Former IRA commander to meet Queen Elizabeth II

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NY Yankee

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Associated Press By JILL LAWLESS | Associated Press – 5 hrs ago

LONDON (AP) — The Irish Republican Army-linked Sinn Fein party says one of its leaders, Martin McGuinness, will meet Queen Elizabeth II next week — a once-unthinkable symbol of progress toward peace in Northern Ireland.

McGuinness, a former IRA commander, has been invited to attend an event with the queen in his role as deputy first minister of Northern Ireland's Catholic-Protestant power-sharing government.

Neither Sinn Fein nor Buckingham Palace revealed detailed plans for the meeting. Britain's Press Association news agency said McGuiness and the queen would meet and shake hands in a private room at the beginning of the engagement. But even if it amounts to little more than a quick handshake, the meeting will have great symbolic value.

The queen and her husband, Prince Philip, will visit Northern Ireland on Tuesday and Wednesday as part of her United Kingdom-wide tour celebrating 60 years on the throne.

Sinn Fein leaders declined to meet the queen last year during her first state visit to the neighboring Republic of Ireland, arguing it was still too soon after the end of decades of conflict and bloodshed.

But party President Gerry Adams said Friday the party has decided McGuinness should meet the monarch, a decision that is sure to meet opposition from some Irish republicans, who want to end British rule in Northern Ireland.

"We don't have to do it. We're doing it because it's the right thing to do, despite the fact that it will cause difficulties for our own folk," Adams said.

"But it's good for Ireland. It's good for this process we're trying to develop. It's the right time and the right reason," he added.

Buckingham Palace said it understood McGuinness had been invited to Wednesday's event in Belfast for the Co-operation Ireland charity, which works to bring Catholic and Protestant communities together.

It was a sign of progress toward peace that the royal visit was announced several weeks in advance.

The queen has regularly visited Northern Ireland over the past four decades of bloodshed, but none of her previous visits had been announced even a minute ahead of time to minimize the risk of attack.

Threats against the royal family have been real, as evidenced by the Provisional IRA's 1979 assassination of Lord Louis Mountbatten, Prince Philip's 79-year-old uncle. Several small IRA splinter groups still launch gun and bomb attacks in Northern Ireland.

But the situation has been transformed since the Good Friday Agreement of 1998 brought a virtual end to a conflict, known as "the Troubles," that saw about 3,000 deaths over three decades.

Political reconciliation has advanced rapidly since 2005, when the Provisional IRA renounced violence and disarmed, and 2007, when Sinn Fein entered a power-sharing government alongside Northern Ireland's British Protestant majority. Their unlikely coalition has proved remarkably stable.

The meeting with McGuinness follows the queen's historic visit to the Ireland in May 2011, the first by a British monarch since the republic gained its independence from Britain almost a century ago.

During the trip she laid a wreath at a monument to Irish rebels who fought against British rule, spoke a few words in Irish during a speech, and expressed sympathy "to all those who have suffered as a consequence of our troubled past."

McGuinness has since said he was struck by these gestures of reconciliation.

Peter Hain, a former Northern Ireland secretary in the British government, said the meeting is "of huge historic importance."

"It does not mean Sinn Fein have departed one inch from their commitment to an independent Ireland. Nor does it mean the queen will forget the assassination of her uncle, Lord Mountbatten," Hain said.

"But it does show in shining terms how everybody is turning their backs on the past of horror and violence and moving towards peace between previously bitter enemies," he added.

http://news.yahoo.com/former-ira-commander-meet-queen-elizabeth-ii-145558391.html

It's nice to see Great Britain united. I'm glad the Catholics in Northern Ireland are putting aside their differences with the UK. Together, both regions are stronger.
 
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Associated Press By JILL LAWLESS | Associated Press – 5 hrs ago



http://news.yahoo.com/former-ira-commander-meet-queen-elizabeth-ii-145558391.html

It's nice to see Great Britain united. I'm glad the Catholics in Northern Ireland are putting aside their differences with the UK. Together, both regions are stronger.

The United Kingdom is Great Britain & Northern Ireland together. And some people still dont want to be a part of that.

I just cant believe there has been such an about face by Sinn Fein with regards to meeting the Queen and all that.

