Bloody Sunday and the legitimacy of the Republican insurgency

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Political reaction to Saville has been largely predictable, Unionists indulging in whataboutery and deflection, the ill-informed British public shocked by the appalling savagery of our boys and Nationalist Ireland, already well acquainted with the horrible facts, delighted that they have been officially admitted.

What was a little less predictable was David Cameron, standing up in parliament and sounding like he was reading a press release from Connolly House and the incredible scenes in Derry where the watching crowds cheered when a family member told the world that the parachute regiment was now disgraced and should be stripped of their medals and at the same time, cheering the allegedly-Unionist-friendly Tory Prime Minister.

What is also less predictable is the long term political implications of the report. What we can say for certain say is that Unionists and Nationalists will continue to disagree over the significance of Bloody Sunday and particularly the role it played in both explaining and or justifying the armed insurrection which raged for decades.

Perhaps the greatest fear Unionism has of the political fallout from the Saville Report, as witnessed by the embarrassing kneejerk reaction of most of their political leaders, is that the Republican narrative of why Ulster was torn apart by violence – will gain greater currency in Ireland, Britain and internationally.

This may be particularly so in Britain, given the level of ignorance regarding the events of Bloody Sunday (with even the SOS for Northern Ireland, Mr Patterson, incredibly claiming that both himself and Mr Cameron were surprised to learn of the nature of what took place) and it is therefore possible that many in Britain will take a different view of those, namely the IRA, who massively intensified their insurgency against the British presence after Bloody Sunday.

That British presence had long been resented by Nationalists, North and South, because of the injustice and gerrymandering of partition overlaying a bitter historical relationship – and the decision to deploy British troops to implement both the security policy of the sectarian Stormont regime and to try and impose manners on the indigenous population is now recognised by everybody bar (most) Unionists as a grave mistake.

Post Saville, where David Cameron sounds like Gerry Adams, the insurgency leaders are in government and Widgery’s reckless bordering on the criminal report has been consigned to the rubbish bin, the (mainstream) Unionist narrative that the IRA campaign was simply a criminal adventure will be increasingly difficult to maintain.

So how much longer can Unionists, who after all introduced the concept that Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right remain in denial as to the causes of  ‘the Troubles’ and simply ignore the unpalatable facts regading the coercion that they used to form the state and the violence (as horribly illustrated in Saville report) , sectarianism and the threat of civil war that were employed to maintain it?

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  • bigchiefally

    How did Cameron sound like Adams?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    bigchiefally,

    Cameron: “There is no doubt, there is nothing equivocal there are no ambigutities what happened on Bloody sunday was both unjustified and unjustifiable, it was wrong.

  • Johnny Boy

    PIRA were already committed to the road of violence before the events of Bloody Sunday. It was an accelerant, but the escalation of violence had already begun. It should also be noted that Saville exonerates the state from a grand conspiracy regarding the events on the day.

  • fin

    Sammy, I think what was missing with Davey was that he didn’t even attempt to speak as someone who is primeminister for those who were on the stage or gathered in Derry when the statement was read.
    In turn, those in Derry were not cheering there primeminister, they were cheering an admission of guilt from the person responsible for the British army (sans Brenda)
    A large slice of unionism and the British rightwing immediately dragged the IRA and republicanism into this arguement, its time to stand back and look at the march for what it was, namely a protest march for civil rights, a campaign for political reform, and most importantly it was for civil rights and reform within a British political system and a British state.

    Where now for those who say ‘the union is safe’ where now for a primeminister who believes in the union, when he cannot stand up and say British soldiers attacked British citizens marching in a British city for civil rights and political reform in British politics.

    Afterall isn’t NI as British as Finchley, as British as Fish and Chips.

    Its probably far to much to hope for, but its worth noting that the East European communist states did not collapse in a slow orderly fashion that was forseeable, rather it was individual incidents that set off a chain reaction of events resulting in their demise.

    Today the BS families ask for ‘foreign’ help in taking there own governments army to court, Ballymurphy survivors are empowered, Brian Nelson’s ghost still lingers, the alternative to more inquiries is a full Truth commission something that republicans are keen on, there are cracks appearing in the union and while the DUP and TUV froth at the mouth about Saville I think the less extreme unionist is possibly beginning to feel things should change

  • Johnny Boy

    I thiink it’s fair to say that the IRA and Republicanism are doing the positioning themselves.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2010/jun/16/bloody-sunday-british-army?

  • Oracle

    Have to agree with Bigchiefally… Cameron didn’t sound like Adams at all.

    1) Cameron came across as genuine; Adams couldn’t come across as genuine even if he had an authentication certificate from Sotheby’s

    2) Cameron didn’t try to make a hash of the Irish language.

    3) Cameron didn’t try to tell the world that the Government moved very quickly indeed to have the Para’s thrown out of the Armed forces.

    4) Cameron didn’t try and tell us that the Para’s just turned up in Derry and the G.O.C had to have a quiet word in their ear.

    5) Cameron didn’t try to excuse the British Government for Bloody Sunday on the grounds that the Prime Minister of the day had a sick relative.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Johnnyboy,

    “Saville exonerates the state from a grand conspiracy regarding the events on the day”.

