Dealing with dissidents: we’re all in it together

“What Was the Message Behind the Real IRA Bomb?” asks Finola Meredith for the benefit of Time magazine’s readers worldwide. No clear answer comes from her sources. But is the question really so hard to answer? The aim surely, was first to provoke precisely this sort of speculation in the news agenda. The accompanying belittling comment obliges the dissidents with  continuing challenge to feed off.

Perhaps that can’t be helped. But three other approaches should be tried.  First,the precedent of the IRA cannot be evaded and should be argued through. Eamonn McCann’s case the Derry Journal after the Da Vinci’s bomb is worth quoting at some length.

“It was “totally inappropriate” that there should be a bombing in Derry on October 5th.

“This was the date when the civil rights movement first brought masses out onto the streets to oppose injustice. That’s a valuable legacy to look back to. Planting a bomb at Da Vincis under cover of darkness is the exact opposite.

“The Real IRA give the same justification for their campaign as the Provisional IRA did for 30 years. But a strategy based on shooting and bombing was a distortion of the legacy of October 5th when it was the Provos who were carrying it out, and it’s still totally wrong.

And Eamonn turns to Sin Fein with his clinching point.

“Those who try to argue that paramilitary violence was justified up to the moment when they themselves ceased doing it are confusing the issue. Condemnation of the Real IRA on that basis has been unhelpful and unconvincing.

 A weakness of Eamonn’s case is that his vision of workers’ solidarity is even less likely to be realised than a united Ireland. Solidarity among democrats is a better substitute,  our second option.

 The need to tackle dissidents is everybody’s business. We can all see that SF are on weak polemical ground. It’s perfectly apparent that although they have the special access to the dissidents that intimacy and tradition gives them, they cannot deal with them on their own, now that summary justice is being replaced by the conventional variety . The very term ” dissident” implies an orthodoxy of which SF is the guardian. The different label of “rejectionist” (of the Agreements) would recognise that responsibility is collective and involves us all.

It would  also help  if other Assembly parties would fully recognise  the new beginning SF has made and go easy on casting up about the past. Without overblowing it,  the dissidents phenomenon presents a basic challenge to the whole system.  

Third, law enforcement  needs public support  which should not be withdrawn at the first mistake.  Remedy is now available.   

Building  solidarity  is not the other guy’s business.  Stretching hands across the divide with tiny gestures like going to a GAA match  is easy to  underrate  but they emphasise civility and solidarity and help create a shared idea of citizenship. It would  be a great pity if  solidaritywere neglected by quick polemical minds eager to score points in an increasingly irrelevant game.  

Powersharing and the rest of the deals struck in 1998 and 2006 marks the fundamental difference with all other dates from 1916  onward. Only when rejectionists see that sectarian divisions are being consistently managed in the wider interest of the whole community and political behaviour responds will they finally lose whatever credibility they hold today. The vision of Yeats’ great poem The Second Coming” written in 1919 is there to haunt us still.

Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

The darkness drops again but now I know
That twenty centuries of stony sleep
Were vexed to nightmare by a rocking cradle,
And what rough beast, its hour come round at last,
Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?

, , , ,

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Whatever about the difficulty for SF in arguing that violence up to a point was fine but now it is not it seems sensible if all those against the disser campaign including the various breeds of Nationalism and Unionsm to emphaise their common purpose as Marty and Robb have very ably demonstrated.

    The reality is that the dissers will probably we with us for some time and are no doubt hoping to provoke some manner of ill-advised security response – and with MI5 still running around the place they may still be in with a shout.

  • Old school

    Whats with all this “we” business?

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    The reality is that the dissers will probably be with us for some time

  • White Horse

    If we’re all in this together, Sinn Fein need to play ball.

    After this latest dissident republican bomb attack on the Da Vinci’s complex in Derry, it becomes increasingly apparent that the Sinn Fein response to this threat has been absolutely inadequate and irresponsible.

    At first they attempted to intimidate the dissidents and are said to be responsible for acts of violence on them. When that failed, as it inevitably would, they have debased their maturity as human beings by resorting to calling them names. They were called “traitors”, “an embarrassment”, and “strategy-less”. After this week’s latest bomb they were called “conflict junkies” and “Neanderthals”.

