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|From: Irish Political Review: Editorials|
Stormont House Crash
|Stormont House Crash
There is little reason to doubt Sinn Fein's view that the Stormont House crash is "a contrived crisis" brought about by the electoral rivalry between the two branches of Unionism.
The casus belli of the crisis was the killing of two former Republican prisoners—not usually a concern of Unionism—and it is a justification for it that is flimsy in the extreme.
The Irish Times promotes this fiction when it says that, "The row over the alleged continuing existence of the IRA has poisoned relationships between the two largest parties in the power-sharing Executive" (12.9.15).
Where has the Irish Times been living since 2011, one might ask?
The real cause of the 'crisis' is to be found in Unionism. Unionism has gone into an existential crisis and this, more than anything else, led to the Stormont House Crash.
Deprived of its majority/dominating status, Unionism cannot seem to stabilise itself or its 'state' that it claims to have "maintained" against the Fenian resurgence. Though Unionism periodically claims victory in the conflict, it now thrashes about with a lot more stagger than swagger. Unionism sometimes says it is aiming to make 'Northern Ireland' functional and claiming that it can reconcile the "defeated" Fenians to its existence, but then it reverts to its basic communal instincts of the lost world, spoiling all the rhetoric.
Whilst Unionism claims victory it seems that Unionists act as if they have suffered defeat.
After the flag dispute of 2012, and the worrying demographic shift signalled in the 2011 Census which showed the end of majority-status, there was the start of an unravelling of the functional relationship Paisley had built up with Sinn Fein that established a degree of stable government at Stormont. From 2012 things have begun to unravel.
In 2013 there were all-party talks aimed at securing agreement on legacy issues, flags and emblems and parading. But Unionism found itself unable to agree to the Richard Haass proposals for progress. After Haass departed, in October 2014 new all-party talks began with the same proposals put on the table in conjunction with issues that had since arisen from the Tory economic assault on the North.
From 2011 the British Government had begun stripping the North of about £1.5 billion pounds of its annual block grant. It began to impose massive cuts to public services that have pushed them to breaking point. It also sought to impose welfare cuts, but found, due to the Good Friday Agreement, that because this was now a devolved matter, Sinn Fein's consent was necessary.
Sinn Fein negotiated the Stormont House Agreement, in December 2014. This ameliorated the welfare cuts in return for progress on the 3 key issues discussed by Haass. In signing up to this and agreeing to the Stormont Welfare Bill, Sinn Fein made it clear that it was protecting both present and future claimants from the reforms. However, the DUP through an accounting device of their Finance Minister, welched on the deal, and included protection only for present claimants. So Sinn Fein opposed the Welfare Bill through the tabling of a Petition of Concern—a legitimate mechanism of the Good Friday Agreement—in March 2015.
In May 2015 David Cameron, having secured a majority for the Tories at Westminster, moved to strip public services and welfare of a further £25 Billion. This would make the financial situation of the Executive at Stormont unsustainable.
Sinn Fein's view that the Stormont House Crash is all about electioneering within the Unionist bloc must be taken seriously. The Welfare Reform issue accentuated the turmoil within Unionism as it seemed to present a useful weapon to be used on Sinn Fein at a most opportune time of extreme discomfort for Unionism.
The perverse political entity of 'Northern Ireland' and the parties of State boycott leave the Government of the UK State immune to elections contested in its 'Northern Ireland' annex. Therefore, the Westminster Government can institute policies without fear of retribution from the electorate.
The political parties that actually contest the elections in the 'Northern Ireland' annex have no such luxury. Sinn Fein is the only party of State in 'Northern Ireland'. Its constituency in both States demands that it opposes the Tory welfare cuts—which are actually opposed by many in the UK and by the new leader of the Labour Party. Merely because Sinn Fein opposes the Tory cuts, Unionism has taken up the alternative position, supporting the Tory cuts, even though many of its constituency would suffer deeply from such cuts. As long as the other party in the Unionist bloc maintains a similar position there is no problem in doing so.
