“other options are open to revolutionaries”

To paraphrase the BBC report, the INLA, the Official IRA and the South East Antrim UDA have declared themselves to have disarmed. As the report on the Official IRA announcement notes

The timing of the announcements by the INLA and the Official IRA is thought to be linked to the expiry on Tuesday of legislation which allows illegal groups to decommission weapons without fear of prosecution.

Is thought to be linked?! Update WorldbyStorm points out that the “Official IRA” in the reports should, more accurately, be referred to as the Official Republican Movement. Identified in the Guardian report as “a faction of the Official IRA”, the Official Republican Movement “was formed in 1996”.

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  • FitzjamesHorse

    Hmmmmm……all those Worker Party types were telling us for years that the Official IRA
    1 did not exist
    2 had no weapons anyway.

    A sense of relief I expect for several journos who might have been called back into action and now can live happily in retirement.

  • Paul Doran

    A Bunch of Thugs

  • FitzjamesHorse

    No no no……not ALL journalists are thugs.
    Thats unfair.
    Oh wait you meant the Stickies….yes I agree.

  • Scaramoosh

    There are no options for these so called revolutionaries, who consistently fell and fall into the one-dimensional trap of seeing the revolutionary struggle as being coated in a nationalist/republican cloak; who persist in seeing Britain as an imperialist power; and who continue to inhabit a world full of socialist and marxist rhetoric that bears no relevance to the plight of the modern day Irish worker.

    30 years spent trying to provide the wrong answer to the wrong question, and all that they have to show for it is their bald heads, their fat bellies, a graveyard full of dead comrades and inarticulate spokespersons who merely serve to underscore the irrationality and incoherence of their cause.

    As George Bernard Shaw so succintly put it; “Patriotism is a pernicious, psychopathic form of idiocy.”

  • Kathy C

    posted by Kathleen Collins

    the move takes some wind out of the sinn fein sail. Sinn Fein has been using the mantra that those republicans who disagree with the path of sinn fein want to go back to ‘violence’ offering people no other way forward. Now- these groups can not be accused by gerry adams and martin mcguiness of wanting violence as the way forward…so when they disagree with sinn fein…it gives them a higher standing in the community to be the voice with alternative views to what sinn fein is saying.

  • FitzjamesHorse is making an important point but doesn’t go far enough. The representation of OIRA/Workers Party members and supporters within the Irish media (and in some important instances the English media) is phenomenal and is not just a case of “several journos”. Nor did this journalistic constituency ever bear any relation to a corresponding level of political support within the community.

    All these journalists both in the print media and in broadcasting have propagated the lie down the years that the Official IRA did not exist.

    How did they get away with it for so long?

  • socaire

    I’m just glad that me or mine didn’t lose their lives in importing or transporting or storing these weapons to have them given up for a political pat on the head. Who knows when they might be needed again?

  • old school

    The RIRA gave their views succintly on the matter with this video released today.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    They got away with it BECAUSE THEY ARE JOURNALISTS.
    And no non Workers Party type was ever “allowed” or had the balls to DO the story.

  • FitzjamesHorse (Im not sure if the rules of this site allow self identification so this comment may be deleted (read it quick)

    “no non Workers Party type was ever “allowed” or had the balls to DO the story.”

    I did

    Spotlight – Sticking To Their Guns – 1992

    (Shane Harrison was the reporter)

  • andypandy

    I was watching the INLA press conference on UTV and was bemused to see convicted child killer Martin McIlkerny on the platform as one of the IRSP spokesmen . Martin was convicted in the early 1980s of killing two boys in West Belfast. He is also Gerry Kellys brother in law.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    indeed….and thank you. I recall it.
    But frankly the exception that proves the rule.
    And if I recall the same programme…an interesting printing firm was involved.

  • Greenflag

    There are basically three reasons for ever being involved in fighting a war .

    1) As a soldier in your country’s army you may be sent to war and thus it’s your duty . You may have joined the army/navy /air force for a career in which case you will like most men fear death and mostly wish for peacetime and retiring on pension . These kind of folks can make good soldiers but they are seldom the best or the bravest . Depending on the army they will/will not do a good job .

    2) Love of the mother country /fatherland or political ideology – a UI -or the UNION – . The soldier who is recruited or enlists on this basis can be a bit of dreamer -an ideological perfectionist, perhaps even a poet or artist or party functionary . He or she is usually very young and immature and will not have seen enough of life or experienced enough to doubt his or her leader’s political pronouncements or the causus belli . These young people are likely to be passionate , even fanatical and this can make for good ‘soldiers’ in their determination to die for the cause -whatever it may be .