    It’s time that Sinn Fein got back to first principles and, to do that, they need to go back to Spring 1987 when Gerry Adams made the first moves to approach John Hume through Fr Alec Reid. What was his motivation? What was his thinking? Why did he effectively cave in to the Hume analysis over the next number of years? Why did he stop thinking then like the dissidents are thinking now?

    This understanding is vital to any Sinn Fein attempt to influence the dissidents. Yet all we hear is pathetic name-calling and abuse. “Catch yourselves on,” was Gerry Adams clarion call to dissidents during this year’s Westminster election.

    Was that what Sinn Fein based its change of strategy on? Did Gerry Adams catch himself on in 1987? Or was it something deeper that persuaded this leader of the Republican Movement that he had a mission to end the armed struggle of the IRA?

    It really is high time that Sinn Fein changed their approach, acted responsibly and gave their rationale for the peaceful way of achieving Irish unity.

  • Joe Bryce

    The objective reality is that dissident violence “freezes” political change. Jim Molyneaux complained of the PIRA ceasefire in 1994 that it was the most destabilising event in Northern Ireland’s history. He was right. This sort of, forgive me, fuckwittery, simply shores up the forces of reaction. Message from Planet Earth to the idiots: at the last general election the electorate in the most loyalist seat in (I’ll humour you) the 6 counties threw out the leader of the main unionist party and elected a non-sectarian politician. It is really very clear that you do not actually want change at all, because if violence returns we all run back to our laager. Idiots.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit


    ” It is really very clear that you do not actually want change at all, because if violence returns we all run back to our laager. Idiots.”

    I think that is their plan, no progress followed by progress of the backward variety.

  • Dixie Elliott

    The thing often overlooked is that there are a substantial number of Republicans like myself, who although they have no time for PSF and their hypocrisy, still desire peace and wish to see Republicanism wise up to itself and realise that armed struggle is taking us no where.

    How can armed struggle Republicans believe that by going against the wishes of the vast majority of the people they will somewhere down the line gain their support?

    They should realise that by continuing on this path that they are giving the Nationalist people no option but to vote for a party that profits from their desire for peace while they continue to suffer deprivation

  • jim

    gerry n his rag bag were being controlled by the brits scap dennis the menace ect.they were told when to knock it on the head.they are now reaping the rewards of their dirty deeds.i cant understand why the familys of the hunger strikers arnt speaking out after seeing curly wurly head sipping tea n biccies with mrs thatcher

  • jim

    votes dont matter.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Can someone explain exactly what harm the ‘dissident’ campaign is doing or is likely to do to SF?

    As far as I’m aware no SF members have been physically attacked, SFs electoral progress (within the UK at least) continues apace and the ‘dissident’ activity serves as a reminder of what might happen if the assembly fails.

    Marty lambasts the upstarts with the odd soundbite, but the fact remains that the dissers are merely adopting the mantle of the provos, who after all capitulated for no logical reason. As illustrated by the fate of Denis Donaldson vs that of the Omagh bombers, whom neither Gerry nor Marty felt able to even name and shame, ‘true’ republicans stick together as long as there’s no touting involved.

    A cynic might argue that the RIRA/CIRA et al are merely complimenting the SF strategy.

  • Itwas SammyMcNally whatdoneit

    Gerry Lvs Castro,

    “A cynic might argue that the RIRA/CIRA et al are merely complimenting the SF strategy.”

    I think they are “complimenting the SF strategy” in some regards and they certainly remind everyone of the inherent problems with partition – the danger for SF is that they may grow politically or cause a rupture in Nationalist relations with the Police.

  • Dixie Elliott

    the danger for SF is that they may grow politically or cause a rupture in Nationalist relations with the Police.

    Itwas SammyMcNally…

    The danger for SF is, if they did decide to put away the guns and take a political route, then with no more threat to peace the voters might cop on to how useless the Shinners are and even a small swing back to the Stoops would derail the gravy train.

  • Munsterview

    Slight modified abstract from earlier posting…..

    “……In an ideal situation, from their view, Armed Republican Groups would have the military capacity to achieve six county liberation by Armed Force.

    They do not have that capacity so failing that their secondary goal is, as was that of the resistance in Nazi occupied Europe during WW2, to use what resources they have selectively so that British presence is routinely challenged and a return to a stable peacefull society where this British presence is presented to the people of these Islands, Europe and the world as an acceptable norm, is prevented……….. ”

    Seen in military / political terms of their secondary objectives, most impartial observers would agree that the IRA groups still committed to armed force and waging asymmetrical warfare are having an impact.

