Brexit: the death of the GFA

For a short period in 1970, I lived on one side of the border and worked on the other. Each weekday morning I’d drive in my unreliable car from outside the small Donegal village of Muff to St Jospeh’s secondary school in Derry’s Creggan. It should have been a pleasant drive but it rarely was: there was an inevitable British Army checkpoint on the northern side of the border asking me who I was, where was I going, where was my driving licence or other proof of identification. Looking back, the words of Paul McCartney’s yet-to-be-written (and banned) song Give Ireland Back to the Irish seem apposite:

‘Tell me how would you like it/If on your way to work/You were stopped by Irish soldiers/Would you lie down and do nothing/Would you give in or go berserk?’

Now we face a similar situation with Brexit. In a June article in the Irish Times, Marie Lindsay, a school principal who lives in Muff and is a school principal in Derry, speaks of her fears that Brexit will take us back to those days of the 1970s.

Her son Gerard works as a plumber on both sides of the border. The implications for his customer base are frightening. A Donegal chef voices his concerns: ““There is a lot of worry amongst border traders who are producers in food about the freedom of movement of foods, ingredients and produce in general.”

It’s the real lives of people like this which should be examined when we discuss Brexit, not vague talk of a ‘seamless border’ or a ‘frictionless border’. People like Marie Lindsay and her son and the chef – these are the people whose lives and livelihood are likely to be disrupted or even destroyed.

And we should be clear about one thing: this is Britain’s doing. The south of Ireland didn’t ask for this plunge into the past. The majority of the people of the north of Ireland didn’t ask for it either. But because the DUP is happy to suck up to the Tories and be unbending Brexiteers, all of the people of Ireland, north and south, will suffer to varying degrees. Some will have their livelihood destroyed. Others will suffer the daily irritant of being checked as to the validity of their movements in their own country.


What a pity that all the people of the south of Ireland and the majority of the people in the north can’t come together and speak with one voice, telling the British government “You want to inflict economic wounds on yourself? Fine, go ahead. But don’t expect Irish people to join you in your irrational behaviour.”

And beyond that, in an even darker place, there will be people who will say “An English parliament is going to divide Ireland and the Irish people? We’re going to be made explain ourselves on a daily basis as we live with decisions made in another country?” These people, you can be sure, will not lie down and do nothing.


Brexit will mean the dismemberment of the Good Friday Agreement.



94 Responses to Brexit: the death of the GFA

  1. huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 8:55 am #

    Jude, have you missed the bit where the British government (and remarkably, Unionism) have made it perfectly clear that they propose a continuation of the current Border arrangements.
    On this issue, they have become the anti-Partitionists.

    Conversely, it’s the EU (cheered on by the Dublin government and remarkably, Sinn Fein) who are howling for the imposition of a Border. They are the Partitionists.

  2. Ciaran August 22, 2017 at 9:02 am #

    The British government are using the border as leverage to get a better trade deal. It their trump card. They still don’t give a shit about this island.

    • Tam August 22, 2017 at 9:11 am #

      I think you give the government too much credit.

  3. Tam August 22, 2017 at 9:10 am #

    The title of this article is ‘Brexit: the death of the GFA, yet apart from the last line (which merely restates the assertion in the title) it doesn’t even mention the GFA. There is no argument made whatsoever. Very poor.

    On the content of the article itself, it alludes to a return to soldiers on the border. Why would this be?

    • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 9:23 am #

      The Good Friday Agreement died years ago in a cloud of apathetic non-delivery.
      Strand 1 has collapsed (yet again).
      Strand 2 died shortly after childbirth.
      Strand 3 has atrophied.

      Its time to bury the corpse.

    • giordanobruno August 22, 2017 at 11:05 am #

      The GFA always was filled with creative ambiguity, something for which we have to reluctantly give credit to Tony Blair and his team. Without that it would probably never have been agreed.
      That I think is why there is still disagreement on what was actually agreed on things like a Human Rights Act’
      I don’t think it is dying or dead just yet thanks to that very ambiguity.
      History will judge whether that was a good thing or not but we have had 20 years and counting of relative peace and relative stability so that is not bad in my book.
      The key element on the constitutional issue is still relevant and is unlikely to be replaced with anything better.
      The only problem with it is that it left the calling of a referendum to the discretion of the SOS.
      Something which, incredibly, Sinn Fein agreed to..
      So I agree with you that Jude has not shown why the GFA is under threat from Brexit so I am not sure why SF supporters are trying to scare the horses at present other than to keep the party faithful happy.

