Where are the Republicans?

Just an add to all the Cruiseography including my own small memoir in Gonzo’s original thread. First, I’m taken aback at the emerging orthodoxy over the last few days, that the reappraisal of nationalism and unionism owes more to the Cruiser than anyone else. And I speak as a fan who had quite few dealings with him long ago, including helping him out a lift at a Bolton St election count, which I was proud to do. What I found chilling in the early days was TDs’ ignorance of the North generally – not just of Unionists. Only a handful of the Lynch generation had regular contact, except for Gaelic sport. I would have praised Jack Lynch himself for just about holding a constitutional line and preventing the whole Irish establishment from imploding in their own Doomsday situation over the North. In this he was remarkably stiffened by old warriors like Frank Aiken. Garret FitzGerald gave some political form to reappraisal in the “ constitutional crusade” and the New Ireland Forum, even though not a great deal was actually delivered, except for the controversial Anglo-Irish Agreement ( which O’Brien denounced as unbalanced and anti-democratic, I think wrongly) . All in all, the Republic’s political establishment preferred to sidle backwards into an accommodation with northern realities in smoke-filled party rooms and through diplomacy, rather than make O’Brien or FitzGerald- style ringing declarations. Unless I missed it tucked away somewhere, the general Republican silence since O’Brien’s death is notable, except from that oddest of champions, the otherwise very balanced and authoritative media guru Roy Greenslade

Roy’s O’Brien debunker in the Guardian is consistent with his Republican views but stands out because of its in its general isolation. Here’s a correspondingly corrosive , if by now ancient polemic against Greenslade by the pro-Tory commentator Stephen Glover who I think would still stand by his views. Mick is approvingly quoted in an Eaten By Missionaries’ rejoinder to Greenslade. I add a sad little piece picked up by Dawkins, no less, about how Roy had to bury his mother in a Protestant plot in Derry because there could be no room for her in a Catholic cemetery in Donegal. No, it’s not strictly relevant…

Former BBC journalist and manager in Belfast, Manchester and London, Editor Spolight; Political Editor BBC NI; Current Affairs Commissioning editor BBC Radio 4; Editor Political and Parliamentary Programmes, BBC Westminster; former London Editor Belfast Telegraph. Hon Senior Research Fellow, The Constitution Unit, Univ Coll. London