Sinn Fein: Reconciliation, Logic and Future Direction

Monday’s edition of the Irish News carred quotations from Sinn Fein Chairman, Declan Kearney. Speaking at the party’s summer school in West Cork on the subject of reconciliation, Kearney said there was “no excuse” for the devastation wrought by the Shankill bomb and in addition made several substantive claims as well:

“….no right thinking republican has ever galmorised war. We should not seek to romanticise war, or armed struggle, nor the actions of the IRA in this, or any previous generation”.

The only discernible caveat from his remarks was that:

“…..a political context forced the use of armed struggle as a last resort..”

The initial claim that there was “no excuse” for the Shankill bomb, echoes similar sentiments about the “indefensible” Claudy bomb, the “shame” felt by a senior republican on the fortieth anniversary of Bloody Friday, alongside other remarks about Enniskillen and other incidents. On the one hand, this appears a retreat from previous republican rhetoric about the ‘regrettable’, yet supposedly ‘necessary’, acts committed in prosecuting their bloody ‘war’.

The use of absolutist terminology such as “indefensible” and “no excuse” begs the question of whether Sinn Fein will simply retrospectively condemn the PIRA armed campaign, one incident at a time, whilst quietly slipping in that caveat about the apparent necessity of “armed struggle”.

In this respect, an attritional war of claiming credit for ‘historic’ announcements or concessions can be built, without retreating from the central position of justifcation of that campaign as a whole and potentially ruffling feathers internally.

This position, although intellectually dishonest, given that each of the incidents declared beyond the pale of moral defensibility are entirely consistent with countless other acts of terrorism in their campaign, thus appears to be seen to serve a political purpose, particularly that of image softening in the Irish Republic.

Contortions of logic regarding the legacy of the past within SF are nothing new.  If we compare the soveriegn HET with the HET lacking credibility , we can see a varying disposition on the usefulness of that body that is entirely related to outcomes, namely the effects of individual findings on the credibility of the accepted party narrative. It would appear truth is still a relative, elastic concept when it comes to defining the past.

Yet Sinn Fein’s á la carte approach to reconciliation is not without risks and unintended consequences for the republican movement. Kearney’s shellshock when taken from the scripted path in an exchange with UUP leader Mike Nesbitt neatly illustrates this discomfort outside certain limited parameters.

Kearney’s comments in relation to “romanticisation” require particular scrutiny. This is  an extremely live issue, given the well-publicised ‘re-enactment dramas’ of republican commemoration culture, recently involving children dressed up in terrorist/police uniforms with replica weapons, at Dungiven and Mullaghbawn, with the latter resulting in the threat of loss of European funding.

If regaling impressionable children with tales of the glories, excitement and adrenaline of ‘war’ in a dramatic fashion is not a form of romanticisation of terror, it is hard to imagine what could fall within Kearney’s definition.

Interestingly, prominent republican Sean ‘Spike’ Murray appears to suggest the days of ‘re-enactment dramas’ ought to end, with such displays “at variance with current republican thinking and direction”.

Whether this will represent significant cultural change within republicanism remains to be seen. However, it opens up more interesting questions about how the logical absurdities of the present republican position may be weighing heavily on new priorities, namely the transition from a ‘movement’ to a mainstream, de-toxified opposition party fit for electoral success in the Irish Republic.

How deep will the rabbit hole go?

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    “This position, although intellectually dishonest, given that each of the incidents declared beyond the pale of moral defensibility are entirely consistent with countless other acts of terrorism in their campaign”

    There are many actions which could be argued had a solely military perspective during the troubles, but in many cases you would need to accept that there was a war. Equally, even with the understanding there was a war, you would be hard pressed to accept that many actions were executed with military objectives as the primary consideration. It is the latter that the actions detailed in the OP are seen.

    To say that killing workmen in cold blood is morally the same as mortaring Downing Street with no casualties doesn’t make sense and that all subsequent actions against the British state are equivalent to this.

