FitzGerald: How a single Dail debate lanced a bloody boil of war…

I’ve no doubt we will hear more about the way we need to handle the past in the wake of the publication of last week’s publication of the Saville report. But I was struck by Garrett FitzGerald’s piece in Saturday’s Irish Times which subtly highlights the difference – at the time of the shootings – between having a functional democratic parliamentary assembly (ie the Oireachtas), and having a supremely dysfunctional one (ie, contemporary Stormont) in this personal anecdote, first on local reaction amongst people who theretofore had been highly moderate nationalists:

Three days later, with Tom O’Higgins, Alexis FitzGerald and Michael Sweetman (a young and brilliant party activist tragically killed shortly afterwards in the Staines air crash), I drove to Derry for the funeral. We were met at the Border by a friend of John Hume. After the funeral we were brought to an SDLP house for a meal. But when afterwards I brought plates into the kitchen a woman said to me “Isn’t it great that so many are joining?” “Joining what?”, I asked, bemused. “The IRA, of course,” another woman answered.

And then in Dublin

…on the day after the funerals, which had been a day of mourning, there was a full nine-hour debate.

In his opening remarks in that debate the taoiseach, Jack Lynch, warned that people proclaiming to be members of illegal organisations had gone around intimidating people and seeking to give the impression that these organisations were now to have a free hand. They would, he warned, play on the sympathies and emotions of ordinary people.

The fifth speech was by Neil Blaney, an Independent since he had been arrested and charged after the Arms Crisis two years earlier. We should do what any red-blooded people would do, he said: stand up and tell Mr Heath and his government that we were getting our Army on full stand-to. We want the Army on the Border, he said, and if the Dáil gave the right leadership, the Six Counties were now ours for the taking.

That speech had a profound effect on the rest of the debate, with many voicing their concerns about the dangers to our democratic system if emotions were allowed to determine the direction of our policy. My own remarks about what I described as Neil Blaney’s “war policy” provoked him to describe me as a liar and a “ranting halfwit”.

During that debate a dangerous boil was lanced. The solidarity of our democratic politicians won through, against the tide of emotion about the Derry atrocity that could so easily have overwhelmed us.

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  • fitzjameshorse1745

    “Isn’t it great that so many are joining?” “Joining what?”, I asked, bemused. “The IRA, of course,” another woman answered.

    Im surprised that Dr FitzGerald was bemused. As I have often pointed out (although both factions rush to deny it) there is a significant number of nationalist/republican voters who see no great difference between IRA and SDLP.
    No doubt they “should” see a difference but they dont.

    If we accept that FitzGerald is recalling accurately, then the question is whether this reaction of two “SDLP” housewives in Derry is that unusual.
    Of course this was 1972..in the “early days”……and no doubt subsequent events such as Bloody Friday, Darkley, Kingsmill and a thousand other incidents made people choose.
    But by 2010, the differences are largely historic. We have come full circle.

  • Dr Garret Fitzgerald may comfort himself that the Army wasn’t sent into the North – but the failure of the FF government in 1972 and subsequent governments, including the 1973-77 coalition in which he served as Minister for Foreign Affairs, to adequately respond (and I’m not talking about going to war) was a factor in the mass recruitment drive to the IRA and the escalation of that organisation’s campaign with its bloody consequences.

    FItzgerald, Lynch and others all have blood on their hands…..Their inaction added years to the conflict. They should have pursued the British Government in the courts and at the UN….. Instead they lay back and allowed themselves to be continually violated, including the 1974 Dublin/Monaghan bombings.

  • Mick Fealty

    Politically, at the time, there was a huge difference. Derry was always a nationalist city, not a republican one. Even now, despite the uneven way the game has panned out, Sinn Fein’s dFM cannot win the Westminster for Foyle: and not even close to it.

    The value of this is as a snapshot in time. At a moment when the real differences over violence (which were obvious only three days earlier in the outrage over the killing of the first two policemen in the city) where submerged by the overwhelming force used by the British Army that day.

    FitzGerald’s point, lest it be forgotten so early on in the conversation, is that Northern Irish democracy, or what passed for it then, provided no reliable safety valve.

  • Anon

    Politically, at the time, there was a huge difference. Derry was always a nationalist city, not a republican one. Even now, despite the uneven way the game has panned out, Sinn Fein’s dFM cannot win the Westminster for Foyle: and not even close to it.

    MMG was standing in Derry? When did that happen?

