widely reported difficulties in the past in negotiating the high terrain which separates the northern side of the Black Sow’s Dyke from the southern.

        Dame Dosh,on the other hand, has never had the slightest problem steering her legendary wheelbarrow through terrain of whatever description. Her forte is current affairs and it is a matter of sublime indifference to her whether the currency of the terrain is the euro or the Q’s Shilling itself.

        The Mountains of Mourne (for it is they !) wiil hardly cause a tear of sorrow for the highest paid wage serf on a Four Hour Week in the public service of RTE in the Free Southern Stateen

        And of course, being on Laganside the show could still retain the sobriquet: The Galway Tent. Who better than Wee Jammy to be on hand with his golden flute to play in the wide host and the tall host (sic) with ‘Entrance of the Gladiators’.

        This military march was composed in 1897 by the rather aptly named Czech composer, Julius Fucik. Czech, is right.

        Of course, it is axiomatic that this canvas tent will have to be of truly colossal proportions to accommodate the pair of pear-shaped jumbo egos. Not to mention the humongous-sized circus animals which this tentative show will bring into the Six and Twenty Six County living rooms: the (gulp) MI5-shaped Elephants.

        Though, Plan-B, one suspects, will be available at a mo’s no. should the expected protests of the Animal Rights Folk directed at Plan-A both materialise and prevail. The membership of A.R.F. (drawn almost exclusively from the ranks of the FG, Labour and FF parties in the Irish Parliament and their cheerleaders in the manipulative media) are almost preternaturally sensitive to the bringing of the MI5-shaped Elephants into the captivity of the Twenty-six County living rooms.

        Still, Plan-B ought to be every bit as captivating. Perkie’s inner sensible punter has put his halfpence on its being the Cinematic Career of Maureen O’Hara.

        For 95 years the great actress has been auditioning for the role of The Quiet Woman and at last she has, erm, landed the role. No better woman.

        Indeed, nothing became her quite like the leaving of this moral film-lot as the following dote of a quote in her obituary reveals: ‘Feminism is not really necessary. Women were liberated the day they were born. Any woman can twist a man around her little finger. Even a little girl can do it to her daddy’.

        (To which on reading, Perkie’s inner John swain’s immediate response was: ‘There’ll be no locks or bolts between us, Mary Kate Danaher !).

        Now,as Dame Dosh first came into prominence in the FSS as Finucane the Feminist it hardly comes as a curveball that her patron/ employer RTE chose to describe La O’Hara as an……actor’.

        (‘Actress no longer cut the mustard?’ as the Bishop said).

        As a follow on from consideration of the divine Maureen’s flame-haired quote, one is confident that the logical wrap up to the item will be an assessment of the,erm, emasculation of prostrate Western Wimps, formerly known as, erm, men.

        For the past month bus commuters all over the Western World have been treated to the sight of such fetching eyecandy in their local shelters as men in painted on-pink bras as part of the Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

        (Perhaps, Stephen Nolan featured in this campaign? Perhaps not.).

        One is calmly assured that the Feminist Finucane, whose undiminished evangelical zeal is enshrined in equality, will take this once in a blue moon opportunity to launch the Prostate Cancer Awareness Month.

        Stat which cannot be swatted away: in the Western World, the rate of B-Cancer in women is 1 in 8 while the rate of P-Cancer in men is 1 in 7.

        One can anticipate with relish the sight of Dame Dosh in her de rigeur Dungarees of the Dworkin Class perkily parade along the cat-walk of the Big Top, in her fetching Royal Blue Jock Strap even as she launches the P-Cancer Awareness Month.

        Eire go Bra !

  3. billy October 25, 2015 at 2:38 pm #

    them screws are a nice example of a mixed bunch,mixed x brits and loyalists,

  4. Ryan October 25, 2015 at 3:08 pm #

    I think it was the late Father Alec Reid that said that the reason why there wasn’t a United Ireland was due to the divisions within nationalism, and I would agree with that statement. Back in April-May when the British General Election was the hot topic I remember studying previous election results in the 6 counties, particularly in the 1970’s and 1980’s. One thing that struck me was the areas in which there were clear nationalist majorities (like in South Down, Fermanagh South Tyrone, etc) but yet they had Unionist representatives. Why? Well it wasn’t the case of Gerrymandering like in Derry, it was purely due to the SDLP and Sinn Fein splitting the vote and repeatedly allowing Unionists to sneak in and take the seats.

