Only alternative to Sinn Fein is Sinn Fein

Anthony McIntyre believes there’s a deliberate attempt by the leadership in Sinn Fein to demonise both him and the McCartney sisters by suggesting he has been helping them in the background. He tells Henry McDonald the extent of his ‘involvement’ with the sisters:

‘The morning after Robert McCartney was stabbed, I got a phone call from his aunt, a close personal friend. She was distraught and told me that her nephew had died. I attended the vigil for him the Friday after his death. I wanted to express my sympathy with the family. I then went to Robert’s home and paid respects.’

McIntyre, an ex-IRA prisoner turned writer who served 16 years in the Maze, then wrote an article for the radical republican website that he runs with his wife, Carrie Towmey.

‘The following Tuesday, I attended the funeral. I remained in the company of the aunt who was my friend and her family. On Thursday evening, I received a call from the family. They asked me to I speak to them, as they wanted to ensure that Robert’s murder was not another statistic. They said they had been touched by my article and felt that I was a writer who would approach the matter fairly.’

He suggested that, unless the women highlighted what happened to Robert in the national and international media, his story would be forgotten. He then contacted The Observer , as well as a Dublin-based Sunday newspaper.

‘That Sunday, both papers carried major articles and the sisters’ campaign became major news. I have not been in the family home since, nor seen any of the McCartney women. I have been in touch with them by phone, for the most part putting journalists in contact with them. But now that journalists know them, my contact with the family is infrequent.’

A strong critic of both Sinn Fein and the Belfast Agreement, McIntyre nevertheless believes:

‘The majority of good, decent republicans remain in Sinn Fein. The problem is that the leadership has been in power too long and controls all independent thought. That is why it runs away from the truth. The only alternative to Sinn Fein for republicans will have to come from within Sinn Fein.’

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    He doesn’t state how he is being demonised.

  • StrayToaster

    I assume, Pat, that he is one of the ‘two prominent dissidents’ that you refered/alluded to over on Chris Gaskin’s blog then? (link, in case you forget)

    If so, now reading his view of it, are you going to accept what he says, or, like the SF leadership tell you to, to try and discredit him at all opportunities?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘I assume, Pat, that he is one of the ‘two prominent dissidents’ that you refered/alluded to over on Chris Gaskin’s blog then? ‘

    Yes he is, Tommy Gorman is the other.

    ‘If so, now reading his view of it, are you going to accept what he says’

    I accept that he is correct in admitting his part in the campaign.

    ‘like the SF leadership tell you to, to try and discredit him at all opportunities?’

    I have never been in contact with the SF leadership thus they have never advised me to do anything.

  • mickhall


    Sometimes I despair, a Republican gets a phone call asking for advice from someone who has had a family member brutally murders in a pub brawl, what should he/she do, say sorry cannot help mate, it never happened, or perhaps they should have telephoned Connolly House, waited for a couple of weeks for the leadership to get back to them and then passed on Gerry’s advice. Trust the leadership, we have it all in hand. The whole point about being involved at grass roots level is to be able to act fast. Indeed the fact that SF did not act over this issue quickly, is one of the reasons they are in their current predicament.

    McIntyre gave advice when asked and more to the point when the family needed a friendly face, it was not a lot as he himself has said but for the family it got the wheels turning and provided the journalist contacts they needed to start their campaign. Perhaps this is why the PIRA are so angry with him, for without this advice perhaps the McCartneys may have accepted PIRAs offer to slot the killers due to there being no alternative avenue to get justice, thus for PRM the problem would have been solved. But what you have to understand about Anthony McIntyre, is this, for him a friend in need is not a bloody nuisance.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    why the despair, no one has clarified how Mc Intyre is being demonised over this case.

  • spartacus

    McIntyre has lost the plot, and I say this not as someone who toes the SF line, but as someone who has occasionally admired some of what he’s written in recent years. He is not a ‘republican’ in any meaningful sense, and he takes his lead from the pro-unionist intelligentsia, if that is not an oxymoron. In my view he was seduced by the allure of respectability and the pseudo-intellectual solidarity of some of his former instructors at Queen’s, whose influence no doubt helped him get space for his ramblings in the right wing press in Ireland and Britain.