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Well then I totally agree with Dr FitzGerald.
    But your other point is very selective Mr Fealty
    But I think “Derry” is a special case in electoral terms.
    John Hume emerged as its favourite son and Durkan was his Derry heir. Less than a month ago, Durkan took the oath of allegiance under protest……a “republican” thing to do.
    Going right back to 1973 and the first council elections (held of course after Bloody Sunday and Bloody Friday) Derry was a SDLP city where at that stage the “free the internees boycott” held little sway.
    But even in the wake of Bloody Sunday, Hume declared it was “a united Ireland or nothing” and Hume, Logue and Canavan were all on the “green” wing of the Party against Fitt and Devlin.
    Id argue therefore Mr Fealty that the SDLP in Derry always had Republican credentials.
    Added to the above, there is a generational shift……McGuinness still could not win the seat……..but Durkans successor will have a harder job against Martina Anderson or her successor.
    And the real acid test will be how the five seats in nationalist/republican Foyle pan out in 2011 (proportional representation)……a fair bet that the percentage difference between SDLP and SF-IRA will be closer than “first past the post” and the absence of tactical voting.
    So Id suggest that clearly Foyle is a SDLP “safe” seat but within the nationalist/republican tribe things are much more balanced.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    He hasnt…..and lets be frank his main reason is that he would be defeated. To that extent Mr Fealtys point is valid.

  • Anon

    No, you can’t assume that. He *may* be defeated. But his stock has resien since becomign dFM and it’s a long stretch to say he can’t get near that 4,000 vote gap.

    But he has a safe seat. If he moved and lost, it would be a blow to his prestige. It creates risk in the seat he was leaving. People would ask why he was moving. So you’d only run that risk if you were reasonably certain you’d suceed.

    Derry is much more republican than Belfast [though it’s worth bearing in mind that regardless of votes, those lines blur substantially]. There is no need to inflate claims.

  • Mick Fealty

    I’m not inclined to quibble your point about ‘apostolic procession’. It’s valid as far as it goes. My point still stands though that BS punctured the discreet line between civic and peaceful nationalism and revolutionary Republicanism.

  • Mick Fealty

    Point taken on Martin and Derry. Though these days I am not sure what delineates nationalism and republicanism. It was never that clear to many Republicans I went to school or college with in the 70s and it’s even less clear now the ‘armed struggle’ is ended.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Anon……nor can you assume that he would win.
    The majority of SDLP over SF-IRA in Foyle is nearer 5,000 than 4,000. And theres agenerational shift (it was 6,000 in 2005) and nearer 12,000 when Hume last won the seat in 2001. Hume being Derrys favourite son helped.
    So it will take some electoral cycles before SF ever wins the Foyle Westminster seat. Yes McGuinness would get more votes than Anderson but not enough especially when tactical voting would play a part.
    McGuinness first won Mid Ulster in 1997 and at that point pre agreement he would not have beaten Hume in Derry and post agreement would not beat Durkan.

    Assembly Elections (PR) tell a different story.
    With SDLP outscoring SF-IRA 45% to 32% at Westminster 2010, the Assembly votes are much closer.

    2007 SDLP 37% SF 31%..with Durkan going for Westminster rather than Stormont in 2011…..that balance will I believe change and be closer to the parity that I outlined in a previous post. Two safe seats each…..and a marginal.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Alas the evidence points in the opposite direction.
    Bloody Sunday (specifically in Derry) and the broader Troubles……the choice had to be made by nationalists/republicans…….violence or constitutional politics.
    Post -Troubles is exactly the same as Pre-Troubles.
    Most nationalist voters (unlike nationalist partisans in SDLP or SF) see no big difference. The only difference was Violence.

  • fin

    Derry Council has 14 SDLP and 10 SF councillors, so its hardly overly nationalist, is it fair to say that the nationalist SDLP need a bit of help from unionism to stop it going republican.

    “I am not sure what delineates nationalism and republicanism”
    ..oh about 50,000 votes, I’d say…

  • Mick Fealty

    Interesting discussion guys, but whether it is deliberate or not, you are all obscuring the original point…

    We know there was widespread shock at the killing of the two policemen three days before. By the time of the funerals, moderate nationalists think it is a good thing that local people are joining an organisation that their wider cohort seemed scandalised by just days before.

  • Anon

    Bah, I meant to say Derry was more nationalist. You’ll struggle to find any major difference between the two political parties these days.

