Micheal Martin: “Real Irish republicanism is founded on generous, anti-sectarian and international idealism”

So for me (as I noted in this morning’s SluggerReport) the most interesting event of the weekend was Micheal Martin’s speech at Bodenstown (not Ballyboden as I said this morning) commemorating Wolf Tone, the father of Irish Republicanism.

It’s something I’ve been keeping an eye over the last few years because I think Martin has been using this annual occasion to sharpen some of his thinking on north south relations, but more particularly his party’s response to the Sinn Fein challenge in the south.

As Gerry Adams said in his response to Martin “again used the event to attack Sinn Féin”. In fact I’d say it went a lot further than that.

This was a full blooded argument about what the nature of the Republican cause is in Ireland, from Tone to the modern day, and one he’s been developing iteratively over time. There are some domestic southern references, but this was a full blooded pitch for the heart of Irish Republicanism:

Theobald Wolfe Tone is not some irrelevant and distant figure in Irish history.  The events which he participated in were a noble demonstration of the Irish people’s wish to be free, but he is much more than simply a representative of those times.  With his colleagues, he began a tradition which continues to offer us inspiration and guidance today.

The republicanism of Tone is a generous ideal – one driven by trying to unite people rather than divide them.


The Society of United Irishmen which he helped to form was a revolutionary movement distinguished by its absolute commitment to overcoming sectarian boundaries.

Their republicanism, the republicanism of their greatest leader, was defined by its struggle not to win power for a small group but to extend it others.  They did not see their opponents as enemies to be destroyed – they saw them as people who should remain and be part of a more inclusive society.

Real Irish republicanism is founded on this generous, anti-sectarian and international idealism.  It is unusual in the liberation movements of Europe during the last two centuries as it did not try to assert superiority.  Instead it saw a united and diverse Irish people who belonged to a community of nations.  Its measure of success was always the building of an inclusive society.

He goes on…

The Kenny and Cameron governments came to office following administrations which had worked tirelessly for peace.  Securing and then embedding the peace settlement was an absolute priority for their predecessors.

In contrast they stepped-back and adopted an explicit policy of leaving everything to Sinn Fein and the DUP.  Kenny and Cameron often gave it lip service, but never anything more.

Even worse, our own government agreed to be effectively side-lined from discussions which Dublin had previously always asserted its right to be a full participant in.

The exclusion of Dublin from even a discussion of the economic blueprint for the North of this shared island was and remains a disgrace.

And finally on to Northern Ireland…

The inevitable result of government disengagement has been that Sinn Fein and the DUP have driven the institutions into a deep crisis and undermined hard-won public support.

These two parties have constantly manoeuvred for partisan advantage.  The only thing they have always agreed on is the exclusion of others.  They have directly enabled a dangerous escalation in sectarianism.

They have undermined the growing trust between communities which was measured before they took complete control of Stormont and their focus continues to be on the next election rather than the next generation.

Both parties continue to show an equivocal commitment to independent institutions.  Every time one of their own is arrested or accused of something their first reaction is to condemn whoever is taking action.

For all of its posturing about building bridges, Sinn Fein has increasingly been playing a sectarian card to try and build its support.

One of its Ministers was held by the High Court to have made a major appointment in a sectarian way.  This year one of its most senior politicians actually put up posters telling people to vote Sinn Fein to get one over on the Protestants.

Gerry Adams himself addressed a meeting recently where he said about unionists that he intended to “break the bastards” and that “the equality agenda is the Trojan Horse of the republican agenda”.

Sinn Fein has also been exposed for serious funding irregularities such as having councillors’ social security claims paid directly to the party and channelling hundreds of thousands through suspect fronts.  Unfortunately the hard journalism behind these stories has largely been ignored in Dublin.

The people of this island North and South gave an overwhelming endorsement to the idea of peace and reconciliation between all groups on our island.  We cannot allow the breach of faith which has been seen in recent years.

The potential economic and social benefits from a renewed commitment to peace and reconciliation are huge.  Communities on both sides of the Border continue to suffer from the long-term effects of the illegitimate campaign of violence and the misgovernment of past decades.

A failure to re-engage and to give a priority to the unfinished business of peace and reconciliation is not just wasting an opportunity it could become a great historical error.

Much of this we’ve heard before (although that doesn’t make it any less true). The real crescendo of the speech touches on a core argument over the basic nature of Republicanism that Martin has been consistently developing.

Critically it seeks to define Fianna Fail as pro Republican state and its culture of democratic accountability, against Sinn Fein’s  state-in-waiting and self preservational ‘coming man’ culture:

We in Fianna Fáil are deeply proud of our direct connection to 1916.  Markiewicz, de Valera, Lemass and many others of our founders risked all for their country during Easter Week.

However we have said from the very beginning that 1916 belongs to no party or group – it is the inheritance of this nation and its commemoration must be inclusive.

The party which today uses the name Sinn Fein has no right to claim that it represents the men and women of 1916.  Founded less than 50 years ago, the Provisional movement waged a campaign in the face of the overwhelming and constantly reaffirmed opposition of the Irish people.  It used methods which dishonoured the Republic and its first loyalty has always been to its own and not the Irish people.

Gerry Adams statement last month that Provisional Sinn Fein is “the only republican movement in this island” shows how these people think.  Theirs is not the ideology of 1798 and 1916 – it is a mafia-like organisation which is incapable of respecting anyone outside of its own ranks.

How dare they claim to own Irish republicanism.[Emphasis is mine]

The choice of Bobby Storey’s own terms from the time of Adams’ arrest and questioning by the PSNI was presumably intended to give colour to a substantial divergence in the two parties’ notions of ‘Republic’. He goes on to illustrate further:

No organisation which fails to expose child abusers, racketeers and murderers can call itself republican.

And let’s not forget that last month they also said that they could guarantee that the Provisional IRA didn’t exist because they know everything that happens in republican communities in the North.

Yet the people who savagely beat Robert McCartney to death in front of dozens of Sinn Fein member’s years after the peace settlement remain untouched.  The people who covered up widespread child abuse continue to benefit from the silence of their movement.

Sinn Fein calls for people to cooperate with the authorities, but no one ever does.

And finally back to the core of Martin’s civic Republicanism in which is merely a constituent part, in contrast to Sinn Fein’s proprietary ownership model:

True Irish republicanism belongs to no party or sect it belongs to the Irish people.  It serves their interests alone.

At its best it embodies the ideals of a man of status who served the men of no property.

Irish republicanism is a generous, evolving and outward looking ideal, never afraid to learn from mistakes and always focused on the future.

An Ireland which is for all its people that is the spirit to which we again commit ourselves and which we will work tirelessly for.

You can get my own commentary from this morning’s #SluggerReport below:

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty

  • Ernekid

    If Martin really cared about the North he’d put his money where his mouth is and run candidates in the 2016 Assembly elections.

    Criticise Sinn Fein all you want but until you give the North’s electorate an alternative to them then your point is moot.