    Whether there was a conspiracy or not is a moot point, there cetainly was a mindset – the mindset that enforced internment and deployed paratroopers with the inevitable consequences.

    Fin,

    I appreciate you are asking a rhetorical question about Finchley and Chips – but I have to answer with a resounding NO I prefer a comaprison of Britishness with pre 1997 Hong Kong.

    Regarding Cameron, given the context and the reality of his position I thought he did extremely well (I think he even used the term ‘Derry’) but like you say the cheering in Derry was simply to do with the delight that a representative of British state was putting his hands up and admitting his country got it horribly wrong.

    re.”I think the less extreme unionist is possibly beginning to feel things should change”

    Hopefully Saville will help Unionists understand the depth of disgust at the British army and the reinfocement of the belief amongst many Nationalists that the British government had and has no moral legitimacy in Ulster.

  • fin

    Hello Sammy, firstly, should have said earlier its good to see you back posting on slugger, however I would remind you that Hong Kong was a contractual agreement so the end was in writing since its inception, however, its a valid point, as been of an age I remember it happening and unsurprisingly the horrors depicted by the rightwing here never did happen after China regained the territory, possibly a point of note for unionism. Patton was involved there aswell, possibly we could rehire him for an orderly handover of this colony as he knows the place and has the right experience.

    I believe the British subjects in Hong Kong were given a right to resettle in GB if they didn’t like the change, I also recall that the local British people in GB got a bit narked when they realised just how many British citizens might be coming, as I recall most didn’t make the trip in the end.

    But in short, I disagree, I think its more East and West Germany for Ireland, Germany spending 1.5 trillion Marks (or is it Euros on the project. Ireland should be much cheaper, and of course with savings of 10 billion a year I’m sure the ‘mainland’ would (fish and) chip in, 10 billion been roughly the savings they are trying to make per year at the moment

  • Johnny Boy

    The fact remains that the British government did and does have actual legetimacy in Ulster. Their security forces goal has been maintaining law and order and fighting terrorists. Thier policies have sometimes been misguided, mistakes have been made, and their have been many bad apples. None of that justifies the atrocities carried out by Republicans, and no republican atrocities justified those carried out by Loyalists.

  • Johnny Boy

    The one fly in your ointment is of course that the majority of inhabitants of NI want to keep the Union and the people of both NIs communities are a a fiesty bunch. Also would Rep. Ireland want to be lumbered with us?

  • vanhelsing

    Slappy – ————’If the PIRA were a murder gang, they wouldn’t have bothered to phone in bomb warnings————

    This is not a bout of whataboutery…but in refuting the above statement I could give you a list the length of your arm of atrocities that PIRA committed without phone warnings…come on really…

    Nice video – thought Ian was looking well. Do you really want a titfortat tatfortit youtube highlights reel of the troubles?

    Dep First Minister telling vols that if they go over the to the other side they’ll be murdered…
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ch5u8YbOyIE

    Is this how we move Northern Ireland forward – I don’t think so.

    Turgon – who I don’t agree with on everything by a country mile has written an informative piece of work here.

  • kevin moran

    Yet again we hear of the “British presence” in this part of the UK as if it is something that is imposed from outside. The so-called ‘British presence’ is the majority community that lives here and is generally defined as ‘unionist’.

    The republican murder gangs attempted to murder enough men, women and children to weaken the resolve of the majority of the community to defend their position. They failed. Notwithstanding the killing fields along the border where their sectarian butchery, aided by ready santuary in a supportive Republic, produced a small area that adhered to their vision of a ‘New Ireland’.

    They will try again, and fail again.

    Unionist fear no ‘narrative’ of what happened in Northern Ireland. It is republicans who bleat for reinforcement and vindication from any who will lend them an ear. Unionists know who we are. We need no one to hold our hands. We have faced down the republican beast many times. If we have to defeat it again, alone or otherwise, so be it.

  • Ulidian

    Has the author of this article actually read the report? It basically blames a bunch of soldiers & their commanding officer, whilst exonerating both the devolved & national governments – Cameron said nothing of his country getting it horribly wrong. It must be a great relief to the families, but I can’t see how it changes any grander “narrative”.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Ulidian,

    re’ “Cameron said nothing of his country getting it horribly wrong”

    He apologised on behalf of the government of his country whom he suggested were ultimately responsible for the events of the day – I think Davey believes they went horribly wrong – others, mostly Nationalists, believe the events of the day were pre-planned.

  • Ulidian

    Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    And Saville backs him up – he basically blames the poor bloody infantry. Nationalists can believe what they want, but the report doesn’t substantiate those views.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The British presence refers to British political presence not to any of the people in Ireland.

    There were many horrendous and indefensible aspects to the IRA campaign but the main thrust of it, which the statsictics bear out was against the British state and its presence in Ireland.

    As I pointed out above, I suggest that many British people will be surpised to learn the horrific details of what the army did in Britain’s name in Ireland and may perhaps review their attitude to the IRA.

    When and if (mainstream) Unionists begin to do that remains to be seen.

