Dr. No steps aside (no, not that one)

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by dong20, May 31, 2008.

  1. dong20

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    "Ian Paisley, a giant of Northern Ireland politics for 40 years, handed the leadership of his party Saturday to Peter Robinson, who becomes First Minister of the British province next week.

    [​IMG]
    Dogged until recently by three decades of civil unrest known as "the Troubles," Paisley , 82, helped bring stability to Northern Ireland by agreeing finally to share power with one-time republican arch enemies Sinn Fein.

    He used to be nicknamed "Dr No" because of he and his hardline Protestant Democratic Unionist Party's (DUP) refusal to deal with Catholic Sinn Fein, once the political wing of paramilitary group the Irish Republican Army (IRA).

    But since becoming First Minister of Northern Ireland last year, Paisley has worked well with Sinn Fein's Martin McGuinness, his deputy and a former IRA commander, in an alliance which would have been unthinkable a few years ago.

    The veteran preacher, who founded the DUP in 1970, formally handed leadership of his party to Robinson on Saturday when the DUP ratified Robinson's nomination at a meeting in Castlereagh on the outskirts of Belfast.

    Robinson, currently Northern Ireland's Finance Minister, will become First Minister Thursday at the head of the power-sharing government with Sinn Fein."


    I recall breathing a sigh of relief when Paisley decided to work with Sinn Fein last year, and although unsurprised I'm a little disappointed he refused to shake his hand on departure. Now, in passing the baton on, such a change of style may bring interesting times ...


    Northern Ireland News | Full Coverage
     
  2. ManlyBanisters

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    :popworm:
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    :dance:
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  3. dong20

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    I thought of you ^^^ when I posted this. Nonetheless, I do give him credit for last year, I was as surprised as anyone he was able to overcome his ego.

    Now, where's our armchair (N.I.) expert phe when you need him?

    As I say, interesting times ahead ...
     
  4. vince

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    I don't know much about N. Ireland politics, but I never liked the old bugger. He seemed to be as much a part of the problem as the IRA.
     
  5. ManlyBanisters

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    Interesting indeed - I don't know much about Robinson other than that he was a mover and shaker in the Clontibret 'protest' (a 'symbolic' invasion of a town in the Republic by Unionist politicians and thugs in 1986) and was involved in related rioting in dundalk (also in the Republic) after the trial for that one. Guy has not made a good impression on me.

    Looking at his Wiki now (I know - hardly the best source, I'm lazy) he seems to be anti-gay rights, anti-Europe and pro-Iraq War. No wonder Paisley picked him. Couldn't be seen to be handing over to an apologist or, worse still, a moderate!! :eek: :rolleyes:

    Was I impressed with Paisley working with McGuinness over the last year? Not really - a little surprised at first, but not impressed - he was strong-armed by number 10, I have no doubt about it. I rather expect that man has a number of dirty secrets that Tony could have used to 'entice' him into power sharing. Not of the terrorist related variety - his party may be up to their fucking hocks in 'ex' UDA men but that was never Paisley's buzz. I'm glad to see the back of the fucker and equally suspicious of the new fucker taking his place.

    By the way - don't think for a moment I have any more respect for the likes of McGuinness or Adams, because I don't.
     
  6. dong20

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    Nor me, and you're probably right about Paisley's 'skeletons' (whatever they may be) being used as a crowbar. My most usual reaction to his pontificating was "Oh, shut your pie hole, gasbag".

    Suspicion is warranted, almost nothing is irreversible. But I remain optimistic, if cautiously.
     
  7. jason_els

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    I think Paisley is more responsible for fanning the flames of hatred than any other single person in the entire conflict. He has consistently provoked tensions by making hateful firey pronouncements, insisted on holding Unionist marches in the heart of Republican territories, and virtually single-handedly sunk every potential attempt to mediate a solution to the troubles since the 70s. He even headed a paramilitary cell of the (Unionist) UPA.

    Paisley was all about demagoguey. As a political leader he was an immense failure because he continually refused to acknowledge the reality of the Ulster situation, dragging it on far longer than necessary, causing extended economic hardship and loss of life. I will not be sorry to see him step off the stage.
     
  8. jason_els

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    'Ex-UDA' (and LVF) certainly, but can any other single person in the entire government compare to McGuinness in blood credentials? What Paisley did with words, McGuinness did with his hands.
     
