A Declaration Of Independence

Pauline Mellon urges republicans to have a serious rethink about representing people in Stormont. Pauline Mellon blogs @ The Diary Of A Derry Mother.

This week I posted a comment on Facebook regarding the upcoming Stormont elections.

What followed demonstrated how some republicans feel strongly about elections and view participation in them as giving legitimacy to partitionist parliaments whether it be north or south of the border.


Through this debate I gauged that some republicans are sceptical of trying new approaches and have never really moved on from their respective divorces from Sinn Fein whether it be in 1986, 1998 or 2006. For some these break ups appear to have created major trust issues that keep them so far in their boxes they are afraid to look beyond the parameters they adhere to. Despite this some are quick to label those who do think outside of their box be they republican or otherwise. As someone who follows neither Queen, Kaiser or ideology I believe what is needed is a bit of progressive thinking.

Anyone who knows me knows I am no supporter of the puppet parliament of Stormont. A glance at numerous blogs will show I am on record time and time again describing Stormont as a virtual cesspool, but I would take a different view on elections. I believe elections should be contested if only for the purpose of highlighting issues. I would love nothing more than to see someone in Stormont who will shine a light on that group of cowboys masquerading as a government. As whether you view the parliaments north and south as being legitimate or not they are internationally recognised as the governments of the island.

If you look at the track record of Stormont in the council area where I live you can see that the Derry/Strabane district council area is top of the polls for all the wrong reasons. We're top for unemployment, child poverty, suicide and last year we were rated as the worst place to live. And if that doesn't scream of the need for intervention I don't know what will. I'm of the opinion we need someone in Stormont who will make it clear that Derry may be the second city in the six counties but we are not second class citizens and refuse to be treated as such.

Dr. Anne

At present an independent Dr. Anne McCloskey has declared she will stand in the upcoming Stormont election. Dr. McCloskey works in the Shantallow area of the city and works daily with those suffering from the failed policies of Stormont. So as an alternative to the clowns that currently sit in Stormont we have an intelligent, articulate professional woman who works at the coal face. The current alternative to Dr. McCloskey is serial protester Eamonn McCann. Eamonn who has stood a number of times oddly vanishes between elections, unless appearing as a commentator and not an aspiring politician on television debate shows. As one friend put it to me, he could stand in a one horse race and still come in last.

Comrade Eamonn

Now the fact that Anne McCloskey is a republican has other republicans up in arms, figuratively of course. Now for those republicans up in arms think about it this way, yes I know some of you are still smarting from your divorce from Sinn Fein, and I know they've jumped into bed with Lizzie, but going into Stormont to expose it is simply not the same as, to use the words of Francie Molloy, being 'prepared to administer British Rule in Ireland for the foreseeable future'.

Let's look at it another way: not only do Republicans consider Stormont as a partitionist parliament but they also view Leinster House with the same contempt as it is only representative of the 26 counties. But here's the thing I don't remember hearing any complaints from republicans when Independents like Clare Daly and Mick Wallace have spoken out about issues including the treatment of republican political prisoners. And lets not forget that had it not been for Mick Wallace using his platform in the 'partitionist parliament' of Leinster house then the NAMA scandal would not have been exposed.

A cursory glance at the statements and actions of both Mick Wallace and Clare Daly will show that their purpose is not to give legitimacy to the free state government but to expose it for the den of iniquity it is.

So here's the thing why can't we have similar representation? Why can't we have someone in there doing what Mick Wallace and Clare Daly do? Why can't we have someone using their platform to expose the farce that is Stormont? Why can't we have someone in there for the people?

In 1981 Hunger Striker Bobby sands was elected to Fermanagh/South Tyrone. This move exposed the intransigence and cruelty of the British Government. In this case I doubt the candidate or voters saw this move as giving legitimacy to the British presence or Westminster rule in Ireland. It's obvious that part of this strategy was to force the British Government to grant the prisoners 5 demands and to save the lives of the hunger strikers. I'm sure many Republicans had some difficulty with this approach and I can understand that.

Today when I think of the need to put people before ideology one person comes to mind, the late Cecilia Burns from Strabane. Cecilia was 51 years old and suffered from cancer. Despite this Cecilia had her benefits cut and was declared fit for work. After launching a campaign to have her benefits reinstated Cecilia won her challenge but sadly passed away a few weeks later. Ask yourself who is there in Stormont to bring these issues to the fore? Who is there to speak for people like Cecilia and the many like her? From where I sit there's no-one pro-active, it's just reactionary tokenism.

Son of Annagry
At times we all have to do things we don't like to do. I've had to go to meetings including some in Stormont on victims and other issues. I've sat across the table from the justice Minister David Ford knowing full well he's as useless as an ashtray on a motorbike. I've sat at the base of the Carson statue after meetings thinking that's two hours of my life I'll never get back but it had to be done if only to tell Ford that he is as useless as an ashtray on a motorbike.

I know republicans would disagree with attending these meetings but then I could be pedantic and argue that republicans have in the past attended District Policing Partnership meetings. Granted they turned up to disrupt and protest but technically they still attended. So why do some people feel it was OK to attend DPP meetings to protest and disrupt but it's not OK to go into to Stormont at the will of the people to expose the fallacy of Stormont?

Oddly loyalism, unionism and dissident republicanism in Derry have worked hand in hand in recent years by voting or encouraging others to vote SDLP MP Mark Durkan in the Westminster election. I doubt this move was to give legitimacy to Westminster, well on the part of republicans anyway. This would have been more case of stopping Sinn Fein from getting the seat, not out of love for the SDLP but on a 'my enemy's enemy is my friend' basis.

For those opposed to the election a few questions to you are:

What's your alternative to exposing Stormont from the inside?

How are you going to challenge Stormont not just on a constitutional basis but ensuring that people are not shafted?

Figures from less that 2 years ago showed that 2 out of 3 children in Derry live below the poverty line, how are you going to challenge this?

For those of you who might argue abstentionism, go back to the start of the article and read again.

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Anthony McIntyre

Former IRA prisoner, spent 18 years in Long Kesh. Free Speech advocate, writer, historian, humanist, and researcher.

75 comments to ''A Declaration Of Independence "

  1. This is a very good piece that basically challenges republicans to come up with reasons as to why they should not consider its merits rather than scream abuse simply because they don't like a different idea.

  2. This is a very good piece that basically says none of your tactics are working so try something else. A few good examples are provided for incentive and a few sad realities are provided for some cop on.

  3. Comrade Eamonn.....liked that....what about a sit in at Stormont?

  4. Pauline

    your points are well made. Choice and alternative strategies are necessary and to be welcomed. Dr McCloskey has put herself before the electorate and ultimately they will decide.

    I don't know Dr McCloskey from Adam, or from Eve for that matter, but I hope she has more humility than one Dr McDaid from your neighbouring constituency. I came across him several years ago at a conference where he bombastically tried to force his opinionated views on all and sundry.

    During one of the coffee-breaks I enquired of him had he heard the old story about the difference between God and a doctor ... to which he hilariously replied ... "I don't believe I have"!

  5. I have to agree with you pauline, while its not something
    I would usually support we have failed to expose the
    harsh realitys of partition an continue to send young
    men an women to jail on the failed pretence of an armed
    struggle taking place.Republicans need to start thinking
    outside the box if we are to have any hope of changeling
    the status quo.

  6. This idea is the opposite of thinking outside the box. There is a reason why the British government, and media encourages people to vote, and that is because it maintains the illusion of democracy.

  7. The first thing that needs said here is that no republican has 'screamed abuse' as regards this matter, although plenty of baseless claims have been made elsewhere alleging as much. They are simply untrue. As one of those involved in the discussions and one of those alluded to in the piece itself, the entirety of my contribution - as the other contributors - was to rightly question the political worth of this move and never to abuse anyone. Indeed the abuse was freely flowing from the other direction, with terms like 'small man syndrome', references to misoginy and accusations of bullying and victimising all doing the rounds - topped off with the lofty charge of 'hypocrite' and all dished out by the author and her husband, for no good reason. Nothing of a similar nature ever went the other direction at any stage and I have saved every last comment for anyone who wants to suggest otherwise. I have told Pauline I expect an apology the next time I meet her, whether on the march at the end of the month or elsewhere - not that I honestly expect one truth be told. Whatever will be will be but let's not dignify the fallacy that republicans 'screamed abuse' in protest. They most certainly did not and debated the point in a fair and reasoned matter.

  8. Beyond that, the purpose of Stormont is to give the facade of local accountability to the British rule in the North and no other. Independents taking their seats will not help change that but in fact will reinforce it. It will in fact be counterproductive as it ends up bolstering the perceived legitimacy of the system, channelling resentment against the existing establishment into a safe cul de sac and giving the people the illusion that their interests can be represented there. They can't. The bottom line here is that you cannot make Stormont work and to attempt the same, however well-intentioned, most likely will lead to co-option. Power does not lie in Stormont so rather than giving it the veneer of legitimacy, by encouraging the belief we can make it better, if only we can get our 'own' in, we should concentrate our energies with those who truly hold the power, the London government. The type of politics and development we all agree and wish to see cannot manifest in a partitioned Ireland and we need to get the British to withdraw as number one priority. Giving increased respectability to their puppet assembly will more likely achieve the opposite.

