Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Is there any strategy behind Sinn Fein’s loud defence of killings 25 years on?

Thu 5 December 2013, 5:12pm

Well, if you didn’t see Vincent Browne last night on TV3, try and catch it here. Padraig MacLochlainn is the latest of the party’s talented southern parliamentary team sent out to sell ‘the legitimacy of the armed struggle’.

I’ll let others be the judge of how well he does in selling the chosen narrative of ‘a risen north’ to a southern audience.

The only woman on the panel, Sarah McInerney of the Sunday Times barely gets a word in, but what she says (about 14 mins in) on Gerry’s ‘they deserved it’ comment may indicate why Sinn Fein struggles with low levels of trust amongst Irish women.

Over and above that, I’m still waiting for someone, somewhere to explain how any of these communications add to a strategy aimed at reuniting the island. They smack more of a piece of internal coalition management, than a serious attempt to talk to new voters.

So, as the Americans say, way to go on selling the north to the south boys. And way to go on selling the south to [any] Ulster prods. [FeckAnyone got Alex Salmond's mobile phone number? What's he doing after next year's #IndyRef? - Ed]

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Comments (62)

  1. sean treacy (profile) says:

    Padraig gave a sterling performance in exposing the hypocrisy of the “staters” who lionise mass killers like Collins while slandering those that they abandonded to their fate in the fascist orange state.

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  2. Seamuscamp (profile) says:

    Mick,

    Did GA actually say “they deserved it”, as you allege? Or are you free-translating?

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  3. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Watch the piece Seamus, and you’ll get where it comes from… I perhaps should italicise it…

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  4. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Mick

    I think it’s fuelled by guilt rather than vote getting. I am sure that those who defend these killings can’t justify them to themselves but can’t equivocate in public. They feel guilty and they react by defending.

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  5. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Watching the Vincent Browne debate, alongside the exchanges i the Dail is very interesting in what it reveals about the dyamics in politics between Sinn Féin and other parties in the south.

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  6. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    Padraig MacLochlainn’s performance was difficult to watch, I think the idea that there is a duty to murder someone who was surrendering is a new one.

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  7. Sp12 (profile) says:

    I posted this in the other thread, but it’s more apt here

    http://www.newstalk.ie/player/listen_back/9/6002/04th_December_2013_-_The_Right_Hook_Part_2

    George Hook’s point is that there is no difference between celebrated killings like that carried out Dan Breen and the killing of Breen and Buchannon other than the obvious difference that Adams is taking flak for his comments on the latter killings by men who will be saluting Dan Breen and Collins as heroes in a few years time.

    The Salmond comment is facile Mick, there’s no comparison between Scotland and Ireland’s experiences when it comes to asserting the right of national self determination, and in particular the reaction to it from England.

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  8. Sparks (profile) says:

    Sinn Fein used to be very disciplined about their public statements, and were very good at promoting their “peace strategy”. They used to distance themselves from IRA activities, and would say what a tragedy it was that anybody had been killed.

    MacLochlainn is now standing over the whole IRA campaign! Have they changed their press officer or their strategy?

    If they have, I can only hope it does not bring them increased support either side of the border.

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  9. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    A poor attempt to lighten a very heavy subject, I agree. Sorry, but I have to have some sanity retaining devices through all of this…

    It’s not exactly a barrel of laughs as it veers between comedy and tragedy…

    I agree with Hook too and Brian Feeney and Noel Whelan both of whom made varying points in this respect on the TV3 doc on Monday. But I’m not sure if this was an auspicious moment to open that discussion.

    When else, I suppose is the appropriate question?

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  10. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    Sp12
    Any killings carried out by Dan Breen and his comrades were nearly 100 years ago . It is unlikely any immediate family are still around to be pained by celebrations.
    Harry Breen and Bob Buchanan would both have living close relatives, who might find it insensitive to hear their loss being celebrated.
    That is one difference.

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  11. sean treacy (profile) says:

    Anyone who doubts that Mehole Martin TD and his ilk are anything but stinking hypocrites should visit the website:War-Talk.com which describes Cork FF TD Martin Corry “chuckling about torturing executing and secretly burying suspected spies during the war of independence” Apparently Meholes fellow Corkman served in the Dail for 40 years before his death in 1979.He proudly allowed his “chuckling” to be recorded on tape as he described his time in charge of the “horror chamber”.I think Gerry could hardly be called insensitive if compared to this guy

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  12. sean treacy (profile) says:

    And should anyone try to use “the100 year defence “with respect to Martin Corry td ,those that he disappeared would still have had living relatives who NEVER knew what became of their loved ones

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  13. BarneyT (profile) says:

    Well that implies it may become an event we can celebrate or mark as time passes?