  9. ManlyBanisters

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    I know Jason - I'm more aware than I can explain of McGuinness's personal contribution to the bodycount. As I said above, I view the likes of him and Adams with the same contempt as I do Paisley - and I suppose I meant that politically. Of the known names on both sides McGuinness certainly has the worst record, in some ways that makes his turn from armalite to ballot box more significant for those that do respect him. Though I would note, and others would do well to do the same, that the Sinn Fein policy of armalite and ballot box has not changed to an either / or status - this just happens to be a ballot box phase, don't think for a moment that things can't go back the way they were - more's the pity.

    Though I do think the phase in governemt (of sorts) is changing these people. I recall when McGuinness was given the Education Ministry for NI in one of the Stormont incarnations - he was at a press conference and was asked a question about some prospective changes in the methods and timing of testing primary school children for streaming into secondary level - if he was in favour or against - At first his expression was blank as he met the gaze of the reporter, then you could see the slow change of expression as it dawned on him that he actually had to think about this and that it was in fact his responsibility, that not all politics was about north and south.
     
    #9 ManlyBanisters, May 31, 2008
    Last edited: May 31, 2008
  10. jason_els

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    I have no illusions about the permanence of the peace process. Whom call themselves, The Real IRA (RIRA) (who are responsible for the Omagh bombing where 28 people died), are still active. Their last attack was less than a month ago and seriously injured a police officer.

    We rarely hear about them here in the US. Most Americans believe PIRA/Sinn Fein is the sole Republican paramilitary organization in Northern Ireland.

    RIRA are, however, very dangerous. The group was founded by PIRA/Sinn Fein dissidents around 1997 when it became apparent that Sinn Fein was going to negotiate away its sizable weapons cache. Allegedly, it's two most powerful members were the married couple Michael and Bernadette McKevitt. Michael was allegedly PIRA's quartermaster and bombmaster, and it is thought that he may have taken over half of PIRA's weaponry including its best bits (such as missiles, plastic explosives, and anti-personnel devices), leaving PIRA with ancient junk weapons which were nearly no use. Those junk weapons are what PIRA would eventually, "put beyond use," as part of the peace process. Bernadette McKevitt is the sister of the enormously popular and revered Republican martyr Bobby Sands who died during a hunger strike in a British prison.

    Michael McKevitt is currently in prison having been convicted of terrorism and has been ousted from RIRA as has his wife, but RIRA has no intention of negotiating anything and they claim to be the best armed paramilitary organization in Europe. They're likely right. Through out the 70s and 80s, Libya's Qaddafi sent ships with literally tons of weapons to support PIRA. Just one of those ships was ever intercepted by authorities and if it's any representations of what PIRA had/has for weapons, then PIRA's (and now RIRA's) firepower had been vastly underrated.

    There are still arms caches all over the Republic despite what Sinn Fein/PIRA claim. While RIRA may have taken the cream of PIRA's weaponry, there are reports that PIRA has been slowly stockpiling newer and better weaponry.

    The Unionists have not been as well-armed as any Republican group at any time. Part of this is that the Unionists haven't had the same grass-roots support on the mainland comparable to the support Sinn Fein/PIRA has had in the Irish Republic. The other reason is that the Unionists have always relied on the British military to act as its main offensive weapon against the Republicans. To his credit, Paisley maintained iron rule over the Unionist factions, preventing them from performing any serious retaliation in recent violence, and without that rule, I'm not certain that more radical elements in the UDA/UFF/LVF won't gain ground and possibly spark renewed violence in the face of RIRA activities. Should that happen, then I wager PIRA will re-awaken and once again take the lead role of the Republican paramilitaries. And if that happens, then we may see RIRA re-integrated with PIRA and that would be horrendous.
     
  11. ManlyBanisters

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    Hang on there a second now, Jason - you know more about this than many of your compatriots it seems but that's a slant I don't agree with. The vast, and I mean VAST, majority of the people in the Republic do not have much sympathy for the Provos at all. Things were different in the 70's and 80's - but after Bobby Sands et al died things started to (slowly) change in terms of the UK's policies towards the Catholics and Nationalists in the North. Sure - you go in to a Dublin pub (if you can find one with Irish people in it) and you may well get the sound and fury - but that's mostly talk and not the same thing as actively supporting anything. Trust me when I tell you that the Ra are not as popular as they used to be - for many reasons. A big reason why the Ra were always better armed that the Unionist terrorists was the funding from Noraid, who used the ignorance of certain walks of the American population to paint the conflict as something it was not. Don't lets forget that.

    Also - in the case of the Omagh bombing that you brought up, the Gardai (Irish police to those of you wondering) have had a lot to do with the investigation and charges have been brought against the perpetrators in the Republic, as a great deal of the preparation for the attack took place there and that's all there was evidence for.

