Provos copper fastened Unionist resistence to UI

Alisdair McDonnell accuses the Republican movement of devaluing the concept of a United Ireland and stiffening the resolve of ordinary Unionists against it.

  • Mr McDonnell is absolutely right. The Sinn Féin waffle and rhetoric about a United Ireland before 2016 is easy on the ears but it’s a total fantasy.

    Republicans have been a bigger hindrance to Irish Unity than the British government ever were.

    Look how long it took them to realise “Hey, maybe blowing up unionists isn’t the answer?!”

    IRA decommissioning was de Valera-ism for slow learners.

  • billy

    “And the McCartney family feeling the chill wind of Provisional intimidation for questioning Provo community control and then being forced from the area where they were born and raised,” he said.”

    As far as i am aware only one sister was living in the area at the time of Robert McCartneys murder.

    No other members of the family were living in the area.

    ‘They’ should probably have been ‘she’

  • Were his partner and children not living there?

  • bigwhitedove

    A quick perusal of the register of members interests at the Assembly should identify those with a concern for personal gain.Property portfollios, travel agencies etc Sinn Fein it aint!
    Are the SDLP to become “new socialists” as well as “new republicans”?

  • finn69

    united irelander you mean the british army came to the north to protect unionists from nationalist pogroms?
    ah well i remember the battle of the fountain and the burning of the shankill road. That picture of ian paisley waving a white handy on bloody sunday as he tried to help the injured and photos of loayalist women giving cups of tea to the squadies who had arrived to protect them will stay with me for ever.

  • Henry94

    United Irelander

    IRA decommissioning was de Valera-ism for slow learners.

    If DeValera had organised Fianna Fail in the north you may have had a point.

  • Zorro

    Alisdair McDonnell is right. As political representatives of the Republican movement, SF has succeeded in putting their own party wish list to the fore front of political debate. No surprise there as that’s what they’re good at – looking after themselves and themselves alone.

    SF and their sycophantic bloggers would like to think they represent the only voice of Irish Nationalism. Thankfully in the S.D.L.P., people who aspire to a U.I. are not forced to choose the treasonous voice of SF.

    It is worth noting that the S.D.L.P. did not seek On the Run legislation; presumably because it is not part of the Good Friday Agreement and they seem to put human rights and justice issues as a priority in negotiations.

    FOOT NOTE TO SF BLOGGERS
    Try to avoid predictable SF Press Office responses such as “SF is the largest Nationalist Party” or “the SF vote continues to increase but the SDLP vote bla bla bla…..”

  • Henry94

    Zorro

    Who would you say the other nationalist parties (FF, FG, PD etc) have more in common with? SDLP or SF?

  • lámh dearg

    Henry

    SDLP

  • Henry94

    Then I can’t see the point in opposing a united Ireland to spite Sinn Fein when the current context gives Sinn Fein a power they would be denied in a united Ireland.

  • Fraggle

    That, Henry, is the irony of the situation. SF have put unionists in a situation where they will be denied power without sharing it with them (SF) and the only sure way to both deny SF power and gain power themselves is through a UI. The british government seems to be playing along with SF by making direct rule as uncomfortable as possible.

  • Zorro

    Henry94
    Given that the main parties in the South consistently condemned the treasonous Provo armed struggle, I would have to say that ideologically they have far more in common with the SDLP. However given where some of the parties came from, I am sure they like the idea of appearing to be more Oirish than any of the other parties. Anyone know when FF ceased to be “Fianna Fail The Republican Party” and became just ”Fianna Fail”?

  • finn69

    “as a result of brutality and murder, unionists see “nothing of value” in Irish unity”

    How about(ery)

    as a result of brutality and murder, nationalists see “nothing of value” in the Northern Irish state

  • Brian Boru

    While this is true, it should not obscure the fact that successive Irish governments have always rejected the violence of the Provos in NI, and this reflects far better on the equality that would exist in a UI, than the actions of the PIRA. We are not represented in the actions of the PIRA, RIRA, CIRA, or INLA. So let’s be clear about that. Their actions do not demonstrate the intent of Nationalist Ireland towards Unionists in a hypothetical UI. SF only began to succeed in a big way in NI when the PIRA embarked on the peace-process remember.

