Catching up with éirígí’s John McCusker – starting “a community fight back”

eirigi logoéirígí won’t be everyone’s cup of tea on Slugger – but then name one political party that is. And in the spirit of exploring the smaller parties standing in the Assembly and local government elections, éirígí replied to the email that a number of other parties received but ignored.

I spoke to John McCusker at length a week or so ago. He’s éirígí’s West Belfast chairman and standing as the party’s candidate in Lower Falls for Belfast City Council in the upcoming elections.

We covered the reasons for éirígí’s participation in the elections, what the party stands for, militarism as well as cooperation with the police. I’ve included two video clips in the post below.

Right at the start, John explained:

éirígí is a republican socialist party which is obviously aiming towards bringing about a democratic socialist republic and very much organised at a grass roots level where decisions are made at the bottom and pushed up as opposed to top down.

John identified “the cuts” as a doorstep issue in Lower Falls, and recognised that “they’ve been designed in Westminster but they are being implemented by Stormont”.

At their Ard Fheis in January, éirígí agreed to stand council candidates, but not run for the Assembly.

éirígí’s decision to contest this election was on a basis for providing a platform whereby a radical voice could be given for this community that somebody that was not part of implementing the cuts or agreeing the cuts could give some kind of credible voice against it …

The decision was made there that we had no interest in the Assembly at Stormont and had no interest in Westminster. We viewed that if we contested any elections it was going to be at the most local level we could, where we could connect most closely to these communities. And that was at the local council level.

Citing éirígí as “one of the few republican organisations that has put any effort into examining the socialism in Ireland in its historical context”, John referred to the party’s paper on socialism: “From socialism alone can the salvation of Ireland come”.

… we were faced with a deteriorating economic situation which is going to be hastened by the cuts. And just to put that in some context, the building we’re standing in here now [Cultúrlann] which is the Lower Falls ward where I am contesting is one of the most deprived wards within Europe. The Lower Falls constituency itself has four of the top five most deprived areas within the Six Counties. That’s out of close to nine hundred areas.

So that was the context that we decided to fight this election on. We were looking thirteen years on from the Good Friday Agreement, Stormont’s Research and Library Service themselves unable to sugar coat their own figures had to admit that West Belfast thirteen years on is more deprived now than it was then. The question then is what will West Belfast look like in five, ten, fifteen years time. This is the platform that we decided we’d fight this election on.

It’s a community fight back. It’s recognising that this community shouldn’t be forced to service the debts of the rich, the people who gambled with enormous amounts of money and the community needs somebody that will be able to give some kind of credible argument against that.

By participating in this election, éirígí are playing a long game. I asked what éirígí councillors would do if they got elected to BCC?

A lot of other people would be able to answer that question very clearly in terms of clientelism: I will ensure I will get X, Y, Z for this community, and I’ll fight on these issues.

Certainly if anybody from éirígí is elected – either myself or Pádraic Mac Coitir [Upper Falls] – you will fight for your community on all the issues you can. But we have a much broader view of what this election can be used for. We’ve come out of a community that a lot of people have put their trust in institutions, commissions that were going to deliver for all the people of these communities and it’s failed to happen.

We’re very honest about what contesting an election would mean for us, that if you vote for me, if you vote for Pádraic Mac Coitir, indeed vote for éirígí, it’s not going to change the world, it’s not going to change the lives dramatically of people in this community. It’s a start of a community fight back. That’s what we’re fighting this election on, that the community is given a loud message that is starting to rebuild a radical community of resistance in West Belfast.

Now in terms of the council we will go into the council, we’ve already stated that we would take our seats in the council and we’ll do whatever we think is best for the community that we represent. But we’ll also be using that as a platform to make broader arguments about the way this society is organised, what is right with it, what is wrong with it, and what we should be doing about it.

The party are past masters at political stunts, or “quite clever eye catching activism” as John described their switching of the Union Flag on top of the City Hall for the Iraqi flag back in 2006.

[éirígí is] an organisation which is activist based, which doesn’t exist in the halls of the great, which is on the ground attempting to focus light very specifically on some things which are wrong in Irish society. Now how a lot of people do it is through these once off events like you say the British Royal visit in Ireland, the RIR marauding through Belfast city centre, these type of things. And use those examples which are quite high profile and get quite a lot of attention to focus attention on what is wrong in society.

As Mark posted on Friday, éirígí were due to perform a piece of street theatre in Dublin on Saturday afternoon to protest against the upcoming visit of the Queen to Dublin. The press release revealed that

… the protest will involve a mock guillotine and effigy of Elizabeth Windsor, as well as a ‘judge’ who will outline Britain’s historic and modern imperial crimes. A ‘citizens jury’ comprised of all the members of the public who attend the protest will then decide the fate of British Imperialism and Britain’s head of state and commander in chief of the British army.

