INLA disarms

The BBC reports the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) has decommissioned its weapons. Presumably the Irish Republican Socialist Party (IRSP) will now seek realignment with the wider political left, as the party has indicated during an interview. Will it be accepted? And has there ever been a worse time for the left which, despite the economic crisis, still appears to have no weight?

In an interesting aside, the Irish Daily Mail published an interview with the recently late Tómas Mac Giolla in which he blames the 1969 IRA split into Official and Provisional wings entirely on Seamus Costello, who would later found the IRSP and INLA. Cedar Lounge has the story. Will be interesting to see if anyone comments on this allegation.

  • Stephen Blacker

    Another good news story for the people of this wee corner of the World. We all need to stand together and let the few people with guns know that violence is not the way.

    Let your mouth do the talking and not the gun!

  • scarecrow

    It doesn’t matter what republicans do, for some parties republicans will always be terrorists. Just watched this video on TUV in the orange hall in belfast and it is depressing. Scenes right out of history…

  • Alias

    The Marxist analysis proffered by The Workers Partys’ allowed the British state to shift the focus of internal discontent from national rights to civil rights. National rights required the termination of British sovereignty over the territory in order to be achieved while civil rights did not. Civil rights could be delivered within the British unitary state. Adding the qualification of “equal” to civil rights also helped form the basis for that consolidation of sovereignty, since it then became a demand for equality between competing national groups within the British state with the implicit recognition that there were indeed two competing nations rather than one.

    This was then further extended by the British state by conflating British nationality with British sovereignty such that there must be “parity of esteem” between the two competing nationalisms and an “Ireland of equals” where British nationalism has an equal claim to ownership of the territory. In effect, the British state consolidates its claim to sovereignty. This was unlikely to have been the direct aim of the assorted muppets and puppets that ran the plethora of militant groups in that region but it was the aim of the Security Services who far outclassed them, and who were responsible for consolidating national sovereignty.

    Tómas Mac Giolla and Cathal Goulding believed that the British state intentionally divided the working classes in that formerly disputed territory as a tactic of preventing them from uniting to overthrow their “bourgeois” upper class oppressors. They were almost right in that Marxist analysis. The manufactured division, however, was not between the social classes but between the national groups, and the purpose was not to protect the interests of the wealthy elite but to protect British national interests.

    As the British state witnesses in India and other regions, civil disobedience presented the greatest threat to colonial ownership of territory. Civil disobedience could have terminated British control of its closest neighbour’s territory in short measure since a people cannot be controlled by a state when they withdraw their cooperation from it. It was a matter of British national security that the troublesome natives should be directed away from the effective option of civil disobedience as a means of venting their displeasure it was emerging in the late 60s and into the ineffective option of organised violence.

    Organising the violence into murder gangs had a number of excellent options for the Security Services. It allowed nationalist anger towards the state to be directed by proxy rather than by mass displays of civil disobedience. This proxy was impotent, so it discharged the anger in a manner than presented a manageable threat to British sovereignty. In allowing a small number of organised murder gangs to control the violence the state ensured that the violence could be containable and considerably reduced the risk of a civil war erupting.

    The state could also control the murder gangs via its security services. This strategy of containment was highly successful since it involved less than 1% of the population and prevented the other 99% from engagement by organising the murder gangs such that they permit mass membership. It also served to discredit nationalist aims by associating these aims with sectarian violence and by preventing the international community from expressing support for these nationalist aims lest that support be criticised as support for the violence.

    It served to allow the organised murder gangs to claim ownership of the aims, or more aptly of republicanism/nationalism. That allowed the state to redefine republicanism on terms that suited the British state, i.e. as support for British sovereignty and a rejection of the right to Irish national self-determination and a nation-state.

    Tómas Mac Giolla and ilk never had any understanding of what self-determination meant since they acted in direct violation of its meaning and that intellectual deficiency made them, their cause, and movements ideal fodder to be remodelled in by those who have infinitely more experience of territorial dispute resolution than said gullible muppets.

  • Alias

    Typo: “…organising the murder gangs such that they [b]did not[/b] permit mass membership.”

