Standing Against Sinn Fein

Paul McGlinchey, who will be standing against Martin McGuinness in Mid-Ulster, has given an interview to the Ulster Herald. His nephew, Dominic Og McGlinchey, has not ruled out standing as a candidate in West Tyrone. Gerry McGeough is standing against Sinn Fein in Fermanagh/South Tyrone. And the IRSP is set to endorse a candidate from Strabane at their Ard Comhairle this weekend. Willie Gallagher spoke to the Strabane Chronicle about the upcoming election and Concerned Republicans. Both interviews follow the jump.

Ex-members set to challenge Sinn Féin
BY RONAN McSHERRY

TENSIONS within Sinn Féin over the policing issue are threatening to bring major electoral challenges across Tyrone constituencies. Members of the staunchly Republican family, the McGlincheys of South Derry, are set to challenge their previous comrades in West Tyrone and Mid-Ulster. Gerry McGeogh, a former IRA activist from Killeeshil, is also set to stand against Sinn Féin for Fermanagh-South Tyrone inthe Assembly election on March 7.

Speaking to the Ulsterherald, life-long republican activist Paul McGlinchey confirmed he will stand as an Independent candidate in Mid- Ulster if Sinn Féin endorse policing and take their seats on the policing board. McGlinchey is a former blanket man and brother of the murdered INLA leader Dominic McGlinchey. His entry into the election race would put him in direct opposition to Sinn Féin’s chief negotiator Martin McGuinness.

McGlinchey said, “I will be running in Mid-Ulster providing the assembly elections go ahead. I was a member of Sinn Féin until last month and resigned because of their current policing strategy. Once SF endorses policing and the judiciary, whatever way they package it and sell it, they are copper-fastening the six county state within the United Kingdom. I am not anti-policing per se, and we need law and order, but I would want an all-Ireland police force.”

The decision to put up candidates was taken at a meeting of “Concerned Republicans” held in Toomebridge at the weekend.

“I have yet to speak to any Republican, including ex-prisoners, that is endorsing this pro-PSNI agenda,” said Mr McGlinchey. “None of them are for it. I also know a lot of people in the party who are hanging on to see what happens at the Ard Fhéis and that will probably tell a tale.”

Mr McGlinchey served 15 years in prison for paramilitary activity.

“I personally have invested too much of my life in all of this just to turn my back on it and stay at home,” said Mr McGlinchey. “I kept putting my argument within the party but was getting nowhere with them. I realised the direction they were going and could not be a part of it. It runs against every vein in my body.”

Paul’s nephew, Dominic Óg McGlinchey has not ruled out the rumour that he is considering going forward on an anti-policing ticket in West Tyrone. Also speaking to the Ulsterherald, he said, “Numerous people have approached me to run. I am totally against the Sinn Féin stance on policing.

“Some people talk of being ‘sold out’ but I see it as being ‘sold short.’ There is a big difference between the two.”

The son of the former INLA chief-of -staff, Dominic McGlinchey emphasised that if he were to throw his cap in the ring come election time, “it would not be just to stop Sinn Féin getting a seat.”

He added, “I have left-wing values and would bring those with me too. I left Sinn Féin a number of years ago because of the direction they have taken and their acceptance of Stormont rule and the British iron hand still in force.”

Gerry McGeogh who previously served jail sentences in Germany and the US for IRA activity has also voiced his intention of standing in Fermanagh-South Tyrone. A former Sinn Féin ard comhairle member, he accused the party leadership of “having shown no backbone”.

“Sinn Féin are making embarrassing fools of themselves. This grovelling nonsense must stop.”

Strabane man to stand on anti-policing ticket
BY MICHELE CANNING SMITH

WITH West Tyrone already a hotbed of controversy on the ‘will they, won’t they’ March Assembly elections, it has emerged that an independent Republican candidate may well throw his hat into the lion’s den in this constituency. That’s the word on the ground from the Irish Republican Socialist Party, who revealed to the Strabane Chronicle yesterday that a Strabane man has put his name forward for contention.

