Ineptitude and police action stymie dissidents

The PSNI believe they have chalked up another success against dissident republicans with the seizure of a large bomb in preparation.
This follows an arrest operation a few weeks ago in the Springfield Road area of West Belfast against alleged bomb-making. There were also attacks in Armagh and Londonderry were the bombs fortunately did not explode or reach their intended target. Dissidents were also blamed as possible instigators for the Dublin riots

This does give the impression that dissidents are trying to intensify their campaign with Armagh, Londonderry and Lurgan as the focus of their activities but police action and a lack of technical expertise are successfully thwarting them.

  • slug

    Well done the police.

  • Jo

    ….inspired by Easter 1916 rhetoric, perhaps?

  • Duracell Plus

    Inspired by the vaccuum between their ears and their need to be THE BIG MEN of the Kilwilkie Estate, more like.
    Happily, they will probably be seeing their next dozen Easters in Maghaberry.
    What sort of moron is willing to go on dissident jobs when they are so clearly penetrated even more than the Provos? (and that’s truly saying something)

  • slug

    “Happily, they will probably be seeing their next dozen Easters in Maghaberry.”

    I very much hope so. Aside from the retribution, which is an important reason, there is the consideration that when they are in prison they will be unable to continue with their crimes. And the fear of going to prison will be part of the cost-benefit calculus that such criminals weigh up before committing crimes in the future.

  • Jo

    ..oh, they won’t be “martyrs” then?

    How disappointing for their families.

    I wonder could there be unanimity among Sluggerites and Sluggerettes on this one?

  • Who

    Looks like the Easter parade through Kilwilkie along the tricolour draped streets certainly brought back some memories albeit bad ones.

  • Dr Strangelove

    Good to see that the republican tradition of touting is alive and well within the dissident movement.

  • Dec

    The PSNI believe they have chalked up another success against dissident republicans

    …and it wouldn’t be the first time they believed that.

  • Who

    “Mr Justice Girvan had already acquitted the four of belonging to the Real IRA after ruling it was not an illegal organisation under current legislation. ”

    Is this still the case?.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Jo: “I wonder could there be unanimity among Sluggerites and Sluggerettes on this one? ”

    Given your first comment re: 1916, probably not.

    But I’ll tip a glass to the success of the PSNI.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    No. It was overturned.

    Although it is the case for groups on a recognised ceasefire, such as PIRA and the UDA.

  • Yokel

    Who

    Whether it is still the case or not (I believe it’s been closed) if they caught some people standing round bomb making materials with wires coming out of their pockets it don’t matter who they are members of.

    What I find surprising is the breakers yard. If the cops are even doing routine surveillence and they see a few key players converge on a breakers yard you’d certainly smell something was uunless they all needed cheap rear spoilers for their motors at the same time.

    Incompetence? Maybe but until such times as we see a release on whether anyone will be charged and who they are we won’t know. I’ve noticed none of those caught recently are ‘names’ which means they still have technical skill somewhere that isnt getting lifted.

    I did mention about a week ago on the Derry bomb thread that owners of commercial coffee grinding machines should watch their property. Given that there appears to have been quite alot of fertiliser it appears that the dissidents are planning on trying to make a big bomb alright. A spectacular so to speak. Question is, when they do get one made and planted, who are they going to plant it against? A so called military target or a town centre?

  • Jo

    Yokel,

    I think the honest answer is probably that they dont care.

    A pointless sacrifice (preferably of someone elses life/lives) is what they have been brainwashed into believing will get results.

    Fortunately infiltration seems to work so no need for internment north and south – JUST yet.

    But if they Do get past their mole….?

  • Who

    As far as i know that breakers yard is closed but still holds scrap cars. Dissidents have been trying to recruit in Lurgan for quite some time now.

  • Yokel

    Jo

    They will get past their mole, they will get past surveillence. It’s what gets past, a couple of incendiaries or a big bomb in the back of a van.

