The Short Sighted Nature of Irish Nationalism

Guest writer Larry Hughes questions what he feels are the logic and limitations of Irish nationalism and republicanism. 

With all the floundering about in search of a political alternative maybe a step outside the box (World Cup pun fully intended) and a look at some realities in Irish republican political history is an option. Not a major assessment by any means, more a debate opener and an attempt at a wee reality check. If we look at the events in Irish history for example the one striking feature that remains a constant is the seeming lack of a protracted sense of necessity or a concerted drive of its own accord for national self-determination in Ireland.

What we do see recurring is a sense of betrayal and disappointment leading to a thirst for revenge as with the diaspora in the USA and events at home in Ireland after major political developments. Rather than a population thirsting for freedom it has historically been more a case of the peoples’ requirements and necessities being repeatedly manipulated by both constitutional and revolutionary elements alike to their own ends. Maybe it is time for republicans to wake up and smell the coffee in 2014 and instead of attempting to forever gain an advantage for an outdated political creed from the people, maybe it is time to consider the peoples wants instead, just for a change?

Land War   

A common misconception, or perhaps just effective advanced nationalist propaganda, is that of the cruel Protestant absentee landlords and the RIC and army evicted the poor, starving, helpless Catholic Irish from their hovels during and after the famine. During the famine this held weight. Fast forward to the Land War and the reality was somewhat less clear cut. Although post famine Ireland had become radicalised by the Phoenix Societies under the influence of O’Donovan Rossa and others, it was the land issue which really proved the catalyst for change. Fenianism was unable to build up a head of steam and was decimated in 1867, swatted like a fly having missed the boat in 1865. The Plan of Campaign was then formulated. Parnell and the Parliamentary Party also realising that the land was the only issue of concern to the people saw an opportunity himself. Both the Fenians and Parnell intended to use the land issue to get to their own political end game.

By the time the land war was over the peasantry of Mayo were worse off than before they had initiated it all and wealthy Catholics had begun to take advantage of boycotted and bankrupted Protestant landowners to buy up their estates. The Encumbered Estates Act being a mechanism by which Westminster eventually put up money at reasonable interest for Irish tenants to purchase their holdings and bail out the Landlords (Bail outs nothing new then). Point being, a survey of the 4,000 largest Irish landlords in 1872 had revealed that about 29% lived outside Ireland. By then, 43% of all proprietors were Roman Catholic, though the richest owners were still mostly Anglicans. The three ‘F’s for which the Mayo peasantry campaigned in 1879 had largely resulted in cute Irish Catholic hoors ousting what was left of the Protestant landlords and establishing large ranches for themselves. The peasants as usual saw little change and the Ascendancy landlords had their escape route from ruin provided. Parnell on the other hand was very much in the political ascendancy and on the crest of a Land War wave all the way to becoming Parliamentary Party leader.

Sinn Fein

Later again, whilst some republicans may refute this, the fact remains that when SF was founded in 1905 it sought merely some form of self-government within the Union and Empire under the British monarchy. Griffith wanted a similar situation for Ireland to that which Hungary had achieved within the Austrian Empire in 1867. Griffith was also at the treaty negotiations with Collins which had divided Ireland and Griffith also defeated De Valera by 60 votes to 58 in the ratification of that very same Treaty. Kevin O’Higgins later re-floated the idea of a joint monarchy as a possible solution to partition shortly before he was assassinated.

Historian Diarmaid Ferriter points out that, though he had founded Sinn Féin, Griffith was 'quickly airbrushed' from Irish history, somewhat similarly to Redmond’s Irish Volunteers after WW1. Political events had superseded them all. Griffith’s widow had to beg his former colleagues for a pension, saying that he 'had made them all'. She considered that his grave plot was too modest and threatened to exhume his body. Only in 1968 was a plaque fixed on his former home. How sad and familiar is that? After the debacle of the Rising in 1916 the people had come onto the Dublin streets to throw horse manure at and to spit on those rebels being led away by the British Army. It was only the indelicate executions of rebel leaders over a protracted period that soured the Irish publics’ mood against the British.

Once again it was not an unquenchable thirst for liberty, but rather being rubbed up the wrong way which angered the natives. A reality not lost on the British later on during WW2 when De Valera, the civil war merchant and now FF acceptor of partition and a 26 county Dail commenced executing republicans for fun during the ‘Emergency’. A single similar execution of a republican by the British in Belfast during that same period had resulted in all manner of protestations to their utter dismay. What nationalism has time and again required was a leg-up. It could never do it alone because there simply wasn’t ever the desire in the population.

Border Campaign

Fast forward again to the Border Campaign (Operation Harvest) and we see an IRA asserting the republican legitimacy from the 1918 election in arms and no one gave a hoot. The Free State Dail had dismissed without even a hearing a northern delegation lobbying about the Border Commission back in the day when the report was actually being debated and in return for the scrapping of some national debts owed to Britain, the Border Commission report was shelved and never to see the light of day. By the time of the 1950s the IRA border Campaign fared little better. This resulted in poor Cahal Goulding deciding to seek out the Bohemian, trendy lefty lifestyle in and around Trinity and D4 and to hell with a population that was beyond help. Who could blame him?

