Vinnie Ryan - Republican Freedom Fighter

Antoin O'Hara, a former H-Block blanketman, pays tribute to his friend Vinnie Ryan who was fatally injured in a gun attack in Dublin yesterday. 

Vinnie Ryan, who did not use drugs, did not drink, who was a proud father of a baby infant, a beloved son and brother, a devoted partner to Kelly, died last night 6 hours after being shot in Finglas, Dublin.

Only a few hour after he was shot, the “esteemed” journalist Nicola Tallant was interviewed by Matt Cooper on today FM radio (Listen from 6.30).

Without even mentioning Vinnie's name, she proceeded to 'wing it' on any questions she was asked, and concocted nonsense as she went along: going back and forth about his brother Alan who was ''in a Feud' with local North side Drug gangs, trying to ''extort money from them''. In other words, starting a smear campaign before Vinnie had even died!

She may be forgiven as she is following the lies that churn out from the Garda press, or the spin doctors in FG and FF. Following like a sheep, why did she not question her sources? Because if she investigated the truth and published it - she would be cut off.

I had the privilege of knowing both Alan (also a non-drinker or drug user) and Vinnie.

Both became members of Oglaigh Na hEireann - to fight to achieve Freedom for the 32 counties of Ireland by whatever means necessary, including force of arms - Inspired by Pearse and Connolly 100 years ago.

As they planned and trained, they seen the devastation that drugs were playing on the youth of Dublin. Rather than sit idly by, they tried to stop it. That brought them into conflict with those that supply and peddle the drugs. Their action was not for personal gain, not to extort money from anyone - an unselfish attempt to help their community.

As casualties started to appear the Establishment went into to overdrive to demonise.

Because they have been doing it for the past 80 years they continue not to give any credit to Republicans that oppose the status quo - especially Republican Socialists.

The ''Alan Ryan Gang'' - as if it was rival drug fighting each other. In other words, the state trying to Criminalise. 

Then the journalists jumping on the bandwagon and falling over themselves to embrace and enhance the state fed lie. That pertains today - is there not any journalist that has the decency or conviction to investigate the lie machine from the Gardaí?

Vinnie Ryan, Freedom fighter RIP


  1. Antoin,

    regardless of whether people agree with you or not you stepped up to the plate and challenged the red top narrative which as we know can be so wide off the mark as it tries to arouse indignation and anger and thus raise paper sales. One of those I retweeted was a "Catholic Unionist" who seemed so consumed with hatred that he could barely disguise his delight at the slaying of Vinnie Ryan. If you were to welcome the slaying of a PSNI member you would find yourself in court very quickly.

  2. Antoin

    my condolences on the death of your comrade, another futile loss of a young life.
    I spoke yesterday to someone else who knew Vincent and came away saddened, confused and perplexed about republican involvement in these 'drug wars'.

    Drug abuse and addiction are a scourge on any community. Vigilance, effective and innovative counter actions are required. I doubt though if Alan and Vincent's deaths will have made much inroads into what are pervasive and complex problems.

    Reactive tit-for-tat executions between the dealers and the self appointed enforcers will be seen by most right-thinking people as an affront to the justice system and the state. Such actions and the consequential deaths are unlikely to garner much support or sympathy in the broader and essentially conservative community.
    Meanwhile attention remains on the surface of the problem and resources are directed to policing and enforcement of outdated legislation. Underlying causes and potentially effective interventions are yet again long-fingered.

    Republican activists need to develop a broader perspective on this. Otherwise they hammer on with their limited vision of everything 'looking like a nail'.

  3. Sadly it now seems drug dealers are more effective and able than those presenting themselves as the present manifestation of the IRA. There may also be more people seeking their next fix than supportive of said republicans in those communities. Very dangerous indeed. I agree with H.J., totally futile taking those psychos on in todays society. Really feel for the family.

  4. The problem is that these groups, who say they are defending the community against druglords, never seem to make a statement to that community in regards to their actions and what is going on. As far as I am aware there has been nothing said about the killing of Decky Smith an accomplice of the Ryan brothers. The media claims there has been infighting within the dissident factions across Dublin yet no group seems to speak on behalf of them to tell the people what is going on. The one thing about the provos was they kept their followers informed of actions and the reason for such actions. I have said it before and I will say it again - it all resembles a Mafia movie rather than one of revolution concerning national sovereignty.

  5. Emmet,

    don't overdo the differences with the Provos. The Provos misled their base about an awful lot: Whitecross, the Bayardo, Joanne Mathers, Joe O'Connnor, DAAD et al

  6. Republicans would do better organising working class communities to fight the scourge of drugs and those who peddle this deadly trade. The problem is, however, that working class people live in fear of the criminal gangs; intimidation and violence hold communities in the grip of fear. Of course drugs is a problem for society as a whole; therefore republicans can only be a small part of the solution. The brutal murder of two young republicans in Dublin is a worrying sign of the growing confidence of the drug gangs to take on those who oppose their business. There apparent ability to strike at will, and anywhere, raises serious questions about the state's role in these two killings. Both brothers were well known and were being constantly monitored by the police. Furthermore, the gang responsible for these killings were known to all and sundry. These murders came as no surprise to anyone. How the killers were able to strike with impunity should be interrogated by the press rather than the nonsense we read about 'gangland', 'infighting' and 'feuding'. More serious journalism would be asking penetrating questions about the role of the state in these two brutal, totally predictable murders. Finally, my thought are with the mother whose grief is unimaginable at this time. No mother should have last two sons in circumstances such as these as both murders were entirely avoidable.

  7. Alec these men were involved in the extortion of
    drug dealers for many years and that is fact.They
    have being portraying themselves as republicans
    when in reality republicanism has being a flag of
    convenience for them.One of the many reasons
    why anti agreement republicanism has failed is
    because people portraying themselves as republicans
    in our communities has people petrified, just like the
    drug dealers.I wouldn't wish the grief the family are
    going through on anyone, however if this is were
    republicanism is at we need to take a hard look at
    ourselves and ask have we anti agreement republicans
    made any impact at all?.

  8. It stinks to high water of mafia style dealings. How on gods earth this can be seen as noble or revolutionary is beyond me. The common man does not need the red top press to know what is really going on here. I, like many others, have no doubt that ALL those involved, republican or otherwise, are serving self-interests. To think or claim otherwise is treating the working class people as gullible fools. The INLA tried that stunt for a few years in Dublin until it all went pear shaped; the leadership then claimed the Dublin brigade had lost the run of itself and apparently dismissed a few revolutionaries from the revolution.

    I agree with seansmith, the people are scared of the socalled protectors of the people. Boris Karloff could not have scripted more shadowy monster had he tried.

  9. There are many reasons why Republicanism has failed to make an impact, but to say it is due to the activities of these two young men is a gross misrepresentation of the facts. I don't buy into the 'narco terrorist' model although it cannot be denied that lines have been crossed by certain groups and individuals pre and post ceasefire. Were communities any less fearful of the PRM when it extorted, robbed and kidnapped? I use these words because you chose to use them. Perhaps in your next comment you will address some of my other points vis-a-vis the press and Garda Siochana. As to the question whether these young men were republicans, I hardly think that your opinion matters to those who will attend the funeral. A mother's grief is something we can all empathise with, I'm sure.

  10. Whatever the real truth behind the tragic deaths of Alan and Vincent Ryan, wise and ethical citizens whilst perhaps supporting community protest and action will not, I'd contend, condone extra-judicial executions.

  11. Alec I use these words because that's what happened in
    Dublin, I certainly will not judge anyone who attends this
    man's funeral, and I'm not trying to besmirch the name
    of the wider movement, I never suggested It was these two men
    alone but i do stand over my claim that them and others
    undermined the republican movement.i acknowledged in
    my original post the pain an despair the family are
    going through i wish it on no family, finally I
    oppose criminality in all republican groups
    as I'm sure you agree it undermines the wider
    struggle, and like yourself i have served two
    prison sentences so I don't believe the guards and i
    see eye to eye.

