time for Shinners to take another historic step
and ditch their daft boycott of sitting in the
British House of Commons.
certainly hasn't stopped Scottish and Welsh nationalists,
or republican supporters within Labour from taking
their seats and it really boosted the profile
of former Mid Ulster Unity MP, the then Bernadette
Devlin, when she won the seat in April '69.
the Shinners already take their seats in the Dail,
Europe, councils North and South, and the Assembly
so what is the big hurdle preventing Sinn
Fein taking the oath at Westminster when the party
has already voted substantially to support the
needs to think ahead to the post Adams era. With
a Dail General Election on the cards for June,
the big republican war cry is SF is the only truly
if the SDLP again avoids meltdown in the 7 March
Stormont poll, as Spock would say in Star Trek,
the only logical way forward for Mark Dunkan's
party is a formal merger with Taoiseach Bertie
Ahern's Fianna Fail party.
Durkan's Commons MPs merge with FF, then Ahern
can outgun the Shinners by claiming to have elected
representatives taking seats in two national parliaments
Leinster House and Westminster.
dissident republican candidates, such as Paul
McGlinchey in North Antrim, who is the brother
of former INLA leader Dominic, has said he would
take his Stormont seat if elected.
the big Shinner prize for Mad March is to hang
the Paisley camp with its own electoral noose.
Only the DUP wanted the Stormont poll and under
the Scottish deal terms, it is the largest party
not the biggest designation which
will clinch the First Minister's post.
the war of words hots up to political boiling
point between the pro-deal DUP leadership and
many in the anti-deal Paisleyite grassroots, there
is the real danger that with Unionist fragmentation
and voter apathy, SF could pip Paisley Senior
as the North's biggest party in Stormont.
Sinn Fein can fend off the electoral threat from
dissident republican candidates, there is the
strong possibility it will end up with 29 Stormont
seats, one more than the DUP.
Paisley Senior may need to pray dissident republicans
put considerable dents in the SF vote in key constituencies,
allowing Unionists to capitalise on republican
again, the real turmoil for Paisley could come
after the election if Unionist voters return a
DUP Assembly group, many of whom are anti-deal.
may then have to consider the unthinkable
asking UUP MLAs to join the DUP to combat dissident
Unionists vehemently opposed to a power-sharing
Executive with republicans by 26 March.
as for the Unionist family, it must recognise
it has a golden opportunity to screw even more
cash out of the Republic by taking up their speaking
rights south of the border.
both main Unionist parties have dismissed the
speaking rights in the Dail issue as yet more
evidence of direct interference by Dublin in Northern
again, Unionism has tumbled head first into the
quagmire and are on the verge of missing another
terrific chance to return the serve and have a
meaningful say in the running of Southern affairs.
about Unionist political deja vu and turning the
clock back two decades to the turbulent days of
the Ulster Says No campaign against the 1985 Anglo-Irish
Dublin Diktat established the Maryfield Secretariat
near Stormont, which gave Dublin its first major
influence in Northern affairs since partition
how did Unionists return the serve? Not by using
their brains by forming a Unionist Embassy in
Leinster House and demanding an equal say in the
running of the Republic.
would have been too easy a concept for Unionists
to embrace. They preferred to spend month after
month tramping the streets of Ulster, believing
in some misguided vision they could march the
Diktat out of existence. It flopped.
South has already committed itself to pumping
millions of pounds into Northern projects. Using
Southern speaking rights, along with clever manipulation
of the North-South bodies, the Unionist family
could bleed the Dublin exchequer of billions.
Achilles Heel of Ahern's Northern cash gifts policy
is that it is based on the assumption, Unionists
would never head south and demand more.
nationalists milked the European Union cash cow
dry and finished up with a thriving Celtic Tiger
even more buoyant than the Northern economy. It
is not a case of Unionists swallowing their pride
and crawling cap in hand to Dublin.
is a case of Unionism marching confidently into
Leinster House and demanding billions in cash
reparations to make up for republican terrorism's
war crimes against the North.