The Irish National Congress was founded in 1990 as an all-party non-sectarian organisation dedicated to working for Irish unity by peaceful means.
The TD blamed the mainstream political parties and the political media for the state of affairs. He called it the “two- nation disease” and said a “partition mentality” had infected Dublin’s political and media elite.
“Many young people who visit the Dáil on school trips don’t know about recent events or about Irish culture and history,” he said.
When the independent TD questioned them, “they know about canals and waterways but the number of kids who don’t know about Connolly, Emmet, Tone or Pearse is shocking,”
I agree Finian; I have long argued that our History syllabus needs a drastic overhaul. I didn't really get into the Easter Rising until I was in 7th Year and I am only getting in-depth Irish History and politics at University. Kids should be taught this stuff at a young age, as some don't do A levels or go to University.
The problem in the South is a simple one, the political establishment is afraid of change. Change to the current system is growing and that frightens them.
The rise of Republicanism frightens them!
This document is now dead and while The Netherlands will proceed with their vote – the results, expected to be a firmer no than France, there is no way that any other government will proceed with a referendum. BBC has a nice graphic outlining the plan of each of the 25 states.
I would be genuinely gobsmacked if the planned referendum in Ireland goes ahead. The Government is not going to give a predetermined winning platform for Sinn Fein to elucidate their vision for the nation and profile some of their candidates for the forthcoming general election.
Whatever feeling I may have about a free trade zone, the original intention of the EEC, I do not want a Political Europe with the concomitant loss of power and influence that will entail.
Pat Rabbite is a man who for decades has struggled with and always won the battle between his own ego and the good of his party, over a 30 year period his letterheads have changed, from; the Labour Party, Official Sinn Fein, the Workers party, New Agenda, Democratic Left and back to Labour.
After this political tinkering he is running out of road and realising that the next election is his last chance of ministerial power has decided to hook up with....….yer man…weak jaw….no personality……you know…….from Mayo….Enda Kelly…eh no……Andy Kemmy……no that’s not it…oh yes…….Aiden Kenny……..anyway whatever the Fine Gaels Leader name is. Pat is hoping that this FGL will bring him the platform of power that he seems to think, judging from his creepy "encourage people who think Labour to vote Labour" statement, is naturally his.
The truth about Labour is that they are a conservative ageing party, with no central direction or discipline, with an ability to hop on and hijack any campaign for their own visibility benefit.
The difference between them and Fianna Fail is that the Soldiers of Destiny celebrate their cute whoreness. Labour are not just second best at it but in utter denial.
Their current leader had wit and a personality, now he appears to think that exaggerated pomposity framed by a intake of breath and the start of each statement with "well.." is sufficent depth of quality of political leadership.
As an aside, the McCartney sisters are due to speak at the conference, following their adoption by the likes of Labour Party millionaire health spokesperson Liz Mc Manus. The Party has been all over the McCartney’s in Ireland and Europe yet a little know fact is that when the victims of collusion visited Leinster House the Labour Party were alone of all the political parties that no one, not a TD, councillor, or staff bothered to turn up.
This is an absolute joke! these people are getting money for a fictitious language that nobody speaks. It is quite simply bad English with a Ballymena accent.
This was set up as a direct attack on the Irish language, the third oldest written language in Europe. Everyone I have spoken to in relation to Ulster-Scots can't speak it. I always get the same reply, "I am more interested in the culture"
I have no problem in money going into Unionist areas, I really don't because a lot of the areas are in deep social deprivation but don't insult peoples intelligence with this sort of shit. Even Pauline Armitage admitted it was an "embarrassment".
If this is really a language then why didn't the old Stormont parliament do anything for it?
This is a joke and Nationalism should take their heads out of the "PC" pot and call it for what it is, Bullshit!!
I understand the need for retirement homes but I hate them all the same.
It destroyed my Mum when she had to put my Grandfather into a nursing home on doctor’s orders.
He had fallen and ended up in hospital for 6 months. He developed very bad Alzheimer’s. This was a man who had been a foreman in the sewage industry and was responsible for the sewage system we now have in Dromintee. By all accounts an absolute bastard to work for because he demanded perfection with every aspect of his work force. He had his faults as we all do but to see him near the end destroyed me. It got to the stage were he was barely audible, he would constantly cry with the frustration of not remembering things. He was always a big man, not fat but well built and strong. I remember being told a story were a British soldier had been disrespectful to my grandmother and he marched up the road after the patrol and busted him, he was subsequently lifted and given a hiding but he had that real South Armagh attitude where he didn't take shit from no one, a trait I am proud to have inherited.
