Republican Women

Suzanne Breen profiles two Republican women battling it out in the elections over policing in this week’s Sunday Tribune: A tale of one city: two women on either side of the republican divide Peggy O’Hara and Martina Anderson are both standing in the assembly elections in Foyle. Peggy O’Hara is the mother of INLA hunger striker, Patsy O’Hara, and opposes the endorsement of the PSNI. Martina Anderson was part of the IRA bombing team behind Brighton, and spent 13 years in jail; she is now Sinn Fein’s ‘head of the department for unionist engagement’ and supports their current policy. Interestingly, Sinn Fein would not let her be interviewed: “Despite several requests to speak to Anderson, Sinn Féin said she wasn’t available for interview to the Sunday Tribune.”

  • parcifal

    the article shows clearly how one woman lives in the past, and one in the present; same as in the DUP. So this election is about those who can or cannot let go of the past.

  • slug

    Martina Anderson – Brighton Bomber – is Sinn Féin’s choice for Director of Unionist Engagement.

  • borden


    I don’t think Provo Sinn Fein do irony.

    According to Breen and friends in Derry she (Anderson) seems to be PSFs great hope. Christ help them if that is the case. Durkan and the stoops must be laughing their collective heads off!

    Also, rumours on the ground in foyle is the Peggy O’HAra could attract up to 2,000 1st preferences. Not great for the provos. But many Republicans in Derry are sick of the PSF u-turns and are thinking they might as well vote for the stoops or stay at home rather than the MArxist stoop further brand.

  • Nevin

    “Sinn Féin appointed her ‘head of the department for unionist engagement’. Previously, she was head of ‘the all-Ireland agenda department’.” .. Tribune link


  • Slartibuckfast

    You speak English on this forum, Cobblers?

  • graduate

    This election is ABSOLUTELY about those who can and can’t let go of the past. Hopefully those who see a future will come out ahead or we’re all in shit and would the last one to leave please turn the lights off?

  • Shore Road Resident

    Repulican Women – From Harps to Harpies?

  • marty (not ingram)

    The family home was raided regularly. O’Hara took her own revenge: “the police could smell the lovely fry and my family would sit down to eat and the police wouldn’t get a bite”.

    Everyone, Republican or otherwise has their own particular part to play :O)

  • peter fallow

    [play the ball – edited moderator]
    The sooner we are rid of that generation of reactionary, the better for all of us.

  • Parcifal-

    “the article shows clearly how one woman lives in the past, and one in the present; same as in the DUP. So this election is about those who can or cannot let go of the past.”

    How dismissive. Although I personally disagree with Mrs. O’Hara’s analysis- I believe policing can best be reformed using the structures now available- it’s a bit rich for provo cheerleaders to describe her as a woman who ‘lives in the past’ when said organisation is happy to use Patsy O’Hara’s face on Hunger Strike propaganda material (despite the fact that he wasn’t even a provo).

    Perhaps if you received home the body of your starved son only to find that the RUC had broken his nose and stubbed out cigarettes on his face post-mortem, then you wouldn’t be so blasé about the current moves afoot within the provo movement- those moves may be welcome to those of us who want to see constructive progress, but for people left with nothing but photographs of their dead family members who put themselves forward as cannon-fodder for the various strands of the republican movement (the main concstituent of which is now signing up to policing), can you really be so surprised that many have been left thinking ‘what was it all about’?

    Peggy O’Hara, rather than being in a situation where she “cannot let go of the past”, may not actually want to let go of the past.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Slugger editors : Brian Rowan is saying in the Sunday Life that he’s running for election. Can you do a blog entry on this ?

  • Oh, and interesting how you compare the mother of a dead hunger striker with the DUP. It’s bizarre that we have reached the point where it falls to someone like me to call provo-sympathising ‘republicans’ on their absolute repudiation of all that they stood for, as evidenced by your attitude to Mrs. O’Hara. Hardly surprising that many are now asking ‘what exactly do the provos stand for’? Not much apparently.

  • darth rumsfeld

    having read and heard many of Ms Anderson’s contributions to Unionist engagement I have to say it is a damning indictment–no,no, not of Sinn Fein, but of the education system that could award a first in social sciences (ugh) to such a one track sub-Stalinist intellectual prisoner of the “project”.Perhaps the vapid twitterings of sub-Spartist dreary dogma are enough to get a degree nowadays. I blame Martin McGuinness myself

    Her staggering lack of empathy seems to concern her not one jot, but she’s careful to higlight the religious background of her dad, as if that is the magic ticket to Unionist acceptance.

    The only message she can parrot is the implicit “My da was one of youse, but I turned out all right- so youse can too- just don’t think there’s any alternative. You too can be post-Unionist guilt free Prods, as long as you never forget you were once guilty Prods”

  • topgun

    Anderson was a beauty queen?

  • darth rumsfeld

    we are talking about Londonderry here

  • Nevin

    Martina Anderson at that Ard Fheis, 28 January, 2007. The transcript doesn’t quite match the spoken word. Unionists (and families of victims of the Troubles) will hardly warm to her words.

  • I found Mrs O’Hara’s account of her son dying very eloquent. But at least he got a choice. All those UDR part-timers on their farms (etc.)didn’t, something she hasn’t quite grasped.

  • Watchman.

    The part-time UDR soldiers did have a choice.

    Just like Patsy O’Hara they were volunteers.

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