Tag Archives: Ireland

Don’t Get Too Excited. Sinn Féin Are Not Taking Their Seats At Westminster

Some of you may have seen reports in The S*n, The Daily Abscess and The Scotsman that Sinn Féin will be taking their seats in the Westminster parliament. It isn’t going to happen. Not today. Not tomorrow. Not next week. Not next year. Forget it. The party has a longstanding policy of abstention in the British parliament and that isn’t going to change.

In the 1918 General Election, sometimes called the ‘Coupon election’, Sinn Féin led by Eamonn De Valera, were the third party with 73 seats. They refused to take their seats and so, by default, Labour became the third largest party.  This would be the last time that Sinn Féin would contest a general election until 1983 when Gerry Adams was elected as MP.  Instead, Sinn Féin took its seats in the first Dáil (Irish parliament).  As for De Valera, he left Sinn Féin and formed Fianna Fáil in 1926 after the Civil War, and focussed his efforts on the nascent Irish Free State.

Sinn Féin’s reason for abstaining has something to do with the oath that all new MPs have to swear before taking their seats but that’s only part of the reason.

Sinn Féin sees itself as an Irish republican party that represents the Irish people. It is opposed to the British occupation of the Six Counties and as long as that continues, it will refuse to take its seats. Moreover, it has no interest in British affairs unless they impact on the island of Ireland.

Sinn Féin’s Danny Morrison writing on Eamonn Mallie’s blog, says:

Many arguments have been advanced in defence of abstentionism including that the oath or affirmation of allegiance to a foreign monarch and her heirs presents a difficulty and is inimical to one’s republicanism; or that one’s influence is miniscule and dwarfed by the major parties with few from the North able to demonstrate worthwhile achievements commensurate with their attendance.

These arguments, whilst valid, are not at the core of abstentionism. For example, the oath could be completely removed. Or, imagine Britain a republic. It might well be possible for some of the parties which take their seats to point to pieces of legislation that they have influenced or initiated. In the circumstances of a hung parliament it is undeniable that a tail might be able to wag the much bigger dog for a time.

Even if the oath was removed and I was an MP I would still not take my seat.

Even if Britain was a republic I would still not take my seat.

Even if I held the balance of power and could get through bits and pieces of legislation (while flattering myself as to the magnitude of my importance) I would still not take my seat.

For me, it is quite simple.

How can I object to Britain interfering in Irish affairs if I go over and interfere in theirs?

Once I took my seat, with or without an oath, I have lost the moral high ground on that question of Irish sovereignty. I have already conceded Britain’s right to govern on this shore – a claim that was demonstrably rejected in December 1918 by the majority of people in Ireland in a democratic election.

Even though for reasons of pragmatism I support Agreements which were passed into law in the House of Commons, this does not mean that I recognise Britain’s claim to rule over me as being legitimate.

You can read the rest of Morrison’s article here.

The British press has a terrible reputation for propagandizing  and stirring up trouble, and anything it says with regards to Ireland and Irish sovereignty should be taken with a ton of salt – especially if its in The S*n, a paper that lied about Hillsborough and hacked people’s phones.

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Filed under General Election 2017, Ireland, Northern Ireland

Joe Higgins tells it like it is

“The Irish people owe nothing to the banks and billionaires – refuse to pay now”!

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Fine Gael…

Kenny talking tough during the 5 way leadership debate

…has chosen “Time for a Change” as its campaign slogan on its boards.  Their manifesto bears the slogan “Let’s get Ireland working”. A quick scan of the manifesto reveals some similarities to the Tories in the UK. For instance,

Devolving Power to Citizens: Government is too centralised and unaccountable. Fine Gael believes that there must also be a real shift in power from the State to the citizen

The manifesto also talks about “streamlining government and cutting quangos”. This is a pretty clear indication that FG will reduce the size of the state. I always worry when parties talk about “empowerment” because it’s usually a way of selling cuts. Big Soc, anyone?

Oddly enough, the manifesto also talks about “ending cronyism”. Fat chance. FG are just as bad as Fianna Fáil when it comes to doling out favours to family members and golfing buddies.

One thing is for sure, if Ireland elects FG as the main party in a coalition (they won’t form a majority government), then it’s more of the same with bells on top.

Change? No change here, guv.

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Filed under General Election 2011, Ireland

Not even the Irish like Blair

Tony Blair manages to duck the eggs and shoes flying in his direction during a visit to Dublin to plug his new book. Blair knew that if he had a public book signing in this country, he would have met the same response. But he seriously underestimated the strength of Irish antipathy.  He shouldn’t have; it’s as strong there as it is here. Blair appeared on RTE’s The Late Late Show (once hosted by Gay Byrne) where he repeated his claim that the “biggest threat the world faces is from radical Islam”.

“We need to give a message to Iran that is very clear – that they cannot have nuclear weapons capability, and we will stop them,” he said.

Mr Blair said he was not advocating military action, but simply saying no option could be taken off the table.

Personally, I think the biggest threat facing the world is from warmongers like you.

From The Guardian

The projectiles did not hit Blair as he arrived at a bookshop in Dublin, Ireland, to be greeted by scores of demonstrators chanting that he was a “war criminal” and had “blood on his hands” because of the invasion of Iraq.

Irish police blocked off streets around the Eason store on O’Connell Street following the clashes with activists who tried to push down a security barrier.

The demonstrators also shouted: “Hey hey Tony hey, how many kids have you killed today?”

The city tram service was suspended and shops in the surrounding area also closed.

It’s nice to see the shoe thing has caught on and we thank Iraqi journalist, Muntadar al-Zaidi for introducting it to the rest of the world.

I never tire of watching this video. Enjoy!

EDITED TO ADD:

I found this article from The Daily Mail from this March. Blair’s business interests are in direct conflict with his role as the International Quartet’s ‘special envoy’.

Tony Blair waged an extraordinary two-year battle to keep secret a lucrative deal with a multinational oil giant which has extensive interests in Iraq.

The former Prime Minister tried to keep the public in the dark over his dealings with South Korean oil firm UI Energy Corporation.

Mr Blair – who has made at least £20million since leaving Downing Street in June 2007 – also went to great efforts to keep hidden a £1million deal advising the ruling royal family in Iraq’s neighbour Kuwait.

In an unprecedented move, he persuaded the committee which vets the jobs of former ministers to keep details of both deals from the public for 20 months, claiming it was commercially sensitive. The deals emerged yesterday when the Advisory Committee on Business Appointments finally lost patience with Mr Blair and decided to ignore his objections and publish the details.

Kerching!

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Filed under Government & politics, Tony Blair