Republicans ready for new phase in Irish politics

Interesting analysis from Jude Collins this week, who asserts what many have suspected for some time, ie that the IRA has finished with its guns some time ago, and Republicans are ready for the next phase of politics.

  • peteb

    Mick

    I think the problem is that the electioneering SF has engaged in during that 10 years of ‘ceasefire’ can be paraphrased as – ‘we need your vote to persuade the IRA that politics will work’.

    That has brought us to a situation where an alternative heading to this thread would read – ‘Republicans finally ready for politics’. The difficulty facing the political process is that such a ‘readiness’ can also be seen as a result of SF taking an electoral lead in one section of a still divided society and, while SF will not countenance the possibility, electoral fortunes, like the stock market warings say, can go down as well as up.

  • Paul A. Fitzsimmons

    “If, God forbid, the IRA should be provoked into action again 20 years from now, you may be sure they’ll reach for other, more modern weapons than those that’ve been rusting in IRA caches for the past 10 years.”

    The IRA will still be around and still have the capacity even decades down the road to “reach for other, more modern weapons” if, in their own good judgment, a return to violence is deemed necessary? “They haven’t gone away, you know”?

    Doesn’t seem like much of a settlement.

  • Henry94

    Paul A. Fitzsimmons

    That is an unlikely scenario. No group of republicans has ever reverted to violence once they have embraced the constitutional path.

    The only way the IRA could reemerge is via the dissidents winning support. People would argue about lineage but the effect would be the same

  • Davros

    No group of republicans has ever reverted to violence once they have embraced the constitutional path

    I must have dreamed that there was an IRA bomb in Canary Wharfe .

  • George

    The IRB completely gave up on the idea of armed struggle after the humiliating defeat of 1867 and instead based their hopes on convincing the majority of the validity of independence.
    The popular idea of using physical force to earn Ireland’s national liberation only returned with real gusto along with the creation of the UVF in 1912.

    The IRA and SF are in the same position as Irish nationalism post 1867.
    They are now arguing over rights for the punter(not the 3f’s this time but Patten etc.) rather than insurgency.

    It’s the parliamentary path (Adams nearly looks like Parnell) until such time as a major shock drags us all back into the maelstrom once again.

    Paul,
    This is as close as we will get to a “permanent” settlement for this generation.

    As Thomas Clarke said when he was told fighting the British Empire was like banging your head against a stone wall that he’d keep banging his head against the wall in the hope that some day it would give way.

  • ShayPaul

    Paul is right in my opinion.

    Stalemate it is.

    Settlement it is not.

    The DUP is looking to a sectarian stand off to halt SF progress.

    This DisUnionist Party wants everything but unity in NI, and harks back to majority rule.

    The only way to a settlement is through real unity on fundamental non-sectarian issues that are the real political issues in a normal modern democracy, jobs, economics, education, health, security …..

    The agreement is a step to normality, but a long way from a “settlement”.

  • Davros

    The IRB completely gave up on the idea of armed struggle after the humiliating defeat of 1867

    Eh ? They had a rest, but had every intention of returning to the fray. After all it was as an IRB member that Pearse wrote :
    ‘We must accustom ourselves to the thought of arms, to the sight of arms, to the use of arms. We may make mistakes in the beginning and shoot the wrong people; but bloodshed is a cleansing and a sanctifying thing, and the nation which regards it as a final horror has lost its manhood.’

  • willowfield

    It is disturbing that so many Irish nationalists view the man who wrote those words as a hero.

  • ShayPaul

    Willowfield

    Have you read Dr No’s speeches ?

  • willowfield

    No, but I’ve seen the film.

  • Davros

    WF : he wrote some things that still look horrible.
    However we should remember that back in 1914 even the Poets who went on to write so bitterly about WWI
    wrote about ‘dulce et decorum est’.

  • George

    Davros,
    your quote is irrelevant as Pearse only joined the IRB in 1912. Up until the formation of the UVF most Irish nationalists were trying the “constitutional” path.

  • Davros

    George, that’s a weird reply.
    Pearse wrote that as an IRB Member. The 1916 rising was planned and executed by an IRB cabal.

    O’Donovan Rossa, IRB, orchestrated a bombing campaign in England during the 1880’s

    So much for your claim that the IRB gave up completely on the idea of armed struggle after 1867.

  • George

    Davros,
    I was responding to your “Eh ? They had a rest, but had every intention of returning to the fray” comment.

    That’s not correct.They didn’t have every intention of returning to the fray and only really got back into the armed insurrection business post 1912 with the advent of the UVF.

    As for O’Donovan Rossa, he was in the US for all this as were Clan na Gael the others planting bombs.

    Virtually the entire Fenian movement in Ireland, under the stewardship of John Devoy, went under the ‘New Departure’ banner and supported the land rights struggle by Parnell and Davitt. The 3f’s.

    As I said, the IRB gave up on the idea of armed struggle after the humiliating defeat of 1867 and instead based their hopes on convincing the majority of the validity of independence.