  • seabhac siulach

    The argument of A. McDonnell in that piece is fatuous…it is the unionists, after all, who would not even accept minimal home rule back in 1912 (something even P. Pearse then supported!) so it is hardly likely that they will ever voluntarily agree to a UI. We must wait for demographics and economic convergence to force their hand eventually.
    Provo violence, and the turmoil it created, has, however, made the constitutional question of the 6 counties an issue again, something it was not between 1920-1969. Dry debates in the Dail or elsewhere would not have achieved this.
    As a result, we are close to having a representative assembly in the 6 counties for the first time ever.
    Of course, I do not accept that the price was worth it, as in essence, the provo campaign was doomed to futile failure from the start, but, it must be understood, that to a large extent the violence during 1969-97 was a working out of deep rooted sectarian tensions and, therefore, not ALL the blame for the violence may be levelled at the IRA. There would have been violence irrespective of the existence of republicans…
    For example, what would the Stoops have done in response to the shooting dead of civil rights marchers in Derry in 1972? Sometimes there is a need for more than talking…

    In any case, during those years of violence, a glance south of the border would have shown unionists that Sinn Fein (at the height of the violence) represented a very small percentage of the population. After all, by their definition, the IRA were terrorists…so why would they let them dictate their opinions of another country? Ridiculous. The truth is that unionists have seen, and still see, the south of Ireland through sectarian-tinted spectacles. IRA violence did not change this.

    Zorro

    “No surprise there as that’s what they’re good at – looking after themselves and themselves alone. ”

    (I know, you asked for no predictable responses, but…)Surely, Sinn Fein are merely only doing what a majority of nationalists voted for? Besides, does not every political party look after it own needs, if it can politically?

  • bigwhitedove

    Zorro, as an SDLP sycophantic blogger, would you agree that the debate around a UI has been resurrected by Sinn Fein in recent months/years and the the SDLP only ditched their “post nationalist” tag when they realised that the people actually supported the concept of a UI,
    The national question remains unresolved and while we are in a transitional period, Sinn Fein seem to be doing all the runing on Human Rights, Equality and Policing. It was only last year that senior members of the SDLP were saying that the demands of the civil right campaigns have been met?
    how does this square with your assumptions that the SDLP are continuing to battle for them?

  • Zorro

    The term “Oirish” is offensive. If you want to be taken seriously don’t use it.

    Anyone know when FF ceased to be “Fianna Fail The Republican Party” and became just ”Fianna Fail”?

    Not yet

  • “[Unionists] will ever voluntarily agree to a UI. We must wait for demographics and economic convergence to force their hand eventually” – lovely, lovely, keep it coming.

    Meanwhile, can I start on this thread a debate about how soon the inevitable return of the Fomorians to Tory is likely to be, as the odds on that are up there with a united [sic] Ireland . . .

  • Glen Taisie

    Big white dove,

    One has to put the much quoted line in its proper context.During the Euro election campaign of 1999 John Hume described the SDLP as “a party of social democrats in a post nationalist Europe”.

    Always remember that the National Front/ BNP etc are nationalist parties

  • Zorro

    seabhac siulach
    The premise of Alistair McDowell’s argument is no way fatuous. If read properly and in it’s entirety I am sure the objective view would agree that it is both factual and reasoned. For you to suggest that “Provo violence, and the turmoil it created, has, however, made the constitutional question of the 6 counties an issue again” is in it self as fatuous as it is wrong. At what point in our history do you think the constitution question cease to be an issue? You sanctimonious tone is patronising, ill-thought out and offensive. Dry debates in the Dail or elsewhere would not have achieved this. I know the idea of non-violence is beyond the comprehension of the SF type of Irish Republicanism but I do suggest a little research in to the achievements of Ghandi and Martin Luther King. The Provos made the wrong call socially, politically and morally and history will attest to this.

