Bombing Omagh

Omagh is the last venue that armed republicanism might be expected to have put in an appearance. It takes some nerve. There, the levels of abhorrence for the phenomenon are probably higher than they are elsewhere. Its presence is unwanted, its visitation unsolicited and viewed as a deeply insulting intrusion.

Omagh was the site of the largest loss of human life in the country as a result of the North’s violent conflict. As such it would be thought that whatever else it did armed republicanism would balk at planting a bomb there. The town had become a veritable psychological shrine, a place which, because of the horrendous violence inflicted on it, cried out against republican physical force with the trauma spawned words ‘never again’.

Today’s bomb attack which took the life of a young PSNI member outside his home is like similar attacks in recent years, both futile and brutal. The dead man, a 25 year old Catholic, was a mere three weeks out of his training; basically a rookie. The attack was standard copy, the template inherited from the Provisional IRA: an under car booby trap bomb. It was every bit as futile and as callous as the double killing of RUC constables John Graham and David Johnston in Lurgan in June 1997, the last members of the force to have been killed by the Provisional IRA. It was just as wrong.

A bomb in Omagh on a Saturday afternoon conjures up the most terrible of images. The BBC reported that ‘neighbours rushed to help him and some used fire extinguishers to put out the flames from the explosion. He died at the scene.’ That such words should again be written abut Omagh beggar belief. Armed republicanism which has inflicted so much carnage already on the Tyrone town has returned, like a grave wrecker, to desecrate the memory. The term ‘Omagh bomb’ is one that almost everybody believed had been exorcised to the year 1998. Not for the first time has armed republicanism demonstrated its infidelity to sensitivity.

The death of the PSNI member will be a source of consolation to only the fundamentalist few. There are many republicans who do not support the PSNI but who would strenuously oppose seeing it targeted. It will of course be claimed that today’s killing was a blow for Irish freedom. But it is a gross contradiction to talk of Irish freedom if the Irish are unable to be free from the violence of armed republicanism. The people responsible may well be carrying on in the physical force tradition but they wage political violence on behalf of themselves and no one else. Theirs is a war against the national will. Infinitely much more invasive than the British rule they claim to be opposing, it flies in the face of national self determination while masquerading as a defence of it.

Today’s victim is the fourth member of the British security forces to have died at the hands of armed republicanism in two years. It is a miniscule achievement compared to what the Provisional IRA managed throughout most of its campaign. Yet for all their military prowess the Provisionals ultimately secured very little in terms of republican objectives. They now sit ensconced in a British administration at Stormont in full support of the police force their descendants are currently determined to kill. Gerry Adams who for decades approved attacks like today’s was one of the first to condemn the Omagh incident. There should be a strategic lesson somewhere in there for any republican discerning enough to find it.

Unfortunately, while a lesson that has been absorbed by many it will never be learned by all. There will always be some who without any chance of altering the future remain determined to repeat the past.

Ineffectual and immoral, armed republican violence is a scourge that can only deliver blight in place of betterment.

288 comments:

  1. depends on your perspective, a chara !
    Bombed British Paramilitary Police in Occupied Ireland Dead -http://bit.ly/OccupiedIreland

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  2. Donning a British uniform and implementing British laws in occupied Ireland carries a harsh price & another British Political Policeman looses his life…

    He follows many who were members of the RIC, RUC and the RUC/PSNI member who was killed in Lurgan a couple of years back.

    Armed actions by Republicans is not new & will continue so long... as Britain continues to occupy part of Ireland.

    Sad but inevitable!

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  3. The irony is Adams condeming the attack. It was legitimate for 30yrs in order for him and McGuninnes to be admitted to Stormont. Now that objective has been reached militant republicans are criminals. When oh when are SF going to come out from behind the Irish dead? Cake and eat it springs to mind.
    Think you were a tad reactive and hasty with that article Mackers regardless of the merit and acuracy of your stance. Futile yes, immoral possibly.I noticed you stopped short of branding it criminal, a wee glance in the mirror there? That at least sets you apart from the trash bags in Stormont. No Irish man or woman needs Adams' permission to be decriminalised; a 'bloody' disgrace he is.
    This attack couldn't have come at a better time for SF, wouldn't surprise me if the sudden upgrade in techno ability was 'leaked' in time for May 5th. SDLP MK1 will be livid.

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  4. Another dead cop- another dead uniform some might say- except that the IRA some-times wore a uniform

    flicked around the media and internet and those that support the r.a.f killing people in libya are opposed to the cop person being killed in tyrone- strange that-

    I have always stood my ground no matter what- i fully support what the Sinn Fein leadership have said-

    this bomb like the rest have all been in our past- another blast-past- Larry thinks that Sinn Fein might be behind this- is that why he does not know to support this death or not.

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  5. Larry,
    I totally agree with you. I honestly believe this will have serious ramifications for the alternative republican stance come May 5th.
    The majority of Sinn Fein voters could not give a hoot about republican ideals or republicans themselves for that matter.
    However, some of them, perhaps more than ever were expressing serious reservations about giving them a vote, sadly this could turn that around.
    Always makes my blood run cold when Adams or the Deputy add their voice to the condemnation.
    The latter lured an informer home to be murdered by an even bigger informer. While the former sunk to depths too vile to even contemplate.

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  6. as long as there are Brits in Ireland? you feel its great to go out a blow up some one . for a bullshit free Ireland. look what the church and FF have done for this bloody country more damage than any Brits, Donning the British uniform? what a joke. and i bet the fools who did this dont even know how many counties are in Ireland. Rafia

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  7. I see Mickeyboy who for long enough has goaded those in favour of armed resistance about their kill tally has once more skipped over the issue,are you happy now mo cara yes or no, if this action advanced the cause of socialism or the reunification of this country,then I for one who appauld it, however it seems to me that our people are more divided than ever,I believe we need a revolution and I agree with Tony here we need to redefine who really is the enemy,as for the cop killed yesterday he like the volunteer who planted the device is/was no more than a pawn in a dirty game that is the dreggs of what Adams and his cronies left behind,this action and its timing is gonna increase psf,s votes thats a cert,when there should be a determined effort to organise a credible counter balance to psf for disillusioned republicans to have their voice and opinions heard.I,m sorry to say that the only ones to gain from this action will be the Kitson esque mandrains in brit m.i.t and psf.

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  8. When all is said and done, armed Republicans attacking and killing British Policemen in Ireland is nothing new…

    In saying that, I do feel sorry for the latest one’s family and friends.

    The only short answer to ending these armed actions is that the British Government set a date for the political and military withdrawal from the Six Counties.

    Politically speaking, the Stormont Assembley, a reformed and rebranded RUC and a continuation of Partition and British occupation is not what the Republican community desired for the future. Which ensures that until Irish National self-determination is achieved then armed actions are inevitable.

    Tony, U can condemn all U want but whilst the above continues so will armed republican actions!

    I’d much prefer the above was not the case but is and as such we all collectively need to properly address and resolve the above issues!

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  9. michaelhenry,
    You were the one person who kept reiterating the fact, that the 'dissenters' poised little threat as they did not have the ability to kill crown forces.
    Now that the have killed another cop, you are saying you agree with the Sinn Fein leadership, strange!

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  10. your not going to get any united Ireland by blowing up or killing any one, plus is any country worth dying for? people are more worried now about jobs and not able to keep there Houses! know one supports RIRA CIRA Gangs etc.....So a few Apes think there going to Free Ireland. WE ARE FREE!!!!!!! as far as Volunteer ? you can get lots who will shoot or Bomb. some Brain washed guy. who Never even grew up in the Troubles or War. sorry Anthony for my Bad Writing your the only one who makes Sense on Here!

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  11. Tony would you say that all those who bombed and fought from say 69 to 94 were brain washed morons,you seem to say it was ok to bomb then, I,ve heard that type of talk before,are you not just a nimby person,would you not agree that a section of our people small in numbers as they may be will argue that such actions and worse worked for Adams and co so sauce for the goose etc.

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  12. Tony "you can get lots to shoot and bomb,"what does that tell us about the way the so called peace process have left a lot of people then?

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  13. Excellant piece of writting and does more justice to the Republican cause than yesterdays tragic killing.

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  14. 'armed republican violence is a scourge' completely disagree,maybe timing is the issue....we dont have british troops or british administration in the 26 counties(however corrupt they may be)and that was brought about by a combination of issues,one of which was armed republican violence,extreme intense violence. i also want a revolution a social one and we all know that we aren't going to overthrow capitalism in ireland by throwing flowers at it.like i said,its all about timing....a mass movement would scare the establishement more than a dead pig.

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  15. Blowing up a policeman for a United Ireland??? Utter bollix. Ireland is being run by the Germans at the moment. I would think the majority of people in Ireland at the moment couldn't give 2 shites what flag flies above the local town hall, as long as they have a job to go to, and can put food on the table and pay the rent.

    Ardoynenationalist: give me a break. What century are you stuck in? It's why lots of folk south of the border want nothing to do with your kind, who seem content to be the boil on the arse of the rest of the country.

    What one reason could yesterday's murder hope to achieve. I'm at a loss? You'll get the usual tripe "as long as the British occupy etc, and so on. zzzzzzzzzzzzzzz"

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  17. Criodain,
    "Utter bollix and tripe" could also be applied to that blog of yours. 60 seconds of my life that I will never get back.
    zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

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  18. Public condemnation by the great and the good did little to dissuade the PRM from pursuing armed struggle for many many years. Condemnation from the same quaters today has a more consistent ring to it than the new words of condemnation from Adams and McGuinness et al.

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  19. Mackers, republican violence is spawned by British rule. We seem destined to recurring cycles of violence until the fundamental cause of conflict in Ireland is resolved.

    Remove the unionist veto and allow for a genuine referendum of the future of the island as the basis for a real and lasting peace.

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  20. Alec, Im an Irish Republican who believes in the right of Irish people to bear arms to protect itself. That doesnt mean i have to support every group that attacks the British establishment. I just cant see how the killing in Omagh on sunday advances the cause of irish freedom.

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  21. "Remove the unionist veto and allow for a genuine referendum of the future of the island as the basis for a real and lasting peace." David Trimble offered a border poll at the time of the GFA and it was rejected by Sinn Fein. As to `British withdrawal` the late David Ervine said: "I AM the British presence here, and I'm not withdrawing anywhere."

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  22. Alec Pursuing the removal of the unionist veto to allow for a genuine referendum of the future of the island is one thing --simply spoiling for a fight is quite another.

    It is more evident that many Republicans no onger look to Adams and McGuiness as they once did --it is also evident that simply blowing people, and things, up is not wanted either.

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  23. AM- what alternative would you suggest to armed republicanism? for a lot of people north and south accepting the british state is non runner,there will always be some form of resistence to it,accepting a unionist police is also a no-no! the way the media talk about his religious status is indicitative of their own sectarian agenda,his religion is his own business as far as im concerned.
    i think the chorus of condemnation is pathetic,its coming from people who are now bombing libyia people had frank hegarty shot for being a 'collaborator' and generaly people who have a 'northern ireland' agenda,the politics of condemnation show that fuck all changed really in the mindset of our 'masters' and their new co-opted friends the PRM.

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  24. Kilsally, Ervine also said of the Dublin and Monaghan bombings, that it was just a return of serve.a cheerleader for mass murderers I,d say, as for being a socialist how can he tally that with his loyality to the crown ,the man was as much a hypocrite as Adams and Mc Guinness and the rest.

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  25. ewok "...accepting the british state is non runner,there will always be some form of resistence to it,..."

    'Some form of resistence' does not mean it must absolutely be violent.

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  26. Fionnuala- Marty-

    Dissidents are not new to Ireland
    the royals are not new to Ireland-
    both still support killing's in 2011- the dissidents in tyrone and the royals support their armed groups killing around the world

    Last saturday was not far from the
    25th anniversary date when these dissdents were formed [ 1986 ] they
    are not new but them killing a cop in tyrone is new- it was their first one- it does not matter how much i goat a dissident in belfast-
    they have never killed any cops or brit soldiers- my big toe is more hard-line.

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  27. Mackers,
    Have you looked in the mirror lately.....it's getting diffcult to determine who exactly is the 'bearded one or the master'....

    Mirror, mirror on the wall,
    Please tell me I'm the greatest Republican of them all

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  28. This attack is not s suprise, nor the shrill condemnation from constitutional nationalism. Mackers i fundamentally disagree with you're assertion that the republican militants are morally equivalent to the British occupational forces. The IRA is a response to an imperialist occupation, not the cause of it!

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  29. i never said it had to be violent did i??? i would rather see a mass movement on the streets where politics really matters than blowing up ruc/psni,if a mass movement was active on the streets around issues such as prisoners rights,housing,education,the welfare of the people etc,that would be much better and much more popular,but we all know what would happen then,the british apperatus,the ruc/psni etc would attack this movement as they attacked the civil rights movement.all governments fear their people.especially when they're mobilised around key issues.

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  30. unionist veto - already gone, as already mentioned SF were offered a poll and declined, beacause they knew they would lose. This was confirmed by the publication of the census statistics in 2001, SF hoped for a large jump in the nationalist population, didnt happen.

    This bomb brings us no closer to a United Ireland. It will never be achieved by violence especially due to world events in the past decade.

    Kilsally, apt quote from Ervine there. Even if British administration ended in the Norther tomorrow, we would still have a large British community and violence like saturdays only alienates them further and makes it more difficult for their eventual assimilation into a unified Republic.

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  31. Fionnuala
    SF membership means living in a house with no mirrors. No concience and no shame either. Horses for courses, if the war was at a stalemate in 1987 then the leadership should have fucked off or joined the SDLP. Every death since then is their doing, as was the limited response to the upsurge in catholic murders.

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  32. Alec,

    'republican violence is spawned by British rule.'

    I think that's only true in the sense that shoplifting is spawned by shops. There has to be some mediating factor. If British rule, which presumably affects all Irish people, prompts so few of those people to use republican violence, then its explanatory power becomes very weak. I think it is more true to claim that the ideology of physical force republicanism is what spawns republican violence. Very few subscribe to that ideology and correspondingly very few use republican violence. People make decisions and strategic choices and do not merely respond as automatons to the mere fact of British rule.

    I think the Provisional IRA insurrection, and the terms on which it was settled, was less against British rule and more against how the British ruled. British rule did not have to end to close down the armed struggle. The British just had to change the way they ruled.

    British rule itself is currently spawned by the aggregated decision of the Irish people to allow it to continue until such times as a majority in the North decide that it should end. We may not like that but it is what it is.

    Even if we are condemned to repeated cycles of republican armed acts the inevitability of it all doesn’t add to its correctness.

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  33. The word dissident is being thrown around far to much here! Who are the real dissenters of the irish republican cause??? It definetly aint the men willing to carry on the fight for irish freedom! These are the true republicans who are fighting the true cause...The dissenters are in government..The label DISSIDENT just riles me

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  34. Aye Anthony and once Tories were rebels now they rule the uk,

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  35. Anthony-

    People have no other choice but to
    label those opposed to the peace process as dissident- either loyalists or republican as none of their supporters seem to say who or what group they support- they can't all be that yellow

    You also say that men are willing to carry on the fight for Irish freedom- are you saying that no women would fight on-

    You don't like the term dissident-
    what do you want to be called- hero

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  36. michaelhenry

    'none of their supporters seem to say who or what group they support'

    Do you work for the RUC/PSNI?

    Is it any wonder no-one tells you anything when they know that you back the cops and if you don't work for them directly, you certainly do indirectly?

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  37. Mackers, again you trivialise the point being made. Irish republican ideology developed in direct correlation to the usurpation of the sovereign rights of the Irish people. It is a set of ideas and stratagems designed to challenge the presence and manifestations of British rule and asserts the right of the Irish people to national self determination. It is a simple enough equation: without British occupation there would be no republican resistance.

    The nature of British rule has not been fundamentally altered by the GFA, as you have pointed out, the consent principle has been a foundation stone of British state policy since the early seventies.

    The mechanism employed under the terms of the GFA to demonstrate support form the accord was inherently undemocratic. A single referendum on a 32 country basis may have produced a different outcome, and may still do so. Recognising partition as the basis for a settlement was tantamount to recognizing of Britain's right to remain in Ireland based on an undemocratic veto.

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  38. Armed resistance was always carried out by a small unrepresentative group or groups. Public opinion or condemnation held little water. Since the kildare rebellion of Silken Thomas and before, Irish rebels threw tantrums in order to gain a better deal from England. I don't recall that ever being promoted as their agenda by SF/PIRA.
    SF are the dissidents, not the misguided activists at present. How SF can go to Edentubber and claim to be the representatives of all the patriot dead is just a sick joke.
    If we have accepted partition and uk rule in the north isn't it sad we have to suffer the schitzo statements and antics of SF rats.

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  39. Alec,

    It is not to trivialise the point being made. It is to contextualise it entirely differently from you. And context is always contested and debatable. I don’t think the point you made is trivial but I think it is much too economical.

    Your response reads very formulaic and to my eye makes a traditional republican narrative sound somewhat theological when it is better presented as ideological. I don’t think formulae persuade people.

    You argue that ‘without British occupation there would be no republican resistance.’

    Which begs the question of why there is so little republican resistance – and I presume here you mean armed resistance. In my view it is the republican physical force ideology that spawns republican violence not British rule. Examine the correlation between being opposed to British rule and the support of republican violence. There is a massive disparity. Look at the correlation between the physical force tradition and armed republicanism. There is a close enough fit.

    ‘The nature of British rule has not been fundamentally altered by the GFA.’

    British rule per se (as rule) has not been fundamentally altered but the manner in which that rule takes place has. (Which I think is crucial in understanding the trajectory of the Provisionals). This is one of the republican points of critique of the SF position. While the consent principle has not been changed by the GFA many more nationalists consent to British rule (albeit with qualifications) than at any time previously.

    ‘The mechanism employed under the terms of the GFA to demonstrate support for the accord was inherently undemocratic.’

    It was democratic. It simply did not produce the democratic outcome we wanted. Nor did it use the democratic mechanism we wanted. That is the point about democracy - we don’t always get the outcome we want. And it is pluralist and therefore we have to allow for a plurality of outcomes and mechanisms. While we might argue from a republican perspective that there is only one mechanism, from a democratic perspective people have the right to decide how self determination will be exercised and they can opt to reject our mechanism. There is no one way of exercising it. Most who voted for the referendum knew what they were voting for, just as those of us who voted against knew what we were doing.

    What we know as an absolute certainty is that the Irish people collectively reject political violence as a means to opposing what they democratically approve. When it comes down to it the people have told us very clearly that British rule as currently constituted is what they determine for and republican violence is what they determine against. And in that sense republican violence usurps national self determination.

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  40. AM

    'When it comes down to it the people have told us very clearly that British rule as currently constituted is what they determine for and republican violence is what they determine against. And in that sense republican violence usurps national self determination.'

    Terence MacSwiney, in his Principles of Freedom, stated:

    "We fight for freedom …. The inspiration is drawn from a deeper element of our being. …. If we don't go forward we must go down. It is a matter of life and death; it is out soul's salvation. If the whole nation stand for it, we are happy; we shall be grandly victorious. If only a few are faithful found they must be the more steadfast for being but a few. They stand for an individual right that is inalienable. A majority has no right to annul it, and no power to destroy it. …. One man alone may vindicate it, and because that one man has never failed it has never died. Not, indeed, that Ireland has ever been reduced to a single loyal son. She never will be. We have not survived the centuries to be conquered now. …. the significance of it all is seen in the obligation it imposes on everyone to be true, the majority notwithstanding. He is called to a grave charge who is called to resist the majority. But he will resist, knowing his victory will lead them to a dearer dream than they had ever known. He will fight for that ideal in obscurity, little heeded—in the open, misunderstood; in humble places, still undaunted; in high places, seizing every vantage point, never crushed, never silent, never despairing, cheering a few comrades with hope for the morrow. And should these few sink in the struggle the greatness of the ideal is proven in the last hour; as they fall their country awakens to their dream, and he who inspired and sustained them is justified; justified against the whole race, he who once stood alone against them. In the hour he falls he is the saviour of his race."

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  41. John McGirr,

    MacSwiney does not seem to have much respect for the will of the people. That is where legitimacy comes from, not from airy-fairy notions of the ancient Irish nation and her dead generations. If republicans really do believe in freedom, then they must accept the right of the Irish people to reject republicanism.


    AM,

    A troubling question occurred to me while reading your article: if most people in Ireland supported the killing of Ronan Kerr, would that make it right? Is popular support enough to make an anti-colonial war legitimate?

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  42. I think John,s quote from Terence Mac Swiney says it all succinctly.if I may add my twopence worth ,the declaration of Arbroath states "for as long as but a hundred of us remain alive,never will we on any conditions be brought under English rule,it is in truth not for glory,nor riches ,nor honours that we are fighting,but for freedom-- for that alone which no honest man gives up but with life itself",the original document can be viewed in the Scottish parliament buildings.

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  43. Mc Guinness said "he,s proud of catholic police officers" wonder what they think of him,?did he say the same to Frank Haggerty?

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  44. John McGirr-

    We are not all behind a hedge you know- the Quill is public-

    Its every-ones own business what they write- or don't write- i will
    lose no sleep over who you support-
    or don't- just saying- its safe you know- thats why some support the dissidents- because the brits and loyalists never killed one over their hard years-

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  45. John,

    it just goes to show you how far removed I am from the thinking of Terence Mac Swiney. It is intrinsically fascist. It is the intellectual sustenance of right wing ultra nationalism which deifies the leader and creates an elite band. The last time I read something like that it was from the mouth of Hitler. I think it is as far removed from a concept of democratic republicanism as anything I can imagine. I think republicans need to struggle to be free from the type of regime that thinking would deliver.

    If we want to draw on history I think Connolly offers something much healthier when he said 'Ireland, as distinct from her people, means nothing to me.' Seemingly Ireland's people meant little to MacSwiney.

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  46. Alfie,

    'That is where legitimacy comes from, not from airy-fairy notions of the ancient Irish nation and her dead generations.'

    Pearse, MacSwiney et alia might differ:

    "It is well to consider something of the opposition that confronts a man who tries to fill his life with a brave purpose. He will be told it is an illusion; he is a dreamer, a crank, or a fool….
    ………….
    But we only claim that our principles will rule the future as they have ruled the past; for the circumstances no man can speak. He calls you a dreamer for your principles, but he can't show, now nor in history, that his exemplars were ever justified. We are all dreamers, then; but some have ugly dreams, while the dreams of others are beautiful worlds, star-lighted and full of music."

    (Principles of Freedom, Terence MacSwiney).

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  47. AM

    ‘it just goes to show you how far removed I am from the thinking of Terence Mac Swiney.’

    Your article certainly shows the gulf between you.

    ‘It is intrinsically fascist. It is the intellectual sustenance of right wing ultra nationalism which deifies the leader and creates an elite band. The last time I read something like that it was from the mouth of Hitler.’

    So much deduced from so little. No attempt to view the wider picture, to give an Irish patriot martyr a fair hearing, to take the 10-15 minutes to read his Principles of Freedom.

    Your labelling him as ‘fascist’ and your comparison of his words to those of Hitler strike me as Stalinist in the extreme.

    'Seemingly Ireland's people meant little to MacSwiney.’

    I think Terence MacSwiney, who gave his life for Ireland deserves better than that.

    Right now, I see very little between your view and that of PSF the GAA or the 'Catholic Church'.

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  48. Mickeyboy the brits or loyalists never killed a dissident,true mo cara but the provos did on behalf of the brits ,rem Vol Joe O Connor

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  49. Your article certainly shows the gulf between you.

    I am glad for that.

    It should have read fascistic rather than fascist as there is a difference of emphasis. My fault.

    'So much deduced from so little.'

    Have you read Hitler?

    'No attempt to view the wider picture.'

    No need to. I commented on what you posted and found it intrinsically fascistic.

    I have read MacSwiney before. I have no difficulty in giving 10-15 minutes to read his Principles of Freedom but you didn't ask me to. And presumably your posting did not take him out of context and was therefore representative of his views. Which negates the need for me to read him in order to make the point on your representative post.

    I think he had something more worthwhile to say when he commented that it is not those who inflct the most but theose who can endure it.

    Stalinist? How come? Have considered myself many things but not a Stalinist. First time I have been called that.

    'I think Terence MacSwiney, who gave his life for Ireland deserves better than that.'

    If he thought the views of the Irish people can be disregarded in the interests of a small elite it was not the Irish people he died for John but an idea of what a nation should be which he believed should be imposed on people,

    'Right now, I see very little between your view and that of PSF the GAA or the 'Catholic Church'.'

    Buy glasses then

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  50. Marty,
    The 'Deputy' said he is proud of all the Catholic officers!
    There are officers in the PSNI, who are 'Nationalist and Republican'
    His head must be so far up his fat city of culture backside that he no longer seems to know what he is saying.
    Adams went one better though, 'these people are worse than traitors they won't even admit their guilt'
    Where else would you get it?

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  51. Aye Nuala looks like the bearded one will need a refesher course at the Jonathan Powell school of spin ,he,s becoming a wee tad hard boiled methinks.