    We might consider the recent shenanigans at the Stormont 'negotiations' (if we can even call them that), with Britain laying down the law and no negotiating involved. Here is the clearest illustration that the Stormont Assembly is powerless to do anything or impact anywhere other than where Britain is willing to accede of its own volition. The place is a standing joke. Surely then there has to be serious questions asked in terms of what republicans believe they could get out of accepting a role within this institution or facilitating any sort of role for it. By acting as some form of opposition within Stormont two things will happen. One, the people will feel they finally have a voice, someone to speak up for them, and thus will be more hesitant when it comes to structural constitutional change; and two, the major parties will have to become more accountable to popular whim for fear of losing seats to Independents. Both sides of that coin imbed partition further and actually assist Britain's efforts to normalise the political framework of the occupation system. What it will achieve, if it even gets off the ground, is to modernise the nature of partition rule and thus make it even harder to bring to an end. These are the arguments we put against the going into Stormont in 1998 and nothing has changed in the interim. Now, as then, it will only bolster British rule in Ireland and all while achieving nothing beyond extending the illusion Stormont can actually impact on anything. Anyone who actually looks at how the place works knows full well this is simply not the case so why we'd want to go there God only knows

  9. Regardless of all the above, this is the strategy of an independent group and not republicanism per se (although there are republicans involved at its heart). So I suppose we should bear that in mind. It should though require of republicans to address the issue and to decide through discussion how and where such strategies relate to what it is we're trying to achieve ourselves. On that basis we have every right to voice our opinions and concerns and to do the same does not equate to screaming abuse. As Anne McCloskey said herself last night, people will have differing opinions but they must be allowed to express them. Well as I said at the time, the same must be afforded to the opposite view - respect is a two-way street. And just to be clear, I have absolutely no problem with Anne and nor have I an issue with her as an individual standing for Stormont - it's her right and I've never at any point said anything different. My issue is the potential for republicans to get sucked in, as has already happened 18-odd years ago, and also how giving people the illusion of an alternative will in fact help modernise partition rule. Those are legitimate criticisms I am entitled to make. Respect for the opinions of others works both ways - as should the protocols for debate

  10. Sean,

    your contributions would work better as articles rather than comments.

    Unfortunately, there is a nasty vicious strain of intolerance within republicanism and the resort to abuse is all too frequent. Dixie made the point elsewhere and he is right, there has been a carry over from the Provos and it stifles discussion.

  11. That may well be the case but it does not apply in this instance. If there's been a 'carry over from the Provos' it's in fact been on the other side, with all sorts of insinuation, innuendo and indeed downright make-believe thrown into the mix to avoid dealing with the primary point raised - that being there is nothing to be gained from going into an institution where the author herself has already admitted we cannot make change. The gains will instead go, as before, to the Brits, who will have seen their system bolstered at a time when it's standing with the community could barely be any lower. Pauline cannot explain how the gains she believes will result here, which have not even been clearly identified, would outweigh those that will accrue to the British state and its occupation of the north - which will be even further copperfastened, with yet another section of republicanism duped into the foolish belief it can make Stormont work for their benefit. This is precisely what the British want and need at this time. Rather than deconstruct that wholly legitimate criticism, Pauline has chosen instead to accuse anyone with the temerity to pose such criticism as being guilty of bullying. On top of that, there are many in Derry City at this moment who are describing the entirety of these goings on as 'shady' - the same being said not by me but by others, I'm merely relaying what was said. Several people, and not all of them republicans, claim there was a 'construed consultation', with certain voices (those who were obviously going to be critical) excluded from the same, most likely for the purposes of engineering the desired result. Now if that's not the 'Provo mentality' in action then I don't know what is. Dixie commented elsewhere about Bobby's notion - and let's remember Bobby was mentioned in the piece - of using elections to empower our own communities outside the British process. Surely that's a more worthy manner to proceed given all we know already about where going into Stormont takes us - into the welcoming arms of the enemy

  12. Do you vote in the Assembly elections Sean?

  13. Sean Bres,
    With the greatest respect, 'no republican has 'screamed abuse' what tripe and what planet are you on son? Baseless claims? The diatribes posted on facebook were not abuse? You could have fooled me. As for you seeking an apology from Pauline, you'll sing before you get that! And when I have your attention why don't you stop flooding her facebook private messages. And if there wasn't abuse, what about one of your online cohorts trying to accuse someone of being a tout, but then again it seems that's all he's good for. Rupert McShane or Rory the bear, eh!

    Now Pauline has given you our home number, and if you want to address any issue in person you can lift the phone, but what I did note was that despite my facebook post that was directed at you and two other online abusers you did not take any opportunity to address what I put to you. You did comment on it on in one of your many private messages to Pauline, but wouldn't address me directly.

    But here it is again, and before you start shouting I went beyond the boundaries of debate, I wasn't debating with you, I was addressing the online abuse of my wife. You don't expect truth, well maybe you should look in mirror to start with.

  14. Sean,

    no, disagreement is definitely not abuse and the right to disagree must be rigorously defended. I haven't watched enough of the discussion elsewhere to be able to say whether abuse has been part of the discussion or not. But abuse is par for the course from republicans in these type of things and an argument as well formulated as the one here is the type that is likely to be met with abuse. For that reason I warned against it rather than say it had already happened. However, as we can see there are people of the opinion that the exchange is characterised by abuse.

  15. Your wife messaged me and not the other way around - and she done so on every occasion. So enough said on that but feel free to point out how and where I abused your wife in any way, shape or form. You can't because the simple fact is I didn't - and both of you know it. I'm just out of the shower and was thinking about this while in there, intending to comment before anything further was said. Alas, that much is too late but what I was going to say is I have no personal issue with Pauline and respect her willingness to put her position online. Indeed I said that from the very outset and recognised her right to an opinion, just as anyone else - be they unionist, Marxist or Martian - has a similar right to an opinion. But as for the rest of the nonsense you have put up, both here and on Facebook, I don't know what can really be said other than this is the stuff of fantasy and delusion. Whatever issue you have with Mickey is nothing to do with me, I commented purely on the politics and remained dignified throughout. You on the other-hand cannot say the same, whether it's temper or ego that causes this I really don't know. You can shout the odds and fire out a diatribe of wanton abuse but you will never be able to point to where I done likewise, to your wife or anyone else. On the flip side, you's were quite liberal at trotting out the insults throughout and chose that rather than to debate the politics. I have only an interest in the politics of this and want nothing to do with the personal row yourselves are intent on. Sin é but if you intend to contradict any of that the least you can do is put a bit of substance to your rants. And just for the record, I did not answer your comment last night for the simple fact you are an ignorant git. There was no sense getting into a slanging match with you and I don't intend to do so on here either. So unless you've something to say which you can actually back up then I suggest you go back to what you were doing. As for the apology, forget it - I don't want to hear nothing more from either of ye's. If you want to debate the political implications of what you're intending to proceed with then fine. If you want to continue to steer the discussion into one where you can abuse people, while bizarrely claiming to be the abused, then I want nothing further to do with it. Slán

  16. You make some great points about Stormont elections Sean.The main argument for standing an indepentent candidate appears to be, to 'highlight issues'.Well. in the 21st century it's incredibly easy to highlight issues. The hard part is making real change on the ground. The harsh reality is that that real change is never, ever coming out of Stormont; not in a million years. The sooner people realise that the better. there is nothing at all progressive about standing candidates for Stormont.

  17. even if we had a united ireland, we would still be up shit creek as the lunatics have taken over the global financial system. eamon mccann should not be allowed run because of his links to the terrorists who run the irish times. bres is a good egg and i cant see him being a twat to people on internet with stupid messages - not his way. bres, u shud take some time out, listen to some early bowie, embrace ur inner glamrocker have a good time and fuck the begrudgers. heres a song for u comrade.

    ziggy rip

  18. Well that idea proposed by Mrs Mellon worked out real good now, didn't it!?!?!?!?

  19. No doubt about it ... we're more predisposed to retaining memories of negative experiences than we are of positive ones.
    'Once burnt, twice shy' as they say.

    This negativity bias, laid down aeons ago in the Serengeti, was contextually adaptive. In a slowly evolving, simpler and hence, in many ways, a more predictive environment it was useful back then.
    However, in a fast moving and more complex world this trait has become to a large extent constrictive and maladaptive. Strict adherence to old behaviour patterns is no longer generally advantageous. Unfortunately the human brain evolves slowly.

    That said, those opposed to participation in partitionist parliaments are entitled to their opinions. They also could, if they chose to, field an abstentionist candidate.

    Like others here, I am unaware of the specifics of the exchanges between the parties involved. As many will be aware, Sean Bres and I have our own history, so I'm reluctant to say much more, save but to echo Jerome G's sound advice " u shud take some time out, listen to some early bowie, embrace ur inner glamrocker have a good time".

    Keep working at lowering your emotional arousal. Neuroplasticity dictates that passing mental states become lasting neural traits!

  20. Sean

    I find it questionable that you have taken something from another forum on to here where it is totally out of context. That said I suspect your blatant attempt to detract from the article for a second time has failed. Anthony is right you maybe should have written an article or should take time to write one. When you do though I would ask that you substantiate each and every one of your claims if only to ensure your piece can be published.

