Not Much Festivity In Sinn Fein HQ

Martin Galvin (MG) speaks to Gerry McGeough (GM) via telephone from Co. Tyrone about the Assembly Elections held last Thursday in The North of Ireland. Thanks to TPQ transcriber.

Radio Free Éireann
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
7 May 2016
(begins time stamp ~ 39:15)

MG: We have Gerry McGeough on the line from Tyrone; he's going to give us an analysis of the election results in The North. Gerry, I thought of you first thing today. I saw a picture in the newspaper of Arlene Foster and Maurice Morrow, they had been elected from Fermanagh-South Tyrone, and they were smiling and the last time that I had seen them so happy was after you were sentenced - they were at the court hearing and they were delighted that you were going to be put into gaol at that time and those are your elected representatives, Arlene Foster of the DUP (Democratic Unionist Party) and Maurice Morrow – I think they represent Fermanagh-South Tyrone where you live.

GM: Yeah, that's correct, Martin. Hi! How are you? And a big Hello! to John and Kate and Liza and of course our old friends, Helen McClafferty and Tom Sullivan – everybody out there - Jim Sullivan and Louise and all our AOH friends: A big Hello! to each and every one of you all. Yeah, we've just had the elections here and I suppose, ostensibly, you could say that very little has changed insofar as both the DUP, and our old friends that you just mentioned there, and Sinn Féin are the lead parties but that would belie I think quite a significant undercurrent that's going on which I think will have bearings for the next time there's an election outing in, I presume would, be in 2021.

Sinn Féin: I doubt if there's very much festivity going on in Sinn Féin headquarters this evening because they went into this election with twenty-nine seats – I think they have twenty-eight now which is roughly, it's about the same obviously, but their coveted goal was thirty seats or thirty plus which would enable them to employ the Petition of Concern without than having to rely on others. That didn't happen. And more importantly, they have been challenged and very successfully challenged on a number of fronts, quite obviously the West Belfast People Before Profit whose candidate topped the poll. And here in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, which is where I'm speaking from, they have lost a seat and that wasn't part of the plan as you can imagine.

MG: Yes, Gerry, Phil Flanagan - he was remarking how now he's going to be unemployed and this was announced on his wedding anniversary and how sad that is for everybody. I mean when you lost the election you were arrested and put in – and ended up in gaol for two years but you didn't ask people to feel sorry for you as a result.

Yeah. Well that's true - I stood in 2007 and Sinn Féin connived in my arrest and as you know I was eventually dragged through the courts, the so-called courts – Diplock courts, and imprisoned for thirty-odd year old alleged charges and as I say flung in gaol and remain barred from running in elections which is exactly what the goal was. (So had I not been I may well have run in these recent elections.) But yeah, that's absolutely true. I don't know what they're whinging and crying about you know – they have it pretty light. I think what's wrong with these people is, and we see it here in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, with bruised egos having little selection contest with only one candidate where they couldn't even possibly lose. They got used to the gravy train up in Stormont – it's easy, it's light, it's good fun, it's all a lot of bon ami and what have you and plenty and plenty of money. And of course they do absolutely nothing; they do absolutely nothing to improve the lives of the constituents.

Now just to come back to Fermanagh-South Tyrone: What's going on on the ground here: First of all the Shinners are fighting among themselves like nobody's business. It's just like a pub brawl that has spilled out onto the streets; they can't contain it any longer. And they were challenged here very significantly by the pro-life group which ran an almost military machine-like campaign for the last number of weeks and it denied them sufficient votes – actually, the presenting officer said that the turnout among Nationalists in The Moy, which is in the eastern part of South Tyrone, was the lowest in twenty years and also I don't think they've ever recorded a lower turn out in Dungannon which is the major capital, the population centre, of South Tyrone and that's all due to the pro-life group's activities which is targeting Sinn Féin because of their pro-abortion stance and they had decided to take a seat off Sinn Féin and that is exactly what has happened here and that's obviously not going to go away – it's going to expand.

And what's happening is you have a lot of different interest groups perhaps not coordinating with one another but targeting the same outfit which is Sinn Féin and Sinn Féin has to be very, very nervous at this point in time - they're old, they're jaded, they have no ideas, no enthusiasm. Ten years ago, for example – and you were probably over here at the time – Sinn Féin could have, in Fermanagh-South Tyrone alone, mustered scores of young men and women who would go out and canvas, who would put up posters and so on and so forth. It was almost sad to see it this time around – just a few family members of candidates going round when they had the time in the evening putting up one or two posters and it was just, you know, a ramshackle to say the very least and they just essentially scraped in.

