Hope not Hate

Former Blanket columnist and Unionist commentator, Dr John Coulter, assesses how dissident republicans can take the moral high ground politically within nationalism now that unionism and loyalism have been thrown into confusion over the Union flag protests.

The various factions which comprise the dissident republican movement must be highly amused at the assorted baby-faced new generation of young loyalists who appear to be on the brink of achieving what more than a decade of dissident violence could not accomplish – Peter Robinson deposed as DUP leader, and Stormont collapsing.

Working class loyalists used to be the foot soldiers of middle class Unionism, ready at the drop of a bowler hat to do the bidding at elections of so-called ‘Big House, Orange Order Unionists’ who ruled Northern Ireland for generations.

Unionism’s biggest blunder was not to throw cold water on Terence O’Neill’s liberal policies in the late 1960s. It was the failure of the joint Unionist leadership to find a workable alternative when it decided to bring down the Sunningdale Executive using the Ulster Workers’ Council strike of 1974.

Working class loyalists were the backbone of that 1974 strategy. Almost 40 years later, loyalists will no longer be conned by Unionist parties into doing their bidding without questions. Like many Middle Eastern nations, a loyalist revolution is underway, but it has no idea in which direction that revolution will take Northern Protestantism.

Unionism is politically rudderless; the DUP is having major problems trying to reconnect with working class Protestants because of its cosy Stormont partnership with Provisional Sinn Fein. Indeed, Provisional Sinn Fein is actually in danger with becoming tainted with the DUP’s dilemma. How many in republican heartlands are wondering if Provisional Sinn Fein, rather than actively pursuing the agenda of a united island, is in reality merely propping up an increasingly unstable DUP partner?

As with loyalism, a new generation of young post ceasefire republicans has emerged. Unlike the 1980s, when Provisional Sinn Fein seriously entered the Northern political arena, the ex-Provisional IRA card does not hold the balance of power within the republican movement. The overwhelming majority of Provisional Sinn Fein candidates, elected representatives and senior party workers had served an apprenticeship in the IRA. Many were ex-prisoners or ex-internees.

Provisional Sinn Fein now finds itself in the era of the ‘draft dodgers’ – young, well-educated republicans who were never members of the IRA. Increasingly, this new generation of Provisional Sinn Fein republicans are emerging from middle class Catholic backgrounds, not the traditional working class republican heartlands.

These new ‘Super Shinners’ are bristling with honours degrees, not armalites. Slowly, but surely, Provisional Sinn Fein is emerging into the now defunct Irish Independence Party formed by Protestant nationalist, the late John Turnley. Eventually, if the peace process holds, Northern Provisional Sinn Fein will become a mirror image of the also now defunct Irish Nationalist Party once fronted by Stormont MP, the late Eddie McAteer.

Just as the DUP remains resolute to wipe the increasingly irrelevant Ulster Unionist Party off the pro-Union spectrum, so Provisional Sinn Fein seems equally resolute on condemning the SDLP to the dustbin of nationalist history.

Now is the time for dissident republicans to go political with a radical alternative to Provisional Sinn Fein. Anglo-Irish relations have developed to such a level that dissident republicans can no longer rely on the Republic as a safe haven for its terrorists. It seems that dissident republicans have not taken account of the development of the British-Irish political institutions. These should not be confused with the cross-border bodies.

Southern Ireland may deem itself neutral in terms of a global conflict, but it is by no means neutral when it now comes to dealing with dissident republican terror cells in the 26 counties. With the British and Irish Labour parties confirming they both will not contest elections in Northern Ireland in a last ditch bid to rescue the fading SDLP, the leaderships of the various dissident groups needs to combine to form – not a new terror group such as the so-called New IRA – but a new united republican socialist party capable of competing with the increasingly middle class Catholic looking Provisional Sinn Fein.

Readers of The Pensive Quill and The Blanket know that I am an unashamed and unrepentant Radical Right Wing Unionist. But I did believe the Concerned Republican initiative which emerged in the new millennium was a credible experience at trying to provide a feasible alternative to the Provisional Sinn Fein roller coaster rampaging through the republican family.

The Concerned Republican project was basically a decade ahead of its time. This year, and now, would have been a good time to launch this. A decade ago, republicans were more interested in getting Provisional Sinn Fein to topple the SDLP as the leading party for nationalists. Like the political malaise which has struck Protestantism, Unionism and Loyalism, dissident republicanism has been fragmented with internal strife and factions – a key factor which has benefited Provisional Sinn Fein.

The first thing which dissident republicanism must comprehend is that violence does not work. Using its well placed network of informers and spies, the British establishment brought the Provisional IRA to the ceasefire table and Provisional Sinn Fein into a partitionist parliament at Stormont.

No matter how many terror cells or organisations which dissident republicans launch, eventually the British will get the upper hand in terms of intelligence and force that group to either disband or negotiate. The bitter medicine which – at some stage – the dissident republican movement must swallow is that violence does not work, and democratic politics are the only paths forward.

Provisional Sinn Fein is riding two horses at present in terms of its all-island vision – it is the party of government in the power-sharing Stormont Executive in Northern Ireland, and it is portraying itself as the champion of opposition against the austerity cuts in the Republic. There is always the danger one of those horses will stumble.

As for dissident republicanism, 2013 marks the centenary of the formation of two nationalist militias – the Irish Volunteers and the Irish Citizen Army. To commemorate these events with a terror campaign will only provoke a combined back lash by the British and Irish governments.

A much better strategy would be to launch a new Democratic Republican Party in Northern Ireland as a viable political alternative to the cuts which are to come from the DUP/Provisional Sinn Fein dominated Stormont Executive.

That makes more sense that a terror campaign which included the murder of my good friend, Constable Steve Carroll in March 2009. The anti-fascist movement has a slogan – hope not hate. The political gauntlet for the dissident republican movement is if it possessed the courage to rise to the challenge of that slogan.

Can dissident republicans bring hope to the nationalist communities in this time of cuts and crisis, or will it simply try to swamp the Catholic people of Ireland with the empty rhetoric of hate? Irish history is littered with Protestants who tried to steer nationalism along a democratic path.

I have never been an Irish republican, am not an Irish republican, and will never be an Irish republican. But just maybe, I am another Protestant whom Irish republicans might listen to. I live in hope.


  1. Wow! Great article. I think there's a lot in that.

    There's definitely a strong argument to be made that armed struggle has served its purpose and impacted as much as it possibly can given the various limitations placed on it in the Irish context. But the notion that there is an emerging political vacuum in working-class republican constituencies the length and breadth of Ireland to be exploited is a certainty.