  • Jean Meslier

    6) Cameron coming accross as the alternative to labour with the entire British establishment behind him (including the Brit Officers who sent the paras to Derry) – 58.8% of the vote in his Witney Constituency

    Gerry Adams – insincere, prone to family sickness, muffled Gaelgoir, private word, Hiroshima, man on the grassy knowl, global warmer, BP oil spiller – 71.1% of the vote in his West Belfast Constituency

  • Jean Meslier

    Kevin

    “… Is you over here on holiday then?…”

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    fin,

    I was drawing a parallel between the tenousness of the link between Britian and Hong Kong and Britian and Ulster but I take your point that in terms of Irish re-unification Germany is a more suitable example.

    ..but any talk of money in relation to the South is a little uncomfortable.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    slappymcgroundout ,

    I was extremely concerned when I saw your moniker – I thought for one dreadful moment it might be a parody of my own?

    The videos are excellent, even if yer woman narrating sounds like she is about to top herself.

  • Anonin

    “and the threat of civil war that were employed to maintain it?”

    And still is used to maintain it**

    Not that Republicans much care, mind. We saw the oh-so-scary loyalist war machine during the Troubles, and no one was impressed.

  • Stand

    @Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The average NI Protestant is obviously a hundred times more British than the average Hong Kong Chinese so it’s a daft comparison.

    Apart from the element of social contract a NI nationalist or even a southerner is more British than a Hong Kong Chinese.

  • Stand

    Post Saville, where David Cameron sounds like Gerry Adams, the insurgency leaders are in government and Widgery’s reckless bordering on the criminal report has been consigned to the rubbish bin, the (mainstream) Unionist narrative that the IRA campaign was simply a criminal adventure will be increasingly difficult to maintain.

    I’m a unionist and I can certainly see that the IRA were not merely criminal (though they were that) but had an immoral political goal. One not dissimilar to Slobodan Milosevic’s idea of a “Greater Serbia” which was thankfully defeated. The idea that the IRA were some movement against the gerrymander of about 3 local government districts and a ratepayer franchise though is laughable, but that’s their problem if that’s what they’re selling.

    I can even accept that nationalists are not British but I demand that they recognise that I am not Irish and have no social contract with such a nation and never will have. Do me the favour and treat me as I treat you.

    I can accept a consociational situation were a vote for a unionist is worth 80% of a vote for a nationalist as a price for not abandoning unionists along the border in a repartition but ultimately there are two nations here both of which have an equal right to self determination. It is only from those axioms that any fair and just settlement can be arrived at and maintained.

  • Nunoftheabove

    What’s significant about this is not what the British public or NI unionists think of the IRA but how they regard their own state and its forces and institutions. Saville’s publication represents a good day for UK democracy and for UK citzens, both in Britain and across NI. It also sends a powerful signal to those suffering state oppression elsewhere in the world that states must and can be held accountable for their actions and that the truth can and should prevail.

  • Nunoftheabove

    You can spin that inappropriate and frankly distasteful analogy in a different direction and see NI non-unionists as the Bosniaks and the Unionist Government and British forces as Milosovic’s mob. Incidentally I agree that the international community should have crushed the neo-fascist Belgrade crime family much earlier than they eventually did and should have protected Bosnian muslims.

  • Neil

    Easily. For example was it the forces of the state that were murdering innocent people, or paramilitaries fighting the state? In the context of Bloody Sunday, it is the army of the state who murdered innocent civilians. Factor that into the analogy.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Stand,

    “Do me the favour and treat me as I treat you.”

    That is what the GFA actually does and I support that.

    “The idea that the IRA were some movement against the gerrymander of about 3 local government districts and a ratepayer franchise though is laughable, but that’s their problem if that’s what they’re selling”

    I couldnt agree more it was the gerrymander of the 3 counties of Ulster in the partition settlemeent backed up by the threat of massacre of the Nationlaist population(repeated in 1974 with TrImble and Wee Reggie at the helm) that gave legitimacy to the IRA campaign. To consider that the IRA had an “immoral political goal” is really pushing it when lined up against that Unionist tradition.

  • AR

    “Its probably far to much to hope for, but its worth noting that the East European communist states did not collapse in a slow orderly fashion that was forseeable, rather it was individual incidents that set off a chain reaction of events resulting in their demise.”

    Oh for fuck sake, seriously? Iis Northern Republicanism an Ideology or a Religion? I only ask because every damn trend and event seems to be used to confirm the idea that a United Ireland is well on its way – much like whacked-out Evangelists seize on the signs of the times to evidence the coming of the Kingdom of God. It’s got its saints (Bobby), martyrs (Farrell & friends), dogma (bizarro obsessions with leftwing everything), articles of faith (securocrats!!!!!) and even self-serving revisions of church history – the idea that the murder, mayhem and torture was all for…ehm…human rights, and not the achivement of a Nationalist revolotionary objective. The IRA iz undufeeted. Yeah, just like Christ didn’t truly die. Can’t half tell you guys have Catholic heritage.

    As for the Original post in this thread, I’m sure it’s nice on planet republicanism, where the ecosystem is a bit wacky – legitimacy apparently grows out of the bodies of the dead, watered with your obsession with them, but down here on earth we evaluate actions on whether they’re moral or not, and we find that a civilian massacre doesn’t legitimize you becoming master of the massacre yourself.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Nunoftheabove,

    There are cases going through the courts now in relation to the BA in Iraq – we will hear exactly the same arguements on both sides repeated.

