More Guns Than Votes

Perhaps it is age, but time just zooms past in the blink of an eye. It feels as if I only recently wrote a piece on the anniversary of the death of Bobby Sands titled Forever Young. Now the 5th of May is on us again with little seeming to have filled the gap in between. 29 years ago today the darkest moment in our prison history fell upon us like a dark cloud with no silver lining. With three other volunteers on hunger strike the clouds gathered and continued with their roll, destroying hope and filling us with rage.

To my shame I opened the fridge this morning and picked up a packaged meal to look at the use by date. When I saw it was the 5th of May, the significance of the date struck me. It seemed both ironic and incongruous that a tasty dish should have prompted me into awareness of the day at hand. That I had got up out of bed as if it were just any old day in the calendar struck a sour note with me. Life sustaining food and the circumstances of Bobby’s death almost three decades seem unbridgeable to the point that I did not feel comfortable about the nature of the prompt.

Perhaps it is living in the South where the North and its issues are not of the remotest concern to anyone I talk with on a regular basis that led me to sleep through what, in another location a mere 50 miles away, would awaken consciousness. Across the border of partitionist perpetuity, it has serious cultural significance given its place at the heart of social and political memory. Indelible there but unfortunately not so ingrained down here.

For sure, in the South the North’s issues come up, but just occasionally and then only fleetingly. Ex-prisoners mention it but for the most part they seem concerned with other things. Last evening was spent in the company of a former IRA hunger striker who was visiting our home. Of all the things we discussed with her today’s anniversary did not feature. The North was not entirely distant – the party leaders’ debate was on television, but we quickly tired of listening to them scraping and scrambling for votes.

When Bobby Sands was arrested in October 1976 carrying out a bomb attack on commercial premises in Dunmurry, he and his comrades were dismissed as criminals and terrorists whom the community had rejected, told they had no mandate, that they were a stain on republicanism, that their armed actions were against the expressed wishes of the Irish people. Those of us subject to such a barrage of critique ignored it and treated the vitriol with contempt. The more the former republicans in the armed Workers Party joined their erstwhile British and unionist foes to repeat the charges the more their hypocrisy steeled us in our determination to carry on.

Bobby Sands had not one vote when he embarked upon his armed operation. That would only come much later. He was acting contrary to the wishes of the Irish people, every bit as contrary as those who follow in his footsteps today and who bomb places that few want bombed or attack police personnel not viewed by many as enemies, let alone legitimate targets. That is what makes him so like today’s armed republicans and so unlike their critics.

It is important to object most strongly to those physical force republicans who today carry out armed actions in pursuit of the Republic. Their actions are futile and can only produce less freedom rather than more. It is equally important not to endorse the Thatcher view that crime is crime is crime. Each time a republican activist is labelled a criminal, particularly by those who were republicans in the era of Bobby Sands, it is a sleight on the enormous sacrifice made by him and his comrades. Republican activists of today are no different from those of thirty years ago. Some of those now labelling them criminal are very different.

In the end Bobby and his nine comrades who lost their lives scored a significant victory. Few were left able to deny that the imprisonment of the people who died as well as that of their protesting comrades was a direct result of political conflict rather than some peculiar republican addiction to criminality.

Yet it was a victory that has proved short lived. Less than thirty years after the deaths of the ten hunger strikers with not one of the political objectives they fought for secured, the principle they died to defend – that republican political violence is not criminal – has been unscrupulously abandoned by many of those who gained considerably in terms of political careers and reputations from the hunger strike.

Had he lived what position would he hold today? No way of telling. But it is impossible to imagine the bearded, blanketed, emaciated Bobby Sands screaming ‘criminal’ at a young republican who set out with more guns than votes to wage armed struggle.


  1. Aye well said a cara, I dont think Bobby or any of the other lads would be in the slightest way annoyed with you for getting on with your life,I think it would be a source of banter you having your face stuck in a fridge and you should feel no shame,I agree with you re physcial force or the use of it, but my feeling is that what we should learn from the past , that the brits have the means and wherewithall in respect of a military campaign to again turn things into a grubby litle sectarian conflict,not worth the life of one volunteer,never mind their agents,we need a new direction in confronting the british presence in this part of our land, having said that there is still plenty of hurray lord Henrys south of the border still,as for the gombeen men and women who bent the knee for the plush seats in Stormont and ,homes in the country.not only those who died on hunger but each and every republican who served the cause in his or her own way,it is their sacrifice they have stolen and its to their eternal shame as Ernie O Malley said" its easy to lie on another mans wounds"one thing for sure Anthony there is still plenty of genuine republicans here who will think of Bobby and the rest with pride and not how they have filled a few bank accounts