    Indeed, the same thing happened in Fermanagh South Tyrone back in May 2015, Unionist Hardliner Tom Elliot won the seat in F/ST because Unionists made a pact and the SDLP refused to do one with Sinn Fein, even though the SDLP knew they had no chance of winning that seat, in fact their vote has been shrinking there election after election and shrunk again in May. If SF/SDLP had done a pact then that seat could never have been won by a Unionist, despite the Unionist pact.

    Its 5 years away but the SDLP need a pact to keep the South Belfast seat, will they do one with Sinn Fein? Or will they continue with the tactic of cutting off their nose to spite their face?

    • jessica October 25, 2015 at 8:53 pm #

      I hear what you are saying Ryan.

      But the people who vote SDLP will never switch to Sinn Fein. They would more likely vote UUP or some other undeclared unionist party such as Alliance.

      The state is gerrymandered to the max and there is a clear nationalist majority in the under 25s.

      Unionism is bad for ireland and scotland for that matter. The changes to the makeup of these islands is already in motion.

      There is no coming back from such a narrow loss in the independence referendum. The first time england slips up, another referendum will not fail.
      England will not live under that threat so britain is on a countdown to breakup and once scotland leaves, nothern ireland will be dropped like a hot brick.

      We need to prepare for unification and ignore unionist insults.

      The changes the tories are pushing suit england. They will be a disaster here.

      Iceland is a good news story very relevant to a new ireland post britain.

      Tourism will be a lifeblood and a museum of the troubles at the maze will ne essential to have any chance of economic stability.

      The troubles tours in Belfast are booming and will continue to grow.

      The whole island could benefit enormously if we can pull together as one to grow the tourism industry tenfold.

      We are an innovative nation and capable of standing on our own two feet but we need to start preparing for it now.

    • Sherdy October 25, 2015 at 10:07 pm #

      I think, Ryan, what you are trying to say is that the SDLP are the Dog in the Manger Party.
      Very true – their attitude is so pig-headed that the would rather have loyalist representation than share with Sinn Fein.

  5. jessica October 25, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    What we need is a joint force between the gardai and psni to tackle criminality on an all island basis.

    • ben madigan October 25, 2015 at 8:16 pm #

      that’ll be coming under joint/authority Jessica. You can read all about it in The Mirror at wordpress

  6. Jim.hunter October 25, 2015 at 4:16 pm #


  7. Wolfe tone October 25, 2015 at 7:08 pm #

    I would have to agree the SDLP hasn’t done much,at least publicly, to champion irish unification. We have bitter infamous seamus Mallon recently condemning the provisional movement for its actions over the years and holding himself aloft as a true republican. Each to their own I suppose but I can’t remember the last time an SDLP politician actually stated for all to see that they want unification. Some may mouth it at funerals,football matches etc but never publicly. I wonder are they just spoofing to keep their neighbour voting for them?
    The long held belief is that these SDLP people are doing alright without unity. They have their own wee ‘Cosa nostra’ in the six counties within the education system etc whereby they can ensure they control who gets the cushy jobs etc. To save all confusion perhaps it’s time for all our public representatives to put up or shut up on where they stand on irish unity?

  8. ben madigan October 25, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

    Where does power lie?

    With whoever holds it – from the shrewish wife and the domineering husband, to the petty supervisor at work right up to HM EII.
    It depends who directly exercises it over the individual and how the individual accepts or reacts to being under someone else’s power.

  9. Argenta October 25, 2015 at 9:19 pm #

    As you say,it’s only a guess but I’d suspect that most legal practitioners in the North get on with their lives and if they have any political preferences,tend to be pragmatic in their voting.I’d like to think that in recent times,judges have been appointed on merit.Of course some of the older judges may remember times when certain of their colleagues were murdered by the I R A!Are you suggesting that there should be a quota system for legal and teaching appointments?

    • Jude Collins October 25, 2015 at 10:16 pm #

      I’m suggesting nothing, Argenta – just wondering if the professions reflect people’s voting preferences. Interesting, isn’t it? Would you say they match?

  10. giordanobruno October 25, 2015 at 10:11 pm #

    As you say it is all guesswork.
    Assuming you are right though it bears out what I have been saying about the need for SF to draw a line under the recent past and put their old soldiers out to pasture. For many people I think, they (SF) are still connected to the RA and recent events only strengthen that suspicion.
    Those in the professions who are republican by inclination may very well not want to be known as shinners while Gerry is still running things.

    • Jude Collins October 25, 2015 at 10:15 pm #

      And if that’s the case, you don’t see or sympathise with the injustice involved?

      • giordanobruno October 26, 2015 at 7:42 am #

        If people are discriminated against by employers for being supporters of SF then yes of course that is wrong. Any hard evidence?
        I am suggesting that, maybe, those in the professions tend not to be supporters of SF to begin with because of their association with the IRA, so there would be no discrimination in that case.
        As usual figures would help. Are there no polls on voting intention broken down by socio-economic grouping? Who do the Bs and C1s vote for?

