Tuesday, February 28, 2006


Robbie the new Irish captain

It's a big responsibility for Robbie I see Robbie Keane has been chosen as the new Ireland captain by manager Steve Staunton.

Keane gets the nod ahead of goalkeeper Shay Given who has been made vice-captain.

Staunton, who took his first official training session as Irish boss yesterday, confirmed: "He's a world-class player. You only have to look at the clubs he's played for. Our lads respect him - the utmost respect - and I've given him a little challenge. He's certainly up for the job. I'm sure he'll do a good job."

He added: "The fans see him as an icon. You only have to listen to the chorus tomorrow night and he responds as Shay does at other end. Those factors and the added responsibility it will bring him can make him a better player again."

Keane succeeds Birmingham City's Kenny Cunningham as captain who retired from international football last October in the wake of Ireland's failure to qualify for this summer's World Cup finals.

Given, Richard Dunne and Kevin Kilbane had also been touted as potential captains since Staunton's appointment in mid-January.

I personally think this is a good decision. As much as I love Shay Given, I'm not a big fan of making goalkeepers captains. I think it defeats the purpose as presumably the job of a captain is to get the manager's points across on the pitch which is something a goalkeeper has difficulty in doing.

There didn't appear to be many other alternatives in my opinion. No way would I entrust the captaincy with Dunne or Kilbane as I don't think either has merited it.

Keane has had his critics alright and unlike Staunton I wouldn't quite rate him 'world-class' but the bottom line is he is Ireland's record goalscorer and he has earned the respect of the players and fans alike.

What is evident now more than ever though to me is that we have lost two great leaders in Roy Keane and Kenny Cunningham. Robbie certainly has big shoes to fill.

What are your thoughts on Robbie Keane being handed the captaincy?


Top Ten Tuesday - Irish embarrassments

Oh bollocksThe big topic in Ireland of late has been last weekend's violence in the capital city over the contentious Love Ulster parade. While the events which took place on Saturday have stirred quite alot of controversy and debate, one thing seems to have been universally acknowledged - Ireland was embarrassed.

Retailers have claimed that Saturday's scenes may have done damage to Ireland's image abroad and while the thugs who rioted do not in any way represent the majority of decent peaceful people in this part of the island, it hasn't done the peace process any favours that's for sure.

Yes, Ireland has been embarrassed big time. It's not nice when your country is embarrassed and as I got thinking about this I began to recall other moments in recent times which have left me wanting to cringe. Therefore I have decided to list them in this week's edition of Top Ten Tuesday. So without further ado, I give to you the top ten Irish embarrassments of recent times:

1. Keane/McCarthy conflict - For me, this ranks as the most embarrassing moment for Ireland in recent times. It's the World Cup, the greatest sporting event on the planet in my view, and the country is excited to see how Ireland will do - and then the captain and best player falls out with the manager. What a disaster this was! It turned families and friends against each other and for a time it was as if there was a sporting civil war going on. I remember how the rest of the world seemed gobsmacked at what happened. The British media thought we were a real joke following it and even Bertie tried to intervene! Ah memories...

2. Colombia Three return - This was another debacle. Colombian authorities are searching for them and they go and give an interview with the state broadcaster RTE telling everyone that they're actually in Ireland! Of course unionists went ballistic and it caused the Government much embarrassment, particularly with the US.

3. O'Connell Street riots - As I mentioned above last Saturday's events have left Ireland looking quite embarrassed as hundreds of people, mostly scangers, proceeded to tear the city centre apart and to attack the Gardaí and journalists. Outrageous stuff.

4. Nice treaty re-run - Alot of people might argue that the bigger embarrassment was that the Irish people initially rejected the Nice Treaty but for me, that was a wise decision and an example of democracy in action. What was not democratic however was basically saying to those who had bothered to vote, 'Sorry your vote didn't satisfy us so we're going to make you all vote again'. Democracy in this country was well and truly pissed on the day the Government decided to run the Nice treaty referendum again after a multi-million euro campaign. Disgracefully, they got their way the second time around but Ireland's reputation as a democratic country took a hammering that day. An embarrassing farce.

5. Priest attacks Olympian - What a joke this was when Father Cornelius "Neil" Horan went and ran Brazilian Vanderlei de Lima off the road in the men's Olympic marathon which the Brazilian had been leading. I remember everyone initially thought it was a Scot because he was wearing a kilt (see picture above) but no, it was an Irishman sadly. I remember RTE ran reports at the time saying how Ireland was very unpopular with Brazilians after the incident. You can hardly blame them for that but this guy Horan is as disliked here as anywhere else. I stand by my original solution to the problem - lock him up in a Brazilian jail. That would have taught him a lesson!

6. Sinead O'Connor rips photo of Pope - Ah yes there was a big furore over this when Sinead O'Connor tore up a photo of the Pope on Saturday Night Live in the US. To be honest O'Connor has always seemed to me to be a few sandwiches short of a picnic so I never really paid much attention to this and her other equally embarrassing stunts such as when she became a 'priest' (sigh).

7. Aeroplanes attacked - This to me was a total embarrassment when anti-war protesters went and desecrated US aeroplanes in Shannon Airport. This was not long after 9/11 which made it even more embarrassing and shameful. The Irish government were made to look like idiots by not being able to protect US planes and it didn't help our standing in the US. I think most Americans acknowledged however that those who attacked the planes did not reflect the wider Irish public.

8. President's comments on cartoons - Mary McAleese has gotten herself into plenty of trouble over her views, particularly with Protestants in Ireland's north, but I thought her recent comments on the controversial Muslim cartoons were far more embarrassing. The President told Saudi Arabia that ALL the Irish people opposed the publication of the cartoons. Um, I didn't! I did however oppose my head of state engaging in such an overtly political subject which was not necessary whatsoever!

9. Last year's Eurovision entry - Oh man. This was cringeworthy to say the least. For those of you unaware of Ireland's act and for those of you who have simply forget them altogether, here they are. They don't really look like pop stars, do they? Sadly for us, they didn't sound like pop stars either and Ireland was humiliated in front of the rest of Europe. Still, at least it put an end to You're A Star picking the Eurovision song entry so I guess we should be grateful for that at least.

10. Two words - 'Bertie' and 'Bowl'. We're meant to be one of the wealthiest countries in Europe yet we can't even build a decent football stadium. Ludicrous. Things got really embarrassing when Ireland made a bid with Scotland to host Euro 2008 however with pie in the sky hopes of a new ground being built and the GAA unsure about opening up Croke Park, European officials wisely chose elsewhere and Euro 2008 will now be held in Austria and Switzerland. Why do we make such a mess of things in this country?

So there you have it. The top ten Irish embarrassments of recent memory. Feel free to comment on my choices or to offer up some of your own.


McAleese to blame for riots - Frazer

Frazer needs to conduct himself more maturely I rubbed my eyes in disbelief when I first caught this story in the News Letter because not even I thought Willie Frazer, head of FAIR (Families Acting for Innocent Relatives), would stoop to such desperate lengths.

According to Mr Frazer, responsibility for the violence that occurred over the past weekend in Dublin rests with...wait for it...President Mary McAleese and the Rev Alec Reid!

He said the "damning words" of Mrs McAleese and later Fr Reid had reignited republican hatred:

"I blame the words of Mary McAleese and Fr Reid for the reaction on the streets. They played a major part in it. They were responsible for it.

