Overreaction to Colombia Three?

Taking a very quick break from holidays. Eilis O’Hanlon thinks that a lot of the critical reaction to the IRA’s statement and, most recently, the return of the Columbia 3 (or one of them at least) has been needlessly hysterical and counterproductive.

She believes latest events a distraction for the Republican heartland constituency:

First, they make some sort of vague commitment that gets maximum publicity, then send General John de Chastelain back to Canada empty handed. Soon they’re standing around with placards watching the watchtowers come down in west Belfast and south Armagh. Next they claim that speaking rights in the Dail for Sinn Fein’s Westminster MPs are somehow in the offing. Finally they produce the proverbial rabbit out of the hat with the Colombia Three.

She sees them as:

…morale-boosting stunts to a movement which knows at heart that the game is up. The IRA statement may have been less historic or definitive than it was portrayed by the media, but the IRA still ate dirt that day, hedged about as it may have been with rhetorical provisos and fancy language extolling the struggle.

She’s scathing about the import of such activity:

The IRA didn’t even battle it out honourably for a score draw. They lost, which is why they’re still subjects of Her Majesty the Queen – the ending of which status was the single objective with which they started out – and destined to remain that way for decades and decades, under constant probation, with every descent into criminality only extending their UK residency.

  • Deaglan

    “They lost, which is why they’re still subjects of Her Majesty the Queen … “

    While I can’t believe I’m replying to anything written in the O’Reilly media empire, E O’H isn’t telling the whole truth here. I’m sure most IRA men – and indeed many northern nationalists – hold Irish citizenship. The GFA recognises that northerners can be recognised as Irish (or British or both) as they choose. So, perhaps it’s not as black and white as E O’H seems to think.

  • Jo

    Deaglan
    Thanks for interpreting that paragraph, I was confused!

  • Deaglan

    Jo,

    Always glad to help 😉

    Actually, most of what E O’H wrote was IMHO accurate. It was just the sneering “they ate dirt”, “they remain Her Majesty’s subjects” stuff that gave me the boke. If I wanted to read Littlejohn-style vitriol I’d buy the Sun.

  • levee

    Deaglan – a little vitriol is refreshing sometimes! While it’s not always right to laugh out loud at failures, when it’s one of the biggest oppressors of Northern Ireland, well….pour it on!

  • Deaglan

    “Deaglan – a little vitriol is refreshing sometimes!”

    In northern Ireland? You’ve got to be joking!

  • levee

    If I didn’t laugh, I’d cry…

  • Subvention

    A generation suffered because the historical conditions of the late 60’s made physical force republicanism attractive.

    The ordinary people confined to sectarian ghettoes were the ones who’ve had to “eat dirt” all this time (and before) because the situation was allowed to arise in the first place.

    The Provisionals failed in creating a united Ireland on the 1916 model. To that extent, they lost- if you think that was their aim. Still wondering who won, though.

  • Dessertspoon

    Who won? No-one. Personally I’d call it a score draw.

  • Jo

    Ive long thought that the appeal of the joining the Provos lay in something not as grandiose as fighting for your country but something more basic – getting your own back.

    I recall that one the main driving forces for young men (and some women) was their treatment by the RUC and more particularly the UDR, when stopped out at night or at checkpoints etc.

    Whatever language and treatment was handed out by the less than customer friendly UDR, it scarcely justified their colleagues being shot or blown to pieces in front of their familes in the ways that so many were – but it was precisely the knowing that they could receive that fate which would have appealed to those held up for hours on their way to a football match…

  • Jimmy_Sands

    Although I normally take a similar view of things she seems to ignore what I suppose is the obvious riposte that if you’re winning you don’t feel the need to gloat like this either.

  • BogExile

    Jo,

    I mostly agree with what you say but there’s something mentally wrong with people who want to kill because of a little traffic inconvenience!

    However I do recall the extraordinary reaction of a Catholic girlfriend as we approached a UDR checkpoint peopled mainly by guys I went to school with. She was terrified – an early insight for me – but not bacause of some memory, just by the usual myths which had been propagated.

    Anyway MOPE’s don’t like it when the boots on the other foot. IRA campaign to end Brisith rule in Ireland ends with total victory in getting border slightly less obvious on BBC weather forecast. Hee, hee and after that my co-religionistas get real, apologise for the hurt you caused the very people you’ll have to rely on to keep NI British.