    If you look at the reaction to the Attorney Generals remarks and the reaction to Gerrys remarks, they are similar. Immediate hysteria and ill-thought-out generic off the shelf comments, riddled with emptiness and cliché. The reaction are basic, reactive and stink of band wagon jumping

    Some have drawn parallels between attacks in the early part of the 20th century and this one, and they can be regarded in many ways as similar. In 89 the RUC were entrenched in the troubles and for those with an ability to look in from the outside, they would regard them, in the republican context and thought processes, to be viable targets. Its just how it was. The RUC were seen as brutally enforcing Britains rule and occupation. I don’t need to spell this out.

    The Breen\Buchanan incident is an historic event, and the crime\attack committed would not have stood out from many others at the time, except for the fact two senior RUC men were taken out.

    The two soldiers who were killed as they strayed into the IRA funeral were killed in a most barbaric way. However, did anyone suggest that they deserved it? No but many would have asked what the hell were they thinking. The same question can be asked here. What were Breen and Buchanan thinking?

    Many commentators forget that SF supported many of these acts at the time and they will stand by this. I think you have a duty to do so if you’ve taken that particular path. Conveniently these amnesiac journos and politicians now try to separate SF and the IRA, having done their utmost to dispel any idea that they weren’t joined at the hip. Perhaps the media is afraid to state what they believe, that the IRA are in government in NI…or is that SF

    I hardly think there is a strategy behind Gerrys remarks, only perhaps to set the stage for the 1916 celebrations an emphasise just how hypocritical these celebrations will be given the predictable institutionalised response.

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  14. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    I know Mick disagrees with me on this, but it is my belief that there is no chance of Sinn Fein getting into coalition in the South in 2016 . FG would rather poke their collective eyes out than do it and even bury the hatchet with FF. It’s a fight to the death between SF and a revived FF, because they are basically fishing out of the same voter pool over large parts of the country. And FF won’t roll over and be the soft touch in terms of lack of organisation that the SDLP was post-1998. From the other end of the spectrum the dissidents in the North will continue to taunt McGuinness and say ‘what are we doing today that you didn’t do 1970-1994?’ and, in their own sick logic, they do have a point.

    What MacLochlainn chooses to ignore that during the so-called war the Provos couldn’t even get the support of anything like a majority of the nationalist population in the North and that his party, SF, showed absolute contempt for the vast majority of voters in the South who voted for parties like FF, FG and Irish Labour. Don’t expect Micheal Martin to miss and hit the wall on that one. It’s not so long ago that the Provo political theology was that the IRA Army Council was the legitimate government of the Irish people (‘surviving faithful members of the Second Dail’ and all that stuff).

    I see reference to Dan Breen on other threads. He was (see Noel Browne’s take on him in ‘Against the Tide’) was one of those despicable people who positively enjoyed killing people. Oh, and he was also a big fan of Hitler and the Nazis. Quelle surprise.

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  15. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    It is not only living close relatives of casualties who might (might ?) “…find it insensitive to hear their loss being celebrated” but, I would suggest, any half-way decent human being.

    In that regard I recall vividly an occasion when an IRA volunteer from Belfast attempted to cheerily congratulate a senior IRA operative from Tyrone on the deaths of two British soldiers in an operation which, he assumed, had been led by the senior party. The Tyrone man’s response was to knock the Belfast man flying across the room and to sternly warn him thus: “I am a soldier. I do my duty and that sometimes results in casualties. But if you find the death of another human being, including an enemy, a cause for celebration then there is no place for you in the IRA .”

    I am not making any argument that all IRA men were so noble, as the attitude of one of the characters would confirm but neither was raucous triumphalism the order of the day. I certainly never personally witnessed the type of bombastic, self-congratulatary celebration following a successful operation that Dan Breen expresses in his memoirs and that has been witnessed among British troops following their killing of targets in Ireland.

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  16. Sp12 (profile) says:

    “Any killings carried out by Dan Breen and his comrades were nearly 100 years ago . It is unlikely any immediate family are still around to be pained by celebrations.”

    Agreed Babyface, they do have living relatives who no doubt are still reeling from the murder of their loved ones, as many families in Derry were when the Queen pinned medals on a man like Wilford.
    So as Mick asks, when is it ok to talk about it all, because for the record, I don’t think Adams comments were ‘celebrating’, ill-timed and insensitive yes, but not celebratory.

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  17. sean treacy (profile) says:

    sdlp supporter ,Dan Breen was a FF TD for 40 years so you can take up his “enjoyment of killing “and Hitler worship with your mate Mehole Martin,someone who you so obviously admire.