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  52. Marty,
    I think Powell would have the door firmly bolted, no need to cajole them further the deed has been done.
    Adams himself out does them all, as the Master of deceit and spin.

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  53. terence mcsweeney a fascist?? come off the fuckin stage,does that mean you engaged in fascism when you carried out acts against british rule,trying to impose your idea on the people,come on AM,i just rekon your angry that this has happened and are verbally lashing out,you can do better than this....

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  54. Mackers

    I'm trying this short response to see if I have sorted out the problem I'm having posting on the site. I know it's something I'm doing wrong. Here goes!

    Your response was as good a piece of post republican commentary as I have read in recent times.

    I had to remind myself I was debating with my old friend Mackers and not the late Connor Cruise O'Brien or present day Ruth Duddley Edwards.

    You should get yourself one of those double barrelled names. Who knows; it might give your words a greater air of authority.

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  55. Nuala did Adams actually say that, f##king what a guy!this comes from a man who knows nothing about the dissapeared or membership of the pira.

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  56. In all honesty how do we know that the provos didn't do it?

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  57. Ewok,

    ‘ come off the fuckin stage’.

    Just what I thought when you referred to a ‘dead pig.’

    If you took the time to read the piece it might just have struck you that at no point was MacSwiney called a fascist. If I feel he or anyone else is or was a fascist then I will have no hang ups in saying it. My thoughts are my own and are not constrained by the authority some seek to ascribe to the dead. What my comment aimed at is simple: the MacSwiney discourse presented by John McGirr is in my view intrinsically fascistic. I have also found discourse on the Left that struck me in similar fashion and I have stated it. But I do not believe the Left is fascist. I suppose it is a bit like a foolish act. A person who carries out a foolish act can’t be labelled a fool but the act can be labelled foolish. If all the acts he carries out are foolish then he can be labelled a fool.

    As a matter of interest what would a fascist find objectionable in the comments selected by John? What part of it would not sit comfortably in fascist discourse?

    I think there were fascistic tendencies at play within the Provisionals when I was part of them. But as I pointed out at a recent debate in Belfast the Provisionals were not a fascist organisation.

    So you just reckon I am angry at the death of Ronan Kerr and am lashing out.

    I don’t approve of it in the slightest but I am not going to feign a consuming anger that I do not feel. I didn’t know the guy or his family, I don’t live in the North and I don’t support the force he was part of. All these factors remove me from the eye of the grief. It is part of the human condition. The annoyance and alienation I felt has not impaired my judgement. I have held these views for years.

    But I have experienced it all before and am no stranger to the irony that once we dissent we are mentally ill, alcoholics, whores, envious, bitter malcontents, egotists. And now we become Conor Cruise O’Brien, Ruth Dudley Edwards, Gerry Adams, Stalinist, the GAA, the Catholic Church and PSF. And to top it all you row in with an allegation of emotional upset.

    Any excuse it seems to deprive us of the power of reason in the eyes of those we dissent from. Time honoured tactic there. Can those being dissented from not do better than that?

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  58. Alec,

    ‘Your response was as good a piece of post republican commentary as I
    have read in recent times.’

    It was not post republican but post physical force tradition. Republicanism is much wider than that tradition.

    You should not feign surprise. We have spoken consistently about this since the Omagh bombing of August 98 which we both felt was a disaster. You have sought to defend a very traditionalist republican perspective and I have disagreed with you throughout. As far back as the prison we diverged on the issue of where the dynamic for the armed struggle came. You were critical of the emphasis I put on conjunctural factors internal to the North and felt it was more ideological than that. In our many conversations you discussed being motivated by 1798. You knew it didn’t bear on what I thought.

    You read the Irish News article put out by myself and Tommy Gorman in October 2000 in which we argued that never again should republicanism take life in pursuit of its goals. It is a position repeated many times. The stance has been very clear to you throughout.

    ‘I had to remind myself I was debating with my old friend Mackers and not the late Connor Cruise O'Brien or present day Ruth Dudley Edwards. You should get yourself one of those double barrelled names. Who knows;
    it might give your words a greater air of authority.’

    But this is never thrown up when I defend republicans against PSNI abuses, or republican prisoners against screw batterings etc. It comes into play only when I question a mode of thought that somehow thinks it ok to literally rip somebody to pieces in the street because its view, no matter how little support for it, can be imposed on the Irish people who shall have no say in what way the stated problem of British rule shall be tackled.

    Well, I am used to that. Sinn Fein employed the tactic all the time.

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  59. Awful dopey bunch of non-thinkers on here.

    I understand that Ardoyne Republican may have issues to resolve (& I sympathise on those), but you might consider what does actually make legitimate an act of violence.

    BrianClarkeNUJ; you are a fairly weird guy. What's with all the fascination with blood?

    Poor Marty is locked in a little world where there is moral equivalence "he like the volunteer who planted the device is/was no more than a pawn in a dirty game" Have a wee wake up, Marty.

    Too bloody silly, all of you.

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  60. AM

    Just back from the Court re G McG's sentencing.

    The judge's comments reminded me of yours.

    "You perceive yourself to be a leader, though there is an element in that leadership of narcissistic disdain for others, including disdain for your fellow recruits to the IRA.

    "You elevated your political opinions and views over democracy, the rule of law the existence and bodily integrity of Mr Brush," said the judge."

    You could be sitting in ermine yet, Anthony, :)

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  61. John,

    the thought did strike me as I was reading the judgement - and said to myself 'such timing.'!

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  62. AM,
    'and to top it all you row in with an allegation of of emotional upset'
    well if i got it wrong then i apologise,but to imply that i'm rowing in behind anyone else who you feel are likening you to ruth dudley edwards etc,then you are wrong,i'm not.
    i asked you in an earlier post what you would suggest as an alternative to republican armed struggle,do you feel thst we can achieve republican objectives peacfully,i dont,and that doesnt mean im advocating armed struggle,i'd like to see something else,but feel that there will be no bloodless revolution in this country,given the nature of the british ruling class aswell as the southern irish ruling class,they will always use violence to protect their interests...

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  63. Just an opinion Colm,I think that action was an ill conceived,the only ones to gain from this are the very people that "dissenting republicans" oppose and not worth risking the life of a volunteer nor the cop victim, Gerry Mc Geough sent down for 20 years yet the leading lights on the AC at the time sit in goverment with huge salaries and nice pension ,tell me it wasnt /isnt a dirty game mo cara.I believe Tony bLIAR admitted it was.probably the only honest comment he ever made.

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  64. "Theirs is a war against the national will"-that is Free State talk,plain and simple.

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  65. Ewok,

    I wasn't complaining, merely observing. No apology needed.


    'I asked you in an earlier post what you would suggest as an alternative to republican armed struggle.'

    I know you did and I did intend to reply because I think you made a stab at outlining one. The alternative to armed republicanism is unarmed republicanism. A truism of course that needs fleshed out. But until there is a commitment to it we shall not see it happen.


    'do you feel thst we can achieve republican objectives peacfully'.

    I feel we can neither achieve them peacefully nor violently. The main one of a united Ireland that is. But there are lots of radical issues that republicans can address to bulk out republicanism without actually being able to push the main issue over the line. There is no radical or strategic purpose behind the physical force tradition.

    My view of revolutionaries is that they will invariably let you down. The genuine 1 in 10 lose their lives while the others survive and go on to underscore Orwell's point that they are social climbers with bombs.


    The ruling class 'will always use violence to protect their interests...'

    No doubt but the revolutionaries once in power will do likewise and the interests they protect will hardly be the ones so many others died trying to achieve.

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  66. John,

    'that is Free State talk, plain and simple.'

    In so far as 'tomorrow is Thursday' is also Free State talk.'

    It is democratic republican talk plain and simple.

    Tell me that the killing of Ronan Kerr it is not against the national will.

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  67. I made the point in another forum, for which I make no apology, that we are hearing nothing more from those who support the continuation of armed struggle than the same grandiloquence used by Guinness and Adams in the past.

    Like the present generation of young Republicans who risk their lives and that of others and who languish in prison; we too believed a leadership that told us the war would continue while the Brits remained in Ireland. And look at them today. Preachers of peace.

    How can we be sure that those who paraphrase a past leadership won't follow the path of that leadership in the future? We can't but will more lives have to be wasted based on trust alone?

    We often hear about the rights of the Irish People yet what right have they really when they don't agree with those who believe that violence will some day remove Britain from our shores yet they have no real say in this regard?

    How can Republicans hope to achieve the support of the people when they go against their wishes? I would like to have this question answered instead of mucky names being flung in my direction as a reply.

    Then again this is something else that those who support continued armed struggle have taken from the Shinners when they attack those who disagree. It seems to be an endless cycle of, if you're not for us you're bracketed with 'Dissident' or 'Conor Cruise/Ruth Dudley'. It's like Donald Sutherland at the end of Invasion of the Bodysnatchers ffs.

    Then there's there oft used what's your alternative to armed struggle. Something also used by the Shinners when defending their embracing of Stormont...'Whats your alternative to the GFA?'

    And what I don't need is a lecture on the failings of the GFA and Stormont. What I want is to know how something that is only a drop in the ocean compared to what PIRA and the INLA threw at the British can ultimately drive the Brits out?

    More importantly how can Republicanism which can't even unite itself unite a people or a country?

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  68. Marty, it's not 'just an opinion'. By talking that way, you provide cover and support (intentional or not) for the 'doers', who might typically be murderous young men who can be easily persuaded to do anything.

    They may or may not later regret their actions; in the meantime, the best course for society is to inform on these guys before they cause any more grief.

    John McGirr, on:
    "You perceive yourself to be a leader, though there is an element in that leadership of narcissistic disdain for others, including disdain for your fellow recruits to the IRA.

    "You elevated your political opinions and views over democracy, the rule of law the existence and bodily integrity of Mr Brush,"

    That, though you don't see it, contains the nub of the matter. You and your like minded friends elevate YOUR sensibilities above us of the common herd. Narcissm & ego truly describes you.

    Sammy Brush was (& is) alright. Nearly a pity he wasn't a fraction more accurate in his return fire.

    Dixie, indeed. "how can Republicanism which can't even unite itself unite a people or a country?"

    You all should have a little wise up.

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  69. Colm McGinn

    '...in the meantime, the best course for society is to inform on these guys ...'

    Well you know the penalty that awaits informers.

    'You and your like minded friends elevate YOUR sensibilities above us of the common herd.'

    At least you recognise you come from the 'common herd'.

    'Nearly a pity he wasn't a fraction more accurate in his return fire.'

    That disgraceful comment could be put the other way round.

    'You all should have a little wise up.'

    Aren't we fortunate to have you to enlighten us!

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  70. Colm you should get a manager instead of handling yourself . ya w##ker calling on people to become informers,like your friends in psf,did you have the same opinion in the 70,s 80,s or is it ok now that Gerry and Marty say so, I will never hand over an Irishman/woman to your brit justice,no matter how misguided they may be ,rather I would try and presuade them that there has to be another non violent way to pursue their objectives, filling your majesties prisons with Irishmen didnt work in the past and it wont work in the future,thats a lesson you should have learnt by now.

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  71. John McGirr, on:

    "Well you know the penalty that awaits informers". Thanks, John. I take it you approve of the murder of 'informers'? Should I start checking under the car now? In case you 'inform' on me to the violent little turds you support?

    ON "At least you recognise you come from the 'common herd'. Again John, you have a little problem of understanding. I'm a democrat, I recognise that defective as it often is, I don't have any right to (attempt to) enforce my will against the decisions of the majority. You of course believe in 'The Will' of the elite you self identify yourself as. Ever read anything on that John?

    Marty, poor sleeping Marty; it's a big bad world out there, and the naivety of a 16 year old does not cut it. When I was that 16 year old, I thought with a sensibility to match; now I am grown unto a man, and it is time to put away childish things. Recognise that?

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  72. being a republican all my life,and now in my 40s the recent event in omagh seriously dosent affect my opinon one bit,as said in other posts just because mmcg and his sidekick adams says its wrong now wont deter me from being the person that ive always been.The show piece state of the art propangada machine was heavly involved in this mans funeral which was sad,the young lad was foolishly lured to this decision to join the psni/ruc by psf who thought that they mi5 and the establishment had this whole thing sown up they are to blame .Cardinal bradys statement really does ring hollow in any wise persons ears,who will listen to him after his involvement and cover up of pedophiles in ireland he really should keep stum.The poor lad paid the ultimate price but sure thats the price u pay in ireland for joisting up the crown ,i hope other young lads dont go down this road for their own sake

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  73. Seeing all these armchair militarists;

    There is something really distasteful about men who like to cheer on from the sidelines. What was your involvement, John? Have you a past you need to keep quiet about? (which would be understandable) or do you prefer to support armed terror (especially) now that it's nice and safe to do so? Easy to be a tough guy when there's no risk of activity (or prison).