John McCusker, éirígí council candidate in Lower Falls, West Belfast

éirígí are just standing two candidates – both in West Belfast. I thought it was strange that the party’s general secretary Breandan Mac Cionnaith – who has a high profile in Portadown – wasn’t running.

When the decision was taken to contest elections it was done on the basis of where obviously it would be best done. We thought and the decision was taken in this very building we’re standing in now that West Belfast would present us with a great opportunity. We’re also very honest about where we are as a party. We are a small organisation. Contrary to popular belief we are drawing on from an expanding pool of people, republican activists and socialists, as opposed to a dwindling pool.

But we are realistic about where we are, and we’re using this as a general platform not just for West Belfast to put arguments our there which we hope will be carried into other areas. And this is an important distinction between us and some other parties, we don’t get hung up on the notion of ego or profile or who’s the biggest name and all the rest of it. It’s about saying where’s the best area for us to target that we can make an impact, and then who best to do that in that area.

Summarising their approach to the election, John explained:

[éirígí] have a different notion of what contesting elections means. Some people are totally about, and absolutely about, securing seats. That if you win the seat it was a successful election, it was worthwhile contesting. If you don’t win the seat it wasn’t worth contesting and it was a failure.

Our view would be very different. It’s not about getting into a seat where we’d contest only if we had a chance of being elected. What it’s about is offering an alternative. It’s about engaging with thousands of people on the door – which we have been doing already – knocking doors, explaining to them what éirígí is about, asking them for their contributions for what we should be doing. And that in itself is a success for us. If we didn’t focus on that in this kind of campaign, it would be unlikely that you could get the same response. Generally, people within this three/four months are fairly switched on to politics, even those who aren’t overly political, they’re open to your ideas, and solutions to problems. That’s what we have been using it for. And I think there’s definitely an appetite out there for politics we offer.

John talked about the distinction between éirígí and other nationalist, republican and socialist organisations.

I think on the nationalist/republican side you certainly have people with aspirations towards United Ireland. Now assuming those aspirations are genuine – and in some cases it may be a stretch too far to assume that that’s true – it is usually based on the age old notion that labour must wait, that the issues of labour, of social and economic equality, of wealth, who holds it, who doesn’t hold it, that all of these issues must wait until issues of national sovereignty are resolved.

And we have those on the socialist side who will proclaim socialism, who will decry the ravages of imperialism around the world, but consciously ignore the impact of British imperialism within Ireland and all the spinoffs of it. Further than that, some of them will go as denouncing people who aren’t ignorant to the impact of imperialism within Ireland.

éirígí rejects both those propositions. éirígí is based very much in the tradition of James Connolly, that the cause of labour is the cause of Ireland; the cause of Ireland is the cause of labour; the two cannot be separated.

To put it maybe in more contemporary terms, it is that éirígí will not accept attacks on the vulnerable within society, the working class, will not abide by cuts, which aren’t designed to service the debts of the wealthy within society. Likewise, we’re not going to form alliances with the bosses, the wealthy and the landlords, in the hope that somehow, sometime, somewhere all these issues will be resolved by the changing of a flag. On the flip side of that as well, we’re also not going to be silent about British occupation and what it means to the communities we exist in: the extension and retention of oppressive laws, the entrenchment of the nefarious agencies like MI5 based at Holywood. These are things we will not be silent about, we will speak out about and we’ll also point out as far as we can that the real barrier that imperialism poses for socialism in Ireland.

I asked about armed struggle. Were éirígí totally against taking up arms again? After reminding me that there’s a long history of British militarism in Ireland “whether it be from the bayonets of the Black and Tans, to the rifles of the parachute regiment” John turned to Irish republicans.

In relation to militarism, éirígí has consistently made its position clear. I’ve no reluctance to restate it. And that is that éirígí does not believe that the conditions exist for the successful prosecution of armed struggle.

éirígí made a conscious decision at its foundation and ever since that it would focus all of its energies in building a radical socialist republican political party which was organised out in the open, which was democratic and transparent, that would be engaging with people in a very open way as to what was wrong with society and what we felt we needed to do to overcome these wrongs. That’s the position we have. That’s the position we focus all of our energy on.

But is there a list of things that would change to make the conditions exist?

[John] It’s very difficult for anybody to predict. What we’ve been keen on, and what our position has been based on, is not engaging in historical revisionism or hypocrisy. We don’t have a crystal ball and we do not know when conditions will present themselves again and to what degree they will.

[Alan] But it’s not ruled out for ever? But for now?

[John] What we believe in éirígí is that our energies are best placed organising in an open, democratic fashion, within the communities we exist in. Making the arguments that we feel need to be made, that other people won’t make. We’re about building and in some cases rebuilding a broad social movement which will campaign against British occupation and will campaign in favour of socialism.

If you weren’t a socialist republican, would it not be difficult to juggle the concepts of a party that is radical, revolutionary, destabilising, in a peaceful mode at the moment but not ruling it out forever?

