“More debates:” The alternative republican strategy for a united Ireland?

Mairtin O’Muilleor and Gerry McGeough traded verbal punches in Hearts and Minds tonight. The lively discussion follows another public meeting organised by dissident/ disaffected republican factions in Derry and comes ahead of a series of such meetings being held by Sinn Fein.
The most telling feature of the discussion was an interchange between Noel Thompson and Gerry McGeough who, when asked about his alternative to the Sinn Fein political strategy, evaded the opportunity to outline an alternative strategy. On policing, McGeough suggested that he’d only ever support policing in the north if it were an all-Ireland service, continuing that what was needed now was ‘more debate’- would that it were so easy…
McGeough remains an interesting character, by far the most articulate of the dissident all-sorts putting their heads up in time for the election campaign.
But he shares the twin common traits of the republican disaffected/ dissident: namely, an inability to marry principle with the pragmatic and an utter blind spot for reading nationalist public sentiment.

On the former, this is becoming clear as the variety of republican micro groups jockey for position in the run up to this election. Already a number of INLA/IRSP aligned candidates have come forward, whilst the oldest dissident grouping (CIRA/ RSF) appear less open to the idea of putting forward candidates. Gerry McGeough’s strident right wing views have already caused other dissident groups to state they will not be supporting his candidacy.

On the latter, McGeough appears as a character deeply caught up in his own hype. On the Hearts and Minds programme tonight, he suggested that there was a “de facto rebellion” within republicanism at the moment and used the fact that the various dissident/ disaffected groups mustered a gathering of several hundred in Derry to back up this assertion.

But it was in his awkward response to the issue of policing that McGeough’s greatest problems can be found. After proudly stating that he’d only ever support an all-Ireland service, he quickly backtracked to suggest that certain crimes (rape/ child abuse) could warrant engagement with the PSNI- until nationalists had their “own forensic labs” (?!) and could only suggest more debates as a means of devising an alternative republican strategy- in the absence of providing one himself.

  • John East Belfast

    Beardyboy

    “I would also suspect that many Protestants will agree with McGeoughs moral stance and will pass their votes to him whereas SF and SDLP will not get them.”

    Come back from fantasy land …….

    I honestly think some Republicans are totally deluded.

    Nevertheless the SF strategy is the right one for republicans – their simply isnt another one.

    It is interesting when the dissidents are challenged on what their strategy is they come up with things like – “what about being a Republican” or “what about just wanting a United Ireland”. That of course is not a strategy – only an aspiration – although I suspect many of them think they should go back to violence and just darent say it

    The way I see it Republicans had two strategies.
    One is Brits Out and the other was a United Ireland.

    The former involves creating as much mayhem here and in GB to the extent that the Brits eventually would have left. The Unionists would have been dealt with thereafter.
    Of course SF realised that the British would not have left under such circumstances and would have battened down, as they did, for a long ‘war’. They had ample more resources and will than republicans. This would have especially been the case Post 9/11 where any form of Irish terrorism the world over would have been ruthlessly dealt with.
    Even if the British had left the unionists would not have rolled over and there would have been a bloodbath.

    Meanwhile a whole generation of republicans were either dead or languishing in prison and wasting the best years of their lives for absolutely nothing. Not to mention the misery being visited on the rest of us.

    I think Adams et al recognised that uniting Ireland had to be about hearts and minds. The world is constantly changing and with demographics and a disintegrating England – Scotland Union anything is possible.

    However under such circumstances republicans will have to take their chances along with Unionists like myself who will do in all in our power to strengthen the Union.

    They will have bestowed legitimacy on Partition and the Laws and jurisdictions that attach to it. However this is no bad thing and indeed is the right thing to do.

    They will then have to set about persuading a reasonable number of Protestants that their future lies in a separate independent Ireland. To do that they will have to use the powers of their argument – just like the rest of other constitutional politicians.

    From what I saw McGeough has neither charm nor an argument other than to witter on about Crown Forces.

    He and his ilk offer no citisen of these islands anything other than misery, bitterness and hopelessness.