    A individual action can be regretted / apologised for without delegitimising the wider conflict itself. Acts against the Geneva convention carried out by Allied forces in WWII do not mean that the struggle against the Axis was not justified.

    Also, on a minor slightly pedantic note, the acts carried out were not countless. Northern Ireland must be the most documented, studied, recorded conflict ever given the minute (in a global context) number involved.

  • Better Together

    CEBVG

    Where we are going to differ substantially is that I feel there was never any moral justification for the murder of policemen, soldiers of civilians at all. You are suggesting that republicans are going to apologise for all bombing of civilians then? Bayardo, La Mon, Abercorn Restaurant, Droppin’ Well, Patsy Gillespie to name but a few.

    One cannot slither away from the fact that the targeting of, or callous disregard for the lives of civilians, was an integral feature of the PIRA campaign. That is why cherry picking incidents and feigning remorse doesn’t stack up, either logically or morally. It is also one of the many reasons why the truth and reconciliation policy of SF lacks credibility.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Kearney’s keeping his distance from Mike Nesbitt by bringing up ‘reconciliation’ away down in Cork.

    His talks on that subject have become so tiresome the party ‘faithful’ stayed away from a talk he gave recently in Derry’s Gasyard, only a handful bothered to turn up.

    Kearney would be better to tell us all – Republicans included – why did the ‘leadership’ not start going down this road back when we had a ceasefire in 1975, back when Adams referred to those who called it ‘so called Peacemakers’?

    The reason being; the Adamsites first had to take control of the PRM, then slowly but surely they had to take it towards
    the electoral path, using the lives of 6 brave Hunger Strikers to get there.

    Then when they got there they had to dismantle the movement bit by tiny bit taking years to do so.

    And all the while lives were being wasted but that mattered little to people who would sacrifice their own to get where they wanted to go.

    It’s a bit late for the Gandhi crap now Chairperson…

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    BT,
    We probably will differ but we each might take something away from the exchange and surely that is the point.

    Broadly speaking my issue was with the moral equivalence of what I would see as cold blooded murder and every single other action carried out during the conflict. To your specific point, while not supporting the PIRA campaign I would have been shocked and abhorred by Claudy / Kingsmill /Enniskillen but would have thought the Downing Street mortaring was quite impressive and been grateful that no lives were lost.

    I have to say that if both sides admitted that it was a war then normalisation could begin and Sinn Fein couldnt object to Derry council reaching out to the UK Armed forces group and DUP couldnt object to memorials. There would be acceptance and not the pissing contest that happens every time something mildly contentious raises its head.

    However, this would mean recognising that the aims of each side was legitimate. Until this happens, I dont believe either side will move on because it will always be a choreography of actions and perception both to your own supporters and themmuns.

    I think the double standards on the unionist side to say the union is secure and then carry out coat trailing marches and petty sniping against the irish language is counter productive and shows a deep sense of insecurity.

    Does Derry’s Bloody Sunday mean that after that mistake that the Bristish government should no longer have defended what they saw as their rightful position vis a vis the position of Northern Ireland within the Union. Did their actions on this day contribute to the legitmacy of the PIRA’s campaign?

    Unionist position whereby the IRA appeared out of the ether against the wholly positive experience of Catholics in Northern Ireland is neither factual nor helpful. I think a line needs to be drawn under every pre 2000 and both traditions respected. This is not what everyone wants but it is what needs to happen. The past has happened and doesnt need to be remembered every day ad infinitum.

  • Dixie Elliott

    Thats the sickening hypocrisy about this whole peace process sham…

    While we hear what the IRA did in the past we are getting the British Army rammed down our throats by those who shout the loudest about it.

    The same British Army bombing the shit out of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    I have no issues in taking lessons in morality from those who are perfect.

  • westprog

    The Republican movement have been disavowing particular unpopular actions for years. When they kill a young mother collecting census forms, or shoot up a church, they deny responsibility or make up a spurious alternative group.