Well it may be. I wouldn’t think that’s down to us. Other people I think should examine perhaps more carefully not just Irish history but history internationally. Everything that brought about radical transformation in society didn’t necessarily depend on armed struggle as its only component, or indeed as its main component. But we do come from a tradition within Ireland where there has been armed struggle. That’s something that we all know and something we all have some fair knowledge of.

What éirígí is about doing is creating a way where people can in a democratic way openly engage in radical republican socialist politics and address the issues that need to be addressed in this society. That’s our position. We’ve stated very clearly and I have a belief that that will be something we’ll be asked to state time and time again, and we’ve no reluctance to do that.

So éirígí don’t believe the conditions exist for armed struggle at the moment. They don’t support the PSNI. So when it comes to the death of Ronan Kerr and other attacks, would éirígí support people going to the police to give evidence to stop attacks?

The answer is a little ambiguous.

[John] Again it comes back to out position and this is a line of question that will undoubtedly be pursued. Our position is clear in terms of we are not involved in these types of actions. That because we do not believe the conditions exist for a successful armed struggle it also follows that we are not supportive of or aligned to any other group and their actions.

Now in relation to how people engage with the PSNI or the British Army, our position has always been clear on that as well. We are aware we exist in a unique circumstance. We are under occupation and there are some situations where people feel the need to engage with the PSNI, the RUC before it, the RIC before that. And a lot of those cases, whether it be through insurance claims, whether it be through sexual assault, missing children – there’s a litany of ways out there that people had to engage with these forces. Always have done, may I add, in this community and people need to make their own decision on how best they do that.

We would encourage people if they’re having any dealings with these bodies as far as possible to be represented by a solicitor, by legal professionals, certainly at least accompanied by them in their dealings.

[Alan] You do stop somewhat short of saying definitely go and … if you know who did it go to the police and tell them.

[John] Certainly.

You’ll need to listen to the second video to figure out whether that’s a “certainly yes” or a “certainly no”. I thought I knew at the time, but when I listen back, I’m not so sure.

Unlike the IRSP which takes its ideology from a wide range of historical figures (including Marx, Engels and Lenin), éirígí largely seem to derive their world view from James Connolly. Has Irish socialism moved on much since Connolly’s days in the early 1900s?

Well I think in terms of the great battles in society and throughout history, the themes are generally quite the same. There are advances, there are retreats, but basically in essence the struggles are the same. Therefore, a lot of language seems the same as well. In a lot of ways, the lot of working people hasn’t moved on, hasn’t progressed. I think the challenge for the left – I’m glad you raise this kind of issue – the challenge for the left is to produce a proper critique of where we are, where we’ve come from and where we need to go.

I think there has been a failing, broadly, on the left to address these issues properly. I think the times we’re in now, what we’re facing into, will definitely necessitate the left to form a more broadly representative plan of where we go from here.

I pointed out that West Belfast would soon be awash with posters from socialist parties: éirígí, IRSP, Sinn Féin, SDLP, Socialist Party, People Before Profit, Workers Party. Have they not divided the niche into sub-niches that are so small that nobody wins?

First of all, there are a number of people in the contest for these elections who would describe themselves as being on the left. Obviously they come with their different histories, different takes on what’s required, and where we need to go. I think there is room out there for somebody like éirígí because we’re republican socialist organisation. Some of the other – indeed most of the other – groups that would describe themselves as leftist aren’t republican and won’t really be addressing in any way British occupation, the realities we face in these communities. I think in the Lower Falls for example, number one, not everybody’s contesting the same seats. You’ve some people on the left who are contesting the Assembly and some that are contesting at a local level.

We finished with a few quick questions:

[Alan] What’s more important, May Day or election day?

[John] May Day.

[Alan] Did you complete your census form?

[John] No comment.

[Alan] Would you encourage people who vote éirígí number one in the council election to transfer to any other candidates?

[John] That’s down to people’s own discretion.

There’s a sense that éirígí’s manifesto stretches back a hundred years into the past and forward another hundred. éirígí’s long term goals are more important than short term fixes. It’s a very different mindset to that of most parties who are thinking no more than ten years (or ten minutes!) ahead to achieve their visions. It’s also a mindset that explores everything through the prism of history and socialist heroes like Connolly, in a way unionists do not match. In the end, to me, I found it to be a struggle without any obvious hope. But the West Belfast electorate may disagree.

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  • separatesix

    The RIR “marauding” through the streets of Belfast lol, how ironic that this group is using modern technology like the internet to spread their message when their mentality is stuck back in the seventeenth century.

  • fordprefect

    If I lived in the Lower or Upper Falls, my vote would most certainly be going to either John or Chopper. Unfortunately I don’t.

  • If Eirigi had a candidate standing in the Oldpark ward, I would certainly give them my vote. They do seem very focused and truthful about their intent to push republican-socialism forward and opposing the imperialist occupation of the Six Counties.

