The broad brush of the IMC. Well, for republicans.

As noted by Pete the IMC submitted its 20th report today. Their decision to yet again include a section on éirígí

2.7 In our Twelfth and Thirteenth Reports we referred to éirígí, which we described as a small political grouping based on revolutionary socialist principles7. The grouping remains a political one with a focus on aggressive protest activities. We have no information to suggest that it is involved in paramilitary activity.

seems well beyond their remit:

(a) monitoring activity by paramilitary groups,
(b) monitoring security normalisation, and
(c) reporting on claims relating to commitment to the observing of terms of the pledge of office set out in Schedule 4 to the Northern Ireland Act 1998 (c. 47).

And if they are now routinely reporting on all groups that reject the Belfast Agreement I wonder will Mr Allister’s TUV be gracing the pages of an IMC report soon? Though the IMC’s position may be guided by or leading to claims of a new hardline PSNI attitude towards éirígí.

  • ggn


    That is an interesting observation, thanks for pointing it out.

  • Jer

    I agree GGN after. Thanks Mark thats a good post.

  • If this group is strictly a political grouping then they are outside the remit of the IMC.
    That much seems very sure.

  • joeCanuck

    Well noted, Mark. It is passing strange that they would be singling out one particular party, a party, as they say themselves, that has shown no propensity for illegal paramilitary behaviour..

  • ggn

    I wonder what other organisations and interest groups are monitored by the IMC and the intelligence services.

    It reminds me of a couple of cases I have come accross where young people have been approached by the security forces for information, but amazingly they wanted information on people involved with Ógra Shinn Féin rather than about the RIRA etc., though of course that may have been a way of breaking the ice.

  • Yes Mark, excellent stuff, and pray tell what does ‘aggressive protests mean’ are they attempting to smear éirígí with acts of violence, it looks very much like they are.

    Where are the SDLP and Sinn Fein? they should have already been on the phone on this to give the viceroy an ear bashing, as it is a clear attempt to restrict peoples ‘democratic rights.’ Both parties have asked people to trust the system, but when it breaches it, they seem no where to be seen.

    As to big media, until hell freezes over springs to mind. Well done slugger.

  • Dublin voter

    It does appear that the IMC have gone beyond their remit.

    However, if Éirigí are serious about being political and non-violent, they’d want to be careful about who they hang around with and who they allow to join them. RIRAish elements could join them to recruit others and/or influence Éirigí towards violence.
    Likewise the PSNI need to be careful how they handle this – a heavy approach risks pushing “ordinary” Éirigí members and supporters towards the violent fringe.
    It ain’t easy that’s for sure.

  • RepublicanStones

    Looks like the riddler missed one of his question marks. Im sure he can pluck one from his mind as no doubt theres plenty floating about in there.

    Excellent job Mark in highlighting the IMC’s ‘branching out’. Hopefully the PSNI will afford such close attention to the TUV as they have been giving éirígí. But some how I doubt it.

  • Did the rant by the chief eric to the massed blue-baggers during their sectarian protest against the troops’ parade last week not include the threat that they would fight but not “this day”?

    Three cheers to the IMC for being proactive. After all, surely one ‘monitors’ for the future as opposed to monitoring the gate after the horse has bolted?

  • Dave

    “RIRAish elements could join them to recruit others and/or influence Éirigí towards violence.”

    The handlers of the ex-PIRA members might use such tactics as part of a propaganda campaign to discredit Éirigí of course, but it is more likely that PIRA members will be joining in simple touting mode to top up their dole payments courtesy of PIRA’s main employer, Her Majesty’s intelligence services. If the IMC is ‘monitoring’ them, then it is doing so on the basis of reports from the intelligence services that is doing the actual monitoring. Still, folks signed up to the police state, so what do they expect other than political policing? They are legitimate suspects because they possess illegal ideology.

  • ggn

    “Did the rant by the chief eric to the massed blue-baggers”

    It would be interesting if any photographic evidence of a single blue bag at any Republican protest on the day in question.

  • Big Maggie

    The grouping remains a political one with a focus on aggressive protest activities.

    Listen when you reach my time of life you misremember all kinds of things. If the IMC tells me Eirigi engaged in aggressive protests last Sunday then I believe them. Who wouldn’t?

  • Dave

    By the way, Mark, you’re a bit behind the times if you thought that it was merely the violent means to a political end that was proscribed rather than the political end itself.

