Loughgall Remembered: Independent Commemoration Held At Drumfurrer

From the 1916 Societies. an oration delivered by John Crawley in memory of eight IRA volunteers summarily executed by British forces at Loughall in 1987.

  • On Sunday 8th May, republicans from Tyrone and its Monaghan/Armagh hinterland gathered at the Drumfurrer Monument to IRA Volunteers Jim Lynagh and Pádraig McKearney for a family-led Independent Commemoration. Monaghan ex-POW and member of the James Connolly Society Monaghan John Crawley (above) gave the main oration and has kindly forwarded the text of his speech.

Twenty-nine years ago today, eight IRA Volunteers were Killed in Action against British Crown Forces at Loughgall, Co. Armagh. The Monument where we are assembled at today was built in honour of two of them, who spent a lot of time in this particular area – Jim Lynagh and Pádraig McKearney. We remember with pride their comrades who died beside them: Patrick Kelly, Declan Arthurs, Seamus Donnelly, Tony Gormley, Eugene Kelly and Gerard O’Callaghan.

I never had the privilege of meeting Pádraig or the other lads but knew Jim quite well and had many conversations with him. Pádraig from the Moy, County Tyrone, was a staunch republican socialist. He came from a family immersed in Irish republican activism. Both his grandfathers were on IRA Active Service during the Tan War. Pádraig was one of 38 republican prisoners who escaped from the H-Blocks in September 1983. He immediately returned to IRA Active Service.

His family have paid a high price for their patriotism. His brother Sean was killed on Active Service in May 1974. His brother Tommy was on Hungerstrike for 53 days in Long Kesh in 1980. His brother Kevin and his uncle Jack were murdered by Loyalists. Pádraig McKearney had an unrivalled reputation as a daring and courageous Volunteer.

Jim Lynagh from Monaghan Town was an outstanding Volunteer. His family also paid a heavy price for bearing courageous sons. His brother Colm served many years in Portlaoise Prison and his brother Michael, a member of the INLA, died tragically while in prison. Perceptive and astute, one of the many things that stood out about Jim was that he didn’t have the awe most Volunteers seem to have held for the IRA leadership at that time. Jim put nobody on a pedestal. While organisationally loyal and respecting some of them as individuals he clearly didn’t trust others and considered most to be militarily illiterate, lacking even the most basic technical and tactical competence and proficiency.

From his experience, successful IRA areas and operations were due far more to talented, capable and courageous local leaders and Volunteers – and their support base on the ground – rather than the result of any grand plan from on high. The Brits knew that too and their ‘Tasking and Coordination Groups’ studied carefully who their SAS ambush teams and Loyalist deathsquads should attempt to take out of the equation – and who to leave undisturbed to rise through the ranks.

An English historian gave a description of the Irish who fought against Britain during the American revolution in a manner that describes Jim and Pádraig to a tee. They were, he said, ‘the foremost, the most irreconcilable, and the most determined to push the quarrel to the last extremity’. The Brits considered Pádraig McKearney and Jim Lynagh dangerous adversaries. Brave and intelligent, they couldn’t be frightened and they couldn’t be bought. A bad combination.

Mourners were told by the Provisional leadership at Jim’s funeral that Loughgall would be the tombstone for British rule in Ireland. Twenty-nine years later the Brits are going nowhere and the same leadership now boast that they have buried the IRA. Nor do they miss an opportunity to declare that since the Good Friday Agreement Ireland unfree shall be at peace.

There is a contextual thread running through every British attempt at a settlement since at least the mid-19th century. In the summer of 1921, at the height of the Tan War, British Prime Minister Sir Lloyd George sent a telegram to the then Sinn Fein leadership seeking negotiations. This message was sent:

‘With a view to ascertaining how the association of Ireland with the community of nations known as the British Empire may be reconciled with Irish national aspirations.’

Reconciling Irish nationalism with the British state has dominated British strategic thinking since British Prime Minister William Gladstone first jettisoned the Liberal party’s hostility toward Irish Home Rule and embraced it as a buffer between Irish independence and British sovereignty.

The Fenian Rising in 1867 and their bombing campaign in London in the late 1860s had a profound effect on Gladstone. In his view the three grievances which flamed Fenianism were the established Protestant Church, the land system and direct English rule. When informed by a messenger in December 1868 that he had been charged with forming his first Cabinet he remarked, ‘my mission is to pacify Ireland’.

A major concern was that, largely as a result of the Famine, an Irish nation over a million strong now lived in America, hostile to England yet beyond the reach of British jurisdiction and reprisals. Worse yet, these Irish were experiencing life in a democracy within a republic and were prospering. Many now had money and resources denied to them at home and as a result of service in the American Civil War many thousands had first class military training and combat experience.

The British government came to the conclusion that the Irish people in Ireland itself had to be protected and insulated from what the London Times called, ‘the despicable ideas inspired by American democracy’. In addition, events within the UK, such as the 1867 Reform Act, doubled the electorate and the rising tide of democracy had to be manipulated and managed so as not to threaten the status quo.

Gladstone advised Queen Victoria that he intended to grant a series of limited concessions to Ireland in order to buy off any serious attempt at separation. He began by disestablishing the Church of Ireland as the official state church in 1869 and bringing in an essentially useless Land Act in 1870. During the 1880s he would, despite stiff opposition from English and Irish Unionists, come to support the idea of Irish Home Rule. All this not to satisfy Ireland but to pacify Ireland.

And so began British peace processing in Ireland, instigated to divert and deflect the Irish people away from the path to independence and onto ground Britain could manipulate and control. By the time of the Home Rule debates, Protestant privilege and influence in Ireland, which was based on land ownership, had diminished in most of Ireland, and a new Catholic middle class had grown in strength and influence. Some had done well out of the Famine.

Britain was intent on forming an alliance with the leadership of this emerging Catholic elite and were preparing to grant them a degree of local autonomy, making them their new partners and accomplices in managing and administering the occupation. Imperial Britain came to the conclusion long before Lenin that, ‘the best way to control the opposition is to lead it ourselves’.

The degree to which Britain succeeded in fostering a loyal nationalist opposition can be seen in John Redmond’s description of the 1916 Rising as treason against the Irish people and the Irish Parliamentary Party’s call for Irishmen to fight and die, not for Ireland, but for the British Empire in the belief that unity between Nationalists and Unionists could be fostered by bayonetting German boys in Flanders.

Incredibly, to this day some Nationalists still believe that alliances with Unionism should be nurtured through attendance at British army war memorial services and sentimentalising joint First World War service in the very army that executed the 1916 Leadership and continues to occupy our country. Apparently Wolfe Tone’s belief that Protestant and Catholic unity should come about through the forging of a common national citizenship free from England plays second fiddle to the idea of unity through celebrating joint debasement as levies and mercenaries for the enemy.

Depending on who was in power and other factors, British government policy in Ireland between 1868 and 1916 oscillated between periods of conciliation and coercion. What never changed was Britain’s determination that UK parliamentary sovereignty would never be trumped by Irish popular sovereignty. Every treaty and agreement up to and including the Good Friday Agreement would uphold the fundamental principal of UK parliamentary sovereignty and the primacy of British law.

The rule of law is central to British strategy. As such the issue of policing has been the cornerstone of their counter-insurgency architecture – a strategy designed to legitimise the British state in Ireland by conferring on Britain Irish assent to its presumption of democratic entitlement and its monopoly on the legitimate use of force. As Roger Casement said at his trial, ‘conquest gives no title’.

The 1916 rising threw a spanner into the Home Rule works and scuttled the loyal nationalist opposition Britain had been counting on to keep Ireland off the political radar. Subsequent events led to a British alliance with Ulster Unionism to retain what control they could in Ireland.

Britain, however, had no natural affinity with the Orange state beyond one of utility. The Brits have never demurred from negotiating over the heads of their allies in Ireland when it suited their interests. Tony Blair was quite happy to help dismantle the Orange state if by doing so the British state in Ireland could at last became politically viable. Of course the Unionists didn’t like it. But to equate Unionist discomfiture with impending victory is base sectarian reductionism.

The Proclamation of 1916, the 1918 election, the Declaration of Independence and the Democratic Programme of the First Dáil were answered by the British in 1920 with the Government of Ireland Act. That Act was the British government’s formal legislative declaration that it rejected the concept of majority all-Ireland opinion and would refuse to recognise Ireland as one democratic unit. The Act, authored by an English Tory committee without the input of a single Irishman, partitioned Ireland into a 26-county Southern Ireland and a six-county Northern Ireland.

During the Civil War, former Republicans who accepted a settlement based on this Act were given British guns and artillery to destroy Republicans who didn’t. A small clique of IRA deserters, reinforced by a massive influx of demobilised British soldiers of Irish provenance, manned Free State firing squads as those Patriots who remained true to a republican definition of democracy were tied to landmines and placed against barracks walls.

As a result of the Good Friday Agreement, the British have annulled the 1920 Government of Ireland Act. There has been a deliberate and self-serving attempt at misdirection over the ending of this Act, the implication being that Britain has diluted its claim to sovereignty as part of some transitional progression toward disengagement. This is certainly not the case.

The UK government felt confident in doing so as a quid pro quo for the downgrading of Articles 2 and 3 of the 26-County Constitution from a constitutional imperative to a notional aspiration, because the Dublin Government and all Nationalist parties that support the Agreement have been co-opted to, and have formally endorsed and internalised, the British narrative and its interpretation of Ireland’s democratic limitations.

They have joined Britain as partners in declining to acknowledge Ireland as one democratic unit and have conceded that fact in an international agreement. They have legitimised the Unionist Veto to the point that some former comrades have now discovered that Irish Unionists are British. They have conferred the mantle of lawful authority upon Her Majesty’s Constabulary, the PSNI, who, like the RUC at 90 percent Protestant and the RIC at 80 percent Catholic, continue to stand in British armed opposition to the republican and democratic principles of the 1916 Proclamation.

Britain’s claim to sovereignty in Ireland resides in the 1801 Act of Union, which remains firmly on her statute books. The Union flag inspired by that Act, incorporating the Cross of St. Patrick, still flies on Irish soil. The Harp, as a national symbol of Ireland, still adorns the British Royal Standard and the United Kingdom’s Coat of Arms.

The Cross of St Patrick and the Harp are Irish national symbols and not six-county symbols. When Prince William married Kate Middleton he wore the uniform of the Irish Guards, not the Northern Irish Guards. It’s ironic that Irish republicans and the British establishment are more likely to take the long national view of Irish politics than Northern Unionists or Southern Partitionists.

Britain continues to hijack Irish national symbols in its political and military iconography and continues to work to deny Ireland a National Parliament. The Brits never take their eye off the ball and have formally and informally protested to the Dublin Government any proposal to provide elected Northern representatives speaking rights in Leinster House as outside the terms of the Good Friday Agreement.

The UK government, with the enthusiastic support of many Free State TDs, will not countenance the Dáil regaining any semblance of the genuinely national assembly it was between 1919 and 1922. One hundred years after the 1916 Proclamation Ireland still has no ‘National Government, representative of the whole people of Ireland and elected by the suffrages of all her men and women’.

