“well past time to kick over the Fairview Park statue”

With reports that a replacement statue of the controversial IRA leader during WWII, Sean Russell, is due to be unveiled in April this year [Dublin city council permission pending – Ed] – the previous statue having been the site of recent Sinn Féin commemorations until its decapitation 2 years ago – in the Belfast Telegraph, Eamonn McCann argues that it’s time for SF “to announce that it had reviewed its reverence for Russell and removed him from the pantheon of republican heroes”From the article

The awakening of memory is the main reason republicans today should publicly disown Sean Russell.

A comforting theory that Russell wasn’t a collaborator but a simple military man who found himself in Hitlerite Berlin in 1940 and had little option but to stay onside with a regime which he detested, was exploded two years ago in an feature in History Ireland, Oh Here’s to Adolf Hitler, by the left-wing historian, Brian Hanley.

Hanley dug out an article from The United Irishman of October 1951, marking the unveiling of the Fairview Park statue. It detailed, quite without embarrassment, the considerable luxury in which Russell lived in Berlin and the respect and esteem in which he was held by the Nazis as he negotiated how the IRA might best coordinate its activity with the Nazis in the unfolding conflict with Britain.

This was eight years after Hitler had come to power, seven years after the construction of the Dachau concentration camp, six years after the promulgation of the law banning Jews from German citizenship, three years after Crystalnacht, when Jewish homes and synagogues were destroyed, scores of Jews murdered and thousands hauled off to prison camps. All this was widely known. And yet Russell cheerfully discussed and planned an IRA-Nazi alliance.

Surely there are few Sinn Fein supporters who can contemplate with equanimity their party again sending a speaker – as we are told may well happen – to garland the memory of Sean Russell with praise?

It strikes me that a restored statue of Russell might not last long unscathed. But that’s not the point. The point, as we approach Holocaust Memorial Day, is to rid ourselves of the muck of history, so that we might better face into the future.

As they consider fundamental revision this weekend of the ideas which have sustained them over the years, Sinn Feiners might also consider whether it’s not well past time to kick over the Fairview Park statue.

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  • Yokel

    Wasnt he involved in drawing up lists of Jews in the event of a Nazi takeover?

    The takeover that never happened, god he backed a right loser there if it was him. Sean Russell was not a man to listen to a tip from…..

  • no Yoke that just the usual propaganda you can find from the Irish Thames, Sindo, BelTel or Bel Newslaughter which you usually add to this site.

    Half truths, rumour, innuendo & pure shite seems to be forte.

  • mickhall

    Myself I have never heard anything about lists and unless there is absolute proof it should not be put about. Russell has become a controversial figure but he should not be personally pilloried for turning up in Hitler’s Germany, although having said this he should have refused to go.

    During the last time this story had legs the anti republican media tried to also link Frank Ryan with the Nazis, which was rubbish when you consider how he ended up in Germany, as it was not as if he had a choice.. Having said that there are many dead republicans the Republican movement could put statues up to, I imagine why Russell was originally chosen was because he was such a steadfast republican who served the movement in good days and bad.

    Why McCann feels the need to tip paint over Sean at this time tells us more about him than any Republican links with the Nazis. Which there undoubtedly were, just as there were FF and FG links and some of the Unionist party figures looked on admirably at Hitler’s dirty work in the 1930s. So if people wish to throw shit about, I suggest they check out their own sewage tank first.

    Is it really that surprising that people who were fighting British imperialism back then looked to the UKs main enemy for support, people at war have been doing this for thousands of years, I am not excusing it just pointing out it still goes on.

    There is much to be admired about Sean Russell, it is just that now is not the time to put up a statue to him, and in all probability there will never be such a time.

  • Belfast Telegraph’s, Eamonn McCann, wrote “…It strikes me that a restored statue of Russell might not last long unscathed. But that’s not the point…”

    Don’t ya just love those disclaimers… so when the next attack on the statue happens the responsible journo can say in a smug manner “I told you so” but of course “don’t blame me I didn’t tell them to do it”.

