IRA statement out…

THE IRA statement is now out, giving volunteers an order to dump arms – which we expected a number of years ago. The rest is the usual IRA-style statement – you could have written it yourself, it’s so predictable. As we’re watching the breaking news on Sky, there’s a collective shrug in this office. Frankly, no-one really cares what the republican movement says any more, because no-one believes it – it’s what it does that counts from here on in.

UPDATE: PA reports

The IRA today ordered an end to its armed campaign.

A statement by the IRA’s leadership also called on members to dump arms, cease all military activity and to assist in the development of a democratic process through exclusively peaceful means. But the statement said the organisation would not disband as Unionists have
been demanding.

  • fair_deal

    This is all beginning to look remarkably like December’s deal except a longer-timetable to restoration plus the NIHRC and EC appointments to keep the Provos sweet.

    George

    If the IICD and IMC show this statement is for real then at some stage Unionism will share power, on the basis of the changes agreed in December.

    However, I’d expect after the NIHRC, EC and Kelly stuff the DUP will be looking for more on the confidence building package they previously agreed e.g. additional appointments.

    I think the timetable will be 12-24 months (it looks like the governments are pushing for about 6-9 but don’t think that’s going to happen).

  • Snapper

    Ironically the solution to lack of trust may be found in any future IMC report! I just cannot wait to see how unionism deals with that one.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Chris,

    “a struggle for liberation”

    So, liberate possibly 600,000 at the expense of 900,000. How does this square as liberation.

    BTW, do you think the shooting of the Gibraltar 3 was fair enough as part of the “war”?

    “That is of course your choice but if two mothers lose sons their is no hierarchy of suffering or victim hood as both feel loss. The fact that one is a cop and one is a volunteer changes nothing.”

    I’m quite sure most people would have more sympathy for a driver killed at the hands of a drunk driver than the drunk driver. This is actually used as part of the current TV campaign – Could you live with the shame of it? I can remember hearing a mother talking about the loss of her son – murdered by loyalist terrorists. At the end of the interview she said that she would far rather be the mother of the victim than the mother of the perpetrator. I thought this was a very powerful message. One I suspect most people would agree with.

    Hi George,
    “Is there any unionist out there, big or small u, who could suggest what unionism should do if, in the next 12 to 24 months, decommissioning is completed to the satisfaction of all governments and the IRA is no longer a proscribed organisation?”

    Most importantly it has to be to the satisfaction of the Unionist community. Should that happen, “normal” politics should be allowed to reign. Wherever that takes us – who knows? There shouldn’t be a predetermined destination…

    Hi Spirit Level,

    “We can go straight to complete unification”

    That may indeed sort it out. Maybe not in the way you intend tho’…

  • fair_deal

    Paisley’s initial response (by no means a rant).

    “The history of the past decade in Northern Ireland is littered with IRA statements which we were told were ‘historic’, ‘ground-breaking’ and ‘seismic’. These same statements were followed by the IRA reverting to type and carrying out more of its horrific murders and squalid criminality. The unionist community feels no obligation to cheer the words of P O’Neill. We will judge the IRA’s bona fides over the next months and years based on its behaviour and activity.

    Even on the face of the statement, they have failed to explicitly declare an end to their multi-million pound criminal activity and have failed to provide the level of transparency that would be necessary to truly build confidence that the guns had gone in their entirety. This lack of transparency will prolong the period the community will need to make its assessment.

    We treat with contempt their attempt to glorify and justify their murder campaign and we will be evaluating the extent of the price paid by the Government and the consequences that will have for the political process.”

    Snapper

    “To all those Unionist’s who chose to bite their lips and give a wait and see answer I salute you. I think that we Republicans who asked for time and space to get to this ponit must reciprocate.”

    Thank you for that comment. The first clear acknowledgement I have read on here from a republican that peacebuilding involves more than pleasing the governments.

  • Dougie

    BEANO

    The ‘RA do know a thing or 2 about policing.

    The provos have a stellar record of “policing” West Belfast and other nationalist areas. Shouldn’t there be some sort of award ceremony for their policing efforts over the last 35 years? The community policing tactics were a model for all to follow. The kneecapping, tar and feathering, the beatings, and the killing (if you didn’t comply with the 1st warning) were respected by many in the nationalist community. “Fear-Based Policing” was effective. They also wore the uniform with pride… the ski masks, army jackets, jeans and black shoes/boots…a high-class bunch, one and all.

    Did the ‘RA say they would stop punishmnet beatings?? Are catholic women now allowed to date British soldiers?

    Today marks the defeat of the provos, another battle won in the global war on terrorism; a failed 30 year campaign of killing and terrorizing innocent people.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Clearly this is a huge statement. I’ve heard a number of unionist politicians and posters saying they’ve “heard it all before”.

    Yeah?

    You’ve heard the IRA announce that it has issued a general order to all its volunteers to stand down, to dump arms and to desist from any activity whatsoever? You’ve heard the IRA commit itself to exclusively peaceful and democratic means from now on?

    One question: when?

    Fair play to the unionist posters like my old sparring partner Fair Deal and others who have responded to this huge (if not unexpected) development with a bit of proportion and fair mindedness. I think “wait and see” is a reasonable response to this statement.

    It was of course sadly predictable that there would be those who would be, shall we say, somewhat more churlish. What was not to be expected though was that one of Slugger’s moderators would join so nakedly with the chorus of naysayers. Gonzo says: “The rest is the usual IRA-style statement – you could have written it yourself, it’s so predictable.” Oh? Please, enlighten us to the precedent?

    Sorry Mick, but standards have slipped alarmingly around these parts these last few months, and it’s not all trolls either.

  • KRB

    Lord, for a minute there Dougie when I read the first few lines, I almost thought you were trying to be serious.

    Good for a laugh anyway. 🙂

  • Bakunin

    “…want to see the full implementation of the Good Friday Agreement.”

    “The IRA is fully committed to the goals of Irish unity and independence and to building the Republic outlined in the 1916 Proclamation.”

    “There is now an unprecedented opportuniity to utilise the considerable energy and goodwill which there is for the peace process.”

    P. O’Neill — what a joker!

  • George

    fair_deal,
    thanks. So basically, correct me if I have taken you up wrong, you reckon if everything goes well, the DUP will go into Stormont in 12-24 months, even without a picture or act of contrition.

    Congal,
    thanks. So you are saying complete decommissioning, the end of the IRA as a physical force group to the the satisfaction of the IICD and British, Irish and US governments isn’t good enough for unionism? What is missing for you?

    Is this going to cause a split in unionism?

  • El Matador

    Val:

    El Matador, regardless of whether what you say is true or not, if this statement marks the end of anyone then it’s the SDLP whose entire raison d’etre disappears, all the more so since they seem committed to a disasterous policy of being..