But this situation, which generated a stalemate, provoked the attempted out-flanking by the Unionist Party of the DUP, through an opportunistic walk-out over the shootings of the two republicans, which they blamed on the IRA. The idea was to put some political distance between the two parties, that had drawn together on welfare reform against the Fenians, so that the subordinate part of Unionism could perhaps in next year's election recapture ground lost to the dominant part.
On the Nationalist side a similar manoeuvre could not be attempted by the SDLP without further electoral loss because Sinn Fein has occupied the high ground of Stormont, and the Catholic community sees the British/Unionist position as an attack on itself
Unionism went along with the cuts, even though it would be punishing a substantial part of its own community. Presumably this was judged a useful diversionary action to avoid a compromise with Sinn Fein on legacy issues, flags and parading. And screw the remnants of the Protestant working class, who had their flegs to comfort them.
The ostensible events leading to the walk-outs occurred earlier this year. In May IRA-man Gerard 'Jock' Davison was shot dead in Belfast. In August former IRA-man Kevin McGuigan was killed. On 22nd August the PSNI Chief Constable stated that members of the Provisional IRA had been involved in the second killing. However, no charges have been brought. The statement provoked a walkout by the UUP from the Executive with a call for the DUP to join it. The DUP Leader, not wanting to do the UUP bidding, then "stepped aside" with 4 of his 5 Ministers but failed in a motion to have the Assembly adjourned. The British refused to suspend the institutions.
Peter Robinson, after a period of maintaining stability at Stormont, has been unsettled by a revival of fundamentalist instinct within the DUP. On top of this, a recent minor resurgence of the UUP under its new leader, the UTV media man Mike Nesbitt, has stirred up discontent among the DUP to a level that has made Robinson's earlier project, outlined in his Castlereagh speech, of stabilising 'Northern Ireland' in the unionist interest, untenable. And Robinson's heart attack earlier in the year, indicating his political days were numbered, has prompted a flexing of muscles among the pretenders to his throne.
On the anniversary of the death of the Big Man, Martin McGuinness suggested that "the current crisis would never have been created under the leadership of Dr. Paisley" (IT 12.9.15) He is undoubtedly right. Paisley believed he had seen off the Republican effort and had the confidence he could do something with the victory. He would not have "lost the dressing-room" as they say in sporting parlance to those who were not so sure if they had won and who wished to continue the eternal struggle that, it appears, will never really be won.
Although it is not at all clear whether the new UUP Leader, TV Mike, knew what he was actually doing when he organised the great media event and walked-out, or what he wished to accomplish, the DUP was so spooked by his grand gesture that it responded to it by pushing everything closer to the cliff.
In fact, what the conflict within Unionism seems to be all about is who can push things closest to the tipping point without actually taking everything over the cliff. And of course, Dublin, after helping to move things in that direction in order to shaft Sinn Fein in the South, has long ago lost its nerve and is now pleading for sanity!
Speaking of Dublin, it was said by Marx that "History repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce". What would he have made of the Stormont shenanigans, one might ask? Gerry Moriarty does not ask but mournfully writes for the Irish Times about Sinn Fein coming out unscathed from the Stormont House Crash that was so meant to injure them:
"Sinn Fein really is the 'Teflon party'. It is something of a political mystery that this crisis, based on the assessment of a chief constable and a range of other matters that we are all familiar with, haven't damaged the party. But maybe there is a tipping point. Perhaps if Stormont does combust it might give some of the stability-craving Southern electorate pause about whether to risk their votes with Sinn Fein. A deal in the coming weeks would… serve the purpose of Gerry Adams and his ambitions in the Republic: it could demonstrate that Sinn Fein can govern and make politics work" (IT 12.9.15).