    The problem they have is that very few of their actions could be considered justifiable or excusable when looked at individually. By the end, people were looking at the murder of Stephen Restorick and what might have been considered legitimate ten years earlier was now regarded as stupid and retrograde.

    In their private circles, no doubt they will continue to justify the lot. Jeanne McConville had a radio, and the Birmingham bombs were a British false flag operation. Robert Nairac organised the Miami Showband killings. They’ll probably mostly rely on people simply not remembering or caring. The people in the Republic were never that bothered about specifics, and the rosy glow of young men defending their communities from sectarian attack is a lot more palatable for people to believe. Singling out the odd special case might even make it seem like assassination and bombing was unusual and exceptional.

  • Better Together

    CEBVG

    From my perspective and I would venture to guess most unionists and constitutional nationalists would rightly abhor the notion of conferring legitimacy on republican or loyalist terrorists. There was no justification for any murder in this state, the reforms were will well in train by the early 1970s and the political process was open.

    As a unionist, accepting that there were many causative factors in the emergence of the PIRA doesn’t detract from the core judgment that their campaign was illegitimate, needless destruction and killing.

    Also, one cannot, as republicans do, claim it was a “war” and ignore the war crimes they committed, or seek to claim human rights protections afforded to so-called ‘non-combatants’.

    One cannot concede that terrorists and the security forces were equivalent, they were not and a simple glance at the raw breakdown of responsibility for deaths during the troubles bears this out. This is a republican dream, but it won’t happen and as a result, they are ‘muddling through’ politically and trying to maximise what gains they can.

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    BT,

    Most unionists (I guess) are happy to support the notion that the OO has the right to exist and by extension the bands they employ who glorify the UVF. Therefore the is a tacit legitimacy conferred by the wider unionist community on loyalist paramilitaries. Please do not say that it is a small minority because the majority do not insist on the cessation of this practice. The wider nationalist community do the same by voting Sinn Fein or would you suggest that Sinn Fein voters do not qualify as constitutional nationalists?

    The fact that the Northern Irish state was in existence for 50 years and the reforms were instigated at the insistence of the British government doesnt seem to feature in unionist thinking. Neither does the frequent and regular threat of violence and law breaking undermine unionists own perception of their legitimacy. For example if loyalists had been forced into a united ireland and taken up arms against the british state would their position be legitimate. Many unionists would say yes, meaning their legitimacy does not come from the state or the rule of law but themselves and their own moral compass. How, then, are they any different from republican paramilitaries?

    In finishing, I would not concede that the security forces were the equivalent of the paramilitaries, rather that, as the forces of law and order and as the direct implementation tool of british policy that they should have been held to higher standards than armed insurgent groupings. I would also suggest that if the troubles were recognsed as a war that all standards should then apply to both sides. Those responsible for acts against the geneva convention should be punished, in the International Courts of Justice if need be. The problem is that the troubles are called a domestic policing issue when the need is to play them down and a war when it suits in terms of draconian legislation. All I am looking for is consistency.

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    Meant to also point out that in relation to the substantive issue of your post, that Sinn Fein admitting acts carried out by PIRA during the Troubles were abhorrent and morally wrong is nothing but a positive. How the unionist community choose to receive them and how they are perceived is a different matter. But purely in terms of a positive development, a recognition by any party that what was done in their name was wrong without equivocation and not part of a choreographed dance must be welcomed. Indeed it is quite refreshing and may lead to a more open and honest analysis of actions taken. If unionists were to see this as an opportunity to engage rather than snipe then there may be opportunities for further developments.

  • Better Together

    CEBVG

    ‘I am sorry I had to do it’ is not the same as ‘I am sorry’.

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    BT

    But it is better than ‘You made me do it’

  • Better Together

    CEBVG

    Or a softer way of expressing the same sentiment. I will address your other points later, but trying to get some more mileage out of the specific points made in the post. The example of the HET shows that “truth” processes are political battlegrounds.

