The following piece is part 3 of a 4 part review of Great Hatred Little Room

One thing that politics devotees will find themselves drawn to in the political memoirs of Jonathan Powell is the author addressing some of the more salient issues that came to define the peace process in the public mind. Amongst these was the vexed question of what to do with IRA armaments. The term ‘decommissioning’ for much of the peace process was in a symbiotic relationship with it. Like the term ‘securocrat’ it was omnipresent.

According to Sean Duignan, in his book One Spin on the Merry-Go-Round, Martin McGuinness had sometime around the ceasefire of 1994 told the Irish government ‘we know the guns will have to be banjaxed.’ The task for McGuinness and the leadership coterie he worked within from that point on was to manage the banjaxing of the weaponry while keeping the grassroots bamboozled at the same time. Having their followers chant ‘not an ounce not a round’, while their republican critics looked on incredulous, wondering how the chanters could believe any of what they chanted, was nothing other than a leadership ruse to have sound paralyse vision.

The British, for their own part, were not primarily concerned with decommissioning as the yardstick for measuring ultimate victory over the Provisional IRA. They pushed it more as a means to strategically position the unionists - who were forceful in making the arms question a central issue – at a point where the British needed them to be.

For all Sinn Fein’s huffing and puffing that not a dump would be blown down by the big bad wolf from London, it was in the end a British Army GOC who came up with the suggestion that weapons should initially be retained in a sealed dump. Tim Dalton of the Irish side later informed Powell privately that Sinn Fein had taken up the GOC’s suggestion. Cyril Ramaphosa and his colleague Martti Ahtisaari merely served as the smokescreen which dulled the senses of the Provisional grass roots and allowed the decommissioning process to crank up the gears to a point where full throttle was applied. And still the grassroots, led by the politically challenged IRA middle management, claimed nothing had moved when they alone were left standing at the starting line.

The course of disarmament stretched out endlessly it seemed, as well as being strewn with chicanes along the route. This was acquiesced in by the British due to Blair estimating that breaking the back of republicanism would take place on the strategic theatre of consent rather than in the Scarva battlefield of weapons. Although Danny Morrison once stipulated that decommissioning was the criterion for any IRA surrender the Blair government was more strategically discerning than it was often given credit for.

None too discerning, however, were the unionists whom the British had sought to assuage through pressing home the decommissioning issue, often against their better judgement:
We had expected jubilation at the demise of the IRA and the decommissioning of all its weapons, but instead a strange thing happened. The unionist community fell into a gloom. Tony’s first reaction was to get irritated with them: they had peace, they had the union, the IRA had now gone out of business and yet they still weren’t happy.

During the long, winding, torturous climb to Mount Decommissioning Gerry Adams, in a very revealing comment, said he could not accept one particular set of British proposals at Hillsborough on the eradication of the IRA arsenal. He stressed that his own value, more or less to the British, rested on his ability to deliver, otherwise he would be no different from any other politician. This theme of usefulness to the British state is revisited when Adams told Powell that the Provisional IRA in South Armagh was needed to keep the Real IRA in check in the pubs and clubs of the areas. It was a way of trying to convey to the British state that the Provisionals would not have to go out of existence in order to have a strategic utility for its one time adversary. In essence it was an offer by the Provisional Movement to become an instrument of repression over the republican side in a rerun of the 1920s Treaty debate. Such debates invariably function as demarcation lines which chart out the different roads republicans and their former comrades must travel. The quid pro quo was straightforward enough: Sinn Fein could become a junior partner in the administration of British rule in the North in return for strangling republicanism.

Another news grabbing issue up for discussion in the memoir was the Northern Bank robbery. Powell knew right away that the Provisional IRA was responsible. At initial meetings with him at Clonard neither Adams nor McGuinness tried to persuade the British official of the IRA’s innocence, merely claiming that they had no foreknowledge of it. The assertive refutation of IRA involvement came a month later in the middle of a sustained lie assault on human reason. All party officials seemed to have been instructed ‘more lies for the front’ and duly supplied them. It was February before Adams would make a tacit admission to the British on the robbery. Without directly laying culpability at the door of the organisation of which he was a key member, he said that some people within it had tunnel vision. It was shortly after this and the Robert McCartney killing that Powell noticed Adams beginning to appear shell shocked.

