Friday, 7 November 2008

Mayor's Remembrance Day snub in line with increased intolerance

It appears that Lord Mayor of Belfast, Tom Hartley, is absenting himself from the commemoration at the cenotaph at City Hall on Sunday. Although Sinn Féin has cited prior engagements in the Republic, Hartley and his advisers must have known the significance of the day long before any alternative arrangements were organised.

Alex Maskey made great play of staging his own acts of remembrance during his tenure as mayor, arguing that as representative of all the people of Belfast, he was bound to do so. Hartley himself marked the anniversary of the Battle of the Somme and has observed other similar ceremonies.

Hartley’s absence is convenient, at a time when Sinn Féin seems to be hardening its intolerance towards unionism and any exhibition of British identity in Northern Ireland. His decision to snub Remembrance Sunday follows crude ethno-nationalist statements which party president Gerry Adams made at the weekend.

Drawing on Adams’ comments at the Homecoming Parade, Eamon McCann has argued that republicans have not accepted the consequences of agreements to which they signed up. I have consistently pointed out nationalism’s failure to grasp the consequences flowing from acceptance of the principle of consent, and in particular the marked failure of Sinn Féin to do so.

No comments: