Impotent rather than Important

Just yesterday it was Easter Sunday, a time of poignant memory for republicans given the graves that claim space in many cemeteries throughout Ireland. Easter Sunday also serves, painfully, to remind republicans of how little was actually achieved by the armed campaign. Even measured by its own reformist gauge, rather than a republican one, the gains Sinn Fein made are undergoing sustained erosion. Martin McGuinness complained that the Irish and British governments are not paying attention. The meeting he had with British Tory Prime Minister David Cameron was he said ‘one of the least satisfactory engagements’ he has had with a British prime minister since the onset of the peace process.

That hardly comes as a great shock to onlookers. Why should Cameron pay attention to somebody so far down the administrative food chain? McGuinness might consider himself a big fish but he swims in a small pond that the British can drain whenever it suits them. It has been clear that Cameron has not been listening to McGuinness or his fellow nationalists for quite some time. Surely the backtracking on Blair’s commitments in the Finucane case should have showed McGuinness that much.

The British, fully aware that they are in the driving seat, consider McGuinness in strategic terms to have outlived his usefulness to them. The need to protect both his and Adams’ hegemony within the Provisional Movement is no longer considered a strategic imperative.  There is no need to play the Blair/Powell game of drip feeding concessions and massaging egos by fanning the old nonsense that Sinn Fein leaders were great negotiators. It no longer matters who leads the Provos, as far as the British state is concerned; their defeat is now irreversible.

Cameron has McGuinness doing his bidding, implementing the Tory economics, denouncing the means of violent conflict he long championed, making today’s republicans look mild and tame by comparison. The Tories call the shots for Sinn Fein. And Sinn Fein, since the decommissioning of IRA weaponry, has to all intents and purposes no shots to call.

Now Cameron’s analysis might be flawed but not because the Provos will upset the apple cart. They are unlikely to take their snouts out of the gravy trough but there are others who seem to be getting a lift from a certain reversion to form in the policing and justice arena. The peace process might not be under serious threat but the same cannot be said of the peace. And ultimately, the peace is more important than the process.

Even if it is not the intention of the British state to welsh on its commitments, and what is happening is just something that has resulted from an eye being taken off the ball, or a foot unconsciously lifted away from the pedal of progress - a situation that is slipped into rather than one deliberately beckoned – the fact remains that there is no longer a sense of forward momentum. The North is looking back more often it seems than forward. There is no opposition to Tory rule. Sinn Fein has lost the plot. Although republicans tend to blame the party for not doing anything about the prison issue, the fact is that there is nothing Sinn Fein can do. The party is powerless and has vindicated its republican critics who told them they were on the path to impotence rather than importance.

And at this point in the republican calendar it is hard for republicans not to be acutely aware of the gulf between Easter Sunday objectives and Good Friday achievements: two days in ordinary time but light years apart in political currency. 

Meanwhile the discord grows that little bit more audible and few seem to be listening.


  1. So that's your analysis of the situation Anthony - what about coming up with a few solutions that people of all hues can buy into or are we all destined to hell in a handcart?

  2. What is wrong about the analysis Charlie?

  3. Impotent period! I see McGuinness is upset the SDLP voted against ex prisoners being able to get employment as advisors/researchers at Stormont. (something like that)

    Karma i suggest, his wee hand-puppet McCartney spoke on the death of that screw recently for about 7 minutes and never mentioned the prisoners on protest once. Beat it into ya SF.

  4. Larry,

    chickens coming home to roost. Raymond seems not to identify with the prisoners any longer. He was apparently on a walkabout of Maghaberry with the NO 1 governor. A former blanket colleague in jail at the time for refusing to pay a fine said he was like a member of the BOV and did not come and see the former blanket man.

    I like Raymond, always have, but it is what it is and there is no point in calling a spade a shovel.

  5. There were a few i met in my time i'd now consider narcissists. Not to be confusd with a 'movement' although they thought they were the fucking movement.

  6. Mc guinness has no more room on his body for British puppet strings, He knows it, but, will never admit to it.

    I think Charlie is asking for a solution to everything.

    Charlie, Don't ask PSF for a solution because we are all awaiting the mystic UNITED IRELAND They promised.

    But, I will put this to you Charlie, Our country is not divided, Its our People who are, and, until our people get united, there will never be a UNITED IRELAND, one exception is, Another Uprising!. which is highly possible in the not to distant future. I would like to call it, The eventual Last Battle. I can't see any other way around it, The Loyalist community are adamant to remain within the UK, also, some nationalist as well. Do you have an alternative to progress to Uniting our people and our country?.

  7. Charlie Fisher how sinn fein of you to come up with the old 'whats your solution' when someone comments on the failures of the peace process.

    The fact is, when your enemy is paying the wages of your followers in order to ensure their loyalty to you they do so because they are buying something that benefits them and them alone.

    SF are bought and paid for and the solution therefore is not to get into that position from the beginning.

    If you don't sell out you can never be bought.