Near the end he could only barely remember me and my mother. We have a very large family circle and he couldn't even remember his own kids. His muscles had depleted to the stage where he couldn't walk and he just lay there crying with mucus coming out of his mouth. I still bear guilt because for a few months before his death I didn't visit him because I found it boring and upsetting. I will live with that guilt for a long time.
Alzheimer’s is the disease that frightens me more so than any else, I have seen the damage it can do and it scares me.
I have always said that my own mother and father will never go into a nursing home.
I understand the great pain people have when they are forced to send their loved ones into a nursing home.
We in this country do not value our elderly with the respect they deserve and we should because old age comes to us all.
Our thoughts are with the families in what must be a harrowing experience.
It is not good enough that the 3 for 2 rule still applies.
I haven't used public transport much since I have went to University but I remember a few years ago when I was in Seventh year complaining of this.
You had a situation where every seat has 3 people and the gangway full to the brim with people standing. We deserve and demand better facilities for children.
Translink have constantly increased service charges, it is about time they put lives before profit and corrected the situation in the North and the same must happen in the south before another tragedy befalls us.
It shows me where our referals are from, how many visitors, where they are from etc
It seems that we now have someone within the US Government who has too much time on their hands and they are reading Balrog, leave a comment comrade
We won't tell ;)
A story has being doing the rounds that one of their councillors, from a high profile political family, in a winnable Leinster House constituency, is non resident in Ireland.
The tale being that the councillor, who is not short of a few bob and recently sold the family home in Dublin, actually resides in France.
This is not without precedent in these isles as earlier this year Councillor Stephen Gregory finally stepped down after months of local outrage over his move to the Caribbean while still holding his council seat in England.
Although well known in Dublin political circles for a somewhat lapse attitude to attending meetings and council sessions it appears that this maybe be more reflective of recent familial circumstances than anything else. The fact that the councillor has a property in France and recently sold one in Ireland is a convenient coincidence that nicely fits the hatchet job.
Nonetheless the Irish councillor holds a local authority seat in one of the Blueshirts target constituencies had been tipped to be Mayor and is surrounded by a lot of hungry and relatively talented Fine Gael rivals desperate for a shot at a bankable seat and the €125,000 package per annum that goes with it.
Their HQ have obviously decided that martial problems or not this councillor is not up for the job and has helped fuel the gossip.
Lovely behaviour from your colleagues.
Watch this space.
The people who have presided over this shocking state of affairs have a lot to answer for. For too long, areas such as these have suffered from chronis under investment. We need an assembly back up and running to tackle these problems and politicans have to address these REAL issues.
The UUP produced a leaflet for the May election claiming that too much money was going to nationalist areas and that it "wasn't fair". The desperate tragedy of the situation is that if the money was poured into West Belfast then as soon as it started to do a bit of good, unionist politicans would be up in arms that "the fenians are getting all the money."
Poverty must be tackled and investment must be put into the areas that need it the most, regardless of religion or any other factor. Nobody gives a damn about flags or symbols when they are struggling to put enough food on the table to feed their children
It could then be published the following week, unless the minister believes it could prejudice any criminal proceedings.
Did you ever hear the likes of it?
This man doesn't give a hoot about prejudicing criminal proceedings when it suits him.
I really can't understand the cheek some people show towards other people’s intelligence.
Let's hope our French comrades can do the necessary
At a time when we are trying to regain sovereignty over our country the last thing we should be doing is throwing away the hard fought sovereignty that we do have.
This abomination will affect our neutrality, it will lead us down the road of a Federal States of Europe and I am dammed if I intend to substitute one foreign ruler for another!!
Men have died to free 26 counties of this country and I urge all right thinking men and women of Ireland to vote NO when they get the chance.
Show Europe that Ireland isn't the patsy they think we are.
This is the bill that Caoimghín Ó Caoláin reacted to most angrily. He has constantly stood up to the Government on this issue and argued that a right to recourses must be included.
It seems the Opposition parties have protested at the Government's use of the so-called 'guillotine' which cuts off debate on the legislation at 1.30pm.
Fine Gael leader Enda Kenny pointed out that there were 100 amendments to the bill, which have not yet been discussed.
Labor’s Emmet Stagg and Trevor Sargent of the Green Party said the bill was unacceptable because it did not give a right to services for the disabled.
