Has the IRA gone away..?

FOR possibly the first time ever, the mainstream republican newspaper An Phoblacht does not carry an Easter message from the IRA. Instead, there’s a Sinn Féin Leadership Easter Statement. Gerry Moriarty considers the significance. In the statement, Sinn Fein makes much of its strategy for achieving a united Ireland, arguing that politics rather than militarism will meet that objective. It is true that the terrorist campaign failed and that the dissident groups are unlikely to do any better. The problem is that it’s difficult to see what the SF political strategy actually is these days. To suggest that this lack of a visible strategy might even be a reason why some are turning to militarism would, of course, be heresy.

  • Scaramoosh

    “To suggest that this lack of a visible strategy might even be a reason why some are turning to militarism would, of course, be heresy.”

    The embracing of the democratic route is not a lack of a visible strategy, it is just a long road.

    Throwing the country into chaos; sending young men to their graves and into prison, is indicative of a lack of a visible strategy.

    “Where a government has come into power through some form of popular vote, fraudulent or not, and maintains at least an appearance of constitutional legality, the guerrilla outbreak cannot be promoted, since the possibilities of peaceful struggle have not yet been exhausted.” – Ernesto Che Guevara

  • Neil

    On topic, I wonder can we expect some pearls of wisdom from the leisurewear sporting folks that were on the telly after the recent shootings? I reckon yes.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Belfast Gonzo,

    “It is true that the terrorist campaign failed ”

    Many people, including the majority of Nationalists, who actually vote for SF would not agree with your description above.

    At times like these, it is necessary, I’m afraid to dip into the old Monty Python Chestnut bag and pull out the old Roman favourite:

    Apart from the desctruction of the Orange State, the removal of the RUC and UDR, the removal of British emblems, the repeal of the Government of Ireland Act, the right of the Irish people to self-determination, the release of all their prisoners, an institutional role for the Irish Government in Norn Iron affairs and a permanent role in Government for the insurgents what did the PIRA insurgency ever gain Nationalism in Norn Iron?

    Thats why the DUP tell us, that in spite of massive pressure from the Englezes, the majority of Unionists voted against the GFA.

    In relation to a UI, the political architecture established by the GFA allows for the evolving of institutional links between ROI and Norn Iron which are underpinned by the improving Nationalist demographics – it seems like a reasonable stategy for SF to pursue.

  • Jimmy

    Their strategy is the same as any ideologically defeated people. Spin, PR, propoganda and selling a defeat as a victory or some other form of strategy to infer they know what they are doing.
    Sinn Fein are now an ideologically defunct party who are dressed up as glorified regional administrators nothing more, that is the political vacumn that the dissidents operate in.

    On a Further point of interest, has anyone else noticed the lack of the National Flag that is on nearly every lampost over west belfast over previous easters?
    The Glengoland roundabout lamp posts were the teeling memorial is, has only the starry plough at the moment. Is this part of PSF pr strategy and Is Nationalism not on the agenda anymore?

  • kensei

    The embracing of the democratic route is not a lack of a visible strategy, it is just a long road.

    This. Strategy != execution. While SF couldbe doing at having a look at their opverall strategy, their problems to date have been executing on it.

    Jimmy

    On a Further point of interest, has anyone else noticed the lack of the National Flag that is on nearly every lampost over west belfast over previous easters?

    North Belfat is covered in them. Personally, I’m not sure tying the National Flag to a lamppost is giving it due respect.

  • Gael gan Náire

    “On a Further point of interest, has anyone else noticed the lack of the National Flag that is on nearly every lampost over west belfast over previous easters?”

    I did, great isn’t it.

    “Is this part of PSF pr strategy and Is Nationalism not on the agenda anymore?”

    Let us hope that nationalism does get on the agenda, and that it takes the place of the Wolfe Tones, Flag Republicanism and Celtic jerseys.

    And gets back to the nationalism of Pearse, Sands, De hÍde, Davis, Ó Cadháin etc etc.

  • willowfield

    McNALLY

    Many people, including the majority of Nationalists, who actually vote for SF would not agree with your description above.

    How do you know?

    … the desctruction of the Orange State,

    If, by that, you mean the end of majority rule Stormont, it is true that the PIRA campaign contributed to this, but the civil rights movement, in my view, should take the most credit. Murdering and maiming people to achieve this end was, quite simply, unjustified.

    the removal of the RUC and UDR,

    The RUC was not removed: its name was changed. The UDR was not removed: it was merged into the RIR; and the home batallions were eventually abolished because their task was complete following winding up of the PIRA.

    the removal of British emblems,

    What British emblems were removed?

    the repeal of the Government of Ireland Act,

    Repealing provisions of said Act and re-enacting them in the NI Act 1998 is of no import whatsoever.

    the right of the Irish people to self-determination,

    Not achieved. Partition was reinforced and NI’s veto on a united Ireland confirmed. No change.

    the release of all their prisoners,

    There would have been no prisoners to release if they hadn’t started a murder campaign in the first place.

    an institutional role for the Irish Government in Norn Iron affairs

    That was achieved in 1985 by the SDLP.

    and a permanent role in Government for the insurgents

    Achieved through the ballot box and entirely dependent on ending violence.

    what did the PIRA insurgency ever gain Nationalism in Norn Iron?