  • marty (not ingram)

    And furthermore, using your model of annexing parts of Belfast – I’ve Catholic neighbours dotted around the street (one positive aspect of the GFA is more mixed areas in East Belfast) – should we start to carve the street up?

    I suspect you’ll answer “no” as it sounds ludicrous. However carving parts of Belfast into different nations is, given the size of the city, just as ludicrous.

  • grimesy

    Carving Belfast up?!?

    Us Mexicans would require serious incentives (namely, a full-frontal labottomy)to even sign up to such a ludicrous idea…Honestly, where do they get them from?!

  • Briso

    >Think Briso will have to phone a friend on this one, but be careful because those counted as friends are disappearing fast.

    How very dare you! What follows is all my own work!

    Before I answer the question you asked me, I want to state a few of the premises on which it is based.

    1. I have never been a member of or voter for Sinn Fein.

    2. My assessment of their route to a united Ireland is based on what they have consistently said in public. I have none of the inside information many on slugger seem to have (although it doesn’t seem to help as the insiders claim they were being lied to in private while the truth was told in public).

    I believe that the route to a United Ireland requires the support of the people of Ireland. I don’t believe that there is a way to do it without taking into account their opinions and preoccupations. Killing some of them in order to persuade the remainder has been shown not to work. I believe that the principle of consent in the Good Friday Agreement is the basis on which we move forward because the opinions and preoccupations of the Unionist community must be taken into account on any journey to a UI.

    To me, the crucial element of a strategy is in the 26 counties. Republicans must try to convince the Southern electorate that a United Ireland would not be bad for them. This requires two separate goals. SF must work to deliver positive change in Dublin and the other cities and towns of the 26 counties, particularly by representing the poorest and giving them a route to sharing in the prosperity of the nation, reducing social alienation and hence crime. SF must be in on the ground supporting initiatives to tackle drug abuse etc using the kind of committed activism it has always had in the North.
    Secondly, SF must work to make the North more attractive to the South. Let me explain something that the dissidents have always failed to understand. The day before the Brits begin to plan their withdrawal is the day that the Irish Government approaches them and says, “We would like to re-unite the country and we would like to start on it now.” Before that happens, NI needs to be peaceful, prosperous, orderly and representative of all the people within it. The SF project to provide a Police Force acceptable and answerable to all is a part of the overall.

    The dissidents seem to be of the opinion that if we get a parliament and all the other parts of a settlement with the unionists, our people will, God forbid, become happier and richer and as we all know, happy prosperous people don’t partake in revolution. This will all serve to ‘copperfasten partition’. They have it exactly wrong. The Irish Government twice refused to to take NI off the hands of the British. We need to improve co-operation between NI and the 26, improve relations between the two communities in the 6 and work to achieve a united Ireland by making the case for it at home and abroad.

  • Joe Romhar

    ‘I oppose abortion under any circumstances!’

    Even when it is rape Chris? It is a horrible dilemma either way.

  • Even when it is rape Chris? It is a horrible dilemma either way

    Yes Jo, even when the woman has been raped. I would be a hypocrite otherwise.

    Abortion is either wrong or it isn’t, in my view it’s very wrong.

  • BeardyBoy

    John East Belfast

    My business partner is a Evangelical prod who has told me that he admires the more Christian stance of the Irish than the English governments and would consider voting for McGeough. Speaking to his church friends, they agree that the morality of England leaves a lot to be desired and they would vote for a nationalist party in local/assembly elections rather than pro-abortionist unionists as the law of God comes before Law of Man, so their allegience to the rules of God will overcome their allegience to country, they also know full well that the safety blanket of a border poll would stop the unification of Ireland at the present.

  • John East Belfast

    BeardyBoy

    Well does your evangelical prod friend not think that somehow the “law of man” was put before the “Law of God” when the lives of all those men, women and children were sacrificed by the 30 year PIRA campaign ?

    I would put money on any evangelical prod – and I know hundreds – who would foam at the mouth if McGeough was to spend 5 miuntes speaking to them.