    The facts are:

    At no stage on the facebook thread you refer to did contributor M argue a point. His contribution consisted only of personal jibes, venom and dangerous accusations. The most dangerous of these accusations, which is completely untrue, was liked by yourself using the facebook 'like' function.

    Contributor D whether it be start, middle or end of each comment made continuous reference to my 'Sinn Fein lines' which feeds in with a whispering campaign of which you have been advised of. When I chose to remove these gentlemen (who were operating as a father and son team)I explained why highlighting the reasons outlined above. From that point you used my response to them as a continuous whipping stick. You offered no debate, your contribution from then was to accuse me of playing the victim and when this didn't work you played the victim yourself.

    The fact is Sean you cannot debate with those who are focused on berating people nor can you with those who stick a label on a person when they fail to convince them of their position. (Constitutional Nationalist)

    Now to paraphrase a wise old owl........ Attack the points not the person.

    Take care Sean.


    That really made me laugh. lolx

  21. Sean Bres get angry? Become abusive? Call someone a tout? Surely not!

  22. Under the Irish/British Agreement (registered at the U.N.) the de facto Northern Ireland Constitution, The current Stormont Assembly is unlawful - a criminal conspiracy - as was the previous Stormont. There was no election in 2015. The Good Friday Agreement has not been implemented 'In Full.'

    Nineteenth Amendment Of The Constitution Act 1998; [Allowed The State To Consent To Be Bound By The British/Irish Agreement Done At Belfast On 10 April 1998 And Provided That Certain Further Amendments To The Constitution, Notably To Articles 2 And 3, 'WOULD COME INTO EFFECT WHEN THAT AGREEMENT ENTERED INTO FORCE.'

  23. I want to come in here because of the issue of abuse. I haven't had time yet to read all comments here but Pauline is not beyond abuse, see here

    I was Mr anonymous and all sorts, so really it's unfair to criticise others of abuse and call them on it and then go ahead and let lose on others when you feel like it....

    I rather agree with Sean that stormont is useless and elections to it by republicans (or others) strengthens partition but then the free state government isn't up to much have either.

    Down's syndrome sufferers lost medical cards south of the border they are losing services north of the border, one side as bad as the other.

    Anyhow I haven't read Facebook or other venues and don't know what's going on, all I can say is I don't know why Pauline saw fit to post on her blog about me and I'm still at a loss as to what I did to deserve it other than post on her article here -so from that on I don't bother reading what she writes and avoid commenting as I have no wish of a repeat.

    The only thing important to me is stopping day centre closures and thank those at TPQ for helping me and others in that endeavour

  24. Gerard

    I won't get into this too much with you, as with no wish to dismiss you there's really no point.

    What you have neglected to mention in your haste to post here was that because you didn't like my view re the Frankie Boyle scenario you called on people to come to 'Derry to laugh' at me. Much like Sean you seem to have difficulty with a difference of opinion. The poster was my idea of making light of a situation which was blown all out of proportion so much so that you had called on people to come to Derry to confront me. Had you have read my initial post you have gauged that what I was saying was.... All you were doing was giving Boyle publicity.

    Maybe next time you post you'll include the full facts. And yes I'm working on my idea of humour.

  25. First off, I have no problem with anyone having a different opinion to me, contrary to Pauline's spin on things above, which is in truth just a clever ploy thrown in without worth and whose purpose is to suit herself. The person who had the problem with another's opinion was in fact yourself Pauline. Rather than debate the difference in our opinions you resorted to insult, abuse and then hiding behind claims of experiencing the same yourself. It's bizarre - to say the very least - how someone can set about abusing others while convincing themselves they're the ones who've in fact been abused. And yet you can't point to how and where it actually happened. Bizarre is not the word for it.

    Beyond that and of far more importance here, I did not call anyone a tout, as 'Peter' insinuates. Nor did I get angry and nor did I get abusive. And if I had it would surely be alleged that I had - when it hasn't. It's being alleged here that Mickey Donnelly and his son were abusive and not me. What I'll say though is that Declan criticised the politics of the article and not Pauline herself, to which she replied with an insulting and smart-assed comment about 'how's daddy keeping'. So that's what opened up the exchanges that were to follow, which it should be admitted by Pauline I took no part or role in (I 'liked' a comment about 'someone else's daddy' forwarding information to the Brits about the shooters on Bloody Sunday because, as I've already told Pauline, I thought it was in relation to Martin McGuinness).

    If Pauline or anyone else wants to say otherwise about any of this then please, let's hear what it is I'm supposed to have said or done. I KNOW what all was said, having saved all comments in the knowing you would delete the thread - as you did. As said already, I discussed only the political implications of the line being promoted and that's as far as it went. Even this nonsense about the private messages and the suggestion I 'bombarded her inbox'. If needs be I'll screenshot the messages involved and put them online, to show who messaged who and indeed all the nasty little things that were said - by whom and about whom. Rest assured none of that applies to me either. At no stage did I attempt to 'whip' you in relation to your spat with the Donnelly's. At one point I rightly argued you were playing the victim in your dealings with me - NOT THE DONNELLY'S - because that's what you were doing. Among other things, you tried to say I was bullying you by suggesting you had a ‘sinister’ agenda. At no point did I ever do or suggest any such thing and if you're saying otherwise you are nothing more than a liar. At all times I discussed the politics, which was my only interest in the matter.

    So I challenge you to show where I said any such thing and again, I challenge both you or your husband to show where it is you've been abused by me. It didn't happen. I've listed all the things you's have said about me in your temper so if you're going to continue with this then at least put down on paper what it is you're accusing ME of. If you can't do that - which quite obviously you can't - then what gave you the right to talk to me as you did and to say all that you did? I am not Mickey or Declan so you should have pointed your venom at them not me, if you had a problem with what THEY were saying. You said you's would 'see me on the march' and I'd have 'no keyboard to hide behind'. Hmm.

  26. On one other point, 'Peter' and 'Henry Joy' are imaginary people as far as I'm concerned, trolling the site for their own purposes - which yes they are entitled to do with that being permissible on the site. So anything that's ever been said in relation to them is a world away from this. I have no compunction about giving such invented personas, where no-one has the first clue who they really are, the sharpest word that comes to my mind but this is not something I would ever do to someone I actually know and have met, as is the case with Pauline Mellon. In fact it saddens me that all has come to this but sure what can you do. I stand over all I've said, both here and elsewhere, regardless. Anyone saying different should at least have the dignity to put their allegations on physical record as I've done. It's worth noting by the way that what I've said has at no point been disputed, which kind of tells its own story if you really think about it. We can keep this going all day if needs be but that's where it's at and if those concerned are honest they'll admit what I'm saying is in fact the truth...

  27. Gerard

    For the record, you can't post images here.


  28. Well Pauline laughing at the disabled isn't funny and your sense of humour bordered on bullying. I dismissed you after that because it's clear you court controversy to get disagreement. I believe you actually enjoy squabbles on line. I view you as a troll to be avoided.

  29. Pauline firstly no one asked you to post images here nor was there a need to actually sit down and spend time to make one in order to "bully" another person over a different view.

    For the record at no stage did I invite Confrontation, it was a "how would you feel if the shoe was on the other foot", type comment.

    Here is the thread for anyone interested that caused Pauline to spend time making a poster about someone else differing in view point from her...

    Now off you go fight in your DM's and in Facebook and with other posters here. Frankly I haven't the time to waste on an eejit like you.

  30. Gerard

    I use my full name unlike yourself. I stand over my points and as for your calling me a troll well sure that only backs up my point to Sean about the need to label people when they disagree with you.

    Good Luck Gerard.

  31. Michael Donnelly says

    This piece is full of contradictions. The author tells us she has no ideology she is a progressive thinker. No supporter of the puppet parliament at Stormont. Says she is on record as describing it as a cesspool. Then why Pauline are you so desperate to go. No sorry Pauline I'm sure I could be forgiven for thinking you were the candidate but you're not so I will address this to Ann McCloskey. Is it not dishonest of you to stand in this election knowing that if elected you will stand down after one year. Is that not contempt of the electorate. Who is the real candidate. The group you are with have done this before after the council elections Have you any say in the matter. Can you claim to be Independent. Ann you're spokeswoman has a habit of asking people when they left SINN Fein. Can I ask you the same question because you appear to be involved with three groups controlled in their entirety by Sinn Fein. Cunamh, Bogside Brandywell Health Forum and sitting on the Board of Culturlann Ui Chanain.

  32. My full name is Gerard Ohalloran from west Belfast, my posts here are under gerry Ohalloran and I comment under Gerard...

    I stand over every thing I say...

    You are a troll best avoided.

  33. Sean Bresnan

    I am getting into nothing more with you. You're convincing no-one with your nonsensical ramblings as your above comment posted yesterday at 9.13pm shows that you are either being pumped or are just a dangerous piece of work who is not only incapable of telling the truth but who is content to deal in innuendo.

    Sean's comment:
    "On top of that, there are many in Derry City at this moment who are describing the entirety of these goings on as 'shady' - the same being said not by me but by others, I'm merely relaying what was said".

    This comment says it all really.