The damp squib border campaign was put to bed and the next thing we have in the 1960s was a civil rights campaign within the north. British Rights for British citizens. Not a national liberation agenda, a civil rights agenda within Northern Ireland. Once again British loyalist thugs lit a fire that took thirty years to extinguish; arguably primarily as a result of McGuinness and Adams and Co. seeing a chance for republicanism to gain yet another leg-up from events they had negligible influence over. Later again the 1981 hunger strikes gave them an ‘out’ with some election successes evolving into a ‘strategy’. They have been surfing that wave ever since, going wherever it elected to take them; which was all the way quite shamelessly and embarrassingly to Stormont as it panned out! There they pamper themselves on the back of dead hunger strikers, 3000 dead and the GFA which they also had negligible input into.

Presently in 2014 a deflated rump of disillusioned and confused republicans find themselves in the doldrums once more and desperate once more, if they are honest, for that big-bang moment that will send the political situation and population of the north into pandemonium all over again and result in a new reinvigorated armed struggle. Devoid of ideas and a strategy outside that now being pursued by SF, they look increasingly in the rear view mirror and lament betrayals of former comrades and those now despised ‘untouchable’ past leaders.

The only thing that never seems capable of dawning on these principled dyed in the wool republicans is that perhaps they are trying to jump start a political vehicle which only ever tours the same circuit, leading to failure and careers for the select few at the end of the journey. Looking at the ratio of republicans in jail to successful armed actions should also be a very serious cause for concern.

Has anything changed? Rather than awaiting a social volcanic eruption that the Orange Order would surely love to provide is it not high time to look forward and consider that a more up to date and fresh analysis may be the long over-due better option? Who wants to live in 1918 in any case? It’s about as relevant as England winning the World Cup in 1966 and becoming every bit as tiresome. Perhaps whether we like them or loathe them, SF have copped on that trying to manipulate and incite the people for the benefit of republicanism, maybe just maybe, it is a better political option to give the people what they themselves actually want, just for once. PEACE!

In this time of social media with its impact on global political events, were Cahal Goulding still alive he might be well worth sending an email, a FB message or a tweet to!!


  1. Maith thu Larry, well thought out piece that has something to offer the debate regarding 'where to' for republicanism. I'd argue though that a constant feature throughout the period in question is a resistance to the idea of occupation as something that should ever be acceptable and it's occupation that remains the issue. For sure republicanism should consider alternative ways to progress its struggle but we should not peddle the notion we're inevitably doomed to fail or to sell out. It's not the calibre of the Irish that's the problem but the British occupation. Take that away, build a republic worthy of the name, and then maybe pass judgment

  2. Nice article Larry, I can see your pessimism is routed in empirical fact. But Republicanism seems as much a goal, as a political vehicle. As such it can never be judged to have failed, it’s a noble and necessary pursuit.Once you have found the correct path, time is the easy part, flowing like a river inexorably to liberation, it might meander along the way, but its always heading towards its greater body.

  3. Sean

    Agitation was constant because of the nature of the rule they were subjected to. Revolution was consistent only in its failure and futility. The civil war was a disaster and put a lid on it. There are no shortage of west British and a fair deal was more urgently sought than 'freedom'. The Free State at the time of the Border Commission sold the 6 counties as the Russians sold Alaska.

  4. Hi guys, I hope you don't mind me commenting here. I'm a unionist, ex-UDR man currently a mature student of Conflict Studies at QUB and I follow this site avidly.
    Whatever independent republicans do next in pursuit of a 32 county socialist republic it will need to be radical. The eminent professors of Irish Politics at Queen's told me that Churchill offered DV the wee 6 in 1940 and that Wilson made similar overtures in '74. On both occasions the Dublin establishment refused the offer. Similarly Dick Spring decided to put his shoulder to the wheel in support of SF's demand for a withdrawal date as part of the GFA negotiations and was swiftly told to wind his neck in. It is clear that the 26 want nothing to do with a 32 county Ireland and the state is much too conservative to want any truck with a socialist one. The Dublin political class don't want unionists in the Dail or to have to police unionist areas, not to mention the cost. The current 26 debt is €180 bn, if the 6 left the UK we would have to take our share of the UK debt with us, add on the cost of reunification and the new state would kick off with a debt north of a quarter of a trillion euro. In the Independent's survey in the republic in 2011 only 30% said they would be willing to pay more tax to see a UI. Unionist think that the 26 would love a UI, it seems we are wrong.
    Independent republicans face an almost impossible task to convince people north and south of the benefits of a 32 county socialist republic. You're going to have to think of something that can unify your movement. I mean what is the difference between the 1916 Societies, Eirigi, RNU, 32 CSM, IRSP, RSF etc? Why can't you coalesce around a single message? When I read statements from these groups the rhetoric seems so out dated. In the article a few weeks ago from the 1916 Societies I lost count of the amount of times the word "struggle" was used. The threat of violence is a major turn off too. Paradoxically if the wee 6 is not economically successful and socially peaceful the 26 will continue to look the other way when you come calling. I know you probably won't value my opinion but if you don't change the rhetoric, find a single vehicle and think of some radical and positive ideas I believe true Irish republicanism will soon fade away.

  5. Peter

    I have a feeling your appearance here will be of great interest and I suspect more than I will be very interested to hear your 'take'.

  6. Larry,
    What you describe there is a human trait not a nationalist one humans always stick with the status quo until a scenario provokes outrage and there is some response. On the whole it take a lot the world over before the ordinary man responds and even when he does the passions soon subside, the ass wants to be whipped and all that.
    Peter you could be right about people in the twenty six counties attitude towards reunification but the fact remains there will always be a yearning to be free of occupation history dictates so. As for the financial side you could go round and round and pull out figures left, right and centre, although i think your wrong about the share of british debt, was watching a debate on scottish independence and Darling guaranteed the debt payments even if Scotland left so why would here be different? For me that's all bye the bye as long as you have the current financial system sovereign states have very little say on financial matters the political class have signed away any jurisdiction over their financial resources. For what it's worth I enjoyed your input and would welcome all sides into the debate.

