1916 Societies At QUB Set Out Their Thoughts And Position In An Interview With The Scoop’s Paul Wyatt

1916 Societies offer their take in the following interview with The Scoop News.

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In a recent interview with Paul Wyatt of The Scoop News, an online radio/website that discusses current affairs on campus at Queen’s University Belfast, Patrick Roche, Nicole Clinton and Gerard Downey, three of those involved in our campaign to establish 1916 Societies at Queen’s itself, set out their position on a range of issues in the hope of clarifying the nature of our organisation and its democratic bona fides. Full interview carried below.

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SN: What is the aim of the 1916 Societies?

1916 QUB: We believe the aspirations of the Irish people to exercise self-determination, in the form of a 32-county sovereign and democratic republic, are entirely legitimate and can no longer be ignored.

The situation in Ireland today is we have two failed states unable to deliver meaningful progress for the Irish people, with both subservient to external imperial interests, whether in the form of the EU, the British presence in the North, or the wider free-market, neo-liberal consensus that dictates the socio-economic condition in much of today’s world.

The record of partition is a record of failure and the austerity agenda currently being hammered into the Irish people, North and South, whether they live in Ardoyne or Finglas, Derry or Mayo, is there for all to see and bears testament to that failure.

With that in mind it’s clear to us an appetite for meaningful political change exists across this island and on that basis we seek a realignment of progressive forces in Irish society today, towards the concept of establishing a new republic in Ireland to replace the failed two-state constitutional arrangements that currently exist.

Ultimately our hope is that we can help channel the energies and will of the Irish people into and through a democratic process that can see those energies fulfill their potential and the democratic will of the people, free from external impediment and unbound by parameters set by anyone outside the Irish body politic itself, realised in full.

Our hope then is to empower the Irish people and secure what is their sovereign destiny, an independent 32-County Irish republic founded on the principles of the 1916 Proclamation, a republic worthy of the name.

SN: Are the 1916 Societies seeking to be an official society at QUB Students’ Union and if so, why?

1916 QUB: The 1916 Societies have already begun the process of establishing a Cumann within the Union body at Queen’s University and held a successful information night on 12th November at ‘An Realta Civic and Social Space’ in the city centre.

Unfortunately, in behaviour more akin to the restrictive practices of Margaret Thatcher’s right-wing Tory regime than what most would expect from a supposedly open-minded body such as Queen’s Student Union, original plans to meet in the Union itself were scuppered by a last-ditch decision to ban our organisation from the building – paradoxically on the grounds of meeting equality obligations.

Such censorship has the clear intent of excluding a legitimate political message while impacting on the ability of those within the Union who wish to promote the 1916 Societies and our call for an all-Ireland referendum on Irish Unity. It begs the question what is there to fear from democratic debate and a democratic campaign to promote our nation’s reunification?

Regardless, we are committed to organising at Queen’s and intend on a campaign that gives our membership at the university equal access to the same facilities and privileges enjoyed by all other manner of political groupings within the Union, should such be further denied. That is the real equality those controlling the decision-making process at Queen’s Student Union should concern themselves with in 2015.

A core nucleus is now in place to progress that campaign and move things further along. We look forward to finalising our first Cumann within university structures in the weeks ahead and to working with the student base at QUB towards securing an all-Ireland referendum on the reunification of our country and an end to Britain’s occupation of the Six Counties.

SN: Why do the 1916 Societies feel that Sinn Fein is not an adequate body to further the Irish republican cause?

1916 QUB: We are an independent organisation and would not overly concern ourselves with how Sinn Fein, or any other individual political party for that matter, approach the current constitutional situation in Ireland or what strategies they may have to securing political change in regards the same. That’s their own concern not ours.

With all that said, over two decades on from the historic IRA ceasefire of August 1994 and the tenuous hopes in the republican community at that time of securing genuine movement towards the reunification of Ireland, any such movement has been sparse on the ground, with Irish Unity arguably as far away as ever.

Promises of a new and final phase of struggle to secure a United Ireland have failed to materialise, with the energies of Irish republicanism pinned down under the weight of the 1998 British-Irish Agreement and its ability to deliver, if nothing else, a degree of peace to the long-troubled Six Counties, while preserving the strategic interests of the British state in Ireland.