Well boys, there is no point complaining now, that should have been done when Caoimghín was getting stuck into Ahern. When the vote came it went 50-48 and two of the Green TD's didn't even bother voting. Let's not forget that it was Labor who allowed Ahern out of question time because of one of their side deals that effectively neutered certain opposition powers.
Some opposition parties are a disgrace and the Disability rights groups should inform them of such.
Fair play to the SF team in Limavady who tabled the d'Hondt motion and congratulations to the councillors who supported it. I also wish SDLP councillor Michael Coyle the best of luck in his term as Mayor.
This is an absolute disgrace, how someone like him can be allowed to slander a person and then the person he slandered has no legal right of action against him is a total disgrace.
This is a clear abuse of Parliamentary Privilege
If this vile man had any balls he would come out into the open and make these ridiculous allegations.
What is the bet he won't?
I think the ties and suits Laird wears have clearly affected his judgment not to mention intelligence.
I don't like cowards and that is all this man has shown himself to be.
I spotted a somewhat amusing debate going on at politics.ie between Republicans and Socialist Party supporters over them being unionists or not.
The Socialist Party policy on the north is about as clear as this and amongst other lesser know facts are they;
Support the Orange Orders in their “right” to walk the by-ways and highways of Ulster. They share this libertarian (aka anarchism for the stinking rich) madness with these homegrown wingnuts
Supported the British army in their wish to have a recruitment stall at queens university freshers week
Believe the British army are “workers in uniform” and as such the armed struggle was anti-working class!
Naturally the nationalist population of the six counties have given a similar endorsement to the SP candidates in the election that Liam “Perfect break” Kennedy received.
So I went looking in their webpage for their actual policy on the “national question”, the search turned into a mining expedition but eventually tucked away in a dark seam of the site was this gem; “the socialist party stands for a socialist Ireland as part of a free and voluntary socialist federation of Ireland, Scotland, England and Wales”.
The mushy imagined workers love nest world of tweeting birds, shiny hospitals and a DART in all the villages and hamlets of these socialist utopians - I have no real problem with their… ahem…. vision but back on here on planet earth I am confused how this “socialist federation” would work.
In the unimaginable circumstances that would have to occur, a contagious outbreak of democratic flagellation for instance, that would result in the Socialist Party of Ireland, England and Scotland and Wales all managing to, and at the same time (these guys don’t believe in coalition) to get overall majorities in the respective parliaments, I presume that this socialist federation would be initiated with the pomp, grace, grandeur and pointlessness of a Balkan manifestation.
Now after four years of this and assuming that the US has not led a liberation of the new Socialist Federation of the British Isles, elections would be due, considering the success that previous Workers Republics around the world have had keeping the proles happy it seems likely that citizens may swing to the right.
The result is that Joe Higgins has brought back the Union and we have to call this guy Our Glorious Wise Leader and Provider of All Things Great
That’s of course unless they have a Algiers Dilemma, and cancel all future elections, slaughter the opposition, get rid of the press and torture anybody who even so much as sneezes sideways.
I wonder if Uncle Joe's cheerleaders and supporters are aware of his unionist tendencies?
They deserve the truth...
What is the alternative?
At the moment we have de facto joint authority, is that an option?
For me personally it is the best. Unionism was never interested in power sharing and the issue of guns has been a farce. If Unionism doesn't want to share power with Nationalists then fine.
Joint authority is a good thing for Nationalism but in my view the last nail in the coffin for Unionism. Any hope of a rightful place in the "Union" would be gone and a UI would shortly follow.
Unionism is standing at the abyss, what will they do?
It matters not that Unionism doesn't want a UI; it is going to happen eventually. I would call on Unionism to get around the table with Nationalism and work out an agreed future.
The past is over; let us look to the future.
It takes a brave man to enter an elderly person’s residence and rob them. It is not the valuables they steal but the people’s security and peace of mind. It does my head in that cowards like this get away with their actions. I would take them out into the front street and beat the living daylights out of them. I don't care if people think that isn't "PC" or in the interests of democracy.
It is in the interests of the community.
As I sit here in my flat studying I wonder will we ever get robbed and seeing as there is a few of us here and I am hardly the smallest fellow, I pray they don't try to rob me when I am here. I have "Sineád" sitting beside the door and I would not be responsible for my actions.
That is all these scumbags are short of, a good hiding!