  12. Sean, whether or not you support criminality depends on perspective. The state's definition of criminality would certainly put all republicans on the wrong side of the law. The recent conviction of Slab Murphy is a case in point. Adams described him as a good republican but, and it didn't go unnoticed, he was not as forthcoming after the man was found guilty. According to the British narrative, which remains unchanged, the PRM was a criminal organisation engaged in criminal activity. Forgive me for stating the obvious, however, I personally cringe when I hear former comrades condemn others for doing what they did in the past, and did so a much lager scale. It is called hypocrisy, Sean. There are many who would question your opposition to criminality given you are a former prisoner. I trust you are not applying the state definition as to do so would put us all in an embarrassing position. As for the Ryans, we should be less judgemental and more understanding of their times and circumstances.

  13. A chara my definition of criminality is certainly
    not the state, narrative, and I totally agree with you
    regarding the pure hypocrisy of the provisional movement
    when i was jailed for the provisional movement I was
    a political prisoner, when I was jailed for anti treaty
    activity I was a criminal in there eyes upon my release.
    My point was Alec if republicans are involved in
    any type of activities for personal gain i believe they
    are undermining the wider struggle, and while I take
    your earlier point of convenient journalism ,certain lines
    have being crossed by elements with links to republican activity.
    By being linked to any form of this activity gives our
    oppents a stick to beat us with and also in my view
    hinders our chance of building a radical alternative
    to those idiots who believe they have negotiated a
    united Ireland.

    It's my belief that as long as we're even remotely connected

  14. Alec, perhaps the discerning republican community need to ask, whose policy was it to send these young men out to fight drug dealers and therefore, ultimately out to, their deaths? What crazy army council decided this was a good idea? Could they not see where the INLA had failed. In fact has any armed group, in the western world, ever eradicated the scourge of drugs in their city? The only reason one would attempt to enter into this tit for tat gangland underworld is if a profit could be made. To suggest otherwise is foolhardy.

    If I was a parent of these young republicans I would be demanding answers as to what great military commander thought it wise to sanction the operation in the first place. He may as well have sent a volunteer out to knock down mount Everest with a sledgehammer - I guess if he thought a profit could be made selling the surplice rock he'd consider it. Its a total mess from top to bottom.

    It's going to take a lot to convince the working classes that republican involvement is geared toward eradicating the drug market rather than milking a big fat cash cow.

  15. Sean, I won't take this much further as we don't appear to be a million miles apart on principle. Alan and Vinny were products of woking class Dublin and must be viewed as such. I refuse to accept the 'narco terrorist' label of the popular press. As human beings we are much more complex and contradictory than the public persona presented by our critics and detractors.

  16. This has proven to be a worthwhile exchange borne unfortunately by tragic circumstances. I was introduced to Vinnie in Dublin last year. Shook hands with the guy and that is about as far as it went. I immediately thought of the burden his family has to bear with the second death in a few years.

    One salient point which serves as background to this discussion is that the perspective of Nicola Tallant is much more widely shared on the ground in this part of the world than is the view of Antoin. There is an almost taken for granted view that republican groups are taxing the drug gangs and that is very much viewed as criminality. How accurate the charge is I have no idea but it is one of those "common sense" assumptions. It is reinforced by the feeling that there is no republican group that can seriously claim to be at war and consequently the issue of where the money (if it is taxed) actually goes.

    Targeting drug dealers might well be motivated by high minded idealism but ultimately it is vigilantism. And to make the case that vigilantism is not another form of criminality - even if of a non self-aggrandisement brand - is a big ask. I suppose it might be like those Christian activists who for no personal gain, and for the most part driven by a belief system, target abortion doctors.

    The Marxist theorist Antonio Gramsci once wrote about the collapse of the old order without it being replaced by new one and that "in this interregnum a great variety of morbid symptoms appear."

    This phrase has been used quite a bit lately in reflections on recent upheavals both at home and abroad but it might also be applicable to what is happening within the world of republicanism.

    Setting aside the ethical issues and reducing the matter to the practical, an IRA/INLA at war has much more latitude to evade the criminality label than an IRA/INLA that is not at war.

  17. Mackers, your point on Gramsci is salient and one I was going to make myself. You repeat the "common sense" view without stating your own view on the matter. Because the press and media say something is so does not make it so. Are you suggesting all republican organisations are involved in taxing drug dealers and, if you are, where is your evidence apart from these "common sense" assumptions. The popular press is responsible for generating and feeding "common sense" assumptions on a daily basis. Many of the journalists remind me of the dime a dozen writers who plied their trade in Tomestone and Dodge City lauding the exploits of the great western anti heroes. The media i both anti working class and anti Republican in terms of its reporting of the drug trade in Dublin. God forbid "gangland" would ever come to Dublin 1!

    Ideally communities must be empowered in order to combat the drug trade. The state is unlikely to encourage this because communities showing the ability to solve problems is perceived by those in power as a dangerous learning curve. In the days of Concerned Parents Against Drugs activists were harassed by the police when confronting the drug dealers. However, in the absence of an effective state strategy to tackle the problem other forms of redress will emerge, including vigilantism. The popular perception of the people's avenger who fights to protect the weak creates an space for such actions. Vigilantism is not seen as a form of criminality per se.

    Sorry, I must go. I think I should sign off.

  18. I agree AM,

    the opinions expressed by Nicola Tallant are much more likely to reflect with greater accuracy perceptions down here than are the opinions of the supporters of the Ryan brothers.

    Citizens of this state rejected en masse any right of armed action to forcibly achieve geographical unity. In the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland referendum 94.39% of the people of the state opted for fulfilment of geographical unity to be by consent and by consent alone. That some republicans continue to be heedless of the democratic wishes of the people of this state is as unconscionable as it is unsustainable.

    In the Twenty-first Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland referendum citizens voted for the removal of capital punishment in any circumstances. 62% expressed their abhorrence to the use of the death penalty. Again 'republican groupings' set their own standard, a standard that's clearly at variance with the expressed views of the majority.

    You're right, armed and targeted action by 'republicans' are as unwise, as unethical and as abhorrent as those of the anti-abortionists against doctors and healthcare workers.

  19. Alec,

    I thought I had stated my opinion when I said "how accurate the charge is I have no idea". In respect of individual groups, in a conversation a number of years ago with one central figure in one of the republican groups he told me his group taxed drug dealers and had a "fuck them" attitude to it. Other former republican prisoners say it is definite. But I would like to see more compelling evidence before I would say I accept it outright in respect of all groups.

    How are communities to be empowered by the state to tackle the drug trade? The war on drugs has universally failed. The one strategy not tried is to legalise drugs, move control out of the hands of the gangs, use taxation from sales for combating the health effects from such a strategy and education about the effects. Would it work? I don't know but enough of those involved in having fought the war on drugs over the years have said it has a better chance of success than the war on drugs. It does not even have to be argued from a libertarian/liberal point of view which basically says let all individuals pump themselves with whatever they want. It can as easily be pressed from a functional perspective.

    Alcohol is a very destructive force in Irish society with a seriously high death toll. But nobody is targeting the publicans or breweries.

    It is a truism that if people don't get their way they will search for a way to get their way including vigilantism. Even where it is popular it remains criminal activity even if the motivation is high minded. Killing drug dealers is as wrong as killing abortion doctors no matter how conscientiously opposed to abortion or drugs the person doing the killing happens to be.

    Society does not need people walking the streets as self appointed executioners. The much talked about Special Criminal Court delivers better justice and is not permitted to inflict capital punishment.

  20. Alec seems unwilling to open his mind to views than challenge his established beliefs. He is correct to state that the Ryans are a product of working class Dublin however not every product of such an upbringing turns into Batman style crime fighters.

    Alec knows only to well this is about cash - dirty stinking loot. It has little to do with bringing about better living conditions for the Dublin working classes. I think Alec has been watching to much Robin Hood films. He will be claiming Desie O'Hare and the like are good republicans next. The vast majority of working class Dubliners don't support the efforts of armed groups in trying, and may I add, quite inadequately, to counter the drug gangs via violence. They, unlike Alec, are fully aware of the futility of such actions. Theres drug lords seem to be a military match for the so-called Republican Armies.

