Do you remember that day shortly after the Brexit vote, when Enda Kenny suggested the forming of an all-Ireland forum to manage the fall-out from Brexit? There was a line of North-South politicians standing alongside him, notably Arlene Foster. The DUP leader quickly rubbished the need for such a forum with a briskness  Thatcher would have approved of. Sure hadn’t we loads of cross-border bodies of all kinds – and couldn’t the north and the south pick up the phone at any time? Exit in some confusion stage left, one Taoiseach.

There can have been few watching that televised exchange who didn’t see it as a fairly blunt snub to Enda.  Martin McGuinness  made it clear that Sinn Féin didn’t think anyone (aka Arlene Foster) should have a veto on the matter, but the snub stood.

This morning on RTÉ, Sam McBride of The News Letter was asked if  it had been a snub. I was in the shower at the time but as best I could hear over the splashing sounds, Sam told Audrey Carville that, no no no, this wasn’t a throw-back to the 1970s DUP, where any suggestion of working with Dublin was anathema, and sure hadn’t Arlene said they had telephones and other links?

Um, point of order,  Sam. If it waddles like a veto and quacks like a veto, it is a veto.

But now we learn that Enda is going to go ahead with the All-Ireland forum thing. Certainly that’s what the Irish Times heading says: ‘All-Ireland forum on Brexit to take place in November’. But then when you go down the article a bit, it trnspires that Enda is for holding “a conversation” about Brexit.

I’m not sure what Arlene Foster’s real thoughts are about Brexit – I thought she looked a bit shook as she emerged to first speak about it – but clearly little has changed from the 1970s. There may be cross-border telephone calls, but DUP voters are being fed a diet which they presumably are glad to gobble up: to wit, we’ll have as little to do with that shower in the south as possible.

Will Enda Kenny stand up against this airy dismissal of his idea? I’d like to think the day in November will result in Enda sprouting a backbone, but it’d go against decades of deference to northern unionism. How long can Enda or other southern politicians depend on a make-the-north-go-away philosophy resonating with the southern electorate? Maybe not as long as Team Enda would like.

7 Responses to ENDA’S BIG AWAY-DAY

  1. Eddie Barrett September 28, 2016 at 11:11 am #

    That about sums up The DUP – They can share Government and the same floor with SF , but when it comes to meeting their own mirror image Conservative Party in the 26 Counties – FG – they suddenly have a problem ?

    Do they not realise that SF now have the biggest Vote % wise on the whole of Ireland ?

    What a strange outfit this DUP are ???

  2. Antaine de Brún September 28, 2016 at 12:46 pm #

    Legal challenges will examine claims that the Good Friday Agreement, an international agreement between the Irish and British governments, has implications for the right of the British government to leave the EC. It now appears that issues specific to the north of Ireland may “fall between cracks,” given a recent legal determination.

    The Good Friday Agreement helped create the conditions for peace and stability in Ireland through a democratic process. The evidence suggests that the majority of people in Ireland wish to remain part of the EC.

    Britain’s lack of clarity about Brexit is becoming more confrontational as the the EC and only some Tories struggle to reach a compromise over what would represent an acceptable deal. Ireland has a strong and respected voice in the EC. At present, it reminds those who will listen that it is easy to repair cracks providing there is a secure foundation.

  3. Cal September 28, 2016 at 12:50 pm #

    It is heartening that DUP attempts to suspend Stormont and now to stop this forum have failed. The days when the largest unionist party got its own way appear to be at an end.

    It is a shame although not a surprise that the DUP can’t bring themselves to participate in adult discussion about such a serious topic.

    • Ryan September 29, 2016 at 12:05 am #

      “It is a shame although not a surprise that the DUP can’t bring themselves to participate in adult discussion about such a serious topic.”

      I don’t think their electorate realize what Brexit means Cal but they will when Brexit is actually underway. No more EU peace funding, grants and funding to encourage businesses to grow, investment, farm subsidies, etc. Indeed one of the first acts of the new anti-EU DUP Agriculture Minister was to run to the EU with an emergency begging bowl…..

      When the DUP electorate’s bank balances take a hit, that’s when the poo will hit the fan, especially in places like North Down.

