Honouring Ireland’s Fallen

This year marks the 91st anniversary of the 1916 Easter Rising, an event commemorated by republicans throughout Ireland by the wearing of the Easter Lily. There will be numerous commemorations across the country to mark the event. The speeches accompanying the numerous commemorations are likely to include reference to the new political dispensation that is now upon us, where all significant strands of unionism and nationalism/ republicanism on the island are prepared to enter new political relationships which can only lead to an enhanced appreciation and understanding of opinions on all sides.

For republicans, Easter has a particular resonance, a time for remembering those who have died in pursuit of the cause of Irish freedom and reunification. Easter 2007 is an exciting time for republicanism; with Sinn Fein receiving the party’s strongest ever electoral mandate in the six counties a matter of weeks ago, the party looks ahead to fresh elections in the 26 counties in a matter of weeks, with the prospect of further expanding the electoral appeal of republicanism throughout the island.

At this point, I would like to acknowledge those from outside the nationalist/ republican tradition whose attitudes towards the Easter commemorative period range from indifference to outright hostility.

Republicans have a duty to develop a further understanding of the perceptions and attitudes of unionism- as do unionists in relation to the perceptions and attitudes of republicanism. I believe that republicans have begun to make a concerted effort to do so in recent years in relation to unionist attitudes towards the commemoration of those who have fought and died for a British cause- be it in Ireland through membership of one of the many British military regiments or the RUC, or abroad through involvement in one of Britain’s wars- most notably, of course, the two World Wars.

Whilst many steps have been taken in the past decade by Irish nationalists to show a shared acknowledgement of the sacrifice of Irishmen involved in the two World Wars, it will obviously prove more difficult for republicans/ nationalists to acknowledge the entitlement of unionists to remember those whose service to Britain involved furthering the maintenance of British rule in Ireland.

It will be foolish to expect unionist attendance at Easter commemorations this week- just as it would to expect republicans to similarly attend commemorations to Britain’s war dead- but we should be moving towards a phase in which mutual respect is afforded each community to remember their fallen in an era where all sides are seemingly determined that no names be added to the long lists of those already perished.

  • Mike

    Aaron McDaid:

    “Oh, and as you are well aware but pretend to deny, there were and are many Protestants in the IRA. And atheists too. We republicans don’t discriminate.”

    Even when murdering people because of their religion (e.g. Bayardo Bar, Kingsmills, Tullyvallen, Four Step Inn, Balmoral Furiture Showroom, Moutainview Tavern), their nationality (e.g. the atrocities of the Balcombe Street gang) or their political opinion (e.g. Robert Bradford, Edgar Graham, Ian Gow)?

  • Greenflag

    Reader,

    ‘Craig was unable to display the remotest spark of generosity.’

    Seems a fair comment not just for Craig but for his successors . Not until Capt O’Neill did Unionism produce a leader who even hinted at better North South relationships or more importantly better relationships between the communities within Northern Ireland .

    By then of course it was too late as is/was always the case in Ireland when Britain or British Unionist politicians in Northern Ireland decide to act.

    40 years later the latest ‘Unionist’ leader sems to be getting around to the idea ?

    Wonder why now ?

    Could it be changing demographics or economics or intimations of mortality on the part of Unionism’s Ayatollah ?

    Who knows and who really cares apart from the political pundits .The fact that the Myers/Edwards/Cruise O’Brien crowd feel betrayed by Paisley is neither here nor there . Their opinions count for toilet tissue with the DUP leader. Adams and Aherne however represent votes and numbers .If Paisley can deliver some sort of semi permanent political stability in NI then that will do fine .

    Reading any more into the present change of climate at least at the top of the political dung heap in NI would be stretching optimism a step too far .

    Early days .

  • Doctor Who

    kensei

    “No, it really isn’t. He was a terrible bigot.”

    Judging by your ultra Catholic, republican stance, intolerance of anthing not dark green and previous anti semitic diatribes towards me on the we exist thread, you would give any bigot a run for their money in that department.

    As usual you avoid the evidence, the fact that the special relationship between Catholic church and the running of the state was written into the constitution of the Irish Free State, escapes you.

    But sure why bother with the facts when you can indulge in a good old bout of whataboutery while listening to a few old songs of mopery,via the Wolfe tones greatest hits. BTW see the reduced Nazi David Healy is starting to find the net for your beloved Yorkshire team Leeds United, that´s in England bt the way.

  • Doctor Who

    Peter Fyfe

    “one name JAMES CONNOLLY”

    And another name is Eoin O´Duffy.

  • SuperSoupy
  • The Dubliner

    [i]How many votes did he get? (Some Election!)

    And what happened when he did actually stand for an election (to the Seanad in 1925)? What forces defeated him?
    Posted by Reader on Apr 08, 2007[/i]

    Yawn. Did the state discriminate against Douglas Hyde because he was a protestant? Your contention that the state discriminates against Protestants is void. The state appointed a protestant to its highest office.

    Just as the state’s first president was a protestant, so was its fourth president. Considering your tiny numbers in the south, the only discriminating that occurs seems to be in your favour.

    Now if you want to make a case that Protestants are discriminated against in the south, then I suggest you support your claim with facts, statistics and the relevant percentages instead of your own nakedly sectarian assertions which you confuse with fact.

  • confused

    The State did indeed discriminate against President Hyde.
    On his death DE Valera could not enter St Patrick’s Cathedral for the service because of his hatred of Protestants.
    He stood outside the gates with his gunmen and only joined the cortege when it left the church.
    What a way to treat your Head of State.

  • kensei

    “Judging by your ultra Catholic, republican stance, intolerance of anthing not dark green and previous anti semitic diatribes towards me on the we exist thread, you would give any bigot a run for their money in that department.”

    I am Catholic, Nationalist and Republican and proud of it. I apologise for none of them. Though the Ireland I aspire to is one that is a Constitutional Republic, Democratic and free. One where I can be as dark green as I like and you as dark orange and anything in between.

    Now, I have told you before about slandering me. Either, produce evidence and I will apologise (as I already made clear on another thread) as it was definitely not my intent, or shut the fuck up. I should really ask Mick to delete that bit.

    “As usual you avoid the evidence, the fact that the special relationship between Catholic church and the running of the state was written into the constitution of the Irish Free State, escapes you.”

    No, YOU ignore the evidence. The ONLY mention of the Catholic Church in the Constitution is in the Article, now amended, that I outlined. The “special position” was SOLELY< \b> a function of the number of adherents and according to Wiki:

    “Though perceived in retrospect as a sectarian article, Article 44 was praised in 1937 by leaders of Irish protestant churches (notably the Church of Ireland Archbishop of Dublin) and by Jewish groups. Conservative Catholics condemned it as “liberal”.”

    In fact Article 44 states:

    (2.2) The State guarantees not to endow any religion.
    (2.3) The State shall not impose any disabilities or make any discrimination on the ground of religious profession, belief or status.

    Did the Catholic Church have too much influence in the South post partition? Damn right, but that was more to do with the acquiescence of the state than the Irish Constitution. I personally believe that it wouldn’t have been possible with 1 million Prods telling them to fuck off, but that is a what if that could be debated endlessly.

