Mapping out the future


On Wednesday (29 January) éirígí Rúnaí Ginearálta Breandán Mac Cionnaith was contacted by The Irish News to outline the socialist republican party’s views on the challenges facing modern-day republicanism and on certain recent statements made by prominent former IRA prisoners.

A written response was provided to The Irish News that same afternoon.

On Monday 3rd February, The Irish News published an edited version of the response supplied by an Rúnaí Ginearálta. The full unedited text of his contribution can be read below. It initially featured on the éirígí website.

éirígí is an open, independent, democratic political party.

éirígí is not aligned to, or supportive of, any armed organisation and by extension is not supportive of the armed actions of such organisations.

Since its foundation in 2006 éirígí has argued that the conditions simply do not exist for the prosecution of a successful armed struggle.

Over the course of the last eight years éirígí has been repeatedly asked to join the right-wing, reactionary chorus of condemnation of republican armed actions.

We have refused to do so because we understand that forty years of the politics of condemnation have achieved nothing.

We further understand that engagement and influence are far more useful than sound-bite condemnations.

Instead of pointless condemnation, we have chosen to put forward our critique of modern Ireland and the role that republicans can play in shaping positive change, in the belief that ever greater numbers of people will be won over to that position.

We have advanced our critique both in public and in private.

It is clear that there are those republicans who do not agree with éirígí’s analysis of the current objective conditions.

It is equally clear that there still are men and women from both sides of the border willing to engage in armed actions.

As has been the case in the past, those actions need to be seen in the context of partition and the imposition of a deeply unjust socio-economic order.

Armed political actions are a symptom of that disease and not the cause.

Without addressing the root cause of conflict in Ireland, it seems certain that there will be people willing to resist British political interference, partition and injustice through armed means.

Simple recognition of that fact does not equate to either condoning or condemning those individuals or their actions.

At the time of éirígí’s establishment, the party asserted that a Democratic Socialist Republic could only be achieved through the establishment of a new progressive social movement incorporating local communities, organised labour, cultural organisations, campaign groups and political parties.

éirígí still believes mass popular participation in struggle to be a prerequisite for radical change in Ireland.

As a party we, therefore, place great importance on community engagement and the popularisation of the socialist republican message. Through campaigns, elections, political propaganda, public meetings, outreach and all of the other tools of political development, we seek to play our part in challenging injustice and promoting a credible alternative to the status quo.

We continually invite others to join with us in building an effective voice for the Irish working class.

The wider republican struggle is more fractured now than it has ever been.

This fragmentation continues to demonstrably weaken the cause of progress.

An honest recognition of the reality of the current objective conditions is a necessary first step on the road to consolidation of the republican struggle.

We therefore welcome all strategic discussions within the wider republican, socialist and revolutionary circles. We particularly welcome movement towards the position that éirígí has advocated since 2006.

In the past, Irish republicans often took inspiration from revolutionary organisations across the globe. Struggles in France, Cuba, Vietnam, Palestine and elsewhere have all provided radicals in this country with ideas and inspiration.

In recent times, for example, South America has produced valid and very successful forms of popular struggle. That region has seen immense social and economic change result from new thinking and new forms of unarmed struggle.

While it is not possible to directly transport exact strategies and tactics from one country or region to another, there are important lessons that Irish republicans can learn from the recent experiences of others in South America and elsewhere.

We in éirígí hold that the creation of a popular movement for maximum change represents the best potential to create the conditions which will make British rule and capitalist exploitation in Ireland untenable.

While our opponents may wish that republicans had only two options to choose from – that of accepting the status quo or that of an armed campaign – we in éirígí remain committed to creating another option for those who wish to see an end to British rule, social injustice and economic exploitation across all of Ireland: – a mass, participative revolutionary movement.

Across Ireland, the failure of the political institutions at Stormont and Leinster House can be seen on a daily basis – massive unemployment, increased poverty, youth emigration and savage cuts to a wide range of much needed public services.

