Irish Republican News · January 22, 2010
[Irish Republican News]

[Irish Republican News]
IRISH REPUBLICAN NEWS: No agreement with DUP
No agreement with DUP

Talks on saving the North’s power-sharing government have ended without agreement, Sinn Fein said today.

As speculation mounts that the Dublin and London governments will have to step in to save the negotiations, a the war of words broke out between Sinn Fein and the Democratic Unionist Party.

Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams revealed the talks effectively ended on Wednesday night and he accused the Democratic Unionists of “playing the orange card” by demanding concessions on sectarian parades.

Distrust had increased following revelations that the DUP had engaged in secretive parallel discussions with the Ulster Unionists and the British Conservatives to form a broad pro-unionist alliance in London and Belfast.

The Sinn Fein executive [Ard Chomhairle] will meet tomorrow in Dublin where it will decide on the next course of action.

Sinn Fein is now expected to crank up political pressure and could pull out of the power-sharing government.

Mr Adams today repeated that there was no deal with the DUP on the devolution of policing and justice powers to the Assembly, where Unionist calls for agreement on replacing the Parades Commission is believed to be a major stumbling block.

In an unusually strong statement, Mr Adams said the partition of Ireland “gave unionists a little orange state”, and pointed to organisations such as the Orange Order which have since played a key political role.

“Even today most unionist politicians are in one or other of the loyal orders and those that aren’t listen attentively to what the Orange wants,” he wrote.

“And what is that in 2010? They want the scrapping of the Parades Commission and progress on the ground - in other words marches through Catholic areas.

“It’s sad that even now sectarianism and triumphalism still has such a huge grip on a large section of the unionist psyche.

“The orange card, played so often in the past to get their own way, is being played again as the DUP try to get the Orange Order what the Orange Order wants.”

He added: “Sorry folks -- it doesn’t work like that any more. Those days are gone. The orange state is gone.”

Sinn Fein said the issue of the routing of sectarian parades is separate to securing the devolution of policing and justice powers.

The DUP’s Arlene Foster said her party wanted a resolution of the parades issue as part of a deal, and significantly said that securing agreement might require the involvement of the British government.

Mr Adams wrote:

“The failure of the DUP thus far to come up to the plate during the current round of negotiations shouldn’t come as any great surprise.

“The DUP are looking over their shoulder at Jim Allister and then there are the ‘secret’ talks between the UUs and the DUP and talk of electoral pacts. That’s their own business and nothing to get too excited about. Except to note they told us they couldn’t do any business on the Sabbath -- the very day they were busy on unionist unity business.

“But lest we forget the DUP was born out of the anti civil rights politics of the late 60s and the firebrand unionism of the 19th and early 20th centuries that is rooted in sectarianism and a belief that Catholics are the problem - and the enemy. Hence the desire by some unionists, best exemplified by the Traditional Unionist Voice, not to have a Catholic about the place.

“For this brand of unionism every compromise is a defeat; every conversation with a Shinner is weakness; every concession must be the last. For these unionists and even others less hardline shaking hands or passing the time of day is too much.”

Mr Adams said that “centuries of colonialism and of partition and a determination to maintain their status as top dog” underlies the politics of unionism.

“They know the game is up. But it’s not over. So delay, delay, delay is the game plan.

“This means that so far no unionist leader has acknowledged the role of the orange state and of unionism in creating the conditions for conflict. For them it’s everyone else’s fault, but especially the republicans!

“Partition gave unionists a little Orange State. The glue that held it together was the Orange Order and other ‘loyal institutions’.

“Even today most unionist politicians are in one or other of the loyal orders and those that aren’t listen attentively to what the Orange wants. And what is that in 2010?

“They want the scrapping of the Parades Commission and progress on the ground -- in other words marches through Catholic areas.

“It’s sad that even now sectarianism and triumphalism still has such a huge grip on a large section of the unionist psyche. The orange card, played so often in the past to get their own way, is being played again as the DUP try to get the Orange Order what the Orange Order wants.

“Sorry folks - it doesn’t work like that anymore. Those days are gone. The orange state is gone. The remnants remain and its legacy of institutionalised bigotry will take a long time to eradicate but change has taken place and the clock is not for going backwards.

“The power sharing institutions have demonstrated their capacity to work, make local government more accountable and accessible and change peoples lives for the better.

“But no one should underestimate the determination of unionism, allied to the political system -- the so-called permanent government -- which is still mainly unionist at its most senior levels -- to prevaricate and stall and delay. To oppose change.

“So, where are we now? There has been no product thus far as a result of the negotiations.

“The Ard Chomahirle meets tomorrow and will hear a report on all this. The time has long passed for the transfer of powers on policing and justice. There can be no preconditions to that. Not on the Parades Commission; not on marches; not on equality and partnership government.”

© 2010 Irish Republican News