Endorsement for the Independent Republican candidacy will go to an IRSP Ard Comhairle meeting at the weekend.

Moves have been afoot by the Concerned Republican group – a coalition of what many regard as disaffected Republicans – to infiltrate Nationalist strongholds in a bid to challenge Sinn Féin on its policing agenda.

Already, members of the staunchly Republican McGlincheys of South Derry, are set to challenge former comrades in Tyrone and Mid-Ulster. Paul McGlinchey, a member of SF until last month, says he will enter into the election race in direct opposition to party chief, Martin McGuinness.

Gerry McGeogh, a former IRA man from Kileshil, is also set to stand against Sinn Féin in Fermanagh/South Tyrone.

The Chronicle this week spoke with Willie Gallagher, a leading member of the IRSP, on his party’s position, and how a series of meetings has led to a political attack on mainstream republicanism. Those meetings, which began in August last year, came as result of a call by a local man, Eddie McGarrigle, at a commemoration in Derry calling for a healing process within the diversity of Republicans.

That initial call has culminated in a decision by a group of Republicans to stand for election. They include disaffected Sinn Féin members, the IRSP, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee and independent republicans, all opposing the Good Friday Agreement.

During a series of meetings, the hugely contentious issue of policing was the ‘political thing in town’ and proved to be a gathering force for the group.

“There was unanimous support within the grouping that there should be public opposition to any endorsement of the policing and judicial system.

“The policing issue really was when Republicans had to wake up and smell the coffee.

“Republicans that I have spoken with, who once supported the Good Friday Agreement, now reject it. One said he deeply regrets endorsing it.

“As far as we are concerned, the Good Friday Agreement is a pacification process to give up Republicanism.

“The IRSP has always believed that the Agreement was a copper fastening of partition.

“But once the Agreement was signed, we believed Republicans were trying the political road and giving up the use of an armed strategy.

“The INLA was convinced to go on the same road.

“The IRSP focused on building up the party rather than overturning the agreement.

“Now Republicans are being asked to endorse the police and judicial system.

“As this debate has gained momentum, members of the Concerned Republican group decided to stand as independents.

“There will be a IRSP Ard Comhairle to see if our party will endorse support for these candidates.

“The feedback is that there is a strong possibility that most constituencies will put someone forward.”

Mr Gallagher confirmed that there is a local man who has expressed a wish and that will be considered at this weekend’s Ard Comhairle.

“As Independent Republicans, they oppose any endorsement of the PSNI. The policing issue has forced the hand of Republicans.

“Some of these people until a month ago were members of Sinn Féin.”

OPPOSITION

Mr Gallagher said he believes there is a very strong feeling of opposition gathering across the board to any endorsement of the police or judiciary.

“Sinn Féin would say this is a stepping stone to a United Ireland.

“But it’s a reformist strategy and it is impossible to negotiate away political policing under the framework of the GFA/St Andrew’s Agreement.

“It is a simple exchange of principles to go into power with the DUP, nothing more, nothing less.

He said he believed the SF leadership has misread the depth of feeling among republicans on the issue of policing.

“Overall, I feel it is possible that Sinn Féin could become the third largest party because of protest votes going to independent Republicans.

“This has taken on a momentum of its own and has acted as driving force on the policing debate.

“We are viewing this in the long term. Republicans, from a fair region of diversity are getting together to debate and discuss tactics, strategies and alternatives to the Good Friday Agreement, which has failed Republican objectives.

STRATEGY

“It is very clear within the group that it is an unarmed strategy.

“I did say at the first meeting that was called that I believe that even with an amalgamation of groups such as the INLA, Real IRA and the Continuity, that an effective military campaign against the British could not be achieved at this juncture.

“No-one in the room spoke out against that.”

Asked whether he believed that voters would opt for what many see as a group on the very sidelines of mainstream political parties, he said, “Can someone tell me the difference in voting for Sinn Fein and voting for the SDLP.

“I can see a situation where people will be comfortable in supporting these Independent candidates.

