The Ayes Of March

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From top: Martin McGuinness and Michelle O’Neill; Dan Boyle

The Northern Ireland election campaign will show us the extent to which voters will engage differently, think differently and act differently away from the traditional, sectarian electoral ghettos.

Dan Boyle writes

After only ten months we are to have a another set of elections for the Northern Ireland Assembly. It shouldn’t be happening. An advantage has been identified. This early election is an attempt to take advantage.

As often has been the case in the North’s political history, those seeking advantage should be careful of what they wish for.

One thing that can’t be wished is Martin McGuinness continuing as Deputy First Minister. Observing his health has been a discomfort, not least for him. It’s hoped he can recover well. The illness has afforded him, at least, the somewhat dubious privilege of hearing his own eulogies.

These have been overwhelming positive, often from the most surprising of sources. They’ve mostly been deserved. He has made an incredible journey. His presence will be badly missed in the next Assembly, should it progress.

Not that I believe cuddly, chuckling Martin is an exact representation of who he is politically. He has, however, won considerable public respect for relating an honest account of what he has been and what he has become.

In this he has been far more honest than Gerry Adams. History will be kinder to him as a result.
And there is such a lot of history to assess. Gerry and Martin seem to have been in situ forever.

There may have been good strategic reasons to oversee that long journey from a paramilitary organisation with an attached political wing, to a modern day political party (albeit one that operates under a distinct military discipline).

The price has been to stifle, discourage and sometimes undermine a new generation of leadership. In the Republic there seem to be handful who are happy to wait their turn. In Northern Ireland (apologies The Six Counties), Martin McGuinness’ absence is likely to create a huge vacuum.

This would be a pity. As unnecessary as these elections are, they do at least offer a window opening on normal politics operating there. Away from the usual sectarian fault lines, the possibility exists of debates on standard political fayre.

Talking issues like corruption rather than head counts; accounting for being in government rather than seeking ranking in tribal groupings; having the prospect of an alternative government could all be to Northern Ireland’s advantage.

In last May’s Assembly elections some slivers of light were appearing. Sinn Féin were dealing with being seen as a party of the establishment, being got at by People Before Profit in West Belfast and Foyle (with the welcome election of Eamon McCann). The Greens doubled our representation coming very close to winning a third seat in East Belfast.

The reduction of constituency size from six to five seats, will make it harder for the smaller parties to continue this breakthrough, but it is important they can.

The smaller Assembly may limit the impact felt by the DUP and Sinn Féin for the decisions they have made collectively in government. The campaign will show us the extent to which voters will engage differently, think differently, act differently, away from the traditional, sectarian electoral ghettos.

I’m looking forward to knocking on a few doors up there. Given the madness of much of World politics these days, Northern Ireland may yet turn out to be a surprise beacon of hope.

Dan Boyle is a former Green Party TD and Senator. His column appears here every Thursdyay. Follow Dan on Twitter: @sendboyle

Rollingnews

73 thoughts on “The Ayes Of March

    1. Charger Salmons

      So the errors in the ninth par were corrected but my post deleted so Dan doesn’t look a fool ?
      Pretty pathetic really.

      1. Dan Boyle

        If it has been corrected it looks remarkably similar to what I submitted. Overwhelming should be overwhelmingly. Apologies for that.

        1. Charger Salmons

          You missed out a couple of thans in the nine par,old cock,and your punctuation needs a bit of polishing up.
          I do think one holds oneself up to be a hostage to fortune when correcting others online.
          Quite why BS chose to delete my post after making the correction is beyond me.
          Surely we’re all grown-up enough for a bit of syntax banter ?

          1. Dan Boyle

            Habit of mine. Not embarrassed. A copy editor is required, and should be required, for most pieces.

    2. Ray O'Connor

      says the finance spokesman of a government party that bankrupted the country

      a huge difference Dan between the tap of a space bar and €64bn

      but the again you can afford to be smug at our expense

      1. rotide

        Int. Green Party HQ . Daytime.

        A subservient lacky enters the room. He walks over to what can only be described as a throne where the Leader of the Green Party is seated, enjoying his favorite afternoon snack of human blood extracted from a 6 month old child.

        Lacky: Sir, The economy is booming. Previous governments have set up a rock solid foundation upon which future growth is assured. What are you orders?

        Supreme Chancellor of Ireland (Green Party): These fools have it too easy. I tire of seeing people happy and content. Pull the plug, Bankrupt the nation. Let the record show I will this to happen for no other reason than my own entertainment and my glee in seeing the displeasure of mr Ray O’Connor.

        This scene actually happened exactly as documented here. Other explantions of the crash are merely fake news propogated by the MSM.

        1. Ray O'Connor

          dear rotide

          i have not accused the green party of the crash, they just happened to make it a lot worse, through their incompetence which is something they have difficulty grasping. that is enough for me to oppose their election, if they don’t except their errors, they are just as likely to make them again.

          However my concern regarding the Greens is much more fundamental and basic than that, it is the deliberate tolerance of illegal activity and citizen abuse by the state as outlined below to further the vanity projects of its leadership.

