Martin: “These [dissident] groups have absolutely no entitlement to that name”

I wanted to get this out on Slugger on Monday night when Minister for Foreign Affairs Micheál Martin made this speech to a large group of community workers in the Royal Hospital in Kilmainham, but travel committments and data roaming costs prevented me. His reference to ‘communities living under the shadow of a gunman’ also being the most deprived didn’t go down too well in some quarters of the audience and the point was made (with some considerable passion) from the floor that there may have been cause (the deprivation) and effect (the emergence of the paramilitaries).

Nevertheless in total, it was one of the boldest critiques yet publicly made by a Republican politician of any stripe on the political aspect of dissident violence:

The activities of dissident republican groups have grabbed the headlines of late, whether it is through their intent to stoke up and cause resentment at difficult interface areas or on a more sinister note, through the maiming and killing of people, attacking the police in wanton disregard for the lives of police officers and the wider community.

Let me be clear on my views of this activity.  As a democrat, as an elected representative of a political party proud of and committed to its republican tradition, I deplore their actions and call on them to stop.

The term of dissident was a badge of honour in the cold war. It meant you stood for democracy and the rule of law against totalitarianism. These groups have absolutely no entitlement to that name.

Nor are they true republicans – true republicanism is the coming together of the green and the orange in tolerance and mutual understanding. If anything these groups are de facto partitionists whose actions serve to further divide and to alienate the people of this island from one another – catholic from protestant; Nationalist from Unionist; northerner from southerner.

Twelve years ago the people of this island voted together in favour of the Good Friday Agreement.  When the overwhelming majority of the people of Ireland voted for the Agreement, we said clearly and categorically that violence was not the way to resolve political differences.  Instead, the way forward was on the basis of consent.

The people of Ireland, North and South, have said clearly that the only viable road to unity on this island lies through peace, tolerance, persuasion and agreement.  Those that reject these principles perpetuate the divisions on the island.

  • unlucky Erb

    Look at the criminals taken onto ‘their’ wings in Maghaberry, their taxation of drug dealers, extortion of local individuals and business.

    In many areas of Belfast the ranks of these dissident groups were swollen by death-drivers and violent and prolific criminals. Look at the criminal records of some of those arrested for dissident activities and you see how low they set the bar.

    Disageeing with the current political process is absolutely legitimate. But nationalist communities are not fooled that these Johnny (Seany?) Adair wannabes throwing their weight around our communities are anything but criminals wrapped in a tricolour.

  • The problem is not one specific to the areas that would be described as republican/nationalist. Northern Ireland is plagued by criminal gangs, across all communities. What Martin might also have said was that many of the Dublin gangs have the same roots.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Politically unpalatable as it may be there is likely to be some disser response to contuining British presence, not because of ‘the deprivation’ but because of the Republican narrative that places British involvment in Ireland both pre and post partition as the negative factor in Ireland’s history.

    That Republican narrative which (rightly) celberates violent insurrection being shared by the vast majority of Nationalists in both parts of Ireland with the only disagreement being over the right and wrongs of the 2nd insurgency in the latter half of the 20th century.

  • old school

    Close to 20 drug dealers have been shot in Derry in the last year or so. None have alleged they were “taxed”. This is an urban myth perpetuated by those with vested political interests.
    The only people who “tax” drug dealers is the State, who fine dealers in Courts, or seize their assets, and then set them free to deal again.
    The rest of your post is simplistic propaganda, which could’ve came from a media description of the Provos in the 70s or 80s.

  • Alan Maskey

    Some good points. Smack is available in every village in Ireland and on Dublin’s main street. Nothing particularly wrong with wasting the wholesalers but the problem is deeper and a handfull of Dirty Harry wasters won’t fix it. Nor will Mr Martin who, as Gerry would say, is part of the problem.

    There was even a Dublin all Ireland winner who ended up on it.

    There are too many Irish republican narratives.

  • “Nor are they true republicans”

    So when did Martin become a true republican? Does his track record not include an ‘intent to stoke up and cause resentment at difficult interface areas or on a more sinister note, through the maiming and killing of people, attacking the police in wanton disregard for the lives of police officers and the wider community’? Has the Provisional Republican Movement’s organised crime wing been disbanded?