    Notice the tactics here, we havent seen (to my knowledge) any attemts at the doorstep style killings, under-car boobytraps etc. Shootings appear very rare. The tactics are aimed at a creating a display, a symbol. They will get something of reasonable size and power through and then its flick of a coin stuff on the possibilities of death and destruction.

  • missfitz

    Its quite depressing to think that some big buck eejits are still out there planning and hatching some diabolical event that will put any of us to risk. It didnt work, it doesnt work and it really ought to stop.
    No disagreement yet Jo

  • Jo

    Do we know what ages these people are?

    If and when we do, work out how old they were in 1994.

  • snuff box

    22, 26, 36, 42

    That would make them 10, 14, 24,30 in 1994. Why do uo want to know?

  • Jo

    Two then may not have seen enough of violence to know much different, the other 2?
    No excuses.
    Throw the book at them.

  • Who

    22, 26, 36, and 46 Can we name them on here? although haven’t heard yet.

  • seabhac siulach

    It is a damning indictment of our local politicians that a stable social and politicial environment has not been developed in the last 12 years with the result that boys who were only 10 and 14 in 1994 have now grown up with the idea that the use of force is still a valid way to achieve a political objective. While politicians have sat twiddling their thumbs, a new generation has grown up as politically frustrated as before.
    This might seem shocking and amazing but the truth can be found with these arrests.
    It may, of course, be that this frustration is not only political but also economic and social. The continuing lure of violence to many is likely a reflection of the continuing lack of opportunity in the communities where these men live. (Something, of course, that cannot be seriously addressed while local politicans on the ground are denied the resources to help these areas, being prevented from getting their hands on the levers of power in Stormont).
    While the state security forces are foiling many of the dissidents attacks at present, it is only a matter of time before they get ‘lucky’ or they acquire the skills necessary to carry out major attacks. The will to act is obviously still there, and while it is there, evolution of their abilities will logically occur. It is for this reason that it is imperative that the politicians cease to act as if they have all the time in the world and work to create a stable executive immediately. They are, in effect, playing politics with peoples lives. When the fruits of political stability take hold, and the promise of peaceful Irish unity is a reality, then any further desire for violent action by dissident groups will wither on the vein. We must rememember that it may only take one serious bombing to knock us back to a more violent time. Really, for all of us, the clock is ticking…are there 10 years olds at school today that will also be preparing bombs in 12 years time? Let us hope not…

  • Who

    Black smoke is rising in that area of town at the moment and police have arrested a local garage owner and ransacked his house wreacking it in the process although i doubt very much he had anything to do with it.
    That area off town would be the most depressing and deprivated making it rich hunting ground for disident recruiters.

  • Snuff Box

    Is the garage owner the same person who owns the breakers yard?

    The ineptitude is almost funny but for the conseuences which could have been devastating. The area in quetion is bound to be under costant surveillance. A covert spying device was in place at the exact spot during the Rosemary Nelson muder

  • Who

    The garage owner has a garage right beside the yard but he doesn’t own the yard.

  • Carrier

    There’s a school of thought that goes along the lines that while the British government are in control of part of Ireland there will always be people willing to resist it by force. At the moment there’s certainly a lull but I wouldn’t imagine resistance is over. The age of those arrested and the fact that the PSNI were attacked by youths when dealing with this event certainly supports this.

  • Snuff Box

    “That area off town would be the most depressing and deprivated making it rich hunting ground for disident recruiters.”

    Taghnevan and Shankill are just are almost as bad as Kilwilkie. It may have more to do with the loss of support for the peace process among former PIRA members in that estate who subsequently recruit younger people. The sad thing is that the younger two are most likely part of the family circle of the older two.

  • Jo

    Easter 2006:

    Daddy, why are all thse soldiers marching?

    They’re marching to commemorate 1916, son.

    What happened then Daddy?

    A lot of brave men fought and died to free Ireland, son.

    Is Ireland free now then, Daddy?

