On learning that the Provisional IRA’s fifth chief of staff had called the independent republican councillor Martin Connolly an eegit some people may have been tempted to think that Connolly had stated a belief in a united Ireland by 2016 or had claimed that securocrats are working tirelessly to wreck the peace process. That’s the type of things eejits claim to believe.

What earned Connolly the dubious accolade of eegit was his refusal to condemn the bomb attack on a young PSNI woman who also happened to be a relative of Connolly through marriage. In the incident the woman and her child could have been killed. Had that happened a united Ireland would still be no closer. The republican agenda would not have been advanced by one day. Blood stained republicanism might have triumphed but to what political purpose?

Had Martin Connolly been committed to a republicanism that would never again reinforce the legacy of past failures he would have condemned the attack and called on those who carried it out never again to use political violence in pursuit of their goals. That he did not denounce it is not only ominous it is also evidence of political myopia. His reluctance, explained in terms of ‘the politics of condemnation have never served any purpose’, is as wrong as it is limiting. What ethically void sphere would the world inhabit if condemnation were to be ruled offside? Were nothing to be condemned all that currently merits condemnation would continue unabated, from war crimes to rape.

It is a statement Martin Connolly shall most certainly be held to if he takes it upon himself - as he must do if he is to meaningfully function as some sort of political watchdog holding authorities to account and highlighting injustices – to condemn British state malpractice, intrusive sectarian marches, draconian police powers, anti-social activity. The list of things in any society in need of condemnation is not a short one. In one fell swoop Martin Connolly has denied himself the ability to convincingly speak out against a range of abuses by claiming that publicly criticising certain matters – indistinguishable from condemnation – has never served any purpose.

As the Provisional IRA’s fifth chief of staff was issuing his criticism of Connolly, the organisation’s sixth chief of staff was adding his shoulder to the condemnation wheel so that his voice too could have one more spin on the merry-go-round. In criticising the targeting of a former police officer in Cookstown he was hardly wrong to say the attack would ‘do nothing to further any cause.’ But to call it ‘senseless and cowardly’, as has been reported, suggests he has been rereading and regurgitating NIO press releases churned out daily when the Provisional IRA was waging its armed campaign. What makes the Cookstown attack different from the booby trap car bomb placed by the Provisional IRA volunteer James Connolly at Drumquin in 1989? Are we to believe that James Connolly lost his life in a cowardly and senseless operation and that those who lauded him at his graveside were eegits? Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness both attended his funeral. Rather than refer to him as an eegit Adams said his death was ‘a terrible indictment of the state.’

Provisional IRA chiefs of staff termed people ‘legitimate targets’ and primed others to kill them. They helped produce a comet the tail of which still lashes today. If the people who carry out these attacks are cowardly and senseless, and if those who decline to condemn them are mere eegits, then the republican plots that dot the country are filled with cowardly senseless eegits.

Only a real eegit can believe that.


  1. Timely piece. As yesterday Conor Murphy was at it too. Then Mc Guninness stating both the Irish and British goivernments were in talks with 'Dissidents'. Is Martin/mi6 waging his own dirty war? Or maybe trying to justify to himself all his decades of 'talking' to the "enemy"?
    SF have lost all rationale or credibility. Hopefully they will continue to fail in the South and eventually fade out in the North as people settle down and decide to revert back to genuine, constitutional, oportunist politicians.

  2. McGuinness using unrevealed sources tells us of ungoinging secret talks between the two goverments and republicans,is this McGuinness trying to tell us he is so well in the loop thats hes privy to all the secret going ons of the goverments, or imo is he a clone of Paisley who used to utter these statements frequently in the past,certainly sounds like it,the eejit!!!!

  3. I think you need to deflate your head. There was nothing to the Provisional campaign worth lauding. No amount of whataboutery or the bone rattling you resort to here when something that might reflect badly on the darling Provos changes the fact that it was an attempt to overthrow a sovereign, democratically constituted state, taking advantage of a period of unrest for little result other than setting back the reconciliation of Northern Ireland's communities for decades. Stop deluding yourself.

