Fascinating Flickr

I’ve always enjoyed the Flickr stream that accompanies Slugger, and over the past week or 10 days, I’ve been struck by some of the images posted by Damien Okada Gough. A little bit of searching provided me with this fascinating interview he conducted with the Real IRA in 2003. Damien lives with his wife in Japan now, but worked as a reporter for Channel 9 in Derry before leaving. No matter where we come from or what views we hold, I think its vital to understand the thinking of everyone else around us, even if we neither agree nor subscribe to it. It helps us understand how other people perceive the world. This interview certainly provides some very interesting and valuable insights into this organisation.

Normko is another Flickerite to have grabbed my attention recently, with his collection of QUB photos from 1970. He doesn’t remember who the people in the photographs are, but has no doubt that they are pillars of society! If you recognise anyone, let him know. There are about 70 photos in the set, so it might make for a fun afternoon for someone or their offspring.

  • German-American

    An interesting interview. This and other posts and comments on Slugger reminded me to ask: Leaving aside the question of whether they have a viable political strategy or not, do republicans disaffected with Sinn Féin actually engage in real political activity, e.g., contesting elections and the like? Based on their websites I can’t tell that the 32 County Sovereignty Movement does anything except issue proclamations and attend demonstrations, and my understanding is that Republican Sinn Féin just contests a few local elections in the Republic of Ireland (and lost in all of the most recent ones). I presume 32 CSM, RSF, etc., still reject Stormont and the Dáil as partitionist bodies, so how exactly do non-SF republicans intend to offer an alternative to SF?

  • Secur O’Crat

    The RIRA babe looks cute. I suppoe contact details are out of the question? Guess I could always ask the local peelers. The crowds are so small the cops must know eveyone there, either by touts or good surveillance cameras and mikes.
    G-A: They would be involved in a lot of local agitation such as Rossport, no Orange feet on O’Connell Street, fighting the tobacco fascists and opposing harsh taxes on such essentials as petrol.
    Republicanism has simply gone back to the dark old days of the faithful few with Adams etc being the Devs of our day.

  • miss fitz

    There were 2 separate themes in the post above and the photograph is from Normko depicting QUB rag week 1970.

    One of the reasons I highlighted the RIRA interview was in an attempt to illustrate their thinking and the processes behind that. What interested me was the idea of a ‘pure’ message that is being carried forward, and that splits are almost inevitable within Republicanism over the decades. I found that interview by accident, and I just found it very informative. I think that it demonstrates a rare ability to twist fact and reality, but interesting none the less

  • Rory

    An interesting interview indeed. A revolutionary group with a programme that is based on a completely ahistorical view of prevailing conditions is destined to progress not at all. It is as though for them nothing has changed since some ” dreary New Year’s morn'” in the 1950’s. After reading their response (or failure to respond) to Okada Gough’s pertinent questions one may be forgiven for thinking of this group more as the “Get Real” IRA.

  • miss fitz

    Funny you should mention the dreary New Year’s morn, Rory.

    Monday is the anniversary of the deaths of Sean South and Fergal O’Hanlon, 50 years ago in Brookeborough.

    My interest in commemoration is no secret, and in preparation for this event I have been doing a little background research on Sean South. While I dont want to get my powder wet, it has become a fascinating piece of research.

    It seems that South was a very strict catholic, and a member of the Legion of Mary’s ‘Rialt’. He was known for cornering courting couples and sending them on their way with a clip around the ear. Yet he has been adopted as a hero, and has been memorialised in at least 2 ballads.

    We have a very dangerous habit of misting over reality and finding historical basis in our myth and fiction. My own favourite part of the interview was when the RIRA practically blamed the Presbterians for the whole lot (they started it!) This interpretation leaves out whole chunks of history and context.

  • Secur O’Crat

    Miss Fitz: The comments you make on Sean South are very well known and no less a Lundy than Danny Morrisson did a special on them about a year ago. All pre split Stickies would have broadcast those facts to the world. So your powder is very old.
    Making quips about those who fell in Operation Harvest shows a certain divorce from the core of the Republican family and leading members of RSF would scoff, at best, at our comments. If you care to read any edition of Saoirse – they are all much the same – they go on and on about the 1940s and keeping the flame alight in the dark days, just as the medieval monks did.
    Scoff away but the Dissidents believe their day will come again and no matter what happens the well will never run dry. 1916 and all that

    “The fools, the fools, th have left us our Fenians dead”

    Plus the prisoners; issue lingers on

    Rory: “Get Real IRA”. Good quip. Wish I’d thought of it. I’d wager it’ll be in the media within a week.

  • miss fitz


    I never said they weren’t well known, I only recorded that the information was forming part of my research on the event. I guess what interested me is the contrast between the ‘old brigade’ and the strict moralistic code they followed in contrast to today’s much less moral-bound volunteers. And I wonder how much shrift anyone today would give to someone with that kind of extreme devotion and conservative moral outlook.

  • Secur O’Crat


    Well actually, i nthe early 70s, messing with prisoners’ wives would have meant a hiding at the least. But then Denis, Gerry and the lads came along.
    Sean South was much more mainstream than people would like to tihnk. One only has to see the amount of priestly vocations that came from the ranks. TP Coogan and others comment on this.
    The fact is Adams, Morrison and a few others apart, most of the detritus had no Republican family credentials.
    Many of the PIRA volunteers were only cannon fodder and had no principles, moral or otherwise. Scum in other words.