David Campbell: If Ulster Unionists stand in all seats, it will be a declaration of war on fellow unionists and a boost for Sinn Fein

I wonder who’s having a total meltdown over the upcoming elections?


Clearly Good Friday Agreement hasn’t delivered what it promised.

These two letters appeared in The Irish News yesterday-Wednesday 11/4/2018

Letter (1)

ON the 20th anniversary of its signing, the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) is under attack from various quarters. Brexit threatens its very foundations. Political unionism, as it has done from the time of the agreement was completed, seeks to undermine it at every possible opportunity. Some others, well intentioned but, I suggest, very mistaken, suggest that the requirement for cross-community support embodied in the ‘weighted majority’ provision of the agreement should be abandoned so as to restore ‘normal politics’ in the north. Clearly the agreement has not delivered what it promised. At its heart was the recoginition that there are two fundamentally different politicial identities in the north; one nationalist/republican wishes to see the partition of the country in 1920 reversed and replaced by a united and secular 32-county republic; the other unionists who see their future as continuing to be to be linked to England. The GFA specifically recognised the existence of these two blocs.

In its provisions it sought to provide a framework in which nationalists/republicans and unionist could co-exist peacefully within the existing six-county state until a majority of its people decided that a united Ireland should be re-created. In the meantime, the two communities were to be accorded ‘parity of esteem’, their separate political ‘identities’ treated equally. Certain defined and major consequences should have followed from this commitment to parity of esteem given in the agreement by the British government. Among these consequences was that no longer should symbols of the British state, including in particular the Union flag, have been given the exclusive priority over Irish nationalism they had enjoyed in the northern state since partition.

That commitment to equal status between nationalism/republicanism and unionism and to faithful implementation by the British government to the obligations flowing from it were of the essence of the parity of esteem provision and of the overall compromise embodied in it. The British government has openly reneged on the promise of parity of esteem between nationalists/republicans and unionists. At every step of the way since signing of the GFA it has continued to try to relegate the Irish identity to a position of inferiority.The Union flag is flaunted on government buildings, ignoring the rights of the now almost equal in numbers nationalist population.

The demands of political unionism continue to be given preference, including in relation to the provision of an Irish language act which the British government had committed to in the St Andrews Agreement 12 years ago. Like all agreements, the GFA is only as good as the intentions and behaviour of the parties to it. Like other agreements, it requires for its effectiveness that there should be sanctions against those who breach it. That has been the critical weakness which has left the GFA in the perilous state it now finds itself in.

Bad faith on the part of unionist parties who always opposed the agreement and also on the part of a British government which has itself both broken the agreement and refused to sanction unionists for their breaches. As co-guarantor of the GFA, successive Irish governments cannot escape their share of the blame either. The GFA deserves to survive. If honoured, both to the letter and spirit, it provides the pathway to peace and reconciliation among the people of Ireland. The question is, who of us is prepared to do that?

With many thanks to: Patrick Fahy Omagh, Co Tyrone.

Letter (2)

In DUP’s case silence is not golden but our eyes still see

‘Silence is golden, but my eyes still see’

SUCH is the refrain popularised by the 1960s band The Tremelores, albeit on the back of the original version of the song by the Four Seasons in 1964. Some of us can even remember that far back.

I was reminded of the song recently when I was pondering how come the DUP Brexiteers were so quiet, relaxed even, when on March 19 Michel Barnier and David Davis jointly announced outline agreement on the Brexit transition arrangement.

Now, instead of falling stright off a cliff edge next March, the UK can gradually slide into the sea, not even getting its feet wet until December 2020. And, of course, the draft agreement contains the now infamous ‘backstop’ on the Irish border – Option 3 as it is known. Unless and until someone comes up with something better than north/south regulatory alignment, then the backstop applies.

This is the same backstop by the way that the UK signed up to last December and which Mrs May promptly rubbished a few weeks ago when the EU dared to put it into draft legal text. Now we’re told the UK only agreed to a backstop, just not the one they agreed to last year.

In that case, what kind of backstop do they envisage then? I know. We should ask the DUP because they must surely have the answer, given their near prone reaction to the inclusion of Option 3 in the transition deal.

Does the DUP know something the rest of us don’t? They support the Tory hard Brexit line by enthusiastically embracing the leaving of the customs union and the single market, yet they claim to be in favour of a soft border. Really? Maybe they could tell us how to bring that about.

Ian Paisley jnr doesn’t seem to want one when he tweets: “We’re warning the Irish Republic, don’t get in our way in trying to force us to have a different type of Brexit to the rest of the UK” (March 23). Get in whose way?

Not Northern Ireland’s way surely because we voted by a sizeable majority to remain in the EU. Oh, he must mean the DUP’s way then. I wonder by what right he deigns to threaten a sovereign state that is intent only on looking after the best economic interests of its people and safeguarding the GFA for the preservation of peace here?

