“Crisis averted in NI after late night deal on Irish language”, so read the headlines in one of Northern Ireland’s morning newspapers. Another newspaper, one of a republican bent, said: “Crisis averted at Stormont after late night deal on Irish language”.
The nature of the deal referred to is one that is typical of the DUP in the face of Sinn Fein aggression - SURRENDER!
I am sure that I am not the only one who ironically smiled at the words of defiance by various DUP spokesmen from Edwin Poots downward, pre-this ‘agreement’!
As recently as June 16th (but yesterday) it was reported that: “DUP Economy Minister Paul Frew has warned Secretary of State Brandon Lewis to be ‘very careful’ not to do anything that jeopardises devolution as talks continue over the Irish language. Mr Frew said the situation at Stormont was ‘finely balanced’ and it would not be helpful for the Northern Ireland Secretary to interfere. He was speaking as Stormont teeters on the brink of collapse due to a Sinn Fein-DUP row over the Irish language.” (Belfast Telegraph - 1/6/21).
Well, the Secretary of State did intervene. He told the DUP they had until October to act on the introduction of an ‘Irish Language’ law. “A post-midnight announcement by the British government committing to pass the stalled laws at Westminster in the autumn, if they are not moved at the Stormont assembly in the interim, was enough to convince Sinn Féin to drop its threat not to nominate a deputy first minister as joint head of the devolved executive.” (Irish News 17/7/21).
So the DUP have agreed to the introduction of an ‘Irish Language’ bill before October, or failing that, Westminster will do so later in the year. Either way, Sinn Fein have triumphed again!
It must be remembered that the DUP had already, under Mrs Arlene Foster’s leadership agreed to bring in an ‘Irish Language’ bill. It was part of the price they had to pay in order to get the Stormont Assembly up and running again after Sinn Fein, with Martin McGuinness at its head, ‘pulled’ the plug’ on the Assembly back in January 2017.
As ever, Sinn Fein exacted further concessions from the DUP to re-open Stormont and one of the concessions was an undertaking by the DUP to introduce an ‘Irish Language’ bill!
So this ‘stonewalling’ by Poots and Co was a total sham. The DUP had already conceded that an ‘Irish language’ bill would be introduced by them in order to reopen the ‘Stormont money fountain’ once more. The recent DUP antics were a mere empty display of make-believe defiance in order to impress the gullible amongst the Unionist electorate.
They will find that there are few of those left when they next go looking for votes!
Thus the bogus and shameful pretence of resistance by the DUP, under its new leadership, to Sinn Fein’s latest belligerent advance toward the ‘Republicanising’ and ‘Gaelitising’ of Northern Ireland and the subjugating of its Protestant majority, is seen for what it truly is: a wickedly deceitful play-acting for political gain!
It is all the more deplorable for those behind the deceit are professing evangelical Christians, some Free Presbyterian in name at least!
It would appear from the latest headlines that many in the DUP have learned of the duplicity of its new leadership as a result of this ‘late night break through’ agreement.
The BBC Northern Ireland news reports: “The nominations of Paul Givan and Michelle O'Neill as Northern Ireland's first and deputy first ministers have been confirmed in the Assembly.
It comes after a deal was done ending a stalemate over Irish language laws, with the UK government saying it will legislate for language protections if the Stormont executive does not.
DUP MPs and peers, however, expressed concern at the agreement. The assembly met at 12:00 BST to confirm the nominations. However, it is understood that the vast majority of DUP MLAs - 24 to four - on Thursday morning voted against Mr Poots nominating Mr Givan as first minister at this time.”
A letter from DUP MPs and Peers has been sent to Edwin Poots. The BBC reports: “The letter addressed to Mr. Poots, was, according to the BBC, signed by DUP MPs Sir. Geoffrey Donaldson; Carla Lockhart; Gavin Robinson; Sammy Wilson; Gregory Campbell; Jim Shannon; Paul Girvan and DUP members in the House of Lords Lord Browne; Lord Hay; Lord McCrea; Lord Dodds and Lord Morrow.”
An email was also sent expressing alarm. Edwin Poots ignored both! He also, the BBC reports, “ . . . did not consult with DUP officers before deciding to proceed with Paul Givan’s nomination later today. Mr. Poots requires a majority of party officers to back the nomination of Mr. Givan as First Minister - it is questionable whether Mr. Poots would have the support he requires.”
The ‘Belfast Newsletter’ headlined its view of the situation that the DUP has created in these stark words.
“DUP in disarray - Edwin Poots defies majority of DUP MLAs, MPs and peers who voted against nominating Paul Givan as First Minister.”
I have said before and I will repeat it: The DUP will reap a harvest from its sowing of the seeds of deception that began in 2007 when Dr Paisley, most foolishly, led the DUP into a partnership with the party allied to IRA murder and terror. That act left a stain upon the reputation of Dr Paisley that marred his final years.
The harvest of that folly is drawing very near. The DUP is on the verge of self-destruction! There can be no other explanation for the spirit of ‘madness’ that has taken hold upon the DUP!
The nominating speech of Paul Given by Edwin Poots and Paul Given’s acceptance speech reads like a minute from a meeting of the ‘Mutual Admiration Society’!!
“Officially nominating Mr Givan, Mr Poots said the assembly needs more people like him to win for unionism. . . . . Accepting the nomination, Mr Givan said Mr Poots was a leader ‘who had a big heart for the people around him’.”
Well at least there is harmony between these two!!
Just what planet are these two men on??
The ‘Belfast Newsletter’ further reports: “Some in the DUP believe this is the wrong move as some in the electorate will perceive it as the DUP rolling over and allowing Sinn Fein to secure their demands without opposition.”
How slow they are to awaken. It is not a question that ‘some in the electorate will perceive it as the DUP rolling over and allowing Sinn Fein to secure their demands without opposition’, but rather a case of only the dopiest of the electorate seeing it as anything other than ‘the DUP rolling over and allowing Sinn Fein to secure their demands without opposition’.
The judgment of God is upon the camp of deceit and lies and compromise that is now the Democratic Unionist Party!
Rev Ivan Foster (Rtd)
17th June, 2021.