That cumulative effect of both incidents was a defining moment in the peace process. It was like a game of chess where one player makes the wrong move and knows instantly and instinctively that the balance of the board has decisively shifted to the opponent, leaving checkmate as the only outcome. That was the beginning of the end, the moment of realisation by Gerry Adams that the Provisionals had overplayed their hand and that expansionism, the Sinn Fein raison d’etre rather than republicanism, throughout the island would now stutter to a halt.

In penning his memoirs Jonathan Powell seemed to sense that a waffle-weary public was owed some explanation as to why the peace process grinded interminably on for seemingly no other reason than it grinded on. Although the Provisional leadership had a calculated strategic reason for this, wholly unrelated to anything republican, and driven by the expansionist impulse mentioned above, Powell failed to touch on it. Much of the post-GFA foot dragging is explained by him in terms of strategic necessity on the part of the British. London was governed by a perceived need to avoid a split within the Provisional Movement. In 2004 Sinn Fein were still trying to sell the line to the British that there were still many in the IRA hostile to the agreement. But the IRA had long since been defeated by that point.

Gerry Adams at one point argued to Powell that there were serious problems with the middle management of the IRA. Yet, it would be impossible to find a more docile group of people anywhere than the IRA’s middle management. In the early to mid 1980s that stratum’s vital signs were still functioning but could safely be pronounced extinct by the time Powell and Blair had arrived.

The Blair team in dealing with these matters were hardly innovative, making no radical departure from the thinking articulated by Ronnie Flanagan while head of RUC Special Branch. Flanagan cautioned against doing anything that might split the Provisional IRA.

Peter Mandelson alone, seemingly, in the Blair camp, felt it worthwhile bucking against this trend and instead face down Sinn Fein. Historians may eventually conclude that Mandelson had it right and will base such conclusions on the oscillating demeanour of Powell who unpersuasively contends that because of a lack of intelligence on their own side the British had to take the Provisionals’ word for it when they said that it was too difficult to move. Yet Powell admits that he was able to see how Sinn Fein was stringing him along.

That said, there may be a more farsighted reason governing the behaviour of Powell and his colleagues. Lack of intelligence about the internal balance of forces within the Provisional world was hardly the reason for British reticence to push matters to a conclusion. The Provisionals were well enough penetrated. The British were content to play it long and the convenient chimera of a difficult IRA assisted them in the process. We may suspect they were practicing their own counter insurgency strategy and gathering as much experience as possible for future battles that lay ahead with other protagonists. Certainly, by the time of the attacks of 9/11 a view had been formulated in the minds of British strategists that the Islamicist violence made the type of armed action used by the Provisional IRA obsolete. This was articulated by Powell who suggested that the Provisional IRA had by then come to look irrelevant.

If the lack of intelligence was not causing problems for the bedding down of the peace process then the gathering of it certainly was. Here Powell is certain to raise more eyebrows than win nods of approval. Given the time and energy expended by Blair and Powell is it really conceivable that the likely outcome of the IRA spying activity at Stormont was not forwarded to them by Secretary of State John Reid? It seems more plausible that Powell deliberately claimed lack of knowledge on his and Bair’s behalf for the purposes of continuing to mollify Sinn Fein. Why he should in his memoirs continue with what seems an unsustainable position is another matter. At the heel of the hunt Powell and Blair were so certain of IRA involvement in a spying exercise at Stormont that after the PSNI raid on the Sinn Fein offices up on Union Hill they told the party in terms that were anything but uncertain that it had now to make a choice between the armalite and the ballot box.

It was around this point that Trimble began to grow even more forthright in his opinion that the Blair government wanted rid of him. Powell disputes this, arguing that it was John Reid and the NIO who felt Paisley was by now becoming the most likely horse to place their money on.

But Paisley was a steed unlikely to jump his fences until he was assured the horse that Bobby Sands, through his hunger strike, vowed would never be consigned to the Knackers yard was well and truly placed there.

Jonathan Powell, 2008. Great Hatred Little Room. The Bodley Head: London
Book Review in four parts:
1. Great
2. Hatred
3. Little
4. Room


  1. i enjoy reading any ones view point, i wonder what the term banjaxed really means, or more to the point what does it mean to the SINN FEIN negotiaters, i do know that the word banjaxed is not in the good friday agreement, i do not see this word in the dictionary, the closer i got to banjaxed is banjo, so maybe it means all thing to all men and women, saying that i can not find the word decommission either, the nearest word is decompose, i could have the worlds worst two dictionarys or else this word also means all things to all men and women, can anyone find these words in there dictionarys, the brits never got an ounce, never got a bullet, no wonder the unionists were never happy, those pesky brits trying to blame the peaceful provos for the bank vaults being left empty.