    Based on experienced with SF Belfast versus SDLP Glengormely (as opposed to the NB exile variety), it seems to be down to major objections to violence, and the impression of SF that lingers on that issue with just a little bit of class snobbery thrown into that. Also vague confusion of whether they are Irish, North Irish, British or all three. But quite similar on cultural issues.

    Nationalism has too much nationalism in general and not enough republicanism. Which is disappointing, as only the latter has any hope of making headway with convincing people. The South needs a dose of it too.

  • Anon

    On wider points, stating that a functional state is superior to a disfunctional one is a tautology. The ROIs main protection wa staht existed, and it worked, and any foirceful action had cost which was being played out graphically in the North. That, rather than any particularly debate, is the key thing. Doesn’t matter whether you are a presidential system, parliamentary system, FTP, STV system as long as you basically work.

    And anyway: leadership matters. You have Lynch in place instead of Lemass or Haughey, who may have reacted differently. Secondly, even threatening to cross the border would have been a major step; much more major than anything that occured to that point. Thirdly, while the debate might have calmed the politicians, that says little about the populace. are we saying that no aid and volunteers came to the PIRA from the Republic as a result of Bloody Sunday? Highly unlikely.

  • Anon

    I never said he would win. Simply that you can’t state MMG would get the current vote share.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Mick,

    re. “between having a functional democratic parliamentary assembly (ie the Oireachtas), and having a supremely dysfunctional one”

    Well you could have looked at the unified responce of Mc Guinness and Robinson after the army pizza shootings which was actually more unified than the Dail after BS. The reaction reaction to this display of unity apparently drove Marty to top of the Belly Telly poll.

    I dont quite get the ‘dysfunctional’ line much beloved by yourself an Pete B. – Stormo was so set up becuase of 30 odd years of violence and set up largely against the wishes of the Unionist community to whom it had to be cut into smaller pices and force fed to them over a prolongd period allowing them to digest it slowly and they have not yet finished digesting the last piece -police and Justice – so of course there are going to be fault lines – but trying to paint these fault lines as ‘dysfunctional ‘ is entriely misleading as the alternative is something sinfigicantly more ‘dysfunctional’ and extemely damaging to the politcal and physical health of the province.

  • Mick Fealty

    Anon,

    Not at all. But Garrett is trying to get at the fact that the constitutional nationalist politicians of Northern Ireland had no congressional anchor with which to appeal to their peers and in so doing moderate their words and actions.

    Earlier in the linked piece he notes how, in his view, the IRA’s orchestration of violence from August and the implementation of Internment onwards undermined Faulkner’s confidence in striking a power-sharing agreement, and thus cut the SDLP off from some similar kind of a constitutional redoubt.

  • Mick Fealty

    You are being completely ahistorical (again) Sammy…

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    Not many people like Violence.
    But there are factors and I am not close to my notes but am I right in thinking that one of the two policemen killed was a Catholic. Rightly or wrongly thats a factor (esp less than two years after arthur Youngs reforms).
    Would it have been different if the 13 dead had been IRA gunmen? I suggest that it would have been.
    Would it have been different if the Paras and British Govt had been more honest on the night of Bloody Sunday….a curiousity is that so many journalists are now saying “I was there and the Saville Report is correct” while for 38 years the same journos were peddling the Widgery myth.

    Frankly a majority of Derry nationalists/republicans/Catholics regarded the murder of the two RUC men as murder but not actually an attack on “them” but they saw the Bloody Sunday murders and the immediate cover up as an attack on “them”.
    The surprise is that FitzGerald should be surprised.

  • Mick,

    Tomás MacGiolla liked to point out that Republicans fought Nationalists in the Spanish Civil War. I always thought that got to the heart of the difference between true republicanism and nationalism. Of course, it you are asking that question of people who don’t grasp the point of MacGiiolla’s remark, then they’ll struggle to give you an answer. Especially when one of their main aims for more than a decade has been to make Catholic, nationalist and republican synonymous.

    As for Fitzgerald. Full of melodramatic meglomania as usual I see.

  • Anon

    Let’s run a though experiement. Power Sharing Stormont exists, Bloody Sunday happens. I fail to see how what the SDLP says in that chamber could possibly have prevented large swathes of people joining the IRA, and generally increasing sympathy towards them.

    The bigger danger would be that the inability to get any change in such a body would have seriously damaged the SDLP. The value of government ultimately relies on its ability to take action. Debate can improve those outcomes, but it is not an end in itself.