    You will notice that the Irish Minister for Justice, Dermot Ahern, responds to the IMC report thusly:

    “Members of these [dissident] groups need to leave behind their failed ideology, move on and join the rest of the people of this island in rejecting violence and in building a better, more inclusive, society, to the benefit of all.”

    Notice the slight of hand where means are obfuscated with ends, so that it isn’t just republican violence that has failed but republican ideology itself. So if you thought that you had a right to self-determination as a nation that was not subject to the veto of any other nation, think again. Northern nationalists forfeited their right to live within an Irish nation-state when they signed up to the GFA, and that replacement ideology of Parity of esteem is behind the micropolitical engineering in NI.

    “Parity of esteem can be described as a post-Enlightenment theory as it differs drastically from classical liberal or Marxist rationalism and is contrary to 20th century ideas of self-determination or the 19th century idea of the nation-state. Many of these anticipated a “withering away of nationalism” once minorities were brought within the nation-state. These concepts are today the most dominant within contemporary political theory.”

  • Comrade Stalin

    I don’t think the IMC have gone beyond their remit. Eirigi’s ranks include a number of severly militant people with extremely violent pasts who have made clear their opposition to democratic politics here. You can’t blame the PSNI for being hardline when they welcome cop-killers into their ranks.

    The problem is that they are not investigating unionist paramilitarism in quite the same way; not that they are wrong to investigate militant republicanism. The excuse is probably the usual rather pathetic one, namely that the unionist paramilitaries are not quite so well organized and armed.

  • latcheeco

    When has the IMC ever been anything other than a ridiculous farce?
    “Illegal ideology” Now what would that be? Where is thinking proscribed by law Dave? And, out of interest Dave, where were these vaunted intelligence services when London and Theipval were being carparked thirty years into the game. Seems their stuff wasn’t up to scratch either was it?
    Northern Nationalists never forfeited any rights mucker but they improved on a good few.

  • Mark McGregor


    Your argument falls at the first hurdle. The IMC themselves recognised eirigi are not involved in paramilitary activity.

    Pretending they may be is just, as this IMC report seems to be, criminalising being a political, non-SF subscribing republican.

  • Modernist

    It would be interesting to see the IMC monitoring the TUV. Especially if its members have been known to hang around with loyalist paramilitary types.

  • Big Maggie

    Hmm, third mention of that vast metropolis Stoneyford today and once again in a bad light. Still, I suppose a pit as bad as that needs all the publicity it can get.

  • Dave

    Latch, wee babe in the woods, on the contrary, they have forfeited the right that was at the root of their dispute: the right to self-determination. They were not granted any additional rights for doing this.

    Partition was created on the principle of force majeure rather than consent. Of course, a majority of NI’s citizens consented to it after the state was established, but no such democratic legitimacy established it. Self-determination was thus granted to the citizens of NI. The principle of consent (later referred to dismissively as the Unionist Veto) came into being in the Government of Ireland Act 1920 as a clause which stated that NI could rejoin the rest of Ireland if a majority of its citizens voted accordingly. This is what northern nationalists have now accepted. If they accepted that in 1920, then those who defend the realm would not have led then to accept it by discrediting republican opposition to it by expedient of discrediting republicanism itself (courtesy of controlling their campaign of squalid sectarian violence).

    As a bonus, the Irish government also accepted that it has no claim to the territory of Northern Ireland and that the legitimate claim to self-determination of northern nationalists is based on being a part of the UK, amending its constitution accordingly. It stated that they remain a part of the Irish nation, but recognised that they do not reside in an Irish nation-state and that, ergo, they have no right to self-determination as Irish people (unless, of course, they move to the Republic of Ireland).

    It’s true that they have a right to self-determination as British citizens in NI, but they don’t regard themselves as British citizens, so that right does not fulfil the mandate of self-determination as it is defined in Article 1 of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights “All peoples have the right of self-determination. By virtue of that right they freely determine their political status and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development.” The right to self-determination is defined in the Irish Proclamation of Independence as “We declare the right of the people of Ireland to the ownership of Ireland, and to the unfettered control of Irish destinies, to be sovereign and indefeasible.”