    One final point,

    ”…does not every political party look after it own needs, if it can politically?”

    and I thought a political party was there to represent the views of the people and not use it’s position to promote itself!

    Bigwhitedove
    SF and Human Rights – now there’s a funny thought! Forget the OTR legislation, what about those who have been exiled from their own country under the threat of death? Who’s fighting their cause to “BRING THEM HOME

    Henry94
    As it is never my whish to offend…. I use the term
    Oirish to euphemistically describe those who, by word or deed, define the Irish nationality so narrowly that, in my opinion, is to the general determinant of the people in the South. But then I’m sure you knew that right?

    I do not consider myself to be a ” SDLP sycophantic blogger” but I can see why you may think this and find it amusing. Don’t we enjoy pigeon-holing people here!?! For the reord… I consider my self to be centre-left moderate. The constitutional question is, for me, less important than the more pressing issues of the day United Ireland / United Kingdom – same old!

    No takers for me terming SF supporters as ”treasonous”?

  • T.Ruth

    I can assure commentators from the SF/IRA camp that Unionists admire Alistair McDonnell enormously for his reasoned,democratic approach.
    There will not be a politically united Ireland in any of our lifetimes. The demographics will show that with an increasing population Unionists will continue to have a considerable numerical majority.
    If we are to move forward we need to accept that the Belfast Agreement has failed because it did not acknowledge the reality that Unionism and Republicanism have irreconcilable objectives.

    New arrangements to move forward require new thinking. Future political arrangements will be rooted in the context of NI remaining within the UK. That is the legal,human,moral and civil right of the majority community.There is no place in future government for those who do not accept the illegality of terrorism and the rights of the majority to remain British.

    This will require nationalist and republicans to redefine their Irishness in that context.
    Unionists have the confidence to debate the way forward to a new dispensation in which all are treated equally. Unionists are open to responsibility sharing government provided their partners can stop seeking to undermine the state in which they live.

    We need to take the military mindset out of our politics, we need to reject all aspects of criminal activity, and we need to set the constitutional argument aside as we build a better Northern ireland for us all.

    It will be in that context that Unionists can acknowledge their Irishness and offer the hand of friendship to like minded people in the Republic and within this province.

  • seabhac siulach

    Zorro:

    “You sanctimonious tone is patronising, ill-thought out and offensive. Dry debates in the Dail or elsewhere would not have achieved this. I know the idea of non-violence is beyond the comprehension of the SF type of Irish Republicanism but I do suggest a little research in to the achievements of Ghandi and Martin Luther King. The Provos made the wrong call socially, politically and morally and history will attest to this.”

    I apologise for the sanctimonious tone…comes with age…
    As to history’s judgement, surely, in fairness. it is too soon to tell.
    And as to your points about non-violent achievements, surely any debate on the merits of these was shot off the road in Doire/Londonderry in January 1972. The last time I looked the N.I. civil rights movement was non-violent and it led nowhere…all non-violent attempts at change were met with violence, either RUC or British army. And they were not even asking for constitutional change, at first!
    In any case, in the years 1920-1969 there were plenty of meaningless anti-partition movements, marches and the like north and south of the border. They led to nothing. No movement on the national or constitutional question came from these. Why? If non-violence is so powerful…??
    As for historical comparisons, how about Daniel O’Connell, who for all of his monster meetings of up to 250,000-1,000,000 people could not get the English govt. to agree to Repeal of the Union? Or what about the peaceful attempts to get constitutional change as regards Home Rule in 1884 or 1912? These were all unsuccessful. Thrown back in our faces. The only constitutional changes that have come about in Ireland (and we are talking about Ireland here not the US or India) have been as the result of violence, whether that is palatable or not to all you violence averse types.
    If we were waiting on the Stoop type of politics then we (nationalists) would still be sitting in a cold unreformed Stormont controlled by an unaccountable Unionist majority…
    For a middle class Stoop like McDonnell to turn around now and lecture those who brought about these changes (at an admittedly terrible and unneccesary cost in lives) is a bit rich. Would the unionists respect nationalists more if we had just sat back and taken all the injustice lying down? Is that what he suggests? The little that has been achieved constitutionally is as a result of violence, not because of it, and has been forced little by little and line by line from an unyielding and uncompromising unionist people…
    As I see it, Unionists will not agree to unity, no matter what the logic, economic, cultural or otherwise. Reading the comments of unionist commentators on this site will attest to this.
    However, violence has now run its course, for now. It went on for too long. Once violence caused the crisis, constitutional change had to follow. That is happening now…frustration of this will lead to further violence. That (sanctimonious hat on) is the real lesson of Irish history and it is, as ever, the unionists causing the frustration.