    I wish John and Padraic my very best on May 5th….The left needs radical candidates. In my own constituency, I’ll be voting for Paul Little of the IRSP, as genuine community worker.

  • Drumlins Rock

    I don’t get this James Connolly fixation thing, sure some things never change but the world is very different now and to stick so dogmatically to one persons views sounds strange to say the least. I know Unionists are often accused of living in the past, but apart from the odd quote few would pay much heed to past leaders viewpoints.

  • Fraoile

    When I hear people talking about “imperialist crimes” it makes me slightly unconfortable, it is 2011 isn’t it?

    Seems to me Eirigi are using a lot of words but aren’t really saying anything in particular other than spouting outdated nonsense that I thought we as a society were past, but obviously not.

    Bit sad really.

  • pippakin

    I was interested, then some silly brats calling themselves eirigi decided to symbolically guillotine another countrys head of state and I changed my mind. I hope they lose their deposits.

  • fordprefect

    Pippa,
    That’s not a very nice thing to say.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    DR

    “some things never change but the world is very different now and to stick so dogmatically to one persons views sounds strange to say the least.”

    Christianity does have a tendency for that type of carryon as well – but I know what you mean – I think his popularity lies mainly with the fact that he was the socialist wing of the 1916 rebellion – and the manner of his death didnt do him any harm – going forward.

    What happened with the beheading malarkey anyway?

  • pippakin

    fordperfect

    But saying out loud was a real pleasure…

  • ayeYerMa

    “éirígí won’t be everyone’s cup of tea on Slugger”

    What on earth are you talking about?!!!!!!!! Slugger has become Republican Central. You might as well be reading An Phoblacht judging by the typical demographic of Slugger commenters.

  • Nunoftheabove

    “the challenge for the left is to produce a proper critique of where we are, where we’ve come from and where we need to go”.

    – So an admissiom that éirígí haven’t yet done so. Also possibly an acknowledgement that that are incapable of doing so even if they did know “where we need to go”.

    “the community needs somebody that will be able to give some kind of credible argument against that.”

    – Maybe they do. Don’t think they’ll find it among the organization Mr McCusker purports to represent.

    This just feels like a ghettoized lumpen version of the SWP to me; silly stunts, tired empty slogans and very little actual political perspective or even a substantive political programme beyond that to even consider.

    Notable numbers of people from that area and others in west Belfast have done handsomely well for themselves and now reside in huge houses in south Belfast and other affluent areas of the north and contribute a lot more to northern society and to servicing national/bank debt than a lot of the entitlement-obsessed citizens that Mr McCusker appears to feel he either already represents or wants to enlist into his vaccuous project. The world’s smallest violin is playing a mournful tune for the ‘resistance’.

  • aquifer

    A gang pretends to be ready to get stuff for the poorest, gets into government by fair means or foul, breaks the economy, and then sets up a system of state repression spying and imprisonment.

    Many in mainland europe have been there done that and got the chunk of the Berlin wall.

    In Ireland it was probably the presence of the North and the catholic church that stopped it happening here, though Fianna Fail, the descendants of another revolutionary gang, have managed to wreck a working economy.

    Are these guys for real or are they just recruiting for the next ‘RA. Socialism is something leaders sell to soldiers and steal back when the leaders have won.

  • pippakin

    ayeYerMa

    “Slugger has become Republican Central. You might as well be reading An Phoblacht judging by the typical demographic of Slugger commenters.”

    Sad but, I think, true.

  • separatesix

    Very true Pippakin! they take over everything perhaps we should start accusing them of “Irish imperialism”.

  • Alanbrooke

    Weird.

    A so called socialist party which doesn’t even mention the East side of the city. Are there no working people there or what ?

    In reality just another sectarian clique exercising their muscles on political onanism and picking historical scabs.

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Thanks for that Alan. It was an interesting piece, and I’ll probably be giving John my number 1 on the 5th. Best of luck with the rest of the series (assuming you get a few more replies).

  • Cynic2

    Good idea. “Vote for Chopper” …what a slogan

  • Scáth Shéamais

    Alan: A so called socialist party which doesn’t even mention the East side of the city. Are there no working people there or what ?

    Maybe it’s because they’re not standing in the East side of the city. He never really mentioned the North or the South of Belfast either.

  • Cynic2

    They actually sound like the Stickies circa 1974. With that and RIRA attempting to emulate PIRA in the 1970’s we now have Retro Republicanism

  • Cynic2

    “You might as well be reading An Phoblacht judging by the typical demographic of Slugger commenters.”

    ….now that all the Shinners (or at least the literate ones) have got jobs,what else are the unwaged Republican grassroots to do with their days? Never mind. It will slow down a bit over next 6 weeks as exams loom

  • Cynic2

    “He never really mentioned the North or the South of Belfast either.”

    ….so they are non-sectarian but just dont stand / operate anywhere that the Prods live?

  • Scáth Shéamais – Having talked to Dawn Purvis and Brian Ervine (PUP) earlier in the season, Green Party and Socialist Party (and perhaps one other) coming up.