On the other hand, wealth is being increasingly concentrated into the hands of the few, as borne out by the fact that the richest one percent of the population in Ireland saw their combined wealth increase by almost sixty percent between 1980 and 2012.

The need for a mass-participatory and radical movement in Ireland could not be more evident.

We in éirígí intend to continue to play our part in building that movement and we encourage others to do likewise.

Copyright © éirígí, All rights reserved


  1. Certainly nothing dynamic or progressive to inspire confidence in this piece. It is just regurgitation of regurgitation political terminology without the politics.

    "éirígí is not aligned to, or supportive of, any armed organisation and by extension is not supportive of the armed actions of such organisations.
    Over the course of the last eight years éirígí has been repeatedly asked to join the right-wing, reactionary chorus of condemnation of republican armed actions.

    We have refused to do so because we understand that forty years of the politics of condemnation have achieved nothing.

    We further understand that engagement and influence are far more useful than sound-bite condemnations.

    Instead of pointless condemnation, we have chosen to put forward our critique of modern Ireland and the role that republicans can play in shaping positive change, in the belief that ever greater numbers of people will be won over to that position."

    Like wishy washy lets tip toe around armed dissidents sensitivities lest we offend the has worked.

    How Eirigi come across to me is the same as mealy mouthed Unionists would when claiming not to support loyalist violence while they still got of on Eirigi comes out with just the same empty double talk. There was nothing more hypocritical and repulsive than Unionism trying to set itself apart from loyalist violence and hatred while feeding into it at the same time.

    Of course Eirigi is trying to send a message but they don't come right out with it lest they get called on it. From the piece which seems to be a response to the News Letter Articles. So Eirigo were the Blanketmen articles "sound-bite condemnations" and "pointless condemnation"?

    Is Eirigi trying to take the bad look of violent dissidents bankrupt position for continuing violence?

    Dissident groups need account for themselves to the people and not hide behind Eirigis weak assertions that it is "not supportive of the armed actions" but it will happily tolerate them. Is there a difference when talking about death and destroyed lives? Get off the fence one way or the other and maybe Eirigi might become relevant to somebody.

  2. Talking about Latin American countries doesn't cut it for me. There is no comparison with the standard of living us dolites can rely on here and latino countries where you simply starve. Talk of mass movements is just akin to a bottle of sleeping pills washed down with a bottle of JD. contemplating it after the disappointment of that article. I'll refrain however, merely by virtue of the fact I'd be making too many people happy. Sorry to disappoint, like this article.

    It seems like only yesterday I saw Brendan in the company of deputy 1st minister Marty McGuinness at Drumcree high school where Marty was giving out awards to kids. It was a political high at the time almost like the Obama election when there was anticipation of some semblance of 'change'. Brendan has obviously decided to take the long march back to where he already was.

    I wonder has Eirigi taken it's lead from Gearoid O Cuinneagain and Ailtiri na hAiseirghe during the 1940s?

    I still recon the revolutionaries missed their great chance here with the bankers. That was the big-bang issue and they failed to see the wood for the trees. Can't help wondering what kind of tacit or indeed overt support they'd have received if they could have done something on that front. Especially along the Fermanagh/Leitrim border region. I also see Sean Fitzpatrick and co. are permitted bail on charges relating to hundreds of millions fraudulently loaned 'in-house' and the deliberate and shameful wrecking of the country. But, Eirigi has bigger fish to fry; like do you do you not, support the none existent armed struggle.

    Yes Tiarna, a seriously disappointing article. Back to facebook now for me, much more exciting!

  3. There is part of my brain that constantly nags at me when I think about eirigi. In other words alarm bells start ringing. Why?. I view them as being SF lite. Not just this, there are so many high profile ex IRA involved in this group. I just cant see how they made the leap from being Big Bobs police to opposing in any meaningful way what big Bob now represents. To my mind eirigi was a construct of some SF think tank, in order to channel and manage the decenting voices after the surrender. If anybody thinks the likes of Rab Jackson ceased being one of Storries merry men, they need thier head looked at. Rab is just one, there are many more. For that reason I remain sceptical.