    “But sure why bother with the facts when you can indulge in a good old bout of whataboutery while listening to a few old songs of mopery,via the Wolfe tones greatest hits.”

    Personally, I’m more of a Christy Moore or Dubliners man myself. When you actually start basing your posts on evidence rather than ranting and the voices in your motherfucking head, you might be able to level that criticism; as it is your posts have been content free.

    “BTW see the reduced Nazi David Healy is starting to find the net for your beloved Yorkshire team Leeds United, that´s in England bt the way.”

    Go see a Doctor about your chronic addiction to Godwin’s Law. As for Healy, delighted with him getting out of our whole over the past three weeks, but overall has still been a disappointment in a Leeds shirt especially when compared to his sparkling performances in an NI jersey. What the fuck has that to do with the price of fish?

  • kensei

    “The State did indeed discriminate against President Hyde.
    On his death DE Valera could not enter St Patrick’s Cathedral for the service because of his hatred of Protestants.
    He stood outside the gates with his gunmen and only joined the cortege when it left the church.
    What a way to treat your Head of State.”

    Hyde was accorded a State Funeral. The actions of the Catholic members of the government are solely their own and not the State’s, and that is so clear it is stupid to drag it up. There was also a rather heated thread a while back because the Presbyterian moderator wouldn’t involve himself in an ecumenical services, so this is somewhat shaky ground to argue on.

    Also: a tip – Hyde wasn’t the only Protestant President. Childers was CoI.

  • confused

    to Kensei

    You have not denied the point I made about the disrespect shown to Hyde and his family based on bigotry and sectarianism of government ministers at that time.
    This was prevalent among the ruling classes.

  • kensei

    “You have not denied the point I made about the disrespect shown to Hyde and his family based on bigotry and sectarianism of government ministers at that time.
    This was prevalent among the ruling classes.”

    I don’t believe it was either. The teaching of their Church was not to attend, so they didn’t and for no other reason.

    Personally, I think that teaching was wrong, and I’m glad it is gone. But I don’t think anyone could be claimed for being bound by it. Ian Paisley has been invited to Catholic funeral’s and not attended for example, because it is a requiem mass. I’d disagree with that too, but I’m not sure sectarian is the right word for it.

  • darth rumsfeld

    in parts this is actually quite a mature discussion, especially Garibaldy’s very shrewd counter balancing of O’Connell and Cooke ( normally, to noone’s surprise blustering Dan is the hero, and Henry a pantomine villain who seduces the innocent young presbyterian away from the ideals of the 98).
    but then deep analysis seems threatening to republicans who go off on the usual sorties of MOPEry, whataboutery, and “Look- Wayne McCullough got to carry the tricolour at the Olympics, so we’re not as bigotted as you!” level of argument.

    Of course, Hyde, Childers, Wayne McCullough, Darren Clarke, Tone, McCracken, half of Bono- in fact any Prod you can get your hands on you instantly adopt as one of your own,put him on a stick and wave him gleefully in the air as if it were proof that all the rest of us are somehow defective- we’ve had Sunningdale for slow learners, and soon you expect us todiscover our true identity for slow learners. Except, as the men of 1898 who stopped nationalists stealing Betsy Gray’s memory to add to the list, we do know who we are far better than you.

    Ian Paisley knows and understands exactly why Presbyterians were United men in 1798 and Unionists in 1898, and can see a common thread. Chris Donnelly ( I think) says earlier that they can’t have been proto-Unionists, since the language of their movement was so anti-Britain. Perhaps he should look at what was written by the same people in the American war of independence, who were similarly rebelling against government intolernace and indifference, but accidentally forged a nation.

    It’s all part of a mindset that hasn’t yet realised that Unionism came after 1798 precisely because it offered a better guarantee of equality and security to the battered Presbyterian community than the last snake oil product- a potent mix of millinerianism and masonic-cultivated secular republicanism which would have turned on the reactionary Roman Catholic Church just as much as the French revolution it sough to imitate.

    Tone – who sneered as “poor Pat and his priests”- would have been horrified at the ossified sectarianism of the republic of 1921.

    Now, if any of the republicans on this thread were serious about being persuaders for a united Ireland step one would be to recognise, that you’re in trouble when you’ve still to accept the damning verdict of sometime groupie WB Yeats- and when he talked about “no petty people” he was sticking up for the Anglo-Irish, not the thran blackmouths of North Antrim!

    You need to stop flaunting your insecurity- the constant carping at the Irish football team you left because it was based in Belfast, the incessant whines to change the name of Londonderry,the encyclopaedic references to quotations taken out of context from seventy years ago as if they’re relevant to today- how often do Germans quote Kanzler von Papen as an authority on the modern state??? ( and BTW , yes Senor Devalera did refer to a Catholic nation- read more history books).

    And the onus is on you, not us, for several reasons-
    first, you are seeking to get us to change what we’re quite happy with
    second, you’re the ones making progress on your agenda, and therefore more in a position to be generous
    third- you’ve blown it so often before, that you have no hard currency in the bank of trust, and you only earn that by demonstrating-“walking the walk”
    A good start would be to separate the Christian festival of Easter from a date in the calendar in 1916. I think Tone would approve of that

  • willowfield

    AARON McDAID

    I don’t think there is any reason for a unionist to doubt that the majority of nationalists and majority of republicans in Ireland are genuine about equality and civil rights for all. What may surprise unionists though is to discover that the majority of the IRA, the majority of SF and the majority of the hunger strikers were just as genuine.

    Why would people who were “genuine about equality and civil rights” engage in slaughter? How does murdering someone, maiming someone, destroying their business or their home, advance their civil rights?

  • willowfield

    JG

    “A Catholic country for a Catholic people” was never said by a politician south of the border.

    On St Patrick’s Day, 1935, de Valera stated that “since the coming of St. Patrick . . . Ireland has been a Christian and a Catholic nation . . . . She remains a Catholic nation . . . .”

    You might want to retract your statement.

  • T.Ruth

    When Republicans are commemorating their struggle are they glorifying great Republican victories like the bombing at La Mon House Hotel when the innocent members of a kennel club were incinerated; or Darkley Mission Hall where churchgoers were cut down inside a gospel hall;or Bloody Friday where a sixteen year old was shovelled into a binbag after the bombs in Oxford Street.The sickening cowardice of those who committed these and many other rascist ,sectarian atrocities against the Protestant community in this part of Ireland leaves a stain on the character of the Republican movement that can not be erased no matter how many attempts are made to rewrite history. We will know in our lifetime exactly how much blood is on the hands of those in the Republican movement who are presently masquerading as statesmen and peacemakers. Truth will out.
    T.Ruth

  • John East Belfast

    Greenflag

    “The Irish Senate was generosity itself when it came to giving representation to minorities .Contrast for instance the Free State Senate with the NI Senate as described below “.

    and

    “I cannot find any reason for giving the Unionists the benefit of the doubt here.”

    Few unionists today would look back on the 1921 to 1971 NI and say that things should have been done differently.

    However lets have some balance.

    Although Unionists failed to help matters they were not encouraged to do so by nationalists.

    At the foramtion of the NI State it was immediately boycotted by nationalism.

    Add to that the sectarian riots of the twenties and the trouble and agression 100 miles down the road in Dublin.