  2. I appeared in court myself and Big Dan the day he died. Remember walking up to the dock that morning hardly a word spoken between us. The five days I was in Castlereagh I heard nothing about him, only the shit from the cops. Somehow I naively beleved there would be some sort of intervention, never believed he would die.
    It all seems like a lifetime ago now, yet I remember his election victory like it was yesterday.
    My ma came running into the doctors where I worked to announce to a packed surgery that Bobby had gotten elected.
    Strange how something so joyous quickly turned so tragic.
    Sad, sad time.

  3. Whats the betting that after the elections ,and Gildernew is out on her ass,either Gibney or squinter A/town news will call for the dropping of the abstenion policy of psf. and Adams will be calling on "republicans" to make the final hard move,all part of the plan boys and girls wink wink

  4. Just coming to end of ur book Mackers..startin the policing chapter..more on that 2moro
    was trying to xplain to my CONFUSED wife the stories in the press about house confiscations in S. Armagh and dissidents goin on trial for attemped arms procurement 15 yrs into a PEACE PROCESS. Also tried to explain SF attitude today..
    Only way i could do it was to explain that if the comrades of the Philippines national hero Jose Rizal had a few years after his execution entered politics with the Spanish under Spanish rule for personal political and financial advancement and condemned Rizal and former comrades as criminals...then you get a picture of present day SF.
    Will say more on the book 2moro mackers..hasnt been outa my hand since taetime yday..nearly there.
    Marty i hope in my heart ur rite re election results tomoro..any other decent websites u guys recomment for good reading??

  5. Larry a cara I,m sorry I cant help you out there,I got booted of Slugger a while ago I read the comments but dont engage couldnt be arsed

  6. Brilliant piece AM very touching and honest, although you make a very strong point about the past and present in a way it is very mellow and hopefully people will read it the same as me and take from it what really matters, in that life still has to be lived no matter what adversary is placed in front of us. Your reference to what Bobby might think of a young lad who takes up arms today and those of past generations is very true , a republican is a republican no matter what anyone else tries to label them. Please may no one ever have to write any more of these sad tributes to some young man in pursuit of a dream that can not be realised?

  7. Talking about guns Anthony,I heard Bob doh brains was cleaning a rifle (now at this point in time I havent a clue why he would be doing such a thing but anyway)did,nt the thing go of and his wife got shot,He dialed 999 and said to the operator"its me wife I accidently shot her and I think shes dead,"the operator said "please calm down sir"(I wonder was that our Albert)can you first make sure she is really dead?"CLICK...BANG...Bob doh brains "Right done that now what doh"?

  8. Mackers, should have said last evening, that what you wrote was both emotive and on the money.
    True, it is hard to say where Bobby would have stood today. Denis O Hearn the author also reckoned it was a hard call.

    Remember reading a piece by Shiela De Valera about Bobby's last few days. Not only was it incredibly sad, it was absolutely incomprehensible that any person could endure that type of suffering, but they did.
    They suffered to remove the criminalisation label once and for all.

    Now the Mercs and and no ending Perks brigade have ensured it is back in vogue!
    "No more sabre rattling" they say, "you might upset the ever growing gravy train".

    Bet they are not calling their most recent "victim" of the Diplock Courts a criminal. After all he has only been accused of fraud and having too many houses under too many names.

    The real criminals in their eyes are the people who continue to fight.

  9. Enjoyed that read, after years out of the country and with absolutely no political connections here now, that was just what the doctor ordered.
    Easy reading in neat segments/chapters, the straight talk and on the button conclusions were an antidote to the 'gunk' that passes for mainstream media journalism. Thank heavens it's not me who's been goin mad and demented all these years!! Sanity and objectivity still exist in places. THANK YOU MACKERS.
    Marty i wouldn't worry three much about slugger, im at magee uni doing Irish History and Politics and the guys who recommended that site to me actually made me of a mind to steer clear of it. little "SF are never wrong" types.
    I was talkin to another 'mature/immature' student about Voices from the grave which i had just purchased and a wee SF-er 22/24yrs old in ceptic shell suit with SF/tricolour badge said if he was still alive that Darkey fella should be shot for that touting...said in his kilburn London the math and geography..HELLO or DOH lol i asked would mcguinness and the PSNI do it.."oh that was bad crack that too like" was his reply before falling silent and failing to join us for a beer after the lecture as agreed. If that's the quality of their cadre..WE'RE ALL GUNNA DIE lol
    I'm obviously gunna have to buy Ed Maloneys book now on the secret history of the IRA.
    Now get all ye wee 'nordies' out and vote for consistency..up the

  10. meant 2 say me lysdexia was cured after tuesdays game..larryolurgan recons lennyolurgan shud get d job so CELTIC can costipate poperly for next season.

