‘A Letter to Michelle O’Neill: Playing the Ace Card’ by Donal Lavery



By Donal Lavery



Let me start by stating that I clearly don’t hold political office, so there are limits as to what I know concerning the specifics of what precisely is going on behind the scenes. There are things I don’t know and there are things I can’t know as a result. But anyone following the news coverage of what has been going on, with the talks process, cannot help but feel some concern therein at what is unfolding. I also want to outline that I’m not neutral in all of this; I was born a Shinner and I’ll die a Shinner, I couldn’t change it anymore than I could the colour of my eyes. So I support Michelle O’Neill to the hilt. Unlike Mr. Eastwood, who gave his transfer vote and “political soul” to a Unionist Party (with a brutal legacy of oppressing the nationalist people of the six counties), she has credibility and isn’t interested in the “merc’s and perks” of political office. And unlike Mr. Eastwood, she believes in something and holds clear bottom-lines. In the debates, he told people his priority was getting into government with the Unionists; She outlined that her defining line was an equality agenda, however much deliberation it will take.


When people went to the polls, they rejected Mr. Eastwood’s vain opportunism and careerist tendencies. On many of the major issues, she is consistent where he is slippery. She is a mother and she thus has a real stake in the future of society here. And that’s the key issue in all of this – being consistent on the needs of the population as a whole. RHI was a turning point, the death of an old order and striking anew.


Back in 2015 in Greece, the world witnessed a phenomenon unique in natural history. The Prime Minister, Alexis Tspiras, overthrew his own government by doing a “practical” deal with the Troika behind his cabinet’s back – the very thing he was elected not to do. He lost his Finance Minister and political credibility following his capitulation to Establishment threats. Syriza’s fortunes have gone down the drain ever since, they hold office but wield no power, and even less confidence. Greece is ending towards fascism. For those who are prepared to sacrifice their principles for the sake of security will in the end enjoy neither – they end up at war with their own electorate. The price of not achieving change in the circumstances we are in is the ‘intrigues’ of Saoradh gaining more support for their “blood nationalist” tendencies.


Just recently, there were mass demonstrations against a “hard border” in Ireland by residents of the peripheral  communities of this country. It was moving, to witness everyone from farmers to labourers, with their wives and children beside them, making their grievance known to the world that there can be no regression to the “Two Nations, One Island” model of the past. There needs to be unequivocal security on this issue as part of whatever agreement unfolds. No impediments on the rights or movement of citizens across any single part of Ireland.


Working in the financial sector has provided me with a window into where exactly influence really lies in society. Accountancy firms, shockingly, now have more resources than some state departments. The process of “financialisation” has undermined democratically elected governments the world over. So for the people out there, whether it’s the pensioner living in Ardoyne or young people in the rural areas who struggle finding employment, their only mechanism of defence is the vote. The very thing which equalises their ability to decide policies; reject policies; replace men or women who adopt policies. And by any analysis, they need assurance from these talks that any additional austerity measures are not optional here.


On the victims issue, people want answers above all else. And it needs to be made abundantly clear that no revisionist sentiments or rewriting history by British Ministers will ever change the fact that the nationalist population were the victims of economic, cultural and social apartheid. Victims of SAS hit-squads and being chopped to pieces by the Lenny Murphy’s of this state. And under international law, human beings have every right to resist that, by whatever means at their disposal. 


Likewise, we cannot continue with a situation where LGBT couples are denied the basic recognition and rights which they hold not even one hundred miles away in the South. Extending the civil rights of Irish couples and even British couples, to those in the North threatens nobody. This is marriage by the state, not forced on any Church. There’s a very large community of people out there affected by this issue and the hurt caused by its very denial; who have consistently put their faith in Sinn Fein and they cannot be disappointed to appease a group of right-wing jingoistic bandits who have now been rejected at the ballot box.


The final point I want to emphasise is the Direct Rule issue. One Unionist politician has infamously revealed that although it sounds ideal to a Unionist, being “British Direct Rule”, it in essence means British Ministers granting concessions to republicans to “keep them sweet”. John Major needed Unionist votes more than Theresa May yet he commenced the process which will inevitably destroy the Northern state. Thatcher eventually granted political status in the jails and even signed the Anglo-Irish Agreement. William Whitelaw prorogued Stormont. The Unionists have found, time and time again, that both Labour and Conservative governments have been routinely willing to betray them.


If it comes to that, it isn’t an end-game, there are cards which can be played to exercise leverage. For gaining concessions without an Assembly is more productive than no progress within one. But the Unionists, with their extravagant mortgages and lust for parliamentary expenses, have a vested interest in avoiding such a scenario. They need a parliament up at Stormont to give them some influence over the circumstances, and that’s the point to press on them. If they aren’t prepared to recognise the overwhelming desire for change, then we need to have another election; a final verdict, for people to link arm-to-arm, shoulder-to-shoulder, and rid the world of Arlene Foster and everything her party represents.


100 Responses to ‘A Letter to Michelle O’Neill: Playing the Ace Card’ by Donal Lavery

  1. Eddie Barrett April 1, 2017 at 9:30 am #

    Very good analysis Donal.
    I’ve no fear of another Election at all.
    I’m convinced in recent weeks, that Sinn Féin will thrive even further in it – the death of Martin, in my humble opinion , has revitalised the Republican ethic in the whole of Ireland – I see it in the ordinary blogging activity alone.

    On a Page on Facebook that I’m an Admin. on , two pieces last night – one a little video by Martins Grandson Óisín and another of Frances Black singing alongside his Coffin , generated over 20,000 hits in six hours.

    This is unprecedented interest and emotion, not seen since The Hunger Strike years !

    As for ‘Saoradh’ – I’m convinced that they will start internally start taking each other apart soon – as always happen inevitably with these Dissident Groupings !

  2. jessica April 1, 2017 at 9:31 am #

    I welcome Saoradh, it is about time they got properly organised.
    They don’t have to take seats but they should stand in elections, I will at least transfer to them.