Now let me give you an idea of the figures here because there has been a big drop, not just in percentage terms, but also in the popular vote. Here in Fermanagh-South Tyrone in 2011 for example Michelle Gildernew, who was the local candidate, topped the poll with well in excess of nine thousand votes. Now this time around she didn't make the quota on the first run and had to wait for one of her colleagues, namely Mr. Flanagan whom you referred to, to be eliminated before finally getting elected. And the others of course were languishing way down the line as well. So that basically is a consequence of the fact that people didn't, for whatever reason, turn out and vote for them and that is going to get significantly more acute for Sinn Féin in the coming elections. The sad thing is, and again going back to 2007, Martin, and you were au fait with that whole development there, when I was running in 2007 there were a number of reasons behind it - obviously it was the whole issue whereby Sinn Féin was effectively selling out on Republican principles and they were doing so really to get into the southern elections which were coming up in May of that year and they were telling everyone: We're going to get fourteen seats in The South - at that stage they had five – they ended up losing a seat! But in the process of all this they sold out all the family silver as far as Republicanism was concerned and they conned and fooled people into believing that if you supported the British institutions and so on and so forth there would be a united Ireland by 2016 blah, blah, blah and so it went on. Now I stood as did, and I was encouraged by the fact that there were numerous people standing – although they were mostly ex-Republican prisoners what have you, it was not in any way coordinated, it was fairly sporadic, there was obviously an agreement among people, there was nobody at war with one another, but there was no coordination and it was quite localised in its development. But in this part of the world I felt it was important that someone make a stance in Bobby Sands' old seat for traditional Republican values. And of course there was no realistic chance of me being elected to that Assembly on the first outing but my eye was on the council seat for the following year which I would easily had a quota for based on that election, despite having votes stolen from me and all the rest of it, and we would have then hopefully have seen some sort of organic, Republican alliance/party, whatever you want to call it, growing up – developing – so that by now there would have been an authentic, alternative Republican voice to challenge Sinn Féin which would be running Sinn Féin around the field right now. Of course the British and their associates, the Sinn Féin leadership, saw that and moved to put an end to it by clamping down on me and throwing me in gaol and all the rest of it and they've done the same to set an example by using me they've done the same to others and we've got to the stage now where a lot of people are still quite, believe it or not, quite reluctant to put their heads above the parapet because they know what happened in my particular experience and they don't want that repeated on themselves.

But having said that, I think that those various Republican groups have now become very, very strong, it has to be said. We've seen around the 1916 Centenary anniversary ceremonies - large turn-outs, quite considerable support for these various non-Sinn Féin Republican groupings, traditional Republicans, and I think they're going to, sooner or later, have a serious discussion about where they go from here. Are they just going to sit in a self-imposed exile, watching from the sidelines, while giving a mandate to the Shinners? And again I go back to 1918, I mentioned this to you the last time I spoke on this radio show, had the various Republicans in 1918 decided that they wouldn't go into British institutions or take part in British elections then the Irish Parliamentary Party would have won across the board. But because they were challenged those Republicans who grouped themselves under the grand title of 'Sinn Féin' – much different to what we understand it as today – they were elected and they were in the position to secede and bring about the War of Independence and the so-called independence that eventually evolved into the Twenty-Six Counties and so forth and had they not done that it wouldn't have been the case so people today have to start thinking more strategically, in my opinion.

MG: Gerry, I just want to bring you back: In 2007 you ran for election – I had the interesting experience – I campaigned in two elections. One in Doire for Peggy O'Hara, the mother of Patsy O'Hara - and obviously I know the O'Hara family – I'm very close to them and the other in Fermanagh-South Tyrone for you who I've known for years and have been very close to for years. And in the Doire election Peggy O'Hara was going to run on an abstentionist platform – she was never going to go into Stormont. She said that electing her was a vote just of non-support for the PSNI, for the Royal Ulster Constabulary which had brutalised her son and brought him to gaol where he would died on hunger strike. And in Fermanagh-South Tyrone you had intended to go into Stormont to speak against the policies, to highlight Republican issues for Sinn Féin to be in a position, Sinn Féin had done in the councils with the SDLP (Social Democratic and Labour Party), either to stand up for Republican principles or else to be seen to be silent on these Republican issues, for prisoners etc, and to expose them that way. It's funny, I took advice at that time from Brendan Hughes and I said: You know, Brendan, how do I be campaigning on an abstentionist platform for one candidate and then for you, somebody who's going to go into Stormont to try to work and debate and to raise Republican issues that way? And he said: Martin, the important thing is to just show that you're not going to support this institutions which are British and whatever pragmatic way we can do that is good; try to support both of those candidates 'cause both of them are going to make the same point. What would you recommend in future – should people try to campaign for abstentionism or should they go inside and try to fight against Sinn Féin if you believe that that's the best way to promote a united Ireland and Republicanism?