      Think economist David McWilliams got it right when he said Brexit may lead to the death of the DUP.

  4. Perkin Warbeck September 28, 2016 at 1:35 pm #

    Great ears listen alike, Esteemed Blogmeister, as one also heard that respectful RTE interview with the Bel Tel telltale chap. Between Audrey Carville and Sam McBride.

    (Audrey is sometimes known as ‘Carve-up’ Carville but one is only reminded of that affectionate sobriquet when she has a Shinner on the slab in the studio, whether that Shinner boasts of Murphy as a surname or not).

    Contrary to what some of your readers might think, however, EB, one was not sharing a shower with you but indeed was otherwise engaged in doing two things at the one time.

    While one was sweating profusely and even porcine-like on one’s treadmill, for the, erm, betterment (alleged) of one’s physical condish , one was at the same time also cocking an ear to Radio Treadmill, for the b. of one’s mental (?) condition.

    One shortly afterwards segued into doing not just two but even three things simultaneously (phew !) when at the end of Yawning Ireland one reached out to turn the knob (of one’s wireless) and switch it over to a DOB station which now features the Pat Kenny Show.

    While PK is late of the RTE parish he now of course self-worships at a different altar which is not to say his (gasp) world view has altered one iota.

    For in successive segments we heard the two sides of the multi-faceted Pat. For the first item he thoughtfully laced up his go-to high-rise, big, black, Bisto-kid Bover-boy Boots for the benefit of his victim Eoin O Broin, TD of – let one recall – oh, yes, Sinn Fein.

    While the interview, oops, interrogation was essentially about Water Charges, involving much Trump-like interrumptions from the no-nonse host, it spilled over at times into other topics, such as the newly renovated Dahl Eireann.

    Arsa/ Said Pat:

    -I understand the Dahl now has voting boxes with three buttons attached. Whereas before this it only had a TA and a NIL button attached it now has a – (silence) –

    Alas, Pat was unable to recall the Leprechaun for ‘Abstain’. Despite – or perhaps because of having said lingo lashed into him for eleven years at the horny hands of Mein Kampf Kommandants of ze Kristian Brothers at school. The same school incidentally where Christy Kinahan, drug baron and dabbler in the Sock Exchange, failed his final exams.

    Unlike King Duncan, his Leaving Cert did not quite become King Kinahan like nothing before or since.

    We know that PK and CK both attended the same school as during the What it Sez in the Papers segment of Yawning Ireland we were treated to the following line:

    -The same school which boasted such distinguished alumni as Pat Kenny, late of this parish, Luke Kelly, James Joyce, and no less than two Taoisigh.

    The order of distinction will be already noted by the hawk-eyed reader. In his former parish Pk is forgotten but not gone.

    For the record, PK, the Leprechaun for ‘abstain’ is ‘staonadh’ which rhymes with the first portion of Eanna Kenny and the second half of Ballymena in the Ontrum dialect. For the record too, one would like to take issue with Eoin O Broin’s characterization of his interrogator, oops, interviewer, as ‘a high-earner’.

    The correct term is actually, ‘high-getter’. One has to but to check with the high-end goat-herders of Lough Erne-land for verification of same. Not a solitary one of whom has not had his goats gotten by PK.

    In passing, one wonders at the continuation of the dominant wing of Sinn Fein in the Broadcasting Interrogation Centre: the Unflappable Wing. None of the current crop, such as Eoin O Broin, M.L. McDonald, Pearse Doherty etc, has had any first- wristband experience of the Castlereagh Communications Centre of Excellence, unlike a previous generation.

    Whose mantra became:

    -We met a man like Castlereagh, he had a mask like Pat K.

    To conclude: one was privileged to ear-witness the astonishing versatility of the one in a million Media Person Millionaire that is Pat Kenny (for it is still he !) when he changed his brogues for the following segment of his prog:

    Off with the go-to, big black Bisto-kid Bovver-boy boots and on came the soft ballet pumps with their distinctive ribbon-like binding across the low end of the slipper and a tiny decorative string tie at the vamp (which is, for the uninitiated, the toe box).

    The guest this time for interrogation, oops, interview was one, Rachel Reilly.