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  18. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    BarneyT
    “Well that implies it may become an event we can celebrate or mark as time passes?”
    I don’t mean to imply that at all.
    I’m not a fan of celebrating or glorifying anyone involved in taking lives (“every man’s death diminishes me” and all that)
    but in terms of offensiveness, I would take as a rule of thumb that events in living memory are (generally) much more sensitive than historic ones.

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  19. paulG (profile) says:

    If GA said they deserved it, so what?

    They probably deserved it much more than most of the Troubles victims, given their involvement in shoot to kill operations and god know what else on the collusion side. Covering up at the very least.

    If GA had said they DIDN’T deserve it, then that would have been a story.

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  20. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    ST, I don’t know if you have read any of my recent posts but it is a matter of record that I am no admirer of Fianna Fail. Dan Breen was, in political terms, a man who contributed absolutely nothing to Dail debates in his forty years in Leinster House. He was also partitionist and he completely ignored the plight of northern nationalists when he had a modicum of power to do something about it. Guys like Breen would rather spend years discussing the perfidy of taking an oath of allegiance to King George V (the only British monarch in history would could be described by a biographer as a ‘committed Hibernophile’) than actually doing something to win over the unionist people of the North.

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  21. sean treacy (profile) says:

    SDLP SUPPORTER,if you are no admirer of FF ,why do you use gombeen men like Martin to bolster your arguments?Why do you not object to Patsy McGlones membership of the FF FORUM and the attempt by Patsy and others to merge the 2 parties not so long ago?

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  22. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    Sp12
    “when is it ok to talk about it all, because for the record, I don’t think Adams comments were ‘celebrating’, ill-timed and insensitive yes, but not celebratory”
    Yes I accept he was not celebrating. But insensitive definitely.
    Between that and his memory lapses during the Liam affair you have to wonder if he still has the mental agility for the cut and thrust. I’m not intending to man play but I do not think he performs well at all,for example a fairly bumbling performance on Good Morning Ulster yesterday.
    As for when it is ok to talk about these type of incidents, I think it is acceptable to discuss them at any time after the normal grieving period is over really. It is the content of the discussion that is liable to cause offence rather than the time it takes place.

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  23. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    “If GA said they deserved it, so what?”

    It belies a lack of moral integrity.

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  24. paulG (profile) says:

    “Moral Integrity” ?

    Is that the condition that causes one to sit on ones hands when the Police start to murder people on the streets rather than allow them Civil Rights?

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  25. Framer (profile) says:

    Adams can do no other or else he calls the 35-year IRA campaign into question.
    As a Free State politician he ought to condemn Gardai who committed murder but can’t as they were helping his IRA.
    As a Sinn Fein politician he ought to support the IRA but can’t as he is a Free State politician.
    All this shows that SF can never achieve much in the south. Their campaign was too long and too bloody for 26-county patriots to even consider giving the party sufficient significant support.
    Remember 94% of the south voted to dump Articles 2 and 3 in 1998.

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  26. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    PaulG: Adams murdered people for nationalist not civil rights goals.

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  27. paulG (profile) says:

    Charles,

    When Adams joined the IRA both his Civil Rights (in terms of voting, housing and employment) and his right to national freedom (the 1918 SF electoral mandate) were undemocratically denied to him by fascistic force of arms.

    I believe that he, and not you, can know how much of his motivation in 1969 was to do with Nationalism and how much to do with Civil Rights.

    As some of those Rights were intrinsically linked, even he may not fully know the answer to that.

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  28. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    “When Adams joined the IRA both his Civil Rights (in terms of voting, housing and employment) and his right to national freedom (the 1918 SF electoral mandate) were undemocratically denied to him by fascistic force of arms. I believe that he, and not you, can know how much of his motivation in 1969 was to do with Nationalism and how much to do with Civil Rights. ”

    *He says he didn’t join the IRA.
    *His civil rights were secured long before he stopped murdering people. He only stopped murdering people because he realized it would not yield a UI.

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  29. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “When Adams joined the IRA both his Civil Rights (in terms of voting, housing and employment) and his right to national freedom (the 1918 SF electoral mandate) were undemocratically denied to him by fascistic force of arms.”

    @PaulG,

    Here’s a link to a map of the 1918 election results.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Irish_general_election,_1918

    Most of what became NI was won by either the Irish Unionists or the Irish Parliamentary Party. I know it is part of Irish nationalist mythology that the vote gave Sinn Fein the right to the entire island. The Indians also make the same claim regarding the Indian subcontinent–that because the Hindus outnumbered the Muslims they should get everything. Gerry Adams is from West Belfast. Look at the vote on map for Belfast.