    Meanwhile Patrick, 'a Republican all his life', doesn't see any problem in applauding the killing of his neighbours, Protestant or Catholic, and sees only "The show piece state of the art propangada machine was heavly involved in this mans funeral" and he only offers from the deep humanitarian feeling he has, a "hope other young lads dont go down this road for their own sake". No, no, nothing like a threat there.

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  74. Colm McGinn,

    "Well you know the penalty that awaits informers". Thanks, John. I take it you approve of the murder of 'informers'?

    Let’s listen to Martin on that one:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch5u8YbOyIE&feature=share

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  75. Patrick
    well put. Apointless excercise perhaps, the Omagh attack. The rationale is the same as always. Thankfully however mature I become I won't be heard calling for people to tout. I know what British justice is, so does mr McGeough...not necessary to attack the wee north now, just to have an alternative viewpoint to the GFA.

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  76. Colm McGinn,

    'now I am grown unto a man, and it is time to put away childish things'

    I'd like to think you had grown up, but I can't help but notice the childish name-calling you continously indulge in.

    In fact I haven't seen a single item of substance from you. You seem to be the shallow 'man' with an empty head.

    Shouldn't you be calling 'Crimestoppers' or writing moving obituaries on the PSNI rather than whinging on here?

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  77. Colm,
    You are probably one of those people who would never have thrown anything more dangerous than a sly remark or inuendo.
    I could imagine you sniping (definitely a pun in your case) and whispering about people who would do things that you never had the guts to do.
    Informing and wishing republicans dead, yes I would say that is right up your street.

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  78. In yesterdays Irish News the 'On this day piece' centred on the arrest and subsequent execution of Tom Williams.
    Six young Irishmen and IRA volunteers had been sentenced to death for the murder of Catholic constable Patrick Murphy.
    Finally and in the wake of international pressure it was decided that only one should hang and it would be the person who took total responsibility for the operation, Tom.
    Tom Williams remains an enduring legend in the chronicles of republican history.
    Ironically, those who killed constable Kerr are tarnished thugs, traitors and cowards.

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  79. I had written a long response, then the software trashed it; since its not really worth the time/ effort to respond in that detail (again), I'll just say this:

    Irish Republicanism is 'a failed ideology' (to re-phrase that beloved of Irish nationalists) not because republicanism is wrong, but because the Irish version has adopted nationalism enthusiastically.

    So called 'Irish Republicans' on here (& self described) are full of contempt for their neighbours, to the point of being comfortable with somebody (not themselves) killing these neighbours for spurious ideological reasons.

    SOME of Republicans here (e.g. including AM) seem to have a saner approach and seem to want to bring it back to a quest for 'Unity of Protestant, Catholic & Dissenter, under the common name of Irishman'; they may have some small degree of success, in 20- 40 years, but it's more likely that the whole rationale will disappear under the pressure of external events & practical European unity.

    Fionnuala Perry, you are right that I should not have wished anybody dead, in that exchange of fire; I tend towards an admiration for those brisk young men (like Sammy Brush or Brendan Hughes) who do the right thing in a tough situation. Call me an old romantic.

    Much better that their neighbours, or friends, or relatives, who maybe have a more developed sense of social responsibility, should pass information so that these thugs could cool their heels for a few years of jail, rather than being a pathetic martyr.

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  80. Oh, and it was Joe Cahill who actually pulled the trigger on Constable Murphy. I think he was only 15 at the time.

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  81. THUGS Colm come in all shapes sizes and colours,why not bypass the downtime in jail,and just lynch those who follow the path of previous revolutionaries,Brendan Hughes and Basil Brush in the same sentence boom boom!you really are trying to take our Mickeys mantle,

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  82. Marty, just recommending a sane approach to law breakers; their deaths also would result in trauma for their family & friends. Extending for many years. As for Nuala Kerr, who will be in trauma for the rest of her life.

    Why do you feel the need to scorn Sammy Brush? Was he not a brave man?

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  83. Colm,
    Joe Cahill was twenty one at the time,and they were never able to pinpoint who fired the fatal shots.
    Apparently, and ironically the only one they could rule out was Tom Williams as he was shot early onin the exchange of fire.

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  84. Should have added, has Cahill been 15 he could not have been sentenced to death.

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  85. 'Brendan Hughes and Basil Brush in the same sentence boom boom!'

    Or Kerr-boom!
    Sorry that was childish; some people just bring out the worst in me!
    You make michaelhenry seem like a Republican.

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  86. Would that be the same Colm McGinn who has his address on Facebook as being from Belfast, United Kingdom?

    Given that he is mutual friends with Mackers I'd say he was the same Castle Catholic/Seónín called Colm McGinn who posts here.

    My opposition to armed struggle today is down to having seen how leaders like Adams and McGuinness carried many brave volunteers to early graves on their way to becoming the most important propaganda weapon in the Brit's arsenal. It's not surprising that a Seónín like Colm is so attracted to their likes these days.

    We can say that armed struggle is not taking us anywhere without diluting our Republicanism, sure didn't the Dark, among others, say this?

    The rantings of Colm McGinn is nothing new in our history Britain has always had it's share of 'Pet Paddys' over the years. However while the likes of McGuinness and Adams preach peaceful means they refuse to publicly state that while Britain is cutting Health, education, benefits etc in the North, it is pumping billions into wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya.

    Why hasn't Marty brought this up while having breakfast with the Torys? More importantly why haven't they brought it up at all?

    Perhaps they don't want to upset their friends in Washington? The hands so to speak that shakes the cradle.

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  87. Anthony,

    After a long absence from the 'Quill', I returned tonight specifically to catch your views on the killing of Ronan Kerr. A powerful and courageous piece.

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  88. Ardoyne Republican,

    'The only short answer to ending these armed actions is that the British Government set a date for the political and military withdrawal from the Six Counties'

    Sounds like a manifesto for mayhem - if only things were so simple.

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  89. Alec,

    'It is a set of ideas and stratagems designed to challenge the presence and manifestations of British rule and asserts the right of the Irish people to national self determination. It is a simple enough equation'

    I'm not a mathematician but if the 'Irish People' have already determined there acceptance of a two state solution then evidently someone has got their sums wrong. The killing of Ronan Kerr has done little to move those you require to persuade to the merits of your argument from a position of disgust. While Anthony has called this one so right alas you are patently wrong.

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  90. How come the Irish have to be so overly dramatic about everything? Instead of saying this was wrong and paying tribute to the guy everything has to be so over the top. "I AM STANDING UP TO BE COUNTED"? What the hell does that mean?? "I condemn this unreservedly and without hesitation" Thanks for telling us. Bunch of drama queens.
    Also everything is "historic". We have to be constantly reminded of "historic firsts" First time McG and Robinson shake hands, meet, attend mass together, attend a funeral together, meet each other's wives and on and on. Bores me to tears.
    Sorry for the rant but who needs the Oscars when you've got all these politicians/journalists who are really just out of work actors??
    I see Cardinal Brady was at the mass lecturing the crowd, why is that paedo protector thug not in prison instead?

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  91. Robert welcome back mo cara you were missed,truely, thought you may have been rolled over by your auld Lambeg drum, glad to see you posting again, now where the f##k is Tain bo. Dixie "pet Paddys" loved that,as for Castle taig Colm,s assertion that Brush was a brave man, yea I met those brave men and women of the udr many a time,bigoted bullies with guns bigger than themselves, remarkable how many times we were stopped that their radio equipment was on the blink and we therefore would be detained for anything up to three hours, I,m sure I am not the only person to have experienced their sectarian abuse,wouldnt have happened to loyalists like Colm though.

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  92. well said ryan cardinal brady should be in jail for crimes againest humanity ,those thousands of poor little children that have been raped by his his men that he so callously covered up for decades he should spend the rest of his life in jail the animal instead of lecturing anyone,
    The brass neck of it all beggars belief.

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  93. Robert

    I don't expect you to agree with me on this one. Calling the debate in favour of Mackers only serves to show where you stand on the issue.

    Mackers says I am guilty of promoting a traditionalist republican position which I thought was self evident.

    The mechanism employed to establish a mandate for the GFA was partitionist and inherently undemocratic from a republican perspective. Some mandates hide a multitude of sins; Hitler had a mandate.

    Many of the personal and collective freedoms taken for granted today cannot be divorced from the past actions of physical force republicans.

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  94. Dixie, that would be "the same Colm McGinn who has his address on Facebook as being from Belfast, United Kingdom"; but seeing as the option used be only 'Belfast, England', it seemed an improvement. It is after all, technically accurate. Jurisdiction wise.

    You guys' focus on me as a 'Castle Catholic', 'Pet Paddy', 'Seónín' is silly in the extreme. I also (like Robert) only returned here to see the reaction of irredentist Republicanism to the murder of young Kerr, and after the irritation I felt at several of these comments, (on the right to use paramilitary violence), I also found a more hopeful and generous strand, (of Republicanism) which I welcome. And the Castle was left in 1922. None of you know anything of my personal history; I feel lucky to have lived through this minor little war with only minor regrets (of spending my time on opposing the sectarian bigots of this province, spending/wasting most of my life on it). Marty's comment on "those brave men and women of the udr many a time, bigoted bullies .... we therefore would be detained for anything up to three hours"; it is unrealistic to not recognize the dynamic of how people respond. I was many times stopped by UDR, by RUC, & by Brits. I have seen the reaction of SF supporters in those situations, and I think yours would be similar. If you want a row, it comes across.

    In terms of 'bravery', one specific story I know of, of an IRA man, a rich man, who tried to bully the ex-UDR man, an ordinary bloke, with an ordinary income, showed to me the truth of your assertions. Most people in the UDR were decent enough. Most people in the RUC were decent people. Even most people who were supporters or members of the IRA, are not irredeemably bad, they're just deluded. As you are. The exceptions in all those organisations are obvious; you must know people (of this exception kind) from Republican & other paramilitary organisations who are just evil shits. You must know those who, even if they are now all 'reformed', did evil things. (E.g. Bik McFarlane? Gerry Adams? Martin McGuinness?)

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  95. This thing would not accept the whole, so Part Two:

    'while the likes of McGuinness and Adams preach peaceful means they refuse to publicly state that while Britain is cutting Health, education, benefits etc in the North, it is pumping billions into wars in Iraq, Afghanistan and now Libya..... they don't want to upset their friends in Washington?'
    Of course. I detest Sinn Fein, I dislike McGuinness & Adams, and all of them, because they have sold out any commitment they had (notionally) to social justice, in favour of running a fiscally conservative (not in a good way) regime that benefits the underlying 'powers that be', who are the same people, or the same class of people, as they have been since around the time of Charles 1st. The Puritan Grandees of that time are still represented by their offspring in the City of London and all similar institutions.

    These idiots (SF-DUP, got a ring to it?) now want to reduce Corporation Tax to 12.5%. Someone has mentioned 10.5%. This is a race to the bottom, in which the MNCs will seamlessly move around their profits to continue the avoidance- evasion of any payment. The phenomenon is worldwide, is real, is important, and has no connection to our bitter little squabble, though it has connection to the world of the 1790s. As Chou en Lai is reputed to have said (in 1968) in reply to request for his opinion of the outcomes of the French Revolution; "It's too early to say yet"

    The richest 1,000 persons in UK own (as of May 2010) £342,000 million; the really criminal thing is, they made £77,000 million in the previous 12 months. The story in USA is even more extreme; 25% of children in USA are now officially in poverty, they go to bed hungry. 10% of USA own 70% of the wealth, 90% of the people survive on 30% of the wealth.
    So, instead of spending your efforts on endlessly re-running the story of 'the war', what about getting in touch with the real world?

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  96. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  97. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  98. Robert

    good to see you back; not because you agree with me. You were always welcome when you were totally opposed to my take on something. Now I will be called an Orangeman on top of a Stalinist and whatever else on the basis that I sound like you!!

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  99. And after that recommendation, I see this:

    http://networkedblogs.com/giGLf

    Martin McGuinness, Informers, the Media and Why Dissident Republicans Still Kill People

    "My abiding memory of that time was that the media, both Irish and British, often felt free, some seemed compelled, to write the most exaggerated, loosely sourced nonsense about such events. The effect was to to paint groups like the IRA in the most lurid of colors so as to emphasize how utterly beyond the pale they were.

    In more recent times, both pre and post the St Andrews’ Agreement, there has been a small industry working away with energy and skill to do the same sort of thing with the dissidents, except in their case it is to inflate the perceived threat that they represent.