    3) Hatred of the enemy is a third reason and can seduce people into doing things they never thought they would ever be capable of . This hatred can be enhanced through appropriate ‘demonisation’ methodologies . These ‘haters’ are neurosis bound and their hatred of the enemy , extends beyond the uniformed enemy, to individuals including non combatants , women and children . If they feel betrayed by their ‘superiors ‘ their hatred of the ‘enemy’ can fade, and turn inward against their own former brothers in arms . Doubts may set in and the ‘hatred’ is seen from another perspective . War does nothing for these people for ‘hatred ‘ of an enemy cannot be prolonged past war’s end, without cost to the psyche , and can only be maintained at the cost of personal mental health . These people fail in adapting to the aftermath of war or changed circumstances often due to personal traumas suffered or some longer term neurological defect . They will of course fight for a cause as long as they see it as legitimate . Once they no longer can be convinced of their cause’s legitimacy they ‘fail’ as soldiers .

    Whatever your reason for going to war just make sure that when it’s over -it’s over . Another round or two or three just means more blood going into the gutters and in Northern Ireland that means for nought /nothing / zero/zilch !

  • FitzjamesHorse

    I completely agree that this kind of reporting was the exception. The stranglehold of Stalinism within the media (that was the WP’s political position after all) was extraordinary.
    Oh yes and not just printing presses but very interesting trips made to the Eastern bloc; not just by OIRA escapees (nobody ever talks about them) but also by hundreds of politicos and journalists – some of whom now hold very senior positions in the media world.
    Martin OHagan (God rest him) would be the best person to tell the story given his own OIRA background but alas….

    by the way – the first Stickies film we made was in 1991. The follow up was 1992 (just to be accurate)

  • FitzjamesHorse

    your critics (journalists) will say this is a conspiracy theory.
    Although your supporters will say its entryism.

    Either way I think (with genuine respect)its the weakest basis on which to point up the shortcomings of the Great and the Good journalists who are so relentless at getting at the “truth” in respect of Gerry Adams and Iris Robinson. ….especially near “Awards” time.

    While fully accepting that Entryism IS a Factor. And also straightforward political bias, I suggest two other possibilities.

    1 Journalists really did NOT know about the Official IRA arsenal………which suggests they are extremely STUPID.
    2 That they DID know about the Official IRA arsenal but deemed it not to be a “story”. The kindest view is that their JUDGEMENT is appalling.

    We are left with back slapping journos awarding each other plaudits……who are too stupid and lacking in judgement to have ANY credibility.

  • Pete Baker


    Keep it civil.

    Update WorldbyStorm points out that the “Official IRA” in the reports should, more accurately, be referred to as the Official Republican Movement. Identified in the Guardian report as “a faction of the Official IRA”.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Mr baker,
    I think it is extremely civil.
    Much worse has been said about politicians and indeed the electorate.
    Are journalists off limits?
    ah the “Official Republican Movement”…..so er the difference is?

  • Having spent today at the funeral of Tomás Mac Giolla, a true republican and socialist, I am loathe to waste my time with the nonsense here. But in the interests of accuracy, I will note some things here.

    Firstly, regarding the claims about the media. Far from there being some Stalinist blanket against reporting critical of The WP, the media has been full of it for decades. Including of course, the current President of the southern state colluding with Charles Haughey and other journalists in RTÉ to make programmes attacking it. Even with the death of Tomás, we saw RTÉ turn first to members of the Irish Labour Party whom Mac Giolla had excoriated for two decades rather than The WP. So we can take the exaggerated claims by the individual posting as offworld and FJH with an extremely large pinch of salt.

    Speaking of which. The Spotlight programme referred to had as its star witnesses supposedly independent residents of the Markets area of Belfast. They were subsequently convicted of arms offences on behalf of the Provisionals. To put that in other words, the programme was based in large part on stories told by people connected to the gang of thugs and fascists who had been running riot over the Markets and Short Strand and whose greatest claim to fame has since been the brutal murder of Robert McCartney. The defence of the credibility of the programme offered by one of its makers in his book in response to this? That it made their allegations more credible and not less. That seems to me to be contorted logic to say the least. Especially when that book reveals the admiration of that individual for the Provisional movement. In short, that programme was not the fearless piece of investigative journalism it claimed to be.

    As for the organisation calling itself the ORM. This was formed in 1996 by a bunch of people most but not all of whom had once been associated with the Republican Movement in the 1970s. The main reason for its existence seems to have been a collective mid-life crisis and a feeling that they wanted to be treated as equals by loyalist and nationalist ex-prisoners. The fact that this group does not even have a website says all we need to know about its political ambitions. It included, and continues to include, people who had connections to both the INLA and the IPLO. The organisation they refer to in their statement has its origins in this period.