    That's the way forward for the republican movement. To rebuild and reorganise around a cohesive, coherent political analysis capable of providing a real alternative to the sham politics of the establishment parties - yes, including Sinn Fein.

    Will it happen though is another question. A lack of leadership is what's sorely missing at present, a figure or figures capable of attracting support from the young people who just want to "do something". While republicanism shouldn't be about follow the leader - I'm sure we've learnt that lesson - nevertheless there seems to me to be a requirement of some form of leadership capable of attracting the support of the various strands of republicanism.

    That's the agenda for republicans to be working on in my opinion, to start building a credible alternative to Sinn Fein capable of delivering what they are either unable or simply no longer care about to bring about.

    The 1916 Societies are a great way to start building this movement, I'd encourage republicans to look more into this approach and build the thing up slowly and surely from this type of approach.

    A fair decent article anyway with a lot of insightful analysis

  2. John; I think eirigi would be that alternative republican party you envisage, no?

  3. I agree with Belfast Bookworm Éirigí has the makings of a credible alternative.but I must say that is one of Johns better posts.

  4. Marty,

    there is certainly a lot in John's piece

  5. Does john Coulter want the different disso groups to join forces to take seats in the Assembly in the future [ if they get elected ]
    Is there anything to worry about-
    Well Sean bres wants the 1916 Societies to lead the way whilst Belfast Bookworm and Marty thinks that Éirigi should be the way to move forward-i am sure there will be more-no-there is nothing to worry about-

  6. And you MHenry are a SF councillor who sits in front of a computer screen talking crap.

    It's clear that if PSF are satisfied with the likes of you being elected they don't give a damn about the electorate in Cookstown.

    They might as well tie a donkey to the outside of Cookstown council offices as have you inside trying to fight anyone's corner.

    However you are proof of one thing, that if people are willing to vote for the likes of yourself they would go to any lengths for peace.

  7. Well, That post from Dr Coulter took me by surprise and I give it thumbs up, but, I would like to correct him on the "Flags Issue", those out protesting and rioting have nothing to do with Loyalism, they are from the far right British parties, mingled with LOyalist Gangsters,Drug Dealers, extortionist. John yes, we on the TPQ know you are unrepentant Radical Right Wing Unionist, You remind me of an Ex eccentric British Army major MP, whom Maggie Thatcher called, Deluded, he came to the six counties to win a seat because he could not win one anywhere in mainland UK, I don't believe in the word, "Unrepentant", what would you say to St Peter if you ever got to those mythological pearly gates and he ask you to Repent, would you do a Paisley and shout, NEVER,NEVER,NEVER, I don't know your financial arrangements but The other Great Doctor Paisley made millions out of his bigotry. I would say the best way to unite our country is, Let the flag protests continue because the Ordinary working class people will soon get so pissed of with it, THEY WILL WANT AN ALTERNATIVE, to me that would be Eirigi. Sorry about that Michael Henry, that puts you and the rest of the wheel tappers and shunters of SF out of a job, but don't worry, you will get the same amount as other unemployed working class. Eire Nua.

  8. itsjustmacker goes for Eirigi as well whilst Dixie just goes for the
    same thing he has been saying for ages-there is a by-election in a short while in mid-ulster-who is going to oppose Sinn Fein-the big talk soon collapse's-

  9. Some genuine food for thought in John's thoughtful piece.

  10. I think Michael misunderstands the function of the Societies and how they can be used to further republican unity.

    Their primary purpose is to maintain the values and the integrity of the Irish republican struggle, a function that historically has been performed by like-minded groups in periods following physical force rebellion. The most important challenge facing us at the minute is to make sure the legacy of the Volunteers who fought and died in the most recent phase of our struggle is not usurped for the purposes of a party-political agenda anathema to what they fought for. For it is just such a legacy that can offer us away forward out of the morass we find ourselves in, it is the foundation stone. Having secured this legacy we can go on to build from there.

    Which brings us to a secondary role the Societies are capable of providing, that of offering a vehicle to bring the varying strands of republicanism together. The Societies are dedicated to fostering inclusive debate on the way forward for the republican struggle and to working with other organisations, at home and abroad, to promote Irish reunification. From my perspective there's no inconsistency between being a member of Eirigi, 32CSM, IRSP, RSF, the RNU or whatever and at the same time being involved with the 1916 Societies. The Societies can actually serve to help bring them all closer together which I'm sure we all agree is what needs to happen.

    "The 1916 Societies are founded on the principles of the 1916 Proclamation... Individual members may favour or indeed be involved with political organisations but the 1916 societies as a collective body will remain independent." (1916 Societies)

    I believe that there is potential in this approach and from what I've seen this past while, at least here in Tyrone, this must surely be the fast-growing organisation in the country. The numbers rallying are growing by the month as more and more realise that Sinn Fein's approach is no longer consistent with republican ideology, at least in terms of how it was interpreted in the most recent phase of our struggle. It would be unfair to suggest that anyone has a monopoly on republicanism when the likes of Fianna Fail, and even Fianna Gael, claim a republican lineage. But Sinn Fein is now closer to this train of republican ideology rather than that which fueled the Provisional IRA campaign.

    The Societies have unlimited potential I believe because it is such a simple construct which all republicans can unite behind. For we all share the values of the 1916 Proclamation. Michael Henry, or Michael McIvor, whichever he chooses to call himself, may dismiss the growing dynamic of the Societies but he'd do well to look at how many turned up at the Sinn Fein sponsored Tyrone Volunteer's Day in Cappagh the last few years and indeed the Easter Commemoration in Carrickmore. REPUBLICANS are seeing through his party now. They may well maintain their position and compensate for the loss with ever-increasing numbers of SDLP types flooding into the party and voting for them at the polls, but they are losing the heartlands, they are losing the republican people - slowly but surely. Because the people of Tyrone and elsewhere are starting to realise this has all gone wrong, that the likes of McCaughey and Grew, the Harte brothers and Brian Mullin, the likes of Paraig McKearney, Jim Lynagh and Kevin Barry O'Donnell would NEVER have went along with this.

  11. Beware the risen people! If you think back to the 90's how many were out on the white-line pickets, how many were at the Saoirse rallies outside the town halls? How many sold a ticket, went to a function? That's where we were then, that's were we are now. The jump in numbers was not the masses converting to republicanism but republicanism converting to populism. But republicanism is still there underneath it all.

    And so we start again.

    The debate that needs to happen is how we go forwards. John Coulter's article is a worthy contribution to that debate but in truth it's been going on for a lot longer than this. Many have been pushing for just such discussion within the broader republican family for quite some time. I hope the Societies can channel just such a debate and that a resurgent republicanism can emerge from it all.