Well I mean obviously I couldn't give a definitive answer here now. I mean, back in 2007 as I say there was never any realistic chance of me being elected so I could say what I wanted and essentially had I, by some miracle, been elected on the first outing given all the opposition against me from the British, the Unionists, Sinn Féin – the whole works - what I would have intended to do was go in order to being carried out kicking and screaming every day for having a cause a ruckus and raised a huge embarrassment for the Shinners and everybody else who were upholding British rule in this part of Ireland, you know? I mean, Stormont means absolutely nothing to me other than what strategic value, or tactical value rather, it can be for bringing about a united Ireland in the long run. So you know it's really neither here nor there but I think people should at the very least consider standing on order to deny seats to those who are completely wedded to the British Establishment. Now whether they go in or don't go in is almost irrelevant until they figure out some much more cohesive plan. But there has to be something. There is too much political talent about wasting and we see third-rate Shinners going in there just to milk the system for their own benefits and no one is benefiting. And by the way, that 2016 united Ireland that Sinn Féin promised back in 2007 - as I predicted at the time - is no where near fruition...(cross-talk)

MG: Well it's the same point, Gerry, as Joe Cahill promised a united Ireland within five years; he promised that in 1998 and we'd have it by 2003. Gerry, just before we go, we're coming to the end of the programme (provides station's number) you in a way, your family, benefited from this programme because I know when people worked on the Gerry McGeough Family Campaign to send money, raise money, send it back to your family during the two years when you were in prison WBAI and this station and Radio Free Éireann were important in doing that. I'd just ask you to say a few words about WBAI and how important it is to you.

GM: WBAI, without any doubt, WBAI gave us a platform to highlight the injustice of what was being perpetrated upon me because of my political views and Sinn Féin were trying to silence everything; they were telling media outlets not to talk about it, not to talk about me and so on and so forth. But WBAI and yourself and John and the late Sandy Boyer and all the good people, Helen, whom I mentioned earlier, everyone worked hard and you used that voice of freedom, which is effective as it is, to help bring about my freedom and help see to it that my family wasn't left high and dry in the interim so I can only say to people: We need WBAI. We absolutely do. There's not outlet here in The Six Counties from where I am speaking that equates to it. I mean we have to speak to people in New York in order to get our voices out around the world. So WBAI is absolutely crucial and I'd ask everyone to dig deep – see to it that the radio station and this particular programme is kept going because it is a must.

And now you know, we're entering into a very interesting period. For the first time, I suppose since 2007, we're starting to see people thinking for themselves again, being in a position where they're prepared to challenge the status quo of this so-called Republican party and go for it now – and we've got to encourage everyone. This is not an issue that can be left sitting and rotting any longer. Within the next five years there's going to be some significant changes here and I suspect if we can get our act together now that the next Stormont elections, or even the next election coming up, will tell a different tale and WBAI will play a role in that because you're giving a voice to people who are always voiceless over here in Ireland and who actually know what's going on. And you know yourself, Martin, on your programme I have been in a position to call things that the media, the establishment media, were saying things differently and I have called them and called them correctly because I know what's going on at ground-level here. And the last time we spoke a few weeks ago I did say that Sinn Féin would lose seats here in Fermanagh-South Tyrone and that's exactly what has happened. So WBAI must be kept on-air. Radio Free Éireann must be kept on-air. And everyone must do what they have to do to see to it that that is the case. And it's been a real pleasure speaking to one and all.

MG: Alright, Gerry, we want to thank you, we're running out of time - our producer is pointing at the clock and waving and I'm afraid they'll use one of the words that we're not allowed to use on the radio. So Gerry, I want to thank you again for coming on. We're going to be off for a few weeks. I will be in Ireland. I'm going to be there to speak at a commemoration in Doire for Volunteer George McBrearty on the 28th of May and I'm certainly hoping to see you before that in Tyrone.

GM: Go raibh maith agat.

(ends time stamp ~ 55:20)


  1. A good read and a fair assessment although I am not sure the pro-life agenda did as much damage as suggested. Having said that there were instances of RCs voting DUP because of their stance on the issue. Certainly PBP has exploded the SF myth in W. Belfast in spectacular style. McGuinness went home to do nothing other than take the seat of an already existing MLA, so no gain there. There is indeed a feeling that the Adams McGuinness project and personal cruade has blunted, flatlined and is running out of steam and impetus. Jim Gibney seemed to be wanting to draw from the SDLP well agin in the future in an article the other day. I think they have begged stolen and borrowed all they can from that source already. Nationalist voters are indeed seeking something new other than SF and the SDLP now that the IRA has gone away you know. 46% of the electorate voted to stay at home. There is scope for candidates to put the SF judas agenda to bed in the next few elections. Personally I thing Gerry touched on something there that could work. Getting elected to be in opposition is a serious possibility. I think it would expose SF at every turn. The notion of sitting in an ivory republican tower and not taking seats will not inspire anyone. That shit is a dead duck approach. Move on from that. Over-all, interesting times on the horizon, couldn't agree more.