  • andnowwhat

    Dixie

    I agree but would cite the ongoing Mau Mau case. Another thing I would cite is the reaction from an army toff I heard in the immediate aftermath of Saville. He said that the boys were merely doing what they were trained to do in Aden. Recent to that was the savage and unjustifiable activity of the British army in Malaya.

    On the topic of the Provo Campaign, I think any analysis of it should be broken down in to the chapter of events. I have friends and family who were involved at the start of the troubles and believe that what they did was necessary at the time but are appalled at what became of the Provos and certain actions.

    Actions begat actions and something that should have ended with the early talks with the British government continued without any point.

  • Reader

    Dixie Elliot: The same British Army bombing the shit out of civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan.
    The British Army isn’t operational in Iraq.
    It *is* in Afghanistan – with the Irish Army.

  • HeinzGuderian

    Apparently the wider Unionist community supports the oo,which in turn hires bands who have uvf 1916 on their BIG drum,so therefore,the wider Unionist community support the uvf ?
    No mate,what we had here certainly wasn’t a war. It was nothing more than a dirty,little,sectarian skirmish.
    A blood lust and inbred hatred of all things British and Unionist,and like earlier dirty,little,sectarian skirmishes,it ended in complete and abject failure.
    There was absolutely no justification for murder,then or now,and trying to argue that there was is complete pish.

  • socaire

    Not to be pedantic, reader, but you surely mean the Free State Army whose building blocks were ex-British Army soldiers. No ‘Irish Army’ exists except Óglaigh na hÉireann.

  • andnowwhat

    Reader

    You’ll have a long wasted time waiting for republicans to defend the actions of the banana republic. The Shanon Airport incidents are enough to implicate the state in international crimes.

  • Count Eric Bisto von Granules

    I didnt actually say they support the UVF, I said they confer tacit legitmacy on them by allowing their representation at popular events.

    1916 UVF – pacifist charitable organisation or paramilitary outfit formed to demonstrate there would be a price to pay if the British government went with Home Rule.

    I think you’ll find that it was successive British governments who ingrained sectarianism by enforcing multiple laws against the majority religious denomination on the island.

    There is never any justification for murder. If you read my messages, I have never advocated the taking of life. I said I didnt support the PIRA campaign. I say these things unequivocally. Your bloodlust … inbred line is like something out of 19th century edition of Punch and has as much basis in reality.

    If you’re going to comment on my posts, take the time to read them, give them some thought, then some more, then respond.

  • GavBelfast

    And then there’s the utter unproductiveness of a campaign of vicious anti-British/anti-Unionist/anti-Protestant violence in a supposed bid to (re) unite Ireland.

    Where does one start in the illogicality (amongst a lot else) of the whole bloody campaign?

  • Socaire,

    On the Óglaigh na hÉireann website, they provide a (loose?) translation as Defence Forces Ireland. They admit to having an army.

  • ForkHandles

    I am extremely pleased to join the discussion of this topic. I rate it as follows out of a maximum scoring in each category of 10.

    Rant factor = 10

    Backwardness factor = 10

    Embarrassment by association (by also being from NI as the people posting their embarrassing comments) factor = 10

    Talking about things from a million years ago that have no relevance to the present day factor = 10

    Key words per post that are so cringe inducing that its best not to even think about it, factor = 10

    General embarrassment that threads on slugger may be represented as normal views and interests of people from NI, factor = 10 !

    Total score = 10 out of a possible 10 !