    I also doubt that people who believe that the results of a particular election–that to the Second Dail–give them legitimacy for decades afterwards in spite of all elections since should be lecturing others about fascism.

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  30. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    PaulG,

    An interesting step away from the direct question of whether this was a strategic intervention or not.

    I’ve been reading Townsend’s The Republic, which is as ever a great investment, and it is clear that the events of nearly a hundred years ago continuously get blurred: one with the sheer passage of time, and two with the accretion of claims and counterclaims over that period’s ideological provenance.

    One of the early chapters is good on the business of the reform of the command structure of the Irish Volunteers, post war/post internment. Specifically, they set about addressing the problem of Eoin MacNeill’s last minute countermanding of the mobilisation order in 1916 which meant that in large parts of the country no one turned out.

    Volunteers were given to understand that any further orders would only be given on the clear understanding that, unlike in 1916, headquarters would only call for a general mobilisation if they thought there was a chance of winning. The 1918 general election result, as tmitch points out above, gave them a popular mandate everywhere, except the area largely occupied by present day Northern Ireland.

    This could not at the time or since, be accurately described as fascistic force of arms. The Irish Volunteers, and then Collins’ IRA, subsequently failed to convert that liberal interpretation of 1918 an island wide mandate into reality by force of arms.

    By these lights, 1997 was just the official recognition of something that had previously been passively accepted by most citizens and their elected politicians island wide: ie that the south had neither the means or the disposition to force the protestants of the north east into any future political union.

    Now, I think most southern pols really have not properly considered any of these issues for a good while now. Some I’ve spoken to who were front benchers or prominent backbenchers in the last FF government honestly did not foresee that they would still be dealing with legitimacy issues over the Provisional IRA’s armed struggle this long after the Belfast Agreement.

    But that, it seems to me at least, is what Adams is trying to chase out of the undergrowth here. He’s using the controversy of the inquiry (which would not be controversial but for his Newstalk solo run) in the hope of creating a public discourse he hopes will establish ‘parity of esteem’ between his party’s struggle and that of the early revolutionaries.

    To be fair, I’ve not heard any southern pol really take that on directly, but I think its partly because: 1, they themselves have taken a lot of their history as read and are not used to being put on the spot; and 2, in the wake of the BA they have come to the conclusion that the 1918 mandate only ever held provenance over the south.

    It’s one of those tricks of the memory Thomas Kuhn illustrates in “structure of scientific revolutions‘ that people assume a smooth historic curve up to the present day, and forget the higgedly stop start path on the way to that present.

    You see it in the way people overseas refer to the south as Ireland, as opposed to the more distinctive Republic of Ireland, (that’s a GFA created optic, which ironically is reinforced by the persistent idea amongst northern Irish nats that NI does not exist, at least idiomatically), and us as Northern Ireland.

    This is not an easy fight for Adams and co. Overcoming such a broad culture of forgetfulness partly licenced by a peace agreement that has underwritten your own political legitimacy, is a tough call.

    I do appreciate the frustration it gives rise in many more than just SFers. But if I was going to start, well, it would not be from here.

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  31. GEF (profile) says:

    “Well, if you didn’t see Vincent Browne last night on TV3, try and catch it here.”

    http://www.tv3.ie/3player/show/41/72907/1/Tonight-with-Vincent-Browne

    Having watched this progamme I am totally convinced GA has inflicted tremendous political damage to SF in the 26 counties.

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  32. BarneyT (profile) says:

    but on a completely different note….sort of….will anyone other than Martin McGuiness refer to him as a freedom fighter? Thatcher and her government labelled Mandela a terrorist. I am guessing that Unionism at the time followed in this assessment. How will all of that stack up? Are we about to see a spate of double standards or humble pie.

    I hope unionism took a different view with regard to Mandela and the path he took, but I cant imagine they did.

    I wonder where the hypocrisy or the discomfort will emerge…..Trimble certainly did not seem at ease this morning.

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  33. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Who, Adams?

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  34. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    ST, I’ve made it clear previously that if anyone effected a takeover (it would never be a merger-political parties don’t merge) I would be first out the door of the SDLP. I keep a pretty close eye on things within the SDLP and nobody has ever mooted a FF link-up.

    Yes, FF has had its share of gombeen men and worse-I’m thinking of contemptible excuses for human beings like Martin Corry and Dan Breen-but it is still a sister party of democratic Irish nationalism, something that the fascist cult of present-day Sinn Fein will never be.

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  35. paulG (profile) says:

    tmitch,

    The island of Ireland was ruled as one political entity right up to partition. In 1918 Republicans secured an overwhelming democratic majority for Independence for and from that political entity.

