Words and actions

At the Sinn Fein Ard Fheis Gerry Adams said:
“Our engagement with unionism must deepen and broaden in the time ahead. This is a major challenge for this party and I would urge everyone, every activist to take up this challenge personally…Everyone has the right to guarantees for their civil and religious liberties. Republicans need to talk to unionists about this…We want to talk about Irish unity, about safe guarding everyones rights and identity.” Hear it live here.

Outside what is believed to be the Waterford Crystal Visitor Centre, two Ogra Sinn Fein activists (possibly including the head of OSF) responded to the call in the following manner:

The text with the photographs says:
“Between Kilkenny and Cork, some Ógra Shinn Féin activists ‘On The One Road’ stop off at Waterford to relieve two flag poles of the Imperialist British and USA Flag. An act in solidarity with oppressed people the world over. Up The Republic!”


Who were these two activists? The “On the One Road” tour was undertaken by Barry McColgan, Ogra Sinn Fein’s National Organiser and a number of others. This is Barry McColgan.


This is Barry McColgan speaking at the Ogra Sinn Fein “One Road” event in Cork. Note the yellow t-shirt, faded jeans and similar hair style with one of the people in the first three photographs and remember it was while travelling to Cork that this occured. All images sourced from Ogra Sinn Fein’s new blogspot.

PS Will Congressman Pete King be impressed with the treatment of the American flag too?

  • John

    well done ogra (and barry- if the allegations are true) How do you become a member of ogra shinn fein and do you have any organisation in westmeath?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    f_d: “Most of the direction of your post is that Unionists have some greater penchant for it but having listened to “800 years of misrule, mythical mysical ireland, Famine, 1916 executions, Stormont, etc etc.” for years it isn’t a unionist-only disease. ”

    Ah, but that is simply the other shoe — it has to work both ways. Right now, apparently, it doesn’t.

    f_d: “In the argument between unionism and irish separatism everything including history and the kitchen sink gets used. ”

    Agreed… but why the objection now, if this is de rigeur?

    f_d: “You also seem to confuse community historical narrative with a complete historical anlysis. When a community writes a narrative it is selective to make them out to be the best they possibly can be, nothing “unionist” about it. Americans wax lyrical about their key contribution to modern western democracy (which they did have) and celebrate it on 4th July but they don’t particularly stand about on that day discussing slavery, native americans, jim crow etc.”

    No, but then we don’t have to — these matters are openly acknowledged in our history classes — if anything, they are dwelt upon to the exclusion of other issues, leading to a murky grasp of history in later years, such as the charmingly naive notion that the Civil War was fought over the sole issue of slavery. That being said, just as the Dr. Rev. No wants sack-cloth and ashes for past misdeeds, are not the Nationalists equally entitled to their pound of flesh, metaphorically speaking? Gravy for a goose is gravy for the gander.

    f_d: “A community will point out the best their critics will point out the worst. ”

    And an intellectually honest person is obliged to acknowledge both.

  • fair_deal

    DC

    Part of the difficulty here seems to be my personal attitude towards the use of history in politics and the more common attitude among people involved in politics here. I don’t particularly like it and believe it has limited value. As regards other liking it and thinking it has value, take it up with them, ask WCI why he thought an event 22 years ago was salient.

    “No, but then we don’t have to—these matters are openly acknowledged in our history classes”

    The schools do not use “Unionist Stormont” approved history books so the same applies here. Therefore we don’t have too either.

    “an intellectually honest person is obliged to acknowledge both”

    An intellectually honest person does but as I said community narrative’s are not nor pretend to be exercises in intellectual rigour they are there to emphaisise the good parts.

    “That being said, just as the Dr. Rev. No wants sack-cloth and ashes for past misdeeds, are not the Nationalists equally entitled to their pound of flesh, metaphorically speaking?”