    Before the St Andrews’ Agreement it was mostly Sinn Fein who were in this business and from their viewpoint it made sense. The more they could persuade everyone that only they stood between a fragile peace and a return to the bad old days of the Troubles, the easier it was to extract political concessions from the British and Irish governments and the easier it was to persuade the authorities on both sides of the Border to turn a blind eye to their various, uh, money-raising ventures, like armed robberies and tiger kidnappings on the grounds that such things were necessary to keep the hard men happy and on board.

    Post the St Andrews’ Agreement a number of groups have had a vested interest in over-egging the dissident pudding. Some, like this bunch of London-based neocons, are in the business worldwide and especially in the Middle East, of exaggerating terrorist threats but is it not hard to work out either that, in these straitened days, both the PSNI and MI5 have much to gain if we are all led to believe that the dissidents are really, really bad news.

    The PSNI and MI5 are, in Northern Ireland, primarily in the anti-terrorist business so the more terrorists they make us think there are and the more fearsome they seem to be, the greater the amount of money, manpower, prestige and bureaucratic clout that will come their way. There are also those, in both these two organisations and in the wider political world, who hope that in such ways Sinn Fein might be persuaded to embrace its Four Courts moment and take the offensive against erstwhile comrades, an event that would, like its Dublin counterpart in 1922, finally seal the peace process beyond any doubt or chance of retreat.

    Don’t get me wrong. I am not going the other way and minimising the threat posed by dissidents. Clearly they are capable of killing people. It’s just that compared to the Provos and what it was really like during the Troubles, even in the final years, the dissidents are a faint shadow, ... "

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  100. Will that be a trditional route you will be taking then Anthony?

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  101. Marty,

    a traditional root says mass on Sundays!

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  102. mackers good one!

    Colm.... The media is orchestrated and totally state and GFA focused.
    SF with media assistence are playing a pathetic game of ratchetting up the very faded and dim 'shaddow of the gunman' to keep the electorate voting SF as an alternative to war. A little game of electoral blackmail they are all colluding in.
    The electorate seem unconcerned as long as there's no violence.

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  103. Anthony would that be the chapel of the blessed pint!

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  104. I see that some have wrote their god given right [ or AM's ] to oppose Sinn Fein and the catholic
    church for going to the p.s.n.i funeral in tyrone and for what both
    said-

    Not one complaint was made about the tyrone GAA manager or captain
    who helped carry the cops coffin,

    surly no hardliner can wear a GAA
    top again or go to a local game- or
    maybe their argument is just with Sinn Fein and the catholic religion

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  105. Good point Mickeyboy [no pun intended] but I think the GAA made f##kin ejits of themselves at that farce,the whole thing was one big charade,lost what little respect I had for them .

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  106. Oh dear. A crime against good taste. One simply must keep up standards, Marty.

    I suppose you should advise Nuala Kerr, and her other children, and their friends, that it was all 'simply appalling'. Eejits in a charade..

    What on earth can they have been thinking of?

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  107. michaelhenry
    I'm in total agreement re GAA. The same MLA's and GAA faces and exact same media hype as went on for that wee girl's funeral who was killed in Maritious. OTT Charade.
    Media here worse than in China or ex Soviet block. It has a strict agenda and adheres to it to the letter.
    I was never in any doubt as to the real nature of the GAA and its membership.

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  108. Marty,
    you couldn't have said it better "one big charade" is exactly what it was. The part that did me in was the passing of the coffin from the GAA members to the PSNI officers I mean who on earth thinks of this stuff. I guess they expect everyone to just gasp in awe and genuflect and get overcome with emotion at the symbolism. They gotta send these people over here to Hollywood, the theatrics are just so over the top.

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  109. michaelhenry,

    'Not one complaint was made about the tyrone GAA manager or captain
    who helped carry the cops coffin,'

    My respect for the GAA in Tyrone, went when they brought the Sam Maguire into Stormont.

    The site of Mickey Harte and others carrying a cop's coffin made me sick to the core.

    It is time for a Real/Continuity GAA!

    ReplyDelete
  110. John McGirr
    fair do's to you. I wasn't sure how you would react to that latest MLA GAA photo op'. No mealymouth nonsense, a straight comment..respect.

    ReplyDelete
  111. John McGirr-

    Can't see a big turn-out for that
    real / countinuity clash on the
    football field- but they could make up the numbers for a handball
    game- p.s.n.i and the dissidents-
    neither want's to join the GAA

    Marty-

    Those dissident's might get the odd point- but never their goal-

    their goal is to get the armed brit army back on the streets-

    ReplyDelete
  112. I thought their goal was to get the brits out of Ireland Mickeyboy not more in, thats the psf,s goal to house her majesties mi5 in Belfast.

    ReplyDelete
  113. Colm that mothers grief was hijacked to make a funeral into a party political broadcast on behalf dupsf

    ReplyDelete
  114. Marty, Ryan, et al,

    Would you deem the funerals of IRA volunteers to be charades? There is often much drama and ceremony involved in those funerals too.

    John McGirr,

    "Kerr-boom!"

    Given that you were so incensed by Larry's callous remarks about the killing of Michaela Harte, I am suprised that you are poking fun at the killing of a fellow Irishman, even if you are opposed to the police force he was a member of.


    Alec McCrory,

    I imagine Robert called the debate in favour of AM not because of where he stands but because your position is not reasonable. As in the case of Nazi Germany, a mandate is not a sufficient condition for the legitimacy of military action; however, unless the circumstances are exceptional, a war should not fought without some sort of mandate or approval from the people on whose behalf the war is being waged.


    Michael Henry,

    You are always gloating over dissident republicans' lack of success in killing police officers and soldiers. So, are you satisfied that Ronan Kerr has been killed? I'm going to ask you a simple question: do you support the PSNI or not?

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  115. Alfie,

    ‘if most people in Ireland supported the killing of Ronan Kerr, would that make it right? Is popular support enough to make an anti-colonial war legitimate?’

    I guess because the chances of that happening are totally remote we have never much thought about it from that angle. But it is a serious ethical question. It asks us to consider the right of individuals against democracy or its majoritarian variant, and what prevents the demotic becoming a mob denying individual rights. If majorities can decide to legitimise the deaths of all opponents then Rwanda suddenly becomes acceptable. Your question also invites Just War theory considerations. It is certainly one to think about.

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  116. Alfie" a war should not be fought without some sort of mandate" try telling that to the british and american goverments,IRA funerals if you were ever at one were either stopped from entering the church because of the presence of the national flag ,and were usually harassed and mourners battered by the ruc,Larry Marleys remains took 3 days if memory serves me well to leave his home,one hell of a difference and no comparison ,

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  117. Alfie,

    "Kerr-boom!"

    'Given that you were so incensed by Larry's callous remarks about the killing of Michaela Harte, I am suprised that you are poking fun at the killing of a fellow Irishman, even if you are opposed to the police force he was a member of.'

    That was said in response to aggressive provocation by a non-Republican and follwing on from his commendation of Sammy Brush. Having just sat through Gerry's trial and seen said Brush drooling with excitement at the thought of Gerry's incarceration and then Sentence, I was in no mood to listen to such garbage from Colm.

    I believe there is a time and a place for everything, sometimes even to say hurtful things if need be. I do not equate the death of a British policeman with that of a wonderful Irish girl like Michaela, who epitomised everything great about this country, from her love of Ireland, of her parish, her county, her God, Gaelic games; who was a sad, sad loss.

    Having said that, I realise what I said could be construed to be hurtful, although I refrained from saying anything prior to his funeral, which Larry did not. Also it was not said in response to a eulogy or obituary as the other comment was.

    On balance I don't think it was wrong, but I glory in the death of no one, so I apologise for any offense it may have caused.

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  118. Larry,

    'fair do's to you. I wasn't sure how you would react to that latest MLA GAA photo op'. No mealymouth nonsense, a straight comment..respect.'

    Is this a first, Larry! Sometimes it is good to agree.

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  119. Anthony,

    'Now I will be called an Orangeman on top of a Stalinist and whatever else on the basis that I sound like you!!'

    As always I appreciate the warm welcome. Wow! Your post has aroused quite an eclectic critique! Perhaps amongst this mix, being labelled an Orangeman is the least worst option!
    It struck me that in aligning you with so many institutions and individuals, those that disagree with 'Bombing Omagh' have inadvertently validated your argument regarding violence acting against the national will.

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  120. Robert,

    in a manner of speaking, yes!

    The strange thing is that it is very easy for those supporting to the bombing to do so and still believe it is against the national will. Over the years many republicans of the physical force tradition have stated to me that it is against the national will and have asked when it was ever any different. More recently there is a failure to even address this salient point. I think many of them feel cornered by the democratic discourse and are uncomfortable having to discuss the issue within that framework.

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  121. Alec,

    'I don't expect you to agree with me on this one. Calling the debate in favour of Mackers only serves to show where you stand on the issue.'

    For the discerning, given our backgrounds, it serves to show something much more fundamental and underlines the main theme of Anthony's post that this, 'is a war against the national will.'

    I called the debate in Mackers favour because his position is eminently more credible Alec. 'Bombing Omagh' is a commentary that corresponds neatly with where we are at. I have found nothing in the subsequent exchanges that detracts from that or indeed enhances a understanding of your implicit justification of violence premised as it is on the modalities of the GFA referendum.

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  122. Alfie-

    I don't gloat over the dissident's
    lack of cop kill's- i just state the facts

    The last police that was killed in
    tyrone before last week happened on
    febuary 24th 1993- thats 18 years ago- so much for hardliners opposed to the peace-

    Do i support the police in Irelands
    32- i support that they should be accountable- the only political party that is on police boards across Irelands 32 is Sinn Fein-

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  123. Michael Henry,

    I'm sure you are aware that there are two distinct police forces on this island, not a seamless 32-county force. So do you think the killing of PSNI officers is right or wrong?

    Incidentally, I don't think we have a police board here in the Republic. I could be wrong though.

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  124. Robert

    I am not justifying violence on any premise other than the republican position vis-a-vis British rule.

    Republicans view partition as undemocratic precisely because it subverted the democratic will of the Irish people freely expressed in two elections.

    It is this basic understanding that determines the way in which dissenting republicans interpret the modalities of the GFA.

    All republicans, including the PRM until recent times, rejected partition as the basis for settling the conflict. Slogans such as 'no return to Stormont' and 'no internal settlement' reflected the fundamentals of the republican postition.

    You are entitled to challenge my opinions and, in doing so, support the more discerning commentators. However, I shall continue to offer my humble thoughts on what is clearly a complex issue.

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  125. Robert I agree here with Alec,psf seems to have been more of a party of slogans than in their terms "effective local leadership" I think that Adams and McGuinness made a fundamental error in their lack of honesty,openess,and transparency,to the republican community in their secret dealings with the brits,I remember watching Gerry Kelly being interviewed by utv at Stormont gates in the early stages of the gfa negotiations and he was saying that he was there to argue for a united Ireland [some result and some negotiater],had such openess existed then the resulting sellout of the republican cause by people with egos bigger than their wit,may have been averted,and a more honourable comprise reached that the whole republican community could buy into rather than the copper fastened brit solution we have had imposed on us which suited the unionists and a handfull of carpetbaggers and ex revolutionaries who had aquired the taste of the good life and wanted more.

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  126. Marty,

    '"a war should not be fought without some sort of mandate" try telling that to the british and american goverments'

    The British and American governments are democratically elected; one can argue that they have the authority to wage war on behalf of their citizens. Though I don't often agree with US/British foreign policy, I think they do have the authority to declare war. I also think the elected members of the first Dail had the authority to mount an armed campaign against British forces in 1919. On the other hand, a strong argument can be made for governments being obliged to have referendums on very important decisions such as declarations of war. In any case, I think it is puzzling if not downright hypocritical that the likes of Ruth Dudley Edwards object to the right of the first Dail to wage war against the British on the grounds that they did not have the explicit approval of the electorate to do so. Neither did George Bush or Tony Blair, but Ms Edwards has no problem with their invasion of Iraq. Funny that.

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  127. AM,

    Re Rwanda:

    There has been some shameful denial of the Rwandan genocide by some sections of the left recently. Edward Herman has written articles over the last few years which dispute the genocide of the Tutsis by the then Rwandan government and Hutu militias. He does this by misrepresenting a study by Christian Davenport and Allan C Stam, who argued that more Hutus died in the violence in Rwanda in 1994 than Tutsis. However, they don't deny a genocide against Tutsis took place and they also contend that Hutus were responsible for the vast majority of the killing, though Herman convieniently ignores these points. Anyway, Herman published a book last year called The Politics of Genocide and it contains a chapter on Rwanda which no doubt repeats his claims. The depressing thing is that the foreword of the book was written by Noam Chomsky. In addition, John Pilger provided a glowing review for the blurb.