  • Oracle

    Jean,

    It’s not right to insinuate that all of the Adams voters are just completely stupid.
    Some of them know exactly what they are doing.

  • percy

    great post sammy

  • jim

    what the army did in britains name in ireland…………………the IRA murdered more catholics than anybody else

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    AR,

    “As for the Original post in this thread, I’m sure it’s nice on planet republicanism, where the ecosystem is a bit wacky – legitimacy apparently grows out of the bodies of the dead, watered with your obsession with them, but down here on earth we evaluate actions on whether they’re moral or not, and we find that a civilian massacre doesn’t legitimize you becoming master of the massacre yourself.”

    Down here on planet Earth as you say, in many locations on this Earth, when a state behaves like Britain has in Ireland, partitons the country and militarily backs a sectarian statelet and then shoots down the citizens in that country who are protesting about it then you generally have quite a bit of political violence.

    Unionists, as I mentioned above are in complete denial regarding this backdrop to the Republican insurgency.

  • jim

    sf was impressed.they werent long calling a surrender when the oh so scary loyalist war machine started calling to their doors instead of ordinairy catholics thy were using as cannon fodder

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Jim,

    “the IRA murdered more catholics than anybody else”

    There were many indefensible things done by the IRA and killing civilians, irrespective of religion, is high on that list. Like all the combatants in the troubles they should have directed their violence towards other combatants.

  • Terry

    Tiz nothing to be afraid of my friend. a united ireland with the consent of all of the people of this island is well under way and at the centre of this change is the need for equality for which the nationalist people are in favour. No longer will the injustice of the past lift its head to do no good to any section of people on this island. Is republicanism a religion? it could be in the sense that thier will be an ending british rule will bring about a new begining. As for the comment “Can’t half tell you guys have Catholic heritage. Well if you make a connection it should be only that republicanism and the catholic faith are no more in the hedgerows.

    Beware of a risen people.

  • abucs

    What chance an amnesty for the Para’s linked to a similar deal for those “on the run” and a final ending to it all?

  • Jean Meslier

    Oracle: – the prophet and and the visionary.

    Keep on whipping that horizontal horse dear friend, Yes keep on whipping and keep the faith

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    abucs,

    Personally dont see any point in bringing anybody to trial, but all sides should get involved in being open about their own actions – that includes PIRA and Military inteeligence.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Cameron vote – 33,973
    Adams vote – 22,840

    Cameron majority – 22,740

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Itwas SammyMcNaly whatdoneit,
    Unionists, you say, are “in denial as to the causes of ’the Troubles’ and simply ignore the unpalatable facts regading the coercion that they used to form the state and the violence (as horribly illustrated in Saville report) , sectarianism and the threat of civil war that were employed to maintain it?”

    The main cause of the Troubles, in short, was Irish Republicanism. They felt the Armed Struggle was justified because of a bogus belief in the moral rectitude of anti-British violence in Northern Ireland, grounded in ethnic chauvinism against Ulster British people. Republicans failed to accept British people in Ireland as equals, with all that that entails democratically, including the legitimacy of having land border between the UK and the Republic of Ireland. And so they felt, wrongly, aggrieved at a border that was by all globally agreed measures, more democratically legitimate than the one they were proposing. And they saw ordinary people living peacefully, who happened to be from a different ethnic group to them, as enemies to be defeated militarily.

    The Troubles may have started in reasonable civil rights protests but the Republican agenda had taken over well before Bloody Sunday, as the Republican kill-fest in 1970 and 1971 testifies.The attempt by the IRA, from their Army Council meeting in January 1970, to use the civil unrest around some legitimate civil rights grievances to push for an unjust change to the border, was the reason we had the Troubles for 30 odd years.

    By the end of 1971 (a month before Bloody Sunday) Republicans had killed 118 people, security forces 60, loyalists 26. Bad though Bloody Sunday was, the following day Republicans still had the dubious honour of being clear leaders of the killing, by some distance, not to mention the other mayhem they carried out.

    People who were so outraged by British Army violence on Bloody Sunday as to start supporting Republican violence they showed they did not value the lives taken by Republicans as much as they valued the lives of their own ethnic group. These people were sectarian killers and they and their enablers and apologists should recognised for the narrow-minded, violent fools they were.

    One final reminder of what happened: in every full year of the Troubles up to 1992, Republicans killed more than everyone else put together – with the sole exception of 1975. That’s 21 years out of the first 22 years of my life. So don’t wonder that I put the bulk of the blame on them.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mainland Ulsterman,

    “And so they felt, wrongly, aggrieved at a border that was by all globally agreed measures, more democratically legitimate than the one they were proposing. And they saw ordinary people living peacefully, who happened to be from a different ethnic group to them, as enemies to be defeated militarily.”

    “More democratically legitimate than the one they were proposing”

    I suggest you try that line out on the mainland amongst a
    few British people. The vast majority of mainland British people would not agree that a gerrymandered and deeply sectarian 6 couny Ulster which has (subsequently stripped of all it powers) was a preferable fairer outcome than a unitary Irish state. The reason as you must know that Unionism has so few allies is becuase so few believe in their cuase. Even a Tory goverment told Unionism that they had no strategic or selfish interest in the Ulster and granted the Iirish people (but not the people in Btritian) a say in the cinstitutional future.