  • Ringo

    SS

    Where we are to day, and the progress that has been made has been made despite the IRA’s campaign, not because of it.

    It is utterly inconcievable that Tony Blair would be Prime Minister today and the demands of the civil rights movement would not have been addressed.

    The progress is primarily due to the political evolution of Britain primarily,
    and little or nothing to do with the political evolution or lack of, in Northern Ireland. Or are you are suggesting that over the course of 35 years the Stormont state would not have been forced to evolve just like the rest of the world?

    The troubles (ultimately the gift of republicans), had the effect of beaching NI, and preventing any chance of it entering the main current of political and social evolution that the vast majorities of western democracies travelled since the 60’s. This slowed the very pace of change that would have brought the very benefits that they claimed they were being denied.

  • stu

    Seabhac Siulach

    Having just read your last comments, I can say I just threw up a little in my mouth.

    ‘And as to your points about non-violent achievements, surely any debate on the merits of these was shot off the road in Doire/Londonderry in January 1972. The last time I looked the N.I. civil rights movement was non-violent and it led nowhere…all non-violent attempts at change were met with violence, either RUC or British army. And they were not even asking for constitutional change, at first!’

    Yes, this made an armed campaign perfectly justified…

    ‘Why? If non-violence is so powerful…??’

    Perhaps you should check the composition of NICRA to answer that question. And I’m sure Uncle Marty had nothing to do with that January morning you mentioned.

    ‘As for…’

    Whataboutery, nothing more.

    ‘The only constitutional changes that have come about in Ireland (and we are talking about Ireland here not the US or India) have been as the result of violence, whether that is palatable or not to all you violence averse types. ‘

    I think you’ll find a majority of people are violence averse, and attempting to change the constitutional status through violence is called a coup d’etat, and is generally associated with banana republics and other non-Western practises.

    ‘Once violence caused the crisis, constitutional change had to follow. That is happening now…frustration of this will lead to further violence. That (sanctimonious hat on) is the real lesson of Irish history and it is, as ever, the unionists causing the frustration.’

    Vieled threat of violence…themmuns…blaming the majority of the people in the country…

    Awww, bejaysus, ye rebel ye…

  • stu

    And as for the article in question-

    McDonnell is right. Nationalists can aspire away to a United Ireland but many Unionists would see this as a capitulation to Sinn Fein and IRA violence.

    The idea of working (in a Northern or United Ireland context) with any Nationalist party is not a problem to your average Unionist. I know, because I’m considered Unionist and I voted SDLP last election. The problem lies in working with Sinn Fein. Elected or not, they’re still very much the minority as long as the other parties are committed to work together peacefully. Here is the challenge in our local politics.

  • John East Belfast

    ss

    That the IRA Campaign has brought about changes in NI politics is probably right – but that is not the point nor is it the question of this thread.

    Anyhow violence only begets violence.

    Loyalists would say that the reason there was an IRA cease fire in the first place was because they brought so much pressure on the IRA by murdering as many catholics as they could – anywhere, anytime so long as it was a Taig – and once again, to some extent, I would say they are probably right.

    However the bloody and endless cycle has not brought a UI any closer and I would agree that in terms of my unionist generation it has copper fastened our resolve against it.

    Who knows how NI politics would have developed in those 30 years – however I would like to think my generation would have recognised long ago that a virtual one party state – where people voted for a political tribe – meant that democracy wasn’t working.
    Something would have had to change.