    The very fact that a number of primary parties to the political situation want to enter into negotiations with them about their campaign proves their significance !

  • oh hark at iwsmnwdi’s years of security experience

  • How can armed struggle Republicans believe that by going against the wishes of the vast majority of the people they will somewhere down the line gain their support?

    Er, because that’s how the last two mobs got it? Nationalists have a clear choice – violence or democracy. Only this time it is much more clear cut. If, and I really hope this doesn’t happen, they slowly but surely creep back to violence, then what do we do?

    A sizeable number of people here would have registered their unhappiness with demographics and subseqently were willing to go off and kill others. We can’t do a GFA mkII against that. What other options are on the table?

  • Munsterview

    I doubt if there will be any significant interest shown in politics by the IRA groups opposed to the GFA.

    As they see it SF played the democracy game and the Brits queered the pitch for SF by playing the spooks game. This is patently obvious to anyone politically literate in the realities of Northern Politics.

    The TUV, the UUP, the DUP all agree with giving the spooks a free hand against Sinn Fein. Alliance, now that David Ford is justice Minister if Alliance were ever opposed to spooks turned loose against SF they cannot dispute it now even if they wanted to!

    As the Armed IRA se it SF took a chance for democracy and then the spooks were allowed continue to their games against SF. Why should they follow Sinn Fein on to that queered pitch ?

    Conservatives if anything will give the spooks even more leeway . There is an absence of war in Ireland, that, for the Conservatives is all they need. Neither given the election debacle will they have too much sympathy for the Unionists ? Ireland is now a back burner issue .

    There will be bombs and bullets in the North for a long time yet !

  • Jj

    Dissidents continue to prove to Unionists that apparently there can be no such thing as a Republican who is genuinely committeed to peace.

    The intrigues of politics and history mean that this perspective is shared with those dissidents who also believe that Adams McGuinness et all are no longer Republicans because…. etc.

    Such are the paradoxes. I think we have to concede that dissidents ARE Repubicans – just particularly slow learners.

    Hopefully, they will achieve that learning in an environment where they are much less likely to be shot than previous generations. Realising the propaganda benefit to them of such an event appears to be a main distinction between the former RUC and the PSNI. One can easily imagine a “Troubles II” should the TUV ever achieve power. But thats never going to happen.

  • Joe Bryce

    I think there is room for the guarded optimism expressed there by Jj. The point however which I would try to make that it is precisely republicanism that is stymied by these actions. Dublin & London have agreed that there is to be no further change in the constitutional arrangements unless there is a consocial consensus. Those from a unionist background who might contemplate the possibility of there real advantage in closer relations with the new secular Republic (and that is still, and clearly, its direction of travel) are literally prevented from doing so while violence persists. One suspects that these people simply do not want a prod about the place, to paraphrase the DFM’s parallel observation.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Monster,you quaint analogy between reb terrorists,and resistance fighters in WWII is……quaint !!

    You seem to be under,the somewhat childish illusion,that a ui,if it ever comes about,will spell everlasting peace? Won’t the *loyalist* resistance fighters,simply start their own,*freedom fighter* campaign,to persuade Dublin,and the rest of the world,that the Unionist peoples are unfree ?

    Will you be calling for negotiations with the aforementioned *loyalist resistance fighters* ?? One wonders ??

    grizzly,marty,and chums,finally emerged from the green eyed mists,and realised that trying to murder people,to achieve your political objectives,does not,will not,and will never work !!

    Smash Stormont has turned into,tea and cucumber sandwiches at the Conservative and Unionist Party Conference. You’ll excuse me while I snicker……:-)

  • White Horse

    A true cynic might argue that the hand of senior PIRA activists including SF strategists are directing the dissidents, unbeknownst to most of the dissident activists.

  • White Horse


    You are clearly giving the rational for SF to begin to direct dissident actions.

    Can you clarify one thing? Are you on the average industrial wage? Are you employed to give the justification for a return to war to clear up the spook problem, etc?

  • Greenflag

    They will . But they’ll mostly be in new internment camps North and South and 99% plus of the population on this island will not be unhappy to see the authorities throw away the keys.

    Again it’s not 1918, nor 1920 nor 1969 nor 1981 . Republicans have to make ‘politics’ work in NI and in ROI if they are to achieve their political objectives.

  • Greenflag

    ‘the peaceful way of achieving Irish unity.’

