Why would Arlene leave Fermanagh?

Posted By: April 10, 2021

First Minister Arlene Foster said she’ll leave the North in the event of a United Ireland


Gerry Adams. Belfast Media.com Friday, April 09, 2021


First Minister Arlene Foster said she’ll leave the North in the event of a United Ireland


THE past and present leaders of the DUP are currently singing off the same hymn sheet when assessing the tensions around the unionist rejection of the Irish Protocol.


Peter Robinson’s assertion in a recent News Letter article that “we are perilously close to a line which, when crossed, will lock us all into a pattern all too familiar to my generation” would rightly be pounced on by political opponents and sections of the media if it were uttered by a Sinn Féin representative.  DUP Leader and First Minister Arlene Foster told RTE that it is “dangerous when people think they’re being sidelined and not listened to.”


Peter Robinson says that unionists “are more alienated than I have seen at any time in my 50 years in politics.” He omits the anti-civil rights campaign in the 1960s; pogroms in 1969; the UWC strike in 1974; DUP-led strike in 1977; reaction to Anglo-Irish Agreement 1985; anger at the Downing Street Declaration and rejection of the Good Friday Agreement in 1998.  His claim that there is a danger that for some unionists all of this will lead to an “estrangement from the political arrangements” that may then be “vented more robustly” when taken along with Foster’s warning of danger, must be taken seriously.


The rest of us are very mindful of the symbiotic relationship between political unionism, its use of language, and the role of paramilitary groups like the UVF, UDA, and Ulster Resistance in the conflict.


Words matter. Leaders who allow a vacuum to develop cannot be surprised if others fill it.  Those who deliberately create such vacuums for their own narrow party political ends are playing with fire  The late David Ervine was clear in his denunciation of the DUP’s role in exploiting loyalist anxieties. His successors would do well to read his words.


Arlene Foster talks of leaving the North in the event of a Yes referendum vote for a United Ireland. She talks about being comfortable now living in Fermanagh “even though nationalists are the majority” there.  But she goes on to say:   “I cannot see how I could be British in Fermanagh, in a United Ireland, because by the very definition you are no longer British because you are living in an all-Ireland state.”


I see no reason for Arlene to leave Fermanagh. That will be her decision, of course, not mine. But Fermanagh is her home place regardless of its future constitutional status. Why anyone who suffered during the conflict and survived as she has would voluntarily leave such a beautiful peaceful place simply because it would be part of a United Ireland is worthy of deeper analysis. Maybe Arlene should elaborate.


I have lived all my life under British rule, including decades of British military occupation. I have been denied my civil rights, including up to this day my Irish language rights. I have been imprisoned for years without charge or trial, censored, assaulted in custody, and on the streets. I have been shot.  I live to this day under death threats. My home has been bombed. I never ever thought of leaving. This is my home place also.


 It is also the home place of the handfuls of young people, some of them children, who are attacking the PSNI. They will have little option but to stay. What future will they have? Why are they attacking the police?  Unionist leaders say it is because of Bobby Storey’s funeral. Nonsense.


In his News Letter article, Peter Robinson spoke of the “odor of betrayal in the air.” That odor comes from an English government that imposed Brexit against the democratic wishes of the majority of people in the North. It comes from the DUP’s rejection of the democratic vote of the people of the North to stay in the EU. It also comes from a DUP stance that made a mess of every subsequent Brexit negotiation before being abandoned by the Tories when they signed up to the Irish Protocol. And yet Boris Johnson, the great betrayer, is embraced by the DUP leader when he comes to the North.


Does Boris Johnson care about young loyalists? Of course not.  Do the unionist parties?

Do we?