  • First, in 1798 there was no ideology, only ideals that were individual rather than national, and those certainly weren’t present in 1916 which being the romantic rants of a small, self-aggrandising and self-serving elite has a lot to do with the republicanism of today.

  • Zig70

    2 truths. The heroes of 1916 weren’t morally that far apart from current dissidents. There wasn’t widespread public support for an armed uprising. Every government or wannabe government argues that it’s physical force is right. Secondly, Irish republicanism is parasitic on unionism. No matter how you dress it, you can’t argue for a united Ireland without arguing for an end to nearly all that unionists are prepared to fight for. As soon as Micheal makes his arguments in the North then he falls on one side of the tribal battle. He is heading for a fall unless he tackles republicanism outside of this romantic bull. I would agree that Dublin’s withdrawal isn’t what you would want as a nationalist but it may help in the long run to wake up opinions in the South.

  • Gopher

    Having to be a Republican must be very bewildering, It really is an Albatross for political parties that you have to explain your version of the arcane and do it at a shrine then repeat the fluctuating explanation anually. I’m not sure Lincoln had he lived would have made a varying Gettysburg address every year. I think he nailed it first time round and Im positive he was not followed by another sect half an hour later. In the 21st century do party conferences not just suffice? Is Bodenstown like a Delphic Oracle?

  • Gopher

    I thought the same, Michael got even further lost when he introduced “the North” and the DUP aswell.

  • Croiteir

    More rants from the hurler on the ditch.

  • James7e

    Was there anything specific you didn’t agree with?

  • Gingray

    ‘True Irish republicanism belongs to no party or sect it belongs to the Irish people. ‘

    Nice words, I really do hope Martin will follow it up with the appropriate actions. Until then, he espouses a purely 26 county form of irish republicanism.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Wolfe Tone was not as cuddly as he is now made out to be. An adherent of the First French Republic, his ideas were at times compatible with those of Robespierre’s, and he did not live long enough to change them with the times. Basically, in Tone’s time, one had a choice of adhering to the political ideology of London, or that of Paris.

    His son William though lived long enough to serve in Napoleon’s Army, and then the U.S. Military. Undoubtedly this is the way his father would have gone, had he survived into the 19th Century.

    The first French Republic was dramatic, sanguinary and perhaps a necessary corrective to the corruption of the times, but it was superseded by the First Empire and the milder Second Republic.

    All contemporary Irish Republicans adhere to Second Republican ideology, believing in human rights, including the right to practise a religion, due process and the right of former aristocrats and monarchs to go about their business peacefully.

    However, if we are going to award rosettes for which party adheres most closely to Tone’s thought and modus operandi, then obviously Sinn Féin wins by a mile over Fianna Fáil. For FF, politics is just a gentlemanly pursuit: for Tone and SF of the 70s it was a life and death struggle. In fact, the current Sinn Féin has made too many compromises with a corrupt Constitutionalism to come anywhere near the methods of Tone. It wins the Tone look-alike competition by virtue of there being no other contenders, that is all.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    “All contemporary Irish Republicans adhere to Second Republican ideology, believing in human rights, including the right to practise a religion, due process and the right of former aristocrats and monarchs to go about their business peacefully.”

    If you say so.

    I doubt many people in Northern Ireland who refer to themselves as Republican’s would recognise the ideals you have just listed as the core principles of their ideology. I would argue that the vast majority of so called “Republicans” would identify their primary political goal as a United Ireland rather than human rights, freedom of religion, due process etc all of which could be achieved in the UK. People who currently identify themselves as “Irish Republicans” are primarily motivated by the nationalistic idea that the people of Ireland should be one nation and the island of Ireland should have one government. The United Irishmen were genuine Republicans. Sinn Fein are nationalists.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil are really arguing like and old married couple right now … or if you prefer Sinn Féin and the DUP.

    Maybe it’s all part of the coalition ritual?

  • Paddy Reilly

    French Republicanism has until recently tended to be very centralist, with peripheral regions with separate languages such as the Basque and Bretons being frowned on, and their identity eroded by military service, unitary education, etc. Things have improved though over the last few decades. But yes, French Republicanism was unificatory and rationalist and set out to abolish the local parlements, irrational boundaries and special laws which characterised the Ancien Régime.

    The problem of the intrusion of the UK into Ireland is that one faction insists that it has the right to impose borders in its own interests, and to secede when it chooses to, but denies the other side the right to do so. That’s hardly égalité is it?

    So the basic human rights abuse which a United Ireland should put an end to is to abolish this gross inequality whereby one faction has the right to draw itself into power by creating irrational boundaries with no basis in history (not that Republicanism is much impressed by historical precedent) which gerrymander it into a majority.

    As I say, Republicanism is rational. In America it was so rationalist that half the state boundaries are straight lines, and the state capital has to be as near to the middle as is feasible. Money was immediately decimalised, and cities drawn on a grid plan. After a while, this becomes a bit boring, but certain rationalist principles are worth sticking with.

    One government per island makes perfect sense. Two is bloody daft. So by this reasoning the following Republican principles are to be imposed:-

    1) Flag is a tricolour.

    2) Currency is continent wide and contains no surprises.

    3) No monarch or titles of nobility recognised. All adults are citizens and are legally equal.

    4) Borders are rational, in Ireland’s case following the coast.

    5) Centralised government: no need for provincial assemblies.

    6) Fraternité. An end to societies which promote sectarianism and sectional interest which does not encompass all the citizens of the island. There will be no “Queen’s Highway” and no group with the right to block the People’s Highways in their own interest.

    We won’t insist on the guillotine for counter-revolutionaries. Unless of course it’s really necessary.

  • Croiteir

    In the context of not participating in the north, I resent Martins preaching at those who do.

  • Robin Keogh

    Actually not really. Martin is doing his usual faux outrage rant and the Irish people as well as much of his senior party colleagues are continuing to ignore him. Sinn fein might respond, but thats about it. Martin is a failed Politician walking.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    I’m happy enough with 1 though I don’t see how something as contingent as flag design follows from the ideals of republicanism.
    Happy enough with 2 though don’t see how something as specific and pragmatic as a single European currency follows from the ideals of republicanism.
    Completely on board with 3.
    Regarding 4 and your comment on ‘one government per island’, I’m sure plenty of Scottish and Welsh people would disagree with you.
    Disagree with 5. I believe that power should be administered at the lowest possible level i.e. by the people the decisions effect. Whether that is through assemblies or councils etc is a matter for pragmatic consideration rather than principle. Don’t see why Republicans would have strong views either way on centralised government.
    Regarding 6 I’m on board with promoting the ideal of Fraternité and using education and rational persuasion to bringing an end to ideologies, organisations and societies which promote sectarianism etc However, I also support the right of people (e.g. trade unions, community groups) to congregate to discuss ideas and how best to pursue their political ideals and to protest (including holding marches)against policies they disagree with.