    No, son.

    Daddy, I want to be like them when I grow up and fight to free Ireland.

    Ok, son. Good boy.

  • Bobby-Francie-Raymond-Patsy-Joe-Martin-Kevin-Kiera

    It does not matter what age they are, the simple fact is they lived in occupied Ireland in 1994 and they still live in occupied Ireland in 2006.

    They were born into a stinking corrupt society where incompetence is rewarded with honours and large pensions, that is still true to this day and they decided to stand against it.

    They grew up watching former republicans getting very rich and very British as their personal wealth increased and they despised it.

    They knew British Intelligence had instructed the vast majority of their touts to join the fledgling new republican organisations as they already had the Provos well and truely busted as present history has showed us, yet courageously they took a defiant political stand and took a massive chance with so many Provo/MI5/Branch touts in their midst but to them like so many honest republicans before them it was a small price to pay.

    So what age you ask…
    Ask yourself do you question the ages of people who vote in your political jokes, do you ask the age of policemen you give guns to who come into my street, do you query the age of the pilots who drop bombs on women and children from thousands of feet in a country thousands of miles away AND THEY DO IT DELIBERATELY.

    IRELAND UNFREE SHALL NEVER BE AT PEACE

  • Jo

    I’d say that was an IP address worth tracking

    *winks* at Slugger’s MI5 hacker.

  • elfinto

    Defiant rhetoric fom the last but one poster. However, I suspect that these men are about to pay a substantial price for getting caught up in this futile enterprise – the best part of their adult lives behind bars.

  • fartrick

    jo….do you really think anyone gives a fcuk about mi5

    beir bua

  • Who

    “Taghnevan and Shankill are just are almost as bad as Kilwilkie”

    Taghnaven is nothing like Kilwilkie hence it’s the most sought after area in town with the HE, Shankill well yes, full of hoods.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    BFRPJMMK: blah blah blah we’re bloody heroes, we is! blah blah blah.

    Sounds like the fan-club is even more unstable than the dish-sink explosives they wanted to play with.

    If only there was as easy a process to decomissioning revolutionaries and bombers as there is for guns and explosives.

  • missfitz

    One wee point, mr hunger striker list..

    It may have escaped your attention, but the British occupation of part of Ireland is because the Irish citizens in that corner wish it to be like that.

    Are you saying that a protestant Irish man has no right to decide his destiny?

    I am really interested in your answer

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “Are you saying that a protestant Irish man has no right to decide his destiny? ”

    No, he/she/they are saying that their destiny is to be “blowed up real good” in the name of the some revolutionary manifesto.

  • missfitz

    Dread
    I was trying to ask the chap with the long name why he felt that Ireland unfree shall never be at peace etc……

    When imho the reason that this part of the country is ruled by the UK is because protestant Irish citizens want it that way.

    If we are in a nation of equals, shouldnt it figure that if some people want to be ruled in a particular fashion, and they are in the majority…. as long as they agree (ok this is the weak bit) but as long as they agree to treat the minority fairly and with parity of esteem, no true republican should be able to argue with that wish of determination in that given manner.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “When imho the reason that this part of the country is ruled by the UK is because protestant Irish citizens want it that way.”

    Yes… in the main… although no small number of them might object to being referred to as “protestant Irish citizens,” seeing as they are Protestant Unionist subjects of the Crown, at least in their own minds.

    Missfitz: “If we are in a nation of equals, shouldnt it figure that if some people want to be ruled in a particular fashion, and they are in the majority…. as long as they agree (ok this is the weak bit) but as long as they agree to treat the minority fairly and with parity of esteem, no true republican should be able to argue with that wish of determination in that given manner. ”

    You’re right… it is a tad flaccid around the edges, or at least WAS, at one point in time. However, to compromise — IF we are to BECOME a nation of equals, a coming together must be the result of mutual consent and respect. However…

    To borrow a phrase from a colorful, if unpopular source, I’m objecting to a collection of political dead-enders who seem to be stuck on stupid. The part that follows in NOT for your benefit, Missfitz.