    Part of your first comment to me was "My sister has downs, went to school with Stephen Hartley, so let's all sit back and allow others to laugh? The fuck we will".

    "Let's head up to Derry and laugh at Pauline's" .

    At least be honest and for feck sake get over it!

  34. Gerard

    You can call me as many names as you want it only proves my point about you not liking a different opinion.

    Good luck with that.


  35. 'As for your calling me a troll well sure that only backs up my point to Sean about the need to label people when they disagree with you'

    Here we go again with the baseless accusations Pauline. What exactly are you accusing me of labelling you as - let's have the specifics. We both know I haven't labelled you anything at any time, other than a 'constitutional nationalist' and a 'justice campaigner'. Shock! Horror! How offended you must be! What bile! How sinister! Having just read through the comments on the link supplied by Gerard, it's visible how the tactics you employ, in an effort to control debate and whitewash your own inability to actually debate in the first instance (without that is losing your temper and crying 'conspiracy!'), go back further than the discussions with me, Mickey and others. It's revealing how Gerard suddenly became accused of issuing threats and bile and in turn was presented as a woman-hater. From what I can gather, Pauline seems an especially abrasive character who sees in everything or anything that questions her views a personal attack by a woman-hating menace. On top of that, she uses her own interpretation of what others put to her as a means to cry 'I've been labelled', 'I'm being attacked'. With all that said, even what Gerard put forth in his comments on the link are much more heated than anything I've ever put to Pauline - and she knows it full well. The bottom line here is this has descended into farce and indeed others, who've had previous with Pauline on other campaigns, among them the campaign in relation to Marian Price, have advised me to steer clear. Rather than debate the worth of an electoral strategy to Stormont, we're simply batting back and forward, with Pauline continuing to propagate unfounded myths and allegations. So with that I intend to sign off from this thread if possible - unless that is Pauline actually intends, as she's been asked to repeatedly and thus far has not been able, to show how and where she was ever abused, labelled or in any other way bullied by me. That she hasn't done so is because she can't - and well she knows it. This afternoon I read again the entirety of the conversations between herself, Mickey, Declan and myself and could not find anything anywhere to substantiate her claims. So either put up or shut up. With that I'm out of here, I've better things to be at with the evening than flogging what is clearly a dead horse. Slán

  36. Sean

    There we go again with your innuendo re "steer clear". Your comment coupled with Michael's shows exactly what's going on here.

    Sean's comment:
    "On top of that, there are many in Derry City at this moment who are describing the entirety of these goings on as 'shady' - the same being said not by me but by others, I'm merely relaying what was said".


  37. more bizarre stuff from hj about the serengetti and his highly evolved brain, bres, I asked u to listen to some early bowie not in the way hj implied, but because I think u need a break from wind up merchants. beir bua. and fair play for keeping everything on file, I will do the same myself from here on in. it fairly shuts them up.

    'Keep working at lowering your emotional arousal. Neuroplasticity dictates that passing mental states become lasting neural traits!'

    well, I guess that's that sorted then, the eminent brain surgeon henryjoy has spoken.

  38. I must address this to Anthony. When I was younger my mother used to say it is sometimes better to listen than speak. I must commend you on allowing the above to be published on your site. NOT. Unfortunately I cannot unread what I have just read.

  39. And still after all this talk the arguments in favour of standing a candidate are incredibly weak, which is why those in favour are afraid of a genuine debate.

  40. Right, I'm out of here on this one. Lost it when the Serengeti was pulled in to David Attenborough aware of this?

  41. Pauline, your answer to anyone who disagrees with you is to attack them. You started off attacking Emmet Doyle, a former SDLP candidate, who told you 'play the ball not the man' and that he couldn't understand your attitude (I have the comments to prove that too before you accuse anyone of being 'dirty'). You then moved on to Marto, whose personal attendance at certain meetings you dragged into the discussion, with your usual hostile and abrasive manner characterising that exchange also. Do you ever stop for a second and think, one, that people don't necessarily want what meetings they attend in a private capacity broadcast by you to suit your wanton need to always be right; and two, that at such meetings as those involved not everyone has the wherewithal to speak publicly in front of the room - especially when they've only been invited there. So that they don't challenge something in one particular forum does not mean they've no right to criticise a political position elsewhere - especially when you wrote a blog on the matter and posted it to Facebook inviting discussion. So again, as Emmet rightly told you, play the ball and not the man - for once in your life. You then, again, moved on to start into the Donnelly's, who had merely sought to discuss the politics behind your piece and in turn the overtly direct and personal (as seems your way) 'Shinneresque' debating tactics you used to defend it. In time you got to me, inventing your own logic to suit yourself and claiming to have been victimised by a hypocrite bully with 'wee man' issues hiding behind a keyboard. Lovely stuff. That you now add 'dirty' into that toxic mix is of no concern to me. Having noticed you 'unfriended' me on Facebook you're blocked - as is that idiotic 'Joe Last' fake profile your husband hides behind while dishing out the most venomous abuse against all and sundry. The sad thing here is that none of this was really necessary but as the man says, everything happens for a reason. I'm off to check out this 'early Bowie' suggested by grouch and will leave you the last word, as no doubt you will be looking as ever...

  42. M

    No proper discussion has been possible with the various recriminations being ventilated -attempt at 'genuine debate' was derailed but the realities referred to in the main article remain extant. Many readers probably preferred not to be drawn into what has been a pretty ugly scene.

    SeanBres I saw nothing to which you have referred in the main text and I do not know what did or did not happen elsewhere nor do I care either way. From my perspective as an observer it was AM and not PM who referred to what you take offence at, ie, 'screamed abuse', which seems to have triggered you as follows;

    "The first thing that needs said here is that no republican has 'screamed abuse' as regards this matter, although plenty of baseless claims have been made elsewhere alleging as much. They are simply untrue."

    Whether you intended it or not the impression I get from all of the above is that the questions Pauline has raised (and AM affirmed) are not to be debated -and people like M above cannot contain his/her sense of smug satisfaction that this topic was scuttled as it has been --but that will only be a short lived victory. You are no stranger to being drowned out or shouted down so I do not understand your contributions above -I did not see the article as a personal affront to any individual -you could be right that it was hitting at you; anyone not involved would not know that. But whatever it was that you were trying to say lost me -because most of it seems to be all off topic bickering.

  43. Christy could it be because the topic may have been exhausted elsewhere? It most likely was. Do you honestly see any merit in stormont ? whether or not it's up or down is irrelevant to most. I have in my hand now a document prepared for us by Dermot Glackin from the West Belfast Partnership Board that would in any other part of these islands stop the closure of Fallswater day centre in its tracks. The only centre on the road fit for purpose. The hatchet man within the trust is an alliance councillor from Antrim. We tried to get alliance to join us, we asked to meet them and they're still checking if they can- from September! Alliance is a party with a banner of protest in one hand and a bunch of cuts in the other. Please don't talk to me about independents for that is a similar story.

    As for doctors in politics we had it before with Hendron. There's nothing new under the sun.

    Doctors in politics have come and gone, already this Dr Anne is on a £90,000 plus salary per year, so I can see how she'd understand poverty looking in on it rather than experiencing it. The do gooders come and go, for proof of this read Liz McKenzie's book called Getting By about St Ann's estate in Nottingham.
    The view in the article imo goes something like's somebody different maybe this will work. I seriously doubt it.
    Alliance is a party full of social workers or ex social workers whom I'm sure wanted to do good when they started out, but still got caught in the political impotence of stormont. This Dr Ann mentions political impotence when interviewed in the press but, can she. change things? It's laughable to think she can.

    The best so far at challenging political impotence here is Jim allister. At least he tells it like it is but that's about the height of it.

    What are republicans interested in? Adams address to the nation? A laugh out loud moment at least.

    Anybody going in to stormont, whether they call it partitionist parliament or Britains devolved institution will get caught up in that political impotence here mentioned by this Dr Ann. Brian Feeney calls it a jumped up parish council, I agree and like the parish council it is it does not deal in hard politics, for proof of this look how they handed welfare (formerly known as social security now dead in this country) over to the Tories.

    This renders the topic in question mute and irrelevant imv.

    There are questions about this candidates longletivity if elected. It is reasonable for who ever it was above that asked will she step down after a year to get an answer. There are to many co options in stormont, look how Pat Sheehan turned out. We call him Sinn Feins Mr Cellophane, he says he's about you just don't se him...

    Stormont is as said above a standing joke that isn't even funny anymore.

  44. politics is a bitch.

    music is a fundamental part of marxist-lennonism. tell me listening to the above is not an out of body experience. marxist-lennonists believe we will live in a united ireland someday, free from banks, corporations, monarchies, elites and all the other evil pukeoids. but we will still be bitching non-stop. its the way we roll.

    shine on ziggy you immortal diamond.

  45. This has been a page that has drawn a lot of attention. Whether it is down to the article or the comments is another matter. It is wholly regrettable that discussion about republican strategy often diverts into sideshows that take on a life of their own which completely overshadow than the main act.

    There is a brilliant system guarding logic to representative democracy which its opponents have never managed to overcome - if people are not represented by those they vote for they will be represented by those they do not vote for or by those who refuse to allow them to vote. That creates a power centre of gravity for the status quo.