        • Jude Collins October 26, 2015 at 8:29 am #

          The answer is, predictably, I don’t know, gio (as with many things). However, I have a strong suspicion that the middle classes vote SDLP in general whereas those towards the working-class end vote SF. This itself is an interesting phenomenon; but the possibility that they are not represented in the professions proportionately is a bit disturbing. Of course all this is based on conjecture but personal experience can be a guide. I’ve met few solicitors, for example, who would vote, let alone openly espouse, republicanism. The same goes for those in the teaching profession – certainly at the top end of things. Q (and of course I don’t know the answer nor how to get it): is there nothing can be done about this kind of imbalance, if it exists? Or are SF voters/supporters just naturally dumber?

          • giordanobruno October 26, 2015 at 1:29 pm #

            It is not a case of SF supporters being dumber (despite the evidence in your comment zone!) it is just that the professions may not contain a large number of SF supporters, being largely drawn from the middle classes, who I suspect have been less likely to support them.
            If SF are serious about attracting more voters they need to address this problem and I think their leadership, being so close to the men of violence is part of the problem.
            On the other hand if SF have peaked maybe they are happy to stand still!

          • Jude Collins October 26, 2015 at 2:47 pm #

            You may be right, gio. Or wrong. Or both. I think you’re onto something re SDLP and middle-class voters. But are you suggesting that working-class people are pro-violence and middle-class anti-violence? And since the SF vote has grown considerably over the last decade or two and the SDLP vote has shrunk, would that not suggest that quite a few middle-class people have moved to SF? Anyway, my point was about the possibility that progress in a career would be hindered because of which political party you supported. If that were the case, it would be classical discrimination.

          • giordanobruno October 26, 2015 at 4:24 pm #

            I am not suggesting that working-class people are pro violence at all. I don’t pretend to know why voting patterns are as they appear to be.
            I don’t know if you are confusing cause and effect in your argument. Are there less SF supporters in the professions because they encounter discrimination or because those professions tend to be drawn from the middle classes and the middle classes do not tend to support SF in the first place?
            I must see if I can find any polls to clarify voting trends. I thought the NILT survey did so but maybe not.

          • Jude Collins October 26, 2015 at 7:29 pm #

            I may be confusing cause and effect, gio. Or then again I may not. It’s an interesting one. I know little about law – except of course that I observe it meticulously, esp if there’s a cop around – but I do know a fair bit about education. I don’t know the political thinking of senior staff in Catholic schools but in conversation you often get a feel for people’s general attitudes, as I’m sure you know. And my experience has been that the vibes coming from senior staff, esp at the top, are much more SDLP-like than SF-like. Whatever about the law, the teaching profession does draw a considerable number of people from working-class backgrounds. So maybe – I said maybe – I’ve got my cause and effect in the right order after all…

    • jessica October 26, 2015 at 6:46 am #

      “For many people I think, they (SF) are still connected to the RA and recent events only strengthen that suspicion.”

      Sorry if I have been a bit slow on the uptake, but I think I understand you now gio.

      Gerry Adams and the current leadership are popular with the Irish people and are offering a change that has never been seen before on this island.
      Change is the unknown and making the establishment on both sides of the irish sea uneasy.

      Attacking the leadership on their relationship with the IRA which was essential to bring closure to the conflict here and build a peaceful future, is also the only option available.

      With Sinn Fein following a purely peaceful and politics only agenda and with popular policies with the people in managing austerity, what else can you do?

      So lets focus on the old guard and its past links with the IRA. And if they have stood down as the recent report confirms they have, the only dirt possible is the ex members who it also claims on their own agenda engage in criminality. Again, which Sinn Fein agree with and have called them out as criminals.

      So with Sinn Fein being so difficult as to be sticking to their political commitments and being one of the few parties on this island behaving responsibly, lets use the army council structures as a spanner to throw into the works.

      It doesn’t matter that is makes no sense whatsoever and has the added confusion of on one hand confirming full support for peace but at the same time equates this level of support with that of the loyalists who are up to their necks in recruiting, control and criminality. It makes the security report disingenuous and dishonest at best.

      So your problem is not really with what they are doing wrong, but that they are doing too much right.

      Your issue is not that Sinn Fein or the peace process would be better off without the leadership that brought us peace, but that they might actually achieve what they set out to and be elected as the largest party on both parts of this country.

      If you are indeed a unionist and do actually believe the recent reports, would it not be in your interest that the current leadership remain in place?