    Born in 1963 who knows how my political view of uniting the two parts of this Island and seceding from the UK would have developed if I had been free from PIRA coercion.

    All I do know is that a lot of people are in the ground now who didn’t need to be and countless thousands others have had their lives blighted and embittered.

    It was a collassal waste and shame.

    PIRA were never about Uniting Ireland anyway – they were about British withdrawel – in that respect they were wrong on both counts.
    No terrorist activity will force the British out of Ireland and likewise such activity will never change the hearts and minds of Unionists. You unbelievably under estimate the latter if you think they will atke a UI by force.

    If it wasn’t so sad militant Irish republicanism of the late 20th Century is actually a joke.

    Unfortunately your sinister

    “violence has now run its course, for now”

    shows you still can’t see it

  • seabhac siulach

    A bit of old-fashioned republican analysis and ye are all scuttling…nice to see…

    I will say it again…
    It is Provo violence that led to all the attempts at constitutional change…would there have been a Sunningdale or Anglo-Irish agreement, etc. without it? Violence (and the threat of Sinn Fein growth) was the motor for these things.
    How come in the space of 10 years (1973-1985) there was more constitutional debate than in the previous 60-70? If it was up to the Southern politicians and their Stoop northern allies then the north would have been left to its original constitutional status…i.e., dependent on the unionists…
    Without violence, there would have been a lot of talk, policy papers and then what? We saw that peaceful marching (in front of the eyes of the world) didn’t work. Remember this was the late 60s, the modern era already. When were the unionists going to join us in the modern age? Some of whom are still now apparently living in the 17th century (Paisley & co.).

    Ringo:

    “Or are you are suggesting that over the course of 35 years the Stormont state would not have been forced to evolve just like the rest of the world?”

    It didn’t evolve for 50 years. So, exactly how long were nationalists supposed to wait before this ‘evolution’ finally started amongst the pre-cambrian unionist politicians? 10 years, 20?
    Frustration leads to violence…

    You say republicans slowed the pace of change? It is unionists that have been frustrating all attempts at peaceful constitutional change since at least 1912 when THEY introduced the arm into Irish politics. That was close to a coup d’etat against their own government. All to stop a Home Rule that would have given Ireland less autonomy than Scotland has at present. Or is that whataboutery?
    Whatever it is, it is the truth.

    Stu:

    “I think you’ll find a majority of people are violence averse, and attempting to change the constitutional status through violence is called a coup d’etat, and is generally associated with banana republics and other non-Western practises.”

    The state to which you give allegiance is in occupation of a foreign state at this very moment, Iraq…I don’t think its constitutional state was changed by cogent reasonable debate with Saddam Hussein and his regime…
    So, only violence averse when it suits. Like when Blair was lecturing us a few years back about ‘how violence doesn’t solve anything…’ He could do with listening to himself. By your definition, UK=banana republic.

    John East Belfast:
    “Who knows how NI politics would have developed in those 30 years – however I would like to think my generation would have recognised long ago that a virtual one party state – where people voted for a political tribe – meant that democracy wasn’t working.
    Something would have had to change.”

    We will never know now, though will we? All those ‘No, no, nos’ of Paisley and others back then have had their consequence. All those easy words had a consequence, fancy that! In fact, the ‘nos’ of unionists, even in the face of minor demands led to the present situation. If they had said ‘yes’ to Sunningdale or ‘Yes’ back in the day to Home Rule then we would not have had so much bloodshed. The blood is on all our hands…although the reckless irresponsibility of some gets its reward with a seat in the House of Lords…

    My personal wish is for Stormont to be set up now…so that the past can be left behind. Who knows, perhaps with this in place, over time, economic convergence with lead to de-facto unification. However, again, as in history, minor constitutional progress is being frustrated for party political or personal reasons. I make no threats, I merely point out that this can be dangerous.