    Stormont is indeed a bollix but it is a bollix that has more support than all alternatives to it. Overcoming that is a serious strategic challenge to those who wish it away. Ultimately, the durability of representative democracy will be determined not by what republicans in Ireland do but as a result of some seismic or cataclysmic reconfiguration in the balance of forces and political culture in the international arena: a confluence that affects many nations and not just one.

    Better or worse? That remains to be seen and there are no guarantees either way. We have to be careful what we wish for.

  46. Gerard

    I follow you but do not agree with you. Would you really think that a penniless dissident would represent the nationalist/republican community better than a financially buoyant Dr? Dissidents have stifled and suppressed any effective or meaningful alternative to SF. There is a sizable republican community that is neither represented by SF or dissidents.

    The argument is that Stormont should not be bolstered or validated -negative intransigence has done more to ensure Stormont's survival than impede it, not just for a few years but for a whole generation. The article might not solve the problem but it does challenge those who help maintain the current status quo of empty rhetoric and nothingness as an alternative to SF/Stormont. The idea is that if nothing is done for long enough the people will see through Stormont and rise up and create a republican socialists utopia -that should be seen for what it is -empty hot air to convince people to suffer their lot from one generation to the next.

    You made me choke when you mention the alliance party or even that social workers mean well. Neither group figure in my radar as potential social champions.

    You do not like Dr's -have I over stated that? You are looking too narrowly in the article and the proposed candidate -whether she is a fair weather candidate or not the point is, in the absence of a cohesive and worthwhile political representation, the author suggests selecting formidable individuals and independent candidates. The obvious reason why she might propose supporting independents is because there is the kind of tension as evidenced in this blog. The author was not saying absolutely it must be the Dr she named above -she rules out McCann but does not rule out any other worthy candidate should others wish to come up with one??

    Thus the view expressed in the article is not here is somebody different maybe this will work -but more accurately she is arguing that the whole approach for more than a generation (since 1994) is failing and people need to see and think differently. The Article is about doing something worthwhile in this life time --the author might me wrong on some or everything she proposes but she is more positive than those still stuck in 1994. I think that is a smart way of looking at it instead of arguing that the failing path must be dutifully adhered to. I get the impression that some people are committed to their principled state of being rather than their professed ideologies.

  47. Chris, cheers for the reply.

    There's a couple of things I'd like to get back to you on. The question you put about the financially buoyant doctor vs the penniless dissident is interesting. I've no problem with doctors, Hendron did a pretty good job representing those who voted for him but for this candidate (whom I've never met and have no axe to grind with her) to say in the press that she is uninterested in money with no ulterior motives or interest in political power is nonsense. One of the reasons coming through is that she doesn't fit into existing political structures so she is going to run as an independent. I empathise with her, I too don't feel I fit into existing political structures but haven't the means to put myself forward for election nor the means to run a campaign. I doubt it's cheap. The penniless dissident is most likely in the same position. From what I see they depend upon back up from each other and social media to get the message out.

    A good while back I was dragged along to a political event and this topic came up. The dominant view was that there will always be people that oppose the state. Even if we were to get a socialist republic tomorrow there'd be dissidents. Opposing the state is in republican DNA. There will always be dissidents. Many of these dissidents have held meetings to give advice on welfare cuts. Eirigi held one near me with speakers from citizens advice etc. they spend a great deal of time helping people fill forms in and attending tribunals to help people. This doctor says she spends at least thirty percent of her surgery hours helping people to fill in forms...! Most can't do that in work time, they'd be sacked. For the poor that's called time theft.
    Doctors are also paid handsomely to fill in forms -death forms DLA forms - £30 per form I think it is...your penniless does for nothing or at his own expense.

    This doctor believes her work life will help her get the vote out, to give a voice to the people, presumably because she believes the people cannot find anyone among themselves to speak up. I have a big problem with people looking in, looking down upon working class communities and "helping". Like no one among them can do it for themselves because working class communities are deficit in some way. I would prefer a local dissident or just a local whose motives were in the right place. I see the good doctor has views on articles 2 + 3 but none on local anti social behaviour, something tells me the local dissident or community worker will be on the street at midnight trying to stop hoods joy riding while Dr Ann Is safely tucked up in bed?

    Regarding the question you raise that since 1994 a generation has been failed I agree with you. But we had independents, some local doctors put forward as single issue candidates and still stormont is as Dr Ann describes politically impotent. Because we don't have proper institutions, we have two party rule that replaced one party rule since the beginning of this failed state.

    I wouldn't hang my coat on stormont said nail. Nah I can't see anything positive in it and judging from the declining vote there's a huge disconnect between politicians and their voters. This doctor won't dent the status quo here, it's a self perpetuating entity, it's going to take a fundamental over haul imv.

  48. Well said AM.

    But Sean's hypocrisy knows no bounds though...

    "First off, I have no problem with anyone having a different opinion to me..."

    He has went berzerk at myself and others for having a difference of opinion to him, and used ad hominen and straw man defenses many times when questions are asked of him.

    Its been three times now I have asked him, with his much published hatred of Stormont, whether he votes in Stormont elections.

    Or does he practice what he preaches and insist those around him don't vote either?

    Well Sean, for the 4th time, do you vote in Stormont/ Assembly elections?

  49. 'For the fourth time' Steve? To be honest, you're the least of my concerns on this thread and beyond that, having joined with others to mount a similar effort in a previous discussion in relation to the Omagh bombing, you label me a 'hypocrite without bounds' and then expect me to entertain debate with you. Aye. All I'll say is you've some neck and indeed it's yourself who can't hack difference of opinion. You refused point blank to entertain the idea the wilful murder of your own supposed citizens would impact on the legitimacy of what you describe as the 'democratic process'.

    Sadly, the comments section of the site has come to be dominated by intransigent and combative unionists like yourself, as much a reason as any I can see why discussions like the one we should be having seem no longer possible here for the most part. I commented here because I seen a continuation of a charge put elsewhere, that republicans were 'screaming abuse' in relation to Pauline's article, which as I've says throughout is not true.

    But that aside, you Steve wish to personalise the debate by questioning me personally on whether or not I've voted in a Stormont election. If I told you I voted for Joe O'Neill when he stood in West Tyrone in 2007 would it make any difference to what I'm saying, which is that republicans, including those who have previously agreed to work the Stormont political set-up but can now see their mistake, should learn from that mistake and avoid repeating it (that is if they don't want to end up back at the same place again down the line)?

    You cannot make the type of change being suggested at Stormont, even the author of the piece has conceded that elsewhere. It is powerless in real terms and the handing back of key powers to Stormont, with its total inability to implement even its own programmes, could not make that any clearer. So what function do we serve there that outweighs what comes with the territory (i.e. the benefits accrued to the British occupation, whose perceived legitimacy will only be bolstered as a result)? That's hardly of relevance to a unionist like you but for others with a direct interest in this matter, it is a legitimate question which the proponents of this move are highly reluctant to acknowledge never mind answer.

  50. Sean,

    Sadly, the comments section of the site has come to be dominated by intransigent and combative unionists like yourself

    the last time you made this type of observation it was pointed out to you that out of about 100 comments four were from unionists.

    There has to be some sense of proportion in the observations that you make otherwise people will simply dismiss the better points you make.

    Not that it matters who or what dominates the comment sections - it is a free for all, as debate should be.

    My own view is that unfortunately unionist voices are underrepresented on this site. But we can't compel them to come.

  51. The rigidity of a 'fixed mindset' will generally react defensively, oft-times with anger, to the proposals of those more inclined to that of a 'growth mindset'.

    Despite the inherent limitations of representative democracy that AM alludes to, those who are of a 'growth mindset' will see some (albeit very limited) potential for their community in engaging with that system. The 'fixed mindset' nay-sayers hurl from the ditch, consoled by the idea that they may be proven right and indeed that they were right all along!

    None of us are entirely 'fixed' in our mindsets, just as none of us are totally 'growth' orientated. In truth, we have capacity for both and both have their use in context. In an open society where equality and parity of esteem are advocated for we need to be more tolerant of each other. We need to be more tolerant of each other whilst retaining our own esteem ... and therefore cannot allow any party to a debate play the dog in the manger!

  52. This thread has highlighted the factionalism and internecine squabbling that infects republicanism. It makes this unionist glad that you failed to get your 32 county socialist utopia, because as sure as eggs is eggs it would have ended up as the Irish Civil War part 2. If you lot can't agree on anything and resort to calling each other touts all the time how could you run a country?

    Saying that having a rep in Stormont would legitimise the Northern state seems preposterous. The state has lasted 100 years and Stormont will exist in some shape or form for the rest of our lives. Ignoring it will not make it go away. If SF/IRA couldn't get rid of partition, you lot certainly won't. Having a rep in Stormont would help your people on the ground though. Agnew, McCallister, Allister and the rest of the Awkward Squad do good work. Why would you not want to have your own rep on the awkward benches?

  53. Steve R

    I agree with AM that the site could benefit from more unionist/loyalist voices. I also agree with Sean because in fairness you have repeatedly misstated what he actually said about the Omagh Bombing and then made yourself scarce once you were in the spotlight.