  8. I'd disagree with Charlie above and say that's a fairly good analysis AM.
    Martin, Gerry have done their job, pensions are secure, as is their place in 'britwrit' history and the once leaders are comfortably numbed to the realities facing the working class they claim to represent.
    Was watching 'Safe house' last night and when I heard the line 'people don't change, they get old' I thought, what happened me?
    I guess, like you and Larryo, some cannot be bought!
    Solutions Charlie are available but it will require the people to realise they are being lied to by national socialist Sinn Féin (a decade hence I think) and seek to give power to people who care and will tell the bankers to go to hell in your handcart.

  9. The problem for Sinn Fein is the current political process was meant to be, for them, somehow transitional above and beyond the limited concessions it made to secure their participation in a British administration whereas for the British it was and is the endgame itself and thus it's already job done, there's no need to stay involved in a process of placating the likes of Martin McGuinness because he has nowhere left to turn anyway, his bridges are well and truly burnt.

    I'd disagree though that they're powerless to do anything about the prison situation because at the end of the day they could always refuse to continue propping up this rotten state of affairs and bring about a crisis that would force the British to change their approach. I feel the problem is not that they're powerless but they're afraid to exercise that power. Because they have invested all of their political capital, given them it must be added by the armed struggle of the IRA, in the partition strategy. Their jobs and well-being are dependent on it and on making it work no matter the consequences for the republican project (as compared to this political project they're currently engaged in which does not have republicanism at its heart). So they won't risk their political careers for some prisoner in a Maghaberry hell that doesn't support them anyway. The necessary action to effect the changes required to address the prison situation, likewise other issues in relation to the continuing nefarious activities of the British state, is not worth jeopardising the Stormont gravy-train, which has bought and paid for and accounted for any republican principles this leadership entered this process with. I suppose you're right ultimately here Anthony, they are powerless indeed but because of their own willingness to entertain a place at the masters table over and above the issues and principles which once they held so dear and as central tenets of the republican struggle. When tactical considerations trump principle this is how it tends to end up as many such as yourself argued all along only to be demonised and dismissed.

    The problem for Martin McGuinness and Sinn Fein is they forgot where they came from. But those on who's efforts they rose to the top of the political ladder haven't forgotten, as evidenced by a wreath laid in the Garden of Remembrance in Carrickmore just yesterday from those very people. "We didn't die for your six counties or your thirty pieces of silver" read the inscription and the wreath was laid by "Mid Tyrone Brigade IRA, Carrickmore Unit". Similar wreaths were laid elsewhere in the County. Locally this is a massive development.

    So it seems David Cameron and the Brits aren't the only one's who think Sinn Fein and McGuinness have outlived their political purpose. Here in Tyrone the IRA has now spoken out and when we say the IRA here it is not any of these groupings that have emerged in the last 10-15 years but the very army who fought the war and was sold out ultimately by elements of its leadership.

    Where do we go from here is what counts. The process of realising the extent of the strategic blunder - near-total strategic failure if we're honest - has begun. But do we blindly go back to what traditionally we done or do we carve out a new way forward? I feel republicans want such a new way forward, a proper peace process and not this lie-down-to-the-Brits process we have got sucked into. Let's concentrate our efforts on building that process and let's do so in the knowledge now that the Tyrone Brigade of the IRA are behind any such efforts. Night is darkest before the dawn but perhaps now the dawn has broken. Let's go and build a new republican movement worthy of the name and consign McGuinness and the others to the history books as just another example of those who took the "thirty pieces of silver"

  10. It is best not to go OTT on Charlie. He asked a question. There are more stupid answers than stupid questions. And it may well be a question born of frustration at the way the whole thing is panning out. But implicit in the question is an answer that does not have the standard probing role of the question but which uses the question as a vessel for the answer. And the answer seems so undifferentiated that it seems it should come with a 'no politics here' health warning.

    There is no solution that every hue can sign up to. These 'please everybody' ersatz solutions that come with a dollop of mum and apple pie invariably don't last the course.

    Moreover, as my wife once pointed out, the perspective of Anton Chekhov is worth considering: “The task of a writer is not to solve the problem but to state the problem correctly.”

    And in seeking to state the problem correctly the 'please everybody' mob and those that do not want to see any problem will turn on the writer.

    A sustainable solution can only be found to a problem correctly stated.

    And the strategic alternative can never be imposed from on high, even though its contours may be sketched. The filling in and fleshing out has to be a democratic republican exercise with input and reshaping from the people involved.

    The first item on the alternative agenda must be a commitment to disengage from the administration of British rule in Ireland. That alone requires the abandonment of the Sinn Fein paradigm and its replacement with an entirely new model.

  11. Sean Bres

    Difficult to fault your analysis. McGuinness bleeting that the Brits and Dublin are neglecting the 'piss-process' kind of exposes where the SF 'leadership' has marooned itself. They knew what they were doing and gleefully sunk all and sundry to get where they are...nowhere!

    McGuinness has took a lot of slagging and deservedly so. But if his worst misdemeanor was Hegarty then I suggest he's up a less greasy pole than Liam and Gerry Adams. If i saw those two outside a primary school i'd be looking for a lump hammer!! Regardless, they are all 'big-house' blacks now trying to pontificate to the field niggers.