  • Nordie Northsider

    I think that éirígí are happy being a protest group. Any political grouping that names itself after a plural imperative grammatical structure really doesn’t care about attracting anyone. I suspect they are happier being ‘the elect’ than being elected.

  • Kadfoomsa

    I think Éirígí sound very much like SF in say 1997-2004 Most of them were in Sinn Féin of course at that stage.

    Superficially like the Sticks but I think that the Sticks were anti-nationalist even by 1974.

    I am really glad they are standing but, really opens things out and I think that Sinn Féin really need an opposition, as long as that opposition does oppose a UI as the ultimate challenge.

    It will be very interesting to guage their support – which they have amongst politicos – but not amongst the ‘community’.

  • Kadfoomsa

    I do suspect but, given the Sinn Féin background, that many in Éirígí would prefer the protest group status – knowing full well, as Ó Brádaigh predicted, where constitionalism leads to.

    Having said that, they are not clann based as are the Sticks and the Irps.

  • Oscar

    If Eirigi had a candidate standing in the Oldpark ward, I would certainly give them my vote….

    Eirigi members have been at the political game now for a long time.Most would have some experience in the arena.
    What’s the point of having a party,political party,that doesn’t contest elections.Not one single member put their name forward for either of the last 2 elections down south.In all fairness to them,they did have 1 public meeting with the residents where i come from over the last 5 years.A gorrilla party wit a leadership of girraffes.Necks longer than Adams nose.Connolly’s father was a shit-shoveller.Let’s boil it down so that it’s not ‘irreducibly complex’,Who represents todays shit-shovellers?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Cynic2,

    “….so they are non-sectarian but just dont stand / operate anywhere that the Prods live?”

    It is not ‘sectarian’ to put forward views that ‘themmuns dont like – irrespective of whether the themmuns in question are ‘Fenians’ or ‘Prods’.

  • Alanbrooke

    Sammy Mac

    yes but if you’re a socialist, “themmums” are the well paid middle classes; you know the type of people who can buy second homes in Donegal or Florida.

    It just seems strange that for a party of the workers, the outreach is extremely limited. Almost exclusive in some ways.

  • Zachariah Tiffins Foot

    I guess that a percentage of children go with wearing the Che T shirt and the la-la land politics of the left. Thing is most folks grow up and put away the Tooting Popular Front nonsense. Life’s losers hold on to it as there ain’t much else happening in their lives.

    But that’s in more civilised places. In the sh*t holes that these jokers inhabit a USP in Irish Republicanism is getting harder to grab given the cornering of that market by the ‘real” this and the ‘continuity’ that. That bring said I quite like the green star graphic. Although I suspect a brown one would be more, well, appropriate.

  • Oscar

    In the sh*t holes that these jokers inhabit a USP in Irish Republicanism is getting harder to grab given the cornering of that market by the ‘real” this and the ‘continuity’ that.

    ‘Market’ been the key word,as eirigi leader brian leeson pointed out 5 years ago in a television debate with RBB on RTE ,there is a ‘market’ out there for their brand of politics.

    Sinn Fein/Eirigi need to wise up to the fact that not everybody in Socialist Republican circles are fooled so easily by ‘the industrial revolution theory of the 1970’s’.

    Only two years ago i got a letter through the post box from a member of eirigi tellin’ the working class that they ‘need a revolution’.

    I was born into a very large working-class family in dublin,and i can assure you-We Don’t Need Another Revolution.We need 1)Employment 2)Proper Houses and 3)Schools.(but then again,wudn’t that be a revolution)(wit out
    the bottomfeeders in the travellling community)

  • JeanMeslier

    éirígí have been doing some leafleting and postering in Newry, mostly on the east side of the river. But, to date I have heard no reports of any canvassing.

  • HeinzGuderian

    This crowd make tuv/dup dinosaurs,look positively forward thinking !! 😉

  • Cynic2

    Sammy

    ” It is not ‘sectarian’ to put forward views that ‘themmuns dont like”

    I totally agree. But it is sectarian to label all Prods as Unionist or all Catholics as Republican and behave accordingly – or even welcome that as part of your political strategy

  • Oscar

    I don’t get this James Connolly fixation thing

    In Labour In Irish History,as jimbo sayz himself Willo Thompson was a fore-runner to Carlito Marx.U see conditions in the 17 century dictated that the rural workin’
    glass needed an alternative to the macro-economics of the then still absent landlords.So the Gaeils,in their infinite wisdom took the direct approach and advocated Co-Ops.
    This early day cork-marxist wwas rumoured 2 b related 2 da lynchs,see t-shirts,shay miss.How n ever getting back too the point…400 years later,in the 21 century the Gaeil has moved on from the 1940s politics of that Norman,Coyne
    who had the audacity to call himself O’Cadhain…o/c of the IRA in Dublin(a bloody import from Connemara)who then withdrew from reality because of the lack of economic policy in the then republican leadership.As Marteen said himself,sure i’s a marxist blues brother before i knew who carl was.Smullens.I’ll give ya Smullens.As the Constant marxivicts once said:i shuda **** MacNeill meself.