    A large number of nationalists will never vote Spin Féin, regardless of any provo statement. Surely by apparently accepting peace, it is the PIRA’s raison d’etre that disappears!

    The provos cannot justify, nor convince a large swathe of nationalists in the north and south (and all unionists) that their campaign was justified or achived anything. Look at the goals of both the SDLP and Spin Féin/PIRA in 1970, and look at the situation in 2005- who has had to concede the most, and who has met the greatest number of their goals? SF may be ahead in the polls, but they have had to adandon almost all their original policies, whereas the SDLP has stood steadfastly by its policies and been victorious in winning over the provos to the cause of peaceful agitation.

    Here’s an example of why many people still wouldn’t switch from the SDLP to Spin Féin- the SDLP called for Seán Kelly’s release if he hadn’t breached the terms of his licence; SF called for his release simply because he was a provo, and couldn’t care less about the fact that he was a child killer (the claimed he was interned! -An insult to innocent people who were interned in the early 1970s.) After all, they tried the same with Jerry McCabe’s killers before Christmas, and thankfully failed.

    Next we’ll see another provo concession- the supporting of the PSNI. Yet another example of how they have to follow in the coat-tails of the SDLP to get anywhere.

  • Snapper

    El Matador – keep dreamin son. Just because you are the founding member of the Alex Attwood appreciation society does not make you right.

    If the SDLP’s policies are so bang on, why are they always fighting for survival at elections?

  • spirit-level

    Congal Claen,
    Hi Spirit Level,

    “We can go straight to complete unification”

    That may indeed sort it out. Maybe not in the way you intend tho’…

    Its just a sketch idea, but would save alot of wasted words.. can you add anything?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “So you are saying complete decommissioning, the end of the IRA as a physical force group to the the satisfaction of the IICD and British, Irish and US governments isn’t good enough for unionism? What is missing for you?”

    Correct. The most important people to convince are the people they live with. The parties you mention don’t live here day in day out. They have memories and may not be as easily duped.

    “What is missing for you?”

    The thing that worries me most is the inclusion of the line…

    “We reiterate our view that the armed struggle was entirely legitimate.”

    That to me doesn’t sit properly with democracy.

  • El Matador

    why are they always fighting for survival at elections?

    Better than fighting for survival intensive care after a punishment beating/ bullet in the head/ shrapnel wound, courtesy of the provos.

    For many years it was Spin Féin who were fighting for survival at elections- it’s only since they started to realise the error of their ways that they have started getting results. If not, then why did the SDLP dominate nationalist politics throught the IRA’s campaign?

    I guess imitation is the best form of flattery 😉

  • Dougie

    KRB:

    Glad I gave you a smile. Keep an eye on e-bay for old “police” uniforms, masks, gloves, jackets, tins of tar, a few fake-feathered pillows and the like….there are definately bargains to be had.

    On a serious note, I hope the government(s) can make sure that whatever the provos have left in their armory… probably nothing more than a few muskets and some swords at this point… do not end up on the international market.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Spirit Level,

    “Its just a sketch idea, but would save alot of wasted words.. can you add anything?”

    To some NI is a problem. Which means there’s a solution. To others it’s a situation. To which there’ll be an outcome. ie not necessarily a drip feed political process…

  • Valenciano

    El Matador I’m not saying that the SDLP weren’t right, more making the point that in politics people never get points for HAVING BEEN right in the past. It will be cold comfort to the SDLP if, after seeing their analysis vindicated, they get wiped out by SF anyway. I think it was Des O’Malley who said that the electorate were an ungrateful shower of bastards!

    The people that you refer to that would never vote SF are generally older. Even in 1993 a year before the ceasefire, SF were estimated to have a 60/40 vote in their favour over the stoops amongst first time voters. The number of terminal transfers (ie when no other SDLP candidate remained in the electoral count) from SDLP to SF had risen from about 9% in 1982 to 35% in 1993 suggesting an increased willingness of SDLP voters to consider the shinners.

    Since the mid-90s the SDLP have been losing about 3% to SF at every local election and if that trend continues they will be wiped out within the next decade. Bluntly if people were switching to SF when the PIRA were still in existence then why would they stop after the latter have been wound up?

  • fair_deal

    George

    I think that this is the most probable scenario (subject to acts matching words). The only additional concern I have seen raised is about Sinn Fein living off the Provos ill-gotten gains. However, that will be for the ARA (and its RoI equivalent) to act upon (they say the needed more time to tackle republican operations and they will have it).

    In December the DUP had basically agreed to a 3-6 month turnaround with photographs. The DUP have previously stated that no photographs would mean a longer turnaround time. The yo-yo Kelly licence (I’ve talked to two barristers today who think his release was illegal) makes me think it’ll be closer to the 24 than the 12 (Unionist North and West Belfast is strongly DUP and Kelly is a huge hate figure).

    Neither do I think calling a quick assembly election will speed up that scenario – the Unionist parties will simply seek an electoral endorsement for their positions (and will probably get it) leaving Blair and the Sec of State with only the nuclear option of collapse which they have always assidiously avoided.

  • George

    In a democracy, you are allowed have views Congal, even unpalatable ones.

    As long as you adhere to democratic means and mores then there’s no problem.

    I couldn’t give a rat’s arse about a person’s views as long as when they hold a position of power they uphold the democratic laws of the land in a fair and impartial way.

    For example, Winston Churchill is feted as a hero of democracy the world over but, just like Saddam Hussein, he was of the view that poison gas should be used on the “uncivilised tribes” in Iraq, the Kurds, while he was Colonial Secretary there.

  • Levitas

    If its good enough for the British Prime Minister it should be good enough for us all. Sour grapes and begrudgery are simply inappropriate following this courageous move, Lets hope that armed unionism will follow up the IRA’s example…….whens the UDA & LVF & UFF statements due?? Whats going to happen to their arms? Who will be verifying the UDA and UVF disbanding and decommissioning? These questions need answering NOW.

  • allseeingi

    Another IRA Statement-another hopeful happy day for the province-right! No I am afraid not.
    It is not a monumental day for unionists who have had their eyes wiped by the mind gamers in the IRA and sinn fein.
    It is not a monumental day for nationalists who have found themselves bullied and intimidated out of considering joining the police force, whilst Sinn fein accept offices in Parliament and drive up to stormont in their new cars with friends and family working as “advisors” and collecting large paychecks in jobs never advertised. And again it is not a monumental day for young nationalists in ardoyne and west belfast still being discriminated against, there has been no mention of this since the first cheques rolled in for sinn fein in 1994. No wonder the suicide rates are so high in north and west belfast-young people have lost all hope thanks to the nepotism and selfish “ourselves alone” atitudes of sinn fein. So once again we have the same old rhetoric from sinn fein and the IRA, its time nationalism wised up to the pocket filling reality of the northern bank, the silence of sinn fein regarding discrimination in the north since 1994 and indeed effective discouragment of young nationalists from joining the new police force. This all shows an organisation devoid of good will towards the community it claims to represent-with friends like that nationalism needs no enemies.