  4. Elliot,

    you're on the money, there.

  5. btw, Is it "Eegits" Or "Eejits"?

  6. Elliot, where was the sovereign and democratically constituted state the 'Provos' tried to over throw?

    If it is the North of Ireland you are speaking about, then it is you who needs to deflate your deluded head.

  7. Fionnuala

    Northern Ireland exists at the will of the majority of its inhabitants, that's how it came about, that's how it was when the troubles started and that is how it will end.

  8. Elliot,

    us eegits didn't know a good thing when we saw it eh? There we were all along mistaking altruism, generosity, benevolence for repression. If only we had been born to unionist parents we could have seen all this. Problem definitely was all those pesky Catholics. What else could the government do? I think I understand you. Thank you so much for enlightening us and so ensuring that our eegit status can now slip into abeyance.

  9. Colm,

    to use a G
    or perhaps a J
    has taxed my brain
    from day to day

    I worked so hard
    took little rest
    but became a G man
    like all the rest

  10. Anthony,

    "Are we to believe that James Connolly lost his life in a cowardly and senseless operation and that those who lauded him at his graveside were eegits?"


    I remember this incident - the intended victim had shared his lunchbox with his work `colleague' and `friend' prior to Connolly's attempted murder of him. "..altruism, generosity, benevolence.." repaid by a cowardly act.
    As for the "Eegits", well I'd be preaching to the converted on that.

  11. Robert,

    just caught this before I go off with the children so will queue jump and respond.

    I guess it is all down to a definition of cowardly. What grabbed public attention at the time of the James Connolly operation was the seeming callousness of the operation. I recall that the volunteer and the cop were work colleagues but not that they shared their lunch.

    I don't see the IRA as a body of cowards. I saw far too much raw courage to be deluded. I might not approve of people like Gerry Kelly, for example, but to deny his personal courage would be folly and spiteful. I have to see it where it exists.

    Often I think IRA actions are put down as cowardly by people who do not for some reason see cowardice in the action of the soldier who killed Majella O'Hare or those soldiers who shot in the backs the unarmed and defenceless IRA volunteers in Gibraltar. This makes the criticism political rather than ethical.

    But the point I was making was really about the mimic men that emerge in post conflict situations. They mimic their oppressors in word and deed.

  12. Personal 'courage' is meaningless, unless it is in support of a worthwhile event.

    I might find that some group of SS men in WW2 were 'brave'. So what? That's meaningless. The bravery of a whole people resisting the same SS is admirable, the SS men are contemptible.

  13. Anthony

    I take it you have no actual rebuttal given how you've broken out the MOPEish whataboutery.

    I also find accusations of bigotry from an unrepentant ethnic militiaman a bit rich.

  14. Robert,the same can surley be said about yer man from ASDA Shore rd who betrayed and executed two work mates, glass houses stones mate!

  15. Elliot,

    tantrums, tantrums. They only get you laughed at here.


    I tend to find that the time honoured response of those with no courage. No reflection on you as I know nothing of you. But like art for art's sake some things can be admired in their own right. The uses that such things are put to are another matter entirely. The bravery of the SS in seeking to subjugate the USSR has nothing to recommend it; the bravery of those German troops who tried to halt the rape of an estimated 2 million German women by Soviet troops must have some merit.

  16. Colm McGinn,
    sounds like you're one of those self hating Irish Uncle Tom Castle Catholics. Of all my time spent visiting the north, the Castle Catholics were the one type of individual I could never fully understand. Seems like they had so much self contempt for their own Irishness. But I always wondered if they were just secretly ashamed that they didn't have the personal courage to do anything during the war.