  7. tir gan teanga - tir gan anam. the gaels lost. genocide. hence a weak and subdued people. and whod blame them/us. bar the odd one. i mean it was the british empire that we were up against, not a couple of boatloads of fucking mental vikings ffs. im a pessimist too larry but im hoping that will change. good info there and thanks. and failte romhat peter.

  8. Our research suggested 67 percent in the South would vote for Irish reunification and 65 percent would be willing to pay increased taxes

  9. Peter why are you a Unionist and which branch of Unionism do you gve you vote to, DUP, TUV, PUP....? Aren't you embarrassed to say you were once a member of the UDR?

    I'm in agreement with you concerning the various indy republican groups. I've problems in trying to understand the differences between them. Personally I think there is more to unite them than divide them. They all oppose the GFA, distrust PSF, have left wing politics, all talk about equality....Maybe it's a regional thing or what I've read here and on other blogs that it's down to 'personality clashes' that prevent them unifying.

    All the talk about debt being passed around the table if Ireland unites. Fcuk the debt. Don't pay it or pass the debt to the people who created it. What is anyone going to do.. Take Ireland to Brussels or Strasboug and fine Ireland a few billiion greenbacks.. Don't pay. The Rothchilds and Rockerfellas have enough money.

    You talk about radical politics.. How's this sit with you.. Republican & Loyalist paramilitaries join forces and stage a 'coup d'etat' and take control of Stromount and take control of the oil & gas fields around Ireland at the same time (co-ordinated attacks) to pay for health, education, housing, creating employment. It'll mean leaving Europe but so what. Simply set up bi laterals with the rest of the world, concentrating on the BRIC countries..They are some of the fastest growing economies going.

  10. Grouch,

    one day the language might return as for the soul that might remain buried under the shroud of the foggy dew. I would take boat loads of mental Vikings any day over the Brit loads we ended up with.

    Poor aul Liz must be heartbroken looking through the old family albums at all the countries they destroyed all done in the name of democracy. I hope the Scots say adieu that would be the beginning of the end of the former world butchering empire.

  11. David

    What I find interesting amid all the 'scare-mongering' on Scotland is that the Punt which was tied to Sterling for decades hasn't got a mention. Irish economics are totally tied to London and the Irish were not permitted into the EU unless Britain joined. So, Scotland doesn't have that much to worry about. Though I think Peter has it correct regarding the 'wee 6' in that until demographics are well favourable and the North is stable and settled the South will do all it can to steer clear of it.

  12. Frankie, I am a unionist because I became politically aware during the hunger strikes when it seemed the IRA were going to kill us all or die trying; the most important men in the republic were Haughey and O'Faigh; and the 26 at that time was an economic basket case. Like most unionists I believed that a UI at that time would be a fate worse than death.

    I voted in the European election for Tina McKenzie and that was the first time I have voted since 1986. I believe the union is safe despite unionism not because of it. I have despised the fundamentalist path of unionism since Drumcree and the gangsterism of loyalism since way before then. We have lacked leadership for decades. I liked Trimble and Irvine because they were thinkers but they lacked the charisma for real leadership.

    As for the UDR, I laughed when I read your comment. I still get teased by my mates calling me "U'll Do Rightly"!!! I loved being in the UDR. The full time companies were very different from the part timers and the camaraderie was brilliant. I felt I had to do something and the choice was the OO, UVF or UDR, I made the right choice. When I visit the graves of my mates now I can't help thinking 'what was it all for' but I regret nothing.

  13. Well presented piece Larry.
    Factor in the affect of looming conscription into the 1918 Sinn Fein vote and anyone but an amadan could glean the real and honest desires of the electorate.

    In terms of outcomes, with the benefit of hindsight, it could justifiably be reasoned that Irish Republicans, past and present, achieved nothing over and above what the Third Home Rule Bill would've done ... sweet dam all ... nothing worth a drop of blood ... nothing worth a single life.

    Beware of fantasist cheer leaders ... wake up from your illusions ... all addictions have their roots and genesis in fear and hope.

  14. Peter,
    You are the 2nd person on TPQ who said they'd vote for NI21.. Personally they are snookered. They imploded before they started, covered in Tory sleaze. Where to next? The rest of the usual suspects aren't up to the job. They seem to spit their dummy tits out every time a ruling or other goes against them. You could go over to the dark side and look a nationalist/republican parties. Have you ever thought about not voting 'tribal' and think about who'll put more money in your pocket?

    What did the UDR think about the Provisionals & INLA? Why did they turn a blind eye to loyalist violence? At least on paper it seems that way. For example you were patroling a nationalist area and someone in your patrol started to give a young nationalist a hard time at a normal 'P-Check'.. Did you speak out or turn a blind eye..?

    When I visit the graves of my mates now I can't help thinking 'what was it all for' but I regret nothing.

    I've read lots of combatants asking themselves the same question and having the same thoughts.. "What the fcuk was it all about?" And very few have regrets for their actions.

  15. Peter

    'I believe the union is safe despite unionism not because of it'.

    'When I visit the graves of my mates now I can't help thinking 'what was it all for' but I regret nothing'.