    "The ruling class still rules and the working class still works and the gap between the two is as bad as ever. Not only are the Brits still here but also are poverty, corruption, inequality, censorship and repression. How things change in order to stay the same. Can it really ever be all over when this is all we have to show for our efforts?" (Brendan Hughes)

    (I had to post that in two separate comments because I never realised when writing it out there was a word limit. Hopefully Anthony or whoever administrates the site can post them back-to-back for me, cheers and sorry for making such a lengthy contribution, I'll know again for the future!)

  12. Michael Henry;

    'no-there is nothing to worry about'

    Are you sure about that?

    Last year eirigi fielded two candidates for the first time ever in the Belfast Council elections. Despite claims from established parties and contestants to this party that they'd secure no more than 200 votes, McCusker and McCoiter pulled in almost 2500 first preference votes.

    All if not most came from once-faithful SF voters.

    As an elected SF rep is this not something you and your party should be worried about?

    You sound like an east Belfast unionist........ right before Naoimi Long took that seat.

  13. "The first item on any Republican agenda is the split", a quote attributed to the noted playwright and one time IRA man Brendan Behan.
    I found this article quite insightful in many ways, perhaps most obviously because it is written by a Unionist seeking to help Dissidents become political.A noble endeavour or merely hoping topersaude Dissidents to put the guns down.
    Two things are certain in an Irish Republican group - at least one martyr and atleast one split. I do not want anymore Irish martyrs, we have enough of them. I also do not want anymore splits. In the last century there were at least four sizeable splits in the Republican movement.
    I sense a lot of annoyance with SF in the North from within Republican areas, as a southerner I can only speak from a Dublin-based perspective. For me SF are striking a lot of chords with a lot of people in the south and I don't just mean the Middle-class, I mean amongst a more politicised working-class and lower-middle class.
    Another Republican group emerging may win some support in some areas in the North but I can honestly say they will achieve little in the South. SF are still playing catch up in the South in many respects, if people havn't even given them massive support before what chance does some new Republican group have or existing ones like RSF, 32CSM or Eirigi?
    Lets try keep united and move forward and keep the 'splits' for dessert :)

  14. Ex provos disenchanted with SF may baulk at joining the 'dissidents' because of a perception that those groups were infested and run by a residue of brit agents and deliberately designed to 'mop-up' any potential danger to the GFA.

    Why not let SF campaign for a border poll? It's about the height of their value.

    A mob of prod teenagers aren't anywhere near bringing down Stormont, even with RUC empathy. More like bringing down what's left of unionist morale in their own areas which affects no-one else!

    SF may (like em or loath them) have cracked the electorate again....middle class taigs with degrees not armalites? .... aren't they the very people the unionists are lauding as 'their' saviours?

    Reminds me of Irish history after the famine. Just when they thought it was all-over in stepped the middle class RCs and wiped out the landlord class and prod ascendancy forever with land purchases and the land-war. Captain Boycott aced Captain Moonlight.

    I too live in hope mr Coulter, here's loooking at YOU kid! SLAN

  15. Michaelhenry is one of those johnny-come-lately types who caught the gravy train at Cookstown. He like Adams'other worshipers believes that winning elections is some great achievement brought about by the sacrifices of brave men and women.

    What they don't realise is that while the struggle was at it's height the SDLP regularly hammered PSF at the polls.

    No matter how much they delude themselves shinners must realise that not one person would have given a week of their lives in prison never mind their lives so that PSF could boast they took the SDLP vote.

    The michaelhenrys of this world should realise that no matter how many vote for the Provisionals it won't change a thing - except for the lifestyles of the elected that is - Gerry Adams abandoned West Belfast leaving it the most under deprived area in the North. Of course West Belfast also has 5 Shinner MLAs thats some amount of wasted votes.

    I'm not of course saying that armed struggle will change anything either, I've long ago learned that treacherous politicians tend to sell their soldiers out eventually.

    No the time is ripe for the wide range of Republican groups out there to consider combining to find a way that politically challenges the system without becoming shackled to it, as PSF have done.

  16. Sean bres-

    You are making the same mistake that a few other dissos have made over the years-you think that the Republican martyrs would be following you and your groups line of thought today-nobody knows what or who if anyone those fallen Volunteers would support today-

    You also talked about a supposed low turnout at the Sinn Fein Tyrone county Commemoration in Carrickmore despite the Societies holding no couty commemoration there themselves-so much for their growing dynamic-looks like all talk and no action to me-

  17. MH; who would republican martyrs be following then if not 'the dissos'? Given that they fought and died for a united Ireland?

  18. Belfast Bookworm-

    I dont know who the Fallen Volunteers would be following today
    if anybody-maybe they would be leaders today maybe not but i will not second guess any of there memorys by saying for certain what they might be doing today if they had of made through the war-i dont know-God knows how any-one else does-
    Thank God no disso was ever killed by the RUC /PSNI or brit army or loyalists-lets hope that it remains so-

  19. Interesting piece seems to back up what it says at the bottom....


  20. michael henry:

    "Thank God no disso was ever killed by the RUC /PSNI or brit army or loyalists-lets hope that it remains so".

    That's very nice to hear, well said Michael, But they are still a pain in the neck to the SF so called Peace Process, so much that Adams,McGuinness/Kelly have called for anyone with info to report it to RUC/PSNI.
    What are your leaders afraid of Michael?, It doesn't matter what passport they all have, they are still brits in a brit stormont.

  21. Dixie:

    Its just one massive scam, fiddlers on the roof!, and, that's all they are, if your not one of them then you are classed as a nobody.
    Its that simple. scam building projects!, I remember, working for pittance, couldn't make ends meet, muckers out on the drink every night, and me struggling to feed the kids, couldn't even afford to have a pint and game of snooker, but I had my principles , I wasn't one of those walking about the club cadging a pint, I knew the auld drink would get to some comrades, but to see so called friends (muckers) shunning you because you couldn't get to the club was sickening to say the least. I am happy now, I can live on my pension, but its tough, my heart goes out to the young ones who get a job, and, can't even afford electricity. That is a sad fact of life in this day and age, while the shinners are creaming it off left right and centre.

  22. A very interesting contribution from John and one that makes one think positively about the future direction of anti-agreement political groups..

    The micro-parliament at Stormont isn't working, hasn't worked and won't work due the serious flaws in it's structure and composition. It is based on the illusion of peace from a British, imperialist and sectarian viewpoint...

    No-one is advocating a return to Armed Struggle nor a full-scale war in Ireland to achieve the Republican objective. However, we all accept that so long as the occupation remains, so too will armed attacks...

