“Some time I hope to get the space to reflect on my life with Brendan…”

Cartoon by Brian Mór

Adams, signaling ‘Poor Gerry’ mode with his choice of blog title, ‘The ides of March?’, folksily expands on his earlier press release regarding the publication of Voices from the Grave. One wonders how the contents of the book are reduced to a schoolyardish tug-of-war over who was a better friend to the most popular kid, but Adams seems to feel the need to boast.

An old friend of mine, Brendan Hughes, has been in the news this week. The Irish News actually devoted eight pages on one day and three pages another day to a book containing interviews with Brendan.
This book by Ed Moloney and Anthony McIntyre appears to be a rerun of an earlier tome by Ed Moloney.
Mr Moloney and Mr McIntyre have written books and countless articles attacking me, and in its time the IRA leadership.
I knew Brendan Hughes well. Better than Ed Moloney or Anthony McIntyre. And I cared more for him and about him than they ever will. Some time I hope to get the space to reflect on my life with Brendan and the separate twists and turns of his life, and mine.
He wasn’t well and hadn’t been for a very long time, including during the time he did these interviews.
He also carried with him an enormous sense of guilt over events surrounding the first hunger strike. This made him very vulnerable even before his health deteriorated.
However, that is no excuse for his involvement in this book.
Brendan also opposed the peace process. That was his right. His assertion that the struggle was not worth it is wrong.
The fact is that the decisions taken collectively by republicans have improved the quality of life for people across this island; have ensured the growth of republican politics and created a new and dynamic context in which there is the potential to achieve reunification and independence.
Brendan could and should have been part of this. For a mixture of reasons he wasn’t. That was his choice. Like everything else he was involved in. Big boys didn’t make him do it.

Hughes himself was very clear what he thought of Adams, and where that relationship was in the latter years of his life. In a 2000 interview with Niall Stanage, he describes an encounter with Adams:

Adams and Hughes last met about three months ago. It wasn’t a pleasant experience: “He was asking me questions about my getting publicity, talking about the ‘Armani suit brigade’ and so on. And he was saying things about the people I was associating with — that I had got myself into bad company and I should get myself out of it. It was an attempt to censor me through friendship. But it was so ridiculous! If Gerry had said that to me 20 years ago, I’d have f*cked him a right!”

(Even in death, Adams is still attempting to ‘censor [him] through friendship’.)

A few years later, the Dark was again quoted:

“I loved him. I’d have taken a bullet for Gerry. I probably should have put one in him.”

  • [quote][i]But what in obvious today is that we have peace and we have those who want to wreck it. Attempting to bring down Gerry Adams is part of their plan. They must not be allowed to do that.[/i] …
    Posted by Henry94 on Apr 01, 2010 @ 06:55 PM[/quote]

    Henry94,

    No one is trying to wreck peace and if Gerry is gone tomorrow, somebody else will quickly step in to take his place, as easy as pie. To imagine that you are anything but a number is delusional. And everyone’s problems are invariably all of their own making and you cannot hide from them, and especially not whenever you are very well known, for the truth takes no prisoners and has no pity for losers and abusers.

    And in peace, you have poverty and misery in a world awash with dirty money which is horded away and controlled by …… well, do you know the men who hold the world to ransom with the releasing of credit, which is just a few clicks of a mouse away nowadays, transferring a figure from one account into another account to signify a wealth transfer. Nowadays you do not even have to have money to be a billionaire, just an arrangement not to crash the system will do and feed everything back into it with smart spending to keep it going, also helps tremendously. 🙂

  • Henry94

    John

    I’m not pontificating, just offering an opinion. The SDLP had a great chance in 1973 and did a great job. I have no problem whatsoever with the SDLP and consider Hume to be the outstanding Irishman of our time. The unionists who brought that deal down now want the SDLP to give them the voluntary coalition option and cut out Sinn Fein. To their credit I don’t think they have a notion of falling for it.

    It was Hume who understood that it was right to talk to Sinn Fein. He got attacked viciously for it in the media. Lesson? Just because the media are baying for your blood doesn’t mean you are wrong.