    Not that much that wasn’t or couldn’t have been achieved by peaceful nationalism.

    On the debit side, of course, there were thousands of deaths; people living in fear in sectarian ghettos; loyalist death squads wreaking revenge; security force activity in nationalist areas; sectarian hatred throughout society.

    Not a great record.

    In relation to a UI, the political architecture established by the GFA allows for the evolving of institutional links between ROI and Norn Iron which are underpinned by the improving Nationalist demographics – it seems like a reasonable stategy for SF to pursue.

    Nonsense. There will be no evolution of such links because unionists have a veto on them.

  • dub

    There will be no evolution of such links because unionists have a veto on them.

    Er… willow, have you not noticed that many unionists are in favour of mutually beneficial links?

  • Frustrated Democrat

    The problem for SF is that they are, like the DUP, caught between two other groups.

    On one side the SDLP and on the other the rag bag of non reconstructed terrorists.

    They will need to work out where they go, too far towards the rag bag and the whole agreement will collapse and too far towards the other direction and they will feed the rag bag.

    Not a nice place to be, but not unusual when you are trying appear to ride in two directions at the same time; as the DUP have found out as they are squeezed between the TUV and the CU’s.

  • fin

    “In relation to a UI, the political architecture established by the GFA allows for the evolving of institutional links between ROI and Norn Iron which are underpinned by the improving Nationalist demographics – it seems like a reasonable stategy for SF to pursue.

    Nonsense. There will be no evolution of such links because unionists have a veto on them.”

    Indeed Willowfield, a bit like the devolution of P&J, following the recent killings senior politicans suchas Peter Hain said the way forward was the devolution of P&J, and as if by magic Robbo can suddenly see support within Unionism for it. At the end of the day NI is financed by Great Britain, therefore regardless of what unionist politicians say in public, they will do as they are told in private by the British government. For other examples please see GFA, StA, police reform, removal of watch towers, north south bodies etc etc.

  • willowfield

    DUB

    Er… willow, have you not noticed that many unionists are in favour of mutually beneficial links?

    They may well be, but that does not mean that the institutional bodies alluded to by McNally will evolve into some kind of all-Ireland government.

    FIN

    Strange comments. Devolution of P&J has got nothing to do with cross-border bodies.

  • sj1

    As regards the title, ‘has the IRA gone away’. I think no, imv it has splintered and produced what we are witnessing today. In its splintering and rush from the provisional movement it has left in its wake an ideologically defunct party that is nothing more than an establishment party. Yes I agree with those above who say there is a vacum and that the dissidents are stepping in to this vacum.

    Where this leaves republicanism – I don’t know.

  • Faolchu

    Just finished reading the ‘Sinn Fein’s Leadership Easter Statement.’ Ridiculously light on strategy detail. Since when did it go from being a psuedo-manifesto to being written like Jack and Jill’s reading it.
    “Irish unity remains Sinn Féin’s primary objective. We have a strategy to achieve that objective. Others disagree.”
    I mean come on…

  • fin

    No Willow it doesn’t, what it has got to do with however is dispelling the idea that unionism has anything resembling a veto these days, they can no longer argue the case of been the loyal subjects holding the line against the enemy, today they are one half of a political process and if the British government deems it to be in its interest for something to happen in NI than it will happen.

    The common thread in the items I listed is the fact that they were all opposed by unionism and they all happened regardless.

    Which also brings up a united Ireland, if the British government decides its in Britain’s interest for it to happen, than it will happen, they can turn off the money tap from England to NI and make enough people opt for a better life in a united Ireland.

    Unionism has no more a veto or power within the UK than nationalists, and in the absense of a conflict they are seen purely as one half of the problem. Neither side has anything to offer the UK apart from a drain on resources, and a constaint earache.

  • willowfield

    FIN

    No Willow it doesn’t, what it has got to do with however is dispelling the idea that unionism has anything resembling a veto these days, they can no longer argue the case of been the loyal subjects holding the line against the enemy, today they are one half of a political process and if the British government deems it to be in its interest for something to happen in NI than it will happen.

    Unionism does have a veto: so too does nationalism. (Haven’t you noticed that very little of significance gets decided here as a result?)

    No Government is going to seek to unravel the Belfast Agreement by trying to enforce additional cross-border powers against the will of unionists. If you think anything of that order is remotely possible, then you are a fantasist.