    It would be very hypocritical for Sinn Fein to treat them with disrespect the way you did with PBP, or possibly such would be more signs of their move to the centre following Fianna Fail into power within Ireland which I would also welcome.

    You are very right about the need for money to run political parties.

    RHI should fund the DUP for a while though.

    Glad to hear Sinn Fein don’t have extravagant mortgages and lust for parliamentary expenses, hopefully there will be no issue with Stormont remaining closed until everything is sorted once and for all which is more than Arlene. Legacy and the past are more important to me.

    Good to hear you are doing all right working in the financial sector Donal, the most capitalist of the lot.

    Must be difficult for you being so anti capitalism.

    • Eddie Barrett April 1, 2017 at 10:01 am #

      Delighted that Saoradh will be an Abstentionist Party – this should speed up their extiction !

      As for respect – the ‘quality’ of those involved leaves a lot to be desired – they have a huge record so far of intimidation , threats and little else – that type of stance is untenable and will not sustain , before as all Dissidents do – self destruct !

    • Eddie Barrett April 1, 2017 at 10:05 am #

      Jessica – As for BPB/ AAA – they fairly got found out in the recent Election – in favour of the border posts , anti EU and not in favour of a Border Poll – huge ties too , to the British Socialist Party !!!

    • Donal Lavery April 1, 2017 at 1:03 pm #

      I’m not even replying to anymore of your comments on this blog because it would encourage you not to find something better to do with your unhealthy amount of time and obscure inconsistencies. Get a life Jessica.

      • PF April 1, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

        As I said, So that’s how the respect agenda works, like, in practical terms, like?

  3. PF April 1, 2017 at 9:49 am #

    “for people to link arm-to-arm, shoulder-to-shoulder, and rid the world of Arlene Foster and everything her party represents.”

    So is that how the respect agenda works, in, like, practical terms, like…?

  4. fiosrach April 1, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    Respect is earned not freely lavished on those who don’t reciprocate.

    • PF April 1, 2017 at 11:05 am #


      This is simple. If, instead of writing, “…rid the world of Arlene Foster and everything her party represents.”, and replaced “Arlene” with, “Michelle, I would be quite rightly called out on it.

      You can’t have it both ways.

      • fiosrach April 1, 2017 at 12:44 pm #

        If instead of writing, you just thought it. It does go both ways but I agree more thought could have gone into the post.

        • PF April 1, 2017 at 1:32 pm #

          “Instead of writing, you just thought it.”

          Don’t be ridiculous. But feel free to read my thoughts anyway.

  5. jessica April 1, 2017 at 10:14 am #

    Their far left communist traits aren’t to my liking Eddie, but to each their own.
    They certainly aren’t my enemy
    I am also no fan of the EU though very anti border.

    I want a united and economically prosperous Ireland and you wont get that with inward looking anti capitalist mantra.

    Greed and corruption, lack of investment, inequality and unfair focus on select parts of the country are Irelands ills, not inward investment.

  6. jessica April 1, 2017 at 10:18 am #

    Why do you want their extinction Eddie?

    Sinn Fein are wedded to the political process is they ever want to reach government in the Dail. Radical parties will never reach those heights, let them take that role.

    You are making a big mistake if you treat Saoradh the way Fianna Fail treated Sinn Fein.

    Don’t take your base for granted.

    • Eddie Barrett April 1, 2017 at 2:40 pm #


      – Saoradh have an ambition to restart the War and break The GFA !!!
      They would murder everyone in SF too with their hatefullness !

  7. jessica April 1, 2017 at 11:26 am #

    I doubt Sinn Fein want to rid the world of Arlene Foster Peter.
    She is almost entirely single headedly responsible or their recent electoral success, the fact she is refusing to stand aside must be music to their ears.

    Donal’s blogs I believe are a liability for Sinn Fein, moreso because they come across not as his own personal views which would be perfectly fine but as if they hold some gravity within the party which I can only hope they don’t.

    I am a long term IRA supporter turned Sinn Fein supporter and yet he, many years my junior claims I am not welcome within Sinn Fein and should go and support Fianna Fail or some other party instead.

    Would love to hear some official feedback from the party on these views or moreso how accurately they represent the party.

    They certainly put me off them. Why should any of us support a party who’s spokespeople publically tell us our support is not wanted or welcome?

    • Donal Lavery April 1, 2017 at 1:07 pm #

      Your blogs are a liability for common sense. You haven’t a clue what you’re talking about and you pretend to run a consultancy business that doesn’t exist. You’ve never read a Sinn Fein manifesto and your political analyses are as good as your wording. Some Sermon on the mount you can offer Jessica.

      • Donal Lavery April 1, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

        And I don’t care whether you join Sinn Fein or not, anyone is welcome to do so. What I have said to you, which anyone in their right mind would, is that if you join and advocate routinely that they should abandon all their left wing policies and move to the centre then people won’t take you particularly seriously. So wise up and find a life beyond the Internet

  8. michael c April 1, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    Eddie,what’s the facebook page you reference?.Would be interested in reading it.

  9. jessica April 1, 2017 at 1:51 pm #

    Donal, I am only an interested contributor to this site that took up Judes offer to post a blog for any of us.
    I have no intention of getting involved in politics or standing for anything and nor do I consider my views to be preaching to anyone or even in any way better than anyone else’s.

    I am only saying how I feel, if it isn’t of any importance to you then that is fine, don’t worry about it.

    • Donal Lavery April 1, 2017 at 2:19 pm #

      Well please don’t misrepresent what I say or continue with these petty comments under each article – which Jude had requested to stop. You’re sounding like a broken record, no harm to you.

  10. jessica April 1, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

    I don’t remember advocating that Sinn Fein abandon any of the policies either in their manifesto or on their website.
    In fact on this site I did a blog on what Sinn Fein stands for and i went through every one of their policies on their site and agreed with every single one.

    I asked you for clarifications on your own support for nationalisation of businesses where you used NAMA as an example of how it could work.
    Nama almost bankrupt the country and the first question would be where do we find the money for nationalising big business and how do we decide what businesses to nationalise. Will it be ploughing money into failed businesses or as you suggest, to simply increase wages.