    There is nothing noble and little practical about a bombing campaign, period, full stop.

    There is less of each for one at this late date, period, full stop.

    You want to go play war, go buy a paint-ball gun.

  • missfitz

    Did you know that up to 1968, a sizeable number of Protestants considered themselves to be Irish? Dont have the book to hand, but it was high 40 to low 50 percentile.

    This number dropped in the following survey but by 2003 had gone to 3%.

    Most Ulstermen considered themselves Irish regardless of their religion in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    I think we should be striving to regain those numbers

  • The Devil

    Bobby-Francie-Raymond-Patsy-Joe-Martin-Kevin-Kiera,

    If I sign-up will you let me Bomb the Bajesus outta Sluggerotoole, preferably at rush hour when it is chocablocked with the mumsy-womsie wishey-washey gasbags full of hot air and devoid of individual thought.

  • Snuff Box

    “Taghnaven is nothing like Kilwilkie hence it’s the most sought after area in town with the HE, Shankill well yes, full of hoods.”

    According to census 2001;Taghnevan is ranked 84th out of 572 wards in ni in terms of deprivation. Kilwilkie (Drumnamoe) slightly worse at 68th. Shankill (court) is worst at 51st.

    Not a great deal of difference. All fairly bad.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “Did you know that up to 1968, a sizeable number of Protestants considered themselves to be Irish? Dont have the book to hand, but it was high 40 to low 50 percentile.

    This number dropped in the following survey but by 2003 had gone to 3%.

    Most Ulstermen considered themselves Irish regardless of their religion in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    I think we should be striving to regain those numbers ”

    I don’t necessarily disagree. However, as pointed out elsewhere, whenever the issue of normalizing the status of Roman Catholic has arisen, the Protestant population, regardless of whether they thought themselves Irishmen or no, have tried to prevent said normalization. I believe we are constructively past that point, although I have my doubts.

    My issue here is more about moving forward and maintaining that momentum. A bomb, particularly a large, civilian targetted out-in-the-middle-of rush hour bomb, would send everything back to skittles. Before we can drain the pool, the in-flow valves needs be shut off.

  • sohnlein

    *winks* at Slugger’s MI5 hacker.

    Why hack, when they can simply filter the traffic to the site?? Sites like this and Cryptome are a godsend to the boys at GCHQ.

    Further under current legislation anyone who explicitly shows support for a terrorist organisation has committed an offence; the onus would then fall on that person’s service provider to hand over their details to the law if required.

    Up the Fatima Freedom Fighters!

  • Jo

    Sohnlein

    I thought I would feed his obvious paranoiac schizophrenia. Oh wait, there are probably another 2000 or so I have upset too. Oh well.

  • Carrier

    “I was trying to ask the chap with the long name why he felt that Ireland unfree shall never be at peace etc……”

    There’s always been armed resistance, of varying degrees, to the British occupation. I see little to indicate that this will change.

    “When imho the reason that this part of the country is ruled by the UK is because protestant Irish citizens want it that way.”

    So if Dublin decided it wanted to be rulled by Britain should that be ok with the rest of the people of Ireland? Is that reasonable? What if the Nigerian community based around the North inner city became a slight majority in a particular estate and they decided they wanted to become part of the Nigerian national territory, is that legitimate? I don’t think it is. I don’t think a localised minority within a national territory has the right to split a nation. The majority of the people of Ireland, the Irish nation in other words, are in favour of a united independent Ireland. Survey results always confirm this and the majority vote for pro-UI parties. There’s a chance I could be wrong but I think it’s worth putting to the people, don’t you?

    “If we are in a nation of equals, shouldnt it figure that if some people want to be ruled in a particular fashion, and they are in the majority…. as long as they agree (ok this is the weak bit) but as long as they agree to treat the minority fairly and with parity of esteem, no true republican should be able to argue with that wish of determination in that given manner”

    We should be a nation of equals. The nation should get to vote on our future free from external impediment and the decision that’s come to should be put in place.