  11. Lol good luck with the studies Larry re the psf,er 22/24 year old if you draw a picture of Anthony on yer mans thumb it,ll stop him sucking it. apparantly Bob doh brains is in trouble again, he was boasting in the Andytown social as one does that he was standing at the bus stop on the Andy town rd when some bloke hit him on the legs with a stick for no reason...naturally doh I retaliated and bate the living shit outa him....just for good measure I kicked his labrador as well doh,said Bob doh brains

  12. just went+ got the survival kit in [ groceries ] and bought Ed Maloneys Secret History of the IRA...good job my 1st exam is next wednesday lol...mackers im goin 2 have to put in a claim at the dole for all these books now ive got started..
    marty...poor bobby s. must be near demented at this st-t-t-tage, its been so long since him+his buddies had a personal/private thought of their own they'd take cramp if it happened..

  13. Really moving piece Anthony. I can remember to this day where I was and what I was doing when I heard the news that Bobby Sands had died. My first reaction to the news was extreme anger and then extreme sadness. That anger and sadness continued in me throughout the loss of every one of those courageous young men and Ireland's tragic loss of them served to reinforce my commitment to support the cause of Irish freedom until partition and British rule become only a memory as well.

  14. just woke up after last night election watch...jetlagged. wada nite lol
    bad nite for the 'onionists' doubt very much Iris was looking forward to peter gettin in from work lol no bottle of 'wreck' required there. He looked like a man at the end of his tether. Two possibilities there, suicide watch at purdysburn for pete or traction for Iris. Actually come to think of it there is a third option..purdysburn for peter AFTER Iris is dispatched to traction. Two seats gone and i guess about a million quid over the next four years, NEVER let it be said that only young women cause devestation to a persons solvency..all MILF's beware lol [ especially in co. cavan ] singing willie's back i see.
    SF seem to have held up..obviously RC experience of decades of abuses and sexual 'shock' stories has enethsetised their base beyond the judgemental revulsion now devestating the Robinsons. Maybe the start of that case of the lurgan RIRA eejits was timed for maximum effect...YES comedy all around..30 yrs of troubles and these guys never fired a shot, now after missing the boat they're desperate to xperience a cell..agent Johnny English springs to mind, STAND BACK these men are extremely dangerous...TO THEMSELVES. In trying to impress the mi5 agent one of em said they made the omagh bomb..i know those guys..they were as close to the omagh bomb as i was...and i was in knoxville tennessee when it went off...but as the deffective said to a crying wife who 's husband just got 30 rec' and was wailin 'inspector you know my paddy never done all them murders' aye i know that luve, but he signed for them...
    Started that book of Ed Mloneys..when you peel back the principles/objectives and the glorious history and tradition of's not a winter wonderland its FREDDIE KRUGGER night. OMG..always accepted there was the odd wee spider in his web in every town ready to stack the conveyor..looks like there was only the odd man who wasn't ready to stack it.
    Time fer a coffee and catch up on the fallout from last night..i'll need to get credit on my mobile and phone purdysburn and see what kind of night peter had...god love him.

  15. Hi Larry it appears we are to have a hung parliment, I,ve already been in touch to offer my services, heck I even offered to supply the rope

  16. further to my estimate of the MILF financial devestation...a past school friend now in the SDLP has just told me they were on 500k/year between them 'all-in' now I'm CERTAIN Iris wasn't longing for peter's return from 'work' lol prefer the guilotine meself Marty..i'd even take up knitting.
    The tories gunna wreck whats left...lib dems guna ride shotgun..muzzled shotgun like the greens with FF.

  17. Antony
    We have been friends long enough for me to say 'Inshaller,' even though neither of us believes in some being in the sky. Bobby and his nine comrades will live as long as humanity struggles against oppression, i e, into eternity! Do I really need to list the tradition he comes from or the future generations I have no doubt he will inspire.