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  128. Alfie,

    it is interesting that you mention this. I just finished a review yesterday of the Gourevitch book and referred to one of the people on the Left who have been into denial, Barrie Collins. Herman some years back was denying the Srebenicia massacrre. Will throw the review up on the Quill shortly.

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  129. AM,

    If you get a chance, have a look a these two articles. The first is an excerpt from the chapter on Rwanda in Herman's book; the second is a summary of Davenport and Stam's study on the killings in Rwanda in 1994.

    http://monthlyreview.org/2010/05/01/rwanda-and-the-democratic-republic-of-congo-in-the-propaganda-system

    http://www.miller-mccune.com/politics/what-really-happened-in-rwanda-3432/

    Davenport and Stam's study has been contested, but from what I have read, it is unfair that they have been accused of denying the Rwandan genocide. Herman, on the other hand, has past form.

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  130. Alfie

    The civil war in Rwanda was a shocking demonstration of what the human condition is capable of under the influence of maleficent ideas.

    I remember at the time thinking how could human beings descend to the depths of collective barbarism. What ideology, religion, ethnic or cultural differences could incite an entire people to commit acts of violence on such a mind boggling scale.

    The answer is in the question, I suppose. Ideas are powerful motivating factors in human behaviour.

    There is a genocide apologists for every genocide. Whether it happened in Tutsis, the Jews or the Kurds, propagandists with a particular ideological bent will challenge what is for the rest of us a indisputable historical fact.

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  131. Alfie,

    thanks for these. I will definitely read them when I get the time. I have quite a few books here on Rwanda. The sheer inhumanity of it startled me. There is no doubt that there was a genocide but there will always be David Irving type characters

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  132. Alfie

    I must admit to being guilty of a generalisations in my last post.

    When I read it again I felt uneasy saying an entire people engaged in acts of communal violence.

    It would be closer tom the truth to say that the violence was inflicted on the entire people by minorities within both the Tutsis and Hutu populations.

    I suppose this goes back to something close to the subject matter of this discussion. Revolutionary violence in particular is generally the business of ideologically motivated minorities in society.

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  133. Alec,

    "Revolutionary violence in particular is generally the business of ideologically motivated minorities in society."

    Does that not make you wary of most revolutionary violence, in particular that of dissident republicans?

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  134. Alec

    ‘I am not justifying violence on any premise other than the republican position vis-a-vis British rule.’

    That is the premise being discussed, the justification for republican armed actions. It is what has defined the discussion and which each side in the debate is grappling with.

    ‘Republicans view partition as undemocratic precisely because it subverted the democratic will of the Irish people freely expressed in two elections.’

    Those who accept partition either de jure or de facto view armed republicanism as undemocratic and they have the vast majority on their side. I think the problem today for many republicans is that there is a blind spot in this perspective which plays the anti-democratic card without acknowledging that armed republicanism is anti-democratic. If it is wrong to be anti-democratic per se then that poses a challenge to the use of physical force.

    In terms of democratic will John Hume was always going to catch republicans on this from the minute he framed the argument in terms of the people of Ireland not only having the right to national self determination but also having the right to decide how they would exercise it. It was so predictable from the mid 90s at least. It has now inserted an even greater wedge between armed republicanism and democratic sentiment forcing those republicans into a position where they find it very hard to argue that they are not anti-democratic; the same thing they accuse the Brits of and which puts them beyond the comprehension of many people. Adams used to argue that republican violence was democratic violence but he ended up producing a very limited outcome as measured against the democracy he stated the armed struggle was to achieve. In today’s conditions it is a very hard argument to get a hearing for.

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  135. Alec,

    ‘Republicans view partition as undemocratic precisely because it subverted the democratic will of the Irish people freely expressed in two elections. It is this basic understanding that determines the way in which dissenting republicans interpret the modalities of the GFA.’

    There is nothing anti-democratic in republicans holding to this position. Democracy is useless if people are not allowed to dissent from what it prescribes. The problem comes when republicans through armed force express that dissent.

    While you personally knew what the implications of the GFA were (and were quicker than me to realise just how quickly the movement would accept it) most dissenting republicans today for long enough went along with the GFA, many of them advocating the silencing of those who pointed out the serious limitations in the GFA.

    ‘Slogans such as 'no return to Stormont' and 'no internal settlement' reflected the fundamentals of the republican position.’

    Fundamentals abandoned by those dissenting republicans who for long enough supported the GFA. Many if not most managed to jump every single republican fence put in the way of accepting the GFA. Then they balked at the last one – policing. Some of today’s dissenting republicans even managed to jump that as well and for some inexplicable reason did not cross the finishing line. That allows the republican substance of their opposition to seem diluted and invites the ideological seriousness of their opposition to be called into question. It probably makes it hard for people to understand their position today.

    It is far from the case that there are more discerning commentators here than you. You discern exactly what the issues are but you value the perspective of traditional republican ideology much more than most others including those republicans at odds with the physical force tradition. At one time that logic could carry the day within republicanism but now it seems to pose insurmountable obstacles to most republicans.

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  136. Alfie

    I am wary of all violence whatever it's ideological colour.

    Republican violence today is no different to the republican violence of the past. Those who peddle the myth of a good old IRA and a bad old IRA are guilty of revisionism.

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  137. Alec McGrory-

    So you see no difference between the Provo's fighting and killing the armed brit army the udr / rir
    the r.u.c the loyalists and those
    hardliners who have just killed one
    psni member in two years-

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  138. michaelherny

    You could begin by getting the name right.

    Are you suggesting the difference is in the bady count?

    ReplyDelete
  139. I meant to write body count, of course. Some here might think 'bady' count more apt, lol.

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  140. Alec McCory-

    bady count- thought you were on ulster- scot's
    im sure there are some who seen that cop as a bady-

    The body count is just one issue-
    another issue is the brit media calling the dissidents hardline-
    the afgans have killed hundred's of armed brits these last few years but they are not called hardline- why does the brit media want to help the dissidents-

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  141. Alec,

    "Republican violence today is no different to the republican violence of the past. Those who peddle the myth of a good old IRA and a bad old IRA are guilty of revisionism."

    I don't think the IRA volunteers who fought in the War of Independence were any better or worse individually than the Provos or the dissidents. However, the volunteers who fought between 1919 and 1921 were the military arm of a political order that had been established by a popular vote. It is true that the relationship between the IRA and the first Dail was ambiguous at best. Nevertheless, key figures in the Dail's cabinet, such as Cathal Brugha and Michael Collins, were IRA leaders and it does seem that the Dail had assumed unofficial responsibility for IRA actions from the summer of 1919. Thus, I think the IRA campaign of 1919-21 had a degree of legitimacy that the Provos never had and that the dissidents almost certainly never will have.

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  142. Michaelhenry why are you always bringing up body counts??

    ReplyDelete
  143. Larry, Fionnuala, Marty:
    "This attack couldn't have come at a better time for SF."

    The first thing that came to my mind when this young man was blown up, was - who gains from this? When none of the "dissident" organizations claimed responsibility, I couldn't help but think that PSF was responsible for this bombing and targeted a catholic in order to stir up even more resentment within the republican/nationalist community. Why not? Does anyone think they are beyond such a deed...and just like the Brits, use the tragedy they perpetrated to their advantage?

    Alec
    "Republican violence today is no different to the republican violence of the past. Those who peddle the myth of a good old IRA and a bad old IRA are guilty of revisionism."

    Couldn’t agree more.

    Fionnuala:
    The 'Deputy' said he is proud of all the Catholic officers!There are officers in the PSNI, who are 'Nationalist and Republican'His head must be so far up his fat city of culture backside that he no longer seems to know what he is saying."

    “I think Powell would have the door firmly bolted, no need to cajole them further the deed has been done. Adams himself out does them all, as the Master of deceit and spin".

    It’s called speaking out of both sides of their mouth!

    Larry:
    "Thankfully however mature I become I won't be heard calling for people to tout. I know what British justice is, so does mr McGeough...not necessary to attack the wee north now, just to have an alternative viewpoint to the GFA".

    Exactly Larry. McGeough did not pursue IRA activities after the GFA and in spite of his peaceful approach to air his alternative political views, he was arrested and found guilty on 38 year old charges, while his two arm-chair generals, McG and Adams, sit in Stormont and reap the benefits of their sell out!

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  144. Colm
    "Sammy Brush was (& is) alright. Nearly a pity he wasn't a fraction more accurate in his return fire".

    Oh,you MUST be a member of the DUP? Who else would applaud such a bigot as Brush? "Was and is alright?" You're the one Colm who is "deluded"

    Quick history lesson - "The UDR replaced the Ulster Special Constabulary ("B-Specials") along with a separate police reserve, to assist the regular Armed Forces. It was the largest infantry regiment in the British Army, formed with seven battalions and an extra four added within two years".

    "The regiment consisted overwhelmingly of part-time volunteers until 1976 when a full time cadre was added. The UDR was accused of sectarian attitudes and collusion with loyalist paramilitary organizations through most of its term".

    It's a damn shame the British diplock court judge refused to acknowledge that your Sammy "alright" Brush was a part time soldier, wearing a bullet proof vest and carrying a gun while delivering mail, DUH? Postman my arase!

    Colm:
    'Nearly a pity he wasn't a fraction more accurate in his return fire.'

    John:
    'That disgraceful comment could be put the other way round'.

    It should be the likes of Brush and those in the British Army and security forces who colluded with loyalist paramilitaries in the deaths of innocent Catholics, Dublin-Monaghan bombings, and the massacre of civil rights marchers on Bloody Sunday who should have been on trial in a diplock court and now incarcerated.

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  145. john
    my remarks were about media OTT coverage of an unknown witrh a GAA personality da. 'F' the GAA. and the media circus..
    not reopening past ire...just emphasising it again...perhaps you are less defensive of the subject and the unknown victims media attention at this stage after recent events?
    i still feel the coverage was obscene.

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  146. michaelhenry
    why does the brit media want to help the dissidents?

    perhaps because you guys SF are no threat, all in their pocket and contemptable. So in order to keep the security aparatus, PSNI screws, courts and MI5 at Hollywood justified with the British exchequer there's a need for a threat. So they play it up.

    Your queen, of Great Britain and Northern Ireland will be visiting the Oirish republic next month. Will you emmigrate for the day to see her?

    you will likely find that south of Dundalk she'll get a much bigger welcome than SF. Maybe why gerry 'fitt' Adams didnt stand in the 'midlands'.

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  147. Hellen
    in a nutshell, republican struggle used to be a road to an early grave or jail. Whilst most people, our families included had reservations about our sanity, they could see the selflesness of it. Adams + co. in SF have developed a movement claiming those traditions but which is intent on nothing but the advancement of the individuals in SF. Disgusting. I just hope i live to see them get whats coming to them.
    I see 2 guys arrested over Donaldson...WHY was he bannished from SF? they are all brits for christs sake!! Why kill him...because he ADMITTED it??

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  148. Larry that f##ker Paul Clark utv just revels in stories like Omagh,Harte ,etc I think he gets an extra pale coloured make up on for such events .I cant help agreeing these type stories become a media circus and those in that business milk them for what their worth, the 70 year old arrested in Donegal for vermin eradication ie Donaldson should be given tea and buns and sent home and not the abuse he probably will have to endure.

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  149. Alfie

    The first shots of the War of Independence were fired by a small group of IRA volunteers acting on their own initiative without the authorisation of Dail Eireann or the IRA leadership of that time.

    Indeed, condemnation of the attack was widespread coming from all quarters including the Catholic church and the Dail itself.

    The Sinn Fein manifesto of 1918, which provided the basis for the establishment of Dail Eireann, did not seek a mandate for war against the British. IRA actions were ultimately responsible for forcing the hand of the politicians to support the military option.

    Full political support for the IRA campagin was not forthcoming until well into the conflict.

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  150. This discussion is becoming like a game of tennis.

    My position is straight forward: I will not condemn today what I could not condemn in the past. It would be rank hypocrisy to do so.

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  151. Larry,

    Michaela Harte was certainly not 'unknown.' In fact she was one of the most well-known figures in Tyrone, initially through her father and then on her own account. Part of her popularity came from her work through schools and the good example she offered our youth and her opposition to the drink and drugs culture that is taking such a hold. Her recent marriage to a prominent Antrim family led to her being even more widely known.

    The tragic circumstances of her death led to an outpuring of grief that is in no was to be compared to the crocodile tears being shed over a British military policeman who had betrayed his own community.

    I agree that the GAA has let us down, but can assure you that even without them there was, and is, tremendous grief for a great young lady, sadly murdered.