    Therefore, it is the duty of all anti-agreement groups like RSF, IRSP, RNU, 32CSM, Eirigi and the 1916 Socities to maybe not arrange a coalition for future elections as there maybe idealogical differences. Though, they could agree to candidates not standing in the same constituiences etc...

    The last Council elections in Belfast demonstrated that the IRSP and Eirigi did not agree such a pact and come election day, confusion reigned...

    In saying all of the above, I like many other dissenting Republicans would welcome an electoral intervention to pursue our common goal of creating revolution across Ireland, leading to a Socialist Republic...

    It's never to early to have all groups equally represented at a round table discussion to debate the future and how we can all make a contribution.

  23. Michaelhenry

    in truth the RUC/Brits (SF included now) havent engaged in shoot to kill because they havent felt the necessity. but internment etc is being used very selectively though.

    Actually i'm wrong, the provos/SF have been doing the shoot to kill for the RUC...Joe O'Connor.

  24. John
    But just maybe, I am another Protestant whom Irish republicans might listen to.

    Why don't you listen to dissident Irish republicans instead? I do, and the majority are saying the same thing, namely the GFA isn't working and no amount of cosmetic window dressing will fix it.

    You mentioned about 'dissident republicans' being fragmented. I don't think they are anymore. I'm under no illusion that there is a debate going on both publicly and privately in the way a head within anti-GFA republicans. And its only a matter of time before some of the anti-agreement parties gel together in the same way as some armed republicans recently have. The biggest factor that PSF benefitted from in the North was simply, there wasn't a real viable republican opposition (but that is changing). Anyone who opposed PSF within the nationalist community was hounded out of their homes, shot or locked up on trumped up charges in order to silence them. But today people are starting to wake up to the realisation that they were sold a dead duck.

    I'll say again John, instead of trying to trying to figure out a way a head for anti-GFA republicans to plot..Wouldn't it be more constructive to encourage working class protestants, who also Got Fcuk All from the GFA to find common ground with their working class catholic neighbours...?

    Part of the reason working class loyalists haven't got a sense of direction is becasue they didn't have a starting place. They talk about their Britishness being eroded. I don't understand that.

    Part of the PUL community (mainly within the Loyal orders) believe they are (part of) the lost tribe of Israel..And in the same breath they talk about 'Ulster-Scots',James II was a catholic scot, Billy was a european..So what part of their Britishness is getting eroded?

    Zionism, Europeanism or their Scottishness...?

    Trust me John, write a piece about why working class protestants haven't a pot to piss in. And why it makes sense to join a united front with their working class catholic neighbours instead of wondering what Anti-GFA republicans should or should not do. Irish republicans will sort their own grievences out in the fullness of time. All the welfare cuts and recent violence in parts of Belfast will affect protestants too. While their political leaders sit comfortably in big houses with little or no mortages to pay, while some OAP on the Sandy Row, Shankill Road will face the same dilema as some OAP from catholic ghetto's. Basically does she turn the heating on for an extra hour at night to keep warm, use their pension to pay rent or buy an extra meal. Or some single mother deciding wether to buy 'wee Johnny' a new pair of shoes or feed him. Thats the real issues John, not the debate Irish republicans are presently having..And as we both know, the working classes have joined forces to fight the same fight throughout Irish history.

  25. Dixie:

    "Interesting piece seems to back up what it says at the bottom....

    If I didn't know any better, that link looks very familiar to me, this is what wee willie fraser does, sets up blogs with different names to attract nationalists to it, But it is proof in the pudding that it sure as hell looks mafia type and the docs prove that it is one massive scam. thanks for uploading that link, I will continue to monitor that site to see if anything changes on it, if it doesn't then its a one off from wee willie, or, a genuine rebel.

  26. Larry:

    "Actually i'm wrong, the provos/SF have been doing the shoot to kill for the RUC...Joe O'Connor."

    your on the button on that one, well said.

  27. The immaturity of your language is shocking at times Michael Henry, my teenage son and his mate's honestly appear more grown up by comparison. "Disso's"? You talk like a child at times on here, whether you're trying to be inflammatory to get a rise or just a complete moron is hard to tell at times, though I edge towards the former. Unless you really are a total moron.

    In fairness you make a legitimate point about no-one being able to tell where the likes of the Volunteers I mentioned would stand in terms of Sinn Fein's strategy today. But what we can say with certainty is that they did not fight for a reformed Northern Ireland and parity of esteem. Or did they? In that sense it's unbecoming of any political party to stand over their graves making party-political broadcasts tailored to link their efforts to an alien strategy. That's the point I make when I say the Societies hope to secure the legacy of the Volunteers. This practice should cease immediately out of respect for the dead if for no other reason than that. Likewise Sinn Fein collecting outside the chapels at Easter when it's the role of the Tyrone National Graves to maintain the republican plots in our county. What's wrong with simply commemorating the dead? So many families have spoken out now that they don't want party-political broadcasts over their loved ones' graves when a commemoration will suffice. For as you quite rightly say you can no more say they would be happy with all this than I can say they wouldn't. So your party should stop trying to link their memory to its new-found politics.

    In terms of the Societies holding no county commemoration at Carrickmore that does not address the point that Sinn Fein's annual event has died a death along with the death of the party's principles. At the end of the day republicans are not stupid, no-one wants to hear McGuinness or Kelly justifying themselves at an event supposed to be for the commemoration of Tyrone's Volunteers. That even includes many of those who tolerate the party's position. Likewise the situation in Galbally. As for the Societies themselves its plain to be seen they're only emerging. Give them a bit of time and you'll see just how much support they're capable of attracting. It's happening already and well your party knows it. Thus we see cumann springing up all around the county while Sinn Fein dies a slow death. I canvassed for years for Sinn Fein, we knocked every door at least twice, sometimes three times. Today if no-one's in its just a case of post the leaflet and move on, the man-power isn't there to return for a call-back. You know it as well as me if you're honest, the party has changed in massive ways. The activist base we relied on for years simply isn't there anymore. Eventually it will be like the SDLP were canvassers will be paid members of the party doing a brief leaflet drop of the estates and knocking a few doors. Mark my words. That's what happens when you transform from a political movement to a political party. The transformation is virtually complete.

    The Societies are growing and attracting the republican people whether you care to admit it or not. No amount of inflammatory language can disguise this. Time's on our side. The republican struggle will go on

  28. Sean Bres:

    " Thus we see cumann springing up all around the county while Sinn Fein dies a slow death."

    That's exactly what SF done to gain a majority to get into Dail Eirann and Stormont, lets see how they like it when the tables are turned on them.
    I hope I'm alive to see it.

  29. Sean Bres,

    a lot of very interesting material there. Food for thought.