    Modern Republicanism is an ideology that emerged out of the Enlightenment and is as such, as you pointed out, rationalist in its outlook. As such it rejects politics based on national traditions and tribalism and is aimed at universal principles of freedom and justice.
    In your list of principles to be ‘imposed’ the only ones I recognise as Republican are 3 and 6. The reference to flags and coastal boarders are ideas based on irrational, pre-Enlightenment notions of national/tribal identity.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think you’d call anyone who isn’t in Sinn Féin a failed politician be that Luke Ming Flannighan or Diane Dodds. Micheal Martin for all his critics does have the strongest local government performance in the Republic and indeed in Ireland. He had won more seats in one jurisdiction than Sinn Féin won in two. To me local government holds a bigger mirror of a society’s politics than a national one does. It’s democracy at the atomic level.

    Hold back the ego for a second, and respect that a fair section of the Irish people are giving him a chance.

    The Red C polls consistently show Irish voters are loyal to no one, maybe during the whole Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil process should remember that republicanism is a Public Act (as Gaeilge Phoblacht) not a party political one. The Irish people are familiar with the mud slinging, I think they’d prefer politicians to keep their mud and grow something in it instead of chucking it.

  • In Belfast

    Well, there’s the SDLP…

  • Paddy Reilly

    1) As pointed out, Irish Republicanism is French inspired and follows French fashions and norms. This is the reason for the tricolour flag. I mention this merely to show how Frenchified Irish Republicanism is: it’s not important.

    2) Republicanism is rationalist. Therefore, it imposes a rather boring decimal currency with no surprises, on as large a campus as possible. You will have heard of the United States where there is only one currency for a whole continent, and this currency has barely varied for more than a century.

    The Northern Ireland pound notes by contrast are unacceptably irrational because there are several different banks and outsiders have no idea which of these banks is still operating and which has closed down. In fact the average London resident has never heard of Northern Ireland. This gives an opening to fraudsters.

    4) Yes this doctrine is a problem for Scotland. I could only justify the division by pointing out that Scotland is a reasonable sized area and that a unitary Britain is top heavy, with London getting too many assets and Scotland being marginalised. But even here the Scotland/England border, following rivers and the shortest route, is much more rational than the 6/26 one, which is just a meandering gerrymander.

    Wales has never demanded complete separation from England.

    However, this is not Ireland’s problem. Coastal borders are the most sensible one: even monarchist England recognizes that the Isle of Man, Jersey and Guernsey, should be treated separately and not as part of England.

    Coastal boarders are not a problem: when the holiday season is over, they go home.

    Again, the French Revolution sought rational borders for France: the Pyrenees and the Rhine.

    5) Again, complete centralisation is the French fashion, currently achieved by means of superfast trains. Much easier to do in Ireland. Saves a lot of money. The county should be the next unit down, after the Island.

  • Robin Keogh

    Actually Kevin you are quite incorrect. I regard many current and former politicians as successes despite their human errors. Trimble, Robbo, Garret Fitz, Maire Geoghan Quinn, Pron de Rossa to name but a few.
    On the same day the locals were held FF failed miserably in the Euro elections; people didnt trust them to represent them in Europe but could vote for their neighbour to sort out the local road works in their area. A point picked up on exstensively by the media at the time.
    The polls show clearly that FF are stuck ( 18th Oct Sunday Times 19%) and with the Fine Gael Fianna Fail pact along with the SF PBP AAA alliance , Martin and his merry grey suits might seriously struggle for crucial transfers.
    They messed up their alternative budget proposal with a 150 million black hole in missle of it. It was revealed on Sunday recently that Martin and his colleagues had the hated water tax proposal well advanced long before the troika arrived. His failure to extend his warmth and support to Mairia Cahill by bringing her into the FF fold ( Choosing instead to leave her to the crumbling Labour party ) shows his real intentions which reflect the traditional FF culture of (……)place appropriate word here.
    And he speaks of refusing to share power with the Shinners despite senior members of his party saying quite the opposite. Martin is part of the old FF brigade and will slither up beside anyone if the numbers stack up.
    Irish Republicanism belongs to all Irish people who believe in equality, fairness and justice. It is not that complicated. Martin conjures up notions of an ideological battle consuming the Irish Nation. It is hot air vacuous nonsense with a few deliberate untruths thrown in for good measure. Bad as he is as a politician, he is a worse salesman.

  • Robin Keogh

    Mick, I must have been on your mind. Ballyboden is small parish on the the edge of Rathfarnham in South Dublin at the foot of the Dublin mountains. It is also home of the Pearse museum; the school that Padraig and Willie ran before they were murdered by the British forces of occupation at the time. Ballyboden also happens to be the place I have lived my entire life up to Feb of this year when I moved to Wicklow 😉

  • Robin Keogh

    For sure. But part of his rants are in prep for 2019. Why he is bothering is beyond me as the omens are not good for his future in Politics.

  • Kevin Breslin

    I think the recovery of Fianna Fáil at local government level was a success and far more important than recruiting of any loan individual be that Maria Cahill or Sinead O’Connor.

    It is in some councils such as Donegal that the faux outrage of Fianna Fáil and the the faux outrage of Sinn Féin to one another is completely lost. Both Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil has said they don’t want to share power, why should this be a surprise between competing parties?

    Power sharing is about the greater duty to the electorate, not a carve up of power for power’s sake.

    On the water charges thing, we can only judge parties on what they do be that Fianna Fáil’s “plans” or the unused water meters being installed under Connor Murphy’s running of DRD.

    It’s a shame you haven’t offered up any economic figures by SF, PBP, AAA on tackling Ireland’s deficit, or indeed the North. Opposition budgets are inconsequential, the budget contribution of Sinn Féin and its place in the Coalition government of the North isn’t.

    Objectively speaking most of these things show nothing about how successful he has been, he had a successful Local government campaign, Sinn Féin had a successful European campain, they’ve both had their successes.

    No one is completely full of success, everyone has their own defeats, so maybe successful is used in a hyperbolic manner, but in that manner he has been successful, at least to some degree. He certainly hasn’t been without success.

    I don’t think it is equal, just or fair to deny his sucess because I for one don’t believe a Fianna Fáil vote or a vote for any party who is not Sinn Féin should be held as inferior, less just and less fair than a Sinn Féin vote.

    To me it seems like faux outrage against a dissenting voice.

  • Mike the First

    What’s “rational” about counties?
    And what’s your policy on (for example) Shetland or the Isle of Wight?

  • LiamÓhÉ

    For those interested, I am sharing a link to this Oireachtas exchange between Martin and Adams on equality and republicanism, which is a lot more revealing than the soliloquy above because you can see behind the posturing present in an opening speech or initial retort.

  • mickfealty

    So we’re on the old bait and switch routine again Robin. The revelations today could not have made Martin’s outline clearer:

    Gerry Adams statement last month that Provisional Sinn Fein is “the only republican movement in this island” shows how these people think. Theirs is not the ideology of 1798 and 1916 – it is a mafia-like organisation which is incapable of respecting anyone outside of its own ranks.