    Your position is flawed. You talk of the people of Ireland. The loyalists are not and don't wish to be people of Ireland. However even within their forcefully created artificial statelet they are no longer a majority. They are a tiny minority on the island and should be treated as such. If SF get a border poll (their only usefulness) nationalists need to be tooled up to ensure no repeat of 1912-14. If the huns don't like it relocate! Irish communities in London Birmingham Glasgow and Liverpool aren't getting on like they do here. If they don't like it here, let them fuck-off.

  12. Sean bres-

    "The wreath was laid by Mid Tyrone Brigade,IRA,Carrickmore unit "

    Jesus wept-that was a mouthful-

    Such a unit does not exist apart in the heads of the disgrunted who want to talk about fighting now that Carrickmore barracks has been removed by the Peace Process-

    " This is a massive development "

    Aye in your massive head-lay your wreaths-hold your marches-be anti Stormont now after years of supporting it-thats your choice-it will make no difference to Sinn Fein in the 32-

  13. Good man Larry, good to see you taking the Cristina Fernández de Kirchner line, they're only planters so their view doesn't count, which is in part where Ireland and our governments over 80+ years have gone wrong.
    The other side of AM's argument is Peter the punt is equally impotent, shown by the all-Ireland corporation tax debacle a few day's ago, they cannot persuade an Taoiseach Bretana to afford the six counties some economic independence (not supported by the free-staters who are frightned lower wages and more competent workers will ruin whats left of their once tiger economy)they will puff about not extending the new brit welfare changes to this part of Ireland and then will do just as they're told, using some bluff to cover their two faces.
    However, they are yet gaining support in the free-state and, in the absence of an effective opposition will continue to, this seems to be their political strategy, don't scare the natives, then enforce your crap onto them.

  14. Sean Bres,

    I don’t quite see it as SF somehow thinking the process was meant to be transitional. Gerry Kelly once famously and foolishly described the GFA as a transition to a transition, knowing that what was on offer fell far short of what republicans had previously described as transitional. SF knew it was signing up to an internal solution not one that was transitional to a united Ireland. There was no transitional mechanism built in to the GFA. There was the triple lock that Alec and others have referred to in their comments.

    I had thought prior to writing if they were powerless and had gone through the perspective you paint in my head. There is a logic in what you say but I disagree for the following reasons. It seems not to take into consideration the psychological impact of being disempowered by the powerful. In theory SF could pull down the institutions and force the issue on the jails. In reality Brit power relations have become so inscribed in the psyche of SF that the party is powerless to take the type of strategic departure you call for. They are the perfect mimic men and women of anti-colonial literature. They have been psychologically emasculated and are incapable of embracing a strategy that would empower them. Political eunuchs in the harem of the British state they can do nothing with the opportunities in front of them. I feel the problem is not that they're powerless but they're afraid to exercise that power. I would go slightly further by saying they are incapable of embracing an option that would give them more power because it is not the type of power they want to have. If they are to choose between the power to move on the prisons or the power to sit in office they will opt for the latter. Just like Eamonn Gilmore and the Labour Party. It is the history of former revolutionaries.

    We are not too far apart on this at all Sean. A question of degree rather than kind.

  15. I think we both know different Michael. Keep fooling yourself if you want but this is a very real development. As if the people concerned here would ever use the name of the army unless they were entitled to do so. Not a chance.

    A lot of republicans did not support Stormont but rather the leadership and were convinced not to split the movement until the situation became intolerable. But that shouldn't preclude any coming to consciousness on behalf of those who fought this war, regardless of what they tolerated previously. Who could blame them for giving it a chance, it was arguably the right thing to do but once it reached the stage were republican leaders began administrating British rule at the expense of every long-held principle then things changed irrevocably. It took a while but these changes are starting now to be borne out. It's not too late for yourself or anyone else still convinced by Adams and McGuinness that they're on the right track to come to the same conclusion as that long ago reached by the IRA in Tyrone and now openly expressed.

    As for it being in my big head at the end of the day it's nothing to do with me, I'm just relaying the information and it speaks for itself. Sinn Fein in the 32? So long as you's keep on this track there won't be a 32, unless of course republicans keep moving away from your analysis and set up the type of democratic alternative movement Anthony refers to. Because Sinn Fein whether willingly or not are copper-fastening the Union. Disassociating ourselves from administering British rule is the ideal place to start as Mackers has pointed out. For the rest of us we should go about making sure this happens. The tide is turning and history is on our side

  16. menace

    I don't say their opinion doesn't count. It needs to be placed in perspective. They are a minority that has been used to distort everything here. They have no loyalty to anything other than a percieved self-advantage. They insist on not being Irish. Attempts at appeasement are scooby-snacks to their wee pitbull.

    Once it is finally impressed upon them their true position they will make their own call on where they live. There is no shortage of prods in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan. They didn't all bugger off the the corners of the Empire in search of continued priviledge. Those who did are no loss.