      Unless the truth is less relevant than the attempt to create division within the Sinn Fein support over the current leadership.

      Divide and conquer as they say.

      Yes, I think I understand you now gio.

      • giordanobruno October 26, 2015 at 9:57 am #

        Try again. I’m not a Unionist.

        • jessica October 26, 2015 at 2:46 pm #

          Try again. I’m not a Unionist.”

          Apologies gio, but I would never would have guessed.

          • giordanobruno October 26, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

            I realise that, but being critical of SF is not the same as being a Unionist!
            The weight of opinion both from Jude and commenters here is very much pro SF so I find myself countering that, or trying to.
            In truth there are many positive things about SF policies for me when looking forward. It is the past that holds them back, from my perspective at least.

          • Jude Collins October 26, 2015 at 7:30 pm #

            Gio – who was it said ‘Because you have a past doesn’t mean you can’t have a future’? If you think GA is holding back SF, I think you’ve got it wrong.

  11. Pointis October 25, 2015 at 10:46 pm #


    The elephant in the room which you did not mention is the Catholic Church. The SDLP is a Catholic party whereas Sinn Féin is a socialist Republican Party.

    If you have a chance look at any Catholic parish compare the numbers with an involvement in the church itself, readers, collectors, staff, parish committee members and correlate that with electoral affinities and you will see a very strong correlation to SDLP membership and it tends to be a middle class thing!

    This affinity between the church and the SDLP is unwritten but it is there for all to see!

    Now you have to look at the system which influences and educates Catholic children – like the ones who go on to be teachers, doctors, solicitors, accountants, etc.

    Where do the teachers come from that work in the primary school? Oh that will be St. Mary’s teacher training College which is effectively run by the church. Don’t know if the requirement still exists but when I was younger your application to study there had to be endorsed by your Parish priest who in general showed contempt for anyone who supported Sinn Féin. The same Parish priest sat as chair of the Board of Governors who appointed teachers for posts. So you can sort of imagine how all the teachers came to be top heavy with those who have an affinity with the SDLP.

    Of course with the cast already set who are those young ambitious students going to look up to for inspitation and direction but their SDLP supporting teachers? And remember the hand that rocks the cradle rules the world!

    • Jude Collins October 26, 2015 at 8:33 am #

      You argue a convincing case, Pointis – is mor an trua sin – more’s the pity.

    • giordanobruno October 27, 2015 at 10:38 am #

      Sinn Fein may claim to be a socialist republican party, but they seem to be in thrall to the traditional Catholicism of many of their supporters with regard to abortion, when they are not willing to support abortion in cases where women have been raped.

      • Jude Collins October 27, 2015 at 10:40 am #

        I’m not sure you’re right there, gio. Besides which fact, it’s possible to be opposed to abortion and not be a Catholic, you know…:)

  12. Freddy Mallins October 26, 2015 at 9:37 am #

    Extremely interesting, Jude. The only thing I would say , is that there are inevitably Sdlp supporters who consider themselves to be Republicans. So perhaps there is a level of cross pollination. Also, I recall Seamus Tracey refusing to swear allegiance to the queen when taking silk as a QC. He successfully had the archaic and discriminatory convention reformed and was within 10 years elevated to the bench where he sits as a High court judge today.
    But I fully take you’re point that this would be the exception rather than the rule. You only have to listen to Declan Morgan’s received, affected accent to see that he felt the need to divest himself of any residue of local Irishness to be accepted within the elite. The aping of Anglo/unionism is the most sickening sight in our society. The change is happening, but the change will be slow.

    • Argenta October 26, 2015 at 4:48 pm #

      So the test of ones Irishness is to be determined by a perceived accent!An interesting concept?!In the L C J’s interview last week(on the elevation of the two new High Court judges),I wouldn’t have classed his accent as “affected” .

      • Jude Collins October 26, 2015 at 7:24 pm #

        I think Freddy has a point, Argenta. Would you describe Declan’s accent as Derry?

        • Argenta October 26, 2015 at 11:27 pm #

          I wouldn’t describe it as a “received affected” accent.But I’m sure Freddy can speak for himself!

  13. ben madigan October 26, 2015 at 1:06 pm #

    “The aping of Anglo/unionism is the most sickening sight in our society” –

    A Swiftian sentence, Declan and one with which I most heartily agree!.

  14. michael c October 26, 2015 at 9:58 pm #

    Practically every teacher in my school in the 70’s was a stoop.For the party of “non violence” they seemed to ditch this principle when kicking the shite out of their pupils. All they succeeded in doing was giving me one more reason to support the Republican movement and despise the system that they represented.