  • stu

    ‘The state to which you give allegiance is in occupation of a foreign state at this very moment, Iraq…I don’t think its constitutional state was changed by cogent reasonable debate with Saddam Hussein and his regime…
    So, only violence averse when it suits. Like when Blair was lecturing us a few years back about ‘how violence doesn’t solve anything…’ He could do with listening to himself. By your definition, UK=banana republic.’

    If you covered maths or logic in your educational background, you’ve obviously forgotten it. Iraq would be the banana republic, not the UK. How can a kingdom be a republic? Not to mention that it might just be possible I don’t agree with the circumstances of the Iraq conflict.

  • Zorro

    seabhac siulach

    It is self-evidently true that “time will tell” though I do think it is say to safe that history does not look favourably on those who exert excessive brutal force, be they individuals, groups or governments. For this reason I believe history will show the Provos to have been savage and self-serving raher than patriotic freedom fighters. Bit like you rightly point out, ”time will tell!”

    I could not disagree more with your assertion that the merits of non-violence were “shot off the road in Doire/Londonderry in January 1972.” Given what has taken place since, I would have thought this re-enforces the argument for non-violence.

    Is it worth the loss of one life to secure a United Ireland or United Kingdom? I don’t think so.

    Do you speak disparagingly of Dr McDonnell, referring to him as a stoop, because you feel the strength of his argument causes you to vacillate your own views? You do seem to have a strange view of violence, suggesting that it is permissible up to a point. I find that a worrying premises. Also to suggest the Unionists will not agree to unity is to imply they find democracy abhorrent. This clearly is not the case. They may not like it. They may not want it. But to say they will not agree is wrong.

    …those who brought about these changes are guilty of gross acts of treason and I am confident history will attest to this.

  • Ringo

    SS
    It didn’t evolve for 50 years. So, exactly how long were nationalists supposed to wait before this ‘evolution’ finally started amongst the pre-cambrian unionist politicians? 10 years, 20?
    Frustration leads to violence…

    Don’t be pretending to miss the point or making lame excuses. Name any place in Europe that hasn’t fundamentally changed in the past 40 years. Including Albania. Many others, like the Republic hadn’t evolved much in the previous 50 years. NI is not isolated from the rest of the world, much as you like to pretend that it is.

    Guns and bombs were not required to bring massive social change – even to bring about the fall of communism.

    There is simply no way that Tony Blair’s government could co-exist with the old Stormont regime.

    Change was inevitable. The likes of Paisley obviously obstructed change to the best of their ability. The stupid thing is that the republicans, who were supposed to be willing to kill and die for social change were unable to see that they too were a massive obstacle.

  • seabhac siulach

    Zorro:

    “Do you speak disparagingly of Dr McDonnell, referring to him as a stoop, because you feel the strength of his argument causes you to vacillate your own views?”

    They are always vacillating (that is the point of these posts)!

    I agree with his (McDonnell’s) premise, up to a point…it is perhaps true that violence has turned unionists against the type of UI as wanted by Sinn Fein (that is, a socialist republic). However, unionists have never and do not show any interest in that other type of republic consisting of a majority of peaceful capitalists to the south either. I do not believe violence has changed their opinion of the south one bit. It is apparent that they still see it as some sort of priest-ridden place, having, most of them, never set foot across the border.
    To claim that in the absense of violence that we would all be living in a 32 county paradise (the unionists having realised in the meantime that, hey, that idea sounds alright) is revisionism. Unionism in 1969 did not look exactly like it was willing to come to any compromise any time soon. How long was the national demand for constitutional change to be frustrated? Were we to wait 10,20 years while unionists MAYBE came to realise a UI was for the best? And what were nationalists in the 6 counties to do in the meantime? Continue in a unionist dominated parliament? Continue in a state where they had no voice and where they were separated from their fellow Irishmen/women to the south?
    I hold to the opinion that any step to a UI (i.e., to a power sharing Stormont) has only been possible through some form of violence. Any movement on this has had to be forced, at every step. This, a direct result of the frustrating and less than progressive actions of unionists and the English govt. (Even today, in a climate of peace, with guns destroyed, unionists continue to frustrate movement). It is easy with hindsight and a revisionist mentality to say that violence was wrong and that it turned unionists from a UI. I agree that getting a power sharing Stormont (a stepping stone to a UI) would have been preferible without violence, and that the violence went on for about 10-15 years too long, but remember it was unionists that brought down Sunningdale…and who therefore delayed any hope of an alternative route for nationalist sentiment.
    A frustration in not being allowed a say in the working of their own country led nationalists to violence when all other avenues were blocked off, including peaceful demonstration…