    Your aspiration to intellectual honesty didn’t last very long. Perhaps you would be honest enough to finish what Paisley said that night and not parse the quote.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    fair_deal: “Your aspiration to intellectual honesty didn’t last very long. Perhaps you would be honest enough to finish what Paisley said that night and not parse the quote. ”

    As would you to be honest enough to acknowledge the continuing spectacle of retreating goal-posts and the selective rememberence of history. To take a parallex view, there are a great many things that Unionism whinges and wheezes about that could equally be dismissed with an airy “Don’t be silly, that was ages ago!!” Are you ready to let go, as you seem to believe that Nationalists should be ready to let go? The Rev. Dr. No certainly doesn’t appear to be.

    fair_deal: “An intellectually honest person does but as I said community narrative’s are not nor pretend to be exercises in intellectual rigour they are there to emphaisise the good parts. ”

    Then they do so at their own peril — it is a sign of immaturity that they must haw and harumph when the inconvenient aspects of history are brought up. Likewise, this over-wrought case of the vapors when some young mush-head lowers a flag or two suggests a certain sense of insecurity.

  • fair_deal

    On Mr McColgan he was given a prominent feature story in An Phoblacht so I think that fits into the category of promotion.

    “Yes we do hear this kind of thing from SF, but significantly never from mainstream unionist parties”

    You must be unaware that the UUP actually have set up an internal group to work on reaching out to people from a Catholic/Nationalist background (IIRC some descendant of a Stormont PM was given the task). I think they also did it before SF but accept I could be wrong on that.

    The DUP has been going through its own modest programme of a more open approach towards the nationalist community.

    There is also differences in political cultures. Waxing lyrical isn’t Unionism’s style. The divisions within Unionism are also that publicly decalring you are going to do something is often the best way to motivate internal opposition. For example on parades Adams wanted to know why the Unionist parties weren’t doing the headline stuff SF did. The answer was simple if an initiative around a parade was seen as the possession of one party then the approach would fall apart.

    There is also the practical, Unionism lacks the time money and personnel to seriously undertake such ventures. The broad Unionist community don’t really do politics they leave that to the politicians and they aren’t interested in paying for it either. In my years in Unionism it is amazing how often this is what kills much innovation in Unionism rather than the value of the idea.

    “If unionism really thought SF were only at PR they should at least have the nerve to call their bluff,”

    Please not that old chestnut again. SF made the speeches it is up to them to act it out. When DHL promises to deliver a package it isn’t my job to deliver it for them.

    As regards sitting in the corner, individual unionists will make up their mind how they respond to the outreach stuff and as I mentioned early feedback so far isn’t particularly positive about what they got out of it.

    Also remember the context of all this. Negotiations are going on, that is the big political game, and pretty much everything else is subordinate too it. Timing has an effect upon the answer. The DUP has made clear what it wants before formal engagement and it is somewhat naive to think that will get abandoned because they were a bit nicer this time.

    “they are above talking to disloyal vagabond croppies”

    This isn’t the 18th century. That is also folk memory rhetoric to stir up a bit of ill-feeling.

    Behind this seems to be an attitude that is indicative of a mistake that Unionism made. Unionism used to get together and talk about political initiatives arguing about if we concede this then nationalsim will concede x in return e.g. the Brooke talks were the UUP conceded cross-border bodies. Those who drafted it thought it was such a grand gesture would be that the SDLP and irish govt would allow the Anglo-Irish Agreement to lapse. They got it completely wrong.

    It seems to me that the Republican Movement risks doing the same. They have an internal debate make a gesture then are mystified by the lack of response.

    “I don’t think many republicans have a difficulty in seeing both sides of this.”

    In my own personal experience they do have difficulty with that. Although I accept my contacts would have been with low-level activists and occassionally middle management level.

    The engagement will come in the context of a deal.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    fair_deal: “The DUP has made clear what it wants before formal engagement and it is somewhat naive to think that will get abandoned because they were a bit nicer this time.”

    Hardly… they have merely parroted the most recent excuse and, if and when that requirement is fufilled, they will surely have another and then another ad nauseum.

  • fair_deal

    “As would you to be honest enough to acknowledge”

    The points have have been the same. Some mistakenly believed that if they conceded some the others would be forgotten about. That was their miscalculation.

    I am not responsible for the actions, beliefs or approaches of others or how they are perceived/misconstrued.

    “a certain sense of insecurity.”

    You can seriouysly do better than that bollocks. Sinn Fein told all its activists to be part of the outreach. Some didn’t listen. If people don’t like that being pointed out then boo hoo for them.

    “a sign of immaturity”

    Then the entire world is immature because all community narratives do just that.

    Are you going to get round to finishing Paisley’s quote or not?