Dissident Republicans need to get a grip…

Brian Feeney turns his derision on the dissident Republicans supposedly behind a ‘significant’ split in Republican ranks. Although he believes the threat emanating from this quarter is derisory, nonetheless he believes further threats of Republican violence only plays into the hands of the DUP ‘hardliners’:

If there’s one development the DUP nay-sayers would love it’s a new campaign by IRA dissidents called by any name you like. Republican violence is the great bogeyman DUP politicians use to scare their voters. We’ve just gone through the quietest summer for decades. The only organised violence is loyalist. The DUP have absolutely no excuse to avoid sharing power in the north.

Isn’t it therefore a remarkable coincidence that at exactly this point the republican section of the Flat Earth Society emerges to combine with the Flat Earthers in the DUP to try to sustain each other’s fantasies? Still, when the republican Flat Earthers finally have their meeting in some hole in the wall they won’t even be able to agree to form a party, let alone agree what the party’s for.

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  • fair_deal

    Surely there are better arguments against the use of violence than “Them’uns want us’uns to do it so don’t”

  • Henry94


    There are indeed but when you are trying to get something through a particularly thick head you have to use what might work

  • John Maynard

    That’s no way to speak of Mr Feeney.

  • Rory

    A fair and (fairly) funny comment, Fair Deal, but it must not be allowed to belittle the main thrust of Feeney’s article which highlights the blind arrogance of the dissidents who, in defiance of the stated wish of the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland to support the GFA and the peaceful exclusively democratic way forward, would abrogate to their own little clique the right to embark on yet another round of violence and mayhem which could only but further the interests of entrenched not-an-inch unionism.

    At the moment these groupings are the greatest danger to progress and eventual unity around. We might take comfort in the certainty that the egoism of the players will frustrate unity between them and is more likely to lead to another round of mutual self-destruction.

  • Dec

    Brian seems to miss the point that dissidents are against a Stormont assembley. In that context to round on them for threatening its establishment is rather facile. What next, Bernard Edwards lambasts turkeys for opposing Christmas?

  • lib2016

    Ever since the DUP lost their bottle in Nov 2004 we’ve had this concentration on what republicans are doing while the British sort their ‘allies’ out.

    Now we are approaching decision day when unionists have to decide publicly whether to engage in powersharing or not the focus suddenly changes to the dissidents. How convenient.

  • seabhac siulach

    For a more informative report on the cancelled meeting see Connla Young’s article in today’s Daily Ireland…better than the rantings of Feeney in any case…

  • BH

    The IRA’s very existence has played into Paisley and company’s hands for decades. I guess that’s an argument against that, too.

  • Brenda

    I don’t see why it is so wrong for republicans who disagree with the Adams strategy to want to meet and talk. It is quite clear that we now have to move beyond the GFA. What is it that the press or SF fear?

    Is it that perhaps these people could organise themselves and produce a viable alternative? What we have now and for the foreseeable future is the politics of stalemate. Stagnation works for SF. Their mindset being well if Adams little project fails all other ideas are also off the menu. What are they afraid off? Dialogue? Ideas being proposed?

    Feeney nor anyone else including those who were organising the meeting did not know what the outcome would be. The whole purpose of meeting IMO was to come together, for ‘leftist’ republicans to meet and discuss what they had in common.

    If they’d met and talked and had their convention there would never have been the attention given to it that there is now after the banning of it by the censors.

    It appears that there are those in SF who are off the mind set there is not a third way. It’s either violence or the GFA!! Not so.

    If the Adams project is what you want fine, but allow others to put alternatives, that after all is what politics is about.

  • Kathy_C

    posted by Kathy C

    Hi all,

    People can disagree with adams et al plan—that does not mean these people who don’t support adams are for a return to the armed struggle…. Seems to me that many in sinn fein who are propping up adams are the ones who have the biggest fears that these alternative republicans might gain political foothold.

  • Northsider

    Is it that perhaps these people could organise themselves and produce a viable alternative?

    They couldn’t even organise this without egos and petty rivalries putting the kabosh on the whole thing – despite what Paddy Murray (a relialbe person – on bail at the mo) says.

    Brenda, I see INLA, CIRA, RIRA reps were going to be there – doyu reckon us regular folk could get answers to how many more Irish men, women and children have to be blown to smithereens on a Saturday lunchtime, or get killed by picking up makesshift bombs, or how many guns get sold to loyalists to finance tiny little fiefdoms, before we’re actually free from the yoke of British rule.

    I wouldn’t like to be The One who emerges as the leader/spokesman – a person who will almost certainly replace Adams as the bete noire of these puritans when – in their engagement with the real world – they discover they are twenty five years behind the rest of republicanism – and in the wrong.

    furthermore, are you sure the Brits had nothing to do with the meeting being called off, sure according to most dissident voices, every move by sinn fein is aimed at pleasing British masters.