The problem for republicanism is that this same Agreement, while capable of sustaining this peace of sorts, copper-fastens partition via the ‘triple lock’, acting as a rigid barrier to further constitutional change. In hindsight it should never have been accepted, or more accurately those who committed republicanism to this process, hinting at a back-door deal while appealing for a united front and trust in the leadership, should simply not have been given such free reign.

There is now a pressing need for republicanism to provide a credible alternative to this new status quo, to provide practical and principled solutions capable of attracting the support we need to impact on the political process and create change. It is then incumbent at this time to learn from the mistakes of the past and to reconcile a need to develop new strategies towards securing an end to partition with the desire of the people in Ireland to live in peace where possible.

With that in mind the 1916 Societies believe our ‘One Ireland-One Vote’ campaign can create a new set of political dynamics, at home and abroad, capable of by-passing the limitations of the 1998 Agreement, spearheading a democratic and peaceful transition to Irish Unity.

SN: Do the 1916 Societies support the operation of the PSNI in Northern Ireland, do they accept the legitimacy of the PSNI, and do the 1916 Societies feel that refusing membership to those who ‘endorse British rule and accept the crown forces as a legitimate force in Ireland’ would comply with the Students’ Union constitution?

1916 QUB: Anyone watching the recent Spotlight investigation into the PSNI, and abuses it has carried out, no doubt found the programme a disturbing insight into continuing policing malpractice across the Six Counties. Images of police officers using brute violence against ordinary nationalists going about their business surely puts pay to the notion of a ‘new beginning to policing’ as championed by the SDLP and Sinn Fein, demonstrating the futility of their so-called ‘critical engagement’ with what remains in effect an unreformed RUC.

At a broader level collusion with loyalist death squads continues to dominate discussion around policing, most notably with the shocking revelation that PSNI has actively obstructed the Six-County Police Ombudsman’s investigations into the murder of up to 60 nationalist civilians and counting during the Troubles. For us this in itself is merely the tip of the iceberg.

Their role in assisting and covering for the activities of the notorious ‘Glenanne Gang’, a pungent mix of loyalist paramilitaries, RUC officers and members of the infamous UDR connected to the murder of 120 innocent Catholic civilians during the recent Troubles, has also dominated headlines and editorials in the mainstream media in the week just past. These of themselves are not isolated incidents and point to a far wider and systemic state strategy to manipulate the function of the police in order to terrorise the nationalist community into submission.

The idea all of this should be swept under the carpet is preposterous. The fact it’s the PSNI being pursued through the courts by families seeking truth and justice in these instances, rather than the old RUC itself, demonstrates the lineal relationship between the two and just who the PSNI really are. All of that surely has people wondering just what has really changed when you scratch the surface, when you separate image from what’s real.

What’s real is that PSNI were shown battering young nationalists off the streets of Omagh, what’s real is that PSNI continues to obstruct justice and cover for the criminal involvement of its predecessor in murder, what’s real is that PSNI remains alienated from a sizeable section of the community in the Six Counties with its reputation in tatters. These are not matters of opinion but fact.

Critical elements within PSNI remain under the control of British Military Intelligence and beyond the accountability mechanisms contained in the Patten reforms. Likewise the C3 intelligence apparatus of PSNI itself, units of the same make-up as the supposedly disbanded RUC Special Branch, are not accountable to the Policing Board, the Stormont Assembly, or indeed anyone other than the British Secretary of State. The PSNI has next to zero credibility at this point and with that in mind the least we can do is ensure we do not give succour and legitimacy to this discredited organisation, what is in effect a repackaged RUC, with a new cap and badge, in the forlorn belief it can be changed from within.

We in the 1916 Societies will rightly play no part in any such process that seeks to whitewash the grievous and heinous crimes of this organisation, crimes for which it is still subject to ongoing investigation. On that basis alone we would be extremely uncomfortable with the idea a Student body in a position of public trust, such as Queen’s Student Union, might attempt to dictate to those it has a duty of care towards that they are required to whitewash and excuse the murder of innocent civilians and their cover-up in order to comply with its constitution.

If such a scenario were to eventuate we would be compelled to challenge this as a fundamental breach of equality and of our democratic rights – notions and principles surely above politically-biased and loaded attempts to decide for others how they must judge the record of the murderous Six-County police. The very principles of truth and justice are at stake here and political expediency just will not do.

SN: It has been claimed that the 1916 Societies are potentially linked to dissident republican activity. Is this the case?