With Unionists a clear majority in only two of Ireland’s thirty-two counties, Britain is looking at the demographics and planning for the future. A ‘new republicanism’ is being encouraged and nurtured in which the vision of a United Ireland, a 32-County national democracy, is replaced by an ‘Agreed Ireland’, where the British stay and the Irish agree to it. Under this ‘new republicanism’ we must no longer speak of breaking the British connection but of respecting the British connection as a gesture toward Unionism. It’s the ‘republican’ thing to do.

Republicans must dine with the British Queen and shake hands with the Colonel-in-Chief of the Parachute Regiment and honour British war dead in the name of reconciliation because reconciliation no longer means reconciling Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter to the idea of a united national citizenship but reconciling nationalists to the idea of the permanence of the British connection in some guise or other.

We must find a place for Britishness in an agreed Ireland. Perhaps an all-Ireland return to the British Commonwealth in return for some new all-Ireland institutions buttressed by some ad hoc all-Ireland police force? Of course, all-Ireland institutions are not always what they are cracked up to be. The famine workhouses were an all-Ireland institution and the Black and Tans were an all-Ireland police force. There is a crucial distinction between the concepts of United Ireland and All-Ireland. One is Irish Freedom, the other isn’t.

Under this scenario Irish Unionists are British because they choose to be so. Let us ignore the fact that Irish Unionists don’t live in Britain and rarely referred to themselves as British until after the first Home Rule crisis and especially after partition. They took pride in the Royal Irish Constabulary, the Royal Irish Regiments. In an Irishness that was subservient to British interests – the Royal Irish, the Loyal Irish.

Yet, clearly, their sense of Britishness was always conditional upon Britain maintaining Unionist supremacy. They were quite prepared to rebel against the British government if Britain enacted the Home Rule Act. It was the Unionist importation of German rifles and ammunition in the Larne gun running incident in 1914 that introduced the gun into 20th Century Irish politics. As late at the 1970s, Ian Paisley was advocating a Rhodesian-style ‘Unilateral Declaration of Independence’ if Irish Unity appeared a possibility.

What this political culture would not countenance was the 1916 Proclamation’s ideas of equality within the national democracy of a United Ireland. Although they had lived quite happily in a United Ireland under the British Crown for hundreds of years, they would never willingly do so under a democratic Irish Republic and Britain would ensure they wouldn’t have to.

Examine their symbolism. You won’t see a depiction of the British parliament at Westminster on an Orange banner, only the crown of the British monarchy – which is the feudal sponsor of the Protestant Ascendancy and sectarian supremacy. Why would we respect that crown? Now you can either buy into this nonsense and bluff the world that you are doing so from some higher humanitarian, intellectual and moral plane or you can wise up and have the courage to face the fact that decolonising mind sets is going to be one of the most difficult phases in building a national democracy.

There was no painless way to conquer Ireland and no painless way to reconquer it. When the Union is over the plantation is over. The fact is Unionists will be deeply hurt and demoralised by this. They won’t like it and they may not like it for generations to come, as was the case for Unionists in the Free State after the Treaty. That will be a major challenge for our republic to work through. But don’t blame Republicans for that. Britain engineered this mess. The process of genuine national reconciliation can only begin when Britain leaves Ireland and can no longer meddle in our internal affairs.

The American Loyalists who supported the British during the American revolution didn’t want an American republic. The Boers didn’t want a democratic South Africa. Israeli settlers don’t want a Palestinian state. The French Pied Noir settlers didn’t want an independent Algeria. The Confederacy didn’t want to let go of slavery. Ideologies and political cultures based on imperial conquest and colonial expropriation are, in the words of James Connolly, ‘crimes against human progress’. Sometimes for humanity to progress certain belief systems must be jettisoned and leave the historical stage. There is no gainsaying it.

Making Ireland British is an English project – keeping Ireland British can never be a republican one. The republican project is to end the British connection, not to respect it. Our concept of reconciliation lies in reconciling all Irishmen to the democratic ideal of equality and the republican concept of majority rule, tempered by a protection of minority rights. Rights as Irish citizens, not as wards of a foreign power. Republicans take a national view of the national question. Why do our enemies seem consistently surprised about that? What part of ‘national’ do they not understand?

Partition and the Good Friday Agreement are basically tribal settlements rooted in difference. Irish republicanism is inspired by a proposition. That proposition was enunciated by Wolfe Tone and further refined and articulated in the Proclamation of 1916 – the proposition that Britain can be dispensed with and Irishmen and women, of whatever persuasion and none, could forge a common national citizenship based upon democracy, equality and fraternity. That’s the vision. That is Irish republicanism.

Don’t allow the people who told you the path to Irish Freedom lay through conceding the Unionist Veto, reviving Stormont, endorsing Her Majesty’s constabulary as lawful authority and internalising British constitutional constraints such as the triple-locked border poll lure you into believing a so-called Agreed Ireland can attain some degree of moral ascendancy over the democratic and republican principles inherent in a United Ireland. Britain has no place in Ireland. Republicans must ensure that the fantasy of a permanent British redoubt imprinted with Irish democratic assent to its political or cultural legitimacy becomes British imperialism’s last dream before death.

When you cut to the chase a lot of this is coming from the Provisional ‘think-tank’, who are trying to redefine Irish republicanism and modify the concept of Irish Unity to conform to the limitations of its leadership and their inability to devise a strategy that would bring the republican project to a timely and successful conclusion. The think-tank should think again.

Leadership is not about demonstrating how many Jesuitical contortions a movement can be forced to make before it becomes permanently twisted. Leadership is based on trust. Trust that the ideology is correct and the vision based on that ideology is the right one and is believed by the leadership and not just spouted as a mobilising aspiration around which to build a political base that may one day service a political career. Trust that the vision will never be tempered or tailored or turned by fear of the consequences in pursing it or modified by personal ambition. Trust that the strategy driven by that vision will be pursued professionally and responsibly with due diligence and care to the people tasked with carrying it out. Trust that the commitment to Irish Freedom is not a perishable commodity.

Keep your passion for freedom alive. Don’t be demoralised by beaten dockets or the self-serving sophistry of careerists and carpetbaggers. Stay on a republican trajectory and do not be lured into a British orbit. Don’t worry if you don’t have the strategy worked out or all the answers just yet. Republicans have been through years of false trails and false prophets and are only lately picking up the pieces. It takes time to gain traction and to build an unstoppable momentum.

James Connolly wasn’t captured with a fully-costed programme for government in his back pocket. Sometimes you just have to do the right thing, regardless of whether you have accounted for the minutiae of every conceivable event and scenario. Keep it republican, keep it democratic and keep it socially just. Republicans are still working this through. In the meantime be certain that Britain’s busy bees are infiltrating every republican group in order steer them in the wrong direction – as they did so successfully with others.

Like James Connolly, Jim, Padraig, Patrick, Declan, Seamus, Tony, Eugene and Gerard went out to break the connection between this country and Britain and to establish an Irish Republic. They died at their posts. No-one is using this platform to ask you to kill or or be killed for Irish Freedom. Remain at your posts though. Don’t be seduced into servicing the lie. Don’t abandon the truth. The truth that, as James Connolly put it at his court martial one hundred years ago when he said:
‘The British Government has no right in Ireland, never had any right in Ireland, and never can have any right in Ireland.’

Do not join in the crime against human progress. Do not reconcile yourself to the British presence. Do not concede the political and moral legitimacy of the ‘differences carefully fostered by an alien government’. That is not the republican thing to do.

At this exact moment twenty nine years ago today Jim Lynagh, Pádraig McKearney, Patrick Kelly, Declan Arthurs, Seamus Donnelly, Tony Gormley, Eugene Kelly, and Gerard O’Callaghan had only hours left to live. Lads, if you can hear us, thank you for your sacrifice. You never abandoned your post – and neither will we.


  1. "The 1916 rising threw a spanner into the Home Rule works and scuttled the loyal nationalist opposition Britain had been counting on to keep Ireland off the political radar. Subsequent events led to a British alliance with Ulster Unionism to retain what control they could in Ireland."

    It was well flagged years before 1916 that an alliance with Unionism was already in place. There was fcuk all "subsequent" about it.

    Some thirty years previous to 1916 Lord Randolph Churchill clearly outlined such an alliance between the British establishment and Northern Unionists by saying "Ulster will fight, and Ulster will be right".

    Fast forward 26 years to the 6th February 1912 and a proposal to exclude Ulster from any Home Rule arrangement was tabled at a cabinet meeting by David Lloyd George.

    The Curragh Mutiny in March 1914 was yet another manifestation of that well-formed alliance which furthermore indicated the likelihood of some sort of partitionist settlement in the event of Home Rule.

    The Third Home Rule Bill was passed by the Commons in May 1914.
    By July, under pressure from Carson and members of the House of Lords, a vague Government amendment was proposed by Asquith that the 6 North Eastern Counties would temporarily be excluded from the provisions of the Home Rule Bill. The almost inevitability of partition, even under Home Rule, by 1914 is hardly disputable.

    I, like I guess many others, would contest that John's simplified and linear narrative is a distortion. It was abundantly clear to almost everyone, including the leaders of the Rising, that the full loaf was never really on.

    13/16 wasn't a bad result and in fairness we have to applaud the men and women who achieved that (even if with the vantage of hindsight some claim we might have achieved a similar result without any fighting or bloodshed at all).

  2. HJ

    You are 100% on the Churchill strategy. It moved the Irish political scene onto the field of contested loyalty to the Crown. Protestand / Unionists professed 'loyalty' in contrast to Irish disloyalty and seperatism. It was a clever move by those who set up the UVF and rejected parliamentary democracy !!

  3. At least on this occasion we've been spared the usual psycho-babble but we can see yet still how 'Henry Joy' is intent on nothing more than trying to undermine every republican argument made on this site. It might wash with the commentators on here and even with the host but there are many people who read TPQ but never comment - except in private conversation - and they see you exactly for what you are. A mixer. Quite obviously it's why you choose to hide your identity.

    We had a guy like you on here before, who sought to distract and move conversation and debate down certain channels to confuse people, to ensure the wider and more important argument went untouched. That's your agenda - to me it is clear but c'est la vie. John Crawley is one of the most intelligent and strategic-minded people I've had the fortune to come to know and his analysis is clearly on the money. Like the rest of us he's far from perfect but no matter, you couldn't lace his boots.

  4. Indeed this is the comprehensive piece it was said to be.
    One thing I don’t get is the Republican desire to see Unionists are Irish. It might be worth separating a sort of civic and ethnic identity, them being civically Irish in that they can participate in civic life on the island and are entitled to all privileges and protections, but are ethnically British. This is no different to how the Irish diaspora in say America see themselves, and it makes the Norths current arrangements even more foreign.

    PS I don’t care how Unionists see themselves, im not going to argue the point with them, im concerned with republican clarity.