    This was denied by the Tory-UVF alliance through illegal, undemocratic and indeed, treasonous force of arms.

    All that to pander to the planted populations demands over the wishes of the dispossessed majority.

    By your logic, 4 of the six counties should equally be able to secede from NI now (or indeed hundreds of individual wards).

    There was a democratic fig leaf available to them in seeking partition along the County boundaries or those of the Westminster seats or along census supported demographic lines, but they chose to grab Fermanagh and Tyrone and not to bother with the pretence. And the rest as they say, is history.

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  36. Charles_Gould (profile) says:

    “The island of Ireland was ruled as one political entity right up to partition. In 1918 Republicans secured an overwhelming democratic majority for Independence for and from that political entity.”

    They sure knew how to go about breaking it up! No consultation of and no respect for views in the North. Talk about republican cock-up big time. Or perhaps they valued independence over unity.

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  37. Framer (profile) says:

    PaulG – the island of Ireland was not one political entity up to 1918. It was an integral part of the UK with 100 MPs.
    Consequently the 1918 election was a UK election not an island referendum.
    A referendum on separation/partition would have produced a different result.
    As always the unit of self determination (and the questions asked) determine a result so you are back to square one.
    Common sense and reality are better advisers than national myths and can prevent wars.

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  38. truthfinder (profile) says:

    Sinn Fein have yet to discern how to reach out beyond the republican enclaves of West Belfast and the pubs of Dundalk. Listening to their southern representative on the show indicated just how limited they are of the history of the last 40 years.

    As someone from a Protestant/Unionist background, the summary of the N. Ireland State as an “orange state” where all Protestants lived in 5 bedroom detached mansions on the Malone Road and downtrodden Catholics lived in the slums in West Belfast was laughable. Where there were no Protestants living in tenements dwellings on Shankill and Tigers Bay? Where there no Catholics living in the leafy suburbs of South Belfast? What about the “Castle Catholics” who worked in Stormont and enjoyed the Middle class life of Holywood and the Upper Newtonards Road?

    There was also the fallacious attempt to link the genocidal and sectarian campaign of the Provisionals as a reaction to the “second-class” status of Catholics in N. Ireland. (Interestingly, all these years we are told it was a noble republican war against British Imperialism and now we are told it was just a grubby little tit for tat sectarian bloodbath.)

    There was, unquestionably, widespread discrimination for Catholics in NI as there was for Protestants in the Southern state (and in many parts of the NI). That is the inevitable result of two ethnic/religious groups inhabiting the same plot of land yet living isolated lives from one another. Such people distrust one another and favour those who they feel most comfortable with. That does not justify it but lets be real here. We can all present statistics to play this game e.g. the Protestant population of the Southern state shrunk by 80% during the systemic campaign of discrimation since Partition. My own family suffered in that.

    Despite the inequalities on both sides, the vast majority of right thinking people did not see that as an excuse to shoot their neighbours in the head as they attended church and blow innocent women and children to pieces as they went Christmas shopping! SF may bang the drum till the cows come home about the brave “bhoys of the RA” but the reality they must face up to now is that they murdered our loved ones and church members in front of us. There was nothing noble or brave about it. It may never be forgiven or forgotten.

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  39. paulG (profile) says:

    Framer,

    The British Government had the power. They could have held a referendum if they thought the result would have been any different.

    SF had been pretty clear on what platform they stood.

    Invasion, Genocide, Plantation, More Genocide, Oppression.

    I don’t think the Irish would have spurned the chance to separate from their bigger neighbour, no matter how many referendums had been held.

    (Unless of course the Plantation and Famine clearances had been followed up with an even more effective policy of ethnic replacement)

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  40. 241934 john brennan (profile) says:

    The big difference between the IRA of 1916 and the Provos was the introduction of the indiscriminate use high and blast explosives, e.g. Semtex from Libya and homemade fertiliser car bombs. The murder of innocent civilians was simply disregarded. If this was war, these were war crimes.

    That indiscriminate carnage included the deaths of 80 children. Sinn Fein simply carried on with the repeated and nauseating excuse: ‘the regrettable consequences of war.’ A gun can be considered as a defensive weapon, or for attacking an opposing armed group. But a car bomb, litter bin bomb, or hold-all bomb, left in a pub or shop etc, can be described as nothing else but cold-blooded premeditated murder.

    If there was any sincere regret for the deaths caused by the indiscriminate use of explosives, would not their use have ceased after the deaths of 10 children? 20 children? But the cause justifies the means, any means, including the murder of innocent children?