    McIntyre and–I’m much sadder to say– Tommy Gorman, cannot make up their minds whether they are critical of PRM for abandoning the fight against imperialism or for not abandoning it fast enough. With no intention of building an active alternative to Adams and co (and by that I don’t necessarily mean dissident republicanism), they are reduced to becoming a talking shop. Not surprisingly, when they spend so much of their time denouncing SF and direct so little of their fire at the forces that actualy RUN this society, those who are most likely to listen to them are ex-Sticks and right-wing unionists. And all the pseudo-intellectual posing and all the postmodernist jargon in the world won’t get them out of that rotten corner they’ve painted themselves into. A waste.

  • Carrier

    “they spend so much of their time denouncing SF”

    Well, considering McIntyre stated in the above article that he believes an alternative has to come from inside SF, it’s hardly surprising that the current SF leadership is the focus of his criticisms.

  • Whatabout

    Does it matter if he is advising the family? Surely they can seek advice from anyone they wish? If the point is that the family are being manipulated and used against Sinn Fein – so what? It’s patently obvious that the family are not being so used. The facts are brought out in the article.

  • Ireland Today

    Henry McDonald wrote:

    “He is convinced that there is a progressive bloc inside Sinn Fein. ‘The majority of good, decent republicans remain in Sinn Fein. The problem is that the leadership has been in power too long and controls all independent thought. That is why it runs away from the truth. The only alternative to Sinn Fein for republicans will have to come from within Sinn Fein.'”

    Anthony McIntyre would like to believe that there is still a “progressive bloc” inside the Sinn Fein he served for so long but there is little evidence of it. All the evidence points the other way, that SF has become a party of yes-men and yes-women, more like a cult than a political party.

    If the only alternative to Sinn Fein is within Sinn Fein then republicanism is in serious trouble.

    The McCartney sisters are republicans who are thoroughly disgusted with SF. I look forward to seeing where they find THEIR alternative. And they must, as justice will not come from SF. So far these girls have shown excellent judgment.

  • spartacus

    Ireland Today:

    Here is your welcome to the McCartney sisters:

    ‘Now they will meet a man who will show them what a real republic looks like, George Bush. Nothing can have prepared them for what lies ahead at the White House. They will meet a real President of a real Republic, not a petty little warlord called Gerry Adams.’

    Given your convoluted understanding of what constitutes ‘democracy,’ who are you to complain about ‘yes-men’? You live in a nation of them, and have apparently come down with a more severe variant of the affliction than many of your countrymen and women. And what in the world would you care for a ‘progressive bloc,’ in or out of Sinn Fein? In your hero’s warped view of the world, a ‘progressive bloc’ would no doubt be subject to ‘shock and awe’ until they came to their senses, or perished.

    Do something valuable with your precious time: clean up the mess in your own backyard before playing missionary to the rest of the world.

    I’ll agree with you on one thing: Adams is indeed a petty warlord compared to the shower of war criminals you allow to rule over you.

  • Jacko

    Pat Mc Larnon

    Any word yet on why the provos got so het up in Derry/Londonderry after wife of hunger striker Mickey Devine complained about Bart The Butcher?
    They must have been really angry, putting a gun to her head and all.

    Funny how the USA is now the “great satan” after snubbing Gerry Liar isn’t it.
    How times change.

  • vespasian

    Bloggers beware this topic seems to another expample of SF/IRA and Republican propaganda and spin in relation to the McCartney sisters actions.

    ANYONE who opposes them seems to get this treatment from a number of contributors.

    They do not attempt to make any positive contribution to your understanding of the topic they just want to blacken and discredit the names of as many opponents as possible.

    In this post so far – Tommy Gorman, Anthony McIntyre, the McCartney sisters and George Bush.

    If you wish to read others posts over the last few days you will find – all the other political parties in NI, Mr McCartney who was murdered , his friend who was stabbed, the PSNI, Ted Kennedy, Hiliary Clinton, Senator McCain, B Aherne and I am sure many many more.

    This may well be orchestrated by the SF leadership or maybe it is just a very ‘on message’ group of posters.

    However the blogging world can see what is going on and it is time such posters started to look at their own party and partners and tell us how they could solve the problems.

    MMcG alsways said he wasn’t in the blame game – that is unless of course it was a person or orgnaisation outside of SF/IRA when he blamed them as being guilty of collusion or institutionlised murder or whatever.

    Whay has changed in SF/IRA since the GFA – SFA

  • Henry94


    This may well be orchestrated by the SF leadership or maybe it is just a very ‘on message’ group of posters.

    Or tthen again it could be just inividual posters expressing their views on the same basis as everybody else.

    I know that’s what I’m doing but if any political party wants to pay me to post here I’d be happy to discuss a reasonable rate per word.

  • spartacus

    Pathetic, Vespasian, but completely predictable: if more than one person puts up an argument against the ‘SF eat their children’ mantra that usually passes as political wisdom on Slugger, assert that it must be a result of coordination off-site. I hardly think it unusual to find people critical of Bush, McCain, the PSNI, Hillary Clinton, etc. That would include most of the sane world.

  • Alan McDonald


    I must have missed it. What did Hillary Clinton do that got most of the sane world mad at her?

  • Jacko

    Pat Mc Larnon
    Still think it’s a bit unfair of you to label Mickey Devine’s wife as a hood.
    But if you would explain to the rest of us why the provos threatened her with a gun, maybe we could make a more considered judgement. As it stands, the only thing seems to be her being critical of Bart The Butcher.
    He has crazy looking eyes that guy Bart, hasn’t he. I hear the republican prisoners at Magheberry have demanded all metal cutlery be replaced with plastic knives and forks. Must say I can’t blame them for that, it would be hard to sleep with bart The Butcher on the prowl at night.

    “I hardly think it unusual to find people critical of Bush, McCain, the PSNI, Hillary Clinton, etc.”

    It is to find Gerry Liar and the Sinners being critical, must be something to do with the Americans telling them where to get off, at last.

  • Henry94

    At the risk of losing my good posting job for being off message, I like Hillary Clinton and I hope she wins in 2008.

  • Alan McDonald


    Any chance you’ll be able to vote in the 2008 election in the USA? If so, go here.

  • Prolefodder

    Pat, a cairde,
    Get out more, think more, free yourself from the ghetto mentality – the ra has run its course, in the words of many a mural ‘slan abhaile’ (but of course ‘back then’ this referred to the British Army). McIntyre has been demonised by being publicly identified as ‘not one of us’ by the SF leadership – many a man went to a shallow grave for less. Wake up and smell the truth man, the ra could never tolerate free-thinkers (same as any army at war – its not a democratic mindset that’s required), while SF equally hasn’t the capacity currently to do so, or the inclination. As well as providing an opporunity for a separation of SF and the IRA, recent events, and McIntyre’s previous interventions, have created the space for critical thinking within republicanism. And as for claiming he’s promoted by the pro-Unionist intelligensia, christ on a bike! If its not the ‘securocrats’, police, its poor wee manipulated working class women, former republicans supporting a pro-union agends or someone else, anyone but us, as if NO republican could ever broach why McIntyre is saying. Get real Pat, lose the comfort blanket of dogmatism and enjoy the brisk winds of debate and alternative views!

  • Ireland Today

    Gee thanks spartacus. At last an honest admission of SF’s real view of the USA. Would you like me to pass it along? Are you sure you wouldn’t like to check with Richard McAuley or Rita O’Hare first? I await your instructions.

  • vespasian

    Henry 94

    I’m all in favour of views and constructive argument, but critism and innuendo without a reasonable foundation is of no benefit to anyone.

    Attempts, for example, to portray Mr McCartney and his friend as criminals to in some way ‘excuse or explain’ what happened to them is a classic propaganda technique.

    Attempts to say that the McCartney sisters can’t think for themselves and are being force fed anti SF/IRA propaganda by ‘someone or someones’ is another classic example.