    Unionism was a product of its time so if you are going to kick post partition unionism you need to stress it was not operating in a vacuum.

    Indeed unionism never saw itself as an aggressor but a potential victim in a Catholic & Gaelic Irish State.

    Craig’s statement was in reaction to De Valera’s 1937 Constitution and his glorying in the special place for the Roman Catholic Church therein.

    The enforcement of Ne Temere was one of the worst forms of institutionalised ethnic cleansing in these parts and was supported by the Irish courts in the Tilson v Tilson case where the judge relied on the Irish Constitution for his decision.

    This was followed by that case “Fetherlea .. ?” or whatever that became a film.

    The “Northern Protestant state” did not exist in a vacuum and it would be good if nationalists recognised that.

    Anyhow as this thread is about Republicanism I still fail to see, other than the fact they did not have a monarch, how the 26 county Free State was a Republic and not a racist theocracy built on myth and antagonism to real and imagined past enemies.

  • kensei

    “Of course, Hyde, Childers, Wayne McCullough, Darren Clarke, Tone, McCracken, half of Bono- in fact any Prod you can get your hands on you instantly adopt as one of your own,put him on a stick and wave him gleefully in the air as if it were proof that all the rest of us are somehow defective”

    It has nothing to do with proving the rest of you were defective. It is a positive argument that Republicanism embraces people of all religions and none. The hard fact is that Republicanism, at least in it’s rhetoric, sees a role for everyone.

    As a movement, the United Irishmen had no boundaries. Tone had no love of the Catholic Church, but as a movement the UI men had no boundaries. It doesn’t square with the Unionism of the early 20th Century.

    “A good start would be to separate the Christian festival of Easter from a date in the calendar in 1916. I think Tone would approve of that”

    No, darth, we just have to all learn to respect each other a bit more.

  • kensei

    “The enforcement of Ne Temere was one of the worst forms of institutionalised ethnic cleansing in these parts and was supported by the Irish courts in the Tilson v Tilson case where the judge relied on the Irish Constitution for his decision.”

    For fuck sake, there have been real ethnic cleansings in the world. Don’t belittle them but suggesting anything that went on here approached it.

  • John East Belfast

    kensei

    I think I said “in these parts” and as of course Ireland is what we are talking about.

    Your problem is you have this mythical view of what a Republic is but it bears little resemblance to what happened in post partition Free State.

    You may kid yourself but you dont fool unionists.

  • JG

    “the encyclopaedic references to quotations taken out of context from seventy years ago as if they’re relevant to today

    Senor Devalera did refer to a Catholic nation- read more history books”

    Quoi?

  • darth rumsfeld

    “A good start would be to separate the Christian festival of Easter from a date in the calendar in 1916. I think Tone would approve of that”

    No, darth, we just have to all learn to respect each other a bit more.”

    eh? Why on earth is this commemoration not linked to the day on when it took place? It’s obvious why not- like the obscene blood sacrifice of Pearse, it’s a quasi-pagan distortion of Christianity. Why on earth would pointing out the bleeding obvious equal a lack of respect????

    “It has nothing to do with proving the rest of you were defective. It is a positive argument that Republicanism embraces people of all religions and none.”
    Forgive my cynicism.
    Imagine- not too much-a meeting in the irish Olympic village in 199?.
    “Well, lads, we’ve a team of a couple of hundred- who’ll get carrying the tricolour?”
    “Howabout the wee fella from the Shankill Road in Belfast?”
    “Yeah, he’ll really appreciate that, and it’ll show the world…how much we respect his identity!!!His people up there will really appreciate it too!!! hardehardehar-pass us another drop of the cratur Seamus”

    See? One man’s well-intentioned (?) gesture can backfire spectacularly if everyone knows it’s only a gesture.

    I grant you it’s much more difficult to produce or promote RC Unionists- partly because the stagnant pool of gerontocrats that passed for Unionist politicians post 1920 were never under serious electoral pressure to change ( and BTW if the pending settlement needs a warning about the danger of no effective opposition it doesn’t have to leave the building in which it sits)

    John- the case you recall was in Fethard

    And don’t forget Senor Devalera’s trenchant defence of the need to have Roman Catholic librarians handing out books to good Catholic boys and girls.

  • Roisin

    According to Henry McDonald in the Observer yesterday:

    [i]Away from the gigs, Snoop also associated the Afro-American community’s struggles with those of the Irish. Travelling across Dublin by car, Snoop noted: ‘It’s a beautiful place because these people over here fought for their freedom for 800 years. They fought for their country all this long time, just like my people. .'[/i]

    Snoop, of course, is under an exclusion order from youse know who.

  • Doctor Who

    kensei

    “Go see a Doctor about your chronic addiction to Godwin’s Law.”

    When the city of Brussels awarded Northern Ireland football fans the Brussells International award (officailly recognised by UEFA) for their stirling work in charity, fair play, sporting behaviour and work to improve cross community relations, you said and I quote it was for “reducing fascism at Windsor Park”. This of course made you look very stupid and the aggresive and disgusting language you use in your previous reply to me only confirms this.

    So of course Godwins law doesn´t come into it. Tell me when you raise a glass to remember all those “brave heroes” so skilled in shooting people in the back of the head, will you also remember the head of the IRA Sean Russell, killed in a Nazi U boat, while on “active duty” with his Nazi comrades..

    You also on these threads defended ROI fans chanting Nazi and anti semetic sentiments during their match with Israel in Dublin. You suggested that it was the duty of the world´s Jews to make good the mistakes and actions of the Israeli govt. Far from slandering you, maybe I have made you see your obviuos ignorance. If so perhaps you should stop threatening to sue (anyhing for a fast buck) and just apologise and move on.

    You also like to pick partial quotes from people like Wolfe Tone to suit your provo agenda. There is no recognition from you that this would conflict with your ultra Catholic, conservative beliefs. For example Tone called for Irish Catholics to stop being slaves to Rome, you however embrace Rome.

    “There will no papists in my enterprise”

  • willowfield

    I see JG has been on, but has failed to retract his comment that “A Catholic country for a Catholic people” was never said by a politician south of the border.

    What a dishonest fellow.

  • confused

    It is true that the special status of the Catholic Church was removed from the 1937 constitution but that is not enough.

    There should be a separation of state and church removing all influence of the church in matters of education, health and social services.

    The church has been to powerful in my lifetime eg
    1 Dr Browne and his mother and child scheme where the Dublin Archbishop told the Dail not to proceed
    2 A Catholic Bishop imploring the Dail to make adultery a criminal offence. Thank God they ignored him or the prisons would be full.
    3 Interference by the Hierarchy in the extradition proceedings of Father Smyth for charges of child abuse. A government minister was so appalled he thought the very foundations of the State were threatened.
    4 Bishops telling young people what Universities they should boycott, even stronger than this forbidding them to go.
    5 The church closed ranks to protect priests guilty of sex abuse moving them from parish to parish to inflict further damage.
    6 Organising a boycott of Protestant shops and businesses because a Protestant mother defied a local priest as to how her children should be educated. This only came to a stop following world wide publicity.
    7 The church was involved in censorship boards thus preventing people from exercising their right to read or view.
    8 It also dictated how married couples should behave in the bedroom. This is alright for practising Catholics but those of other faiths and none could not purchase birth control appliances.
    At last the church has found some humility but does not deserve full respect from the people of Ireland Protestant and Catholic and it may take another generation for this to happen.

