Book Reviews
& Book Forum

Search / Archive
Back to 10/96





ireland, irish, ulster, ireland, irish, ulster, Sinn Féin, Irish America

Northern Ireland sinks to Jeremy Kyle style politics

(Suzanne Breen, Sunday Life)

Watching our politicians squabbling on TV, it's hard to believe these guys form the government of Northern Ireland. They seem more like warring participants on the Jeremy Kyle Show.

It would be different if this was principled, passionate debate over a life-and-death issue like our A&E departments or the absence of a cancer drug fund.

Instead, they're sniping and scrapping over a six-minute march in a small corner of town.

It isn't something which would cause politicians anywhere else to threaten to bring down institutions.

There are disagreements within the Conservative-Lib Dem coalition. But if David Cameron and Nick Clegg tore strips off each other over such a minor matter they'd be laughing-stocks.

It's not as if the entire Twelfth, or even the main Belfast parade, is in jeopardy. Of course, the Ardoyne dispute is meaningful to those directly involved on both sides locally. It's understandable tempers run high among the players there.

But while the rest of us have our opinions, by no stretch of the imagination is this a game-changer or deal-breaker for us.

In both unionist and nationalist homes in Northern Ireland there's been far more animation over the World Cup and Wimbledon than over the return Orange parade past Ardoyne.

The position of the TUV, PUP and UPRG isn't surprising. It fits within the ideological framework of Jim Allister's party, but I can't see how this issue genuinely and personally outrages Peter Robinson and Mike Nesbitt. Neither is even in the Orange Order.

Indeed, both clearly made conscious decisions not to join. Peter told me how he spent one Twelfth building a garden pond for his huge Japanese Koi fish collection.

So could the two leaders' current fury have more to do with unionism's shift to the right in May's elections?

And what of DUP pragmatists like Arlene Foster and her efforts to create jobs here? Investors crave political stability.

Why spend millions bringing over the Giro d'Italia and G8 to then blow the positive PR over a half-mile stretch of road?

Of course there's hypocrisy in Sinn Féin's position. It threw its own hissy fit in May when Martin McGuinness threatened to withdraw support for the police if Gerry Adams was charged with Jean McConville's murder.

But that shouldn't detract from the fact that unionists are the ones behaving badly now.

The DUP's latest antics, they've done more to damage Brand Northern Ireland than dissident republicans could dream of.

July 7, 2014

This article appeared in the July 6, 2014 edition of the Sunday Life.

Main page


Kindle Books

Notre Dame


Irish music downloads

Irish Videos

Art, prints, calendars and posters
Buy at Art.com
Sir Henry Sidney "Pacifies" Ulster and Returns to Dublin after a Victory
Buy From Art.com

Subscribe to the Newshound

Subscribe with PayPal


Newshound Merchandise
Get a Newshound mug, shirt or cap
The Epic History &
Heritage of the Irish

The Wild Geese Today