  2. Enjoying your reviews - looking forward to part 4.

  3. Michael
    I will entertain this as stupidity is always good for a laugh.
    Banjaxed is slang for useless, done, over, no good and so on.
    It was a common expression then and fitting in this case.
    You must be from an upper class part of imaginary Northern Ireland where common slang is not allowed.
    1. Banjaxed
    ruined; can also mean tired
    "Bollocks! Me Capri is banjaxed!"

    "Jaysus, after that lifting them bricks all day I'm bleedin' banjaxed
    Try the urban dictionary.

    de·com·mis·sion [ d kə mísh'n ] (past and past participle de·com·mis·sioned, present participle de·com·mis·sion·ing, 3rd person present singular de·com·mis·sions)

    transitive verb


    remove something from service: to remove something such as a ship, nuclear power station, machinery, or weapons from service.

    What is your point Michael?

    If nothing else your confused outlook is amusing.

  4. I didn't take the reference in Powell's book to South Armagh and the RIRA as meaning the PIRA would become an instrument of repression over the republican side in a rerun of the 1920s Treaty debate.

    The context was in talking about keeping the hearts and minds of people for the peace process. Sinn Fein were trying to speed up the British government's side of the implementation of the GFA.

    The reference to "pubs and clubs" supports this interpretation. They were talking about support for the GFA as opposed to support for the RIRA. I didn't take "pubs and clubs" as some sort of euphemism for lethal violence.

  5. Simon,

    according to Powell 'Adams said ... the leadership was relying on their supporters in South Armagh to keep the RIRA in check in the pubs and clubs.'

    I think the killing of O'Connor in Belfast, the kidnapping of people associated with RIRA, the threatening visitations in South Armagh and elsewhere in 1998 all give 'in check' a certain meaning, one that contained a repressive property which was utilised. It is hard to see that keeping the RIRA in check really means just gathering support for the GFA. Why even mention the RIRA if the context is as you think it is?

  6. My line of thought was that the RIRA was mentioned in the context of trying to keep the Republican supporters of the GFA as supporters of the GFA and to prevent any movement towards a return to violence.

    I don't know why Joseph O'Connor was killed. Perhaps it was to prevent any support going to the RIRA. If it was I think it was the PIRA protecting their own interests and support. In don't think they killed him on behalf of the British government as some kind of "strategic utility" for the latter.

    But I get your point- no doubt the British would be pleased at those turns of events.

  7. Simon,

    perhaps your take is the correct one but it would need to overcome a number of obstacles before being acceptable. The alternative view as expressed in the review is less problematic. It just seems the phrase 'in check' implies something different from your own view if judged against the backdrop of O'Connor et al.

    Whatever reason O'Connor was killed for it was not on behalf of the British government in any direct sense. But it was to assert and maintain Provisional hegemony within the republican constituency which dovetailed with British state strategy. It is worth bearing in mind that the British made not one arrest after the O'Connor killing and only after the inquest a number of years later when the inquest coroner kicked up were there any arrests made. Which means there were activities that the British never really got excited about. There was the post-killing circumstances which have often been referred to as collusion when loyalists carried out similar killings. Had a soldier or cop been killed it is inconceivable that no arrests would have taken place.

    The conversation between Adams and Powell was one of Adams trying to sell Powell something. After that it is interpretation. I would bear what you say in mind but would need something more before being persuaded.

  8. AM

    "But it was to assert and maintain Provisional hegemony within the republican constituency which dovetailed with British state strategy."

    I accept that but I don't believe they took the position of the British into consideration.

    Perhaps they assumed the PSNI wouldn't be interested in making any arrests. The British were maybe hoping there would be more of the same. If they did wish that they would have preferred a mutually destructive feud with both the PIRA and RIRA getting hurt: ending the influence of all republicans.

  9. Mackers,
    Great analysis and an extremely perceptive review!
    Even now, that the dust is settled and we are all moving onto the great whatever? It is still inconceivable that they (Sinn Fein) were able to dupe people to the extent they did.

    The weapons surrender was a bitter pill for all republicans to swallow.
    The smokescreen which surrounded the whole scenario allowed the republican movement to portray themselves as the helpless victims of unwavering and entrenched Unionist and British positions.

    Ambiguity was certainly the name of the republican game. The slogan "Not a bullet, not an ounce"
    was still being bandied about long after the logistics of the surrender had been mapped out with de Chastelan.