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  152. John
    Wouldn't wish to dispute your sentiments. All very true. My ire was directed at the media scramble. People of such calibre die every week. There is no media circus for them.
    I don't live in Tyrone, so to me and i'm quite confident the vast majority of people she was an unknown figure. I don't mean that in a derogatory way, just a fact.
    My attitude to the GAA GrabAllAssociation, remains. Life is a learning curve John.

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  153. Alec,

    It is true that there was no explicit commitment in Sinn Fein's 1918 election manifesto to wage war against Britain. However, I am inclined to think that since Sinn Féin promised the electorate a 32-county republic and the removal of British rule by “any and every means available”, the Dáil had the authority to mount a military campaign if necessary to achieve these objectives.

    It is troubling that the beginning of this campaign was not sanctioned by the Dail. I am not aware, though, that members of the Dail or its cabinet condemned the Soloheadbeg ambush per se; I think Cathal Brugha and Richard Mulcahy were merely unhappy that the ambush was carried out without the authorisation of the GHQ. On the other hand, many senior cabinet members, such as Michael Collins, were very supportive. But more generally, it seems that with Cathal Brugha's reconstitution of the Irish Volunteers as the IRA in August 1919 and the plans for IRA volunteers to start swearing an oath of allegiance to the Dail, the provisional Irish government was unofficially assuming responsibility of the volunteers’ activities (though it would not officially declare war on Britain until much later).

    It is difficult to determine how supportive the general public were towards the IRA's campaign. For one thing, Sinn Féin won overwhelming majorities in urban and rural councils in 1920 despite being the party associated with the sporadic IRA violence of 1919. Also, the very fact that the British had lost control of much of the South by mid 1920 does suggest a large degree of popular support for the revolution.

    I am not opposed in principle to armed campaigns; however, I do believe that in the absence of severe repression, such campaigns should be in some way endorsed or accepted by the people they intend to liberate. It is clear now that the vast majoritiy of people on this island are in favour of the status quo; at the very least they are vehemently opposed to armed campaigns to change it. I think that is the key difference between 1919 and 2011. There is no hypocrisy in pointing it out.

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  154. Alfie

    I will start were you finished. I was not suggesting that you were being hypocritical at all. It was a statement pertaining to my own personal position on the matter.

    With regards to Dail Eireann's willingness to use "any and every means available" to remove British rule, I suspect this was more a statement of principle than one of intent.

    Why then did it take more than two years for the Dail to declare hostilities against Britain? (An Phoblact, January 20 2005)

    "The IRA was perceived by some members of Dail Eireann to have a mandate to wage war...it was not clear in the beginning of 1919 that the Dail ever intended to gain independence by military means..." (Search.com)

    This would suggest that the politicians were obliged to recognise a state of affairs that had already existed for some considerable time.

    Clearly, the IRA had forced the pace of events leaving the politicans which only one option to support the war.

    The idea that a mandate is required to confer legitimacy on the use of physical force is some what suspect. Earlier, I referred to Hitler having a mandate which he used to justify his expanionist policies.

    The vast majority of the people were always in favour of the status quo if that meant being able to live free from violence. The PRM campagin did not enjoy the popular support of the people neither. Yes, it had more support than the IRAs of the present day because of conjunctural factors (a fancy terms of Mackers).

    Republicans have always fancied themselves as actors rather than passive spectators. More republicans than before are unhappy with the political direction of the PRM and are searching for ways to reconstruct the oppositional nature of republicanism.

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  155. Alec,

    It is possible that the first Dail never intended to use military means if necessary to gain independence. I find this unlikely, though, given the connections of many in the Dail's executive to the IRB, the Irish Volunteers and the 1916 rising. Armed volunteers did act on their own initiative to start the war, but the fact remains that key members of the Dail's cabinet soon took command of the armed campaign and did this with the knowledge of their colleagues in cabinet. That a formal declaration of war was not issued until two years into the conflict seems to have been for strategic reasons rather than opposition to an armed campaign. Indeed, De Valera was concerned that a formal declaration of war would "over-tax their strength".

    You also claim that the vast majority in Ireland were always opposed to armed campaigns. I would argue that since Sinn Fein's 1918 election victory was in part a retrospective endorsement by the electorate of the 1916 rising, the Irish people of that era were much less in favour of the status quo and much more likely to support military means against the British than subsequent generations.

    I believe that unless the circumstances are exceptional, those who wage a military campaign should have some sort of mandate from the people on whose behalf the campaign is being fought. But that doesn't mean a mandate is sufficient for legitimacy. As you rightly say, Hitler had a mandate but obviously his wars of agression were unjust. Nevertheless, mandates are still necessary. In the Ireland's case, the key justification for an armed campaign against the British at present would be if most Irish people were deeply unhappy with the status quo and were willing to countenance violence to change it. Otherwise, who or what gives republicans the right to wage war?

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  156. Dixie,

    A very thoughtful comment. It seems to me that these are serious questions that go unanswered. Offering up armed force as a tradition is light years away from offering it up as a strategy.

    Nuala,

    ‘Tom Williams remains an enduring legend in the chronicles of republican history. Ironically, those who killed constable Kerr are tarnished thugs, traitors and cowards.’

    Nothing new in it. Tom Williams would have been hated by Devalera. Dev would have hanged him just as surely as the Unionists did. He was hanging others and calling them all the things SF call today’s armed republicans. There is nothing new under the republican sun.

    But I think you have hit on the main reason why armed republican activity today is such an embarrassment to the SF leadership. It is not that they are appalled that anyone could kill cops not has it anything to do with the potential of armed campaigning. SF can’t deal with the incongruity of their position as it gives everybody an opportunity to hold the past up as a mirror to them. Only a few months back they made Pat Sheehan a MLA. Had Pat not been touted on in the Grosvenor Road his booby trap device might have killed quite a few Ronan Kerrs.

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  157. Alec,

    "Republicans view partition as undemocratic precisely because it subverted the democratic will of the Irish people freely expressed in two elections."

    "The mechanism employed to establish a mandate for the GFA was partitionist and inherently undemocratic from a republican perspective."

    "The idea that a mandate is required to confer legitimacy on the use of physical force is some what suspect."

    Taken in conjunction, this illustrates precisely the contradictory nature of your position highlighted by Anthony when he noted,"..that there is a blind spot in this perspective which plays the anti-democratic card without acknowledging that armed republicanism is anti-democratic."

    "My position is straight forward: I will not condemn today what I could not condemn in the past. It would be rank hypocrisy to do so."

    But there is such an obvious element of that in condoning what you condemn elsewhere that is inescapable

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  158. Marty,

    "I agree here with Alec,psf seems to have been more of a party of slogans than in their terms "effective local leadership"

    Thank you - good to see you are still plugging away.

    If I were you I would probaly feel aggrieved also. Sinn Fein's abandonment of those old shibboleths over the side of "Johnston's Motor Car" must be a bitter pill to swallow.
    The launch of their manifesto from the unlikely venue of the "Grand Opera House" today seems like a million miles from Conway Mill. All very Nouveau riche. The DUP launch looked somewhat down market in comparison. You are not alone in bitter pill popping, as I recall the latter now praises for "budgetary restraint" what it once vowed to smash.

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  159. The undemocratic imposition of partition against the expressed wishes of the Irish people and, it's maintenance by force has always been the basis of republican resistance to British occupation.

    There will always be republicans willing to use physical force in order to achieve full independence. The only way to deny republicans a rational basis for carrying out armed actions would be to have a national referendum on the issue of sovereignty.

    Republicans have nothing to fear from a true national consensus
    free from artificial engineering.

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  160. Alec,

    This does'nt address the democratic deficit in your position. The rational basis for violence from the perspective of the vast majority of the people on this island flatlined 13 years ago. The current campaign merely seeks to resurrect the ghost of "Republican Past". A political exhumation of this ideology like it's funerary equivalent is an attempt to retrieve what is already dead and buried.

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  161. Robert

    The GFA is impregnated by inconsistencies and contradictions. It fails to address the core issue giving rise to political conflict in Ireland. For this reason it is incapable of producing a peace that is both durable and lasting.

    That which you say is dead and buried is beginning to see a gradual recovery. Up and down the country more republicans are beginning to question Sinn Fein's strategy. The GFA is the constitutional straight jacket from which the PRM will not escape.

    If oppositional Republicanism has been consigned to the history books, as you argue, it's demise will be temporary only. Throughout history the ideology has resurected itself to become a powerful tool for new generations seeking radical change.

    Popular disintrest in the national question should not be over estimated. Political instability, revolutionary upheaval are the engines of change in the modren world. Recent events in the Arab countries are perfect examples of the sudden changing nature of politics.

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  162. Alec,

    "The GFA is impregnated by inconsistencies and contradictions. It fails to address the core issue giving rise to political conflict in Ireland. For this reason it is incapable of producing a peace that is both durable and lasting"

    The GFA has been democratically endorsed - no one can seriously contest that. Armed oppositional Republicanism neither seeks nor commands a mandate for violence outside of it's own ideological justification - no one can seriously contest that. It is the driver of political conflict in Ireland.

    "Throughout history the ideology has resurected itself to become a powerful tool for new generations seeking radical change."

    But thats the point - it's not a powerful tool - it's a very blunt and ineffectual instrument. Can you point to any aspect of radical change in the constitutional position of N. Ireland brought about by violence?

    "Popular disintrest in the national question should not be over estimated."

    I don't think I over estimate it - I accept it for what it is - popular and disinterested.

    "Political instability, revolutionary upheaval are the engines of change in the modren world.
    Sounds very like what one might expect from anarchists
    protesting at a G8 than something that has any resonance amongst people here. It seems to me that people within the Nationalist community have opted for consumerism over Connolly. Political instability, revolutionary upheaval are hardly modern vote catchers. I can think of no modern political party of signifigance that seeks a mandate on these concepts - can you?

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  163. Natioalists may well have developed their grievances from the historical pillage of the land and discrininations that went with colonisation. Protestants [modern unionists] fear being treated as 75% of people on this island were treated by them. SF devised a strategy of by becoming more unionist than the unionists themselves we can absorb them.
    Not going to happen. If Adams gets his wish for a referendum he'll find out his new found voters are as Nationalist as SF are.
    Bring it on.

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  164. Robert

    The democratic mandate for the GFA was engineered to enlist the support of the Irish people for the principle of unity by consent

    I do not contest your assertion that oppositional armed republicanism neither seeks nor commands a mandate, infact, this has been my contention from the start. You view that republican violence is ideologically driven whereas I believe it is the product of British rule.

    Yes, violence is a blunt instrument but to argue it is ineffectual is historically incorrect. Most of the big constitutional changes to have occurred since the Act of Union were initiated because of actual violence or the threat of it.

    Only the ignorant or uniformed would deny the important role radical republicanism has played in the struggle for full independence.

    I admit to a degree of flippancy in my comment, nevertheless there is a point to be considered. Politics is constantly changing and those who forecast the demise of oppositional republicanism, in my opinion, are premature.

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  165. Larry,

    ‘Think you were a tad reactive and hasty with that article.’

    Why? I did not need to wait to see what way the cat jumped.

    ‘I noticed you stopped short of branding it criminal.’

    I didn’t stop ‘short.’ I didn’t even approach the matter to stop ‘short’. When Mairtn O’Muilleoir referred to the attack on Masserene as criminal I wrote that it was the first time ever that criminals had carried out such an attack. In describing something as political doesn’t mean conferring legitimacy or approval. The loyalist attacks on SF during the ‘80s and ‘90s were generally political in motivation but they were wholly wrong. In fact the argument can be made that if you go through history you will find many political acts that have been worse than criminal violence.

    If we look at two killings, for example, we might underscore the point: Harry Holland in Belfast and Ronan Kerr in Omagh. Both were very violent. Neither of them did the slightest to bring Irish unity closer. Neither of them was any more legitimate than the other. Yet there is a clear unmistakable difference in motivation. The killing of Harry Holland had criminal motivation and the killing of Ronan Kerr had political motivations. Yet in saying that, there is no attempt to argue that one was more right than the other. Both should be repudiated.

    The SF leadership rose to prominence and international name recognition on the backs of having defined armed republicanism as political in motivation. It took a lot of endurance and deaths on the part of prisoners to make that possible. Are we somehow supposed to think that those deaths etc were political insurance for only a few years? Is that all their lives were worth? That in the course of what could be expected to make up their own natural lifetimes had they lived, that the things they died for were once again rendered invalid – and by the people who gained most in terms of political careers.