  • missfitz

    I now know why one of the contributors picked the name circles…. you feel you are going around in them all the time.

    Carrier.
    The 1916 Rising was a minority affair, and the vast majority of people in Dublin and down the country did not support it. Thats a fact and we all know it. Popular support for the INDIVUALS did not happen until late on in the series of executions. Indeed, there was a lot of sympathy in London during the debates that happened in Parliament at that time.

    Now, we know that this position changed, there was a War of Independence whereupon more people came to want to believe in this cause. But the people were sold this myth, this Irish identity that really had not existed heretofore.

    So this was imposed on the people of the island, and I assume you would argue that it is ok, cos it suits your position?

    This argument probably fails because of the presence of the UVF from 1912, but we shall never know what the outcome of Home Rule in 1918 would have been, most likely a civil war.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    The 1916 Rebellion, misbegotten and foolish though it may have been, was nonetheless a reasonably predictable result of the dithering and double-dealing on the matter of Home Rule. It was inevitable that, in the “one step forward, two back, one to the side, oops, there go the Unionists again” dance that was going on that SOMEONE was going to rush the bandstand and try to change the tune.

    As for the matter of Irish identity, that’s a little trickier, given the repression of the Roman Catholic majority, the suppression of the Gaelic language and the automatic nay-saying of the Unionists whenever the matter of normalizing the status of the Roman Catholic majority arose. The Unionists may have seen themselves as Irish, but they certainly had little regard for their Catholic neighbors, suggesting that, despite their self-identification, this was not a matter of one community split asunder by event in the General Post Office in 1916.

    Missfitz: “This argument probably fails because of the presence of the UVF from 1912, but we shall never know what the outcome of Home Rule in 1918 would have been, most likely a civil war. ”

    Based on track-record, it would have been punted when the Unionists started throwing toys out of the pram out of the fear that the Catholic majority would treat them in the fashion that they, the Unionists, had treated the Roman Catholics previously.

  • missfitz

    Dread
    I’m really sorry, but I cannot agree with your argument on the supression of Catholics prior to 1916.

    If you look at the facts, things were not going too badly. Catholics were holding a high percentage of jobs in the civil service and judiciary as well as being represented in business and commerce.

    The Church of Ireland was disestablished in 1871. Church building and attendance was booming. The Irish language was the language of the poor and had been in decline prior to the Famine, so there was no master plan to rob the peasants of the mother tongue.

    Indeed, the revival of Irish cultural aspects such as language, story and song was largely led by Protestants who had been looking for some renasaissance similar to a continental exploration.

    Home Rule was more than likely going to succeed this time due to the Parliament Act which would have ensured its passage in the Lords, a new twist to the tale.

    I dont want to sound like Liam Kennedy, but we really really ought to separate fact from spoon fed myth. I grew up on this stuff, but have made myself educate my understanding of the reality of our history as opposed to the convenient story we were told to justify the way thigs happened

  • elfinto

    Sure Ireland in the 1900’s, twas pure bliss wasn’t it, a bit like Norn Iron in the 1950’s. If only it wasn’t for those damn rebels, etc, etc.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “If you look at the facts, things were not going too badly. Catholics were holding a high percentage of jobs in the civil service and judiciary as well as being represented in business and commerce. ”

    And by that point we were, what, two relief acts in, the franchise returned, taken away and returned again, three home rule efforts scuppered… The death of the Irish language was not unplanned — do you think it would have been “the language of the poor” without the English invasion and occupation/annexation of Ireland? The death of a language is not a “5 year plan item,” Missfitz — perhaps I give too much credit for malice of forethought, but even as far back as the Plantation, the plan for the dispossessed Irish Catholics included Protestant churches and English schools in garrison towns. Land ownership had not yet returned to a normal distribution, iirc, while the tools of control — the RIC, for example, were Protestant controlled, if not dominated.