  21. Articulate analysis Am an Alec as always, agreed Am
    it was a worthwhile discussion, I was a young man at
    the time of parents against drugs in Dublin an Alec is
    spot on the parents were vilified by the Garda.i don't
    believe there will ever be a one solution fits all to tackle
    the drug trade, However from a republican perspective
    we must challenge the naritive from both state's that
    republicans are part of a quassy gang, I've stated my
    personal opinion here before that I don't believe any
    republican organisation has the capabilities to carry
    out a sustained military campaign a total cessation

    should not be off the table we must build a coherent
    political strategy, I'm aware some comrades may not
    share my analysis but wouldn't it be great if we could
    have the debate, and from some sort of unity an put an
    end to our enemies strategy of divide an conker.
    (Sorry laptop playing up)

  22. Henry Joy,

    it is not even about uniting Ireland. It is about vigilantism. Everybody in the world is tempted to ply their own solution at times to some problem. The same here. What might be psychologically satisfying to the individual can also be deeply destructive of societal mores. We can hardly profess abhorrence at capital punishment administered by the state but claim it is somehow alright if some self appointed executioner does it. If vigilantes against drugs can execute as and when they feel like it why not theocrats against blasphemy? Are we to afford preferential treatment to those against drugs and not those against blasphemy?

    If they neighbour offends thee, hang him is not a good way for society to function

  23. AM

    indeed these groups have little regard for functional social norms. If one challenges their dodgy dogma or confronts their twisted ideology, one tends to find their commitment to liberty, equality and fraternity quickly becoming somewhat qualified and ultimately then collapsing ... republicanism how are ya!

  24. Emmett, I'm always willing to listen but I don't like being told what I think by you or anyone else. Drugs is all about cash but I doubt the Ryans seen much of it. Batman and Robin Hood! Leave it out. I didn't come on here to be payed. If you want to know what I think you should ask me.

  25. Mackers, I would support drugs being legalised. In the meantime communities could be organised to tackle the problem, but this would meet with opposition from both criminal gangs and the state. In this context what should communities do to protect themselves from threats or actual violence? I agree vigilantism is not the answer.

  26. Alec,

    how to organise to tackle the problem is in itself a challenge. Self defence is a legitimate exercise but for it to effective and justified there has to be an imminent threat to what needs defended. The right not to be subject to capital punishment or summary execution also needs defended. Those who seek to execute on the streets can't defend both principles at the same time. And when they do execute they are making a statement that is then invoked against them: that people have no right against being killed by self appointed executioners. Vinnie Ryan was a victim of that very perspective, that people should have no right not to be executed on the street. I think whatever response a community opts to use, for it to be successful it will have to be more imaginative than murder. And there has to be that element of personal choice: individuals in most circumstances, outside of addiction, are not automatons and can refuse to buy or consume the product the dealers are selling. Easier said than done. Government needs pressed to push more resources into reducing the demand which should have some knock on effect on the supply, the battle against which is hopelessly ineffective.

    There is no panacea to be grabbed off the shelf. I think killing drug dealers is not primarily aimed at stopping drugs but at emotionally satisfying those who kill drug dealers. It helps sate the avenger mindset much like killing doctors who perform abortion does.

  27. The organisation of self defence committees in Mexico is a good example of empowerment. However, the state quickly moved to incorporate these groups rather than allow them to exist outside of law enforcement. Self defence cannot be limited or restricted by some arbitrary moral principle. I have always disagreed with your libertarianism especially in regard to personal choice and freedom. These are complex issue that require careful consideration rather than knee jerk reactions by self appointed crusaders.

  28. Alec,

    what were the self defence groups in Mexico doing in terms of defence? Were they enforcing their own law? If so then they did not oppose law enforcement and enforcers per se but instead wanted to enforce the law themselves and become the enforcers of an unofficial law. That immediately poses a problem for all those bodies that argue on a one law for all principle. If society permits the application of separate laws on what ground can any stand be made against Sharia law in Britain?

    Self defence cannot be limited or restricted by some arbitrary moral principle

    to the extent to which this is true the onus is on those who think it necessary to specify the conditions of its enactment (an old OU phrase you should be familiar with).

    I have always disagreed with your libertarianism especially in regard to personal choice and freedom.

    Only to the extent that you were always more libertarian than me.

    But I have not made the argument from a libertarian perspective. Society is a more important concept than libertarianism. Hence our opposition to Thatcher when she said "who is society? There is no such thing! There are individual men and women ..."

    These are complex issue that require careful consideration rather than knee jerk reactions by self appointed crusaders.

    Which is exactly the point everybody critical of the crusading vigilantes has been making in one form or another.

  29. A rather unsurprising difference in coverage with the injured prison officer and this young man. The former having his dignity spared whilst injured, whilst the latter has his bloodied corpse paraded in newspapers.Just like Declan Smith and Alan Ryan before him, the UK media is little different in function to the Al-Hayat media center who furnish us with ISIS beheadings etc.

    PS I do think a Republican statement would be appropriate, at present it looks like the IRA left this guy to face enemies he made on active service, and its not only the media peddling this line.

  30. Not for the first time I find myself utterly sickened by the anti-republican bile of this Henry Joy, who used the brutal murder of this young man to further peddle his twisted take on republicanism. You wouldn't know by some of the comments on here that Vinny Ryan was the one who'd been murdered, you'd near think it was the other way about. No matter the merits or requirement for a conversation on how best to tackle drugs this was not the thread for it. Much of what passed above represents an appalling lack of respect for the dead and that's how it seemed to me from day one. A conversation of that nature, on a thread dedicated to a man's memory and him only just dead, doesn't sit right with me when his family could be reading it. Rest in peace Vinny, I seriously doubt a vast fortune was left to those left to pick up the pieces, as some would have us believe. No, all they got was grief and suffering. Let's offer them our solidarity rather than add to their pain at this awful, awful time

  31. Sean,

    wholly disagree.

    There is no one in the above comments who was out of bounds. Henry Joy expressed sympathy with both Ryan brothers. That he took a pop at what he sees as the double standards of republicanism is fair comment within the context of this debate. I think both sides in the above discussion acquitted themselves quite well.

    This is an issue that needs discussed. This is the page to do it on. With over 10,000 page reads, it has acquired huge interest. If it was a case of obituary defacing anybody guilty of that would be sent over to Bates & Wilkes. I think the above debate was measured, straight talking, and respectful of grief and loss without being maudlin or mewling. There should be more of these discussions rather than less of them.

  32. For me it is a cheap shot and out of bounds to use the death of an Irish republican (and him only in his grave) to lambast republicanism of itself.

    'Citizens of this state rejected en masse any right of armed action to forcibly achieve geographical unity. In the Nineteenth Amendment of the Constitution of Ireland referendum 94.39% of the people of the state opted for fulfilment of geographical unity to be by consent and by consent alone. That some republicans continue to be heedless of the democratic wishes of the people of this state is as unconscionable as it is unsustainable.'

    What has all that to do with the murder of a young Irish republican and what is it if not a cheap attempt to suggest he somehow brought it on himself because he refused to accept the will of the people, as though it were him who had committed the wrong rather than being the man indeed who had been murdered?

    Yes there is worth in some of the rest of the conversation but as I said in my first comment, no matter the merits or requirements for that conversation for me it would be more appropriate if it were discussed in its own right - not lumped in with Tony's tribute to a friend who was savagely murdered by the absolute dregs of society.

    We see it different and that's fair enough but I did find the comment I quoted above very offensive, whether intended to be or not. That aside, if people are serious about tackling these issues - drugs and criminality - then there needs to be a coordinated and public strategy that includes the people. Online debate won't sort it and while yes it can have an important role to play ultimately it requires real work on the ground.

    I don't want this to descend into another argument so I'll leave it at that for now and on this thread at least.

  33. Sean,

    you seem to be the only contributor to the site who on a number of occasions expresses the view that this or that piece or opinion should not be on the site. Maybe it is the old republican strain of intolerance at play but it has no purchase here. Henry Joy doesn't complain about the site carrying anything but challenges what it does carry. At no point did he say Vinnie Ryan was responsible for his own fate. He made the wider political argument about the context cited by republican vigilantes for their behaviour and questioned the validity of it. If he is an anti-republican and what? It is not a crime to be anti-republican. Republicanism is a political opinion and like other opinions open to challenge. There is no blasphemy law that holds republicanism is a sacred script from which their can be no dissent.