          The Catholic Church tolerated child abuse, it would be interesting to know where in the sand the line of tolerance is for the Green Party, if you could shine a light on that i would be grateful.

          1. rotide

            says the finance spokesman of a government party that bankrupted the country

            Yes you did accuse them of causing the crash.

            Until you learn to play with words, stay in finger painting.

          2. Ray O'Connor

            no what i said was they endorsed the 64bn bank bailout which was a result of the crash and it was that action that bankrupted the country and caused the troika to take over the countrys finances

            you could use the term cause and effect, the crash lead to the decisions taken by the greens.

            the country was in a bad way after the crash no doubt, but it was the bank guarantee endorsed by the greens that transferred private corporate debt on to the shoulders of the working poor of Ireland. Iceland took a different route and are far better off.

            the sad reality is that the party leader is a bankers son looking after bankers and he and the greens are still looking after grubby corporate Ireland by failing to address corruption in the energy industry which is his legacy as a former minister of energy

          1. Ray O'Connor

            @Kieran nyc…………. seriously? produce evidence of eamon ryan s investigation into corruption into the energy industry otherwise shut the front door,

            while your at it can you explain why dan boyle cant explain why several abused women have left the employment of the cer

            and if you wish to defend those that do abuse why don’t you grow a pair and say who you are rather than hide behind a veil of pervert protectors

            just like dan hope the lads come to the rescue?

            all talk no balls you sick prick pervert protector

            produce evidence you sicko

          2. Neil is a gum

            Dear Broadsheet

            The fact you allow the deranged and obviously psychotic to post their hate here online is a dereliction of duty

          3. Kieran NYC

            Neil – practically encouraged on Broadsheet these days, to be honest.

            If Ray only mentioned Hillary and secret signs in pizza, he might have gotten himself a weekly column.

          4. Neil is a gum

            I don’t see many page clicks in drunken belligerence Kieran. I expect they have either got investment or have given up on it

          5. Ray O'Connor

            no neil

            i’m not stupid Dan and the greens are obnoxious sick evil and perverted

            if you wish to debate individual points point out your issues and i’ll happily debate with evidence unlike your statements

            sad individual

        1. Ray O'Connor

          to the moderator,

          there would be no need if you improved the quality of your contributors

          seriously dan boyle is the lowest of the low, i would question and demand independent evidence of every statement.

          i’m happy to produce evidence is he ?

          unfortunately you protect the sick p***k

          1. Ray O'Connor

            seriously statements without any evidence other than belief, definition of gobpooery if the greens have evidence I’m talking shite let them produce the report from eamon ryan investigation.

            then again can anybody consider an objection from people not prepared to make the same allegations in public valid

            yep if you’re green

  1. Abaddon

    I thought the weekly sneer would be from Mooney this week.

    The worst government this country has ever had was the FF\Green coalition. Now Broadsheet brings us another FF\Green coalition of hackery through Mooney and Boyle. These two men spun and danced the Irish economy over a cliff by having no other interest in anything but maintaining their party’s electoral and government position and Broadsheet expect their readers to think them credible when they comment on other party’s!?

    This article is nothing but bias political sneer masquerading as analysis.

        1. ahjayzis

          Are you saying that the crash was partially avoidable in 2007?

          They laid the foundations and built everything bar the spire of the highest tower before ever the Greens took their place.

          The Greens cocked up handling the crisis, that government was an embarrassing shambles, regressive in the extreme, completely and utterly incompetent with not a jot of leadership or basic humanity exhibited by any of the members – who are now wealthy for life for their efforts – but the structural damage was done by then anyway.

          1. Cian

            That is all true. But it would have been terrible if FG had taken office in 2007, and they would have had to handle the financial crises with FF in opposition saying “Look what a mess FG made of the country, it was wonderful under FF”

    1. Nigel

      The junior, inexperienced partners in a shaky coalition at the cusp of the crash are to blame for everything. That’s why we’ll keep swinging between FG and FF like a monotonous carnival ride from Hell, because alternatives are successfully squashed, discredited and tainted for every mistake and compromise disproportionate to their size, aims and power.

  2. Clampers Outside!

    “He has, however, won considerable public respect for relating an honest account of what he has been and what he has become.”
    Unlike his southern counterpart, who has conducted himself in the complete opposite manner.

  3. ollie

    “traditional, sectarian electoral ghettos.”
    Pompous git, I hope life remains cushy for you Dan, and you never have to live in one of these housing estates.

    1. bisted

      …Dan’s going up to knock a few doors…bet they won’t be in ‘sectarian, electoral ghettos’…not interfering directly in the democratic process this time?

      1. Dan Boyle

        I have neither residence nor birth right. I have campaigned there on several occasions in many different communities.

        1. bisted

          …are the greens up North aware of your track record of consistently being on the losing side…they have no chance of retaining the couple of seats they have now that the number of token seats has been reduced…

  4. Dan Boyle

    One my life isn’t cushy. Two I’m speaking about ghettos of the mind. But why try to.understand when you’ve got to practice that knee jerk.