1916 QUB: It could equally be claimed the 1916 Societies are ‘potentially linked’ to efforts to establish Lapland as the capital of Ireland, the above question is really that absurd. So vague is the way it has been framed it barely warrants answering but nevertheless it raises an important issue which others use to smear and discredit those who pose a perceived threat to their dominance and control of the narrative about and within republicanism.

The 1916 Societies are an emerging political, cultural and historical movement based in Ireland and founded in 2009 – our development following a realignment of republicanism beginning in East Tyrone and since spreading through much of the rest of Ireland and indeed further afield.

We are an Irish separatist movement who believe the Irish Republic should be an independent and democratic state as set out in the 1916 Proclamation and that the people of Ireland, free from external impediment, have the undivided right to determine the future of this island and their own destiny.

As has already been made clear, we believe the will exists among the people of this country to move to a United Ireland arrangement and on that basis we seek a realignment of progressive forces in Irish society towards such an end. We hope to test that will in a democratic referendum that gives every Irish citizen an equal say on the issue of partition. It is our democratic right to pursue such a worthy agenda and it begs the question what could upset anyone about a call for a democratic referendum on Irish reunification.

The 1916 Societies are simply republicans and there’s no other label that can or should be attached to them. We are a non-violent political movement who refuse the right of Britain to remain in this country against the democratic wishes of the Irish people – that’s all there is to it. We have no military analysis or strategy and instead concentrate our efforts on mounting a political campaign to bring about an all-Ireland referendum as spoken of.

How this can be framed as ‘linked to dissident republican activity’ beggars belief and is simply a disingenuous attempt to discredit what we’re about by linking it to the violence of groups who we’ve no more association with than have Sinn Fein, Fianna Fáil or their like. We certainly do not oppose peace but for sure we refuse to endorse implementing British policy in Ireland and normalising what remains the occupation of our country.

Those who would spread such black propaganda most likely can’t handle the emergence and indeed the rapid growth of a credible alternative to their political approach. Regardless, our message is simple, to the point and does not attach to anything beyond what it says on the page itself. ‘One Ireland One Vote: Let the Irish people decide’ – what could ever be considered wrong with that?


  1. "A barbarian ... is one who thinks that the customs of his tribe and island are the laws of nature".

    George Bernard Shaw

    Another bunch of Neanderthals who delude themselves that they are noble savages!

    Proper order that a revered centre of learning would seek to keep them and their divisive shibboleths out.

  2. u are the ----- ------ i have ever come across mccrackhead, u make me vomit with ur unending pompousness. 'revered centre of learning' - u are on drugs. stick ur pretentious quotes and recommendations of books to read up ur hole. i hate seeing ur drivel as the first comment on many articles here. u ruin my buzz. why arent u commenting on eoghan harris articles and all those other douchebags in the sunday independent website. that is ur natural home.

  3. to be fair grouch, Israel is a few hours ahead, of course his comments will be first.

  4. correct daithid, and whats wrong with being neanderthal, my neanderthal mates hate it when people take the piss out of us woolybacks.

  5. Com'on 'grouch' get back on your humorous pony, enlightenment merely means to lighten up!

    I disagree with the 1916 Societies attempts to radicalise yet another generation of our youth.

    In the end of the day what's the difference between their bogus strategy of calling for a 'One Island, One Vote' and that of Provisional Sinn Féin call for a plebiscite of some sort?

    If republicans couldn't win it in the past through force of arms I can't see what has changed enough that would suggest a vote at this time could produce anything positive or useful.

    (Hope your tummy's better).

  6. Henry,
    How very pole up your arse Victorian of you!

    The Neanderthals were a very successful spices but walt away and ignore the cartoon depictions of the Irish being Neanderthal like.

    Just curious did you have some sort of rectal surgery to expand your arsehole to comfortably accommodate the amount of shite that comes out of it?

    Noble savages, hmm, politeness and civility, are you creating a lower and hierarchy on savagery, nobility is self-cleansing and politely explains savagery away it is only the unruly who can be savages the vulgar lower class those who are tamed by the greater power with great acts of savagery that fall under the blanket of collateral damage, the disposable peoples’ who rudely get in the way of some noble governments agenda.

    And why would someone like you with your tender disposition engage with “noble savages” yet fail to explain why you view them as savage.

    Back to planet earth it always has been a violent place and when you are eating your cornflakes in the morning just think of the nobler savages that at the push of a button can rain down annihilation!