In truth, by action if not by word, the DUP would love to see a hard border again. In their case, silence is not golden, but our eyes still see.

With many thanks to: EO Cassidy Omagh, Co Tyrone.


Unionist ‘disgust’ at rebel song chart hit

UNIONIST politicians have voiced their “disgust” after a ‘rebel song’ commemorating 10 brave Irish republicans who died in the 1981 Hunger Strike reached number 24 in the UK singles’ charts.


The Roll of Honour lyrics

Read the roll of honour of Ireland’s bravest men.We must be united in memory of the ten. England you’re a monster, don’t think you have won.We will never be defeated while Ireland has such sons. In those dreary H-Block cages, ten brave young Irishmen lay. Hungering for justice as their young lives ebbed away. For their rights as Irish soldiers and to free their native land. They stood beside their leader – the gallant Bobby Sands. Now they mourn Hughes in Bellaghy. Ray McCreesh in Armagh hills. In those narrow streets of Derry, they miss O’Hara still. They so proudly give their young lives to break Britannia’s hold. Their names will be remembered as history unfolds. Through the war-torn streets of Ulster the black flags did sadly sway. To salute ten Irish martyrs the bravest of the brave. Joe McDonnell, Martin Hudson, Kevin Lynch, Korean Doherty. They gave their lives for freedom with Thomas McElwee. Michael Define from Derry you were the last to die. With your nine brave companions with the martyred dead you lie. Your souls cry out: “Remember, our deaths were not in vain. Fight on and make our homeland a nation once again!”.

The Roll of Honour  rocketed up the ‘hit list’ this week after Celtic supporters in Scotland launched a campaign to see it reach number one by Sunday by downloading via the internet. The move came after the Scottish authorities outlawed the singing of Irish ‘rebel songs’ at Scottish football grounds under the Offensive Behaviour At Football Act. The campaign is being organised by a Celtic supporters’ umbrella group, Fans Against Criminalisation (FAC), which has been given permission to release the song by folk band, The Irish Brigade. Originally penned in the 1980s, the song pays tribute to 10 IRA and INLA members who died during the 1981 Hunger Strike. The song’s lyrics include the line: “England you’re a monster, don’t think that you won, we will never be defeated while Ireland has such sons.” And in the final line calls on people to “fight on” for a free Ireland. A number of people have been convicted for singing the song at Scottish football grounds while several are currently awaiting trial.

Despite this, last April a Celtic fan was cleared of inciting public disorder by a Scottish court after he was detected singing the song at a football game in Dundee. Ulster Unionist Party justice spokesman Tom Elliot said the FAC campaign was an “absolute disgrace and I condemn their actions without reservation.” He also urged Celtic Football Club to take action. “This is not an issue that can be swept under the carpet. Stern action is required so that the club’s good name is not tarnished by assocation with people who would seek to glorify terrorism,” he said. Loyalist victims’ groups have also condemned the campaign. GREEN BRIGADE SECTION 111Rebel songs have been sung by a section of the Celtic support for many decades. Other songs with an Irish theme regularly heard at Celtic games include The Fields of Athenry and the ballad of Aidan McAnespie – a young GAA player shot dead by the British army near Aughnacloy in Co Tyrone in 1988. A spokesman for FAC defended the download campaign. “The campaign is not about encouraging people to sing the song, it’s about saying this song should not be a criminal offence to sing,” she said. “It’s not a criminal offence unless you are a football fan. “The Offensive Behaviour At Football Act is a bad law which attempts to restrict freedom of expression and that is wrong.” A sectarian song associated with Rangers supporters led to months of unrest and the creation of a new parades flashpoint in Belfast after it was played by a loyalist band outside St Patrick’s Catholic Church in North Belfast. The anti-Catholic lyrics of The Famine Song instruct the Irish community in Scotland to “go home”. Loyalist Billy Hutchinson called the campaign “insensitive and childish.” The Progressive Unionist Party leader said: “Many people will find this initiative callous and insentive, particularly those who have been victims of republican violence and terror. “There seems to be an increase in sectarianism associated with fans of Celtic FC and I think it is time the club acted to address this. “This really amounts to nothing more than a pathetic and childish act, and those responsible need to grow up.”

With many thanks to: Connla Young, The Irish News.



Cumann Sean MacEachaidh

Having abandoned the pledge to secure a 32 County Democratic Socialist Republic in pursuit of imperialist acceptance and parochial prestige you condemned the generations next to sectarian division.

By propagating the myth the Good Friday Agreement had the ability to deliver a United Ireland and refusing to concede that you had accepted the Union with Britain as the legitimate constitutional position you condemned the generations next to sectarian division.

Attempting to conceal your acceptance of the Union with Britain and thus your evolution in to a Unionist party you have engaged in a process of sectarian jesting with equally vile and contemptible Politicians from other Unionist parties. You have used symbolism to portray a Republican image and and secure Loyalist Reaction. You have done so to maintain an appropriate level of inter-communal mistrust and violence which is required to maintain the sectarian pact between the British War machine it’s Loyalist proxies and Constitutional Nationalism. In doing so you condemned the generations next to sectarian division.