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  41. Morpheus (profile) says:

    Truthfinder

    I have yet to hear anyone, and I mean ANYONE, claim that “all Protestants lived in 5 bedroom detached mansions on the Malone Road and downtrodden Catholics lived in the slums in West Belfast” but since you go on to recognize wide-spread, institutional discrimination we can move on.

    You say that “Sinn Fein have yet to discern how to reach out beyond the republican enclaves of West Belfast and the pubs of Dundalk.” They took approximately 1 in 4 of the votes at the last Assembly and local council elections in NI.
    http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/0/0f/Northern_Ireland_election_seats_1997-2005.svg/800px-Northern_Ireland_election_seats_1997-2005.svg.png

    The most recent poll in the South has them at approximately 19% and favorite to become junior partners in a coalition government – but I am sure that will change as we will see the impact of the past few days in polls over the coming weeks. Regardless the point is that they have reached outside West Belfast and pubs in Dundalk.

    I totally agree with your final paragraph.

    In terms of an overall SF plan over the past 25 years then I think they have found themselves in the position they are in more through luck than good planning. The demise of the SDLP as a credible alternative and the fact that SF have an all-island structure gave nationalists no choice but to vote SF really. To be fair, over the past 20 years despite some HORRENDOUS mistakes along the way they have managed to come in from the extremes and take the moderate nationalist vote. The SDLP lost nearly 50% of their votes from 1998 to 2011 but i think If they ever do regain their sense of purpose, attract real talent and come up with a feasible plan then they might just be able to get them back and halt the rise of SF

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  42. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “When Adams joined the IRA both his Civil Rights (in terms of voting, housing and employment) and his right to national freedom (the 1918 SF electoral mandate) were undemocratically denied to him by fascistic force of arms.”

    What voting rights were denied him ?

    It is my understanding he was employed at the time -working in the “Duke of York” if my memory is correct how was employment denied ?

    I understand he was a single male at the time – how was housing denied to him ?

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  43. GEF (profile) says:

    Agreed Barshee, GA lived with his father before he was married in an executive house built in the Whiterock area after the war. His father (like my father) who lived in a similar executive house in E Belfast had a single vote ( As rate payers) All Prod and Catholic working classes were treated equally voting wise. Only middle class people ( prods & catholics who had businesses) were allowed extra local council votes. This nonsense perpetuated by republicans that only their families were discriminated against prior to the one man one vote came into law because they were poor Catholics is sheer bullshit.

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  44. truthfinder (profile) says:

    Barnshee, history is full of ironies. Martin McGuinness also was gainfully employed along with Gerry when they decided to resign to wage a terror campaign because they felt discriminated against! My understanding also is that the local councils with the worst discrimination policies in respect of housing were actually Nationalist controlled ones.

    The only part of Ireland that had institutional discrimination was the South where the Irish language requirement ensured that Protestants were debarred from many government posts. However, as I said earlier, I accept that in NI there was, in the absence of fair employment legislation, discrimination by both sides against each other. We all retreat to those we have more in common with when living in such a divided society. But lets not paint in the broad brush that SF uses that portrays one side as the oppressors and the other as the passive recipients of oppression.

    I am not surprised that they are uncomfortable with the spotlight on their terrible actions such as the Breen/Buchannan murders. They should be! Gerry seems very knowledgeable about the IRA’s activities in the Dail from 24 years ago despite the fact that he never was in the IRA and has been suffering from one of the worst forms of amnesia for the last 18 months.

    The substantive point that SF have not worked out yet is that my shooting our neighbours and relatives is not exactly the best policy of persuading a million Protestants that their interests are safe in a utopian united republic. All the IRA campaign did was to ensure that the present generation of republicans have no hope of that ideal. The words of FF and FG in the South over the last few days have demonstrated that they, at least, have learned that.

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  45. Morpheus (profile) says:

    I heartily recommend a change in moniker if you believe that the only place where there was institutional discrimination was in the South.

    I also challenge you to find anyone who has ever referred to a united Ireland as Utopia, Valhalla, Land of Mill and Honey or any other terms which implies that it does not have it’s own very serious problems.

    In terms of the idea of a UI then I found it very interesting to note the recent BT polls when only 44% of the population rejected the concept. It doesn’t scream ‘no hope’ to me.

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  46. paulG (profile) says:

    GEF,

    How very convenient that the reduced value of single vote Unionists happened to be going the same way as those of the multi-vote owners. You have to be extremely blinkered not to recognise that as ‘the fix’. Different story for single vote Nationalists in Gerrymandered Wards.

    Barnshee,

    GA the Barman. That is the service level that he and his kind would be allowed.

    Seems he might have had enough foresight and planning ability, to not wait for the day that he had a family desperate for a house, to be told to fuck off to England.