  • Alias

    Just to add that the State organising the murder gangs also allowed the state to inflict terror on its own citizens. Those citizens would then have a strong incentive to wish that the terror would end. Renouncing their national rights and endorsing the legitimacy of British sovereignty would be a price that they were willing to pay if the terror went on for long enough and duly put manners on them. It could then be presented that the alternative to not renouncing those rights would mean a continuation of the terror, and that not encouraging any ‘dissidents’ to do likewise would result in the same.

  • David Crookes

    Many thanks for the link, Scarecrow (#2). I notice two things here: a small and fairly elderly audience enduring the oratory rather than enjoying it, and a weary old platform architecture which is vintage scout-hall at best. The whole thing suggested a low-budget TV play. I respect the decent people who attended Mr Allister’s meeting, but I fear that they are going to be disappointed. Too much doctrinal rigour in politics can lead to rigor mortis. It can also lead to continual splitting.

  • Fabianus

    More good news. Terrorists have no raison d’être in Northern Ireland in 2010. I have some understanding of the grievances that led to the formation of such groups forty or so years ago.

    Those days are well and truly behind us. If the IRA can put the grievances to one side and work with the DUP for the good of all then we have grown up. Better late than never I suppose. Just a shame for all those good men and women who had to die while the terrorists were stepping onto the learning curve.

  • Fabianus

    David C,

    “Too much doctrinal rigour in politics can lead to rigor mortis.”

    LOL, I like that. Mind if I borrow it?

  • Paddy

    Fabianus: Do you include the Paras, the UDR, the RUC and other groups in your umbrella of terrorist groups?

    Have OIRA decommissioned yet?

  • David Crookes

    Of course, Fabianus, as long as you disambiguate your own three letters LOL!

  • Scaramoosh

    What is it iwth people called Seamus?

  • The Workers Party – Top SB RUC man Ian Phoenix’s best mates.

    Go figure….

  • Fabianus


    “Do you include the Paras, the UDR, the RUC and other groups in your umbrella of terrorist groups?”

    No, of course not. Do you?

    David C,

    “Of course, Fabianus, as long as you disambiguate your own three letters LOL!”

    ?? Do you mean as in Laughing Out Loud or Loyal Orange Lodge? Or are you referring to my fab nick? 🙂

  • Rory Carr

    The INLA to disarm – I suppose this will mean that instead of shooting one another in disputes over stolen money, women, drink and drugs they will now have to resort to fisticuffs.

    A sick organisation of savagely self-deluded egotists whose arrogant presumption to be the sole heirs of the non-sectarian socialism of Larkin, Lawlor, Mellowes and Connolly led them to Darkley and the machine-gunning of a small church congregation gathered for Sunday worship.

    It is true that the daring bravado shown by some volunteer units and individuals during engagements with the British lent them a certain panache at times and coupled with their faux-socialist rhetoric won them support among the more idiotic elements of British Trotskyism, where image, however false, is all, and romanticism ever trumps reality. That such groups were unable to see the terrible setback that was the inevitable outcome of the sorely ill thought out assassination of Airey Neave, which murder prolonged the misery in Ireland by at least 10 years was an indictment of their own shallowness.

    That the INLA have at last disarmed is welcome news, that they ever took up arms in the first place is a crying shame.

  • Fabianus


    You nailed it. Couldn’t have said it better myself. A disgusting bunch of wasted genetic material.

  • Stewart

    So does that leave the Official IRA/Workers Party as the only fully armed political party left on the island?

  • joeCanuck

    A sick organisation of savagely self-deluded egotists

    Indeed, with political theory lifted straight from Citizen Wolfie Smith.

  • Jason Walsh

    Regardless of one’s opinion of the various groups, what about Mac Giolla’s claim?

    Assuming he was telling the truth it’s quite a claim.

  • joeCanuck


    I imagine that 99% + of people in N.I. know next to nothing about citizen Costello.

  • Framer

    The murder of Airey Neave was a stunning success for republicanism.

  • David Crookes

    Thanks, Fabianus (#13), I was wondering if you meant that triliteral place in the Dordogne.

    What is to be done with all the splintery little groups on both sides of the fence who insist on keeping their pikes in the thatch? They know that most people don’t want them, and yet if you suggest that they renounce murder and get down to serious stamp-collecting they feel that you’re insulting their virility.

    My former sparring instructor was once a terrorist. More than once he has told me that the whole cult of aggression in his youth had far more to do with the demonstration of one’s own manhood than with loyalty to a constitutional creed.

