Women demonstrate need for firm bottom line

John O’Sullivan argues that the McCartney women prove that whilst women can punch uncommonly hard in Northern Irish politics, “Adams and his consiglieri calculate they can survive this rebellion of ordinary Catholics as they survived earlier ones. Before the McCartney women, there were the “peace women” in 1976″. Whether or not you agree with his conclusion, it gets high marks for concision and wit:

Blair and Ahern demonstrate the melancholy outcome of the appeasement that the peace process has become. In the end the appeaser becomes so committed to the process of appeasement that he cannot hold the aggressor to account for his aggression. So, naturally, his aggression continues. Unless Blair and Ahern learn courage from the McCartney women and firmness from Bush, the Addams Family will continue to frighten, maim and murder for another decade or two.

  • spirit-level

    I don’t know if your “firm bottom line” was a freudian slip; but it certainly gets high marks for concision and wit.
    Joking aside though I think its its now or never for people power to organise themselves and provide statements to the police.
    It’s said that the people in the pub that night won’t come forward because they are intimidated.
    But if they don’t come forward they are sending a clear message to the IRA that they can carry on doing their wicked deeds without impunity.

    Yet it could be their loved ones next.

    Isn’t it time those people took the chance,
    they are not “touts” for going to the PSNI.

    And if they did it en masse, would the IRA start killing all 70 of them over a period of some years? I think not.

    The people of short strand have a clear choice ahead:
    Do nothing and live forever in fear, without any possibility of justice whatsoever.
    Or come together and demonstrate the courage required to oust the men of violence.

  • spirit-level

    Of course it hasn’t escaped me that there were many SF members and IRA members ( hard to see the diff these days ) in the bar that night and these people ARE protected by the IRA.

    The ordinary folks in there that night AREN’T protected and hence are terrified of what might happen to them if they produced a statement.

    So really after disseminating SF/IRA words that they are interested in Justice,in the light of the above its beyond doubt SF are involved in a cover-up, as the sisters claim.
    Futhermore its MMg again that is leading the McCartney smear campaign.As he twists and turns from victimhood to false concern.

    Oh by the way I’m a nationalist.
    S’funny that!

  • Circles

    Difference nationalist / republican IYO please spirit?

  • spirit-level


  • Mick Fealty

    IYO = In your opinion.

  • spirit-level

    Republican = Any combination of SF/IRA you like.
    Nationlist = Legitimate All Ireland Aspirations
    who want nothing to do with any combination of SF/IRA.

  • Circles

    Interesting – thanks!

  • spirit-level

    You’re very welcome Circles

  • George

    Spirit Level,

    Michael McDowell and Bertie Ahern are also Irish Republicans so I would completely disagree with your description of a Republican.

    “Physical force Republican” would be more appropriate unless of course you want to give republicanism and our democratic system of government to Sinn Fein on a plate.

  • Circles

    Is Michael McDowell a republican?
    A little stunned by that.

    I asked the question spirit because I wanted just to have an idea of how people who call themselves nationalist actually define republicanism. In my experience it turns out that theres a huge number of republicans “in denial” simply because of the association of the phrase with the IRA.
    Now if the IRA could just face up to reality and “disband”, “transform”, “disappear” and SF could push ahead with republican politics (without the nasty aftertaste) there could be a whole lot more republicans out there waiting to give them a vote.

    And on the topic of women – where are all the unionist women?

  • Weapons Of Crass Instruction

    “And on the topic of women – where are all the unionist women”?

    Pauline Gilmore….or is she loyalist?, and if so definition of loyalism/unionism please.

  • Circles

    Iris Robinson?
    Lady Herman?
    Seawright’s missus?

    Any single ones? Not that I’m looking!! I just wonder if they just follow what the head of the household tells them.

  • George

    yes he is and he says he believes in the true republican imperative, reconciling the orange and green. That after all is the origin of Ireland’s national flag – the flag of the Republic.

    Statement from McDowell after the Northern Bank Raid which I believe sums up the allegiance of the majority of Irish Republicans.