  • Dixie Elliott

    The Free State army are and were Brit lackeys anyway so its hardly a comeback by throwing them into the mix…

  • I dont actually think that Declan Kearney has any real “weight”. He cant deliver.
    Increasingly “militant” Republicanism in the North in 2012 is akin to the South in 1952.
    There are three distinct strands ……..Sinn Féin who are effectively in the same role as Fianna Fáil (people like Lemass and Aitken and others who had no connection to 1916-1922)…….the Second are the dissidents (who are like the militant IRA of the 1950s….no hopers) ………..and the third is the group who might be called the ex-prisoners (who are a bit like the Old IRA who paraded at big occasions).
    The ex-prisoners are of course represented by many strands themselves but there are people there who are dismissive of the dissidents and dismissive of careerists in SF………and some who go along with SF).
    I was at a funeral in Belfast recently……an old neighbour and was talking to an ex-prisoner who got very agitated about the whole reconciliation thing. I must emphasise that he is not a dissident sympathiser but was emphatic that he had nothing to apologise for.

    Which makes Declan Kearney a straw man. Sinn Féin is at best now one strand of three………who grew from the same seed…..and cant speak for the other two strands.

  • weidm7

    Sinn Féin condemn and make apologies for past actions and they’re criticised. Where are the British Army and loyalist paramilitary apologies? Where are the criticisms of them?

  • Alias

    “….no right thinking republican has ever galmorised war. We should not seek to romanticise war, or armed struggle, nor the actions of the IRA in this, or any previous generation”.

    No right-thinking person would join a sectarian murder gang, so that puts the Shinners outside of the ‘right-thinking’ fold.

    You will note that he tries to link PIRA to the (old) IRA, suggesting the former was a continuance of the latter. That piece of historical revisionism completely perverts the reality that the splinter IRAs (of which there were/are many) were formed in opposition to the actual IRA.

    The fundamental difference between the actual IRA and the murder gangs that came after it ceased to function is that the actual IRA was used to assert by armed means a right to national self-determination in the absence of alternative means, whereas the murder gangs were used by various minority groupings to deny the right to national self-determination to the Irish nation.

    Once the actual IRA had obtained the right of national self-determination it too was bound by it as it is a collective right and not an individual right. As the Irish nation had already obtained the right to national self-determination, the murder gangs rather obviously could not have been acting to obtain that which was already obtained. There is only one right to self-determination per nation and it is the majority who duly self-determine.

    These murder gangs simply acted to usurp the right of the Irish people to determine their own affairs, so they were not in any way republican.

    Kearney goes on to use a moral argument of force used as a last resort. This ignores that illegitimate murder gangs have no right to use force for any purpose, and that it is now being claimed that force was used not for the purpose of obtaining self-determination (which had already been obtained by the Irish nation) but for a different purpose of obtaining parity of esteem for that nation within the British state – plus, of course, it also ignores that there were plenty of other options available to obtain parity of esteem for that nation within the British state, not least the political process which duly obtained it.

    Another practical purpose of linking the likes of 1916 to the likes of Kingmills is that the Shinners are making themselves useful to their sponsors, the British state, by acting to promote the self-censorship of Irish nationalism within the Irish state. They are attempting to claim that the two events are in any way comparable.

    The British state made a huge investment in infiltrating PIRA over a long period of time, putting key players in place at the start, and there could have been no “historic compromise” without the stolen historical names of Sinn Fein and the IRA to make it. As you can kill the man but can’t kill an ideology, you have to redefine the ideology so that it promotes your interests. That takes a lot longer to do…

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    weidm7: Sinn Féin condemn and make apologies for past actions and they’re criticised. Where are the British Army and loyalist paramilitary apologies? Where are the criticisms of them?

    .
    Loyalist – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b483LmAGa0M

    British Army – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vMZ3CtC8KEY

    But those ones were genuine…..

  • If the Republicans were attempting to approach their victims’ loved ones privately on an individual basis and expressing their shame and sorrow at what their actions had caused, then I would be less cynical at their underlying motives.

    Public abstact pronouncements, dripping in the inevitable whataboutery, smack of a mere re/branding and detoxification exercise in an attempt at moving their party beyond their traditional voter base.