    The time for the above discussion is now when energy and attention is focussed. We were aware in running Antoin's article that many people would find it offensive but so what. He had a right to pen it and we were right to carry it. But A tribute is not a protected category. People can challenge the contents of a tribute as easily as they might challenge something else. If somebody were to write a tribute to Denis Donaldson, which they have every right to do, would you respect their right to say what they want and not to have it challenged? Or are some tributes to be prioritised over another? I recall writing immediately after Denis died for the Irish News and I must have been aware at the time that his family might have found my views (whatever they were) disagreeable. I wrote it nonetheless because that was the proper time to discuss the matter.

    You are not compelled to be here if you find other opinions offensive to your sensibilities. You come of your own volition.

  34. Denis Donaldson was a tout, a traitor and a scumbag of the lowest order and I'm sure even his family know that when all's said and done. Enough said

  35. but you don't mind offending his family in public with the use of language that nobody here used to describe Vinnie. So the issue is not about offending families just about offending particular families. There is no family right to protection from comments they might find offensive, except for the families you assign that right to. How could any entity committed to freedom of inquiry operate within that framework.

  36. Ultimately that's your concern and not mine but by your own logic my right to be offended is as legitimate as the right of others to offend. Perhaps worth bearing in mind. Offend who you like on here, such is the territory with free speech, but equally the offended should be afforded equal right to express his or her offence. That there is no comparison between Donaldson and Vinny Ryan is automatic to me but with that said I'm out of here, I already said I've no wish for another argument. Slan

  37. Sean,

    you are fully free to express that you feel offended. You also have a right to be offended. What you do not have is any right to be protected from opinion that offends you. And sometimes you veer towards thinking you have such a right whereas most others here challenge the offensive opinion rather than suggest it not be carried.

    There is every comparison between the families of Vinnie and Denis in terms of loss. That Vinnie's family should be protected from an opinion you think might offend them is for some reason not something you want extended to the family of Denis. It seems fine for the daughter of Denis to perhaps read that her father is a scumbag but not for the partner of Vinnie to read a discussion about the wider context to his death. In my view your comment about Denis is probably much more hurtful to his family than anything that was said above in respect of Vinnie. It is your view and we feel justified in carrying it despite the fact that the family of Denis might find it hurtful.

  38. Sean,

    Alan and Vincent's deaths were a tragedy, an unimaginable loss for their grieving mother and their family. Please note, I offered my condolences to Antoin, their friend and comrade, too.

    His piece was primarily an obituary and a challenge as to how Vinnie's death was reported in the media. By implication the piece also raised questions around addiction, community responses to it and as to how Vincent's death is or will be viewed in that broader context.

    My comments, as indeed those of others, were addressed to those themes. That you find my position objectionable I fully understand. Its not required that you agree with everything I say. Indeed Sean you don't have to agree with anything I say. Are we each not entitled to our differing opinions? Or is it only those who concur with our own world view that are tolerated?

    Your behaviour to others and me, time and time again, suggests an intolerance of difference on your behalf. (Awh yeah, when ya get this One thing all is won! ffs!)

    Antoin in his piece states,

    "Both (Allan & Vinnie) became members of Oglaigh Na hEireann - to fight to achieve Freedom for the 32 counties of Ireland by whatever means necessary, including force of arms - Inspired by Pearse and Connolly 100 years ago."

    In response I drew attention to the fact that 94% of the people of this State in a plebiscite rejected that narrative for achieving unity. I also drew attention to the rejection of the use of capital punishment by a majority too.
    If there's some way you want to debate and counter all that then I'll do my best to address your argument. Otherwise I hold my points are relevant and valid ... and they stand.

    The Ryan deaths, despite as much as you would seem to like to, cannot be removed from the context of un-mandated vigilantism and extra-judicial killings. AM addresses this issue further on his current piece on the attempted murder of a public servant working in a young offenders centre and to my mind at least is relevant to this discussion too.

    "Strategicless armed adventurism easily qualifies as the antithesis of what a republican strategy should be."

    Its reported the Ryan brothers were members of Fianna Éireann. I can't speak with any authority about how that experience influenced the course of their lives but I can't but wonder did those experiences radicalise and prime them for armed adventurism.

    Its long beyond time that the insanity of the outdated republican narrative was faced up to and confined to the dustbin of history. The supporters of that narrative can threaten and insult as much as they like but their case doesn't and won't hold sway unless they come up with a sustainable, sane and saleable counter-argument to AM's, mine and an increasing number of former republicans.

  39. Mackers, there is always a degree of arrogance in your strongly held view on freedom of expression. You and I have had this out before, like we have had on many other issues. You can offend whomever you like but doing so at a time of such raw emotion and distress is grossly insensitive. The treatment of the Ryan family by the southern media over many years poses serious question about reporting in general. Everything I ever read on these two men was heavily laced with innuendos, half truths, and blatant lies provided by either unattributable sources within Republicanism or law enforcement agencies. I can't recall a single piece of investigative journalism citing hard evidence of their alleged criminality. If something is reported over and over it soon becomes "common sense" assumptions. Freedom of the press shouldn't mean freedom to make unsubstantiated and unsupported allegations.

    Perhaps this discussion should be terminated until a more appropriate time.

  40. The bottom line is Denis Donaldson was a Brit informer responsible for God only knows what. He got away with he done for far too long and had no issue continuing with what he was at. There are many who believe he got what he deserved but if you feel compelled to defend him then well and good. I imagine his family's pain is no different to Vinny Ryan's, perhaps even more so given that they know, as we all do, he was a low-down traitor most likely with the blood of his own comrades on his hands. That would be very hard for anyone to process and would present difficulties for those concerned, the hurt at his betrayal, on top of his death, would be unimaginable. If it were my father I don't think I could argue with anyone calling him for what he was and would certainly not defend him. Vinny Ryan on the other hand is a different story and that you believe no-one belonging to him reading the above would be annoyed or that my comments were more hurtful is nonsense. The difference is what I have said about Denis Donaldson is the truth whereas the hurtful suggestions about Vinny are anything but. The context to his death is that a crowd of depraved poisoners who are getting increasingly out of control decided they would take him out. The context as far as Donaldson goes is that he touted for years and sent his own to the gaols and the grave. The garbage about the nineteenth amendment to an illegal constitution has zero to do with it but some people just can't help themselves. I'm sure you're likewise justified at the many vicious comments and articles directed at Gerry Adams by yourself and others, despite that his family might feel hurt in terms of those. So why you decided to put Donaldson in this context God only knows. One thing we do know is that Vinny Ryan did not deserve what happened him, no matter who voted for what Treaty or anything else

  41. Alex,

    there is noting more arrogant than those who take it on themselves to kill others in pursuit of their own agenda. The arrogance associated with the killing of Alan and Vinnie Ryan beggars belief as does the arrogance of those who killed Peter Butterly the Regency Hotel killing a few weeks back. The arrogance of free speech does not remotely approach the arrogance of self-appointed executioners.

    In any of my above comments I certainly offended Sean's opinion but that's fair game in a clash of ideas. He has every right to offend mine. There was no conscious offending on my part of the Ryan family. As I explained to Sean there is no right to be protected from an opinion that offends. And I think people who set out to offend others simply for the buzz they get from doing it are on a par with those who think they have the right to be protected from an opinion they don't like. I see nothing in the above discussion whereby people set out to offend the family of Vinnie Ryan. People expressed their view on a matter of widespread public interest and you want the conversation halted. Forget that. Not going to happen.

    You can of course terminate your own involvement in the conversation but others can continue as they choose.

  42. Sean,

    You are so easy tempted back in to the discussion you were out of earlier this morning. At times I wonder if you are really incapable of reading what is in front of you or you just pretend to because you can't deal with the argument. I did not feel compelled to defend Denis Donaldson. Having been on the receiving end of his smearing I have no particular reason to defend him. So that insight from you is pretty myopic. What I did do was ask of you should his family not be allowed the same cushion you seem to demand for Vinnie's family. Unfortunately you managed to scramble that

    Your comments about Denis are in my view much more hurtful to his family than anything that was said above about Vinnie. While I would need to read over the whole thread again, I don't recall Vinnie being called a low life and a scumbag. But people have asked questions about the context and raised good points either way, from Sean Smith to Alec. There can be no moratorium on discussion of these issues.