    If your evangelical business partner cant tell you what he really thinks of someone like McGeough then you need to ask why.

    It turns my stomach to listen to all these pious catholics harping on about the evils of abortion whilst they both participated and still glory in the slaughter executed during their own squalid little murder campaign.

  • Jesus Christ

    John: Your army is currently killing Muslims in Iraq and fomenting civil war there. Your “country” has fought every other country in the world. Your flag is not called the butcher’s apron for no reason. Even your Big Brother programme is full of racism and hopefully you will lose trade deals in India as a result and maybe get a nuclear bomb up the transom for your troubles.
    The DUP/FPC, a group that has visited unholy terror on the Catholic natives of this island, have now joined up with the CIA/MI5 counter gang group of SF/IRA to share the spoils of war.

    The Provos used a wide and eclectic group of people to climb the social ladder. These people are now coming together to stop the onward march of the DUP/SFIRA. THose people, the “dissidents” are no odder than the oddities of the DUP or the mainstream SFIRA for that matter. Or are you trying to say that all major political parties should be led by people like Ian No Ppe Paisley and Gerry Bloody Friday Adams?
    The thread’s starter is merely parotting the SFIRA line that there is no alternative but to tout for the PSNI. That is his excuse. What is yours?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    grimsey

    ‘A warm welcome back to Pyschopat!

    Missing in Action, presumed-spoofing from the Pat Ramsay thread…

    Well Pat, am I still living under your much-alluded to bridge?…. ‘

    Wow, in the history of the political put down that is right up there with Lloyd Bentsen (google it as you obviously wont know what i’m talking about). I labelled you a troll and that kind of silly personal post merely confirms it. Ingram tries that sort of thing but as least he has an excuse as he was in the British Army.

  • John East Belfast

    JC

    I am not a republican so I dont need an excuse – my take on all this is my 9.39 post last night.

    Why do you still think that Violence could and should still be used to achieved a United Ireland today ?

  • grimesy

    Pat,

    I’m fully aware of Lloyd’s claim to fame – something I’m sure most other Slugger readers are as well…(hint Pat, this is a site primarily aimed at, er, people who actually like POLITICS)…

    Now that we’ve addressed that “near fatal bombshell” (as Alan Partridge might say – google it if you’re not sure…), please tell me if you understand this analogy?

    “If were a racehorse Pat, you’d already be on your way to the glue factory…”

    Consult the Connoly House “braintrust” if you’re struggling…I know Ingram’s a betting man & he’ll definitely appreciate it!

  • Rory

    “Abortion is either wrong or it isn’t” asserts Chris Gaskin.

    Perhaps he might consider a less metaphysical point – abortion either is practised or it isn’t. And we do know the answer to that – women do abort when desperation drives and if they are not able to find a method to do that under good medical supervision then they revert to the dangers of the back street abortionist.

    It is all very well to “be opposed to abortion”, I’m kinda agin myself as a general idea, but left with the stark reality of the societal mores and economic strictures that deny a woman the right to freely choose to bring up a child in warmth and love and materially cared for I think I have a duty towards the woman who chooses abortion given that as a male in society I have failed to protect her by bringing about the kind of society where she would truly have choice.

    And I’m damned if I’ll surrender the high ground of “morality” to oh-so-good Catholics or Born Again Happy Clappers on this issue. My position that women are entitled to the best care available in times of great danger and stress is the moral high ground and stands tall above the fetid swamps of judgementalism where they ooze forth their bile of fear and loathing of womankind.

    Oh, and just in case the good Christians wonder what might have inspired such an outrageous train of thinking – it was early exposure to the teachings of a man named Jesus from Nazareth. You should look him up some time.

  • BeardyBoy

    Well does your evangelical prod friend not think that somehow the “law of man” was put before the “Law of God” when the lives of all those men, women and children were sacrificed by the 30 year PIRA campaign ?
    The blame of any deaths from the last 800 years of English aggression in Ireland lies with the people who enforce their will here – the sow their laws like dragons teeth and efect surprise when the reap armed men. The evangelicals are smart enough to know the reasons for the violence.