  • kensei

    “When the city of Brussels awarded Northern Ireland football fans the Brussells International award (officailly recognised by UEFA) for their stirling work in charity, fair play, sporting behaviour and work to improve cross community relations, you said and I quote it was for “reducing fascism at Windsor Park”. This of course made you look very stupid and the aggresive and disgusting language you use in your previous reply to me only confirms this.”

    I don’t believe that was me. If it was, it was a stupid thing to say, even if the award as linked to by others seemed to be for reducing sectarianism and violence.

    “So of course Godwins law doesn´t come into it. Tell me when you raise a glass to remember all those “brave heroes” so skilled in shooting people in the back of the head, will you also remember the head of the IRA Sean Russell, killed in a Nazi U boat, while on “active duty” with his Nazi comrades..”

    No, Godwin’s law has everything to do with it, and this whole paragraph is entirely alien to the debate we are having at the moment.

    “You also on these threads defended ROI fans chanting Nazi and anti semetic sentiments during their match with Israel in Dublin.”

    No, I was skeptical it had happened, and the Israeli team had cheated appallingly that night, so I thought it might more be down to that. In fairness, a couple of links were provided and I condemn it whole heartily.

    “You suggested that it was the duty of the world´s Jews to make good the mistakes and actions of the Israeli govt. Far from slandering you, maybe I have made you see your obviuos ignorance. If so perhaps you should stop threatening to sue (anyhing for a fast buck) and just apologise and move on.”

    Now, I am almost sure that isn’t what I said, and certainly not what I meant, but unless you link to it I can’t explain. It was probably along the lines of – when you identify yourself with a group, you identify yourself with the actions of that group and are partly responsible for them. So if you disagree with them, you have a duty to make that clear. Jews in general, of course, aren’t responsible for the actions of the Israeli Government. So I am sorry if that is how it came across and certainly wouldn’t be what I meant because it would be stupid and I apologise unreservedly if any offence was caused.

    I have of course, already done this on another thread, and you still persist. I am not interested in money, merely you to stop telling lies about me. So, let’s have a deal – as I have apologised, twice, without question, you can stop that now.

    “You also like to pick partial quotes from people like Wolfe Tone to suit your provo agenda.”

    I have never been a member of the IRA. I have never been a member of Sinn Fein. I have never been a member of ANY political party or grouping. I don’t have an “agenda”, I merely have certain political beliefs and I am happy to debate them.

    Tell me how In have taken Tone out of context on any of his quotes pleae. His views on the Ctaholic Church, are of course, a different topic.

    “There is no recognition from you that this would conflict with your ultra Catholic, conservative beliefs.”

    Tone certainly had no love of the Catholic Church. But he sought a Republic where all men, Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter would be equal as Irishmen. A secular Republic where we would be free to be as Catholic or Protestant or Other as we liked. I have the same hope.

    “Ultra-Catholic”!? Dude I’m a fucking lightweight. I don’t like abortion, I have respect for the Church and I appreciate the education I got, but I’m related to uber Catholics. You know have no fucking idea. I am generally on the Left in my political views. I am of course, free to be as Catholic and conservative as I like without you berating me for it.

    “For example Tone called for Irish Catholics to stop being slaves to Rome, you however embrace Rome.”

    Yeah, I’m a Catholic. How about that?

  • Nathan

    Greenflag
    The Irish senate you refer to was abolished in 1936 – largely due to its political and religious intake.

    As this was a gesture which later became rescinded for all the wrong reasons, I don’t think it adds much to the debate.

    JG,

    Stop making yourself look silly…as Willowfield illustrates, deValera did equate the Irish nation with Catholicism on at least one occasion.

    JohnEastBelfast.
    I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone would waste their time criticising a past provision in the Irish constitution which has long since been deleted through the referendum process.

    Anyhow, article 44 was not indicative of a ‘racist theocracy’ at work. Compared to the even the modern UK state whose constitution still concedes to the established Church, the special position was a meagre concession – falling well short of the confessional state that some were hoping for.

    More importantly, it was an article subject to plenty of discussion.

    DeValera didn’t just steamroll, he acted as a proper stateman…sources indicate that both the Archbishop of Dublin, Dr Gregg and also Rev Irwin Hamilton (a prominent Presbyterian cleric within Fianna Fail during this period) were involved in the consultation stage, one source in particular claims that Dr Gregg had a free reign in the wording.

  • Greenflag

    JohnEastBelfasr,

    ‘Few unionists today would look back on the 1921 to 1971 NI and say that things should have been done differently. ‘

    That’s the main reason why it has taken 40 years to get this far in terms of a ‘political’ solution.

    ‘Unionism was a product of its time’

    Of course.
    Had I been a Unionist in 1920 I probably would have favoured Partition over the ‘insecurity ‘ of the unknown . Britain in 1920 was still the world power and offered access to it’s vast overseas colonial market .

    Only a tiny minority of Irish people today would support ROI leaving the EU . Too much to lose ye see . It was in some respects no different for Unionism in 1920 .

    ‘if you are going to kick post partition unionism you need to stress it was not operating in a vacuum. ‘

    Neither did the Irish Free State operate in a ‘vaccuum’ so kicking IFS should be subject to the same conditions. The economic and political performance of both post partition states in the period 1920 to 1955 was below par in comparison to other small european States.

    ‘The enforcement of Ne Temere was etc etc in these parts’

    Calling NT ‘ethnic cleansing’ is factually wrong . Would you accuse the OO of ethnic cleansing for expelling Protestants who had the temerity to a) marry an RC b) attend an RC Funeral c) cross the threshold of an RC Church .

    No doubt there are/were RC’s and Protestant OO members who take their ‘denomination/religion’ so seriously that they adhere to ‘doctrine’ regardless. I support their freedom to practice their beliefs even if I personally see such beliefs as credulous nonsense at best and inimical to society generally at worst. The Republic’s Constitution guarantees freedom of worship as did the IFS .

    ‘I still fail to see, other than the fact they did not have a monarch, how the 26 county Free State was a Republic ”

    The IFS represented the desire for as much local self government as was practical given the circumstances of the time. The ‘Republic’ was considered an ideal which would could only be achieved when the entire island of Ireland achieved political independence.

    Fine Gael /Cuman Na Gael prematurely declared a Republic in 1949 by taking the Irish Free State out of the Commonwealth . This in turn resulted in Westminster’s Northern Ireland Act which declared that Northern Ireland’s Status could not be changed without first having Westminster’s approval i.e regardless of the will of the people of NI. This has now changed as per the GFA with Westminster ceding that right to ALL the people of Northern Ireland . The Irish Republic has also ‘ceded’ that right to ALL the people of Northern Ireland .

    ‘and not a racist theocracy built on myth and antagonism to real and imagined past enemies.’