    West Belfast realist.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    I’m assuming from what you say about Winston you don’t consider him a “hero of democracy”.

    What then do you think of the line…

    “We reiterate our view that the armed struggle was entirely legitimate.”

    Even if that is what they think they did not need to include it in the statement. That they did, suggests to me, that they were making a point to include it…

    Do you not have concerns about it?

    Oh and BTW I still believe they should hand back the Northern money. To me, it’s not really acceptable to be governed by people who think robbing banks is fair enough…

  • George

    Fair_deal,
    I don’t see photos and I don’t see movement in the next 12 months and I wouldn’t advise an Assembly election either. When is the next one due? 2007?

    Maybe, it will be a case of waiting until the next Dail elections in 2006/2007 and if SF are considered “democratic” enough to go into coalition there, then this might mean movement north of the border.

    I assume they will have to sign up to the policing board before then. Will unionists leave the policing board if they sign up before the restoration of the assembly. Does it all have to happen at once?

    Allseingi,
    maybe some SF can correct me if I’m wrong but, as far as I know, elected SF members are given the average industrial wage and the rest of the salary goes to the party.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Levitas,

    “whens the UDA & LVF & UFF statements due”

    Perhaps, the above groups are “reiterat(ing) (their) view that the armed struggle was/(is) entirely legitimate”…

  • George

    Congal,
    I would consider Churchill a hero of British democracy and they are rightfully proud. However, I’m Irish and he is not a hero of Irish democracy but that’s for another day. Democracy and British democracy are not always synonymous.

    The reason the IRA put in the line is obvious, it’s what they believe. It would be rather odd if it wasn’t in the statement.
    As for the Northern Bank, are you looking for an admission of past criminality before the Assembly can be reconvened. You seem to be holding out for the act of contrition.

  • PaddyCanuck

    Well done Óglaigh na hÉireann.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi George,

    “You seem to be holding out for the act of contrition.”

    Genuinely, I do feel that that is important.

  • George

    Congal,
    Michael McDowell agrees with you on the Northern Bank money.

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Congal,
    Michael McDowell agrees with you on the Northern Bank money”

    They say you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps.

    Always liked that saying

  • fair_deal

    George

    SF being in a RoI coalition would have an impact. However, I do not completely buy the electoral arguments that make some think that this is a certainty.

    Not sure of the timetable on policing board. As far as I can see SF membership of the policing board etc is the last ‘big’ card republicanism thinks it has so I don’t think they will play that until there is agreement on the devolution of policing and justice. I think this will be a mistake in terms of the practical needs of nationalist communities for policing but that is their call.

  • George

    Fair_deal and Congal,
    i don’t necessarily mean them getting in to power but what if they were considered an acceptable partner?

    In thelink I posted above McDowell says the IRA are still a criminal organisation, are subversive to the Irish constitution and should hand over their criminal assets to the state.

    Two possibilities towards SF acceptance in the Republic:

    What if the IRA meet his requirements and McDowell announces that they are no longer a proscribed organisation in the Irish Republic?

    Can’t see it happening myself as the IRA believe they are the rightful Oglaigh na hEireann, but what if? That would bring SF fully into the fold.

    Option 2 is my view:
    SF will try over the next years (yes years) to put clear water between themselves and the IRA, wash their hands of them so to speak, but that the IRA will never fully go away.

    There will be some seminal moment down the line when the two break fully.

    I see indefinite direct rule. Not good in the long term for NI.

  • The Watchman

    I don’t give a toss what the IRA says, because I’m not swayed by spin. I care what they do, and these people have repeatedly shown themselves to be liars. This statement should be treated with contempt.

    If P O’Neill was really serious, of course, there’s still £25,000,000 to be handed in.

  • Dave

    That’s the way lads, put a brave face on.

    Why don’t we wait and see what happens over the next two years?

  • twinpak shakur

    Regardless of what people now think of PIRA the fact remains that they were/are terrorists/criminals. Lets face it, they are not freedom fighters and certainly not hero’s. If the nationalist people have nobody better than Sean ‘child killer’ Kelly to look up to then God help them. This is the vermin who stuck two fingers up at the victims families when in court, Ive scraped better off my shoe. PIRA may have been forced to surrender but Ill still be looking over my shoulder….Now Im off to buy some cheap diesel courtesy of ‘Slab’

  • twinpak shakur

    Regardless of what people now think of PIRA the fact remains that they were/are terrorists/criminals. Lets face it, they are not freedom fighters and certainly not hero’s. If the nationalist people have nobody better than Sean ‘child killer’ Kelly to look up to then God help them. This is the vermin who stuck two fingers up at the victims families when in court, Ive scraped better off my shoe. PIRA may have been forced to surrender but Ill still be looking over my shoulder….Now Im off to buy some cheap diesel courtesy of ‘Slab’

  • twinpak shakur

    Regardless of what people now think of PIRA the fact remains that they were/are terrorists/criminals. Lets face it, they are not freedom fighters and certainly not hero’s. If the nationalist people have nobody better than Sean ‘child killer’ Kelly to look up to then God help them. This is the vermin who stuck two fingers up at the victims families when in court, Ive scraped better off my shoe. PIRA may have been forced to surrender but Ill still be looking over my shoulder….Now Im off to buy some cheap diesel courtesy of ‘Slab’

  • Keith M

    George : “I see indefinite direct rule. Not good in the long term for NI.”. At this moment , I would agree (on both points).

  • IJP

    La Dolorosa

    More than happy to help out your Spanish journo friend – email me if nec.

  • cladycowboy

    Does this mean some unionist politicans will actually have to put substance into their speeches instead of constantly dribbling out of their mouth ‘SF/PIRA’?

  • Jo

    Difficult to see how that phrase “SF/IRA” can continue to have currency, really. Can we expect Tony B to backtrack on the “inextricable linkage” claim?….Oh, what am I saying???

  • Comrade Stalin

    The IRA’s statement is a step forward. The language is more strident and less equivocal, and they seem to be saying for the first time that the pursuit of their objectives by violent means will not occur again. Of course, aside from the improved language, what we’re seeing is much the same. The organization has not stood down or surrendered as some in the media have suggested.