“They are traditional republicans.

He adds, “It would be wrong to sit back and do nothing about the endorsement of policing and the criminalisation of the Republican project.”

He concludes his interview by setting the scenario: “If Gerry Kelly takes up the Minister of Justice portfolio, will he sign the arrest forms on behalf of the Historical Inquiry Team?”

  • gerry

    ideally, but its not always like that in the real world.

  • mickhall

    “And no offence Mick, I’m surprised you haven’t taken a more responsible attitude to this ‘group’ choosing McGeogh.
    Any port in a storm?
    They need told and they won’t listen to the likes of me.”

    Mark,

    This post epitomizes the difference between us, you and yours would ‘tell’ people not to stand this or that candidate if they were not to the leaderships taste, and if they refused your lot would use administrative measures to make them change their minds.

    Whereas those I support will allow a democratic forum to decide. As to Gerry McGeogh politics on social issues, you are correct in that they have little in common with my own and on this I would be far closer to you.

    But this would also be true about countless republicans, as IR is a very broad church and in truth I feel Gerry [post 9] has demolished your argument here as it is clearly not credible to condemn republicans for supporting GM on the bases of his attitude on social issues, when SF is more than willing to put Paisley in office as first minister. [Surly on this the only credible position would be if someone were to condemn you for supporting Paisley etc and myself for supporting GM.]

    Having said that if Gerry were to campaign on an anti gay manifesto,or some such, I would not support him, but at this stage I doubt very much that he will, although Im certain if asked his opinions he will give them forcefully.

    Nationalist,

    Being in government does not necessarily mean being in power, as many SF members told me when I critiqued SF ministers for implementing private finance initiatives etc last time around. By the way if the best we can hope of the Protestant working classes is as you wrote, that they will end up supporting the PUP en mass, we will be setting our bar pretty low. If there is to be a reunification I feel we should aim a tad higher than the PUP, despite the common decency of some of its membership.

    Regards to all.

  • maura

    ideally, but its not always like that in the real world.

    I am well aware of that. I am also aware that it is only we who can make it a reality. We need to hold our all politicians accountable, their politics need to reflect our interests. For this reason I could never vote for Gerry, despite my deep respect for all that he is and has been.

  • maura

    Interesting comments Mick.
    However I think you just reinforced the ideas Mark was trying to make. If you would vote for Gerry Mc Geough on the basis of his anti-Sinn Fein stance ( which is fine) you are getting a bagful of political ideas that I think you would find hard to accept. I support the right of everyone to run for elected office, but I think I’d want to know a bit more about their politics- more than if they oppose policing etc.
    I think what Mark was saying was just that. So if Gerry is to run, good luck to him, but I’d advise those considering voting for him to question him on his ideas on immigrants, homosexuality, the place of Protestants in Ireland, the Irish Language, and the role of the church in a deomcratic society.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    The decision by people like Paul Mc Glinchey and others includng some republicans to contest the elections on an anti SF ticket is to be welcomed. It is to be hoped that they stand in every constituency so that their mandate can be measured.

    At this stage all we is know is that they are made up of a collection of individuals who are thrown together on the policing issue. As such we know what they are against. The campaign will allow to be teased out what they are actually for and more importantly what strategy is there to bring about the changes they want. The voters are entitled to this basic information, the ‘we haven’t really thought about that’ routine certainly won’t suffice.
    As for Mc Geough I believe he will not come within an asses roar of being elected. However, those people in the anti SF alliance who are allegedly left wing must be feeling very uncomfortable about supporting a candidate with such fundamentalist views.

  • Pat

    “Any thoughts on who may provide funding for this political grouping?

    MI5.
    Posted by Briso on Jan 12, 2007 @ 06:11 PM”

    Incorrect Briso, MI5 are already fully engaged with their members in Provisional SF. At least one more big name to be exposed!

  • Whatborder?

    Will this umbrella group be standing on an all-Ireland basis, i.e. In the Dail elections later this year? Or will they be partitionist?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    ‘At least one more big name to be exposed!’