  30. Sean Bres, I'm becoming more intrigued about the societies. To be honest I know little or nothing about them.

    Tell me more - where are they exactly? How are they run? Other than commemorative reasons, is there any other reasons for their existence?

    Oh, and try and ignore Michael Henry. He's a nincompoop.

  31. Sean Bres you are correct a cara when you say that the political activist,s and workers are no longer on the ground,throughout the 80,s the actual numbers of people working on the ground varied on what was happening in each area, a lot of cumanns in and around Belfast existed in name only Twinbrook was an example,Poleglass had for a while the distinction of selling the most REP NEWS in the country that has died a total death, once the money and jobs filtered through to the few the people could clearly see that jobs for the boys and girls was the order of the day and in their haste to get their snouts in the trough they forgot that the people were watching, quisling $inn £ein have become a laughing stock in this area members called ceasefire heroes and worse, once these austerity measures start digging in and" community sector" jobs start taking the hit then the loyal last few will no longer be available to big Bob doh brains and his cronies in other words what once the bin lids brought the people out on to the streets in their droves now unless Q$£ are waving either free drink or £20 notes the followers aint interested.the sticks ran aground on corruption q$£ are not really that far behind them.they have exactly the same virus "stick virus" as Anthony refers to it,and although a slight difference in the symptoms,they will end up the same way.it happens when egos are bigger than principles or party..

  32. Sean bres-

    Wish you a lot of luck on that hard struggle in front of you- i have heard a lot of groups over a lot of years saying that more Republicans will follow them than Sinn Fein-time has told on the rest of them-

    Oh-dont ignore Belfast Bookworm-for she is a genius-

  33. Michael Henry; 'Oh-dont ignore Belfast Bookworm-for she is a genius-'

    That's the smartest thing I've ever heard you say.

  34. Belfast bookworm
    Try www.1916societies.com or if you use facebook add Sean MacDiarmada ardeoin and James Connolly Beal Feirste also there is some info on the societies on Independent republican news.

  35. Marty the same process has taken place down here in Tyrone. Where once were strong cumann's stand a few constituency offices and everything more or less works out of these. The cumann's are there in name only to a great extent and are really controlled by a few individuals with strong ties to the party direction, mostly Councillors. They do their own thing then pass on what they feel the ordinary membership are worthy of being told. It's now as skeletal as that, it really is. The activist base that we were once renowned for is a thing of the past, because who could really put their heart and soul into that crap Sinn Fein peddles for republicanism? The vote they receive and the way they can pull people together for a photo-op is what keeps the thing looking healthy to the casual observer.

    Anyone who's ever been involved with the party will know that it was always a top-down structure with only certain debate tolerated. Belfast always sought to control everything and when there was anything major going on Danny Morrison, or in later years Sean Murray, were sent down to tell us restless culchies how it should be done, to crack the party whip. The way it's run now though is worse again, for you daren't even voice an opinion that conflicts with the party line - even in private - because any notion of "promotion" within the ranks would die with any such show of dissent. And Sinn Fein today is full of people who entertain notions of higher office. Either they are already in the paid positions the party provides or they aspire to them. Either way the idea of speaking your own mind means a death sentence for any such aspirations. Because all they want are yes men. No doubt Michael will argue otherwise but it's the fact of the matter. The local powers-that-be make all the decisions then pass them on to the lesser mortals if and when required. From what friends of mine tell me who still remain in the party they're never asked for an opinion and mightn't hear anything for months at a time. Of course that all changes if there's tickets to be sold or an election coming up. Then the narrative changes!

    But as I've argued earlier people are starting to see the reality of it all now. Many, many republicans have retired from the struggle disillusioned by this whole process. It was particularly galling for such people when seeing those who canvassed for the SDLP, who were content to have dealings with the RUC and sat on community groups that allowed the hated UDR to take children from the estates out on "fun day's" progressing up the party structures with a rapidity denied to the hardy souls who were there all along when no-one wanted to know us. Remember those days? Remember those so-and-so's and the opinions we had of them? They are the modern face of Sinn Fein, at least in these parts.

    The job at hand is to give the republican people a credible alternative so as the likes of those who walked with sheer disillusionment can feel they have something to contribute again. And so the young people with that love of their country we all share can feel they are joining something worthy. Because that's what a lot of people are searching for at the minute, John Coulter's article alludes to it. It's still for the taking if we can get organised and provide a vehicle for the aspirations of such people. That's what I see as the function of the 1916 Societies. To build our movement back up again from the damage done by Michael's party. All's not lost just yet but we need that debate on the way forward John speaks of to take place sooner rather than later. Because in the meantime Sinn Fein are getting away with pointing at the bogey man and saying this is the alternative if you don't go with us. We must give our people another way, a better way

  36. I convinced Sean that the likes of McCaughey and Grew, the Harte brothers and Brian Mullin, the likes of Paraig McKearney, Jim Lynagh and Kevin Barry O'Donnell would NEVER have went along with this. and a host of others were taken out because of exactly that. I"m also convinced that sometime in the mid/late 80's a list was drawn up of which republicans most likely to upset the apple cart. And they paid the ultimate price.

    Ardoyne Republican has said a few times on his blog something very similiar to yourself Sean about the various anti-GFA groups (in that there is very little seperating them). Last year (he can correct me), he wrote a piece about explaining prior to 1916, there was several 'micro' groups basically singing from the same hyme sheet and they eventually pooled their ideas and the rest is history as they say.

    @MichaelH..I said a week or so to you 'From small acorns...' As an 'outsider' who grew up in Ardoyne, even I can see a tidal change in opinions. Once RNU dot the i's and cross the t's in their standing outside the peace process document, they'll in all probability get alot closer to what Tone, Larkin, Conolly etc talked about (uniting catholic, protestant and dissenter). From reading blogs, sites, newspaper articles.. listening to radio phone in's, PSF are alienating the people they claim to represent (otherwise the voice of dissent wouldn't be as vocal as what it is)...

  37. Sean Bres:

    "us restless culchies"

    I have known none braver.

  38. Belfastgit

    In all seriousness, if you are an elected rep for SF then it really doesn’t bode well for them, does it? I have seen a right few of your posts on the P.Q. and honestly thought to myself; my youngest grandchild could have done better than that. Don’t get me wrong, you have as much right as anyone else to your opinions, but some of them I found laughable, ridiculous and downright odious. Your spelling, grammar and attempts to construct even a sentence are pathetic, (do you talk the way you write in a council chamber?). Are you part of the grand plan crap of “let’s move things forward” mantra that SF are always spouting about? If you are, (going on the posts you had on here, we’d be regressing). Finally, if I had a penny (never mind a quid) for every time someone has pointed out to me the conduct of the RUC/PSNI (the force that your party supports) in relation to the so-called flag protests, as opposed to their conduct towards Republican/Nationalist protests, I’d be (almost) as rich as Gerry Adams! People’s eyes and ears are slowly but surely opening to the realisation that what we got in 1998 was a pile of shit!

