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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

House on Notting Hill

Political journalist and Unionist Revisionist Dr John Coulter contoversially suggests the Dublin Government's plans to launch a second Leinster House-style headquarters at south Belfast's Notting Hill marks the countdown to Joint Authority

Dr John Coulter • 19 August 2006

The famous horror film, House on Haunted Hill, could well become a living nightmare for Unionism if the Dublin government's plans for its new complex at Notting Hill become operational.

Indeed, the state of Northern Ireland plc looks almost certain to become Northern Ireland RIP by Christmas if DUP boss Ian Paisley does not form the power-sharing Executive with Sinn Fein by 24 November.

Senior Unionist sources at Stormont are adamant a deal was hatched between Bertie Ahern's Dublin government and the IRA leadership FOUR years ago to set up a Leinster House-style administration in the North in return for complete Provo decommissioning.

Unionist fears a Leinster House Mark Two is being established in the North have been fuelled by the Dublin Government's plans to set up a plush centre for its Northern operations at luxurious premises at Notting Hill, off south Belfast's top-of-the-range Malone Road area.

House of Haunted Hill was the name of William Castle's 1958 classic horror tale about the unspeakable things which happened at the fictitious Vannacutt Psychiatric Institute for the Criminally Insane. It was successfully remade in full gory colour in 1999.

The main plot of the film was that very few people survived the operations which occurred in the house. Maybe there are some ominous omens for Unionism in the Dublin government's House on Notting Hill?

Mysteriously, Stormont sources maintain that planning permission for the Leinster House-style complex was applied for in May 2002 during the then UUP leader David Trimble's 'political watch' – five months before the power-sharing Northern Executive was suspended amid republican spy ring allegations at Stormont involving the now murdered top Sinn Fein official Denis Donaldson.

The Unionist sources claim planning permission was eventually granted in May 2003 – again five months prior to the Provos' third major act of decommissioning in October 2003.

A month later in the November 2003 Assembly elections, Paisley's DUP and Sinn Fein overtook the UUP and SDLP as the respective leading political parties in the Unionist and Nationalist communities.

The Stormont source maintained: “The Notting Hill complex is the price for IRA decommissioning. Northern Ireland has already been bought and sold. Instead of being called Northern Ireland plc (public limited company), it should now be called NI RIP (Rest In Peace).

“The Notting Hill set-up is being built to house Bertie's Viceroys if Paisley fails to meet the November 24 deadline. The complex contains six en suite bedrooms along with a sun room and library. It makes the old Maryfield Secretariat look like an Irish bogland cottage.”

Maryfield was established near Stormont in the mid 1980s under the terms of the November 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement signed by the then British and Irish premiers Tory Maggie Thatcher and Fine Gael's Garret FitzGerald.

The '85 Dublin accord, signed at Hillsborough, Co Down, gave the Republic its first major political influence in the running of the North since partition in the 1920s. Unionists responded with massive street protests across the North, but they were unable to overturn the accord.

Ironically, Unionists failed to take account of the loophole in the Agreement which Unionists could use to give them a say in the running of Southern affairs – an influence Northern Protestants have not enjoyed since King William established the Protestant Ascendancy in Ireland in the late 1690s.

The Unionist source also said the present system of Direct Rule from Westminster would be replaced by Joint Authority of the North by London and Dublin if Paisley and Sinn Fein failed to established the Executive.

“It will not be called joint authority, but will be given the politically friendly term of joint stewardship. But the only way Notting Hill can be prevented is if Paisley forms the Executive with the Shinners. The Dublin government could then sell the complex.”

News of the Notting Hill timetable has emerged along with speculation Belfast City Council would be moved to Stormont's Parliament Buildings while major renovation work is completed at Belfast City Hall.

Commenting on this speculation, the Unionist source added: “If there is no Executive in November and the Assembly folds, Stormont would be an ideal location for the planned greater Belfast super council. This is when the Government scraps the present 26 local authorities and replaces them with seven super councils.

“With three of them already going to be in nationalist control, it will be touch and go for Unionists to ensure greater Belfast remains in Unionist hands.”

The Countdown to Joint Authority – how it is unfolding:

August 1994 – first Provo ceasefire

February 1996 – Provos break ceasefire with massive London Docklands bombing

July 1996 – Provos restore 1994 ceasefire

April 1998 – Good Friday Agreement signed

July 1998 – Northern Ireland Assembly formed

May 2000 – Date for total IRA decommissioning reached without any movement

October 2001 – Provos announce beginning of decommissioning

May 2002 – Dublin seeks planning approval for Notting Hill

October 2002 – Northern Executive suspended

February 2003 – Dublin granted planning approval for Notting Hill

June 2003 – IRA has completed two acts of decommissioning

October 2003 – IRA makes third act of decommissioning

November 2003 – DUP and SF win Assembly elections

December 2004 – DUP and SF come close to restoring power-sharing Executive, but deal collapses over photographic evidence of IRA decommissioning

June 2005 – DUP wins General Election in the North with nine seats to UUP's one

September 2005 – IRA orders units to 'dump arms'; final act of Provo decommissioning

May 2006 – Assembly recalled to begin talks in bid to re-establish Executive.

August 2006 – 100 days to go to final deadline and still no moves to establish Executive

September 2006 – Assembly meets after summer recess in bid to restore Executive

24 November 2006 – Northern Secretary Peter Hain's deadline on Executive

If Paisley and SF form Executive, the legislative parliament will be in business on 27 November.

If no Executive, all 108 MLAs' salaries and allowances chopped on 24 November.

December 2006; British Irish Intergovernmental Conference at Prime Ministerial level to launch new British Irish partnership arrangements on Joint Authority.






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Index: Current Articles

21 August 2006

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Kevin Lynch, INLA Volunteer
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The Question of Paisley's Legacy
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Turf War
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Eoin O’Duffy’s biography by Fearghal McGarry
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The Proclamation to Me
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Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 3
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Federal Unionism—Early Sinn Fein: Article 4
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A Warning From History
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