    Incidentally do you condemn the violence and the threat of viloence that was used by Unionists (including the current and previous leaders of the UUP in 197)4 to frighten the British off from either diesngaging or reforming Ulster in the formation of Ulster and in 1974?

    Surely it must be embarassing, over on the mainland, that the only way you have managed to remain Biritsh is by threatening civil war ie you guys stay or we kill the Taigs.

    Regarding the PIRA killings – I would not seek to defend their number or choice ‘legitimate target’ and believe they should have to answer for that – but neither would I seek to criminalise them for that campaign either.

  • keano

    johnny boy, “protestant parliament for a protestant people” that justified the campaign of resistance. why are unionists always trying to pass the blame? bloody sunday contributed to the road of violence , but to me that road should have been walked as soon as the state was created. why do unionists think indigenous people should have no rights? who do they think they are?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    The people you refer to on the mainland are an annoyance but hardly decisive of the moral rights and wrongs of the border. I’d leave the border to neutral experts in human geography and public international law. The Irish government, after they asked legal experts to look into this in the 70s, accepted internally that there is no legal basis for disputing the border, which is why they’ve never tried it at the ICJ.

    And of course it is a fairer outcome. Drawing a border so that c900,000 are on the wrong side cannot be fairer than one that has 750,000 on the wrong side. The only way you can argue otherwise is by treating Ulster Protestants as somehow not the equals of Irish nationalists.

    In terms of Unionist use of the threat of violent outbreaks, yes it is embarrassing and shouldn’t have been done.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mainland Ulsterman,

    Fair and realistic reply.

    re. “In terms of Unionist use of the threat of violent outbreaks, yes it is embarrassing and shouldn’t have been done.”

    But there would not be an Ulster if it was not for the Unionist threat of violence i.e. Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right”

    Do you accept that?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    Well, who knows really whether the right thing would have been done without Unionist sabre rattling. But I certainly believe it was correct and fair to all that it was done.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mainland Ulsterman,

    “Well, who knows really whether the right thing would have been done without Unionist sabre rattling. But I certainly believe it was correct and fair to all that it was done.”

    Surely that is the contradcition at the heart of Unionist thinking the state they claim is legitimate came about after the threat of violence and coercion (which is repeated as required) and yet they condemn Republicans for violently resisitng it.

    Hand of heart do you not admit to even teeniest weeniest bit of double standards there?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    typo

    Hand on heart do you not admit to even the teeniest weeniest bit of double standards there?

  • redhugh78

    Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit,

    This is what slugger lacks, fair play to you.

  • Alan N/ARDS

    Keano
    “Ireland is a catholic nation and will remain one” Words spoken by Devalera two years before Craigs “a protestant parliament for a protestant people” speech. This was the main reason why republicans wanted to rule the island of Ireland. It didn’t take them long to hand over power to Rome and it is only now that the people of this republican utopia are realising the price they had to pay for accepting Rome rule.
    I certainly accept that NI was not perfect and I also feel that it was a disgrace that the OO have so much power here. Most of my family were Labour voters and had no time for the OO or the UUP who were in power for 50 years. Saying that they believed in the Union and were grateful that they didn’t live in the catholic south and they believed that “Home rule was Rome rule”. Nationalists need to accept that their acceptance of Rome rule during the last century played a part in keeping this island divided.

    Nationalists keep saying that protestants are a disgrace for giving their allegiance to a “foreign state” while they gave over control of their hard won independance to a “foreign State”. They even had the cheek to call their part of the island “The Free State”.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Alan N/ARDS,

    I think it is a fair point about De Valers, but you have gone somewhat over the top with your “This was the main reason why republicans wanted to rule the island of Ireland.”

    Republicanism at both ends of the 20th centrury was largely about removing the British presence by force a tradition proudly traced back to the non Catholic Theobald Wolf Tone.

  • Jean Meslier

    71.1% minus 58.8% = 12.3%

  • ORWELLSPEN

    Why can’t we discuss the future? Sorry to be trite but all deaths are tragic and heartbreaking and diminish us all. Do not ask for whom the bell tolls/ it tolls for thee.
    Notice how the bloody Sunday families never called for a dismantling if the army. They know there is a legitimate reason for the army albeit v atrociouslt behaved on the day. Similarly if unionism recognises that people joined the ira not out of psychopathy but genuinely felt reasons

    If France can forgive Germany surely we can do the same for each other here.

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    There were certainly some double standards around attitudes to use of arms in 1912 and leading up to the Free State’s secession. Though you could say that nationalist threat of arms pre-dated that and unionists were only evening things up by matching the nationalist threat. But certainly I’d rather unionists had acted better then – the truth is they had right on their side and shouldn’t have needed to resort to those kind of strategies.

    But I don’t agree that it was coercion that was responsible for only 26 counties seceding rather than 32. It was due to the demographics of the 6 counties; though I think nationalists can count themselves unlucky over two of the counties, I have no sympathy with their arguments over the other 4. But it’s right that there’s a border, notwithstanding the behaviour of either ethnic group. I don’t think unionists did anything so bad as to negate their basic human right to an equal say in votes on self-determination.