    This is a critical distinction, which he emphasises by contrasting it with the Provisional approach by what is essentially a private, but revolutionary elite…

    True Irish republicanism belongs to no party or sect it belongs to the Irish people. It serves their interests alone. At its best it embodies the ideals of a man of status who served the men of no property.

    For you and other members of the party there can be no other authority outside the party because the party is the Republic in waiting. Everything else is a sham to you guys, and you cannot (like the disciples of Scientology, http://goo.gl/NSiwz) cannot be bound by it…

  • Paddy Reilly

    Counties are generally squarish or rectangular shaped entities observing natural features (unlike the irregular shape of the 6 county entity), not constructed to give political advantage to one side or the other, apparently a suitable size for admin purposes, rather like the French départements, otherwise they wouldn’t have been created would they?

    As for Shetland and the IOW, I leave that matter to the Shetlanders and Vectians. There was an IOW independence party: presumably that would have been willing to accept Channel Island status. But there is always a risk that some idiot might build a bridge, taking away their island status. If Shetland becomes oil rich and feels it is losing out, it will certainly be looking for a special status.

  • hotdogx

    Absolutely agree ernekid, I have problems with SF, but FF stood aside and quietly abandoned the north. Nothing they say now will change that. As for his opinion of SF republicanism I agree with a lot of what he said. In saying this SF is the only all Ireland party. If voting in the north, only a vote for SF would be worth anything. The SDLP are irrelevant. Gerry Kelly’s poster was an insult to tone republican ideals and our Irish Protestants who’s support we wish to gain. (We only need a few) The same as dragging our respectable tricolor through the mud and dirt that are paramilitary terrorists. No wonder unionists fear the Irish flag.
    Shame on them!!!

  • hotdogx

    absolutely agree ernekid

  • Robin Keogh

    And in it Martin fails, and he fails when he uses the word Mafia because it is loaded and aimed at a constituency that neither like or trusts him. Martin himself knows square well that his bacon can only be saved if he and others like him land an incendiary blow to Sinn Fein, one that has the capacity to seriously reverse SF current popularity.

    Essentially it amounts to nothing more than name calling. It has been going on for years, he has repeated such claims time after time and similar to the reader flicking through the newspaper…….(do u remember our conversation?) the reader is bored. Only this time there is a big difference, he fails to account for the silent regard in which many Irish held the IRA during the struggle years.

    He also fails Mick because he is being badly advised. Such is the growth of SF, very few people in the land do not know their local Shinner. And that Shinner bares no resemblence to the people Martin and his mates in INM are attempting to describe. His words ultimately fuel a determination amongst Shinner Nua to create a politcal landscape free from the cancer of corruption that FF bred into the Irish body politic and stop FF from ever becoming the clear leaderin irish politics again.

    Your insult toward me at the end is maybe more a reflection of your own frustration over today’s events rather than a sincerly held personal grudge. Or maybe not. Immiterial inany event.

    I as an activist will always defend SF for as long as Sinn Fein continues to grow, mature and evolve in a direction that lines up with my own personal political convictions.

    Gerry Adams recently stated that the United Ireland of the future ‘may not be the one traditionally envisaged’. That holds true for many preciously held doctrines of the past. And is an important message to anyone who seriously wishes to analyse SF intentions.

    As your mates might say Mick – Before you make up your mind, open it. 😉

  • Biftergreenthumb

    While Irish republicanism is inspired by French republicanism that doesn’t mean that “Republicanism” means “being like the french”.

    Anyway the republicanism you have described i.e. one concerned with a european single currency and a centralised government is not one that most Sinn Fein voters would recognise as the core of their political ideals. Irish Republicans are concerned primarily with a united ireland as an end in itself. This is an irrational nationalistic impulse rather than one based on rational harmony.

    The united irishmen were genuine republicans that wanted an end to the hereditary political power of British Monarchs. Contemporary Irish republicans just like the idea of one island, one nation, one government. Its a purely aesthetic ideal.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    “Counties are generally squarish or rectangular shaped entities observing natural features”

    There arent too many square or rectangular coutries. Countries with “natural” borders (seas, rivers, mountain ranges etc) are all sorts of irregular shapes. certainly not square. The one’s whose borders are straight lines are the product of european imperialists carving out territories regardless of indigenous political territories or natural features e.g. ex-colonies in north america and Africa. The nation state is a european fiction imposed upon other continents by european empires.

  • kensei

    Southern commentators and politicians like to promote cuddly republicanism. Tone was an idealist that was influenced by the Levellers and the the Scottish Enlightenment (France is usually conveniently forgotten); the leaders of 1916 had a backdated democratic mandate, or that they had limited choice and would have definitely went with a democratic route if the were t up against a corrupt system. Martin is guilty of it here.

    The truth is that the United Irishmen rebellion killed between 10-50,000 people in a short period, and was heavily inspired by violent rebellion in France and America. The leaders of 1916 had no mandate and the War of Independence had its share of dubious actions. Everything is simply reinventing history for their own ends as much as SF. The truth is that history is messy and there are elements of truth to multiple interpretations: we are not our ancestors and our world is not theirs. SF can and have got plenty of mileage out of Wolfe Tone quotes.

    It is very difficult to come up with a morality that says 1916 is ok and 1969 isn’t. Any of the options are pretty nuanced. If you are getting down to one was successful and one wasn’t then you’ve no moral basis at all. Maybe you could day that the 1916 saw they couldn’t win and surrender, while the Provos pushed on and wasted lives, but that’s essentially logistics. Kevin Myers at least has the balls of his position and takes it to the logical conclusion that 1916 is not something to be celebrated either. The rest generally swing on their hook on it. It’s not an easy question if you say violence is ok in som circumstances.

    So this is politics and it’s about the future and not the past. On those terms I’m glad Martin and FF are arguing for a forward facing Irish Republicanism. But also on those terms, it is not clear they are right and SF are wrong. SF aren’t UKIP, and take forward positions on a lot of different issues; it’s easier for FF to be more open towards Unionism when they aren’t battling them. And SF ultimately require a reconciliation between 1916 and 1969 beyond one good one bad. That ultimately probably makes Bobby Sands look a bit better and Tone, Pearse and Collins a bit worse but Irish Nationalism as a whole needs to face up to resolving it and not just the Northern branch.

  • Robin Keogh

    In Fairness Kevin you can see SF alternate budget on their website fully costed and now also verified by the DoF as required under new rules.

    The point is MM job is to revive FF and it is simply not happenning in any real and meaningful way. He is losing the support of his party. Losing valuable members such as Avril and has slowly but surely isolated a large chunk of potential transfers due to his innacurate and unsubstantiated rants. He is caught up in misinformation and deliberate untruths.

    he needsto find an angle alongside his SF obsession.

  • Paddy Reilly

    “is not one that most Sinn Fein voters would recognise as the core of their political ideals”

    Since when did Sinn Féin voters appoint you to tell us what their core ideals are? A unitary government is rational; partition is a ludicrous and unnecessary elaboration designed to preserve colonialism long beyond its shelf-life.