    You mentioned doubling the minimum wage, but how many people would lose their jobs as businesses simply could not afford it?

    I don’t see why my questioning these suggestions is such a bad thing?

    I get you don’t like it but is it not better to talk about such things especially if there are any plans to make them policy?

    In fact, is that not the whole point of a blog in the first place to share different views?

    • Donal Lavery April 1, 2017 at 5:59 pm #

      I don’t regard spending large amounts of time on this responding to you and your obscure views as being constructive when you change your views daily and clearly don’t understand what you’re talking about. Find better things to do with your time then spending your life online writing absolute inconsistencies that few people are motivated by.


  11. jessica April 1, 2017 at 3:02 pm #

    If the past is not sorted out now, then that will be inevitable Eddie.

    Do you think the people in the north will accept a return of the border, along with continued accusations of republicans being terrorists responsible for the troubles while the brits cover up their past and avoid genuine reconciliation at every opportunity?

    If an agreed Ireland is not in place before the centenary of partition what chance is there do you think of avoiding another conflict and a 32 county conflict at that?

  12. Scott Rutherford April 1, 2017 at 6:42 pm #

    “I was born a Shinner and I’ll die a Shinner”

    And doesn’t that just sum up NI politics perfectly. Our political persuasions are fed to us with our mothers milk. No rational or logic used to arrive at the point were you can honestly say, I believe this because I have weighed and measured the arguments for and against and have drawn my own conclusion with the brain god has given me.

    Instead of pondering over the policy’s and ideas we simply learn of all the arguments that our “tribe” and fight the political corner we have been ascribed with since birth.

    Christ people come out of your political bubble and try and at least approach things with a open mind and some civility.

    • giordanobruno April 1, 2017 at 11:20 pm #

      That is the line that jumped at out at me.
      How is one born a shinner?
      How can anyone have so little self respect that they pledge dedication to a political party for the rest of their lives regardless of what that party may do or try to do?
      Closed minds as you say. Very scary.
      Also, a relatively minor point in the face of such zealotry, ,but I think Colum Eastwood is a father so I fail to see why Michelle O’Neill being a mother is highlighted as some kind of advantage.
      He has just as much stake in the future of society here as she does.

    • Dominic Hendron April 2, 2017 at 2:21 am #

      Mike Nesbitt tried that Scott and I voted Unionist for the first time in my life because I believe there has to be some meeting on the way we live together here. The Unionist electorate appear to have rejected this which leaves both Colum and Mike out on a limb. Sinn Fein have a point in challenging that attitude. Another election will see a running to the trenches which solves nothing but exhibits the failure of NI. The ball is with political Unionism but they are not, it seems, able or willing to do anything remotely constructive with it. I do not believe Arlene Foster deserves to be First Minister.

  13. michael c April 1, 2017 at 6:54 pm #

    All I can say that in my lifetime,I have followed many political trends from NICRA,to Republican Clubs to Peoples Democracy before arriving at the point that only the movement led by Gerry Adams encapsulates my political philosophy.

    • Scott Rutherford April 1, 2017 at 7:05 pm #

      And if you arrived there through careful consideration and still remain open to change your political persuasions if your beliefs change or new circumstances appear.

      Then I would say good on you michael c.

  14. jessica April 1, 2017 at 8:02 pm #

    Are you open to change your political persuasions Scott?

    Under what circumstances might you consider supporting a new agreed Ireland veering the whole of the island for example?

    • Scott Rutherford April 2, 2017 at 10:02 am #

      Jessica yes I believe I am, but I am no diffrent from anyone else that I can easily fall into th trap of blinding supporting or rejecting something because it were my “natural” political position should be. It’s something that I consciously try and guard against however. I try to stop take a breathe and approach things with a level head rather than a emotional response. I fail in it from time to time just like any other human but I try non the less.

      Yes I would vote for a UI if I believed it was in the best interests of the people of NI (that’s all the people not just th prods). It’s the people of NI I consider my kin.

      A few things that a new UI could have to attract me to it would be the following.

      Universal free healthcare
      Universal free education
      Separation of religion and education (Catholic governance of schools)
      More affordable housing
      A economic model built on more than simply being a tax haven for corporations.

      So to flip the question around is there any circumstances you would vote to remain in the U.K.?

  15. jessica April 1, 2017 at 8:03 pm #

    a new agreed Ireland covering the whole of the island

  16. jessica April 1, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    Not everyone thinks like that Scott, in fact I would say that most people don’t

    But then my views are considered obscure apparently

  17. jessica April 1, 2017 at 11:27 pm #

    Perhaps his family were Sinn Fein members and he grew up steeped in politics leaving a strong emotional attachment to the party.

  18. jessica April 2, 2017 at 6:48 am #

    Northern Ireland cannot be anything other than a failure Dominic.
    If we carved up England north and south leaving an isolated 6 county area separate from the majority of the English people, what are the chances of it being a success even without the historical sectarian baggage we have here?
    Making Northern Ireland work is simply about trying to break even and make it easier to unite the country later.
    We are already closer to that than we realise as parts of the subvention are to cover costs of being in the UK, a shared UK asset depreciation which is over 1 billion annually for example or the running of the armed forces which isn’t cheap and should be deducted from actual running costs right away.

    Another election will not only see a running to the trenches, but will reinforce the nationalist position that there can be no return to devolved government before all previous agreements have been honoured.

    Lets be clear, this is not a Sinn Fein wish list, I imagine Sinn Fein would dearly love to get back into government so their own finances would be secured.

    Funding for the assembly may be frozen after three months but the running costs of constituency offices wont be.

    But they have listened to the people on the ground and got an increased mandate over it and no matter how tempting, they have to stand firm and deliver all of the previously agreed positions and stop the DUP and the british state from treating us with such contempt.

    The mandate is there to stand tall, another election and it will be reinforced at the SDLPs expense as UUP transfers wont save them next time out.

    Both Sinn Fein and the DUP will consolidate their votes and it will leave Sinn Fein as the biggest party.