    I would put money on any evangelical prod – and I know hundreds – who would foam at the mouth if McGeough was to spend 5 miuntes speaking to them.

    No doubt – when in the company of evangelicals I am always amused that some of them get on fine. So no doubt those people would foam at the mouth. with me until they figure out what I am – then the shutters come down, more to do with religious intolerance.

    If your evangelical business partner cant tell you what he really thinks of someone like McGeough then you need to ask why.
    I can only presume he is telling his true fealings. He is honest in all other fields.

    It turns my stomach to listen to all these pious catholics harping on about the evils of abortion whilst they both participated and still glory in the slaughter executed during their own squalid little murder campaign.
    Their has been no murder conducted in the campaign for Irish freedom, it has been one of the cleanest wars ever.

  • John East Belfast

    Beardyboy

    “The blame of any deaths from the last 800 years of English aggression in Ireland lies with the people who enforce their will here – the sow their laws like dragons teeth and efect surprise when the reap armed men.”

    and

    “Their has been no murder conducted in the campaign for Irish freedom, it has been one of the cleanest wars ever.”

    Did I miss the war that went on between the Republic of Ireland and the United Kingdom the last 30 years or so ?

    ie naval battles in the Irish Sea and troops amassed along the Irish border etc ?

    No all I saw was a squalid terrorist campaign with no international – indeed not even national – legitimacy bestowed upon it.

    Indeed the only ones who supported the PIRA campaign were Irish American fruit cakes, Pre Cold War Soviet states with their own agenda and odious regimes such as Gaddafi and Castro.

    But most damning of all was the lack of support among the real Irish nation as represented by the ROI.
    Infact they put these Irish freedom fighters in prison where indeed some of them still are long after the UK govt showed them mercy.

    Therefore wake up and smell the coffee – your so called ‘war’ had no legitimacy and hence every action therein was a crime including murder.

    Unless you believe a few hundred individuals have the right to ignore the wishes of everyone else and start campaigns of insurrection wherever they feel like it ?

    Also the recognition of the consent principal along with the governing apparatus and now the entire rule of law illustrates the legitimacy of the NI state again.

    It is game, set and match for partition and now that militant republicans recognise this it means that they either surrendered or they were wrong all along – but you cant have it both ways.

  • Greenflag

    grimesy’

    ‘Us Mexicans would require serious incentives (namely, a full-frontal labottomy)to even sign up to such a ludicrous idea.’

    Congratulations on having a successful frontal lobotomy or was that just a bottle in front of you ?

    Belfast is already carved up with some 37 ? or so ‘Peace Walls” which are there to keep both sides from wiping each other out .

    Repartition would simply replace 37 walls ‘ with a larger one

    Viva Zapata

  • Greenflag

    Beardy Boy,

    ‘as the law of God comes before Law of Man, ‘

    Sez who ? Is there any actual evidence to back up this remark ? Your evangelical ‘prod’ is stuck in the 16th century . Medieval Catholicism was not keen on science either.

    McGeough is a throwback a la Paisley

  • grimesy

    GF,

    I was referring to the proposal of the 26 county FS with “green areas” of Belfast – never made any reference to the peace-walled “partition” of Belfast.

    Leaving aside the concept of using euro on the Antrim road & sterling on the Crumlin Road being fucking stupid, do you think the D4 ruling classes in Dublin would go for it?

    Nope – me neither.

    And I live in one of those “peace wall” interface areas of Belfast (of which there are 21, not 37)

  • BeardyBoy

    No all I saw was a squalid terrorist campaign with no international – indeed not even national – legitimacy bestowed upon it.

    The legitimacy came from a people who retaliated against state supported murder an subjection and took the fight out of defensive to offensive mode and did well enough to be able to tie up about 20,000 of the English and their cronies.