  2. Larry,

    a republican who read this interview said to me this morning that there is a substantial swathe of "Pro-Life" opinion in Tyrone and he felt it factored in to the results. I suppose the aligning with the DUP reflects some embodiment of the religious right. I still think it is going to take a lot more than the anti-abortion lobby to dent SF. But Gerry made a lot of insightful points here.

  3. Larry

    though the overall turnout was 54% across the North the turnout for the tribal headcount in Fermanagh/South Tyrone came in at 65%. That's a heartening enough reduction from the Westminster record turnout of 93.7% achieved in that same constituency in 1950!

    Change happens a bit slower in rural and essentially conservative constituencies but it is happening despite the old tribal urges. A bit of voter apathy is a healthy enough response to what passes for political representation and leadership on matters of concern. Those with vested interests can massage the figures and interpret them to suit their own particular bias but I don't envisage 'Pro-Life' or 'Unification' issues on their own getting a candidate elected to any of the representative bodies ever again ... not even in Fermanagh/South Tyrone.

    Gerry's opinions, which he's perfectly entitled to hold, will be viewed by a majority of a now wiser and better educated electorate as generally anachronistic.

  4. Henry Joy

    There is never the less a detectable stalling in the SF agenda and a shift in the electorate that is good to see. The main parties surviving off sectarian head count politics and in cahoots on that do little but line their own pockets. SF have bedded right into that. PBP with their result in W. Belfast in particular show there is a desire for more.

  5. you seem to have like minded on this site. people want more. what's on offer?

  6. Absolutely Larry

    there are seeds of hope both North and South. The electorates have become more discerning and are not going to any longer vote en masse for parties that don't effectively represent them, or at least aren't seen to be genuine about attempting to do that. Gone are the days of voting for parties or candidates merely based on historical family allegiances.

    Indeed the PBP results from Derry and West Belfast are heartening.

    The point I'm also making is I don't see the type of politics as advocated by the likes of McGeough and the 1916 Societies making any significant contribution to the advancement of a better, more civic and more mature society in the years ahead. In fact they're probably a hindrance to a more mature politics emerging more swiftly and on a grander scale ... a minor hindrance though insofar as they merely slow the speed of the inevitable maturing process.

  7. People may vote for pro Stormont candidates, in the hope of better material benefits.
    Offer them more.
    To advocate the RIGHT TO LIFE against Sinn Féin is a no no.
    They and their supporters lost the most in the RIGHT TO LIFE struggling in what is an unfinished business.
    You, spoke about council democracy, do you fully under the concept?. Sinn Féin clearly do not.
    This is not about Republican sacrifice, more about republican democracy.
    Your critique is good. My partner controls the purse,she would like more in that purse.
    It's not that I would not vote for you, I simply would not.
    But in the name of Jesus nailed upon the cross, what the fcuk do you speak of?.

  8. McGeough's "Republican alliance/party, whatever you want to call it" never got off the ground because he says that the Brits/SF seen to it that it never happened. Surely it never got off the ground because they can't agree on an end to armed struggle or abstentionism?

  9. Henry Joy/Peter

    Whilst I see the need for a more assertive and unashamed brand of Irish nationalist representation in the wee 6 a continual harping back to 1916 doesn't cut it. People are desperate for something real and tangible and a move away from self serving poltical criminality, for that's what it is glibally. But it is not a desire for a move 'back to the future'. Abstentionism is political suicide. There's really nothing that can be done for those who wish to perpetuate the past other than maybe give them their day at Rossnowlagh beach. The anti GFA elements need to come up with something positive and effective. Moaning just turns people off.

    I thing Gerry McGeogh and many others are delighted to see the SF wagon hit a rock and a wheel wobble. It hasn't caused me any sleep loss either. It was always a matter of time before the 'piss-process' card would out live its value and real politics kick in. SF don't have any real politcs it seems. Just nice suits and allocate HM budget for the 5 counties. The question is, what else is there to do? It is all about allocation of funds. Nothing else. That is the hurdle facing those constantly complaining at present. Address that.

  10. I'm afraid I have to disagree with your assessment this time Larry.

    The last thing the electorate needs is any further 'nationalism' in any shape, form or colour. There is an need for leadership in shaping a more civic society. That requires an articulation of what a more civic, tolerant and equal society looks like and what the blocks to achieving that are.

    To my mind the beating of either of the nationalist drums only ensures continued tribal division and prevents people from finding common purpose.

    Change more often than not comes slowly and usually in small increments. We have come a substantial way insofar as the majority of us on both sides have rejected violence as an effective method for implementing political change. This change needs to be acknowledged; neither under-played nor over-played just respectfully acknowledged.
    After such a prolonged history of strife it beholds all responsible citizens to remain calm and remain patient. It beholds us to favour progress, as slow and limited as that may be, over perfectionist and idealist outcomes.