    Members of the splintery little groups need to play rough games three or four times a week. I mean to say, destructive male energy is a problem no matter where you live. In former times it was given its place. I remember an old friend of mine from Annalong called Willie McGlue lamenting in 1970 how the wedding reception had changed in the course of his lifetime. Nowadays, he said, you listened to a lot of oul speeches in a carpeted hotel-room, but in his youth a wedding always ended up with “a whole field full o’ men an’ them fightin’.”

  • DerTer

    You’re great at plausible generalisation, but very bad at precision. Please define precisely what British national interests needed to be protected that required Northern Ireland to remain part of the UK? I think you are right in implying that British capitalist interests (indeed international capitalist interests) didn’t have a problem about operating in the IFS/Eire/Irish Republic – and thus would not have had any problem about investing (or disinvesting) in NI after any change in national sovereignty. However, after many years of personal contemplation on this question, you may be surprised at my conclusion as regards national interests: the United States (perhaps, to be fair, NATO as a whole) was, because ot Irish neutrality, the only entity that had any interest for many years in NI remaining in the UK. Until the huge leaps in electronic communication technology of the late 60s and early 70s, the US Naval Communications Facility at Clooney in Londonderry (and that is what the US authorities knew it needed, in the mood of the times, to call the city) was key to the operation of NATO nuclear deterrence; and of course the availability of access to Lough Foyle and thus to Derry was vital to naval success in the North Atlantic in WW2. Since the closure of the US Clooney base, or so it seems to me, the British government has had absolutely no national interest in retaining NI within the UK, except on the democratic grounds (that SF now accept) that a majority of its citizens want this to be so. So, come on – why did the brits in particular need to hold on to NI?

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alias’s posts may be long winded and singularly boring single-issue rants, but at least he knows how to use paragraphs.

  • Marcionite

    I sometimes think the northern aggressive dourness and character, especially that in Belfast was a major cause and accelerant for the conflict.

    I’m on a train of nasty boorish northern drunks coming from the rugby. What a difference this was from the good humourrd jocularity of Dublin. Belfast folk are quick to anger and take offence. If belfastians were as pleasant as say folk from Lisnaskea or Beragh, would the conflict have really been as deep and bitter and long?

  • Marcionite

    Yes Alias, NI is the centre of the universe.

  • Rory Carr

    As to MacGiolla’s claim it simply doesn’t hold up. As NollaigO recounts in his response to the interview it was not the case that ‘the ó’Brádaigh’ faction ‘won’ the vote on abstention but rather that it failed to win the required two-thirds majority. As ó’Brádaigh once explained to me they had anticipated this but had also anticipated the motion of confidence in the IRA where a majority on the Army Council had forced through a vote in favour of the new policy ending abstention.

    Given that it was unthinkable for a Sinn Féin conference to refuse such a motion of confidence and the practicality of such a vote would be to end abstention by the back door, ó’Brádaigh, O’Connell et al had already prepared for a walk out and had arranged an alternate venue to convene the first meeting of what was to become the Provisional Republican Movement (though the ‘Provisional’ tag was in fact only applied to the fledgling Army Council which was provisional only in the sense that it was a temporary arrangement pending the calling of a full volunteer convention and the election of an army council proper).

    NollaigO also makes the point that it was Denis Cassin and not Séamus Costello who proposed the motion of confidence and I have no information otherwise. Certainly there was no love lost between ó’Brádaigh and Costello as I was to witness during one tense recording of a discussion at RTE studios where ó’Brádaigh was fit to be tied at the mere sight of Costello.

    However I don’t feel that we should make too much of MacGiolla’s recall but rather forgive it as a case of an old man’s failing memory allied to wishful thinking of what might have been.

  • Halfer

    DerTer @ post 22.

    “So, come on – why did the brits in particular need to hold on to NI?”

    Good question…but why don’t you ask them? They are the ones who built a multi million pound Mi5 centre in Holywood.

  • Paddy

    Costello was a good operator. He was an outside chance of a TD for Wicklow. He ran the Sticks out of Bray. He was pretty much into the armed struggle.
    The Sticks and others set out to destroy the IRSPs from the get go. Sure, the Sticks made some initial accommodations for Costello. But they gunned him down.
    The early INLA feuds drove off the likes of Bernie McAllliskey and Tony Gregory. A few more well timed hits ensured “Deadly Divisions” would be a good description.