    In any case, a good enough speech doesn’t require a parliament to have its effect:

    http://www.famousquotes.me.uk/speeches/John_F_Kennedy/8.htm

    It proceeds form moral force. Indapolis remained calm after that particular speech, unlike many other places.

  • “a dangerous boil was lanced. The solidarity of our democratic politicians won through”

    The ‘boil’ had been lanced some time previously when the Dublin government acted to protect its own institutions against the ‘socialist revolution’, a revolution that was intended to create a 32-county Cuban-style Ireland. The move to ‘decapitate’ the then Socialist leadership of the IRA left the ‘Catholic Ireland’ faction in charge ie the Provos.

  • What the Dáil should have done in 1972 is allowed Northern representatives take seats, for instance, in the Seanad. They could have stood down their failed Dáil candidates and allowed a cohort of northerners take seats in the Seanad to ensure that their voices could be heard in a democratic forurm. The Brits would have been furious – but they could have done nothing about it. Instead Garret the good and all the other southern worthies kept their hands tightly under their backsides as they sat idly by…..and thus the IRA grew into a lethal force….

  • Mick Fealty

    I broadly agree anon, though a stump speech by Bobby Kennedy is hardly analogous to ‘moderate politicians’ calling for calm and order in the midst of a furious communal war.

    A parliament has no moral force if it cannot do anything to stop bad things happening. Though, at this stage of this argument, we are a long way up a pair of hypothetical stilts. But a functional democratic assembly, generally, has a moderating effect on the political opinion of the whole.

    Thus, the vast majority of the citizens of the UK want a death penalty. Yet there has never been anything remotely like a majority in Parliament. Take those institutions away or water down their effects on the parameters of public debate (as, according to Cass Sunstein, the onset of t’Internet has done) and you’ll see extremes predominating over the moderate middle.

    That’s not a comment on where we are now btw, since I generally use the term ‘former extremes’ to describe the two incumbent parties.

  • You don’t see any irony in describing the Seanad as a democratic forum Concubhar?

  • Mick Fealty

    Indeed Gari. That would have done little to address the problem FizGerald is highlighting. I hate to say it Con but that would have been little more than fantasy united Ireland politics as the southern taxpayers expense.

  • Greenflag

    ‘Instead Garret the good and all the other southern worthies kept their hands tightly under their backsides as they sat idly by…..and thus the IRA grew into a lethal force…’

    True enough 🙁 Even further Unionist ‘reaction’ failed to get any of the South’s political parties to do any more than sit and keep their hands in the location referred to above 🙁

  • Brian Walker

    Garret’s point about the ( also covered in his memoirs) has an interesting background. Just after internment in agust 1971 he agreed to act as a secret mediator between Robin Baillie a member of the Unionist government and the SDLP to try to get powersharing going. A plan was devised similar to the Sunningdale agreement in 1973. But internnment barred the way for both sides. the SDLP had actually quit Stormont in June, after the army shot Cusack and Beattie in the Bogside.Stormont was indeed dysfunctional but the germ of a new idea was already circulating. At the same time the British and Irish government were taking the first steps to a joint approach. Bloody Sunday created a pause but not a halt.

    I suspect Garret was talking with relief and not over confidence about the stability of the Dail. He had just completed a stinoit on a Dail committee looking into the arms affair. The previous May Jack Lynch had suddenly sacked

  • Brian Walker

    ( continuing) Haughey and Blaney for alleged arms smuggling, briefly precipitating fears of a coup. In his Saturday article, Garret is surely saying that Blaney’s lunatic and inflammatory speech was useful to bring any other TD that might be tempted to flirt with direct intervention again to their senses. No doubt he also had the arms trials in mind. The diplomatic approach which fostered with Lynch failed to bear fruit after Sunningdale but was a crucial stage in developing the close and equal relationship between the two governments, regardless of what parties are in power.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Grrenflag,

    When the Nationalist Southern Irish state failed to act – because of Garret’s speech or otherwise – we therefore had the alternative – Nationalists in the North acted for themselves.

  • fitzjameshorse1745

    My understanding was that Robin Baillie was not acting for the Stormont Govt. I also believe GB Newe was involved in discussions.
    But I think the discussions involved the Catholic Church more than the SDLP.
    Its hard to see how Baillie or anyone else could have delivered…especially after Internment.
    And impossible for SDLP to have been involved in anything after (not just) Cusack and Beattie in Derry….but Internment.