  4. Gearoíd August 22, 2017 at 9:34 am #

    I get it now Tam, you’re actually MT aren’t you. Lmao

    • paddykool August 22, 2017 at 10:48 am #

      Ahhhh! MT !!!! what ever became of MT? Tam is a worthy clone , come to think of it.;the very same MO.

      • Niall August 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

        Military Troll?

      • giordanobruno August 22, 2017 at 2:34 pm #

        MT committed the great crime of referring to ‘provisional Sinn Fein’ which is definitely not allowed.
        Though calling Fianna Fáil fascists is apparently fine.

    • Nuacht August 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm #

      Gearoid, what took you so long to figure that out ??

  5. Cal August 22, 2017 at 10:29 am #

    I can’t help but think that a hard brexit ushering in border checks, economic stagnation and perpetual tory austerity will drive forward efforts to reunite Ireland. The border is there regardless if there’s custom posts or not. Mount the customs posts and bring home the reality of partition on this island to its people.

    • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 10:41 am #

      That’s what Sinn Fein scare-mongering has been all about.

      • Cal August 22, 2017 at 10:55 am #

        It’s not scare mongering if it’s true. It will hurt business, farmers, students and divide communities and families. That hurt will demand change.

        • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 11:00 am #

          But point the finger of blame where it deserves to be pointed.
          It would be an EU Border-post.
          As dictated to a Dublin government.
          And cheered on by Sinn Fein in their attempt to never waste a good crisis.

          • Cal August 22, 2017 at 11:07 am #

            It would be a British customs border imposed from London. You can’t leave the customs union and claim to want open borders. That position is nonsensical.

          • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 11:53 am #

            It makes more sense than trying to place border posts on 200+ roads over a border of 310 miles.

            The British, and significantly Unionists, have made it clear that they are happy with the current open border on Ireland.

            That is clearly a “special status”.

            Sinn Fein should be ripping their arm off in agreement.

            But no, Sinn Fein are going bleating to their Dublin and EU overlords to scream “Foul” and hope that they will create a real crisis out of very little.
            It’s entirely self-defeating.

          • Cal August 22, 2017 at 12:19 pm #

            The Customs Union is there to avoid custom checks. It is a closed club, either in or out. If out, you have custom checks.

            Britain seems to believe that they can remain in the customs union yet have free trade deals with the rest of the world, thus undermining the entire EU customs union. They hope to do this by cynical exploitation of the political situation in Ireland.

            A customs border will be put in place. That is a direct consequence of British withdrawal from the customs union. They’ve been told this before, during and after the referendum.

          • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 3:19 pm #

            Possibly, Cal.

            But it will be the EU/Dublin insisting on it as a punishment to the Brexiteers.

            The Brits, for their part, can stand back, Pontias Pilate-like, and rightly claim they proposed a continuation of an open border.

          • Sherdy August 22, 2017 at 9:41 pm #

            But when refugees/immigrants start coming from the European mainland through Ireland to England you’ll soon see very hard border restrictions being imposed and paid for by the Brits!
            So many of them voted for Brexit to keep the foreigners out they’re not going to allow immigration via Ireland (north and south).

          • Tam August 22, 2017 at 10:12 pm #

            Why would refugees/immigrants start coming from the European mainland through Ireland to England after Brexit? Surely it would make more sense for them to do it now?

          • Stephen Kelly August 24, 2017 at 3:46 pm #

            Fek me big celt Sinn Feinn bad Sinn Feinn useless Sinn Feinn scum Sinn Feinn B——s
            Sinn Feinn liars Sinn Feinn voters idiots There is that any help. Fek you are becoming so boreing you used to now and again have something worth reading but now you are joining gio and tam on the quick scroll wheel.