  5. DaithiD

    You nail the eternal repblican Achilles heel. Insistig the British ex-pat community here are Irish and attempting to love bomb them while they murder your relatives. DOH ffs give me Homer Simpson any day, a relative genius!

  6. Sean,

    play the ball not the man. Deal with the arguments or ignore them. What people whisper is irrelevant. If I was to be influenced by what is said about your contributions offline I would get nowhere because they range from one extreme to the other. Not all your critics can be mixers, slaves or sitting in Palace Barracks. Time to put SF style smearing behind you and step up to the plate with an argument that people might listen to rather than dismiss.

  7. To the rescue as ever. The article speaks for itself regardless

  8. Larry,many of them on here when considering a United Ireland essentially moan "whats in it for me?", indicating that given enough carrots they would indeed surrender. My proposed carrot would be graduated use of the stick, but thats another matter!

  9. Sean,

    I appreciate your acknowledgement of my endless attempts to rescue from your self inflicted debacles.

    I have not read the article which might be unfair to John, merely formatted it. How it speaks will be judged by readers. Thus far it has not been widely read, taking around a tenth of what the John Coulter review took.

  10. Correction: that should be a seventh of what the Coulter article drew down and a third of what the previous Societies piece on the Loughall commemoration took. So, if it is a good argument those promoting it still face a challenge in disseminating it more widely. In these things it is not enough for the priest to say the bishop is right. He would wouldn't he. That will only work with the faithful. It is the wider audience that needs convinced. At a guess people might read the piece for the commemorative aspect rather than the analytical content. We can't know for sure but given the degree to which the previous shorter piece on the Loughall commemoration took reads, it looks that way.

  11. Nice one Mackers but I think I'll leave your goading right there. David makes a good point about unionist identity but it's important to remember republicanism is a civic concept and not an ethnic one - nationalism is ethnic. The United States is one republic but a nation of nations. Poles and Lithuanians in Ireland become Irish citizens and see themselves as ethnically Polish but their governments don't interfere in Ireland’s internal affairs to ensure them some degree of gerrymandered supremacy. That is ultimately where things are at and it isn't impacted by how many people happen to read or agree with a particular piece. It's the simple reality. I do appreciate the point though in terms of reconciling the identity of Ulster's Protestant community within a new republic, if that's what's being suggested.

  12. Sean , kind of, I watched an old interview with Adams laughing with incredulity at the thought of the interviewer claiming Orangemen werent Irishmen, and that concept keeps being revisited many times since. I guess really wanted to know does it conflict with Republicanism to recognise their Britishness? If so, why? It seems to me it de-legitimises (further) their claim on the North to recognise it.

  13. David, without getting too bogged down, Britishness is a citizenship centred on the UK state while Irish, English, Scottish and Welsh are nationalities. 'Great Britain' is the result of aggressive English expansionism and colonialism and the English desire to make ‘British' a nationality is to legitimise and consolidate their conquest. They have largely succeeded, as many of the conquered peoples have long ago assimilated and internalised the conquest. If that makes it right (and I know you don't say it does) then why are so many Scots still looking out of the UK and what right have they to do so? Of course I think we both know and agree it isn't right, so the question is rhetorical. Republicans haven’t assimilated 'Britishness' either - that's why we are the enemy.

  14. Sean
    When you say that republicanism hasn't assimilated Britishness what do you mean? You speak a British language, support British football teams, listen to British music, you are culturally partly British. Also many years of inter-marrying has left a legacy of mixed ethnicity especially in the north. In Eamonn Collin's book he describes how he felt more at home in Glasgow than in Dublin. On your Twitter profile you say that you want a gaelic Ireland, what does that mean? In a globalised world these things are more and more fluid. It seems that only republicans are talking about this guff and you can't even agree on it.

  15. Peter, we did not assimilate the 'British' language, it was forced on us by conquest - a project helped nicely along by the death of a million native Irish speakers during the genocidal 'famine', when the Irish people ‘assimilated’ English laissez-faire economics at gunpoint.

    True, Irish lads wear Liverpool and Manchester Utd jerseys but you’ll not see many English boys in Kerry or Dublin or Tyrone colours - typical of most colonial situations. I should add they are not 'British' teams anyway in the first instance but Scouse and Manc. 'He plays on the left, he plays on the right... That boy Ronaldo, makes England look shite.' That is a chant that still resounds from the Stretford End on match-day, regardless that Ronaldo now plies his trade in Madrid. It gives an insight into how the fans of Liverpool and Man U feel about their clubs being caste as you would label them. But that aside, are those who wear a New York Giants or Chicago Bulls jersey culturally American, have they been assimilated by the US because they listen to James Brown or Britney Spears?

    When I say I want a Gaelic Ireland it is one that celebrates and protects its culture, traditions, native games and language. That should present difficulty to no-one other than those determined on destroying the Irish nation and 'assimilating' it into a manufactured 'West Britishness'. The rights of minorities should of course though be given constitutional protections in any new Ireland, the Ulster Protestants key among them.

    As for Eamonn Collins, forgive me if I refuse advice on how to feel from a man who betrayed all to save his own skin. No role model to recommend to republicans Peter. Collins aside, at the end of the day are you really referring to a 'globalised world' as spoken of or the monoglot anglicised world of the assimilated West Briton?

  16. Thank you AM for saving me from the 'intellectual' mauling I was not getting from the toothless terrier!

    Sean as usual avoids my point and blindly as ever ignores the partition/consent bind that Unionism presents (and presented 100 years ago too).
    Let me quote Sir Edward Carson during the third reading of the Home Rule bill in May 1914:

    "I say this to my Nationalist fellow-countrymen, and indeed also to the Government, you have never tried to win over Ulster. You have never tried to understand her position. You have never alleged, and you cannot allege, that this Bill gives her one atom of advantage."

    Essentially Carson is expressing his community's fear of being disadvantaged by the proposed changes and drawing attention to Nationalists' and Republicans' insistence on rail-roading Unionists into a situation that they perceived as disadvantageous and threatening to them.

    Whether we think it right or wrong, whether we think it undemocratic or democratic the fact is that's the position Unionists took and that's the position they've doggedly adhered to up to the present day.

    The political reality, fair or unfair as one might interpret it, is that that Unionist veto, one hundred years on, is now more firmly in place than it ever was and to boot is much more broadly accepted. To this end the people of the Southern state have voted en masse to relinquish previous constitutional claims over the North.

    It beholds all those, including Sean and Mr Crawley, who persist in denying the inevitability of partition to offer a cohesive and sustainable explanation as to how their mythical unitary Republic is ever to come about.

    "partition was inevitable, perhaps in 1912, certainly by 1914, but the shape of the partitionist settlement remained an open question until 1920." Prof. Ronan Fanning

    They must present a workable strategy backed up by a compelling narrative if their argument is ever to hold much sway. If their argument relies solely on 'Bad Bwits' themes and 'revisionists, West Brits or British state apologists' slurs on all their challengers, whilst at the same time failing to address the issue of Unionism and the consequential partitioning of the country, most reasonable and thinking observers will see it for what it is ... just more shibboleth and useless drivel.

  17. Henry Joy,

    it is fine to think it useless drivel. I find it impossible to make sense of. But comments like toothless terrier don't really add anything to the discussion. It just fuels rancour. I would suggest that both of you simply ignore each other's comments rather than let the vicious circle perpetuate itself.

    At the end of it all, the readers are shrewd enough to work out what argument makes the more sense.

    If each of you wish to persist then at least ty to stick to the issues and resist the temptation to veer into the bun fight.

  18. id rather be a toothless terrier than a pompous poodle. but im stuck being a dungbeetle.

  19. The thrust of John's analysis relates to how Britain has sought - both historically and today - to mould a political settlement in Ireland where the Irish would agree for her to remain in our country. 'Henry Joy' seems to think he's some sort of rocket scientist and republicans mere idiots, that he is aware of something we're not or that we somehow don't know the political reality (which he has embraced with gusto). We know full well the strength of the current arrangement, with the unionist veto it permits. It is at the core of the piece.

    Of course we know the reality but we refuse to accept it and have every right not to - this is Ireland not Britain and that will never change regardless how weak republicanism at this time. That Britain should leave Ireland and that her position in Ireland derives from conquest is for republicans a given. That holds for us regardless how well Britain has succeeded with her strategy or regardless of those who say we should just accept it.

    Instead of the discussion centring on what John has spoken of - quite brilliantly in my opinion and in that of many, many others too - we are instead and once again bashing the inabilities of republicans to effect change. We know our inabilities to effect change don't worry. We don't need it gleefully thrust in our face at every opportunity to see that inability. But instead of republicans talking about what went wrong, how the leadership came to be integrated and steered onto a British strategy and what we could do in future to ensure a different outcome, should we ever grow strong again, we have the same old same old. Unfortunately this is what the comment section of TPQ has been reduced to. This is what we get it seems on every occasion.

    You reckon your fed up with it Anthony? Well you're not the only one. I struggle to see the point in coming here just for people to constantly stick the knife in. And not only do you encourage it you've actually started now to join in. Maith thu. There are better things to be at when all's said and done.

  20. And the bearded one said 'Let there be peace'.
    And there was peace.

  21. Sean
    The Irish language was helped on its merry way out of the mouths of Irishmen by that other evil empire: the catholic church. Gaelic speaking Presbyterians helped to keep it alive. Lest you forget.

    Also Collins was not giving you or anyone else "advice on how to feel", he was simply noting that he felt more at home in Glasgow than in Dublin. For millennia the north east of the island has been culturally closer to western Scotland than the other 3 provinces so it should be no surprise that Collins felt that way. It was refreshingly honest of him to admit the glaring reality.

    Your comment about the football teams is baffling. Republicans wear Liverpool, Man U and Celtic tops in abundance to say that these teams are not British is preposterous. Man U supporters have traditionally put club before country but Celtic supporters nearly all support Scotland. Scotland being a part of Britain makes Celtic a British team playing a British sport. Does your call for a gaelic Ireland propose stopping Irish people from loving the beautiful game?

    You and Daithi talking about the ethnicity of unionists is so bizarre. My time in NI21 taught me that there are many catholic unionists, or unionists of catholic extraction. Are they more Irish than me? My paternal great-grandmother was a catholic from Cork so does that make me more Irish than other unionists? 400 years of inter-breeding has meant that there are few ethnically pure Irish or planters left in the north, so how can you discuss the ethnicity of unionists? I am an atheist with Irish catholic and Scottish planter blood in me. I live in a part of the island that has had a British (Scottish) aspect from Dal Riada to the Lords of the Isles and the plantation, right up to the present day. I don't fit into your prod/planter/unionist ethnic box just as squarely as you would like. What you are talking about reminds me of Eoin O'Duffy and his greening of the isle. Most Irish people see through that xenophobic drivel. You have allowed your hatred of Britain to blind you to the realities and diversities of life in these islands, don't let the anger consume you.

  22. Sean,

    the martyr card here is a busted flush. It never trumps. It is not obligatory that you stay if you find the blasphemy so troublesome. You have told us on a number of occasions that you were leaving and yet ... moth to the flame.

