A NEW group of trade unionists campaigning for Irish unity believe a national health service would be essential to the success of any new Ireland. More than 150 labour activists from north and south have come together to form Trade Unionists for a New and United Ireland – or Tunui. The new movement, which includes several union general secretaries from across the island, and Liz Deasy and Karen Gearon, veterans of the Dunnes Stores anti-apartheid strike in 1984, advocate a United Ireland with a new constitution that puts workers’ rights at its heart. The group was launched officially earlier this week with events in Dublin and Belfast. The Irish News (and this blog covered) yesterday carried a full-page advert from Tunui, calling on trades unionists across Ireland to begin engaging in the debate for Irish unity.
‘Working-class people paid the price for not having an input into the shaping of the Republic a century ago but the labour movement isn’t going to wait this time around – Ruarí Creaney
Tunui spokesman and trade union official Ruairí Creaney said that with an overall membership on both sides of the border of more than 800,000, the movement was “Ireland’s largest civic society organisation”. “If the trade union movement didn’t get involved in the debate around Irish unity then its vision would be ignored in any new Ireland that emerges,” he said. “Working-class people paid the price for not having an input into the shaping of the Republic a century ago but the labour movement isn’t going to wait this time around – we will help lead the debate.” Mr Creaney said he “wouldn’t ask anyone to join the southern state as it is now”.
He said elements of civic nationalism had presented Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Tánaiste Simon Coveney as protecting nationalist rights in the North. “But as trade unionists we know that the people in Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil are the Irish Tories – they’re not going to defend the rights of working people,” he said. “Likewise, healthcare is a human right that is denied by these parties.” He said the group believed in free healthcare at the point of delivery. “We recognize that people in the north, especially from a unionist background, have real reservations about Irish unity, and I myself have reservations about the southern state because of the lack of social services and lack of healthcare,” he said. “We recognize that and that’s why the group is called Trade Unionists for a New and United Ireland – we want a totally new Ireland – we want to take the best of both states and discard the worst of both.” At Tuesday’s launch in Belfast,
Mr Creaney said the voices of unionist workers must be heard in the debate on ending Irish partition. “I don’t think the unionist working-class are as afraid of this issue as the media and others make it out to be,” he said. “It is patronising and dismissive of our unionist brothers and sisters.”
With many thanks to: The Irish News and John Manley Political Correspondent for the original story
Brexit risks all of the progress that has been made and also risks the potential change that the Good Friday Agreement promised in terms of a society based on equality and parity of esteem – ie rights – and a pathway to a new independent Ireland.
FOR centuries the rights and interests of the people of this country, nationalists and unionists, have been subject to the interests of the British government, irrespective of the collateral damaged caused to the people here.
The Good Friday Agreement (GFA) was supposed to be the beginning of a new era where both the North of Ireland was the shared responsibility of the Irish and British governments and free of the malign and prejudiced influence of the British government. The GFA promised all-Ireland institutions with expanding horizons and equality and parity of esteem between the people of the North. Much has changed since the introduction of the GFA and Ireland has changed for the better on many fronts.
But Brexit risks all of the progress that has been made and also risks the potential change that the GFA promised in terms of a society based on equality and parity of esteem – ie rights – and a pathway to a new independent Ireland. Brexit has introduced, through the front door, a double veto over that promised by the GFA, the dead hand of the DUP in collaboration with the Tories and fanatical Brexiteers, in the ERG. Due to the Brexit needs of the British government, the DUP – which is a minority voice – has had its status and influence elevated to the point where it is effectively running the British government’s Brexit policy.
Before Brexit, the DUP had effectively blocked the full implementation of the GFA and created an immovable unionist veto inside the North’s institutions – immovable because of the failure of the British government, to act. The North’s institutions were doomed long before the heating scandal (RHI) led to their collapse. Since the collapse of the institutions the situation has deteriorated to the point where the DUP’s influence, through Brexit, is set to damage, not just northern society in terms of its economy and people’s rights, but the economy of the rest of this country. Northern nationalists – ever mindful of the limitions placed on their national and cultural rights by the confines of a unionist dominated state – have moved to achieve their rights beyond the six counties and are now begaining to shape a new political framework, within an all-Island setting, with the Irish government the principal focus and with the primary objective being reunification.
That is what ‘Ireland’s Future’ conference in Waterfront Hall publicly signalled. The context of the shift was the realisation by northern nationalists, after 10 years of government, that the DUP was opposed to power-sharing and fully working, to their maximum, the all-Ireland institutions of the GFA. In fact, the DUP was using the institutions to block progress, including the modernisation of northern society on human rights issues such as access to the truth for grieving relatives, marriage equality, abortion reform, an Irish language act, Irish citizenship and a Bill of Rights.