    The McGlincheys, the Grews and others proved themselves to be good operators. Gino Gallaher clipped threee Protestant sectarian killers almost on his ownsome and in one fell swoop on the Shankill.

    I did not know they were the Catholic Reaction Force as the BBC claims. Still, in many ways, they fought the good fight.

    Whacking the asexual Neave made the Pervies jealous and so they whacked the bisexual Mountbatten.

    They should surrender Ruddy’s body and tell the truch on what heppened to Ms Reid.

  • Paddy

    The Sticks have now also decommissioned. OIRA which isn’t really supposed to have existed.

    I see the Sticks who deserted to the Labour Party all trooped along to MacGiolla’s funeral.

    Fabianus: The fact that you regard the Paras, the UDR and their ilk as some way legitimate speaks volumes about your own prejudices and why groups like the INLA became necessary.

  • Fabianus


    “The fact that you regard the Paras, the UDR and their ilk as some way legitimate”

    Do allow me to correct the above. It should read:

    “The fact is: the Paras and the UDR are legitimate”

    The clue is in the word “legitimate”. Perhaps you ought to look it up.

    You may also wish to delve into the history of both regiments and their raising. Or not, as the case may be.

  • Paddy

    The Waffen SS were also legitimate but were deemed a criminal outfit at Nuremberg. The Para analogy is obvious.
    The UDR were a bunch of criminal thugs and the PIRA etc who shot them got great support by ridding the countryside of such types.

    John McGuffin (a Prod) filled up many editions of An Phoblacht recalling the crimes of these low life.

    Puffed up Protestant sectarians however never want to understand.

    So yes, the INLA did the state some service. No wodner they were so loathed.

  • Paddy

    And Fabianus: I remember the UDR and their forbears. So don’t play the old guy with me please. The UDR, B Specials, RIR, Paras, criminals all.

  • Fabianus

    Whoops, the dread curse of Herr Godwin.

    Well, this thread was fun while it lasted.

  • It is true the in a legalistic sense the UDR were ‘legitimate’ as they were a wing of the security forces of the State. However, it would be disingenuous to claim that everyone recognised the legitimacy of that State or of the UDR’s role in protecting it. If that was the case there would have been no conflict.

    Legitimacy, for it to be true legitimacy, needs to have a subjective element- that is to say a general acceptance amongst citizens- as well as just a legalistic claim to legitimacy. In reality, the actions of many UDR men (not all, or even most, but some) undermined its legitimacy and, in doing so, the legitimacy of the state it was supposed to uphold.


  • Rory Carr

    “Gino Gallaher clipped threee Protestant sectarian killers almost on his ownsome and in one fell swoop on the Shankill.” says Paddy, but erroneously I fear.

    “Gino” Gallagher drove a car that scouted the area on the Shankill and located three UVF men, Colin “Crazy” Craig, Trevor King and David Hamilton. Another car subsequently drove up and a lone gunmen (who, according to McDonald and Holland in Deadly Divisions, along with Gallagher had also taken part in the gunning down of notorious INLA killer, Gerard Steenson known as “Dr. Death”, ) stepped out “and fired from close range. Craig died on the spot and Hamilton the following day. King spent three weeks on a life support machine before dying on 9 July”.

    The UVF men were killed because their killers were able and willing to kill them and the opportunity arose, nothing more, nothing less. Their deaths served no cause other than as an ego boost for men much like them who had also given over their lives to thuggery and bloodletting.

    If the intended aim of these murders was to curtail the number of murderous attacks on innocent Catholics it failed miserably, as might have been anticipated by any but the most selfishly careless, for even before King had died, 6 Catholics were gunned down in a bar in Loughinisland near Downpatrick while watching a televised soccer match between Ireland and Italy in direct retaliation for the deaths of the UVF men.

    The allusion by Paddy to the sexuality of Airey Neave and Lord Mountbatten says nothing whatsoever about these two men nor the reasons for their assassination (nor indeed the consequences thereof) and in fact serves only to smear Paddy himself as somehow distasteful and therefore I will treat it as an uncharacteristic slip on his part.