    And the outcome was a triumph for democracy over the proposed Irish nationalist alternative, which would have left a bigger national minority than we ended up with in 1921. Yet somehow nationalists continued – and some still continue, even post-GFA – to assert some kind of moral superiority for their proposed, less accurate, border at the sea.

    It is the stubborn clinging on to that pre-1921 notion of the Irish nation, in the face of all evidence that there are in fact 2 nationalities in the island (formally accepted now in the GFA) that has caused so much of the friction between the two peoples over the years. It has also been the paraffin that, when added to the injustices suffered by nationalists, led them to some terrible mistakes of judgement about how to respond, which have cost us all dearly. The idea that justice is served by seeking to persuade someone of a different ethnic group to give up their identity and adopt yours is obviously is illiberal, demeaning and arrogant. Not to mention totally futile. How much blood has been spilt in service to this self-regarding, chauvinistic idea?

    Imagine an Ireland where both nationalities genuinely accept each other’s culture as of equal value to their own and accept each other’s right to define themselves as they wish. This would transform relations between the two peoples.

    But as long as nationalists continue to believe it’s acceptable to seek to ‘persuade’ British people in Ireland people out of their allegiance – as if it is somehow of less moral value than Irish national allegiance – those people will feel threatened, resentful and angry. Nationalism has to face to up to its massive role in the fostering of bad relations between the communities over the last century.

  • Alan N/ARDS

    Sammy

    Wolf Tone at least led an uprising that united Protestant and Catholics. The last uprising at the end of the 20th century divided protestant and Catholic. Are republicans really proud about butchering children in fish shops or dog lovers at their annual dinner?

    The Irish Free state when home rule was granted became a war zone, with catholic republicans fighting catholic. The prods kept their heads down.

    Why did republicans give the Vatican control over their country? Why did republicans totally ignore the proclamation of 1916? Why did they show such inhunanity to fellow human beings and fellow Irish men/women to unite the island of Ireland? Why do they still show no compassion towards the families of their victims?

  • Reader

    It was Sammy… But there would not be an Ulster if it was not for the Unionist threat of violence i.e. Ulster will fight and Ulster will be right” Do you accept that?
    And yet aren’t you likewise touting a book that blames the Brits for nationalist violence everywhere? Accusing Unionists of hypocrisy over a willingness to use violence may be all very well, but the reason Northern Ireland exists is primarily because Partition left 500,000 on the wrong side of the border, whereas a United Ireland would have left 1,000,000 on the wrong side. No “vindication of Republican insurgency” can top those numbers. Those who ever tried to justify republican violence either ignored the numbers altogether in favour of an assumed one-nation Ireland, or rejected unionists as traitors, colonists and/or suffering from false consciousness and therefore not worthy of a vote that mattered. Your own version of why unionist votes should never have mattered is barely new, and no better.
    And also, there’s no point in trying to tie Civil Rights to the Republican insurgency either. All republican groups insisted they were killing for a United Ireland right up to the instant they finally accepted the principle of consent. That’s why it was left to the CRA, *not* the IRA, to organise the Anti-internment rally that ended in Bloody Sunday.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    ORWELLSPEN,

    I agree, but in order for people to move on their must be transparency about the actions of all sides.

    Alan N/Arda

    “The Irish Free state when home rule was granted became a war zone, with catholic republicans fighting catholic. The prods kept their heads down.”

    The Free State had a civil was because Britian gave in to the threats of loyalist violence and partioned the country with those willing to accept partition fighting those not willing to accept it – but even those accepting partiiton wanted to carry on a guerrilla war against the British presence in the North.

    There were sectarian killings in both insurgencies but sectrainism it was not the driving force behind either though clearly it was more prevalent in the latter period because of the proximity of pro and anti British supporters – I would like to hear Adams and McGuinness explain the sectarian element of the IRA campaign. Hopefully if the British can agree to open up on collusion and militarty intelligence as well we might get to hear that.

    Reader,

    “Accusing Unionists of hypocrisy over a willingness to use violence may be all very well,”

    Noted that you accpet that point which is not always admitted by unionists.

    The struggle between Ireland and Britian has been going for centuries – ethnic cleansing ie the plantations were used as part of that struggle but Republicanism should have no fight with Unionists but with the British who have attmpted to impose their will on the country.

    In my opinion you cant simply say how many people will lose out in order to decide which is the correct course of action – it has to be based on the merits of the case.

    The reason why Unionism has so few political allies even in Britain (and so little support amongst the British people) is that so few people believe the Unionist narrative which you are promoting is – Unionists are simply caught on the wrong side of the arguement.

    As I mentioned above, Unionism is so unloved by the British that the only way they can keep the Britiish in the place at all is by threatening to kill their Nationlaist neighbours- as we saw again 1974.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mainland Ulsterman

    “The idea that justice is served by seeking to persuade someone of a different ethnic group to give up their identity and adopt yours is obviously is illiberal, demeaning and arrogant. Not to mention totally futile. How much blood has been spilt in service to this self-regarding, chauvinistic idea?”