    Indeed the only ones who supported the PIRA campaign were Irish American fruit cakes, Pre Cold War Soviet states with their own agenda and odious regimes such as Gaddafi and Castro

    That accusation is as old as the hills – it was used in Elizabeth the bastard’s time only Gadaffi and such were replaced by Spanish.
    My reply is the same as that used then
    “What matters if the blade is Toledo made
    So long as the hand that wields it is Irish”

    But most damning of all was the lack of support among the real Irish nation as represented by the ROI.
    Correct in all but the “real Irish” bit – wonder were that came from?

    In fact they put these Irish freedom fighters in prison where indeed some of them still are long after the UK govt showed them mercy.
    To their eternal shame

    Therefore wake up and smell the coffee
    Why do people say silly stuff like that? No need.

    – your so called ‘war’ had no legitimacy and hence every action therein was a crime including murder.
    Answered above about legitimacy – you take your stance and I will take mine

    Unless you believe a few hundred individuals have the right to ignore the wishes of everyone else and start campaigns of insurrection wherever they feel like it ?
    More like many thousands if jail records are anything to go by

    Also the recognition of the consent principal along with the governing apparatus and now the entire rule of law illustrates the legitimacy of the NI state again.
    I agree except for the again bit

    It is game, set and match for partition and now that militant republicans recognise this it means that they either surrendered or they were wrong all along – but you cant have it both ways.
    I say they surrendered or why else hand over their weapons.
    I would also go further and say by the subsequent actions of ALL nationalist parties gives credence to your statement

  • BeardyBoy

    Beardy Boy,

    ‘as the law of God comes before Law of Man, ‘

    Sez who ? Is there any actual evidence to back up this remark ?
    The evangelical who said it – thats who and if he believes it then for him it is so – read the context it was written in. By the way I agree also.

    Your evangelical ‘prod’ is stuck in the 16th century .
    No he is not “stuck” he however believes a doctrine which is at least 4000 years old.

    Medieval Catholicism was not keen on science either.
    Rubbish – go back and learn how the Catholic Church supported science and scientists throughout the Late Medieval and Early modern era.

    Viva Miguel Pro
    Viva Christo Rey
    Viva La Virgen De Guadalupe

    McGeough is a throwback a la Paisley

  • Greenflag

    ‘The evangelical who said it – thats who and if he believes it then for him it is so ‘

    No matter how many flat earthers believe in a flat earth simple belief does not and never will make the earth ‘flat’.

    ‘No he is not “stuck” he however believes a doctrine which is at least 4000 years old.’

    Ancient peoples believed in the Sun for tens of thousands of years . But the doctrine of the Sun as God has fallen out of favour since the discovery of several billion ‘Suns’ throughout the universe.

    ‘go back and learn how the Catholic Church supported science and scientists throughout the Late Medieval and Early modern era.’

    Galileo would not agree although I accept that in the early modern era the RC church has come to accept ‘Evolution’ as fact. Many evangelicals ignore scientific fact in favour of ‘creationism’.

  • Greenflag

    grimesy,

    ‘Leaving aside the concept of using euro on the Antrim road & sterling on the Crumlin Road being fucking stupid,’

    Sorry grimesy I did’nt realise that the people of the Antrim road and Crumlin Road would be intellectually challenged by having to use two currencies . People in Newry use the euro and sterling without any great difficulty. Why should Belfast be any different ?

    Your frontal lobotomy is showing through that hole between both your ears 🙂 Less vulgarity please.

    Roll on Repartition and be done with @#%&*&*#***** ing powerless Assembly.!

  • BeardyBoy

    Greenflag
    No matter how many flat earthers believe in a flat earth simple belief does not and never will make the earth ‘flat’.

    Irrelevant statement imitating debate – this discussion is about how evangelicals would vote in a particular situation so the correctness of his belief is irrelevant to the discussion. What is relevant is how his beliefs will influence his actions.

    ‘No he is not “stuck” he however believes a doctrine which is at least 4000 years old.’

    Ancient peoples believed in the Sun for tens of thousands of years . But the doctrine of the Sun as God has fallen out of favour since the discovery of several billion ‘Suns’ throughout the universe.