    Nationalism in N.Ireland is divisive insofar as it stirs up the past and stirs up strong emotion in many. As everyone knows Larry, people don't always think straight when in highly aroused emotional states. Some get drunk on it. And when they're drunk some of them are cunts. Tread carefully with your nationalism. In my opinion, its a block rather than an asset to achieving a more civic and tolerant society.

  11. I suppose observing these debates and discussions over the years has served to reinforce my view that our republicanism simply failed as an answer to the question of partition.

    The contributions from Sean or the more recent one from RSF (their contribution in Turkey) have hardened my view that republicanism is beset by strategic sterility.

    I invariably ask myself what can republicans do rather than what can republicanism do because it has been pretty fixed in my mind for a long time that republicanism can do nothing.

    Never once have we come up with anything that has shown signs of gaining even mimimum traction as a strategy that can be grounded in the lives and concerns of real living people.

    Armed struggle is a rain dance although a far from harmless one and OIOV, while much preferable giving that it ostensibly avoids the cruelty of war, shows not the slightest sign of working any better than prayer.

  12. maybe there is nothing wrong with irish republicanism, save for the fact this country is not interested in sovereignty or responsibility. maybe the irish are colonized - we speak english watch english tv and are not that unique anymore. republicanism is not a failure, people are slave minded and conservative now, thats the problem. this could be the greatest country in europe but we squandered it instead of building a country. irish republicans are about the soundest skins in this country of sheep.

  13. Well said 'goot', you've got it bang on there - republicanism is not the problem but the solution. Its time will come again but in the interim we hold on and do not abandon our post, as the redoubtable republican analyst and ex-POW John Crawley - one of the most dangerous men the empire has ever faced - encouraged of us at a recent commemoration to the Loughgall Martyrs.

  14. Henry Joy

    I am not flaunting my nationalism to the detriment of others or their stated political and national allegiance. Nor do I desire a situation where I could at will parade it rudely through other peoples lives unwanted. However watching McGuinness slither up to Arlene Foster begging for a photo op' and remaining speechless when she tells RCs they must mind their place in the wee 6 and remember where thay are is too much. I would be inclined to politely remind Foster it is she and her British ex pat community here who are the outsiders and on borrowed time. SF are an empty vessel and it doesn't even make much noise these days. Republicanism is a failed recipe. I have no interest in endless re-runs. The tv has enough of that crap going on. It is one thing to be anti violence and accepting of the status quo, it is another thing entirely to be doing it from a kneeling position. I think that is where we differ HJ.

  15. AM

    essentially we've reached a similar conclusion ... republicanism is indeed a beaten docket.

    Yet some people just can't accept that harsh fact. So much of their identity is tied up with their previous life that they just can't move on. Some are so deluded that they insist on hanging onto a created self-image of one engaged in a heroic struggle. Their hopes and aspirations are so entangled with this imagined and idolised All-Ireland republic its just too painful a step for them to come into reality. In many ways all this mirrors the psychology of an addiction. For many I believe its a pathetic, delusional and misguided attempt at avoiding the painful challenges of maturing and growing up. They just haven't figured out yet how to get their needs met in a more healthy way. In that regard, I suppose like the addict, they are to be pitied rather than scorned.

    Anyone with a modicum of common sense, never mind wisdom, would be well advised to make an effort to scrutinise closely the clap-trap that most of these guys come out with. In the same way one wouldn't want their nearest and dearest to come under the influence of a group of addicts we ought not let our young people be influenced by these crowd of yahoos either. Their ramblings and twisted narrative ought not be left unchallenged.

    More than enough said on this for now!

  16. "More than enough said on this for now!"
    jaysus henry, never a truer word spoke.

    addicts (thats third addict word henry, are u revealing something here)

    henry, next time im having kevin myarse, ruth dudley edwarse and eoghan harse over for tea and scones, i'll make sure to invite you, you will go down a bomb. in fact, they might even begin to worry about their own ramblings which they get so highly paid for, when they find out you are here on the pensive quill churning it out daily for free. wait a second. maybe u r gettin a few shillings. never thought of that. and if ur not, u definitely cud. i can put u on to the right people. do you realise what kevin cud earn if he put his name to ur post. loads henry.

  17. 'Goot', have to confess that your last comment is the best I've seen on here in quite some time. From staunch Ó Bradaighite to Eoghain Harris incarnate, you'd have to wonder. As you rightly suggest, the boul' Henry Joy would certainly fit much of his own criteria...

  18. Henry Joy,

    I suppose it is the way ideology and discourses work - they hail you (interpellation is how Althusser termed it) and then draw you in through rituals and culture. Althusser once asked if people believe in god and then fall down on their knees and pray or if they fall down on their knees to pray and then believe in god. There is something in that in terms of how people are ideologically recruited and bound into the project whatever it is.

