Here is a small clip from an interview from a while back on Radio Free Eireann, in which Henry McDonald discusses his new book Gunsmoke and Mirrors In the two minute video of the Radio Free interview Henry also discusses why people joined the IRA. To either get back at the state, or because they were romantic republicans, they didn’t do it to get parity of esteem or an Irish language act.He also describes the last thiry years as a youth rebellion. However, in this months issue of Fortnight magazine, Peter Carr gives an excellent review of the book, in which he says,
McDonalds perspective on modern Irish republicanism struggles to climb out from under the shadow of a 1980 workers party critique of the Irish struggle.
Then again the authors grasp of detail about the Provisional IRA in this book is not convincing. Even though he expresses regard for the late John Kelly, a former IRA volunteer, McDonald repeatedly refers to him as ‘Blue’ Kelly. This was never the name of John Kelly but of another person altogether. In another faux pas, a photograph is published of Ken Livingstone, in Belfast in 1983, and wrongly identifies the person standing beside him as Tom Hartley.
Carr also states that McDonald negatively differentiates the modern Irish struggle from struggles else where.
As time goes on and more information becomes available a clearer picture of our past will emerge. The 1978 Irish state archives just released gives new insight into how the La Mon bombing affected Anglo Irish relations. Roy Mason had claimed that the bombers had been given refuge in the republic.
But in the video the Irish claim:
They never ever either then or subsequently came up with any evidence that there was any southern connection. And frankly some of their own intelligence people had told us that it was the west Belfast brigade of the provisional IRA.
The video also has footage of the arrest of prominent republicans after the bombing.
So what is your view on the last thirty years, and why 3,500 approximately had to die in awful circumstances like La Mon? Was it a youth rebellion where young men kicked back at the state, or for Irish unity or catholic equality? Or something else entirely?