"The people there shouting the Nazi insults and the Nazi salutes, that came from the incident with Mary McAleese and Fr Reid. They have apologised, but never come out and said they were wrong."

Unbelievable. I can't understand this guy's logic. Here we see the bigotry that epitomises this man. Notice too how the apologies made by the President and Father Reid are disregarded categorically. Apparently they didn't say that they were 'wrong'. Oh diddums. Presumably they just apologised for the fun of it, eh?

Frazer went on to suggest involvement from Sinn Féin in the rioting:

"Sinn Fein can deny it all they want. Apparently, rioters were in buildings and had everything just waiting for the parade to come down.

"They had petrol bombs and blast bombs. Their intention was to come out among the parade. When the gardai caught on to what they were doing, their numbers went from 200 to 2,000.

"The gardai did a good job, but they were obviously quite unprepared for what took place. They had never faced the like of it. The so-called rioters were stealing from the shops and robbing people on the streets."

Mr Frazer, whose victims' group will meet senior representatives of the DUP and UUP in coming days, said he would advise them not to negotiate with republicans.

He will advise the unionist parties not to negotiate with republicans? So according to Mr Frazer those who rioted on Saturday are a reflection of republicans in general, is that right? What rubbish.

It is quite clear that Willie Frazer has an agenda and I don't think that agenda centres around getting justice or closure for the families of those killed during The Troubles. That might be a part of it but it seems Mr Frazer's ultimate goal is to demonise republicans in general and to profess victimization at every turn.

Your stunts have gotten real old, real fast, Mr Frazer. Wise up.

Monday, February 27, 2006


Visit from Queen unlikely after violence

The Guards should have went at them full throttle I spotted an excellent point made by Henry McDonald in his latest column in The Guardian, a point that I and everyone else appear to have missed, which is that Saturday's violence in Dublin has made the proposed first state visit to the Republic by the British Queen a very remote possibility indeed. McDonald writes:

"If republicans could do this, and force the re-routing of the Love Ulster rally, what will they have in store for the British monarch when she comes to town?

"The Irish president, Mary McAleese, has paid several visits now to Buckingham Palace. There is said to be a friendly rapport between the two heads of state. McAleese has made no secret of her desire to see a royal visit to Dublin, the first since the Irish state was founded in 1921. Inside the Irish department of foreign affairs policy wonks have been hoping that the Queen in Dublin would send a powerful message to northern unionists, not only that the centuries old antipathy towards Britain has gone but that their British culture is respected by government and people south of the border.

"After Saturday's disturbances, which saw mobs attack the Irish police, journalists, cameramen, foreign tourists and property, the prospect of a groundbreaking royal visit this year must surely be remote. Although the Queen is hardly likely to parade down O'Connell Street in a golden coach, republicans, especially those in the dissident camp, will seize upon her mere presence in the capital as an opportunity to wreck Dublin, cause international headlines and mar the visit."

I think Mr McDonald is quite correct in his assessment, unfortunately for us. I myself have long looked forward to the first state visit by the British Queen as I've always felt it would go a long way in dispelling certain notions about the Republic. However in light of last weekend's violence, what are the odds such a visit will be risked?

'I was just telling Mary how I'm busy all year'
Let's see a state visit!

What a great shame if this is the case. No doubt this would be regarded as another 'victory' for the 'Republicans' however there are no victors in all of this. We all lose out.

Ireland has made great strides in recent years and we cannot let a minority spoil things for the rest of us. The Catholic Church possessed too much of an influence on Irish society for a long time however that stranglehold was broken, the same must happen with regard to the anti-British ignorant scum who ran amok two days ago in our nation's capital.

I hope the proposed visit by the Queen does indeed go ahead. Perhaps it would need to be quite low-key so as to avoid hassle from certain vile elements of Irish society but that would be better than no visit at all.

We cannot let a minority of bigots ruin the reputations of the rest of us.


Monday Madness - Should I feel guilty?

Disgraceful scenes Sticking with the big story in Ireland right now, I'd like to give my thoughts on what I perceive to be outrageous and despicable efforts to shift the blame for Saturday's disgraceful riots onto the ordinary people of Ireland.

As if we are in some way supposed to feel guilty for what a minority of utter scumbags did to our city's capital.

Take for example these stupid comments from Eoghan Harris in the Irish Independent (hat tip Slugger). Let me analyse some of Mr Harris' comments because, as we say here in Dublin, Mr Harris is talking out of his arse:

"WE have disgraced ourselves again. And I do mean we. We cannot pretend the tribal thugs who attacked the Protestant march came from another planet. We share too many of their sectarian attitudes to allow us off the hook. In the words of Alexander Herzen about the Russian anarchists: "they are the syphilis of our passions.""

Bullshit. On Saturday I had a lie-in and then watched a bit of rugby on television. I then proceeded to write about my outrage at seeing MY city torn apart and seeing MY country's officers, as well as journalists, get injured by these thugs. In what way did I disgrace myself?

"Do you doubt we share the same tribal passions as the lumpen republicans who used iron railings to rip into the marchers?"

You can be bloody sure I doubt it! I think it's fair to say the vast majority of Irish people have no desire to use 'railings to rip into marchers'.

"From day one, the President, the Taoiseach and senior figures from both the main Christian churches should have been infusing the public with a noble vision of the Irish Republic as a place which would cherish all the children of the nation equally. Instead, the response of the political class ranged from indifference to inflammatory interventions."

I don't need anyone to 'infuse' me with any visions of my country. I'm well able to make my own mind up on that thanks, as are the majority of Irish people. 'Inflammatory interventions', Mr Harris? I must have missed those. It appeared to me that most people were treating this with complete apathy the way they treated the 'Make Partition History' parade from Sinn Féin and I didn't see the media moaning about that.

"Far from the Taoiseach and his ministers making firm calls for calm and tolerance, they stayed largely silent on the symbolic importance of the march passing off peacefully. Past comparisons of Protestants and Nazis made by President McAleese and Fr Alec Reid - and widely reported by the tabloids - have not helped to cool the tribal temperature."

More nonsense. Mr Harris do you really think those who attacked Irish officers and journalists did so because the President and Father Reid had whipped them into a frenzy? How many of those rioters are even aware of current events?

"On Saturday morning, only a few hours before the march started, Newstalk was carrying competitions for jokes about "why the Orangeman crossed the road". This was followed by a five-second clip from Damien Kiberd's lunchtime show in which he mockingly asked if they were going to play 'Kick the Pope' music? In the absence of any pluralist programmes putting the point of view of the Protestant marchers, are we asked to believe that this did not create a sour climate?"

Is this guy for real? A 'sour climate'? It's hardly the work of Joseph Goebbels, is it? This to me simply reflects the total apathy with which the majority of Dubliners were going to greet the parade. It was seen as a bit silly and a bit of a joke - like most parades which take place. Besides, the Irish are probably joked about more than any other nation on this planet. Grow up, Harris.

"Any public inquiry into the attack on the march - and there should be an inquiry - should pay close attention to the tribal role played by Newstalk 106 in relation to its Dublin working-class audience. The buck for this brand of brutalist broadcasting stops with Damien Kiberd, the news editor of Newstalk who writes a column in the republican Daily Ireland.

"The Broadcasting Commission, if it has the guts of a mouse, should listen to the tapes of Newstalk 106 over the past two weeks, ask experts to evaluate their effect on an ill-educated section of the public and consider whether Newstalk 106 should be allowed to spread their atavistic views to a national audience."