Then again a quick sniff of the seat of power does strange things to old henchmen and alleged murderers doesnt it.
 

4SRKT

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Associated Press By JILL LAWLESS | Associated Press – 5 hrs ago



http://news.yahoo.com/former-ira-commander-meet-queen-elizabeth-ii-145558391.html

It's nice to see Great Britain united. I'm glad the Catholics in Northern Ireland are putting aside their differences with the UK. Together, both regions are stronger.




Indeed. And it really is almost incredible to those of us of a certain age that this is happening at all. When my wife and I lived in Belfast 20 years ago we both of us had never seen or even imagined such visceral hatred, and we both assumed the conflict would go on basically for ever.
 

Chew Chew

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I just cant believe there has been such an about face by Sinn Fein with regards to meeting the Queen and all that.

Then again a quick sniff of the seat of power does strange things to old henchmen and alleged murderers doesnt it.

And we shouldn't forget that it was only last year when the Queen laid a wreath for The Boys Of The Old Brigade.
 

Butts

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It's called reconciliation - see South Africa....

Once again NY Yankee commenting on UK matters , from our perspective it would be more interesting if we heard you comment on US affairs at some stage.:p
 

LE Greys

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It's called reconciliation - see South Africa....

Once again NY Yankee commenting on UK matters , from our perspective it would be more interesting if we heard you comment on US affairs at some stage.:p

Just wait for the elections at the end of the year. ;)
 

Xenophon PCDGS

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Since NY Yankee has introduced this matter of a former commander of insurgent forces at war with the British, I am certainly old enough to have been born when another former commander of a similar militant group who fought a similar campaign against the British, became a highly placed member of a ruling body.

I refer to Menachem Begin who was the leader of Irgun, the militant Zionist group who waged a campaign against the British military rule of Palestine and a notable example of the struggle was that after the British captured some members of his group, he authorised the July 1947 retaliatory raid on a British establishment and took two British sergeants prisoner. The British executed the insurgents that they had caught, so in retaliation, the two British sergeants were hung and their bodies booby-trapped.

This man eventually became the leader of the Likud party and was eventually elected as the 6th prime minister of the state of Israel, during which time, he authorized the bombing of the nuclear plant at Osirak in Iraq and was instrumental in the invasion of Lebanon.
 

NY Yankee

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It's called reconciliation - see South Africa....

Once again NY Yankee commenting on UK matters , from our perspective it would be more interesting if we heard you comment on US affairs at some stage.:p

I've posted basketball threads, and no one replies to them. There are plenty of stories in America, but I'm not sure if they would be relevant here. I simply want to fit in. I may be over 5500 kilometers away, but I just want to be one of the guys.

Or even something to do with railways.

There are plenty of topics pertaining to the New York City subway and Washington DC Metro, but again, I'm not sure if people here would be interesting in hearing them.
 
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yorkie

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There are plenty of topics pertaining to the New York City subway and Washington DC Metro, but again, I'm not sure if people here would be interesting in hearing them.
I'd be interested in hearing about them (if interesting photos were also provided! not interested in reading news reports like this but that's just my opinion...), much more so than basketball anyway ;)

Back on this topic, the comment in your opening post does read a bit odd, as if you don't actually know anything about the subject and are just saying something because you have to say something!

I could say something equally bizarre on a US rail forum such as "It's nice to see the US mainland united. I'm glad the Catholics in Hawaii are putting aside their differences with the USA. Together, both regions are stronger" but, I won't, because...., well, you can guess why.
 

Trog

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I could say something equally bizarre on a US rail forum such as "It's nice to see the US mainland united. I'm glad the Catholics in Hawaii are putting aside their differences with the USA.


Bugger the Catholics in Hawaii, or at least leave their Priests to do it to them in peace. What about the poor Hawaiians, having their kingdom invaded at the behest of outside economic interests.
 

NY Yankee

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I'd be interested in hearing about them (if interesting photos were also provided! not interested in reading news reports like this but that's just my opinion...), much more so than basketball anyway ;)

I'm not sure how to embed pictures on news reports. The article in question actually has a few pictures. However, I will keep that in mind in the future.