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  47. paulG (profile) says:

    Mick,

    I don’t see this as a drive by SF to re-package the IRA campaign to gain parity of esteem with the old(est) IRA.

    On the contrary, it is a defence by SF to a recently increased effort to denigrate SF candidates (focusing on the IRA campaign) in the run up to elections.

    The level of esteem is set by the eye of the beholder, and the traditional lack of it for SF from South Dublin’s chattering middle class and media circles has more to do with justifying their abandonment of Northern Catholics than with serious moral positions.

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  48. Barnshee (profile) says:

    GEF,

    How very convenient that the reduced value of single vote Unionists happened to be going the same way as those of the multi-vote owners. You have to be extremely blinkered not to recognise that as ‘the fix’. Different story for single vote Nationalists in Gerrymandered Wards.”

    The property vote applied to all– The father of past president of the RO–I McAleese “enjoyed ” the property vote

    “GA the Barman. That is the service level that he and his kind would be allowed.”

    With roman catholic representation in all the professions, as well as being Tax inspectors,Customs officers-plumbers, builders etc etc. It may be that G was too stupid/lazy/indolent to be other tan “only” a barman

    “Seems he might have had enough foresight and planning ability, to not wait for the day that he had a family desperate for a house, to be told to fuck off to England.”

    The research shows that the real “discrimination” was suffered by the unfortunate prod continually pushed down the waiting list by roman catholic family size

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/discrimination/gudgin99.htm#chap5

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  49. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “By your logic, 4 of the six counties should equally be able to secede from NI now (or indeed hundreds of individual wards).”

    @PaulG,

    The Six Counties have always been treated as a single unit. To let individual counties secede as soon as they gained a nationalist majority would mean that the remaining two unionist counties would remain part of the UK well into the 22nd century–something that the Belfast-based leadership of Sinn Fein would never support. But allowing a united Ireland upon majority vote in NI has been UK policy since at least Dec 1973, and arguably as far back as 1949.

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  50. Nevin (profile) says:

    The garrulous Donegal North-East TD has been having a whinge:

    What I was advised beforehand was that we would talk about Smithwick briefly but when I arrived at the studio I realised that they had the solicitor for the families there and clearly the intention was to embarrass and humiliate.

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  51. paulG (profile) says:

    tmitch,

    “The Six Counties have always been treated as a single unit.”

    Even the most creationist planters don’t claim the wee six were one entity at the beginning.

    The unviability of a 4 county state was put forward as a reason to hold Fermanagh & Tyrone. How viable would 2 counties be, particularly with Belfast wanting to follow the other 4?

    Not that I am proposing that, but the South might prefer to admit the 4 more rural counties without Ballymena’s Backwoodsmen and Belfast’s Fleggers.

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  52. paulG (profile) says:

    Barnshee,

    As the Protestant population owned a disprortionate number of Properties and Business’, the vote bias would always favour Unionists, so hardly surprising ordinary prods didn’t object to it. Except of course those trying to promote Socialist candidates.

    Similarly, their disproportionate control of the vast majority jobs in the private and public sectors meant that opportunities for Catholics were very limited. Wasn’t it Lord Brookborough who boasted he didn’t employ any Catholics on his estates.

    So a small number of Catholics existed in most professions but seriously under-represented in any powerful or well paid sectors.

    Regarding the small Prod families pushed behind the larger Catholic families on the list. If the 19 year old single Prod can be allocated a house ahead of the large Catholic Gildernew family, then one wonders exactly how small these Prod families were?

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  53. Barnshee (profile) says:

    Regarding the small Prod families pushed behind the larger Catholic families on the list. If the 19 year old single Prod can be allocated a house ahead of the large Catholic Gildernew family, then one wonders exactly how small these Prod families were?

    2.2 as opposed to 6.6
    (the current stats are I think 2.2 to -3.3)

    From memory the “Gildernews” had 6 or 7 children ?

    Given that this was typical –the prod lagged in the points -system and attempts were made to instituted “fairness” where allocation of limited resources were involved- by giving a prod a house. Down county council did the same in allocating a prod ahead of catholic family (exactly the same as Dungannon) without the same howls of ” discrimination”

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/discrimination/gibson3.htm

    “The amount of actual discrimination continues to be in dispute. Rose (1971) in an empirical study found no evidence of systematic discrimination. Individual cases of blatant discrimination were found to exist in both Unionist and Nationalist Councils but it is generally agreed that it was a minority of Councils which operated in this fashion. ”

    What gives a free choice on family size the right to special access to taxpayers funds?

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  54. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “The unviability of a 4 county state was put forward as a reason to hold Fermanagh & Tyrone. How viable would 2 counties be, particularly with Belfast wanting to follow the other 4?