    The truth of matters lies somewhere between us.

    Missfitz: “Home Rule was more than likely going to succeed this time due to the Parliament Act which would have ensured its passage in the Lords, a new twist to the tale. ”

    Doubtful — had the British made a serious effort at home rule, they would have either A) kowtowed to the Unionists or B) there would have been an insurrection that made the GPO look like a fart in a windstorm, C) something along the lines of what we have now occurring either with or without B.

  • missfitz

    I’m just being honest Dread, and ventilating my views. They arent trenchant or taken from any party political literature. (I’ve been through that phase already)

    All I am saying is that we have a pat version of history that we believe in with an almost religious fervour. Studying Irish history has been a real eye opener for me. So may of the assumptions I had were challenged.

    And actually Elfinto, Ireland in 1900 wasnt that bad, in European context. There was a good recovery from the Famine, trade was good, the standard of housing was rising everywhere but Dublin, and things like personal bank accounts were at an all time high. Farming was strong and there was a stabilisation of family life to a more stable level post famine. Ireland was modernising at a very fast rate, particulaerly with the introduction of the railroads.

    My argument would be that things didnt get bad till Dev was in charge……

  • Dread Cthulhu

    In 1921, Lloyd George was accused by Arthur Griffith of abandoning the principle of unity to which the Liberal gov’ts had pledged themselves.

    George replied “Attempts have been made to settle the Irish Problem since 1886 on the basis of autonomy. Gladstone… tried to do it but he came up against Ulster… We tried from 1911 to 1913. Ulster defeated Gladstone. Ulster would have defeated us. Ulster was arming and would fight. We were powerless. It is no use ignoring facts, however unpleasant they may be. The politician who thinks he can deal out abstract justice without reference to forces around him cannot govern. You had to ask the British to use force to put Ulster out of one combination in which she had been for generations into another which she professed to abhor and did abhor whether for political or religious reasons We could not do it. If we tried the instrument would have broken in our hands.” (Lloyd George quoted in Thomas Jones, Whitehall Diary, Volume 3, pp. 129-130.)

    Thusly, we have evidence that A) Britain lacked the political will for Home Rule and B) The Protestants of Ulster apparently did not believe themselves Irishmen in the sense of a common, cross community identity.

  • missfitz

    Dread

    We have to be careful about apples and oranges here. (as opposed to fenians and oranges I suppose)

    In 1920, the Government of Ireland Act created 2 states, in effect, 2 sets of Home Rule. The possibility in 1917 would have been something similar. Yes, the UVF may have fought, but would they have fought Crown forces? That is extremely unlikely. Loyalty is a critical word in all of this, and it comes up time and again in these debates. There is an elemental sense of Loyalism in Unionism and always has been.

    Dont forget, Ulster did not fight against Home Rule in 1921, they may not have fought against it earlier. We will never know these things.

    You have a good point about the sense of Irishness and its manisfestation. Conor Cruise O’Brien argues that this sense of Irish identity among Protestants is a regional sense of identity, In other words, being Welsh Scottish or Irish, in addition to your Britishness. Some argue against that and say that it is here that the sense of Irishness really starts to emerge, and ironically with the Ascendancy class who were proud of this part of their heritage.

  • elvis parker

    ‘When the fruits of political stability take hold, and the promise of peaceful Irish unity is a reality, then any further desire for violent action by dissident groups will wither on the vein’

    Aint it the case that even the half wits in Kilwilkee have worked out that there is no promise of Irish unity and that Adams and his colleagues (some of whom are/were British agents) have shafted Irish Republicanism.

    Adams, Maginness and co govern via a clique – time they retired

  • Brian Boru

    “you know that up to 1968, a sizeable number of Protestants considered themselves to be Irish? Dont have the book to hand, but it was high 40 to low 50 percentile.