    Again Irrelevant – I was pointing out to you that the evangelical is not stuck in the 16th Century as his beliefs are in direct line from Judaism which has held this doctrine for about 4000 years, he is being consistent within the context of his beliefs.

  • BeardyBoy

    Galileo would not agree –
    Again irrelevent statements. However since you raised it let me say it is a completely false statement , Copernicus was a Catholic canon, the Pope lavished Galileo with gifts, the Church sboth in its institutional form and as individuals helped him out before, during and after his trials.

    As for the relation of the Catholic Church and Science, this episode cannot be held as evidence of any antagonism. Galileo was not condemned for his scientific dalliances, but for disobedience. For his depiction of the heliocentric propositio.n as fact instead of hypothesis he was called suspect of heresy, but by no means a heretic. Between the two is an infinite gulf. In the meantime, the Church fears not scientific truths. The same God who founded the Church, made the world, and the study of His creation is obviously something the Church smiles upon. In this particular case, just as Catholics could study heliocentrism before Galileo’s condemnation, they continued to do so afterward. And as Arthur Koestler points out, already by the late 1600s the Jesuits were teaching Copernican astronomy in their eastern mission lands.

    You really must try to stick to factual accounts of history instead of indulging in socialist mythology

  • Greenflag

    Beardt Buachaill,

    ‘this discussion is about how evangelicals would vote in a particular situation so the correctness of his belief is irrelevant to the discussion. ‘

    Evangelicals in NI vote overwhelmingly for the Union and Unionist parties .The situation or context you refer to is ‘irrelevant’ as it is politically unlikely to ever come about .

    I refer you to Eric Waugh’s ‘logic’ in the quote below on the future prospects for this charade of so called democracy the powerless Stormont Assembly.

    ‘there is now little or no self-interest for Blair, Brown or even Cameron in seeking to keep Northern Ireland within the United Kingdom.

    Because their parties in the past have done everything to keep their distance, there are no seats on offer to them on this side.

    Only the fear factor remains as a spur towards their maintaining the status quo: fear of what might happen were they to go.

    Fear, though, is a poor taskmaster.

    Stability of the Union, at bottom, demands much more: first, a measure of committed, principled devotion from the major partner, and second, a shared loyalty among the communities within Northern Ireland. Neither is – nor is likely to be – available. That is why an Executive, if and when it is launched, will face a difficult and uncertain future.

    Republicans are being sold the apparatus of the police and the courts on the ground that acceptance will bring nearer the destruction of the state over which those same police and courts preside.

    Those favouring the status quo are advised that the new deal safeguards the Union.

    The same deal cannot do both.

    According to the Agreement, of course, a simple majority of one in a referendum could herald Irish unity, which is quite grotesque.

    If cross-community proportionality is required in the Assembly to fix, say, the site of a country school, why not also for the ultimate decision by the community at large on the future of the state?

    To deny it is to strike even more deeply at the vitals of power-sharing Government and to perpetuate the siege mentality which in the past has doomed it.’

    Unionists such as Waugh are already ‘moving’ the goalposts on any future ‘border ‘ referendum ‘ that might give a small majority for a UI .

    SF are not going to achieve a united Socialist Ireland for two simple reasons . One is that the vast majority of Irish people on the island are not ‘socialists’ and secondly Unionists will continue to support the UK Union regardles of whether they have a majority within NI or whether they are ‘outnumbered’ by a small majority of Irish Nationalists and Republicans within the present boundaries of the NI State.

    Given those circumstances then it should be clear to all Irish nationalists and republicans both within NI and in the Republic that an agreed and fair repartition of Northern Ireland is the best that Northern Irish nationalists and Republicans can hope to achieve.

    The ‘alternative’ SF strategy for a UI is stuff and nonsense . Word spinning at best.
    The ‘restoration’ of Stormont even a power sharing one will be rightly seen as a victory for Unionism. By all thinking ‘democrats’ such a restoration should also be seen as a victory for the permanent sectarian cementing of NI politics within it’s tribal and outdated moulds!