  • John O’Connell

    Henry

    It wasn’t just the unionists who brought down Sunningdale. The IRA contributed also by justifying the Paisleyite paranoia.

    I wouldn’t compare Gerry Adams to John Hume. Hume was in a different league. In any case the press are baying for Gerry Adams blood because he deserves it. Hume got the wrath of a few commentators because he knew that Gerry Adams was about to stop the IRA campaign. How did he know?
    I might suggest that it was because he knew that Adams was in trouble and the Christian thing was to help stop the killing.

    No such Christianity from Adams. Still denying he was in the IRA. Still lying and occasionally using violence at places like Massereene and Paul Quinn and so on.

  • Brian MacAodh

    “don’t think it was unreasonable to believe armed struggle could succeed in 1969. Liberation and revolution was in the air all over the world. Throw in the Irish republican tradition and a generation of young nationalists no longer willing to accept Orange rule and some kind of uprising was probably inevitable.”

    Yes, unwilling to accept Orange rule but willingly ignorant of the fact that there were a million people in the 6 counties who wanted to remain in the Union. Did they think they were gonna make them all nationalists by shooting British soldiers? As I said before, once Stormont fell the Provos should have stopped all violence other than protecting communities from Loyalist mobs. They were delusional and their leadership had built themselves up so much in their heads that they wanted to continue the “war”. Hell, people like Gerry Adams went from being a barman to negotiating with British ministers in 3 short years. Why would he want peace when he gained so much out of war?

  • wee buns

    Leaving aside for a minute falling into the trap of becoming semtex happy instead of sticking to protecting community, what a big mistake to have believed that transformation of the state could be achieved from within it, as Hughs would appear to have realised, thus his ‘inabilty’ to move into politics. When the questions posed on to the effect of, would you rather have SF or the British ruling the roost, what is the difference? Same authoritarian institution with a different label.

  • West Sider

    Since 1998, Anthony McIntyre and other republicans vehemently opposed to Gerry Adams and psychotic in their hatred of him have written probably millions upon millions of words attacking him and Sinn Fein.

    They’ve not only dedicated themselves to doing this on sites like The Blanket, but in print on Irish republican friendly media like the Daily Telegraph and The Times.

    In all that writing, amidst all those words, they never once stopped and drew breath, and articulated a republican alternative strategy.

    Not once.

    This post, by Rusty Nail, is a classic example of the Adams bashing these individuals have been engaged in, with absolutely zero impact, for those past 12 years. And probably more.

    A serious person would scrutinise them – would question motives and look at associates and members of the anti-Adams dissident clique.

    People like Paddy Murray and John Kennedy (cartoonist) were to the fore at one stage, but now… forgotten.

    No scrutiny there. No thoughtful pen blogs – nothing.

    No follow up.

    This demented hatred of Adams here seems to have missed a wonderful satire in the Irish Times – and I post it here because it is better than that God-awful cartoon heading this blog.

    It is by a unionist and here it is:

    http://www.irishtimes.com/newspaper/opinion/2010/0331/1224267400759.html

    For those of us who had our lives imposed on by volunteers like McIntyre and Hughes, this is very instructive.

    Adams did this society a favour by calling a halt to the murder and mayhem.

    Sadly, those who, by their own volition, like McIntyre and Hughes, signed up for murder might not like it, but that’s where our society is at.

    They should deal with their own moral fears in private or if they are content to dress them up as something political, they should cool off on Adams, and draw up a manifesto for Irish republicanism.

    It’s easy to sit at your computer for Ireland, but as I’ve stated, 12 years and probably more of Adams hatred in print may well demonstrate the diseased mind that volunterred for murder in the first place, but failed to find the courage – as Adams, for all his faults, did – to find a way out of it.

    And do it.

    Maybe that’s why McIntyre and the writer of this blog are so bitter. They just don’t have a vision, or a strategy, or any appeal.

    They just have vitriol, which they feed on – every day, all days and all years from the 1990s to this day.