    Henry nil, Grouch one.

  7. An erudite response not, as is your wont TB.

    When I come across an angry old fart like you, the compassionate side of me just wonders you know Táin what is it you're so fearfully of, what is it you're so frustrated about?
    For when one mines down a bit into anger one usually comes up with a mixture of fear, frustration and loneliness.

    Or maybe though you're just one of Mr Shaw's barbarians?

  8. Now, now, don’t be getting romantic with me Henry; spare your compassion for the sentimental.

    I haven’t a baldy, but assume you are Eliza Doolittle in this case passing yourself off as a computer assisted quasi intellectual.

    Keep on mining Henry on your pseudo psychoanalysis though I do find all the ways to list infinity a wee bit frustrating at times.
    We already went over the brains fear response though if memory serves you ducked out of that one.

    Look up the origin of barbarism, Shaw was no model citizen either but keep on building your tower of Babel one day you might touch the sky.

    Pigeons and statues what do you have against savages and barbarians? You stick with yourself- improvement and I will stick with being a Celt one of those Babarians.

  9. "i appeal to the chemists to discover a humane gas that will kill instantly and painlessly, in short a gentlemanly gas,deadly by all means, but humane not cruel."

    “You must all know half a dozen people at least who are no use in this world; who are more trouble than they are worth. Just put them there, and say, now sir or madam, now will you be kind enough to justify your existence? If you can’t justify your existence; if you’re not pulling your weight in the social boat; if you’re not producing as much as you consume or perhaps a little more, then clearly we cannot use the big organisation of our society for the purpose of keeping you alive, because your life does not benefit us, and it can’t be of very much use to yourself”."

    who came out with the above?

    answer - g b shaw.

    im glad im a neanderthal who loves humanity and not some scum sucking elitist bastard with a death wish for millions.

    heres my neanderthal quote.

    "a barbarian... is one who thinks that quoting genocidal elitist psychopaths like g b shaw, whilst calling peaceful neanderthals derogatory names is sophisticated and intellectual commentary."

    grouch bernard shaw

  10. good man tain bo, im not the only woolyback here.

  11. Fair play Grouch and Tain, that self-righteous so-and-so has long-since stunted my willingness to comment on TPQ. As someone said at the outset, simply seeing this prick's name appear is enough for me but fair play to ye's - chopped down to size and his response shows it. I thought it was a terrific interview and salute the three youngsters involved. I've been helping them get the ball rolling the past few months and am proud as punch to see them begin delivering on their promise. The like of this faceless troll is of little relevance and can jog on

  12. Sean,

    you should never allow an anonymous commenter to put you off. Anonymity dilutes the power of the argument being made and any slurs that are made. If you allow the anonymity of others to deter you, then you will never get your argument out there.

  13. Grouch,

    nothing wrong with the wooly backs more craic than Victorian Henry. I had a laugh at Grouch B Shaw that one put Henry Doolittle pick a random quote out of business!

    Grouch 2, Henry nil

    Keep Sardonia Free

  14. Sean,

    yah noble savage, which is an oxymoronic compliment from the mind of Henry Doolittle who at best is a piss poor wind up merchant with a master’s degree from Google search.

    You’re missing the boat; if you mess with his mind he will get very intimately personal and give you a free pseudo psychological evaluation, interweb quackery from one who likes to duck out.

    Better to be a noble savage than a no balls internet warrior.

  15. Sean you're the one who welcomed me to the Quill with your thuggish haranguing. As you sow so shall you reap. Get over it.
    Sure if I were near you I'd buy you a few sweeties and a lucky-bag.

    And as for lamb-chops TB those of us who are around here a while have seen a dark side to him too.

    And 'grouch' get your tits out.

  16. Henry,

    you watch too much telly or maybe not enough, Lamb Chop made me laugh as it was nightmarish, a grown woman with her sock-puppet, very disturbing.

    That dark side, dodgy turf but don’t give yourself bad dreams I got kicked out of the asylum for being too insane, no worries though I am well sedated with happy tablets (or am I ?)

    Colonel Kurtz: The Horror… the horror

  17. brits out tits out.

  18. bres, the quill isnt the same. get back on here quick and dont mind henry. i actually think he is not a lost cause. he just needs to get out of ireland for a while, its making him miserable.

