Richard O’Rawe here with a letter that appeared in the Irish News on 11th of Juy 2012 highlighting the emascualation of Northern nationalism in the face of British state repression.

Truly, it is a lamentable state of affairs when nationalists and republicans cannot, through peaceful and democratic protest, secure the release of the internees, Marian Price and Martin Corey. 

What does that cruel reality tell us about the value that the British government currently places on nationalist/republican opinion? Dare I say that it effectively illustrates that we have no real political power, that our influence is peripheral, that we are valuable only so long as we diffidently accept the current British political agenda, that to rock the political ‘boat’ at Stormont may see us sink in a sea of unionist intransigence? 

Somewhere, sometime, nationalist/republican politicians are going to have to stir themselves within the present cosy ‘unionist’ coalition.  It’s not good enough to see human rights abuses set aside as peripheral issues.  They are not!  We need our politicians to be the people of conscience and integrity that they once professed themselves to be; we need them to be prepared to stand in the Bearna Bhaoil, as they once did; natural justice demands no less.

The British government is not listening to us.  Marian Price and Martin Corey are still incarcerated – despite all our efforts.  Is it too much to ask the SDLP and Sinn Fein to tell the British emphatically that they will withdraw from Stormont if the British government does not stop their current internment of Irish citizens?


  1. Spot on Richard it is long past the time when both the qsf and sdlp should have shown a common bond in that they are no longer prepared to sit idly by and accept the half crown and watch justice being administered here at the whim of a brit tory, they are elected representatives of the nationalist people its about time they showed some solidarity with their constituents and stood up to this spiteful vindictive politician and the faceless men who whisper in his ear,

  2. No real political power - just what the British decide to devolve.

  3. Richard,
    With their meagre rations of 'crumbs' from the unionist table,these former 'non-entities'[PSF] have become mesmerised,even transfixed,like the proverbial'rabbit in the headlight'by the illusion of power. Masquerading as peacemakers, they have become 'entrapped' into the appeasement of their former enemies, [now their masters]and are now nothing more than obsequious 'gofors'of the British establishment.
    Touts were bought,like common street whores,by British money, as now are PSF, so they are never going to walk from the stormont brothel.Just a pity they can't see how worthless and peripheral they have become, and perhaps noted the observations of the 'greatest British war criminal of all time' when he said, 'an appeaser is one who feeds a crocodile - hoping it will eat him last!'

  4. From Sandy Boyer:

    Martin Corey, like Marian Price, is in prison on the basis of secret evidence neither he nor his lawyers have been allowed to see.

    On Monday July 9th, a Northern Ireland judge ordered Martin Corey released on unconditional bail because he had no chance to refute the “evidence” against him.

    Owen Paterson, the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland, refused to implement the judge’s order to release Martin Corey.

    On Wednesday July 11th the Court of Appeals stayed Martin Corey’s release.

    They scheduled an appeal hearing for September 28th. It could be weeks or months after that before there is a decision.

    Marian Price and Martin Corey’s cases are inextricably intertwined. They could both be imprisoned for life, based solely on secret evidence. Any victory for one of them will inevitably benefit the other.

    More immediately, the Martin Corey decision means that even if the courts order Marian Price released, she is likely to remain in prison for weeks if not months with incalculable damage to her heath.

  5. A regional assembly enjoys the powers allocated to it by the central government only. The limitations of Stormont are becoming more apparent especially in the administration of policing and justice. Sinn Fein is embarrassed by the treatment of Marian Price and Martin Corey because it exposes the lie that it has real power. The party is not in a position to prevent the Owen Paterson doing whatever he likes including interning Republican on secret evidence concocted by MI5.

  6. It would appear to me that the British treatment of Martin and Marian was a beginning and the first real public shafting of PSF by the British.

    PSF dont seem to know what way to play it. They might think that they are fecked if 'do' anything
    about it and fecked if they dont. But they should know the issue is dangerous for them.

    I often hear friends say that some of our other friends who remained with PSF were sound etc and still are sound.

    But it is time we confronted each and every one of our past friends as we come across them and leave them in no doubt that we view what they are supporting as wrong even if it means past friendships have to go to the wall

  7. Eddie
    Brits are ramming the victory home. That's why part of me wants to see SF leadership in very deep shite. Bring it on.