    You seem to have forgotten that the same arguement applies to about 40% of the people in Ulster( 6 counties).

    We are now (largely) in a post conflict situation but I think it is reasonable for both traditions to try and resuade or promote their respective ideologies and that is why we will continue to have Natiionalsit and Unionist political parties.

    Of course everyone should aspire to “Imagine an Ireland where both nationalities genuinely accept each other’s culture as of equal value to their own and accept each other’s right to define themselves as they wish” but as we enter the marching season I’m afraid that what one man may define as ‘culture’ another will define as ‘sectarianism’ and we are some distance away from the people of the Falls welcoming the Orange Order through the area.

  • Alan N/ARDS

    Sammy

    Do you think that the republics goverment have any questions to answer regarding the troubles? Many Unionists believe there are questions to answered from 1921 until the 90′s. It would be good to hear your opinion.

  • Alan N/ARDS

    sammy

    Do you think their hands are clean? Did they collude with the IRA during the troubles?

    Republicans claim the the British state colluded Loyalists. I personally don’t know the extent of it. But if they did why were so many Loyalists imprisoned by the state. Many of them served lengthy terms of imprisonment. Obviously these loyalists were not working as agents of the state.

    Did members of the republics security sevices collude with the IRA. Unionists along the border believe so. Unionists are still waiting for the inquiry into collusion regarding the murders of two senior RUC officers on the Border.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Alan N/ARDS,

    “Did members of the republics security sevices collude with the IRA”

    It would be very surpising if they did not, even if we put support for PIRA at 10-20 percent amonst the Southern population then similar levles would be reflected in the Gardaí – at least in partly turning a blind eye or in the case in Dundalk possibly passing on information. Collusion is inevitable, obviously with the higher levels of vlolence in the north it would be more prevalent.

    There should be an enquiry – but I thought it had taken place but had found nothing in the Dundalk case?

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    But that’s the difference between nationalism and unionism – nationalism, until the Good Friday Agreement, was based upon a belief there was one single Irish nation and sought to persuade British people that they were part of it. More than that, they sought to persuade them that their British identity was illusory.

    Unionism, for all its many faults, has long given up on trying to convince nationalists they might really be British. It doesn’t seek to mess with Irish identity. That hasn’t always been the case; but it’s fair to say, it isn’t necessary to unionism that nationalists have to be British; on the contrary, unionists broadly accept the difference of people who identify themselves as Irish.

    It’s partly by accident – I’m not claiming we’re better people – but we’ve ended up with a better, more pluralist approach to community identity than Irish nationalism. It is partly by default I’m sure – it partly comes from increasingly not being able to relate the nationalist community’s values. After decades of nationalists emphasising how non-British they are, I think most unionists have taken the attitude of grudgingly accepting there’s not much you can do about that. Unionism is not an ideology in the sense nationalism is – we think the UK is a better container for Northern Ireland than an all-Ireland state would be, but we don’t have any grand plan of changing anyone’s ethnic identity or sense of belonging. Those things are beyond politics; they are personal and cultural.

    The unionist case is based on accepting there are two sets of national allegiances on the island, that there has to be an international border somewhere between the UK and the Republic of Ireland and that it should be drawn in the place that leaves the fewest people on the wrong side, living under a government to which they have no allegiance.

    Happily, Irish nationalism accepted in the GFA the birthright of people in Northern Ireland to define themselves as British and be accepted as such. So we have moved on a bit from the bad old days of nationalism pre-1998. This was a huge shift and I don’t underestimate it – and I know nationalists must be thinking hard about what Irish nationalism means, now they accept there are two nationalities on the island. I wish them luck; but they may find Irish nationalism itself holds few answers.

    As for Orange marches on the Falls Road, I have no desire to see that, in fact I wish the Orange Order would scale down and generally get with the programme. But the right to be offended should not trump other people’s right to free assembly and cultural expression. Otherwise the BNP would be able to stop Bengali parades in the East End and homophobes would be negotiating with police to restrict Gay Pride marches. You can’t give in to these people.

  • TheHorse

    Sammy there is absoutley no evidence to prove 10 -20 % of the republics security forces colluded with republicans. On the other hand the evidence being unearthed about the British security services connections and controlling of Loyalists paramilitaries is undeniable, where in the world would you find elements of the local police controlling a paramilitary force to murder dozens of innocent civilians, and covering up their agents tracks. Where in the world would you get the local police sitting and watching while one of its citizens was kicked to death, then pervert the course of justice to prevent the guilty from being charged. Lets stick to the evidence and not make blind accusations.

  • anne warren

    It is true that “many Loyalists were imprisoned by the state. Many of them served lengthy terms of imprisonment”
    They did this because they committed crimes. Taking up arms against the Crown is not a legal activity, nor is sectarian murder.

    Unionists have breached legality time after time – the Loyalist Workers Strike being a prime example – because they cherry-pick about what being British means . Why should anyone believe in this conditional loyalty along the lines of “I’m loyal as long as you do as I say”. To be honest, I see very few traditional British values enshrined in Loyalist mentality

    In reply to Alan’s very valid questions at 6.39 I would like to say there are undoubtedly pages of historical reasons that could be quoted in answer but I want to ask yet another question
    “Would all that have happened if the protestant population had played its part in acting as ballast against catholicism in a united Ireland? What weight did/does its absence carry as a factor?