    The purpose of raising Denis Donaldson was pretty clear. Immediately after his death I commented publicly and adversarially about him. (The Irish News piece was after he was outed rather than killed. I erred about that earlier) In the commentary I said things like:

    Most that I spoke to since his public confession in December were ruefully of the view that Donaldson had got away with it and that a life in Donegal was more than he had any right to expect.

    I talk to ordinary people on the ground down here and have written in the past about their feelings towards the armed republicans that are involved in gun clashes with drug dealers. The general view is that it is all very much Love/Hate type. The language you use towards Denis Donaldson is an exact replica of the language used against the various armed republican groups. The attitude on the ground insofar as I grasp it correctly is perhaps best captured by Kissinger's phrase in respect of the Iran/Iraq war - Pity they both can't lose.

    If that does not tell you something about the contempt the armed republicans are held in and the battle republicanism, or what remains of it, has on its hands to salvage something from that type of outlook ...

  43. Holy Lord. Denis Donaldson was a British agent who set his comrades up to be gaoled and killed. That is a fact. Why would his family be protected from comments or opinions which reflect the reprehensible acts he was involved in? I'd imagine it shapes their own perspective and impacts on the memories they have of someone who ultimately proved to be a bad, bad piece of work - despite the jovial and 'cheeky' character he presented to those of us who have met or known him. So he was what he was and is guilty as charged, there can be no issue with that. What though is it you're saying Vinny Ryan was guilty of? I'm saying he was guilty of nothing other than being an Irish republican and as Alex has already said, the Love/Hate image is pure media hype designed to destroy his reputation - even in death. That this is given currency on TPQ may be fair enough in terms of free speech but it doesn't make it any more acceptable to me given that his family may well have to endure the conversation, thus why I said it might be better conducted on another thread. That 10,000 people read the piece has little to do with the debate that followed but everything to do with sympathy for the family. I'm not the thought police though, you's are ultimately free to comment how, where and when you feel. But when I see a pseud like this Henry Joy go even further and start dragging the principle of consent into it, safe behind his moniker, I felt it needed addressed, in line with my right to this free speech we hear so much of when it suits. What has any of that nonsense got to do with Vinny's killing? Absolutely nothing and as I said earlier it just veers further and further away from Tony's thoughtful tribute and towards Vinny and his politics being challenged - which in turn is suggestive that maybe he had it coming or maybe he should have known better. If only he'd accepted the will of the people he might still be alive, as if that had anything to do with the scum who cut him down. That free speech should trump causing undue offence or respect for the dead is up the individual and ultimately yourself as the host of the site but free speech should extend to all. When I express my contempt for this flip-flopper it meets with the 'old republican intolerance' label, a method of censorship in its own right. I disagree fundamentally with this troll's bogus opinions on the principle of consent and the validity of the current constitutional arrangements and can argue that point all day. What I disagreed with here though was not the opinion of itself but the attaching it to a conversation about a republican who had just been murdered. It has zero to do with intolerance and everything to do with respect for the dead. I don't share the worldview that Vinny Ryan took to his grave but I certainly wouldn't debate it on a thread dedicated to his memory. You can drag Denis Donaldson or whoever into it but that's where it's at for me. No doubt there'll be further retort, as is the right of whomever under 'free speech', but that will do it for me. If the issues come up elsewhere then I'll gladly discuss them there. I agree they are relevant to broader republican strategy, just not necessarily this particular thread

  44. This piece has brought a wisuggest of political opinion
    the question that arises is, we're is anti
    agreement republicanism going,what is our strategy, and
    as Am suggested can we salvage something to
    build on.Armed actions have failed I believe we have to
    admit that much, we must cease sending young men an
    women to jail as there/our actions have not made any
    difference to the political climate, we need a brave leadership
    to call it as it is ;gain prisoners support for some from of
    political project.I do not suggest this is easily done
    however if the brave leadership that's needed is forthcoming
    I believe it's possible. We have tried everything else.

    I do

  45. Sean,

    we know Denis was a British agent. There is nothing new in that. Whether he set anybody up to be killed or was an agent of influence I do not know. I suspect the latter.

    But no matter what he was you think it is okay not to protect his family from an opinion they might not like but okay to protect some other family from the comments of people you disagree with and even when they are not personally abusive (like scumbag or low life).

    I have expressed no view in relation to Vinnie other than I think his death was a terrible act carried out by people with no mandate, no authority but who still set themselves up as executioners.

    There are other people who take a different view from you: who feel that the republican organisations are involved in taxing drug dealers and in effect licensing rather than stopping the trade: that drug dealers are not targeted because they sell but because they do not pay up. That opinion deserves an airing. If it stands up, fine, if not, fine as well.

    As for your intolerance, I think by now you have probably heard it from enough people. But it tends to go with the republican turf and has long been something we set our faces against many years ago. It would hardly matter if you were the thought police. We would simply ignore you as we have all the previous thought peelers that have tried to muzzle us.

    10,000 people read it out of sympathy with the family? Nothing whatsoever at our disposal to support that contention. I would say there are a mixture of motives for reading the piece, sympathy and indifference all in there with a range of other reasons. There have been lots of pieces on this blog about people who have died but not so many page reads. People just suddenly sympathise with the Ryan family but not the Davison or McGuigan family? People might be reading it because they think it is fantasy but we have no evidence of that either. We simply don't know what prompts the interest. But what we do know is that there is a lot of interest in it and discussion is best held when the audience is interested.

    Henry Joy's point is predicated on republican vigilantism being rooted in the tradition of armed force which the bulk of the island rejects. It seems reasonable to assume that republican groups think like that rather than see themselves as some Batman type figures, to borrow a phrase form somebody above, out enforcing law and order. And if that connect shapes how they do think then he challenges the philosophical basis of their existence. Your task should be to logically deconstruct his arguments rather than fulminate each time he makes them.

  46. Sean,

    read the article. Antoin clearly affords the imprimatur of the IRA and hence hopes to confer a legitimacy to the decisions and actions of the Ryan brothers. He presents a continuity right through from Pearse and Connoly.

    "Both became members of Oglaigh Na hEireann - to fight to achieve Freedom for the 32 counties of Ireland by whatever means necessary, including force of arms - Inspired by Pearse and Connolly 100 years ago.

    As they planned and trained, they seen the devastation that drugs were playing on the youth of Dublin. Rather than sit idly by, they tried to stop it. That brought them into conflict with those that supply and peddle the drugs. Their action was not for personal gain, not to extort money from anyone - an unselfish attempt to help their community."

    Such an imprimatur is a glamorised and imaginative narrative that has no grounding in reality nor ethics ... and despite what a few might like to think this is certainly not in any way reflective of current social mores within the State. The vast majority see the actions as those of self-appoint protectors or vigilantes. Citizens of this state have withdrawn any implied legitimacy to armed struggle that may (or may not) have existed in the past. We can say with certainty that they have removed any ambiguity about these matters. The results of the 19th Amendment bears such an analysis out.

    As AM points out there is an inexorable link between this type of vigilantism and republican ideological and equivocal responses to armed actions. (We don't tend to find those engaged in any of the democratic political movements caught up in such consequences as the unfortunate Ryan lads did.) The quote I've taken from Antoin's piece is clear in its articulation and veneration of that link too. Therefore I believe it is valid and necessary to challenge the ideological underpinnings in regards to this.

  47. For someone who first presented himself a hard O'Bradaighite to revert to the bullshit above suggests one of two things: the person behind that moniker is as fickle as what should be obvious, or he is a troll inventing a persona for himself, having got mixed up along the way in the image he intended to project and thus now has no option but to go further and further into the revisionist caricature. For me it has always been the latter which is why I find his comments around the death of Vinny Ryan as repulsive as I do, regardless of what merit may be in any point he makes anywhere along the line. In terms of what Sean has said I am of course in agreement and feel it's well past time we created the 'new phase' we were promised only to end up with a sell out. We can still do it but the first order of business is to reassert the republican narrative. That there are no shortage of wasters claiming to be republican while backing the Unionist Veto should not deter us. The right of the Irish people to national self-determination remains regardless of what they say or how flowery (indeed you could call it watery) the language they dress their argument with

  48. Sean,

    many of today's so called republicans have demonstrated a fickleness that astounds. Some of them pushed policing right over the line and now complain that SF sold out. Are we to view all them as you do Henry Joy?

