In a full page ad in today’s Irish News, hundreds of former republican prisoners have put their names to a statement endorsing the independent republican candidates. The statement: (link includes signatures)
Irish Republican Ex-Pows Against the RUC/PSNI & MI5
As Republican activists who served the Republican and Republican Socialist Movements in the armed struggle, we would like to take this opportunity to call upon all Republicans to come out and vote for Independent Republican Candidates of your choice in the Election tomorrow. These candidates are well placed to represent the concerns of grassroots Republicans.
The people’s desire for peace has been cynically exploited. We, the undersigned, have always desired peace. We reject the logic of the proposition that the interests of peace can be in any way served by our young people signing up to join the British Crown forces such as the RUC/PSNI. These forces continue to recruit informers from within our community to spy upon Republicans. To speak frankly, Irish Republicanism is jeopardised by the British-inspired lie that this is required in order to have peace. We view this as a betrayal of everything Republicans fought for.
A broader strategy to rebuild and consolidate the Republican Movement in Ireland has begun. We support open and free debate among Republicans as we face the future and the unfinished struggle to bring about, by peaceful means, a thirty-two country democratic Republic on the island of Ireland.
Echoing in only the way Irish history can, Eamon Phoenix carries this snippet in today’s edition of “On This Day”:
Republican dissidents protest
We have been sent a proclamation on the partition question, signed by a group of leading republicans including George N Count Plunkett, Mary MacSwiney and Brian O’Higgins.
They quote the private letter written by the former British prime minister, Lloyd George, to Sir Edward Carson, dated May 29 1916 in connection with the 1916 partition proposals:
“My dear Carson – We must make it clear that at the end of the provisional period, Ulster does not, whether she likes it or not, merge in the rest of Ireland – Yours truly, D Lloyd George.
PS Show this to Craig.”
“In December 1921”, they add, “representatives of Ireland in London were forced to sign articles of agreement for a treaty under the threat of immediate and terrible war.”
‘‘In the name of the second Dail”, they add, “we repudiate schemes of defence on the Cuban model and we urge the youth to beware of England’s far-flung recruiting wiles.”
(When de Valera established the Fianna Fail Party in 1926 and subsequently entered the Dail, taking the oath of allegiance to the British King in the process, a section of ‘old guard’ republicans remained in a shrunken Sinn Fein abstentionist party.
They included Count George Plunkett, the father of the 1916 executed signatory, Joseph Plunkett, and a former minister in the first Dail; Mary MacSwiney, one of the ‘seagreen incorruptibles’ who had condemned the 1921 treaty as treachery and Brian O’Higgins, a former TD for Clare best known for his popular verse.
As this statement shows, the leaders of anti-treaty Sinn Fein continued to draw their mandate from the second Dail of 1921 and, by 1938, regarded de Valera as having betrayed the republican cause.
These years saw a revival of the IRA which launched a bombing campaign in England in 1939.)