    But I’ll sign off by inviting readers to enjoy Newton’s satire – it puts a rocket under Moloney’s New York based vendetta and McIntyre’s collaborating.

  • Seosamh913

    West sider

    Sooooo…..thanks very much indeed to Gerry for stopping what he directed and red cards for the guys he directed.

    Are you Fred Goodwin in disguise West Sider ?

  • wee buns

    West Sider
    The whole notion of ‘where is your alternative manifesto’ speaks volumes about how entrenched is the mindset of political authority. No-body needs an alternative manifesto in order to be entitled to express dissent. It is a social nessesity to weaken the state (aka now SF etc), not to gain power, but to erode it.

  • West Sider

    @Seosamh913

    He didn’t force them to join. And as for directing, he was taking orders too. Are you that stupid? And as for red cards? Did they not split from him?

    Explain yourself.

    @weebuns

    No-body needs an alternative manifesto in order to be entitled to express dissent. It is a social nessesity to weaken the state (aka now SF etc), not to gain power, but to erode it.

    So, how do you bring the people with you? How do you galvanise, inspire, lead? Lead. That’s the main word. You are sucking in the fumes of failure if you cannot do that. Erode? Put that on an election manifesto and see how many sign up.

    Slugger angst and vitriol won’t win elections. You need to get out more, pal.

  • West Sider

    I want you to know I admire Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness for the courage it took to bring us to peace. I want you to know that I appreciate that and for the sake of that I, and I am sure many other are prepared to overlook what might be reasonably called ‘military action’. It includes episodes like Bloody Friday, even though I know in saying this I am upsetting many victims and innocent people.

    It is not a blank cheque. If either one of them is found to be complicit in the murder of individuals in their own community, for no better reason than to subdue that community, he and they must be held accountable, right up to and including the statutory life sentence for murder.

    However much some may want to say it was because of the times and if one is guilty we all are, there is a difference between killing to promote the cause, and murdering to subdue your own people. If Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness and others cannot see that, then the problem is theirs.

  • West Sider

    @pippakin

    What has that to do with my post? If David Ervine blew someone up, or John Taylor signed an order which resulted in a kid being shot dead – does that count as supporting a cause? Is that what you’re saying? Are they murderers too?

  • Seosamh913

    West Sider

    They could reasonably argue that he ‘spit’ from them, possibly more convincingly. After all, the provos are closer to the definition of dissident than those now regrettably carrying on what he was a part of and had a senior role in directing pre-ceasefire. Who was he talking orders from in say, 1978 ? And as a free agent and grown-up why was he under any obligation to take orders from anyone at any time against his will in what we’re told was a volunteer organisation that he tells us he was never a part of in any case ?

  • West Sider

    BTW – how does Brendan Hughes expediting the murder of Jean McConville count as subduing your own people?

  • West Sider

    After all, the provos are closer to the definition of dissident than those now regrettably carrying on

    Nope, not buying it. For all their killing and slaughter, they never engaged the criminal fraternity or imposed a drugs tax as the dissies do.

    They could reasonably argue that he ‘spit’ from them, possibly more convincingly.

    So you’re saying McIntyre and Hughes support(ed) the current violent dissident actions? Is that what you’re saying?

  • West Sider

    Another point – why hasn’t McIntyre et al either stood for election or backed a candidate for election?

    Elections are a test of balls, and it seems, they don’t have any.

  • Seosamh913

    West Sider,

    I didn’t at all mention that either were pro-violence post-ceasefire, nor would I do; both are/were merely antipathetic about SF’s strategy, and skeptical about the half truths and ideological bankruptcy orbiting it. And yes, in terms of core principles and practice, it is most certainly the provos who have dissented from the traditional physical force analysis and tactics, the current shower of hayseed nihilist whingers with the guns and the fantasies clearly inherit the traditionalist mantle. That’s not really within the realms of reasonable dispute I’m afraid.

  • West Sider

    both are/were merely antipathetic about SF’s strategy, and skeptical about the half truths and ideological bankruptcy orbiting it.