    But the salient point is this: to achieve partition you have to suspend human rights, to grant one party the right to create borders and secede and to deny it to the other party.

    So the ending of partition can be incorporated into a wider schema for the achievement of human rights. As I understand it, current Sinn Féin ideology is extremely PC, certainly more so than I am. Particularly in the Republic Irish unity is completely sidelined by economic issues.

    Or perhaps you would like to give us a resumé of the ard-fheiseanna you have attended and demonstrate how no topic was ever raised except Irish Unity?

    Irish Republicanism does involve a great deal of adherence to French norms. But it does to some extend follow American ones, as do the French themselves, these days. However, to attach oneself too closely to the U.S. in these days would be seen as reactionary rather than progressive.

  • Biftergreenthumb

    “Since when did Sinn Féin voters appoint you to tell us what their core ideals are? A unitary government is rational; partition is a ludicrous and unnecessary elaboration designed to preserve colonialism long beyond its shelf-life.”

    Point taken regarding me speaking for others. But are you honestly saying that in your experience Sinn Fein voters in Northern Ireland want a united Ireland primary as a way of achieving a “rational” single currency and because two governments on one island offends their rationalism? I’d be very sceptical about this. I suspect that in just the same way that Unionists use arguments about the NHS or being economically better off in the UK to rationalise their irrational tribal attachment to the UK so too you are using this rationalism argument to try to rationalise your irrational tribal preference for a united Ireland. Orange unionism and nationalistic republicanism are irrational identity positions people are brainwashed into accepting from the day they are born. The arguments both sides use are simply attempts to make their pre-rational desires seem as if they are the end result of rational deliberation.

    “the salient point is this: to achieve partition you have to suspend human rights, to grant one party the right to create borders and secede and to deny it to the other party.
    So the ending of partition can be incorporated into a wider schema for the achievement of human rights.”

    Partition is a historical fact. It happened. The question then is should we end it and reunify Ireland. The concept of ‘Human Rights’ is no longer a way to answer this question since both the UK and the ROI have basically the same political cultures including the same conception of human rights. Individuals living south of the border do not have more rights than those of us living the 6 counties. Everyone in NI has them same rights now. Obviously this was not the case in the first few decades after partition and so the civil rights movement and its violent suppression by the state would be a good justification for a united Ireland then but thankfully things have moved on. Human rights is no longer an issue relevant to partition.

  • Kevin Breslin

    No party’s internal workings are problem free for example in Cork Sinn Féin seem to be having problems while Michael Martin will probably have probably no issues in that county, getting in himself, returning his running mate, and returning others.

    I’m sure with the DoF ruling the party founded by a maths teacher will improve their overall maths, but from my own understanding of economics there are a lot of human behaviour estimates and their second order effects on commerce, industry, employment and investment that would have to be modelled not merely calculated. Under certain circumstances a corporation tax reduction would cause net losses in others net gains. Look at the large number of monitoring runs that Stormont has to make even without fiscal procurement control.

    In terms of rants Fianna Fáil is no different from any other party here, personally I think rants make no difference positive or negative to anyone and if they do Sinn Féin have not behaved like stoic monks either. In Europe it’s good to send in demagogues in the belief that they will defend the national interest, but when it comes to choosing who to vote for to invest your pay packet and how much to tax you it’s a whole different matter.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Indeed, the problem is that Irish Republicanism is fundamentally flawed, not that it’s not being carried out correctly by SF. It is wedded to an Ireland-only solution to a set of relationships that need to reflect the east-west dimension too. Not least, it has nothing progressive to say to British people on the island, other than “Irishness is better” – which isn’t a remotely progressive idea. Republicanism is obsessed with one strand of the three strands of the Peace Process. When it learns that all three need attention, it will have something to say. Until then, it will continue to sound narrow, ungenerous and inward-looking.

  • Alan N/Ards

    Can you really call de Valera a republican? Was he not more of a catholic nationalist as his first loyalty was to the Vatican? By turning the Republic into a colony of the Vatican surely went against the ideals of Tone and McCracken who, wanted to unite catholic, protestant and dissenter under the common name of Irishman.

  • kensei

    Balls. Republicanism of the French, American and Irish varieties were certainly ideologies. For ideals that were t National, they had an unerring habit of demanding control of National sized areas and for setting the rules of the game therein.

    And they certainly were present in 1916, though obviously filtered through a century of denial of the democratic rights of Ireland and most pertinently, the Famine. It’s amazing how angry a million people starving to death gets a population.

    Not liking Irish Republicanism is not enough to just state what the hell you like.

  • kensei

    That’s totally what I said :rolleyes:

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I agree that SF are nationalists first – ultra-nationalists at that.

    However, the United Irishmen weren’t all that. Yes, some worthy ideals in there. But two big problems with them, one practical and one ideological: (1) the rebellion caused massive loss of life and in many areas did turn into a sectarian slugfest; (2) the republican ideal should surely have been applied to the whole British Isles, not just Ireland. It’s unclear why republican ideals should require an international border to be inserted between Ireland and Scotland; or indeed why they would favour any single territorial arrangement over any other.

    The idea of Ireland being one unit has a long history, but that history is now over. We move on.

  • Greenflag 2

    Over ? History is never over . As for moving on ? Those who adapt to change -be they people -ideas -or ideologies move on .Those who don’t remain behind and fall further behind until their political or economic relevance is marginalised .

    There were Societies of United Scotsmen and Englishmen . The ideas of the Enlightenment impinged not just on France or the USA but were widespread in Britain too.

    You could say that these societies were the standard bearers of scientific and political /democratic progress in the late 18th century . The establishment of the time – the then Hanoverian monarchy – the Conservatives and the established Church were opposed to political reform /change until eventually they were forced to accept the inevitable .

    The 30 year delay in legislating for Catholic Emancipation in 19th century Ireland had political consequences which are still with us even in a post Catholic Ireland .

  • MainlandUlsterman

    They were indeed ahead of their time and I admire some of their thinking. But as I say, things have moved on since then, not least with the end of the assumption that the whole island of Ireland was the only possible territorial unit in which to do politics. That horse bolted in 1921 and its disappearance finally accepted by all shades of nationalism in 1998. Getting it back into the stable now, with an electorate who aren’t that up for it, will be a Herculean task, and a fairly pointless one I’m afraid. But you have every right to pursue it, so good luck in your efforts.

  • Greenflag 2

    There was no ideology ? Ideology did not begin with Karl Marx . The history of Britain and Ireland from the mid 18th century -the Industrial Revolution and all that. The American and French Revolutions and their Irish equivalent were very much political by products of whats called the Enlightenment . These ideas made their way into the politics of the day throughout Europe and the USA . There were United Societies not just in Ireland but in Scotland and England . The fact that they were ‘defeated ‘ did not bring an end to their ideals or their impact on later times . Ditto for the 1916 revolutionaries .

