Shinners can deliver a massive confidence boost
to the ailing peace process by announcing they are
formally cutting their links with the Provos in
much the same way the Ulster Unionists have axed
official links with the image-battered Orange Order.
supposedly cash-strapped Northern Assembly members
have been trooping back to Stormont to find some
way of breathing new life into the politically coma-stricken
Empey's UUP will be mad keen to work on DUP modernisers
to set up the much-talked about United Unionist
Coalition and pull the rug from under the feet of
the Paisleyite fundamentalists.
Paisleyite Right wing will be chucking spanners
left, right and centre to delay matters until after
another report from the International Monitoring
Commission which will deal with the period involving
the brutal murder of Shinner super spy Denis Donaldson.
hint of Provo involvement in Donaldson's demise
will give the DUP's religious and Hard Right factions
all the ammo they need to shoot down any deal with
Sinn Fein before this year's contentious loyalist
this month is a superb opportunity for republicans
to box clever with unionism. Dissident unionists,
when poor auld Davy Trimble was in charge and now
the Paisleyites, have constantly moaned about the
need for the republican movement to wear sackcloth
and ashes, as well as complete a so-called decontamination
and only a maybe then, the Paisley camp might consider
some sort of power-sharing arrangement with Sinn
Fein. Every time the IRA decommissioned or made
a significant announcement, back came unionism with
really only one way to snare the unionist yo-yo
and that's to publicly severe the links between
Sinn Fein and the IRA. To gain political height,
the republican hot air balloon needs to urgently
dump its unnecessary baggage before the entire Sinn
Fein peace process crash lands with such a bump
it effectively spells the end of the Adams/McGuinness
Sinn Fein is attached in any way to the IRA millstone,
it will never make any significant progress with
the Provo millstone could be an even bigger handicap
for Sinn Fein as it pursues its new millennium holy
grail to become a coalition government partner
in the Dail with Fianna Fail after the 2007 Southern
the Shinners should take a tip from the Paisley
camp. The DUP was always viewed as a traditional
Protestant working class movement. It only began
to make credible inroads into the Ulster Unionist
middle class vote when the Paisleyites publicly
disassociated themselves from the gun-running Ulster
Resistance terror group, notorious for its red berets.
many senior DUP people do not like to be reminded
how they either attended, supported, or marched
with Ulster Resistance in the late 1980s as part
of the disastrous Ulster Says No campaign?
Fein has effectively got to remodel itself along
the lines of the now defunct constitutional republican
organisation, the Irish Independence Party, which
a quarter of a century ago won almost two dozen
council seats across the North in the May 1981 elections.
Sinn Fein not entered the democratic process in
the 1982 Assembly elections, the IIP could well
have evolved into the main political voice for Irish
republicanism and eclipsed the SDLP a lot
sooner than November 2003.
some point before the Assembly's summer recess,
Sinn Fein will also have to address the issues of
taking their seats on the Policing Board and at
and Orangeism are now making steady trips south
to develop their cross-border profile. For the DUP
and UUP, it is only a matter of time before they
will have to seriously address the issue of speaking
rights in the Dail again.
way a United Unionist Coalition at Stormont can
bolster the Assembly against a Puritan Prod backlash
is to build a pan-unionist front with sympathetic
Dail TD's. Unionists must learn not all TD's are
raving republican Shinners.
are many Southern nationalists who do not want the
North principally because of the cost of
supporting an additional 1.7 million people, but
more importantly, many in the Southern population
do not want Sinn Fein's militant brand of Northern
republicanism while the IRA still exists.
there could be worse to follow as the Far Right
British National Party doubled its council seats
to more than 50 in the recent local government elections
BNP already has a fledgling branch in the North,
and party boss Nick Griffin once the head
of the Far Right National Front has said
the time has come to develop its operations in Northern
religious sectarianism slowly wanes across the Province
compared to 20 years ago, there is a real danger
it could be replaced with a new racism, especially
against the steadily increasing number of migrant
workers getting employment in Ulster.
incidents of racism were confined to loyalist areas.
But there is an equal threat if migrant workers
were driven out of Protestant districts, they may
re-settle in Catholic areas and face similar racism.