    The word Spartans is enough to highlight the tradition he, and the Blanketmen trod. The fact is, whilst we must salute the past, we must not turn it into some imperialistic like trophy, which can be brought out at anniversaries and marched down the road like our enemies yearly do.

    No, as difficult as it is, we must admit we have been unable to build some bright sunny up lands and it is for a new generation to create their own. We can offer up our mistakes, our high points, and advice, but just as we all tread our own path, they must too.

    Bobby was a special individual, to hell with the minnows.

    Lutta continua.

  18. I hear Iris phoned Peter after the election result and said "Now ya know what its like to get a good hammering at 3 in the morning"

  19. Solid words from a sound man, good to hear from you again Mick,while no words of praise of mine could ever be enough to honour Bobby and the other nine hero,s, please remember Michael Gaughan and Frank Stagg, and people like the Dark and Kieran Nugent and the many many more good men and women whos minds and bodies were destroyed on freedoms altar in Irelands cause, Thats why its nothing more than criminal that those who held the reins in that phase of the struggle , so willingly sold out for so little, so quickly was their treachery that it left a large section of their own comrades in a state of shock in the wake of their path up to Stormont,many had hoped that this would have been the last generation of Irishmen and women to bear arms against Perfidious Albion, so complete is their treachery is that those a few years ago they would have called comrade they now call traitor, and now are we going to witness another generation of kids spending big time locked up,As Anthony said it would impossible to imagine Bobby screaming criminal at these kids

  20. Anthony

    Westie, the Shinner back for a comment. On the blog itself, I don't concur with the comparison between how republican communities viewed the actions of Bobby Sands and his many comrades in 1976 and those of today. Our communities were coming down with open doors, safe houses and willing and active supporters. As someone who still lives in those same areas, where the politics of the North is very much at the centre of conversation and to the forefront of our minds, I do not see that same level of support at all - do you not agree?

    I think it also important to point out that, regardless of what your current thinking is or what shade of republicanism you are associated with, for those of us who were about at that time, we all feel the same pain and the memories are all equally vivid - I think we all have our own personal reflections on those years, depending on what age you were and as a result, what impact it had on your republican life. I remember exactly where I was when all 10 passed away and I wasn't that old, but the night Bobby died does stand out for various reasons.

    As for where Bobby would have stood today, I think it is impossible to say. I don't think you could dismiss the possibility of Bobby being an integral part of the Leadership of PSF, and an elected representative of his people, but, to be honest, that doesn't matter, its his memory and those of his nine comrades that is more impportant.

    Finally, Marty, I couldn't let it go without pulling you up on your 'Gildernew out on her ass' comment. Despite the Orange order co-ordinating a campaign to remove the Dirty Fenian F**ker from their patch, and the SDLP putting up their TV celeb, the girl done good - I think she's a gem.

    slán cairde


  21. marty...just came home wth a curry..opened 'the quill' and near choked at that. u shudda been a diplomat..anyhow, its now been plagerised on2 my facebook lol

  22. Westie a cara,re; Gildernew as one of your newfound friends in prefidious Albion once said the people have spoken the b......s. Im sorry I cant distinguish between brit lackey minister Gildernew or any of the other wasters who stood for a seat in the butchers apron parliment,what irkes me more about provisional sinn fein is their sheer hypocrisy,it was,nt that many years ago that an election worker was shot dead on the doorsteps in Derry(I wonder who gave that order and we made damm sure they could,nt operate in Andytown, as for Bobby being an elected rep restantive your mates would,nt have any repersentatives if Bobby and his comrades had not been sacrificed for political advancement. Read Richard O Rawes book (again if necessary without the blinkers)the only thing republican about your mates now is the many houses and property that they own in the Republic

  23. Larry youl need a p.sf,ers tounge to get those curry stains of your facebook,but be carefull as most of them are covered in Brit shit