    There was nothing ‘imaginary’ about England’s conquest of Ireland in particular during the Second Conquest (1550 to 1700) . According to the ‘conservative’ estimate of the English ‘historian ‘ Samuel Pepys -some 650,000 Irish people (one third of the population) died in the wars and associated famines during this period along with thousands more forced into slavery etc etc . The imposition of the Penal Laws particulary in the 18th century certainly held back the Irish majority from asserting their separate national identity and desire for independence . In fact not until the majority of Irish ‘started’ to speak English post the famine -did the British monarchy/Government even deign to ‘listen’ to the Irish much less accede to any political demands for independence.

    Other major ‘ethnic cleansings’ imposed by ‘Britain/UK’ which surpass those of your notional Ne Temere ‘cleansing’- include – Richard the Lionhearts expulsion of all Jews , William the Conqueror’s mass killings and famine inducing slaughter in the North of England /Yorkshire, the Highland clearances, and in more modern times the unnecessary’ incendiary bomb experiment’ which killed an estimated 139,000 people in one nights bombing in Dresden at the end of WWII. There are a lot more examples of British ‘ethnic cleansing’ in the colonial epoch but I just list the above to give you some real and not imaginary ‘context’ .

    Am I defending ‘Ne Temere’ -certainly not . As a religion skeptic I see the latter just as much as I see the OO’s ‘apartheid’like rules as simply two more examples in the long list of ‘idiocies’ which are imposed on a credulous and fearful public by priests and politicians who are trying to protect their market share under the guise of being the one true church /political dogma etc etc ..

    They are all ‘guessers’after the truth . At different times in history the ‘guessers’ can come to wield immense influence and political power which is why understandly the vast majority of non Muslim’s in 2007 fear Sharia law.

  • SuperSoupy

    Some RTE coverage from 1966 available at the following link including a clip of the Belfast parade:

    http://www.rte.ie/laweb/ll/ll_t06_schedule_h.html

  • T.Ruth

    Choosing Easter Monday rather than using the actual date of the Rebellion is part of the whole Catholic/Republican rewrite history propaganda thing-like calling it the Good Friday Agreement rather than the Belfast Agreement.
    What had the Poets Rebellion/1916 Rising to do with the fascist rabble who have claimed over the past four decades to be the authentic voice of that Republican tradition?
    Time for all to acknowledge that the future is a bout sharing this island while respecting the equal right of all who live on it to determine their future on the basis of the present political realities. Propaganda will not change the demographics. Northern Ireland Unionists will control the political future long beyond 2016.
    Any one want to bet on a United Ireland by 31 december 1916.
    T.Ruth

  • JG

    “I see JG has been on, but has failed to retract his comment that “A Catholic country for a Catholic people” was never said by a politician south of the border.

    What a dishonest fellow. ”

    I never said was never said I just quoted a slugger contributor who said it was never said.

    “”the encyclopaedic references to quotations taken out of context from seventy years ago as if they’re relevant to today

    Senor Devalera did refer to a Catholic nation- read more history books” ” seventy two years ago was it?

  • Roisin

    [i]rewrite history propaganda thing-like calling it the Good Friday Agreement rather than the Belfast Agreement.[/i]

    It’s not called the Belfast Agreement either.

  • Harry

    T.Ruth: Time for all to acknowledge that the future is a bout sharing this island while respecting the equal right of all who live on it to determine their future

    Unionists are 15% of the population of the country and have forcibly separated over 750,000 Irish from their rightful contiguous relationship with their fellow countrymen in order to create a fictitious majority from a very actual minority. They do this on the basis of threat, with the financial and military backing of Britain, whose proxies on this island they are and whose strategic interests are ultimately the reason why all this occurs.

    Unionists nonetheless attempt to pass themselves off, with all the credibility of a second-hand car salesman, as the essence of plausibility and propriety, the defenders of democracy no less. It just so happens that in their ‘democracy’ 15% with 200,000 guns is entitled to greater rights than 85% with considerably less firepower.

    That is the guts of the situation and that is the essence of what the GFA tries to window-dress as ‘a new beginning’, ‘all our people’s together’ and other such flannel seeking to make british intimidation on the island of ireland acceptable to the vast majority of our people. Indeed in recent days the crescendo of kitsch and PR love-bombing by the media and establishment in Ireland and Britain is such as to make us Irish even praise and desire our own diminishment as the rightful leading power on this island.

    Apparently to satisfy 15% of the population (who are no longer a meaningful majority even in that artificial corner of the island where they corral to this day over 750,000 of our people) we are to praise and encourage the penetrating influence of british life upon our society culturally and militarily as well as economically, despite being 85% of the population and despite being almost half the population of the northern state itself.
    And further we are to implement massive levels of immigration across the island, as well as a colonial approach to policing our population in the northern half of our country, all so as to diminish further the possible but troublesome claims by 85% of the population to ownership of our land. In other words we are to praise the results of british intimidation of our nation as if we ourselves desire it, we are to accept inordinate levels of british cultural, political and military influence on our island as if those things themselves are the very foundations of our hopes and we are to rapidly grow into a multi-cultural society in which 20-25% of our population are of foreign extraction – together with unionists making 35-40% of the population of the island ‘non-Irish’ – all so as to satisfy the strategic aims Britain and the maintenance of the pro-partition forces north and south of this island?

    That is what the current deal encompasses. A contract for self-denial dressed up as a great thing altogether.

  • GavBelfast

    Isn’t accidental comedy just fabulous!?

  • confused

    To Harry
    I am not quite sure where you are coming from?

    Do you resent the British influence on Irish life.
    If this is so you and your country men can stop watching Coronation St and no longer read British Newspapers or listen to BBC.

    Surely we all live within the British Isles Scots Welsh English and Irish and can influence each other for good or bad.

  • FAP

    These gigs do not commemorate Ireland’s fallen. They commemorate members of P Sinn Fein, PIRA and Fianna who were killed by their own bombs/comrades, wee killed by their enemeis or were added to PIRA’s list of martyrs for expedient reasons.
    Last year’s Dublin march commemorated those who fell for Ireland in Niemba, South Lebanaon and other places. The GHQ of Oglaigh na hEireann, the army of Ireland, made it plain that htere is only one legal army in Ireland.
    Chris Donnolly, please stop pretending the people like Tom Smyth who was shot while trying to escape from lawful cvustody in Portlaoise was anything but a common criminal.

  • Doctor Who

    oh Harry is off on one again.

    He´s getting a bit bored of his traditional bigotry toward Unionism, he has decided to include immigrants as well.

    A man Eoin O´Duffy would be proud of.

  • Aaron McDaid

    I haven’t seen this thread for a while, and there are a few questions to me on the previous page. In particular there are two false assumptions.

    There is an assumption by many unionists that all republicans automatically support all actions carried out by republicans or in the name of republicanism. However republicans, including the IRA were disgusted by some of the actions. The IRA probably did more to discipline its soldiers than the British Army in Iraq or Northern Ireland, but that’s not saying much. Some of the people most disgusted by the likes of the Kingsmill massacre for example will be the most active republicans in the IRA or Sinn Féin.

    The funny thing is of course that such unionists would (correctly) reject the notion that all British Army/RUC/loyalist violence can be used as an argument against them personally.

    The other false assumption is the notion that republicans want to create a 32 county Free State. Republicans want a 32 county Republic, different and better than both NI and the Free State. Put simply, pointing out the (sometimes exaggerated) flaws in the Free State does not count as an argument against republicans and republicanism.