    Irish republicanism was founded on generous, anti-sectarian and international idealism . Its ideas still resonate in modern Ireland despite the NI ‘troubles ‘ . It is the other side of Irish nationalism and there is considerable overlap between both . Some say that Irish nationalism is more ‘constitutional’ . In any event both are opposed to whats called now called ‘unionism ‘ .

  • Greenflag 2

    The political ‘problem ‘ of a British minority in Ireland and particularly where its most concentrated i.e Counties Antrim and Down will be resolved in a UI solution . The east west dimensions -economic -social -cultural etc are already resolved between the Republic and Britain . Northern Ireland has some catching up to and this applies just as much to political unionism as to NI republicanism /nationalism

  • Alan N/Ards

    Who would you say are the genuine, non-sectarian republicans on the island of Ireland today? In fact, was there ever any?

    Many so called republicans ( but were really catholic nationalists) have paid lip service to the ideals of Tone and McCracken etc and I include FF (from de Valera to Haughey) in that group.

  • Greenflag 2

    Dev was a political survivor and a Math Professor . He was devoutly Catholic which nowadays might seem at odds with being a mathematician:) . Having avoided execution on account of his American birth he opposed the Irish Free State and led the Irregulars ( IRA ) in the Civil War . He then became a ‘constitutional ‘ politician post 1926 . He was considered by the Free State establishment of the time to be a ‘Red ‘ if not a communist . The RC Church was not his friend . This changed only after the 1937 Constitution which gave the RC Church it’s special position . The 1937 Constitution also recognised the other denominations and Judaism . Islam was not a contender at the time . Over time Dev became more conservative -and less open to change . He successfully manouevred the State through its existential threat in the 1930’s and 40’s -WW2 – and the conflict between the Blueshirts and his former colleagues the then IRA .

    Along with William Cosgrove _Dev’s main achievement was in ensuring the longer term survival of the new State .

    Dev was opposed to the 1949 Declaration of a Republic . His view at the time was that such a declaration would only make the achievment of a UI even less likely . He was however ‘ruthless ‘ in dealing with the IRA during WW2 .

    As for the ‘colony of the Vatican ‘ ?

    The RC church in Ireland began it’s revival in the mid 18th century when it was still an “illegal ‘ organisation ” Despite the to Hell or Connaught dictum from Cromwell in the 1640’s and the Williamite victory at the Boyne in 1690 -Ireland awoke in the mid 18th century to a still predominantly Catholic population with a minority of Protestants . By 1798 this situation had become even more entrenched due to the ‘outflow ‘ of some 250,000 people from Ulster (predominantly presbyterian ) as a result of famine conditions and other grievances . By 1800 the RC church was so dominant that HMG wanted to implement Catholic Emancipation . King George would’nt sign the bill (brief description ) . It eventually was legislated for -probably 50 years too late .

    To get a good understanding of the UI leaders you should read the bios of not just Tone or McCracken but Archibald Hamilton Rowan -Napper Tandy – Tom Russell -William Orr and others . They were all ‘enlightened ‘ men before their time . Hamilton Rowan was the great survivor . His life makes an interesting for like Dev he lived to a ripe old age and had seen the lot -the good the bad and the ugly of both American and French and Irish revolutions but he remained steadfast to his ideals .


    Hamilton Rowan returned to the ancestral home of Killyleagh Castle, County Down, receiving a hero’s welcome. He was a respected figure, spending time in both Killyleagh and Dublin. While he had agreed to be a model citizen under the conditions of his return to Ireland, he remained active in politics and retained his youthful radicalism. Following his last public appearance at a meeting in theRotunda in Dublin “organized by the Friends of Civil and Religious Liberty” on 20 January 1829, he was lifted up by a mob and paraded through the streets.

    His gravestone can be seen in Dublin behind the Church (a pub ) in Wolfe Tone Park along with others such as Frances Hutchinson, Mary Mercer (Mercers Hospital ) and Lord Norbury ( the Hanging judge )


  • Biftergreenthumb

    “the United Irishmen weren’t all that”

    I’m not defending any violence instigated by the United Irishmen. I suppose my point was just that contemporary so-called “republicans” have little in common with the genuine republicanism of the French and American revolutions or the United Irishmen. As we both agree Sinn Fein and their brand of Republicanism are simply ‘blood and soil’ nationalists.

    I’m speculating here so am ready to be schooled if I’m talking rubbish but just because the United Irishmen were concerned with creating an Irish Republic doesn’t mean they also didn’t want to see Britain become a republic too. From a pragmatic perspective I’m sure Irish rebels realised that freeing Ireland from British rule would be easier than overthrowing the British Monarchy in Britain. The United Irishmen’s ambitions were probably limited by these practical concerns rather than because they were committed to a border with Britain. But as I’ve said this is pure speculation on my part.

    I definitely disagree that the idea of Ireland being one unit is over. As long as there is partition there will be the idea of reunification. And as long as political unionism affiliates itself with orangism it will continue to alienate liberal people from protestant backgrounds and pretty much everyone from catholic backgrounds. Without an attractive liberal non-sectarian unionism people from catholic backgrounds will continue to maintain the romantic nationalistic idea of a united Ireland.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Fair points there. Where I would disagree is that I would say political unionism is one thing (an often not very attractive thing) but the Union itself something else. It seems a lot of people by-pass any distaste they have for political unionism when it comes to the question of whether they want the Union or not.

    And here, liberal non-sectarian unionists and indeed many from the ‘nationalist community’ can see past the blather and just prefer the safety and security of the Union for themselves. Political unionism is to them an annoying background noise. They aren’t about to cut off their nose (the Union) to spite their face (political unionism).

    The Union has been amazingly strong, despite the political weakness of unionism. I think part of the reason is that the union is not a political programme, it’s just a statement of preference on national sovereignty. It’s actually rather impervious to the stuff of political posturing and horse trading. It stands above all that. It doesn’t need politicians to champion it; indeed it would be stronger without many of its champions.

  • Alan N/Ards

    ” As for the colony of the Vatican?” Fair enough, I appreciate the question mark. It was a silly comment. Saying that, I believe that a genuine republican should be about the equality of everyone in the state. Giving the Vatican a say in the law of the country was wrong. Garrett Fitzgerald went cap in hand to the Vatican in 1977? to get approval to change the divorce laws in the country. He was told by the Pope that Ireland was a Catholic country – probably the last – and should stay that way.

    It looks like the Republic has finally broke free from the control of the Vatican and that should be applauded. Now it’s time for genuine republicans to sell this to unionism. The problem for me is who are the genuine republicans. Is it the ones who killed and maimed, or is it the ones who also betrayed Tone and McCracken etc by making the teachings of the RC Church the law for everyone in the land. Why were the Protestant Churches not as equal to these so called republicans?

    I read a biography of Napper Tandy about six months ago. I must read up on Orr and the rest.

  • Greenflag 2

    In today’s Ireland /Northern Ireland I’d say most voters in the Irish Republic and a considerable number in Northern Ireland and they vote for several different parties not exclusively SF . While the ideals of 1798 and 1916 are still given lip service it would be a mistake to assume they no longer matter the current NI situation and it’s previous history notwithstanding .