This is farcical stuff. I can only assume that Mr Harris has some sort of personal beef with Damien Kilberd judging by his ridiculous suggestion that a radio show - which I must admit I never listen to - is responsible for calling people out to destroy O'Connell Street!

"Meantime, we can forget about doing a deal with Northern Protestants. We might go on pretending to be tolerant. But the blood on the streets of Dublin tells another story."

Oh give over, Harris. I find it hard to believe that 'Northern Protestants' will blame this as a failure of the Republic. Indeed many of those involved were dissidents from the North and even the DUP's Jeffrey Donaldson, to be fair to him, was unwilling to lay the blame for Saturday's violence upon the Irish Republic:

"We have received a warm welcome from ordinary Dubliners.

"But it’s clear these republicans have come from north of the border and other areas intent only on causing trouble."

I get the distinct impression however that certain people want me and the rest of the Irish people to feel guilty about what happened on Saturday. As if those thugs are in some way representative of me and the majority of peaceful people. Well I will not stand by and be tarred with those animals just because people like Eoghan Harris see the world in a very simplistic black and white fashion.

Not in my name!
I don't support this

It seems to me that the anti-Irish lobby within the media are seeking to exploit Saturday's events for their own ends. I don't think the majority of decent-minded unionists will call me and people like me a disgrace due to the actions of a minority of criminals.

After all, when violence occurs in the North due to the Orange Order or dissident Republicans causing trouble, down here we don't label all people in the North as troublemakers.

No, the people who will seek to exploit this event will be the revisionists here in the Republic. Mark my words.

The events of Saturday have made a controversial year even more difficult. This is the 90th anniversary of the Easter Rising and a military parade is set to take place in O'Connell Street in April making the Rising.

I await the inevitable rubbish from certain elements in the media who will attempt to use Saturday's violence as an excuse to call off the 1916 celebrations altogether on the grounds of 'public safety'.

The reality of course is that people like Eoghan Harris have a guilt complex with Irishness in general.

I personally abhor the scenes which occurred on Saturday. Why the hell should I feel guilty or ashamed? It was MY city the thugs tore up, it was MY country's officers that they went and attacked, it was MY country's flag that they went and defiled.

The people of Dublin, and I'm sure the Republic in general, are as outraged over this as anybody!

Mr Harris, if you wish to go on a guilt trip over the actions of a minority go right ahead, but you can leave me and and the majority of Irish people out of it.

Such a guilt trip will be a solo journey I assure you.


In hindsight, should the march have gone ahead?

It's been a while since I've done a poll here on United Irelander and after the controversial scenes witnessed on Saturday and after the differing viewpoints offered up on the violence, I felt a new poll was merited. Thus I have added a new poll which asks the question:

In hindsight, should the march have gone ahead?

Please take the time to vote in the poll along my sidebar and please use the comments section of this post to explain what way you voted and why.

I personally voted that it shouldn't have taken place.

It seems to me that in most people's eyes, Eoghan Harris aside, there are three groups who have been alleged to have been at fault. Some have blamed the rioters for the violence, some have said the Love Ulster marchers were responsible for the violence while some have laid the blame at the Gardaí for their organisation of the parade and how they did not expect violence to occur.

Personally I feel that the rioters were to blame. I don't blame the marchers and I don't blame the Gardaí either for what happened on Saturday but with that being said, couldn't this sorry situation have been avoided altogether?

Thanks to the heroics of the Gardaí, the marchers were protected but they could have been hurt had the rioters had their way. As well as that the bottom line is, the parade was cancelled on the day anyway.

Wouldn't alot have hurt been spared - literally - if the Government had made the call to stop the parade from taking place?

The rioters were scum but there's something not quite right about a group called Love Ulster, which claims to be against influence from Dublin in the North's affairs, coming to Dublin to get this point across.

I just feel the whole mess could have been, and should have been, avoided in the first place.

What do you think?


Redheads - Yay or nay?

I think I love her Time for a move away from talk of riots and on to a subject a little bit different but no less controversial - redheads.

I spotted the topic of redheads raised by Jefferson Davis on his blog here and I thought I'd throw my two cents into the debate. Then again, any topic which gives me an excuse to post a picture of the luscious Lindsay Lohan is a topic worth debating.

I must say that I personally quite like redheads and here in Ireland, there's plenty of 'em.

Yes Ireland is to redheads what Sweden is to blondes although, to be fair, if I could swap that situation I would.

As I said though, I'm quite taken with these vixens amongst Irish society. Nothing better than a fiery redhead to set my pulse racing.

I was a bit surprised however by this information which Jefferson touched upon in his post. Apparently:

"In ancient Ireland if a traveler were to happen upon a woman with red hair he must turn around and start his journey all over again."

Janey Mac, they must have never left their house...

What say you though on the gingers amongst society? Yay or Nay?


Fine Gael make gains in latest poll

Kenny will be encouragedI see courtesy of RTE that a new opinion poll has suggested Fine Gael has gained support at the expense of Fianna Fáil.

The 'Red C' poll in the Sunday Business Post found that Fianna Fáil support has dropped two points to 35%, while Fine Gael went up two points to 25% since last month.

It is the second in a series of monthly polls that will test the political temperature between now and the general election.

It is thought the drop in support for Fianna Fáil may be as a result of recent controversies over ministerial appointments.

Labour is down one at 12%, Sinn Féin is up one to 10%, the Greens have dropped two to 5%, while the PDs are up one to 4% and Independents are also up one to 9%.

Interestingly 39% of those polled said they were confident the economy could sustain the current rate of immigration, while 32% were not.

The results showed that 45% were confident that the economy is on the right track for the future, while 25% were not confident and 30% said they were neither.

I welcome these poll's findings as I think it is good for democracy in this state to have a strong alternative to the Government, however I don't think we're in a position right now where we can say we have a strong alternative.

As for Sinn Féin's increase of one, this might encourage their supporters but I simply attribute this to their Ard Fheis which I myself found quite good for the most part.

I would however expect that figure to drop in the next poll in light of the recent violence which occurred over the weekend.

Sunday, February 26, 2006


Footage of rioters in action

Here is astonishing first-hand footage of the rioters in action on Saturday turning over a car and chanting IRA slogans. I don't know if it's been posted on other blogs yet. I understand it was taken by a girl on her camera phone and that she has sent it on to RTE. To see it click below:

Footage of rioters

More footage

Scary stuff. Here's hoping these people are caught and prosecuted.

Disgusting and unacceptable behaviour.

Saturday, February 25, 2006


Three of those arrested aren't Irish

Guards were hurt in disgraceful scenes Interesting news from RTE.

Up to ten of the 40 people arrested in connection with today's riots in Dublin's city centre have appeared before a special sitting of Dublin District Court.

Four people have been charged with smashing the windows of a store on O'Connell Street and looting the contents while several others have been charged with public order offences, including throwing bricks and glass bottles at gardaí.

Ten of the people who appeared in court this evening have Dublin addresses.

However three of the defendants are not Irish.

Hmm. Interesting indeed, especially when one considers that the Taoiseach has stated many of the Gardaí reported hearing 'northern accents' when dealing with the rioters.

The plot thickens...


A picture tells a thousand words...

Some pics of the days events...

That'll show those nasty Orangemen, eh?

Dublin in all its glory

More footage of the Irish patriots...