    I think the change from pushing the PSNI over the line to shouting Up The Republic is a greater leap than Henry Joy's profession of O'Bradaigh type sentiments. If you can put up with that sentiment I am sure you can find a way of dealing with the journey Henry Joy has made.

    There is absolutely nothing wrong with Henry Joy's comments on the above thread other than that some people might not like them. In fact I think everybody made a contribution to a better understanding of the issue. You took umbrage at your view not being shared and expressed a preference for the discussion to be closed down. There was not the remotest possibility of that happening. It would be a recommendation for a moratorium on any discussion of the life and times of the dead until such times as families give approval. That would amount to a wholly deleterious impact on public discussion.

    The most abusive terms of the day were used by yourself in relation to Denis Donaldson. I don't care in the slightest how you see him as I never saw him too positively myself. But there are people who think he is an upstanding citizen who helped bring a terrorist organisation to its knees. All bollix as far as we are concerned but the opinion exists and has to be allowed to be vented. Or should it not? There are people who think you, me Vinnie Ryan, Alec, Bobby Sands or whoever are a parcel of thugs who should be given no leeway. Are we expected to say, hey that offends us and we want you silenced.?

    Waving your fist at the unionist veto without the slightest strategic plan for overcoming it doesn't amount to a hill of beans. Reiteration of dislike is not a strategy. Partition is legal and thus far we have collectively failed in our drive to have it made illegal. Time for a fresh approach from those bothered enough about it to want to make it change. From where I sit I can see nothing whatsoever that is going to reverse the partition status quo. But that is a discussion for another day, another thread. The discussion around the death of Vinnie Ryan is very much a discussion for this thread.

  49. Anthony, I did not take umbrage at my view not being shared at all and never have, despite how some of you try to present it. I don't expect anyone, never mind everyone, to share my views and my 'umbrage' is with a goon hiding behind a moniker who has been trolling this site for quite some time, with his incessant need to present everything - even it seems the murder of a republican -around his fresh-found attachment to the John Hume school of politics. It's utter bullshit as far as I'm concerned and as believable as the Bible is for yourself. Something else is going on, what I just can't figure out. The stuff around decommissioning, policing etc has nothing to do with me - as you already know - so I don't need to account for those you make mention of, that's something for themselves to worry about and it's for them to provide answers. I do though understand the point. What I will say is that I think you're being sore on this and not for the first time. Many people continued to support the Adams strategy longer than perhaps they should have. But that they have seen it since for what it is is all that really matters. If they had a genuine conviction that the PSNI was somehow a reformed body and worthy of dealing with, if they had went on to perform a somersault as that spoken of then of course, it would be difficult to credit. But for many that's not the case. They were listening to practiced liars who knew well how to deceive and ultimately they were following the lead of others, having been asked not to split the movement. I could take your approach and castigate them but I will not do so. I should though say that that is not something I apply unilaterally and have to admit that yes, it rankles when I hear and see those who backed policing to the hilt and actually went as far as meeting the peelers with a smile on their face only to now be their biggest opponents. It's something that doesn't sit easy but I think we need to move past it. In our own cumann we have taken in five or six Shinners over the course of the last eighteen months. I would not turn them away when I know them to be genuine republicans, even though some were told where all this would go as far back as the Agreement but would not listen to me. It's not important to me, what's important is that they're now onboard moving forward

  50. Sean,

    we shall agree to differ. My own view is that you have a very intolerant approach to difference which gets you nowhere because nobody gives a toss and we are more than equipped for dealing with intolerance here.

    Henry Joy's odyssey is as credible as many others. You are prepared to be tolerant towards those whose summersaults you would not witness in a circus but scathing of Henry Joy. I can understand you being scathing of his current position because it is the polar opposite of your own but it seems wholly illogical to be scathing of him having changed positions when you display nothing of that hostility towards those who pushed policing over the line. The difference - they hold a position similar to your own so you will forgive them and make excuses for them (as plausible as the bible is to me) but curse Henry Joy and use the fallacy that his journey is too incomprehensible for you to find plausible. You should state it for what it is: you find his politics anathema not his volte face.

    They have since seen the Adams strategy for what it is - they couldn't see it before? What changed that they suddenly could see the light? They weren't being conned by liars Sean. Some of them were doing the lying, the bullying, the ostracism.

    Now I am not particularly sore on them given that one of my good friends of thirty odd years did the same and is still with the Shinners. What I am sore on is your wholesale inconsistency on it. And that is borne from an inability to take the ball from Henry Joy so you play the man. He has long since stopped winding you up - even conceding one time that he would make the point rather than score it and for the most part I think he has stuck pretty rigidly to that.

    No, you don't need to account for your stance in relation to policing but what you should account for is your lack of hostility towards those who pushed it right over the line, falling on their knees to suck the truncheon, when you can't hide your hostility towards Henry Joy's switch. He didn't run the length and breadth of the country arguing for the acceptance of British policing.

    You can move past your discomfort with those whose behaviour has rankled you. Fine, it is often what has to be done. But you have difficulty moving past a different idea.

    Time you stepped up to the plate and deal with Henry Joy's anti republican argument as you see it. Because if you can't get past it, just think of the reservoir of people out there who think pretty much like he has and who have backed the GFA. How are you going to persuade them of the merits of One Ireland One Vote? And that is the only way you are going to get OIOV, when you persuade enough people that it is a good idea. But persuading people is not something you seem good at.

    And if you have the sense, you will see this as robust political criticism rather than a personal slap.

  51. You are spot on Anthony and I did not read that as a slap but indeed, as you said, as robust political criticism. I do not though have a problem with anyone who shares the supposed political views of this Henry Joy, not at all. People have the right to their views, I wouldn't have it otherwise. I just find it incomprehensible that someone could go from staunch O'Bradaighite to the last disciple of Martin Mansergh on the strength of our conversations on here. I really just genuinely do not believe it and that's what bothers me - not whether he changed his politics. Who would care about something as trivial as that? I see the supposed change in his politics as a mistake on his part, having forgot he was building a profile for himself as a hardcore traditionalist. Or maybe he decided he could carve out a better role for himself by backing the legitimacy of the Good Friday Agreement and tucking in behind that argument, again as a result of a mistake on his part having assumed, wrongly, that you were supporting this position. Either way I think he is a fake and that's the problem for me and not his politics. Jesus Christ sure I work with people every day who have not one ounce in common with me when it comes to politics. Regardless, I will make good on two things here going forward. Firstly, I will deal with Henry Joy's politics, where necessary, from here on and forget about whether he is or is not a flip-flopping troll. Secondly, I will 'step up to the plate' as you suggest and put forward an article that deals in part with some of his criticisms. All that aside, it must be tough reading for those you refer to if they happen to come across this conversation. Some of your comment is very harsh in my opinion - and I say that as someone who received the osctracising and the rumour-mongering and the rest, granted not to the extent that you did. I can certainly understand why you remain angry with those who 'pulled it all across the line' but as I said, the issue is really for them to answer. I can try to make the argument why they held on for too long but ultimately it's their issue to deal with and not mine. I do though accept that many now realise they were wrong and have come back to the republican position. For me I have to take that on faith and I see it as a good thing. I know others who just cannot bring themselves to trust those who helped ram some of this stuff through and of course I have to accept thei right to do so, as your own. It's not as if it can't be understood...

  52. Mackers, I didn't for a second believe that you would take up my suggestion to terminate this thread. You are the master of the house which gives you the final say on all matters. I think you let the mask slip a little when you referred to "today's so called republicans"; a loaded statement if I ever heard one. Obviously, I hit a nerve saying that you often sound arrogant in your advocacy of free speech. It is more in the presentation than the principle.