That passage neatly sums up why Dublin's confusion over what it really wants in the North has been so detrimental to what has actually happened in the Six Counties. There is a push for the "tipping point" at every opportunity, seen to damage Sinn Fein electorally in the South, even if that involves assisting the Unionist obstructionism that Dublin acknowledges in its confabs with the SDLP. And then Sinn Fein, indispensable to stability in the North, due to the Catholic community's support for it, saves the North from the "tipping point" to which all are pushing except Sinn Fein, and it is, as a consequence, enhanced in the South. Drat! Foiled again!
Dublin's purpose in helping things toward the edge was partly to stop the momentum gathering in the South around the 1916 Centenary, which had shown itself in the tremendous enthusiasm that manifested among the Dublin working-class during Sinn Fein's re-enactment of the O'Donovan Rossa funeral. The Irish Times began linking the shooting of Kevin McGuigan, an ex-Provo with a hot head and a long-standing grudge against those who attempted to calm his hot temper, with the O'Donovan Rossa event almost immediately (Stephen Collins, 'McGuigan killing raises questions for Rising tributes' 22.8.15). The wind needed taking out of the Sinn Fein sails by the tried and trusted (though previously unsuccessful) method of linking it to sporadic violent events in the North.
When will they ever learn, when will they ever learn…
But back to the Black North: When the DUP First Minister failed to achieve his objective of an adjournment of the Assembly, he stepped aside and the DUP left Arlene Foster to guard the Big House from the Fenians. It seems that Robinson was going to resign all his Ministers and follow TV Mike down the steps and down the Hill. But Arlene pointed out to him that the Fenians—or "the Rogues" and "the Renegades" as she called them—would have the House to themselves, for at least a week. Robinson therefore left Arlene as gatekeeper to hold the fort and then let it be known that he had a cunning plan to keep the Fenians out in perpetuity by not totally resigning and by re-nominating different Ministers every week for as long as it takes. Thus the Executive would continue, but with no one doing the work of the missing Ministers. Arlene Foster would stay on as acting First Minister and continue her role as Minister for Finance.
Alisdair McDonnell is reported to have complained that the DUP "don't want a Taig about the place" at Stormont. That is inaccurate, it should be said. The DUP were taught to accept Taigs at Stormont by the 28 Year War, whether they liked it or not. They were slow learners in that, of course. However, it is not Taigs who are unwanted in Stormont these days—it is Fenians. And Fenians are just as unwelcome in Leinster House, among the SDLP's patrons in Dublin, as they are in Stormont House.
Unionism is full of cunning plans and "procedural manoeuvres". Trimble had loads of them—but where did they get him? The fact is that cunning plans would suffice if there were only Unionists and their flegs to govern. But unfortunately that is not the case—the Fenian "swarm", to borrow an expression of the Prime Minister's, is all around and cunning plans are never enough.
The DUP fear was that the Fenians, if left to mind the House on their own, could do untold damage to 'Northern Ireland'. The only fitting analogy we could think of to do justice to such a notion would be the way a shower ruins a shit.
The DUP objectives in the Stormont House Crash are obscure. Some have suggested they are hoping to avoid being in the House when the NAMA shit hits the fan. Robinson has put Mick Wallace on notice that he intends to sue him over something the Wexford TD said on Twitter about a 'Northern Ireland' MP having benefitted from the sale of NAMA assets. As far as we know he never mentioned Robinson in particular but now the First Minister is suing because he seems to believe that the message has made people think it is him!
Some say the DUP are trying to respond to the UUP gambit by moving Stormont closer to the brink but not fully resigning and so avoiding an election which they fear will be damaging, and good for Sinn Fein.
Robinson has declared that his objective in provoking the crisis is to ensure it is "not business as usual" in the House. But crises in 'Northern Ireland' are, in fact, "business as usial" and functional, stable government is very much the aberration.
Robinson has not been helped by media suggestions that TV Mike has out-manoeuvred him. That really grates on the DUP rank and file. But Nesbitt, after leading his single Minister down the Hill to cultivate an "opposition", found the SDLP was not following and he was joined by the bulk of the main party of government—so that opposition was impossible. He seems to now be drawing back from "opposition" by only demanding the issue of IRA existence to be first on the British talks agenda before a return to the House. (In a radio interview he suggested his aim was to simply get Sinn Fein saying that "the IRA has gone away y'know—but it hasn't!" The Sin has to be admitted by the Sinners for forgiveness to occur. How very Unionist, that is!)
