Southern considerations shouldn’t destabilise North - Mansergh

Former adviser says Home Rule ‘a missed opportunity’ at Casement commemoration

Dr Martin Mansergh, who delivered the graveside oration, at the grave of Roger Casement in Glasnevin Cemetary, Dublin, today. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Dr Martin Mansergh, who delivered the graveside oration, at the grave of Roger Casement in Glasnevin Cemetary, Dublin, today. Photograph: Eric Luke/The Irish Times

Sun, Aug 17, 2014, 18:30

TheStability of Northern Irish institutions should not be threatened by electoral considerations in the Republic, Dr Martin Mansergh has said.

Former adviser to a succession of Fianna Fáil taoisigh on the North, Mr Mansergh said today “stability and the functioning of the institutions on their own terms should not be held hostage to electoral calculations south of the border, or indeed across the water”.

He did so against a background in Northern Ireland where it is claimed Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams is resisting welfare reform in case his party could be accused of supporting austerity in the North while opposing it in the South.

“We should recognise with a clear sight, what we have always been reluctant to admit, that the price of opting for a separate and independent Ireland was, even more than Home Rule, virtually bound to copper-fasten partition, a main drawback to which was that it could not be neatly done. After a lot of grief in the intervening years, a peace settlement on fair principles has been finally achieved, and it must be firmly upheld,” Dr Mansergh said.

Dr Mansergh made his remarks in an oration at Glasnevin cemetery which he delivered at the graveside of Roger Casement who was executed on August 3rd 1916 for his part in attempting to bring in arms at Banna Strand Co Kerry to aid the 1916 rebels.

It was “easy, in the midst of controversy that of often shows only a hazy grasp of the realities of the past, to overlook the real missed opportunity of Home Rule, as an historic compromise between unionist and nationalism,” he said.

Roger Casement was “a man of extraordinary courage and intellect, who successively encompassed all traditions,” he said. His work in the Congo and South America “remains a shining example in the continuous and never-ending task of tackling humanitarian crises”. It was when he campaigned closer to home “he got into trouble and indeed ended up paying a terrible price.”