  39. Sean you are on the money when you mention Bangers or Spike,and I recall Donaldson running around Belfast and beyond like a big lad,two suspect,one definite.and these are the men who directed the faithful in the right direction,is it any wonder the party is where it is today once the tainted hand of corruption got hold of the reins of power it was only a matter of time that the smell of filthy lucre turned them into Gollum like creatures,Republicanism has always been a struggle and more so now .cool clear heads,educate, and debate,rather than lashing out,and steady steady work on the ground will turn the sinking ship around..

  40. Sean Bres;

    'Anyone who's ever been involved with the party will know that it was always a top-down structure with only certain debate tolerated. Belfast always sought to control everything'

    Comrade Stalin taught them all they know.

  41. belfastgit even Scap would not have earned as much as the Bearded one, I apologise for using the word earned here.but indeed q$£ by all accounts from the people I meet on a daily basis and from what I see and hear are no longer on the ground and on streets and countryside movement,they have as Sean says lost the plot and their way, having been led up a political cul de sac all they can do is turn in circles and hope no one is watching,I think as a party they will eventually fragment,Mc Guinness,s performance in Stormont from a republican perspective has been unbelievable in his pro unionisim they have indeed sold their souls for hairy bacon and a bag of gold ,ruling by fooling my arse they have fucking fooled no one but themselves..

  42. The problem for Sinn Fein Frankie is that they are NOT representing people, they are simply administering British rule. Their function within the system is to represent the state's position to the public rather than the other way round, a basic premise of liberal democracy. They are told what to do by the civil service or whatever quango is involved in the relative decision-making process and the job is then to provide legitimacy for this decision to the electorate, as though they were actually the brains behind it all. This is how all liberal democratic systems function, POLITICIANS are there to provide legitimacy for the decisions taken by the wider state. They do not take the decisions, they merely justify them. There is no real representation in this process at all.

    Thus we have the well-known slur "a politicians answer", because above all else a politician is there to justify and legitimise the position of the state. Unless of course they're in opposition. But Sinn Fein is not in opposition and has no desire to be in opposition - where arguably it could be more effective. Instead the unceasing quest for power, for the sake of power, assumes priority. The goal of out-manoeuvering the SDLP took precedence over everything else, even if it meant putting ourselves in a position where our principles would have to take a back seat for the sake of "the strategy". The pursuit of power and the position of the party trumped principle and thus Sinn Fein now governs the state on behalf of their very enemy. The idea of a principled opposition was how they sold it to us at the start but they knew all along where they were headed, their strategy dictated it. So in essence they've lied all along. And that's why they can't be trusted, because that leadership is a crowd of practiced liars who fit perfectly the derisory definition often applied to the word "politician".

    Having become so intrinsically linked to British state power in the North, they are its representative arm, they often find themselves at odds with the position of their grass-roots. Thus there is no meaningful effort to address the varying injustices which continue to plague the Northern state, issues once the mainstay of the republican political argument. Issues such as the unaccountability of state forces, issues such as internment of political opponents of the state, issues such as the human rights of political prisoners being held in Britain's jails and beyond. These are the things Spike and others told us would never happen, that we were going in to smash partition not to administer it, that we were going to turn the system inside out and make sure the injustices of the past were never visited on the nationalist community again. This is how they were supposed to REPRESENT us. Promises though have been broken time after time after time and the only thing they represent now is themselves. People need to realise that Sinn Fein's presence at the heart of this system legitimises the strip-searches in Maghaberry, legitimises the internment of the likes of Tony Taylor, Marian Price, DD McLaughlin and others, and legitimises the still unaccountable PSNI/RUC. Along with the thousands of British Army soldiers still garrisoned here and the 500 odd spooks still working their dirty agenda in our communities. As more people begin to realise this does not represent their interest at all they will look for an alternative that does.

    As I said earlier we must give them that alternative, they're crying out for it. As Marty rightly says, republicanism has always been a struggle, now more than ever. When he says we need cool, clear heads, education and debate he is spot on - steady, steady work will indeed turn this sinking ship around. As Frankie points out, from the tiny acorn grows the mightiest oak tree. All's not lost a chairde

  43. Marty
    From what I can gather, (and I think it was some-one on here that said it, (maybe yourself?) is that the shinners are shitting themselves in case a group like GARC springs up in the Short Strand, that’s maybe why they had their big (no) guns over there during the so-called “fleg protests”! (I deliberately spelt flag wrong there!). I hate the Nolan (radio) Show, but it always seems to be on when I’m having a cup of tea and a bit of toast, and I heard a bit of it yesterday. You had Bucket Mouth Jimbo and Eyebrow Kelly on it. What we need is some-one from Eirigi or GARC on, in between half-wits like these to balance it up a wee bit. I heard Kelly saying about the difference between “policing” Loyalists and Republicans. I want somebody on to tell Kelly that SF (tried) to demonise the people of Ardoyne and stood with the cops while the people on the road were getting their bollocks knocked in and trailed off it. It wasn’t so long ago that everyone was called upon to assist the people of the Lower Ormeau Rd. (among others) and I myself got a right few kickings from the cops there. SF were totally behind us then (probably quite a right few miles behind us!) and I went to the Springfield Rd. Workman Ave. and anywhere else were we were needed to back the local people up, (and I have the scars to prove it! LOL). And I’d still do it!

  44. There is something else that I have a problem with and thats this word 'dissent'..Surely anyone who was involved in the split in 1969 dissented. The hunger strikers deffinatly dissented. So calling anyone who left PSF/PRM after the GFA a dissenter and not the others doesn't add up tp me. Maybe someone could enlighten me.

  45. I love the word Frankis. And I use it all the time - it's a very positive way of describing those who refused to be led by the nose or have the courage to call it like it is, despite it not being what the mainstream thinking is.

    I think we, as republicans, were all dissenters at one time since we didn't conform to the unionist or British way. Now only some of us are.

  46. Belastgit. Shows like Nolans are great,in that they expose SF for what they are as opposed to what they proport to be. Watched Nolans show lastweek and a comment from Alex Monkey,He said with such conviction that he wanted to be making the decisions. I was left with the impression he let the cat out of the bag. It would come as no surprise to me,given the flip flopping of SF,if a united Ireland was on the back burner,as SF go for an independant 6,fiananced by both governments,europe and USA. Dont dismiss this proposition out of hand no matter how unrealistic it seems. Look what power and money has done to people who used to be republicans, that would be SF. Examine the close relationship they have built with the Brits,DUP and those that brought murder to our community,UDA/UVF.