I am a firm believer in CRJ when it comes to family and community problems but when it comes to community safety their is only one policy
In my opinion no other man has left such a lasting impact on this country, with the exception of Connelly, as Pearse.
He had an intellectual insight that proved unparallel. Pearse was slightly unnerving when he linked his own sacrifice to Christ but such religious iconography is usual in Irish Republican Ideology.
In my opinion it would a total disgrace and an insult to this nation if the Government did not purchase this letter; after all they wasted millions on e-voting.
It would be an insult to the Irish people if this letter ended up in the hands of a private collector. This should be in the National Library where the public get to view it and look back at one of the most violent and intense periods of our recent history.
He left us with a sentiment that still rings through today, "Ireland unfree will never be at peace"
As my granda would say, never a truer word spoken!
I have always said these claims were bullshit and that is just what they are, bullshit!!
Given the fact that no link has been established between either Sinn Féin or the IRA in relation to the Northern, is it not time Hugh Orde and Bertie Ahern resigned from their respective posts.
Bertie Ahern assured us that the money found was from the Northern and that was found to be total lies.
The only money found in relation to the Northern was in an RUC sports complex.
Bertie Ahern has ruled out alterations to the GFA
This is an International treaty ratified by all the people on this island and there is no other show in town.
It is about time the DUP woke up and accepted reality; the Irish people have had their say!
I can not see the reason for this refusal myself and welcome the efforts of American officials.
If one had listened to all the claptrap from certain political parties, pundits and journalists this last few months you would have thought Sinn Féin had no more friends left in the American Government.
More wishful thinking than reality it seems!
There is a link but it doesn't seem to be working so I will edit the best parts of the article.
Here is an editorial from 18 May Irish Voice, the New York based
Irish American weekly newspaper.
Nationalist Majority Likely
By Niall O’Dowd
The most interesting statistic out of the 2005 Westminster election has been
largely ignored in the media. It is the incredible shrinking difference in the
vote totals between the Unionist and Nationalist constituencies
total number of Democratic Unionist Party (DUP) and Ulster Unionist Party (UUP)
votes cast at the Westminster election was 369,170. The total Sinn Fein and
vote was 300,156, which is a difference of 69,014. Which means we are less than
70,000 votes away from a Nationalist voting majority in the Six Counties
“The difference according to the 1983 Westminster election was over 170,000 ...
wonder what it’s going to be in another 20 years time?”
Despite all the rhetoric that a united Ireland will always be impossible, these
very figures show a very different reality. A swing of 100,000 votes in a
over two decades is quite phenomenal, and it points to a future where Unionists
can no longer demand that it is their way or the highway.
Two things should be done with these figures right away. Sinn Fein President
Gerry Adams should bring them to the attention of the IRA in the ongoing
internal debate over whether the organization should cease its campaign
These figures are the most valid argument yet that they should cease and desist
and retire from the field immediately. Why go to war over an issue that is
resolving itself in the most peaceful way possible
The notion has been floated
in some quarters that a simple majority will not be enough to bring about
political change in Northern Ireland.
Let us never forget that the state was founded by a crude sectarian head count
that corralled 600,0000 Nationalists into a political entity they wanted no
of. The view was that the Unionist numbers guaranteed a sectarian little state
forever, with Unionists on top.
That’s not what has happened, of course, and it sometimes escapes the attention
of media experts that not a single Nationalist voted for partition, but that it
If the wheel comes full circle and a Nationalist majority emerges in Northern
Ireland, they should show far more generosity of spirit and accommodation than
they were ever shown by unionism and seek to forge some kind of federal Irish
solution where dual nationality and dual allegiance will be fully recognized.
That is for the future, though, but in the short term, the figures show a
seeming irreversible wave of Nationalist gains in every election. It is not too
soon to game plan what the inevitable result of a Nationalist majority in the
future will mean.
It would appear that these times they are a changing!
DUP: GFA Dead
Sinn Féin: No it's not
Same old story
If anyone does find a story that they would like me to blog then send me an e-mail and I will do my best.
I have made my feelings on this subject very well known. I belive the Catholic Church is heading in the wrong direction.
There is no logical, spiritual or moral reson why priests shouldn't be allowed to marry.
It doesn't make sense to have a priest taking about marriage when he knows nothing about it. It has nothing to do with god's law and everything to do with saving money.
Hard decisions are going to have to be made in the near future or else the Catholic church is finished, in this country anyway.
Hopefully I won't be completly silent but I'll certainly only be contributing the occasional piece between now and May 30th.
Galloway told committee chairman Norm Coleman, "everything I said about Iraq turned out to be right, and you turned out to be wrong, and 100,000 people have paid with their lives"
He left the Americans squirming in their seats and all the chairman could say was that Galloway wasn't a "credible witness"
I always like it when the big boys are put in their place and Galloway did that.
"The plants, which have the potential to defraud the government of £1.5m a year"
Finally some good news
"Anyone who purchases illegal fuel must realise that they are contributing directly to organised crime."
No, what they are doing is showing total disregard to partition, if there was no border there would be no smuggling in South Armagh.
You have to understand that people in the border areas don't see smuggling as a crime. Those lofty Malone Roaders may look down their nose at it but who cares?
Jim McAllister said it best when he said "If you don't respect the border or the government then what's the harm"
I for one support local community enterprise ;)
Star Wars Horoscope for Scorpio
You are a powerful character.
You tend to be possessive and lusty - which explains your greedy nature.
You feel threatened when people try to order you around or control you.
You are prone to suspicion and jealousy - but your resilience and passion get you what you want.
Star wars character you are most like: Han Solo
So what does old age offer?
1. No teeth
2. No sex
4. Friends and family gone
This is just a few things that old age would mean to me but then again I am not old
I can't see it myself but what do the golden oldies out there think?
Is old age better than youth?
I am not so happy with some of the "facts" it purports
"Young Turk Belfast Shinners"
Neither I nor Paddy are from Belfast, it's South Armagh born and bred!!
I haven't done anything that bad in this life to be insulted with the title of a Belfast man ;)
"Balrog (gaskinbalrog.blogspot.com), which is usually more entertaining than a Sinn Féin press release"
I am glad that we amuse you though that isn't the intention
Fame, who needs it ;)
Open has also accused the banking sector of predatory practices by offering unsolicited credit to families living on welfare
This is an absolute disgrace and needs drastic action. Single parent families are some of the most vulnerable in society and yet this government has done what to protect them?
Bertie's form of Socialism is laughable. Shamed TD's from the Brown envelope brigade get a few months jail time for massive illegal exploits yet a poor woman doing the "double" gets slammed with the full weight of the "law".
It is most defiantly not justice and it makes me sick!
We need to increase Corporation tax by at least 3% and use this revenue to tackle this kind of poverty.
The rich and the corrupt have got off lightly for too long, it is time they felt the full weight of justice.
LOL, someone must be taking the piss!
That said I am not going to make a huge deal out of this
I do however have a message to all those would-be-Brits out there who come expecting a British blog
Be afraid, be very afraid ;)
I utterly condemn these vile thugs and their threats. The McCartney family should be allowed to live in peace and continue to campign for justice for their brother. No Republican can ever condone attempts to scupper their fight for justice as their cause is no more or less important than that of the families who demand to know the truth behind the loss of loved ones to British collusion.
There are people from Ireland, Britain, Germany, France, New Zealand etc but there are 2% of readers from the "Military"
I would dearly love to know what military, surely the Brits have more things to do than monitor my rants and the yanks probably can't even work a computer (only joking)
This is a total disgrace and in my opinion is tantamount to child abuse.
Heads must roll!!
I genuinely don't have an axe to grind with the school.
Some of you may know that the school suspended me two years ago over the anti-war protests. I had to take legal action in order to get back in and the local papers front page described it as "Rebel pupil back at CBS".
I love the Abbey and will always be proud that I went to this school. I have huge respect for the majority of the teachers and some of the senior management. Some at the top however must be removed.
For certain members at the top their caviler attitude towards their own rules and regulations is unacceptable.
Time to cut the dead wood and restore the pride to this great school.
P.S Paddy went to the other school in Newry; we don’t speak about it as it wasn’t as good as the Abbey ;)
Conor said "I don’t believe the people of Newry and Armagh or the four other seats that Sinn Fein has are disenfranchised because we do not sit in a half empty chamber or swear an oath of allegiance to the Queen of England"
Sinn Féin MP's represent their constituents 110% and don't need to swear and oath of allegiance to a foreign queen in order to so. The SDLP has one of the worst attendance records in Westminster and since they have no ideological problem with being a patsy in a British parliament than the only reason for their non-attendance is that they are dog lazy and couldn't be bothered.
Conor sums up the SDLP philosophy nicely when he said "the SDLP has been describing itself in recent weeks as republican but swearing oaths to the Queen of England and loyalty to the British institutions seems at odds with that idea"
Why shouldn't my MP be allowed to speak on my behalf in my national parliament?
I am an Irish citizen; Bunreacht na hÉireann guarantees me the right to be part of the Irish nation. I pay taxes to the Dublin government yet the so called "Republican Party" (Fianna Fail) refuses to advance the all-Ireland agenda and pander to rejectionist Unionism.
I demand and so does the majority of Nationalists in the North that our elected representatives be given their full rights in the Oireachtas
Not that there are not sick individuals every where
I despise anyone who attacks a person or a community on the grounds of their religion.
Perhaps the perpetrators should be rounded up and branded with hot pokers with the insignia "BIGOT" on their forehead to see how they like it.
The row was in relation to concerns of the umbrella group for the disability sector, the DLCG. DCLG were seeking to give people a right to resources which had never been brought in anywhere. This reform was part of a package of demands along with a number of other essential reforms which needed to be introduced to help the disability sector. In relation to the right to recourses the Taoiseach refused to even consider it.
Caoimghín asked "why Ireland could not give a lead in this matter by introducing such legislation".
The Taoiseach's response to this legitimate question was to label Caoimghín as 'entirely dishonest'.
After further heated exchanges the Ceann Comhairle warned Caoimghín that if he opened his mouth one more time he would be asked to leave the House.
Caoimghín spoke on and was removed.
This shows the utter hypocrisy of Fianna Fail in relations to the Disability bill.
At least the disability sector now knows they have a strong advocate for equality in Sinn Féin.
A party that has always stood up for the most vulnerable in our society while the Brown envelope brigade were robbing the pensioners.
Sinn Féin ends up with 5 MP's and 126 councilors.
Sinn Féin's vote has increased and we have cemented our position as the Majority Nationalist party, the biggest pro-agreement party and the second largest party on Ireland.
We, myself included, thought we would make even further gains but not this time.
It gives us all something to strive for.
Let us not forget that this fantastic win came on the back of months of concerted efforts by all parties, the media and both establishments to vilify us.
They attempted to criminalise republicans and they failed, again!!
The people have spoken
Sinn Féin abú
How does someone find that a turn on?
To know that some child has lost their innocence of childhood has to be one of the most harrowing things in life.
What is worse is that this scumbag is the father of two children aged three years and five months.
He said in court that "He had a sexual interest in children"
I have no idea what Mr. Allister means by "being in the crowd". It was my understanding that the murder took place in a private alley with no crowd about. I have little doubt that this is a cynical political move by Mr. Allister to attempt to blacken names. Certainly his intervention will do nothing to aid the McCartney's in their fight for justice, but of course, this is not Mr. Allister's primary aim.
It's been a good election and with more gains tomorrow it will get even better
I stumbled on to this test after a certain person referred to me as a "right-wing bastard" in jest
I am not naming names Paddy ;)
So this test should explain things more clearly
My results are below
Your Political Profile
Overall: 45% Conservative, 55% Liberal
Social Issues: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Ethics: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 75% Conservative, 25% Liberal
North - North Antrim, South Antrim, East Antrim, East Derry - electing 4 MPs
West - Foyle, West Tyrone, Mid Ulster, Fermanagh & SOuth Tyrone, Newry & Armagh - electing 5 MPs
South - South Down, North Down, Upper Bann, Lagan Valley and Strangford - electing 5 MPs
Belfast - I'll let you work out what constituencies this encompasses for yourselves - electing 4 MPs
As I was selecting the constituency borders I tried to avoid thinking about how the differing borders would affect the possible outcome. Looking at the map, I found these to be the most obvious divisions, though I am open to criticism on these point.
In the hypothetical PR election the results would be as follows -
DUP 70654 - 46.74%
UUP 33656 - 22.27%
SF 18135 - 12.0%
SDLP 18063 - 11.95%
All 10428 - 6.9%
Oths 218 - 0.14%
With 4 seats up for grabs the quota works out at 20% +1 - the DUP would clearly have 2 quotas and would have 2 MPs elected. The UUP would also have an MP elected. Whats interesting however is that there is now a Nationalist quota in what would seem the most Unionist of constuencies. The liklehood is that the SDLP would the party to take the seat, given that they would seem better placed to take Unionist and Alliance transfers. I suppose it is possible that Unionist transfers could put alliance in the frame but I think the 4th seat would have to called for the SDLP.
So the North constuency would return 2 DUP, 1 UUP and 1 SDLP rather than the 4 DUP it currently returns.
SF 93316 - 39.88%
SDLP 52990 - 22.64%
DUP 48331 - 20.65%
UUP 24819 - 10.6%
Deeney 11905 - 5.09%
Socialist 1994 - 0.85%
Others 656 - 0.28%
WIth the quota at 16 2/3% + 1, four of the 5 seats are easily worked out. Sinn Féin will take 2 seats, and the SDLP and DUP 1 each. The fifth seat is a nightmare to try to work out. SF have 6.5% as well as their 2 quotas, the SDLP have a quota and 5.98% while the DUP have 3.99% as well as their 1 quota. The UUP have 10.6% and Deeney have 5.09%. The DUP have little chance of a second seat and their 3.99% will transfer mainly to the UUP, however the UUP are still well short of a quota with very few other sources to look for transfers. There seems to a be a "Nationalist" quota between the SDLP and SF surplus as well as Deeny and the Socialist votes (I've lumped the SEA from Foyle and the WP from West Tyrone in together). While neither Deeney nor McCann stand as nationalists, it likely that the bulk of their votes are "nationalist". Personally I'd call the 5th seat for Deeney, as despite the fact that his vote is less than the SDLP or SF surplus, this vote was restricted to West Tyrone, whereas in this hypothetical election he would have had the whole county in which to trawl for votes. This would probably have put him ahead of the hypothetical 3rd SDLP candidate and SDLP and SF transfers would probably have seen him elected ahead of the UUP candidate.
So the West constituency would have returned
2 SF 1 SDLP 1 DUP 1 Ind rather than the current 4 SF and 1 SDLP
DUP 81028 - 39.64%
UUP 49368 - 24.15%
SDLP 33407 - 16.34%
SF 26073 - 12.76%
All 11667 - 5.7%
Con 2284 - 1.11%
Oths 566 - 0.28%
3 of the seats can be called immediately. The DUP have 2 quotas and the UUP have 1. The SDLP's 16.34% is extermely close to a quota (16 2/3%). It seems almost impossible that SF's 12.76% could see two nationalists elected as the DUP and UUP have 6.31% and 7.48% respectively to spare in surplus to their seats already gained. My guess is that the nationalist seat would go to the SDLP while the UUP's slight lead in surplus over the DUP would be added to by Alliance transfers and the elimination of the DUP 3rd candidate would see the UUP 2nd candidate overtake SF, who once more see a substantial vote go to waste, as they are ovetaken for the last seat, which also would have happened them in North.
The South constituency would return 2 DUP, 2 UUP and 1 SDLP rather than the 3 DUP, 1 UUP and 1 SDLP who were elected yesterday.
DUP 41843 - 32.7%
SF 37006 - 28.92%
SDLP 21166 - 16.54%
UUP 19471 - 15.21%
Oths 2262 - 1.77%
All 6196 - 4.84%
Both nationalist parties will take a seat each, the SDLP coming through on SF transfers. There are certainly two Unionist seats, however the question is are they both DUP or can the UUP take 1. Certainly the DUP have more than twice the UUP vote and 2 well balanced DUP candidates (Robinson and Dodds?) would both have more 1st preferences than a UUP candidate, however with a decent Alliance vote to transfer and the odd SDLP vote across the divide, its likely that the UUP might just about squeeze in.
Belfast would elect
1 SF 1 SDLP 1 DUP 1 UUP as opposed to the current 2 DUP 1 SF 1 SDLP
Overall the tally for the north would read
This is a vastly different scenario to the current 9 DUP 5 SF 3 SDLP 1 UUP. However its arguable if PR system has actually produced a more proportionate result. Certainly on the Unionist side, a 6/4 differential seems more proportionate than 9/1 in favour of the DUP. However the SDLP have gained most of the nationalist seats despite claiming a clear minority of the nationalist vote. Perhaps the boundaries picked seem to have been unfortunate for SF as they seem to have finished just behind the final seat in 2 consituencies and transferred a large amount in Belfast. A different set of boundaries might produce different results.
Take from this what you may, certainly David Trimble might reflect that if NI ran elections like this, he might still be the leader of the UUP!
With 644 seats declared, the vote to seat ratio is as follows
Labour 35.2% of the vote/ 55.1% of the seats
Conservative 32.3% of the vote/ 30.5% of the seats
Lib Dems 22.1% of the vote/ 9.6% of the seats
We can clearly see that the amount of seats won by both Labour and the Liberal Democrats is vastly disproportionate to the vote each received. The Lib Dems and other smaller parties, such as the GReens, are unfairly handicapped by the voting system and I am convinced that a reversion to multi seat PR elections is the best way to counter this democratic defecit.
Sinn Féin have had a steady, if not spectacular, result. I'll be the first to admit that Sinn Féin had been hoping to add Foyle and South Down to their Westminster strongholds but alas, this was not to be, both Mark Durkan and Eddie McGrady held on. Both candidates were greatly aided by Unionist tactical votes, although it must be said that both seemed to win their seats with the majority of Nationalist support in their respective constituencies. Sinn Féin did make a vital gain in Newry & Armagh as Seamus Mallon's old seat was taken by Conor Murphy with a huge majority. I was delighted to cast my vote for Conor yesterday and I am certain he will be an extremely effective representative for Newry & Armagh.
Overall, Sinn Féin have consolidated their position as the main Nationalist party with 24.3% of the vote, compared to 17.5% from the SDLP. While this represents an increase in the gap between the parties since the November 03 results, it is not as resounding a result as might have been hoped for. It will interesting to see if the local election results on Monday will see Sinn Féin climb to the 26.3% they received last June. However, it must be said that, in the midst of such a vicious media onslaught in the past few months, Sinn Féin can be happy that their voters have resolutely stuck with them and refused to give in to the governments' demands to criminalise Republicans.
On the Unionist side, the UUP were almost completly demolished by their DUP counterpart, with Trimble's party retaining only 1 seat. The UUP leader was himself unseated by the DUP's David Simpson and it seems his resignation as leader of the UUP will be iminent.
On this the 5th may I hope Republicans everywhere vote remembering the words of Bobby Sands who died 24 years ago today.
Everyone, Republican or otherwise, has his or her part to play.
Today that part is casting a vote for a Sinn Féin candidate, casting a vote for an Ireland of Equals.
Having entered Nicholas Whyte's election predictions competition. I predicted the seats to go as follows.
East Belfast DUP
North Belfast DUP
South Belfast DUP
West Belfast Sinn Féin
East Antrim DUP
North Antrim DUP
South Antrim UUP
North Down UUP
South Down SDLP
Fermanagh/ South Tyrone Sinn Féin
Foyle Sinn Féin
Lagan Valley DUP
East Derry DUP
Mid Ulster Sinn Féin
Newry & Armagh Sinn Féin
West Tyrone Sinn Féin
Upper Bann DUP
DUP 183 seats
Sinn Féin 145
There you have it, at least no one can say i haven't put my neck on the line. i must add however that despite calling South Down for McGrady, I have been hearing increasingly encouraging noises, so don't be too surprised if the sitting MP gets the shock of his life or at least a good run for his money from Catriona Ruane.
Well Peter, you should be worried!!
The failed politics of exclusion are over and the time for change is at hand.
As this is my last post before the election I think it's time to call.
I foresee Sinn Féin gaining 6 possibly 7 seats in the Westminster election. The sdlp could get 1 or 2 or possibly none. I believe the UUP will end up with at least 2 seats. The DUP will get at least 7 seats and after that it is too close to call.
Roll on Thursday and let's pray for rain ;)
Sorry to inform you of this Mark, but the majority of nationalists don't care.
The SDLP might think that it is very clever to swear an oath of allegiance to a foreign queen but the majority of the Nationalist people do not agree. Sinn Féin take a principled stand on absentionism have been backed by the voters in successive elections. In any case, the voting record of SDLP MPs is often so poor that they seem to be following a policy of abstentionism due to laziness, rather than principle.
I find the BT's assessment vague and sketchy and seeing as they list Newry Town as a part of Crotlieve, when in Fact it is a DEA itself, it would seem they know very little about Newry and Mourne.
You will probably be aware that I have stuck my neck out and said Sinn Féin will win all 5 seats in Slieve Gullion (South Armagh) DEA. This to my recollection would be historic on the island of Ireland and would be a monumentus victory for Sinn Féin and for the people in the area as they will have 5 excellent councilors.
That said whether Sinn Féin take 5 in Slieve Gullion or not (they will) there is little doubt in my mind that Sinn Féin will have overall control of Newry and Mourne Council come next week.