    You make good points. And no doubt penniless dissidents do invaluable work -though I understood Eirigi to be a non-violent republican group? (though its credibility on that is questionable) If a penniless dissident were looking for votes then they too would be politicians in the running. We know from experience in the past that penniless candidates can run in elections because people will chip in to support a worthy candidate.

    Probably everything I know about the Dr is what you have written above -but she is irrelevant to the principle or concept of breaking the cycle of emptiness and intransigent rhetoric that has passed for alternative politics for the last generation. If she is an unworthy candidate can a worthy one not replace her?

    Sean reiterates "You cannot make the type of change being suggested at Stormont, even the author of the piece has conceded that elsewhere." Others, including AM, also agree with that up to a point. It seems that Sean's idea is that unless real change is possible people should just carry on as is. Coming on to blogs like this or out in the street to berate the deputy first minister is common place for some but that counts for nothing compared with him being challenged to his face in Stormont -if Stormont's only value is to facilitate that sort of just satisfaction then it is better than the empty void currently touted as the way to continue to maintain.

    Even Socialists support trade unions which provide organised advocacy for better wages and working conditions in a capitalist regime. The immovable and rigid republican principles of maintaining a cultural or generational wallowing in fanciful notions of real change, or, quietism and nothingness do not serve anyone, it does not help Fallswater Day Center, welfare recipients, hungry children, adequate housing or employment prospects.

  54. Anthony, surely you must realise what it is I'm referring to and if not, well, I don't really know what to say on the matter further. There is though, at least as far as I can see, a vested clique operating here, fully determined to exclude any narrative that does not bow to the legitimacy of the Goood Friday Agreement. So it's hard to discuss the matters concerned on your blog while these individuals persist with shouting down any suggestion democracy in action can have no truck with partition.

    How could it when partition violates the democratic will of the Irish people, who have made clear time and again when asked, even in surveys set up to undermine that very same will to the greatest extent possible, that their wish is to live in a free and independent Ireland.

    For those in question, the partitionist set-up may well be democratic but to arrive at that conclusion they are forced to ignore the origins of the northern statelet, its history under Unionist misrule and what it took on the part of Britain to uphold the state when Unionist tyranny collapsed into a sea of chaos, brought on by the fully undemocratic origins and behaviour of the entity in question - the six-county statelet.

    That what it took to uphold their cherished 'democracy' was the like of Ballymurphy, Bloody Sunday, Dublin-Monaghan, shoot-to-kill, collusion and all the rest, all the way right through to Omagh - which the Brits are now blocking inquiry into by resort to the pretext of 'national security' - seems to have no bearing on how we should view the northern entity and the assembly at Stormont Britain uses to give its presence here the veneer of democracy.

    Some may choose to ignore that - and you might give them succour to continue on with their activities by sitting on the fence, rather than state your own opinion on whether you agree with what I'm saying or not. But regardless, it does not change the reality we are not dealing with a democratic process, or anything we can credibly term a 'representative democracy', as you seemed to describe it earlier.

    At this point I think it'd be worthwhile for you to make clear if you do in fact believe meaningful change can manifest through Stormont, which as I said above even Pauline conceded elsewhere was not possible.

    Stormont is powerless in real terms so unless advocates for this approach are saying different, which indeed they don't seem to be, republicans are surely entitled to ask what function can we serve there that outweighs the benefits which will accrue to the British occupation, whose perceived legitimacy will be bolstered as a result of the presence of those concerned as some sort of opposition within its colonial assembly.

    Indeed Stormont is crying out for such an opposition, to help embed its democratic appearances yet further. So whether by accident or design, as has already proven the case with previous efforts to tame the system from within, the end result of this will be republicans modernising the British rule in Ireland to the advantage of the occupier.

    Those who say different, including yourself should you disagree with that analysis, have an onus on them to demonstrate how it is somehow different - especially as they are appealing for support from within the republican community itself for this venture.

  55. What kind of 'open society', as peddled here by 'Henry Joy', gaols the like of Gerry McGeough and Scotchy Kearney, while the Bloody Sunday killers walk free? What kind of 'open society' are we talking about here when Alex McCrory and others are interned without trial in the 21st century under Stormont rule? What kind of 'open society' locks a man like Gavin Coyle in solitary confinement for FIVE FULL YEARS, subjecting him to strip searches and beatings every time he goes for a visit? What kind of 'open society' continues the use of Diplock Courts? What of the 'stop and search' abuse of the community in Ardoyne and the recent attempt by the so-called police service there to mow down a young mother in the street because they did not like her husband? Those are a few examples of how we live in anything but an open society and that is far from an exhaustive list. I suggest to 'Henry Joy' that he pay a visit to Derry on Monday night and maybe stay a few days. There he will learn of how the abnormal British rule in the North has not in fact been subject to anything we might deem real change. There will be a photographic exhibition by Joe Gilmartin offering a snapshot of much of what I've alluded to above - from the actions of the British state throughout the war here to its ongoing 'open and democratic' endeavours currently being waged against the people of Ardoyne. It is a snapshot of the British rule in action, both yesterday and today. So get up and actually learn what's going on here before you continue to peddle your myths. If you like I'd even be open to meeting you there, it would not be a problem at all. Indeed it would be worthwile, for at least then you might see how much of what you believe to signify change in Ireland, especially in relation to the Six Counties, is in reality no more than illusion

  56. Sean.

    100 minus 4 leaves us with 96 voices not unionist. It is as simple as it gets.

    Sitting on the fence LOL.

    It was a pretty isolated old fence that gave me plenty of splinters in the jaxy with very few sitting beside me, opting instead for their comfy old chair. Apart from you and a few others how many called even to stand at the fence?

    You have probably done more shouting at people than those you take umbrage at here. So you are not on strong ground to complain about those you fight with even if at this point you have toned down a bit and your argument is the better for it.

    There is though, at least as far as I can see, a vested clique operating here, fully determined to exclude any narrative that does not bow to the legitimacy of the Good Friday Agreement

    Nonsense. No attempt has been made to shut the anti-GFA voice up. Rubbish to claim otherwise. Show one example and I might listen to you. The people you refer to are determined to defeat your argument but that is a far cry from trying to exclude you. In fact from what I see they actually try to include you (sometimes by goading you) for the purpose of engaging you.

  57. Anthony a chara, obviously I'm not saying you sat on the fence, it couldn't be clearer you done anything but. Indeed, as far as I'm concerned, yourself and Carrie, Tommy Mc, Brendan, Tommy Gorman and others, showed the way forward. I did not agree with the Belfast Agreement and voted against it but there was a shortage of options for people as myself, who agreed with the idea of a new phase of struggle but not along the lines proffered by the Adams leadership. With 'Fourthwrite' and such ventures, you gave young republicans like myself, Matt and Pip etc an alternative way to agitate and contribute. Pip obviously went down another route subsequently but no matter, the same still stands and if someone murdered my wife's brother God knows where I'd have ended up myself. After the bombing of Omagh it was extremely difficult to organise round these parts but that magazine gave those as myself an outlet, touching base with other republicans and thus keeping active through the simple act of distributing it. I have told you before and don't do so now to wash your balls, I'm eternally grateful to your good self - especially for the avenues you opened up for me through this site, which I still love as much now as ever before. So no, I do not think you sat on the fence - not one bit. What I'm saying is by leaving out your own opinion when it comes to some of these debates, on the legitimacy of partition and the principle of consent which upholds it, you're encouraging the like of Steve, Henry Joy, Peter et al, in the mistaken belief you too go along with things as they seem them, as though my analysis is the one that's out of kilter. And so I ask you, do you perceive any worthwhile reason for republicans to enter Stormont as an opposition, given how in doing so it serves to modernise the occupation and only frustrates all the more our wider and more important project, which remains achieving a full British withdrawal from all of Ireland. Are you in agreement with me or of the opinion there's worth in this venture? If it's the latter then it would be good to hear the reasoning behind it...

  58. We could all learn to listen more and shout less .

    (Sean there are several ways to highlight human rights & prison issues. They are not always necessarily in the public light. I make my efforts in my own private way. Amongst those efforts I have been highlighting Gavin's continuing conditions of detention).

  59. Chris thanks again

    I don't know anything about Eirigi, I only went to the one event because of the topic of debate and who,was speaking.

    About worthy candidates getting a look in and others chipping in. That's not what I understand the situation to be. I've seen many worthy candidates in the north and beyond fall due to their treatment from the press about their politics and who was funding them.

    I find your points strong on idealism and empty of practicalities. How does a worthy candidate break the cycle of stagnation? There are plenty of worthy candidates up there I'm sure but that's not enough to break the cycle. Pat Sheehan was written about here as a worthy enough guy with strong socialist principles but look at what he does, nothing I can see.

    All penniless dissidents aren't looking for votes. I point you I the direction of the residents associations that have sprung up all over the west of this city. The Divis residents support team , the beechmount residents collective, Rockmore residents collective, all of whom went out to throw grit around foot paths and get statutory bodies to fix people's homes. Many of whom are terrorised by PSNI. Take young Gerard Fitzpatrick for instance who had the cops harrassment his family and then reported them to social services because they had a two year old daughter. All of these outfits are more than willing to help without votes. I know for a fact the Divis residents offering to go to the shops for an elderly relative of my wife's. There are some outstanding people in these areas more than capable of speaking out if allowed or had the financial means. Sinn Fein actually claimed some of the great work done by Rockmore residents as their own.