    The Dail is depressing. Another relative stepped into a 'family seat' recently in Meath. There is much wrong all-round.

  17. michaelhenry

    you provide side-splitting humour without any need for alcahol. I suspect a night in the boozer with you would have me breaking out in spontaneous laughter for months afterwards. Onward to 2016!

  18. That's a much clearer definition of why you consider them powerless Anthony and this time I fully concur. Originally it appeared to me you were saying something akin to there's nothing they can do because they don't have enough power but if they had then they would act. But on further explanation it's plain that like me you feel they have power but they can't or won't use it. Because to do so they would have to admit they've got things wrong and as you know better than most this is something this particular leadership is not capable of. Their political careers take precedence over the republican struggle now and those careers would be over if they were forced to admit just how far down the wrong path they have taken us all.

    Powerless is right. What an awful, awful waste but perhaps if somehow we can manage to find the space to form a progressive, democratic, republican alternative midst all the chaos currently surrounding our struggle it won't all have been for nothing. The only transition we need care about now is the transition of the republican community away from the Adams/McGuinness analysis and towards something more akin to what good people like yourself and Tommy McKearney have been telling us for many years. We can still empower ourselves without these guys though it's a long, long road ahead. We need to hope another generation can deliver, but we need to make sure they're given the tools and equipment to do so - that's the responsibility facing what's left of the republican movement.

    A highly intelligent man who done his part and far more recently told me the movement was like a mirror dropped on the ground, smashed into a thousand pieces. The work of putting it back together again is very, very difficult but it needs done regardless. Open debate and the ability to criticise and receive criticism are the only starting point as I see it. We need to step back and look reality in the eye, discuss it, debate it, find solutions and slowly rebuild for the likes of my young one's and yours to take it all the way to its rightful and final conclusion and hopefully with no more need for any East Tyrone Brigades, ASU's or whatever. Because those that were in the ranks of the IRA are looking for just such a scenario to emerge regardless of how people like Michael or the journalists of the Sunday World try and convince us otherwise. The power of the republican argument as you say has not gone away and we must look to harness it once more. We can still get there

  19. Lorenzo, I wasn't saying you were, just that she has a point and our people have given the settlers viewpoint too much creedence.
    For Peadar MacRobín he's a bust since the Tory & Unionist party have not needed them since 1996-7, and frankly won't again, same way the SF Deputies in (or out of) London don't attend and are no use to the brits.
    If the Prod's in the six counties had any intelligence they'd realise they made a bigger presence in a re-united Nation than being wee fish in a place which they're not welcome in, mind you, my great-granda always said they wern't interested in the crown, just the half-crown.
    Let their nation take them who want to return home and the senseible one's can remain and work with the rest of the Nation to build the second Republic.

  20. Sean Bres

    it astounds me that brit politicians (SF) feel the need to commemorate anything at Easter. They professed to be in the mould of the fenians and 1916 acting against the wishes of the majority for the good of Ireland. Now they effectively ignore those claiming to be doing the same whilst sitting up at Stormont.

    But thankfully we have michaelhenry to enlighten us as to how they square that circle.


    The loyalists know their card is marked. SF are facilitating the brits drawing out the inevitable for as long as possible instead of hastening the end-game.

  21. Sean bres-

    I have read your comments over a again in case the sun was in my eye
    and maybe i took you up wrong on your words-but you clearly state that a unit of the Tyrone IRA put a Wreath down for their fallen comrades which had a political statement wrote on it-

    " We didn't die for your six counties or your thirty pieces of silver "

    There is no way that the IRA or any Republican group would but such a message on a Easter wreath that was
    laid for the fallen Republican Volunteers-who do such cowboys think they are-

  22. Michaelhenry,

    it is a much more honest statement than one that suggests any volunteer died for what Sinn Fein signed up to. Have we a record, either written or spoken, from a single volunteer from before they died on active service calling for the type of arrangement in place today?

  23. I've noticed a frequent tactic employed by Sinn Fein over the years is that of dismissal. People are put down as having lost the plot, being jealous, only out for themselves and the worst accusation I've heard levelled against people is that they're gangsters. That last particular remark was how they chose to try and discredit some of the highest calibre of Volunteers in Tyrone behind their backs after they'd decided they couldn't have any truck with Sinn Fein going forward. It didn't work. Thus we have those who laid the wreaths for their comrades dismissed as "cowboys". I'm happy enough to let people on here and in the real as opposed to online community make up their own minds. In my mind they are not the cowboys Michael or his party would paint them out to be but simply Volunteers who've reached the conclusion that they were deceived and are letting everyone know it. People as I say can make up their own minds, in fact I'd say that's what Sinn Fein are worried about. Thus we have Kearney now looking to start a dialogue with people previously dismissed as "traitors" but now suddenly reclassified as "disillusioned republicans", they know the writing's on the wall

  24. Sean Bres

    Ilove michaelhenry's craic and blind loyalty. I'd find it hard not to give him my vote for the pure hell of it. But your asessment of the SF leadership is bang on. How many people i wonder were slandered, austracised, marginalised and called touts even by the likes of Scap, Donaldson, Lynch, Gerry and Liam and the snakes who all got their convictions overturned decades later?