    Also it was reported in a Sunday news paper that Dessie Ellis was responsible for up to fifty murders. Today in the Irish news, he called on the freestate government to,"ensure that ex-prisoners who SUPPORTED the agreement were not put out of thier jobs and unfairly discriinated against". This is further evidence of thier attitude of representing sections of the community,especially those of thier own ilk.Pity they have nt adopted that approach towards all former republican combatants,including Marian Price.

    Ever since I got out of the Kesh I have tried to convince anyone who would listen that SF were scum and were selling out, not just republicanism but republians also. All of us who know the truth should tell the truth to those in our communitties that SF have taken for granted and for a ride.

    Some of the posts on the quill this week,have been great as have the pieces they are commenting on.

    There is an obvious wealth of inteligent thinking in much of what I have read.Hopefully we will see some of what has been said coming to fruition. It can be done and Sean Bres may have come up with a very interesting solution.
    Is there a republican forum were republicans of all shades can come together to forge a coherent strategy and unified way forward. I dont include SF in that as they are tainted and no true republican would ever preside over and administer British rule on any part of this island.

    Sean Bres, you and others like you pushing forward with a true republican agenda from the bottom up,could see SF fall through the cracks as they become further isolated from those who dined on thier shite for years.

  47. Frankie
    Yep, I’m the same as you. When talking to a person I use the two index fingers when I say so-called “dissidents”, In my eyes, the “dissidents” are SF and their fellow travellers, they moved (or ran rather quickly, depending on the money) away from the core principles of Republicanism.

  48. Feel te Love
    I agree with you. If what you are saying about Dessie Ellis is right, I would be very disappointed. I for one, demonstrated on his behalf (I almost got smashed to pieces when a fucker in a lorry wouldn’t stop at our protest (you know the one’s in the middle of the road that unionists are allowed to have day and daily). We weren’t allowed to have them of course, we were blocking the “queen’s highway

  49. I meant to put this on an earlier post (seeing as no-one else mentioned it). The boul Matt Baggott had his “Humphrey Atkins Moment”. (You know, the time when a catholic guy was shot dead in a butchers (I think) at the top of the Whiterock Rd. those wee line of shops that are actually on the Springfield Rd. When asked to comment on it Humph the Bumph said: “the people that did this are only playing into the hands of the terrorists”!?!?. When asked about the unionist “protests” Baggott said: it was distracting his officers from tackling terrorism, i.e. “dissident Republicans”. Now correct me if I’m wrong, but is terrorising people in their own homes, smashing their windows and trying to (and succeeding ) in assaulting people, not terrorism? Is stopping an elderly man from visiting his dying wife in hospital and calling him all the names under the sun not terrorism? Is bringing a whole city to a standstill by a group of thugs who abuse anyone within range not terrorism? Are the people who injured over 100 of his officers not terrorists? I saw that mealy mouthed fucker Joe Jordan on the news the other night decrying that it wasn’t the “protesters” that were putting people off going into the city centre, but the cops in riot gear! You couldn’t make it up! To paraphrase the end of a post by Gerry McGeough on here a while back: the more things change, etc. etc.

  50. Very good article, well written and generally a finger on the pulse in relation to what is happening.
    Sean Bres,
    The 1916 societies sounds interesting saying you have invited all of the other republician groups would you invite the Workers Party? If yes why? If no why not?
    For me SF are striking a lot of chords with a lot of people in the south and I don't just mean the Middle-class, I mean amongst a more politicised working-class and lower-middle class. Smiley sf have perfected the art of speaking left and acting right whilst in government! It will happen down there too.
    Ardoyne Republician,
    You want a socialist republic, would you invite the Workers Party into this grouping? You seem to be excluding them, the group which has consistenty called for a socialist republic of the working class and understood that the military solution is simply not a solution. The elephant in the room, does it have to include ex combatants only? if that is the case it certainly will not be a Ireland of equals?

  51. Marty,
    Could you clarify this shite talk?
    .the sticks ran aground on corruption q$£ are not really that far behind them.they have exactly the same virus "stick virus" as Anthony refers to it,and although a slight difference in the symptoms,they will end up the same way.it happens when egos are bigger than principles or party..

  52. james,

    do you not think the WP were rife with corruption and criminality?

  53. James membership of the Societies is open to any Irish republican with the proviso that they reject British rule and refuse to accept the legitimacy of all Crown forces, including the PSNI. Where the Workers' Party fits in regards that I'm not aware being honest. Support for PSNI/RUC is out the window, so the likes of Jim Gibney who recently commented in his column in the Irish News that he "is a man who supports the PSNI" would probably not be welcome to tie in! Regardless of you're own position on this any and all contribution to the debate that republicanism urgently requires is still to be welcomed, even that of Gibney. Because debate never killed anyone and sure at the end of the day this piece we're both commenting on is the work of someone who describes himself as a radical right-wing Unionist! I welcome his contribution as much as your's and as much as anyone's - even Michael Henry's if he could only show a bit more maturity in his commentary! While he comes across as a bit of a fool I have regular debates with other members of his party. We mightn't share the same analysis, we may indeed have many negative opinions of each other, but I wouldn't be afraid to discuss anything with any man and so long as there is mutual respect.

    Last summer there was a gathering in the Greenvale Hotel Cookstown under the theme of the Brendan Hughes Memorial Lecture, the Societies were very prominent in the organising of the night but there were interest groups there from far and wide - from independent republicans, to civil rights groups and campaigners, to hardcore communists. Tommy McKearney delivered a lecture on the theme "Republicanism 2012 - What is to be done" and a discussion followed along the lines of a question and answer session. Everyone who wished to have their say on the way forward was afforded time and respect. It was an extremely productive evening and there were hundreds in attendance. That's the kind of thing I'd be encouraging from a Societies point of view so even if the Workers' Party's analysis does not fully square with that of the Societies that doesn't necessarily mean you'd be excluded from any discussion or debate. I for one have no problem with that and think it's a good way to move forward in the future

  54. James;

    'The 1916 societies sounds interesting saying you have invited all of the other republician groups would you invite the Workers Party? If yes why? If no why not?'

    'Could you clarify this shite talk?'

    You're taking this a bit thick aren't you? It's only the Internet and its only the Workers Party ffs. Chill.

  55. when your taken advice from your sworn enemies its time to call it a day. reminds me of the Poison Praise Adams and Co were getting form the Brits on the negotiating skills.Dr Coulter is sounding like a securocrats Press release.