    “We must stand by the one and only republic that we have – the state that was built by the generation that won us our freedom and that has been sustained since by democracy and the rule of law. There is but one army entitled to be considered Oglaigh na h-Eireann – the Defence Forces maintained by the Oireachtas under Bunreacht na h-Eireann. “

  • Circles

    Thanks George.
    Although the line “We must stand by the one and only republic that we have” is loaded with dynamite for some.
    And of course the “our” in “the generation that won us OUR freedom” doesn’t leave much space for republicans in the north. Quite an exclusive little republic Mr McDowell has going there – seems a bit of a cold house for northerners in general.

    Republicanism for me has always been a non-sectarian philosophy anyway as outlined in the proclamation. (Even if the first flag was green with a golden harp.)

  • séanna boy

    The ‘Northern Nationalist’ nightmnare in relation to the police DID not start with and will not end with the death of Robert Mc Cartney. I was not anywhere near Mc Guinness’s pub the night Robert Mc Cartney was killed but with all the reports that are coming to the fore now it is very very safe to assume that killing a person was the last thing that was on the minds of those people who did kill Robert. It is also very very safe to assume that those who killed Robert will not get any semblance of a fair trial and it is also safe to assume that any person who is convicted in relation to this event will receive very heavy sentences.

  • Circles

    Its also safe to assume that a woman didn’t do it.
    Mindless, unplanned violence is very much a male specialty.

  • George

    It is all about the will of the people and you cannot usurp the will of the people of the 26 counties in order to build a 32-county republic.

    There are many things Irish republicans can do to improve the chances of an end to British rule on this island but ignoring the democratic wishes of the people, north or south, shouldn’t be one of them.

    Dail Eireann is the legitimate parliament of 4 of the 5.7 million people of this island.

    By the way, I believe the green background behind the harp symbolised revolution not nationalism.

  • spirit-level

    I never meant to give a water-tight definition, the semantics are too difficult and so agree with you that I am in all liklihood stating my opposition to physical force republicanism;
    and therefore agree with Circles too that:
    “Now if the IRA could just face up to reality and “disband”, “transform”, “disappear” and SF could push ahead with republican politics (without the nasty aftertaste) there could be a whole lot more republicans out there waiting to give them a vote.

  • Alan McDonald


    Regarding if the IRA could just face up to reality and “disband”, “transform”, “disappear”

    Is this a negotiable or non-negotiable item? The friends of Sinn Fein here in the US, i.e, the politicians willing to meet Gerry Adams, say the same thing you said, but then they qualify it by calling for “continued dialog” on the issue.

  • Circles

    All valid points George – completely agree with you regarding the democratic wishes of the 5.7 Million.
    Its a much clearer argument than McDowells attempts with his “one and only republic”. The republican posing of many politicians is in any case just that – posing, without any real reflection on what they are actually talking about. Plays well on the populist charts, but has no real substance.

    The point with the flag wasn’t to say that it was a nationalist flag – only that it wasn’t the green, white and orange we all know and love/hate.

  • Circles

    Alan, I don’t think not talking to Gerry Adams will contribute to solving the problem of how the IRA can exit stage left. We weren’t even allowed to hear his voice for years and it didn’t change anything.

    But its also not an item for negotiation. As was said on a previous thread today, it’s going to happen anyway, and recent events may even have sped things on a little. Events will make it happen – either they go and retain a certain relevance in their absence, or they don’t and loose all relevance at grass roots level. They have been tolerated in the sort of affectionate way you would tolerate an old relative who has shrivelled to a shadow of the former self and you just hope they’ll pass away with a semblance of grace and not end up wandering the neighbourhood pissing in their trousers.

  • Alan McDonald

    wandering the neighbourhood pissing in their trousers

    So, you knew my uncle Rudy, then.

  • spirit-level

    Perhaps I should abandon my Venn Diagrams approach to NornIron Politics as I keep getting ripped! Difficult as I majored in Maths.