  • old school

    Nevin, the quote is attributed to the other Minister Martin. Michael Martin.
    But yes, you do have a point in that the only people charged with attacking Orange Halls and Protestant property in recent years have been members or supporters of PSF.
    One Ogra member fell throught he roof of an Orange Hall as he was trying to burn it and some other Dublin Sinn Fein members were arrested after they attacked a Protestant bar in Derry in a drunken rage.
    Incidentally, the whole speech is ridiculous as the main thesis is based on the premise that Republicans somehow bestowed themselves with the name “dissidents”.
    When in reality it was a slur thrown at them, by the media and the Sinn Fein Leadership. All of a sudden a slur they used has now become some glorious title to be reclaimed.
    Most likely because Minister Martin is about to become a “dissident” in his own party as the heave against Cowen gains momentum.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Alan Maskey,

    “There are too many Irish republican narratives.”

    There are 2 central pillars to the Republican narrative (as subscribed to by FF,FG,Labour, SF) which can be summed up as Ireland should be united and Britan is responsible for most of Irish historical (including post partition) problems.

    As long as that remains the case the dissers will be a problem as a certain section of those who subscribe to the Republican narrative will opt for a violent campaign.

    Although there will always be some overlap between paramilitarism and ‘criminal’ activity the drugs issue, as mentioned by old school, is probably more propaganda than substance.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


  • John East Belfast

    “true republicanism is the coming together of the green and the orange in tolerance and mutual understanding”

    He is talking through his hat

    That kind of republicanism hasnt been on this island since 1798 and even then it fell apart because noble ideals could not withstand backward religious bigotry.

    And in no way would that sentence describe PIRA and certainly not the Post Office raiders of 1916 either.

    Irish Republicanism of the late 19th Century onwards variety is about driving the Bristish out of Ireland (including their unionist lackeys) by any mean possible – militaristically if that would work.
    It is only when Irish Republicans realise that military means dont work that they resort to constitutional ones but there will always remain a group that wants military actions.

    However I see no difference between Dissidents, PIRA or the murderous assassinations of Michael Collins and co.

    Yes SF have a mandate now but so did Partitition when PIRA were doing the business.

    What I see in Irish Republicanism throughout the last 100 years is a deep hatred of all things British and an almost racist belief in their version of Irishness and an unhealthy deference to the Catholic Church.
    Liberty, Fraternity Equality my arse.

    If there had been no Glorious Revolution and a Catholic was on the throne of England the Irish would have been the most royal subjects of the UK and the Republicans would have been the Scots and the Northern Irish Protestants.

  • Michael Martin has been a minister in a government which has played a major role in impoverishing many working class communities, he now seems to feel this gives him a god given right to insult them too.

    Lets get this old chestnut about illicit drugs out of the way, there are more middle class people taking cocaine than people who live on working class estates, some of them I have no doubt can be found in Martin’s own ministry. But it seems those who sell them their drugs are invisible to Minister Martin, or is it because some of them are also involved in the property business?

    The esteemed Minister also has a drinks cupboard in his office, good for some if they can get it some might say, but we should not loose sight of the fact that more Irish people have their lives destroyed by alcohol than Coke or H.

    I find this holier than thou attitude about illicit drugs gross hypocrisy, whether it comes from government ministers like Martin, or members of SF or the RIRA.

    There is a solution to the problems caused by illicit drugs, but cowards like Martin will not even discuss it, preferring to demonise and talk regurgitated 1970s-80s crap.

    Of course like all societies these days there are problems of criminality. However it is not the young thugs on the streets who destroy societies, as troublesome as they are, but the white collar criminals, many of whom will in all probability have wined and dined at some time with government ministers like Mr Martin.

    Yet with protectors within the Irish State machine, along with examples of criminality at the very top, they are unlikely to see the inside of a jail cell, nor will Mr Martin sermonise about their evil behaviour when they helped crash the Irish economy. If the current Taoiseach does not take a back hander he will be the first to have held that job not to.

    Paramilitaries are a symptom of a sick or broken society, perhaps if governments ministers were to catch on to that fact, we might get some where and begin to really emerge from the dark sectarian days. Bogeymen are for frightening gullible children, it is high time Mick Fealty understood that, even if the minister in question is an Irish Republican. LOL.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Excellent post John East Belfast.

    Simple fact is that the Provos murdered far more of ‘their own’ community than the Brits or the so-called Loyalists yet they’re still feted as heroes and their political wing gets a huge electoral mandate. Likewise the local reps of the Roman Catholic church have treated children in the most vile manner possible and shown nothing but contempt to their membership, yet people still flock to their chapels.

    But of course all the above and more can be blamed on the British presence and if only they’d leave, everyone could enjoy the utopia which those in the republic have been basking in for the last 89 years.