    But they will still have to deliver these agreements before they can go back into Stormont so it will not change things, only reinforce Stormont’s closure.

    It will also be a precursor for a border poll.

    Arlene Foster will not be first minister before she is cleared in the RHI public enquiry, period. There would be outrage against any party who would even try to allow that to happen. It wont be until jobs are lost that she will do the right thing ad step aside.

    • Dominic Hendron April 2, 2017 at 7:45 am #

      Making NI work is trying to put people first and having a conversation about what happened and why it happened and what right and just relationships we should have on this Island instead of waiting until the next crisis. Mike Nesbitt and Colum Eastwood had taken the first steps in that direction but had not the time to develop it. It seems clear that the whole project spooked Unionism to the degree that they ran for cover rather than seize the day. The only true leadership is being given by Protestant Churchmen who attended Martin McGuinness’ funeral, Arlene was there too. The British government have no interest here and would only be too glad to let NI go it’s own way. There only responsibility is to tell the truth about the troubles.

      • Dominic Hendron April 2, 2017 at 9:09 am #

        I know the history of this place like everyone else but I believe Mike and Colum was a genuine attempt to break out of the mess we were in politically. Martin McGuinness was a peacemaker and never got the response he should have got from political Unionism through bad leadership and an inability to recognise and take opportunities. Whether this stems from grassroots “thranness” or personal animosity is hard to tell. There were certainly DUP people in the last Assembly who were very provocative.

        Having said that I’m getting a bit sick of self righteous “provos” on this site and their constant whining about the sacrifices they made for peace. They’re hatred of everything British and what has been called “mopery”. Fighting for justice and fairness didn’t mean blowing everything up and becoming wreckers. Gone dry your fucking eyes.

      • Dominic Hendron April 2, 2017 at 9:10 am #


  19. Eolach April 2, 2017 at 6:55 am #

    Or perhaps .in Ulster vernacular he was using a “turn of phrase ” like “I was born a Glensman and I’ll die a Glensman ” To me ,in my humble opinion, a couple of people are being overly pedantic…..it’s like going out of your way to be offended.

    • giordanobruno April 2, 2017 at 8:06 am #

      That is fair enough. I am definitely prone to a bit of pedantry.
      Maybe Donal will tell us what circumstances would persuade him to stop being a shinner

      If they go back into government with Arlene?
      If they took seats in Westminster?
      If they abandoned left of centre policies?
      If they fully supported full abortion rights?
      If they returned to the ballot and the bullet strategy?
      If Gerry turned out to have been in the IRA (just joking on that one!)?

  20. Eolach April 2, 2017 at 7:57 am #

    Dominic seems to suffer from selective amnesia….The UUP had their inglorious days in the sun ,They ran this place like their own little fiefdom for fifty years .Obnoxiously they ,to reinforce and strengthen their grip , added little extras like…murder , racism , sectarianism ,gerrymandering etc etc. .Have they ever offered the minutest of apologies ,no ….but they would like us to apologize for having the temerity to say enough was enough ! Dominic also conveniently forgets that the SDLP and the UUP were in government before…..there was no cordiality ,no working together for the better good ,no utopia…..that utopia he seems to think will manifest if we would take leave of our senses and vote for them again.No Dominic all there was was the constant incessant whining …..the IRA ( not their own paramilitaries ) must decommission …..Sinn féin must wear sackcloth and ashes ,we started all this ….we took a bulldozer through their garden of Eden …..and this carries on unremittingly to this present day .We are sick to the back teeth , we have had countless peaceful overtures thrown back in our faces ,we’ve had enough, if equality is an irrational and illogical concept to Unionism then their bleak and hopeless future is of their own making .

  21. jessica April 2, 2017 at 8:16 am #

    So all of the reaching out from Martin McGuinness over the past 10 years weren’t even the first step.

    Neither Mike Nesbitt or any elected representative of unionism has yet to acknowledge the poor leadership of political unionism led to the troubles in the first place. Mike behaved like a bigot most of his time in charge focussed only on reviving the UUP, it was not the first thing he tried but the last to reach out, and he wasn’t even genuine in that. It was purely an electoral pact between the two parties which hurt the UUP and saved the SDLP for a little longer anyway.

    The SDLP have gotten good at claiming kudos for the work of others.

    In fact Sinn Fein need to do something about that.
    They have done far more than any party to shore up peace and build bridges, including the Alliance party yet thanks to gobshites like you and a based media, it is other parties who get the credits.

  22. jessica April 2, 2017 at 8:22 am #

    I agree Eolach
    I know they try to avoid casting back over the troubles, but perhaps it is time Sinn Fein made it clearer, the conflict was started by unionism and the british, it is they who need to step up to the plate now to make things better and to tell the truth about why we ended up in a dirty war in the first place.

    How else can we prevent it happening again?

  23. jessica April 2, 2017 at 8:29 am #

    More importantly gio, what would make you consider voting for Sinn Fein?

    Sinn Fein being in power in Dublin and becoming one of the two governments with responsibility for the implementation of the GFA?
    When the finally become the largest party in the north?

    Is there nothing positive you can say about them?

    • giordanobruno April 2, 2017 at 8:53 am #

      I have said positive things about them.
      I have voted for them in the past.
      In the last election they got a preference somewhere on my list.
      Much of what they say is fine.
      It is their views on our recent past and their links to that violent past in the form of men like Gerry which gives me problems.
      That is not going to change, I suspect,

  24. jessica April 2, 2017 at 9:14 am #

    It is the old terrorist or freedom fighter chestnut then gio.
    There is no cracking that nut im afraid. I will ever see things the way you do because your views conflict with my own life experiences.
    Most people have moved past it though. Not everyone will I guess

    • giordanobruno April 2, 2017 at 2:54 pm #

      Sinn Fein have not moved past it though, have they?

  25. jessica April 2, 2017 at 9:20 am #

    The political mess as you call it can only be broken by the british state.
    They know what they have to do, they just don’t want to at the moment.

    The only whining I hear is from people like yourself who are usually the first to bring up the conflict, the bombs, the shops destroyed purely for party political gain.
    It doesn’t go unnoticed.

