South Derry

Following yesterday’s letter in the Irish News, backers of Sinn Fein in South Derry have chimed in with one of their own. Ian Milne, a former prisoner who served 17 years and is now the Chair of Magherafelt District Council, along with Councillor Peter Bateson, who also served two lengthy prison sentences, Sean McGlinchey, convicted for his part in the 1973 Coleraine bombing (and brother to Paul McGlinchey, also an ex-prisoner and former blanketman, who has broken ranks with Sinn Fein), Anne McErlean (formerly Bateson, sister to Peter) and former Republican prisoner Dolores O’Neill-McElhone, who with Anne McErlean, was arrested with the hunger striker Tom McElwee in 1976, want “personal and petty attacks” on Sinn Fein to stop and call for unity: “Disunity only benefits those who wish to keep partition and British rule in the north.”

Not in front of the enemy
Letters
Peter Bateson, Dolores O’Neill-McElhone, Sean McGlinchey, Anne McErlean, Ian Milne; Co Derry

There has been much speculation recently in the media in the ongoing debate on policing.
Individuals – some of whom left the republican struggle decades ago – have chosen this moment for personal and petty attacks on the Sinn Fein leadership and strategy.
And they have become darlings of sections of the media traditionally hostile to republicanism.
Some have tried to misrepresent Co Derry republican opinion.
As long-serving Co Derry activists we believe Irish freedom and unity – which we have dedicated most of our lives to – will be delivered through current Sinn Fein strategy.
It requires commitment and determination: there is no quick fix.
The recent coming together of resigned republican activists, so-called dissidents and individual members of the INLA and IRSP offers no further strategy.
The only glue binding these groups together is outright opposition to Sinn Fein strategy and leadership.
Personality is a great motivation rather than politics or principle. These groups and individuals have few views in common.
Republicans all share a history of sectarian and unacceptable policing. That could not go on.
Enormous advances have been made but we need to tackle this issue head on now… and that’s what is happening.
We have no problem with anyone having different views to Sinn Fein’s leaders and most republicans on this island and abroad.
That’s politics.
But the debate should be constructive and honest.
It should not be influenced by threats from any quarter.
We and Sinn Fein are presently facilitating gatherings at which republicans and nationalists can discuss these matters.
But at the end of the process republicans will have to make a collective decision.
Whatever that decision, we must maintain our focus and unity as we move towards our core objective of Irish unity and independence.
Disunity only benefits those who wish to keep partition and British rule in the north.
Peter Bateson, Dolores O’Neill-McElhone, Sean McGlinchey, Anne McErlean, Ian Milne
Co Derry

  • The Dubliner

    The risible statement is a rather longwinded way of saying “Shut up!” – an appeal for others to self-censor their opposing views or to be ‘encouraged’ by others to censor them on the pretext of securing ‘unity.’ Unity, of course, means that only those voices that articulate the approved propaganda of the PSF leadership are allowed to be heard during the ‘debate’ – a ‘debate’ that PSF claims to have initiated prior to its Ard Fheis rubberstamping of the leadership’s decision on support for the police and judicial system, but which it seeks to control by confining it to only the ‘Yay’ shrieks of the attendant lemmings.

    I love the unwitting dramatic irony of saying “the debate should be constructive and honest” while simultaneously engaging in destructive and dishonest [i]ad hominem[/i] character assassination and misrepresentation by implying that those who don’t agree with PSF are lacking “commitment and determination” and are motivated by vanity and not sincerity in that they “have become darlings of sections of the media traditionally hostile to republicanism.”

  • willie gallagher

    The IRSP were first invited to this ‘ coming together’ that this letter refers to by Sean McGlinchey, and others, and encouraged by him, and others, to open up debate within the diversity of republicanism. Sean attended a number of these meetings and encoraged. Sean knows that these meetings were not attended by ‘individual members of the IRSP/INLA’ but were attended by myself and others officially representing the IRSP.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    willie,

    what the letter does say is that the meetings offered no further strategy. Was it the case that people involved got pissed off waiting around for you and others to finish your party building?

  • willie gallagher

    Pat, you missed the point I was making in relation to ‘individual members of the IRSP/INLA….’ which suggests that only a faction took part in these meetings. I, with other IRSP members, were present at those meetings, representing the IRSP and not a faction within it. This is something that Sean is more than aware of as it was he who sent the initial invitations to the IRSP to attend these meetings that he helped organise.

  • Honest

    Pat mc larnon misses the point of what willie gallagher said. From my reading it appears that Sean Mc Glinchey organised the meetings of a broad spectrum of republicans and also, for whatever reasons he is distancing himself and saying nothing in response to the Sinn Fein allegation that the threats to the Sinn Fein leadership arose from these meetings.

  • J Kelly

    The incredible thing about this debate is that we have 5 republicans of long standing who write a letter and are accused of attempting to tell people to shut but if they were opposed we would have people crowing from the tree tops that the movement is South Derry is falling apart. Is Rory off sick today or has he just not seen this thread.

    Willie
    Do the IRSP endorse Gerry McGeough?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    willie & honest,

    no the point is clear enough, whether he organised the meetings or not. The people he met were a disparate group, interested in personalities and slagging off plus offering nothing for the future. Nothing to see here, move on.

  • willie gallagher

    Do the IRSP endorse Gerry McGeough? The answer is no it doesn’t nor will they. His decision to stand as an independent is his alone, a decision which the IRSP has no influence over. I have already pointed this fact out earlier as well as stating that that the meetings of what has became known as Concerned Republicans has endorsed no Independents either. Concerned Republicans have no organisational structures and therefore can not endorse anyone. The IRSP have stated that they will support Peggy O Hara and another Independent in the West Tyrone constituency and no one else to date.

  • willie gallagher

    ”willie & honest,

    no the point is clear enough, whether he organised the meetings or not. The people he met were a disparate group, interested in personalities and slagging off plus offering nothing for the future. Nothing to see here, move on. ”

    Pat, not even Sean would agree with that, after all he was present at a number of the meetings, ask him yourself if you know him, he certainly relayed an entirely different message to me two nights ago encouraging further debate. In relation to the alledged threats which supposedly came from these meeting, to quote Sean McGlinchey…’they are sh.te.’

  • Honest

    Pat Mc Larnon
    You miss the point entirely and avoid what I,m saying. Surely Sean Mc Glinchey could clarify to us all if the alleged threats to SF were genuine, sounds like Sean was playing poacher and gamekeeper by organising these meetings in the first place, he would know if they were anti-SF in nature would he not. Why does he not clarify exactly the purpose of organising them in the first place, by the way Pat would it be true to say you’re a full time paid Sinn Feiner whose job it is to peddle the line from Gerry and confuse the debate around policing?

  • Polska

    Willie,

    Will the IRSP-backed candidates in Foyle & West Tyrone take their seats in the Assembly, and will you be asking people to transfer to other republican candidates?

  • Pat Mc larnon

    willie

    ‘Pat, not even Sean would agree with that, after all he was present at a number of the meetings,’

    I’m afraid you haven’t read the letter that he signed his name to, he states exactly that.

    honest,

    It was you who mention the threats to the SF leadership and distancing etc etc. It is not mentioned in the letter. It therefore falls to you to justify your assertion.

    ‘Pat would it be true to say you’re a full time paid Sinn Feiner whose job it is to peddle the line from Gerry and confuse the debate around policing?’

    No that is simply another assertion by you based on your imagination, or more realistically a lie to try and muddy the waters. The policing debate (as it exists) is pretty clear cut, SF putting forward the policies and people like willie and yourself breying at the moon.

  • Rory (South Derry)

    J Kelly

    I have read with some amusement the Letter produced by these 5 parties!

    The Sean McGlinchey man (or Chinky) to his friends & former comrades is a thug – End off!

    Sean McGlinchey has always tried to toe the Belfast line even when in recent years he was referred to as “Your Man on the other side of the hill”!

    The sacrafice of the people named can not be questioned and I would not attempt to do so, but the PSF spin machine wrote the letter and it stinks of Party Line big style.

    Now given Adams’ remark to Gerry McGeough I think that it is amazing that these people still endorse the Policing Policy.

    Ian Milne is referred to as the Man who you go to see if you want something or one sorted! The New Provo Leader (Oc) of South Derry!

    Now that these people have weighed in behind the Belfast crew without apology I want to ask them:-

    (1). How do you propose to deal with your former
    comrades who deal in Deisel? (in Maghera,
    Bellaghy, Dungiven etc)

    (2). Did you guys assist the PSNI/English police
    in Arresting Damien Mulholland who sold 1000s
    of litres for the leaderships pigbanks?

    (3). How can Blanketmen endorse PSF after Gerry As
    comments in Galbally about dead volunteer

    Sean McGlinchy does not surprise anyone, nor does Milne but the rest of them what the hell has changed?

    Finally why Seamus Bradley, Laverty, SA McElhone & Bradley (all Blanketmen),are not singing the same tune boys and they seem pissed off with McGlinchey & Co

    Who really wrote the Letter?

  • willie gallagher

    Rory, I have known Sean for quite a long time and worked with him on many occssions. I believe he is a good honourable republican and genuine in his attitude towards all republians. I know he has assissted in healing relationships between republicans of various persuasions in the past and never had this elitist blind hatred that comes from many in PSF towards republicans who disagree with PSF strategy. We have spoken recently and agreed to disagree on endorsement and legitamising the british PSNI. I was surprised that he put his name to a misleading letter but I understand that he agreed to put his name to it without knowing the contents.

  • Scullion

    Rory,

    The fact of the matter is that Paul McGlinchey backed going on the policing boards when they were first set up, so his threshold for joining the boards was much lower than other SF members

  • Rory (South Derry)

    Willie

    I am absolutely astonished that Chinky allowed a letter to out without his full knowledge of its contents!

    Although I have my views on Sean I can not believe how niave the agreement to have his name on something was!

    The letter does also not sound like the hardline Peter Bateson of old and would appear on the face of it to be more Provo spin.

  • Scullion

    Rory,

    The fact of the matter is that Paul McGlinchey backed going on the policing boards when they were first set up, so his threshold for joining the boards was much lower than other SF members – Whats your opinion on that?

  • willie gallagher

    Rory, there’s no doubt that the letter is PSF spin and that Chinky is being used and it’s difficult to believe he doesn’t realise that particularly after this letter going out.

  • Rory (South Derry)

    Wille

    This is a dirty PR war that is being fought by PSF Plc!

    The madness now is that Peter Bateson did not know about the entire content either – all pawns in the game.

    Dolores when put under the cosh seems weary about talking about the letter!

    PROVO PR alive and found out! Tiocfaidh ar La!

    Scullion

    The provo leadership made member think that they were playing the long game and that the PSNI backing would never happen – PMcG got wide to the facts and withdrew – It is his democratic right after all ani’t it?