    SF needs austracised politically. Move on and leave them behind. The general public don't want the boat rocked, nothing new there. That's not important. The brits have shown they are at the end of their pandering to SF. McGuinness has now confirmed it.

    Move on, give them no republican merit.

    On a personal level i'd stand michaelhenry a beer in a minute. He's mighty craic for a 2013 stickie.

  25. I think that was quite an appropriate message to put on a wreath. None of those volunteers died for this load of tat.
    Michaelhenry your are being extremely unfair but then your own speedy exit guaranteed that you never got to know the people you are now calling 'cowboys'.

  26. Fionnuala-

    cowboys and cowgirls-

    Fact-After the GFA in 1998 the first british soldiers and cops were killed from 2009 on-

    Fact-those groups who military opposed the GFA from 1998-2008 were
    crap-they caused no enemy casualties in ten years of fighting- after the Policing decisions a new group started to be anti GFA-these are the only ones
    to have fought to a small degree-

    It does not take a genius to work out were they came from-

  27. AM - For a long time I disagreed with the title of your book (not the content!) 'The Death of Irish Republicanism'. Through our history Irish republicanism has been revived successfully and hence the 'phoenix from the ashes'analogies. Despite your arguments to the contrary since GFA I have believed that were grounds to believe that mini revival was on the cards. However, in recent times it is quite clear that the final nails R being firmly hammered in! We have to look no further than the number of seperate commemorations to realise the splintered mess Republicanism finds itself in. Furthermore, the blame has to lie at the door of the Republican collective for this. In my eyes every group and organisation have their own fundamental merits but in their current forms they R basically ineffective. We have seen by the lack of progress made by PSF when we were all virtually united pre-GFA, how can we realistically expect progress as we stand so divided in the future. For all intent and purposes the majority of these groups run the risk of becoming vehicles of in-fighting and personal recrminiations..and NOT advancing the cause of Irish Unity .. I hasten to add a position that Whitehall is more than content to have us languishing in!!

  28. Fenian

    Totally agree. The million factions are depressing and pathetic. Seemingly they are merely mini-me provos, meaning 'our way or the highway'.

    All the brits need to do is resist putting the boot in too gleefully and therefore denying GFA opponents a unifying incident eg Bloody Sunday. It seems as simple as that.

    SF need the disso's in order to seem necessary to the brits. Funny world we live in.

    If anyone has details of the Brendan Hughes lecture on May 1st i'd be interested to hear it. If being in any one of the trillion 'organisations' is a requirement then I don't need the info. Cheers.

  29. Michaelhenry,
    You would not have the slightest clue to what degree anyone fought, at least admit that much.
    Fact ! They kicked you out ! We all know where those anti- agreement people in Tyrone came just as we know why you sought succour in the ranks of Sinn Fein.

  30. Larry,call me cynical but as far as I am concerned the 'cause' has descended into an internal squabble for who has the great right to control the 'Fenian' hordes on behalf of HRM and therefore who can gain the greater renumeration package for services rendered.

    MH - The simple fact that PSF had to pull a last gasp 'Island(S) of Ireland' illusionary stunt by sending Marty to Dublin to tell the party faithful that Unionist concerns over the FLEG had to be pandered too and Mary Lou to cross the Partionist border to tell the Belfast Commemoration that the Border Poll is the best thing on the table is little return for 3,500+ lives and 40 years of 'Struggle'. If all we can resort to is infighting over who has the greater right to attend Republican gravesides then sad to say, we as a collective have completely lost the plot! The volunteers gave their ultimate sacrifices and they should be left to rest in PEACE! As for Declan Kearney's much publicised calls for talks with dissidents, it seriously smacks of being seen to be doing something to re-affirm to the British governement that they still R the republican Rooster in the O6C roost, and hence the one's Whitehall should still be doing business with! Let's be frank here, the once 'noble' cause of Irish freedom and self-determination has boiled down to squabbling over the Queen's shilling and Republican ideology, the quest for truth and justice and Irish unity have ALL been duely sacrificed. As for the future, I think a back to basics approach in some form of Republican Congress is what we need to lay the foundations for a new movement and inject new thinking/direction and create a renewed sense of purpose. "We who hold his (Wolfe Tone) principles believe that any movement which would successfully grapple with the problem of national freedom must draw its inspiration not from the mouldering records of the past, but from the glowing hopes of the living present, the vast possibilities of the mighty future." - James Connolly

  31. fenian

    Not a bit cynical! I used to suspect loyalists of operating in a scenario of whos handler had the highest authority trumped the competition. Without doubt the provos were no different as we can now see. COMICAL. Disso's i suspect are the remnants of that infestation now attempting to drain the gravy train of the very last trickle. Those that aren't engaged in that activity i suspect are in jail or undermined beyond repair.

    There's little evidence the dirty-war has gotten any cleaner.

  32. In addition to my last post, i suggest a purely political agenda with a backbone is the answer. As mackers points out, if there are no secrets there's nothing, and no-one, to be sold.