    Adams double speak was also being translated into IRA actions.
    Castlereagh was one example. What good was all that information to an army that was being wound down?
    The Northern Bank was hailed as another great security fete.
    Even though it is now known the Brits chose to look the other way.

    Past masters at dealing with sellout and facilitating unequal compromise the Brits must have been rubbing their hands with glee.
    They must have realised very quickly that these people had a price and lining a few pockets would not have been considered a high one.

    There is absolutely no doubt Adams would have justified the need for a private army to Powell.
    What other way could they protect their ever growing empire?
    While it was true the IRA were being scaled down as protectors of the people.
    Robberies and pilfering was on the increase as was the money laundering of the profits.
    None of this could have been done unless the IRA maintained control, and what better way to hold onto a meagre arsenal than convincing your new found allies you needed to keep dissent at bay.

  10. Simon,

    In my view they had to take the position of the British into consideration. They strategise which leaves things like that unavoidable. That does not mean that they did the bidding of the British. I think they wanted the British to take the Provisionals' own position into consideration. That meant not having it shoved down the Brit throats by anybody about what they were doing. Hence, their nasty repressive response to their being outed on the O'Connor killing. I think at the end of it all, we are left to ponder the meaning of keeping the Real IRA 'in check' and of course allowing for the possibility that Powell's phrase was not exactly what Adams said. It is as much as we are likely to achieve.

  11. I think you might be right about being "left to ponder the meaning of keeping the Real IRA 'in check'".

    Jonathan Powell is a master of ambiguity but when I read the book the phrase about the RIRA struck me as one which was less ambiguous than most.

    I felt it directly referred to the argument that, and I hesitate to quote them, the IMC and others made that if the PIRA disbanded there would be movement by their members towards joining the RIRA and others because the process had not bedded down.

    Of course, my view that the phrase was less ambiguous than most is undermined by widely different interpretations like your own.

  12. Excellent post Anthony although I still am sceptical about anything the likes of Powell or any other British spindoctor has to say re the winding up of the Kitson experiment ie,the grubby little democide of people in the north eastern counties of this country by various agencies under its control ,i.e., the ruc, the army, the loyalist groups , and yip all the republican groups,but I,ll reserve my final judgement untill I,ve read the book.what irks me is that when Adams was calling on republicans to prepare for a long war, he and Mc Guinness were either on solo runs or in tandem were negotating the demise of the republican movement, I can understand when republicans like yourself Anthony and Sean Mor claim the movement was defeated and yes that may be the case but I believe that this defeat was brought about by suspect and corrupt leadership, and not by any failure on any part of the volunteers on the ground, sold out by gombeen men who played their part in Kitsons game and who are now reaping their rewards,and this is why I believe that Powells book will be a waste of time simply put they dont want or cant afford the truth to come out,sin e. does anyone agree with me that rewarding Paisley with a lordship(I know its a load a bolocks),but still a recognition of his past work, is the brits saying that the bastard who almost single handed started this mayhem worthy of this peerage says a lot about the brits, and still that man Reavy waits for his lordship to apoligise and no words of rebuke from grovelling Mc Aleese or psf,s Caoimghin O Caolain, when Paisley made his visit to Dublin to show his new found friends his new ermine a golden opportunity missed to ask the f##ker to apoligise to the Reavey family and to the people of Ireland, instead of reward he should be on trial for war crimes or possibily incitred to hatred

  13. I really do not understand why Simon believes Powell is a master of ambiguity? Maybe he is I think all political advisors have an element of this, but what is the proof?
    And if he is the master of ambiguity, why would one thing he said be less ambiguous than something else.
    Really, not trying to find fault but I do not understand that.

  14. Simon,

    there is much in that about the need not to disband. However, I recall writing in the Scotsman after the O'Connor killing that part of the rationale behind killing him was to increase as much animosity between the two groups as possible so that it would stem any crossover from the Provisionals to the Real in the event of 1/ the Provos decommissioning 2/ the Provos supporting the police.

  15. Nuala,

    one problem with Powell is that he does get a few things wrong which I touch on in the final part of the review. His notes might not always have been taken at the time, and recorded later and that might allow for some variance. However, I still believe the meaning in relation to RIRA was as I said it was.

  16. Simon,

    If you are interested in reading the Scotsman article referred to: The war may be over, but the violence still lingers on (Nov 2000).