    • Dominic Hendron April 2, 2017 at 9:36 am #

      You have an exceptional talent for missing the point Jessica

  26. jessica April 2, 2017 at 9:39 am #

    We all have points of view Dominic.
    The real problem is those who think theirs is the only one worth considering

    • Dominic Hendron April 2, 2017 at 9:53 am #

      Some of us try to think outside the box

    • Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 10:59 am #

      No Jessica, I like others just think your point of view is a load of inconsistent, uninformed, ill-informed and mis-informed, garbage. You definitely don’t come across as very knowledgeable about political or economic affairs and you write based on really rather primitive gut instincts and a changing mind-set which nobody comprehends – both of which are embarrassing. Ever read over your work or comments before thinking you should offer others feedback? Who really takes you seriously?! Get a life, some stability and stop spending so much time on this and making snide remarks at others, it’s sad, very sad. You must be going out of business as a ”Technical Consultant” when you have this much free time (which is hard to believe anyway).

  27. jessica April 2, 2017 at 10:03 am #

    Nothing wrong with thinking Dominic, in fact some people should try it instead of inserting thoughts they read in a book somewhere

    But if the people with the control don’t want to facilitate much needed change, then actions are needed, at least until we develop and add Jedi powers to that thinking process

  28. jessica April 2, 2017 at 10:39 am #

    It is a move in the right direction that you consider all of the people in NI as one people Scott.

    So do I, but I also see the people south of the border as equally the same people, though I have a lot more in common with them than I do with the unionist population in the north east of the country.

    That is a result of decades of segregation, which has isolated the unionist people from the rest of the people of Ireland and is understandable that you feel no affinity to those outside of your comfort zone.

    You are an intelligent person and you know that 100 years ago, Ireland was one people.

    As for what circumstances would lead me to vote to remain in the U.K.

    Simply, a return to Ireland being one people.

    It would need to be as a result of talks between all of the nations of these islands.

    I imagine the same reforms to the UK that the Scottish will be seeking could be popular in Ireland.

    I don’t believe the issue over EU membership is as much about being European as it is about control over their own relationship within a free trade market place.

    England making all of the decisions has not worked out as well for Scotland and I believe replacement of membership with the EU single market with a larger commonwealth wide free market would be more appealing, but while those talks have been on-going, only England has been part of the process and that is the core of the issue. If the UK is to survive, it needs to be based on equality, not english rule with select devolved region controls handed down.

    If the UK was based on equality, where Sterling was owned through shares between banks of England, Scotland and Ireland and built on equality even if england have the greater say based on their shares and stake.

    Each member nation should be involved in every decision, especially trade negotiations.

    Under those circumstances, I would not only vote for Ireland to re-join the UK, I would promote it.

    • Scott Rutherford April 2, 2017 at 11:08 am #

      “That is a result of decades of segregation, which has isolated the unionist people from the rest of the people of Ireland and is understandable that you feel no affinity to those outside of your comfort zone”

      Jessica there isnt and never has been any part of my life were I have been segregated from my Catholic neighbors. Perhaps it’s because I’m young and knew nothing of the troubles.

      Maybe growing up in the countryside helped also. I wasn’t ghettoised the way perhaps someone in the city may be. My father and I bought cattle and feed from Catholic, helped our Catholic neighbors when things needed doing and they in turn always lent us a hand. I was educated with Catholics (integrated education), I work with Catholics, have good friends who are Catholic and have members of my own family plus a girlfriend who is Catholic.

      This is why I don’t buy the “two communities” line which is often peddled here. The community I live in is completely mixed. There’s no segregation in my life whatsoever.

      I certainly feel an attachment to the people in the south, just as I feel an attachment to the people in Scotland. I guess that’s a natural enough feeling since I am best summed up as culturally a Ulsterman which is a hybrid really of Scotch and Irish.

      whilst I am certainly aware that at one time Ireland operated as a single unit (under the uk), but I have known nothing else only a border so defining the people of NI as my kin feels more natural to me.

      • fiosrach April 2, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

        Try substituting Irish or nationalist for catholic, Scott and see how your post reads. One thing you can say about republicans is that the movement is not under the thumb of any church.

  29. jessica April 2, 2017 at 11:42 am #

    That is a good thing and you are right Scott.
    It is night and day between my day and now.

    Orange marches probably did the most to stir up the division, it was like a mass exodus to the south every 12th of July.

    That is why we need to build bridges right across this island and also between the two islands.

  30. Eolach April 2, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

    Jessica , regarding your prerequisites for an UI amalgamating in sort of union with England ,Scotland and Wales….I , like most Irishmen , would be riddled with scepticism ,cynicism and mistrust. ….848 years of ethic cleansing , slavery ,pogrom and genocide have left a very bitter aftertaste. However ,in the Interests of reuniting our country and our people ,I would be prepared to explore every avenue and leave no stone unturned if I thought that we all ,as Irish people, could become united and progressive in making this country the nation it deserves to be . I think , If it had to be within a UK , federalism is probably the only feasible setup agreeable ,at present , to me…..It’s that auld equality thing again ! Religion , although born a catholic , has absolutely no claims on me …I am defined by my nationality and without that additional baggage I have been able to have had many intelligent and thought provoking conversations with people of other persuasions concerning politics , allegiance and their historical viewpoints and if one enters a debate with an inquisitive open mindedness you will gain invaluable knowledge ….I do believe that the near future will force all of us to reappraise our attitudes ,a UI .a federal Ireland…whatever , will be serious topics of discussion …Unionism ,although probably unenthusiastic, is vital to this debate ,they comprise 1/6 of the population and as such their input is essential.

    • Dominic Hendron April 2, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

      848 years and counting eh Eolach. I wonder what’s wrong with PBP and AAA having strong links with British socialists?

  31. jessica April 2, 2017 at 4:27 pm #

    I agree completely Eolach and it would appear to me that nationalism is making more of an effort to find an inclusive settlement that unionists would be comfortable with, whereas they are still in the “there will never be an Irish language act under my watch” mode.