    Presumably as I type, acts of decommissioning are being finalized. The IRA have indicated that those acts will be witnessed by two churchmen. It sounds rather like this is going to put the unionists on the spot; if disarmament occurs and is witnessed, an insistence on photographs by the DUP will appear to be striking across the credibility or trustworthiness of the clerics. I wonder how easy it will be for them to do that. If Sean Brady, Robin Eames and Harry Uprichard all testify that they saw large quantities of guns disarmed, will the DUP be able to call them all liars ?

    I hope we will see some movement from unionism. Loyalist paramilitarism must be addressed urgently, and unionism is simply not doing enough to assist in this objective.

  • bg

    Here we are again,

    No decommissioning,
    Not 1 bullet not 1 ounze,
    Not one ounze of bootleg tobacco from the continent,
    Not one litre of red diesel from the republic,
    Not 1 catholic to join the psni (Until after republicans are accepted)
    Not 1 job for a protestant in sinn fein post ceasefire european peace fund guzzling quangos,
    Not 1 job for an unrelated catholic in the above mentioned.

    Based on an adaptation of george Orwells animal farm, now available on dvd- the PIRA, the egos last stand!!!

  • Keith M

    Jo “Difficult to see how that phrase “SF/IRA” can continue to have currency, really.” Can I suggest you read the statement, there is no mention of disbandment, “they haven’t gone away you know”.

  • Nathan

    The usual suspects have responded in kind to today’s ‘developments’:

    Provisional IRA Should Disband Completely’
    Statement By Ruairi O Bradaigh President of Republican Sinn Fein

    Today’s (July 28 ) statement from the Provisionals is the logical outcome of the change of direction they made in 1986 when they deserted the revolutionary road and started out on the constitutional path through the partitionist institutions north and south.

    It has been clear for many years that the Provisionals have abandoned the armed struggle against British occupation forces. They will now destroy the remainder of their arms, they say.
    As an army alleged to be without arms, the Provisional IRA should now disband completely.

    But a rump will remain at local level to continue the harassment of faithful Republicans who fundraise for the prisoner’s dependents, distribute Easter lilies, sell the SAOIRSE newspaper or picket for political status for Republican prisoners.

    This harassment can be expected to increase into persecution when the Provos finally don the enemy uniform and join the ranks of the British police force in Ireland. This will be a far cry from the heroic strip-strike by the blanket men in the H-Blocks of Long Kesh.

    The Provisional slogans of ‘No Unionist Veto’, ‘No Return to Stormont’ and ‘Not a Bullet not an Ounce’, ring very hollowly now. How on earth can British rule in Ireland be ended, as the Provos claim, by accepting and implementing that rule through Stormont and other partitionist institutions?

    As Republican Sinn Fein has forecast they are being slowly and steadily absorbed into the English system in Ireland. Today’s statement may improve their chances of taking part in a coalition administration in Leinster House but will hardly help them towards a Stormont Executive.

    Dr Paisley’s DUP will demand very humiliating conditions from the Provos before allowing them to participate. Eventually they will be unrecognisable.

    The Provisionals should discard the trappings of the Republicanism they once served. Like Cumann na nGaedheal\Fine Gael, Fianna Fail and the Workers Party they have betrayed it. They are no longer Republicans.

    ——

    THE NATIONAL IRISH FREEDOM COMMITTEE

    STATEMENT ON PROVO SURRENDER, JULY 28, 2005

    In 1983, when the present Provisional leadership dismantled the Irish crafted Eire Nua federal program and long before they accepted the British initiated Good Friday Agreement (GFA) of 1998, faithful Irish Republicans leaders predicted that the Provisionals would continue to hide under the mantle of Irish Republicanism just as Collins, De Valera and other so-called Irish revolutionary leaders did during and after the surrendering process and even when killing their former comrades on behalf of the British. . They were right! The Provisional have continued with this deceitful claim even while acquiescing to and administering British rule in Ireland through the GFA .

    Faithful Republicans view the GFA as a restatement of the British enacted Government of Ireland Act 1920, which established the sectarian Northern Ireland state The GFA does not end the sectarian partition of Ireland. It prolongs that division that continues to foster a climate of opportunity for self-serving politicians of all shades on both sides of the Irish border.

    The GFA ensures a continued British occupation of the six Irish counties, thus, allying British fears that the loss of the six counties would deprive their troops of valuable training grounds, and deny their intelligence services a made-to-order laboratory for testing and refining intelligence gathering techniques, and rob their security forces of a recalcitrant populace on which to practice repressive methods of quelling civil unrest. Hence the large presence of British troops in Ireland.

    By accepting the GFA sellout, the Provisionals have amassed massive personal fortunes as a payoff including US entry visas to collect easier money. In their new role as British enforcers in Ireland, the Provisionals have resorted to beatings, knee-cappings, and murder to silence any alternative proposals for a genuine peace in Ireland, such as Eire Nua federal program. Consequently, the Provisional declaration of surrender is not unwelcome amongst faithful Irish Republicans and Eire Nua proponents who have borne the brunt of re-directed Provo aggression in their transformation from make-believe Irish revolutionaries to servile British collaborators.

    Informed Irish Americans who have always supported a reunited Ireland, contend that the visionary Eire Nua program is the most viable proposal to bring a permanent peace to Ireland in the context of a Declaration of Intent by the British to withdraw from Ireland

    The National Irish Freedom Committee join with like-minded people around the world in calling for the Provisionals junta to cease pretending that Irish reunification is a goal of theirs and to cease masquerading as Irish Republicans. Irish republicanism was never about personal gain, from money laundering, kneecapping, criminality or murder.

    National Irish Freedom Committee
    Cumann Na Saoirse Naisiunta
    http://www.irishfreedom.net/

    —-

    Press Release: 32 County Sovereignty Movement.
    28 July 2005.
    Contact: Andy Martin Director of Publicity.
    Phone 07742439449 or e-mail sovereign_nation@hotmail.com

    PIRA statement ‘neither surprising nor historic’

    The 32 County Sovereignty Movement do not view today’s statement by the Provisional Movement as surprising nor do we believe that it is in anyway historic. This statement is merely the logical conclusion in a process signed up to by the Provisionals in April 1998. In negotiation that led to the Good Friday Agreement all issues such as Decommissioning and the issue of PIRA’s future were dealt with otherwise an agreement would not have been reached in the first place.
    Having accepted that Britain had a right to claim sovereignty in the 6 counties and having accepted that the political views of Unionism had the right to veto political change in Ireland, the Provisional movement are now acting in accordance with what it was they initially signed up to. If Provisional Sinn Fein and the Provisional IRA, who supported them at every turn, truly accepted the terms of the GFA, then today’s statement cannot be viewed by republicans as surrender but rather as the final act of a surrender that started many years ago.
    The reality of the situation for the Provisionals is that having been constituted to defend the sovereignty of the Irish nation, they have usurped that sovereignty and in the signing of the GFA and releasing statements such as today’s while Britain still claims sovereignty in Ireland and has thousands of armed troops in support of that claim, they have abdicated the national position. In acting in the manner that they have the Provisionals have admitted that the GFA has the ability to settle the constitutional issue of the north, which quite clearly it has not.