    SNP would be a better model than the one the provos opted for, the SDLP.

  33. I agree with Anthony's analysis, Sinn Fein are no longer a republican party - at least no more than the like of Fianna Fáil, Fine Gael or even the SDLP. In terms of the national question they are basically all a mirror image of the other, separated by degrees rather than clear blue water. The defining characteristics of Sinn Fein republicanism are now more in sync with Mansergh and Hume than Connolly or Pearse. But that doesn't preclude the fact that many Sinn Fein members and activists should rightly be considered as republicans. Plenty remain onboard because of long-held loyalties - both to personalities at a local level and to the wider organisation itself. Also when the IRA was 'disbanded', at the time of the Seanna Walsh read statement, it's leadership asked people to turn their energies to Sinn Fein. For many republicans it's hard to walk away as a result, though of course the numbers doing so are increasing all the time as the logic of where it's ended up inexorably bears down on us and them. We must convince others that the time is right to begin charting another course alongside those of us already gone. Such are the people we should seek unity with and of course among ourselves - not the likes of Declan Kearney or his ilk. Their failed leadership should not be entertained in the slightest.

    It's incumbent on us, as we've been discussing the last few days, to give people some form of credible republican alternative they can give allegiance to, obviously this should be based on republican principles first and foremost. The only place I can see this worth starting from is Anthony's assertion yesterday in another thread that a disassociation from administering British rule has to be the bottom line. Everything after that should be on the table for discussion and debate whether it fits our own ideological position or not. It's only through having such a discussion that any notion of a united republican movement can be anything more than that, a grand notion in our heads but something beyond the practicalities of overcoming the numerous side-issues that divide us. I feel some form of unity is definitely on the agenda, the conversations of the last few days are very encouraging. I just hope the ball is rolling and things start to gather pace. Roll on the Brendan Hughes Memorial Lecture, as many of us as possible should be there to further just such a process

  34. That comment was for another thread and posted by mistake if you want to delete it from the 'impotent' discussion, sorry bout that Anthony

  35. Sean Bres

    The word republican is a turn-off to many people from the get-go. Maybe a strategy focused on a single issue with a principled focus might garner a growing support base in time. Kind of like apeing the civil rights only try and build up a head of steam on the 'border poll' issue or something new and interesting.

    Dont mean to be offensive in my point making, but when you mention republicanism and jail protests at the present time just after 30 yrs of it people find it a megga no-no. Republicanism is ancient and jail protest is needless trouble.

    Add to that the likes of SF stance (lack of) on the issue of jails and people see through the futility of it. I'm not interested in a wasted decade trying to emulate the provos. God forbid! If there was a relevant issue being promoted people might get behind it. But flogging dead horses isn't anyones idea of a good day out. Just saying like.

    I too am looking forward to May 1st. I hope it will be a good evening and interesting. I've a lecture though and it's getting close to exams, so it could be difficult to leave the lecture early. Is there a cover charge/entry fee? Students free, extremely (im)mature students provoded with tae and sannies?

  36. On Larry's point I remember talking to a former hunger striker around the time of the 2007 Northern election and the decision to stand the mother of Patsy O'Hara. He made the point that the strategic problem posed by that is that it reminds people of the hunger strike era and while they held the hunger strikers in high regard they did not want to go back to that type of era. He felt they would vote SF as a result; not because SF were republican but because the party would guarantee the imperfect peace. I think it might be the same with prison protests.

  37. Larry if that's your cup of tae you should seriously consider the 1916 Societies who are organising on the basis that all of the Irish people are entitled to a single democratic referendum on the issue of Irish unity. One question, one constituency, one result...

    'One Ireland! One Vote!'

    There are of course other aspects to what the Societies are about, chief among them the purpose of giving people the space required for education, discussion and debate. We hope that young people such as yourself going forward can be comfortable in tying in with this emergent movement. You're more than welcome to join us!

    As regards emulating the Provo's it's not about that, though of course we take pride in the efforts of the Irish Republican Army, its Volunteers and its martyred dead - OUR martyred dead. And when I say ours I mean yours, mine and all the people of this country. They are not 'owned' by anyone because they died for us all. We seek only to remember those who paid the ultimate sacrifice in a non party-political, respectful manner and in conjunction with their loved ones.

    Ultimately what I believe the Societies are capable of delivering is an independent, relevant, confident republicanism in tune with the modern needs of Irish society yet consistent with our long struggle for freedom, justice and peace. I feel we can strike the balance between what has gone before and where we need to be heading to achieve our goals. And I believe we can attract people to our analysis, our strategy and our movement as we progress. Have a look at our web-page sure, it'll do no harm!

    As regards the Brendan Lecture I'd imagine there'll be no admission, tae and sandwiches maybe if you're lucky! And yeah it'd be great to see you there too

  38. Mackers

    Exactly. The 50s border campaign was a total failure 'coz the welfare state, standard of living post WW2 in the north made the border issue irrelevant to most peoples lives. Goulding + co. were actually angry with the people for the lack of support.