    A nation-state is the sovereign, territorial entity by which a people exercise their right to self-determination. A right is not subject to the discretion of others. When you make it subject to the discretion of others, it then becomes an aspiration and is no longer a right. When you sign a treaty stating that you have no right to self-determination, then that is game over. This is what the northern nationalists were led to do. They have conceded that they have no right to live within an Irish nation-state (unless they move south) or unless those who are British and who now hold a legitimised veto agree to live within an Irish nation-state – and the chances of that ever happening are zero.

  • Dave

    The Ireland Act, 1949 states the Principle of Consent as “It is hereby declared that Northern Ireland remains part of His Majesty’s Dominions and of the United Kingdom and it is hereby affirmed that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be a part of His Majesty’s dominions and of the United Kingdom without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.”

    The Downing Street Declaration states the Principle of Consent as “The United Kingdom Government reaffirm that nothing which happened in recent weeks in Northern Ireland derogates from the clear pledges made by successive United Kingdom Governments that Northern Ireland should not cease to be a part of the United Kingdom without the consent of the people of Northern Ireland or from the provision of Section 1 of the Ireland Act 1949, that in no event will Northern Ireland or any part thereof cease to be part of the United Kingdom without the consent of the Parliament of Northern Ireland.”

    Willie Whitelaw’s Green Paper states the Principle of Consent as involving “periodic plebiscites would be held to allow the people of Northern Ireland to declare their views on the Border issue.”

    The only modification between the Principle of Consent as stated in the GFA and as stated previously in statute is that it will be exercised by plebiscite rather than by parliament. That is actually a step backward for northern nationalists because it would be far easier to get parliament to agree to unity than it would ever be to get the people to agree to it.

    You always had the Principle of Consent. The difference is that it was then called the Unionist Veto. It was only when it was rebranded as the grandiose sounding Principle of Consent and elevated to the status of a principle from a perverse anti-democratic gerrymander were the politicos able to sell it to the plebs as an advance. That’s what happens when you trust politicians and are too lazy and too dumb to work things out for yourself. 😉

  • Wilde Rover


    “They are legitimate suspects because they possess illegal ideology.”

    Yes, a sign of the times.

    Of course, once you start making thoughts illegal you can have no end of fun.

    For example, it would be very easy to argue that people who vote against, say, referenda on Europe, possess illegal ideology.

    So Dave, would you like a cell with sun in the morning or evening?

  • latcheeco

    Northern Nationalists did not lose anything in the GFA that they hadn’t already lost in reality under British rule.I never noticed that the Irish people were determining their own destiny without interference in my lifetime.The force of the British army stole that right like so much else and declaring it all day didn’t make it so.Should they have had that right and was what the British did immoral and illegal:yes, of course.That people fought and died to get that right back is also true. But there is a difference between have and should have.When since the plantation of Ulster did they have the right to self-determination? You can’t forfeit what you didn’t have.British rule meant nationalists had no right to self-determination. Self determination was defacto granted to the unionists of NI at partition, never to northern nationalists whose srength was sufficiently carved up by an artificial border to make their self-determination impossible at that time. The only thing northern nationalists agreed at the GFA was that tactics would change in order to better move towards achieving the right of self-determination, they would pay lipservice to realpolitik in the meantime to make life easier for themselves, and that they would stop rearranging the London skyline in order to get where they wanted to go but that doesn’t mean they consented to British rule or accepted that the British government had any right to interfere in Irish affairs.There was a unionist veto before the GFA and there was one after: no change. If you mean that nationalists recognised at the GFA that unionists if they wished and backed by the British army could block unification or at least turn its achievement into a bloodbath when did they not recognise this.

  • West Belfast

    First of all can I say I agree with your post. The IMC should not exist in the first place anyway and if they have to report they should stick to their brief.

    Regarding Eirigi – can anyone tell me when they were formed? Also it seems they got a real boost after SF signed up to P&J;. Is this right or am I off the mark.

    Ive also heard most of its members are from Dublin, Galway and Derry – basically they are suspicious of new members from Belfast. How accurate is that?

    Apart from street politics what is their overall strategy and tactics. At the protest against the UDR/RIR they said today was not the day for the fight. When is the day?

    I want to be up front and say I am sceptical about eirigi but appreciate there are articulate and passionate people in their ranks.

  • Vladimir Lenihan

    West Belfast

    I’m sure you will be pleased to know that éirígí has recruited many new members in Belfast, indeed in West Belfast also. Hope that clears up some of your scepticism


  • West Belfast

    Thanks Vladimir

    Well that answers one question.

  • West Belfast

    Checked out the website – everything I needed was on it.