  17. how was it a PROVO attept to overthrow a sovereign democratically constituted state elliot, when both the conservative or labour party's who formed the goverment's were to yellow to stand
    for election's in IRELAND,
    to yellow to ask for people's votes
    whom the thought was that they had a right to rule, thats not democracy,

    only this year did the conservative party dip their toes in the political water here, only
    to get those poor toes roasted by the people, our choice meant no
    westminister seats in the six counties for the torys,
    the torys will now not take part in next years local or assemply elections,
    labour, the conservatives and the
    lib dems are afraid of the IRISH people's choice.

    one bit of advice elliot old hand,
    the next time you are out-side,
    crank your neck up-wards, look at that sky, no armed brit choppers in IRISH air space,
    the r.a.f have gone home to the land of the brits, they are away you know, no more IRISH duty for them.
    can anyone remember 3 under car
    bombs fall from their target's in a
    week before,
    does anyone know why the dissidents have never killed an
    armed brit soldier in their 24 years,
    the dissidents love the armed brits
    is this why they are called hardline.

  18. Anthony

    I'd say I was still waiting for you to prove me wrong but I'd be waiting a long time if I did.


    Northern Ireland was constituted with the declaration of its elected parliament that it wanted to seperate from the rest of Ireland the same way the First Dáil declared it wanted to seperate Ireland from the rest of the United Kingdom. The United Kingdom is a sovereign state and has a right to its territorial integrity uness of course the territory in question makes it plain it wants out. There, question answered.

    As to your rather garbled view of democracy; parties can run where they choose, that is democracy. Were they to run people would have no obligation to vote for them, that is democracy. As with republican arguments about the illegitimacy of the border yours would only hold water if unionists didn't exist, however most of the people in Northern Ireland vote for parties that support the union and the vast majority of the people south of the border vote for parties that support Northern Ireland's place in the union as long as most of its population wish it.

    Also there are roughly 4000 troops stationed in Northern Ireland.

  19. Elliot,

    you see it is your intellectual prowess that has me stumped. I honestly don't know how to respond to such cerebral brilliance. Your comment was the first time in my life that I was ever confronted with it. No one else ever raised it before. Imagine that. Congratulate yourself on being the very first. So please forgive me for not knowing how to deal with it. It was like being asked something about the darker recesses of the universe by Stephen Hawking. But in a spirit of generosity and deference to your illuminated brilliance, as a Most Oppressed Person Ever I would like to say to a Most Offended Person Ever let us reconcile and mope together!

  20. Michaelhenry,

    interesting point about the three bombs dropping off. Bad magnets or bad men?

    But in our day day we actually had a worse run - from the end of 87until into 89 there was a serious amount of mistakes where civilians were killed in operation after operation. Like you today, people then were asking similar questions.

  21. Ryan,

    there are reasons other than Uncle Tom ones for people having opposed the armed campaign of the Provisional IRA. Some people displayed immense courage in standing up to us.

  22. Michaelhenry-what about those soldiers killed last year? Who were they members of the sisters of charity mission? Were they not armed soldiers killed by dissident republicans? Or from the great leader's standpoint they were traitors who must be informed upon and put in prison.

  23. Marty,

    You see a glass house were none exists.
    There were many actions carried out in the name of Loyalism that I would and could never condone.

  24. Then I apoligise Robert, like the man sitting at the bar,staring into his pint, he sighed heavily,"whats up Dan" said the barman "its not like you to be so down in the mouth"..."Its my four year old son, the little f##ker has got our next door neighbour pregant" "get away thats impossible" said the barman.."its not said the man"...."The wee f##ker stuck a pin in all my condoms".....thought for the day.....Who picks up a guide dogs shit!!!!!!

  25. good elliot, we are now down to 4000 troops, kept in the barracks
    untill all the barracks come down,
    that will disappoint eirigi, who said last year that the number would never go below 5ooo, then the r.a.f pulled out,
    not to be out-done eirigi have said that they will protest untill
    the last brit soldier leaves, bless
    their little socks.

    have to say again ryan, for facts
    sake, that the dissidents have never killed any armed brit soldiers in there 24 years,
    those two who were killed at
    massereene were unarmed by degree,
    and were protected by civillian guards, the armed choppers were also removed,
    some will say that a brit is a brit
    others say that the dissidents are traitors for fighting in a cusy
    no dissident group killed any british soldiers or any cops whilst the armed british army was on our streets.

