Saturday, 18 February 2012

More vacuous words from Gerry Adams

In the current issue of the Andersonstown News (18 February 2012), Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams TD devotes an entire article to a recent away-day where 'key leadership activists from all levels of Sinn Fein and from all parts of the island, Britain and the USA came together to discuss the party's strategy of building towards a united Ireland'.  The away-day came after six conferences on the theme of a United Ireland, including the most recent one in Londonderry.

Sinn Fein is perfectly entitled to aspire towards a united Ireland and a strategy of 'building towards a united Ireland' is certainly preferable to the previous strategy of 'bombing towards a united Ireland'.

Since he left Northern Ireland for the Irish Republic, the Sinn Fein president has been marginalised, but as party president it was natural that he delivered the opening address on the away-day and he continues the theme in this article.

Adams talks about his vision of a socialist republic, encourages people to read Wolfe Tone, James Connolly, Patrick Pearse and Bobby Sands, and looks back to 1798, 1916 and 1981.

He also describes Sinn Fein as 'an elite' and 'a vanguard' but acknowledges that they cannot 'free Ireland'.  They must build a bigger and better movement.  I found his use of the word 'elite' interesting and it does give some insight into mindsight.  There is an arrogance about the man.

Adams talks about arguing, debating, strategising, and raising awareness but it is all very vacuous.  There is nothing here about convincing unionists.  He claims that there was 'a sizeable section of unionist opinion' among the 1,000 people at the conference in Londonderry and we know that Basil McCrea MLA and Rev David Latimer were there but I wonder how many other 'unionists' were present.  A solitary Unionist Unionist MLA and a solitary Presbyterian minister do not constitute a 'sizeable section'.  Perhaps Gerry Adams can tell us how many 'unionists' were present and how that constitutes a 'sizeable section'.

The plain truth is that there is no evidence that Sinn Fein is making any progress in convincing unionists in Ulster towards a united Ireland.  Indeed support for a united Ireland is lower than it has been for a very long time and that is not surprising when we see the financial state of the Irish Republic.

The fact is that Sinn Fein has come to recognise that its struggle for a United Ireland is going nowhere, because they cannot convince unionists to change their aspiration.  The predictions of a United Ireland by 2016, the centenary of 1916, have been abandoned and now they are engaged in an exercise to keep the troops occupied by with a constant round of conferences and speeches and regular references to republican icons. 

I wonder how long it will be before the troops come to realise that Gerry is a spent force and that theirs is a lost cause.  Northern Ireland will remain part of the United Kingdom as long as the majority of people in Northern Ireland so determine and with the support of the overwhlming majority of Protestants and a substantial number of Roman Catholics there is no prospect of United Ireland.

Sinn Fein activists can talk to themselves as much as they want but if they can't convince unionists they are doomed to failure.  Martin McGuinness told the Londonderry conference that a United Ireland is 'inevitable' and that word has been part of the Sinn Fein vocabulary for a long time but it is just wishful thinking.


  1. I would like to run a few observations past the readers of this board that may strike a debate on the possibility and likely viability of a united Ireland?
    Firstly I would like to make an observation. If a united Ireland was the panacea that nationalists and republicans, here in Northern Ireland make it out to be why has the Irish government and southern Irish people have never fought harder for Irish unification since 1922 or from 1969?
    Why have the Irish political elite and every Irish government always kept the unification of Ireland as an aspiration, never more than an aspiration, why have they never made it a demand?
    The Irish government know it’s a simple question of who is going too, or how is, the unification of Ireland going to be paid for? It’s quite a simple equation, how much will it cost? In the old days it was punts over unification now it’s Euros over unification! The reason for keeping it an aspiration rather than make it a demand, is the Irish state now or ever could never take on the burden of 1.6 million extra in population. Never mind the political implications it’s a simple question of economics. To take on 1.6 million people would wreck the now tottering Irish economy, as it would the British economy if they had to take on an extra 1.6 million population.
    That is why all but a few British passport holders in the old colonies in Africa and the Far East were granted access to the UK after independence from their domicile countries. What would be the perceived or practical advantage for the Irish republic’s population to having a united Ireland? None!
    In fact it would lead to an increase in taxes for every Irish tax payer and cuts in the Irish benefits system. The burden to the Irish exchequer would be devastating. For a start both the health service and education system would require massive amounts of money just to keep going. This would obviously lead to personal taxes and indirect taxes needing to increase. No doubt massive payments would be required to pay back the British exchequer for the infrastructure in buildings and equipment within both sectors, and then there are the wages for the personnel working in both sectors they would obviously need to be met by the Irish exchequer.
    Now we can move on to the roads, water, agriculture, environment, housing and rates who is going to pay for these, and who is going to pay back money to the British exchequer for the investment they have made over the years in these areas.
    Pension rights and social security would need to be addressed. How you square that one, it would probably take the mind of Stephen Hawking to sort out?
    The obvious way for all this to be paid would be for the Irish wealthy to pay more, the Irish middle income worker to pay more, and the poorest in Irish society would need to pay more. The Irish poor could pay by cutting their social security hand outs, thus burdening even more the poorest in Irish society for the misguided utopian vision of a united Ireland. And this would not be a short term hit on personal income or higher taxes it would need to be paid for, for at least two, if not three or more generations. The question of compensation for business and investors would need to be addressed and complex tax issues would need to be resolved. All the financial institutions with their vast sums invested in Northern Ireland these financial institutions are not going to walk away from their investments? Complex tax issues, income tax, VAT, and thousands of mortgages (do we not need to pay our mortgages if we are dragged in to a united Ireland?). All these issues will put more pressure on the Irish exchequer.

  2. There may be limited help from the British exchequer, and the EU and America. However, with the growing pressures on the British exchequer and the ever expanding EU and Americas growing pressures with a possible recession and an open ended cheque book for two unwinnable wars in Iraq and Afghanistan they have little in the way of spare cash. So money to help the unification of Ireland will be small in the big scheme of things and over a very limited period.
    On the political front here are some issues I feel need to be addressed if the Irish unification question is to be addressed fully?
    Will any Irish government of any persuasion wish to be burdened with Sinn Fein/IRA (whose ideology is Marxist) in there government. The Irish government know full well that Sinn Fein/IRA will demand power in any united Ireland government remember the Irish civil war. Sinn Fein/IRA will determine that they have fought the British for over 80 years and they will therefore demand a disproportionate amount of power in any united Irish government and the threat of another Irish civil war will be the likely outcome.
    No self-promoting career politician in southern Ireland will want to share power with people they are at this moment trying to distance themselves form in Irish politics?
    So who should be most concerned about a united Ireland should it be the Irish political elite, the Irish wealthy, the Irish middle classed or the Irish poor, all sections of Irish society should be concerned that’s who?
    Another question, will the political will be there in Ireland to send the Garda and the Irish army on to the streets of Belfast, and Londonderry, or any other city or town to patrol a hostile population. Not only of disaffected Unionists, but a hostile republican population. Republicans who for over 30 years of conflict have become conditioned against, and hostile to any form of rule of law?
    There would need to be guarantees that the Unionist minority had a voice in any unified Irish parliament and guarantees that on vital issues there was a Unionist veto or at least cross community support. I wonder how that would sit with the armed republican parties of the north.
    If a referendum were to be held on a united Ireland, in the north only or north and south I think you would find that a large majority would keep the status quo as it stands!
    So all in all the aspiration of a united Ireland will always remain just that an aspiration for the Irish government and the people of the Irish republic!
    Only the fantasists of the armed republican movement in the north think unification is ether practicable or inevitable.
    So my final thought is that we will now and forever be British; No Surrender!