Gerry McHugh to form new party?

Former SF MLA for Fermanagh / South Tyrone: Gerry McHugh, has opened a new office in Enniskillen with support from a number of others (see Impartial report). McHugh is reported as saying he has been in discussions with Pat McNamee and Jim McAllister. He says he has been “linking up with [other] groups to pool ideas to create a joint approach to the main political issues both locally and nationally and to further the Republican agenda in a political and peaceful way.”

Whilst I am sure this revelation will not cause panic in SF circles it is interesting that various former SF members are considering linking up and possibly forming a new party. The only other republican opposition has been from Republican Sinn Fein but since they have not fought elections their effect has been rather limited. Whether or not a new party will be formed and whether it will get anywhere remains to be seen.


    Does Gerry’s girlfriend have a role in this new office? What is Gerry doing with the extra £17K he’s earing from he left SF?

  • joeCanuck

    Does anyone have an accurate count of how many really really “official” anointed republican parties there are?
    Pity Carl Sagan died, he might have been able to use one of those really big telescopes to tell us.

  • Tom

    For a second there I read “Jim Allister,” rather than “Jim McAllister,” and I have to confess my head went through the initial stages of exploding.

    That said, unlike the TUV side of things, there really isn’t the same ideological breathing room on the hard-edged margins of the Republican side. Allister et al. can at least claim a solid continuum of Never-never-neverism dating back to the Belfast and St.Andrews Agreements. Even though Allister and his acolytes were, at the time, nominally a part of a party that consented vaguely to the former and then explicitly to the latter, I don’t think anyone seriously accuses them of flip-flopping. Allister advocated 1980-era Paisleyism in 1980, 1998, 2005 and 2007.

    But let’s assume for a moment “Provisional Provisional Sinn Fein” does come together as an autonomous force–and I do think you’re jumping the gun somewhat, Turgon, in that the only person using the word “party” is you.

    What would PPSF stand for? As the statement suggests, this threesome have evidently repudiated physical-force republicanism. It’s safe to assume they remain supportive of the constitutional settlement of Belfast/St. Andrews. They even ran and won last time against the Republican fringe as pro-policing-board candidates, although I suppose there might be some room for backsliding to a darker green position there.

    So what’s their message when they show up on the doorstep? Vote for us, we’ll say “North of Ireland” more than the other guys, but don’t worry, we’ll still support the Peace Process ™? Vote for us, we likely won’t win enough seats to enter government, and thus can make a bulletproof promise to steadfastly refuse to do the Crown’s bidding in delivering pork to Fermanagh-South Tyrone? Vote for us, we won’t pose for pictures with Paisley?

    It’s a shame that the other Gerry Mc–Gerry McGeough–didn’t get elected in that seat last time out, because at least around him you could see some clear blue water in ideological terms between that particularly zany brand of republicanism and SF and the SDLP. A mini-nationalist party on the far right, promising to drive the scourge of the condom from these rocky shores and while they’re at it round up and deport all the immigrants too (except those appropriately-God-fearing Poles) would be a guaranteed laugh riot, assuming you weren’t gay, female, or a a fan of football. We could even have dubbed them the “Cathiban”–I considered “Taigiban,” which rolls off the tongue more nicely, but doesn’t really get across McGeough’s confessional weirdness quite so well.

  • Gerry McHugh – Traditional Republican Voice

  • Rory

    I fear that this enterprise is doomed from the start and that its erstwhile leader will be better known to future schoolboy historians as Gerry McWho?

  • New Departures?

    “The only other republican opposition has been from Republican Sinn Féin”

    Not exactly true. There is the 32 county Sovereignty movement which is not unlike RSF. Both have been around for years, have made very little impact to date and are unlikely to do so in the future.

    There is also the more recent Republican Network for Unity based in Derry ( formed by ex-prisoners with links into various parts of the North, and Eirigi ( also seems to be established in several areas of the country and of all of the current republican alternatives appears (from its website at least)to be most involved in grassroots campaigns.

    Of course the question remains, is there a potential for the emergence of a coalition from these groupings based upon a common political agenda.

  • Haines

    While all RSF candidates at the 2007 election stood as Independents, there were also independent republicans who were not in RSF, and were merely anti-PSNI, for example Peggy O’Hara. If this venture is built around an anti-PSNI ticket, then that poses big difficulties for Jim McAllister. How can he support the PSNI with its efforts in bringing the Quinn murderers to justice if this group is orientated or will eventually be orientated around an anti-PSNI position?