  • willowfield

    AARON

    I see you elected to ignore my questions to you. (I wonder why.)

    I’ll repeat them.

    Why would people who were “genuine about equality and civil rights” engage in slaughter? How does murdering someone, maiming someone, destroying their business or their home, advance their civil rights?

  • willowfield

    And in response to your latest, the difference between PIRA and the security forces is legitimacy. The PIRA – and all its actions – were and are illegitimate and inexcusable. The security forces were and are legitimate and, while some of their actions were inexcusable, they do not alter the fact that they were legitimate, accountable forces, protecting society AGAINST insurgents like PIRA.

    As for “republicans” (i.e. pro-violence ulta-nationalists) wanting “a 32 county Republic, different and better than both NI and the Free State” – what could be so wonderful that it would justify murdering people to achieve?

    In reality, of course, the pro-violence ultra-nationalists are a small minority on the island. If a “united Ireland” is ever achieved they will have no chance of changing it to anything other than an enlarged ROI.

  • Aaron McDaid

    willowfield,
    I suppose you answered my own question for me. By supporting some armed conflicts somewhere in the world at some point in time you have accepted that, in principle at least, military action is often the only way to protect basic human rights. I’m assuming you’re not a 100% pacifist or anti-militarist?

    Then we are left with the subjective discussion over which particular struggles, and tactics therein, were necessary and justified. I’m not expecting to change your mind, instead I simply want to remind everyone that it isn’t sufficient to simply say “republicans used military force, therefore they are all wrong”. At the very least, there are a number of steps missing in the chain of logic. Maybe there are a good comprehensive set of arguments against physical-force republicanism and/or Sinn Féin, but it’s not often I hear people attempt to explain them.

    Unionists are just as quick as anyone else to believe in justified extra-legal military action. Are they going to tell the US their independence was not justified? Or that Parliament should be inferior to the monarch again? The UK’s constitution, just like many other countries, was forged through violence and in many ways is better for it.

    The British Army maimed more innocent people in Dresden in WW2 than have been maimed by republicans throughout Irish history. Does that mean the Allied cause in WW2 was wrong? No. Also, the Dresden bombings are particularly controversial as it seems to have been a blatant form of terrorism against civilians. Even if it was deemed a war crime by a court, would that mean the Allied case was wrong? No. British civilians have a right to defend themselves from Nazism, in uniform or out of it, even if some of their countrymen disgrace themselves in uniform. Similarly, the right of people in Ireland (or Britain for that matter) to defend themselves where necessary and justified is undeniable even if some Irish people disgrace themselves.

    If many unionists supported the British Army but not loyalists, am I not entitled to similarly be selective in which violence I support?

  • Aaron McDaid

    willowfield,
    I should have also added that the RoI has greatly improved in many ways recently. I’m guessing you probably agree. As has NI for that matter. So there probably isn’t much need to change either that much to enable the creation of the 32 county republic.

    PS: I was not trying to compare any two struggles in particular in my last post, so I haven’t pulled a Godwin. Feel free to insert any other conflict from around the world. I’m just pointing out that only a total pacifist can simply say “republicans used violence and therefore are wrong” and be taken seriously. Non-pacifists have to use more detailed arguments.

  • mickd

    Aaron, your arguments are well put and remind me that the burden for a ‘just war’ has rarely been met anywhere or anytime. No one has clean hands. No tradition lacks murderous adherents or shameful histories. Moral relativism is the universal practice in spite of protestations. We all treat our victims as collateral damage. Let’s do better.

  • Greenflag

    Aaron ,

    Slight correction 🙁

    ‘The RAF Killed more innocent people in bombing Dresden in WW2 than have been killed by Irish Republicans throughout Irish history. Does that mean the Allied cause in WW2 was wrong? No.’

    Excellent post BTW .

  • Greenflag

    mickd,

    ‘No one has clean hands. No tradition lacks murderous adherents or shameful histories. Moral relativism is the universal practice in spite of protestations. We all treat our victims as collateral damage.’

    This is/has been the ‘human ‘condition since the species evolved .Regrettably many victims are not even given the dignity of being termed ‘collateral’ damage .

    As you say we have to do better – New World in the Morning etc etc . I’ll believe it when I see it .

  • Greenflag

    willowfield,

    ‘If a “united Ireland” is ever achieved they will have no chance of changing it to anything other than an enlarged ROI. ‘

    You got that right . ROI cannot afford the overhead/luxury of being ‘overgoverned’.

  • John East Belfast

    Aaron

    Sorry but there was no legitimacy for PIRA violence.

    The only supporters it had were Eastern European States acting out the cold War, odious regimes like Gadaffi and various Irish American fruitcakes.

    Everyone else in the civilised and democratic world was throwing PIRA in prison as terrorists – and most damning of all so was the Irish Republic. Indeed it still has some of them in prison for bank robbery and murder.

    Therefore it may help the odd ex Provo sleep a little bit sounder at night when he is haunted in his nightmares by thinking about Dresden but it doesnt wash with me.

    This one man’s terrorist is another mans freedom …. is the law of anarchy.

    By international law, decency and standards PIRA were terrorists.

  • Doctor Who

    Aron McDaid

    “However republicans, including the IRA were disgusted by some of the actions. The IRA probably did more to discipline its soldiers than the British Army in Iraq or Northern Ireland, but that’s not saying much. Some of the people most disgusted by the likes of the Kingsmill massacre for example will be the most active republicans in the IRA or Sinn Féin.”

    So the IRA carried out acts of barbarism, and they themselves didn´t like it. Ahh!!! I´m sure the families of the victims are touched.

    You continue to babble on a lot of bollox, which show you to be at best a very naive person.

  • Aaron McDaid

    JEB,
    Plenty of other peoples supported the Irish struggle, like Cuba and the Basques for example. You left this out of your list, which you claimed was comprehensive (‘only supporters’). Others more familiar with the details would be able to list many more, I understand Mandela for example was a supporter.

  • John East Belfast

    Aaron

    “Plenty of other peoples supported the Irish struggle, like Cuba and the Basques for example.”

    Yes I should have added Castro and the Basques to my list – along with the PLO and North Korea but it only goes further to make my point.

    Mandela spent most of the PIRA campaign in prison on a remote island so he can be given a pass.

    The issue is that in the civilised world – far from ideal I strongly admit – there are laws and courts and borders which if we dont endeavour to maintain the world will descend into barbarism and chaos

    You cannot have small groupings of people going around trying to overthrow recognised governments without due cause and legitimacy.

    Everyone other than the worlds’ rogues rejected the legitimacy of PIRA – does that not tell you something ?

    It is ludicrous to start defending it now in retrospect.

    Anyhow now that the Irish Republican movement has accepted first the Belfast Agreement (including No Amnesty) and now the PSNI and the Courts System – both of which threw their members into Prison in the first place – they have de facto accepted that illegitimacy themselves.

  • Mike

    Aaron McDaid –

    “Some of the people most disgusted by the likes of the Kingsmill massacre for example will be the most active republicans in the IRA or Sinn Féin.”

    Two examples would seem to give the lie to this.