Teresa Villiers on BBC Ulster was non-plussed by this strange demand of Nesbitt's. Despite her failings she is a politician in a real State and she probably hasn't encountered student politics in a while.
The fact that Britain's will is to retain the 'Northern Ireland' semi-detachment is fully reflected in the contrived Stormont House Crash. Stormont is dead, long live Stormont! It dies, but it will live again.
Presumably some bogus independent body will be set up to do something that is already being done by the PSNI, along with the National Crime Agency (allowed in by the SDLP in May) and the various Intelligence bodies. It will not produce any new information, but will be enough to have the rats scurrying back to the ship they seem bent on sinking. They will probably scurry away again in the next 'crisis'. 'Northern Ireland' is the only place where the rats who desert the sinking ship continually return in order to desert it again.
That brings us to the behaviour of the Police and Media. It should be pointed out first that there is little interest in bringing the perpetrators of mass murder in Derry and Ballymurphy to justice. A few weeks ago the Chief Constable revealed to relatives of the Derry victims that he did not know what had happened with regard to the investigation.
The two killings in Belfast that sparked—used as an excuse for—the Stormont House Crash were treated very differently by both media and Police. The Police seem to have had one suspect on their mind for the first killing—that of 'Jock' Davison. Kevin McGuigan was arrested and released without a thorough investigating of his alibi, which was easily blown apart by the investigations of ordinary members of the community.
It seems that a decision, somewhere, was taken to allow McGuigan back on the streets where his presence would undoubtedly cause most trouble. After he was killed, 17 republicans were suddenly arrested in turn by the PSNI, including senior ones closely associated with the Sinn Fein leadership. All were subsequently "released unconditionally" as the Belfast Telegraph put it, but for entirely different reasons than McGuigan was—there was no actual evidence against them. However, the spaced-out arrests gave occasion to sensationalist media publicity.
Another strange aspect of all this was that an ordinary detective, Kevin Geddes, was permitted to make announcements by his Chief Constable, claiming that the IRA was involved in the killing of McGuigan.
The subsequent arrest of Bobby Storey, Sinn Fein's Northern Chairman, was political policing at its crudest. Bobby Storey's detention must have been calculated to cause the maximum political damage up at Stormont House. Arresting Storey, a strong supporter of the retreat from the battlefield, is the tried and trusted method of the Police to help along a political crisis in the Unionist interest. He has previously been detained at important moments—such as at the time of the Northern Bank robbery—after a Unionist M.P. named him in the House of Commons. He was also questioned on the Castlereagh Break-in and the Stormont 'Spy-ring' when the British attempted to save Trimble from the electorate.
During the current crisis, the Police, initially assailed by the media (most notably Ed Moloney) for lack of vigour in arresting Sinn Fein members, then indulged in an orgy of politicking.
Chief Constable George Hamilton had appeared, alongside Bobby Storey, on a platform in Derry, speaking up for Republicans and their honest intentions, and making it clear that the IRA, in his opinion, had gone away. He said:
"In the organisational sense the Provisional IRA does not exist for paramilitary purposes. Our assessment indicates that a primary focus of the Provisional IRA is now promoting a peaceful, political Republican agenda. It is our assessment that the Provisional IRA is committed to following a political path and is no longer engaged in terrorism. I accept the bona fides of the Sinn Fein leadership regarding their rejection of violence and pursuit of the peace process and I accept their assurance that they want to support police in bringing those responsible to justice… We assess that the continuing existence and cohesion of the Provisional IRA hierarchy has enabled the leadership to move the organisation forward within the peace process."
What this means, in essence, is that the IRA only continued to exist, if it existed at all, so that it could achieve its non-existence.