Wolfe Tone would be ever so proud

That's our city out there


Mayhem in Dublin

Twelve people were hurtI guess I should give my thoughts on the disgraceful rioting that has taken place in my home town of Dublin as a result of this Love Ulster rally.

For those of you unaware, several police officers and a journalist have been hurt due to a republican riot in the city.

Stones and fireworks were thrown after republican demonstrators mounted a counter-march. The loyalist rally was cancelled as a result of the trouble.

A number of protesters were also injured during the clashes.

Republicans have been throwing missiles at police in riot gear.

It is understood the counter-march was organised by Republican Sinn Fein - a political party which broke away from Sinn Fein in the 1980s.

Ten people are being held in Store Street Garda Station, while two more are being held in Pearse Street.

The Taoiseach, Bertie Ahern said: 'There is absolutely no excuse for the disgraceful scenes in Dublin today.

'It is the essence of Irish democracy and republicanism that people are allowed to express their views freely and in a peaceful manner.

'People who want only to attack gardaí and property have no respect for their fellow citizens.'

Mr Ahern has visited O'Connell Street to survey the damage caused by rioters.

Fine Gael Leader Enda Kenny has condemned in the 'strongest possible terms' the actions of 'thugs and criminals' in Dublin city centre today.

'Today's actions are those of vicious thugs and represent not only an attack on the police and property but an attack on our democracy,' he said.

The Tánaiste, Mary Harney, has described as 'most unfortunate and counterproductive' the violence that has broken out.

Labour Party leader Pat Rabbitte said the violence has brought shame to our capital city.

Sinn Féin TD Seán Crowe said there was absolutely no justification for the scenes and called on those involved to end their confrontation with gardaí immediately.

O'Connell Street after the clashes
O'Connell Street has been wrecked

My immediate reaction to this is that those responsible are scumbags. It's outrageous that they would go and attack the Gardaí.

I've just heard that people have been advised not to head into O'Connell Street as a result of this violence and shops and businesses on O'Connell Street have been forced to close. For this to happen on a Saturday in the Irish capital is quite extraordinary. I am pleased to inform you all that in the end I decided NOT to go into the city centre to watch the parade and it was the best decision I've made in a long time. I am filled with sadness however to see my city torn to pieces. O'Connell Street, to me, epitomises Dublin and today's scenes insult Dubliners, and indeed Irish people, everywhere.

With that being said, I think my original opposition to this march has been justified. This is exactly what members of the Love Ulster march wanted. No doubt the Irish state found itself in a Catch-22 situation. If you don't agree to the march, the democracy of the Republic is called into question. If you do agree to the march, you run the risk of violence. It was a tough call to make but the call I would have made, while incurring the wrath of Frazer and co, would have prevented the injuries sustained by twelve people today.

I'll leave you with these telling words from parade organiser William Wilkinson:

"The on-going threat of Irish Republican violence both North and South, the fact that the violence undermines democracy and human rights at every level of society.

"Today’s events, I think, are a let-down for this jurisdiction and certainly a let-down and disappointment for the police and it is something that we would like to see addressed."

This jurisdiction has let them down apparently. Says it all, don't you think?


Weekend Guest Post

The following article was written by Frank Neary. I'd like to thank him for contributing to United Irelander.

Peace, Like Prosperity, Trickles Down

Every great journey begins with a single step, an old Chinese saying goes. More recently, Mao Tse Tung said he thought it was too early to know if the French Revolution of 1789 had been a success. They're not wrong. Here on this island of Ireland we're only ninety years into what UK Conservative MP Dominic Grieve has called 'a period of national self-assertion'.

Neil Kinnock, the Welshman who led Britain's Labour Party through two General Election defeats in 1987 and 1992 once told the Militants at his party conference that 'you can't play politics with peoples's lives'. And he saw them off.

The past year in Ireland saw the announcement by the Provisional IRA that its war is over. We have also marked the the thirtieth anniversary of Eamon de Valera's death, and the State has begun preparing to commemorate the Easter Rising of 1916.

Coinciding with this outbreak of politics we have seen continued economic growth in the republic and a new emphasis by Ministers North and South on developing the all-island economy and enabling improvements in peoples' physical and social well-being.

The party political divide in the Republic has long been characterised as civil war politics — Fine Gael being pro-Treaty and Fianna Fáil the anti-Treatyites, with Eamon de Valera being cast as the bogeyman who sacrificed his handsome and personable friend Michael Collins for the sake of greed, ambition and Gaelic nationalist ideology. That crude stereotyping has been allowed to conceal real class divisions in Irish society.

Today the political blocks have evolved so that Fianna Fáil and the Progressive Democrats are seen as pro-enterprise, light on regulation, enforcing a living minimumn wage, and commited to moving our economic functioning up the value chain. Globalisation and the changing role of EU farm subsidies mean the land is not the source of production and wealth it once was, and our prosperity as an island depends increasingly on services and higher value manufacturing.

Fine Gael are seen as slightly unworldly, not knowing how our economy works but blindly believing that it can yield as much in tax as Richard Bruton and Pat Rabbite want. Pat Rabbite's role in that partnership is to not know what he wants, and not want anything that conflicts with what Enda Kenny wants. I know. It's confusing.

But Fine Gael's economic unworldliness looks very worldly compared to the Northern Ireland parties whose economy largely consists of jobs in the public sector, and benefit payments.

North and South, Sinn Féin has built solid voter support among those separated to the margins of society, and seems certain to have increased influence in the republic after the next General Election.

An eminent American republican Benjamin Franklin wrote in 1783 that there never was a good war, or a bad peace. Speaking last September on the anniversary of de Valera's death Taoiseach Bertie Ahern said ' Civil War was not uncommon in the newly independent European States that came into being after 1918. In Ireland, it was fought with great reluctance and deeply regretted by almost all the participants. Unfortunately, however, some of the episodes in our civil war created great bitterness and poisoned the political atmosphere for years to come. While, as the historian John A. Murphy has put it, there will always be “those who choose to believe their own propaganda that de Valera started the Civil War” I believe we are rapidly approaching a time when we can all reflect on our history in a more mature manner.

'Another great Irishman Henry Ford, speaking perhaps coincidentally in 1916, said ' History is more or less bunk. It’s tradition. We don’t want tradition. We want to live in the present and the only history that is worth a tinker’s damn is the history we make today.

Henry Ford made his place in history by developing a motor car to serve the needs of the modest farm family in America. He found a need and filled it at a price point that was attractive to his target market.

Ford also said ' What we call evil is simply ignorance bumping its head in the dark. '

This weekend hardline Ulster Loyalists and Irish Nationalists will be grandstanding and goading on the streets of Dublin, as is their right so long as offensive, threatening, abusive, insulting behaviour is avoided.

Ninety years on from 1916 it's incredible that we still have a few laggards on this little island dusting off their Model T vintage political platforms, and making themselves look ridiculous, much like Holocaust denier David Irvings. They'd be making better use of their time by finding a need and filling it.

I'm grateful to United Irelander for inviting me to write a post for his site.

Frank Neary

Frank Neary blogs at The Land Of Ireland and is a contributor to the Irish Election group blog.

If you'd like to contribute an article to United Irelander, on any subject you like, email:

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All-Ireland league possible - FAI

Hard work? Yeah right!Very interesting news indeed from FAI Chief Executive John Delaney (pictured left).

He has claimed that an All-Ireland league is a possibility, but only if clubs from both sides of the border are in favour of it.