    I am very happy when someone puts forward a rational argument backed with facts to support a SF viewpoint, but character assasination by blog is completely unacceptable.

  • levitas

    Antony MacIntyre has been wheeled out so often recently that I think he is becoming about as credible as the ubiquitous Sean O’Callaghan, but he does faces a little bit of competition in the crowded “I was a provie but now I’m an intellectual” market from Richard (O’Rawllicking good tales of my central role in the Kesh as remembered by me and no one else..)

    Irish Republicanism is not going to go away and the sooner that everyone realises that the better.This whole thorny problem will indeed be solved eventually , but if you think that Irish Republicanism is quaking at the knees over the recent debacles, then you could be making the fatal misatke of beginning to believe your own propoganda, my advice is cop yourself on a bit.

    As someone older and wiser than me and with over 30 years experience in political matters, (who is incidentally a current Labour TD not a million miles from the West) said to me (otr) yesterday….”yes the Shinners have taken a hit, but it may be the very thing that Adams needed to move things on a bit.Whats more despite all the political pressure, Sinn Fein know that they can afford to concede a couple of goals when they’re at least eight-nil up. At the end of the day, they know that after the May elections, they won’t be any weaker and everyone will still need to make a deal, which they also fully know that they will have to be central to.”

    This may not be what you wanted to hear folks but “real-politick” is not often a close relative to the political “purity” currently being publicly espoused by charlatans such as Mark Durcan and Pat Rabbitte.

  • vespasian


    ‘At the end of the day, they know that after the May elections, they won’t be any weaker and everyone will still need to make a deal, which they also fully know that they will have to be central to.’

    You should consider that it takes two (or more)to Tango and Unionism is under no pressure from its hinterland to do a deal, many of them (perhaps a substantial majority) after the last debacle are quite happy to settle for Direct Rule as the means of government for the foreseeable future.

    Trimble has said he is doing no deals and the DUP can’t take a weaker line than the UUP, it would be electoral suicide for them

    So unfortunately I think there will not be a substantive outcome for several years, the Unionists can afford to wait ad infinitum, can SF?

  • Alan McDonald

    RE: after the May elections

    I take it that this term means that after the popularity of the various parties is tested, the positions being espoused today will be dropped in favor of a “blank slate” approach. If that is so, who do we expect to fold first? Bertie Ahern? Tony Blair? Any ideas out there?

  • levitas

    Its not really the DUP or the UUP which are calling the shots here, the main forces driven to achieve a settlement are the Govt of the United Kingdom,the USA, and the Irish Republic who frankly, all regard the DUP as bunch of contemptible political dinosaurs.

    One of the biggest factors that pro-unionists never take into account in their evaluations is that the likes of Blair et al really do not rate Unionism amd its various representatives vey highly.

    Its interesting that the courageous McCartney sisters are calling for action now from the British and Irish governments, and not just SF. Implicit within this shift in emphasis is a recognition that the two states are complicit in the situation which they find themselves in, namely they sanctioned that situation also by turning blind eyes to criminality when it suited them, watch media interest haemorrage if they turn their guns on government as well as paramilitary wrong-doings.

    Also reading between the lines, the one hour long, but little pubicised meeting, between Gerry Adams and Bertie Ahern in Washington,(when Gerry was supposed to be in the political cooler), to be followed by a full afternoon next week was not going to be about whether the spuds at the dinner were up to their usual standards.

    A deal is still, in my opinion, “on” big time, from what I have heard SF are likely to either prompt a formal “termination” (shut-down) of the RA in September or October observed by figures as senior as Thabo Mbeki or even Nelson Mandela.

    I also hear that other political heavy weights are queuing up to be in on the death.It will be a diplomatic ceremony with a large number of international politicians who are very credible people present.

    I have also been told that senior figures from the DUP have already said that they would be honour bound to “recognise the significance” such an event, especially when the other attendees will be very big players.

    This will obviously be contemporaneous to an ammouncemnt that SF will take up its seats on the Policing Board, because Blair has alraedy agreed to most of SF’s demands re:- policing.