    But when the civil righters hit them with discrimination, housing issues! Different altogether. That was relevant to everyone. Sticks were right, but underestimated the brits addiction for putting the boot into the natives. Hence the provos after bloody sunday internment etc.

    What republicans are doing at present is attempting to go straight to what you termed the 'big-band' moment. Cart before the horse.

    A long haul of promoting a border poll in the future might condition people regarding the merits of one. (RCs are now level in number in the wee 6) It's necessary to prove that the issue should be addressed at a future date. Not just morally but in factual terms. Maskey stating it makes sense on tv was the most pathetic performance i ever saw. Arlene Foster merely had to keep silent, he embarrassed himself. AND ME.

    Forget the obsession with SF, they are a brit party. Bought and paid for at the top decades ago. Get a relevant issue and start the long haul process. A study of the SNP and studying the merits of unity would do no harm. How can we convince others if we don't set out to prove the merits of it to ourselves first. GET THE FACTS RIGHT and watch SF squirm.

  39. 'big bang' moment i meant obviously.

  40. Sean Bres

    what is the website/page?

  41. Hope this helps chara -

  42. Sean Bres

    Saw that website last night and in all honesty am very surprised and impressed by the numbers and banners etc in the pics. Much better organised than we were during the H-Block/Armagh beginnings in the 1980-81 era. Also the generation spread of those involved was good to see.

    I had no idea things were moving the way they are. Must be 'coz the media here are exactly what they tell us N. Korean media is like....khantz!!

    Looking forward to May 1st with a bit more positivity and vigour now. Cheers for that.

  43. Sean Bresnahan said a wreath was laid in Carrickmore from the IRA Unit in Carrickmore. This is untrue. No such wreath was laid by the IRA. IRA units were stood down in 2005. Other groups may try and claim the mantle but there is only one IRA and they are fully behind the SF leadership.

    Even republicans who disagree with SF strategy were embarrassed by the wreath and its wording, especially given that one such wreath was placed on the grave of a volunteer to the disgust of the family concerned.

  44. 'IRA units were stood down in 2005. Other groups may try and claim the mantle but there is only one IRA and they are fully behind the SF leadership.'

    try as i might i'm unable to make sense of that statement. Right out of the SF gobbldygook school of logic.

  45. Godti bua, whoever you might be, I think you're trying to shoot the messenger. I agree there's only one IRA, that goes without saying - the only one I like you have ever or will ever support. But clearly things have changed in the last few years in Tyrone and are continuing to change, it's an open secret, especially in the low country and its hinterland but also in other parts of the County, east and west. Of course any such changes are unlikely to be universal, something I and others are considering at the minute, because it's obviously a situation in flux and people, even people within your party I've spoken to since Easter, aren't sure where the 'who's who' in our own part of Tyrone now stand on all the many, many issues relevant to what's going on inside republicanism locally. And this wreath thing has a lot of ordinary people wondering what exactly's going on.

    I think it's disingenuous on your part to suggest what was the Tyrone IRA continue to fully back Sinn Fein's analysis given everything that's going on at the minute. The difference in Easter Sunday and Easter Monday, seemingly light years rather than 24 hours judging by how people are interpreting the respective commemorations in Carmen last weekend, suggests the polar opposite. How far these wreaths are representative of the IRA at the time of the 2005 stand-down is something only those involved can accurately state and as such is open to dispute. But it's impossible in my mind to suggest people without some sort of serious authority to lay these wreaths, deriving from their position within what was the army, would ever have went out and done so. That there were some family's still committed to Sinn Fein who weren't happy is something I've no problem in accepting, that's their entitlement without question and something I'm aware of.

    But surely these wreaths are a product of an emerging dissatisfaction with where Sinn Fein has ultimately ended up; standing still for internment, ignoring the abuse going on in Maghaberry, the abandonment of any real attempt to be a party of the working class beyond subterfuge, but most hurtfully of all endorsing British policing and failing to live up to the promises made at the time of the policing decision that we would "hold these bastards to account and they won't know what's hit them". Incidents such as earlier today typify how this hasn't materialised whereby not only myself and others with me leafleting outside the Tyrone-Kerry game were subjected to vile harassment by 'Supercop' and his willing superior (you know him as well as me, the entire country must know him) but also you're own young activists I seen fly-posting car windscreens with your Irish Unity literature. But sure Jim Gibney proudly asserted his unqualified support for "our" PSNI in one of his recent 'dear leader' columns as Anthony refers to them. Therein lies the problem for so many of our people, you's have left us out to dry - IRA or no IRA.

    It's hard to see it any other way and that's the analysis of a lot of people, more I think than you's seem to realise, and something the party really ought to be considering. The wrong people were backed up when Sinn Fein went along with the 'Not In My Name' crap for the sake of the Assembly election. Prospective votes took preference over a young family subjected to a most despicable campaign of abuse by "our" PSNI - likewise other local families who were good for a vote or knocking a door when others that now sit in at the meetings were on the side of the RUC not all that long ago. It's this type of thing that's not lost on people. I've said before that I hold nothing against any of you's personally but who on earth could blame people like me and an increasing number of people starting to share my feelings on it all for pulling the pin and walking away from this? Not in my name is right

  46. Godti bua
    There is only one IRA and that's the one behind Sinn Fein.
    If you weren't serious and I presume you are we could all have a good laugh at that one!
    The Good old IRA that are speaking about flew in the face of IRA convention. Dumped arms, ideologically and principally sold out, thieved, lied, lined their own pockets and then asked people to turn informer. Hope they remain unique as Ireland could never afford a re-run.