    I have a large measure of sympathy for those who at least believe in something and little sympathy for those who forego their beliefs at the drop of a hat with little or thinking in between. I always suspect Road to Damascus type conversions.

    In your own case I think you wrestled with it probably long before you let it go. But that is the only way to do it. I tend to feel that every single one of us who left the Provos probably wished we had made the move earlier. The break does not come at the start of a thought process but well into it. We just don't break with a religion at the first doubt about the existence of god.

    I don't think they are addicts, merely people who are defined by their sense of republicanism. Things like hunger strike deaths and the like can have a deep pull on a person. I so easily see myself from another day in their position. And on more than one occasion they end up being real friends when the smoke of argument fades away.

    Even with Sean, whose ideas I see no merit in - we chat away on email of Facebook while the debate is raging on, and it never gets mentioned. It is as if it is two other people debating on TPQ. Alex McCrory once said to me that something as good as friendship should not be sullied by something as sordid as politics. I have always found it good advice.

    I don't think they lack maturity: they often seem beset by idealism rather than an awareness of the possibilities. Very mature and intelligent people believe in god. It amazes me that they do but as long as they don't practice their religion on me they can believe what they want.

    You describe it almost as a pathology which I don't buy into. It seems more nuanced than that.

    Yes, there is a lot of guff. But it is a more palatable guff than the type of stuff SF expects people to believe. I often think it is not well thought through.

    Their narrative is challenged all the time. The problem for me is not so much in them holding to their narrative but if they seek to suppress challenges to it.

    In my long held view republicanism some time ago reached the limits of its strategic potential. It lacks strategic nous and is reduced to the mantra of reiteration. An atheist like myself will always find praying for the promised land a waste of time. I am wholly atheistic about the existence of a republican strategy that can overcome the devil of partition and consent.

  19. goot man Gerome

    What a humorous response. Brilliant!
    Still doesn't belie the fact though that republicanism is a spent force.


    what gives you the impression that I go down or advocate going down to a kneeling position?
    I don't find it that difficult to maintain an assertive position. I advocate for an assertive stance when its called for. For the record I don't generally support aggression nor submissive responses.

  20. very immature and stupid people believe in god too, we are all his children and equally dumb and loved, sorry, but i do practice my religion on all people but only when they are unborn and defenceless and unable to speak for themselves and after that they can tell me to go fuck myself im not bovered. irish republicanism is very narrow when listening to u and hj. weve actually moved on way more than the enlightened beings like hj who swan around here insulting us. real irish republicans, not to be confused with the real ira, are more concerned about the international banks, the globalist agenda, the scientific controlled society they are rolling out, their endless wars, their mass media and university power, big pharma tyranny, global dumbing down and servility to a scientific elite etc etc etc. its u guys quoting nietzche and other irrelevant dead nerds who are up a cul de sac.

    'father in heaven, i thank you for hiding from the learned and the clever what you reveal to the childlike'.

  21. Goot/Grouch/Jerome,

    stick to one name in case the uninitiated get confused. We know you are not trying to fool anyone but it makes things less complicated at our end.

    You are more than welcome to your religious opinion. I just believe in one god less than you believe in.

  22. Henry Joy, yo go down alright. There's no doubt about that whatsoever. A truncheon sucker par excellence...

  23. Grouch
    The Irish are "slave minded and conservative now"! Made me chuckle. The irish have always been slave minded and conservative thanks to the catholic church, an empire much more evil than the British one. Republicanism didn't work nor will it work because it calls for a revolution in the most socially conservative place in Europe. Watching the republican splinter groups thrashing around searching for relevance in modern Ireland is truly a pathetic sight to behold. Revolutions only replace one set of bastards with another.

  24. AM/HJ/Bresser/Grouch

    I see the man of the house Arlene Foster said there'll be no SF minister for justice. Not a whimper from the Croppy Bhoys either.

    As for the religion issue I'm not fussy either way on that score I'm just Irish when it comes down to identity. Allah Akbar....UTP

  25. AM

    sure there are nuanced differences in our interpretations but our conclusions are essentially the same. The challenge of expression in language will always rely to a large degree on simile and metaphor. We'll generally over-map information to models we already have a grasp on. To that end I tend to see valid comparisons between a social learning model (rather than a disease one) of addiction and the behaviour (actions & beliefs) of republicans; just as there are addiction pattern similarities with anyone who believes in sky-gods or reincarnation. They're all forms of avoidance, merely emotional soothers and a lazy or even crazy way of creating meaning and purpose.

  26. Peter,

    the Catholic Church was indeed evil in much of what it did. But to ask us to believe it was much more evil than the British empire is a big ask. I am not sure there is a lot to choose between.

  27. sean bres

    Back to name calling again.

    My daddy is bigger than your daddy!!!!!!!!!