  26. AM- crappy under car bombs, or bad men, or bad women, or just sneeky
    brits being bad again,

    you tell the truth about the number of mistakes from late 87
    into 89, but in that period 46 british soldiers were killed, about half were armed when they met their maker, 22 cops plus 16 u.d.r were also killed in this time
    frame, with no exect dates, i can not give exact figures.

    some loylist members were also executed in this period,
    no dissident groups have ever killed a loyalist in their 24 years
    that must be why they are hardline.

  27. Nostalgia I miss the Helicopters and those wee green men wandering around with their funny accents.

    Interesting news I was completely unaware of “Norn Irish Air Space” complicated as the British Army won the ground war yet lost the Air war?
    Maybe you are taking that wee song Sam Missiles in the Sky to the close encounters of the absurd kind.

    Evidently you underestimate the British Military and technology “Stealth” maybe one day when you are up in Irish Air Space in your hot air Balloon you might come across an Ariel Unmanned Drone. Far cheaper than Helicopters plus unlike humans they don’t suffer from boredom or fatigue.

    A soldier is a soldier, until he or she leaves the army you make the case that a Provo attack on soldiers is different from a Dissident attack yet they both have the same objective.
    Ryan put you in checkmate bailing out there would have been the wiser move.
    You make it sound like an entertaining sporting event between the Provos and the Dissidents.

    Not to rain on your private parade “They” (Won) and have not gone away and shall remain for the foreseeable future.

    Slán mo chara

  28. Anthony

    I'll concede defeat, your masterful reparté betters any substantive response you could have made. Who needs logic when you have sarcasm?

  29. Elliot,

    sarcasm. Always used sparingly. It's like an anti-nasty spray. Works wonders. Ever see the video Priest Off? Does the same sort of thing as the spray there.

  30. Michaelhenry,

    that's very true about the operational cabability of the IRA in that period which the current IRAs are incapable of attaining and which further underlines the futility of their campaign. Against that there was a large number of volunteers lost in fatalities. Same thing would happen if the current lot upped the military ante. The longer an armed conflict goes on the greater the ease with which the opposition can penetrate. I know we will disagree on this but in my view if the military might of the Provisional IRA could only secure the situation that pertains today - far short of anything anybodydied for or went to prison to achieve - then the current IRAs have no chance whatsoever of bettering it.

  31. Anthony

    I suppose it was rather nasty of me to point out double standards like that, I'll leave you to your hypocrisy.

  32. Poor Elliot - like the moth to the flame

  33. Elliot, Ireland was implicitly recognised as a country within the United Kingdom, though it was never formally constituted as such; it was clearly not a seamless and inextricable part of the UK in the way that, for example, London is of England. Indeed, the idea of Ireland being a country occurs even in the Act of Union 1800. And anyway, Ireland - as a whole - was co-opted forcibly into the Union to begin with. So the idea of Ireland as a nation or country had precedence. However, the partition of Ireland was a violation of the principle of national self-determination, as Ireland was a multiethnic whole; there was no credible border between Catholics and Protestants; and creating a Northern Ireland entity only stranded a larger percentage of Catholics (35%) under an alien sectarian administration than the percentage of Protestants in a united Ireland (26%). If you followed your logic fully, then you would support the right of counties with a nationalist majority, such as Tyrone and Armagh, to secede from Northern Ireland. Countries should have the right to secede; counties or cities or enclaves should not.

  34. Liked that Alfie well said,and as you rightly say if one was to follow the logic,some of the shires in England will soon become muslim states.