      1. Dan Boyle

        So? Still wasn’t the context I was using. Only the context that those who want to take offence are taking offence at.

    1. Mahoney

      lets be honest, you got caught in an act of snobbery and now you’re talking out of your behind, ghettos of the bloody mind….

      1. Dan Boyle

        Let’s not. The confirmation bias is entirely on your part. I take full responsibility for what i write, and for the meaning of what I write.

          1. Ray O'Connor

            i wouldn’t use the word hate.

            It’s not what he’s done to me.

            It’s what he and his party have done to protect a group of corrupt political cronies that rip off the irish people,

            This year Ervia was found guilty of ripping off the Irish consumer by the Northern Ireland utility regulator by supplying false information to the irish regulator the CER.

            Dan, Eamon Ryan as Minister, Ciaran Cuffe as vice chair of a Dail Committee and the CER was informed of this illegal activity years ago, they are perfectly happy to say something else to protect their political appointees and cronies

            The Greens have the same mentality of FF/FG/Lab low standards in high places their objectives are just different

          2. Ray O'Connor

            absolutely, unfortunately unlike the UK we don’t have a commission of investigation to report corrupt regulators too.

            I have been threatened by the CER with legal action and they have accused me of a horrendous criminal act, funnily enough Dan and the Greens see nothing wrong with an arm of the state doing this to citizens.

            Should the correct action of a Green political appointee not be to withdraw these false allegations and threats or take the appropriate action if they believe them to be true and report me to the guards..I’ll happily stand up in court and justify my actions, but it’s clearly something Eamonn ryans appointee has a difficulty with.

            Dan and the Greens seem to think that it is appropriate to treat citizens in this abusive manner, yet they are critical of the Egypt judicial system,

            This is what people can look forward to if the Greens get into power again

          3. Kieran NYC

            The Green Party wouldn’t let you become a member probably due to your attitude and now you have some loony online vendetta

          4. Ray O'Connor

            @Kieran stop being a dope and address the facts, the bloated deluded and deranged clinically obese former chairman of the green party has failed to produce any evidence to support his point of view

            dan and the scum bag memberships of the green party will have their time in court trust me

            but then again being in NYC you might feel safe

  5. Charger Salmons

    I loath the Greens because thanks to when they were in coalition,briefly thank God,I pay nearly a grand road tax on a ten year old car.
    Only the Greens in all their magnificent stupidity could insist on a law that means the wealthiest who can afford new cars with low emissions pay less road tax than those who can’t.
    That and the fact that even by Irish standards they have the ugliest politicians.

    1. Dan Boyle

      Hoary old complaint and still not true. Increase in car sales after this change leant very heavily towards smaller cars. But hey alternative facts are what really count these days.

      1. Neil is a gum

        Dan. Was a cost benefit analysis done on the amount of emissions from a second hand vehicle through to end of life versus the whole life cycle cost of constructing and operating an equivalent new car?
        Was the cost benefit carried out on the alternative uses to which the “scrappage ” subsidy could be put to use eg building a national children’s hospital for example? And now that it has been shown that the major marques concocted a cock and bull story about diesel emissions may we see please a revised cost benefit analysis pertaining to the above?

        1. Dan Boyle

          Diesel had been EU recommendation. Similar situation occurred in the UK. We should have had NOX2 as well as COX2 as criteria.
          Second hand cut off date was on the insistence of the SIMI supported by FF.

  6. Dan Boyle

    Modelling would have been done. I doubt if it involved end of life projections. Very actuarial experience existed in government. Full stop.

          1. Kieran NYC

            Ha. You’re the one making raving loony claims without any proof, Ray

            You better brush up on cyber-stalking and online harassment laws, mate

          2. Ray O'Connor

            i know the laws

            dan has to prove what i’m saying is wrong

            i wish him and the scumbags in the green party luck

            produce evidence of wrong doing

          3. Ray O'Connor

            Kieran NYC

            would you like to give me your contact details?

            considering you are so confident of my illegal activity an all

            didn’t think so

          4. Ray O'Connor

            Sorry Knyc

            don’y knpow you from adam, suffice to say the green party has my details, dan, Ciaran cuffe and eamon ryan also have my details, along with my allegations and proof and have failed to address them

            if Dan or any member of the green party believes i am making statements of a false nature about them there are laws of defamation

            If Dan or any member of the green party believe i am harassing them, the relevant act is the non violent offences against the person act

            and i would encourage them to exercise their right to do this, rather than hide behind party trolls which does no service to the general membership of the party

  7. Ray O'Connor

    jesus at some stage i’m sure that the great green party of honesty will actually say something rather than protect the lying scumbags that they elect as party officials

  8. esǝɯǝɯʇɐpɐq

    Buck the freegrudgers Dan.
    – The day they show up without a pseudonym to hide behind, that’s the first day you should listen to them.

    I don’t always agree with you, but I wish there were MORE people like you.
    This place is like a kindergarten sometimes…

    1. Ray O'Connor

      Dan can confirm my real name we have met in person manys the time

      and the world would be a lot worse off if there was more people like Dan and his false facts

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