    First one is so spot on. Unionists walked out of talks. Still unable to fathom the two thirds majority and one party dictatorship are long gone.48% at best they are and absolutely devoid of all reality. A disgrace.

    Second one could have been written by any commenter on here I recon.

    Henry Joy

    UVF won the day, Home Rule was aborted.

  16. I'm a unionist, ex-UDR man currently a mature student of Conflict Studies at QUB

    I'm simply a Belfast Rockabilly Peter. You are studying 'Conflict whatever' in Queens. Whats the difference between a Ukrainian separatist, Syrian Rebels, Iraqi Insurgents...yet Republicans & Loyalists are terrorists? Genuine question.

  17. Wow Frankie, so many questions. I voted NI21 because I attended a party meeting in North Down and over half of the attendees were catholic, including people from the south who had moved here to work. I've been longing for a secular pro-union party for years so thought I would back them. A wasted vote in the end. In North Down no-one votes nationalist so that would be a wasted vote too.
    As for P-checking, only once did I see someone getting undeserved harassment. The part-timers were different, much more aggressive. We did suffer dogs abuse and more so we gave it back. The INLA in our area were crap, the provos little better once the OC got scooped in Europe, both obviously well penetrated. The only people we feared was South Armagh because we knew there was little penetration there.
    With regards to the choice of description, loyalists and republicans are terrorists because that was the designation before journalists dropped the word from their lexicon. Nowadays they don't want to use that word.

  18. fear is on the wane. love is rising. there will be a united planet, never mind ireland, and im not talking about a globalist nightmare superstate. victory to the saordonian gaelic marxist-lennonist front.

  19. Grouch

    Are your members insurgents, separatists, rebels or jihadists? Seriously thinking of starting to brew my own beer now, I've a 3 story house with the top floor + en suite going to waste. Might put a few posters up on the walls and a settee or two in there for a sports bar/room. Send me a poster of your group, fully armed of course, i'll get it up on the wall. I can sit back and watch all the loyalists in and out of uniform knocking ten bells outa each other and getting criminal records on my widescreen surround sound plasma 32 inch TV while I get wasted laughing. WHAT A LIFE, never thought I'd see the day!

    As I've said before, if it was old men going to church I'd give them tea and buns. But we all know it's not. Unionists are now trying to get rid of the parades commission and march wherever they please...In their dreams. Republicanism is a waste of 'gas' in the north. lol

  20. Republicanism has stopped them in their tracks you'll find young Hughes, and ain't that a killer for them. The hard work done on the ground by Dee Fennell and his band of merry men have changed the face of the situation in Ardoyne and more power to them

  21. Peter

    You come across as open and direct in your answers to Frankie. Can I ask something?

    Back in your time in the UDR would you say with the minimal risk factor you indicated outside S. Armagh that today the financial side of the security sector in the North is what is hurting the unionist/loyalist community most?

    If we take into account the wages (were they high?) for UDR/reserve RUC/reserve Prison Officers etc would I be close to the mark in thinking top dollar and loads of overtime are being sorely missed?

    I ask because I floated the idea in about 1989 that the only thing the conveyor belt achieved was providing steady employment to the unionist community and getting young RCs criminal records. I was accused by a very prominent shinner at the time of being a pseudo Marxist.

    I'd be very interested on your take on that notion. Thanks.

  22. Peter,
    The word 'Terrorist' is still used to describe FARC, Al Qaeda and a host of other armed groups opposed to some regime somewhere... No offence I can't buy into your answer that ..
    that was the designation before journalists dropped the word from their lexicon

    What did you do when you seen the young nationalist get insulted at the P-check. Did you turn a blind eye?

  23. Larry,

    When you are watching events from your penthouse, I hope you wear your bowler hat and your sash is ironed..

  24. I too follow this blog avidly. Yes indeed, a united planet

  25. Grouch,
    In the new indy state of Saordonian..Can we vote Willie in as non president and have Apache not the Sioux to keep the riff raff out?

  26. We haven't go peace? We have a pay as you go precarious process. The process depends almost exclusively on Euro funding and the freedom to have a perpetual money laundering and a cheque signing process.
    Brilliantly written piece Larry, but I don't think you have taken into account, that for many Republicans, Republicanism is perceived as visionary as opposed to mere whims.
    An entire war or wars cannot be reframed around the fickle values of a few.

  27. Frankie

    No sash or bowler hat. I do have a leprechaun hat with beard though, ill stick with that. Must try not to fall into the bin of home brew and drown, that would please way to many people. Cant be having that.

    Sean Bres.

    Republicanism is merely a word. Local residents against bigot parades is what has seen common sense prevail. Dee and the lads are doing a great job for sure and the more so because the way McGuinness is talking it seems to me he's giving the parades commission a nod and a wink that in the future decisions permitting parades along RC areas will be respected by SF.

    I watched The View tonight and thank Christ I no longer live in the wee 6. RTE/Vatican tv never looked so good. How bloody disgraceful was that. The only one talking sense was the new Chief Constabubble. I'll not lie or be a hypocrite. I'm all for law and order, when It does what I want it to. Just like the Unionists on that score I'm afraid.

  28. yes to everything frankie, we are terrorists of love larry. victory to the saordonian love terrorists. whose to say with a cigar in one hand and a guitar in the other, that the marxist-lennonists wont take power in ireland.

  29. Doolna and grouch; first marriage on the quil?

    Two broken hearted idealists ... each with a broken wing ... believing they can effect a perfect flight togetjer... sad or what? Addicted to hope?

    Wake up guys there's no utopian Republic ... no perfect relstionship ... still loads of dangerous ass holes though ... ?

  30. Fr Sean McManus to officiate? Sran bres for best man?

  31. Henry JoY,

    nice way to welcome a new poster I suppose the playing the person rule only applies if I rattle your bones.

  32. Frankie, the Americans usually decide who is a terrorist and who is not but if you listen to the BBC they rarely call anyone a terrorist these days.
    I did turn a blind eye at the P-Check because it was one of my first patrols and didn't want to rock any boats with my new colleagues.

    Larry, a UDR private in the late 80s could take home £250 per week, the RUC and POs more because they got paid overtime. The money was great in those days as a tradesman was taking home £125 per week then. When it all wound up after the GFA those still in got fantastic pay offs, quite a few joined the TA and quite a few went to Iraq as mercenaries and got paid like footballers. You can't deny that the Troubles was good for our community financially and socially. From our side of the fence youse were mad not to wind it up after the hunger strikes.

  33. I'm with you there Nuala, words of wisdom. Republicanism as a concept should not be judged by the treachery of a few, not when its rich contribution to the struggle for the rights of man in Ireland is considered. Where would we be without it? Now there's a thought for the detractors

  34. Peter

    Quite a few from the Irish Defence Forces went to Iraq too as mercenaries. Lads who had been in the French Foreign legion too. Wars for profit indeed and principles for martyrdom and dole-ites it would seem.

    Just one more question if I may.... Why do you think Loyal above all others Rangers wouldn't pay their taxes to QE2?

  35. Henry JoY
    ' Addicted to hope?' ..way off the mark.. nothing but a cynic

  36. i usedta be addicted to dope. saordonia is an actual place henryjoyless and what are u smoking.

    john lennons great great grandfather left ireland in 1848 and his name was sean o lionnain and he was a wandering musician. johns father called his son john after him.

  37. and nuala, i call it the propaganda process now.

  38. Henry, you should try it sometime...

  39. Larry,

    you are sounding a bit like Mickey Henry and his odd body count math. Are you saying the armed factions would be able to justify the number of prisoners based on the success of attacks as if that is their objective?

    Do militant republicans have to be involved in an attack to end up doing time? No, it’s Northern Ireland and the Brits have that deck stacked what should be more concerning is that there still are Irish people being held in our English rulers jails.

    If they had a high success rate would that give their cause more legitimacy? Even with all the constructive critical objections coming from republicans the militants still manage to recruit. Is their objective to go on the offensive or just to keep that alive?

    The Provos didn’t have the mandate from the people but they managed to stay in the picture as their supporters believed they were fighting for unity. Irish republican militants will stay in the picture as they do have a support base even if it is marginal.

    You manage to over simplify Irish history and make the Irish sound like idiots that deserve all we get from the English or indeed from ourselves.

    Unquestionably certain things have improved (not changed) in the north but even if the militants packed it in tomorrow we are still a long way from peace. You can jump on the SF bandwagon and talk about the long road of compromise but who is fooling who as all the former paramilitary groups are still in business (both the legit kind and the other kind) and at the drop of a hat will be back in the old business.

    Republican militants might be a problem but the UDA and UVF still keep their houses in order no mention of loyalist prisoners? Why do we still have miles of “war walls” called peace walls and why are we still living in separate camps if the people really wanted peace none of these things would exist. You think like a Brit and see things through what’s in it for Larry binoculars republicanism you claim is short sighted if that was the case then the pursuit of self determination would have dropped off the map long ago.

    Irish unity has always been forced against the wall the British Empire versus Irish rebels no great debate on whom could outgun who and still today it is the same powerful English with their superpower ally putting the boot in.

    The Free State has a vested interest in keeping Ulster British as they fear losing their conservative strangle hold on the people along with that other bastion of power the Vatican that side with the oppressors’ as they fear the word socialism.

    No one could argue against peace but peace is worthless without justice and self determination. The peace is tentative never mind the paramilitaries the puppet politicians can’t agree on ridiculous issues of parades and flags.

    Unionists like republicans are not so willing to give up tradition or history but we can ignore the traditional divisions as they are just the tools our UK masters use to keep the tentative peace.

    It would be handy if the militants packed it in and hit the political brick road they don’t have to compromise their beliefs, history, and traditions to do so. In the long term the Brits are not leaving and when they do it will be on their terms even if it means shiting on the loyalists and unionists their beliefs, history, and traditions.


  40. ...

    Even though I don’t follow the militants I am not about to ignore the republican prisoners and put the boot in, in the name of tentative peace. It is marching season again or the usual nonsense but in reality it is controlled acts of aggression not exactly peaceful acts of acceptance.

    When the country can find amicable agreement on flags and parades and the war walls are gone then we might be heading on the road to a permanent peace.

    In the meantime finding workable solutions is not on the cards as no one wants to concede much or anything and Irish republicanism along with unionist and loyalists still dictates what will or won’t change in the north.

    MI5 prefer it that way as it is simple to manage and keep the divisions in favour of the UK. If they were interested in genuine peace they would have easily put all the paramilitaries to bed and more important our bent politicians should forced to work out unbiased agreements as they are a greater problem than militants. Much like you they see what is in it for them.

    Is it any wonder that the Irish fail to achieve unity when we have people like you who will settle for a telly?