    “was there ever any? ‘

    Apart from the 1798 UI there have been the Young Irelanders -the Fenians – John Mitchell -Thomas Davis most of them non Catholic in denomination which should not be surprising given the time period .

    The fact that early Irish republicanism became tarnished with sectarianism has more to do with the times that were in it and the then Government provocation . It was no coincidence that the Government forces e.g the largely Catholic North Cork militia were used to defeat the rebels in Down and Antrim and largely Protestant yeomanry were used to defeat the Wexford insurgents . King George was not going to lose Ireland . He was still upset at losing the American colonies ergo the Act of Union being seeing as the best way to ensure the smaller island remained within his domain.

  • Greenflag 2

    Republicanism at least for me means not just freedom of religion but also freedom from religion . While the original motto of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter under the common name of Irishman still has resonance there are now probably a couple of million Irish and British on this island who are non religious and can’t be included in Tone’s original description . We are also a long time on from both the American and French Revolutions and 1916 not to mention the reforms enacted in the UK in the 1950’s .Irish Republicanism (of the ROI variety ) has moved with the times .
    So rather than consider Irish Republicanism as the be all and end all of Irish political history for all time we have to look at the movement in the context of its time . Ireland in the late 18th century was very different from that of 1916 . Between 1798 and 1916 there were massive political , religious and demographic changes which were bound to have an impact some for good some for not so good on Tone’s original doctrine .
    We are only now given the demise of the RC Church’s position of major influence in Irish politics able to stand back and look at 1798 /1848 and indeed 1916 and the NI troubles 1920 through to the present from a broader perspective . Some of us anyway . Some would rather keep wearing the dark green or bright orange shades to view every minutiae of public policy . But they eventually belong to the past .

  • Greenflag 2

    “Why were the Protestant Churches not as equal to these so called republicans?”

    From 1648 to 1829 the established Church of Ireland was more equal than the Presbyterians , Methodists , and the Roman Catholics . Non Anglican non Catholics such as Presbyterians , Methodists etc had many of their religious and social grievances removed quickly following the 1798 Rebellion . Promises were made to address the similar religious and social grievances of the majority Catholics but these were put on hold because of King George’s unwillingness to sign an Emancipation Bill . It came eventually in 1829 .

    Although the NI problem is always referred to a Catholics v Protestants one I prefer not to view it as such . It is not a war of religion and was never one . Its not Martin Luther v the Pope on the battlefield . Its been a conflict of based on perceived political and economic grievances on the part of a large minority in NI and the reaction to that by the established local government in the period 1920 through to 1974 and beyond . I don’t think you ever had Priests and Ministers fighting against each other in the streets or verbally remonstrating as to which of them had “God ” on their side . Paisley may have been the only NI politician who was seriously ‘religious ‘ in his absolutist convictions re the papacy -.

    I get the impression that most of the younger people in Ireland today i.e those under 50 have a very much different perspective on religion of all denominations than their parents or grandparents and that I think bodes well for the future . Not that I’m anti religion but I prefer a complete separation of church and state .

  • Alan N/Ards

    I realise that the churches on this island have become irrelevant to many people, and the churches are really to blame for this. The point that I was trying to make, was that the politicians who claimed to be republicans got it wrong when writing their constitution. They ( if they were truly republican) should never have allowed the Catholic church such control over the state.

    There also appears to be a reluctance by republicans to be critical of their predecessors. It’s as if it is a slur on Irish republicanism and the glorious dead. Present day unionists seem to have the same problem. If there is be reconciliation on this island, then people need to be prepared to speak up and admit that things should have and could have been done differently. If the green and orange tinted glasses were removed, who knows were it might take us.

  • Greenflag 2

    ” and the churches are really to blame for this’

    More so in the past than the present . Politicians regardless of religion are all about getting re-elected and remaining on side . The Constitution was written in 1937 a time when it looked like either Fascism or Communism might be the future and parties in Britain and Ireland were not immune to what was happening in Germany , Spain and Italy and Russia at the time . Many politicians sat on the fence waiting for the political winds of the time to show a final direction . Oswald Mosley and Prince Edward and the Mitfords sat down with Hitler . Mosley was later to find a ‘home ‘ in Ireland (Galway ) after the war . Although a fascist he was regarded by the then government as a ‘ dacent man ‘ for he was one of the few MP’s who was remembered to have opposed the decision to send in the Black and Tans in 1918 . .

    The 1937 Constitution was also written for the Irish Free State which was lets not forget 90% plus RC . 1932 was the year of the Eucharistic Congress which in retrospect was the high point of the RC Church’s dominance in Ireland – both North and South even if in NI , RC’s were a large minority .

    Our political predecessors all of them were human beings and as such fallible . Omniscience is not given to homo politicus or any other species either . MIstakes are made -people take sides -some are ideological -some are tribal -some are pragmatic . When interviewed one time by Professor Basil Chubb of Trinity College on some political question time on RTE -Sean Lemass the then Irish Taoiseach who actually fought in the 1916 Rising as a 16 year old startled poor Basil with his answer and left the very English (Wiltshire ) Basil somewhat at a loss for words .

    Basil being a political scientist -(Ireland’s first if I’m not mistaken ) was very much into constitutions and upholding them etc and changing them by amendment in referenda etc . Anyway Sean Lemass backed himself into a corner under Chubb’s questions and finally retorted that he (Basil ) should remember that whereas FF was a party of the Constitution – FF was at the end of the day a ‘slightly Constitutional party . To Basil Chubb’s black and white scientific politics this was nonsense and based on his Chubb’s knowledge of Westminster arrant nonsense to boot . Lemass seemed perfectly happy with his answer as well he might given the historical circumstances under which FF came to power from defeated Irregulars in the Civil War to constitutional Opposition to Government in power . Lemass was more of a pragmatist than old fashioned then republican and it was under his leadership and Dr T.K Whitaker ( Rostrevor Co Down )iirc that the Republic finally started to look out at the wider world . Dev was not a fan of Lemass or his economic policies .

  • Greenflag 2

    ‘If there is be reconciliation on this island’

    No ifs – just when I’d say . We’ve had enough of necrophiliac politics on both sides of the border much more so north of the line than south for obvious reasons . I believe that the Republic has largely moved on both in it’s relationship with the UK and the rest of Europe and the world etc . Northern Ireland has been held back by virtue of it’s local political culture and isolation from both the UK and indeed the Republic . SF have tried to straddle the gap -the Unionist parties much less so . Whether it can ever escape the cul de sac of its recent past (1920 to today ) I don’t know . Its highly educated young people will continue to vote with their feet and who could blame them and thats not in the interest of either North or South .