But then he began to backtrack, saying the IRA had gone away in substance but existed in smaller form for different, non-political purposes. And finally, when he decided to arrest the usual suspects, including the man who had sat next to him on a platform, who seem to be rounded up on cue whenever Unionism requires such a thing, he declared that the IRA hadn't gone away, y'know, at all.
The Chief of the Garda Siochain, Noirin O'Sullivan, also came under great pressure in the South. According to the Sunday Times in Ireland the Department of Justice in Dublin had "distanced itself" from her refusal to say what the Sunday Times evidently wanted her to say—that the Provos existed and did the murder! It is amazing how such choreography works North and South, with the British media presence in Ireland acting as conduit.
The media then rolled out the McCartney Sisters, who some years ago lost a brother in a pub fracas for which Provos were scapegoated, to provide commentary on the killing. Speaking to Miriam O'Callaghan on RTÉ Radio One, Catherine McCartney said that, with the death of Gerard Davison, it was "as if a weight was lifted... justice probably would imply there was an element of right about it, but murder is murder at the end of the day and we would condemn that". Paula McCartney "said she had no sympathy for Davison when she heard he was murdered" (Irish Times 10.5.15).
That was the narrative that the media created around the death of "Jock" Davison. It acted as judge and juror in convicting Davison as the man responsible for the death of Robert McCartney. The McCartney's were allowed to make unsubstantiated and unproven allegations against a dead man. The fact that Davison had been released without charge after being "quizzed" by the Police after the killing in the Markets (Belfast) was treated as immaterial.
Irish Foreign Affairs Minister Charlie Flanagan did not even condemn the killing of Jock Davison—something that is customary and was demanded of Sinn Fein—choosing to say instead that Mr. Davison's death "displayed a callous disregard for others"!
The McCartney killing, during a pub brawl, was used to attempt the prevention of a deal between Sinn Fein and the DUP in early 2005. The delayed but subsequent deal led to 5 years of quite functional government at Stormont—something which must be now seen as something of an aberration in the history of 'Northern Ireland'.
The Dublin Independent significantly reported that "Catherine McCartney said the murder of a top IRA man has stunned the republican community and the entire city. She said that “people will feel the IRA have gone away, and that their power in the communities is not what it was”…" (9.5.15).
Well that proved to be an accurate estimation of things and at the same time, a little wishful thinking.
It was accurate in that the killing of Jock Davison without a retaliation, might have made it open season on supporters of the Sinn Fein leadership. In relation to this matter, Anthony McIntyre, in the course of an interview in which he was asked if he believed the IRA still existed, said:
"Yes, I do believe it exists… I think it exists in shadow form, a different form, and has pulled back very deep into itself but I don't believe that it's gone away and I don't know many people that I speak to in The North and on the ground in Republican communities who think it has gone away. And I speak to a lot of Republicans who are disaffected and are often referred to as dissidents and they certainly don't believe it's gone away. And they at times have had meetings with them and disagreements with them and so on and so forth.
What McIntyre is inferring here, and what has become the dominant narrative since the subsequent killing of Kevin McGuigan, is that the second man killed was responsible for the killing of the first, Jock Davison, and the comrades of the first decided that they would have to take action for their own self-preservation in the light of this. The fact that the police failed to find the killer of Davison has a bearing on this.
It has been suggested that, after the decommissioning deal of 2005, Republicans asked that some weapons be retained for personal protection. It is said that the Blair Government agreed but Dublin objected. The fake monitoring body, set up by the British in competition with the real International one, reported the existence of these guns and the DUP was fully aware of this, but still did its deal with Republicans nonetheless.
Like the "On the Runs" issue, there is a great capacity for ignorance when it suits and discovery when it suits.
In September 2008 the British and Irish Governments asked their Independent Monitoring Commission to devote a report to answering the question: Is the IRA committed to non-violence? Under the heading: "Has PIRA abandoned its terrorist structures, preparations and capability?" it reported back to its masters:
"We believe that it has. The so-called 'military' departments have ceased to function and have been disbanded… the organisation's former terrorist capability has been lost. PIRA is not recruiting or training members and the membership continues to decline, and there is some issue as to what membership means in the absence of activity. In so far as gathering information or intelligence may continue in any limited way—not in itself improper if it does not involve illegal methods or intent—we believe that it is mainly for the purpose of ascertaining the nature of any threat from dissident republicans."