  28. Henry Joy,

    our conclusions are the same insofar as we agree that republicanism is finished. They are not the same in terms of what continues to motivate republicans. Do we harshly judge those who we once were for purposes of clarity or do we do it as some form of self-expurgation so that the new clothes fit better? Are we even able to tell the difference? Sometimes the enthusiasm of the convert can be as distorting a prism as the dogma of the unconverted.

  29. Henry Joy,

    Sean is name calling but not before a certain measure of provocation ... yahoos and suchlike.

    It is much better if everybody sticks to the issues. Not always easy and name calling spices things up but does it add anything?

  30. Thank you for referencing our eminent brain surgeon's absolute hypocrisy Mackers and I find the idea, which he has successfully planted in his own mind, that the differences in your stance are only nuance an appalling claim

  31. henry joyless, gimme another word for thesaurus.

  32. up the republic. brits out. fuck off.

  33. Peter,

    Feck sake wise the bap! Have you any idea how the Empire covered three quarters of the globe?

    Here's a hint; they didn't turn up with flowers and chocolates and make everyone a cuppa!

    We all know the wanton corruption and endemic child rapes in the rc church but trying to score points by claiming some moral superiority in a shit fight should be beneath you.

  34. Sean,

    it is not a matter of hypocrisy but of slippage into cat calling. Most here have done it. Just heard a comment last night that if a cop tails any driver for 500 miles he will find cause to issue a ticket for some infraction. So it is no big deal that everybody crosses the white line every so often. I try to pull them all back in.

    There has been much worse claimed on this site than the comparisons drawn by Henry Joy. It is just his opinion, nothing more, nothing less, something he has every right to hold.

    You just get far too excitable about it all and end up responding in a manner that is not conducive to the argument you seek to make. Henry Joy in some ways uses the debating ploy of Theo Van Gogh. The late Theo was very effective in getting his opponent to do the work for him by losing the run of himself and ended up making his own argument appear incoherent. The challenge is to stay mid lane and not get nudged out of position.

  35. Steve Ricardos

    Agree with you there. Colonialism was never pretty. Global house-breaking with murder and pillage and rape thrown in. Insult the home owners with names such as savages/terroists and being a threat to our way of life and ... job done and justified. The RC church was little better and Cardinal Paul Cullen saw the British Empire as a vehicle with which to spread Catholicism globally. Not a hairs difference between them on 'moral' grounds. As for those working class opportunists in the armed forces, my father and my grandfather on my mums side being two of them, they had different experiences. My grandfather, desperate for a job joined the Royal Ulster Riffles and saw Dunkirk and D-Day for his trouble. My dad, a more sociopathic and self serving little reptile saw the RAF as an easy option in the 1960s and saw action of a different sort. Namely pole dancers and whore houses in Singapore before the Brits were eventually told by the locals enough is enough, get out and take your whores with you. So, the RAF had to leave and take their bed hopping little wives with them.

    Many people did ok from Empire. People from two up two down terraced houses with outside toilets in Lurgan could come home and act like lady of the manor after being in Singapore. A place most of their peers couldn't locate on a map. Indeed many of those who were there in the forces couldn't to this day locate it on a map. Funny how the Americans are still like that today.

    The civil service in India was top heavy and effectively run by Irishmen in the Crown Forces. The RAF in the 1970s were deseperate to unload the Irish who had basically made it their own. Good careers were to be had and the easy life and comfort afforded by a guaranteed job no doubt appealed to many Irish and not just the loyalists of the wee 6. Why my parents chose to return to Armagh in early 1973 when I was 9 years old then develop an eternal hatred for me for becoming radicalised will forever remain a mystery. But be assured, if I ever win the lotto I'm hiring that hitman for both of them. NOT a hairs difference between the British Empire or the RC church morally. Neither of them ever had any morals.

  36. I don't think we can describe this Henry Joy's comments as 'slippage' at all but the constant theme of an absolute slave. Nor am I convinced of his road to Damascus conversion. That he desperately seeks to impress that you and him are in agreement tells me he understands little of your 'nuance' as he describes it. There are none of us on this site making the claim republicanism is about to ride the crest of a wave home to victory and almost all of us understand that the republican struggle is in a deeply troubling place and seriously up against it. What separates the like of you and I on this is that I think something can still be done about it whereas you don't - and I certainly don't blame you. The odds would likely say you're correct on this one and not me, if we were to put a bet on with Paddy Power. Where this cretin separates himself from the rest of us though is in his mind-blowing and indeed disgraceful labelling of the best of good people. I don't know who he thinks he is but I can guarantee he would not dare venture those opinions to his friends, family or former comrades. Which to me makes him not only a slave but a coward. Not even run-of-the-mill DUPers are as bad - indeed he's practically on the same wavelength as the worst of them, the obnoxious and hate-ridden Gregory Campbell.