  • Jimmy Sands

    It would be foolish to underestimate them. Judging from this interview they have the potential to become a real force in student politics.

  • 241934 john brennan

    SF once said its principles were constant and unchanging. Now it berates Eirigi for remaining constant to those same principles. Who is the more principled?

  • Rory Carr

    If they are so opposed to implementing Westminster imposed cuts in budget why are eirígí standing for positions in local government? Do they somehow imagine that local authority budgets will remain untouched or are they advocating a huge increase in local rates? , Or, more likely, knowing that they have no hope whatsoever of being elected, could it be that they have no policy whatsoever?

  • Alf

    “I don’t get this James Connolly fixation thing”

    Isn’t he the only one of the 1916 leadership who wasn’t either certifiable or uncomfortably fond of young boys?

    A Scottish ex British army squaddie to boot.

  • Oscar

    Isn’t he the only one of the 1916 leadership who wasn’t either certifiable or uncomfortably fond of young boys?

    As far as i know Sean Houston was very fond of childern,as a matter of fact he sayz to his ‘skin in bliss’ before he waz executed by British Soldiers that if you real ly real ly love me then teach your childern and their childern real irish history.

    Our Tom Barry was also an ex-british soldier who spent 19 years in the field ’til the staters pensioned him off.Suppose he had to quit sometime.Splitter.

  • Alf

    Oscar,

    I’ll bet he wasn’t as fond of young boys as Patrick Pearse was. Are you aware of his ‘Little Lad of the Tricks’ poem?

  • Oscar

    The greatest book i ever read as a young child was the home life of Padraic Mac Phiarais.Little lad of the tricks is not my cup of tea,i much prefere The Rebel,The Wayfarer.
    ‘Little lad’ imho is just a recognition of the beauty of life.All
    life……and i have gone upon my way,Sorrowful…..

  • Alf

    Oscar,

    I think the words speak for themselves.

    LITTLE LAD OF THE TRICKS

    by Padraig Pearse.

    Little lad of the tricks,
    Full well I know
    That you have been in mischief:
    Confess your fault truly.

    I forgive you, child
    Of the soft red mouth:
    I will not condemn anyone
    For a sin not understood.

    Raise your comely head
    Till I kiss your mouth:
    If either of us is the better of that
    I am the better of it.

    There is a fragrance in your kiss
    That I have not found yet
    In the kisses of women
    Or in the honey of their bodies.

    Lad of the grey eyes,
    That flush in thy cheek
    Would be white with dread of me
    Could you read my secrets.

    He who has my secrets
    Is not fit to touch you:
    Is not that a pitiful thing,
    Little lad of the tricks ?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    Have you written to the Queen to express your views regarding herself paying homage to Ireland’s military heroes of 1916?

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alan,

    Good interview – but again as with the PUP, I think their views in relation to their socialist comrades on the other side of the fence is surely worth exploring – if only to hear how they dance around the subject of brotherly solidarity?

  • Alf

    Sammy,

    I think that Her Majesty will be delighted to look at that list of names.

  • ItwasSammyMcNally

    Alf,

    “I think that Her Majesty will be delighted to look at that list of names”.

    So when she does her apology routine – you think she will only be following orders – and it wont be heartfelt?

  • wee buns

    I’ve just listened to his interview. He is intelligent & articulate. He’s pleasant & seemingly principled. He’s got an awareness of the past & what’s needed in politics today.

    It’s hard to understand the contempt that éirígí evoke. One would rather think it’s a welcome thing for the yoof to partake in something more meaningful than Reebok & Bacardi Breezer.

    Even if they are a little short of ripe in terms of policies, they appear to be developing these, in a collective way as opposed to a leadership dominant way, which takes time. A voice is a voice. Much better than a bullet.

    Also surely better than your standard apathy….

  • lamhdearg

    Thanks alan,interesting reading.

  • Alf

    Sammy,

    Apology routine? Will McAleese be apologising for the atrocities carried out by the Irish on British people?

  • lamhdearg

    Did John spend much time in the usa, or is his accent born of watching yankee films, or are my lugs playing up.

  • wee buns

    Hmmm was also wondering about the yank undertones…

  • Oscar

    Oscar,

    I think the words speak for themselves

    Alf,

    imho i tink his actions spoke loudest.A lot louder than his moving speach about the orangemen been foolish for what they believed,but not so foolish for carrying guns….

    Ruth the Doctor Dude ly can psychoanalyze Pearse all she wants and call him all the names under the sun,It matters not.For Freud hath said that the Irish are ‘impervious to psycholagy because of their History.Pearse,funnily enuff understood this Freudian concept ‘o the irish,’We have struggled as no other nation has struggled.We have bled as no other nation has bled;we have endured an agony compared with which the agonies of other nations have been childs play…(this is not a subliminal reference to the little lad ‘o the tricks).

