Fair Play SDLP Ballycastle

Interesting motion (deferred at Conference) from SDLP in Ballycastle.
Asking SDLP should organise in the Republic of Ireland.
Good idea? Yes …not necessarily in the short-term …but SDLP has to put down a marker that it is an all-Ireland party.

SDLP has often been accused of being too close to Fianna Fáil. And of course SDLP is the sister-party of the Irish Labour Party. Frankly there is a partitionist element to much Labour thinking in Dublin. Indeed in 1974, I walked out of a SDLP Conference, when Conor Cruise O’Brien was making a speech bringing fraternal greetings.
I much admire many Labour in the South….but as an “old hand” who campaigned in the same streets as the political wing of the Official IRA gunman who shoved a gun in my mouth in 1974….I have no great regard for the way the political wing became Republican Clubs, then Workers Party, Democratic Left and disbanded to merge with Irish Labour. Entryism peaked with Eamonn Gilmore, Irish Leader and now Minister for Foreign Affairs.

Is it inconsistent to only ask some people and organisations to account for their 1970s behaviour and not ask the same of others.
Of course Fianna Fáil is toxic. They betrayed the Irish nation by their ineptitude or worse for the events that led to the Financial Meltdown.
Irish Labour has betrayed its electorate, the Irish working class. And will implode at the next election. I am not a big fan of some of the crazier lefties…no friends of the northern nationalists.
Is there room for a Social Democratic Party to arise from the Debacle.

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13 Responses to Fair Play SDLP Ballycastle

  1. Ronan Burns says:

    Leave the politics of Eire to the people of Eire. Moreover, any interference in the politics of Eire by Northern Ireland Catholics will be used to justify them preaching at us – not that Eire people need much encouragement or provocation to preach in high moral tones at the rest of humanity.

    • Rory Carr says:

      “Leave the politics of Eire to the people of Eire.” Really ? No input from northeners then ? No Frank Aiken to win your battles, no Ernest Blythe to balance the Free State’s books (and assist the rise of the Blueshirts), no Mary McAleese to hold (twice) the office of An tUachtaráin and no Dana to win the Eurovision Song Contest for you.

      But do not fret about the possibility of the SDLP organising in the Free State – it is well known that they couldn’t organise a kindergarten for a bachelor party..

    • RJC says:

      ‘Leave the politics of Eire to the people of Eire’ – Angela Merkel might have a thing or two to say about that!

  2. MPG ..... says:

    The boul Ronan sounds a bit “loyal” in his liberal use of the Irish word for Ireland in the context above. I shall explain.
    Éire or Ireland is the name of this island, dependent on which language is used and also has been legally recognized internationally as the name area under the control of the southern jurisdiction, hence the title on the front cover of our passport.
    So to refer to the south, alone, as Éire is inaccurate, misleading and sounds condescending to me at least- worthy of bigoted zealots or sh1t stirrers.
    As Rory points out, my fellow Irishmen/Irishwomen from the north have been embedded in our collective national psyche (all Ireland) and have made enormous contributions to the southern state from the get go.
    I, for one, would welcome the SDLP in an all Ireland context down here.

  3. Feckitt says:

    A few years ago there was a big furore when Alastair McDonnell claimed that some MLA’s could end up living on the streets if they didn’t get a payrise. This was during a lenghty interview with the Irish News. This silly story dominated headlines all that week, and therefore covered up a much more interesting point he made about the constitutional convention. I am paraphrasing but he stated that the constitutional convention was of no interest to the SDLP, let Enda Kenny and the southern parties sort it out, the SDLP have more important things to be doing.

    If the SDLP did try to bring some sort of All-Ireland element to their party and to their thinking it could only be a good thing. Threre must be an awful lot of people like me who vote for SF because there is no other All Ireland alternative. In fact lots of SDLP people were ready to jump ship to FF a few years ago because they saw that there was little future in a little NI nationalist party. At least the Ballycastle cumman have started to talk about this.

  4. boondock says:

    Surely it would be difficult to get going in the south in what already seems a crowded market. They should just bite the bullet and have an official link up with a southern party. Labour would seem the obvious choice but seeing as they are imploding then the next best thing is ff sure they are toxic and have a lot to answer for but the polls already show most have either forgiven or forgotten. Sdlp want to expand south, ff want to expand North its a match made in heaven er sort of anyway

  5. The national parties are very entrenched in local constituencies, especially in rural areas, however any competition is worthwhile. Certainly the Labour Party is looking decidedly shaky in terms of its membership. One hears anecdotally that there has been a big drop in membership. This has been coupled with a slow haemorrhaging of elected people to independents and others. That’s experienced pols they can’t afford to lose (or rats jumping from a sinking ship).

    There is a narrow electoral wedge there for a left-of-centre, social-democratic voters of the Labour and Green Party type who can’t or won’t make the jump to Sinn Féin, SP, SWP/PBP, etc. However if they are going to do it the SDLP need to do it now and they need a strong southern face to front the southern wing (a deputy leader?).

    However I can’t see it happening. Long term the bets are still on a national party doing a take-over of the SDLP in situ.

  6. It is important that this discussion happens – the SDLP is deeply proud of its civil rights beginnings. As a party born of the non-violent struggle for one man one vote, equality in housing, social justice and opportunity for all, our mission has always been to bring about positive change.
    Founded as we were out of the non-violent civil rights movement, we don’t have to apologise for having been formed in the North.
    But for too long it has been assumed that political realignment in 21st century Ireland would consume the SDLP, I firmly believe that the SDLP needs to be at the centre of political realignment- Ireland needs a democratic nationalist party, grounded in the principles of social democracy and strongly advocating Unity by Consent

    • Very good point.
      The nationalist Fianna Fáil has failed Ireland.
      So has Labour Party.
      has SDLP the duty to lead?

    • Feckitt says:

      I wish you good luck in your push with this. There are too many in the SDLP who follow the FF/FG line that a united Ireland would be a nice thing, but we’re not going to do anything about it!

      I’m delighted to hear that your cummann are trying to lead the SDLP differently.

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