  • Biftergreenthumb

    I completely accept the distinction between political unionism on the one hand and the sentimental desire to maintain the union on the other. I’m from a unionist community background and as such have absolutely no problem with the union with britain. But I am completely aliented by all forms of political, cultural, orange unionism/loyalism. I feel a deeper connection with a broad irish culture than i do with orangism and the 12th etc. I don’t feel anything at all in common with the DUP’s values or outlook, or Jamie Bryson’s or Jim Allistair’s etc

    I completely agree that the union would be stronger without (political) unionism. If the civil rights movement back in the day was accommodated there would have been little demand for a united ireland. If Political Unionism werent so committed to orangism there would be much less sectarian tension today and less animostity from nationalists. Thngs like the flag protests a while back and 12th of july riots every year do nothing but undermine the union. Something like NI21 is the only way forward.

  • Greenflag 2

    Re the thread topic of who has the most republican (real or unreal or surreal ) credentials I’d have to say that most voters in the Republic will not be voting on the basis of purity of historical lineage from either SF or FF as regards 1798 or 1916 or NI 1969 . They will be voting for political and economic security first in the here and now . As the economy improves -even if unlike in Sean Lemass’s time the rising tide no longer lifts all boats but leaves many of the smaller ones drowning in the wake of the larger – the advantage has to be with the FG coalition . But at this stage its too early to predict an outcome .

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Not a lot to take issue with there. Something like NI21 is indeed the way forward; or supporting a national party without attachment to one community – Labour for me.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    so are you against the Good Friday Agreement then?

  • John Collins

    ‘French Republicanism has been centralist’ Well was it any more centralist than several GB administrations especially Tory Governments. I have the period from 79 to 93 especially in mind

  • Zeno

    “The political ‘problem ‘ of a British minority in Ireland and particularly where its most concentrated i.e Counties Antrim and Down will be resolved in a UI solution . ”

    No offence, but why do all Republicans have this unwavering belief that UI is on the way? Never mind Unionists, practically no one is remotely interested in it and there isn’t even the slightest hint that any progress is being made towards United Ireland. So does the built in unwavering belief just come with the label?

  • John Collins

    Your first truth is questionable. I say this because neither Unionism or The Irish Party, who were constitutional Nationalists, made any headway in the polls in the South after 1916. The fact ids there was totally disaffection in the South for British Rule. Anyway in 1910 at the last GE before in 1910 only those males who were over 35 could vote and women had no vote. This was rectified by 1918. Since the Act of Union the population of mainland GB had risen by over 150%, whereas the population of the island of Ireland had dropped by 20%. The project from an Irish point of view had simply failed.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Much more centralist. The Tories allowed the Scots to have their own religion and laws, nor have they ever lost them. Enclaves and exclaves and Royal Peculiars continued into the 19th Century. Cromwell would be the nearest comparable thing in British history.

  • Zeno

    “Gerry Adams recently stated that the United Ireland of the future ‘may not be the one traditionally envisaged’.”

    You studied politics Robin. That sentence means he is preparing the faithful for yet another disappointment.

  • Paddy Reilly

    Well Ruth Patterson seemed to feel that progress had been made, if not to a United Ireland, then at least to something totally satanic:-

  • Robin Keogh

    Is he? Jeez

  • Zeno

    You Robin.

    “he fails to account for the silent regard in which many Irish held the IRA during the struggle years.”

    Did they have a silent regard for the ones who murdered innocent men women and children? For the ones who kidnapped ,tortured, murdered and disappeared people? For the ones who carried out sectarian murders? For the ones who used people as human bombs? Why do they not write songs about those guys? Do they not want to remember them?
    Maybe he is speaking to the vast majority who held all the self elected murder gangs in contempt?

  • John Collins

    Well the Catholics in Scotland were already almost swept totally away by butcher Cumberland after the 45 so there was no big issue about allowing the few that were left to practise their religion . And Presbyterians there, as well as in NI, were discriminated against for at least a century. We will gently pass over the fact that even to day a Roman Catholic is debarred from occupying the British throne

  • Robin Keogh

    Such is the trauma and carnage of war unfortunately

  • Paddy Reilly

    You seem to be on a different wavelength. We are talking about centralisation, not religious freedom. The French revolutionaries abolished all local parlements and divided the country up into départements; everything was done exactly the same way everywhere in France and its overseas possessions: they were centralists.

    By contrast, Scotland remained a separate kingdom with its own law, education system and state religion; in Ireland (and Wales) the Anglican Church was disestablished; Ireland had its own land law and its own educational system; Jersey was under a different legal system altogether; other parts of the British Empire had different coinage, etc, etc. These people were not centralisers at all.

  • Zeno

    Easily said when you didn’t live through it. Did you have many friends or relatives murdered by the IRA or even the Shankill Butchers? I wonder would you so dismissive if you had.

  • Robin Keogh

    You may wonder indeed zeno. One does not have to be caught in the middle of wat to know it is bloody carnage. I hope i never live in state run by tyranny leading to war.

  • Zeno

    How do you live with yourself supporting the people who did it?

  • Robin Keogh

    What do mean by supporting?

  • Robin Keogh

    But many of us see Ireland as one unit.

  • Zeno

    Do you not support the IRA and SF. I’m pretty sure we all know what ” support” means.

  • Robin Keogh

    I dont support any so called IRA. I am a member of Sinn Fein. Thats it.

  • Zeno

    But SF support the IRA. Some would even say they are the same thing.
    The latest intelligence report says …
    The IRA play a key role in deciding the leadership of SF.
    The IRA are concerned about SF losing sight of United Ireland.
    The IRA want Conor Murphy given a more prominent role.
    The don’t want Mary Lou as the next leader. (That’s an opportunity for SF to show who is in charge)
    The Garda say 50 IRA Members have paid 28 million euro to the Criminal Assets Bureau and these people are supported by SF (rather than condemned as criminals.)

  • Robin Keogh

    Sinn Fein is a party triple the size it was at the time of the GFA. So, a portion of it would have supported the IRA yes. That IRA downed tools ten years ago and shifted in behind the peace process.

    Some say SF and the IRA are the same thing; for political gain, the reality is different.

    The report says no such thing. The report states the so called IRA members believe the IRA have an influence over SF. The report authors themselves come to no such conclusion. However they also say in the report that PAC structures as they are, are not engaged in criminality and were an important element in delivering the broader republican acceptance of the peace accord and keeping former IRA members on board the peace project.

    Much of what you say is quoted from a newspaper article today which gives no credible source, no evidence and no way to verify its accuracy.

    Sinn fein are on record as condemning those who engage in criminality and claim to be republicans as nothing more than crooks and thieves.

  • Zeno

    “Much of what you say is quoted from a newspaper article today which gives no credible source, no evidence and no way to verify its accuracy.”

    The Sunday Time quotes from the latest intelligence report which was redacted to 4 pages from 20 before it was released to the public by the the Secretary of State for Northern Ireland. It’s content was based on surveillance reports and interviews with Agents in the IRA whose Army Council meeting was monitored when it was held in Belfast in Aug 2013.
    It says..
    “The IRA will play a key role in choosing a successor to Gerry Adams……..”
    SF only condemn criminals who go into business for themselves. They haven’t condemned any of those who had to pay the Criminal Assets people 28 million.