The shift was also influenced by a new and younger nationalist middle class who had experienced the war years; had been politicised by their experience, we’re confident and assertive and seeking, not a reformed north, but a new independent Ireland, where a reformed north could have an institutional place in a transitional arrangement. The first signs of the shift were the north’s nationalist electorate turning its back on Westminster and voting for Sinn Féin abstentionist MPs. The other element, in my view, the most crucial in the shift is the reality that nationalists will be a voting majority in the not too distant future and under the terms of the GFA could vote for a United Ireland in a border poll.
But shifts are not confined to the nationalist population. Brexit is impacting on the broad unionist community as well. We saw that in 2016 when a section of unionists voted with nationalists to Remain in the EU and a few months later stayed at home resulting in the unionist parties losing their majority in the north’s assembly for the first time in 100 yeas.
Add into this fast-evolving situation the possibility of a Jeremy Corbyn-led government in Downing Street after the next election and we have the ingredients for a transition to a new independent Ireland triggered by Corbyn implementing the GFA in all its parts, including a provision for a unity/border poll.
With many thanks to: Jim Gibney and The Irish News for the original posting.
The economist David McWilliams in December 2017 showed that in the last 60 years incomes in the south have grown by a factor of 20 while here in the north they have grown by 5.
UNIONISTS regularly complain that no one advocating Irish unity ever presents a case for the economic advantages of unity.
Other UNIONISTS say the Irish Republic couldn’t afford the north, couldn’t pay to maintain the standard of living here and even, couldn’t pay the welfare Benifits people here are used to. Most of these objections are based on complete ignorance, some on received prejudices about the south which were out of date a generation ago. All of them are nonsense.
The fact is that there are several presentations demonstrating the economic advantages of Irish unity in one form or another but when they are published they are either ignored or pooh-poohed as, ‘following the Sinn Féin agenda’ or ‘playing into the hands of Sinn Féin’. You’ve heard that refrain ad nauseam. No Unionist have ever seriously examined any of the arguments, probably because, as Peter Robinson reminded them last week, they prefer to stick their heads so far into the sand that only their feet remain visible.
The latest, and so far most valuable economic report, was compiled by Paul Gosling and Pat McArt. Typically, it received little coverage. Derry-based Gosling, a well-regarded economist and no wild-eyed republican, laid out his case at the West Belfast Féile last week to precious little notice.
It comes in two parts. First, a century of partition has impoverished the north and secondly, it will take years of investment and economic restructuring by an all-Ireland government with EU subsidies to raise the standard of living here and rescue the north from the certain basket case that Brexit will guarantee for it thanks to the DUP propping up this demented British government.
First the deleterious effects of partition. It has reversed the North’s position as the most prosperous part of the island. In 1920 the greater Belfast area, with Belfast the biggest city on the island, produced 80 per cent of Irish industrial output. Now the Republic’s economy is four times the size of the North’s and its industrial output is ten times larger. Exports from the Republic are 17 times those from the north. Last year economic growth here was 1.4 per cent compared to 4.9 per cent in the Republic. Average income in 2017 in the south was €39,873 compared to €23,700 here. It’s true higher living costs in the south blunt that difference but that far from wipes out the disparity where a worker in the south is paid half as much again as a northern worker, more if you add in the fall in the value of the pound since June 2016.
The economist David McWilliams in December 2017 showed that in the last 60 years incomes in the south have grown by a factor of 20 while here they have grown by five. Welfare payments in the Republic like the equivalent of Job Seekers Allowance or the new draconian Universal Credit system are more than twice as high as here. Those are just a few figures to illustrate the failure of partition which prevented the north developing its own appropriate economic policies separate from those London dictated.
In the event of unity the north would immediately return to the EU. Gosling argues that the EU will assist in restructuring costs as it did with German unification after 1990. The European Investment Bank would play a key role supplying cheap borrowing to develop an integrated Irish economy. Britain would be responsible for all pension, redundancy and much restructuring costs since the huge public sector in the north has been paying into both state and occupational pensions and indeed the whole population has been paying into state benefits. This arrangement would continue until at least 2050.