Gerry Adams' recent statement that the IRA has gone away y'know, is easily reconcilable with all of this. As the 2008 Report states, the gathering of Intelligence for purposes of self-protection is entirely legitimate and has taken place outside of the old military structures, which have ceased to exist.
Belfast Catholics/Republicans, due to 50 years of Stormont housing policy aimed at hemming the Fenians in, continue to live cheek by jowl. They do not require formal military structures to look out for each other or defend themselves. 'Intelligence' is still offered to those considered Republicans to facilitate the peace and stability of communities. Belfast communities are traditionally tight. They live as neighbours and behave in a neighbourly fashion. You could, as a stranger, have gone on a march into Ardoyne and been invited for Sunday dinner by someone. Part of it was hospitality and part of it was finding out who you were.
In 1969 this neighbourliness produced both the IRA and the Catholic ex-servicemen. Frank Burton, an English sociologist wrote an interesting book about it called the Politics of Legitimacy. During the 28 Year War the communities became even closer and more cohesive, due to necessity, for general protection and in order to create an instrument that would transform their position.
It would be ridiculous to believe that these people and communities would become disconnected atoms when the War ended, as if they lived the lives of those in South Dublin or Surrey, or they would cease to look out for each other, after all they had been through—military structures or not.
One Belfast journalist, a long-standing critic of Sinn Fein, who has, for reasons unexplained, pursued an agenda against the retreat from the battlefield, is presently corresponding with an alleged gun-runner who is attempting to implicate a senior Republican. The suggestion is that guns were run by the IRA when disarming was taking place and these guns were used for killing. The hope seems to be that by slinging more mud this will scupper the new round of talks aimed at a prevention of a Stormont fall over the cliff, by enraging Unionists further: And then what?
This journalist obsession with "missing guns", imagines the situation today is the same as it was during the past. But guns, these days, are much more readily available than they were during the War. They were tightly controlled then and the State was on the lookout for them constantly. They are quite commonplace in London and Dublin these days. We have the West to thank for that, for what it has done since it saw off Russia in the 1990s (or thought it had).
Republican statements that the killers of both former Republican prisoners were "criminals" puts the clearest blue water between the shootings and Republicanism and puts paid to any idea that the IRA killed Kevin McGuigan. That should be clear. But it has nowhere been remarked that this is just about as strong a statement as Sinn Fein could have made—worth a thousand condemnations—since 10 men had died on Hunger Strike to resist the criminal label.
The current leader of Fianna Fail Michael Martin has bizarrely called for the Assembly to be suspended, which could only occur through emergency Westminster legislation and a breaking of existing agreements on the part of the British. That really shows him up for an ignoramus: he has stronger demands than Unionism and is prepared to sacrifice everything Haughey and Reynolds put together.
Martin Mansergh has also made an intervention in the crisis through the Irish Times. Here is some of his wisdom:
"Even within the limitations of devolution, there is plentiful scope for initiatives that will better the lives of people there. A degree of confidence in stability and good governance would go a long way to making the Northern Ireland economy more dynamic, particularly if its corporation tax is aligned with the Republic's. Coalition has to be more than a mutual blocking mechanism, with progress being made by agreeing trade-offs, which will help satisfy aspirations in both communities.
"Budgetary and macroeconomic policy is determined in Britain. No fault lies in acknowledging that reality. Anti-austerity campaigns are unlikely to be won at Stormont. Taking on the responsibilities of government, North or South, involves being ready to stand over difficult choices and decisions. In the long term, a party that seeks a united Ireland surely has an interest in reducing Northern Ireland's dependence on a large British subvention." ('Courage and Compromise needed to spur Stormont' 12.9.15)
This passage seems to be a criticism of Sinn Fein for obstructing Tory Welfare Reform in the North. It has been asked to collaborate in cutting the welfare benefits of its constituents. It has said no and it has now found an ally in the rejuvenated British Labour Party and its new Leader. How silly does Sinn Fein look now? And where is the Fianna Fail Jeremy Corbyn?