  • FitzjamesHorse

    Forgive me laughing……but am I to believe socialist revolutionaries are only credible if they have a WEBSITE ?.

    Sheesh my Che Guevara Tshirt has more credibility.

  • Stewart

    So are The Workers Party the only political party in the north with a fully active and armed military wing?

  • FitzjamesHorse

    ……….and a Website. Dont forget the Website.

  • I would appreciate it, if I might be allowed to respond to Garibaldi’s comments above, which are in response to my own posts regarding the Official Republican Movement on this thread. This is particularly important as, deliberately or otherwise, he links what he calls my “admiration” for the Provisional movement with a heinous crime (the brutal murder of Robert McCartney). Given the alacrity that is shown in removing other far less legally damaging posts, I am surprised that Garibaldi’s post has been allowed to remain unamended on this site. My surprise that this post has been allowed to stand as originally presented is doubled by the fact that he (Garibaldi is probably a he) also questions the integrity of Uachtarán na hÉireann Maire Nic Ghiolla Íosa (Mary McAleese) in her former role as a journalist in RTÉ.

    Garibaldio said:
    “Far from there being some Stalinist blanket against reporting critical (sic) of The WP, the media has been full of it for decades”

    I can only speak from my own experience as a journalist and say that there was indeed a “Stalinist blanket”. RTÉ, for example, only ever carried out one major investigation into the activities of the Official IRA and its links to Official Sinn Fein and the Workers Party during the whole period of the Troubles. The same applies to the BBC. Official IRA actions (armed robberies, shootings, racketeering) were simply not regularly reported as coming from that source. Moreover, the small number of journalists who attempted to raise this issue received threats and were often ostracised by the large number of journalists who supported the “Sticky” position.

    Garibaldio said:
    “Speaking of which. The Spotlight programme referred to had as its star witnesses supposedly independent residents of the Markets area of Belfast.”

    At no point in the Spotlight programme I made with Shane Harrison did we describe the Markets residents that we interviewed as “independent”. Nor was there any “star witness”. One of the residents we interviewed, Sean Montgomery, was clearly identified as a supporter of the Provisional IRA/Sinn Féin and his voice was dubbed in accordance with the then broadcasting ban affecting that same constituency. What Garibaldi does not say is that the main reason why Montgomery was interviewed is because he had been shot as a “punishment” by the Official IRA, a movement which was not supposed to exist.

    Garibaldio said:
    “The defence of the credibility of the programme offered by one of its makers in his book in response to this? That it made their allegations more credible and not less.”

    What I say in my book (A Very British Jihad) is that the reason why Montgomery’s testimony was germane to the revelations in our programme was because his shooting became part of the ongoing mediation system that existed to smooth over disputes between the Officials and Provisionals. Our point was – how can this “army” not exist, as the Workers Party keeps telling us, if it has a mediation system in place for such disputes?

    Garibaldi said:
    “Especially when that book reveals the admiration of that individual for the Provisional movement.”

    Predictably, Garibaldi is being generally selective in his reference to what I say about the Provisional Republican Movement in my book, and indeed about the Officials. Political nuance may not be Garibaldi’s cup of tea but for the record this is what I say on page 78 of the book:

    “I also had mixed emotions over the success of the film because on the one hand I was happy that we had exposed the hypocrisy of the Workers’ Party in its denial of the Official IRA’s continued existence, but on the other hand I had always believed that the republican socialist analysis had a lot to offer. In theory at least, the Workers Party’s dream of uniting the working classes against sectarianism was one I found appealing. It was a theory that my grandfather had always espoused. My grandfather was also unfortunately a serious Stalinist.”

    Again for the record, my personal politics, when working as a journalist in Belfast and subsequently, have been to the left of Sinn Féin and anybody who knows me, or cares to talk to me, will bear this out. I argue for a complete realignment of the left wing in Irish politics, an alignment that is based on issues rather than party representation. I would be more than happy if Garibaldi’s constituency could be part of that realignment but somehow (given the bitter tone of his post) I doubt that this will be the case.

    In conclusion I will return to the Robert McCartney murder. Quite simply, I do not regard the people who carried out this awful murder as worthy of the title “Irish Republican”. The drunken brawl and subsequent murder is (as an event) more redolent of the worst kind of loyalist “butcher” murders. Whilst being against all forms of litigation in these kinds of online fora, I find it deeply offensive that any other inference should drawn from what I have ever written or said.