    And yet, according to the most reliable security and political sources, many of the bravest sons of Ireland buring down Carpet Rites throughout the land are in the pay of the dreaded Sassenach.

  • Brenda

    Yes the representatives of the organisations you mentioned I have read will be there. Don’t you think that for them to go to a public meeting to talk rather than burn down business is a good thing. A positive alternative.

    Your point re how many more. If you want answers Northsider then the place to go is to the meetings these ppl call. Didn’t the father of the little buncrana child go to meet them to ask why. Go – put in your tuppence worth and ask your questions. That is the nature of dialogue.

    As for their inability to organise. Well, I’m sure if they were left alone free from any censorship to organise no matter how badly then maybe we’d all be a step further. Then perhaps we could criticise them if they do go for something like another campaign. Criticism then would be justified. Until they are allowed to meet publicly and have a political outlet the threat of violence will be their only option. Better to talk and have a political outlet than burn down business in Newry. Don’t you think?

  • Northsider

    Until they are allowed to meet publicly and have a political outlet the threat of violence will be their only option.

    They are aligned to political movements that are allowed to meet publicly and have a political outlet. Sadly, when they place their policies before the electorate, they are overmwhelmingly rejected.

    Is this why the ‘threat of violence’ remains? and doesn’t that sound very like facism – ignore the will of people, push forward through force of arms, initimidation and terror.

  • Dualta

    Rory makes the salient point here, that they are ignoring the wishes of the vast majority of the Irish people.

    Is it not dire hypocrisy for them to attack the British for denying the Irish people our right to self determination whilst they themselves also deny us that very right?

  • Brenda

    North sider in law they are allowed to meet publicly, isn’t that so. It wasn’t the PSNI who frustrated their attempts at meeting.

    Things change in politics, very quickly. If SF deny them the right to meet then one is forced to the conclusion that they are afraid of something, otherwise why bother to stop them?

    Fascism and terror are not words I’d throw around when talking about opponents of SF – since that party and its now defunct military arm have been accused of it in the past.

  • Turbopaul

    imho, far from being fodder for the DUP, focus on dissident Republicans shows just how fit mainstream Sinn Fein are (in the eyes of neutrals)for govt.

    New Labour did the same with the “Loony Left” to make New Labour user friendly.

    New Sinn Fein can do the same, and maybe are, treating dissident Republicans as the “loony Left” of the RM.

    If for one moment the DUP think they can refuse to share power with mainstream New Sinn Fein because of the actions of dissident Republicans then they will be issolated further.

    Perhaps dissident Republicans should contact Jeremy Corbyn for advice on presenting a socialist/Marxist manifesto that would allow dissident Republicans to become politically active from one single perspective.

    If dissident Republicans can withdraw the threat of armed action and come together under a socialist/Marxist umbrella, they will be doing a service to those on the left within the Republican movement who have become disillusioned with the New Labour style adopted by New Sinn Fein.

    The threat of armed action is “So yesterday”

  • Garibaldy


    Do you really believe the Continuity or Real people see themselves as socialists never mind Marxists?

  • Turbopaul

    Perhaps not all, but the offer of a political avennue for dissident Republicans other than an armed campaign is surely a good thing.

    By leaving the door open to dissident Republicans the attraction may take hold of joining the political process.

    My use of a socialist/Marxist model was just an example of how dissident Republicans can find common ground and become a collective voice.

  • James St John Smythe

    Perhaps Mr Feeney should speak to those people who may have lost their jobs as a result of the firebomb attacks in Newry. He may find it correct to deride those attacks but I certainly do not.

  • Brenda

    Turbo I take your point re new labour and ‘new’ SF. New labour did not do much for the working man. The labour unions are there now in name only. ‘New SF’ hasn’t done much for him either. I for one would be for any party or group or ideology that would be be for the working man (figure of speech which also includes women.)

    There is definitely a need for a socialist party that would meet that critera. the SDLP does not fill that market. I generally see them as middle class and not for the ‘proletariat’ as gary baldy would call them.

    Whether or not dissenting republicans could get a niche in there is another matter. If they use marxism as a basis for unity it will not have mass popular appeal. They would end up like the WP and become another marginalised and side lined group/party. What is needed is something which would have popular appeal, something that the ‘proletariat’ can buy into. Something fresh and new that would invigorate the body politic in the North of Ireland.

    Whether or not they ‘leftist republicans’ would be up to the challenge is another matter. The concepts would not be alien to them, but the aim of uniting Ireland may make them become a single issue grouping/party. Of course they would then have to get around the issue of abstentionism, and if they do that then they would be following in the footsteps of SF and would have to accept the statelet of NI. Unless they run on an abstentionst ticket and not take their seats – which is another step back.