  19. Grouch and Anthony, I simply wouldn't be bothered discussing anything with this moron and don't see any value in it in terms of advancing an argument. His opinion is worthless, the man talks pure garbage behind his idiotic moniker and has gone from being Ruairi O'Bradaigh's righthand-man to a protege of Hume and Mallon. Bless him. He'd be better served turning his psycho-babble at the man in the mirror for it's obvious we're dealing with someone who's not wise in the head. Whatever gets him off I suppose. If it makes him feel important or whatever satisfaction it is he gets then good luck to him, I just couldn't be arsed looking on as he pukes all over the good work of others just because Daddy didn't treat him right growing up or whatever the malfunction is with this cretin. Oiche mhaith

  20. Sean,

    you don't have to engage with a masked commenter any more than you would a masked person on the street. You are free to make your points and pay absolutely no heed to what is said by anonymous contributors. You always have the advantage because you are prepared to stand over what you say. Anonymity never acquires the same standing and ends up being ignored. Which is unfortunate at times because often what anonymous commenters have to say is highly valuable but ends up being lost because of a refusal or a reluctance to stand over what they say. And when they attack those with the courage to stand up, the contempt for their sort is contagious.

    This is why anonymity should be used by those who do so with great caution. It should be a lever to press an idea not a licence to smear.

    In the case of Henry Joy, like many other comments, I only give his a superficial glance just in case there is anything libellous. Which there never is. So I don't get to imbibe the arguments or the points made. I just don't have the time.

    But it seems to me that there is no reason other than your own volition for refraining from commenting. In the world of ideas and discourse these are the hurdles we have to jump. We should never fall at them.

    If you look at Grouch's comments on the pro life protestors that seems much more harsh than anything Henry Joy has ever said but we aren't going to refrain from commenting because Grouch is being grouchy!! I think it is better that Grouch made his comment than it not being made. It allows us to see how some feel about matters. Nobody has to respond or engage but they should not be getting upset about it.

    At some point we might have to change the anonymity guideline here if the facility is abused. But as it stands we prefer to hold onto all our mix of commenters. And if we do introduce a bar on anonymity it will not affect any of our current contributors. It will apply to future ones.

    But I would urge you to continue commenting and to push your dieas.

  21. Sean,

    I am not taxed by this matter to the point that it has me up at 4 in the morning. I have a trapped nerve and can't sleep! Can't even walk FFS

  22. Never even noticed the time Anthony hahaha but I wouldn't think and certainly would hope you're not taxing your mind over something like this. It's not a case of this clown driving me off the quill or anything like that, as I said before I couldn't give two hoots what this gobshite has to say on anything - whoever's behind that profile is most likely an internet troll working to God-knows what agenda for God-knows whom. As you say, why would we overly vex ourselves about any of it. Like yourself I'm extremely busy at the minute which is the bigger end of the reason but in truth any appetite there might be for engaging in a bit of debate wanes when I see his vomit over anything relating to republicanism. At that point it's enough to just read the articles - and always the comments of course. I don't mind the criticisms from Unionism and respect the Unionist commentators on here and their opinions, I don't mind the searching barbs from soon-to-be Dr. Hughes either. For the simple reason they are genuine. This other individual though is playing a game. And that's also the difference in him and Grouch by-the-way, so it's not the use of moniker that annoys me at all or how heated anyone gets or how bad anything is they say. I just think this individual is a complete fraud, has exposed himself as a groundless chameleon, and, having slipped up and forgot the original character profile he'd engineered for himself, now has to become the complete anti-republican - though of course one who knows better having knocked about with Crowley and Ahern and all that ridiculous lying claptrap. Say no more on it

  23. Sean,

    that's good that you are still here. A blog benefits from people prepared to stand over their ideas. Anonymity only takes you so far in the world of ideas. From what I have paid attention to Henry Joy has made some very good points. That he doesn't get them over the line is because a moniker lacks the muscle needed for that push. It does not matter how good an idea is: if you are not prepared to stand with it and over it then it will fall. His anonymity also prevents people like you engaging with him because you genuinely believe him to be a troll.

    You or others might think he is pompous, bombastic or whatever, but given some of the people we have had to deal with, he doesn't figure. The seriously bad hearted, vile, hate filled cranks that have come here and been booted out or over to Bates and Wilkes Central - they are the real obnoxious types.

    Getting upset over anonymous prolix? Nah, waste of energy.