Republicans And History

Matt Treacy has been subject to a Sinn Fein "Smearwa" for writing a book not approved by the party leadership. His experience is recounted  @ Brocaire Books.

Seems to be that only certain people are allowed to write about their past. Which upsets Dear Leaders and their attendants.

I wrote another book, and as with the others have been subjected not to the ordinary criticism that a book might attract, and it might well be crap, but to all sorts of other stuff.

Some people's notion of intellectual engagement is to tell you to shut up, or failing that to accuse you of any number of personal faults. Anyone who writes about Sinn Féin and doesn’t follow the Orwellian party line is obviously anything from a heroin addict to an MI6 agent. Or all of them.

So, who gets to write our history?

When it was proposed that I write a history of republican prisoners in Portlaoise, based on a vast archive kept by someone who had devoted years to this and to supporting republican prisoners and their families, it was rejected.

It was rejected by someone who had written a book about the H Blocks. I suspect the irony was lost on him. The reason it was rejected was because I suspect it conflicted with their then – early noughties – plan to be in coalition with Bertie.

Anyway, I was in middle of doing a degree course and writing other stuff, and no one was going to tell me what I could and could not write about.

Others have crossed the Rubicon and fell under the intellectual fatwa. Anthony McIntyre’s account of what he perceived to be the reality of the ceasefire and its outcome led him to be not only ostracised but subject to physical threats.

Richard O’Rawe who wrote about his time in the H Blocks during the blanket protests and hunger strikes was suddenly a “tout.” The irony again being lost on people who were regaling this bullshit and had been in anti-republican parties at the time. You make your own history I suppose.

Or the Donnelly family in Derry whose house was invaded by men with nailed baseball bats who beat little girls. Moral of the story being : “Shut the fuck up.”

Well, some of us won’t shut the fuck up.


  1. "Anyone who writes about Sinn Féin and doesn’t follow the Orwellian party line is obviously anything from a heroin addict to an MI6 agent."

    Danny Morrison must protest, plenty of Agents in SF!!

  2. Matt,

    what did you expect?

    Some dogs bite when they perceive themselves threatened.
    For cults to thrive they need to enforce conformity ... survival and longevity requires isolation, castigation and a culling of any outliers.

    Deviants from cultish 'groupthink' ought anticipate a closing of ranks. They'd be best advised to anticipate the inevitable hostility that will be unleashed upon them... and they ought have appropriate responses prepared for those eventualities.

  3. Been trying to get a copy of Matt's book without success can anyone advise. I looked at Brocaire Books web site but couldn't see the book there, and besides it look US based and I'm in England.