  • Buster79

    I seem to recall Gusty Spence sat in front of journalists in a brave move by the then leadership of the Combined Loyalist Military Command and offered a heartfelt apology and offered their true remorse for the taking of innocent lives during the troubles, for the most part many Loyalists agreed with these words.
    I have seen pictures of republican’s glorifying their actions by dressing young children up as terrorists and giving them replica guns to hold, I must confess i have not brought myself to read what this publicity stunt was ether for or was meant to achieve?
    Apart from a sick way of glorifying mass murderers!
    Republicans make apologies??? don’t make me laugh!!!

  • HeinzGuderian

    LATEST: Tacit legitimacy,does not(apparently)mean support ?
    Dirty,little,sectarian skirmish,definitely does not = war !!
    Inbred hatred and blood lust to describe serial killing murder gangs,is(apparently)an inappropriate description…..

    More to follow…….

  • Reader

    socaire: Not to be pedantic, reader, but you surely mean the Free State Army whose building blocks were ex-British Army soldiers. No ‘Irish Army’ exists except Óglaigh na hÉireann.
    I was talking about Óglaigh na hÉireann, the actual army of Ireland (aka the RoI), answerable to the elected government of Ireland, their supreme commander is Michael D Higgins, President of Ireland, the army is paid for out of taxes on the residents of the republic.
    There are other organisations that use the title, but their membership is largely composed of grizzly zealots, whose destiny is probably to succumb to alcoholism, a feud or (if winning the feud) PTSD – having accomplished nothing other than to be feared or despised in their own community.

  • Greenflag

    760 jobs to go at FG Wilson in Northern Ireland

    http://www.rte.ie/news/2012/0913/fg-wilson-job-losses.html

  • otto

    Thanks Greenflag,

    Noted that the minister mentioned corporation tax specifically as something we need to fix in NI to encourage and retain FDI (although FG Wilson isn’t exactly a foreign investment).

    Not sure that would really be sufficient if this particluar move is part of establishing a bigger capacity in China

    Of course if we were part of a united Ireland we would (or might) already have a rate of 12.5%. At least one mark in the pro column.

  • Greenflag

    ‘At least one mark in the pro column’

    Perhaps but eventually the ‘fallacy of composition ‘ comes into play .When everybody has low corporation taxes then nobody has and then what ? The Republic’s gambit worked well for a while and may yet have ‘legs’ longer term but when governments around the world become ‘impoverished ‘ and at the mercy of the movers of ‘financial ‘ and indeed other capital what then for their working and middle classes and those defined as surplus to the requirements of a modern economy ?

    There is simply no way an NI person or an ROI or a Englishman or German or Japanese can compete with the Chinese or Indians or Vietnamese . The bilge about ‘creative innovation etc etc being the answer to long term structural unemployment in the west is just that bilge . Granted it may provide a salve for a small number of folks but the future for the West i.e Anglophoneland is one of increasing wealth and income disparities between haves and have nots . I read that in 2010 in the USA 93% of the income gain went to 1% of the population . Haven’t the link right now perhaps on another thread .

    What the political outcome will be as this trend intensifies is uncertain but our ‘western ‘political masters have no answers and I suspect they’ve even stopped asking themselves the questions 🙁

    No easy answers I know .

  • andnowwhat

    Mile Nesbitt on Nolan was astonishing. I tried to find the audio but it’s not up yet. It’s one of those things you have to hear for yourself

  • JH

    “Of course if we were part of a united Ireland we would (or might) already have a rate of 12.5%. At least one mark in the pro column.”

    Which still mightn’t have saved those workers, but at least would’ve given them an option of where to go next other than the dole queue.