    The 32 County Sovereignty Movement believe that Irish sovereignty and the national position will be defended regardless of what the Provisional movement does in the future and we urge all republicans to embrace republican principles by upholding and defending the sovereignty of the Irish nation.

    IN DEFENCE OF THE NATION

  • Chris Gaskin

    “In defence of the nation”

    Can’t do much defending when you spend all of your life on a bar stool

  • Nathan

    The Commies are also getting in on the act as well.

    COMMUNIST PARTY OF IRELAND
    7 BLOOM LANE, LOWER ORMOND QUAY, DUBLIN 1:
    28th July 05
    PRESS RELEASE

    WELCOME FOR IRA STATEMENT:

    The statement issued by the IRA today should be welcomed by all those who are genuinely interested in seeing the full implementation of the Belfast Agreement. It is clear from the statement that the Republican Movement is now committed to struggle for its goals by political means.

    It is incumbent upon both the British government and Unionism to re-engage with Sinn Fein and others to see the re-establishment of the Northern Assembly and Executive as quickly as possible.

    The Communist Party calls for the full implementation of the Patton proposals in relation to policing. It is important to all democratic opinion that democratic control and accountability of policing is quickly put in place in order to reassure all sections of the community and to build upon the momentum now taking place.

    The Communist Party calls upon all democratic forces to build the necessary co-operation to advance the cause of national unity and national democracy.

    The end of armed struggle by the IRA opens up new possibilities and opportunity to rebuild unity within the working class, North & South on issues of common concern; threats to Irish sovereignty and independence, EU constitution, neutrality, Bush/Blair war alliance, etc. Statement Ends.

    Eugene Mc Cartan.
    General Secretary.
    01-8474981

  • Nathan

    Chris,

    In case you haven’t noticed, the ‘IN DEFENCE OF THE NATION’ slogan is part and parcel of the 32CSM statement. It is not an additional comment by myself.

  • Chris Gaskin

    I know that Nathan, my comment was not directed at you but at the dissidents who wrote the statement

  • Mark_Baxter

    I sincerely hope that the IRA backs up their words with the actions necessary to instill confidence in them within the unionist community.

    I also hope that unionist politicians will realise and appreciate the significance of this statement to many republicans, and if they feel that they can’t welcome it at least say nowt that will belittle this significance.

    Maybe it will be the start of something great for all of us, maybe it will be nothing, but at least we can hope! 🙂

  • Comrade Stalin

    “Can’t do much defending when you spend all of your life on a bar stool”

    CG, this made me laugh out loud. Thanks 🙂

  • Chris Gaskin

    no bother

  • Young Fogey

    Who the f are the National Irish Freedom Committee?

    By the way, there’s only one Oglaigh na hEirann.

    Seriously, I think a cautiously positive statement by the IRA, actions will speak louder than words, but the words are a good start.

  • bertie

    “Barely reported but interesting nonetheless is the detailed response by Peter Hain, who has said that legislation will be enacted in the autumn to allow on-the-runs to return.” Unapolegetic murders not having to face what remains of justice for their victims after the Belfast Agreement.

    Disgraceful if not unexpected.

    (not you Dr Snuggles)

  • Nathan

    That was a dirty dig nevertheless, I’ll give u that Chris.

    These RIRA commanders do indeed spend most of their lives in the pub – in direct contrast to the provisional commanders of the past (e.g. Martin McGuinness) who never bothered with alcohol, never mind the pub.

    The important thing to remember in all of this is that all the bar-stool activity in the world doesn’t necessarily prevent the RIRA commanders from directing operations, I’m afraid.

    Young Fogey – The National Irish Freedom Committee consist of plastics paddies and the brittle bridgets from Oirish America – you know, the ones who go round wearing those hideous “Kiss me quick, I’m Irish” badges every St Paddys Day….

  • Mr Carlson

    Yes they do wear those stupid friggin shirts Nathan…and the “26 + 6 = 1” bumper stickers on their cars too. Or the “Put it Back Thief, Now!!” sticker with a big union jack hand reaching over to NI.
    Disgusts me when I see them on cars. Ignorant, ignorant people. At least some woke up after Sept 11 and realized that they might be funding terror and the killing of innocent people.

    Henry, Bronx NY

  • cladycowboy

    Yep they’re ignorant people. Now about those thousands of innocent Iraqi’s killed, in the invasion and sanctions beforehand….

    Its all terrorism or its all war, you can chose which one.

    Slan

  • bertie

    Young Fogey

    “Seriously, I think a cautiously positive statement by the IRA, actions will speak louder than words, but the words are a good start.”

    Including the words about how their actions were justified?

  • Mr Carlson

    C’Cowboy – why would you presume I supported the invasion of Iraq? I find some of the Iraq-related stickers on American cars just as offensive. Don’t jump to conclusion there C’Cowboy.
    The IRA were terrorists, period. Do you disagree??

  • Young Fogey

    Including the words about how their actions were justified?

    Bertie, do you subscribe to the strand of thinking that says the only acceptable way for the IRA to cease operations would be to arrive outside Thiepval Barracks with a few trucks and angle grinder their guns before a full military review presided over by QE2 before saying, “Sorry. It was all a big mistake”?

    Because that’s what it sounds like.

    The IRA regard their war as legitimate, I don’t like it and you don’t like it but that isn’t going to change, so get over it.

  • bertie

    “The IRA regard their war as legitimate, I don’t like it and you don’t like it but that isn’t going to change, so get over it.”

    It would not be acceptable to me for them to describe their evil as merely a “mistake”.

    As for not liking it, its a hell of a lot more than I just don’t like it.

    No I won’t get over it and I will not get over the fact that Hain now plans to bring in legislation for an amnesty for murderers who consider themselves entitled to have committed their acts in the first place.

  • Abucs

    So it looks like the same deal as last year bewteen Republicans and the 2 governments but without Paisley’s ‘sackcloth and ashes’ nor ‘photoes’.

    Will be interesting to see the interplay between the NI office and the DUP in the coming months.

  • TAFKABO

    OK having had a day to digest the full text of the IRA statement, and the press conferences of various Sinn Fein talking heads, I would sum up the situations as.

    One giant leap for Republicans, one small step for everyone else.