    The Detectuve Gerry McCabe murderers will be released when they are meant to be, accordimg to their sentences , with no special remission, but apparently they are cool about that.

  • Alan McDonald


    That all sounds good to me (not that anyone in their right mind asked me, mind you). Well choreographed and (hopefully) bulletproof.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    ‘Get out more, think more, free yourself from the ghetto mentality,’

    In the words of theimmortal ABBA, I do, I do I do.

    ‘McIntyre has been demonised’

    How has he been demonised over this case?

    ‘And as for claiming he’s promoted by the pro-Unionist intelligensia,’

    Never claimed any such thing, sorry.

    I only replied to you post for a bit of a laugh. It is clear you are not a serious poster and were just having a laugh yourself. If you have any valid, serious or alternatively truthful points to put to me please give me a shout.

  • Jacko

    Pat Mc Larnon
    Some questions you have been afraid to address.

    When are you going to apologise for calling hunger striker Micky Devine’s wife a hood? When are you going to explain the provisionals threatening her with a gun just for criticising Bart The Butcher?
    When are you going to behave like a serious poster and not a glassy-eyed party robot?

  • DerryTerry


    Your ignorance of the Fisher McGinley case would be embarassing if it did not serve the purpose of exposing not only your ignorance but also your bias.

    Now please try to pay attention as we go through this once more. The man you so easily refer to as “Bart the Butcher” was found guilty of and sentenced to 3 years for manslaughter.

    During the course of the night in which DeDe died, DeDe and his accomplice Bresi, who is a 27 year old man with more than 100 convictions including assault, GBH, drugs offences etc, attacked Mr Fisher in the street, broke in to the flat complex in which Mr Fisher lived and where he had fled following the initial attack, hid under the stairs and hit Mr Fisher over the head with a bottle.

    At the trial it was stated that the single knife wound to Mr McGinley could have been caused as he moved towards Mr Fisher as easily as it could have been caused by Mr Fisher stabbing with the knife. It also emerged that Mr McGinley had extremely high levels of alcohol and ecstasy in his blood.

    Since his conviction in a court of law Mr Fisher and his family have had their lives threatened and indeed Mr Fisher’s brother was brutally beaten last week.

    Nor should you take my word for this. If you’re in doubt you should examine the newspaper reports of the trial which were both extensive and informative.

    Of course, it may well be the case that the facts of this tragic situation will not suit your prejudices, but try not to be too disappointed.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    whatever you do please don’t try to inject factual evidence into some of the threads, it will earn you nothing but personal abuse, party apparatchik, robot, blah blah, blah.
    Instead sit back and laugh at the increasingly desperate posts of people who after two or three exchanges erupt in manufactured indignation.

  • mucher

    No wish to interfer between fellow posters but why has Pat refused to answer Jacko’s point about Mickey Devine’s widow being threatened by the I.R.A. I have read about the Fisher case and it seems Bart Fisher was alleged to be an I.R.A.inforcer and that is why he was chased by McGinley. Mrs. Divine had witnessed a previous attack by Fisher and had voiced her objection and that was why she was theatened.

  • Pat Mc Larnon


    for information only. I was banned from the site for two weeks for getting into a slanging match with a fellow poster. The moderators have taken the view that they are unconcerned who started such antics only that red cards will be dished out to bring to an end.

    In their last post the poster you are referring to stated ,’When are you going to behave like a serious poster and not a glassy-eyed party robot?’.
    In my book that invites response in kind (deliberately so). So now I don’t even bother.

  • mucher

    Appreciate your point Pat! Although I think your coolness can be mistaken for coldness sometimes. Nothing wrong with being passionate about your point of view!

  • Jacko

    Pat Mc Larnon and DerryTerry
    Would either of you now like to explain to the rest of us why the provos threatened hunger striker Mickey Devine’s wife with a gun?
    As it stands, the only thing seems to be her being critical of Bart The Butcher.

    Then, like a scene from Goodfellas, there’s the big off-to-jail party the provisionals held in Derry, where The Butcher was given a standing ovation to chants of “There’s only one Bart Fisher”? While the rest of Derry were thinking: “Thank Christ, there is only one”.