  23. The problem, Anthony, is I like and respect you as a person and appreciate both the opportunities you afforded me personally and the broader work you've done for republicanism - both before and after your time with the Provisional Movement. It is for that reason I comment and write here, because I like you and want the site to do well, for it to thrive as somewhere republicans can come to develop our politics - even those who don't actually engage the comments section. Otherwise I'd stick to Facebook where all of that can be achieved no matter. There is no 'martyr card' or threat to leave. I am though questioning the point in engaging with a debate that exists now only to savage the possibility of a new way forward at every available turn. It's not a threat to leave but a genuine sense of why bother. Take 'er easy big man, time to let you's to it for a while I doubt. HJ and his ilk can have the run of the place, they have it already truth be told, at least as far as I can see. Slán for now and hope to be back shortly.

  24. Sean,

    you are here more often than Henry Joy. He never appears in article form, restricts himself to the comments section. You feature more often than him. The problem is that every single person that engages with you confronts you with logic which you recoil from. You have no answers for either the unionists, the nationalists or the republicans who find your argument tenuous.

    There is no point in heading for the misty hills wrapped in a tricolour in the hope that people will follow if you tell them there is no food until you reach the promised land.

    Something else you need to learn: In the world of ideas don't give a free pass to people on the basis of what they did in the past. It is not good logic. Deal with the here and now, the intellectual content of the argument made rather than the history of the person making it.

  25. DaithiD

    Loyalists/unionists are loyal to the Crown, the half crown. Addicted to it in fact, twinned with the Jews. It has long been thus. Rather than a bad thing it is perhaps a positive in the long run. On an ever increasingly level playing field it will be interesting to see how it all pans out. As I have said before, I feel their pain since the ceasefires and the security jobs all dried up and it is a beautiful thing. Whilst I have reservations about the out dated and at times tiresome rhetoric of the 1916 Societies and OIOV campigns, it is doing no harm longer term on balance in my opinion. In any case, certainly better for them to continue agitating than to lay down, roll over and play dead like HJ.


    I went to Glasgow first in the 1970s for the title decider when Celtic beat Rangers in a game that wasn't recorded because of a TV strike by BBC Scotland. They did so finishing the game with ten men. My lasting impression apart from the atmosphere which was insane, was the poverty. Walking past slums to get to the stadium I found frightening, depressing and shocking. Paradise my hole! It hasn't ever changed that much in atmosphere and the bars, my God they are shockingly grubby to this day. I have been to Old Firm games many times since in the 1980s-90s and more recently twice to Ibrox before they were liquidated. NEVER have I felt at home or comfortable in Glasgow. So I have no idea what the hell Collins was bullshitting about. Probably his usual attention seeking crap. As for your relatives from Cork, my mum had relatives from E. Belfast. She has the unionist desperation to be better than others deeply ingrained in her so I recon she is the real deal. Anti Irish and definitely one of your UK stalwarts in the RC community. I wonder what your relations in Cork thought of being abandoned by a self serving little minority in and around Belfast. I have a friend here from London married to a COI Donegal woman. I asked does she consider herself Irish? Very much so and never in doubt he asnswered. There ya go, good for her!

    End of the day, if your only consideration is financial, you are of use to no one.

  26. Sean,

    I'm also a 'dolly mixture' in that I have Catholic grandparents from Monaghan no less, does that negate my Britishness? My ancestors were proud Gaelic speakers here and also back in Scotland, speaking Gaelic there too, what were/they?

    I married a Catholic, by proxy am I Irish as opposed to how I self identify? I am immensely proud of my heritage, but should it be just one part? If so, why that part and not the other?

    My closest mate is a Celtic daft (and dafty) Glaswegian with the most Irish name you could think of, he views himself as nothing more than a proud Scot, what is he?

    If I ever moved back home I'd probably go to East Belfast to learn Gaelic, so how would that work if I still choose to identify as British? I'd be of Ulster Scot Presbyterian stock speaking Irish who votes in the wee 6 to give it a go, would I be a hypocrite, shoneen clan, just confused or a wannabe West Brit?

    It has been pointed out at great pains, by almost all the regular commenters and even the blogs author the cul de sac that is OIOV, but even that is not what irks me now.

    Not once have you asked for peoples opinions on how to go about this hypothetical vote, what could make it succeed and how to get over any drawbacks that ALL political ideas have. There is no shame in saying 'you know what? I don't have all the answers but I am happy to listen to ideas and ask for advice'. Every single leader knows the value of peoples opinions. No one wants to listen to pontification and all it does is fuck people right off.

    And when you simple refuse to answer direct questions, use deflection as a defense, and get angry for not 'winning' a discourse it also screeeeeeeeams that OIOV is pipe dream, nothing more.

  27. What is tenuous about the notion a national referendum could realise the Irish Republic we've all striven for for so long? You say you don't get it but I cannot for the life of me see how you don't. It's very simple. The idea we should forget about devising alternatives and embrace the principle of consent to me is an anathema and that's the long and short of it.

    I have met so many people that have been through so much personal loss and sacrifice and yet remain upbeat, motivated and inspired by the ideals of our philosophy. Many of those same people were there at Drumfurrer. I wish you could have heard Angela McKearney and Colm Lynagh speak, it was heart-wrenching to see their pain is very much still with them every day.

    John Crawley didn't say what he did there or forward his work to win the approval of Henry Joy and I don't either - I couldn't give a flying fuck about him, whoever he is. He writes as if we didn’t know unionists don’t want to live in an Irish Republic. He states the obvious like it’s some unique insight. His and indeed your unremitting negativity and defeatism are simply draining. I’m not used to being around people like that and don’t particularly want to be.

    With all that said, I just don’t get the unremitting attack on republican thinking on TPQ. Not a single person who criticises what I say is ever asked at what point in history (for them) did England acquire democratic title in Ireland. It seem I have to provide answers all the time while they get off with their presumptions without challenge.

    When did Ireland’s right to national self-determination cease and at what point did England assume democratic title? When did Irish constitutional authority rightfully transfer from the Irish people to the UK parliament? If you are against violence then why do you assume conquest bestows title? Not once have you asked the like of that of anyone, choosing instead to maul our efforts and eventually rubbishing them out of hand. At first I thought you were trying to help me develop my thinking but see now that was mistaken.

    At the end of the day, either we are inspired by the like of Wolfe Tone, Padraig Pearse, by the like of Connolly and Sands and Lynagh, or we are overwhelmed by the odds against us. It's hardly as though we don't recognise those odds despite the galling pretensions of some on here. Contrary to perceived wisdom, we are not stupid. You are what you do when it counts and too many have suffered to give in to the narrative peddled on here. We will come again. Up the Republic and slán go fhoill.

  28. Larry,

    "Loyalists/unionists are loyal to the Crown, the half crown. Addicted to it in fact, twinned with the Jews. It has long been thus. "

    Come on, that's lazy and beneath you.

  29. As I forsaw a Unionist would take the opportunity to emote. A predictably lame attempt to frame it as some sort of eugenics debate, this is outrageous. I suggest if they really mean what they claim they read into it, to read again.

  30. Daithi
    Maybe you could then expand your comment so that we best understand what you want to say. You said that you want to separate unionist identity into "civic" and "ethnic". What ethnicity are the people in Northern Ireland who want to remain part of the UK? There are many people who don't identify themselves as British but who don't want a UI at this time, as you well know.

    You want the British out and then to pull up the drawbridge and create a wee gaelic socialist paradise. You would do well to spell out exactly what that entails and how you will bring it about. This you repeatedly fail to do, yet you get all angry at almost every turn. If you can't reasonably defend your articles why post them here?

  31. Sean,

    I imagine by now most eyes have glazed over. I no longer digest the prolix you send in as comments and merely glance over it in case some libellous word leaps out at me. I took in the first line of the first para of your last comment and read no more. Unless you have told us something new above, which I very much doubt, you explain nothing whatsoever. It is like Adams economics. You never seem to grasp how empty you have rendered the whole argument. I signed the petition once for a referendum. Now I wouldn't. The reason: your presentation of the case has convinced me that there is nothing there. An empty slogan. As useless as a prayer.

    Bottom line is you haven't a clue as to how to get a referendum. Countless times you have been asked and in response large tracts of nothingness. I imagine most people of a non unionist persuasion would go for a national referendum if someone was capable of explaining how it might happen. You have failed to do that. You explain strategy as well as I speak Russian.

    I intend leaving it that. It is pure tedium at this stage. If I live another twenty years and you do also, I'll ask you how the OIOV petition is going. Apart from that I confess to no longer having the slightest interest.

  32. Steve Ricardos

    The hostorical loyalty to the half crown fact may not sit well with you, but it is well documented and a fact. That is may embarrass you or NOT as is more likely the case, that I'm afraid is not my problem. As for all the Gaelic and relations stuff... Pakis in Birmingham are English Muslims. Sikh communities throughout England are also English. Most would consider themselves British as you do I am certain. But you consider yourself British above all else, and everyone else on this island. That is your problem to wrestle with. Some extreme Muslims rant about Britain becoming an Islamic state. I hold the loyalist / unionist community in the wee 6 in a similar light. They had pulled it off with the assistance of the British government in a portion of our country. Whether you identify yourself as Irish English Scottish or Welsh is your call. The conflict here is about national territory. The British ex-pat community in the wee 6 can live in denial all it wants, but they are IN IRELAND.

  33. Peter, if Bruce Jenner can legally take a piss standing up in the ladies shitter, then it shows identity issues are the food of world at the moment, not just a Republican concern. I was asking the logic of Republicans restricting the spectrum, if indeed that is what is occurring (I think Seans explained the thinking well) .You know in trying to claim bits of oil rich land, countries extend the shelf of their coast out hundreds of miles, finding similarities in clay composites etc, hence Rockall fell under Britains rapacious gaze, but we are asked to accept that Irish soil ends at some artificial land border. I don’t.

  34. Larry,

    No I don't, I see myself as human being. All this shite about nationality, ethnicity or whatever flavour of madness your fairytale comfort story is, is to me nothing more than an extension of the human condition. If it wasn't this bollocks, it would be some other bollocks.

    If you inferred my 'Britishness' from an above comment to Sean, I was being hypothetical. Perhaps I should have been clearer, my apologies.

    What is apparent is the insane notion that everyone has to fit into a tribe or some sort of label to make society 'work' or at least be relatively peaceful.

    Fact is, we are all in the same shit-hole and its the cunts in charge that hold the power. Would not be any different in a United Ireland or in the Status Quo, your kidding yourself if you think otherwise.

    Politics needs to change, not the people.

  35. Steve Ricardos

    Indeed. Tory Party in UK inflicting bedroom taxes on people living on the breadline or under it. North South divide and all the social issues and ills on going there. No different in Ireland. There is an elitist colonial mind set which seems to 'possess' every TD the minute they enter Leinster House. Had you said you are IRISH with a desire for Ireland to be a part of Britain I could see your logic and respect that. The unionist/loyalist position of being here but anti-Irish is ilogical to me. Whatever state the place is in I am Irish on the island of Ireland. A Protestant friend of mine from Lurgan messaged me once and said why don't you just come home? A reference to me living in Donegal. I assumed he'd had a few beers and was feeling 'super-prod' or something. I just text'd him back to remind him I am AT HOME anywhere on this island. His mental and emotional restrictions/confinement in that regard are soley a matter for him.