    A UI will not be achieved by violence . It might have a chance of becoming a possibility via changing demographics at least for a brief 10 year period -after which it may become a permanent impossibility . We don’t know yet how the upcoming cuts and ‘hard times are going to affect the various demographic groups but if the past is anything to go by it won’t be good news for ‘nationalist ‘ numbers .

    If they want a UI they had better ‘breed’ for one and not ‘bleed’ for one . Those days are over . They are no longer necessary assuming they ever were ;(

  • Munsterview


    There has been enough double talk, tribel and indeed quadruple talk on the ‘Troubles’

    Then again this has always been the way : all over Europe land was transferred from aristocratic minorities to tenant farmers and serfs a transfer process that usually involved what history books correctly refer to as revolutionary force.

    In Ireland the same process happened except here we had……… Agrarian Outrages !

    When Britain recruited a battle bloodied and hardened counter revolutionary force to take the fight to the IRA and to terrorize their supporters Britain referred to this force as……. ‘Police Cadets’.

    Britain has boasted and sold the experience of it’s officers in NATO and around the world as having first hand experience of operating….. Low Intensity Warfare……….. yet once outside the closed military college doors the same officers have described the conflict as ………. the Troubles and described the recent conflict 69 to 96 as ‘a policing action ‘ and peacekeeping in a sectarian society.

    The greater part of the IRA accepted the GFA, the lesser part did not. Of these some remained active, some adopted a wait and see attitude towards the GFA.

    They waited……….. for fourteen years from the ceasefire and very little happened or it seems is likely to happen to make the type of radical social change that most fought for.

    They see……………..For fourteen years the Brits spooks first got a free hand to try and void the ceasefire, then to prevent the peace, then to prevent political structures and now having failed in all three they are drinking in the last chance saloon to as they try to prevent working politics emerging !

    Months ago some decided they had waited enough and that they had seen enough!

    The self called Continuity IRA have made their positions clear !

    The self called Real IRA have made their positions clear !

    The Fighting IRA have have made their positions known but less clear !

    I am neither message or messenger for any of the three groups and when I venture a opinion on what is happening, in these organizations it is just that. Readers and posters can qualify that opinion in the light of my other posts and views as they see fit !

    So folks as of this post I will not use the nomenclature of ‘dissidents’ again, the term says all and says nothing, depending on the readers and interpretations. We have two main groupings the Majority ceasefire observing IRA and the non ceasefire observing IRA !

    I already set out the terms of identification for the minority, three IRA’s……. if there is more that should be in there , somebody please let me know.

    I would also point out that very few Republicans whatever section have come on to slugger and taken issue with me. One reason for that is that while I do not agree with certain stances, I have not deliberately misrepresented the position of any armed republican group.

    In these posts I have given the picture as the average catholic / nationalist / republicans see the situation. It is only my personal view, readers can make what they will of it, some unfamiliar with IRA culture will see it for what it is and appreciate the insights given, others like you know who will accuse me of ‘war mongering’ but since this poster have a self admitted short fuse, I cannot risk traumatizing innocent cats, I cannot say more !

    As for your * Loyalist Resistance Fighters* with The Brits and the M’s out of the scene, this will be mainly a Belfast problem, if they act up, well all SF need do is let the ‘Dogs’ deal with that little problem some morning and they will all be home for lunch……. which is more than will be said for who they had to deal with !

  • White Horse

    THe demographic argument is just delusion, Greenflag.

    It’s basically the public position of Sinn Fein because they have to pretend to the public that they have a strategy. They don’t.

    They have to face the reality that the SDLP position is the only show in town. Persuasion of sufficient unionists of the benefits of Irish unity..

  • White Horse

    I think it’s fair to say that you don’t support the dissidents, Munsterview. You support the PIRA who are still active through the dissidents.

    Isn’t that what you’re saying?

  • Greenflag

    ‘the demographic argument is just delusion’

    The late Horseman’s detailed posts showed/show that far from being a delusion ‘demographics’ or changing demographics will change the politics of NI and even it’s constitutional status without there necessarily being an RC overall majority within NI .

    I respect the SDLP view in so far as it goes but rather them than me . I would not know where to begin to persuade ‘Unionists’ of the benefits of a UI -not just now but even during the ‘glory days’ of the CT 😉

    A fair ‘repartition’ of NI by a neutral international organisation such as the UN or EU would be my personal preference . I understand however why almost all Unionists and most Nationalists prefer the present status quo . They really have no other choice -economically !