    “true republicanism is the coming together of the green and the orange in tolerance and mutual understanding”

    Yeah we’ve noticed how well that’s worked in the ROI where Protestant numbers plummeted from 10% to 3% in a couple of generations.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    You are essentially agreeing with what I said, except in one important regard, that Unionists like yourself are largely out of step with most historical opinion in Britian and Ireland regarding the insurgency at the beginnig of the 20th century and increasing out of step regarding the insurgency at the end of the 20th centrury.

    This is evidenced by the British government force-feeding Unionism the GFA/STA – which is an accomodation of the Republican narrative with the arrangments fixed to give the insurgents a (permanent) role in government and the Irish government a say in Ulster. An amusing aspect of this is the largest Uninoist party, the DUP, telling their supporters that they cant trust the Biritsh government with the union.

    This unpalatable dish served up to Unioinsm by the British in 1998, although swallowed has yet to be fully digested by Unionists such as yourself – as evidenced by your difficulty in accomodating your Bittter Orange narrative with that of the outside world.

    Good luck with that.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ‘an accomodation of the Republican narrative with the arrangments fixed to give the insurgents a (permanent) role in government and the Irish government a say in Ulster. ‘

    Interesting spin Sammy — considering the same agreement saw SF signing up to continuing partition until the majority in NI vote otherwise — going to take a while don’t you think?

    Add to that SF climbdowns on decommissioning and policing and the whole thing looks more unpalatable for Republicanism than Unionism.

    The ‘insurgents’ are guaranteed a role in a UK local assembly presided over and funded by the British for as long as the electorate choose to vote for them, as would be the case in any democracy. And the ROI had a say in Ulster long before the GFA.

  • madra rua

    “Dissident Republican” is a totally erroneous statement.
    The correct name should be “Physicall Force Republicans”.
    As opposed to those to seek a Republic without the use of force.
    Paradoxically, Liberty, Fraternity and Equality, cannot be achieved through force.
    If the last 40 years has taught us anything, surely it is that bombs and bullets only serve to drive us apart.
    Miceál Martin is some hypocite !
    His warped sense of Republicanism allows the Catholic church spread their weird influence throught out Ireland through their domination of the education system.
    Total seperation of Church and State would be a good first step on the way to this utopian “Republic”.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    test2 – trying to get rid of the BOLD

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Gerry Lvs Castro,

    Sorry sbout the bold – thats dwon to me.


    Do you mean apart from getting their prisoners out, a permanent place in government, a say for the Irish government in Ulster affairs, abolition of the RUC and the UDR, control over the legal system, the right to self-determination by the Irish people, increasing cooperation in transport, education, agriculture etc what did the insurgents get out of the settlement?

    The fact that Marty and Grizzly are feted (and behave) as international statesmen both by the British and internationally cant make it any easier for Unionism but it should start to encourage them to start to see outside the bordrs of their Bitter Orange world view. Dont you think?

  • SK


    On the subject of democratic mandates, Home Rule had a mandate when the vast majority of Irish people voted in favour of it. The Unionist response on that occasion was to import German guns and threaten bloodshed if the will of the Irish people was adhered to. Unionism insisted that the will of the Irish people was secondary to their grubby little ascendancy and acted accordingly- the UVF was no founded on the basis of some idle threat.

    It’s very easy for revisionist unionists such as yourself to sit on high and pass judgement on nationalist Ireland, but history has shown time and time again that unionists are only democrats when it suits them. You are no worse than the republicans you despise- but equally, you are no better.

  • slug

    Gerry Lus Castro has it right I think. Spin.

  • Pigeon Toes

    “The term of dissident was a badge of honour in the cold war. It meant you stood for democracy and the rule of law against totalitarianism.”


  • Munsterview

    Oh come on now! This ‘International Statesman’ bit is not all one sided, is not David Trimble, whitewashing brush in hand, a current big name in Israel?

    Not much admittedly but when the Israeli forces are totally exonerated there will, I am sure, be call for his services from other areas of the world that are out of step with International Law and common decency.

    Hopefully he will also negotiate a good discount on Israeli flags for Loyalist communities while he is out there !

  • Mrazik

    Close to 20 drug dealers have been shot in Derry in the last year or so. None have alleged they were “taxed”.

    So that’s alright then.

  • o’connor

    Dissident was used as an insult, a stick to beat recalcitrant republicans with. SF et al cannot rescind the title just because its become a badge for the ‘new’ republicans.

  • Mrazik

    “Do you mean apart from getting their prisoners out” – True but then so did the Loyalist murderers.

    “a permanent place in government” – Hardly democratic thinking like that!

    “a say for the Irish government in Ulster affairs” – Given that we are all part of the EU you could equally make that argument about the Belgian’s etc.

    “abolition of the RUC and the UDR” – They changed their names and made other largely acceptable changes to most people.

    “control over the legal system” – Erm, what about judges etc.

    “the right to self-determination by the Irish people” – I reckon that existed anyway and I won’t even mention the EU integration process.

    “increasing cooperation in transport, education, agriculture” – this has happened all over Euope and the world – check out Euroregions, European Groupings of Territorial Coopeation, EEIGs, the Madrid Outline Convention etc. etc.

    “The fact that Marty and Grizzly are feted (and behave) as international statesmen both by the British and internationally” – so are all our “peacemakers”

  • Munsterview

    One thing should be borne in mind regarding Micheal Martin; he is in the running for Taoiseach and for that he needs publicity to keep him in the limelight and a political issue to make that possible.

    Micheal is cute enough, as the saying goes down here, to mind mice at cross roads, his attack on dissidents did not come out of the blue. It was a safe National issue to get a few headlines on and one that placed a few brownie points in his ‘safe pair of hands’ file in Whitehall.

    As to the Six Counties; no Southern politician ever lost status with the Unionists by attacking Republicans, so overall just more of the cute hoorism that pass for politics in the South !

  • anne warren

    Agree with JEB who wrote “That kind of republicanism hasnt been on this island since 1798 and even then it fell apart because noble ideals could not withstand backward religious bigotry”.
    Just to provide some historical background:

    The United Irishmen were rationalists.They had read Tom Paine and the Rights of Man and celebrated the 3rd anniversary of the Fall of the Bastille in Belfast. They were caught up in the aftermath of the American War of Independence and sought to unite the people of Ireland in one democratic movement. However, there is ample evidence that the Catholic aristocracy and bishops regarded the United Irishmen with “fear and hostility” (See Thomas Carlyle, The French Revolution, London 1888)

    Meanwhile, at the same time:

    Protestant and Catholic small farmers and
    peasants banded together against each other in largely agrarian movements such as the Defenders and
    the Peep O’Day Boys.The Orange Order was founded after a battle at the Diamond in 1795 by Protestants who expected it to be the first of many skirmishes….
    At first the Episcopalian gentry were ambivalent about the Order. It had the right
    religion, but there was always the danger that it might move from destroying and expropriating Catholic property to stealing from the aristocracy. It was only when the
    United Irishmen seemed an even greater threat that the gentry entered the Order. [The
    strength of Orangeism fluctuated as history moved on until] …the Irish home-rule
    agitation of the late nineteenth century gave it a new salience. Now professional and
    urban Ulster Presbyterians joined the rural Anglican gentry and their peasants. ( “The Red Hand”,
    Steve Bruce, Professor of Sociology, University of Aberdeen, Scotland)

  • Alias

    What was the point of that speech? It looks like the officials in Ivy House briefed the dumbass that the Irish government should now intervene in British affairs to councel all and sundry that the use of the term dissident could imply that the regime in Northern Ireland is less than democratic and that those who continue to oppose British rule by militant means were gaining great kudos among the masses by having this seemingly exotic propaganda label attached to them by the British political and media establishment.

    He also lacks any understanding of what republicanism, sovereignty, nation and state means, and doesn’t even know that nobody in Ireland voted for the GFA. There were two separate referendums involving two separate acts of self-determination in two separate sovereign jurisdictions where two separate nations voted on two separate agreements. In Her Majesty’s sovereign territory of Northern Ireland, folks voted to endorse the Good Friday Agreement. In Ireland, we voted for the 19th Amendment, which removed the Irish nation’s claim to Her Majesty’s sovereign territory and approved the British Irish Agreement (which granted the UK sovereignty over key instituions of the Irish state, removing this sovereignty from the Irish nation).

  • Alias

    “…one that placed a few brownie points in his ‘safe pair of hands’ file in Whitehall.”

    And that is very important given the role of the British media in forming public opinion in Ireland and the role of Irish-owned but British-controlled media. Ant politician in Ireland who shows any hint of Irish nationalism is immediately and relentlessly savaged in the ‘Irish’ media whereas the anti-nationalists are given a free ride…

  • John East Belfast


    Just as unionists are regularly told that NI is not a normal political environment and has to be approached differently so to was the all Ireland of the early 20th Century.
    Just because there was a numerical majority of people on the island didnt mean it was fair or just for the entire constitutional position of the country to be changed at their choosing.

    Not when there was a sizeable majority concentrated within a specific geographical area, with a largely different religion and culture and who had created a totally different economy than those seeking constitutional change.

    I could also throw in certain unionist thinking that Ireland was never united as an island without the Union anyway and that there was always a distinct Ulster community that saw itself as separate.
    I could also throw in Home Rule is Rome Rule which clearly turned out to be true

    If you cant appreciate any of this then you wont understand geopolitics let alone unionism – infact you have a very shallow view of Irish history.

    Given the same set of circumstances anywhere in the world today the answer would be Partition.

    If I was around in 1912 there is no question I would have joined the Ulster Resistance against Home Rule but that entire movement of people was the stuff of nation building and could never be considered in the same breath as the PIRA or the subsequent dissident terrorist campaigns where International Treaties had been signed.

    Very simply the Irish, Gaelic, Catholic and Republican culture got 26 counties and the Irish but British, Protestant and loyalist community got 6. Who says all 32 in those early 20th century circumstances should have gone to the former.
    Dont be so bloody greedy

  • anne warren

    Cannot agree with JEB when he writes “Just because there was a numerical majority of people on the island didnt mean it was fair or just for the entire constitutional position of the country to be changed at their choosing”.

    That’s democracy, darling! Hasn’t anyone explained it to you yet?

    Furthermore, what the Loyalists have been loyal to for so long is a mystery. The earliest Unionist threat “Ulster will fight” was an incitement to rebellion. How could it have been anything else?
    It has long been known that Ulster Loyalists have never respected or appeared to understand the constitutional and democratic traditions of the UK. It is doubtful if they are loyal to the constitution and they are clearly not loyal to the rights of the individual and never have been. Under the Orange Order and similar societies and the forms of Unionism that prevail in NI, loyalism has become another word for prejudice and a camouflage for sentiments that can be changed with sinister rapidity into threats and violence.

    Move along JEB, you have nothing to lose but your blinkers!

  • John East Belfast


    You clearly didnt read my post or else you didnt understand it

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    If you are looking for spin see Mrazik comments above.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    “There were two separate referendums involving two separate acts of self-determination in two separate sovereign jurisdictions where two separate nations voted on two separate agreements”

    Separate – not. Both had to succeed or neither suceeded.

  • Alan Maskey

    NI is not only a failed state but it produces (work shy) Protestants with decidedly anti democratic views. With the views of Gerry LC, John EB et al, it is no wonder we have armed republican resistance. Funny but when PIRA started whacking English people such as the Guinness guy with these fascist views, the other mouths shut up.

    Unionism is not a political view that demands respect. The serial killers of Israel are welcome to Trimble.

  • John East Belfast

    Alan Maskey

    There is clearly a lot of violence in your life.

    You spoke early about “nothing wrong with wasting drug wholesalers” now you are talking about “whacking English people”

    and you say unionism is a political view that doesnt demand respect ?

    You only confirm what Minister Martin was saying about your kind of republicanism

  • o’connor

    Alan Maskey

    There are men in white coats just waiting for the likes of you. If you are lucky they will be from the NHS or HSE either will provide you with a nice, warm room, with absolutely no sharp edges.

  • Munsterview

    It is a mistake to see the United Irishmen as a coherent ideology. John and Henry Shears of Cork while having the same C of I religion as the Authurs brothers, merchant princes of Limerick and that of Russell of Mallow ‘ The Man from God knows where’ never the less had quite different outlooks. This within Munster only and from men of a shared religious culture.

    When it came to class issues and having due regard to what happened in the French Revolution to many Wild Geese families in France, it was only natural that the remaining Great Catholic families should shun the revolution and prefer the existing status quo.

    The last Colonel of the Irish Brigade in France led his soldiers to England and his Officers and other ranks were maintained from the Crown purse. This was Daniel O’Connell’s uncle and his attitude was shared by his brother, Old Hunting Cap O’Connell who pulled Dan a sworn UI man out of Dublin and sat on him until the upheaval was well over.

    The Orange Order is a significant part of the story, as counter revolutionaries they made a difference in favor of the Crown and status quo in many areas. However the Free Masons made a far bigger contribution, it was at Masonic lodges that Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter were truly united, they sought to build a just society on Masonic principles just as their counterparts on the US had done twenty-two years earlier.

    Little work has been done in this area : in the destruction of people and property that followed the rising and the Presbyterian exodus afterwards to the US, those Lodge records not destroyed or lost ended up abroad. Until these records are examined and Lodge memberships are known, then the Orange Order and the part they played will appear disproportionate and unrepresentative of protestantism as a whole !

  • Munsterview

    For once agreed!

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    “Ant politician in Ireland who shows any hint of Irish nationalism is immediately and relentlessly savaged in the ‘Irish’ media whereas the anti-nationalists are given a free ride…”

    That is true if you are equating violent dissers with Nationalism otherwise it is complete jibber-jabber and sounds like something the late Rory O Bradaigh, at his least coherent, might come out with.

  • SK


    Whether you care to admit it or not, Ireland was considered a single political unit since before the act of union and was administrated accordingly. Belfast was as Irish as Dublin or Cork, and the likes of Craig would have had no reservation about calling the likes of Redmond his countryman. For you to imply that Ulster was viewed to be some kind of psuedo-seperate principality within the island is nothing more than revisionism and if you have to resort to such dishonest, wishful thinking in order to justify your position then you are on shakey ground indeed.

    “Just because there was a numerical majority of people on the island didnt mean it was fair or just for the entire constitutional position of the country to be changed at their choosing.”

    On the countrary, I would argue that when 80% of people within an established political unit vote to govern themselves in a free and fair election, then they should be entitled to do so without a militant minority threatening violence. It is not legitimate for anyone who describes themself as a democrat to simply repudiate an election because the vote didnt go their way.

    You seem to believe otherwise and in that sense, your rationalisation of the actions of unionists in the early 20th century is strikingly similar to the logic adopted by militant republicans several decades later.

    Two sides of the same coin perhaps?

  • Alias

    “Separate – not. Both had to succeed or neither suceeded.”

    That is the same in any transaction between two separate parties (jibber-jabbering oaf), e.g. the buyer has to agree to sell and the seller has to agree to buy but neither party conjoins in a mystical union becoming a ‘one-ness.’ 😉

    The GFA is an agreement that was negotiated by political parties within a region of the separate sovereign jurisdiction wherein it applies, and which excluded all of the political parties from Ireland (FF, FG, Lab, Greens, PDs, etc).

    The people of Ireland had no input into its negotiation – being excluded from it – and nobody in Ireland voted for an agreement that they did not negotiate and which does not have any constitutional authority in their state. They voted for an entirely separate agreement made in a treaty between the governments of two sovereign states.

  • Alias

    Err, the seller has to agree to sell and the buyer has to agree to buy ..

  • Munsterview

    John EB

    What of the two counties that voted to share in the Republic and were hijacked into the six county statelet against their wishes ?

    Where was the democracy in that ?

  • Alias

    Incidentally, you’re own argument that interdependence is the same thing as unity backfires on you.

    It is presented, for propaganda purposes, that these two separate acts of self-determination occurring concurrently was the same thing as one act of self-determination. That is blatantly false, of course, since there were two acts of self-determination by two separate nations in two separate referendums on two separate agreements in two separate sovereign jurisdictions. None of the Irish political parties negotiated the GFA, and the Irish government itself was regulated to the role of facilitator between the eight British political parties who did negotiate the GFA. So the citizens of Ireland had no input into the GFA whatsoever.

    But supposing there was one act of self-determination, what would have happened if the people of Ireland voted to agree while the people of Northern Ireland voted to disagree? A minority would have vetoed the will of the majority, so self-determination could not by default have applied since the ‘people’ could not have determined the outcome due to the Unionist Veto.

    All that actually occurred is that the Irish government gave up its claim to Her Majesty’s sovereign territory of Northern Ireland and the Catholics/former nationalists in that region agreed that they had no inalienable right to determine their own affairs but should remain as a non-sovereign nation within the legitimised British state, remaining subject to the British nation. That was a demand made of them by the British state since partition.

    The issue of ‘consent’ is another propaganda missive that is conflated with accepting the legitimacy of Her Majesty’s ownership of that territory. Accepting that that region has a right to self-determination is the exact same thing as accepting the legitimacy of partition. That is what the Shinners signed up to. It is one thing to claim that violence should not be used against those who do not give their consent to you to exercise former right to self-determination as a member of the Irish nation but it is a very different statement to claim that you have no right to self-determination, and that your aspiration toward it is legitimacy subject to the veto of a foreign nation and its state. Rights are never subject to the discretion of others, while aspirations are mere fancies. You simply accepted the legitimacy of the Unionist Veto, upgrading it to the status of a principle (the Principle of Consent) while downgrading your renounced right to self-determination to the status of a token aspiration.

    So Irish nationalism never accepted that the British state had a right to occupy its territory prior to that State using its murder gangs to change their minds on the issue. It simply never accepted that violent means should be used for that end. Ergo, the alternative to rejecting the legitimacy of British rule was not violence but peaceful opposition to it. However, Irish nationalism no longer declares that the British state has no right to occupy its territory, and indeed no longer even declares that it occupies its territory having given up its claim to it in the 19th Amendment to the constitution. Just as you were born British in a British state, your children will be born British in a British state, and you’ll all die that way having declared that you have to inalienable right for it ever to be otherwise. Still, Mr Martin will tell you, again for propaganda purposes, that you now have a right to choose your nationality. In actuality, you were born British and everybody born in that part of the UK will continue to be born British. Even if you apply for an Irish passport you’ll continue to be British and live in a British state unless you write to the Home Office and give up your citizenship and then exit the British state.

  • Alias

    ^ To Sammy

  • Alias

    Apart from the obvious anti-democratic nonsense of claiming that only the 8 British political parties in NI should have the right to negotiate the GFA which is then, it is claimed, to apply to Ireland while all of the Irish political parties were excluded from the negotiating the agreement and the Irish people are thusly to have to right to determine their own affairs but must be subject to the veto and imposed will of a foreign jurisdiction, none of those 8 British political parties can really be said to have negotiated it either since it is a Whitehall document. At most it can be said that they negotiated some of the details but that all of the policies and the agenda was determined by the British state. The GFA is to Irish self-determination what Sammy is to quick-wittedness…

  • Alan Maskey

    O’Connor: Had you a point to make?

    John East Belfast: There used to be a piece of graffiti: God made the Catholics. And the Armalite rifle made them equal.

    By your own logic, Armagh, Derry (to give it its proper name), South Down, Fermanagh and Tyrone should never have been in the Orange state as they had Roman Catholic majorities. Anyone in those areas feeling the need to resist by force of arms have history’s moral balance on their side.

    Your failed state was a byword in terror, intimidation, vote rigging, segregation and fascism. You had your supporters in Britain. The IRA deliberately targeted some of the most big mouthed of these. Shooting a few of them spared us the pain of listening to more of them.

    That was how the IRA saw things then and it worked, up to a point.

  • o’connor

    Alan Maskey

    You got the point, and the message.

  • HeinzGuderian

    People like Al never get the point !! People like Al go through life hating. Hating anything that doesn’t fit in with their narrow minded,bigoted,sectarian,few.

    Good luck with persuading Unionists they will be welcome in your New Oirland,Al ??? 🙂

  • joeCanuck

    “vast majority”.

    Tell us, Sammy, what the vote numbers were in the Dáil in 1921 to accept the Treaty on independence and what the vote numbers were to accept the GFA.

  • unlucky Erb


    You’re referring to RAAD – who state they have no political agenda beyond the elimination of drug dealing.

    I was referring to the armed groups who CLAIM to be fighting for the republic such as CIRA – which is an entirely criminal organisation in Belfast, led by an notorious extended family of criminals with a major stake in the drugs trade.

    It’s not propaganda. In many nationalist communities in Belfast, people who are well known for crime, violence and drugs are now masquerading as republicans.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    as you have let loose (again) with your constitutional scatter gun all over the shop. I probably wont cover all of your ramlings.

    To claim that the referenenda are ‘separate’ when they are inter-dependent is a nonsense (nor am I claiming they are a ‘one-ness’ ) just as it is silly to suggest “The people of Ireland had no input into its negotiation” as the Irish government helped negotiate the fecking GFA.

    As for your constitutional hobby horse – Ireland swapped the useless articles 2 & 3 for an actual say in Ulster affairs via the ministerail council and more importantly Irish Nationalists gained a veto on integration of Ulster with Britian to sit along side the Unionist veto of integration with Ireland.

    Can you give me one practical result of Ireland’s alleged surrendering of it’s soverignity to Britian as a result of the GFA legislation?

  • Alias

    I like this post a great deal as it sets out why Irish republicanism is a perfectly legitimate political philosophy. Indeed the Shinners by tagging as dissidents all who oppose the GFA and the legitimisation of partition, have placed clear blue water between themselves and the dissidents, whether they support the continuation of the armed struggle or not.