    However, I agree with you they should be given the chance. It would be good to see and hear what it is they want to meet about, and where do they see republicanism (leftist) and where do they see it going, and where do they want it to go. We should be able to see what they have on their stall.

  • Dave

    What a load of nonsense, Dissidents don’t want a political party they already know that they could not match SF/IRA on the political front (£26,000.000) goes a very long away in propping up a political party. So a political party form by and of dissidents is not on the agenda.

    These people are wanting to go back to bombing the Brits. That is why SF/IRA stepped in to bring things to an end, I’m sill amazed at how they were able to do that as the SF claim to be nothing more than a political party?

    Dissidents want a united Ireland for the Irish and the Irish alone.

    Now you know why “Ireland” was partitioned and needed to be partitioned and why it must stay partitioned.

    Well done the dissidents for a minute I nearly forgot what the true face of Irish republicanism looked like.

    Besides who gave SF/IRA the authority to stop any group having a meeting, even if I disapprove of such a meeting. Northern Ireland is a free country but not if SF/IRA have their way.

  • Garibaldy

    Dissidents have several parties already. RSF in particular will never dissolve for another organisation.

  • Brenda

    Dave how do you know what they want? Do you know what the meeting was to be about? Do you know for definite that they did not want to form a group/party? Do you know why they wanted to meet? Why call a public meeting in the first place if it was not to find a path forward? The hope I would have is that the path forward would be peaceful. Until they are free to meet then we won’t know will we.

    From what I have read this was organised by the more political elements with dissenting republicans, not the military hard liners.

    ‘As far as I know N Ireland is still a free country’.

    No it’s not dave, its a democracy, or at least its trying to be. But you are right as I have already said with the law they were free to meet.

  • Brenda

    Gary they don’t have to. Loyalists came together under an umbrella group, no reason these guys can’t.

  • mickhall

    Three dozen Republican’s consider getting together to have a chat about the future of their country, the media, the politicians and in all probability the security forces get themselves into a dizzy spin. Why?

    ” “They think that they have pacified Ireland. They think that they have purchased half of us and intimidated the other half. They think that they have foreseen everything, think that they have provided against everything; but, the fools, the fools, the fools! — They have left us our Fenian dead, and while Ireland holds these graves, Ireland unfree shall never be at peace.”

    just a thought.

  • Brenda

    Wow Mick you punch hard.

    I liked it.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Just wondering .. are we are entirely certain that this was a meeting exclusively of, how shall I put it, anti-ceasefire Republicans? One possible conspiracy theory is that this would have been mostly pro-ceasefire and more left wing (dissident?) Republicans, and that SF were so determined to protect their left flank (while they move more centrist) that they made up this whole ‘dissident’ scare story as an excuse for the IRA to force this meeting to be cancelled.

    I note little concern was shown when the suggestion was made that the IRA bullied the organisers into cancelling the meeting. If a unionist meeting was given the same treatment, everybody would rightly be very angry. (Yes, I know many are certain the IRA didn’t apply any threats – I’m not saying they were involved, just interesting that nobody seems to care … )

    If ‘dissident’ Republican is defined to be anti-ceasefire, what’s the term for pro-ceasefire, but non-SF, Republicans?

  • Brenda

    ‘I note little concern was shown when the suggestion was made that the IRA bullied the orgainsers into cancelling the meeting.”

    according to the Irish Independent.

    ‘the original venue in ToomeBridge became unavailable following pressure from the provisional IRA’

    From this I’d say pressure was put on the hotel rather than the group who wanted to meet.

  • kerrianne

    dissident should be left alone to wallow in their self righteous,egocentric little worlds to find out some day that there is life out there and that most people engage in it,even if it is with their enemies.i am glad that the young mcglinchey lads caught themselves on,republican unity is our strength and that will win us victory.seamus costelloe tried out the irish front in 1977 and that did not work,god bless the poor man because his need to bring strangers together probably cost him his life?……up the provos

  • Frustrated Democrat


    And what sort of pressure would that be I wonder.

    Whilst I am no fan of dissident republicans as long as they have non violent objectives they have the right to be heard. In any event they should never be silenced by the use or threatened use of force either economic or physical.

  • Jo


    What is wrong with allowing an alternative, you ask? The alternative, as proposed by those interested in this meeting and formulating a new strategy is that they, by their own admission, want a military strategy. That option, tried over three decades, I would suggest would appear to have failed. Do you think it should be given another *go*? Or have you, too, forgotten what RIRA/CIRA militarism achieved?

  • exuup

    rory said – overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland

    take a look at those figures again rory
    the poeple of Ireland aka the Republic barely managed to come out and vote, let alone overwhemlming edorse the agreement

    Turnout 55.6%%
    Yes 1,442,583 (94.4%)

  • Rory

    What argument of yours then follows from these figures that you have quoted, EXUUP?

    Please say what that is so that we may be allowed to accept or counter.