You Should Not Have Written That Book

Matt Treacy @ Brocaire Books pushes back against censorship and being told what to think. 

If anyone was ever in doubt about the totalitarian strain in leftism, then they ought to write a book that strays beyond some Marvel Comic version of them standing up to fascism.

I have written two books about the republican movement and one about the Communist Party. The first two were subject to spurious threats of legal action, and the third to various ongoing forms of abuse.

It would seem that unless you are the Great Leader or one of his acolytes who retails a folklore version of history that you are not allowed write about our history.

For a movement that claims to be in the tradition of Irish democratic republicanism the current Sinn Féin is completely unable to tolerate any form of dissent. People who were on the blanket protest and in the H Blocks during the hunger strikes have been excoriated over what they have written. In contrast to others, McIntyre and O’Rawe and McGlinchey have told the truth.

My book is about my experiences in the movement, in and outside prison. My history and my version of what happened. Some people seem incapable of dealing with that.

Which begs the question: What sort of country would it be if these people were in power? If they are intent on suppressing internal dissonance, and go to extraordinary lengths to vilify anyone within the tent who dares express a contrary opinion, what would they be like if they were in real power? Real power as opposed to running the six counties for the Tories I mean.

One of formative experiences of my childhood were books. My Dub granny had been involved in the Tan War as had her family, and even further back. She was a living mine of information, but she also placed huge value on books and was a critical reader of ones that had been written about the time. It taught me how to evaluate information and see that there was always several takes on what had happened. But more importantly, that everyone had the right to have their say. That was the whole point of the Republic.

My Limerick grandfather on my mother’s side was not a republican in that sense. He was a Labour supporter. His contribution to my intellectual corruption was that he had a rather amazing collection of books that had been banned here at one stage or another. He had O’Caseys, O’Connors, O’Faolains, Steinbecks, The Tailor and Ansty. and many others. I was fortunate enough to inherit some of them.

What I also inherited was a refusal to be told what to think and what to say.


  1. They have developed a new form of coercion - 'Unity', if you are not with us, you are against us. It's a bit like the pack culture.

  2. Well said, Matt.

    That is the primary reason I would not dream of looking to be part of either a Republican or Socialist state - in the UK or Ireland. History has shown their love of totalitarianism. For all its flaws, the capitalism of the UK and Ireland still tolerates liberty.

  3. Presumably the last post about capitalism being the best way forward is just a bad joke intended to wind people up. Capitalism is rotten to the core. Imperialism, as Lenin pointed out is the highest form of capitalism has preyed on humanity for centuries ensuring the concentration of wealth and privilage. Making the rich richer and the poor poorer. Matt Treacey's exposure of tge reformist zeal in Sinn Fein is illuminating but he leads nowhere excepth into a cul de sac of pessimism and despair.

  4. Matt,

    You say that Sinn Fein today cant handle any form of dissent.

    Because from what Ive heard, read and witnessed first hand from my own personal experience is that Sinn Fein under the Adams juncta was never tolerant of anyone who even remotely went against the grain, and where always quickly sidelined without any semblance of democracy or respect.

    Im just wondering if you can answer me this,
    I'm sure there were many times in the past when you knew of members being bullied or threatened out of the party for going against the party and subsequently blackened to silence them or negate their grievances,

    Would you have opposed that sort of carry on say ten to twenty years ago? or is it in Sinn Feins in its current incarnation that you oppose it?

    And if the latter is your preference , what would be the difference between then and now?