On Monday morning Little children will make their way to school, their uniforms and little shoes but one week old and for some the ribbons in their hair still a novelty. They will be completely oblivious to the Red Hand Defenders threat that hangs over their heads.

We won’t because in all you have done you have done nothing but condemn the generations next to sectarian division.

INTERNMENT MARCH ORGANISERS ‘willing to meet unionists’

This is not a republican parade or a dissident parade, it’s a human rights parade…. If any former loyalist ex-internees want to come along to oppose the continued use of internment they are more than welcome – Dee Fennell.

THE organisers of an anti-internment parade in Belfast involving republican groups say they are willing to meet Unionists concerned about the event. Two previously unknown groups have applied to the Parades Commission to hold protests when the parade passers through the city centre on August 9.


Unionist politicians have also expressed concerns about the parade. The Anti-Internment League (AIL) says its event has been arranged to highlight the “internment” of some republicans facing paramilitary-related charges. The march is scheduled to take place on August 9 – the 42nd anniversary of the introduction of internment – and will start in Ardoyne, North Belfast, before eventually making its way down Royal Avenue in the city centre. It will pass along Falls Road to Andersontown, in the west of the city, for a rally. Organisations and political parties taking part include Eirgi, the Republican Network for Unity, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, the 1916 Societies and the Irish Republican Socialist Party. Organisers say human rights groups, trade unions and GAA clubs from across the north have also been invited to take part in the parade which could attract up to 5,000 people.

Greater Concerned Residents Group Belfast and Concerned Residents Group – Shankill Belfast, have applied to the Parades Commission to hold separate protests at Royal Avenue involving up to 150 people at each. Organiser Dee Fennell said the parade will focus on the internment issue and insisted the parade route was chosen to avoid potential flashpoints. “It’s a human rights parade,” he said. “This is not a republican parade or a dissident parade, it’s a human rights parade that republicans are taking part in. “We have invited trade unions and ex-prisoner groups, including Sinn Fein aligned ones, to take part. “If any loyalist ex-internees want to come along to oppose the continued use of internment they are more than welcome.”

Mr Fennell said there is some confusion over the two groups planning to hold protests. “They are not residents groups because the parade is not passing any Protestant areas and as far as I know nobody lives in Castlecourt,” he said. He added that parade organisers are willing to meet any group or elected representatives that “have any concerns relating to this parade”. DUP assembly member Robin Newton, who had been critical of the planned parade, dismissed any suggestion of a meeting saying some of the “organisations taking part that day will be beyond talking to”. The Parades Commission is expected to issue a determination in relation to the parade and associated protests this week.

With many thanks to : Connla Young, The Irish News.


English: "Smash Sinn Fein, Vote DUP"...

After years of stalemate a deal is reached on barrack land with the crucial elements of housing sort

A major political-break-through that will finally see a historic agreement on the future of the Girdwood site is set to be announced as early as next week, the North Belfast News can exclusively reveal.

After months of background negotiations all political parties have reached an agreement on the issue and the final massive package for the site will be revealed within days. The Girdwood Barracks site on the Crumlin Road has long been known as the ” open sore ” of North Belfast, with multimillion pound plans to regenerate the site stalled for years due to the failure of local politicians to agree on the plans. In November last year we revealed £9.6 million was offered by the Special EU Programmes Body(SEUPB) to build a multi use ” community hub ” at the site. It was understood the European money, which will be added to the tens of millions required to build the site, was a major catalyst in the parties reaching an agreement on the land.

McCausland unveils masterplan for Bangor Town ...

The massive new regeneration deal will include the hub as well as a huge investment in leisure facilities, sports pitches and incorporate land for the Mater Hospitaland local schools as well as well as space for employment and training.

Significantly it will also include housing – the main sticking point between the parties – with Unionists previously objecting to any housing on the historic former barracks land. Although it is not yet clear how many homes are to be built on the site, we understand housing is a significant part of the agreed package. Sources have speculated the DUP, who had been the main opponents of housing at Girdwood, agreed to the plans because changes to the electoral boundaries will continue to give a Unionist majority in the North Belfast constituency, regardless of how many nationalists would be housed in Girdwood.

There has also been speculation that with two North Belfast ministers in the Stormont Executive, Culture Minister Caral Ni Chuilin and Social Development Minister Nelson McCausland, that North Belfast was high on the agenda. A source told the North Belfast News the agreement is a ” new era ” for North Belfast. ” This is a massive breakthrough and can’t be underestimated. Everyone knows how long Girdwood has been dragging on for, so to have them agree to something they are all happy with is huge. ” If they are able to unlock Girdwood after all this time it bodes will for everything else in North Belfast. This really is big news.”


%d bloggers like this: