Jude Collins

Tuesday, 12 November 2013

Máirtin Ó Muilleoir at the cenotaph


It’s a safe bet that the appearance of Máirtin Ó Muilleoir , Belfast’s Lord Mayor,   at the wreath-laying ceremonies this year will have taken the breath of many republicans away. It’ll also have given ammunition to those who say that Sinn Féin have sold out. Keep in mind: Remembrance ceremonies honour all  British armed forces who have given their lives down the years. To say that the reputation of the British Army in Belfast over the past few decades has not been a good one would be an understatement.

But Sinn Féin have committed themselves to reconciliation between Irish people of every stripe here in the north. Actions like that of the Lord Mayor put flesh on the bones of that commitment. The big question now is, what reciprocal moves will we see from unionism?

There are two possibilities. One is that unionists will show respect for republican ceremonies of commemoration and for the flags and emblems associated with such commemoration. In short, they will meet generosity with generosity.  The second possibility is that they will say “We’re glad you’ve come to your senses as subjects in the United Kingdom”, then sit back and wait for the next republican concession.

In either case, Sinn Féin have very firmly volleyed the ball into the unionist court.  We’ll just have to wait and see how they respond. If the response is positive, we will have seen real progress in reconciliation between former enemies. If the response is negative, it’ll be hard for Sinn Féin to keep on giving with nothing coming back. In fact there are some who say that has happened already.


And no, Virginia, Máirtin Ó Muilleoir's appearance at the cenotaph ceremonies cannot be seen as a reciprocal gesture to Queen Elizabeth’s bowed head at the Garden of Remembrance in Dublin. The clue is in the Dublin bit - she wasn’t doing any head-bowing at Milltown cemetery or at the grave of Bobby Sands. In contrast, the Lord Mayor’s appearance was in Belfast, a place where the British army was responsible for some terrible deeds, including the deliberate killing of men, women and children. 

10 comments:

  1. Máirtin Ó Muilleoir has every right to lay a wreath at the Cenotaph. His party implements Brtish rule in the occupied six counties, and supports its police and security apparatus. The British Army is his Army now.

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    1. Come off it. Where is armed struggle going to lead but marginalizing Republicanism for another 90 years.

      The choice is take power and make enough PUL comfortable with the idea of a United Ireland and win them over to it that way.

      The rifle at this stage only cements division and is counter productive. Tactics have to change to meet changed times. Parties like RSF and others are non-existent in most of the country and the military wings are not capable of killing soldiers nevermind bringing about political change.

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  2. Well Jude I will make a prediction, there is not a snowball’s chance in hell
    unionists will reciprocate in kind.
    They have an entrenched and misplaced sense of entitlement. That’s what makes them unionists.

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  3. Don't hold your breath. Remembrance Service in the South saw Tri Colour & Royal British Legion standard parade together - have no issues with such or indeed Irish Defence Forces joining in commemorations in NI with Tri Colour but I won't be commemorating terrorists (and that goes for UDA trying to appropriate Remembrance Sunday)

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  4. I wonder why Mairtin couldn't make it home in time for Sunday.Maybe that would have been just a little too far for Sinn Fein at the moment.I do note however that the S D L P Mayor of Derry fulfilled his full civic duty by laying a wreath on Remembrance Sunday.

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    1. Hello McFly, Hello??

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  5. "responsible for some terrible deeds, including the deliberate killing of men, women and children." It appears you eventually got round to watching The Disappeared. Yeah... head-bowing indeed!!. Now you're talking Jude.

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  6. Jude
    A strangely partitionist view there. Surely the armed wing of Sinn Fein saw themselves as the rightful government of Ireland. And of course the British army did a few terrible deeds in the south too. So many might indeed see this as reciprocation though you do not.

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  7. In line with the views above, There is no chance Unionism will reciprocate. A single example of where they have, would give me some indication that I may be wrong but no, there isn't one. That, unfortunately, is why Unionism seems to be doomed

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    1. the number of <irishmen who fought in WWI is impressive and unionist/loyalist attitudes to demobbed ex-catholic servicemen are worth looking at.
      see eurofree3.wordpress.com "catholic ex-servicemen don't count"
      this makes the mayor's gesture all the more admirable as he ended the lie that unionists have a monopoly on the war dead

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