          • huge Celt. August 24, 2017 at 8:21 pm #

            @ Stephen.

            Sorry, I hadn’t realised that I was here to

            Feel free to scroll on past…..

  6. paddykool August 22, 2017 at 11:09 am #

    There’s no chance that the border will ever be properly “policed” by technology alone ,so if Westminster is prepared to allow the EU to bleed over into Norneverland and therefore ahven for crime and smuggling like we cannot imagine , that’s exactly what they’ll get .Would they expect the Republic of Ireland to front the cash for cameras and drones across a stretch of some hundreds of miles for something that some 27 countries think is the daftest piece of non-business ever conceived. It sounds a bit like Trump’s fantasy Mexican wall, already.Then there is the question of citizens’ privacy .Already many are uncomfortable with the intrusion of CCTV cameras in their daily lives in towns across the land …will they stand for such intimate daily scrutiny in the service of something the majority don’t even want ? As for the DUP …they jumped in without any thought of any kind, like idiots jumping into the fire. The whole agri – business will be in chaos and the farming community have already voiced their real concerns. They will never have it so good again. The DUP never wanted a Belfast Agreement either, remember. They had to be dragged into that and then they pretended to do politics for ten years.There’s not much joined -up thinking going on in there.They didn’t even understand that they were being tested and were left to hang themselves in Stormont until it was time to call all the wee boats in and stop the game.It took some little patience but the point was proven that their hearts weren’t in that one either and they didn’t really have what it takes to be in a power-sharing arrangement; they haven’t the DNA for it.Now they are hanging onto the coattails of the Tories as that party quietly implodes. If Labour gains power again they will be in isolation .One thing is sure , everyone will be the poorer when this game finally plays out and our businesses and our educated young people will be leaving in droves to live elsewhere.

    • Stephen Kelly August 24, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

      paddykool I grew up near the border are they going to put a man to guard every camera and device that they put up.

  7. fiosrach August 22, 2017 at 11:16 am #

    Harry, if Labour gains power or is in a hung parliament they will run to the DUP just like they did before. Put not your faith in English politicians. The clue is in English.

    • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 11:57 am #

      Jeremy Corbyn wouldn’t touch the DUP with someone else’s barge pole.

      • fiosrach August 22, 2017 at 1:10 pm #

        Everybody thought that about Michael Foot as well. As Churchill said ‘Everyman has his price but you have to be careful to make the right offer. ‘

        • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 3:23 pm #

          Your reference has gone away above my head…..when did Michael Foot ever have any sort of coalition, on any terms, with the DUP?

          • fiosrach August 23, 2017 at 9:51 am #

            To be fair, it was the UUP that the Labour Party met on the back stairs in Westminster.

          • huge Celt. August 23, 2017 at 12:15 pm #

            It sounds to me like you’re over-reaching yourself again.

            Were Labour ever in any sort of electoral pact /.coalition government /confidence-and-supply arrangements with the DUP?
            And nothing that could be remotely described as such.

            I suggest you think about what you’re saying before you commit to writing. Otherwise, you’re wasting everybody’s time and effort.

          • fiosrach August 23, 2017 at 8:41 pm #

            You can read where I said UUP? I didn’t say that the approach was successful. And far be it from me to waste your time. I mean you have so many important meetings to go to and make a show of yourself.

          • huge Celt. August 23, 2017 at 9:02 pm #

            @ Fiosrach.

            No, I can read the bit where you claimed it was a Labour deal with the DUP.
            You then retracted it – it wasn’t the DUP.
            It was the UUP, apparently.
            What sort of deal was struck?, we ask.
            Actually, none, I just made it all up.

            Is there a point in which I need to send you a life-raft cos you seem totally out of your depth.

            Stand well back – these are Big Boy Rules now.
            Your feelings might get hurt.

  8. Scott Rutherford August 22, 2017 at 11:40 am #

    I think the GFA and the current structure of the government institutions are dead.

    Not because of BREXIT, RHI, ILA or Same sex marriage but because the electorate keeps putting two main parties into power who have proved beyond a shadow of a doubt that they can’t find common ground. That common ground and cooperation are essential for the institutions to work. The dream was partnership government, but its fast become a fairytale.