    This number dropped in the following survey but by 2003 had gone to 3%.

    Most Ulstermen considered themselves Irish regardless of their religion in the 18th and 19th centuries.

    I think we should be striving to regain those numbers ”

    I have seen the relevant polls. It’s not quite as you say. IN 1963, 20% of Northern Protestants said they felt “Irish”, while only 44% said “British”. In 1969 the former had fallen to 10%. Now its 2%. However some polls show up to 25% of them feeling “Northern Irish. 65% of Northern Catholics feel Irish, with 10% feeling “British” and 25% feeling “Northern Irish”. I know that in the 18th century Presbyterians called themselved “Scots-Irish” and there is testament to this from references to the “Scotch-Irish” fighting for the British in the US War of Independence. I think a lot of the ancestors of the Unionists were brainwashed by the education system in the 19th century, and by Presbyterian ministers who were secretly bribed by the British government to desuade any remaining republicanism in their flocks. I have read about this on the internet and will post the links if I can find them. I agree that the PIRA killing campaign killed off whatever feeling there had been of just being “Irish”. I recall on Liveline on RTE Radio 1 a Northern Protestant ringing in and saying that before the Troubles, her family saw themselves as Irish, but then the Troubles started and “then we were British”. The Provos have much to answer. Even an Orangeman (whose name I am not totally certain of but I read it online a few months back) told a website that in the 60’s there might have been some hope of persuading some Protestants that they might have a future in a United Ireland, but not now because of the Provo killing-campaign. If Gerry really wants a UI, then he should tell the Provos to please go away. They are a thorn in everyone’s side and while I agree that in 1969 when pogroms were going on the Catholics needed someone to defend them, I have always opposed the killing of innocent people. The same to the dissidents – crawl back under whatever rock you came from.

    I personally doubt we are going to get a UI in my lifetime. The sad reality is that if we do, it will be on the back of a mandate in which the % of Northern Protestants voting for it will likely to totally negligible. But as I have said earlier, I believe a healing process will then begin, as Protestants beging to realise they will be treated as equal citizens in a new Republic.

    “Irish language was the language of the poor and had been in decline prior to the Famine, so there was no master plan to rob the peasants of the mother tongue.”

    Oh yes there was. Why was the language banned in primary schools under the 1831 Education Act? The intent was to ensure that the first years of life that are so crucial to attaining fluency were only spent on the medium of English rather than Irish. In decline beforehand? Yes because Irish people could not go to schools at all under the Penal Laws for most of the period between 1690 and the Famine. Even in 1800, 47% of the island’s population still spoke Irish as the main language – including large minorities in Antrim, Derry, Tyrone, Cavan and South Armagh. Of these, only 23% or 336,000 are estimated to have had Irish as their sole language, but what I say still stands. By 1841, over 3 million were still native speakers. By 1851 this was 1.4 million – a massive decline caused by Famine and emigration. The British policy of starving the West of Ireland of aid was in part designed to encourage the destruction of the language. They saw it as part of a ‘civilising mission’. Yes it was the language of the poor. But that is because the British had made being an Irish-speaker a barrier to economic advancement by banning its use in the courts, the civil service etc.

  • Brian Boru

    “Indeed, the revival of Irish cultural aspects such as language, story and song was largely led by Protestants who had been looking for some renasaissance similar to a continental exploration.”

    I acknowledge the role of Protestants like Douglas Hyde, Ernest Blythe and Sam Maguire in trying to revive the language. I also acknowledge that since independence we have done more harm than good by going about language revival in the wrong way i.e. too little emphasis on spoken and loads on written. I personally managed to get an exemption from having to do Irish for my Leaving-Cert exam because I hated the inappropriate way it was thought. This does not make me a hypocrite for wanting to retain it in the schools as a compulsory subject, because it was the way it was taught that drove me mad rather than its compulsory status. I learned it much better in a summer school in Wexford when I was 12 but lost it again because of the sterile and unimaginative syllabus for Irish that then prevailed. I hope Minister Hanafin is serious when she talks about new ideas for saving it. “Now, we know that this position changed, there was a War of Independence whereupon more people came to want to believe in this cause. But the people were sold this myth, this Irish identity that really had not existed heretofore.”.