    Republicanism is far from short sighted it is always short changed and the Brits will keep it that way in the north you enjoy that English game football all the Brits do is call for extra time and why not they own by force and deceit the stadium and will continue to play the loyalist and republicans against each other endless extra time awarded.

    Whilst there is a need for republicans to explore new dialogue there is no need to relegate history to the rubbish bin. With the numerous factions in modern republicanism history seems to be all they share sooner or later they will have to come to terms with the times and find a political narrative that fits the times one that could strengthen their position.

    You can fault Irish republicanism in true Brit fashion blame the occupied and excuse the occupiers but why worry about the Ruling Brits as long as you have a telly.

  41. Peter,

    welcome to the posting side of the Quill out from the shadow side I doubt anyone minds, knock about long enough and you will end up part of the woodwork.

    I admit the UDR bit brought back a few memories you know the old way were an introduction was one sided and at gunpoint the up against the wall routine and the usual PTA bit. There was always one in the patrol that was the easiest to wind up; it was the same for the peelers and Brits. Not all encounters ended well, taking a digging and trying to dig back was the luck of the draw depending on what happened that day but that was part of the unwritten rules.

    I agree there are too many splinter groups and they should try uniting the groups’ first under one banner and fill the political void but on saying that during the conflict it was much the same as there were the Provos and the UDA along with INLA and the UVF and many splinter factions all still in business at least the main ones.

    Today it shouldn’t be as confusing as when the conflict was on, well it is still on but we haven’t reached critical mass yet but it’s the north and all bets are off if one side or the other say so.

    It is easier for me to just say I am an independent republican without affiliation as it’s like playing Spot The ball. The only camp it suits is the British Unionist camp as splintered republicanism only adds up to less votes and less republican votes weakens republicanism.

    That would not have been possible packing it in after the hunger strikes. How could the RM leadership sell that one to the camp that would have probably caused a severe feud and the Adams camp probably wouldn’t have got off the ground?

    The Brits had a good bit of solid intelligence and knew who they could deal with the only problem was winding the war down and creating a smoke screen for the Adams camp selling it as a republican victory for the Brits it was just a matter of putting the collars on the right people and walking them on a leash.

    Fair dues on that one as the Brits pulled it off using republicanism to kick its own arse. I am sure many peelers and screws feel the same way the republican and loyalist militants offer job security for them and the security industry. In fact we could say that the old firms still rake in the cash and the Brits don’t discourage it as it is woven into the local economy.

  42. Donna,

    don’t take any guff from Henry and welcome to the quill.

  43. Tain Bo

    I note the time of your posts and wonder do you not have a tv? Anyhow the article wasn't designed as an attack upon republicans, more an attempt to get people to consider the relevance of clinging to the word 'republicanism' in 2014. The people I respect most are republicans. Not all in SF, but some of them are to my amazement. Whilst I see merit in a lot of their politics I'd require no self esteem or personal life worth talking about to follow a paedo facilitator to the ends of eternity. That party has sadly lost all credibility for me personally. But that doesn't detract from my memories and love of close friends. 1986 saw the end of republicanism in SF and as Peter eluded too, but none of us realised, it is now obvious Adams and the Belfast mafia were indeed secretly intent on wrapping it all up after the hunger-strikes.

    Also, my mention of stats on actions v prisoners is not to mock those in jail but to question the merits of those who sent them all in there. Something very rotten I sense. I notice the DUP/OU are trying to keep young loyalists from getting criminal records. The only thing dignified amid all that they are up to.

    Loyalists are no more interested in republican overtures of a shared Ireland than the man on the moon and never have been. Is the continued wooing of Loyalism not self delusion? Embarrassing more like. SF may be SDLP for slow learners but sticking with a creed of begging your sworn enemy to see the merit of your argument is pathetic. Montessori or politics for the delinquent even.

    Harping on about 1916 and the 1918 election is in my book becoming as boring as England fans shouting about 1966. Cringe-worthy and totally irrelevant. Even more ineffective. It is keeping the rump of Peter's mates in jobs and the PSNI on overtime.

    The loyalists are now backing down on the parades issue AGAIN as 'their police' stated that rather than force their hooligan bigots through RC areas they will jail the scoundrels. Changed times. The 'graduated response' is now evident; back to Stormont with their tails not between their legs but firmly shoved up their arses. That doesn't make for good tv but at least we have the World Cup. Ulster Workers strikes, like 1916, aint coming back.

    One last observation Tain Bo which republican blinkers seem to ignore, the Border Campaign had zero support, as did the 1916 rising. The Brits may have copped onto the fact if they don't rub people up the wrong way here out of stupid actions and ugly atrocity then people are generally happy. Are you saying republicans are correct in wanting to ignite another war? Is that all you have to offer the Irish people. Because that's what the word republicanism conjures up.

    As I said the USA and France were the inspiration for Wolf Tone, are they an inspiration today? Slanging or trying to insult people about being a Brit really isn't taking the republican debate anywhere. Just shows everyone the mentality and calibre 'hasn't gone away you know' lol.

  44. Tain Bo, thankyou.
    I expected a bit of guff ;)

  45. Larry,

    unfortunately I own 2 telly’s though have little use for them, I hear that programs are just the filler between advertisements oh, I forgot it keeps my other half happy as she likes to watch a few hours.

    I also have very irregular eating habits but to answer your question if I wanted to watch shite I would stand over the toilet bowl.