    I don’t really blame the parties though. They have simply done what political parties world wide do which is try to advance their own ideology.

    I blame the system it has become abundantly clear that welding two parties, no matter who they are, together against their will and expecting good governance is impossible. In this regard I agree with Jim Allister the systems to flawed to succeed.

    Reading and talking to people it’s becoming clear that even the moderates in society (both Nationalist and Unionists) are simply shrugging their shoulders and saying let’s have direct rule. Not because they really love the idea, in fact most would normally have been devolutionists, but because they have reached the end of their patience and believe any form of government would be better than none.

    • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

      The fact remains that as soon as the IRAs guns were (nominally) handed in, the Shinners became a toothless hound.
      Blair and Clinton waltzed off into the distance with an entirely false legacy secured in their back pockets.
      And the World returned to complete disinterest in this sectarian cesspool.

      Elections hardened still further into sectarian headcounts where compromise was sold as weakness, and we ended up with tribal paralysis.
      Vote Usuns to keep Themuns out.

      And the wreckers and the breakers were given a free hand to rip the whole pantomime apart from the inside.

      Strands Two and Three could have been used to keep the train on the tracks. But no, there isnt a vote to be had in the 6 Counties for either Dublin or London.
      And thus the stagnation became ever more putrid.

      And now, the Establishment parties are dumbfounded that no-one actually cares who rules this dump.

      It’s time to bury the corpse.

      • fiosrach August 22, 2017 at 1:12 pm #

        Huge, how often do you have to hear that it is numbers that count. Sinn Féin are not in a majority in Stormont so can do nothing. Can you not grasp that simple fact?

        • Scott Rutherford August 22, 2017 at 1:17 pm #

          And how will they get the numbers in Stormont, Fiosrach if there is no Stormont because they institutions fail permanently and we have direct rule for the next 20-30 years?

          • fiosrach August 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

            That was in reply to huge egos wittering about SF being rollover republicans and having achieved nothing in twenty years in Stormont. I was trying to explain that the numbers are counted and the largest number wins. He can’t seem to grasp it. SF might never have the numbers and PBP or SWP will definitely never.

          • Scott Rutherford August 22, 2017 at 3:09 pm #

            Well let’s analyse what SF have achieved in the last 20 years.

            They brought about a UI……nope.

            They ended academic selection…… nope, simply de facto privatised the test.

            They brought economic prosperity to their heartlands of West Belfast and West Tyrone…….nope, these are still the most deprived communities despite voting firmly for SF without fail.

            They delivered a first rate Ulster GAA stadium at Casement park….nope, can’t get the thing passed and even got in trouble for putting inappropriate pressure on the health and safety consultant.

            All and all it’s a catalogue failure and today it seems they are more interested in sticking up a few new statues rather than tackling the drugs problem in Belfast.

          • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

            @ Fiosrach.

            I always understood it to be a mandatory power-sharing coalition.
            So being the biggest party is irrelevant, but being the biggest party within nationalism was all that mattered.

            So, in the light of this new information, please feel free to regale us with all these huge advancements that Sinn Fein have delivered…

          • fiosrach August 22, 2017 at 4:04 pm #

            If you believe that there was a power share in Stormont, huge, I can only despair. There was a division of power and a sort of Mexican standoff. Neither side was strong enough to castrate the other nor to push their plans through. What did the DUP achieve except rub SF’s nose so far into it that they pulled the house down.

          • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

            @ Fiosrach.
            Well, let’s remind ourselves that the DUP are there to maintain and defend the status quo of the Orange State.
            And using that as a measure they have proved remarkably successful.

            No list could be comprehensive, nevermind complete, but here goes, off the top of my head…..
            1/ Active loyalist paramilitaries are now financed to an enormous extent by public money.
            2/ £4.6 billion of public assets flogged off on the cheap for £1.1 billion to friendly buyers.
            3/ £1.1 billion of public assets purchased using PFI arrangements costing £6.6 billion using friendly lenders.
            4/ Blocking 50:50 recruitment to the Police in clear defiance of the Patten Report.
            5/ Maintaining 85% Protestants within the Prison Service.


          • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

            6/ Blocking rate bills for the Orange Order valued at £8.6 million for the period from 2008-2014.
            7/ Squeezing £2.6 million out of the Dublin government for the Cregagh Road Orange Museum, £300,000 out of Stormont for Orange flutes, and £1.9 million in refurbishment works for Orange lodges.
            8/ Blocking Irish Language Acts, Equal Marriage, Abortion Rights and in fact anything that looks or smells like Equality.
            9/ Maintaining an illegal encampment bedecked with illegal paramilitary flags across the road from the most traumatised nationalist enclave in the North.for 3 and a bit years, and then getting their partners in government to grab victory from the jaws of defeat on their behalf. At the same time, nationalists were being arrested for putting up anti-Suicide posters.
            10/ Building the new Windsor and Ravenhill and Titanic quarter, whilst West Belfast stagnates in economic stagnation.

          • fiosrach August 22, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

            Now that’s a good answer,huge. My compliments to the top of your head.

          • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 6:14 pm #

            @ Fiosrach.
            Thank you.

            I could have mentioned that the nationalist who was charged with putting up posters was in fact an ex-IRA prisoner. He had lost a brother to Suicide and this was his pet project.
            Within 150 yards of Camp Twaddell the RUC/PSNI got into a confrontation with him which lead to him being charged with molesting a lampost, alongside Public Order offences.
            His mental health plummetted, and on the morning of his court case he rang his solicitor to say he couldn’t face it.
            That evening he committed suicide by setting himself on fire.

            I quote it as an example of how the Orange State is alive and kicking, regardless of what the Shinners claim.
            Ardoyne had 4,500 stop-and-searches and 200 house-raids within 4 years, and only two arrests.

            But Sinn.Fein “community representatives” now walk on by.
            Hear No Evil – See No Evil.
            And they are recast as the cheerleaders for the Police.

      • Stephen Kelly August 24, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

        Well done on the list huge celt at last your back to being on the ball well worth copy pasting to a word doc for the future and to show a few friends .

        • huge Celt. August 24, 2017 at 8:24 pm #

          @ Stephen.

          ‘Fraid not.
          That list was entirely off the top of my head.

  9. Mick Fealty August 22, 2017 at 11:48 am #

    Thought you were far closer to the mark in this piece Jude (

    Brexit may well be a perfidious, unilateral act, but it is also a done deal. The question all Republicans must ask themselves is how to handle it in a way that best protects the Irish national interest?

    What does running away from it and binning the GFA accomplish? Nothing I can see. There’s no guns to trade nor any Tony Blair to cajole Unionists into further “concessions”.

    I thought for a while that this interregnum period would play to SF’s advantage by further sidelining the SDLP. But northern nationalism in general is becoming a sideshow since it itself has closed down any forum in which it might have exerted power and influence.

    Even FG is now making capital out of this situation, and which of us, honestly, foresaw that (ever) happening?


    • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 12:09 pm #


      I remember you in your little echo chamber regaling us with your pronouncements about the impossibility of Brexit,

      So soothed and persuaded were you by the sound of your own voice, you wben took to banning dissenting voices that pointed out your folly.

      And yet here you are, unblushing and unrestrained, making yet more regal pronouncements, about how Brexit is now a done deal.
      And once again, you have totally misread the mood of the British public, and the enormous seismic developments since the Out vote.

      Going by your past pronouncements, I’m wondering if you will ever develope an ability to start using both ears rather incessantly using one mouth.

      Until that time, I wouldn’t trust you to pick my Lottery numbers.

  10. Mick Fealty August 22, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    The premise of Jude’s piece is that it’s going to happen. In which scenario, how does abandoning what little power and influence you have, aid the Irish national interest?

    PS, when did I say Brexit was impossible? I’m intrigued.

    • Cal August 22, 2017 at 12:31 pm #

      Your assertion falls on the simple fact that in terms of brexit, the executive has no power. London has excluded the devolved institutions.

