Laurence O'Neill Deserves A Serious Answer

In today's Irish News New York Attorney At Law Martin Galvin responds to a letter from Ann Quinn: 11 November 2016  ~ "Time to move on Laurence".

A chara,

Arlene Foster plans to mark a "second century of Northern Ireland" in haughty tones implying more centuries of a British-ruled ‘Northern Ireland' to follow. British officials think they set up cosmetic structures which will, over time, make nationalists content within a 6 county British Ulster. Why call Laurence O'Neill or anyone "twisted... motivated by hatred" and the like, merely for questioning whether the British have it right? (Anne Quinn, Time to move on Laurence November 11th)

Why reach out to British royalty, implacable Unionists and former enemies, but impugn sincere Republicans who merely question where we are headed?

Admittedly Sinn Fein has a strategy, ‘Towards an Agreed Ireland and Reconciled Future’. They have put undeniable efforts into meeting English royal family members, standing behind Arlene Foster no matter what, facilitating Orange parades in Ardoyne, giving the Constabulary platforms in West Belfast, 'sorry' initiatives and 'uncomfortable conversations'. Why is it hateful or twisted for any Republican to ask whether this strategy is actually working for us?

Where are the signs that any segment of unionism or loyalism is being converted towards voting for a united Ireland in a six county border poll?

How long before we can ask whether, instead of winning over unionists, they seem to be reconciling nationalists, who see them alongside the DUP taking up jobs and positions, to agree that British rule does not look so bad for more generations?

Gerry Adams made a point last February which should be remembered. He said:

We are not going to go in and prop up a regressive and negative old conservative government whatever the particular party political complexion.

He was warning against being used to front for anti-Republican policies in a Dail coalition. Why then continue to prop up and front for a British Tory austerity regime in tandem with the DUP?

As Pearse, Clarke and, Connolly might have put it, the alien government, meaning the British government carefully fosters, or maybe I should say Arlene Fosters, its sectarian veto. Because the interests of the DUP and Sinn Fein are diametrically opposed, the DUP will never agree on key issues with those they regard as 'rogues' 'renegades' or 'remoaners'. The British can then serve their own interests, while hiding behind the fiction that Westminster was forced to act because there was no agreement. The denial of legacy inquest funding is just one obvious example.

Thinking readers deserve serious answers to questions like these. Replies like Mr. O'Neill received seem to say they have no better answer.


                           Martin Galvin


  1. From any republican perspective the SF Strategy is more accurately described as "Towards an Agreed Ireland and Recognised Failure’.

  2. There has always been a significant portion of RCs in the North content with partition. SF in using a cessation of hostilities in order to entice the SDLP vote legitimised and emboldened that section of the RC community. Rather than persuade SDLP supporters to a more aggressive nationalist position the opposite has been the case. SF has become a spineless embarrassment. I cannot help wonder was the SF Belfast leadership project alarmed at the hunger strike and the Lybian weapons and in panic roped in John Hume to talks in the 1980s as an 'out'. The blanket protest and hunger strikes probably put back the SF leaderships constitutional politics agenda by a decade. If what passes for SF today had the honesty of their convictions and renamed the part it would receive less flack I think. STOOPS RENUA is a possible new party name.

    As for unionism being enticed to an all Ireland political position, there is only one word that springs to mind. NO!!! Gotta love them unionists, don't we?