  36. Steve,

    the trend internationally is away from nation states and towards international regimes and institutions. Nation states have long been incrementally losing their power to perform as actors in the international arena. The power and security lobby might try and tell us differently but I am far from convinced they have made a persuasive case. Prior to nations the divisions were different. After nations such divisions will take on different forms.

    A nation is just something people decided upon. There is no reason for any people in the world to be bound by the decisions of earlier groups of people. The living vote, not the dead. If for some reason the people of France and Germany decide to unite as one entity, there is no compelling ethical reason to prevent them. There might well be lots of practical ones.

    I think any society should be based on human rights. It might be hard to pin down what such rights are and the boundaries will shift because people not gods decide human rights. And human rights are challenging because we all agree until the cunt next door gets his! And the human right is also a construct that evolved. For long enough the idea that there was a human individual with specific rights was considered a heresy. Kings and queens had divine rights and the people had only obligations.

    The emphasis I put on sovereignty is the sovereign right of the individual to self determine. A person's autonomy in respect of their own body whether that be the right to worship, abort, terminate their own life, seems to me the most compelling of political arguments.

    If someone wants to describe herself as British it causes me no more bother than somebody wanting to describe themselves as Polish. I can't tell them that they can only determine with my approval.

    In my view people have as much right to dissent from nationalism as they have from Catholicism. Nationalism like Catholicism is just an opinion. If you want to drop it you should be able to without the priesthood wanting to burn you as a heretic.

  37. Larry
    The unionist/loyalist position of being anti-Irish is partly to blame on the republican movement who shoved all things Irish down people's throats. Remember "every gaelic word is a bullet"? Also it is not the view of all unionists/loyalists, just an ever decreasing section.

  38. Mackers

    There is a lot of dissent against the EU project and it is growing by the day. Nations are centred around culture and langiage in general and geographic considerations play a part also. I feel you delve into the realm of PC utopia again suggesting what nationality or ethnicity anyone considers themselves to be is up to them. Seriously? So Gerry Adams is a member of the 'N'-word ethnic community because he empathisses wth it? I may choose to consider mysef Russian but never having been in Russia, not speaking the language nor knowing anything of Russian culture or history may put paid to that pretty quickly. Can you possibly consider yourself American and head off to Boston to defend your case as an American citizen? Of course you cannot. The best will, decency and the most admirable humanitarian qualities in the world wont alter that reality. People are moving towards a recovery of national autonomy rather than towards more centralisation. EU unelected self servers and banks bolstered by a biased media etc may oppose this, but it is the reality none the less. I am starting to hope for a Brexit from Europe.

    Steve Ricardos

    There is merit and truth in what you say. The ugly dirty little war has probably soured and poisoned our generations beyond repair. Little more than what is on offer, a cessation and acceptance of dffering views being a realistic 'target' at present. I was about to say I find it amusing you see yourself as a human being in the global sense but an advocate of the wee 6 on this island. However, there is an obvious honesty to your posts so fair play.

  39. Peter

    I think what the Provos dished out resulted in the main from 50 years of Unionist stupidity for want of a better word. It is all going to take a very long time to dissolve. Generations, if ever.

  40. Larry,

    there is dissent but it does not approach the level of consent there is for the EU. And the dissent is not universally progressive. Much of it is reactionary and rightward. I don't want to see a Brexit because the Brits will shaft Northern nationalists even more with nothing to look over their shoulder at. Most of the drive for Brexit comes from the most obnoxious Tories such as IDS.

    I don't buy the PC stuff anymore than I buy your reference to it. These things are relational. Your ability to become a Russian will in part be determined by a Russian willingness to accept you. It is not up to you alone. If you move to Russia and abide by the rules of that society, they might take you in as a national. Happens here all the time.

    Should a person have the right to forfeit their assigned nationality? If they are to have autonomy and sovereignty over their person, then they must be able to forfeit it, just as they have a right to forfeit their assigned religion.

    National identity is so fluid today - it is not biologically determined but politically and culturally.

    I prefer being a European than have my identity restricted to being Irish. I recoil from people trying to impose their nationalist opinion on me as much as I do when they try to impose their religious opinion on me.

    People should have equal rights whatever state they give allegiance to or society they belong to.

  41. Mackers

    Quite loath to do this ....
    But having read that and glanced over the computer at my wife from Manila who now has an Irish passport (forced to give up her Philippines one in the process) and upon reflection of the fact of my cousins in Australia holding 3 passports and havin both an Irish and an out of date UK one myself.... I GOT THAT ONE WRONG. ouchness!!

  42. Larry,

    it is a bit more complicated and nuanced that we are at first given to believe. Little Irelanders are no different from little Englanders. I think as a rule of thumb I subscribe to the view that Irish society belongs to the people who currently live in it and have citizenship whether they have other nationalities on top of their Irish citizenship - British, Polish, Brazilian, Romanian or whatever.

  43. Mackers

    I get it. Feeds into what I say about loyalty to the country you live in. My wife teases me she is a Donegal girl. Passing a local pub when Armagh were playing Donegal in an All Ireland Quarter Final I think it was, there was a huge roar and she looked at me and remarked...oh 'WE' must be winning and giggled. Maybe if unionists declared themselves British-Irish I could see them as less malicious.

  44. Larry

    I think you're pretty much on the money when you say that what the Provos dished out was a reaction to Unionist supremacy. I wonder now as to what degree this was the greater driver of the campaign; greater so perhaps than the commitment to republican ideals expressed in the Proclamation.

    Certainly it seems that when push comes to shove most CRN's have settled on parity of esteem as an outcome. As AM says national identities are becoming more and more fluid. Society North and South is becoming ever more culturally diverse. Greater access to education, the internet and low-fare travel ensures that the parochial mindset of old is rapidly on the wane. With that I guess the nationalist absolutism and fervour of the past will continue to recede even more also.

  45. Henry Joy,

    quite some time ago, having reflected on the origins of the PIRA campaign, it struck me that the insurrectionary energy that fuelled it was a response not to the British being here but a response to how the British behaved while here. London and Dublin knew it and the Adams school came to realise it as well although Adams himself once wrote that the civil rights campaign which he supported was a bid to make the North like the rest of the UK. The way the PIRA evolved and the influx into its ranks was anything but ideological. There were more discontinuities than continuities with the pre 1919 republican tradition. Robert White is pretty good on this. With all that in the mix shaped by the balance of forces at the time Northern nationalism was always going to be pulled back to its base line of reform. The British did not have to leave to satisfy northern nationalist political hunger, given that their presence per se was not the cause of the grievance. They merely had to modify how they behaved.

    If there was any deep republican ideological commitment to republicanism as we understood it do you really think the GFA would have been endorsed or the British police pushed over the line and fully embraced?

    It simply does not compute.

  46. Larry,

    Having been away for so long gives you a different perspective. I caught a glimpse of tv here and MMG was on praising the cops for something. Now when I was growing up he was the equivalent to Himmler to the PUL community. He scared the shite out of us.

    Things change. I'm sure seeing him shake Mrs Windsors hand must rankle you and your community as much as it was difficult but necessary for the PUL to accept also.

    But I'd happily accept that a million times over rather than have IRISH PEOPLE from whatever persuasion knocking the shite out of each other and murdering each other over something as intangible and ludicrous as 'patriotism'.

    It's seldom patriotism either, its usually anger at injustice. The bastard in the tail is that just creates more aggression. A no win situ.


    The reverse could also be said by unionists.


    I agree. The world is a melting pot, artificial borders on maps mean little when it comes to peoples self-identification.

  47. The Provos was a 'reaction' to long festering social ills and then state terror in Internent and Ballymurphy and Bloody Sunday. That little lot detonated 30 years of inter-communal blood letting; either a domestic dispute or a national identity crisis, you pays yer money you takes yer pick, but with the forces of 'law and disorder' the most effective contributor and manipulator from start to finish it now seems plausible to argue. It is quite obvious there was little but window dressing on the political front with the Provos. Adams and McGuinness still have zero strategy. Electioneering for its own sake is now the name of their game. The conflict was a frenzy or 'reaction' on both sides. Reaction is the danger still.

    I had intended to be long gone from this gaff from about 2002-3. Asia was the destination of choice teaching English as a 'native-speaker' (jesus wept...Peter and Steve unable to breath laughing) but my Filippina Mrs likes Ireland/UK and I needed a degree. So Irish History and Politics seemed a safe-ish bet for a 'pass'grade. I have been anchored here since 2006, and since 2009 stuck in University. DISASTER. My escape strategy for getting the Bo-Peep 'the flock outa here' has about as much coherence and plausability just now as the SF electoral strategy and Bresser's OIOV road map to Irish unity. I pray my Bo-Peep plan has a better chance of ultimate success. Two more years PHD grind and then use the grant money to park myself, wife and baby, poolside by a white sand beach in Asia teaching the 'natives' there to 'spake rite' with wee nordy accents. What happens here by then I don't honestly give a hoot.

    A wee bit of travel certainly broadens the mind and gives perspective. Though Ryanair flights to Irish pubs in Spain hardly helps too much I'd argue. It's the long haul destinations that relly do it. A little food for thought. If the IRA alphabet soups can't handle Dublin gangs why would they want to take over the country? Can any pressure group honestly say they could provide a better standard of living for people here than what is on offer? Whose money would they use that isn't available already?

    I thought the best move the PSNI made was going on TV and telling young loyalist rioters that they WOULD be arrested and they WOULD be convicted. Those young lads have no idea just yet how decent a move that was. They do not want to be applying for jobs in their 50s with convictions for misguided adventurism and a bit of craic.

    The furure belongs to the future generations. The past is dead unless you're applying for a job lol.

  48. Larry,

    I am still waiting on the PSNI to go on TV and tell everyone that RUC torture under the police criminal Bill Mooney is being investigated.

  49. Larry,

    republicanism has to be treated as a strategy and not as a religion. Our dead were people not saints; the leader is a person not a god; there is no infallibility. Republicanism is an opinion and like every other opinion the right of people to ridicule it is precious. And if people refrain from asking what the recipe and ingredients are in baking the cake, they need to be careful what they eat when it is served up to them. Given our past experience, the endless self serving lies of our leaders and the gullibility of the people believing the rubbish they were told, the only potentially durable republican project is one that can withstand the heat of scrutiny.

    Thus far the signs for progress are ominous.

    Besides there is a whole wide world of interesting things out there to which we can all make a contribution rather than being marooned like a castaway in Treasureless Island.