      Even if that were not the case, an executive encompassing a Pro brexit DUP veto would exert no restraint but would instead provide valuable political cover and legitimacy to British acts of harm in Ireland.

      • Mick Fealty August 22, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

        I understand the limits of the office, but getting out of office means Northern nationalists have no official voice above the level of Belfast City Councillor. Jim McVeigh is it. There’s no one high public representative. And he’s now just in charge of parks, gardens and recreation.

        • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 12:50 pm #

          Tell us again how much difference having Sinn Fein in the Executive actually made in the 19 years since the GFA……Im fascinated.

          To my mind, it’s been a unmitigated disaster, punctuated by evermore rollovers, sellouts and capitulations.

          But hey, it keeps professional wafflers in business, doesn’t it.

        • Ceannaire August 22, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

          Yes Mick. Nicola Sturgeon et al have had a right old influence in these negotiations. There’s no point having a voice unless it is listened to or, at least, acknowledged.

          London has always made the big decisions – to hell with what anyone else thinks. Have you lost your history books?

          • Tam August 22, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

            What influence has Sturgeon had?

          • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 3:44 pm #

            Well Tam, she has put the Tories on notice that any proposed deal will have to go through the Scottish Parliament.

            And we all know that the SNP will scupper anything the Tories come back with simply because they have their eyes on a greater prize.

            Sinn Fein.would have been well advised to hitch their nationalist wagon to the canniest politician on these islands, rather than that shower of Dublin retrobates that they’re flirting with.

          • Ceannaire August 22, 2017 at 11:07 pm #

            “What influence has Sturgeon had?”

            None, Tam, that was the point. It was sarcasm aimed at Mick.

          • huge Celt. August 23, 2017 at 6:39 pm #

            She, and Jones, promised today to block the Great Repeal Bill in the Scottish and Welsh Assemblies.
            There goes Brexit.

    • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 1:01 pm #

      The “Irish national interest” has long-since been usurped and handed to our unelected, unaccountable plenipotentiary Michel Barnier to tell us what’s best for us, or more accurately what’s more awkward for the Brits.
      Don’t be codding yourself that having a few proto-County Councillors at Stormont would make any difference whatsoever to the real decision-makers in Brussels.
      The Stormont II experiment is over.
      As much of a spectacular failure as the original monstrosity.
      Don’t even bother trying to sprinkle glitter on the turd. It can never be a birthday cake.

      Ps. You were constantly on about the impossibility of Brexit.
      The same way as you sneered at the prospects of Jeremy Corbyn.
      Well, you ended up with omelette on your face on both counts, didn’t you.

  11. michael c August 22, 2017 at 1:26 pm #

    This site is going down hill fast and the arrival of Mr Fawlty has just put the tin hat on it.

  12. Brian Patterson August 22, 2017 at 1:29 pm #

    Huge Celt, when you say “it’s time to bury the corpse” )presumably ower sharing as per the ) exactly do you believe should relace it?

    • huge Celt. August 22, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

      We’ll, Brian, if I was a Shinner (and I most definitely am not), I would have collapsed Stormont long ago.

      I would then become The Awkward Squad again.
      I would be compiling a proper academic case for a United Ireland, nor that shambolic economic report that they spout from now.
      Id be sending the 7 elected MPs to walk down to Leinster House in bare feet and blankets to demand speaking and voting rights in the Dail.
      I would insist that North/South and East/West bodies were forced to work.
      Id be organising speaking tours of Britain – specifically targeting marginal constituencies, and the Irish diaspora to point out the £10 billion squandered every year on maintaining Partition.
      And I would be organising County-wide referenda in the 6 Counties on a United Ireland.

      Not a bullet fired. Not a word wasted. Get on with it.

      But Sinn Fein can’t do that – because they have their snouts so buried in a British trough.

      • fiosrach August 23, 2017 at 9:54 am #

        Ever dream of going into politics,huge?

        • huge Celt. August 23, 2017 at 12:17 pm #

          Would you vote for me?

          • fiosrach August 23, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

            Only to get your snout into the British trough.

          • huge Celt. August 23, 2017 at 6:43 pm #

            ‘Fraid not.