    Why couldn’t they direct their energies into providing an alternative? Are they that intellectually bereft? Do they not have what it takes to lead a people? Are they just bitter and limited? Content to pick up cheques from those who are instinctively unionist and antagonistic to Irish republicanism? Are they happy to be played?

    What a shower!

  • wee buns

    Westsider
    ‘Slugger angst and vitriol won’t win elections. You need to get out more, pal.’

    Incase you missed my point; to support, join or hope to start a new political party, try to gain power or change from within the state: that is an anarchist position (no no not anti christ!). It means the absence of authority. Nothing to do with needing to get out more; have seen enough abuse of power already thanks.

  • wee buns

    Apologies, obviously that was meant to read; ‘NOT
    to support, join or hope to start a new political party, try to gain power or change from within the state’.

  • Alias

    The hard part for folks like Hughes and McIntyre must have been accepting that they wasted their lives as puppets of the British state. They were in a movement led by deep cover agents who didn’t have the declared purpose of ending British rule but had the actual purpose of consolidating it.

    The British state had to lead those who opposed the legitimacy of its sovereignty to reverse their opposition and accept its legitimacy. Since folks like Hughes and McIntyre asserted a set of national rights that challenged the legitimacy of British rule, then they had to be led to renounce those rights in order to remove the challenge to British sovereignty.

    And that’s what happened to those that blindly followed the British controlled Shinners: they renounced their right to self-determination as members of the Irish nation, accepted the legitimacy of British sovereignty, and now assist in its administration. They haven’t just renounced the means to an end, as the Shinners tell them, but rather they have renounced the end itself.

    Unity is no longer about extending the right to Irish national self-determination from Ireland to Northern Ireland but is now about extending the British veto over it from there to here. So there will never be an Irish nation-state but rather then extension of British constitutional structures from where British sovereignty is now fully legitimised and accepted to where it has yet to be fully legitimised and accepted.

    Hughes is out of the equation and probably never grasped the full scale of his unwitting treachery anyway, whereas McIntyre now finds consolation in an emergent European nationality, declaring that he prefers it to an Irish identity, so it is hard to know what his motivation was since it didn’t involve a demand that a nation must be sovereign.

    At any rate, there is some justice in members of murder gangs being betrayed by its own leadership but the justice only applies to those that feel betrayed, and not to those who are too stupid to even know it.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Never mind the dissidents’ lack of a plan, does Sinn Fein have one? What happens if they’ve plateaued politically north and south?

  • Brian MacAodh

    “They haven’t just renounced the means to an end, as the Shinners tell them, but rather they have renounced the end itself. ”

    What difference does it make? Their end was impossible to begin with. Obviously they wasted their lives for nothing but accepting reality was step in the right direction. Ireland won’t be united until 60& of NI is Catholic, and maybe not even then. I have no problems with these men taking up arms to defend their communities and demand their civil rights but once that was achieved the rest was just a fantasist waste.

  • West sider

    I have said we have to overlook a lot in the search for peace.

    If David Ervine or any other loyalists killed a member of their own community in order to subdue their own community that killing would in my eyes be murder. If he protected child abusers and/or rapists, that would be a crime he should be punished for. It is one thing to protect your own by any means. It is quite another terrorise them.

    There are people who feel betrayed by GA and MMcG I am not one of them. I think we owe them a great deal for helping to bring peace. As I said it is not a blank cheque.

    No one needs an alternative to object to Gerry Adams, objection is their democratic right.

    No one needs a manifesto to object to any politician

  • wee buns

    ‘whereas McIntyre now finds consolation in an emergent European nationality, declaring that he prefers it to an Irish identity, so it is hard to know what his motivation was since it didn’t involve a demand that a nation must be sovereign.’
    Posted by Alias on Apr 01, 2010 @ 11:48 PM

    Maybe he neglected to read the small print.

  • Seosamh913

    West Sider

    We’re in agreement on the traditionalist republicans, CIRA, RIRA etc – nihilist crackpots. It doesn’t mean though that they are not the ones dissenting, the ones dissenting are the ones in Connolly House and Stormont.