    The article is just another put down of republicanism you seem to ignore the reason behind the right to self determination it is 2014 more so now than at any time in the past that right should be strived for counter to your pro Brit view is simple it is 2014 why should the Brits be able to still have a claim over a land they stole, two thirds have been returned so why should the other third still be held as a political hostage.

    I could say the same myself I get bored hearing about the Brits and how they keep the peace instead of how they keep it going.

    Do you need to question the reasons the British courts sent them to prison wouldn’t a faired question be what give them reason to join knowing that the outfits are far from having it together and that the risk of doing time is the same now as it was pre-GFA. Do you think the militant leaders enjoy the idea of losing people to jail?

    Just because the chief cop talks tough doesn’t mean much does it and just because the loyalists are not saying much doesn’t mean they won’t if push comes to shove get wired in.

    Making a comparison between a daft football match and the Easter rising along with the Brit rejection of the mandate of the people would only make sense to one who gives kicking a ball about great importance I have no interest in football.

    Republican blinkers don’t ignore any campaign nor do they rely upon the past campaigns. The Brits after much trial and very grave error did learn that interning men, hooding men, and torturing men, along with massacring civilians didn’t help their cause, that doesn’t mean that some years on we should ignore the Brits and forgive them for their bloody history.

    I didn’t say anything close to republicans being in the right in wanting another dig at the Brits so don’t put words in that are not there, I said I wouldn’t put the boot in and ignore republican prisoners. If that is all republicanism conjures up in your mind then that is your opinion. I hold a different opinion and the word is not just about fighting the Brits.

    It is part of my identity and although we hear about modern republicanism licking its wounds and limping along that too is nonsense. Republicanism is a proud strong tradition and will be around long after I am cremated.

    Do we not have enough modern republicans who give their lives for freedom to draw upon? I am not in favour of another major conflict I wasn’t slagging about you sounding like a Brit and thinking as one. My mentality or lack of along with the lack of caliber doesn’t bother me. What does irk me is when I read “lol” that will be the first and last time I type that.

    Sure and why not Larry doesn’t like the word republicanism so why don’t we just erase it to keep you happy and to put a smile on your face wipe out Irish history.

    Don’t forget to clock my check in time I also try and spend little time on the net.

  46. I'm proud to say I don't own a TV. I've no idea why anyone wants to own a TV. All you need is PC and you can watch any TV program from any country at anytime with a few key strokes..

  47. Seems to me there's a fundamental misconception in play here, Larry is attempting to provoke a bit of debate on how republicanism should address the situation it currently finds itself in and move forward rather than to make a mockery out of republicanism itself. There's still a worthy point to be considered even if we don't agree with it, it might be time for new thinking when we consider the monolith that is the Good Friday Agreement and its ability to attract a wide tract of support across all sectors of Irish society. Whether we like it or not the balance of power has shifted substantially towards the British side which throws up its own connotations. Do we give up though and simply set about watching television, getting on with our lives or whatever? Of course not, we find ways to address the problem and take it from there. Maybe that's exactly what Larry is really trying to point out here...

  48. Sean,

    Why don't the various anti-GFA republican groups pool their resources? On paper there is more to unite them than divide them.

    Is it really all down to personality clashes and egos?

  49. Personally Frankie I don't believe a process whereby the differing elements that constitute 'alternative republicanism' might come together under one structure is on the cards at present and no-one I know of is working towards such an end. But that shouldn't preclude some form of cooperation between the various strands in a process that respects their own individual autonomy - that's the only realistic way of looking at the concept of 'republican unity' unfortunately. The far-left politics of eirigi for example would not be consistent with the democratic cooperative model espoused by RSF. Likewise there are inconsistencies in the varying attitudes towards abstentionism. There are though issues where there is a uniform analysis and there should be greater cooperation around these - human rights, policing, an end to occupation etc. Needless to say my own opinion is that a party-political approach will not unite Ireland anyway and there's a need to look beyond such a strategy. I see the One Ireland-One Vote concept introduced by the Societies as a viable way of achieving greater unity among republicans if it can be moulded in such a way that it becomes an acceptable policy-position for others to take as their own. What's your thoughts on that?

  50. Sean excellent comment. A loose broad front attitude is probably a decent and logical option. Credibility, integrity and honesty are three virtues republicanism held above other elements in the struggle. What SF did with those attributes was to take them to Dr Coulter's Midden thread!

  51. We'll have you running a Society out of Letterkenny before this is over young Hughes!

  52. I'm 51 today young Bres. Totally think Tom Barry had it nailed and O'Bradaigh too. Adams wheeling Cahill out every farts end on the BBC now makes me puke. Barry and O'Bradaigh had the type of integrity a child could understand and love and most of us were but a tad older than kids after-all, lets not forget that and lets remember our parents had endured unionism and bellyached enough about the B specials but done bog-all about it themselves! That honesty for me was what made the Provos appealing but also it is what unfortunately led O'Bradaigh and co. to just walk away in 1986 from scoundrels in Belfast SF. No big wages or mega bucks for them men. But paedos in the Adams family felt free to order and dictate?? Sweet Christ!! Duplicity begineth at Westminster and the SF duet (sooty and sweep)are only sorry they can't quite get there. Boy would they love too. They'll be lamenting it on their death-beds as the Queen converts to Catholicism on hers!!

    But after BA/MA/PHD(pending) I'll cut out 90 years of free state by FG/FF and rather than hit a '16 society or SF i'll get into FF Wreck Ireland without a gun or bomb and get rich in the process. I'm renting just now, fancy a bit of ownership before I pop them. It's a Thatcher thing. No jail time possible!!!!

