Labour on Northern Ireland

More from the Labour Manifesto:

The Belfast Agreement on Good Friday 1998, was a remarkable achievement. Life in Northern Ireland is immeasurably better as a result. A huge programme of reform in policing, justice and rights, together with the lowest ever unemployment has helped address the inequalities of the past and has created a new confidence.

It is unacceptable that seven years after the agreement there are still paramilitary groups involved in criminality and punishment attacks.

This has to end. The period of transition is over. Unionist politicians have made it clear that they are prepared to share power with nationalists and republicans if violence is ended once and for all. It is time for all groups in Northern Ireland to make it clear they will only use democratic and peaceful means to advance their aims.

We will work tirelessly with the parties in Northern Ireland and with the Irish government to re-establish the devolved institutions. But this can only happen on an inclusive basis if the IRA ends paramilitarism and criminality for good and decommissions its weapons. Bringing this about so that normal politics can take over in the Province will be our principal aim.

I shall pass over the fact that the last major item in the "huge programme of reform in policing, justice and rights" was an Inquiries Bill designed to cover up the British State’s role in the murder of Pat Finucane.

Instead I want to focus on this line:

Unionist politicians have made it clear that they are prepared to share power with nationalists and republicans if violence is ended once and for all.

In fact, what Northern Ireland’s leading unionist politician is saying at the moment is somewhat different to the manifesto commitments Labour is making on his behalf.

Here’s Ian Paisley, last week according to PA:

"The DUP won’t be back in any negotiating table. He (Gerry Adams) has put himself outside the arena."

“It is all over. There is no place in any democracy for terrorists and no place for IRA/Sinn Fein.”

Here’s Robert McCartney in the Newsletter on the assurances he’s received from Paisley’s DUP in return for standing down in the North Down constituency:

"The DUP said it will confirm in its manifesto that ‘inclusive mandatory coalition government which includes Sinn Fein under d’Hondt or any other system is out of the question’.

"From that I can conclude that the Belfast Agreement is finally dead and my main political objective has been achieved. "If they had not agreed to reject the d’Hondt principle, I would have felt I would have had to stand."

McCartney is standing down because he’s been told the DUP definitely won’t do what Labour say the DUP definitely will do.

What will an incoming Labour Government do if McCartney is right and they are wrong?







One response to “Labour on Northern Ireland”

  1. David Vance avatar

    All nonsense. Unionism will not be “sharing power” with the frontmen for terrorism now or in the future. Those Labour delusionists are trying to pretend that the Belfast Agreement is still alive when in fact it is dead in the water.
    McCartney IS right – but the only glimmer of hope for the Government lies in a DUP u-turn – something that remains a POST-election possibility.

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