  • White Horse


    I am suspicious of long-winded demographic arguments as they can in reality prove anything. Sinn Fein have been pushing this agenda since 1994 and whether Horseman is one of them or has a desire to help their position, I don’t know. But my own figures don’t see the big changes that are necessary happening.

    “persuading sufficient unionists” = means a shared society
    “Irish unity” = not UI = but unity of the people.

    Repartition is a good approach. It respects the respective majorities on the island much better than UI.

  • Fuiseog


    Can you clarify who is the ‘fighting IRA’ just out of curiosity?

    Go raibh maith agat

  • Munsterview

    White H

    I am sure when posters from the nationalist side lump all unionists together, all four unionists parties……… well all three unionists parties and the party that is-not-unionist-but-happens-to -support-the-union, get very annoyed.

    You know the real diffirences and why the average UUP could never join the DUP or the average DUP could never join the UUP.

    Why do you then refuse to believe that the differences between then various republican groupings exist in an even more stark and contentious a way ?

    Two of the three IRA’s probably have a greater viceral reaction to the average PSF member advocating democracy and politics than they do to the average British soldier they are attempting to target. !

    When I suggested Mark or Pete give an overview, this is what I had in mind, identify the groups and outline the differences and also where they see the various groups at. ( There is also the wee pertinent fact that if they were going to get annoyed about the potrait painted, it was better to keep it an all Northern affair)

    I was advised after the recent seminar not to comment so freely on contemporary issues……. instead I should wait a few years until the heat had left the situation, that it was my task as a historian to explain the past, not disect the present, that is what political commentators are for!

    I know some posters and readers will never seperate the message from the messenger, that however is their problem not mine and while I am getting a positive feedback from International readers contacting me outside of slugger, then I know I am getting through to someone out there!

    An as much as finances means anything, limited income, very limited indeed !

  • White Horse


    You seem to be back-tracking. As a historian in an republican sense you will see all republican violence as justified until the 32 county republic is achieved. Isn’t that right?

    But you clearly stated that the spooks MI5 are the reason for further Sinn Fein inspired violence. You have admitted to being a PSF insider in Munster. Are you trying to justify the PSF/PIRA return to arms or are you just in the business of justifying all republican violence by attributing the factors that you think are relevant?

    Personnally, I don’t think you’re guessing at all. I think you’re on the payroll, despite your protestations to the contrary.

  • Greenflag

    White Horse ,

    ‘and whether Horseman is one of them or has a desire to help their position, I don’t know.’

    Horseman analysed the numbers in detail and was imo extremely scrupulous and when there was doubt in any area he acknowledged the fact . He was non catholic and non unionist and did not support SF . I would guess his politics were closest to the SDLP . That said if you have figures that out exact Horseman’s lets see them or if they can be viewed elsewhere post the link .

  • Munsterview

    White H

    Thanks for at least considering what I have said and asking for clarification.

    I must however issue a strong health warning…….. such an approach could lead to dialogue !

    In previous posts I pointed out that the republican struggle went through the three classical stages of mass movement armed action to politics.

    1) Bomb and bullet, 2) bullet and ballot box, 3 ) ballot box only !

    At the start of the second phase the bullet is necessary but towards the end of the second phase force starts to become an obstruction to political growth.

    The Armed wing of the Movement…..

    a) needs too many human resources to maintain relative to what it can contribute.

    b) the risks to life or of long imprisonment involved for the armed members or their support facilitators cannot be justified in terms of necessity.

    c) the movement to grow needs to grow must take in new people who are opposed to force

    d) a military disaster…… a premature bomb explosion….. a submachine gun discharged in a crowded bank, a young mother killed in an armed wing v security force shoot out….. etc can cause a mass turn off of those opposed to force.

    e) the classical guerilla threat to the state is based on the proposition that the State forces to prevent incidents must be lucky all of the time, the guerilla team need only be lucky once to strike home.

    f) at the end of stage two, the odds are increasingly stacked against the guerilla force……while they by now have a good military capacity it cannot be used, the potential for a ‘hearts and minds disaster is too great……… they must now also be lucky all of the time……which they cannot be. That of itself leads to a curtailment of military activity since this must be secondary to political requirments..

    g) new tactics and strategy for growth now depends in elections and perceptions. As stage one moves to stage two, a fundamentalists minority will not accept political interface with the State break away and continue the true old way.

    This was the cause of the split in 86 that gave rise to RSF and Continuity IRA ( they were continuing the old ways)

    h) at the end of the second stage another minority breakout occur, while the movement now has significant electoral power,the armed force is now a liability and a minority will not accept this…… they see politics interfering with the struggle.

    g) the main group go on to politics only while the minority breakaway revert back towards the start of stage two, only to find they are irrelevant as history has passed them by. They try to show that they can still pack a punch, without the political brains and savvy they either walk into or lead into a military disaster that ends their credibility with the general public.

    WhiteH……….. I advocated and argued for stage two in 76…… it took to 86. This was for more human and financial resources for politics and the curtailment of some army activity. I supported stage three and would have preferred that the conditions were for it were there earlier than 1996.

    Hundreds of us made a decision to go down the stage three road and bring thousands with us when we did and it was that a large collective top leadership, an even larger second tier one and a ground supporter leadership that sold to workmates and social friends.

    The Continuity have had almost a quarter of a century to prove military capacity, what have they done. They had the same brave, dedicate members post the split as prior, but they just could not get up the numbers to have meaningful military capacity.

    The Real IRA had brave and dedicated members that had proved themselves time and again. However while they had significant numbers…… they did not have an across the board range of expertise and experience to draw on.

    In GAA terms it was like attempting to field a county team drawn from drop out players from a handful of clubs. The Brits fielded a full professional team and hammered them.

    I do not support or cannot support the military activities of the Continuity IRA or Real IRA because tactically and stragectllaiy they are unsycronised with the evolving Mainstream political struggle and their military activities on the balance will far more retard than advance the Mainstream republican freedom struggle.

    Now for the section of the mainstream IRA who did not commit to the GFA ; most also accepted the three stage analysis as given in the foregoing and that the armed struggle had served it’s purpose. They were skeptical that the Brits would allow a level playing field or allow Sinn Fein to grow untrammeled.

    The stood back and left Gerry A, Martin Pat D Gerry K et al a free hand and gave neither the Brits or the Unionists any reason to point a finger. The unionists played their silly buggers inside Stormount and stymying Sinn Fein became more of an operative goal than the lateral living conditions of the common good.

    On the ground and in particularly East of The Bann the spooks have continued a Dirty War against Sinn Fein as per the dictates of General Sir Frank Keetson. In the way of these things I have reason to believe that the British Establishment Power Elites were told the consequences of continuing to give the spooks a free hand whatever of Stormount.

    The collective leadership of Mainstream Sinn Fein made a judgement call about the possibility and probability of working politics in a new dispensation and the majority of the movement bought into that. The probability factor for normal politics is neared the floor than the celling and the possibility factor is not looking good.

    It is totally wrong to suppose that the SF is in anyway tolerant of the return of to armed conflict of the post 96 ceasefire IRA. Any concessions that the Brits make to this group can only be at a loss of mainstream SF prestige and credibility.

    I cannot say with any degree of certainty what the goals, aims and objectives of this reactivated IRA group is. However for now I am still committed to the GFA and in their eyes that makes me too supporting proven failure and without credibility.!

  • Munsterview

    I meant that section of the mainstream IRA who had been inactive since ceasefire, and who according to media reports and some interviews, have as individuals ceased to observe the ceasefire and are now prepared to again use limited force to obtain certain goals.

    I cannot say what the specific goals of this group are. All I can say is that among ceasefire observing but non GFA supporting republicans, during Summer, the two areas of most concern was the spooks and their proxies and the unionist stymying of Stormount which was working to a fraction of its capacity

  • Munsterview

    I have set out the journey both my self and mainstream republicans travelled and where we are now seen to be at.

    I have given cultural lectures on W B Years and the formations of his right wing ideas, I have recommended the British Fascist site as a good source for good essays on some of his poetry but if uniformed blue shirts appear on the Irish streets again, I will be on the bloody streets also with a red arm band and a swinging pick axe handle……and I will not be the only one!

    I have taken the time to go into some detail on this as I know the debate is being followed with more than the usual interest. I was up there from the early seventies, even back then and seeing what daily life was like in Nationalist areas under British Occupation, I said from then on, that if the majority of Nationalists ever got a solution they could live with, then I would too.