  • fair_deal

    “The Commies are also getting in on the act as well.”

    That must be as way of a thank you for Monica McWilliams and Ann Hope’s appointment to the NIHRC.

  • JD

    Thousands of people went to their beds the night before last as republican activists, they got up this morning as republican activists.

    Likewise opponents of republicans, such as Micheal McDowell, got up this morning as opponents of republicans.

    The struggle continues, republicanism has never been stronger, yesterdays statement, in my view, was a statement of confidence and now the excuses for our opponents have been removed. Unionists may say that they want to see action or inaction, fair enough, but the people of Ireland will not wait forever. The people are impatient for progress, talk of lets wait and see for two years is nonsense.

    The onus is now clearly on the British to finally honour their committments under the Good Friday Agreement and also unionism, are they up for change because change is coming.

  • darthrumsfeld

    “They say you can tell a lot about a man by the company he keeps.

    Always liked that saying

    Posted by: Chris Gaskin at July 28, 2005 05:56 PM”

    Ahem- you mean like Sean kelly??

  • Chris Gaskin

    darthrumsfield

    “Ahem- you mean like Sean kelly??”

    I have no problem with that

  • El Matador

    darthrumsfield

    “Ahem- you mean like Sean kelly??”

    I have no problem with that

    Seán Kelly planted a bomb which killed people, including children. Therefore, by any definition (regardless of whether the was doing it for a ’cause’) he is a child killer.

    How can anyone be taken seriously if they say they have no problem keeping company with child killers?

    What next- popping down to the pub with Ian Huntley? Oh yeah, sorry- Huntley didn’t have a cause, so the deaths of those two kids were ‘worse’ than the deaths of the Shankill Road kids. Silly me.

    But then again, terrible things happened on all sides, blah, blah, blah…

    If Seán Kelly had been a loyalist bomber who blew up children in Mullach Bán for the loyalist ’cause’, would you be as happy to keep his company? As far as I’m concerned, there’s also no hierarchy of combatants.

  • Jo

    Chris:

    Do you believe Sean Kelly to be a “hero” who fought for the unification of Irish people and against the British presence?

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Chris:

    Do you believe Sean Kelly to be a “hero” who fought for the unification of Irish people and against the British presence?”

    No

    I don’t indulge in hero worship of any kind.

    El Mat aka Gary McKeown

    I do not agree with the Shankill bombing but Seán Kelly’s re-arrest was a sop to rejectionist Unionism and I was only to happy to call for his release.

    Oh course his actions caused a lot of hurt in the Unionist community, how could they not!

    That said I have no intention of living in the past, it’s time to look to the future.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Chris,

    “That said I have no intention of living in the past, it’s time to look to the future.”

    A tad convenient that Chris. I take it ye’ll not be mentioning Bloody Sunday either then?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Chris,

    “That said I have no intention of living in the past, it’s time to look to the future.”

    A tad convenient that Chris. I take it ye’ll not be mentioning Bloody Sunday either then?

  • El Matador

    As regards Chris claiming that he knows the true identity of El Matador- check your facts. After all, El Matador has previously been inaccurately accused of being a local councillor on these very pages!

    As far as the identity of El Matador goes, I think it best remains a secret (just like the writer ‘Brownie’ in Republican News in the early 1970s 😉 )

  • El Matador

    I do not agree with the Shankill bombing …Of course his actions caused a lot of hurt in the Unionist community, how could they not!

    Welcome comments.

  • Jo

    Should close down the B-S enquiry then – after all, it was SUCH a long time ago…Ted Heath is dead…

  • Chris Gaskin

    “I take it ye’ll not be mentioning Bloody Sunday either then?”

    You take it wrong

    Everyone knows what happened in Shankill

    Collussion is a different matter

    “As regards Chris claiming that he knows the true identity of El Matador- check your facts”

    I have, your sdlp comrades have been very good in that respect.

    “Should close down the B-S enquiry then”

    No jo, the families have a right to know

  • Jo

    Well, some empathy with Unionist (and others)perceptions of Sean Kelly then, welcome stuff.

  • fair_deal

    CG

    “I do not agree with the Shankill bombing”

    Welcome comments.

    “Everyone knows what happened in Shankill”

    The full story is not known. Kelly and Begley planted a bomb in Frizells shop which killed 9 civilians and one of the terrorists, that is known. Just like on Bloody Sunday the Parachute Regiment opened fire with live rounds killing 13 demonstrators (a 14th dying later).

    However in the case of the Shankill bomb, who in the Republican command structure ordered/sanctioned it and why? Who was the bombmaker? Who provided the false information that a meeting was taking place? etc etc is not known.

  • El Matador

    As regards Chris claiming that he knows the true identity of El Matador- check your facts”

    I have, your sdlp comrades have been very good in that respect.

    Surely you don’t believe everything they say. A red-herring perhaps…

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Chris,

    You’ve said…

    “That said I have no intention of living in the past, it’s time to look to the future.”

    and…

    “Collussion is a different matter”

    So you decide which subjects are left in the past and which ones are turned over endlessly? BTW, I do think that the families have a right to know. But I mean ALL families.

  • DCB

    Surely Chris is not advocating a hierarchy of victims

  • DerryTerry

    Sean Kelly was a child killer. What does that make the brave British soldiers and RUC men who also killed children? Child killers too, or brave and courageous members of the security forces fighting for their cause?

    War is a terrible thing, and only the hardest hearts would not feel regret at the loss of life over the last 36 years.

    As a Republican i wish no one had been killed, by Republicans or anyone else. But we cannot change the past, only strive to ensure we don’t repeat it.

  • Mick

    Can we lay off the unmasking stuff lads. It shouldn’t matter if it’s the ball you’re after!

  • El Matador

    What does that make the brave British soldiers and RUC men who also killed children? Child killers too, or brave and courageous members of the security forces fighting for their cause?

    I agree- all those engaged in crimes against people should be held to account- I think it’s a disgrace the way army members seem to have had the law applied differently to them (Lee Clegg?)

    But then again, would the Brits have been here if the provos had called off their campaign thirty years earlier? After all, within a day of their standing down, army bases are being dismantled.

    As far as I’m concerened, all this is better late than never- now we need the unionists to fully implement the GFA- their excuses are gone. The provos are no longer giving them fuel for intransigence.

  • Levitas

    Sounds to me like an awful lot of thinking will have to be done by the unionists now, you see the IRA move has played so well with the worlds media, do any of the unionists actually ever listen to the BBC world service and its round up of international coverage especially in the all important USA? Its doubles and back slaps all round for Gerry and Martin, and theres even a little gleam of post-IRA nostalgia growing in the US media “rebels who fought the one of the most formidable armies in the world ” was a quote on a world service vox-pop from LA. If the unionists continue to throw their rattles from the pram they are shown up, or if they enter negotiations then its seen to be a loss of face from they’re “NEVER NEVER” stance..Either way mark my words I have it on good authority,that theres now going to be a LOT of pressure applied to the DUP by the Brits and the Yanks…many of the senior civil servants are quite relishing putting the thumbscrews on them politically (since they are so personally obnoxious,one thing the provo’s never lacked was a serious and consistent effort to be pally with the Brit civil servants, whereas the DUP were almost always noticeably rude-ask any of the Brit support team at Leeds Castle )…You see the USA and Britain WANT this sorted BIG TIME, and the egotists and bombasts of the DUP will soon melt when confronted by the sheer heat of the power of US/Brit “gloves off” tactics which will now ensue.
    Now, the provies are the good boys in the class, and according to my sources theres the little matter of some quite smelly canards concerning leading DUP’ers and other Unionist obstructionists which may well be used to apply pressure….the Brits and most importantly the USA have all the cards. and a very full file on Paisley’s confederates,at least two minor functionaries of the aforesaid are said to be in the pay of the Brits anyway.This dynamite, it is confidently expected is sufficient powerful to blow a whole in this apparent wall of resolute obduracy, it should take about 6 months for face saving purposes.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Chris G, you’re on very dodgy ground there. I agree with your point about looking to the future rather than the past, that is the only way things can ever go forward, but it seems mildly hypocritical to on one hand be calling for action against the Peter McBride killers, and on the other hand calling for the release of a Shankill bomber. You’re just not in a position to say what atrocities need to be forgotten about, and what atrocities should be properly addressed. I think that a truth and reconciliation committee is going to be the only way to sort that out, and I doubt there is any real enthusiasm to wheel out all those skeletons, either within republicanism or in the British government (I’d say loyalism, but there’s no way in hell they’d step up and admit to what they’ve been at).

    bertie, you’re annoyed about people associated with murderers getting into power. I share your annoyance every election, when I see parties who are connected with violent organizations, either through an inextricable link or through friendship or common cause, getting about 90% of all of the votes cast, whether they are founder members of the IRA or founder members of the Ulster Protestant Militia or the Third Force. I would like people to stop endorsing paramilitarism through the ballot box but they keep doing it. Ergo, whatever solution we come up with is going to have to account for that, and work around it in some way, either by securing disarmament and winding down or by bringing in some kind of security solution.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Comrade Stalin

    “Chris G, you’re on very dodgy ground there. I agree with your point about looking to the future rather than the past, that is the only way things can ever go forward, but it seems mildly hypocritical to on one hand be calling for action against the Peter McBride killers, and on the other hand calling for the release of a Shankill bomber.”

    Please show me where I have ever called for “action against the Peter McBride killers” either on this site, my site or any other site for that matter?

    People need to remember that I am not a Sinn Féin spokesperson!

    By the British Army’s own rules they should be removed, I have never called for them to be shot or imprisoned.

    “I think that a truth and reconciliation committee is going to be the only way to sort that out, and I doubt there is any real enthusiasm to wheel out all those skeletons, either within republicanism or in the British government”

    I agree with you about a truth a reconciliation commission. I believe that all sides should co-operate as famlies need closure and yes the IRA should co-operate too.

    I feel all sides have a duty to do so.

    I know quite a few victims of State force collusion and they all said the same thing.

    I offer MY opinion on these matters Comrade as do you!

    No one here is Omnipotent

  • Moderate Unionist

    Chris Gaskin
    The trouble is the RM, use all of these political tools (enquiries, commissions etc)as weapons to advance the cause, rather than opportunities to resolve things and bring closure.

    You have no real desire to develop political stability or to move on. There is no real engagement with people with a different view point. No attempt to find common ground and to build a Northern Ireland that everybody can be happy with (even as an interim to a different political alignment).

    You may feel that the recent statement is another great PR victory for the cause, and that once again the Unionists will be seen as obstinate and reluctant for peace and that this will advance your ultimate political goals in the Republic of Ireland.

    You may be happy with the political stalemate, you may not care what happens to the ordinary people of Northern Ireland (All can be sacrificed for the cause). If so keep on trucking.

    but if you really want social, economic and political progress then you have it all to do. Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice shame on me.

  • Comrade Stalin

    cg, alright. What’s your opinion on the McBride killing ?

    Moderate Unionist:

    “and that once again the Unionists will be seen as obstinate and reluctant for peace”

    But this is the truth. Unionists are obstinate and reluctant to peace, as they have been for years. It’s nothing to do with Sinn Fein and their guns; the unionists had plenty of opportunities to share power and cut a deal with non-militant nationalism, and they chose to squander each one. Unionists are not committed to entirely democratic and peaceful means, as I have pointed out rather repeatedly in this place.

  • Moderate Unionist

    Comrade Stalin
    Your problem is that you treat everyone as if they were part of a highly disciplined organisation which includes an armed wing fully cognisant of the political agenda. I don’t know if this comes from your republican background or you communist background, but this is not the case with the Unionists.

    The loyalist paramilitaries do not speak, nor do they have any support with large sections of the Unionist population as evidenced by their poor showing in the elections. When people (anybody) take the law into their own hands whether they feel justified or not it rarely produces the results they want.

    Tell me this do you see any parallels between the civil rights movements in the US in the sixties and the Northern Ireland process. Do you think that we needed 35 years of civil war to address the issues? Do you think we need another 35 years? Why do you think the border campaign ran out of steam?

    As for the McBride killing, what do you want me to do? Get into a bout of whataboutery. Regretable as each and every incident is, it leads us nowhere in the quest to move things forward. In fact, it more or less stops any progress because it keeps opening up old wounds, which is not to say that I don’t have huge sympathy and compassion for many of those that were caught up in the conflict.

    So tell me how you see things moving forward or are we into a long period of political stalemate leading to another “phase” in the next generation?

  • Comrade Stalin

    MU, I am not a republican (the reunification of Ireland is not very important to me) and I am not a communist (I’m more of a left-liberal). I think that should be pretty obvious.

    “Your problem is that you treat everyone as if they were part of a highly disciplined organisation which includes an armed wing fully cognisant of the political agenda.”

    Judging by what happens in this country, it is overtly the cage. Elected unionist politicians share podiums with loyalist paramilitaries, and they elect loyalist paramilitaries into privileged positions, and even permit them to join their parties. They stage paramilitary-linked coups and set up organizations with obvious paramilitary trappings. Yet they do not get punished for this appreciably by their electorate. What else is a reasonable person supposed to conclude ?