    The Bayardo Bar massacre in August 1975. IRA terrorists murdered five Protestants in a sectarian attack at a pub. They bombed the bar and machine-gunned the survivors – even gunning down three women waiting at a nearby bus stop. The gunman in question, Brendan ‘Bik’ McFarlane, was convicted of the murders and went on to become ‘OC’ of the IRA prisoners in the Maze during the hungers strike of 1981. He later, along with Gerry Kelly, escaped from the Maze. He remains a close associate of the republican leadership. Where is the rejection of sectarian mass murder there?

    The atrocities of the Balcombe Street gang in 1974-75. They carried out the mass murder of innocent people, for no other reason than that they were British, bombing hotels, restuarants and clubs. They threw bombs, loaded with ball-bearings to cause maximum death and mutilation to civilians, though the windows of crowded restaurants in London. When freed to attend the Sinn Fein special ard fheis in 1998, they were welcomed on stage and literally embraced by the SF leadership, given a standing ovation by the delegates, and lauded by Gerry Adams as “our Nelson Mandelas”.

    Doesn’t sound like much rejection of mass murder of people because of either their religion or their nationality there.

  • Mike

    Aaron

    “am I not entitled to similarly be selective in which violence I support? ”

    Why though pretend the IRA wasn’t unapologietically carrying out murders of people simply because of their religion, nationality, political opinion, or job?

    Also, no matter how much you like to talk about ‘military action’ or ‘defending’, the fact remains that even leaving aside the many civilian deaths, the IRA’s murders of soldiers and policemen very often involved stalking someone home from their day job and shooting them in the back of the head, breaking into their home and gunning them down in front of their families, or sneaking into their driveway and planting a bomb under their car. Not ‘fighting’ at all – cold-blooded, cowardly murder.

  • Roisin

    Mike,

    [i]“our Nelson Mandelas”.

    Doesn’t sound like much rejection of mass murder of people because of either their religion or their nationality there.[/i]

    Interesting. One of the first ANC released from prison in South Africa was Mark MacBride, great grandson of Sean MacBride. He was imprisoned for bombing buildings (with civilians in it).

    You need to get out and about a bit more if you think the “Nelson Mandelas” of this world were shy or reticent when it came to inflicting civilian casualties “simply because of their religion, nationality, political opinion” or colour.

  • Mike

    Roisin,

    In picking up on one tiny detail, and misinterpreting it, while ignoring the substance of my post, you completely miss the point of it.

    Please re-read it and try again.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Mike,
    I don’t believe that the PIRA were a perfect example of republicanism. Far from it. If anything, I support republicanism precisely because it’s the only way to protect us all from the sectarianism of the NI state for example and parts of the IRA.

    You rightly point out that SF doesn’t do enough to distance itself from some of the disgraceful acts of people associated with republicanism. But then I never described myself as a PSFer, just as a republican. The ‘Old’ IRA et cetera did well to remain very disciplined in the face of the blatant civilian-directed terrorism of the likes of the Black and Tans (set up under Churchill, who was SoS for War at the time).

    So by all means attack PSF and the PIRA, I’ll probably agree with you a lot. But that doesn’t count as an argument against physical force republicanism past or present. I would vote SF because they are the least worst option – I used to support the UK Tories even though they weren’t ashamed of Churchill’s terrorism in Ireland (and Dresden?). Voting is a terrible thing, parties who have any history of government usually have some blood on their hands!

    If anything, the fact that the PIRA was supported by many people despite its obvious problems just tells us how terrible the alternative was. The powers that be succesfully orchestrated a civil war, which meant a united Ireland free from Britain was more important than ever while maybe also being more difficult to achieve.

    PS: I’m not trying to imply I am anti-ceasefire.

    PPS: I have sometimes considered joining SF, partly to do my part to tackle sectarianism inside and outside republican communities.

  • Roisin

    JEB,

    No, I got your point the first time round. It’s essentially a racist one. The ‘democratic’ ‘civilised’ ‘free world’ repudiated the IRA. But by the same token you want to express, as a member of that ‘democratic’ ‘civilised’ ‘free world’, your support for the ANC and Nelson Mandela, because it wouldn’t be ‘cool’ to do otherwise, so you give Mandela a “pass” (probably without even realising the punning value of that).

  • Roisin

    Oops, my bad. That was JEB, not Mike, but you both are on the same page and seem so alike anyway.

  • Roisin

    Aaron,

    [i]The ‘Old’ IRA et cetera did well to remain very disciplined in the face of the blatant civilian-directed terrorism of the likes of the Black and Tans (set up under Churchill, who was SoS for War at the time).[/i]

    Tom Barry in West Cork didn’t hesitate to kill loyalists they suspected of assisting the British Crown Forces.

    The “Old IRA” essentially fought in friendly territory. The Provisional IRA essentially operated behind enemy lines, against the backdrop of a hostile, pro-British population intent on sectarian bloodshed.

    I mentioned Sean MacBride earlier in relation to his great grandson having been a member of, and having fought for, the ANC. When interviewed by British television about the IRA’s campaign, Sean MacBride stated that he had no criticism to make, as he said the IRA in the north were faced with challenges that the Old IRA in the south never had to face. Tom Barry never had any criticism either.

  • Aaron McDaid

    Roisin,
    I think anybody that helps the opposing forces is no longer a civilian, at least in the sense of being illegitimate targets.

  • Garibaldy

    I feel obliged to point out that many of the regimes supposedly supportive of Provisional violence were in fact opposed to it, and were in fact in fraternal relations with parties opposed to it. This includes especially the DPRK. This attempt to link what happened here to wider struggles of anti-imerpialism and socialism is laughable, whether it comes from unionists or nationalists.

    Squalid, nationalistic, and often sectarian, terrorist campaigns fought by both sides.

  • Roisin

    Garibaldy,

    I feel obliged to point out once again that your insight it is really fascinating.

  • Mike

    Roisin –

    “No, I got your point the first time round.”

    No, you didn’t. You completely ignored my point that the Provisional republican movement’s political leadership publicly celebrated those that had murdered innocent people because of their nationality. You chose to ignore this and try to get into a debate about the comparison between Nelson Mandela and the Balcombe Street gang. My point was about the celebration, not the comparison. If you want to discuss the comparison, though, read on.

    “It’s essentially a racist one.”

    I’m sorry, but you’re going to have to explain this leap of the imagination. Because from where I’m sitting it’s just garbage. Where was my “racist” point?

    “The ‘democratic’ ‘civilised’ ‘free world’ repudiated the IRA. But by the same token you want to express, as a member of that ‘democratic’ ‘civilised’ ‘free world’, your support for the ANC and Nelson Mandela, because it wouldn’t be ‘cool’ to do otherwise, so you give Mandela a “pass” (probably without even realising the punning value of that).”

    Wrong. As I say, I was commenting on the celebration of mass murderers, not the Mandela comparison. And by the way you don’t know my views of Mandela, whether I view his actions as unjustifiable, or excusable, or whatever.

    Now if you want me to discuss my opinion on Mandela and a comparison with IRA gangs like the Balcombe Street gang, I can do that – and it will be the first time on the thread I have done so.