  24. Westie..good to see your article. I think you'd find that whilst there wasn't the same intensity and adrenalin rush re' the resistance to brit presence, there was still the capacity to prosecute the war. The political climate and situation evolved and adapted and the people dealt with the situation. People were either actively or tacitly supporting the war or ignoring it. SF leadership did more than anyone else to divert all energy from resistance into electioneering, and to neutralise physical force resistance. So I think your being a tad facetious there?? Would you not agree the nationalists in Ireland would hardly have been out on the streets condemning RUC stations or the city of London getting bombed..? They would now..AND SF would be leading the demo. Consider that Westie.
    Some of us have been left a tad skitzo by this 'peace-process'. I'll never understand the need to surrender 150 tonnes of kit to enter electoral politics proper. However it has to be admitted that when any nationalist defeated an 'onionist' in a poll count the other night I certainly enjoyed the triumphant roar. Couldn't help it Westie..must be welling up in me from my time in the Anti H-Block agitations. At the same time had SF gained zero seats it would have meant no more to me than the Official Onionists demise, except i'd have been interested to hear the excuses. The vote has held for now, and good luck to you.
    As for the hungerstrikers, you are of course correct, it's impossible to say where they would stand today. Raymond McCartney is still there, and people like Bik and Bobby Story have remained loyal to Adams + co. Have they much alternative at this stage now reality has set in...triumph turned out to be surrender. All I know is that constitutional politics is 'constitutional politics' period. When I'm on my deathbed I'll have enough regrets without knowing I needed to be any part of the biggest needless sell-out in Irish history, just to get a few ego's into Stormont.
    Well done in the elections Westie, always good to see the taigs get one over on the Orange Order.

  25. Nuala,

    It must have been an eerie or surreal feeling going into court on that particular day. Sile DeValera was very moving in her description. I remember the visit and her thoughts on it.


    hope you get something out of the book.


    the unfortunate thing is that more will see jails and not be able to see the graves they end up in. Tragic

  26. RE: Had he lived what position would he hold today? No way of telling. But it is impossible to imagine the bearded, blanketed, emaciated Bobby Sands screaming ‘criminal’ at a young republican who set out with more guns than votes to wage armed struggle.
    What mick hall wrote is so true... ppl speak of it all in the past but the pain is searing for many and the losses were/are real. The past always bleeds into the present. The unbearable only becomes bearable though by engaging in life and plodding on. The courage of the Ten is burnt/imprinted and always will be on each generation of Irish. Their courage renowned worldwide. Dare i say it yeah i do Spirit is stronger than flesh. You cannot break spirit - flesh yeah but not spirit. There is apathy in the south for sure - many comfortable on their big fat arses but the whiff of struggle street acoming their way economically has ponged up their closeted nirvana and the pong is getting stronger. Adams and his cohorts are such shameful specimens of humanity Strangled by rosary beads, bullshit and compromise. Makes the Ten shine brighter.

  27. Marty. ur comments do my wee heart good..i brought the mrs to see The history of the troubles acording to my oul Da' [ think thats the correct title ] in Letterkenny last year . Ivan Bell [ UTV ? ] was in it and he was, as were all the cast, FANTASTIC. But point im makin..when the falls riots broke out + the huns were goin nuts...half the population headin fer wee Belfast lad was asked..are u goin to Cork too?' Am i fuk [ he roared at the front of the stage ] im goin down the bottom eh the falls tae get tore intae the CUNTS..' I get the feelin was YOU. The play got a standing night of my life..coz my wife saw an irish political crowd in emotional action..things began to gel mentaly what the hell she'd married lol altho i had the odd time to explain to my mrs. some of the political intricacies, she loved it, for the atmosphere the passion- the heap!!
    As for westie and politics in general..what can you do only keep true to your own heart..i prefer to be unpopular [ not too much ] for the underdog and steadfast without being 'conformist' my cousins in the USA and Australia tell me non-conformists opened those places up. I'll never engineer myself into a position, for a few votes, of taking the side of those establishment lackies who would turn a blind eye to hopeless but fearless 'Irish nobodies' getting mowed down at the side of the road coz few were on their side..but everyone knew they were correct. ooops sorry if i upset the "SDLP" There lol [ SF? ]. Head up Marty, WE are the UNDEFEATED, the un-BOUGHT, but never...the uninterested.
    BTW that wee Belfast fella had some swagger..think SF lost that..after swapping us for the SDLP vote lol.

  28. Westie,

    good to see you back. You are always welcome.

    Who made the comparison you refer to i.e. that republican com’munities view today’s armed republicans as the republican communities of yesteryear did? If it appeared in one of the comments I glossed over it.

    In 1976 our communities were not coming down with open doors. We had tremendous difficulty mobilising people to come out in support of Frank Stagg the same year. One of the reasons behind the switching over to a more cell type structure in the IRA was to complement for a lack in support on the ground. An army was built that did not rely on it to the same extent. Support for the armed struggle was waning in Belfast by the end of 73. Our callfor a boycott of that year's assembly elections was treated with contempt.

