Peter Robinson has said that there is no inevitability about a united Ireland. He points to four blocks regarding voting trends. Two of them are essentially nationalist and unionist, a third is those who declare neither – essentially the Alliance Party – and a fourth is those who don’t turn out to vote normally but are more likely to in a constitutional referendum. Regarding the fourth block, it’s true that on both nationalist and unionist sides there are those who don’t normally vote but might be more likely to in such a referendum. Taking into account demographic trends, that is unlikely to rescue unionism in any vote. It is true though that Alliance, which doesn’t declare as either unionist or nationalist, was historically under leaders such as Napier and Cushnahan a unionist party, but to some extent some of its more recent success is based on the fact that it has moved away from that ideological position. It is difficult to say by how much but in a constitutional referendum it is likely that a majority of it would vote unionist. However, this would lead to the relative demise of the party, or at least a great decline in its electoral success as it would then be vying to win support from the main unionist parties and nationalist electoral representation would simultaneously increase, leaving essentially, in Peter Robinson’s terms, only three blocks.
Again demographic trends would be pivotal but there is a more straightforward reason why rational voters should choose a united Ireland. Unionism always encouraged its followers to believe that it enjoyed a more privileged status over its nationalist counterparts but the protocol, for example, illustrates just how little their influence is in the grand scheme of British government policy and that is the nub of it. In a united Ireland the people living in the six counties would inevitably have a greater say in how they are governed than people currently do under British sovereignty. It must also be evident even to the slowest unionist commentators that the Great in Britain relates back to an imperial and colonial past that no longer exists and Britain relies for its influence in the world on the benevolence of the US which it sycophantically fawns over in a shameful display of utter subservience.
SEÁN O FIACH
Government should honour Irish constitution
The FF/FG/GP government has now agreed that Irish Defence Forces are to train Ukrainian soldiers how to kill Russian soldiers, not just providing them with non-lethal materials such as body armour.
The war in the Ukraine is rapidly escalating, hundreds of thousands of troops have already been slaughtered, as more and more new weapons such as cluster bombs, cancer-inducing depleted uranium munitions and long-range missiles are being used.
There are suggestions that neighbouring Nato states may start sending troops into Ukraine, and if so, how will the Russians respond, by attacking these states as well as de facto Nato states like Ireland?
So where will ‘Irish neutrality’ as now defined by this government end?
Some suspect that part of that ‘re-defining’ is an ever-closer partnership with nuclear-armed Nato through the Partnership for Peace (PfP). Irish neutrality was a core value of the participants of the 1916 Rising, and a core value of de Valera, Collins and Griffith in their negotiations with the British Empire. A recent Ipsos Omnipoll revealed 87 per cent of Irish people want a ceasefire and negotiations between Russia and Ukraine but this has been ignored in favour of the views of the 8 per cent that do not want a ceasefire.
Irish people want peace and demilitarisation, a country that is dedicated to the peaceful settlement of international disputes as described so eloquently in Article 29 of the Irish Constitution, a constitution our government has pledged to honour and uphold.
Peace & Neutrality Alliance, Dalkey, Co Dublin
With Stormont remaining in abeyance and no indication the DUP can be lured back into government, Tánaiste and Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin said the government is growing “impatient” with unionist foot-dragging. The British government insists a deal can be finalised in the coming weeks, but Irish officials are not optimistic.
Micheál Martin used the occasion at the Oxford University confab of the British-Irish Association, an independent body promoting harmonious relations, to consult with Northern Ireland Secretary Chris Heaton-Harris. He also signalled a hardened stance by the Irish government’s towards the DUP intransigence, in concert with a warning to unionists that the government may call for an enhanced role in Northern Ireland’s affairs if Stormont operates in the absence of a devolved government. The British-Irish Intergovernmental Conference (BIIGC), an Anglo-Irish entity set up under the Belfast Agreement, could exert greater power over the governance of health and education in Northern Ireland.
No excuse for Leo Varadkar Ooh Ah, Up The Ra comment
I know some people who think We Are the Billy Boys is a nice song. However, even the most blinkered among us recognise that it is little more than an anti-Catholic sectarian rant, just as much as singing Ooh Ah, Up The Ra is an anti-Protestant, anti-English sectarian rant.
You can find an excuse for the Wolfe Tones singing this claptrap as they have made a fortune over the years with their songs of death and martyrdom and, filled with Buckfast, an excuse could be found for the fools prepared to pay to listen to such nonsense.
But I ask Leo Varadkar what is his excuse for believing that this could possibly be a nice song?
Dungannon, Co Tyrone
I see where Tom Collins is coming from – ‘Irish unity a legitimate aspiration’ (September 15) – but the chances of anyone in Westminster listening are pretty much nil. However, if anyone manages to find a reasonable person there, please would you also point out that ending the Treaty of Union is a legitimate aspiration for Scotland. If you only find the numpties that we see though, dinnae bother.
Isle of Islay