    Nelson Mandela, like every other black (and Asian and mixed-race) person in South Africa, had no vote. All people barring the white minority were disenfranchised and legally inferior. Mandela had no recourse to the ballot box – and his essential demand was simply that all adults have the vote. (And even then, I’m far from saying all ANC/MK actions were justified)

    In Northern Ireland, all adults had the vote. The IRA aimed to take NI by force out of the UK and into an Irish republic – the route to do this through the ballot box was clear. They could not amass enough electoral support to pursue this aim through the ballot box and instead tried to do it through violence.

    Mandela – a man, like the rest of his people, the majority in South Africa, denied access to the ballot box because he was African. The Balcombe Street gang – not denied access to the ballot box, and not even from Northern Ireland – one was from Scotland, and the others were from the Republic of Ireland. Men from Scotland and from the Republic of Ireland, who didn’t have the vote in Northern Ireland for the sole reason that they didn’t live there, murdering people in England to try to force Northern Ireland into an Irish republic.

    And that’s without discussion of ‘tactics’ – would Mandela stand up and support throwing bombs loaded with ball-bearings into crowded restaurants?

  • Roisin

    Mike,

    Are you saying Mandela wouldn’t? You’re an expert in African warfare and tactics? Do you or hasnotaGaribaldynotion there know anyone who fought in any of the conflicts you or s/he has mentioned? If not, I’d like to suggest you visit some of those countries and talk to the people who fought in the conflicts there. Try not to cry when they all point and laugh at you.

  • Garibaldy

    Roisin,

    I know quite a few people from these areas, who were involved in many different forms of struggle. Precisely because my republicanism is internationalist, I forge links with and co-operate with people seeking revolutionary change in societies across the planet. Unlike some people I could mention, none of them are welcome at the White House, nor do they take people like Jesse Helms on personally guided tours of the areas they represent in parliament.

  • Mike

    Roisin,

    If you’re not able to address the substance of my post, yet again, and instead seize on one point at the end (and yet again, get that wrong – here’s a clue, it was a question), then it’s going to be very difficult to have an adult discussion with you.

    Once again, I say to you – Please re-read it and try again.

    At least have the common courtesy to explain yourself over accusing me of being racist.

  • Roisin

    I already did. I mistook you for JEB.

    [i]Oops, my bad. That was JEB, not Mike, but you both are on the same page and seem so alike anyway.[/i]

    Your post doesn’t have much substance, lots of words, but not that much substance. The IRA at times engaged in sectarian killing and targetted civilians. They also targetted ‘soft’ targets in the so-called security forces. That it? Yeah, they did. Anything I’ve missed?

  • Roisin

    Garibaldy,

    If that includes people who actually fought and killed (are you avoiding a direct answer to the question?) then you would know how dirty those conflicts were, and how your handwringing over the IRA’s relatively tame/soft campaign vis-a-vis civilians and sectarian killing would have them looking at you like you were a space cadet.

  • Garibaldy

    Not avoiding a direct answer at all. I’ve met people from organisations that had been engaged in armed struggle. None of them ever argued that killing people for their religion was an appropriate thing to do.

  • Roisin

    Did they argue killing them because they belonged to a different tribe wasn’t appropriate? How about Muslim versus Christian in Africa?

  • willowfield

    AARON

    By supporting some armed conflicts somewhere in the world at some point in time you have accepted that, in principle at least, military action is often the only way to protect basic human rights.

    Obviously.

    Then we are left with the subjective discussion over which particular struggles, and tactics therein, were necessary and justified.

    Wrong. We aren’t left with a subjective discussion because we can engage in objective discussion. Clearly you shy away from objectivity because you know that the PIRA campaign, objectively, cannot be justified.

    I’m not expecting to change your
    mind, instead I simply want to remind everyone that it isn’t sufficient to simply say “republicans used military force, therefore they are all wrong”. At the very least, there are a number of steps missing in the chain of logic. Maybe there are a good comprehensive set of arguments against physical-force republicanism and/or Sinn Féin, but it’s not often I hear people attempt to explain them.

    Er, the arguments are simple and obvious to anyone who is tuned into the ethical norms of western society: you don’t purport to represent people without a mandate, and certainly not to use violence on their behalf; you don’t use violence when peaceful means of are available; you don’t use violence to overturn the will of the people; you don’t use violence disproportionate to the ends being sought; you don’t use violence without just cause. Need I go on?

    Unionists are just as quick as anyone else to believe in justified extra-legal military action. Are they going to tell the US their independence was not justified? Or that Parliament should be inferior to the monarch again?

    Why on earth would they do that??

    The UK’s constitution, just like many other countries, was forged through violence and in many ways is better for it.

    The fact that the Civil War took place in England in the 17th century is not a justification for the PIRA murder campaign!

    The British Army maimed more innocent people in Dresden in WW2 than have been maimed by republicans throughout Irish history.

    The Dresden bombings do not justify the PIRA murder campaign! You really are clutching at straws.

    Does that mean the Allied cause in WW2 was wrong? No. Also, the Dresden bombings are particularly controversial as it seems to have been a blatant form of terrorism against civilians. Even if it was deemed a war crime by a court, would that mean the Allied case was wrong? No. British civilians have a right to defend themselves from Nazism, in uniform or out of it, even if some of their countrymen disgrace themselves in uniform.

    Correct. And equally, any illegal or wrongful deeds by the Army in NI does not mean that the Army’s role as a whole was illegitimate.

    Similarly, the right of people in Ireland (or Britain for that matter) to defend themselves where necessary and justified is undeniable even if some Irish people disgrace themselves.

    No-one has claimed otherwise. But the right of people to self-defence cannot be inflated to justify a 30-year murder campaign.

    If many unionists supported the British Army but not loyalists, am I not entitled to similarly be selective in which violence I support?

    No. You should be consistent in supporting only that violence which can absolutely be justified, and condemning all violence that is not justified.

    I should have also added that the RoI has greatly improved in many ways recently. I’m guessing you probably agree. As has NI for that matter. So there probably isn’t much need to change either that much to enable the creation of the 32 county republic.

    So your claims about “republicans” not wanting an expanded Free State were just a lot of meaningless talk.

  • willowfield

    AARON

    For the THIRD time I’ll ask my question. Maybe this time you’ll answer?

    Why would people who were “genuine about equality and civil rights” engage in slaughter? How does murdering someone, maiming someone, destroying their business or their home, advance their civil rights?

  • Mike

    Roisin

    ———————–
    Your post doesn’t have much substance, lots of words, but not that much substance. The IRA at times engaged in sectarian killing and targetted civilians. They also targetted ‘soft’ targets in the so-called security forces. That it? Yeah, they did. Anything I’ve missed?
    ———————–

    So we agree on that then. The IRA was a murder gang carrying out a terrorist campaign in which they committed mass murder based on, among other things, religion, nationality, political opinion and employment.

    You appear to have the wierd idea that by pointing out that because some Africans also carry out such atrocities, this somehow makes them more legitimate. Bizarre.

    Now was it that difficult to address the substance of my post?

    Like willowfield, I’m going to ask a question for the third time – what was the “racist” point I was making?

  • JG

    The war between three nations please.

  • Mr Wilson

    “So your claims about “republicans” not wanting an expanded Free State were just a lot of meaningless talk.”

    It would be a bit difficult to expand the Free State.