  • veritas

    The unionist and free state delusions I read in this thread and others, day after day, is preposterous.
    When BogExile says “there’s something mentally wrong with people who want to kill because of a little traffic inconvenience!” he glosses over too readily the hundreds of prosecutions of serving and ex_UDR members who were convicted of loyalist paramilitary violence.
    Does he forget the traffic inconvenience of the Miami Showband?
    Nationalist fears of being stopped by UDR/RUC patrols were very well founded because of the extreme sectarian nature, and practical violence of these paramilitary outfits, in uniform and out!
    The biggest problem I see today in Ireland (vis-a-vis) the Peace Process is that whereas republicans have moved to a point where they recognize that peace requires talking and compromising with their former enemy, many unionists and freestaters still don’t get this or want to get it. Who won the war is irrelevant (and I saw no victory parties). Who will win the peace is much more critical.

  • BogExile

    ‘The unionist and free state delusions I read in this thread and others, day after day, is preposterous’

    Veritas:

    This reaction may be more because of your disappointment than the ‘preposterous’ notion that physical force repblicanism has done little more in 30 squalid years than fill up the graveyards a bit quicker.

    I have great difficulty comprehending the cruelty involved in taking anyones life and it is certainly not ‘preposterous’ to suggest that those who apparently glorified in it were the full shilling, as it were. I find it hard to equate the shining eyed vision of fearless republican volunteers with the rather more prosaic reality of emptying the head of an off-duty peeler on his front door step in his slippers with his kids beside him. It’s repulsive, squalid, cruel and wrong – always was, always will be.

    But I agree eith your last point to this extent. If the pro-British people on this island want to reinforce the Union they have to come to terms with the damage they have caused to the nationalist minority. This is the right thing to do morally and also tactically as Unionism will need to make itself a warm house for Catholics (not as ‘preposterous’ as it sounds) for the Union to endure. This requires a formal acknowledgement and a formal repudiation of physical force Unionism as ugly, repulsive, destructive, obsolete and cruel also.

  • darthrumsfeld

    “I’m sure most IRA men – and indeed many northern nationalists – hold Irish citizenship.”

    Aha!!- but to whom do they pay taxes ?

    (Alright that was a pisspoor example)

    Aha!!- but to the laws of which state are they accountable?

    (OK so was that)

    Aha!!- but who pays their giro when they’re not laundering fuel?

    (That’s better)

    Yup funny how we never hear calls for the decommisioning of the Social Security Agency bulding in Newry- and it’s even got a Crown over the door,just to rub in the blatant jackboot of oppression…er handing out sterling.

    Bogexile
    Don’t disagree in theory- but equally true for nationalists in our “double minority” situation, and the ill-concealed triumphalism and provo-cation(geddit??!!) on display from young republicans in a hundred towns in NI isn’t exactly making it esy for Unionists.

  • BogExile

    Darth:

    Loved yr comments on Ahoghill by the way. Me and Bertie are on a bus from Enniskillen to commit random acts of cruelty on the sectarian scumbags there who are chucking petrol bombs.

    I think we as Unionists have a moral responsibility to say publicly that ‘we’ bear some of the blame for the troubles. It’s the sign of a more mature, confident Unionism than we’re currently seeing, sure but necessary. i have no problem saying, ‘discrimination against catholics in the 60’s played a direct part in creating the conditions for physical force Republicanism and we’re sorry for our part in that. That does not absolve militant republicanism or the militant loyalism which it spawned from their responsibility for the murder and mayhem created. Neither does it undermine or devalue a belief in ‘New’ Unionism as an ethos which can (and bloodly well needs to) include people of all persuasions.

    Anyway, I’m becoming so conciliatory, I’ll need the tablets again.

  • Macswiney

    Come on Darthrumsfeld,

    Reviving the old ‘dole-hoppers’ theory is dragging us back to Mr Paisley’s rants in Templemore Avenue Circa 1968. What evidence do you have that people involved in active Republicanism today are claiming benefit? Go on produce it because this is bottom of the well stuff and this site is surely above that. One could resort to Pottle-Kettle-Black tactics by questioning the income of the hundreds of ‘associates’ who have swarmed all over the housing estates of Garnerville, Ballysillan and Sandy Row lately during daytime hours, but I wont…!

  • Fab

    “That does not absolve militant republicanism or the militant loyalism which it spawned from their responsibility for the murder and mayhem created.”

    I wasn’t born until 10 years after the troubles officially started so i can’t rely on memory, but was it not the case that militant loyalism pre-dated the “current” IRA? In 1966 Peter Ward was killed by the UVF under Gusty Spence in a sectarian killing? The burning of Bombay Street etc by militant loyalists which precipitated the arrival of the British troops and then the formation of the IRA. Your reading of history seems to be wrong….

  • darthrumsfeld

    Macswiney

    I seem to recall a few years ago a leading member of the South Armagh PIRA- more recently on the army council- was “visited” by the Crown Forces, but climbed through a window and ran a few hundred yards to the safety of the Republic. Unfortunately he had been claiming incapacity benefit-to the tune of several thousand pounds, which required him to claim he was incapable of walking a nominal distance. He ended up in the Crown Court – not for terrorist offences (perish the thought) but for benefit fraud.