    If the identity had not existed before then why so many rebellions? Art McMurrough, 1594-1609, 1641, 1798, 1848, 1867? I think it did exist but the Home Rule path was a big threat to it. If brought about before 1916 it could have led to the end of an Irish identity separate from Britishness. The men and women of 1916 saved Irish identity from the jaws of shoneenary.

    “And actually Elfinto, Ireland in 1900 wasnt that bad, in European context. There was a good recovery from the Famine, trade was good, the standard of housing was rising everywhere but Dublin, and things like personal bank accounts were at an all time high. Farming was strong and there was a stabilisation of family life to a more stable level post famine. Ireland was modernising at a very fast rate, particulaerly with the introduction of the railroads.”

    But we couldn’t reach our full potential without control of economic policy being in local hands. Home Rule would not have included the necessary levers of taxation. The low corporate tax and a light regulatory system attracted in the multinationals responsible for 51% of Irish exports in a state where 95% of what we produce is exported. It’s not good enough for things to be “not all that bad”.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Missfitz: “In 1920, the Government of Ireland Act created 2 states, in effect, 2 sets of Home Rule. The possibility in 1917 would have been something similar. Yes, the UVF may have fought, but would they have fought Crown forces? That is extremely unlikely. Loyalty is a critical word in all of this, and it comes up time and again in these debates. There is an elemental sense of Loyalism in Unionism and always has been. ”

    Then why, pray tell, were we treated to the spectacle not that long ago of Loyalists taking potshots at PSNI officer? Likewise, if tParliment decree Home Rule, who are they going to fight, if not the British? The historical stumbling block on Home Rule was always the Ulsterman’s fear and willingness to resort to violence to block what they pereived as “Rome Rule.”

    Missfitz: “Dont forget, Ulster did not fight against Home Rule in 1921, they may not have fought against it earlier. We will never know these things. ”

    Only due to the partition, which was created solely because the Unionists were willing to go to the mattresses.

    Missfitz: “You have a good point about the sense of Irishness and its manisfestation. Conor Cruise O’Brien argues that this sense of Irish identity among Protestants is a regional sense of identity…”

    In other words, they saw themselves as Ulstermen, not as Irish, when you boil it down to the grit.

  • Mayoman

    Missfitz: you sound like a reasonably well-read person, but I wonder are you selective in your choice of reading (I know I am!). Here is an extract from “Infant and Child Mortality in Dublin a Century Ago” by Cormac Ó Gráda, University College Dublin. Accessible at: http://www.ucd.ie/economics/research/papers/2002/WP02.28.pdf

    “The bleak image of late Victorian and Joycean Dublin that
    emerges from the historiography is easily justified. In no other
    city in western Europe on the eve of World War I did one-third
    of households live in one-room tenement accommodation. (Such
    housing was categorised as 4th-class in the census reports). The
    over-crowded tenements, rooms in what were formerly the homes of
    some of Dublin’s richest families, dated mainly from the late
    Georgian era. Dublin’s poverty was exacerbated by the weakness
    of its industrial base and the lack of employment opportunities
    for most women outside the home. And mortality in Dublin was
    indeed high by western European urban standards (Prunty 1998:
    154-7).”

    Yeah, it sounds like the Irish were doing great under British rule in the 1900s!

  • Brian Boru

    “….inspired by Easter 1916 rhetoric, perhaps?”.

    No just their own stupidity. Not content with actual miscarriages of justice against living people, it seems some British people (a small minority I am sure) are intent on postumously convicted the men and women of 1916 of every ‘Republican’ crime in the history of the North. This is no more a just or founded charge that than against the Birmingham Six or the Guildford Four.