    I think the issue runs deep with many of those who were on the blanket protest. We know the term criminal is always barbed in the context of discussing armed republicans. It not a mere technical application but is a political weapon used to wound. That the Brits seem to revel in using it always appears to me as if they are gouging republicans in the eye in a act of vengeful mockery for the ethical victory secured over them by Bobby and the boys. And what is so galling is that they have lined up along side them the very people who led the IRA against the discourse of criminality. That is truly an example of there being ‘no sadder sight’ than when slaves kneel down to kiss their chains.

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  166. Or when they themselves,who have donned their masters clothes and accepted the role of overseers,carry out criminal acts for their masters like the murder of vol Joe O Connor!or is it only a crime when the actions are republican ,

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  167. getting the feeling the media now seduced the GAA the way they built up Adams+co. GAA didn't take long getting seduced, commical. Did they ever officially carry IRA members coffins during the 'troubles'?
    Media are running public opinion in the north, very subtly and very skillfully. GAA are dublin castle catholics.
    By the way, i saw ANOTHER documentary on Harte's daughter last night on RTE1 i had no idea she was murdered while helping aids victims and refugees in Africa nor that she was the president of Ireland.

    Mackers,
    armed action against the brits is not criminal, but it IS as ineffective as deluding ones-self that the Unionists are really Irish and just need to be loved. Watched a programe last night about Palastine and the Isaelis and it just brought back how toxic the Unionists really are.

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  168. Christ, there are some ungracious shits on here. Bunch of petty little proto-fascists lately exemplified by Larry Hughes.

    What gives you, Larry, the presumption to apply your little conspiracy theory to 'the media' and the GAA? Why do you find it appropriate to use the words 'comical' (one m) 'ANOTHER documentary', your pathetic self validation of armed struggle, your pathetic (& criminal) belief that 'how toxic the Unionists really are'?

    Where does an asshole like you think you impose your little exclusivist & nationalist interpretation of history on the rest of a waiting world? Why don't you piss off to some militia in USA, or maybe some settlement on the West Bank? You'll fit right in, once you discover your inner Zionist.

    They're another lot of exclusivist nationalists.

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  169. Larry a cara the Vatican times is at it again,four or five pages of it all,its more than a bit much its imo gutter journalism,the gaa are in receipt of millions of pounds for upgrading Casement park and other venues from the boys in Stormont so my friend,yip they are well bought of,not that they were ever any danger!

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  170. Ardoyne Republican

    ‘The only short answer to ending these armed actions is that the British Government set a date for the political and military withdrawal from the Six Counties.’

    Which it won’t and why should it? If your father and his comrades failed to move it on the matter why would people nowhere near as efficient have more success?

    Sovereignty,

    ‘I fundamentally disagree with your assertion that the republican militants are morally equivalent to the British occupational forces. The IRA is a response to an imperialist occupation, not the cause of it!’

    The argument of moral equivalence is without doubt an interesting angle to prise open the issue. But it wasn’t the point I sought to make although from your perspective I can see why you would have good grounds for focusing on it. My point was simple: armed republicanism challenges the will of the Irish people to a greater degree than the presence of the British state. Reason being that the Irish people have devised a mechanism which allows them to accommodate that presence. They have not found any such mechanism in relation to republican violence.

    In terms of moral equivalence armed republicanism is much less culpable than the British who bomb civilians from the skies in other countries. But that was not the point of the article.

    As for the British being imperialist, no doubt. But that does not mean they have imperialist reasons for a physical presence in Ireland. They have imperialist penetration of other countries but don’t require territorial acquisition.

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  171. colm mcginn
    was it something i said?
    or was it all just too close to the nuckle?
    By your tone you are obviously a peace loving democrat.

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  172. Larry,

    Colm's snobbishness leads to what he says being lost, drowned out by his own pomposity.

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  173. So that was snobbish? Dear me, what a faux pas.

    Larry, it was something you said. In fact, everything you said.

    I'm very democratic, and slightly peace loving.

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  174. Mackers
    the media really are outdoing themselves and Unionists and zionists have much in common.
    Colm has anger issues i think.

    I see michaelhenry believes GAA followers are to wear protest T-Shirts aimed at mr Harte at the next county match. Seems whilst my observations may have been blunt, they are not isolated.

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  175. Larry,


    "Unionists and zionists have much in common."

    Almost makes one conclude that they may even be God's chosen people!?

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  176. Larry,

    "Unionists and zionists have much in common."

    Could we conclude that they may even be God's chosen people!?

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  177. Colm,

    oh all these silly people. If only they were as clever as me!
    Don't worry. It is a Workers Party trait despite all their gangsterism. What do you think of that by the way and what did you write about it when it was going on?

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  178. Robert,

    I take it you have been imbibing Good Friday wine!!

    Nice to see you around. I am on the Jack D. And no lectures from the clever dicks that it is a whiskey not a bourbon!!

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  179. Robert
    not sure about God's chosen people, but a higher power certainly loves them both. The USA in Israel's case, the UK in Unionisms.
    Have to say your post was amusing, and not nasty.
    Would a God want such discriminatory 'peoples' and would Jesus be happy to be his child?

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  180. If Colm is a stickie
    how did they ever end violence with such anger in the ranks?
    SF taking a leaf outa the sticks book, turning on their own.

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  181. Robert,

    "Unionists and zionists have much in common."

    'Almost makes one conclude that they may even be God's chosen people!?'

    Do many of them still consider themselves the 'Lost Tribe'?

    PS, Don't start me on the Jews, on this Good Friday.

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  182. Anthony,

    "I take it you have been imbibing Good Friday wine!!"

    Only for the stomach's sake!

    You're denying yourself some fine indigenous uisce beatha.

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  183. Larry,

    Colm being a Stick is not the issue. We don't really care what baggage people come with. It is just the pompous style. So Colonel Blimp like. 'Oh what a silly lot you are.' You get it all the time with that type. And all the Provos ever did was to copy everything the Sticks ever did.

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  184. Robert
    N. Ireland and Israel have much in common only hundreds of years apart. There should be a better chance of peace here as all are Celts, white and English speaking.
    Political allegiance and financial interest unfortunately being the divide.
    The planters in Palestine are yanks and Russians and just about anyone from anywhere wanting a new start who's a jew. A lasting settlement there we can assume will be less possible.
    Unfortunately the Israelis seem to delight in the persecution. Perhaps a Palestinian territory with aid and billions of Arab oil money pumped in to create a mediteranean paradise might end the bitterness of new generations?
    LOOK WHAT A JOB IN STORMONT DID TO SF....now there was 30yrs wasted!!

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  185. Robert,

    true. But variety is the spice of life as they say.

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  186. John,

    and what is wrong with the Jews? Surely not another group to add to the ever growing list you have of undesirables!

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  187. Anthony,

    'and what is wrong with the Jews? Surely not another group to add to the ever growing list you have of undesirables!'

    They killed God, for starters!
    They control global capitalism.
    They are formenting war and unrest in the Middle East.
    They are currently committing genocide on the Palestinians.
    Yes they deserve their place on my list.

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  188. Anthony, I have watched the progress of this blog with interest, and occasional annoyance & frustration.

    Within this thread, I have seen your personal position as essentially, fair enough & democratic. And a move on from where you seemed to be locked before. Now. if you feel the need to sneer at me as pompous, and 'oh so clever', that isn't because of what I have precisely said, but is because of what is in your head. As regards the WP, and gangsterism, I never even noticed it (then); even in retrospect, it is and was a great deal less of gangsterism than the Sinn Fein- IRA that you spent your youth in. When I did, eventually, (along with 60% of the party) realise that something was wrong with the state of the party, we voted to change that, and Democratic Left came from that split. That it was an unsuccessful political attempt at change is irrelevant.

    As regards your various other commenters, e.g. Larry Hughes; at a personal level, he may be a fair enough human being. At a political level, he's a total arse. Larry (& Ardoyne Republican, & John McGirr & others) believes that HIS beliefs entitle him to execute other people, because their political awareness is different from his. He also finds it appropriate to scorn the grief of Mickey Harte over the death of his daughter, because it fits Larry's political agenda.

    So, when you find me pompous, snobbish & deceitful, I have to respond; take a wee wise up to yourself.

    Larry, on the subject of my 'anger issues'. You're probably right. Certainly, reading your "GAA followers are to wear protest T-Shirts aimed at mr Harte at the next county match"; I feel plenty of anger. I'm not a GAA man (ball sports just bore me. All of them), but if I was there, and some dopey & arrogant young fool felt the need to protest in that way, then I'd feel the need to counter-protest, and that would start with words, but as is the way, would soon degenerate. Now, I'm getting on a bit, but it would be hard to put up with that shit.

    Then of course, we might consider the logic behind your position, Larry. Am I therefore allowed to do a little job on you, or John, or AR? You know, identify your home, your car, your wife, your children, everything about your life; and prepare a little explosive surprise for you? Because, after all, I KNOW that Ireland is better off by dealing with this extreme prejudice against you.

    Does that stack up? Are you ok with that?

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  189. mackers...AGREED
    Personal political stance unimportant. I respect Unionism more than SF, they are RONSEAL, do exactly what it says on the tin. SF and 'nationalists' insisting the Unionists are Irish embarasses me on the Unionist peoples behalf.

    I'll tell you something for free, if SF get their united Ireland referendum they'll wonder where their 'northern' vote went to. Catholics are very cozy in norniron just now. SF did not bring a united country nearer they brought Stormont back...that's not a problem to most people today. Personally i just wish theyd shut the fuck up before their noses reach the moon.

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  190. John

    I suppose they should just be gassed then? This is like something from the Nazi Party manifesto.

    Funny that I have been on quite a few anti-Israeli state protests alongside Jews.

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  191. Colm,

    I don't feel the 'need' to sneer at you. I just find it amusing that somebody is so blind to their own pompousness. If you could only go over the history of your threads you might just have a laugh at yourself too. Just read them.

    'As regards the WP, and gangsterism, I never even noticed it.'

    Ha ha. Just like Gerry Adams never noticed he was in the IRA. Who do you think you are fooling? Nobody here.

    Larry is ok. Have my disagreements with him but that's fine. If you really want to know what an asshole sounds like have a read over your own posts. Even when I agree with you the thought jumps to mind 'what a Pompous Pius.' Not that I accuse you of being one as it is not a term I use. But given that you like using it there may just be pause for reflection.

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  192. AM,

    'I suppose they should just be gassed then? This is like something from the Nazi Party manifesto.'

    I expected you to disagree with the first point, not the others. Life is full of surprises.

    'Funny that I have been on quite a few anti-Israeli state protests alongside Jews.'

    I guess I need to spell it out, I oppose the Jewish religion, as it rejects Christ. I do not oppose members of the Jewish race, but do oppose Zionism.

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  193. Colm
    read my posts, you will see i'm disgusted at the volume of media attention to the issue of a woman being killed on holiday in Maritias. An Irish woman drowned in Australia this week, hardly a word.
    The media has a unity agenda and the GAA are assisting it. That's my point. Get over yourself, you are more despicable with your deliberate insinuations and personal abuse.
    So you recon you'd attack young guys for venting an opinion...look forward to reading about you in traction, im sure the media will be there at your side. You certainly seem to be far enough up their arse!

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  194. John,

    I am glad for that - a Nazi pope and a Nazi follower! Just too much for a Pastafarian to take on Good Friday. And it is a good Friday coz I am drinking Jack D.

    Not that I would fall out with you over it. As I grow older I have succumbed to tolerance. Of course you might think that is a mental illness.

    Did the pope not exonerate them from killing god?

    You must realise how mad this all sounds to me!

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  195. Whatever works, Anthony.

    If it strikes you as pompous, tough titty for me. I don't see it the same way.

    Meanwhile, "that type."

    Ha- ha. Now who is the British referencing Colonel Blimp?

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  196. Larry,

    'you are more despicable with your deliberate insinuations and personal abuse.'

    Leaped out at me too.

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  197. John McGirr,

    "Do many of them still consider themselves the 'Lost Tribe'?"

    I don't know, Nelson McCausland's phone is currently engaged.

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  198. Colm,

    it is called Mimic Man.

    The WP were pro British for so long they ended up aping them. Colonel Blimp was ridiculed not for being British but for being a pompous prat.

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  199. AM,

    'As I grow older I have succumbed to tolerance.'

    Funny, it has the complete opposite effect on me.

    'Did the pope not exonerate them from killing god?'

    That is the same 'Pope' who is going to beatify John Paul II, who presided over the near total destruction of the Catholic Church and did nothing while so many were abused. His words mean nothing to me, when they conflict with all who went before him. They did kill God.

    'You must realise how mad this all sounds to me!'

    I can hazard a guess that this sounds madder, a rabid Catholic denouncing two Popes, lol! (And I'm only on the wine, (for my stomache's sake, too).

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