  • Alias

    There were always a struggle between those catholics in NI who wanted to improve the quality British sovereignty and those who wanted to terminate it. The improvers marched, protested, wrote letters to the UN, etc, while the terminaters randomly decapitated their fellow citizens without even the faintest idea of how one million protestants might react to the British state sending the deeds to the wretched place in the post to Dáil Éireann as the surmised consequence of their demented murder campaign.

    So the effect of the British state attacking civil rights marchers on BS was to persaude many of the nice, middle class catholics that civil rights protesting by citizens was a dangerous business for them to become involved in and it was better to let the organised murder gangs do the protesting for the time being.

    Anyone with more than two brain cells would have concluded that the ‘terminators’ were reformers by proxy since they didn’t have and end game or plan, and, ergo, this would have to be provided to them by the British state. And that is what occured. The ‘terminators’ were provided with a plan by the British state wherein the quality of British sovereignty was to be improved rather than terminated.

    A nationalist, by definition, is a member of a nation who advocates that his nation should be sovereign and practice self-determination within its dedicated nation-state. The catholics in that part of the UK have renounced their national rights. The catholics in NI were neither nationalists nor republicans but simply a non-sovereign nation within the British state that wanted equality with other British citizens. And now they have it, so all’s well that ends well.

  • anon

    RFK’s speech actually worked in an explosive situation. There are speeches that could have pacified Ireland at kleast a little after. They weren’t given Dail or not.

    Anywho, this is grand an’ all, but tbis piece is entitled “How a single Dail debate lanced a bloody boil of war….”. Post hoc, ergo propter hoc. It’s patent nonsense. You would need to believe that either the Dail walked in ready for war,or the executive walked in ready for war and the debate changed minds. Really?

    In which case we are back to: functioning institutions are better than disfunctional ones. Functioal ones may have cal ming influence while disfunctional ones cause choas. It probably bears repeating, but it’s no great insight.

  • Mick Fealty

    Anon,

    So you’re fighting with the headline now, and not the original argument? Here’s a YouTube of the speech:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g379nEkAspE

    It is a great speech, but the US is a stable constitutional democracy. That represents a degree of inertia that did not pertain to the NI of the 60s and 70s. In any case, Bobby himself was dead within three months of making what become something of a valediction.

    I am just not sure how it fits.

  • jonno99

    “And now they have it, so all’s well that ends well.”

    If it’s a peace ‘process’ does that not infer we haven’t reached the final destination yet, whatever that may be?

    The competing constitutional objectives of unionist versus nationalist is reflected in a peace process that is ‘on going’ not static.

  • Of course it’s a fantasy Mick – it’s a ‘should have’. There were other options no doubt – but what was missing was an adequate response from the south. Another option might have been the establishment by the Dublin government of an alternative Inquiry into the events of the Bloody Sunday.

    The Seanad is a democratic forum – though it’s a distorted form of democracy We elect councillors who elect senators…. {it’s more democratic than the House of Lords, for instance].

    My ‘fantasy’ proposal was to make use of the Seanad for a public good. As it is, and as it was in 1972, the Seanad is of limited use and value.

  • Mick Fealty

    Don’t blame the NI crisis for inaction on the Seanad Con. We’re still awaiting highly limited action on that 79 referendum!

  • The blame for inaction on the Seanad and inaction on many other issues lies with Dublin.

  • Anon

    You wrote the headline; you framed the argument. If you wnat a different point, then frame it better. In any case, as highlighted Garret states:

    During that debate a dangerous boil was lanced. The solidarity of our democratic politicians won through, against the tide of emotion about the Derry atrocity that could so easily have overwhelmed us.

    Which I think is gross hyberbole; there wasn’t a majority for state action walking into that debate, and there wasn’t a desire by leadership in the Executive to make it so. I take Brian’s point about the fear that surrounded it walking in, though.

    What is your point here? The headline is that the debate “lanced a boil”. I’m not so sure it did that, because I don’t believe that there was any chance of a different outcome going in. I don’t see much supporting evidence that it quickly modeated opinion in the country, or had any particularly dramatic affect. Had there been different representatives, or different leadership then there may have been different outcome, and that still would have been a perfectly democratic outcome, being decided by a democratic process.