  • pippakin

    I’m surprised that no one has responded to the poem. Little Lad of the Tricks.

    Today that poem would give cause for concern. Is it time, long past time, that we looked at our ‘heroes’ and asked: Is it that we would rather our heroes be murderers than child molesters. I had not come across the Little Lad of the Tricks before.

  • lamhdearg

    regards “heroes”, “we” again pip. Pearse was not Connolly

  • Alf

    Oscar,

    I can understand why Pearse is so popular in the Adams household. And not just because of his apparent lack of knowledge of the history of other nations.

  • Alf

    “Is it time, long past time, that we looked at our ‘heroes’ ”

    Pip,

    Another piece of work to look at is McBride. He brought a bunch of Irish and Irish American blowhards to South Africa to fight for the Boers. Amusingly Uncle Gerry likes to compare himself to Nelson Mandela when one of his heroes fought to try and ensure that people like Mandela had to crap in a seperate toilet.

    But of course no other nation has struggled as Pearse’s nation struggled. I sincerely hope that he penned those words pre 1914.

  • Oscar

    I’m not quite sure what he was up to in 1914,but as far as i know he represented an old man in court,an english court,
    in Dublin,in 1913,who was arrested for having the balls to write his name in irish on the side ‘o his horse and cart.I think he lost the case.Yer man was fined.

  • Oscar

    (the fine money went into the poor box….

  • pippakin

    lamhdearg

    You can take the ‘we’ to mean whoever. I have heard stories about British generals and, shall ‘I’ say young boys…

  • Greenflag

    Alf

    ‘Will McAleese be apologising for the atrocities carried out by the Irish on British people?’

    Not a bad idea Garnet . As long as you agree that one Irish life is equal to one British life and each ‘atrocity’ gets a one minute apology . In which case President McAleese will not even get a chance to open her mouth as there is no record of any Irish State committing ‘atrocities ‘ against the British people . The reverse is sadly not the case as we know from our history . A conservative estimate would have Queenie having to apologise -based on one apology a minute -and limiting Queenie to an 8 hour working day given her advanced years – and excluding the Great Famine as an ‘atrocity ‘- it would take somewhere between 4 and 5 years for President McAleese to have to listen to Queenie’s ‘apologies ‘.

    Seems a too much of an imposition on Queenie I’d say -would’nt you ?

    ‘Uncle Gerry likes to compare himself to Nelson Mandela when one of his heroes fought to try and ensure that people like Mandela had to crap in a seperate toilet.’

    Your knowledge of colonial history seems to have been acquired in the comic book store or via the works of Mr Kipling . Apartheid officially came into force after 1948 when the South African Boers finally became the ruling party in South Africa having ‘successfully ‘ outbred the English speaking ‘whites ‘ in the almost half century since the Boer War .

    Nearly every other major country in the world supported the Boers at the time from the USA to Russia to the European colonial powers . They understood that Britain wanted South African Gold and control of the Cape and access to the east.

    Anyway the British had the coloured /unwhite folks of their colonial possessions using separate toilets for centuries before 1900 or even 1948 and the American South continued the practice until the mid 1960’s .

  • Skinner

    They don’t really sound like leaders. If an Eirgi man was your political representative and you said to him:

    “I know who killed Ronan Kerr, what should I do?”

    He would say:

    “Did the killer rape you first? No? Well I don’t know then. Maybes yes maybes no, make up your own mind. We are under imperial oppression you know. It’s these bloody cuts. By the way, we’re going to behead a dummy of the Queen of England next week, fancy coming along for the craic?”

  • Alf

    Greendub,

    I feel your pain. Really I do. The black folks from South Africa should be made to walk a mile in your shoes.

  • Oscar

    Alf says: Oscar,

    I think the words speak for themselves.

    LITTLE LAD OF THE TRICKS

    by Padraig Pearse.

    one mans poetry is another mans folly

    say for example when bob marley sang a song which included the followin’ lines ‘i feel like bombin’ a church,now that i know that the preacher man is lyin’.-Alf,u find me one person in the universe who actually believes bob marley would actually bomb a church and i’ll eat humble pie and apolagize.

    Knatty Dread Lock i do believe was also considered offensive…Knatty,Knotty,i’s just a word……..

    Scholars n Scribes could also misinterperate the meanin’ of
    other famous bob marley songs like the 1 ’bout columbas,

    ‘U teach the kids about christopher columbas
    and ye say he was a very brave man
    Ye teach the kids about Marcus polo
    an’ yeh ye say he waz a very brave man….

    A bit like how one does/doesn’t believe the legend of Gengis.Faith,Fact or Fiction.Was it possible for a bloody barbarian to raise a mighty fightin’ frightenin’ army to conquer a 1/4 ‘o the world.All because He Feared No Thunder.As yer man darwin sayz-‘s just an accident.