The ongoing success of the Setanta Sports Cup has led to suggestions that an All-Ireland League could happen and Delaney admitted that such a venture would be supported by the FAI if the Clubs want it.

Delaney said: "My view in life is do what the members want. If the clubs want that, then we'll look at it.

"I think in life you have to crawl, walk run. I know the talk of an all island league was in the Genesis Report, that's a bit away yet. We have an all island tournament at the moment."

Ah yes the Genesis Report. I'm sure that will fully implemented right around the time the Bertie Bowl is given the go-ahead, eh?

I favour the idea of an all-Ireland league but I am highly sceptical that the FAI are serious about it. It might involve too much work and we know how the FAI reacts to hard work - or rather how they don't.

Still, it is a good concept and hopefully clubs from both sides of the border will take it under consideration.

Friday, February 24, 2006


Fun Irelander Feature - Levels of Hell

Diddly!"The wretched King Minos has decided your fate. His tale wraps around his body 3 times.

"The sweet light no longer strikes against your eyes. Your shade has been banished to... the Third Level of Hell!"

Third Level of Hell

"In the third circle, you find yourself amidst eternal rain, maledict, cold, and heavy. The gluttons are punished here, lying in the filthy mixture of shadows and of putrid water. Because you consumed in excess, you meet your fate beneath the cold, dirty rain, amidst the other souls that there lay unhappily in the stinking mud. Cerberus, a canine monster cruel and uncouth with his three heads and red eyes, dwells in this level. He growls and tears at the damned with his teeth and claws."

That's what I get for wanting all those extra slices of cake...

What level of hell do you belong to? Take the quiz here.


MI5 withheld evidence before Omagh bombing

MI5 wanted to see this kind of carnage Really shocking news from RTE today (hat tip Slugger) that British security service, MI5, withheld vital anti-terrorism intelligence just months before the Omagh bombing in 1998.

According to security sources in Northern Ireland, MI5 failed to inform Special Branch of the threat about the bomb plot.

The details have only just emerged as part of an investigation into an FBI agent who infiltrated the Real IRA, which carried out the attack.

Relatives of some of the 29 people killed in the bombing have said they are astonished by the disclosure.

SDLP leader Mark Durkan said: 'Allowing MI5 to have a lead role in intelligence in Northern Ireland would be like appointing Herod as children's commissioner.'

Michael Gallagher, whose son Aidan, 21, was among those killed, said: 'At best, this is criminal negligence. At worst, it's assisting a terrorist murder plot.'

Three dissident republicans were arrested and later released without charge at the time of the foiled April 1998 bomb plot four-and-a-half months before Omagh was attacked.

It is incredible news but it's not the first time we've heard about this kind of thing. If you read my sidebar which details excerpts from Joe Tierney's book on the Dublin and Monaghan Bombings, he reveals that MI5 were heavily involved in the loyalist's bombing of Dublin and Monaghan in 1974 as well as other attacks on the Republic.

Even British Prime Minister Harold Wilson felt that extreme right-wing elements within MI5 were trying to undermine him and to destroy his political career.

Why didn't MI5 inform Special Branch of the bomb plot, you ask? Because quite simply they want to see the peace process fail!

Now the British government want to entrust MI5 with a lead role in intelligence in Ireland's north. It's madness!

I urge all parties in the North to come together and to reject this idea entirely.

Murderers cannot be entrusted with this kind of power.


Unionism in the 21st century

You did well, sir! "Unionism is a fraud and a deception. The people who have been most defrauded and deceived are the political minority on this island who have been deluded into believing that unionism offers the only salvation to their tribe."

The above words are from historian Brian Feeney who offered a critique of unionism and its role in the 21st century on the BBC's Hearts and Minds programme last night. It was an interesting show and I taped it in order to evaluate it thoroughly. In the studio to challenge him were Dermot Nesbitt of the UUP and Sammy Wilson of the DUP. Seeing as I posted here on the previous programme which analysed nationalism, I thought I would likewise scrutinise some of the main points associated with Mr Feeney's analysis of unionism. Feeney states:

"Inevitably, time moves on. Now unionism has no future, only a past. Unionism has delivered its adherents nothing. On every measurement scale, the north of Ireland is bottom."

Harsh words but completely true. At least the actions of Irish Republicans in the early 20th century have been somewhat justified by the success of the Irish Republic, however Ireland's north has been a failure since day one. A sad indicication of a negative political ideology.

"The Republic of Ireland is a modern, skills-based, technological economy producing for example most Intel chips for Europe near Leixlip and all Dell computers for Europe, the Middle-East and Africa at Limerick. Ireland attracts about 10% of all US investment in Europe. In 2004 alone, there was 10 billion dollars of new US investment in the Republic, whereas the British taxpayer funds two-thirds of the North's salaries."

Puts things into perspective doesn't it and it perhaps explains why the British Secretary of State Peter Hain has declared the north 'unsustainable' in the long term and why he has recommended an all-Ireland economy.

"You never hear anyone, even a unionist, talking about the future of unionism. No unionist can tell you where he wants to be in 10 years. The closest you will get to an answer is that they want to be in the same place as they are now. All change is viewed as debit, loss, negative. Yet change happens despite unionists."

Feeney is spot-on. Unionists are not at all future-focused. There are no goals, no objectives, no long-term targets. They continue to grasp and clutch tightly everything they currently possess, however they are squeezing too tightly and putting too much pressure upon themselves.

"With legally guaranteed equality for nationalists, in a rights-based society, the very purpose of unionism no longer exists. The law now protects unionist's rights in a way which makes a tribal reservation for them unnecessary."

A fantastic point by Mr Feeney and it begs the question - if unionism has moved beyond its original purpose, what future does it have? Remember that unionism was not built upon a desire to see Ireland divided, on the contrary many unionists, like Ulster Unionist leader Edward Carson, opposed such a division. So is modern-day unionism going to spawn itself into some sort of pro-partitionist ideology or will it stay true to its heritage?

"The north of Ireland no longer belongs to unionists. It's a bi-national state, with Irish officials intimately engaged in every nook and cranny of the place. Unionism represents the past, privilege, inequality, social and economic backwardness. There can no longer be any selfish, economic or strategic interest in anyone being a unionist."

Mr Feeney concludes with the noteworthy points made above. There is nothing to encourage anyone these days to embrace unionism. Partition has failed and failed miserably. A divided Ireland sees us in a society where we all lose out, particularly those north of the border.

Overall it was an excellent piece by Mr Feeney and in the studio debate I thought Mr Feeney conducted himself superbly and I thought he made eejits out of Nesbitt and Wilson respectively. It was almost a role reversal of the nationalist programme where the SDLP's Mark Durkan and Sinn Féin's Mitchell McLaughlin ended up rubbishing the foolish claims put forward by Denis Kennedy of the Cadogan Group. I figured I ought to rate the performance of the panellists:

Dermot Nesbitt - Poor old Dermot. I'll outline his opening gambit to presenter Noel Thompson on Mr Feeney:

"Well you introduced Brian as a historian. I have to say you are living in the past. You are genuinely a historian, Brian. You won't even look to the future."

Good man, Dermot! Start with an ad hominem attack, that will help your case! Dermot then went and made a bizarre speech about the EU and the SNP in Scotland but it didn't seem to have a point. Mr Thompson then asked him where he wished to be in ten years and he stated he wanted a "United Kingdom at ease with itself" (wouldn't that involve being free of NI?). He then went on about Gaelic and how he supported the Irish rugby team, but again he didn't seem to have a point. Just what was he talking about?