  17. Mackers, still have not read the book as I am just now coming to the final part of Voices from the Grave.

    I was not disagreeing with Simon.
    I just did not know what the whole ambiguity thing meant?

    I also think I interrupted a discussion on interpretation between the two of you which I apologise for.
    So back to my book.

  18. Nuala, no interruption at all. Comment is always welcome and yours add depth to the discussion. I dip in and out of discussion, and don't get to respond to a lot of it due to time. Powell is certainly worth reading.

  19. Fionnuala,

    (I apologise if my memory of the book is flawed- I read it over a year ago.)

    I didn't mean Jonathan Powell uses ambiguous language in everyday life. I was just trying to describe his method of telling the story of the negotiations in "Great Hatred, Little Room".

    He isn't clear about a lot of things. He alludes to things which he doesn't pin down. He often isn't precise or clear and there are many events, scenarios, conclusions etc. that he hints at but leaves room for widely different interpretations. eg.was there complete IRA decommissioning? Powell couldn't realistically express with certainty that there definitely wasn't but he implies there wasn't.

    I didn't think the paragraph about supporters of the PIRA leadership keeping the RIRA "in check in the pubs and clubs" was ambiguous but now Anthony's interpretation shows that there was room for interpretation. For me, the context of Adams and Powell talking about the attitudes of people was the key. For Anthony something more sinister was at foot.

    I am not great at articulating my views sometimes so Fionnuala there is not only no need to apologise but I should say "thank you" for asking for clarification.

    Thanks also Anthony for the link.

  20. Simon, I think you are very good at articulating your view point.
    I like listening to how people interpret books, films, speeches.
    Often I read an interpretation and think, how come I missed that?
    Heard Powell speak at the Iraq inquiry and I thought he was both clever and evasive.

    I was just wondering was he ambiguous or just manipulative or both?
    Or had he an agenda for being ambiguous about certain things and up front about others?
    Looking forward to reading the final review!

  21. Anthony,

    Thanks for the link.

    I was aware of the arguments but it was very useful reading a contemporaneous explanation again.

  22. Great read Anthony... waiting for part 4 hurry up hehe

  23. Simon I would,nt apoligise for saying that Powell uses ambiguous language,of course he does, man after all hes part of the brit establishment, i.e. prefidious Albion,why do you think they have the 3 lion symbols,1 royalty lying b###ards,2the church lying b###ards3 parliment all lying b###ards

  24. Am I mistaken in believing the murder of Joe O'Connor would have either been ordered by the PIRA A/C, or at the very least approved by it before it happened?

  25. Mick,

    given its location in Adams West Belfast constituency, the street - same as where O' Connor's grandfather was killed in an act that blew state collusion with loyalists wide open - the potential ramifications, the political climate at the time, I would be convinced that it was ordered or approved by the army council.

  26. totally agree Anthony and we all know who controlled the army council

  27. It would be essential for the PIRA to maintain a certain level of authority over alternative thinking republicans. The war may be over and the weapons dumped but that does not remove the psychology of fear and control. It works out well for British military purposes having their former enemies police their present enemies. The former guerilla fighters inadvertently have assumed the role as a counter guerilla force within this political quagmire.
    The only role the inactive (still active) PIRA would hold is that of the strong arm of Sinn Fein.
    Considering free thinking republicans are viewed by Sinn Fein as a threat to their political dominance of all things republican. Ironically Sinn Fein’s worst enemy is itself the party engaged in revolution and then in counter revolution to establish itself as a legitimate political party. In the short term a tentative peace is established in the long term the party has weakened its future as a viable political force as their credibility seems to raise more questions than answers.

  28. Yes thats about the way I see it Tain Bo, just as Kitson planned it, destroy the revolution from within, then use counter revoluntionaries to police whats left, by whatever means suits ,demoralise that constituency,remove the will to fight, you then have peace at any price, and whats left of the original revolutionary movement soon fragments and disperses into insignificant small groups, aye to me thats about where we are now. only one flaw in all that, its the Irish they just keep coming back, might be another generation but as Arnie says we will be back!

  29. It certainly is food for thought Marty when the revolution is usurped by the revolutionaries and then sold to the people as a progressive means to an end. In marketing terms they sold peace to the people when in truth they were selling the end of traditional republican ideology.
    One thing is certain it has changed how republicans think and has created a more astute awareness within republican thinkers.
    That is one reason I visit the quill both for the articles and the comments the more people comment the more we learn.