Remember, despite leaving the EU Britain will have to pay billions for its own EU civil servents’ and MEP’s pensions for decades. Finally, Britain needs to address the infrastructure investment in roads, water, sewage, health and rail. Gosling is not alone in producing economic proposals which demonstrate that Irish unity will be beneficial to all on the island but particularly to the north which lags at the bottom of European growth charts. He is not alone either in having them ignored by governments and UNIONISTS.
With many thanks to: Brian Feeney and The Irish News for the original story.
CATHOLICS will outnumber Protestants in the North of Ireland by 2021, a leading academic has suggested.
The 2011 official census figures put the Protestant population at 48 per cent, and Catholics at 45 per cent, while more recent figures from 2016 show 44 per cent of working age adults are Catholic and 40 per cent Protestant.
Paul Nolan, an Independant researcher, best known for the three North of Ireland Peace Monitoring Reports, told BBCNI news it is likely by the centenary of the fundation of the state Catholics will out-number Protestants.
“Three years from now we will end up, I think, in the ironic situation on the centenary of the state where we actually have a state that has a Catholic majority,” he said.
He said there is no need for this predicition to cause undue alarm amoung unionists as being a Catholic does not necessarily mean supporting a United Ireland.
Mr Nolan pointed out that although 45 per cent identified in the 2011 census as being from a Catholic background, only 25 per cent claimed an exclusively Irish identity.
“The future of unionism depends entirely upon one thing – and I mean unionism with a small ‘u’ – it depends on winning the support of people who do not regard themselves to be unionists with a capital ‘U’,” he said.
“In other words people who do not identify with the traditional trappings of unionism; people who would give their support for a UK government framework and that’s a sizeable proportion of Catholics provided they are not alienated by any form of triumphalism or anything that seems to be a rejection of their cultural identity as nationalists.”
He suggested it is likely debate on a future United Ireland would move to whether it might mean “two paraliaments – one in Belfast and one in Dublin”.
” I think the more that gets unpacted, the more opinion will move back and forward. It’s not going to go just in one direction,” the academic said. His analysis comes after DUP leader Arlene Foster said she would “probably” leave in the event of a United Ireland.
Party colleague Christopher Salford said while Ms Foster’s veiws were “reflective of a lot of unionists [who] feel they would effectively be pushed into the Irish sea”, he would be amoung any exodus. ” For my part though, I would never leave this island,” he said. “We need to show that you can be British and Irish at the same time.” Sinn Féin president Mary Lou McDonald said unionists “have to be at home in a new Ireland” and nothing, from the flag to the anthem would be “taboo”.
With many thanks to: The Irish News and Bimpe Archer for the origional story.
Two Terrorist Supporters elected as MPs Emma ‘Little’ Pengelly (MP) and Gavin Robinson (MP).
And now talk of Sinn Féin talking of taking their seats in Westminster to defeat the Tory party and try and stop Brexit.
Arlene Foster now holds the playing cards but there is still two very difficult questions for her answer. “How can she work both deals”
(1) In the negotiations Here in the North of Ireland. Where there is no government?
(2) In the negotiations in England where the Tories are “up shit creak without a paddle.”?
She even went on to speak in Irish using the words “Sin É” pronounced in English as (Shin A) meaning “That’s it”.
This could not only force another re-election in the North of Ireland, but also another re-election in England, Scoland & Wales.
It would be a complete disaster for the Conservite’s and the DUP, here in the North of Ireland (Northern Ireland). The English people as a nation need to watch their backs. Don’t trust a Tory and don’t trust ‘The DUP’!
In 2015, The DUP built it’s election campaign around the idea that that it’s MPs might be Kingmakers at Westminster. Their posters bore the a the slogan “More Votes. More Seats. More Influence. More for Northern Ireland”. When David Cameron won his majority, that strategy was quietly forgotten.
“While I was writing this it was confirmed that the DUP has reached a deal with the Tory party. A DUP Sourcesaid:“We want there to be a government. We have worked well with May. The Alternative is intolerable. For as long as Corbyn leads Labour, We will ensure there’s a ToryP.M.”was written in the: The guardian, Newspaper.
The Tories are now in very serious trouble the backbenchers are unhappy WIth the ‘New collation between the tory’s and the DUP.
But come on be honest, by you looking at a picture like that (picture below). Would you trust Boris Johnson? Honestly? because I wouldn’t.
All 18 of the North of Ireland’s MPs have been confirmed with the SDLP and UUP losing their seats at Westminster.
The final result came in Fermanagh and South Tyrone where the UUP’s Tom Elliottlost to Sinn Féin’s Michelle Gildernew M.P.
Former SDLP Party Leaders Mark Durkan, Margaret Richie and Alasdair McDonnell were toppled in Foyle, South Down and Belfast South.