    What SF and the IRA are doing now is nothing new. This is their new departure except this time the banner is the GFA.

  • Davros

    Sorry George you are wrong and are being too stubborn to admit it.

    Rossa Orchestrated the bombings from USA – do you think he swam over and planted them ? No – Irish IRB members planted them. That proves that you were wrong to claim that the IRB gave up after 1867.

  • George

    Davros,
    the overwhelming majority of the Fenian movement in Ireland gave up the armed struggle post 1867.

    You can say they didn’t if you want but they did. It’s like saying the IRA haven’t given up because the Real IRA exists.

    The overwhelming majority of the IRA have ended their campaign and are moving on the “constitutional” path just like the overwhelming majority of Fenians ended their attacks and took the “constitutional” path. This was a valid comparison in relation to the thread we are discussing.

    I see absolutely no benefit in nit picking as to whether the tiny mostly exiled splinter group remaining committed to violence post 1867 means the Fenians as a whole didn’t give up or did, or whether the IRA has only given up if the Real IRA also gives up.

  • Davros

    the overwhelming majority of the Fenian movement in Ireland gave up the armed struggle post 1867.

    That’s VERY different from your original post George and the difference, apart from being about accuracy , is important.

  • George

    Davros,
    I don’t believe it’s very different. I would consider the IRA as the IRA and the REAL IRA as a splinter group.

    I would consider the Fenians in Ireland that joined New Departure as the Fenian Movement.

    You bring up the exiled people and decide they are the Fenian Movement rather than the splinter group that I think they were.

    Of course there will always be a splinter group if you look hard enough for one.

  • George

    Also Davros,
    my understanding was that this was an American-Irish Fenian campaign and the bombers were also exiles.
    Where do you have the information that the bombers came from the Irish Fenian Movement?

  • mickhall

    Im not sure today’s Provisional Republican Movement fit’s into any historical context. After all what it has agreed to do, is to jointly govern Northern Ireland not as a transitional government, but until such time as the unionist majority decides otherwise, that is in most peoples minds permanently. In reality this could mean that if another radical republican movement emerged; and used either violent means or direct action to bring about a unified state in Ireland, SF as part of northern Irelands government would be duty bound to put them down, as they (Radical republicans) would be braking the law of northern Ireland.

    This has got to be a first for Irish Republicanism for if this were to happen, most Irish men and women, bar Unionists would surly regard SF as little better than Quislings.

    Have a nice weekend,

    Mick

  • Liam

    Mickhall

    I think your understanding of Sinn Féin’s strategy is very seriously flawed.

  • mickhall

    Liam,
    Mickhall
    I think your understanding of Sinn Féin’s strategy is very seriously flawed

    Liam,
    Maybe, but it would surly help my education if you told me why. By the way im not talking about Mr Adams strategy, but the likely outcome of it.

    Mick

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Mick,

    are you disappointed that no radical alternative agenda has been formulated around which genuine republicans opposed to the current SF stragey can rally around?

    Is it good enough for some (not you) to say, ‘ I don’t have a strategy, all I know is the present course is wrong’.

  • mickhall

    Pat,
    Yes, you have hit the core weakness of all who would regard themselves as Republican critics of Mr Adams strategy, but who like him recognise that the armed struggle has run its course. Once PIRA is disbanded and ‘normal’ politics bedded down in the north things may change. Commentators have concentrated on a split occurring within PIRA, whereas I feel it is just as likely to happen within SF. Although SF is very leadership driven; and it is equally just as likely to implode as SF activists follow the republican tradition at the end of a campaign and go home, shut the front door and await better days or a new generation. Or Gerry Adams may have been correct all along and those of us who have criticised him, will have been proved wrong. Although Pat as time goes on, I feel we are less and less likely to have been mistaken in our criticism.

    Best regards,

    Mick

  • Liam

    Mickhall, you miss the point entirely. Perhaps this is because you write from a foreign country?

    You predict that the IRA will disband and ‘normal politics will bed down’. But you fail to realise that Sinn Féin are not packing up their tents, but taking the struggle into the heart of the political arena.

    Much of your posting is obviously wishful thinking on your own behalf. One wonders at your motivation? The suggestion that Sinn Féin will implode is clearly fanciful and nothing more than an illustration of your wishful thinking!

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    I wonder how the DUP are going to handle a new phase in Irish politics. This article explains how a DUP councillor has apparently obtained video footage of the PSNI removing Ulster and UFF flags from a mixes neighbourhood.

    The question obviously begs, who made the footage and more importantly what objectives did that person have ?

    [BTW First class job there on the part of the PSNI, and let’s hope there’s more of it. It’s such a damn shame that unionist politicians seem to be interested in other things than supporting them with this kind of important work. ]

  • mickhall

    Liam,

    If all you can offer is petty smears and silly insults about foreign countries, then we can go down that road, funny how Gerry Adams does not seem to see foreigners as irrelevant, he spends enough time going either cap in hand to those in the US or begging the British PM to act as an independent arbiter between him and Paisley. As for your nasty smear at my motivation for posting, the general opinion is that your own party has enough securocrats or their touts of its own without accusing others, Mr Scappiticci ring any bells?