    Who, she?

    Listen up.

    Turns up she is a (gulp) Haute Couturiere for tiny tots , i.e. offspring of toffs in general but for the purposes of the Pat Kenny Show the (gasp) new generation of Royals.

    With exquisite Nuryev-like necromancy Pat , during the course of his reverential grilling, essayed a verbal pirouette which somehow (gasp) managed to combine an irreverent Swan-lake like stab at humour while yet retaining the (gulp) de rigeur reverence in the Rudolfian sense of that term..

    -Tell me, Rachel Reilly, as is well known, the Royal Family is a long-tailed one do they – (cue the pause melodramatic) – do in-house handmedowns?

    Breathtaking broadcasting at its most sublime, at the very highest Honorary Doctorate-deserving level.


    PS Though, Rachel Reilly, the Haute Couturiere wore a (erm) seaonablly unfashionable Irish surname one waited, and waited for her, erm, racial roots to be touched upon.

    Didn’t happen.

    Turned out her guesthood had to to with her being Over (pronounced Ovah) in the neighbourhood of Arnott’s the Department Store.

    Ah, yis.

    In the Land of PK there are two strata of society:

    -the Ares and the Arnotts.

    Which may not be quite as obvious as it seems to the unwary. A clue: think, those unsurpassed bastions of elastoplast private privilege: the Public School.

  5. Sherdy September 28, 2016 at 5:35 pm #

    Remember the DUP mantra: ‘Never, never, never’!
    The Paisley regime may be well out of favour, but they still haven’t
    got a politician who can get past that limited thought.
    So for the foreseeable future: ‘The more things change the more
    they stay the same’ will certainly be the order of the DUP day.

  6. Ryan September 28, 2016 at 8:51 pm #

    “I’m not sure what Arlene Foster’s real thoughts are about Brexit – I thought she looked a bit shook as she emerged to first speak about it ”

    She did. Brexit is a classic example of being careful what you wish for. I don’t think the DUP expected the whole majority in the UK to vote for Brexit. DUP certainly lost the election here since the majority wants to stay in the EU. I was one of those who voted Brexit but not because of the DUP’s preaching’s or influence. Brexit has caused the border in Ireland to be even more of an unnatural entity than it did previously. It just doesn’t make economic/social sense for a border to be running through the country. Brexit has highlighted the border once again and the problems its causing. That’s the last thing Unionism wants.

    “Will Enda Kenny stand up against this airy dismissal of his idea? I’d like to think the day in November will result in Enda sprouting a backbone”

    I was reading commentator Chris Donnelly’s tweets and he said that Unionism must never have a veto on all Ireland development. Many Unionists replied to him saying that they did because of the Good Friday Agreement. Chris replied back that the GFA gives no such veto whatsoever and that Sinn Fein and even the SDLP would never have agreed to it. Indeed he’s correct, there is no such veto in the GFA.

    The problem is Nationalism, north and south, have to grow a backbone. Its not just Enda Kenny. But as is often the case with Nationalism, we will play nice for a long while but then patience will run out and we’ll play hard ball. I think we should just cut the nonsense and just set up a forum on brexit. Invite the Unionists to come, if they choose not to then that’s their problem.

    “but it’d go against decades of deference to northern unionism”

    That’s why they are the way they are. It encourages political Unionism to dismiss gestures and behave as if they have a veto. Both the Irish/British Governments are guilty of immense deference to Unionism. Jude did a blog a few weeks ago on how the Catholic community, especially in West Belfast, was viewed and how recently released files showed how the British Governments attitude to Catholics took into consideration how Unionists would react. In other words: if being nice to Catholics upset Unionists, don’t be nice to Catholics. There is elements of that attitude still active in the Irish/British Governments and it has to go. Political Unionism needs put in its place. I was reading an article wrote by Barbara Neeson today and it was very good (I’ll put link below). In short it highlights how political Unionism makes Unionists/Loyalists believe they are special and are above others. LAD (the parody facebook page) highlighted this fact for the past 3 years.

    Overall, i think a forum is going to be set up very soon and there’s going to be a lot of very important conversations which the DUP wont be part of, despite getting an invitation.