    If peaceful demonstration had been an option, then where was the SDLP during those days organising massive peaceful demonstrations demanding a united Ireland? I must have missed that. So McDonnell’s premise is fatuous…
    The SDLP did not and have not organised any peaceful movement for a UI during their existence. Why not? Is it because this belated interest in a UI is only a reaction to the growth of Sinn Fein?

    “You do seem to have a strange view of violence, suggesting that it is permissible up to a point.”

    And would you say that it is never permissable?
    I am not a pacifist, if that is what you mean, no.

    “Is it worth the loss of one life to secure a United Ireland or United Kingdom? I don’t think so.”

    This is hard to say…a philosophical question as to the value of life for which I am probably not qualified to answer. (Need to talk to a priest…)

    I do know that the 1916 rising led on to the collapse of conscription in Ireland and so saved tens of thousands in that brutal slaughter of the 1st World War…so the death of hundreds saved tens of thousands…

    In light of the closer integration of the EU any further violence to achieve national integration would probably not be morally justified in my opinion.

  • Zorro

    seabhac siulach

    I do not doubt for one minute that violence has turned unionists against the type of UI as wanted by Sinn Fein and surely this reflects the futility and self-defeating nature of the armed struggle? Your criticism of Unionists for not showing an interest in a Republic which is run by peaceful Capitalist is strange. After all no one would expect Nationalists to reciprocate that view of life within the United Kingdom – never the twain shall meet and all that! This is indeed the sad tautology which is “North of Ireland/ Northern Ireland. “ It is the “Why can’t they be just like us” mentality.

    I do agree that many Unionists hold a much jaded view of the South of Ireland. Furthermore I believe that Nationalists have failed to sell and promote the advantages which are to be gained by their cause.

    I have never claimed that ”…in the absense of violence that we would all be living in a 32 county paradise”” I do believe, however, that in the absence of violence our society would be a far better, more prosperous place than it is today. I can hold no countenance to the argument that is prepared to weigh national sovereignty and human life in the same equation. Who knows what would have happened after 1969 if a purely peaceful approach had been adopted? I am genuine when I say that we should look at what non-violence has achieved, through the voice of MLK for the discriminated black man, though the actions of Ghandi resulting in the independence of a country and many other less known but equally non-violent figures.

    I hold to the opinion that any step to a UI (i.e., to a power sharing Stormont) has only been possible through some form of violence.

    Your use of the word only seems to suggest that Irish Republicanism only found it’s voice in armed resistance to the Crown Forces. I don’t believe this to be the case. It is bordering on the type of pub banter which suggests you’re only Irish if you support the Bhoys and sing a rebel song or two. Nonsense.

    If peaceful demonstration had been an option, then where was the SDLP during those days organising massive peaceful demonstrations demanding a united Ireland?

    Were not the Civil Rights demos entirely peaceful? The SDLP have always advocated the use of non-violence. I don’t believe this is out of any deep rooted Ghandiesque set of believes but rather they can see the villent approach for what it is, ultimately self-defeating.

    “Is it worth the loss of one life to secure a United Ireland or United Kingdom? I don’t think so.” This is hard to say…a philosophical question as to the value of life for which I am probably not qualified to answer. (Need to talk to a priest…)

    Talk to your priest then because I think it is the duty of every individual to place the value of human life above all else and not reduce it to an expendable commodity. This is not such a great philosophical question.

    I know there are Irish men who rather be dead than be British.
    I know there are British men who would rather be dead than be Irish
    I know there are British and Irish men who have lost sight of their humanity.

    Irish? British? I’d rather everyone was French!