    Fast forward to the 90s and reflect on the difficulty of getting safe houses and dumps.

    The picture you paint was more true of the early 1970s and presumably around the time of the hunger strikes. Both periods witnessed republicanism as popular insurrectionary politics. But in general it was not that easy.

    There was much more support in a general sense for the Provisional IRA. Today's armed republicans more resemble the IRA of pre-1969 than the Provisional IRA. That does not make them criminals.

    What your analysis does not address is that the IRA only ever had minority support. And basically the only thing the Provisional IRA could honestly say to today's IRAs is 'our minority was bigger than yours.'

    But they are not saying that. McGuinness recently said that today’s armed republicans are going against the wishes of the Irish people. But so did all IRAs.

    Bobby Sands had the support of a minority of people within the nationalist community for his armed activities. Today's armed republicans have minority support - a much smaller minority than Bobby had backing him. But that can hardly be the basis for calling one a criminal but not the other.

    I think you are right. We cannot dismiss the possibility that Bobby might have been an integral part of the current SF leadership. But it remains only a possibility. We can say with utmost certainty that were he alive and carried out an armed operation the SF leadership would accuse him of being a criminal and would call for people to tout to the British on him.

    On Michelle, when I was told she had lost by 8 votes I commented that 'it is an amazing result for her given that she took it so close given the circumstances.' That she won by 8 has not changed my opinion.

    At the end of the day
    it matters not
    they have the veto
    and we have not!

  29. This comment has been removed by the author.

  30. Nuala,

    I think that is right. I think republicans today would not vote SF. It would be like us voting the Sticks in the 1970s or 80s. The Sticks contnued to argue that they were republicans but no one apart from themselevs believed it. No republican believed it. SF today are just a Catholic party for a Catholic people. I wasn't demoralised by any of it. I suppose living down here where they don't matter it doesn't matter. Different if you live up in West Belfast. The Sticks vote SF which sort of shows how shallow they are because for decades they spewed out the myth that they were anti-sectarian.

  31. Larry a cara if I wasnt spoken for and in love with Marie Nuala Eve Kate Mariead Filo ffs sake every woman who gave the two finger salute to the brits ,the men and boys and girls who as Bobby said played a part in the patriot game every mother and gran who opened a door, every man ,woman who flashed lights rattled bin lids,that was the republican movement,my heart lies with the people fooled as they may be by the weasel words of those who think they are to smart for the working class,spouting words bigger than any found on the back of a marmalade jar,I dont give a fuck what anyone thinks I believe that without the death of Bobby Sands and those brave comrades psf would not be the political force they are today, what also makes me sad is that I played a part in putting those wasters ,where they are today, yes Westie I had to wear bullet proof vests to attend council meetings ,the same bastards who threatened us and orchestrated pickets are now the bestest of mates,not with me like fuck I say,on a gable wall in Beechmount there used to be in great big letters the following FUCK 1690 WE WANT A REPLAY, it summed up the spirit of a rising people times change tactics change but forgive me I dont know the source maybe Ernie O Malley (the man) Give the people good sound leadership and they will follow,which makes me feel so sad that those who I once thought as heros had feet of clay, so Larry a cara in a few days time I,m away to dip my head in Leitrims lakes, Nuala does,nt allow Albert to play with bad boys , so if ya fancy howling at the moon gis a shout

  32. Mackers, I think there is a considerable difference in the complextion of the people who vote Sinn Fein today, than perhaps fifteen to twenty years ago.
    They know that the shinners are a safe option as there is absolutely no way they will rock any boat.

    They (Sinn Fein) have not progessed one single piece of reform. Rather, they have put the boot into their own voters in relation to the rate hikes and the water charges.
    They ignore the plight of republican prisoners, accusing them of being criminals.
    Many of them have feathered their countless nests on the backs of the people.
    Their party leader makes Saint Peter (the one that denied Christ, not Robinson) sound honest.
    He even makes Judas look as if he had some integrity.
    Yet people turned out to vote for them.

    I really believe that, if an indepth research study was carried out in relation to the makeup of the people who now vote for Sinn Fein, the results would be more surprising than his return.

    Few republicans in the area in which I live would vote for Sinn Fein. However, friends of mine who were former SDLP voters are now ardent Gerry supporters.
    Not one of them has an iota about Sinn Fein's manifesto or any of their policies (Could not care less I expect)
    Sinn Fein does however, provide them with something they did not have before. They have the luxury of fence sitting in that cosy safe place now created for constitutional republicans.

    Few of these people would have formerly (In my granny's words)
    "Given republicans a drink of water"
    Yet they now flock to the polling stations in their droves to vote for a "Republican Party

    Feel a bit gutted to be honest.
    Think I will sneak on to Leargas and get the number of the new shinner ex-prisoner help group "The Befrienders" unless anyone here has it?

  33. GEESUUUUS Anthony I see for the first time a comment deleted and it makes me want to know what we missed, I texed the bbc the other night during the elections after Barry Mac Alduff made a comment re a bomb scare at one of the counts the fuckers took my money but didnt print my comment do you think I am missing something here

  34. Marty,

    what comment was deleted? Yes, just noticed it as I went down the page. It was deleted by the author of the comment not by me. I deleted one the other night because it was somebody saying they had bought tickets for the Addams family film and they provided a link. Could have been a dodgy link. But because it was not related to anything we were talking about and the person posting it seemed to have got the families mixed up I struck it out.I think the deletion last night was by Nuala as she reposted later and it is now placed after my response to it rather than prior to it! We delete nothing. Someone who used to post a lot but was really only trolling went around and deleted all her previous stuff. We didn't touch it but would not permit her access to post again. We let the lot up even when we are not happy with it because it might be an attack on people for no good reason - slagging a speech impediment or disability. I think that has only happened twice.

  35. I wasnt passing judgement Anthony just being a nosey as usual ,you keep on keepin on man your a bright light in a dark place

  36. Mick,


    it is about all we can do. I can see no republican future. Republican activists should consider validating their republicanim through different projects. There are lots of improvements to be made in the lives of people, most of which a Brit free Ireland or a Brit run Ireland has little relevance to.

  37. Awee aside if you dont mind Anthony, heres a wee quiz for you and Larry, Nuala will probably hound me for this , but what the hell, 1 What do you call a 30 year west Belfast girl? Gran..2 What do you call a west Belfast girl in a white tracksuit?..The bride 3 Whats the first question at a west Belfasr quiz night?..What are you looking at...2 westies in a car wearing seatbelts whos driving? the police..4 Whats the most confusing day in west Belfast?.. Fathers day

  38. Marty,

    'so willingly sold out
    for so little'

    that is the perplexing thing about it. To be rewarded with so little for it.

  39. Mackers, I told Mr Adams a few weeks ago that he should have a wee
    look on "The Pensive Quill" and observe how a proper blog site operates.
    Leargas, his own blog is run like a mutual admiration society.
    Only posts that pay absolute homage get through.

  40. Mackers..think that was me getting it in the neck there for the stutter craic? shall refrain in future...big Bobby wasn't the worst..probably why he's not been rewarded with a deeper role in the stormont crapheap. His profile before leaves me curious about that.
    Marty my mrs just back today from a hen night in I'm up in the brownie points..have a feeling if we met in Leitrim water/or guinnes could find its own level...
    forward a contact detail or get my dtails from mackers..cuppla days howlin never hurt anyone lol

  41. Larry, you were not getting it in the neck. We allowed the comment despite being unhappy with it. Had you used terms that expressed your view of his political opinion or position fine but to focus on a disability of some sort - not the way to go. It is the SF way - you saw that with their response to Brendan and Dolours

  42. Yeah Larry that may just happen mo cara , I,m heading of with Marie in a bonding exercise, yip we are gonna bond a load of fishies on to our hooks, Lisadell house in Sligo home of Constance Markievicz is worth a visit beautiful beach and grounds I believe Lenorad Cohen is playing there in Aug,though not a fan ,more Dlyan me, I might just head to it, anyway a wee lad asks his mum"why am I black and you are white" she says"dont even go there, when I think back to that party your lucky you dont bark"

  43. point taken mackers and accepted
    marty worse things than a bus to sligo or the Grange have been done..

  44. Anthony

    I maybe picked up too much on the comment about Bobby and his comrades being dismissed by his own community, they having no mandate and that their actions going against the expressed wishes of the irish people. Take your point about the dip and swell of support at certain times back in the seventies and eighties, but I suppose I always remember growing up as a kid at that time in West Belfast that you always got the sense the we were the good guys and I knew very little people who didn't support the RA in some shape or form.