  30. Spot on Tain Bo a cara,the positive thing out of all of this is that apart from the sheep who follow blindly the forked tounge leaders of psf, the rest of the republican community have learned a very hard lesson and I,m sure they will never allow any individual ,or clique so much control again, probably one of the main reasons why we havent yet seen a unified republican opposition to the psf stance, the debate that is going on and the soul searching is imo not a bad thing,it may well help exorcise the demoms of the past, and through debate we will find common ground, and what springs from this will be a well informed and unified group with a clear agenda, and not a knee jerk organisation which was the parent of prm

  31. Very interesting reviews. I also want to echo both Nula's and Tain Bo's thanks to you, Anthony, in providing a much needed space on the web for some intelligent Republican discussion and thought, that neither obeys the thought police of PSF nor embraces the futile violence of despair of the C/RIRA's. I know your independent stance has cost your dearly and I was dismayed, but not especially surprised, to read in your Scotsman article of the treatment of your family the hands of a PSF led mob. There is nothing Adams fears more than Independent Republican Thinkers (the IRT!).
    I sometimes think you should have "You are now entering Free Thinking Derry" at the top of your page!

  32. Gerry Itwasnt me was inspecting the dare I say it the troops,he says to Bob do Brains "I didnt see you at camoflage training this morning" Bob do Brains replies"thank you boss"

  33. blackwatertown,

    hope you enjoyed it all. There is a great piece about the Powell memoirs from Mike Burke


    This is what amazes many people. I did a spoof piece once called Spy Wednesday and more than enough people told me it had the SF flock down to a T. They could be duped into believing anything. I remember Bangers stating publicly that there would be no decommissioning by the year 3000 and there was me asking if we were both on the same planet; how he could fail to see what was in front of his nose simply did not compute. He was not alone – others just didn’t say it so publicly. It perplexed me that anybody would hitch their intellectual credibility to a wagon that was going in the opposite direction.

    I spoke to Bill Lowry about the Castlereagh operation. He said it was just old rubbish they got. A republican told me that he thinks they were set up – the Branch needed rid of a lot of files before they were handed over to an inquiry so destroyed them and then invited the raiders into Castlereagh. After that they SB told the inquiry ‘files stole by IRA from Castlereagh.’

    Nuala, I have done conferences all over England and shared platforms with a wide range of people. Brit officials are incredibly at ease and open about their victory. What they profess not to understand is how the grassroots bought into it.


    It will always be a moot point about why the IRA was defeated. Whether it was a leadership induced defeat or simply the product of overwhelming Brit power. I think it was a war that could never have been won. The sell out lay less in the defeat and more in the manner in which it was managed.

    Tain Bo

    ‘It would be essential for the PIRA to maintain a certain level of
    authority over alternative thinking republicans.’

    That has been amply demonstrated by now and it stems from a range of reasons. But SF have become the contras of republican struggle.

  34. ‘and what’s left of the original revolutionary movement soon
    fragments and disperses into insignificant small groups’


    This is the way it seems to have ended up

    ‘through debate we will find common ground, and what springs from this will be a well informed and
    unified group with a clear agenda, and not a knee jerk organisation which was the parent of prm’

    You are more confident that I am

    Tain Bo

    pleased that you find TPQ useful for the discussion. Discussion and exploration are always welcome except in totalitarian circles.


    appreciated your comment on the hassle we got for thinking differently. I hope the 'intelligent republican discussion' continues. Those who comment make that happen.

  35. Whats the alternative Anthony leave it to those who would live the high life on the backs of so much misery, if nothing else we must keep chipping away and exposing those hypocrites at every opportunity, I would be optimistic enough to believe that a wiser and more focussed grouping will emerge,we cant go on repeating the mistakes of the past

  36. Marty
    I think this is the alternative debating and deconstructing the failure rather than accepting the standard lines. The only way forward is through sensible critical republican debate! Perhaps one of the greatest failings in our time is republicanism has never been cohesive this is one issue the Brits understand and will continue to manipulate republican division.


    It is a useful tool for educating more importantly the scholastic world will pick apart the Blanket and the Quill. It is an interesting concept the Victors are not the only ones who get to write the history now.

  37. Tain bo yip a cara your spot on as usual

  38. Tain Bo

    I think it says a lot about how the internet has smashed much of the power of the censor.


    ‘What’s the alternative Anthony leave it to those who would live the high
    life on the backs of so much misery?’

    there are republican alternatives but none that will overcome the problem of partition. SF abandoned republicanism to make progress on other fronts but not the anti-partition one.