  56. AM,
    You asked do you not think the WP were rife with corruption and criminality? NO not the working party itself,unless I am mistaken, if you are refering to group b in the officials, YES as much as the provos without the bodycount et al.
    I am just asking honest questions and again you seem to be patronising me assuming I am taking things thick!. I really do not know what perception you have of me. I am perfectly fine, but when I read slur material with labeling wording surely I am allowed to contribute, probe and ask questions. I want to improve my understanding of why all these organisations call for a socialist republic- normally ex combatant groups but leave out the workers party, a honest question. To get an answer aid my understanding.christ the night.lol

  57. Sean Bres,
    Thank you for your answer well appreciated.Good stuff.

  58. James,

    do you believe that the WP and Group B were not organically linked, that the relationship between the two was not the same as it was between the IRA and SF?

  59. James, I forgot you and I had conversed before! Honestly - until now.

  60. AM,
    I know WP and group B were the same linkage as the SF and the PIRA. The difference being that the PIRA was nationalistic populance militant grouping but the officials were socialist minded non combatant. I just believe the WP and the officials get the criminality label thrown at them, usually from ignorant sources which really do not have a understanding of what they are about. For example, I have a mate who read the "lost revolution" and the only thing he focused on was criminality- funny he was a former provos supporter and now SF supporter. He seemed to forget the portfolio of operations of the PIRA. I Laughed, he like other SF "draft doggers" had the opportunity to join the PIRA, claim the full trappings of a PIRA volunteer, but choice to leave it to someone else. This place is full of them, now. How do you feel about these people AM? That would really piss me off. The other reason I questioned the criminality post, was that for example if someone new came onto the site and didnt have differing opinion from a former PIRA combant perspective, people may beleive the site to be a "ex republician - combatant appreciation society". In my opinion, I do not think this is what you want, as you could have followed a different path.
    Fair enough, no harm done, maybe my direct questioning comes accross as being sharp in which I assure you I do not attend this to be the case being, its all about debate, facilitating my understanding and hopefully someone elses.

  61. James,

    The difference being that the PIRA was nationalistic populace militant grouping but the officials were socialist minded non combatant.

    And how does that lessen the criminality they were involved in? You need to bear in mind they called the type of activities they were engaged in criminality and asked people to go to the police about. The officials were involved in political violence and intimidation so I am not sure they can be called non combatants, certainly not in the early years of the conflict. Joe McCann was very much a combatant. They certainly broke the law they claimed to uphold.

    I just believe the WP and the officials get the criminality label thrown at them, usually from ignorant sources which really do not have a understanding of what they are about.

    That sounds so Shinneresque.
    How do I feel about the draft dodgers? Never really think about them James. I suppose the more they rant the less palatable they become. But we can hardly call a young lad a draft dodger if he is with the Shinners now but was too young to be with the armed campaign.

    I doubt very much if this site will ever be viewed as an ‘ex republican - combatant appreciation society.’ So much is discussed here. That would be on a par with calling it an atheist site. It is neither. More a melting pot of ideas. All are welcome – religious, Sticks, loyalists, Shinners,

  62. AM,
    Good stuff. I thought that about the site. Thats why I joined, these sites are few and far between these days. I still hold true to the belief that peoples view of the WP are based on verbal folklore assumptions without any basis. I think they are/were too soon. The Irish media destroyed them after the split from democratic left, and the good catholic church goers the rest. I am not a member either of the WP or any organisation, but it relies me - the sheer ignorance of folk at times on all sides. The SF war dodgers I was refering to are around the age of 40. I have met them all my adult life, however it was worse maybe ten years ago, now they are being instructed robatically with the party line.

  63. itsjustmacker, I just read your comment on the Sinn Fein Community Mafia link I posted.

    It might well have been The Willie One who put it up, I'm not certain, however if you read it again you'll see it's from 'The Sentinel' a Unionist paper in Derry not widely read by Nationalists.

    This paper has run some exposés on the corruption of SF while the so called Nationalist papers ignore everything, in particular the Derry Journal which has become Derry's An Phoblacht.

  64. Dixie

    This will make you Laugh.

    Wee Willie fraser blames irafor horse meat in burgers

  65. Itsjustmacker; I wouldn't be too sure that Wullie is completely wrong on the horse meat one!

  66. Belfast Bookworm,

    sort of wondered about that myself. He might accuse them of making dodgy diesel and vodka next!

  67. I posted this on Facebook regarding it itsjustmacker....

    Ah Willie Frazer; having stopped taking the tablets again, he's now claiming that the IRA put horse meat into burgers.

    Willie likely put several things into that washing machine of a mind...Horse meat - Burgers - Race horse kidnapped by the IRA...And put it to full cycle.

    The result: He believes that Shergar was never found because it became a Big Mac.

    Funnily enough Willie, I did hear an IRA man say one time that he could eat a horse.

  68. Anthony; Ah, now that I give it a bit more thought I can see how ridiculous that is.

    And is one of the suppliers not based in Monaghan? Sure how on earth would anyone round the border counties ever get involved in anything like that? Jaysus, I'm sounding as mad as Wullie now.

  69. Anthony:

    I believe he has already done that about the diesel, he does a lot of research, buys anphoblacht, seems he likes his pictures in it, Next thing he will be claiming is , anphoblacht is printing his pictures so as the IRA will recognise him for a hit!.


    Nice one.

    belfast bookworm:

    The meat was from Poland, and them being very good catholics, and plenty of them in the north and south of Ireland ,but, who knows?.

  70. I actually don't mind Frazer. Wouldn't have him round for dinner but I don't find him in the least threatening or offensive. Strangely, I am drawn to watch him when he's on telly - pure car crash tv.

    He's shown some balls too in that he owes the Special European Programmes Body about £350k and has basically told them they can sing for it. Every time I read about that I always think of the Father Ted episode; "that money was just resting in my account".

  71. Smiley Ireland,

    Much of value there. But SF will behave no differently in government than Labour has. That still does not validate the phenomenon of splits and martyrdom that you refer to.

  72. Ardoyne Republican

    No-one is advocating a return to Armed Struggle nor a full-scale war in Ireland to achieve the Republican objective. However, we all accept that so long as the occupation remains, so too will armed attacks...

    How would you characterise the armed actions today if you imply that there is no armed struggle or full scale war?

  73. Sean Bres,

    You have got the party ethos down to a tee. It is now a career structure for people in politics rather than a project that is driven by politics in people. Great observations.

    So in essence they've lied all along. And that's why they can't be trusted, because that leadership is a crowd of practiced liars who fit perfectly the derisory definition often applied to the word "politician".

    Few have said it better.

  74. Frankie,

    In any monarchy if republicans are not dissidents or dissenters the words dissent and republican have lost all value and no longer mean what they always did.