    However back to the thread:
    IMHO the McCartneys are part of the solution and SF/IRA are part of the problem.

    Whether or not this is the Reality, it’s most certainly the Perception, in all but a few die-hards. In Politics Perception counts for everything.

    These women are the innocent victims, not the guilty. The lambs not the wolves.
    They want truth not lies.
    Freedom not oppression.
    Justice not vengance.
    Righteousness not unrighteousness.

    They are the real heroines.
    Of whom the beatitudes were written for.

    I wish I could do something for them?
    Any know if they’ve a website or a HQ?

  • spirit-level

    “shrivelled to a shadow of the former self and you just hope they’ll pass away with a semblance of grace and not end up wandering the neighbourhood pissing in their trousers”
    Nice one;

  • Jimmy Sands

    I must admit I would much rather the media stopped using the term republicanism to mean provisionalism. I find it a fairly tendentious usage.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    That’s very Dermot Ahern of you!

  • Jimmy Sands

    Well ideally I’d prefer they used the term fascism, but I’m prepared to settle.

  • Peter Nolan

    “…it is very very safe to assume that killing a person was the last thing that was on the minds of those people who did kill Robert. “

    So, the lethal passive voice makes another appearance.

    Therefore, they’re guilty of manslaughter, destruction of evidence, threatening witnesses and leaving the scene of a crime. A trip to confession and a few ambiguous press releases from SF aren’t going to make it right.

    “It is also very very safe to assume that those who killed Robert will not get any semblance of a fair trial”

    Given the constraints imposed by paramilitary intimidation of witnesses, juries and indeed judges, they’ll get the best NI can deliver, which is still probably safter than in the Republic. Then again, they’re killers and neither McCartney, all the other unforunates shot or maimed by the Provos got nothing remotely as fair, never mind the other 1200 or so victims of the IRA.

    “…and it is also safe to assume that any person who is convicted in relation to this event will receive very heavy sentences.”


  • séanna boy

    This term ‘fascism’ has been used for the last 35 to 40 years by opponents of Republicanism. Anyone who has even been remotely connected to the struggle for this period would know this. This term was even used against those people who would have at one stage claimed to have been Republicans who are to the fore in now trying to undermine the Republican struggle such as Sean O Callaghan and even other ex prisoners as well

  • séanna boy

    ” they’ll get the best NI can offer” LOL.

  • Jimmy Sands

    As I said, I’ll settle for provisionalism then. You insist on using the term republicanism as if it were synonymous.

  • Alan McDonald

    Look, will somebody please explain to me what the problem is?

    Everybody speaking in America, including Gerry Adams, says that the IRA has to go away. What’s stopping them?

    Before you waste any time calling me naive or an ignorant Yank, I confess to both crimes.

    Now, explain, please.

  • George

    I suppose the simple answer is that Gerry Adams either can’t or won’t deliver the IRA.

    Either way, the British, American and Irish governments will feel they have been sold a pup if he doesn’t.

    Personally, I think physical force republicanism is bigger than any one man and has survived mass executions in the Irish Civil War, mass internment north and south of the border at different times in the last 60 years, not to mention the current feelings against it.

    Pearse once said: “Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

    As long as the British rule any part of this island, there will always be a certain number of people prepared to try prove Pearse right.

    The objective is to make that number as small as possible.

  • Alan McDonald


    Thank you for your reply. I appreciate your earnestness.

    My wife just called me from her car to tell me to turn on National Public Radio (www.npr.org). They were interviewing Catherine and Paula McCartney. This is the first time I’ve heard them speak, and I must admit they did bring a tear to my eye.

    At the end of the interview, the reporter said that Gerry Adams will be on the Morning Edition show tomorrow morning. I’ll give him a listen.

  • Alan McDonald

    RE: the NPR interview:

    McCartney Sisters Discuss Their Mission

    Audio for this story will be available at approx. 7:30 p.m. ET

    All Things Considered, March 16, 2005 ·

    Robert Siegel talks with Catherine and Paula McCartney, sisters of a man who was murdered by Irish Republican Army members in a Belfast pub this January. The sisters’ outspoken call for justice in the case of Robert McCartney has won an invitation to the White House tomorrow, in place of the usual St. Patrick’s Day visitor, Sinn Fein leader Gerry Adams.