    As for Fallswater, the hungry or unemployed none are being helped by stormont who handed the welfare issue over to the Tories forcing cuts on the vulnerable. Did no one among their number read what is happening in parts of England, much of which is coming here. There are people dying of hunger in Britain do you think we have any chance of escaping those hardships now the Tories are in charge of our welfare budget?

    Good luck voting. I hope Stormont delivers for you. It's not just dissident republicans that recognise the failure of that institution. Partitionist or not it can't deliver on hard issues.

  60. Sean,

    point taken about the fence but don't worry as I laughed at it rather than got annoyed over it.

    Henry Joy/Peter/Steve whoever else have their own views and they vary amongst themselves. But to suggest they are an organized lobby or faction is stretching things too far.

    I feel under no obligation to enter every fray that occurs on this website. I merely provide the ring but I am not the referee or the adjudicator on what is or is not a good idea. If something interests me sufficiently I might comment. Alternatively I might lay my views out on it later via a piece on the blog.

    The people mentioned above have all at one time or another had a go at me or me at them. On other occasions our views might converge. That is what happens with ideas. In a democratic culture which this blog hopes to foster individuals coalesce around one idea and are polarised by another. Fixed groups attached to fixed positions are the stuff of totalitarianism.

    But now that you have asked me and are interested in my opinion I will give it to you.

    Republican theology holds absolutely no attraction for me. If there is a strategic reason for not going into parliament or not I am interested in it. But I am not interested in any theology or shibboleths.

    My position on these matters has long been clear. About 12/13 years ago I went up to Derry with Dolours Price to canvass for
    Eamonn McCann. If I didn't think there was any point in going to Stormont I would have been wrong to go up. Opposition should be taken as far as it possibly can. To oppose is not to administer. The SF problem is not being in Stormont but in administering Stormont as a governing institution of the British state and not as a site of opposition to the administration of British rule. About 9 years ago I spoke at a Derry meeting on policing and made a similar argument - republicans can go into the policing boards but need to be very clear as to what is their role. It must always be about offering transparency on policing not administering policing and picking chief constables.

    Now is the current Stormont worth going into? That is another matter. As Gerry points out it is hard to get excited about. But I would vote McCann were I in Derry or Anne McCloskey. And if I didn't vote it would be because I could not be arsed rather than out of some fidelity to republican theology. Bernadette McAliskey was in the British parliament and hardly made a bad impact, slapping Maudling up the face and the like. Frank Maguire nor Frank McManus were abstentionist MPs and republicans had both use their influences from time to time in the British parliament. Do you think the abstentionist advocates like Ruairi O'Bradiagh were not aware of it or averse to asking for a something to be raised?

    With republicanism so moribund and seemingly incapable of doing anything its opposition to Stormont is howling at the moon. Wholly immaterial to any outcome and smacking of self indulgence. But if that is what some of them want to do, they can feel free. The world will go on much as before.

  61. Gerard

    You underscore my point that people in various districts want better and neither Sean's concept of maintaining a failed strategy versus a failed Stormont is working for anyone. I am well aware that many nationalist areas turn out very feisty and capable people which is why I think they would be more effective exposing and confronting the comfortable and privileged up in Stormont than merely being ineffectively disgruntled at street level. I said, if, for no other reason than just satisfaction it would be good to have someone able to confront the financially affluent in Stormont (many of whom started out penniless).

    Pat Sheehan turned out to be a lost hope; given his background and caliber I too was surprised he is not able to stand on his own 2 feet or think for himself. And I am under no illusion that people were sold a pig in a poke: take Martin McGuinness for example -he sent people out to kill or be kill to confront Brit injustice and oppression in Ireland -but yet when in the position (Stormont) to do it himself without having to fire a single shot he became more concerned in the maintenance of that institution than the lives he used to get himself there. So nobody is discounting the lack of confidence or views people have in sending more Nationlists into Stormont. But adherence to the pretense that Stormont is not there has not improved the quality of community life either and never will. And make no mistake SF would more fear independents being elected to confront them and Unionists from inside Stormont than they do at present -DUP/Sf agreed chaos would not have such an easy time.

    Advocating that Divis residents or users of the Fallswater Day Center should not be represented in Stormont is idealism in failure and much emptier of any practicalities or value to peoples lives. This is the quagmire hardline dissidents want for their communities in the alternative to the utopian socialist republic of perfection -oh, yes there would still be dissent but maybe not 'dissidents'.

    Eirigi essentially discredited itself, while proclaiming to be none violent, they repeatedly tried to defend violent dissidents and so the press only spoke to them to get their response to their habitually incompetent attacks or other --eventually their own supporters drifted away because they were irrelevant.

  62. The discussion between Gerry and Christy manages to be informative without being snide and sneering. It brings the original article to the point where it should be at: a discussion of where things are or might go. We have a chance of learning something from this in a way that there is no chance when it is reduced to the pantomime of 'oh yes you did ... oh no I didn't."

  63. Thanks for your response Mackers and of course you have the right to advocate going into Stormont, given that's your long-held belief on the matter. I wasn't aware of that though. My thinking on this is not as black and white as adhering to the dictums of republican theology but relates instead to the strategic outcomes that will result in the present environment. From where I sit, the reputation of Stormont and opinions as to its usefulness are at an all-time low. I feel that by giving the people the illusion they can vote Independent and have their interests effectively represented there, in opposition to the current carve-up, is unsound. They will not be properly represented as their representative will have no real say.

    If the purpose of this is to allow us to feel 'sure at least we got our own in' or simply to give us a higher platform to shout at the Sinn Fein-DUP coalition then for me the price is too high, giving it will serve also to bolster the system by helping modernise - and thus make more acceptable over the long course - that self-same system. For me, the purpose of such 'democratic' institutions is to give the facade of accountability, so as to legitimise the application of British state power in Ireland. Thus I feel we should not contribute to anything which furthers the same but asides from that, my argument from the outset, which in fairness has not been presented here, is that if republicans were going to engage in this strategy then they should consult and discuss widely and seek to form a consensus on the matter.

    That hasn’t happened but it goes back to what I was digging at in the Ta article a while back, with the section on Syriza if you recall. An analysis of power, as seen through the recent happenings in Greece, tells us that state power does not actually reside in the institutions of government but lies instead with more subtle processes, themselves often intra-state by design. With the same in mind I suggested republicans needed to have an informed debate and reach an agreed analysis on how, if at all, we should interact with such institutions and how this would fit into a wider strategy.

    In the case of Stormont itself, the recent 'negotiations' showed quite clearly it has zero power and has no executive function other than to administer the Block Grant, thus providing the veneer of democratic accountability in the doing so. If there are republicans who believe they can enter Stormont and impact on either of the realities I just mentioned, and in turn advance republican objectives, then they should be confident in the making of that case and debating it with its critics. While this has been an ongoing process for months now it doesn't appear to have been as open as some, myself included, might have thought and that is obviously impacting on how this project is now being received.

    Yet at the end of the day people are free to follow what paths they decide for themselves I suppose. We have people talking about Congress and we have people talking about increased cooperation. For any of this to succeed there needs to be a meaningful dialogue, otherwise it's not hard to predict where it goes. Nowhere. But if Anne gets elected, which seems more than a possibility if reports are to be believed, it will surely encourage a broadening out of this type of strategy. Without that wider analysis in place to shape our attitudes to the electoral process, this could in time morph into something different and a revisiting of failures of old.

  64. Maybe those of my viewpoint have no place in this debate, as we are not ourselves involved in elections, but it has wider ramifications for republicanism in general and so is of concern to us all. Should Independents start getting elected to Stormont, encouraging the belief in the community their interests can be effectively represented there, thus bolstering the perceived legitimacy of the institution, surely that will act as a barrier to constitutional change and inhibit demands for Irish Unity. I discussed this with Tommy McKearney and others at the time of the Agreement and the general feeling was that you cannot reform partition out of existence and attempts to do so would only result in a bedding down of normalisation.

    Sinn Fein were arguing the need to make politics work, to increase political strength, but given that in doing so you in fact stabilise the partition system it is a catch 22. This is a trap we can easily stumble into again and thus why a wider debate, and therefore not necessarily one about Anne's candidacy alone, would be useful, regardless of whether she gets elected or not, no matter if we discuss it now or at a point further on down the road.

    'If it was us in there instead it would be different' we might say but it simply won't, because the system ensures it. What we need to do is locate the points where we can prosecute effective struggle against this system. Joining it, in my view, is not one of them and always has been. That we are not prepared to learn from the last eighteen years - and indeed the last thirty years - to me is bordering on crazy but I accept I'm one voice and others have a right to disagree. People like Mickey Donnelly predicted things correctly at that time and I hear no end of people bemoaning 'we should have listened’. Yet still there are republicans who don't want to listen it seems...