    Myself I gave up wishing for things long ago, sadly unlike your party, for that can be the only bases SF’s talk of a united Ireland being a reality by 1916 could be achieved. By the way how long will it before your saintly leader takes his seat in the English House of Commons, think of the big picture, all that money your losing which could help SF bring about a Socialist Republic, or a holiday home, home improvements, a suit just like Mr Blair’s, Holidays abroad, etc., etc.

    Now if you wish to debate the issues sensibly great, I will put this behind me, but your not the only one who can reduce debate to the kinder garden. If you intend to continue to reply to my post in that manner, do not expect a further reply. apologies to list members but Liam’s post was such that if I lived around the corner from him I may have found some ceasefire thug at my door, so it was important that I made my contempt clear.

    Mick

  • Davros

    Interesting article Roger. Sinister indeed if the video exists, still sinister even if it doesn’t.
    Good for the PSNI.

  • Liam

    Mickhall, am truly wondering where you got ‘petty smears and silly insults’from and ‘contempt’ too??

    I obviously touched a nerve there somehow Mickhall?

  • Paul A. Fitzsimmons

    Re: Mick Hall and Liam

    Basically with MH’s comments above.

    05:43PM: MH posits that SF would be duty bound, just like the rightest-wingers among the Unionists, to put down violence from any radical republican movement. Could this suggestion possibly be wrong? If any “Republican” reading this message feels MH’s point is incorrect, please be so kind as to alert Dr. Paisley ASAP … he’ll want to know.

    06:27 PM: MH responds to Liam’s rather vacuous 06:14 by asking for a more particularized statement from him (none apparently follows). MH’s comment — “By the way im not talking about Mr Adams strategy, but the likely outcome of it.” — hits astutely and amusingly on several levels.

    09:43 PM: “Mickhall, you miss the point entirely. Perhaps this is because you write from a foreign country?” Nice ad hominem, Liam; a bit low, however, on substance. “Sinn Féin are not packing up their tents, but taking the struggle into the heart of the political arena”? Years ago, a dyed-in-the-wool Republican from Belfast, AND a strong SF supporter he, told me that, essentially, all was coming down to making sure that the good guys were going to get a big-enough piece of the pie. Once that’s institutionalized, the “Republican struggle” will very largely be over (even Jude Collins suggested as much a few months back when he intimated that there might come a point, if the GFA is ever up and running, that, if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it … ’course the “it” there is “NI with devolved powers within the U.K.).

    10:47 PM and 11:30 PM: Liam, Mick Hall is right: your responses were, as suggested above, lacking in substance and somewhat insulting in their tone. Whether you cough up an apology is for you to decide. Your responses indicate to me that you know you’re wrong in your complaints about Mick and that you don’t want to admit it.

    Paul

    PS: Maybe SF?IRA (sic) should change its name at this point. Perhaps “SinnDLP” would be about right (although it does sound a bit like something that would be found on a McDonald’s menu). Doesn’t bother me in the least that they seem to want to become constitutional nationalists (I, and about a million others, called for such a change years ago) … let’s just be grown-up enough to call a spade a spade. P.A.F.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Agreed Mick, but surely critics have had the opportunity to put some sort of alternative in place and give a focal point to the understandable anguish. Som,er articles on the current process reek of the type of elitism that the authors accuse the Adams leadership of. To adopt the atitude that ‘we can see this process is crap but you people are being led by the nose’ does not win many friends.

    With armed struggle now realised as futile critics do have to face the reality of unionist majoritarianism and the continued British presence.
    Eoin O Broin raised the same issue in The Blanket and Tommy Gormans reply was very weak to say the least.

    It is clear that working class nationalist areas are dominated (to an unhealthy extent) by SF. The SDLP have little or no presence in North Belfast areas like Ardoyne or the Bone etc and will never have a presence is such areas ever again. If others want to give leadership surely they should step up to the plate.

  • mickhall

    Pat,

    It is difficult to put an argument up against the points you raised in your last post, I think one of the problems has been when someone like Tommy or Anthony put out an argument that is critical of SF strategy, it is rarely challenged from the SF side politically via argument. Instead innuendoes and in the past even pickets of homes have occurred. Thus when Eoin O Broin replied to Tommy’s criticism, I think most on the ‘dissident’ side really welcomed his contribution; whilst disagreeing with its content. I understand completely what you mean when your write, “we can see this process is crap but you people are being led by the nose,” but as your aware many of the men and women from both sides know each other pretty well, having been through the same trials and tribulations and when families fall out this sort of thing often happens, whilst it is to be regretted, Im afraid that’s life, however, hot air is better than cold steel any day.

    Liam,
    Of course you touched a nerve, if I had hinted the same about you im sure your nerves would have become somewhat jagged.

    Paul,
    I appreciated what I felt was a very thoughtful post.

    Regards to all.

    Mick