  • Reader

    wee buns: not to support, join or hope to start a new political party, try to gain power or change from within the state: that is an anarchist position
    Are anarchists allowed to have a timetable? Or even just a plan?

  • Henry94

    Brian McAodh

    Yes, unwilling to accept Orange rule but willingly ignorant of the fact that there were a million people in the 6 counties who wanted to remain in the Union.

    I think you’re right. In the eyes of nationalists and not just northern nationalists the unionists were not a factor. They were mere dupes of the British.

    It was a fundamental misunderstanding and a fatal one. Some people still don’t grasp it and if it’s a choice between those copped on far to late (like myself) and those who still haven’t copped on then it’s an easy choice.

    Still it’s easy to say what mistakes should have been avoided in the past. Our biggest mistake now would be to give any credence or quarter to the dissident agenda. And there is only one item on that agenda. Get rid of Adams.

  • Seosamh913

    henry94

    I’m not so sure about that, at the moment Adams is a very convenient catch-all hate figure for traditionalist republicans and as popular antipathy towards him grows (perhaps)the easier it is for them to popularise support against the Adams camp. Jumping onto helcopters concedes cheap points to those trying to demonise him.

    The difficulty of course that SF have vis-a-vis the traditionalists is that other than rightly accusing them of a lack of support and of engagement in criminality there is no ideological – in ‘pure’ republican terms – ground on which the provos could land punches on them given where they themselves have come from without coming (for them) dangerously close to admitting that the provo analysis was flawed from the get-go and the rationale for the war absent. The traditionalists however do not appear to have a single articulate spokesperson that SF could even consider wasting their time on publicly debating with without risking conceding ground.

  • wee buns

    Reader
    ‘Are anarchists allowed to have a timetable? Or even just a plan?’

    Allowed? Aye rock on.
    The whole point is anarchy does not believe in the principle of authority.
    It’s about people organizing themselves together for mutual benefit, as has been witnessed in most revolutionary situations, in the ad hoc organizations that spring up after natural disasters, or in any activity where there’s no existing hierarchal authority.
    Examples in Europe include short time periods in Spain, Hungary, Poland, Czech; were people when freed from authority are said to have acted with ‘astonishing moral purity’. We saw plenty of this too, from people during the troubles in emergency situations.
    Of course iin the above examples anarchy has only lasted for as long as it takes the control freaks to get organized & seize power again, but the potential for anarchy is always under the surface in every society, for the most part it is an unrealised potential.

  • Brian MacAodh

    There are, as you know, many strains of anarchism. How you describe yourself?

    Not all situations where authority breaks down bring out the good in people. It can also bring out the savagery in us all. Society no longer constrains us.

  • wee buns

    Brian

    Like many’s the middle aged punk who’s been long interested in anarchism, republicanism & socialism: it continues to evolve in Ireland all be it slowly, as does their relationship to each other, now extends to the concept of ‘republican anarchism’.

    In any case philosophical, individualist anarchism (the state holds no moral legitimacy & should be undermined by peaceful means) is probably a widely enough held attitude these days. Bakunin (contemporary of Marx,) sought the destruction of state power as opposed to the seizing of it: it would seem what when socialism has achieved power it has created monopoly capitalism with a veneer of social welfare as a substitute for social justice. I wouldn’t be against private ownership; mutualist anarchy offers practical idea of reforming the free market capitalist ideology (aka barefaced robbery; see 26 counties for current example) Most people think of as anarchy as being either nihilistic or utopian; not the case.

    The question of how well or badly people behave in the absence of authority is massively under researched; not surprisingly it is state sponsored research on how to govern abounds. But the evidence is enough to say that people left alone can, will and do behave themselves, that crime & violence diminishes, that they share everything; take turns at leadership as the need arises, basically co-operate. It’s evidenced in many indigenous tribes with no police, law or government; the principle of spontaneous order that the anarchist regards as normal & the authoritarian regards as unusual.

    About Hughes & in the bigger scheme of things, there is the perceived wasted opportunity to have fundamentally changed the way we live. It could have turned out so differently.