  4. Feel te love,

    I think everybody who left the Provos feels they should have left it sooner. Each of us probably feels we stayed on longer than we should have. But people don't break at the first doubt, it is usually when the doubt becomes too burdensome to continue. And that takes time.

  5. Mackers
    I just dont trust that these people have left the Provos. I happen to like Rab as a person but there is grave difficulty for me when trying to separate them from the roles they have/had as provos. No doubt there are loads of those involved with eirigi that are genuine.
    As you know Mackers the provos/SF are control freaks. It is more than likely that they have agents everywhere they can, when it is in thier interest to do so. So from that view I have, I then have to decide who are the most probable agents. This leads me to conclude it to be those former enforcers.

  6. Feel te love,

    I understand the point. And at times I have succumbed to harbouring the same thoughts about people who left after me. But it is self indulgent.

    I think there are gounds for querying the the strategic judgement of many people who left after us just as those who left before us will have grounds for questioning our strategic judgement. But that should not extend to their personal integrity.

    I have no reason at all to think that Rab is any thing other than what he presents himself to be.

  7. You are making some fair points mackers and have me considering my own position. Will get back to you if I find reason to change my mind. There is no reason I would question Rabs integrity or that of others whom I view with a certain amount of cynicism. It was thier consistency with the provo doctrine that places me in doubt. You know Mackers I see Chopper working really hard on the ground trying to promote eirigi and engaging in politics, he appears in everyway the genuine article but again his past with the provos inside and out, gives me that nagging doubt. That is what this place can do to you. Remember Brendan Hughes in the book saying he wanted out of Belfast because he did nt know who to trust. That was something different I know, but that is the shadowy way the provos operated and still do.

  8. Feel te love,

    I have had differences with both men and am sure I still have. But that would not lead me to state they were something I have not the slightest basis for believing.

    I sense you are trying to grapple with the challenge and it is heartening that you do rather than wax dogmatic. There is not much point in us sounding the alarm then criticising everybody who leaves the building! The moral high ground leaves only one place to go once we reach it - down.

  9. Maybe this highlights the problem from an electorate viewpoint. Same personel unhappy with SF and the peace-process. Only way they see those people going is back. The challenge is to offer something new rather than the same again.

  10. Jackson and Chopper...mmmmmmm....out of all the 'yes men' I wouldn't have thought that these two would have left the safety of the fold of self-appointed legends.....
    Still, if they have taken a step away then that must be acknowledged...certainly not to be listened too as there's more sense to be had from the children's programme In The Night Garden

  11. FEEL to love..maybe some cant leave and go it alone.theres some difference in a kneecapper than a opperator.

  12. I think there is some bizzare commentary here, éirígí was labelled a Sinn Fein front about 6 or 7 years ago, it was rubbished as a nonsense and I haven't heard it repeated in at least 4 years even by some of its harshest critics.

    It would suggest to me those making the comments are quite detached from politics on the ground. As a socialist republican
    Out of all the Republican groups that exist out there I think éirígí offer the best Narrative available.

    They have a credible membership base and put up the strongest republican challenge to Sinn Fein taking 10 percent of the vote in West Belfast in 2011 something that hasn't been achieved by anyone. They narrowly missed a seat and I suspect they might take at least one this time around.

    I am amazed how people are so weighed down with previous baggage from the PRM they can't move forward at some stage we have to say what's done is done, now what's the next step in this struggle.

    As for the character assassinations from internet warriors it doesn't even warrant a response lets just leave it in its cowardly box.

    A discussion on the content would be more productive than reducing it to personal grudges, it has nothing to do with the article or the continuing debate.

  13. ANTI VENOM..Whats done is done lets move on..Doesnt work like that.Theres still a few buckos running about.D0 You no who i am if they get a dig in the gub over personal matters.IT needs to start again from the bottom up with the ordinary peoples support.without the open door policy of the 70s yer fucked.then again we were always fucked when new recruits had to go through Scap.wonder who placed him there.