Back on this topic, the comment in your opening post does read a bit odd, as if you don't actually know anything about the subject and are just saying something because you have to say something!

I guess I am trying too hard to fit in.

I could say something equally bizarre on a US rail forum such as "It's nice to see the US mainland united. I'm glad the Catholics in Hawaii are putting aside their differences with the USA. Together, both regions are stronger" but, I won't, because...., well, you can guess why.

Believe me, if someone from the UK made even an innocuous mistake on Subchat, they would get flamed and cursed out.
 

Temple Meads

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I simply want to fit in. I may be over 5500 kilometers away, but I just want to be one of the guys.
In which case I suggest you stop starting these sorts of threads (except very sparingly) and concentrate on talking about trains which is what this forum is for, and I'm sure the rest of the forum will be happy to accept you very quickly indeed!

I'm not trying to have a go or anything like that, please take this post as constructive :)

In fact I'll start by asking you a question, what do you think of UK trains, being from the US as you are?
 

Johnuk123

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I suggest you stop starting these sorts of threads (except very sparingly) and concentrate on talking about trains which is what this forum is for,

This part of the forum is called General Discussion so I would say he's perfectly entitled to start any threads he wants to.
 

MidnightFlyer

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This part of the forum is called General Discussion so I would say he's perfectly entitled to start any threads he wants to.

Indeed, but there's a limit. I think that posting every story involving the UK, quoting the full article and adding a brief, vague opinion several times a week pushes it.
 

jon0844

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This part of the forum is called General Discussion so I would say he's perfectly entitled to start any threads he wants to.

Indeed.

Most really popular forums have areas to discuss something other than the main topic(s) for the forum. You do, after all, get to know people after a while - and most people have more than one single interest.
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
Indeed, but there's a limit. I think that posting every story involving the UK, quoting the full article and adding a brief, vague opinion several times a week pushes it.

I don't see a problem. I generally subscribe to interesting threads and ignore the ones that don't interest me. There are loads of quizzes and games, or discussions about simulators etc that I am not bothered about but they don't do anyone any harm.
 

WestCoast

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I believe that NY Yankee's perspective has been interesting on many occasions and he's sparked lively debates in some sections. It's really impressive that this site manages to attract international posters who aren't British expats.

However, I can see how posting in the National Rail forums would be challenging when you're not sure about specifics or terminology. Or indeed the larger issues facing the network as a whole, but you are still interested in the railways generally and have opinions on that.

A good analogy here is that there are many posters on this forum who have only a little or no knowledge about the large rail networks of neighbouring continental countries and therefore wouldn't know the specifics. That's not a criticism in any way whatsoever, it's just a matter of personal interest and/or experience and this forum is after all focused on the UK.
 

Yew

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I find it quite refeshing to see an american perspective on some british issues. On topic,. its good to see differances put aside in Northern Ireland. Hopefully the peace will continue and grow.
 

221129

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Indeed, but there's a limit. I think that posting every story involving the UK, quoting the full article and adding a brief, vague opinion several times a week pushes it.

Give the guy a break!!

If he finds it a topic of interest and he wishes to know peoples opinions on it who are we to say otherwise?
 

ainsworth74

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I have to say that I think there is nothing wrong with posting up articles like the above and NY Yankee's postings have often sparked interesting debates on things other than railways. Whilst I can see people's points that this is primarily a railway forum, we do have a general discussion area for things non-railway related and I have to say if you don't want to see non-railway posts why are in this section at all? Or would they prefer if this section was abolished entirely?
 

221129

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I have to say that I think there is nothing wrong with posting up articles like the above and NY Yankee's postings have often sparked interesting debates on things other than railways. Whilst I can see people's points that this is primarily a railway forum, we do have a general discussion area for things non-railway related and I have to say if you don't want to see non-railway posts why are in this section at all?

Quite.
 

Michael.Y

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Well I for one await the day when the occupied territory of the Six Counties are handed back to the nation they were taken from.

Cue "discussion."
 

MidnightFlyer

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... And watch The Troubles Mk2 kick off :roll:
--- old post above --- --- new post below ---
We currently have in NI what seemed impossible decades ago - relative peace, why on earth would you jeopardise that? Further, is there actually a Republican majority in NI? I doubt it.
 

ainsworth74

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Well I for one await the day when the occupied territory of the Six Counties are handed back to the nation they were taken from.