  • Slarti

    [url=http://www.politics.ie/political-humour/59367-flat-earth-republican-news-8-4-1916-a.html]Ruairi O’Bradaigh delivers his traditional Easter message[/url]

  • fin

    Willow, stay in your comfort zone of thinking any vetoes exist in NI, shut your eyes and pretend that Robbo really honestly suddenly sees support for the devolution of P&J within unionism (as opposed to been instructed from London) and of course that unionism decided not to envoke their veto on anything else I listed aswell

    There is no need to unravel the agreement to ‘enforce’ additional crossborder powers. It’s not been approached from that angle, there are currently 3 enquries happening to see how crossborder health can be expanded, the 2nd electricity link is happening, its all about building a single infrastructure on the island which makes sense to both the British and Southern governments and is welcomed by nationalists as its a framework for political unity.

    So unionism has no veto to stop this or anythingelse, its only option would be to unravel the agreement and that would result in joint authority (hence Paisley opting for powersharing as the least worst option previously) and so the agreement is the only show in town for unionism, nationalists would be as happy if not happier with joint authority eitherway the process continues.

    Hence unionists are hitching their wagon to mumbled promises from the a tory party grahing for votes, wild promises to include NI within eborders, thats not going to happen as it leaves a gaping hole in security, or Owen Pattersons tough talk on SF, will only appeared in a few NI papers and Henrys article in the G, and doesn’t even make it to his or the tories websites

  • “Apart from the desctruction of the Orange State, the removal of the RUC and UDR, the removal of British emblems, the repeal of the Government of Ireland Act, the right of the Irish people to self-determination, the release of all their prisoners, an institutional role for the Irish Government in Norn Iron affairs and a permanent role in Government for the insurgents what did the PIRA insurgency ever gain Nationalism in Norn Iron?”

    The last part of your question “gain Nationalism in Norn Iron?” says its all; the PIRA were not out to gain anything within the framework of a Northern Irish state. That was the SDLP. The IRA campaign failed on its own terms and now you are just repeating the Sinn Féin line that it was somehow successful. Nearly 4,000 dead for a few constitutional reforms that were on the table in various forms over the last 30 years anyway.

  • fin

    nineteensixtyseven, you’re not quoting me, however your post has confused me, are you saying all of these items where on offer 30 years ago, I honestly don’t recall it, can you point out a few of them, I’m only asking as the DUPs mantra use to be to ‘smash republicanism’ so I’m curious to learn where their aparent parallel mantra of sharing power with republicans was hiding, that and when 30 years ago was the Irish government given/offered a role in NI affairs, oh, and police reform aswell

  • I know I’m not quoting you… I’m quoting Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit who, incidentally, typed the words that I quoted. I am saying that enough existed over the last 30 years (and more would probably have existed had the PIRA not been killing people) to make laughable the claim that the ‘armed struggle’ can be seen to have succeeded on its own terms. The IRA wanted to smash the NI state and get the British presence out of Ireland’; neither has happened.
    The Civil Rights Movement was the force that wanted reform and managed to get the Special Powers Act repealed, the B Specials disbanded, the RUC disarmed (until the IRA campaign reversed that). The SDLP’s Towards a New Ireland Document pointed the way forward in 1972 but such was the violence and destruction that the Sunningdale Executive was squeezed out by the extremes of both sides.
    And anyway, it is a moot point whether Sinn Fein got a better deal as a result of 30 years of violence because they didn’t want a deal at all and sneered at those constitutional nationalists who did. No matter what the reform it still cannot be argued by Sinn Fein that they were successful because acceptance of Britain’s role in NI falls well short of even their most basic aims and ideals.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    nineteensixtyseven

    I would suggest that the slowness of both the Englezes and the Provos to reach an accomodation (which is exactly what the GFA is) is an indictment of both. But that’s the way the war thing goes – and the minute the the mad Tory government of the day decided to let let loose the paratroopers to deal with unarmed civil rights proteters we were into red zone.

    The GFA is neither a success or a failure from a Republican viewpoint but a reasonable compromise which recognises the right of the Irish people alone(free from British interference) to determine their consitutional future. Ireland dropped their explicit claim over the territory of Non Iron in return for Britian legislating for it.

  • It’s definitely an indictment of everyone involved. The British delayed getting involved until the very last minute and when they did it was a disaster. You had security powers resting with Stormont but the army in the hands of Westminster and a whole mess with interment and Bloody Sunday.
    If the Unionists like Craig hadn’t have been so stupid in the first place they could have given enough to pacify the Civil Rights Movement. Then again, give the very nature of the state in Northern Ireland, based on maintaining the support of populist loyalism at the expense of more secular forces of the NILP etc. it was very difficult to see how it would reform itself. As Bew, Patterson and Gibbon say in their analysis, quoting Poulantzas, the extraordinary state is a very brittle and inflexible object.
    The collapse of Stormont was inevitable given its unsustainable sectarian basis but that is not to say the Provisional IRA campaign was the corollary.

  • Reader

    Sammy: evolving of institutional links between ROI and Norn Iron
    dub: have you not noticed that many unionists are in favour of mutually beneficial links?
    I’m in favour of ‘mutually beneficial’ links. The problem with ‘institutional’ links is that they could persist long after the mutual benefit ceases. We can’t have any of that sort of nonsense.