  50. The RUC was an ugly sectarian force that relfected the state it served. There is an argument that all cases in Diplock Courts should be scrutinised under accetable international legal standards for acceptable evidence in convicting. Not even getting to the torture issue, verbal statements and material evidence not produced before courts but the existence of which was acceoted as 'lost'. Signed confessions forced out of people with zero corroberating evidence also being deemed sufficient to convict. That was the weapon used against both communities. Kitson at work. The absolute railroading of people as a business for one in general and a security apaeratus used to criminalise arge numbers of one community prividing employment for the other to live off. Loyalist prisoners must have been doubly sick I think. That is a research topic seriously needing undertaken. The RUC should not be chasing after research to convict people in 2016 it should be undergoing investigative research itself.

    Republicanism being lauded as the Holy Grail doesn't wash. I'd sooner read the Old Testament. That is more entertaining and educational.

  51. Larry,

    well, I'm not sure I would rather read the Old Testament but were I banged up 24/7, I think I might prefer staring out the window.

    You are right about the cops but there is no real mechanism for holding them to account. And the first sign of it emerging the PSNI will retreat back into the security state. If there is a Brexit just watch how that works. SF rolled over in their eagerness to suck the truncheon that they no longer speak critically coherently on policing. All they can do is mumble and moan - but even that at times sounds pleasure induced.

  52. Larry,

    Not at all, i hope it works out for you and your wee family. Moving away was the best thing I ever did, sure you always miss family and home but this really is a different age now. Anytime you like (and I've done this outside a brothel in Phuket!) you can flick on your phone and facetime family from the otherside of the world and look down their gob at what they had fer breakfast!

    I moved for work in Engineering, met some very colourful characters, and met my wife on the adventure. Ah well lol

    Regarding the Loyalist prisoners though, and the PUL community in general, I honestly believe their is not enough free thinkers in their ranks just yet, but that is changing. Once the shite died down the PUL community had to take a valium because they thought they were about to be marched into the chambers once the Shinners had power. They see now that its not that bad, far better than it was, and MMG while being blessed with a bake that could frighten small children was not about to commit buggery on them at gunpoint.

    I don't like the Orange, not my thing and when I see them wanting to walk where they are not wanted and antagonise people pisses me off. Thank fuck I'm away, be rucktions in my family if I said that or threw something at the beloved telly!

    The Phillipines are nice too, but sweet jesus the humidity would kill ye!

  53. AM
    You say that signs of a coherent republican movement emerging are ominous. Would you really like to see one emerging? Don't you think a whole new vehicle is needed? That the "republican" brand is too tainted?

  54. Yes, funny enough I was looking at some stuff on the upcoming referendum in the UK. I was thinking of your remark regarding the Nationalists in the wee 6 being vulnerable in the event of a Brexit. I'm not sure I see it that way. The Orange State was fascist in complexion and nature as a result of a seige mentality and the percieved threat of its desired and impending destruction by a 5th column RC population. It existed only in unionist heads after the 1950s border campaign but was sufficiently ingrained to ignite the troubles. That fear no longer exists, not even in the unionist mind today I don't think. SF are the visibly defeated and house trained remnants of the Provos. They are the Croppy Boys wrote large and proud of it on the steps of Stormont for all to see. As you correctly point out they will not cause any ripples. If they do the SDLP will win out. RC voters happy as they are will revert back to the stoops. Unionsm and the union are safer than ever and a larger section of RCs than many can contenance will see to it that it reamins so. Personally I think a BREXIT would do no harm. Maybe it would shake things up a bit and reform the EU corruption even just a tad out of a fear of a larger break up. The UK government are no harder on 6 County RCs than they are on English working class.

  55. Larry,

    I think that is right in terms of any potential for conflict like we had previously. But human rights will be undermined: there will be state pursuit of non state actors for the past and Bloody Sunday Paras will get knighthoods before jail time.

  56. Peter,

    there is absolutely nothing wrong with a republican movement emerging that would be rights rather than power driven, that would challenge the absurd notion of monarchy; that would work for an island politically independent of Britain; that would seek to redistribute power and wealth to those who suffer grievously from a lack of it.

  57. Larry, we need more of This type of writing from Tyrone rather than that auld nationalistic stuff

  58. Can't access that link Mackers email it to me. Aye I think the same mixers and serial killer directors in the RUC SB are the bigger danger compared to SF. RUC needs sorted out properly.

    Steve Ricardos

    Ye sound like a man after my own heart. I met some incredible characters in Asia. The ex pat community there is full of old 'sea-dawgs' that have long since worked out what life is all about. They ain't heading home any time soon-or ever. I eventually got it cracked but unlike them, was dragged home. Needed the bloody degree to teach, can't live on air. An ex British Army bloke with a very polite accent and his Welsh buddy who were permanent residents at my guesthouse in Manila spent 3 days trying to befriend me when I arrived. They saw an Irishman land and thought game/beers-on lol. But I had the Armagh paranoid head on. Once the ice was eventually broken it was all fun and laughter. They both awaited our return from collecting my sons from the airport with pitchers of beer (ambushed us in the lobby) and my lads never laughed or had a better holiday in their lives. After initially refusing to talk to them I had them at my wedding.

    Ten years later in 2013 we were back in Manila and I went to see if he was alive and at the same drinking spots and he was and we had a few cold beers and a catch up. He had been battling cancer and was a skeleton, very weak. I have to confess I cried when I saw him. Recieved word shortly after he was dead. I still have his number on my mobile as a keepsake. You soon leave the shite behind when you are outa here a wee while. I love the 30 degree heat at a wee bamboo table and chairs street side, as you settle down for the first ice-cold beer of the day..... at about 8am!! AAAGH get me outa here!!

  59. Aye, saw that and shared it elsewhere.

  60. It is little beauties like that combined with the weather differential that has so many whiteys of every hue and cry living the dream in Asia ..... far removed from the everlasting nightmare at home!!

  61. Wow nationalism really is a dirty word these days. I can understand the hesitency in a global sense, its quite ugly in Britian/England and Russia, but Irish nationalism is remarkably benign , inclusive (see St Pats in America) and often twee. Its such a great card to play but remains unused for reasons of international precedent.

  62. DaitihD,

    throughout its history nationalism has been both progressive and reactionary. Historically the left has been suspicious of it while the right has embraced it. There have been periods in its history when it was anti-expansionist and anti-imperialist and took on a progressive hue but at other times it was very aggressive. Irish nationalism is ok if it leaves the rest of us alone, much like Irish Catholicism. National territorial sovereignty cannot be the inviolable principle governing international relations. If that were the case both the Soviets and the West would have halted at Germany's borders in 1945 and respected German sovereignty. But Germany's virulent nationalism had to be curbed regardless of sovereignty. Nations were created and did not always exist. That they will be around forever seems the most ahistoric of notions. Nations tend to have their foundational myths and many nationalists don't like them probed too much.

  63. DaithiD,

    have you ever read Benedict Anderson on imagined communities? He has great insights.

  64. AM, not heard of the title, I will check it out on the summer break (if i get one!). Nationalism seems to be the other N-bomb to some, I think when a peoples have at various stages been exterminated by another State, Nationalism becomes an act of resistance. Whilst mass slaughter is perhaps improbable now, the extermination now is of the form of State sponsored amnesia, making people forget their origins, forget what was taken from them and forget the possibility of change ever being successful. I respect your individualist ethos, but it would be hard to engage groups unless they can coalesce around something, even if its imagined (like we all know Santa Claus wears red) , something real can follow from it. Or maybe the beer has made me talk too much guff!

  65. DaithiD,

    on the beer myself watching the final.

    I believe very strongly in society and find rampant individualism highly problematic. But society functions better if it protects its smallest minority - the individual human being.

    Nationalism often makes people forget or obscure their origins by creating the myth that the nation is timeless, always existed and was god given rather than having evolved from smaller groupings or carved out of larger.

  66. AM
    What you describe could be carried out by a new vehicle without the trappings of Irish republicanism. I believe the colour parties at graveside orations and the constant harping back to the Proclamation, the "whiff of cordite" if you will, is a major turn off to the nationalist people. I can't see how any traditional republican group could ever succeed nowadays.

  67. Peter,

    There is no need for people who believe in republicanism to hide their republicanism. Some of the outward manifestations look anachronistic. Masks in any supposedly society are I feel a no no: that goes for KKK hoods and burkas as well as balaclavas. Militarist displays invariably exude menace. But this is not specifically a republican matter: mass killers and torturers return from an illegal war in Iraq and parade through the streets of the UK and are actually cheered rather than being pelted with eggs.

    I see no merit in the suggestion that republicans hide their republicanism.

  68. AM
    Fair enough. You want (excuse me for being presumptuous) a UI, social justice, economic literacy and fairness, transparency in govt, a strong bill of rights, secularism etc. All fine aspirations. How do you best achieve that? With republican tradition? And limit your scope for success? Again excuse my presumptuousness, but the nationalist people are not going to support this. The brand is tarnished and ensures failure. Again I ask: do you not think it is time for a new vehicle rather than another version of the same old same old? I view Irish republicanism much like the British left. Their message gets lost in the trappings of past failures. The union marches and red flags, the clenched fists and renditions of the International remind people of past failings and ensure the seeds of their message land on baron ground. Is maintaining the trappings and traditions as important as success?

  69. AM, alcohol and watching Utd are a must this season.
    In terms of objections to masks and colour parties, this are just ephemera and not remotely crucial to Republicanism' future, perhaps its a source of comfort, something static and known in a rapidly changing political landscape. But as i said after the Dee Fennell arrest, it highlighted the problem if the 'tradtional' Republican message could only be delivered behind a mask, and that will be a major obstacle until we can develop new forms of Republican expression, then we can engage the public without them thinking they have heard this before sometime in 1972.
    One thing i would suggest is holding those would be leaders of Republicanism to simple definable criteria, stuff that their performance can be measured on. Removing any esoteric notions, so we understand the immdediate task at hand, not just the long term goal.

  70. Had a chat with Delores Kelly on the train from Lurgan/Portadown to Dublin in 2004. I was heading to S. Korea she was heading to a conference on republicanism in Dublin. When she told me that I raised an eye brow and she just smiled and said you don't have to believe in violence to be a republican. There was no answer to that. Was sad to see her lose her MLA slot at Stormont.

    Disso military displays are merely doing the SF/RUC PR work for them, scoring 10/10 every time. I looked at the vast numbers on parade in fancy dress and after initially being surprised-shocked and even impressed at the numbers and presentation I then slowly reflected on the fact there is actually zero 'war-news' going down and these guys are on the run from a Dublin drug gang. I have come to the conclusion there are an awful lot of tossers/losers with fuck all else to do on this poxy little island except pretend it is Holloween every day. Lose the garb and develop a coherent political grass roots manifesto relevant to 2016-2020-2030.... One that doesn't involve wearing the knees in your trousers out like SF.

    It really is pathetic. BACK TO THE FUTURE is a fantasy movie for teens. Leave it at that!

  71. Peter,

    I have not made any argument in favour of republican tradition. If I have suggested another version of the same old same old, I would appreciate you pointing it out. Do you read what I write at all? (not that you have to but if you did it would act as a foil to your presumptuousness).

    I made a case that republicans should not hide their republicanism. And that is much wider than republican tradition. I don't believe republican tradition can achieve any more than the Latin mass.