  • cut the bull

    I believe there will be a coalition of several groups as a lot of republicans are’nt anti peace process, but are sick of being fed complete bullshit by the present leadership of Sinn Féin.

    There is a serious lack of internal engagement when it comes to answering searching questions about the present stratedgy and policies of Sinn Féin.

  • Jimmy

    If the new party is to further Republicanism in a ‘peaceful way’ as the initial post states, I can see a steady drift to the new party at least locally if it decides to fight an election.
    RSF stood candidates in the last election and got nowhere, although they, in my opinion, held the Legitamacy of Republican ideals but they never held the pragmatism.In the new world, ideals hold for nothing.
    If a new party can do this, so be it.TRVs are totally unhappy with PSF directions, on water charges, PFI,Ministerial change at Stormont wont be a holiday for PSF, and all the scandals surrounding the party.
    People voted for them simply because there was no choice on issues that effect Republicans. I said before and will say again, The TRV is nothing more than a Damage limitation exercise to mask ultimate failure PSF know this and the TRV know this. Perhaps something new is just what TRVs need and indeed what they are waiting for. It will be interesting to see how popular support is on the ground and if it will be any type or challenger at least locally at local counsellor or MLA level.As 1972 has shown, you cant hold hegemony forever.

  • Looking after number one

    A few interesting insights from the Fermanagh Herald…7523765914.php

    Mr McHugh told the ‘Herald’ that this (a new political party) was not being ruled out. Like Laurence McManus, he saw their roles as, ‘Independents working together on a range of community politics issues’.

    “In a Party system, you have to go back to the whip whereas if you are going to be democratic you should allow people their say. They have to be allowed to represent their areas”.

    Also in the same report and on the question of policing, John McCluskey, a former IRA prisoner in England, said he Gerry McHugh would deny they were anti-Police.

    “We are not. We will work with the Police, we support them and we expect them to do their work, but the one thing that distinguishes us from Sinn Féin is we are still Republican, so neither we nor our children will wear the uniform. Joining a Police force in an occupied country is a contradiction”.

    And, he distanced Independents from ‘small Republican groups out there’: “I’m not going to call people names, but our people will not be involved with any of those people in delivering broad-based community activities”.

    More a question of Mé Féin than Sinn Féin!!

  • pacman

    Of course, alternatively, they could just join Fianna Fail.

  • perci

    norn iron is full of head-bangers of varying political hues.
    We have the St.Andrews; its the best deal for all sides. The constitutional arrangement is that of the principle of consent.
    Its not rocket science!

    ok if you really want to start a new party, call yourself “The persuaders”.. its a bit snappy, but does sound rarher like a USA crime drama, like “the enforcers”.

  • Good on Gerry McHugh, the one thing that cannot be said of him is that he went home disillusioned and shut his front door. Whether a new Party emerges at this stage time only will tell, more probably to start with a loose alliance of republicans who coordinate their political activities to avoid treading on each others toes.

    What Stormont desperately needs is an opposition worthy of the name, to begin with this would not have to be large, just very vocal and energetic with roots on the ground. People like McHugh could form the bases of such an opposition, as to could Eirigi, the Republican Network for Unity, IRSP and individuals Republicans who have become disillusioned with PSF.

    As someone has already partially said, [this would mean going into Stormont], but it would not mean putting on a British police officers uniform or riding in a British government ministers car.

  • perci

    “What Stormont desperately needs is an opposition worthy of the name”
    Disagree entirely Mick Hall.
    SDLP and UUP provide adequate opposition, and keep SF/DUP on their toes.

  • circles

    If theres another breakaway in the republican hinterlands I’m seriously worried we’re very soon going to end up splitting the atom out there.
    Expect a dark green mushroom cloud seconds after the announcement.

  • perci

    very good circles, did you post in the old days of davros, dessertspoon and so on?

  • perci

    How can the SDLP and UUP act as an opposition, correct me if I am wrong, but they have ‘ministers’ in the Stormont administration do they not?, it would be a neat, although somewhat undemocratic trick if a governing party could be both government and opposition.

    What type of democratic system would we call that?