  8. Alec

    "Sinn Fein is embarrassed by the treatment of Marian Price and Martin Corey because it exposes the lie that it has real power."

    That lets them off the hook!! --Sinn Fein are equal party to the governance of the 'pravince'. I fail to see why former comrades always tend to excuse Sinn Fein's role as misguided subservient rather than they have made calculated decisions to be part of that system. And they stand by their decision to do so.

    Is it not staggering that British Judges have been the greatest supporters (if I can put it that way) that Marion Price and Martin Corey have.

  9. Larry,

    The so called leadership are no different from the generals in the world wars who from many miles from the Front sent thousands of young men 'over the top' and to their death just to gain a few yards. "Lions led by donkeys" could be aptly applied to our struggle too.

    In my opinion the struggle was brought to an end solely because the 'Untoucheables' realised they were fast becoming toucheable by way of Johnny Adairs crew and the 'turning' of high ranking personnel etc etc

    There is no doubt in my mind that the British are playing them as a cat would do with a wee mouse. We all know how the wee mouse usualy fairs out in such a situation. Normally I would hope the mouse gets away

  10. Eddie
    not sure i agree with your take on the loyalist impact. There was no shortage of people happy to take the fight to those pill-heads. Adams and co. prevented it, allowing nationalists to be slaughtered to show their eagerness to be 'permitted' into talks about talks.

    Have a feeling if it ever kicked off again the prods would find themselves on the recieving end of their own former tactics, maybe in afluent areas too.

    Couldn't care about the SF mouse, better if its tramped on...but the brits need them for a wee while more perhaps. The bloodysunday 'fake' investigation is merely a cover to go after nationalists. No brit will be jailed, lets see how many taigs are though.

  11. A very measured and thoughtful piece by Richard, I strongly disagree with Larry when he says a part of him wants to see SF leadership in very deep shite. Bring it on.

    If the SF leadership is atomised it would leave a total vacuum of leadership in the north. The nationalist working class would once again be rudderless, without any kind of political representation. I see no evidence yet that any other Republican group could fill that vacuum. Sadly not even Éirigí.

    One does not have to imagine how unionists would behave as the evidence of the first 40 plus years of the Orange State is there for all to see, or remember.

    This far from means SFs lack of action should be tolerated silently, that leaderships shortcomings should be challenged and exposed at every turn as Richard is doing here, and demands made of them.

    The coalition is clearly ploughing a different furrow from new Labour, SF need to wake up and smell the coffee [as the saying goes] and act accordingly.

    For SF to continue to plough the old way with what is now a broken plough is not a viable or productive option.

  12. I have come to expect thoughtful and brave commentary from Richard O'Rawe, and this piece is up there with his best.

  13. Organized Rage,

    'The nationalist working class would once again be rudderless, without any kind of political representation.'

    I thought that is where we were now. Not sure though why you want things restricted to the 'nationalist working class'? Do I count, I haven't done a stroke of work in years?

  14. I wonder if the arbitrary imprisonment of people associated with Irish republicanism is more than a straightforward attempt to squeeze still active violent groups. Is it also a warning to mainstream republicans to keep playing ball?
    I also wonder if the Boston college investigation is similar. A message to Adams and McGuinness etc of what could be unearthed if the British will it. So keep on being good little fenians…
    Maybe the British are just reminding them of what motivated them to take the path of co-option. In the ‘80s they took a long look down the road they were on and saw where it led. Being killed by a Brit bullet from a Loyalist gun… prison… harassment… ostracism to the margins of Europe, the margins of power… How much easier to do a deal. It’s warm under the wing of the dragon. How much easier to tell yourself that ‘someday’ you’ll win, ‘our day will come’ becomes no longer a rallying call, ominous to the British but a slogan for putting off everything on the never-never.

  15. John

    I do not wish to restrict anyone, and if anything the protestant working class is in a far worse position than their catholic neighbours. The main difference being the majority of them still vote for middle class parties which directly work against there best interest.

    The trouble with SF is they make overtures, some might say tip their caps, to the leadership of unionist parties but have yet made none to the unionist working classes

  16. tirana,

    I take your point. I personally make no excuses for Sinn Fein's role in a British regional assembly. On this occasion I chose to come at it from a slightly different angle. Many people believed that Sinn Fein had achieved a position of real power and influence within the political system. However, it is becoming increasingly obvious this is not the case at all. Recent decisions by Owen Paterson vis-a-vis Marian Price and Martin Corey have led bare that lie.

    Kevin Campbell will be wondering tonight, before he is pulled back in to line, what has went wrong. The police raid on his home, which could only have been ordered at the highest level, exposes another lie peddled by the Sinn Fein spin doctors: There is no accountability whenever it comes to political policing. The dark side of policing threatens to undermine Gerry's 'rights based' society.

  17. There is an alternative to the provos,Republican Sinn Fein.

  18. organised rage

    beware the orange card.

    'I do not wish to restrict anyone, and if anything the protestant working class is in a far worse position than their catholic neighbours. The main difference being the majority of them still vote for middle class parties which directly work against there best interest.'

    if they could start the troubles again so their kids with inferior education could get jobs as screws, PSNI and UDR people and other members of the unionist community could bolster their businesses with part-time employment in the same taig beating outfits, they'd jump at it in a second. Back to their dream economy of prods/unionists living off keeping taigs/nationalists in their place.

    John McGirr

    had no idea you were a 'devout' member of the lumpen proletariat. Your rights should not be denied. We wouldn't want you digging turf 14 hours a day in a republican/Catholic wonderland; would we.


    Rory and republican SF would have more integrity. But the media are so tied up in the piss/process you couldn't get a squeek aired on tv/radio.

  19. Larry

    I'm not playing the Orange card, working class people need political representation they trust, to see their bins are emptied properly, streets kept clean, they get good health care, eduction, housing etc, etc. All the nuts and bolts of once was called municipal socialism, it is often boring and unrewarding work, which is why many Republicans and those on the left do not wish to do it.

    The sad thing is until they had their heads turned, SF were once good at this stuff.

    Without such representation, we go to the back of the queue and that (and admittedly other reasons) was why the nationalist working classes had such a tough time under the Orange State.

    All the best.


  20. Organised rage
    i just meant 'beware' that everything to do with the prods here has always been self interest at the expense of others. Loyalty to the crown was always second priority to personal priviledge . That was true in Ireland and the New World...not to mention again in 1912. N. Ireland's disgraceful 50 yr history pre troubles showed no change. They do what it says on the tin...selfserving. But it's only enjoyable at someone elses expence. Hence the hun parades continuing where they are NOT wanted.

  21. Well written piece by Ricky. The thing is PSF tell us to move on while they themselves have moved back to being the SDLP of the past and the Stickies before that.

    Don't forget that Cathal Goulding was pushing exactly what Adams is today back before, he Adams, had a beard.

  22. Lamentable,


    I am not so sure there would be a rudderless state. The SDLP is taking up the issues that SF should be taking up. I doubt if the situation of the nationalist working class could get worse if SF folded. SF is committed to power not working class politics. For all the radical rhetoric in the South we know the right wing agenda will be put into effect once SF get into office. Watching them and Labour in the Dail is like the Sticks stalking the Sticks. SF angry at Labour because they can’t get doing what Labour is doing. The working class of West Belfast got very little in terms of material gains being defended. They now have the equal right to be shafted by Tory cuts.

    Stopping a descent into sectarian bloodletting was one of the positive things Adams did. The IRA as able defenders of the nationalist community was exposed as a myth. All the IRA could really do was defend against a crowd incursion but not against individual sectarian assassination. It could retaliate better than it could defend.

    The Bloody Sunday investigation will not produce one murder conviction. Since Cameron made his announcement two years ago I expressed the view that prosecutions here were not the way to go. The verdict for the Brits will at worse be manslaughter and that will become a record that they murdered no one on Bloody Sunday.


    the Goulding analogy has been apt for quite some time now. Goulding was more to the Left.

  23. Frank,

    'I wonder if the arbitrary imprisonment of people associated with Irish republicanism is more than a straightforward attempt to squeeze still active violent groups. Is it also a warning to mainstream republicans to
    keep playing ball?'

    Could be. Impossible to rule out. It is always hard to tie agenda and motivation down with precision.

    ‘It's warm under the wing of the dragon.’

    How true that is