    Tommy McKearney, whose contribution you seem to take notice of, is involved in a lot of work that can be defined as republican but not by any stretch traditionally republican. Why should he hide his republicanism? Should the OIOV, no matter who limited or deficient we might consider it to be, retreat beneath a bushel?

    Republican tradition does not limit scope for success in the area of achieving a united Ireland. Because there is, as far as I can see, no scope for republican success, tradition driven or otherwise, on that matter. Republicanism is not the answer to the question of partition. It can neither persuade nor coerce the people who partition empowered with the necessary leverage to decide that matter. This is why I have previously suggested that republicanism not partition is the failed political entity. The strategic efficacy of partition lies in its enduring resilience to republican probing of its walls.

  72. DaithiD,

    that's right. Masks and the likes are not in any way crucial to republicanism: no more than Latin is to Catholicism. But there will always be those who want to retain such things. I just do not think open societies should be populated by closed out faces. If people want to sit in front of their TV wearing a balaclava, a burka, a KKK mask, a leather S&M mask - fine by me. But in public it is another matter.

    The Dee Fennell case flagged up a PSNI attempt to censor opinion. It has nothing to do with the words said but a usage of those words for the purpose of removing people the PSNI don't want. People can advocate all day long that the PSNI summarily execute people instead of arresting them. But none will be prosecuted for doing it. I can blog all day long calling on the British government to bomb Syria back into the dark ages and the PSNI will ignore it. We are all free to advocate state murder. The irony of it beggars belief.

    Unfortunately, too many on the republican scene today do not want to be held to account. It is something they have inherited from the SF mindset. They baulk at being challenged, smear their detractors, exhibit a sense of entitlement which they think should enable them to shout "silence in the presence of your betters."

    At times republicanism's absolutism makes it more akin to monarchy than republicanism.

  73. "...At times republicanism's absolutism makes it more akin to monarchy than republicanism..."

    AM, one of the most shocking parts of the whole GFA machinations was when MMG was informed by the executive that the Mitchell principles breached the Armies constitution, but his faction managed to establish there was a precendent for giving 'special dispensation' to break the orders to sign them, effectively meaning there was no constitution, and never had been. That is close to monarchical whim. It will always be a possibility as long as an assymmetry of information can exist in an organisation, and this is made easier when goals are so large. In terms of Loughgall, I feel its threat to the State was its lethally local focus, perhaps thats why so much effort was put into ensuring they could not succeed.

  74. AM
    It seems that once again you have failed to understand the trust of my question, and once again it is due to my lack of skill as a writer. At no time did I accuse you of advocating traditional republicanism. I merely wanted to know your opinion. Should the trappings be ditched to give the message traction with the public?
    Apologies for my lack of clarity.

  75. Peter,

    any republican project that wants to advance as a political project will be seriously hindered by some of the trappings. In the context of today's world they convey a sense of menace.

    Should commemorations of IRA and INLA dead that include colour parties be abandoned to appease British and unionist sentiment? No. I find something wholly disingenuous about the Mickey Mousery that is sometimes used to commemorate republican dead: a whole repackaging of them that remembers them not as they were but for how they fit into current political needs.

    If you wish to remember your UDR colleagues and turn out in colours to do so, I am fine with that. I don't expect you to come kicking my door in because of it. Will I ever identify with you doing it? No.

  76. AM
    I am not saying they should be ditched to appease unionist sentiment, but to appease nationalist sentiment. If you want to build a successful political movement should the trappings be ditched to give it a chance? It is nationalist support that you need not unionist acceptance. I find the sight of portly gentlemen in ill fitting fatigues and ill-shapen berets marching at the funeral of a "volunteer" killed in a drugs feud rather sad. But if I were a republican worried about the success of my project I would be mortified.
    The PUP face a similar "optics" problem on our side of the fence. All the good they do and say is lost in the optics of fleg parades and UVF activity on the ground. And the British left as well as I alluded to in a previous post.

    When I go to the cenotaph to remember my colleagues I am one of the few who wears neither beret nor medal. I am not comfortable with all the pomp and bollocks, flags and brass bands.
    My attempt to get the thoughts of others seems to have failed so we'll just leave it there.

  77. Peter,

    I would have thought the following answer was clear enough:

    any republican project that wants to advance as a political project will be seriously hindered by some of the trappings.

    If those projects want to go forward with substantial nationalist support they will need to seriously tone down their trappings because they convey menace. But if they do not want to go forward and wish to commemorate republican dead, then trappings are fine. I think an Orangeman marching with a ceremonial sword should not be arrested for carrying an offensive weapon because it is traditional pageantry and nobody feels he is going to attack them with it. Same with republican commemorative events.

    The image of portly figures you refer to marching at republican funerals does not remotely approximate to any republican project I have been alluding to. None of that will move republicanism forward one iota.

    I don't buy the ceremonial pomp either. When I see flag festooned events I think of Nuremburg and martial music. More recently the image of ISIS jumps to mind. If we think strategically then we can only do so when we factor in the likely effect our actions will produce in our opponents or rivals which in turn will require that we recalibrate our tactics.

    I think the 1916 Societies will increasingly face the type of problem you identify. The Societies can usefully function as a body that rescues republican meaning from the Mickey Mousery of much commemorative culture. But if they are going to move forward as a serious and substantive challenge to SF and the status quo they will struggle with the dead weight of tradition.

    Nationalists I think have a respect for the republican past but a terror of it ever becoming the present.

  78. Peter

    those of us who intentionally move, rather than drift away, from previously held positions do that in our own individual way and at our own pace. These are intensely personal journeys.
    In that context I respect and even admire the way you've chosen to honour your fallen comrades.

    My own personal choice for some time now is to privately remember rather than to participate in public remembrance.
    I wouldn't be averse though to participating in any act of public remembrance which was totally inclusive of all the dead from the period of conflict. Such remembrance might affirm the futility of all that passed.

  79. Peter

    I think republicanism falls into the cracks between its own rhetoric and its own reality on the ground. High faluting morals from Tone and 1798 about inclusivity and all the verbally 'correct' statements but then hundreds of men in army surplus gear and masks which the Protestant community identifies with 30 years of terror against 'their' wee state. The SF leadership had identified at the outset of its electioneering strategy (after the surprising successes in the Hunger-Strike electiones) that the IRA was an ever increasing hindrance rather than an asset to the SF agenda of superceeding the SDLP. They have succeeded in dealing with that issue. Garret Fitzgerald shortly before he died goaded Adams on the issue live on TV without any meaningful reply beyond a 'thank you' from Adams. So your analysis is fine. Not only does the endless fancy dress hinder their appeal it is a contradiction of their wanting to love bomb Protestants in Ireland.

    Bernadette McAliskey also nails it by saying in another article on here that republicanism is a failed formula and a never ending cycle of 'we would have won only for' this person or that person all down republican history and it is continuing now with dissos blaming Adams and McGuinness for the latest failure. Physical force nationalism in the future may make another attempt at finishing the job if provided with a political LOTTO winning ticket of the big bang event by the British as it were. If it does happen I anticipate it being less republican in complexion and much more ruthles in a modern context. However, surely the powers that be have enough opportunity at advancing their nasty little war games elsewhere without needing to deliberately inflame things here again? Lets hope so.

  80. Henry Joy

    funny enough I can just imagine you placing flowers on Lenny Murphy's grave while slagging off Slab Murphy at the same time. It is the WP natural progression, the 'final-destination'.

  81. Henry Joy,

    I tend to obituarise or write about my memories of people rather than go to funerals or commemorations. But I have spoken at such events and delivered Easter orations at gravesides. At the same time I have spoken in Orange Halls and attended a UVF funeral for a former loyalist prisoner who was co editor of a magazine on the editorial board of which I sat.

    I see these all inclusive events a very political exercise aimed at expunging context. At the same time they have a potential to be an elevation of the person above the political but that requires management and imagination. It also requires forgetting to trump memory.

    So I wonder if such things are real commemorative events or political exercises in forgetting.

    There is an admirable trait of the reconciliatory in the proposal but in the current political culture of the North where all sides seem intent on taking prisoners despite the war supposedly being over, there is no desire for reconciliation and a seemingly all consuming one for recrimination. People are told you can reconcile yourself to our truth but we will not reconcile ourselves to your truth. I don't think we can expect much else when governed by two scorpions in a bottle.

    I think the best approach is to allow all to remember their dead separately and allow them the space to do so. I don't want to commemorate Peter's fallen colleagues just as I am sure their families, friends and colleagues do not want to commemorate the dead of Loughall. I doubt there is real space for the Bono moment in these matters where he can join the hands and expect each side to feel with real warmth the hand of "the other".

    Ultimately politics is invariably conflictual. How political memory can be depoliticised without being sedated to the point of stupor, defies my comprehension.

  82. Mackers

    'The point of stupor'. There's an idea. Have a joint taig - loyalist 'victims commemoration' and give all those invited a bottle of J.D. or Vodka to swally before they attend!!

  83. AM

    sure, commemoration or remembrance executed without veneration or divisiveness is in all likelihood too lofty to pull off. You're right, even if it were possible there'd be lots of asinine and poncey pricks like Bono showing up for the photo opportunity.

    The various experiences you outline confirm my opinion that if we are to rise above our habituated point of view we generally need to put ourselves into new and challenging positions. Significant learning rarely, if ever, happens in the comfort zone. In my experience its as a result of being stretched that most new insight occurs. Its only in taking new or different stances we gain new perspective ... new and broader perspectives generally afford fuller understanding.
    "Tout comprendre c’est tout pardonner". In that sense I'm not sure forgetting must always trump memory. With understanding we can retain and re-integrated memories without retaining previously attached emotional charges. Most effective PTSD treatments don't encourage forgetting; rather they change the emotional state that's evoked with those memories.


    What if both those Murphy men were doing the best they could with the resources (or lack thereof) they had and given the unique influences of their own individual lives?

  84. Henry Joy

    Your willingness to even equate the two on a level is right up there with SF members refusing to see any flaw in Gerry Adams. Nothing more to be said.

  85. Larry,

    "However, surely the powers that be have enough opportunity at advancing their nasty little war games elsewhere without needing to deliberately inflame things here again? Lets hope so."

    Think you are right there. There is no strategic interest in being in the north apart from the Unionist vote. The tories (and I count blair among them) are happy to be the poodle to the yanks and bomb the crap out out of people who already have nothing, all in the name of Oil.

    Unless vast amounts of the other black stuff are found under Andytown I can't imagine there ever going back to the dark days.

  86. Larry

    with regards to people supporting Adams; isn't it perhaps just verification that people tend to swallow big lies more easily than small ones? The grand well-fleshed narrative is more enthralling than a sketchy one.
    Each of us at times are vulnerable to seduction by narrative, personality and cult. Not everyone's critical faculties are equally well developed. Nor alas are any of us 100% consistent in our evaluation of what is substance and what is chimera!

