Only a millimetre between disillusion and renewed militancy

A couple of good close accounts, one from a former soldier, now the Telegraph on Sunday’s defence correspondent contrasting then with now and describing the huge scale of the operation that it took to contain the IRA. Familiar apostates Richard O’Rawe , quoted by Liam Clarke in the Sunday Times and Anthony McIntyre get an outing in the UK national press, making you realise that it is only a small turn of a screw that transforms their embittered disillusion into supporters of a horrible new ( to me) acronym, ONH. Once people desperate to be thought in the know sport your acronym, you know you’re in business. Denis Murray accurately recalls the 70s reporters’ routine which sounds so insensitive in the new touchy- feely world of today. What I remember is that no one ever asked you what it was like to experience repeatedly the aftermath of murder and horror – I suspect as the Eames/Bradley testimony reminds us, that this was a common experience, even among those who suffered directly. Have people now become genuinely more civilised or merely more sentimental?

Richard O’Rawe was an IRA prisoner on the same wing as Bobby Sands, who starved himself to death in 1981. He has now renounced violence but understands the forces that drive the dissidents.

I would not have joined the IRA in the first place if I was told this [power-sharing with the unionists] would be the outcome,” he said. “Who in their right minds would do a minute in jail for this? There was no need for anyone to die. It could have all have been done 30 or 35 years ago in a peaceful way.

Anthony McIntyre

Treading in our footsteps they will secure the same defeat, but for Martin McGuinness to denounce them as traitors for following the example he set for decades is to commit an act of treachery against truth.

  • OC

    “The penetration of the IRA, especially in Belfast, was so deep that the vast majority of operations were compromised, a fact which probably helped to drive Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness, then both senior figures in the IRA, to the negotiating table.”

    Another nail in the coffin of GA’s prevarications.

  • Secret Squirrel

    The Baltic Exchange, Bishopsgate, Canary Wharf, Manchesters Bullring. Heathrows main runway being mortared. Central London brought to a complete standstill most fridays by hoax bomb scares. Hammersmith bridge closed due to bomb damage.
    etc. etc

    I thought they brought the brits to the negotiating table when they had previously refused to negotiate with those they referred to as terrorists.

    No doubt I’m wrong.

  • percy

    neither O’Rawe or McIntyre have factored in Paisley into the equation. No progress was possible for 30 yrs when he was at the helm.

    The Reality is Ireland North and South is in a completely different place that it was in 1969.

  • Scaramoosh

    “Nothing … compromises the understanding of political issues and their meaningful debate today more seriously than the automatic
    thought-reactions conditioned by the beaten paths of ideologies.”

    O’Rawe and McIntyre are prisoners of context; trapped in an intellectual cul de sac. Their words suggest that they are incapable of understanding, that the activity of thinking now needs to be reconsidered in the light of the experience of a changed world (twelve years free from the banality of the armed struggle).

    They fail to see, or do not want to see, that the situation that currently pertains in N.Ireland, is characterised by a world that has changed so much beyond recognition, that the old narrative threads that once seemed so plausible when offered up by the Republican and loyalist traditions, no longer stand up to scrutiny.

    They both focus too much upon what has been, rather than upon that which is, and that which might be.

    In this sense, they could be seen as fellow travellers with those backwoodsmen who like to portray themselves as carrying on the flame of the right to armed struggle.

    Both O’Rawe and McIntyre remain burdened with too much republican baggage, and accordingly, no matter how hard they try, they both display an inability to think in ways other than that prescribed by the ideology under which they both once operated as volunteers.

    Whilst they have both seemingly rejected the notion of an armed struggle, they seem incapable of engaging in any level of “free thinking”.

    What would seem to threaten O’Rawe and McIntyre most is the notion that Adams, McGuninnes, and to some extent the loyalist high command are capable of a degree of self-reflection which serves to undermine and kill off the old certainties and narratives.

    Having chronicled the death of republicanism, will McIntyre now tell us that with the recent murders, it has risen phoenix like from the ashes?
    And what of O’Rawe, what is it going to take for him to finally throw of his sense of betrayal?

  • The Third Policeman

    Belfast’s middle classes have certainly benefited from Ulster’s peace dividend. Many have top range-cars and Lough-side second homes.

    And don’t ya know I seen many of the natives driving around in flashy cars! And I only seen one man carrying a pig under his arm.

    Good God.