Dermot Nesbitt then laughably accused nationalism of being stuck in the past and blasted the 1930's attitude of wanting to break down borders. Perhaps Mr Nesbitt could give his thoughts on the unionist celebration of the Battle of the Boyne, an event that occurred in 1690!

Sammy Wilson - I thought Dermot Nesbitt was bad but then Sammy Wilson came along and made him look half decent. Let's start with Sammy's opening gambit to Noel Thompson on Mr Feeney, shall we:

"You introduced Brian as a commentator, Dermot has dealt with the historical side of the description..I've got to say, the kind of bigoted, partisan rant that we had hardly does him credit as an objective commentator and it's certainly not a picture of Northern Ireland that I think many people listening to this programme would recognise."

Oh dear. Poor Sammy got a bit confused. As presenter Noel Thompson had to point out to him, Brian Feeney wasn't actually brought in to be an objective commentator as he was offering a critique on unionism from a nationalist standpoint! Did you get a load of Wilson slagging off Feeney by calling him a bigot? Leaving aside the ridiculous situation of a man who works for Ian Paisley branding someone a bigot, here we see another unionist criticising the person rather than the argument itself. Of course there was nothing bigoted in Mr Feeney's piece at all and it just goes to show how desperate Wilson was that he had to resort to the 'B' card. To top it off, Wilson went on to laughably state that the North had a better education system than the rest of Europe!

Brian Feeney - He did very well and made a good point when he outlined that any change made to the status quo in the North came about because unionists were compelled to change. We're all aware of the Civil Rights Campaign and as Feeney told presenter Noel Thompson:

"At any stage between 1974 and 1998, unionists could have had a power-sharing arrangement with the SDLP - they refused to do that. They refused to countenance that. The same applies to any council. Now they're compelled that if there's going to be any kind of renewal of executive, they must have partnership. The next stage is they will be compelled to have partnership in local councils. So whatever movement is made they are compelled to make. There is no goodwill. They insist on no change."

I should point out that none of the above information was countered, queried or disputed by either of the unionist panellists. Feeney went on to point out how the unionists had resorted to attacking him rather than his argument and he made a total mockery of Wilson's silly claims that the North had the best education system in Europe which was truly a joy to behold. Feeney pointed out the flaws of the education and how it was failing those within unionist working class communities:

"We heard from Sammy that it's the best education system in Europe. Absolute rubbish. And in fact the problem is that unionists refuse to change the education system because the unionist working class is the worst affected. In somewhere like unionist west Belfast, it isn't the case of 1% passing the eleven plus, in some cases it's a case of one individual. Now that's outrageous yet they cling to that system which fails their own people.

Sammy kept his mouth shut after that and Mr Nesbitt didn't touch on it either!

My ratings on the debate:

Dermot Nesbitt - Outclassed and incoherent.

Sammy Wilson - Embarrassing. Shouldn't have been there.

Brian Feeney - Outstanding. He was articulate and made two panellists look very poor.

Overall, a good show. If you missed it I'd recommend you catch the rerun which can be viewed on the BBC's site here and you can make your own mind up.

I'm not clear on what the future holds for unionism I must admit but from what I've heard from Dermot Nesbitt and Sammy Wilson, they're not too clear on it either!


Concerns over Love Ulster parade

Hopefully Dublin will be respectedThere were appeals for calm yesterday after it emerged that hardline republicans are to hold a protest against a loyalist parade through Dublin this weekend.

The counter demonstration, organised by pro-dissident Republican Sinn Fein, coincides with Saturday's parade and rally by loyalist Love Ulster campaigners.

While gardai and event organisers say that they are not expecting any trouble, the presence of organised republicans and loyalists in the city centre has raised concerns.

Willie Frazer from victims' group FAIR is organising the Love Ulster demonstration, which features speakers Jeffrey Donaldson, Arlene Foster and Danny Kennedy, and he said he expected it to be peaceful.

"The parade leaves Parnell Square at 12.30pm and will make its way along O'Connell Street to Leinster House and we will be holding a rally there," he said.

"We don't believe that there will be any bother from the people of Dublin."

His group is also due to meet with Irish Justice Minister Michael McDowell and Dublin and Monaghan bombings victims' group Relatives for Justice has sent a letter of protest to the minister.

I find this very unsettling indeed. The presence of Republican Sinn Féin won't achieve anything constructive.

I really hope violence doesn't break out over this parade at the weekend. I must say the thought of seeing the parade doesn't appeal to me right now at this point in time.

I would urge people to be respectful. Let them march without hassle and dispel alot of their archaic notions about the Irish Republic.


Hypocrite of the Week - Jose Mourinho

Ssh. I'm a hypocrite. Sunday, 6th February, 2006:

In a match between Chelsea and Liverpool at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea winger Arjen Robben dramatically falls to the floor holding his face claiming he has been struck by Liverpool goalkeeper Jose Reina. Liverpool manager Rafa Benitez blasts the player alleging gamesmanship:

"He has dived, it is so clear. I don't understand why you can kick everyone in a game, then you touch one player and you are sent off.

"What kind of professional can you be against another professional if you leave the other player not playing for three games?"

Chelsea manager Jose Mourinho refuses to comment on Benitez's claims:

"I am not interested in what Benitez has said."

"Why should I comment on Rafa's words. He can say what he wants but sometimes we say things without thinking, especially after we lose."

Wednesday, 22nd February, 2006:

In a match between Chelsea and Barcelona at Stamford Bridge, Chelsea player Asier Del Horno gets a red card - Mourinho accuses Barcelona winger Lionel Messi of trying to get Del Horno sent off:

"How do you say cheating in Catalan"?

"Can Messi be suspended for acting? Barcelona is a cultural city with many great theatres and this boy has learned very well. He's learned play-acting."

Come on, Jose. He's not a patch on Arjen Robben! In fact, forget all the speculation that Brokeback Mountain will clean up at the Oscars, personally I'm backing Arjen to bag an award for his Oscar-winning performance against the scousers!

Mourinho, you sir are a hypocrite. I suggest you consider getting involved with politics in Ireland's north when you leave Chelsea.

You would fit in rather well!


Separated at Birth?

One is a witty and humorous man who provides cutting edge discussion on the major events of the day, the other is Alex Attwood.

I support Irish UnityI'm very funny

The Daily Show's Stephen Colbert and the SDLP's Alex Attwood - separated at birth? You decide.


Friday Fun's Fascinating Fact

Fact: "One punishment for an adulterous wife in Medieval France was to make her chase a chicken through town naked."

Ouch, that's harsh...that poor chicken.

Thursday, February 23, 2006


Contribute a post on United Irelander...

Follow the right path...To reiterate what I wrote on Tuesday, I am interested in allowing guests to make a post here on UI once a week.

There has been some interest already from a few of you but no one has been overly committed so if you want the honour of being the first guest poster to contribute to UI, there's still time! Just email me your article through the email address on my sidebar. I would prefer to publish it over the weekend.

It can be on any issue you like but seeing as this blog is primarily about Irish Unity, I'd be more interested in your own perspective on the issue of a United Ireland. It can be from a unionist or nationalist standpoint. It's up to you.

'I pity the fools who turn this offer down!'
I hate flying...and Irish politics!

Join the UI experience. You have the power!

(PS There are some very exciting new features on the horizon here on UI so make sure you keep your eyes peeled. You have been warned...)