    Until there is serious discussion we will never get anywhere, and in order for it to be serious, both governments MUST take the lead on it and stop washing their hands off the problem.

  32. jessica April 2, 2017 at 4:41 pm #

    In what way have they not moved past it gio?

    That makes no sense at all.
    Perhaps if you back up your claims with more information and don’t just assume everyone thinks the way you do and understands where you are coming from.

  33. Eolach April 2, 2017 at 5:43 pm #

    Dominic ,I don’t think I have ever mentioned PBP or AAA in any post . I consider them a complete irrelevance without coherent policies or ideas …just about.clinging to the periphery of politics. Jessica ,yes ,both governments must be made to honour their responsibilities . The GFA is an international agreement registered at the UN. It is incumbent on both governments to uphold and strengthen it , if peace and a semblance of stability is to remain. .I believe Ireland has been surreptitiously sitting on it’s hands….whether through deviant politics , to circumvent the growth of SF, or some other abstract scheme known only to themselves. This, up until now, has played very nicely into Unionism’s hand. However the Brexit hurricane is about to hit land and everything will be up in the air…undoubtedly everything is changing for Britain …..two land borders with the EU to maintain , here and Gibralter..Scotland making independence overtures aided by the arrogance of the incompetent Mrs May ,a possible hard border here , vanishing farm subsidies , peace money evaporating……oh this for the DUP will be than bigger than cash for ash when an explanation is sought ! We need to have formulated a robust set of plans , we need new and positive ideas that will be receptive to the public… I believe this is one of those ” once in a lifetime “moments and an unprecedented opportunity to make that proverbial hay.

    • jessica April 2, 2017 at 5:51 pm #

      It is only an opportunity with the right person at the helm.
      If only we had Charley Haughey in the driving seat today.

    • Dominic Hendron April 2, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

      Sorry Eolach my mind was on something else. Found your accuracy in our oppression interesting though. Do you tell your children about it?

  34. jessica April 4, 2017 at 12:41 pm #

    What point of view have I expressed that you consider to be inconsistent, uninformed, ill-informed and mis-informed, garbage Donal?

    Perhaps you can give me an example.

    But in general, neither me or my views are welcome on this site, is that what you are saying?

  35. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 1:47 pm #

    Jessica, virtually everything you say is inconsistent. You were a Federal Unionist recently and now you’re batting for the blood-nationalist fanatics in Saoradh. Are you actually sane? Do you wonder why people don’t take you seriously?

    This is Jude’s site not mine, so it is none of my business to determine your suitability or to moderate it. But I personally think you are wasting your time writing stuff like this and leaving these snide comments because they are making the wrong sort of impression. People respect consistency, even if they don’t agree with it; and they also respect knowledge (including from books and reputable sources – which you seem to have a deficit of/problem with). Seriously, get a life and stop being so petty on this. You really do come across like an immature teenager in your tone. How is that going to influence anyone? And don’t say that’s not your intention, otherwise why write at all?!

  36. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 1:50 pm #

    Why don’t you just comment under articles where your ”feedback” would be welcome and appreciated? Trust me, you are NOT changing my mind on ANYTHING. I don’t take you seriously and don’t value your commentary. No offense.

    • Wolfe tone April 4, 2017 at 2:03 pm #

      For hesus Horus Krishna sakes Donal will you give Jessica a break? She has her point of view and is entitled to express it as have you. But none of us know everything but I swear there is a whiff of know it all about you, and trust me nobody is fond of a know it all. Personally I welcome those of a female persuasion voicing their views on this blog. I still miss Norma, she was great craic!

      • giordanobruno April 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

        I hardly ever get the chance to say this (as you usually talk a load of oul shite) but for once I agree with you.

        • Wolfe tone April 4, 2017 at 2:52 pm #

          Gio, I am too much of a gentleman to say what I think of you. However reading between the lines I hope you can determine my opinion of you anyway? There’s no ‘hard evidence’ of course but it should be obvious. Know what I mean?

          • giordanobruno April 4, 2017 at 3:07 pm #

            I’m lovely really. if you just gave me a chance!

  37. jessica April 4, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    Its a good job i’m think skinned Donal.
    If I didn’t know better, I would almost think you didn’t like me. 😛

  38. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

    Wolfe Tone, in case you haven’t noticed every second comment she makes on this blog is a snide remark at my views or reference to me and given that she doesn’t even know me, that is pretty strange – almost as strange as pretending you are a self-employed Technical Consultant. Jessica, please do yourself a favour and stop offering ”feedback” to those who do not want it, you genuinely are wasting your time and theirs. If you want people to take you seriously and respect what you have to say, then respect yourself by remaining consistent all the time and not some of the time.

  39. jessica April 4, 2017 at 2:17 pm #

    What I like about this site, is that we can make comments.
    I hate media bias where people push opinions down our throats without being challenged.
    You don’t like being challenged because you are not as clever as you think you are and have a superiority complex.
    I did my reading of other peoples bullshit 20 to 30 years ago. I now make my own mind up based on facts and what I see and hear from others.

    If you don’t like my views, challenge them. If I am as think and immature as you believe I am then it shouldn’t be too difficult to prove it.

    From experience, we can learn a lot from even the most simple of us.
    We don’t learn anything from books, we only remember what we have read in varying degrees.

  40. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 2:23 pm #

    Lmao. You are not in a position to comment on how ”clever” anyone is, put it like that. Nobody believes you own a business or work in a managerial capacity, Jessica. I don’t challenge your views because I don’t respect your inconsistencies enough to spend the time doing so, it’s as simple as that. I’m not a Teacher and this isn’t school. Your views are unstable and uninformed. Why would I sit for ages trying to persuade you otherwise?! Unlike you, I have a life beyond the online realms.

  41. jessica April 4, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    Where am I making snide remarks? I have challenged your views which you posted on this site that the people we elect to govern us should be paid the average industrial wage. That the state should nationalise businesses to pay better wages.
    That the minimum wage should be doubled.

    All you do is make excuses not to respond and attack me for challenging your views which clearly you think are superior.