  35. Talking of eejits,everyone seems to be wondering why muslim terrorists are so quick to commit suicide, lets have a look shall we....No Christmas-No television-No naked women-No football-No pork bbq-No hotdogs-No burgers-No beer-rags for clothes and towels for hats,constant wailing from the guys in the towers,more than one wife,you cant shave,your wife cant shave,you cant wash of the smell of donkey cooking over camel shit,your wife is picked by someone else,she smells worse than your donkey.Then they tell you when you die it all gets couldnt get any f##kin worse could it

  36. Elliot,

    "Northern Ireland exists at the will of the majority of its inhabitants, that's how it came about, that's how it was when the troubles started and that is how it will end. - WRONG!

    You forget that the north of Ireland exits ONLY because its borders were illegally gerrymandered by the Brits in order to ensure that "majority vote". Donegal is the furthest northern county in NI - so you tell me how it wound up as part of the south of Ireland?

  37. AM,

    Bravo to your reply to Robert. well stated!

  38. Elliot,

    "Also there are roughly 4000 troops stationed in Northern Ireland"

    4000 too many! And for what purpose?

  39. I was watching the bbc news earlier,there was footage of American combat troops being withdrawn from Iraq,haging out of the back of a truck a combat soldier who was going home with his life and limbs intact was hysterically yelling "we won we brought democracy to Iraq"yip they hung Saddam but the insurgency continues unabated,the Taliban are as strong if not stronger than ever, and as for democracy can one call a puppet reime democratic, kinda reminds me of the eejits travelling up and down the falls in convoy waving tricolours and yelling "ya we won"and that other old eejit Cahill giving a fist in the air salute and telling all "we won" I asked myself at the time are people really that stupid? and today I asked myself that same question again!

  40. marty,

    I agree with your assessment on Iraq. Some people are stupid and believe everything they read and are told. Others I feel just don’t care or are just disinterested and only concern themselves with what's going on in their own lives, not realizing the domino affect that can take place by ignoring the suffering, injustices, and evilness that exit in the world today. However, as for some of the youth of this nation, I am convinced they are stupid. They haven’t caught on to how our government and our media are "dumbing down" America. Just take a look at all the “reality” shows and sitcoms on TV anymore. Pure, unadulterated trash. The youth of today can tell you more about the contestants on American Idol, or who got thrown out of “The Bad Girls Club”, “The Jersey Shore” and what new video Snoop Dog is appearing in, but they haven’t a clue as to who the Vice President of the United States is – DUH! I’m sure that young soldier was just so happy to be going home that he didn’t take the time to realize he was brain washed by the government to possibly believe in the statement he made.

  41. Aye Helen unfortunately what happens in America soon happens here on these islands,in the case of "dumming down" I think that has been with us a while,

  42. Helen,

    "Bravo to your reply to Robert."

    I often think comments like yours should, like wine, be accompanied with tasting notes. Accordingly I thik yours would go something like this:-

    APPEARANCE & NOSE:- Distinctly fishy and immediately unappealing but a perfect marriage of green,white and orange.

    PALATE AND FINISH:- There is nothing very complex about this. A distinctive bittersweet note with an over abundance of acidity. My hopes for the remainder of bottle aren't too high, but we will see... Not great with fine fayre but a great accompaniment to the Wolf Tones 'You'll Never Beat The Irish'

  43. Robert,

    You are a witty one and your comment did make me laugh, but apparently AM's reply to you and my "bravo" remark to AM, must have hit home with you. I know the truth can hurt Robert so I guess that's why you resorted to sarcasm in your post to me. That's okay, though I think you should now chill out with a nice organge brew called 'Paddies Lie Down'. I think it would suit you.

  44. Helen,

    "I know the truth can hurt Robert so I guess that's why you resorted to sarcasm"

    Sarcasm has been described as the cream of wit. Depends how it is applied. That you derived some mirth from it indicates that its purpose was achieved. Your resentment is of your own making. Resentment, I have heard it said, is like swallowing poison and hoping the other person dies!