    I’m not asking to add extra whataboutery blame but to say that I think the rebellion of the UVF in 1912 with the mutiny of officers of the British Army was shortsighted, treasonous and utterly harmful to all the people of Ireland, north and south.

    Furthermore, when King George V instituted the Parliament in Stormont, his speech showed he did not he envisage a “Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people” . That dictum, with all its echoes of Fascism, was pronounced by an Ulsterman.

    There are many strands that have been ignored in
    the narrative of the past and present in NI. Like everywhere else, it should be a multi-coloured tapestry, not a black or white negative.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    TheHorse,

    I was trying to suggest that support* for PIRA ran within the Gardaí at a similar rate to that in the wider population ie between 10 and 20 percent. But I didnt mean to suggest that all of this group colluded just that there was quite a large reservoir of potential ideological support. If we want the British to be open about this we should be open as well. In my opinion Unionists have a point and denying this just smacks of double standards.

    .*support being defined as thinking that some sort of insurgency was a good idea.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mainland Ulsterman,

    With due respect that is a bit of a silly arguement – when you have what you want i.e. the status quo you dont need to persuade anybody in fact as Unionists demonstrated in the years of Stormont V1.0 they didnt care, Nationalists needed to persuade Unionists of the merit of a UI becuase they wanted to change the status quo.

    re. “be drawn in the place that leaves the fewest people on the wrong side” This is simply an ideologically self-serving arguement countered by the Republican view that the line sholud be drawn where the majority of people want it – ie not drawn at all – ie no parition.

    The problem for Unionism is that not even the people who want they to be in the same country with ie the British look at it from the Unionist perspective and as I said earlier there own arguement and position is so weak they have had to threaten mass murder in order to stay British.

    The ofifcal policy of the largest Unionist party is in effect that you cant trust the British government with the Union and ironic as that sounds it is largely true as the force feeding of AIA and the GFA and the STA demonstrated.

  • TheHorse

    I suppose most republicans have no problems of any enquiries or truth commissions as there is nothing to fear from them, but that will never happen because the Unionists and the British have most to fear from any enquiries into their activities. A truth commission would be the best model to move forward but the only way to do that would be to announce an amnesty and Unionists or the British wont do that either as there would have to be an amesty to everyone ever charged during the confict.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    TheHorse,

    “I suppose most republicans have no problems of any enquiries or truth commissions as there is nothing to fear from them, but that will never happen because the Unionists and the British have most to fear from any enquiries into their activities.”

    I largely agree with that, but running an insurgency is a very dirty business and I would not be too sure about that.

    I dont see though what is stopping SF outlining exactly what it is willing to disclose at a truth commission and then suggesting to the British that they do the same.

    That lack of clarity from SF may suggest that all is not just as we might like to think it is.

  • TheHorse

    I have no doubt that senior members of the republican movement would be worried about such a scenario as it would expose the reasons for their longlividy and freedom. How many government sponsored enquiries have we had but the public have not seen or seen in its entirety the final results, and why was that, because it did not suit the British government or the Unionists.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    TheHorse,

    Do you agree that SF should be upfront about what exactly might be disclosed e.g. confirm that they would explain their stategy and tactics, irrespective of how unsavoury they were?

    They could then suggest to the British that they do likewise and nail the lie, if indeed it is a lie, propagated by the British and Unionists that they will not disclose any more becuase Republicans wont disclose anything at all.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    redhugh78,

    You are indeed a most astute observer of these matters.

  • TheHorse

    Like I said republicans have nothing to fear from answering a truth commission no matter how unsavoury. Im sure that wont happen untill an amnesty was publically promised, which probably never will, untill Unionists accept the past and move on , agree to amnesties, or it will be more of the same Bloody Sundy type exposures drip feeding of the nefarious activities of the British and Unionism.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    TheHorse,

    re. “Like I said republicans have nothing to fear from answering a truth commission no matter how unsavoury”

    What I was asking you was whether SF should make it clear/confirm exactly how far they will go and the type of information they will be prepared to reveal. This would then, in my opinion, illustrate that it is only the British that are holding up the revealing of the truth.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Anne,

    re. “It is true that “many Loyalists were imprisoned by the state. Many of them served lengthy terms of imprisonment”
    They did this because they committed crimes. Taking up arms against the Crown is not a legal activity, nor is sectarian murder”

    I think that Unionists have a point when they suggest that there is inconsistency to on the one hand to claim there was wide spread collusion and on the other admit that the state locked up many Loyalists who were doing similar work to the colluders.

    I think this suggests that there were many in the security services who were totally against collusion and that collusion did not extend to the court system (except perhaps in the early days of the troubles when loyalists got obvioulsy shorter sentences) but this is not included in the Republican narrative – even as a ‘few good apples’.

    That is why it is important that all sides place their dirty laundry out for public inspection as it must be in the interest of the many in the security services who are tarred by collusion allegations for the problem to be properly quantified – just as it is for Nationalists to expose the extent the British state organised and assisted Loyalist paramilitaries.