    I have heard that speech rather than simply read the text. The US was stable as a macro entity in the 60s, but at lower levels its hard to argue for stability, given the level of riots, violence and assination. It is just a little aside showing that powerful oratory can calm people, or inflame them and it doesn’t take a parliament to do it.

    I suppose the point is: Garret Fitgerald goes to Derry after Bloody Sunday and finds people joining the IRA. The perfect speech, or debate, could have mitigated that, but it wouldn’t have needed to be made in a Parliament. In fact, had there been a power sharing government in the North and Unionists proceeded along the lines of say, Gregory Campbell in the last week, that could have actually inflamed tensions. And that wouldn’t have necessarily been undemocratic. But over the medium to long term functioning government moderates issues for a varietyy of issues. But that’s not really what is being claimed.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Agree with the post hoc ergo propter hoc point above.

    Sensible politicians in the Dail in 1972 surely would have known that if they’d made any attempt to act militarily WRT NI, they’d have had their asses kicked, a truth self-evident since 1921.

  • Mick Fealty

    Anon,

    Now this is getting very silly (and I am starting to recognise your debating style: ie, the usual reductio ad absurdum).

    You are pitching the moderating effects on the body politic of a functional representative democracy against the hypothetical effect of a hypothetical Robert Kennedy in the wake of Bloody Sunday. That’s sheer wishful thinking, not an argument.

    The absurdity of your assumption lies in pretending that FitzGerald is claiming that the debate stopped the Republic going to war (you have even managed to suck old CS into agreeing with you on that). That, of course, would be: post hoc ergo propter hoc,.

    But that is not FitzGerald’s point (nor the point of the headline). Rather it is that in a functional democratic parliament poisons can be drawn out and dissipated. In 1971/2 Northern Ireland had no means of doing that.

    It is no coincidence that the most direct and momentous corollary of Bloody Sunday and the inability of the local establishment to deal with its consequences was that Stormont Parliament was cashiered just over a month later.

    That parliament’s demise was a long time coming. And it was not just because of Catholic disaffection, but that of working class loyalists too.

    If you closely read the political career of Ian Paisley (who did not gain public office until 1970), you get a sense that his power base was in ‘the street’, and that he profited hugely from pouring scorn and vitriol on O’Neill’s attempts to manoeuvre political Unionism towards some kind of liberal settlement with the Civil Rights movement inside a Parlimentary building that was both politically and physically remote from those same ‘streets’.

    His power base remained in the streets for years after, arguably right up to the failed loyalist strike of 77. And the rise of the paramilitaries on both sides underwrote the authority of that unofficial power base. The story of the last thirty years has been a search for a parliamentary forum with sufficient moral force to perform the very function that Garrett lays out in his article above.

  • Mick Fealty

    Anon?

  • Anon

    But that is not FitzGerald’s point (nor the point of the headline). Rather it is that in a functional democratic parliament poisons can be drawn out and dissipated. In 1971/2 Northern Ireland had no means of doing that.

    What he says, and what you highlighted:

    During that debate a dangerous boil was lanced. The solidarity of our democratic politicians won through, against the tide of emotion about the Derry atrocity that could so easily have overwhelmed us

    That is post hoc ergo propter hoc whatever spin you want on it. Secondly, democratic politicians could have been solidly resolved to send troops on a suicide mission to the North. It would have been perfectly democratic. Perhaps overwhelmed by emotion, perhaps not.

    Thirdly, to turn to the other point — some people in the South with a perfectly functional democracy also became more symapthetic to the IRA after Bloody Sunday. Street violence still occurred. Perhaps a functioning parliament meant it wasn’t as extreme, but its hard to quantify. There are a lot of reasons things didn’t spill over in the South as much as it could, or support wasn’t as strong for the IRA as in the North, and sure, the affect of the Dail was part of that. In the medium-long term. In the immediate aftermath, I don’t think structures matter as much as what is said and who says it, hence bringing in RFK. They can provide a forum, or bestow prestige on individuals but they aren’t vital. Over the longer term, legitimate structures are King more than the people in them.

    I can only go and what he has written, and you have highlighted, which is to make claim about a particular debate and subtle short term differences. If you really want to make a point about street politics and long run impact, it helps to state it in the original piece.

    But look! We had a little chat and all these things fell out. Perhaps I’m a little slow of understanding and it took that to get what you are saying. But maybe there are others slower of understanding out there too. We even got a little aside about a great speech by RFK. Value, right there, and the irritated tone does you little credit.