  • Zig70

    All this talk of history and oppression. Talk to some of the educated Poles you may work with. Stuck between Germany and Russia. Us Irish folk should be glad we only had one genocidal neighbour.

  • Skinner

    the protestant farmers of the border areas had lots of genocidal neighbours unfortunately

  • Alf

    Oscar,

    Whatabout Bob Marley is a new one on me. You reckon that Pearse was just fantasising about getting kicks from little boys that he couldn’t get from women? Well that’s okay then.

  • Oscar

    Oscar,

    Whatabout Bob Marley is a new one on me. You reckon that Pearse was just fantasising about getting kicks from little boys that he couldn’t get from women? Well that’s okay then.

    Pearse only had one sexual relationship,and it was with a consenting Adult.She was well into her 20s.Actions speak louder than words.

  • pippakin

    Oscar

    Are you sure I read his most meaningful adult relationship was platonic. Not that it need necessarily make a difference where paedophilia is concerned.

  • Oscar

    Oscar

    Are you sure I read his most meaningful adult relationship was platonic. Not that it need necessarily make a difference where paedophilia is concerned.

    Pippa,sounds a bit Greek to me.Complex.As for plato nic,
    well eh,i read 1 n a half pages n put it down.Much prefere Micheal O’Duibhirs account of An Phoblacht/The Republic.
    Leathnach 180-240 gives a good all round grounding account of what really happened in the days leading up to 1916.The one constant was Mac?????

  • Alf

    Oscar,

    Has anyone ever made a serious study of his mental state? His poetry shows that he was attracted to young boys, and he set himself up as a schoolmaster. This gave him daily access to young boys and would be typical of the behaviour of a predatory paedophile who wanted to groom his victims.

    If his sex life was non existant then perhaps we might get an insight into why he decided to launch into his Wolfy Smith expedition in Dublin. Perhaps he was afraid of what he had become and decided to use his blood sacrifice idiocy as a form of suicide by Cop?

    Perhaps he was afraid of dying in obscurity as a strangely creepy headmaster, and wanted to go out in a blaze of publicity before his urges caught up with him.

    Too bad for his victims and all those who have died since of course.

  • Oscar

    Imho Alf i think a lot of poets are misunderstood.Say for example,Christy Brown.Some would consider him ‘useless’.
    Pearse i think would have seen him as an out and out genius.A leftie from birth.I’d much rather my daughter read Christy Brown than listen to Crap Rap.

    A disturbing insight into the life of Christy Brown, the paralysed artist immortalised in the film My Left Foot, has been uncovered by a biography claiming that he was neglected by his alcoholic wife.

    The Hollywood-style happy ending depicted in the Oscar-winning movie has been challenged by the book, which exposes his wife, Mary Carr, as a former prostitute who took lovers of both sexes.

    More controversial, however, are its allegations that her drink problem and her failure to look after him properly during his last days contributed to his decline and premature death aged 49.

    I’ll Quote Brown.ie for u-

    ‘Don’t let me die between the legs of some foolish ready woman…

    This doesn’t mean Brown swung both ways.The fact that his wife did probably inspired his poems…

    @Let me laugh and scream at the very waves…..

  • Nunoftheabove

    I wouldn’t even mind these eirigi snivellers and whiners leaning on the politics of Connolly so heavily – albeit without even the vaguest suggestion that they could relate it or synthesize it with the reality of today – quite so much if I could at least be certain that they had a decent understanding of his work still less its historical context. Their spokespersons very obviously don’t.

  • Oscar

    Oscar,

    Has anyone ever made a serious study of his mental state?

    ruth dudley tried.and failed.miserably.it’s a bit like the ‘foolish diction that fine gael are currently using….

    Dr. T. from Dublin 4,recently remarked that enda ‘Kennyer’
    was a ‘scrapper’.It would be ironic,would it not,for our Taoiseach to be reduced to a ‘street slangin’ by educated people like the doctuir dalkey.

    Freud would interpret this diction as hippo-critical.You see,
    Our Taoiseach told barracks o bama that ‘apostraphies were important in oirish cultuir.It doesn’t add up that his mental state should be evaluated by one of his chums.

  • Greenflag

    Alf Garnet

    ‘I feel your pain. Really I do. ‘

    My apologies . It wasn’t my intention to cause you any pain . You will find however that if you stop banging your head against a brick wall that eventually the pain will stop and you’ll recover in time.

  • gongadin

    Dark Ages!!!!

  • Alf

    Greendub,

    Thank you for sharing your life experiences with me. I intend not to start banging my head against anything so the need to stop will not arise.

  • Alf

    Oscar,

    Sorry old bean. I have not the slightest idea what you are talking about, or indeed what relevance it has to Pearse’s fondness for young boys.

  • Oscar

    [Mod – removed … way off topic and the start of a chain of comments that didn’t refer to the original post]