  • JH
  • 241934 john brennan

    Don’t forget the Shankil Bomb was also the raison d’être for loyalist tit for tat sectarian slaughter at Greysteel and Loughinisland. Surely at some point between then (1999/94) and Kingsmills and La Mon (1976/78) the PIRA strategists must have realised their ‘war for freedom’ amounted to nothing more than a litany of war crimes – that served to only to increase the toll of sordid sectarian murders – bringing nothing but shame upon Ireland and Irish republicans.
    So why wait until 2012 to begin thinking about some form of apology that might, or might not, serve Sinn Fein’s present strategy? Even reviled British Governments eventually get around to admitting truth and also accepting responsibility for past actions. So when will those who led the PIRA struggle ever actually accept their own responsibility for leading a generation of young Irish people ‘into the pit of fratricide’?

  • HeinzGuderian

    Latest unemployment figures for the republic of ireland,anyone ? Or maybe we should just ignore the facts,and go for the notion ?

  • JH

    Jesus, andnowwhat is right. This is desperate listening.

  • JH

    Depends which facts you want to use HeinzGuderian..

    You’ve selected one.

    Let’s look at FDI, private/public economic balance, government deficit per capita, deficit as %age of GDP… shall I go on?

  • HeinzGuderian

    How about 8% Northern Ireland
    14% republic of ireland ?

    Now,I’m no mathematician,but I’m not sure if being part of a bright,new ireland would save any jobs ?

    No,no need to go on. 😉

  • JH

    Well that’d be because you haven’t actually done any maths there.

    By the way, China has an unemployment rate of around 4%. How do you fancy being a worker in that economy?

    It’s a far bigger issue than the employment levels at a single point in time. It involves competition, duplication of services, risk, trends, fiscal agility, financial control, tax and a lot of other factors; such as the quality of employment.

    But one thing’s for sure, nothing is going to improve whilst we’re last in line in this Union. Especially while we’ve no real fiscal control in it.

    So you go on ahead and make that argument Heinz. It might even stack up, so long as nearly everyone’s biggest aspiration is about middle management in the civil service.

  • socaire

    No, reader. You were talking about the Army of the twenty six counties of Ireland, paid for by the residents of the 26 cos. The people of Ireland have no state, no army and certainly no republic. The unfortunate ‘keepers of the flame’ who have become an embarrassment to their former mentors have managed to keep their integrity through feuds, alcohol and snide remarks from people who now judge it safe to raise their heads above the parapet.

  • Dixie Elliott

    andnowwhat

    said…

    “Mile Nesbitt on Nolan was astonishing. I tried to find the audio but it’s not up yet. It’s one of those things you have to hear for yourself.”

    No he wasn’t, he was made to look good by his opponent’s failure to be able to speak without a given script.

  • babyface finlayson

    Fourcandles

    “Rant factor = 10

    Backwardness factor = 10

    Embarrassment by association (by also being from NI as the people posting their embarrassing comments) factor = 10

    Talking about things from a million years ago that have no relevance to the present day factor = 10

    Key words per post that are so cringe inducing that its best not to even think about it, factor = 10

    General embarrassment that threads on slugger may be represented as normal views and interests of people from NI, factor = 10 !

    Total score = 10 out of a possible 10”

    60 out of a possible 60 surely!

  • Fortlands

    Whatever about the detail of the re-enactment and glamorisation/glorification of violence at Dungiven – remind me what happens every 12 July? As to the killing of innocent civilians during the period of our conflict, wasn’t much of loyalism’s strategy (often with state support) built on killing innocent Catholics, thus putting pressure on the IRA to cease hostilities? In doing so, they were following what happens in every war/conflict, from Harry Truman’s A-bomb to Barack Obama’s drones: innocent people are killed. None of this changes the cruelty of Kingsmill and other events here, but it at least sets them in a broader context. All war is cruel, all war is hell.

  • Reader

    socaire: The unfortunate ‘keepers of the flame’ who have become an embarrassment to their former mentors have managed to keep their integrity through feuds, alcohol and snide remarks from people who now judge it safe to raise their heads above the parapet.
    Are you suggesting that the ‘keepers of the flame’ are the sort of people who would harm someone for criticising them?
    No surprise there. But they must have a very long shit list. No wonder they aren’t making progress on their actual mission.