    The gloss is long gone from the GFA but it still has the majority support of the Nationalist community.

    Sinn Fein has fallen short of promise and expectation for me personally, I do not regret one moment of my life spend in republican activity, indeed I consider these very explanations to be just that very thing, but I still support SF out of habit even if my instincts are labor.

    If you cannot accept that honest assessment of my personal political position and must continue to ‘cut the feet to fit the shoes’ then feel free to put me down as a member of ‘The Militant League Of Atheists ‘ if it makes you feel better! ( Incidently for any ‘ Harvesters’ that are reading, that was one of Gerry Carroll’s RIP )

    then I can but accept Ms D Parkers postulation…….” You can take a horse to water but you cannot make him think ” !

  • Munsterview


    1) Do you accept that the spooks are out there undermining Sinn Fein in every possible ?

    2) Do you accept that this undermining of SF is lessening it’s authority and credibility with all parties ?

    3) Do you think Britain is providing a level political playing filed with this spook activity ?

    4) Do you have a solution regarding spook activity ?

    5) do you have a way of enforcing your solution to spook activity?

  • Fuiseog

    Go raibh maith agat as an freagra MV, as a regular reader of the site Ive very much appreciated the depth, sincerity and intelligence of your input here.

    However in this case I’m still unclear by your post as to whether there is a new ‘shadow’ grouping of former PIRA Óghlach’s who you believe by way of your ear to the ground to have informally stepped onto the arena who you have described as the fighting IRA.

    Or if you hold Óghlaigh na hÉireann (ONH) as the third ‘armed, fighting IRA’ with them being perhaps the more active of the IRA’s in recent times and apparently responsible for the vast majority of those 36 incidents so far this year and pertinent to this post according to their army council are largely former provos based on the old adage that the legitimate IRA are simply the IRA that actively fight …

    From what Ive read of your posts it’s not like you to be so definitely stating without credible (albeit private) insight that there will be bombs and bullets for a long time to come on the basis that you believe certain people within the movement deemed to have given the ‘process’ a fair wind up to now are again active.

    Having noticed a very definite change in your tone and input in recent days/weeks my guess is that as well as your astute political observations while on your travels you have been talking with and listening to some quite serious people/operators of late.

    If it is the former any interested observer would do well to sit up and take note and that O’Maile et al would do well to tune in before the red tops get it as thats quite the insight – Maith thú !!

    On a personal level was it a bit of a gunk for you even as an ‘auld han’ to realise that this under current of republican minded militancy was as virile and potent as it is nowadays?

    To my mind increasingly more and more people such as yourself (including as we note in the headlines MI5 and the establishment) are slowly realising that against all the odds the British Establishments counter insurgency project in this current phase of the struggle has so utterly, indeed bitterly (MMcG) failed to neutralise what Bobby Sands described as ‘meon na saoirse’ reflected in today’s armed propaganda within Irish Republicanism.

    Ádh Mór,


  • joeCanuck

    I will not use the nomenclature of ‘dissidents’ again

    C’mon, MV.
    It’s a convenient term (in brackets). Sure we can keep changing names, Travellers instead of Gypsies, other advantaged instead of mentally retarded, mentally challenged etc. It always comes down to the same thing. We are not all the same and we often adopt terms to describe one group or the other. These folks are definitely dissenting from the current arrangements and there is absolutely nothing wrong with dissenting (see Mark and Dixie, for examples, yourself and Alias too) . It’s the use of violence to try to impose their minority opinion which is the problem.

  • Munsterview

    F North America, it is hours past my bedtime!

    Dissidents may be a convenient catch all but it is not an accurate one !

    The Continuity IRA gave themselves that title in 86, the held it for almost twenty years. they are still the same organization in terms of aims and general politics. They have a separate and well established identity.

    The real IRA likewise choose a certain course of action, they were argued with against it, they did not listen, Omagh was the result and that is their responsibility, not Continuities or anyone else’s.

    The latest group will too have its own ethos and politics.

    Lumping all together may be convenient and dismissive but if there is going to be any appreciation or meaningful political analysis of the groups, then they must be seen and dealt with in their separate identity.

  • White Horse


    Thanks for the clarification.

    You know, if you were ruled by the heart you wouldn’t come out with such straegic nonsense about how the Provos developed their ambitions.

    This is all callous intrigue where you systematically chose a strategy that works for you, but as you admit has left you with real problems at its destination in relation to the spooks.