  37. Sean,

    he criticises ordinary people not the best, not the worst. The broad group of people he criticises has within it the best and the worst: after that things average out. The comparison with Gregory Campbell is hypebole. He advocates a constitutional nationalist perspective rather than a right wing unionist draconian one. He appears to view armed struggle advocates much like he would those who kill doctors who perform abortions. These are all perfectly plausible positions for any constitutional nationalist to hold. Republicans can rest easy with much of it also, if they so choose.

    For the sake of advancing your own perspective you would be better either addressing the arguments substantively or ignoring them. Continuing in the current mode does not serve your political ideas well.

  38. Sean

    Honestly, take a step back and calm yerself. WP pacifists like HJ are plentiful. Wall to wall and hang-men taboot. As for republicanism, like any other political concept it is merely a vehicle Sean, it is not the holy grail. It is out of date and a new vehicle is required. I agree with you HJ is a bit too subserviant and would aspire to upgrading himself to 'house-nigger' if only the huns would take an interest in him. Move on from it. If you insist on flogging a dead horse that's your call both with HJ and republicanism. Something new is required politically and republicanism isn't the answer. The sad thing is all that admirable energy of yours is being pissed into the sand.

  39. Larry,

    You strike me as someone who is sick of violence, I take it your anger toward your parents is just venting spleen? If not, I'm surprised as you come across as someone who knows how much anger eats up and spits out people.

    Slightly off topic, does anybody know how we 'Prods' (I've given up explaining) got the moniker 'Huns'?

  40. AM

    on an aside and slightly off-topic but on Althusser's comment you mentioned about going down on one's knees to find god verses finding god and then going to one's knees: it reminded me that something similar is somewhat represented in the 12 Step addiction recovery model. Participants are indoctrinated into accepting the 'disease' model rather than a social learning one. They then are encouraged to seek 'a power greater than themselves' to help them effect a recovery. This wording of course allows atheists to jump through the hoop too. Effectively though most members just replace a malign addiction with a more benign one to a deity.

    The second step of 'coming to believe that a power greater than oneself could restore us to sanity' regardless of how its practised does encourage a tempering of egocentric-ism. It does facilitates a greater degree of humility and a resulting retreat from absolute positions.
    No bad thing of itself. Alas it seems that those republicans that go down on their knees perhaps are like Augustus 'O Lord make me humble, but not just yet'!

    I'm not familiar with Althusser's work but I did check him out when you mentioned him some time back ... if I remember correctly he did suffer greatly with mental health problems throughout his life and ended up strangling the wife. Not of course that should be held against him LOL.

  41. life has conquered
    the wind has blown away
    alexander, caesar
    and all their power and sway
    tara and troy have made no longer stay
    and the sassenachs too
    will have their day

    for sean bres -

  42. AM
    All empires defend their power with violence and torture so there may be nothing to choose between them. As far as mind control is concerned the RC church held millions of people to ransom with their idea that you can't get to heaven unless you believe their made up guff. They controlled what people could say, think and do even in their own bedrooms. A truely sick empire. Don't you see the irony of pious catholics condemning the British empire while following the church?

  43. Peter,

    as mush as I discern the irony of people following the British empire and condemning the Catholic Church.

    All empires make up ideological guff. The British spewed the fantasy line that their empire was for the good of the countries they invaded and plundered.

  44. Henry Joy,

    he was a deeply troubled man who suffered depression throughout much of his life. His early student who later became a Marxist theoretician in his own right, Nicos Poulantzas, leapt to his death in 1979. Their insights are, as you suggest, none the lesser for that. If they are to be critiqued it is for other reasons. I prefer Poulantzas.

    There is a power greater than ourselves. It is called society and it helps if we listen to it in all its discordant voices rather than seek to impose our view of how it should be on to it.

    Most people I imagine hold fundamentalist positions on some things and it is no bad thing in itself. I am a fundamentalist when it comes to being fundamentally opposed to rape, torture and slavery in all circumstances without exception.

    But what happens in intellectual life is that we allow it to be polluted by vanity. It becomes all important to win each point. Intellectual life if it is to exist as a pluralist entity rather than a totalitarian billy club for battering opponents into submission, is best regarded like tennis. Ideas are batted back and forth and often the point has to be ceded without the loser going into a tizzy over it.

  45. Steve Ricardos

    I hold no anger for the parents I'm just all out of patience and my 'duck's back' has become a closed door. Now the mother in particular has had to find new targets and by all accounts did exactly that. Glad to be away from them. As for their much lauded RAF and Singapore I just got fed up keeping shtum listening to the fantasy drivel. I now just tell it like it was, a glorified whorehouse both in Singapore and England. But my wife knows this and wasn't fooled by the 'bucket'performances as the Americans were in the Philippines and created Angeles City beside Clarke Airforce base and in Thailand during the vietnam war they created Pattaya. The natives know the reality. Changi in Singapore in the late 1960s was no different. Pack of whores let loose.