Sunday, April 01, 2007

All change for the North?

In a fortnight that saw Gerry and Ian agree to share power and Healy put the ball in the back of the net yet again for the 'green and white army' things are looking very positive for Northern Ireland. BBC radio, clearly interested in the student point of view, had the Union Deputy President elect on to speak about her observations of the student reaction in the eventful fourteen days that have passed.

Sarah McCaffrey, a politics student in her final year, pointed out that the overwhelming joy of most students came on last Wednesday rather than Monday 26th when the soccer team beat previously undefeated Sweden 2-1. She explained that many students donned green shirts to celebrate the win, and watched both the North and Republic's games with equal interest.

On the subject of what has been hailed by Tony Blair as "a very important day" and by Gerry Adams as " a new era" it seems students are very apathetic and struggled to develop any real interest. Ms McCaffrey offered an explanation in the fact that our generation has witnessed the GFA which was hailed as a major step for Northern Ireland but has subsequently seen almost 10 years of little progress since. Are we a more cynical generation as a result - needing proof of practical solutions before we can get enthused about political developments here?

Of course since then we have witnessed further enthusiasm on the part of the Rev Ian; a warm smile, a firm handshake and a pat on the back for the Taoiseach earlier in the week. In the years gone by this would have been inconceivable but now it seems the DUP leader is ready to root out the over-grown hedges between the North and South in favour of a friendlier attitude.

Has reality bitten for the man whose claim of 'No Surrender' was once thought to have been unchallengable? Perhaps realising the end of his career is nigh he has sought to 'go out on a high' as it were? Why has this once outspoken critic of all things Nationalist now finally agreed to share power with their most extreme element?


Anonymous Ciarnán Helferty said...

‘It seems students are very apathetic and struggled to develop any real interest’

I don’t think that is an entirely fair of factually accurate statement to make. Voter turnout in the 18-25 bracket was up nearly 5% on the previous Stormont election. I think that Sarah is correct when she points to the stagnation of politics in recent years following the GFA - however, this is not apathy.

‘Apathy’ is just the clinical term for indifference, and young people are not indifferent… quite the opposite. If we look to the major mvts of the past 10 years such as the Anti war movement, make poverty history, fair trade, social justice, fox hunting ban, climate change etc… its seem that it is was and will continue to be young people who lead and make these campaigns what they are.

Perhaps younger people are just less concerned with the tradition ‘constitutional’ question which for so long has tormented the political landscape of the north. The self indulgent nature of our recent past seems to be fading and with it a politicised youth emerging with concerns greater than that of when our borders begin and end.

So ‘Are we a more cynical generation as a result?’ certainly not: the fundamentals of what we care and campaign about have changed and with it
(hopefully) the tripe sectarian attitudes of the past.

4/07/2007 9:50 pm  
Blogger brown-eyes said...

What is meant by "the north"? The north of where. Surely you mean Northern Ireland!! GAWA!!!

4/07/2007 11:48 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

What does the Gown mean by referring to the 'north'?

4/08/2007 10:06 pm  
Blogger Gown Team said...

The North/Northern Ireland - apologies if anyone is confused. The article is about Northern Ireland or as some people may refer to it, the North of Ireland. It was not meant as a political statement (as some seem to have interpreted it).

4/10/2007 1:14 pm  
Anonymous Ciarnán Helferty said...

Flip me... you guys need to calm down with relation to 'the north'. Perhaps you could comment on something of substance instead of making this a sectarian point scoring exercise.

Are we still at the point where we are so intolerant of each other, and so afraid that somehow if we accept for one moment a term or a statement (which many would use) that we are going to dilute our own sense of nationalitity of culture or what ever it is that you are so afraid of losing???

Maybe people should begin to define who and what they are by something which is substantive rather than resorting time and time again to carving their own identity in what they are not.

This blog is attached to a story about apathy and young people... about turn out in elections and about the issues we care about. It is a shame.... a real shame, that 'brown-eys' and 'anonymous' have tryied to turn this into something its not.

Maybe.... just maybe, you could try again, but comment on the story itself instead of some tripe non-point.

4/10/2007 5:14 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm sorry Gown - why refer to it as such then?

4/10/2007 9:50 pm  
Anonymous kerry said...

Seriously Ciaran take a chill pill you don't have to revolutionise everything in this world, your valiant efforts are admired nonetheless!!

4/11/2007 8:07 pm  
Anonymous Ciarnán Helferty said...

lol @ Kerrie... point accepted.

4/12/2007 12:16 pm  
Anonymous Sammy said...

"Why has this once outspoken critic of all things Nationalist now finally agreed to share power with their most extreme element?"

He is power mad

4/13/2007 8:09 pm  
Anonymous ben p said...

"Why has this once outspoken critic of all things Nationalist now finally agreed to share power with their most extreme element?"

He is power mad "

Would be not have went into an assembly in 2003 then if he was only out for power? The man is getting on in years and can not g on forever. I can't see him being driven by power.

4/14/2007 5:28 pm  
Anonymous David Cather said...

Thats right Sammy at the age of 81 Ian Paisley has decided he needs the responsibility and workload of the First Ministers office and has decided to do whatever it takes to get it.

4/15/2007 12:00 pm  
Anonymous Sammy said...

Ben P,
Why do you think then?

Glad you agree. There is certainly no Christian or political logic to going into government with murderers who are dedicated to the destruction of the state.

4/16/2007 3:26 pm  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Well said Sammy, it's a pity more didn't think and act like you then OUR country wouldn't be being governing by terrorists and their associates

4/17/2007 12:04 am  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

michelle is philip allister

4/17/2007 4:23 pm  
Anonymous Michelle said...

Actually Michelle is NOT Phillip Allister!! I happen to be using my real name, unlike some i might add!!

4/17/2007 6:30 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

North Pole? North of Ireland -Donegal then? Really, it cant be that hard to say, it wouldnt kill ya know, nor does it make it any less so, lol. Northern Ireland, it rolls beautifully off the tongue.

5/17/2007 7:55 pm  

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