Thursday Thoughts: Clown Comhairle

The Ceann Comhairle has been a joke The man pictured to your left is the Ceann Comhairle, Dr Rory O'Hanlon TD.

Dr O'Hanlon is a Fianna Fáil politician representing Cavan-Monaghan.

To those of you who are not well-versed on the politics of the Irish Republic, the Ceann Comhairle is essentially the Chairman of Dáil Éireann, the lower house of the Irish parliament.

As Wikipedia explains:

"The Ceann Comhairle is expected to observe strict impartiality. Despite this, a government usually tries to select one of its own for the position, if its numbers allow. In order to protect the neutrality of the chair, the Irish constitution provides that an incumbent Ceann Comhairle does not seek re-election as a TD (member of the Dáil) but rather is deemed automatically to have been re-elected by their constitutuency at a general election, unless they are retiring. As a consequence, the constituency that an incumbent Ceann Comhairle theoretically represents returns one less TD in a general election than its usual entitlement. The Ceann Comhairle does not vote except in the event of a tie."

Now you're all probably wondering why I am discussing the Ceann Comhairle here on United Irelander. Well, the reason I'm discussing him is because far from being impartial, it is my opinion that the Ceann Comhairle is very much in the pocket of the party he was elected to represent and that in recent weeks he has been most unfair in his chairing of the Dáil. I put it to you all that he has consistently attempted to stifle debate and to protect Fianna Fáil. Permit me to highlight 5 points to support my claims.

1. Yesterday I made this post in relation to the latest corruption scandal to hit the Dáil and how Green Party leader Trevor Sargent had taken the Taoiseach to task over it, but most of you might not have picked up on this seemingly insignificant bit:

"Ceann Comhairle Rory O’Hanlon earlier advised Mr Sargent these matters were currently under investigation by a Tribunal of Inquiry and should not be debated in the Dáil chamber.

"Mr Sargent said that the 2000 internal Fianna Fáil inquiry into illegal payments to party members did not fall under the remit of the Tribunal."

Interesting, no? Permit me to outline further evidence:

2. There is another small but significant incident, which I picked up from this Slugger thread, regarding the furore over Willie O'Dea when he was photographed holding a gun:

"Greens leader Trevor Sargent also asked if there would be any ministerial accountability for the photographs, but Ceann Comhairle Rory O’Hanlon ruled the matter out of order." (Quelle surprise!)

3. There is this embarrassing incident from last year, reported in the Irish Independent (registration required), when the Ceann Comhairle Rory O'Hanlon refused to attend the Inquiry of the Joint Committee on Health and Children into the nursing home charges scandal:

"The Committee is anxious to investigate why John Boland's proposals to legislate for the charges which would have saved the Exchequer up to €1bn were dropped by O'Hanlon "after discussion on the matter between the then Taoiseach [Charles Haughey] and Ray McSharry".

"Since there are no records of why this volte face occurred, O'Hanlon is a key witness.

"Opposition figures have been less than convinced by O'Hanlon's position.

"Labour leader Pat Rabbitte claimed that the "most appropriate precedent was provided by the Ceann Comhairle's voluntary appearance at the Lindsay tribunal", which was inquiring into his role in the haemophilia blood scandal.

"Rabbitte said an examination of the legislation on Dail committees suggested the Ceann Comhairle was looking for a higher level of privilege than a Supreme Court judge or the President.

"Rabbitte also dismissed the claim that appearing at a Parliamentary Inquiry was the same as taking an active role in parliamentary proceedings.

"The Labour leader warned that O'Hanlon "was not bringing any credit to the reputation of the Chair by ducking his civic responsibilities"."

Pat Rabbitte is by far the most notorious critic of the Ceann Comhairle. They clashed in October 2003, which you can read about in full here. Quote:

"To be honest, sir," the Labour leader told the Ceann Comhairle last week during a typically acrimonious exchange, "I have never been harassed by any of your predecessors in the same fashion that you harass me."

"I wouldn't go too far in casting aspersions on the chair if I were you," O'Hanlon pointedly responded.

4. The Labour leader and the Ceann Comhairle clashed again in 2004 when O'Hanlon ruled a question in relation to the closure of Garda stations out of order (Sound familiar?):

"You are the most partisan chair we have ever had in this house," said Deputy Rabbitte.

"Time after time you intervene to protect the Government and I am sick of it. I am sick of your partisan approach.

"You are congenitally incapable of being fair. I asked one question about garda stations and I got no answer.

"I was merely pointing out the conflict of closing rural Garda stations and post offices with the professed commitment to decentralisation.

"With all due respect I’ll explain what I’m asking without any help from you."

When asked to withdraw the accusation, Rabbitte refused.

"I will not withdraw the remark because you are unfair," he shouted.

The Dáil was suspended for five minutes. When it returned, Rabbitte was again asked to withdraw his accusation but again refused.

"I am sorry that my remarks led to the disruption of the house but I regret I cannot withdraw them," he said.

"I will withdraw from the house rather than withdraw them."

5. Things came to a head in November 2005 when Labour Party Pat Rabbitte threatened the Ceann Comhairle with a motion of no confidence after an attempt to raise the winter fuel allowance was ruled out of order:

Pat Rabbitte said if the Ceann Comhairle continued in this way into next year (I personally think it's fair to say that he has!), he would be inviting a motion of no confidence. Mr Rabbitte said that while he may get the votes of his own party, he would have lost the confidence of the Opposition side of the House. He claimed there had never been a situation in his time in the Dáil where a party leader had not been allowed to raise such issues on the Order of Business. However, the Ceann Comhairle, Dr Rory O'Hanlon, insisted the matter was not in order.

I am not aware of anyone in the media tackling the conduct of the Ceann Comhairle and I am certainly not aware of any Irish bloggers scrutinising Dr O'Hanlon - I might be the first - but it seems to me that the Ceann Comhairle is quite clearly not impartial. On the contrary, he has been very partisan and he seems more than willing to step in and protect the Government when things get a bit too uncomfortable for Bertie and the boys.

This cannot be tolerated any longer.

I therefore submit to you and to the Opposition parties that in the interests of Irish democracy, a motion of no confidence be called on Ceann Comhairle Rory O'Hanlon.

Dr O'Hanlon loves to label the Opposition out of order. In reality, the only thing out of order is his own attitude.

It's time to send Dr O'Hanlon out of the chamber. Permanently.


Decommissioning cover-up, says Paisley

Paisley needs to accept that decommissioning occurred There aren't many times when I read a serious news story and burst out laughing, but I did just that over this particular story.

DUP leader Dr Ian Paisley has accused the British government of being involved in a cover-up over the IRA’s final act of disarmament.

Dr Paisley made the claim after he was told by General John de Chastelain’s arms decommissioning body it would not produce any inventory of the Provisionals’ weapons until all other paramilitary groups had got rid of theirs.

"We have now a cover up," the North Antrim MP said.

"We have a cover up by the Government who actually are in the controlling seat and they have agreed evidently with the IRA that decommissioning is finished, the books were open, the books were sorted out and this question is now closed.

"The Government will not take any step to see that the whole truth comes out on this matter.

"So I would indict the Government of double standards. I would indict the (disarmament) commission for not pushing this thing and saying truthfully if we can’t do this job right, we are not going to stay any longer."

Fox Mulder himself
What excuse will he concoct next time?

Paisley called on MI5 and the PSNI to release publicly what they knew about decommissioning but the two nationalist parties have criticised Paisley's comments.

"On the one hand, Paisley says that he raised loyalist decommissioning with the IICD," said SDLP leader Mark Durkan.

"Then in the next breath he predicts sectarian warfare and gives them the excuse they need to hold on to their weapons."

"The IRA have dealt decisively with that issue and the DUP know this," said Sinn Féin chief negotiator Martin McGuinness.

"What today’s meeting is about is part of the DUP search for excuses not to engage.

"It is time that the DUP began to live up to their political responsibilities and began showing the sort of political leadership they promised to deliver.

"The time for excuses is over and the two governments need to make this clear to the DUP."

I agree with the SDLP and Sinn Féin. How long can the rest of us put up with Paisley's intransigence? It is simply excuse after excuse after excuse.

Paisley is frankly an embarrassment to unionism. With him at the helm, unionism is doomed. He will continue to antagonise the British and he will marginalise Ireland's north from the rest of the UK. Effectively, the North will end up with some form of Joint Authority and this will likely end up as a way for the British to try and offload the North altogether.

Unionists need to realise that they have to work together with nationalists. There is no other way. A recent survey of DUP members, which I posted on here, found that 39% of them would be willing to share power with other parties in the right context but a shocking 37% of them favoured Direct Rule even if the IRA destroyed every weapon, and, bizarrely, 24% had no opinion.

This leads me to believe that Paisley is pandering to the negative elements within his party who do not want devolution under any circumstances. The reality however is that this position is unacceptable.

The Irish and British governments need to make it quite clear to Paisley that devolution is going to happen and that this is not up for debate. Let Paisley and the rest of the DUP sulk and brood all they want. Let them dream up all the excuses they can muster.

Bottom line is, devolution is the north's solution. Now let's get it back.


Judge Cory blasts Finucane Inquiry

The man who recommended an inquiry into the murder of Belfast solictor Pat Finucane, retired Canadian Supreme Court Judge Peter Cory, astonishingly claimed last night that the full truth about the murder may never be revealed under the terms of the British government inquiry set up to examine the assassination.

Even more extraordinary was his suggestion that with hindsight had he known how the investigation was to be conducted, he might not have become involved at all!

He said: "If you told me at the beginning no matter what you do we are going to change the rules then any self respecting person would say thank-you and I’d just as soon not.

"This is Micky Mouse, it’s Alice in Wonderland. But you don’t know that at the time."

The Finucane family have refused to co-operate with the tribunal proposed for their case insisting it would suppress what really happened, a decision attacked by the DUP you may recall, however Judge Cory admitted that he would be inclined to agree with their stance since it's believed that under the planned Inquiries Act, crucial evidence would be omitted from publication on the grounds of national security.

"In the middle of everything you move the goalposts and you change the rules of the game," he said.

"It’s like playing hockey and instead of six to 18 you have one team with eight and one with four. See how you do for 10 minutes and then we’re going to change.

"I just don’t think it’s a way to run a railroad, but I’m not running a railroad and it’s the responsibility of government to protect their citizens."

Asked if the proposals for holding an inquiry could make it impossible to establish the truth, Judge Cory, who was in Belfast to give a lecture at the city’s Queen’s University, claimed: "It may be."

Revealing that he worried about the chances of finding out what really happened, he added:

"If all the ministries involved said yes you can have everything you wanted, we’re not going to frustrate anything and there will be no motions with regard to it then I think you could (establish the truth).

"That may be beyond the realms of reality. I don’t know, but it’s possible."

This is an out and out travesty. What I want to know is, what will be done about this? Will we hear unionists rally behind the Finucane family as they attempt to attain justice? Will we hear unionists condemn the British government for, as Peter Cory alleged, 'changing the goalposts'? Will they unite together with the nationalist community in an effort to find out the full truth?

Like hell they will.

Why is it that every other person in the world would find this kind of thing absolutely disgraceful, yet the unionist community apparently have no problem with this kind of thing whatsoever?

Where is the sense of moral outrage? Where is the demand for justice? Where is the LEADERSHIP?

It is all decidedly lacking.

Far more important to piss and moan about the travel arrangements of the Irish President, isn't that right Dr Paisley?

It's enough to make you want to retch.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


The money was just resting in their accounts...

Will Mr Wright resign? Fresh corruption scandals have rocked Irish politics - and Fianna Fáil is the party involved believe it or not!

Yes, the Taoiseach was today challenged to take action against a TD and senator under the spotlight of the Mahon Tribunal into planning corruption.

Greens leader Trevor Sargent said Taoiseach Bertie Ahern should ask Dublin North TD GV Wright (pictured left) and Senator Don Lydon to resign.

Both Oireachtas members admitted at the Mahon Tribunal yesterday that they didn’t disclose rezoning donations to an internal Fianna Fáil inquiry in 2000.

Mr Sargent today asked the Taoiseach in the Dáil:

"Is it credible for you to have a TD with no recollection of a €5,000 cheque, receiving it, cashing it, having it in his account?

"We’re talking about a senator who, with other Fianna Fáil and some Fine Gael councillors was apoplectic when I asked a basic question in 1993 if any councillor in Dublin Co Council received a cheque.

"He was apoplectic to the point that he got me in a headlock Taoiseach and went to grab a mere 100 pound cheque that had been sent to the Green Party.

"Taoiseach, is that acceptable behaviour from somebody in your party. Are you going to do anything about it? Are you going to expel them? Are you going to sever your links with white-collar crime? What does a person have to do to get thrown out of the Fianna Fáil party?"
(Maybe ask Síle de Valera that one)

Mr Ahern replied:

"I’m certainly sorry if some of my party members caught Deputy Sargent in a headlock in 1993. If I had’ve been there, I would have stopped them." (Nice to see the Taoiseach taking this issue so seriously, don't you think?)

Ceann Comhairle Rory O’Hanlon earlier advised Mr Sargent these matters were currently under investigation by a Tribunal of Inquiry and should not be debated in the Dáil chamber.

Mr Sargent said that the 2000 internal Fianna Fáil inquiry into illegal payments to party members did not fall under the remit of the Tribunal.

He further asked of Mr Ahern:

"Does he condone corruption, bribery, bad planning?"

Mr Ahern said that the Government and the Fianna Fáil party condemned wrongdoing in any area:

"We set up the Moriarty Tribunal to investigate payments to politicians and we set up the Mahon Tribunal to investigate irregularities in the planning process and many other inquiries.

"I condemn any wrongdoing going on anywhere, including in Dublin Co Council.

"That is the position of the Government and that is the position of my party. I think Deputy Sargent knows that very well."

The Taoiseach added:

"If you want to know about my inquiry, I’ll fill you in on that if you fill me in on your chemical shares one."

Nice to see that politics south of the border can be just as farcical as politics north of the border! This latest scandal just confirms a belief held by many Irish people, including myself, that there are an awful shower of gangsters involved in the running of this country.

I applaud Trevor Sargent for tackling the Government on this matter, and it's not very often that I find myself applauding the leader of the Greens.

From what Mr Sargent alleges, this Senator Lydon seems to be a bit of an erratic personality to say the least. As for the TD, GV Wright, he wasn't asked to resign over his 2003 incident where he injured a woman in a drink-driving incident when he was over the legal alcohol limit, so what are the odds that the Taoiseach will ask him to tender his resignation over this?

Fianna Fáil - worthy of another term in Government? I think not.

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