            I’m one of those Lefties that believes that a Workers Representative should only get a workers wage.

            There will be no Golden Trough for me.

            (Although I might cut a deal with a friendly painter and decorator to paint my Stormont office – £55,000 for 7 offices is the going rate apparently).

  13. Brian Patterson August 22, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    (Presumably power sharing as per the Good Friday Agreement) what exactly do you believe should replace it?

  14. Oriel27 August 22, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

    ‘Brexit will mean the dismemberment of the Good Friday Agreement’

    Im one of those guys Jude that travel the border road several times a day.

    Through my youth i lived with my own road cratered by the British army.

    Mark my words, if there is any hint of a border returning, well its definately the GFA is gone.

    Because there has to be people in the ground to implement a hard border. The usually forces will come back eventually – British soldiers, special branch, UDR, RUC, Gardai, Customs etc

    I certainly wouldnt like to be those guys having to man a border again..

    • Tam August 22, 2017 at 2:21 pm #

      Why would the police or Army have to be involved?

      • Oriel27 August 22, 2017 at 4:13 pm #

        do you expect compliance if there are checks?

        I can tell you now there will not be, not a hope.

        • Tam August 22, 2017 at 5:43 pm #

          People would just drive through the checks without stopping? I doubt many would try that.

  15. paddykool August 22, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

    Let’s just remind ourselves what a bloody horror-show our local devolved government was and how any outreach needed to run it as a “normal” society fell on cloth -eared dunderheads who wanted to remain in the 16th century in their Flat Earth reverie.For example, which party dissed, Muslims and gays to the horror of every right-thinking person? It was only the one that supposedly represented a large swathe of the unionist community.indeed , it was their leader whose wife also got herself involved in at least two scandals I can recall. Which party is not in favour of a Bill of Rights for all ? Which party contains people who disrespected those who spoke in the Irish language and attempted a crude and foolish parody of same ? Which party does not want gays to have the same rights as anyone else and contains members who incredibly believe the earth is 6000 years old and continue to deny climate change ? Most people would ask …are they even sane? I suppose I could go on and on .It is twenty years on from a resolution and here we have a generation with no memory of the “Troubles”….no memory of Clinton and Tony Blair…no memory of anything other than a kind of peace and a bunch of politicians who could never make anything work, but were really great at creating a series of scandals, pantomime and sour ill-will. We had a first Minister in the office of FMDFM who thought she was some kind of imperious bloody queen , above the law that the rest of the plebs had to abide by..That’s what we had and lest we forget , they were afew of the reasons why it didn’t work. Yes …the voters cast their votes for two opposing parties , as they do in most democracies , but at least in most democracies both parties understand the limits of their powers and accept the common -law.It was the voters choice and it’s really immaterial whether or not the DUP’s voters are the very same as those who once voted for the UUP or that Sinn Fein’s voters are those that once voted for the SDLP. We cannot exchange all the people for a whole new lot who will vote again and be able to work together .If they really want their policians to work together for all, hey’d need to first twll them how they should behave in government .

    • Tam August 22, 2017 at 2:24 pm #

      There are parties that contain members that believe priests have magic powers to turn pieces of water into the *actual body and blood of Jesus*. Is this any more sane than believing the Earth is only 6000 years old?

      • fiosrach August 22, 2017 at 2:31 pm #

        I don’t think paddy is the right man to ask. 🙂

      • fiosrach August 22, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

        The party we all have in mind have a majority of off the grid thinkers. Who could it be?

      • paddykool August 22, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

        Well Tam , given that I am an atheist …as fiosrach states below , you’ll get no argument from me on that score. The difference is that the bloody magic and delusion has to be kept at home and away from government offices, so let’s stick to the facts that have already been well and truly proven and not the fantasy that bounces about inside the skullcaps of the demented.

        • Tam August 22, 2017 at 5:44 pm #

          So why mention 6000 years but not transubstantiation?