    Even the standard of trolling is dropping on this thread.

  • gerry

    Pat can you explain the strategy of sf to support the police and criminal justice system. can you tell the electorate on the doorstep just how exactly that will achieve the objective of a united ireland. O i forgot the objective of supporting the police and courts is not about getting a united ireland, its about getting sinn fein in to power for what exactly. How many elections have we had now since the GFA? and still no closer to a UI. but sure then paisley in stormont is going to give us that isnt he.

    well done sf on a well thought out strategy!!!!

  • willie gallagher

    ‘The Concerned Republicans’ is not a formal group, with organisational structures, but more a working title for a collection of diverse republicans for media purposes rather than be labelled ‘dissidents’ war wongers, assassins and all the rest of the crap that was spouted in the media.

    This ‘collection, has not and can not endorse or feild any candidate. Furthermore representatives of the IRSP and 32CSM are involved in this ongoing dialogue with a wide ranging ‘collection’ of republicans including current PSF members, both are seperate organisations who are accountable to their leaderships and therefore cannot endorse any independent.

    Gerry McGeough has never been involved in the meetings of ‘concerned republicans’ and has not been endorsed by them. The IRSP will not be endorsing or calling for support for Gerry for obvious reasons. I can confirm that two ‘independents’, one from Strabane and the other from Derry City, has approached the IRSP for their support and both have been endorsed by the IRSP Ard Comhairle today. What they stand for and what they stand against will be announced, in the near future when they formally declare their hands publicly but it certainly won’t be on an anti-PSF ticket.

  • Joe Romhar

    ‘The voters are entitled to this basic information’ – that Gerry Adams was Belfast Brigade O/C?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    gerry,

    SF policies on the matters you highlight have been discussed ad nauseum. If at this juncyure you have to ask what they are then one wonders why you have been commenting in blissful ignorance.

  • Belfastwhite

    Divide and Conquer for the slow learners.

  • gerry

    Pat, put downs don’t work. You yourself have been put down too many times, given so much stick that really you should know by now all you are doing is trolling.

    I am well aware of why sf say they will support the ruc and criminal justice system, but was hoping to draw you out to point out its contradictions, but then again you are blind to any contradictions in sinn feins strategy, infact you are totally blind to all sinn feins faults. one wonders if at this juncture you cannot see the contradictions for your self, then whatis the point of debate with you except to engage your trolling. or is it only other people who troll pat?
    you really should try to get a person in the flesh to put down after a good nights drinking pat, they might put manners on you. perhaps at the swilly? lol

  • Wilde Rover

    So republicans in Fermanagh-South Tyrone have a choice between a Vatican stoop and a party that’s going to make the Mad Mullah top dog?

    Perhaps the most depressing political legacy of the troubles is the fact that all non-constitutional issues have been encased in amber since the 60s and anyone trying to make headway is labeled West Brit or Lundy for taking their eye off the constitutional ball.

  • Elvis Parker

    I think most of the posters – from both ‘sides’- miss the fundamental point. The danger to SF is not from dissident candidates but from SF voters who just dont fell fired up down to vote SF after they have endorsed the police. Many have swallowed their reservations for the past 10 years but consider this a step too far.
    One of SF’s seats in Newry and Armagh is definitely at risk – but as I say more from poor turnout than the likes of Davy Hyland

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    gerry,

    first of all you ask me what is the SF stratety, you then admit that you already know what it is, given that please tell me what is the point of some of your posts. It is for you to highlight any perceived contradictions given that the SF strategy has been up front for years.

    As for put downs and drinking, I have to say I debate political points in a much more sedate and reasonable environment than some drinking den. But then again that may all you may be used to.

  • Ola

    Anyone see mcglinchey on the politics show this morn?

  • I wonder…

    …I did.

    He said something like “we represent the dead.”

    True enough. I’m quite attached to life on the other hand.

  • gerry

    SF up front??? Hardly. I had nothing to do with your fight in the swilly, that was between you and other posters. all i did was read it like everyone else.