    I and most of my PSF friends don't view the armed activists of today as criminals. I just cannot see the point in what they are doing - and as I have said before on the blog, I felt the same way about the way the armed struggle was going in the nineties, which is why I agreed with the leadership decision to call the ceasefire when they did.

    The operation on Thursday, getting a taxi driver to drive to the polling station in Derry, was this against the brits?

    The make up of the Sinn Féin vote may be evolving, especially with new voters coming on board, but the vast majority of the vote is from traditional Provisional supporters and their families. I was delighted to see the vote hold up at a time when people were predicting that it might not - due to people turning away from SF, or at best, becoming more apathetic.

    People can read what they like into the figures, for me, I was pleased that people are still concerned enough about the politics of this part of Ireland to have their vote counted. It is very difficult to discount the people when they go to the ballot box - you may not always like the outcome, but it shows how the people of our communities are thinking at that particular time.



  45. I and most of my psf friends dont view the armed activistis of today as criminals!TP Your deputy fuhrer herr Marty would be mighty pissed to hear that, after he publicly called them traitors, you relaise your not totaly in line with the party here, and thats not acceptable, I can see and your mates being ordered to attend futher intensive education psf style in party hq, gawd almighty next you,l be qustioning the Fuhrer and thats a no no.Can I also take it that if you had any imformation on those armed activists you wouldnt be passing that on to the psni, if so that would make you a very naughty boy with a very poor future in the party Jaysssssus you could end up here with me Nuala Larry et al as a free thinking rep ,anythings possible TP

  46. Westie,

    While you and your friends in SF do not view the actions of armed republicans as criminal your leadership very much does. And it will continue to articulate that view for as long as you and your friends remain silent.

    I know there are difficulties in speaking out and perhaps by not endorsing your leadership’s view you may feel you are doing as much as you can.

    You are hardly alone in not being able to see the point in what the armed republicans are doing. It is of no value to anyone and will change nothing. The Brit tenure in Ireland will not be shortened by one day and in fact may be lengthened by the armed activity.

    I believe you are right about the state of the armed campaign in the 90s. As bad as it was it was much healthier than the one today. Given how little it achieved what chance ha the current one of improving on it in terms of change secured?

    Was the operation that took Joanne Mathers’ life in the run up to the election of Bobby Sands against the Brits? The point I am making is simple: there is nothing new under the sun about today’s armed republicans. They do what the Provisional IRA did and are subject to the exact same criticism because of it.

    I don’t know if voting is ritualistic or if it is the result of a thinking process. A mixture of both I guess. But it did strike me that the vote for Naomi Long was a result of considerable thinking. People simply not prepared to put up with the same old same old did the honourable thing. With no equivalent on the Green side of the wall the unionists will probably have achieved a considerable PR coup abroad.

    Just my musings.

  47. Nuala,

    I think that is the problem with the Leargas blog (admittedly I have not read it but know the modus operandi) and all SF ventures. There is no democratic discussion. That is why people get banned from those blogs or have their comments suppressed. There can be no meaningful debate there only thought control. Occasionally we get a Shinner on this blog. They are welcome and in my view make a valid contribution to discussion. There are things to be learned from them and hopefully they learn from us as well.

  48. Anthony

    Most local commentators in East belfast claim that Dawn Pervis from the PUP threw her support behind Naomi Long because of the work she does on the ground for working, or not so working class loyalist communities, and this throws a slightly different slant on it but one that is to be welcomed.

    on the SF front, I don't agree that SF voters are blind followers. The Party still do a lot on the ground and so whilst the votes may not be for an active revolutionary party, people see a big distinction in terms of the work and presence of SF in our areas and other political parties who were asking for votes.



  49. Westie,

    there is probably something in that although I guess the ground that Naomi covered could not be filled by the PUP input.

    When Squinter made his critique of Adams record as MP I recall writing that Adams was not so bad an MP …

    But if you consider that the deprivation in the West is so bad, the MP seems to have brought no changes and seems unlikely to do so, you begin to wonder why people vote SF. An implausible opposition always helps.

    There are a lot in the party who have blind faith. I am not sure this is always extended to the electorate. When the party white stick men were telling the electorate that decommissioning would never happen I heard more than a few laugh at them. It didn’t stop them voting the party, just showed that they had more savvy than those in the party they were voting for. I think in situations that are sometimes defined as ‘ethnic conflict’, rigid voting patterns and leaders who stay in charge for decades on end are a characteristic.