    I have never claimed to be self employed and never have been.
    I have worked as a technical consultant for over 15 years, I now work for my own company and am a director of 4 companies which is not really any of your business and nothing to do with this site or its content and something I want to keep separate as I am an employer and have responsibilities beyond my own personal views.

    If you dont believe me then that is perfectly fine, it is no skin off my nose.

  42. jessica April 4, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

    And who put you in a position to comment on how clever I may be?

    You are afraid to challenge my views because I would mop the floor with you.

    • Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

      Actually I believe it was you who started the condescending stuff by claiming people ”don’t understand the needs of business” or the economy, when actually they know A LOT more than you. You also make some of the most repugnant and ignorant comments I’ve seen on this, which other people have highlighted to you. Seriously, find better things to do with your unhealthy amount of time – the fact that you criticise someone for reading things you haven’t a clue about shows just how ignorant and thick you are.


  43. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

    Owning your own business is being self-employed Jessica and the fact that you didn’t know that further confirms the suspicion that you aren’t what you say you are. If you are the Director of any company then I’m 108 years old. Stop writing under what I write and leave it at that, this is getting ludicrous.

  44. jessica April 4, 2017 at 2:38 pm #

    I cant believe you are an accountant Donal.

    I own four companies. I am an employee of one of them.
    I have never been self employed as I incorporated from day 1.

    Perhaps you have been reading the wrong books.

  45. jessica April 4, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    I know you think you know a lot more than others Donal.
    That is why you are unable to listen. As they say, your cup is too full already.
    You need to empty your cup and perhaps then you might actually learn something.

  46. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    No Jessica I can assure you that you aren’t a Director because your name is not registered with Companies House, which is a mandatory requirement of being one. So get down from that high horse and lecturing people via your ”feedback” when the reality is you haven’t a clue what you’re talking about.

  47. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    (That awkward moment when someone is caught out).

  48. jessica April 4, 2017 at 3:27 pm #

    Sure Donal, says the accountant who thinks a director is self employed

  49. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 3:32 pm #

    I never said a Director was self-employed, I said that someone who is classified as the owner of a business which they own and work at, is, by definition, self-employed. You do not have to be a sole trader to be self-employed. But I think if anyone is in any doubt they should search for your credentials on the Company House database, which is mandatory for all Directors, and you’ll find nothing at all – which is what I suspected all along, given some of the ignorant/poorly informed comments you have made. What sort of Director applauds the efforts of blood-sacrifice fanatics like Saoradh, who want to restart the conflict here and who would destroy our economy in doing so?! You are a lunatic!

    • Wolfe tone April 4, 2017 at 5:37 pm #

      ‘Blood-sacrifice fanatics’? Seriously? Careful now, you are starting to sound like Dudley Edwards and a few others on this site. Btw, I have seen more blood on the end of my toothbrush! (ye Gio I know I should get that checked).

  50. jessica April 4, 2017 at 3:41 pm #

    You are bringing my work into this to make it personal and to shut me up Donal.
    No other reason.
    I welcomed Saoradh entering politics and standing for election. I would support them in going in that direction, just as I supported Sinn Fein taking over from the IRA.
    I would be a hypocrite otherwise.
    Once again, you attack me over everything and anything to avoid the real points I have challenged you on.

  51. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

    No I brought it up to highlight how you talk absolute rubbish on this and make condescending remarks which you know little about and cannot substantiate. Look, I don’t want your ”feedback” and would appreciate if you stopped trying to engage with me because I don’t want to discuss anything with you. I don’t have the time to go around in circles, so leave it at that. Simple as. Focus your efforts where they are desired Jessica.

    • Dominic Hendron April 4, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

      If we speak on a blogsite are we not all fare game Donal, within reason? You appear to have an elitist attitude which is typical of SF. Take a dump and get a load off your mind, or is that what you’re doing on Jessica

      • Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

        We are but in case you haven’t been following Jessica mentions me or my views in a snide remark constantly – it’s the only thing she is consistent about, while pretend to be a Director of four companies and lecturing others on the economy. Jessica no harm to you but you come across as a bit of a nut-case.

        I don’t know how an SDLP-fundamentalist like you Dominic can accuse anyone of being elitist – Is it snobbery to ask someone to spend their time engaging with people who want to debate their negative remarks?! I don’t have the time like Jessica does, to sit on this all day and respond, sorry.

        • Dominic Hendron April 4, 2017 at 6:56 pm #

          There has always been an intellectual elitist strain within the republican movement coupled with an equally elitist respect for people who have done prison time. Republican politics is built on these twin pillars which are not mutually exclusive. What makes the SDLP different is that at the start of the troubles they were looked to as the natural leaders of nationalism especially by parents who had grown up pre troubles and were concerned about their sons. People like John Hume and Seamus Mallon stood tall and articulated nationalism while republicans were wrecking towns and involving young men, often just children, in armed conflict which led them to jail and worse. Who were the real fundamentalists?

  52. jessica April 4, 2017 at 7:02 pm #

    I agree that Donal does have an elitist attitude Dominic.
    He may have been born a shinner, but I wonder where the silver spoon in his mouth came from.

  53. jessica April 4, 2017 at 7:06 pm #

    You are perfectly entitled to your views Donal.
    You come across to me as someone very much in love with themselves.
    I imagine you spend so much time kissing your own arse, you think everyone else wants to.
    That isn’t a negative remark, unfortunately I am being very honest with you as I have always been.

    I am a director, and I am all legitimately and above boardly, registered in companies house.
    Although what difference that makes is beyond me.

    • Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

      Jessica can I ask you a question, other than why your details are not on the CH register – why do you insist on spending your time writing comment after comment with someone who thinks your views are so badly informed and who has told you, routinely, that your commentary will NOT change their mind because they see no logic or study in many of your analyses? I mean surely if you do own a business and are a Director of four different companies you would not have the time to sit around and do this?! I know people who are retired and who follow this blog and they can’t believe how much time you spend on it. It is not healthy.