    I was not accusing you personally of offending the Ryan family, rather I was making a more general point. If others chose to continue this conversation then more power to their elbow. My opinions are not so precious that airing them takes precedence over the feelings of a mother, brother, sister, or child. At least, it can wait foe another day.

  53. Alec. The redtops' portrayal that you, perhaps rightly, suggest are telling lies about the Ryans and republican involvement in gang war, are also the national source for outing figures such as The Monk, The General, and John Gilligan; all of whom protested their innocence stating that the reportage was lies - in that respect you both share the same views. Gilligan went as far as sanctioning the murder of a redtop journalist for these, so-called, lies she dared to print. Or as Alec may ask - but did he really?

    Gilligan, unlike the 32 county sovereignty movement, had not the access nor the means to independent, republican press, to air his testimony nor politicians making statements on his behalf. If the media are mislaying the public and in fact the IRA are not taxing drug dealers or serving self-interests in tackling these gangs then it's time - albeit, long overdue, a coherent, honest and in depth statement about what is taking place and why these decisions were sanctioned in the first instance is needed.

    I, like many, would like to know the truth surrounding the killing of Declan Smith, a former comrade of the Ryans whose death is made even more prominent by the silence of the republican community he represented concerning his killing and fall from grace. By doing so they left it open to the media to construct the narrative that now sticks in the public's conscience rather than make a public statement which would challenge this version. If the media are telling lies lets hear the truth about these events. For at the minute the people think its all Love Hate style flamboyance rather than forward thinking republicanism.

  54. Alec,

    the nerve touched was the laughter nerve, your comment really being so vacuous that the void was best filled with a laugh. Seriously, is there really any comparison between the arrogance of free speech and the arrogance of self-appointed executioners?

    The mask slipped - but whose mask?

    Your own perhaps in that if you regard people who pushed policing over the line as republicans on what ideological basis could they possibly be? So called republicans is an apt term for people who delivered the reform of the RUC and the disbandment of the IRA as a force that existed to oppose British rule and morph it into a presidential guard. They might be members of republican bodies but we have had a lot of people over the years were who members but were not republicans. Which makes me think that behind the mask that slipped is a view that it is alright for these groups to take just about anybody rather than take people who are republicans. That might explain why they are looked on with such disdain.

    The people who pushed policing over the line and who are with republican bodies in my view are not there on any ideological grounds. It might have more to do with the "pleasure of command", which agreeing to policing did much to attenuate.

    As a republican said to me a few days ago in respect of the above debate "never underestimate the I am the man syndrome."

    So called republicans is a apt term I imagine, unless you can think of a better one.

    There was never a chance of this debate being terminated. On what possible grounds other than muzzling people expressing an opinion that other people did not approve? Had someone been going for the family and badmouthing them or Vinnie with personal abuse, I would have tossed the comment over to Bates & Wilkes. But the above was a very political debate with some great observations coming in from both sides of it.

    At some point we are all made uncomfortable with debate about something. But when it happens the best thing to do is bite the tongue and weather the storm rather than give into the temptation to silence those who don't share our opinion.

  55. Sean,

    I still think you have a problem with the view of Henry Joy and not the way he arrived at it but both of us have had our say and further comment will leave us both no better informed. Sometimes we ascribe a noble motive to a more base outlook. I have done it often enough myself so am not going to get precious about it but it takes reflection to see it. On the spot all we see is red.

    You are under no obligation to discuss your views with Henry Joy or anyone using a moniker. That's the ethos of the blog. But you walk into it with eyes wide shut by fulminating each time he raises a criticism. There are two options for you: you engage with the ideas or your completely ignore them. Both are valid approaches. The line you take of venting anger does you no good and allows people to think Henry Joy has won the round without them even bothering to read the case he makes.

    You might not genuinely believe his change of direction but I have raised the question a number of times that there appears to be an inconsistency there in that you accept it when others have made an even greater shift.

    The guy has the background he claims to have. Initially we might have thought he was a Shinner mixing but that was hopelessly wide off the mark. Whether he genuinely holds the position he claims to now hold or uses the site to test his ideas (perfectly legitimate) as he considers the position he advocates I don't know. What I do feel is that he rejects the notion of physical force republicanism and feels the national will has been expressed and is not negated by what he thinks is torturous theological reasoning of republicanism.

    Is the site better or worse off for his input? Better by far. But that also applies to yourself.

  56. I am not in the slightest put out by who reads this conversation or how much my opinions might grate with them. As I explained to Alec, once you push British policing over the line, there is no ideological republicanism left. VI speed on the takeoff to the success of British state strategy has been reached and there is only one way to go - up. There is no turning back. The landing can only be a crash one.

    My comment may be harsh but it is no different from what I said over the years. I don't remain angry with those who pulled it over the line. When the policing debates were taking place and I went up to Derry, we had to stop along the Glenshane Pass as a close friend in SF wanted to talk with me and we had agreed to meet him en route. He explained why he was backing the move and said we were friends who would not fall out. I rebuked him sharply but only in political terms. We embraced, shook hands and went our separate ways. We are still friends. I work on the basis of something Alec said to me years ago: friendships are too wholesome to have ruined by something as dirty as politics. So I don't feel angry towards them. I don't care enough to feel anything towards them. Some of them have been good friends and others wanted me killed. Cest la vie. What perplexes me at times is the way people like Henry Joy are called fakes yet the guys who pushed policing over the line are called republicans. Just doesn't compute Sean.

    Even if you are right and they have come back to the republican position, with what possible depth could it have been done? This is one of the things find worrying about republicanism: the ease with which they can kill yet abandon with such ease the reasons they killed. People so easily led are people who will so easily commit atrocity. The shallowness of political belief made the Adams strategy possible.

    Imagine Gerry Kelly was to join the 1916 Societies in the morning and claim he was a republican again who had just lost his way. Would you accept him? I would just have trouble buying into it. Yeah, everybody that leaves always thinks they should have left earlier but there is a turning point in the affairs of humans at which the turn has to be made. Beyond policing was too late because there was no republican rudder left with which to guide the turn. That too had been decommissioned.

  57. Mackers, I misunderstood who you were referring to in the above post. I must take greater care when reading what is in clear print. I share you view of those who pushed policing over the line and delivered Irish Republicanism into the British camp. There are always grounds for terminating a debate if you so choose. As I have said, there is absolutely no urgency to air our opinions if by doing so we are at risk of causing distress or offence in very tragic circumstances. I accept that all here have recognised the immense grief of the Ryan family, and rightly so. However, some of the commentary has been very close to the knuckle indeed. Once again it is a question of timing rather than any avoidance of the issues.

    Emmett, your attempts to goad my are a waste of your valuable time. Veronica Guerin was a conducted a major piece of investigative journalism into John Gilligan exposing his involvement in the drugs trade and the massive wealth he amassed. As for the Ryan brothers, I have only ever read stories that lacked any hard evidence of criminality or profiteering; indeed many of their friends and neighbours attest to their working class lifestyle and temperance. if you can show my something credible then I shall give way to you. Finally, we have already touched on "common sense" assumptions and how these are generated and feed by the dominant institutions of the state. People can hardly be blamed for believing what they are being told by the media on a daily basis. I am not so naive to believe that republicans are pristine, nevertheless, you have not produced a shred of evidence to support you contentions. The 'narco terrorist' paradigm seems to appeal to your imagination, or is there something else I am missing?

    By the way, I enjoyed watching Love Hate even if it though it was a middle class perspective on working class degeneracy.

  58. Sean Bres

    Re: Flip Flopping

    Nothing is permanent, the seasons come and go, all life is transient. Why anyway upset yourself if I manage to exit my trance and change my stance?

    The formal acceptance of the Unionist veto by 95% the southern electorate, in large part thanks to Adams (and his supporters all the way back, and never mind the policing line) is very much part of the bind republicans now find themselves in. The current standing of the Union is more secure for Unionists than it ever was in so far as their immediate neighbours have relinquished territorial claim. Any republican strategy if its to have any hope of success must recognise this current starting point and all its ramifications. I'm not sure that a realistic strategy has been found yet or indeed if one is even possible. Its seems futile to me to continually re-impose an old formula that doesn't factor in this significant change. Its not beyond possibility that a northern majority could come to want unification and a majority in the South reject it! Its a basic rule of navigation whether at sea or on land that you must have an accurate fix of where you're at when at a start point. If your co-ordinates are off to start with then they must of necessity be off for your destination. All of this is an almost impenetrable dilemma at this stage and the Society's current OIOV, or indeed any of the micro groupings offerings don't seem to come close to factoring in any of that in their proposals or strategies.