    “The loyalist paramilitaries do not speak, nor do they have any support with large sections of the Unionist population as evidenced by their poor showing in the elections.”

    The poor showing of loyalists in elections is irrelevant. Why are there loyalist flags and murals all over parts of Belfast which elect unionist politicians, if no-one supports them ? Why do they even exist ? Why aren’t the unionist politicians elected by these people leading the way in having them taken down ?

    On another thread here recently, a chap who outwardly declared his support for the UDA explained that supporters of those organizations felt their interests were best served by the DUP. I need say no more.

    “As for the McBride killing, what do you want me to do? Get into a bout of whataboutery.”

    I wasn’t talking to you about McBride, but CG. There’s an inconsistency in Sinn Fein between how they think justice is best managed relating the events of the past they were involved in, as opposed to events in the past the British were involved in.

    “So tell me how you see things moving forward or are we into a long period of political stalemate leading to another “phase” in the next generation?”

    Things cannot move forward until everyone faces up to their role in the problems of this country. There are signs that the republicans are doing this, but there are no sign that the unionists are. I would much rather the unionists wise up and admit that they have had shady dealings with the paramilitaries in the past; their denials fool no-one. I would like Ian Paisley to explain what his plans were for the Third Force and Ulster Resistance. I would like unionists to say that they will never again try to stage a coup in this country, like they did (successfully) in 1974, in 1978 (when Paisley ganged up with Andy Tyrie), in 1985 over the AIA and in 1997 at Drumcree.

    Is the IRA the only organization which is required to surrender and sign up to democratic standards ?

  • WindsorRocker

    Comrade S,

    You say [i]”Things cannot move forward until everyone faces up to their role in the problems of this country. There are signs that the republicans are doing this,”[/i]

    In this “great statement” they still say that all they did over 35 years was legitimate. They ain’t facing up to much.

    Oh and Paisley and co have already talked about UR etc.. When that group gean to move in a direction that involved gun smuggling and developing terrorist plans, they disassociated themselves from it. The DUP oppose loyalist terror. When loyalists killed people, the DUP would encourage people to go to the police with evidence not do what certain SF spokespeople did and call the people who carried out Omagh “fellow republicans”!!

  • Comrade Stalin

    Windsor :

    “In this “great statement” they still say that all they did over 35 years was legitimate. They ain’t facing up to much.”

    I’m not heralding the IRA’s statement as a defining moment for democracy. It is merely a step forward; an acknowledgement that the way things were done up until now has to stop. That is a lot more than anyone is getting from the unionists.

    Try getting a unionist to condemn the methods used in the UWC strike, and tell me about it. Try getting a unionist to explain why loyalist murals exist in areas which elect unionist politicians.

    “When that group gean to move in a direction that involved gun smuggling and developing terrorist plans, they disassociated themselves from it.”

    Let’s talk about this subject a bit more. What was Ulster Resistance’s purpose prior to this so-called move towards paramilitarism ?

    When Paisley had a large group of men on a hill supposedly waving gun licenses, what point do you think he was trying to make ?

    “The DUP oppose loyalist terror.”

    The why did Paisley team up with UDA leader Andy Tyrie to try to stage a second UWC strike ? Why did Willie McCrea take a podium with a loyalist mass-murder and apparently get away with it ? Why did Paisley present himself at Drumcree among a group of people who were actively attacking the army and police, and who threatened to spray the army with petrol and set it on fire ? These are not the actions of people who oppose terror. These are not the actions of people who uphold the rule of law.

    “When loyalists killed people, the DUP would encourage people to go to the police with evidence”

    Really, now. Are we expected to believe that when W. McCrea was standing on the podium beside Billy Wright he was urging the crowd below to inform on LVF activites to the police ? Do you really believe your own propaganda ?

    What’s so hard about admitting that unionism was up to it’s neck in this crap ? Is it because it would destroy your entire worldview ?

  • Comrade Stalin

    By the way, the second point I made a few posts up was to address this lie being put about that unionists would be only too happy to share power with people who were committed to democracy.

    It is a point which is contradicted on two counts :

    – unionists won’t share power with anyone who is not also a unionist, irrespective of their commitment to democracy.

    – unionists are quite happy to have people who are not committed to democracy in their midst, provided they are also unionists. This is how the UUP elected Hugh Smyth as Lord Mayor of Belfast, and the DUP tolerated that position and appeared with the Lord Mayor in public. Another year, the UUP elected Frank McCoubrey as deputy Lord Mayor.

    This year, despite the killing and despite the feuding, the UDA/UVF councillors on Belfast City Council vote under the UUP whip in that body.

  • bertie

    Comrade

    “Try getting a unionist to condemn the methods used in the UWC strike”

    I supported the strike, in that I supported the withdrawall of work in response to the Sunningdale Agreement. I condemn the intimidation that apparantly went on. In the same way that I can accept someone supporting the minors strike but deploring the intimidation of those who tried/continued to work. I use the term “apparantly” not to water it down and I do not doubt that it went on, to what extent I do not know – but because I have no direct knowledge about it and did not really hear about it at the time. (Details were sketchy, with no TV, pre-occupied with revising for my O’levels by candle-light in Fermanagh – showing my age now).

    To my knowledge there was little UDA etc presence in Fermanagh. My eldest brother did not strike or support it, (he’s a unionist too). I personnally thought his decision wrong. He was shouted at driving out of our lane by some louts. The substance of their abuse was to do with him being a disgrace to Protestantism, which was ironic considering they never darkened the door of the church and he was a regular attender. This was a very, very, very minor incident in the scheme of things but, not suprisingly I condemn these people verbally abusing my brother. In addition, it did nothing to persuade him of the justice of the cause.

    Appart from that I don’t even think that the reports of intimidation penetrated until the strike was over. I don’t have a clear memory of it being reported on the TV, on the few occasions we had the electricity to see it. It was the topic of conversation at school where someone had heard about it. I was annoyed not just because it was wrong, my primary objection, but becasue I beleived that it was not necessary and detracted from the strenght of feeling, that I beleived was behind the strike.

  • willowfield

    Comrade Stalin

    Above you claim that “unionists won’t share power with anyone who is not also a unionist, irrespective of their commitment to democracy.”

    This is untrue. Unionists shared power with nationalists in 1974, and also in 1999-2000 and 2000-02. During the latter two occasions the nationalists included Provisional Sinn Féin, a party wedded to illegal death squads.

    In the late 60s and early 70s, unionists also included non-unionists in the NI Cabinet.

  • willowfield

    BTW on the subject of Sean Kelly, could someone in the Provos advise him to shave off that moustache and grow his hair a bit. He looks like a 17-year-old spide.

  • DCB

    WF

    More like a 17 year old glue sniffing spide