In Foyle, Sinn Féin’s Elisha Mc Callion won by 169 votes after a recount.
But that’s the position the 10 newly returned MPs are in, despite Arlene Foster predicting it did “not look likely” at the campaign outset. And latter saying “It would be difficult to do a deal”.
The DUP party has been criticised in the past for sharing platforms with representatives of loyalist paramilitaries.
In 1996, former MP Rev William McCrea stood ata Portadown rally alongside LVF leader Billy Wright (pictured below).
The ruthless paramilitary group, which split from the UVF in 1996, was responsible for high-profile murders including the killing of Catholic taxi driver Michael McGoldrick.
In the mid-1980s the DUP also had close links with Ulster Resistance, set up in response to the Anglo-Irish Agreement.
The group was launched in 1986 at a rally in the Ulster Hall in Belfast addressed by then DUP leader Ian Paisley.
Peter Robinson, who at the time was his party’s deputy leader, was later photographed at another Ulster Resistance rally wearing a beret.
The party cut ties with the group in 1987 when members were linked to arms finds.
The father of the DUP’s Emma Little Pengelly, who has just won the South Belfast seat, is Noel Little, a Co Armagh loyalist and founder of Ulster Resistance.
Little was one of three men arrested in Paris in 1989 in connection with a plot to exchange a missile stolen from Shorts for South African guns.
After spending two years on remand the trio received suspended sentences and fines.
The weapons they sought to procure were destined for the UVF, UDA and Ulster Resistance.
In 2014 the DUP and other unionist parties were also criticised for joining the UVF-linked PUP in signing up to a ‘graduated response’ following the banning of an Orange Order parade in Ardoyne, north Belfast.
The ‘graduated response’ later failed to materialise after the PUP, TUV and Ukip withdrew their support for the pan-unionist group amid allegations of “betrayal” over parading.
In June 2017 Arlene Foster was criticised over meeting a UDA leader just days after a breakaway faction of the paramilitary organisation was linked to a brutal murder.
The DUP leader spoke with Jackie McDonald at a community office in the Taughmonagh area of south Belfast on Tuesday during canvassing ahead of next week’s general election.
In February, before Assembly election, he urged voters to get behind Mrs Foster saying her “experience and dedication has helped bring about stability and prosperity.
What voters in Britain make of Tory ‘kingmakers’
GIVEN how dear the DUP holds the union with Britain, relatively few people in the rest of the UK are familiar with the party and its policies.
As it became apparent on Friday that Theresa May planned to form a government with Arlene Foster’s party, social media was filled with contributors offering insights into Westminister’s ‘Kingmakers’.
Notably, in the relatively liberal social climate of England, Scotland and Wales, the DUP’s conservative world view was highlighted in mostly pejorative terms.
Here’s a sample: Singer Paloma Faith tweeted: “DUP = awful: anti abortion anti LGBT rights anti woman’s rights and don’t believe in climate change. Very modern (sniff)”.
Left-leaning economist Richard Murphy, who has previously been vocal in his opposition to devolving corporation tax power’s to Stormont, said on Twitter: “If I had to choose a party to have undue influence over government the DUP would be the last barring UKIP. They’re a nightmare of prejudice.”
Environmentalist and Guardian columnist George Monbiot highlighted the links between the DUP and UDA, which just days ago added its voice to the Loyalist Communities Council statement urging voters to back Mrs Foster’s party at the polls. “I trust that The Daily Mail will now devote it’s first 13 pages to the #DUP’s associations with terrorism,” he tweeted.
Veteran Journalists and Channel 4 News anchorman Jon Snow tweeted: “One of the most extreme politicial entities in the British Isles, the 10 MPs of the DUP, is to wag the tail of Mrs May’s minority government.”
Former Liverpool footballer Stan Collymore posted an article from The Irish News which bore the headline ‘Arlene Foster has no regrets after being pictured with UDA Commander [Dee Stitt].
Under it the Talksport contributor wrote: “Come on Dacre and Murdoch and Hopkins and Robinson and Tories. Where’s your outrage now?”
Belfast-born former ITN foreign correspondent Andrea Catherwood tweeted: “Wait until you hear DUP’s views on homosexuality. They make Tim Farrin look like Peter Thatchell.”
Some, however, such as columnist Polly Toynbee misinterpreted the DUP’s priorities. “DUP top priority will be soft border, saving Good Friday agreement and free movement across boundary. That absolutely rules out hard Brexit,” she tweeted.