Slugger O'Toole

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Dolours Price and the human cost of armed revolution…

Thu 31 January 2013, 10:32am

Very good piece from Kevin Myers in the Indo yesterday:

Like many of their generation, they [the Price sisters] were hellbent on achieving the utterly unattainable: a united Ireland by force of arms. I knew a couple of their IRA Andersonstown colleagues, Mairead Farrell and Sean McDermott: intelligent and likeable, yet driven by a fearsome and quite lethal intensity, they did not expect to survive the struggle, and their fatalism was duly justified.

He concludes:

What a waste of a life: what a tragic and terrible waste. But such is the harvest of armed republicanism, repeated down the generations: futile suffering inflicted and futile suffering endured. How many other republican veterans have spent their later years, wrestling with their own terrible memories? And in the darker watches of that dreadful vigil, how many of them have heard the quintessence of every single “armed struggle”: the dull thud of hessian-wrapped spades at midnight?

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Comments (11)

  1. I understand what Kevin Myers is trying to say but I don’t think he,gets it right. He speaks of just two people both .dead but presumably knew others who survived. Some may have been likeable and intelligent ..some were not. Although in passing I should say that more than few were grammar school educated….like the two above………but this was not the case in the late 1970s.
    West Belfast is actualy a small place. Or was. St Marys St Peters, Clonard, St Paul’s, St Johns, St Agnes, St Theresa’s…..nothing beyond.
    Likewise schools. Families closely related.
    If you didn’t know a person whose name you read in the death notices in the Irish News…there was a reasonable chance you would know a brother or a cousin.
    The thing is Kevin Myers knew these people in 1972 or whatever.
    Knowing them or people like them in 196 or 196 would have been different.
    And in 1980 pr 1986.
    And so on.

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  2. socaire (profile) says:

    ………….eh?

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  3. Kevin Myers has always been an Anti-Republican and that’s fine to hold such an opinion..

    However, he shouldn’t attempt to try and understand and articulate what made some take up arms. As the reasons are very complex and Myers has very little understanding of what drove people into armed struggle…

    I’d much prefer if he had spoken of the failure of successive Dublin Governments to secure social, economic and terrortorial freedom for Ireland…

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  4. Youknowho (profile) says:

    But in the above extracts he is 100% correct.

    We’ve all lived long enough to know more than a few such people. People who did everything and anything for the cause. Years in jail. Exile. Murder.

    And what good did it them?

    Utter waste, unto the nth generation.

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  5. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    However, he shouldn’t attempt to try and understand and articulate what made some take up arms. As the reasons are very complex and Myers has very little understanding of what drove people into armed struggle…

    If the UVF ever shoot someone again in Ardoyne I hope you’ll be able to pop along here and explain it to us.

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  6. GEF (profile) says:

    “If the UVF ever shoot someone again in Ardoyne I hope you’ll be able to pop along here and explain it to us.”

    The last time a UVF murder took place was on one of their own on the Shankill back in 2010. Interesting how many members of these terror groups be they hiding behind a Republican or Unionist agenda have a habit of turning on their own. Do we need dozens of psychiatrists to diagnose those who suffer from antisocial personality disorders, manifested in aggressive, perverted, or amoral behavior without empathy or remorse for their criminal behaviour.

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  7. streetlegal (profile) says:

    There is perhaps only one thing sadder than a disillusioned old provo and that is a Provisional Sinn Fein hack in a suit touting for political respectability as constitutional nationalists.

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  8. @Comrade Stalin;

    Loyalists have killed many an Ardoyne person, the majority of who were ordinary civilians…

    Your point is what exactly? Am I not allowed an opinion about a staunch Anti-Republican as Myers giving an ‘insight’ into the Republican mind..

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  9. Reader (profile) says:

    Ardoyne Republican: Your point is what exactly? Am I not allowed an opinion about a staunch Anti-Republican as Myers giving an ‘insight’ into the Republican mind..
    Myers is at least calling it he sees it, and he was around at the time. Sinn Fein have cooked up the notion that republicans were fighting for civil rights, and they don’t really have any excuse but cynicism for that story. And is Myers’ version any different from the republican position of that era, apart from acknowledging the futility of the campaign?

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  10. @Reader;

    Many Republicans did indeed partake in the Civil Rights Campaign in the ’60′s chara but it remained in the hands of NICRA…

    The above Campaign was brutally attacked by the Crown Forces particularly, on Bloody Sunday and most Republicans felt they would respond in kind…This they did and the rest is now history mate…

    There is much revisionism around and Myers is no different than others who wish to paint the Crown Forces as being ‘stuck in the middle’. I acknowledge the hurt, pain and killings done by Republicans, why don’t British apologists tell the truth about their role?

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  11. Skinner (profile) says:

    Ardoyne Republican

    “I acknowledge the hurt, pain and killings done by Republicans, why don’t British apologists tell the truth about their role?”

    Very illuminating. Can’t you see the difference between “acknowledging the pain” and “telling the truth”?Why do you set yourself one standard and the British another standard?

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