  • Reader

    socaire: No, reader. You were talking about the Army of the twenty six counties of Ireland, paid for by the residents of the 26 cos. The people of Ireland have no state, no army and certainly no republic
    You seem to be more at odds with the beliefs and perspectives of the majority of Irish people than I am. Which is odd, because I am a unionist.

  • otto

    Reader,

    Good point. It suggests that the average unionist would be more at home with a liberal, accountable, all-Island state than the average militant republican. And that perhaps no-one woukd be more disappointed with the post-reunification Ireland than people like Socaire. So why then, remain a unionist bound to republican paramilitarism in mandatory coalition?

  • HeinzGuderian

    JH,how far down the line do you think dear aul oirland is,(republic of)in the European scheme of things ?

  • babyface finlayson

    Fortlands
    “All war is cruel, all war is hell.”
    A feeble piece of whataboutery. Either you think the IRA campaign was justified or you do not.
    In the context of the situation here. Truman was not part of that context.

  • andnowwhat

    JH

    Thanks for putting the link up. Mike came up with an idea of a separate CT for small businesses. When Nolan challenged him about the legality of it within EU law, he was j sure. By the end he decided to be bullish and insist it was.

    I say this for those who did not hear it, not you JH. Glad you agree.

  • JH

    Heinz:
    “JH,how far down the line do you think dear aul oirland is,(republic of)in the European scheme of things ?”

    Well for a start that isn’t really relevant is it? In the event of independence the economic characteristics of the new state would be fundamentally different from both states that preceded it. You might as well be asking “how is Germany doing in Europe?”, since they’re a country that experienced a costly reunification only a decade and a half ago.

  • Donal Davoren

    It appears that a document has been posted online indicating that Derry nearly had a supergrass before Ray Gilmore and that that same person went on to leadership status in the city.

  • Dont Drink Bleach

    A link might help.

  • 241934 john brennan

    ‘The use of absolutist terminology such as ”indefensible” and “no excuse” begs the question of whether Sinn Fein will simply retrospectively condemn the PIRA armed campaign, one incident at a time, whilst quietly slipping in that caveat about the apparent necessity of “armed struggle”.’
    Condemning ‘one incident at a time’ might also take a similarly long time
    In the Hillsborough football disaster, 96 people died. Over a 25 period, discounting property destruction and personal injuries, PIRA was directly responsible for the deaths of more people than 25 Hillsborough disasters.
    Even discounting any form of accountability, drip feed apologies/condemnations (from Sinn Fein?) over a similar period would just add insult to injury

  • Mainland Ulsterman

    SF and IRA statements, seen from a unionist point of view, always require a minimalist interpretation – i.e. the least generous possible meaning of the words is the meaning they intended. These guys are addicted to doublespeak.

    Let’s take for example: “….no right-thinking republican has ever glamorised war [sic]. We should not seek to romanticise war [sic], or armed struggle, nor the actions of the IRA in this, or any previous generation”.

    He *is* asserting still that it was a war (and therefore the killing of people in it was legitimate). He’s not saying it was wrong. All he’s saying is, it would be wrong to “glamorise” or “romanticise” it. It’s completely consistent with a worldview in which the IRA are serious soldiers, doing tough but necessary work. If anything, it’s a call for greater seriousness and respect from the Republican community for the past deeds of the IRA – a condemnation of frivolity about the armed struggle, not anything approaching a condemnation of the campaign itself.

    Likewise, saying there is “no excuse” for the Shankill bomb could be condemning it or it could mean there is no need to make an excuse, as it was legitimate. But I agree with Better Together here that it probably is an attempt to be seen to be apologetic over particular incidents in the Troubles in order to get credit for a shift in position, without actually disowning the terror campaign as a whole in any way whatsoever.