Return to bulletin menu

Haass: Nationalists capitulate to sectarian reaction

One aspect of the final report of the US group led by Richard Haass that is never commented on is the extent to which it represented a capitulation to unionist reaction, with seven successive re-writes to meet unionist objections. Essentially the unionists wrote much of the report and the fact that they went on to reject it indicates the depth of the crisis in the North.

· The issue of mass intimidation through the flag protests never made it onto the agenda.

· A deal on Orange parades fell through when the Orange institutions yet again rejecting the merest hint of any restriction of sectarian privilege.

· A section rewriting the history of the troubles demanded that prosecutions against IRA members continue and that Sinn Fein define itself as terrorist.

In fact there was never any chance of a deal. The DUP bolted Orange leader Mervyn Gibson unto their delegation to assure the brethren that there would be no surrender. When it later emerged that the unionists had been sharing the documentation with the most extreme leaders of the flag protests there was no disguising the reality. The entire unionist family are in revolt against the terms of the St Andrews settlement and are prepared to tear the system down to preserve sectarian privilege.

Sinn Fein and the SDLP have reacted with panic. By accepting the reactionary Haass proposals they capitulate to unionism and appeal to the British to intervene and reward their loyalty.

That hasn't happened. The British need their unionist base and have stepped back. We are now in free fall, with the unionist dreaming of a return to the apartheid society of the 1960's.

Connolly's "carnival of reaction" is too mild a term for the current situation. Irish workers will be the victims of the growing levels of sectarian intimidation if they do not organise in their own defense.


Return to top of page