    Can’t some young lefty student types also be well served voicing ARTISTIC protest against some other statue / memorial against other nefarious characters… Ollie Cromwell (a regicidal dictator and a religious fanatic genocidal murderer) statue at Westminster. Ed Carson (the man who brought the gun into Irel’s politics, the promoter of Ireland apartied “”the Protestant province of Ulster” and “all means necessary”) who has a huge statue at Stormont and a small blue plaque at Harcourt St. It shouldn’t be studenty enough just to travel from UCD to Raheny to attack the Russel statue at least not if that’s your claim to fame as a wild college kid.

    I am of course talking ARTISTIC protest nothing unlawful (disclaimer should be able to work both ways, right?).

  • Reader

    mickhall: Is it really that surprising that people who were fighting British imperialism back then looked to the UKs main enemy for support, people at war have been doing this for thousands of years, I am not excusing it just pointing out it still goes on.
    It does suggest a spectacular deficiency in his sense of proportion, though. The first world war killed maybe 20 million people, and WW2 looked set to kill as many and in fact killed many more. So the IRA bombed Coventry and tried to hook up with the ultimate bad guys. For a 10 day United Ireland in a thousand year Reich?
    Perhaps ironically, I’m against wrecking statues that were put in place in the past with general acceptance. It feels sort of like re-writing history. It’s not like he’s all over the place like Stalin or Saddam

  • Harry Flashman


    < >

    Gee now I wonder how the “anti-republican” media could have got such crazy ideas from, hmmm it wouldn’t have been his little jaunt in a U-boat could it? You know the U-boats, the most Nazi arm of the German navy, the U-boats that as he damn well knew were sinking unarmed civilian ships in the hope of starving British and Irish civilians into accepting the Third Reich, could that have been where the media got its strange ideas from?

    And when he got back to Germany he continued to give assistance to the SS in order to bring their joyful little schemes to his native land, the disgusting shit!

    Look I don’t give a damn about his previous role in Spain, a virtuous man ceases to be virtuous when he actively consorts with evil men to bring about evil results. I don’t care about the “England’s enemy is Ireland’s friend” bollocks.

    When confronted with the sheer evil of the Nazis it was the duty of all civilised people to leave the old quarrels aside. Churchill who actively sought to strangle the Soviet Union at birth recognised this and gave Stalin 110% support in the Russian fight against the Nazis, true Irish Republicans would have felt the same, many did, Ryan wasn’t one of them.


    < >

    Ha hah hah ha, that’s funny, yeah coz Irish politics had been noted for its peaceloving non-violent nature for cenruries before 1912, right?

  • Jesus Christ

    Harry Flashman: You should learn some history. The heroic Kriegsmarine was the least Nazified section of the entire German armed forces, the total oppostie of what you say. Although two (former) leaders of the Kriegsmarine were unjustly convicted at Nuremberg, witnesses for their defence included leaders of both the British and American navies.

    Sean Russell was justified in going to Germany for arms to kill Brits with. The fact he was being strung along, just like the Ukrainian and other nationalists the Nazis used does not change this.
    Churchill was a war criminal. As well as giving the green light to Dresden and similar war crimes, he also cheered on as the Soviets raped hundreds of thousands of German, Polish and Serbian women. Let us also not forget his treachery at Singapore of the stupid Ossies, or Gallipoli in the Great War, or that fascist Greece was an ally in the Second World war. And that’s before we consider the fate of the Croats and White Russians.

    Eamonn McCann is an aging Trot and as such his views on Raytheon, John Hume, Derry FC and Sean Russell should not be taken too seriously.

    Sir Edward Carsoni was an unmitigated thug, just like John Nixon, his main triggerman.

    The Provos will slowly walk away from Russell as they climb the ladder of respectability. The only good move the Provos ever made was getting Libya to give them the means of the scuppered Tet offensive to blast you lot out of it. Joe Cahill and other CIA sleepers scuppered that one. The result is Vichy Ireland and Sean Russell, the RIRA, INLA and CIRA cannot be slagged off for refusing to be Quislings or Vichy Republicans.

    McCann should be in an old folk’s home, along with Nell McCafferty. Why she was allowed to ramble on in The battle of the Bogside movie wil remain as one of those unsolved historical mysteries.

  • confused

    When I think of Russell I take some comfort in the most painful death he could experience before he had the chance to do the dirty work of the Nazis by rounding up jewish people
    SF had of course a track record by carrying out a Pogram against these people in Cork.
    Evil men should be remembered for their evil deeds but I am not surprised to see SF trying to elevate him to hero status.

  • mickhall


    You certainly are, I have already asked for evidence which proves or even hints that Russell was anti Semitic, if you have evidence, put it up. What there is no doubt about is that members of FG or its for-runner and FF where anti Semitic, and many within the Catholic Church in Ireland, as elsewhere in Europe was anti Semitic, especially amongst the hierarchy in both Ireland and the Vatican. Indeed anti Communist and anti Semitism often merged in such peoples minds, due to the fact that many leading Bolsheviks were Jews.


    We have had this dance on slugger before, as I see no useful point in accepting your offer to take another turn around the floor, I will simply say, up yours my old friend 😉

  • Harry Flashman


    You talk a load of absolute twaddle don’t you?

    So let me get this right; along with an Irish Nazi-lover, in your pantheon of the great and the good you have Ghaddafi’s Libya, Ukrainian and Belorussian fascists, the German Navy (check your facts you idiot, the U-boat men were absolute commmitted Nazis whatever about the big ship boys), Ustashe cutthroats in Croatia and the baby killers of Omagh.

    Your list of the villains of WW II are Churchill, the Red Army, the Greek resistance and stupid Australians.

    Somehow I envisage you at home with your Sacred Heart on the wall alongside signed portraits of General Franco and Juan Peron, a plaster Virgin Mary on the mantle piece and you secretly dressing up in Nazi regalia (Leibstandardt Waffen SS of course, complete with Fainne ring and Pioneer Pin), playing your “Collected speeches of Father Coughlin” cd and sighing wistfully about the death of Mussolini!

    Listen don’t bother coming back to debate me, you’re a total clown and not worth my time bothering about.

  • mickhall

    I think Harry is correct on the Nazi fanaticism of U-boat crews, when the recent controversy over Gunter Grass nazi past blew up, I read somewhere the U-Boat service was second only to the SS in attracting young die hard nazis.

  • lib2016

    People should be judged in the context of their time – I’m a lifelong socialist and republican but I read Mitchel’s ‘Jail Journal’ in the early 60’s when Kennedy and Martin Luther King were changing the political climate for good and realised that though he fought British oppression in Ireland he espoused the racist philosophy on which that oppression was based, particularly when it applied to Negroes.

    It was socialists a hundred years ago who were the most enthusiastic supporters of eugenics, the ‘science’ which led to the worst excesses of the Nazis.

    Worse yet I learned at an early age that some of the strongest opponents of eugenics belonged to that disgraceful outfit, the Conservative Party, the very people who were still playing the Orange card then and who were and still are my mortal enemy.

    Life gets complicated – don’t it? I agree with much of Flashman’s post here but judging on his previous form that is going to be a rare event. However maybe it might be a good idea to look past our differences now and then.

    Being allied with Stalin didn’t make Churchill a Red and being allied with the Nazis didn’t make Russell a Nazi. Just because Flashman posts discredited unionist propaganda doesn’t make him a bad person, though it maybe raises questions about his judgement as to the right time and place to do that.

    Too many political nerds here who recognise all too well the sound of barrels being scraped, friend. 😉

  • Martin

    “…though it maybe raises questions about his judgement as to the right time and place to do that”

    Quite. In a similar vein perhaps the Republican movement, if they are not prepared to accept that in this case one of their own was in the wrong, should find a less public way of celebrating him. At least until the rest of us catch up with their way of thinking. This issue will not go away and the statue will remain a target and I imagine the National Graves people will ultimately have to put up a statue in reinforced steel.

  • Jesus Christ

    Harry Flashman: Instead of calling names, check your facts. The U boat crews had the highest fatalities of all branches of the German defence forces. They took on the world’s two greatest navies in asymmetrical technical warfare and gave them a good run for their money. In such a war, there was no need for anti Semiticism. The Kriegsmarine also distinguished itself by evacuating German civilians in fron of the Sviet onslaught.
    Greece was a fascist state prior to Italy’s stupid invasion. The Greek resistance, as you call it, were Communists who lost the subsequent civil war against the fascists. Greece, unlike Yugoslavia etc, was not on Stalin’s plate after the Yalta carve up.
    At Singapore, General Pervical (who previously surrendered to the IRA, gave up the Ossies (sent there by Churchill to replace Brits) to a handfull of starving Japanese.

    You keep calling names here. But just remember who the real fascists in Ireland are. Hint: they are the ones who set up the fascist, sectarian, anti democratic state of NI.

    As regards Sean Russell: were the Israelis anti Zionists for supplying Iran with weapons during the Iran Iraq war? How about Sweden?

    I imagine any simple reasoning is beyond you and your B special family.

    I am not really surprised you support the mass rapes committed by the Red Army, considering what the UVF etc got up to. And as reagrds the Croatians, you should use sources other than Ian Paisley’s shops to buy your historial literature. Of coruse Paisley, nost most Orangies missed out on World war 11. More loyal to the half crown than the Crown.

  • Harry Flashman

    “My B-special family” oh how that would make my IRA grandfather laugh, God rest his soul!

    < >

    Thanks lib2016, that’s the nicest thing anyone has said to me today!

  • Jesus Christ

    Ok, Harry Flashman, hide behind your long dead dead grand da. Had he an independent strain of mind or was he a little thought lemming like you? Not that his views matter a whit in sizing you up.

    Joe Cahill and other dubious characters were aware of the propaganda problems Sean Russell’s adventurism cost them and it was partly for this reason that they took their weapons from the CIA and Libya. Russell’s thinking was straightforward and, in the context of the 1940s’ IRA, correct. Dev, of course, would have shot him and hundreds more should Russell have been successful. Look at the reaction to the Magazine fort raid.
    Also, Nazi agents in Ireland were decidedly unnsucccessful, one reason being the IRA were a joke.

    Fast forward to today and MI5 agent and cop killer Joe Cahill was a part of the sellout that has Sinn Fein supporting the SSRUC. And Sean Russell is not the biggest skeleton in the well stocked cupboard.

  • Jesus Christ

    Mick Hall: The heroic Kriegsmarine had the highest fatality rate of all sections of Hitler’s defence forces for the very same reason the US Submarine section had the hgiehst of all US sectors. The Gemran High Command were condemned at Nurmeberg as a criminal outfit; the Kriegsmarine section of the heroic Wehrmacht was not.
    Of the four integral parts of the Wehrmacht, the Waffen SS have come in for the greatest stick. At the start of hostilities, the regular army (Heer) looked down their noses at the SS. However, the SS proved their reckless bravery on countless occasions and, if it were not for some excesses comitted against potential fifth columnists, their names would be amongst the most honoured of all military divisions in history. Bt war’s end, the SS were the most multi cultural force in Hitler’s Wehrmarcht and thye took just about anybody, Jews excepted, into their ranks.

    The purpose of this post is to say that things were not as black and white as Zionist extortionists or their fellow travellers would like it to be. To call Frank Ryan a Nazi as some clowns have done here is just plain silly.

    When Gunther Grasse was recently outed for joining the SS, he pointed out that the SS were regarded as an elite figthing force. Joining it would have been no different than Mad Bob Nairac wanting to join the elite killers of the SAS.

    Slagging off Sean Russell is like slagging off the Pope for being in the Hitler Youth as David Norris has done. It is no coincidence that Harry F has to use sectarian baiting to hide up his lack of knowledge of the period. Real Protestant Truth Society crap.

  • chauncy

    Jesus Christ
    ‘At the start of hostilities, the regular army (Heer) looked down their noses at the SS. However, the SS proved their reckless bravery on countless occasions and, if it were not for some excesses comitted against potential fifth columnists, their names would be amongst the most honoured of all military divisions in history. Bt war’s end, the SS were the most multi cultural force in Hitler’s Wehrmarcht and thye took just about anybody, Jews excepted, into their ranks.’