    Please think about how you word stuff, especially on a board like this where the majority of readers won't really have any depth of knowledge on the situation, before you go making statements from which it can be inferred that there is majority support in the Republic for the cause of these terrorists, as I can assure you that is not the case.

    The thing I have always understood about Paisley is that he kept the Unionist terrorists at more than arm's length. He may have sway with those who have sway but I think he was far too careful and canny to allow himself to be seen in the way Adams was and is.

    Well - let's hope that ALL the masters manage to keep the leashes on their doggies for as long as possible, eh?
     
  12. jason_els

    jason_els <img border="0" src="/images/badges/gold_member.gi

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    I should have couched my views in historical context though I have, on LPSG, stated before quite clearly that pro-PIRA sentiment in the Republic has been waning and that most people in the Republic are ambivalent about the troubles. As Ireland's prosperity has soared, so has its lack of patience with anything to do with it all. It's not a day-to-day thought for the vast majority. If you recall, PIRA once assassinated a Garda in Dublin and the moment that happened, many PIRA supporters in the Republic suddenly, "discovered," arms caches in their garden sheds. There is nothing so much the Republic would love than to have the whole situation go away.

    There is, however, a strong principle of Republican support in the Republic itself. Would they like to see the British our of Northern Ireland? Yes. Do the great majority think violence is an acceptable means to that end? No. Short of evacuating the million plus Unionists in Northern Ireland and depositing them back in Scotland, nothing is going to end this other than cooperation and I believe very strongly that the citizens of the Republic realize this. It has also been mentioned, with a smile and chuckle, that given the Catholic family planning values of the Republicans, there will come a time when they can out-vote the Unionists when (and if) the question of repatriation is presented). Of course there are still pockets of PIRA and RIRA sympathizers in the Republic, particularly in the border counties, but they are not in the numbers they used to be even twenty years ago.
     
  13. dong20

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    It's a common sentiment, even if the means to that end, or the end in itself may vary.

    Certainly there's majority support for a reunified Ireland, but that doesn't necessarily equate with a concomitant desire to have the 'British' leave, either as a condition or a side effect - although for some I'm sure it does. In a poll I saw a couple of year back (I think) around 75% in the Republic support reunification, but less than a quarter believe it should be the Government's top priority. A quarter were either opposed to it or had no opinion. Overall, however the number in strong support appears to be rising, and quite sharply. The situation north of the border suggested that only a third supported reunification.

    One problem (or confusion by me) in interpreting your commentary lies in the definition of 'Republican'. In N.I. to some the term still means reunification at all costs, including the use of violence if necessary. I agree with you that that isn't a majority view (north or south of the border), or anything remotely close to it. Sinn Fein supporters often style themselves as Irish Republicans, in part to distinguish themselves from (usually more moderate) Irish Nationalists - primarily supporters of Fianna Fáil, SDLP and Fine Gael. They also support reunification, by peaceful means.

    In terms of reunification, both the British and Irish Governments support the principle that the future status of N.I. should be decided by N.I. This provision was written into the Anglo Irish agreement of 1985, I believe. One sticking point for many Unionists however, one which related in to your comment about repatriation and those in the Republic wanting the British out.

    While it was agreed officially (in the Belfast Agreement) that the in the case of reunification all former citizens of N.I. would retain their choice or British, Irish or dual nationality, not all nationalists in N.I. support this. This causes many who may otherwise support reunification, to be hesitant. I can't speak authoritatively about how strongly that sentiment runs.

    Caveat.

    I must admit, I don't follow the situation anything like so closely as I used to, and am speaking 'off the cuff' so to speak - and thus quite open to correction by MB who is far unquestionably far more familiar with the 'nitty gritty'.:cool:
     
  14. jason_els

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    You're right, Nationalist would be a better term than Republican. I considered doing so then dumped it so as not to confuse things even more. In this case, I wrote with the idea that people unfamiliar with the situation wouldn't get too lost in the terms. It can be difficult to understand who is Nationalist, Republican, Unionist, and Loyalist within the context these terms are used. It took my a good while and even made the mistake of saying rather too loudly in a pub one night to my friend's wife, "How do you like having Mo Mowlam as prime minister?" This pub is in Westmeath.

    Oops.

    That was before I was nearly shot and suspected of being a car bombing terrorist and so didn't pay much attention to what was happening up north (or south). I quickly got up to speed after the pub incident and even more after the other incidence.
     
  15. dong20

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    Oops indeed, anyway, it sounds like you have had some 'fun'! There's little like the perception of mortal danger to induce rapid [re]assessment and comprehension.
     
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