  • spirit-level
  • spirit-level

    I refer the Rt.Hon cg
    to one who knows better than he or I

  • spirit-level

    oops, the piece on:
    When will northern nationalists learn

  • cg

    SL I haven’t even commented on this thread and what does UI site prove?

  • johnhidd


    If I may offer an opinion;

    The removal of the IRA, followed by Loyalist paramilitaries, would mean the decline of SF as a valid political force. With normalisation and genuine peace, people would turn to more appropriate parties. SF funds would suffer without the proceeds of crime.

    They dare not allow peace to break out and lose their bargaining chip on an elastic band.

    By constantly crying “It’s a war situation! You need us!” they follow George W. Bush when he rather pathetically said “I’m a War President. Vote for me.”

    And they did.

  • Alan McDonald


    Thanks for your comments. I was just thinking, based on comments on another thread, that Adams is more like Bush than like Blair. Those of us in the US who did not vote for Bush, (in fact, we actively campaigned against him) find him to be a liar and a war mongerer of the worst kind. We are left to wonder whether those who DID vote for him are fools or evil or both.

  • J Kelly

    Two things I would like to state in regards McCartneys campaign and this trip to the USA.

    Firstly I will state that I support their campaign but not unconditionally and by this I mean I want them to get justice for their brother but I will not support them if they wish to challenge SF or if they wish to campaign for the IRA to disband.

    Secondly as someone who supports Sinn Fein but objected strongly to Sinn Fein meeting George Bush I also disagree totally with this campaign for truth and justice meeting a man who has the blood of thousands of Iraqi people on his hands he is no better than the people who murdered their brother.

  • spirit-level

    J Kelly what about johnhidd’s points?
    I think they are pretty good don’t you?

  • J Kelly

    SL johnhidd The first thing that people who do not vote for SF or live in communities that are represented by SF is that the vast proportion of theur vote come from excellent representation and hard work by party activists. So with this stated I would argue that with normalisation and genuine peace SF would flourish as has been seen over the time of the peace process. During the conflict SF failed to gather the popular support thay have today because many people did not support the armed campaign but with that removed as it has been SF support has sreadily risen. So its SF who have the most to gain by genuine peace.

    The IRA gsvr up it bargaining power last December by agreeing to leave the stage so that argument is dead in the water.

    When was the last time the a SF representative spoke in thise terms all I hear from them is support for the GFA and rebuilding the peace process.

    The real reason behind all at this campaign against SF is the fear of the political establishment in Dublin that SF may be in a position at the next election yo hold the alance of power.

    SF will be the main benificaries of the building of genuine peace that does not include victories od humiliation for anyone.

  • Circles

    I would agree with that analysis. However it does raise an interesting question:

    If SF are the ones who will benefit most (and they are not so blind as to not see this), surely they would not do anything to risk it – particularly this year with the 100th anniversary and the potential to make a huge, positive impact. Does that mean we can assume that all this commotion has been caused by somebody maliciously??

  • J Kelly

    Firstly the IRA have denied robbing the Northern Bank and secondly the IRA did not murder Robert McCartney.

    So the entire onslaught on SF is very deliberate and malicious. But republicans arevery defiant and have seen all this before and one thing that every last person connected with this processknows is that SF are a very major player within it.

    I’ll pose a few question for some consideration, if the IRA were to disband tonight and put all weapons beyond use with photographs would the process be held up until Robert Mc Cartneys killers were put in jail. No. Would Gerry Adams be at the Whitehouse. Yes. Would Gerry Kelly be Justice Minister? Yes

  • Alan McDonald


    Having posed and answered your own questions, that takes us back to my question:

    Everybody speaking in America, including Gerry Adams, says that the IRA has to go away. What’s stopping them?