One thing is certain: there won't be one if they think in the way Mansergh does.
Mansergh does not explain how Welfare 'Reform', or even a cut in Corporation Tax, might transform the North's economy. That is something only a State and a governing party of State could do. And, until Jeremy Corbyn becomes Prime Minister of the UK, the only worthwhile thing a socialist party with any self-respect can do is resist. Northern Croppies have something against lying down and rolling over.
The Tory Welfare Reforms are only a part of a general assault on the North's strong public sector. There have been massive cuts in public services like health and education, and community funding has been slashed. This has impacted right across the social spectrum and there are growing voices in the Unionist community that are expressing dissatisfaction with the behaviour of the Unionist parties, indulging themselves in electoral posturing, whilst their community suffers from the cuts. It is noticeable that there are no Protestant working class voices, even loyalist, raised in support of the UUP and DUP's walk-outs.
In Mansergh's closing statement for the Irish Times article he says:
"Notwithstanding the mixed causes, motivations and results of the conflict… most people view the post-1969 IRA campaign… as a major mistake, from which it may take a long time to recover."
Mansergh does not explain what the Catholic community should have done, as an alternative to what it was provoked into doing, in the aftermath of August. If he studies closely what Dublin did from August 1969 I would guess he'll be content not to try to. It was, after all, Dublin's abandonment of the Northern Catholics, under pressure from the British, that placed them in a position of having to form themselves into something that could transform their position, in whatever way they could manage. Without doing that there would be no Good Friday or Sinn Fein in the House.
The Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer, John McDonnell, was pretty accurate when he said:
"It was the bombs and bullets and sacrifice made by the likes of Bobby Sands that brought Britain to the negotiating table. The peace we have today is due to the actions of the IRA" (Belfast Telegraph 18.9.15).
He subsequently apologised for his view that the IRA should be "honoured" for its fight. But the rest of his statement contained the real utterance of fact that could not be unsaid, because it was actually established in what was instituted on Good Friday.
The 'Northern Ireland' system established by Britain has been shown again and again to possess no internal capacity for development. Its fundamentally tendency has been toward crashing.
When it was believed to have an internal capacity for development—in the 1960s—that led to the conflict that Mansergh talks about. The conflict pre-dates the Provisional IRA, which grew slowly and did not begin to have an impact until mid-way through 1970. The development that occurred from 1998 was entirely due to external involvement—most of all British—which would never have happened without the IRA's ability to sustain a 28 year War against the British State.
Of course, it is a tragedy that that had to be the case, but it does not nullify it as a fact.
Stormont House Crash. Pat Walsh
NAMA And The North. Editorial
Mansergh And 'International Law'. Brendan Clifford
Shorts from the Long Fellow (Newspaper Sales; The Economy; Low Pay; Irish Retail; Multinational Sector; Irish Rugby)
Re-Interpreting 1916? Jack Lane
Getting It Right On Rossa And The Fenians. Manus O'Riordan
The Influence Of Fenianism. Arthur Griffith
Interest and Money. John Martin (Part Five of Series on Keynes's General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money)
The Rosenbergs' Sons. Wilson John Haire (Review)
A Crowd Of Stiffs. John Morgan (Lt. Col., retd.)
When Belfast Rocked. Wilson John Haire (Poem)
Biteback: The Rising (letter to Irish Times). Dave Alvey
Commemorating O’Donovan Rossa. Dr Brian P Murphy, OSB (Report)
Does It Stack Up? Michael Stack (Common Law Jurisdiction?)
An Irish Solution To A British Problem? Jack Lane
Labour Comment: The Livery Companies and Politics. Mondragon, Part 45