    Not that I am proposing that, but the South might prefer to admit the 4 more rural counties without Ballymena’s Backwoodsmen and Belfast’s Fleggers.”

    @PaulG,

    The unionists might well have argued that at the time–politicians will seize on any argument to support their position whether it is valid or not. The two counties (Down and Antrim) might be more viable alone–similar to the European portion of Turkey joining the Asian portion across the straits. But when was the last time that you heard republicans call for a 28-county Ireland or a 30-county Ireland?

    Here is a link to a story discussing the 1918 myth.
    http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/debateni/blogs/jeff-dudgeon/1918-myth-on-whichira-based-its-legitimacy-was-swept-away-by-1998-belfast-agreement-29813759.html

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  55. sean treacy (profile) says:

    PaulG, I think lord Brookeborough (prime minister of a totally”democratic” and most definitely “not orange” state )only said: “personally I would not have one about my place”!

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  56. paulG (profile) says:

    tmitch,

    The only myth there, is the one that the Belfast Telegraph tries to pass off. You can’t have read the comments as they all debunk Jeff Dudgeon’s rediculous claim that people didn’t know they were voting for Independence when they voted for SF !

    Seriously, they had just conducted an armed rebellion to try to seize power and made a declaration of Independence!

    I can assure you, that my relatives knew what they were voting for.

    He even claims that the IIP didn’t stand in 26 seats because there was so little difference between them and SF, which bolstered SF’s numbers and that there was no clear winner where they went head to head – What??? The only seats (bar 1) the IIP won were where SF stood down to prevent a Unionist win.

    Jeff is either a liar or a fool, probably both so he’s at the right Title.

    “The unionists might well have argued that at the time–politicians will seize on any argument to support their position whether it is valid or not.”

    So the Unionists and British were lying in 1920. We’ll some things never change, do they.

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  57. paulG (profile) says:

    “But when was the last time that you heard republicans call for a 28-county Ireland or a 30-county Ireland?”

    Naturally, Republicans won’t want to leave anybody behind next time, having been abandoned themselves by former comrades.

    I was making the point that Nationalists of any shade, could legitimately argue for their county or all of the 4 majority Nationalist countys to be re-united with the Republic, as Counties were the unit of composition of the Statelet.

    I agree that 2 counties could exist, but only if they were overwhelmingly Unionist. Given that Belfast will soon be majority Nationalist and almosy half of County Down is overwhelmingly Nationalist, I think the 2 county statelet would implode very quickly – which is one of the reasons it would never be allowed to happen.

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  58. paulG (profile) says:

    * IPP

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  59. Reader (profile) says:

    paulG: As the Protestant population owned a disprortionate number of Properties and Business’, the vote bias would always favour Unionists, so hardly surprising ordinary prods didn’t object to it. Except of course those trying to promote Socialist candidates. Similarly, their disproportionate control of the vast majority jobs in the private and public sectors meant that opportunities for Catholics were very limited. Wasn’t it Lord Brookborough who boasted he didn’t employ any Catholics on his estates. So a small number of Catholics existed in most professions but seriously under-represented in any powerful or well paid sectors.
    Well, someone was obviously employing Catholics. If it was not the shipyard or the public sector, then it was either Protestant or Catholic owned businesses. Which do you reckon?

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  60. paulG (profile) says:

    Reader,

    Many of them couldn’t get employment anywhere. Many of those had to emigrate, or remain in abject poverty.

    Those who got work were disproportionately at the lower paid levels.

    Protestant big farmers still needed cheap (often seasonal) labour as did other business’.

    Some got employment from servicing their own community including professionals.

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  61. Reader (profile) says:

    paulG: Many of them couldn’t get employment anywhere. Many of those had to emigrate, or remain in abject poverty.
    Those who got work were disproportionately at the lower paid levels.
    Protestant big farmers still needed cheap (often seasonal) labour as did other business’.
    Some got employment from servicing their own community including professionals.

    There was plenty of poverty to go around of course. I think in round numbers there was 20% RC unemployment and 10% Prod unemployment on the eve of the troubles. That means 80% and 90% employment respectively. Once you have factored in your assumptions about H&W; and a public sector that I think employed 20% of the workforce even then, that doesn’t leave much of a differential in the wider job market. You are faced with the reality that either Catholics were employed by Protestants (who would have thunk it?), or that Catholics were employed by Catholics (Business Premises Ratepayer franchise included).
    And, when the time came, there were enough professional people to man the SDLP (School teachers, Doctors and Lawyers Party)

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  62. mr x (profile) says:

    Being a catholic in Eire in the 1950′s was no guarantee of a job either.

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