  14. There is no doubt the leadership of the PRM that brought us to where that movement is today was the worst leadership republicanism has ever seen.

    They made bad decisions driven by war weariness for some it was greed and others were guided by a hidden hand. As a result we suffered a massive defeat which led to fragmentation. Some would argue republicanism was damaged beyond repair.

    Beyond recording the history of what really happened I would argue we need to stop looking back and continuously harping on about it because its not driving this struggle forward. People like eirigi and are genuinely trying to build a revolutionary socialist republican party, I think that is commendable and forward looking. Placing their energy where it should be.

    Complaining about the decisions and lifestyle that brought you to the doorstep of a heart attack will not stop it coming, changing your approach to life in the aftermath of a warning will.

    The years that followed the GFA has served as a huge warning on what not to do, now lets learn from the mistakes and find a new approach to struggle.

  15. Sinn Fein has got 10,500 members-no disso group has even got the same number of people voting for them-i

    Eirigi are just another ' who the fcuk are they ' group-

  16. Anti-venom

    It is not just as straight forward as moving on for many people. I bear no malice towards either Chopper or Rab, in fact the opposite would be the case.
    Knowing the shadowy ways of the provos and the methods used partiularly when they were trying to keep thier own membership in line, would not inspire confidence in many. Jojo O Connor, Paul Quinn and many others could testify to that if they had not fallen foul of the private army established within the Provos.
    When your life is threatened by these people, you can very easily develope a suspicious nature and all its acompanying bagage. IT would be great to think that everybody you talked to was speaking honestly and openly and had no hidden brief. Unfortunately I know that this is not always the case, especially when dealing with those that overthrew the IRA from within. When Gerry Adams said "we have nt gone away you know", he was reflecting a truth onto us all, Least we question to much and draw to much attention to the cataclysmic failure, which the peace process has been since its inception. Gerry was reminding the rank and file of the army that along with some leadership were thrown to the wolves, that his private army would be enforcing his line. What do you imagine happenned to all the accummalted wealth of the IRA, it has been washed and legitimised now and controlled by the chosen few. The IRA was downsized to consist of only those that would not question. Gerrys private army. they are here and dont be under any illusions anti venom, they are as Gerry said,"not going away. This might help you understand why some of us remain sceptical and find it difficult to move on. Some of us still live in fear of these scum, Jojo O Connor, Paul Quinn and many others have had to pay with thier lives at the hands of these people. They are very proficient when it comes to murdering Irish citizens.

  17. Michael Henry
    The founder of the Provos would refute your claim not only does he give Eirigi his vote he gives them his blessing.

  18. MH

    It would appear after the recent onslaught you endured you have now recovered your 'composure'. GODD FOR YOU!

  19. Fionnuala

    Your comment about the founder of the Provos voting for Eirigi would likely confirm that it's a case of more of the same then from them. Would it not?

  20. Larry
    Given the fact that he left them in 86
    I would say its because he sees Eirigi as everything Sinn Fein no longer are.

  21. Larry,
    Sinn Fein loathe Eirigi to the extent the tried everything to scupper their chances in the last council elections.
    People need proper representation in these districts they are rapidly turning into cest pits.
    We might not agree on the best way forward for a free Ireland but it would nice to have one where all the children are cherished. Off thread here I know, but that poor wee baby from Twinbrook died how much of a leveller is that in the grand scheme. Heartbreaking!

  22. michael henry, you say uve got 10,500 members, but how many non members hav u, not as many as us, u numpty, id rather be in a 'who the fu*k are they group' than a fuc*in what the fu*k are they group

  23. Well said grouch, MH and the other shinners it's know apparent, coming as it does from your own mouth/keyboard that your more interested in popularity than sound republican values. surprise, surprise.

  24. Fionnuala

    I have no idea what's going on there. But I did see a news item of joy riders taking over West Belfast. Seems regular now too. So, SF are now just your run of the mill council reps and career politicians.

    They have abandoned the communities for expenses.