  65. Sean,

    I don't actually advocate going into Stormont. I am pretty much indifferent to it. I just have no problem in principle about those who want to go in without being sucked in. It seems that anti-Stormont republicanism has achieved nothing and shows no potential to otherwise. People are therefore going to opt for reformism. Stormont will have no effect on partition one way or the other because partition is here to stay until such times as the British/constitutional nationalist position that the country may unite if a majority in the North agree to it. People want to be governed and the choice facing them is have that governing devolved to Stormont or done directly from London. If the republicans can show that they can govern to the same level or better than it s being done presently, then the argument for Stormont obsolescence will largely make itself. What are republicans doing to arrive at this position? Nothing. They can neither govern nor make the North ungovernable. The republican project thus appears as the failed political entity, something it was supposed to make partition appear as.

    While your own position on Stormont may not be driven by fidelity to republican theology you will have met enough who oppose precisely on that very limited ground. Where you are at now in terms of this debate is what needs addressed rather than the futile bickering - whether Stormont is something that can be used to either defend people or advance their interests and not whether it is a profane place good god fearing republicans should avoid lest they be contaminated with its sinfulness.

    As for the Greek political crisis that idea of power outlined by you was dealt with in detail at some by length by the Greek Marxist, Nicos Poulantzas. But his response was to advocate going into all branches of the state apparatus rather than boycott them.

  66. Sean

    Your concerns about revisiting old failures is not without merit but the idea that people should continue to stick with the current failure is not reasonable argument for why they should do that. I am sure some of your arguments might have been made as to why republicans should not enter the Dail almost 100 years ago -did that improve the life quality of the generations of those who endured that position? People are entitled to some quality of life in this lifetime rather than the drudgery of bad republican strategies that leave them living a life trying to avoid destitution and passing that same burden onto their children. As I suggested earlier many trade unionists are not capitalists and would make similar arguments about legitimizing capitalism but they understand the pragmatism of fighting for better wages and working conditions under a capitalism system so that the best quality of life is obtainable until the revolution comes. Same principle might be applicable here.

    I would also say that I would not support nor would I think it a smart move by anyone to try and suppress your views or the arguments you make -that is when you put forward arguments like you now have done.

  67. Chris I'm going to go out on a limb here.
    A few years back,
    Kevin Bean from the university of
    Liverpool gave a talk here on republicanism. It was down in lower Donegal St in the arts place. It hadn't been advertised well and not many were there, although Mariin Price was there among a few others. The only thing I recall from it was his line about building a new republicanism, from the ground up. It was just a point he made during the discussion. I believe that these collectives are the beginning of that new republicanism, and that this is why their work is claimed by Sinn Fein and why the PSNI won't leave them in peace. These collectives are definitely a grass roots movement. Don't get me wrong I'm not involved with them other than during the Bone fire stuff around one of our day centres beechmount residents offered to get a squad together to clean the centre grounds up and stood beside us for interviews etc when lofty political parties wouldn't.

    I despair when you describe stormont and getting involved in it as doing something positive in this life time.

    Stormont is definitely falling into the same trap as Westminister. Owen Jones in his book the establishment says that socialism is rampant in Britain. Not socialism for the ordinary citizen but for the powerful elite. The elite, he says is protected from the harsh effects of capitalism by the public purse while the poor are pushed off benefits and the NHS and whatever else remains of public ownership are being privatised. Private companies coming in and giving poor service for large sums of public money.

    During our campaign over day centres, Pat Lawlor from Unison says that outsourcing of day care services is what the trust intends, I believe him. This has happened in care homes resulting here in sleepy NI the state having to step back in and stop planned closures due to private firms after having taken huge sums of public money, find themselves bankrupt due to their own greed and incompetence, pushing for profit and not caring about the elderly.

    But like Britain we have socialism at the top , our elite, are protected from the harsh effects of capitalism. Think of the huge pay offs handed out to SPAD'S when their jobs go. MLA 'a voting for their own pay rises, jobs for their family members, many many examples of how our elite here are protected from the harsher effects of capitalism and then the ultimate insult of handing welfare over to the Tories.
    I believe mick fealty and Newton emmerson to be mistaken when they say that time limited benefits don't happen in Britain but are now in sleppy NI due to the Evason report. (You read how this allows the elections to be over before these claimants are burned?)The sickness replacement benefit ESA work related group lasts one year only. Pay to stay has been introduced in the last budget, limited five year council homes tenancies for new tenants comes into effect soon, ending life time tenancies. The bedroom tax and water charges will eventually come.

    There is an ideological war being waged and we here are up to our neck in it - west Belfast has a food bank and a shopping mall in andersonstown with all the shops shut in it except Asda. Millions are being spent on casement to put money in the pockets of the GAA while the Divis residents were trying to get street lighting fixed and had to fight with the council for grit
    I agree with Sean in that the reputation of stormont is at an all time low and a discussion needed. As a society we need a debate about how we want to be governed because what we have now is not a representative democracy in my view.
    Stormont has no redeeming features. Our politicians have been sucked into a very British form of politics-socialism for the rich and capitalism red in tooth and claw for the rest with a disproportionate burden placed on the vulnerable and the needy.

  68. Gerard,

    much too good a contribution for a comment. Stuff like this should be articles in their own right. I think it would have made a great response to Pauline and she would have found it invigorating because it is a thought out critique and not a "how dare you" rant. This is the type of discussion that Pauline's piece should have been met with from the outset (not just on this blog). Unfortunately it got waylaid for whatever reason.

  69. Gerard

    I agree with AM -that was a really good response and should be the starting point for another thread -and maybe Pauline will engage like she maybe felt she could not here.

  70. Christy Walsh

    "I agree with AM that the site could benefit from more unionist/loyalist voices. I also agree with Sean because in fairness you have repeatedly misstated what he actually said about the Omagh Bombing and then made yourself scarce once you were in the spotlight."

    I am sorry, I am unaware of what you are talking about? What did I mistake about what Sean said regarding Omagh?

    For the record it was Sean who went berzerk at me and started accusing me of saying things I had not....I responded to his allegations on that thread, I suggest you read them.

    If you can get past his ad hominen and straw man attacks that is.

  71. Steve the democrat would willingly whitewash Omagh and prefer to ignore what actually happened, all to uphold his 'plucky little Ulster' as though it were actually actually a legitimate entity. That it took the like of Omagh to preserve his 'democracy' shows where it's really at but hey, I can't say that when in doing so I'm supposedly personally targeting you, isn't that right Steve? Aye. I suggest you read today's Irish News, maybe there you will get further insight into exactly what sort of game the British have been playing and long before Omagh. Democracy? Only for the deluded and delusional...

  72. Steve R

    As I said on the other thread:

    "Sean has not been, as you repeatedly suggest, trying to shift the blame from the RIRA. My previous response to you remains pertinent to your repeated attempts to deflect responisbility from acts of state terrorism:
    "You seem intent on keeping the focus narrowed on the RIRA in order to shift the blame of those who controled the outcome of that day."

  73. And on that thread Sean stated

    ""I will let the words of Kevin Skelton speak for the crime committed in Omagh BY THE BRITISH STATE and will let you explain how he is a reactionary and a fascist, that will certainly be a lot harder to do given he was widowed by that bombing. He knows the truth. I know the truth. There are countless people in this town who KNOW THE TRUTH. We are not assuming anything as you allege, the facts are readily available and are a matter of public record. Square those facts with your 'democratic process' you bitter man:"

    If Sean is not trying to shift blame what is he doing? And absolutely NEVER did I call Kevin Skelton a 'reactionary OR a facist', another lie by Sean.

  74. Here we go again. I asked you how we call what goes on here 'democracy' - as you were attempting - when it required the deceitful happenings in Omagh to keep it functioning. You denied that account and veered towards suggestions it was reactionary and fascist. Thus I gave an account from one of the widows and asked you to dismiss his words using the same tactics. So I never at any point said you called Kevin any such thing. As usual, we see stuff being made up by people to suit. The reports from yesterday only show all the clearer what 'democratic' Britain was up to in Ireland and you know it. Thus why you'd rather discuss something else, a tactic as old as the hills

  75. You are caught in the headlights and trying to run for cover Sean, you quite clearly implied that I was accusing Mr Kelton of being a reactionary or fascist.

    ".....for the crime committed in Omagh BY THE BRITISH STATE....."

    If that is not a blatant attempt to absolve others from any responsibility for the Omagh Bomb, I've no idea what is. Exactly the same rhetoric was used by the Provos in the 80's and 90's when they buggered an operation, another case of 'Ah well, let's just blame the Brits" only this time you are fast becoming a mouthpiece for those who deny reality.

    But then, given your particular antics lately, and incoherent ranting when faced with those who hold different opinions ( Your words ' I have no problem with anyone holding a different opinion'-utter shite-you can't stand it) to you it comes as no surprise however.

    As you clearly have trouble reading I will state it again, I have no problem with an independent investigation into the Omagh bomb and I am well aware this means investigating the British apparatus...because the older I get the more appalled at what has gone on behind closed doors.

    But I severely doubt that your insinuation above that the British state was solely responsible for Omagh, and that Murphy et al were mere hapless patsies who were prompted, helped, guided and encouraged to plant a ANFO bomb with the same technological expertise as the Provo's used in the 90's is based in reality. It's just a way to absolve some Republicans of their conscience, nothing more.

    And Christy, I did not 'disappear', I no longer live in Europe and have trouble getting internet access in parts of this country especially when in the middle of nowhere.

    Nothing Sean says holds any ring of truth to it, so why would I disappear?


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