          • giordanobruno August 22, 2017 at 7:23 pm #

            This is a point I have tried to make before. The whole young earth thing is clearly daft and numerous commenters including paddy and indeed Jude refer to it disparagingly or with mockery. Yet the whole spectrum of religious belief is equally silly, including transubstantiation (as you mentioned) as well as miracles resurrection the existence of souls, heaven hell, angels demons, and so on.
            All of which is fine if people keep it to themselves but when they try to influence society based on those beliefs then they are fair game.
            The belief in a soul being dragged into the abortion debate is the most obvious example.

          • paddykool August 22, 2017 at 8:25 pm #

            Couldn’t agree more, gio.

          • Tam August 22, 2017 at 9:40 pm #

            But they are influencing society by teaching it in schools

          • huge Celt. August 23, 2017 at 6:51 pm #

            Schools are for Teaching, not for Preaching.

            Full stop.
            End of conversation.

            Until we separate Church and State and all the bunkum in between, a United Ireland is a non-starter..

    • Colmán August 23, 2017 at 12:40 am #

      While I appreciate the sentiment Harry the “flat earth myth” has been debunked. People have known the world to be round since before the time of the Ancient Greeks, and probably way before this. This is why world navigation was possible.

      • paddykool August 23, 2017 at 7:06 am #

        Correct , Colman. It’s wonderful what folks will continue to believe though.There is fun to be derived from folklore , mysteries and the unknown ,but the hard science is there in the end to prove , disprove or question deeply..It is easy gauge the age of the earth and even bring us back through the verifiable timespan of evolution and earlier extinctions , just as medicine has allowed us to live longer and combat diseases and plagues that were once thought to be the work of gods or devils.

        • Colmán August 23, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

          Perhaps, Harry, however I like to always keep an open mind as not all the evidence has been garnered yet and the sciences are still evolving (no pun intended). One archealogical find could blow all current theories out of the water or one look at a distance planet. I think our sciences are only at seeding phase and they have yet to grow and bloom into what they can be. This will take open minds that are open to all sort of possibilties.

          • Colmán August 23, 2017 at 12:54 pm #


          • Colmán August 23, 2017 at 1:45 pm #


  16. Freddiemallins August 22, 2017 at 4:11 pm #

    The DUP tried to put their supernatural believes in the science class, that’s the big difference, Tam.

    • Tam August 22, 2017 at 5:45 pm #

      When did they try this?

    • Tam August 22, 2017 at 5:46 pm #

      And isn’t transubstantiation and other bizarre beliefs actually taught in the classroom?

      • fiosrach August 22, 2017 at 6:35 pm #

        It must be a long time since you were in a classroom, Tam. Sure adults can hardly comprehend these things never mind children. A lot of things have changed you know. No Purgatory, no Limbo, no sins and a whole heap more. Not that anybody notices or cares. I bet it’s a long time since you were in a Catholic schoolroom. Only danger now is that the baby will be thrown out with the bath water.

  17. Freddiemallins August 22, 2017 at 6:32 pm #

    Not in science.

  18. paddykool August 22, 2017 at 6:55 pm #

    Well let’s not waste all our timeTam in picking over all the wee magic beliefs that there can never be proof of because they’ve been made up in the first place and let’s concentrate our minds instead on the stuff that is easily now proven after countless years of careful scientific study. These are the beliefs that any sentient human, politician or otherwise should already have a handle on as they reach adulthood. the fact that some politicians actually believe thatthe earth could not be billions of years old senotes a huge black hole in their general education and allows in the darkness of ever crazier half-assed religio-beliefs like the nonsense of Creationisn for one example. Something like that and its potential to abuse the laws of the universe is something to be feared by all intelligent folks. Religion , on the other hand , in its thousands of odd and arcane notions is usually kept safely at home where it can do the least harm.

  19. Mark August 22, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

    Vladimir Putin must be rubbing his hands in glee. He’s hosted dissos and is represented by an ex fascist vanguard party member William Burnside. There’s only one party that can make political capital out of the Irish Border and none of them are Brussels, London or Dublin.

  20. Mark August 22, 2017 at 7:47 pm #

    Vladimir Putin must be rubbing his hands in glee. He’s hosted dissos and is represented by an ex fascist vanguard party member William Burnside. There’s only one party that can make political capital out of the Irish Border and none of them reside in Brussels, London or Dublin.