    Forgive them Larry, for they know not what they do. (LOL)

  87. Steve Ricardo

    If they strike oil in the Murph Adams will be out of the Dail and back in W. Belfast in a blink. They wont require a new bullet train here, it would merely slow him down. They are all Tory Party faithful now, the entire lot of them.


    We spend a lifetime of being bounced around and taking hits to develop a critical analysis which gives us a modicum of survival ability. Then we die. I watched a programe last night, or part of it before I fell asleep about Serial Killers and their Mothers. We all know the Adams family values but Fred West's childhood absolutely shocked me. Is that real? In a nation self appointed as the chosen one to civilise the world. I place the likes of Lennie Murphy, Fred West and Peter Sutcliff on a par. They were evil born and bred. The troubles provided an opportunity for Lennie rather than him being seduced by anger emotion or misplaced political romanticism and sucked into the dirty filthy wee war. He was dirty filthy and rite at home from the get-go. I just wonder if those who can stomach the revelations regarding the Adams family 'understand' his situation much better than I do. Perish the thought.

  88. Larry

    personality is shaped both genetically and environmentally. I watched a documentary some time ago which showed that the structural form of the brains of psychopaths differs in a recognisable and measurable way from those with non-psychopathic tendencies. (It may have been a BBC Horizon production).

    Indeed there seems to be a good deal of neuropsychology research which confirms that the visceral and emotional response in all of us, in the first instance, precedes thought. The differences in brain structure in the psychopath may suggest that those with psychopathic tendencies don't have the same capacity to contain their urges as those with a more 'standardised' brain.

    The research involved scanning the brains of convicts. This allowed researchers to identify commonalities in structure of those convicted of seriously violent crime which deviated from the standard of the non-violent individuals both within the prison system and those on the outside. A demonstrable tendency to difference in structure was achieved.

    The documentary became even more interesting when it was revealed that one of the lead researchers had decided to have a scan completed too revealing that his brain had the same characteristics as that of a psychopath's. Clips from interviews with the academic's adult children revealed that he indeed had a very short fuse and sometimes behaviourally became a bit of a loose cannon at home.

    What all this seemed to suggest was that a genetic trait (the physical brain difference) had been ameliorated by positive environmental factors, in his case a stable family of origin coupled with access to decent educational opportunities.

    On the other hand some who come into the world with perhaps more 'standardised' brains can have their personalities detrimentally warped by an early toxic environment. The family system, for example, where paedophilia thrives will nearly always only maintain any semblance of cohesion through excessive denial, delusion and deceit.

    I think 50/50 with regards the nature/nurture debate is probably the most prudent place to start when evaluating the forces that shape us with regards to personality. Of course, as your opening comment suggests, personality is not entirely fixed. We can, often as the result of knocks and blows, decide to mature a bit. We can take on the responsibility to learn, to grow and evolve into more decent and caring human beings.

    Larry, I've come to the opinion we all need to learn how to live well so that we may die well. Probably the best legacy any human can leave!

  89. Couldn't find anything more specific on the documentary I reference above but here's a link , if anyone's is interested, to a short article about the research and the guy involved, one James Fallon.


  90. HJ

    Will watch the link later. I think Sociopaths and Psychos are identifiable by a complete lack of remorse. As I said to an individual one time there are only two things you never had in your life, gratitude or remorse. Situations can indeed impact terribly on people. Plane crash survivors have engaged in canibalism. A joke about such an incident had one survivor asking another, what do you fancy for tea tonight, Chinese or Indian? Perhaps that feeds into the denial theory. As for the troubles here I think those 'normal' people who got sucked into the dirty war for idealistic or reactionary/impulsive reasons soon learned the hard way that it was nothing remotely like it appeared. Decent idealistic fools waded in while cute hoor slimey bastards stayed well back and bellowed the flames. They are all in government now.

  91. HJ,

    Interesting article, cheers. I've also wondered at times about surgeons, and whether they could be considered psychopathic given their inherent need for detachment and indifference to gore. But I agree with you, it really is hard to distinguish the difference between nature and nurture. I recently read the biography of 'The Iceman', Richard Kuklinski, who was a serial killing psychopath employed by the Mafia in the US.

    Fascinating read. It was by the psychiatrist who interviewed him in prison. He had the most appalling childhood including witnessing his alcoholic father beat and murder his beloved older brother and only friend. What chance had he got? If he was not such a mass murderer you could feel sympathy for him.


    Forgive me for asking a really stupid question as I am from the 'otherside', but was their a clear delineation between SF and the Provisionals during the 70's and 80's/90's?

    I mean, 'we' were under the impression that SF/PIRA was the same thing?

  92. Larry

    Before revolution .... carry water, chop wood.
    After revolution ... carry water, chop wood.

    We'd be best advised to avoid all revolutionary and idealistic purveyors of puerile promises.

  93. Steve

    I don't find it too difficult to have some sympathy for Kuklinski. I can be moved by the horror of his childhood, I can understand his actions in light of his upbringing and yet not condone his extreme violence. Sometimes things really are as unavoidable as they are unjustifiable.

    I suppose surgeons to some degree, as combatants too, have to overrun innate aversions to 'mutilating' the body of another human being. Both require a certain amount of de-sensitisation to get the job done properly. Some people can carry this off in a more balanced way than others. I suppose its not to be unexpected that some appear aloof given that the normal function of empathy for the other's pain has to be toned down in order to do one's work.

    Psychopaths tend to present as both hot-headed and cold-hearted.
    Good surgeons and good soldiers tend to be cool-headed. They may sometimes appear cool-hearted but are rarely cold-hearted.

  94. Larry

    I think I'll go Indian tonight (LOL).
    A bit of humour is useful too in occasionally lightening up heavy or difficult conversations!

  95. Steve Ricardos

    I would hazard a guess those at the top of SF would have had IRA connections even if not actively involved as such. They'd have had an input/directing influence. Look where Gerry and Marty took it. The Lybia weapons arrival frightened those touting bastards more than it ever frightened the Brits. At a lower level I think IRA people looked at SF members as a cross between draft dodging bastards and useless cunts who would hang everyone around them after 2 days interogation. Everyone around them 3 generations back!! lol I heard a joke from a loyalist about a UVF man who signed that many statements they recon the RUC were pouring oil/coolant on the pen in the car en route to Castlereagh. That about sums it up.


    Humour indeed laced with a wee bit of anti-PC devilment does it for me!!

  96. Larry,

    Thanks for responding.

    "The Lybia weapons arrival frightened those touting bastards more than it ever frightened the Brits"

    Really? Why? I thought TUAS suited them (GA&MMG) in the 80's?

  97. Also I heard a joke from a cop that they had to beat the Provo's to get them to talk and beat the Loyalists to get them to shut up!!

  98. Steve/Larry
    My favourite Troubles joke: 2 IRA men died last night after the car they were travelling in left the road and hit a tree. The UVF said they planted it!

  99. Steve Ricardos

    The further into the Piss Process we go the more secure McGuinness and Adams feel in showing their true colours to their masters and public alike. We are seeing a 'Dunkirk' exercise by those two now. McGuinness supports the RUC unequivically but professes the SF MLA's are dedicated republicans. Churchill style if yer gunna tell a lie tell a fucking massive one. But then the Labour Party in England write their speeches!! Yep they sure are dedicated republicans only the Delores Kelly brand that is. The last thing those two wanted for their political plan was an escalation with ship loads of guns. They were in the middle of running things and dedicated people into the ground. McGuinness is suspected of handing the N. Wests allocation of weapons over and had poor Hegarty stiffed as a scapegoat. The dogs in the street can smell it, in Kilarney.

    I think it must have been an eye openner for loyalists being rail roaded by the RUC. Akin to us calling the Garda free state brit loving bastards I expect lol

  100. Larry,

    The funny thing is, coming from a Brit military family they all said 'never trust a cop' LOL!!

    But don't make the mistake of thinking they were all the same, we hated seeing some so-called 'loyalists' dealing drugs to kids, swanning about in new DVLA cars never having worked a day in their lives and spending all day in the pubs (where did they get the money? answer drugs/fiddling the dole) while the rest of us went to work and minded our own business.

    Doubtless some dodgy peelers got their cut too. Knew (and had family) who were decent cops, but also met some utter bastards who I could believe would stitch you up. Same everywhere I suppose.

    Another fav joke,

    Young O'Donnell rushed into a church, placed his rifle under a pew and entered the confessional. "Father," he said breathlessly, "I've just shot down two British lieutenants!" Hearing no response he went on: "I also knocked off a British captain!" When there was still no response from the priest, O'Donnell said, "Father, have ye fainted?" "Of course I haven't fainted," replied the confessor. "I'm waitin' for you to stop talkin' politics and commence confessin' your sins!"

  101. Steve Ricardos

    I think there is a cross community loathing of paramilitaries which perhaps floats the piss-process. The contempt you outlined fits in very well with my own family (ex British forces) attitude of the IRA being a 'shower of bastards who'd do anything but take a job'. Pretty ugly having that said with venom in front of you regularly! Some retards would drive 2 hourse just for the opportunity to vent their spleen even today. Family eh, who would suffer them. Though make no mistake, and this is the FUNNY part, if money were to have suddenly appeared like confetti those same evil mouthpieces would have been tripping over each other in a frenzy trying to catch it. Some people just hate to see anyone doing well or having anything good going on, regardless of politics. A human illness which is widespread. Sometimes I wish I'd joined SF and could now sicken them beyond repair with an MLA job and expenses. In their eyes 'crime' would be the gift that keeps on giving. It would have killed them I think!! Missed opportunity that. Like the Brighton Bomb. If yer reading this Gerry and Marty, I'm sorry, get in touch ASAP.

    I think the RUC were pretty sophisticated in stitching people up or hanging them out to dry. They had plenty of practice and I got the impression they were under no pressure at all and it was a case of slowly slowly catch e monkey. With the help of said monkey's friends family and neighbours lol Good and bad people in all walks of life Steve. I was fortunate in that I came into the 'mess' after Mackers generation, post '81 and I can honestly say I was never ill treated. Just a stupid cunt!

    My wife had a good giggle at your joke once the 'lost in translation' moment was bridged. My own favourite was the UDA unit being set up and positions allocated: CO - QM etc then one bloke says I'm the TO....'telligence Officer.

  102. Larry,

    What do all the victims in the Ulster Hospital burns unit have in common? They are all UVF bomb makers!

    Definitely good and bad in all walks, that is probably the main reason I am so opposed to separate schooling for the kids back there. When I was growing up I never even met a catholic kid until I was twelve and unfortunately it was not a pleasant experience ( I got a hiding and was terrified) but I hold no grudges, life's too short and shit happens.

    Looking back all of that shite could have been avoided if the fear in both of us was not there. I obviously have no idea what it would be like growing up in a Catholic school but going to a State school wasn't so bad. The only 'religious' education was given by a few harmless, likeable eccentrics who were more than happy to discuss the philosophy behind their faith, even with the likes of me who mercilessly ridiculed it as being preposterous.

    If they grew up together, inter-marrying would get rid of this nonsense in a generation or two. But I have the sinking feeling vested interests would fight tooth and nail to stop that ever happening.