    My post-trance pragmatic about turn surely isn't that difficult to comprehend if you could stand ever so briefly into that position I outline. I did once hope for a unitary state and am not averse to that now subject to Unionist acquiescence but these days I try to place my efforts on that intersection between my circle of concerns and my circle of influence. At this stage of my life both of those circles become increasingly smaller and I'm ok with that. Though my grandchildren are very much to the fore within my circle of concern. They live in the North and my wishes and hopes for them are paramount. As all grandfathers I wish them to grow and flourish insofar as is realistically possible. The North is no longer as toxic a society as it once was. Things have improved significantly in terms of equality of opportunity and tolerance of difference. Its way far from perfect but the tendency for movement regardless of its slow pace is generally in a positive direction. Like most decent folk I would be reticent of tolerating never mind supporting any moves that would hinder consolidation of the positive changes so laboriously gained.
    Though I know from your posts Sean that you're personally involved in community youth work, and I salute you for that, I can't for the life of me see how republicanism in any of its ever increasing manifestations makes any tangible offering to the improvement of inter-community relations and the overall improvement of the social fabric. From my removed position here in the west it still appears that republicans are as insistent as ever in fostering differences rather making a difference by building bridges between communities. For many calling themselves republicans it seems to me is as puerile as fixing one's identity dependent on the football team one chooses to follow and the colours one then wears.

    What was all that common identity stuff about Protestant, Catholic and Dissenters again?

  59. Alec I'm not trying to goad you I'm merely challenging your perspective. As far as I am aware Gilligan was a criminal however not a major drug dealer in the class A market. He was the biggest importer of class C - cannabis - a drug which should be made legal in my view. what hard evidence against him was there for any other harder drugs?

    Gilligan held the monkier "The Warehouse Man" He robbed warehouse stock ala tobacco and drink also fuel to fund his lifestyle no different from republicans in that respect then eh.

    I agree with mackers - it's most likely that republicans such as the ryans were trying to licence the trade rather than halt it. I don't have any hard evidence I can produce to back up this claim, however I don't have any hard evidence to produce that would link the PIRA to robbing the Northern Bank; you know who most of believe to be responsible for that.

    What do you make of my take on groups likned with the Ryans remaining silent on the killing of their comrade Decky Smith?
    For republicans to remain silent on such killings surely furthers suspicion of their involvement in gangland style events.

  60. Agreeing with Mackers doesn't win you any points, Emmett. There was strong circumstantial evidence that the PIRA was responsible for the Northern Bank robbery, but where is the evidence, circumstantial or otherwise, that the Ryan Brothers were narco terrorists? You have nothing to support this contention other than what you read in the popular press.

    You probably know more about the murder of Decky Smith than I do. I can only assume that republicans said nothing because they had nothing to do with it. How this translates into "suspicion of their involvement in gangland style events" seems a stretch of the imagination.

    I'm sure that we will cross swords again, but until then I will say good bye.

  61. I must preview my posts in order to correct errors. Either my hands are too fast or brain is too slow.

  62. Antioin sympathy to yourself on the loss of your friend, and condolences to the Ryan Family.
    This is quite an interesting discussion. Always goes downhill when you start to hear people moaning and complaining about people being trolls an so forth. FFS grow up!
    Anyway the 'drugs' debate always seems to throw up so much bunkum. I remember people going to concerned parents against drug meetings, walking out, into the pub, getting pissed and some blowing half their wages on the slot machines!! And they never saw the irony fs!
    I don't think we even have to debate loyalists involvement in their drug trade , I'm not knowledgeable of it ,but there are some republicans out there who have some balls in even addressing this issue considering the last campaign was fairly heavily funded, ( and many Sinn Fein political campaigns), with the selling of cheap tobacco and vodka from eastern Europe (all drugs!)
    The present batch of armed republicans need to answer if they have a position on that too.
    Hypocrisy on this issue is just despicable!
    Again sympathy to the Ryans. I can see were some feel its distasteful to discuss certain things close to a death but, if Antoin was a blanketman, I'm sure he'll handle it!

  63. Alec,

    that is a very interesting concept you introduced to the discussion - narco terrorism, but what do you mean by it?

    The original definition of the term I notice refers to drug gangs using terrorism to protect or advance their trade.

    I don't see where Emmett makes this case.

    The definition seems to have expanded into one where insurgents finance their activities through drugs.

    But even here Emmett appears to be restricting himself to saying that some republicans tax the drug gangs but he does not say they are drug dealing in a hands on sort of way, if I read him rightly.

    The point I am trying to get to is if republican activists were to tax drug dealers for the purpose of financing their republican activities would that constitute narco terrorism?

    Up until you used the term I didn't really see the issue framed that way.

  64. Just for clarification, I did not suggest that the Ryans were licencing anything. What I did say very clearly in response to Sean's take was:

    There are other people who take a different view from you: who feel that the republican organisations are involved in taxing drug dealers and in effect licensing rather than stopping the trade: that drug dealers are not targeted because they sell but because they do not pay up. That opinion deserves an airing. If it stands up, fine, if not, fine as well.

  65. Alec, republicans, ostensibly, had nothing to do with the killing of Vinny Ryan but they spoke out about this. Why not Smiths killing? As far as I am aware he was a member of the group that the Ryan brothers belonged so remaining silent on his murder seems strange to me. The use of circumstantial evidence, be it to link the PIRA to a bank raid or the Ryans' to a raid on drug gangs finances, is arrived at via the same empirical process. There is evidence to link the Ryan faction of the IRA to extortion, in that the Garda arrested Alan Ryan for flexing his muscle towards a Dublin publican. It is widely known that the Ryans' also ran the door on a number of nightclubs and bars in Dublin city - some of which became open target for confrontation with other gangs. If Ryan was willing to extort cash from publicans surly he would be capable of extorting it off drug-lords. I do not however think for one minute that Ryan was involved in the selling or supply of class A drugs.

  66. Emmett,

    that the Garda arrested Alan Ryan is not evidence of his involvement in anything, just evidence of Garda suspicion or the manufacture of bias. As for Decky Smith, it just seems as sordid and inexplicable as the killing of Peter Butterly. I would rather go around the doors here as a Jehovah Witness than a propagator of the view that gangland style killings is the wrong terminology to describe such actions. The JWs would certainly have fewer doors slammed in their faces. How any republican strategy or vision can be promoted with all that floating in the background is seemingly an insurmountable challenge. Even if there is no republican involvement (a doubtful proposition) people have formed a view that there is.

    Msspikemilligan, I agree: it has been a worthwhile discussion. The cry of trolls and the instinct to close down the discussion were unhealthy contributions.

  67. So-called dissident republicanism is in disrepute.
    The leaders must either be foolish or totally unconcerned about the lives of their working class volunteers to sanction such reckless operations against armed criminal gangs with little hope of effecting change. Some like Alec would claim this happens, for nobel intrests rather than monetary, whatever - What type of military strategist or intelligence officer at the helm could make such irrational decisions like this? I will tell you who either a careless one or a total buffon. I expect it is much easier to sanction if there is a big prize up for grabs but Alec suggests this is not the case, Alec would get pelted with eggs is he were to stand stone faced and address the Dublin public with this testament. Dissident republicans intent on armed struggle would be better rapping slab murphys door and asking politely "slab please teach us how to mount a serious military challenge because we are starting to look like a tin pot operation".

    If the republican media doesn't counter the main stream medias' narrative concerning the motives for republican involvement in gangland killings then how on earth do they expect the people whose communities are most affected by such actions to dismiss the mainstream reports.

    Sean Bres, Antoin and Alec's republican romanticism concerning these groups actions comforts nor enlightens anyone but the most fundemential of dissident republican acolytes.