I stand by the principle of self-determination. If a healthy majority of NI residents wished to cede from the Union and join the Republic of Ireland I'd have no issue with that taking place (assuming that RoI was willing to ensure the safety of any Unionist/Protestant's that remained in the former NI). Certainly as far as I'm concerned just handing back NI is not an option as that'll almost certainly just result in a renewed round of violence as Matt put it 'The Troubles Mk2'.

That being said does anyone have any figures on the support in NI for leaving the Union and joining the RoI?
 

Michael.Y

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I stand by the principle of self-determination. If a healthy majority of NI residents wished to cede from the Union and join the Republic of Ireland I'd have no issue with that taking place (assuming that RoI was willing to ensure the safety of any Unionist/Protestant's that remained in the former NI). Certainly as far as I'm concerned just handing back NI is not an option as that'll almost certainly just result in a renewed round of violence as Matt put it 'The Troubles Mk2'.

That being said does anyone have any figures on the support in NI for leaving the Union and joining the RoI?

Sinn Fein won the popular vote in the 2010 General Election by .5% over the DUP - combined with the also pro-unification SDLP that's 17% more than the DUP.
 

ainsworth74

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Sinn Fein won the popular vote in the 2010 General Election by .5% over the DUP - combined with the also pro-unification SDLP that's 17% more than the DUP.

There is surely a difference between voting for a pro-unification political party and voting in a referendum on unification? If there wasn't then why are we even bothering with a Scottish Independence referendum in 2014 when the SNP already command a healthy majority of seats and votes? I'd argue that they are not comparable and whilst they are a guide I don't think you can take voter intention from them in the event of a full on referendum. Are there any figures for which way people actually feel on the matter, with more of a straight "Are you in favour of unification with RoI? Yes/No" question than what's happened with political parties.
 

MidnightFlyer

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I wouldn't say that's concrete proof - I would say a straight yes / no would be more accurate, I'll dig out some figures from my old Politics textbook.
 

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My thoughts on this matter are too complex for a posting on here.
But I'll drop in a couple of thoughts.
There are strong elements of partitioning in the current border * and it's hard to discuss Irish politics without considering its internal border as an expression of partioning.

But a democratic vote is not commensurate with life after that vote if the result (whatever that is) leaves a vast minority in an untenable position.
If I was to illustrate this position dramatically and with hyperbole, then I'd refer to history and to the genocide of minority groups.
If I was to illustate this position with humour and neutrality, then I'd refer to Dr Seuss' "The Sneetches and Other Stories" (I have of course a special interest in one of those "other stories" !).

Democracy has a great deal of theory and history to commend it. But there are instances where its not the most humane instrument in efforts to resolve conflict.
Consequently, I cannot approve the democratic process as the preferred tool for achieving a resolution to all instances of political, social or cultural conflict.

* Ref: partitioning (past or potential) in India (i.e. India, Pakistan, Bangladesh), Israel, Belgium, Indochina (i.e. N & S. Vietnam, Cambodia, Laos), etc.
 
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yorksrob

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Sinn Fein won the popular vote in the 2010 General Election by .5% over the DUP - combined with the also pro-unification SDLP that's 17% more than the DUP.

Presumably the combined Nationalist parties would have to gain more seats than the combined Unionists (including the "official" party) rather than just the DUP, in which case they'd be able to launch a referendum on the issue. (I don't know how the actual vote lines up with seats in the NI assembly unfortunately).

I believe the British Government has officially conceeded that we no longer have a strategic interest in the province - i.e. it's entirely up to the citizenry of NI to decide one way or the other. It's difficult to see how the UK Government could say otherwise, particularly since Scotland will be getting a referendum anyway.

I personally think that over the next few years, we will see the UK diverge politically and economically to a much greater extent from the rest of the Eurozone, and that is of course, a faultline which follows the Irish border. This would presumably mean that any reunification of Ireland in the future will be more complicated than it would have been in the window of time between the Good Friday agreement and the economic problems from 2008 onwards.
 
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