  53. Sean Bres,

    There is no misconception at play the debate has been going on for years and splintered republicanism is the accepted standard. That line has been floating for years it is time for new thinking and 10 years from now the same line will probably be in use.

    Sinn Fein’s success isn’t that difficult to figure out they have no republican competition and act as one party there is no great mystery that they are out in front. Will the splintered factions join together or will they remain happy to say oh we should explore a new/old idea.

    So basically yapping on about the failures of the Irish is somehow a new idea that Larry is promoting if that was the case why the bias as there is no in depth explanation as to what caused the failures. Call it what you want but splintered republicanism is no use all the groups and factions perhaps need to “unite” first and talk second but we know that is not on the cards anytime soon but don’t let the truth get in the way of some creative thinking.

  54. my politics now is live of the grid as much as possible and fuck everybody else. in a land of me feiners its time to start looking after number one. they spat and threw dung at the men of 16. seriously, they havent changed one bit.

  55. I'm all for creating thinking TB but that's still my opinion on the unity thing, don't see it happening in the immediate term at least

  56. Larry a belated happy birthday.. Yesterday I was celebrating a 60th birthday of sorts. Nine years before you entered the stage a young rockabilly called Elvis Presley cut 'That's alright mama' on the 5th July 1954...You are an Irish Republican, I'm a Belfast Rockabilly but we're both Rebels

  57. Frankie

    Much appreciated. Although I wouldn't declare myself a republican to any serious degree these days. More a middle shade of green nationalist. Age brings on a combination of cynicism and a reality that has been mellowed and blunted by the realisation that all patriots and idealists do is get killed whilst paving the way to the top for turds. All fanatics whether in politics or sport are a major turn off with little to offer. They can barely take a joke.

    Keep on rockin' Frankie and let no one step on them blue suede shoes!!

  58. Happy belated birthday Lar, hope you'd a good 'un

  59. Sean, my thoughts part 1...

    All anyone has to do is look at Ardoyne to see how deep the 'mis-trust/difference of opinion' within Irish Republicanism-Nationalism is today. On one side there is CARA fronted by Joe Marley who's father was Larry Marley. And on the other side there is GARC, part fronted by Martin og Meehan who father was Martin Meehan. Both their respected fathers fought for the same side of Irish republicanism and defended the same streets. But today CARA refuse to talk to GARC.

    Recently Gerry Kelly has now said he has no problem with GARC in the room and listening to what they have to say . What GARC has repeatly said is.." Slow down. There is a viable alternative and it's the most cost effective idea going and cheaper than policing a caravan site. Where Loyal Orders can march 24/7-365." As things stand, forcing Orange Men to re-inact ' The Grand old Duke of York' isn't working on any front.

    Now during the recent anti internment march the organisers re-routed part of the march through Lenadoon and other parts 'ad-hoc' along the way to 'keep the peace.'

  60. Why isn't there a meeting of minds within the various indy-alternative Republican groups about political policing-prison issues? There is enough cross pollination between them for it not have happened more often.

    My thoughts part 2...
    The 1916 Societies are 'neutral' as such within 'alternative Irish Republicanism' school of thought, in that they aren't a political party and aren't affiliated to any either. It's 2014, it can't be that difficult to contact the leaderships of the various alternative republican groups and to get their views on what their cumman think should be done about certain issues of common interest and work together as a collective on one or two issues. It can't be that difficult for them to form a pan-Republican front similar to NICRA or the Anti HBlock/Armagh party about the Prison & Policing issues Republicans already came together under an Anti-Internment banner last year. It will help built up the trust that is missing at the minute within Reublicanism.

    What I find very funny is reading various comments on blogs & online newspapers is CNR-ers refer to the RUC/PSNI.. PUL-ers PSNI/SF when political policing is raised. That alone tells me both sides of the oxymorons don't trust the police and PSF. Loyalists are as vocal as Republicans on prison issues. Put feelers out and see if Loyalists opposed to political policing would join in an 'anti-political policing march. ' They can only say "No thanks"....

    "The far-left politics of eirigi for example would not be consistent with the democratic cooperative model espoused by RSF. Likewise there are inconsistencies in the varying attitudes towards abstentionism."

    I don't understand PSF's view on abstentionism with Westminster. I bet when Martin McGuinness had his private meeting with the Queen of England he didn't call her "Liz." I see nothing wrong with Republicans sitting in Stormount. They have a better chance of changing things from the inside out than the other way around. They could argue for 'One Ireland, One Vote.' in AOB during any debate in Stormount. They could float ideas at various cross border institutions about the economics about 'removing the link with Britain and the merits of a federal-Eire Nua type of government-set up.' etc. Who ever gets elected their integrity has be beyond reproach and not allow themselves to be seduced by the smell of green backs like PSF and others have allowed themselves.

    For talk sake there is referendum along the lines the Societies are calling for and people vote the border to be removed. Then what? Leave Ireland up to the fools who are running the country today. Sooner or later alternative Republicanism is going to enter the political stage. They already have at grass roots level with Gary Donnelly getting elected in Derry. I have the break down somewhere but I'm sure when I added Dee Fennells votes to Sammy Cusicks in the recent council elections .alternative Republicans have almost an equal voice but a fractured vote.

    Bottom line is if alternative Republic thinking pooled resources over areas of common interest the balance of power will return to grass roots.