  • perci

    don’t know the name Mick, its all new.
    But I have observed closely that the UUP and SDLP have and are acting as the awkward squad, even though they have ministeries of their own.

    In the sense that the two minor parties are pressurizing the major parties, that makes good government.

    I don’t think either TUV or “any new republican party” have anything to offer, as basically their position is not to support the St.Andrews Agreement.
    So how could TUV or ANRP even take seats, or even be an opposition?
    They only want to whinge and sob. Idiots all of them 😉

  • perci

    Mick Hall.
    The only show in town is Stormont.
    That’s where the bread (cash) is and is made(baked). So we kneed the dough, and use the dosh to bake the bread, and that’s our wares to sell.

    The parties will be judged every 4 yrs on their repertoire.

    Naysayers, well just give em hankies
    I’d rather bake cakes, wouldn’t you?

  • Mark McGregor


    As Mick Hall notes a new Republican party has been growing over the last while, eírígí.

  • Turgon

    Sorry Mr. McGregor, I stand corrected

  • Mark McGregor


    ‘Mr. McGregor’

    We blog on the same site, you should feel free to call me ‘Sir’ ;0)

  • Perci

    Whilst not the only show in town, I agree that Stormont is at the front of the queue and that to be effective non SF Republicans may have to seriously consider to work within it. Although not under the terms laid down by London, especially with the British government holding the purse strings.

    I realize for SF this has been a very complex process, but surely even Unionists must accept that they have done all that was asked of them and kept their side of the bargain. Thus why the Unionists are refusing to take the next inevitable step on policing is a mystery to me, unless they still believe that SF cannot be trusted about the place. Which reeks of the past and the Taig quotation..

  • Twinbrook

    SF was always a broad based movement united around one goal….
    Now that goal has now been replaced by *stormont* and the manner in which the current SF leadership have ignored or manipulated the concerns of the ordinary supporter, well those with a left wing bent….

    Times ripe for the development of real non partisan working class politics…

    not middle of the road wishy washy lets bury our heads in the sand and pretend we are achieving something..

  • Connolly’s ghost

    Spent a long time with the RM to gradually become completely disillusioned with the about turns and the leadership-led directives and initiatives which moved us totally away from the Connolly-type politics I and many other comrades aspired to. I have to say that from what I hear from old comrades or read about, Eirigi seems like a breath of fresh air. No overnight, sticking plaster or quick fix solutions, but a back to basics, let’s get the politics right, approach before moving forward. The SF leadership became too focussed on achieving the mantle of being the biggest “nationalist” party in the North that it forgot about what Republican socialist values meant.
    I might be a bit long in the tooth now, but I wish Eirigi well and hope they organise in every area, even if it takes a few years to do so.

  • Mark McGregor

    Connolly’s Ghost,

    Your hopes about how éirígí will organise are right in my view. The focus isn’t on what others do or have done wrong but gradually building a sustainable Socialist Republicanism and moving forward from that.

    And no matter how long your teeth are, I’m sure any contribution would be appreciated. No point sitting by the fire, when you can stoke the flames.

  • Connolly’s Ghost

    Mark, that’s why I hope they eventually organise in every area, ‘though a bit old for running around I’m willing to still “to play a part no matter how small”

  • Muad’Dub

    One would wonder where some of you guys got your definition of opposition. Last time I checked it was highly illogical to be in opposition to something you are a member of, however maybe that explains a lot about the UUP and SDLP.

  • DK

    Surely the logical thing to do if you want to be a republican and avoid Sinn Fein is to join the SDLP?

    But presumably it’s more fun to join a group with paramilitary trappings like eirigi/RSF/etc.

    Basically, republicanism without the guns is no fun to these people.

  • Twinbrook

    There isn`t a Republican bone in the stoopies, they`re as republican as the sticks.

    And will go the same way…to oblivion

  • Rory (South Derry)

    Have you all finished infighting

    Are PSF not split anyway with the North South Situation?

    Was half expecting a mass walk out at the Ard Fheis Circus last weekend when the bearded monster stood up to spout his drivel

  • Passive Tense

    DK wrote: But presumably it’s more fun to join a group with paramilitary trappings like eirigi/RSF/etc.

    As far as I know, Eirigi has no armed wing and has no links to any other armed groupings, so why let the facts get in the way of a fiction.

  • James W. Sutton

    What is he gonna call it?


    Traditional Republican Voice?