    Over time they may well come to regret this decision, it would be interesting to know who first came up with the idea
    of using the word dissidents, some might think it has all over it the finger prints of the likes of Jonathan Powell

  • vanhelsing

    AM —-‘That was how the IRA saw things then and it worked, up to a point’——-

    the end justified the means 🙂 that’s one hell of an arguement, I’m sure I’ve heard that before somewhere…

    O’Connor had you spot on

  • slug

    Prisoner releases certainly was an affront as far as I am concerned. But seems tiresome to “spin” the rest as a victory for one side or the other. I don’t believe such spins – whether by unionists or nationalists – are other than rather transparent for what they are. Spins.

  • Alan Maskey

    And waht is your point? I was not on the IRA army Council when it ordered those mouths to be shot. Nor was I on it when Roy Bradford got his just desserts. Take it up with them.
    I shed no tears for Bradford or his ilk. Reap the whirlwind and all that.

    As regards the failed NI state: it was a gerrymander from the start.

    To show there are no hard feelings: good luck to Holland in post Duth/Brit imposed apartheid SA on Sunday.

  • Munsterview

    “……Paradoxically, Liberty, Fraternity and Equality, cannot be achieved through force…… ”

    Can you indicate to me anywhere in the world these things were denied to the masses and then attained from the denying regime save by the use of force, starting with the first true Republic in the modern era, the United States Of America in 1776 ?

    From 1968 on there were many windows of opportunity where the buildup of organized, armed, political force by the Northern disempowered underclass could have been avoided by conceding basic rights.

    Looking back to 68 / 69 was there one thing conceded since in the GFA that could not have been conceded back then ? In fact the Civil Rights movement, if their concerns had been met and negotiated on would have settled for far, far less than was later conceded.

    The sad and inescapable fact is that intransigent, stagnated and politically bankrupt Unionism was no more ready to conceded basic Civil Rights in the North to Catholics and working class Irish Nationalists than the Southern Ku Klux Klan White Racists were to Martin Luther Kings followers in the United States.

    In the States after a slow start, the Central Government send in State Forced to compel the local delinquent States to comply with Federal Law and uphold Civil Rights. In the North the Central Government send in Armed Troops, not to compel the local reactionary regime to comply with and extend civil rights but to suppress the Civil Rights Movement.

    In fact it was not just a simple denial of rights per se; the authorities in Whitehall told Frank Keetson and his Counter Insurgency, Low Intensity War boffins, ” You have your laboratory, there are your White Irish Wogs, show us what you can do ”

    The Irish Republican Army may have been denied a clean victory but they did produce a situation where successive Leading British Army Generals went public and said that they were involved in an unwinnable war.

    It was also only in this situation that serious political progress was made when the Central Power in Whitehall did what they should have done to begin with, forced obstructive Unionism to make the basic concessions necessary for inclusion of Republicans in the Political Process.

    Any recent arrivals on the political commentary scene thinking that physical force was unnecessary back then have to only look at the present situation. On aggregation we have had sixteen years since the ceasefire and not even one full six months of productive, co-operative civilized politics, as most of Unionists policies, strategy, tactics and energies have been involved in denying Republicans the use of the power they finally accessed rather than agreeing to build a new civic society for the common good.

    Given this history, it is very easy indeed for Dissident Republicans to make a case for continuing Armed Force against the State and difficult to make a case for the benefits of constitutional politics in the light of sixteen years of stymied, obstructionist Unionist Politics!

  • slug

    Alan Maskey I suspect is a troll.

  • Munsterview


    Take the Second Defense of the Republic : to begin with the Free State Regular army referred to the IRA as ‘ Irregulars’. However within a short space of time Republicans were being referred to by Free State Soldiers as “Pa Joes” and this derisive term can be found in some Free State Civil War accounts. There is some evidence that it was also used by Cockney Officers for Irish Rank and File in the First World War!

    Dissident Republicans came from inside the Mainstream Republican Movement, there was only a narrow range of descriptive adjectives available as any outright condemnation would have exposed Mainstream Republicanism to having the very same tags applied to it’s own past activities.

    For a time the term the ‘Coco Colas’ ( from the real coke ads at the time ) was applied by Mainstream Republicans to the Group claiming to be the Real IRA. Such tags, especially if used in a derogatory way, do little for Republican unity of purpose, civilized exchanges or common cause !