    And let’s not forget the shining example of Alex Maskey and his motability car.

    Yup
    The Provos have bombed just about every type of building remotely connected with HMG, including the Industrial Development Board on several occasions, but by some strange coincidence they don’t seem to have ever blown up the Broo.

    Oh, and of course you are right about the Garnerville rabble- their only miniscule merit to offset their criminality being that they don’t pretend to be opposed to the state which they are robbing, thus adding the veneer of hypocrisy to their theft.

  • Newbie

    “…the Garnerville rabble- their only miniscule merit to offset their criminality being that they don’t pretend to be opposed to the state which they are robbing…”

    No darthrumsfeld – they simply claim to be loyal to it!! – ‘Robbing’ money from the state you are opposed to is, in my view, certainly less hypocritcal than robbing the state you claim to be loyal to … would you not agree?

  • Newbie

    “…the Garnerville rabble- their only miniscule merit to offset their criminality being that they don’t pretend to be opposed to the state which they are robbing…”

    No darthrumsfeld – they simply claim to be loyal to it!! – ‘Robbing’ money from the state you are opposed to is, in my view, certainly less hypocritcal than robbing the state you claim to be loyal to … would you not agree?

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Yup funny how we never hear calls for the decommisioning of the Social Security Agency bulding in Newry”

    It was decommissioned a few years ago, they have just built a new one.

    “and it’s even got a Crown over the door”

    No it hasn’t

    Darth, have you ever been to Newry?

  • BogExile

    I know that Newry has become a city but how will the social security building fit into it? Is it modelled on the Strabane one?

    Oh, and just for balance, Ballymena and Larne are shiteholes as well. 🙂

  • Rebecca Black

    There was an interesting article in the Sunday Times about the columbian three, apparently in 1888 Great Britain and Ireland signed an extradition treaty – it was for trapping pirates I think. However it is still law today so Ireland does have a legal obligation to ship the Columbian Three back to Columbia.

  • BogExile

    Rebecca, that comment has no irrelevance whatsoever 🙂

  • middle-class taig

    Rebecca

    I’m sure I saw Niall Connolly at the Tyrone/Dublin match, and he had a parrot on his shoulder, a wooden leg and an eye-patch.

    Do you think this will help with arguments under the treaty in question?

    The Ulster Unionist Party – if it wasn’t so funny it would be terrifying.

  • Rebecca Black

    middle class taig

    I am merely commenting on an article I read in the Times, and might I add on the front page of the Times. I thought it was interesting although I’m sure in todays anything goes climate it is irrelevant just like as it seems when people travel across the world to teach other people how to more effectively kill and maim.

    *by the way it shows how much work Bertie and his Fianna Fail researchers did when Bertie claimed Ireland had no extradition treaty with Columbia

  • Jimmy_Sands

    Rebecca,

    I did a little reading myself last week and came across this treaty and I wondered on here why it didn’t apply. I don’t know enough about the field but my reading of the Extradition Act is that it caused all existing treaties to lapse by 1972 unless expressly approved. Perhaps someone with some expertise in the area can confirm whether I have that right?

  • middle-class taig

    och, rebecca, I’m only sleggin’

    don’t take the nick

  • Nic

    Subvention and Dessertspoon: “the IRA lost, who won?”
    Wrong question, the IRA didn’t lose. They failed.

    Geddit?

  • martin

    Nic,

    Or did they !!

  • maca

    Rebecca
    “However it is still law today so Ireland does have a legal obligation to ship the Columbian Three back to Columbia.”

    Ireland is no longer part of the UK! The treaty may be applicable in Britain but hardly in Ireland, IMHO.
    And importantly the Extradition Act 1965 supersedes any arrangements made by the UK. Did you forget to read that part? 😉

  • Nic

    Oh I’m sure they did, martin.

    Mind you, moving the goalposts in retrospect is a time-honoured and all-too-human reaction to shameful failure, which I believe Ms O’Hanlon endeavours to emphasise:- “…but the IRA still ate dirt that day, hedged about as it may have been with rhetorical provisos and fancy language extolling the struggle”.

    “Or did they !!” indeed.

  • darthrumsfeld

    Well I’ll be honest here and say that since the bypass I’ve avoided Newry on my wee jaunts to fill up with Boyne Water, so perhaps Mr Gaskin’s detailed knowledge of the dole offices of Ulster ( there’s got to be a book there) is correct. Certainly the old dole office, on the left just after you crossed over the bridge had a very fine crown over the door- and strangely enough it seems not to have been attacked.

    But the real issue is-What does CG think about Maskey and his local incapacity claimant? Are they criminals, or does the Mitchell exemption apply to them too?