      Why don’t you just avail of my suggestion and not continue to offer “feedback” which isn’t desired by the person you’re lecturing? It’s not a hard thing to understand. Maybe then you would have more time to spend with your family and to make additional profits in these “business” ventures of yours. Now I’m telling you that after this comment I will not be replying to your immature remarks any further because it only encourages you. Pick up a book, read a little and then come back and have sensible discussions on this instead of your standard emotional negativity and instability. A little knowledge can change everything.

      Well Dominic the electorate now don’t seem to think too much of the SDLP or their “achievements” – peace was John Hume’s legacy, not the SDLP’s (in case you didn’t know Mallon was totally against his dialogue with republicans). The SDLP have a poor history of equal rights for other groups too (the LGBT community and women). It’s a right wing patriarchal party dominated by the Catholic Church – as stated by none other than Paddy Devlin.

      • Dominic Hendron April 4, 2017 at 9:21 pm #

        The troubles generation have given SF their vote in order to bring about change. That change could only come from the republican movement who are unrecognisable from the 1970s. Unionism has failed to change and has reinforced the Republican vote. Unionism has replaced every forward looking leader it ever had from Terence O’Neill to Brian Faulkner to Ian Paisley; and even Mike Nesbitt felt he had to resign after he had been abandoned by voters. SFs success then is more down to Unionist negativity than Nationalist support. The “abominable no man” has not thawed in almost 100 years and Arlene Foster is the Ice queen of politics here. The SDLP under Colum Eastwood is also a very different resurgent party that can still make a difference.

  54. jessica April 4, 2017 at 7:10 pm #

    I get that Donal is making a prat out of himself again, but who in the republican movement has an intellectual elitist attitude would you say Dominic?

  55. jessica April 4, 2017 at 9:15 pm #

    Donal, first of all I am not going to tell you why you wont find my details on the CH register, but I promise you and give you my word that they are.
    If you choose not to believe me then that is fine, it really doesn’t matter that much to me. I do not engage here to discuss what I do for a living or for any financial or business related reasons.

    As for how much time I spend in front of a computer. I agree, it is very much unhealthy and I hope over the coming years will be greatly reduced as I doubt I could survive another 10 years at the work rate I have been putting in over the past 20.
    When I do, I will not want the internet near me so unfortunately you may have to put up with me for just a little while longer at least.
    And I don’t spend my time on this site, replies to my comments arrive via email which unfortunately I receive immediately. I reply in between when I want to take a break from what I am doing which is why my responses are often off the top of my head.

    But you ask a reasonable question in why not ignore your posts where I disagree with them and you do not want my feedback.

    The answer is, that seeing this island reunited is more important to me than any political party or any ideology. That is my one unwavering principal and desire.

    Is it an obsession, perhaps. I have plenty of bad memories and experiences from the troubles and am probably emotionally and mentally traumatised as a result.
    I have said on this site many times that I consider myself damaged goods and that is how my views should be seen. Whether there is anything positive in them is really up to the reader to decide. But you Donal, cannot decide for everyone.

    Right now I feel mentally good and content, but even negative attitudes from unionists north and south can send me crazy and I am sure they feel the same way when we rile them up. For that reason I feel that I understand loyalists and recognise emotional traumas when they speak of the importance of their bonfires, culture and traditions which they feel are at risk. It is at the emotional level I can relate and empathise with them. We must break the intransigence on both sides and therefore we have to stop winding each other up and to try to find a way to move on, as hopefully plenty of people my age (around 50) have a few years left in us yet.

    I do not have any cast iron stance, such as left wing policies or nothing. I will give anything consideration or a chance if it will bring about a united Ireland, whether that be as a sovereign republic or as part of a federal UK. My views are nothing special, neither am I. I can relate to many on this site though who all have a common desire for what is best for this country.

    I do not see my thinking as being inconsistent at all. Your mistake is believing every republican thinks the way you do. We don’t, there are a myriad of views which need to be considered on all sides.

    You also cannot be a man for the people, if you are unwilling to listen to the people, even people you have little respect for.

    Another passion I have is for Ireland to be a prosperous nation, more for the benefit of my children who I would like to see remain in Ireland and not have to leave to find work or opportunities in other parts of the world.

    Now for your posts in particular. You come across as being an official spokesperson for Sinn Fein.

    Now, I like what I hear from Sinn Fein, especially in the south and I have given my time and support freely for the party in the past. Something I do not have to do.

    If I disagree with your economic views on a site I have been contributing to long before you started to, why should i not challenge them and what have you got to fear from my doing so?

    I am willing to treat you with respect Donal if you would do likewise and take the discussion seriously.

    You can be sure that I do.

  56. Donal Lavery April 4, 2017 at 9:37 pm #

    Jessica I have memories of the conflict too, as evidenced in prior articles, but I don’t use them as an excuse to come on here and make snide comments towards people – particularly people who can argue their views better than I can (like Jude, for example). That is the problem with you, you don’t come across like you respect other people’s points of view based on the remarks you make and your tone. Anything I’ve said to you has simply been applying your same attitude back to you.

    Look I don’t want to get into an argument with you. If you have informed alternative points of view and theories on the range of topics which we write about, then I’m all up for engaging with you, but on a respectful level and not going around in circles and trading insults – which Jude has asked to stop. I don’t have the same amount of time to spend on this as you might have, I am exhausted from working all day and then taking work home at the weekends. So let’s agree to exchange opinions courteously and accept our own internal Good Friday Agreement on blogging and commentary.

    • Scott Rutherford April 4, 2017 at 10:02 pm #

      You couldn’t be that bloody busy today Donal you’ve commented 13 times today alone, often during working hours!

  57. jessica April 4, 2017 at 9:58 pm #

    I very much respect other peoples points of view including yours Donal and look forward to engaging more positively with you.
    Are you sure you are not being a little over sensitive though?
    I remember my school days and the banter and abuse we gave one another was tremendous.
    It seems the education system is not what it used to be. 🙂
    Everything is just too politically correct these days.

  58. jessica April 4, 2017 at 10:05 pm #

    ah, working hours Scott.
    I remember those. 🙂