    If you followed your compassion there would have been no way that you would have concluded that the plan would work.

    The reality for PSF is that they have finally met with the realities of their threat to the British establishment, who used them to usurp the SDLP, a much more potent threat to unionism and conservatism.

    The reality for PSF is that they have failed to attract real talent into the party, talent that might have been aware of the Spooks and able for their subtle efforts to undermine.

    The reality is that the PSF project is now faltering because of the kind of people who would be attracted to war on their terms. It is a natural consequence of using intimidation on others to get their way at a time when there was no justification for the use of armed struggle.

    The moral flaw in PSF has continued to attract unionist hostility and will always be seen as a reason to defeat them. That is where the unionists are coming from, not a desire to destroy nationalism.

    In this sense PSF are an obstacle to progress for those who believe in Irish unity. Those who oppose them will always have the moral high ground in dealings with them and will always tend to overcome them.

    Furthermore, support for PSF tends to be confused with support for ideological Irishness and as such it has no appeal to unionists and on the contrary it tends to send a message that one day we’ll take our land back and send unionists back to Britain after a civil war.

    I’m glad that you have clarified that PSF is involved with dissident organisations in some unrealistic attempt to defeat Spook interests. This will be seen as an attempt to undermine unionism’s hold on the North and as such will be counterproductive.

    Unionism’s hold on the North can only be defeated through peaceful dialogue and astuteness in the poitical sphere. The lack of consistent astuteness in PSF renders them a liability when dealing with the Spooks and the product of their efforts renders them an imperative to defeat.

    My conclusion is that PSF have become obsolete.

    You can add that to your strategy as number 4 when it becomes clear that anyone who would be prepared to participate in such a 99% cowardly war, only to eventually end up in politics, would have a limited lifespan until they are found out.

    PSF are just an irritation now, like the DUP, and trying to solve their inability to hold the process in Stormont by adding a few little bombs to help argue their case is typical of a party that demeans the Irish people time and time again.

    These bombs only accentuate the fact that PSF is no more than a slogan personnified, and can never be the vehicle for establishing Irish unity.

  • Jj

    1) What would be the motivation for undermining SF? They are now the “good” Republicans. The spooks have infiltrated virtually all the dissident groups, surely?

    2) If the very presence of spooks is somehow a reason for people to run to the dissers or accept their analysis, then thats attributing somewhat more sophistication to their appeal than is reasonable.

    3) The list of “continuing instruments of oppression” (police use of plastic bullets, existence of spooks and an army presence (in barracks))which has been detailed elsewhere on Slugger is simply not a rationale for anyone to support or participate in any violent activity whatsoever.

  • Munsterview


    1) Peace to the Brits is an absence of war or a close as the can get to that. It is also about preserving a status quo in British interest. Having a Sinn Fein representing the overwhelming nationalist majority and a Sinn Fein First Minister set to undermine those interests…… is simply not in Britian’s itterests !

    2) I do not agree. It is it is only when the ‘sophisticated’ aspects of these things are taken into consideration that certain responses make sense. Just because republicans did not wash theri dirty linen in public post ceasfire, do not mean that there has not been a thorough root and branch examination of the ‘internal security’ debacle or that lessons arising from that and other things have not been learned!

    3) Take that argument up with the activist involved and those that support them. I only give reasons from what I believe is their perspective for those outside republican culture. I merely call it, as I see it, readers can put their own weight on my observations.

  • Munsterview

    Joe B
    “……..One suspects that these people simply do not want a prod about the place……”

    I am reminded of the quote fron a Shakesperian play when he has the Irish character ask ” who is my people ” ?

    ‘These people’ if used by the average person on my side of the divide regarding unionism would include all from loyalist street gangs involved in sectatian violence right through to Farmer Tom and his merry band ! Well…. all right correction…..sober band !

    That is why I callet for Pete, E. O’Malley etc to spell out the various republican groupings that still mantain a capactity and intent for armed action. Without knowing who they are and where they came from, there cannot be a realistic assesment of what they are about.

  • Munsterview

    Buiochas !……….. Fe bru le fliu is obair ………cupla la eile !

    Bhi orm an Bhean Iar Connachta, cara na Fir Dubh ‘S Cron a coimead ‘san cuinne! Ma bfuill Gaelige ann guim trochaire De leis na piscini bocht, beig ‘an bhrat dearg’ scoilte aris !