    That’s about as chilling a piece of reductionism/spin as I’ve ever read – and that on the day following Holocaust Memorial Day. What contempt there must be behind the usage of such phrases as “Some excesses” against “potential fifth columnists” as a way to elide the ethnic cleansings of Eastern European villages, the systematic deportation and murder of millions of Jews, Gypsies, communists, homosexuals, common criminals, political opponents etc..,the decimation of the lives of millions of children and its legacy to this day.

    Grass has written extensively about collective guilt, has traced the physiognomy of the perpetrator, and only now when the debate on German victimhood has moved into a safer space has he felt secure enough to talk about his time with the SS. Don’t for a minute think that his Boys Own motives for wanting to join the submarine division was not accompanied by a self-justifying nationalistic fervour. Don’t think he didn’t witness atrocities in East Prussia. He is a flawed person, at best – and a great writer, at least.

    The SS were no valiant heroes, they were evil.

  • Oilibhear Chromaill

    Given the recent expose about Ireland’s role, post war, in giving safe haven to some nazis, maybe it’s time Establishment Ireland drew its breath before attacking Sean Russell who sought help from the Germans BEFORE it was widely known what the nazis were up to in the concentration camps. After all how many statues of Dev and co are around the country and might need to be toppled given the tacit support given all sorts of Nazi undesireables coming to live in the Emerald Isle at a time when there was no excuse for ignorance of the horrors of the concentration camps. And how many of those in the Establishment Media kept shtum when they met these people at social gatherings etc.

    Less humbug and more honesty might be in order in this debate.

  • Jesus Christ

    Chauncy: In war, there are are no heroes. However, the Waffen SS were fearless and very successful fighters for a number of very important reasons. And they fought by the book – their book. If their book said kill Jews, priests, commissars, town officials, Stickies, that is what they did. They became Hitler’s firemen. No one is asking you to belatedly support them but you must acknowledge their courage, as one must acknowledge the courage of the SS, the RUC or the American sectarian killers currently fomenting civil war in Iraq.

    As regards Herr Grass, you should maybe check out what George Ratzinger said when his brother became Pope and the liberal media lined up to attack them. To refresh you, membership of the Hitler Youth was compulsory and all other avenues of outlet were outlawed. The present Pope showed more balls in deserting than most Irish people will ever know. The point is: you cannot judge the Germans of World war 2 by the comfy standards of the Celtic Tiger. Also read Joachim Piper, one of the SS heroes of the Battle of the Bulge as to how he described the hatred his men had for the Allies who had firebombed their families: uneducated, tough and all they knew was how to handle arms.
    We were tslking about the fighting skills of the SS and they were second to none. Most SS men had nothing to do with the excesses against the Poles and others; the Poles have never been paid a cent in reparations unlike the Jewish black financial hole. And the war was not about the Jews in any event so leave them out just for once. I see there are mass killings in Palestine today as Hamas and Fatah slug it out. Will Israel pay any compensation there?

    Cromwell: what a charming name. If you are talking about SS leader Otto Skorzeny who had a house in Kildare, what of it? Churchill once described him as the most dangerous man in Europe. It would have been a pleasure to meet him and shake his hand; certainly the Free State officers in the Curragh wanted to do that as would anybody. He used to park outside the Gresham and be fined 2/6. He reckoned it was good value.

    I see you want to link Dev with the Nazi excesses. Better men than you have tried in the past but a nation which gets off on Mary Lou McDonald Duck and Big Brother is capable of anything. So maybe Ireland will end up paying the parasites off. Afer all, everybody else except iran is.

    Finally Chauncy, there is no need to rmeind us of “Holocuast Memorial Day”. The media never stfu about it. They are now suing the French railways because a few Jews got one waytrain tickets a long long time ago. No word yet on Israel paying any compensation for anything, though they did cough up a few quid for the USS Livberty outrage.

  • Sammy Morse

    if it were not for some excesses comitted against potential fifth columnists, their names would be amongst the most honoured of all military divisions in history

    Uh? I mean like, what the fuck? What the fucking fuck?

    For the first time in the history of Slugger O’Toole, I’ve been left speechless by Jesus Christ’s apologia for one of the most vicious, barbarous gangs of murderers the world has ever seen.

    Was Babi Yar just a piece of excess against fifth columnists? You know, the one where the SS rounded up 100,000 or so Jews from Kiev, stole all their stuff, stripped them naked and then lined them up and machine gunned them into a gorge? If that’s excess, I’d hate to see what you’d have to do to commit a war crime in your book.

    As for the multi-ethnic nature of the SS, yes the SS were quite happy to recruit anyone who was willing to murder their favourite enemies – Jews, Serbs, Poles and reds.

    Happy Holocaust Memorial Day.

  • Jesus Christ

    You are living in cliches. The SS recruited (almost) all comers because their Reich weas getting pounded from all sides. They recruited them to fight their enemies and even to the last days of the Reich, the SS, outnumbered and outgunned, still inflicted much heavier casualties than they suffered. The Israeli Defences Forces, for one, have been keen students of their tactics. The SS were probably history’s best – not nicest but best – fighting unit.
    After the war, many of them fled into the French Foregin Legion and excelled at Dien Bien Phu. The VC had put extra bounties on all German speaking Legionairres because they were that good.
    Maybe also try reading Arthur Koestler about the bs the Soviets put out about their own troops. All soldiers, not least the SS, have shown tremendous bravery against overwhelming odds.
    As regards the Jews you are so concerned about: they are still being paid massive reparations. The Poles were paid nothing. And Italy has never compensated Libyans or Ethiopians for their atrocities. But maybe you consider Arabs and Ethiopians as of less consequence than your “Chosen People”.

    Maybe, instead of a statue to Sean Russell, a monument to the monumental ignroance of the mass of the Irishry would be in order. I would suggest a blinkered and crippled horse or pig. Perhaps a kneecapped and blinded Shergar?

  • Garibaldy


    As I pointed out on the vincent brown thread, Commies kicked the SS’ ass twice, once in Europe and once in Vietnam.

  • Jim Kemmy

    As long as we are able to look at history, there is hope. If the Zionists would ever stfu for a few minutes and maybe refrain fom killing Arabs. maybe we could have a proper debate like they tried to do in Iran.

  • Jesus Christ

    Garibaldy: War is not Cup football. Innocents die. No hierarchy of victims as Gerry says. Vietnam was a side show for the French as they were beginning to bleed in Algeria. I have been to the Dien Bien Phu museum. The best part is watching all the Vietnamese schoolkids get pride in their nation. Something like when Jack’s Army made it ot the quarter finals in Italy but much more substantial.
    It is a shame that the Yanks are now starting a civil war in Iraq to cover their tracks. They are the real criminals.
    War is hell and it fucks up the combatants. That is the real lesson of the history of the IRA. Sean Russell, Bobby Sands, Frank Ryan, Peadar O’Donnell, Kieran Nugent, Kieran Doherty. Lost lives. One remembers the words of SS Colonel Joachim Piper and so many others. Better to be with the fallen in Valhalla than with Mary Lou of the double chin and the forked tongue.
    The odd thing about the Sean Russell statue is aesthetically it was not all that bad. Former OIRA boss Cathal Goulding lived in Cadogan St right next to it. I recall the words of his mate Brendan Behan about the gallant IRA blowing up statues of horses. The more things change…………

  • john burns

    No-one who have heard of Sean Russell’s statue but for Mary lou McDonald’s shameful use of it for cheap political gain.

  • john burns

    Should have read no-one would have heard…

  • Harry Flashman wrote on Jan 27, 2007 @ 02:06 AM “…< >
    Ha hah hah ha, that’s funny, yeah coz Irish politics had been noted for its peaceloving non-violent nature for cenruries before 1912, right? “

    But ignoring your attempted swerve & getting back to the point I’d made… that Carson WAS the one who brought the gun into Irish politics as we know it today (Larne) and he was the one who aimed for an apartied state of NI. Therefore a nasty old blood-soaked sectarian separatist… I’d guess his statue should be the subject of ‘artistic’ protest. They could also highlight his anti – gay legal work.

    Moving into denial mode are we Flash..?