  47. Godti bua . I to must admit to having a giggle at your post a cara your loyalty may get you a tufty badge ,Connolly and other violent revolutionary ones no longer pc.if the good ole RA you speak so fondly of were in existence today instead of Property management/portfolios,tours around the murals,having tea with the psni/ruc in the Conway Mill,drinks in the Rex Bar on the Shankill pilfering vast sums of money from the eec for ex pows, the list goes on but you get my drift,then a cara someone from the good ole RA would revisit the GREEN BOOK and lets face it a cara that wee book spelt out clearly the penalty for treachery,touting and mis- appropriation of weapons, I can now hear your comrades in the background shout at you to" stop digging we are already in a big enough hole"those who gave everything may use the line from the Patriot Game know the one "I,m sorry my rifle has not done the those quislings who sold out the Patriot Game"

  48. godti bua,
    Something else, they did not have to stand down or to get Sydney Walsh to drool on. According to Army orders they were all automatically dismissed.
    What an insult coming out with that rubbish, there was only one IRA claptrap. They disgraced themselves and continue to do so every hour of every day.

  49. I prefer to see it how Larry called it earlier in the thread, the republican leadership was bought and paid for at the top decades ago. But I'd feel it unfair to lump all the Volunteers into the same category, likewise all those who dedicated their efforts to Sinn Fein. In our communities down here such Volunteers are held in the highest esteem to this day and rightly so. No-one would ever accuse them of treachery, not even their fiercest critics. I'm sure you think the same Nuala so I'm just making the distinction before 'godti bua' decides to draws the opposite conclusion for himself.

    Even a cursory reading of the facts that have emerged on the narrative of the peace process demonstrates clearly the compulsive manipulation of the army by elements at the high-end, you don't need to have been involved to realise that as it's well-documented by this stage, all you need do is read recent history. In the face of such a sustained, coordinated 'management' of the republican movement towards an already determined but concealed outcome it's difficult to blame those who were convinced that unity going forward was anything other than 'the only way' - especially in the context of the times. As Adams slowly redefined and reshaped republican strategies and objectives, leading ultimately to the situation today where former republican leaders administrate the British state and with no end of it in sight, people were continually explained to, or more accurately lied to, from what I remember from my experience as a Sinn Fein worker. The best example I can think of off-hand is Pat Doc telling us all in the Carrickmore office many moons ago that he knew two things that night for certain; one, there will never be decommissioning and two, there will never be decommissioning. We're still told there was no decommissioning sure! Similarly we were told that Patten was a no-no but it was important not to say so publicly to undermine and wrong-foot Unionism. Of course we were also told before all that no way in hell would we be going into Stormont. When I expressed dissatisfaction at the idea it looked like we were shaping up to do so I was told never, if it ever comes to pass you'll have no bother leaving because we'll all be going.

    So I understand where you're coming from Nuala when you talk about people disgracing themselves but it's important to make the distinction that it's the leadership who as you say are a total disgrace and continue to be so on a worsening basis. It seems there's no low that can't be contemplated be it calling republicans traitors, working with the cop who killed Barry O'Donnell and his comrades, encouraging people to inform, going along with the idea that certain IRA operations could be classed as murders, meeting the Queen for political gain while truth and justice remain merely concepts for the families of many murdered by her army, on and on and on and like British rule in Ireland with no end in sight

  50. Sean Bres,
    The leadership could not have pulled it off on their own. All those in community posts are being well paid for their great works and if there is evidence of it in Tyrone there is none in Belfast. Why would any self respecting Republican follow a corrupt leadership ?
    Our own one IRA is more like the Rafia, most Republicans in Belfast have only contempt not respect for the pocket fillers in our community. So in other words I don't agree. No!

  51. It sounds to me like Belfast is as bad as what Brendan Hughes said it was, rotten to the core. But at the same time I'm sure there's loads of decent people in that part of the world by the same token. It's a different story down here I feel, certainly wouldn't be anywhere even near the way I've heard things described about Belfast here on the quill

  52. Sean Bres

    check out Lurgan, an entire town fighting over the pay phone to get hanging mr Duffy this last 30 yrs. Be careful in the foresters lol

    slightly harsh ... but only a tad!

  53. Sean Bres,
    Brendan would have had no reason to lie. He was horrified by the corruption and when he went to Adams was told he was exaggerating.
    You might be right about Tyrone because I remember reading they were the least corrupt of any of the IRA units.
    However, I don't think the nest filing was limited to Belfast.

  54. Where is the Brendan Hughes Memorial Lecture on May 1st?