- Republicanism is a very honourable thing if done in an honourable way. We shouldn’t be dishonouring it by the mindless use of violence - Dominic Óg McGlinchey
Dominic Og McGlinchey gave a very interesting interview to The Irish Times. In it, he talked about taking the gun out of Irish politics and the armed struggle - and the lack of appetite among the masses for violence.
I grew up in Republican North Belfast. I hated everything the capital R stood for. I hated it because the kids in my street hated Protestants and British soldiers and my Grandfather had been both. I hated it because it made me feel like an outsider. Keenly aware of my Scottish Presbyterian lineage, I was banned from the tribe, forever on the outskirts looking in.
I hated it because when the helicopter floated above our house, I knew there was trouble in Ardoyne and I was afraid. I hated it because I thought it hated me, a kid brought up in a mixed faith family.
I hated it yet I should have loved it. While I'd rather have an independent Northern Ireland - free of both the Dail and Westminster - the socialist and egalitarian principles of the 1916 proclamation are in alignment with my own thinking.
Indeed, the concept of a United Ireland aside, Republicanism is an ideology that should appeal to both the Catholic and Protestant working-classes. In constitutional politics, it is the left wing to Unionism's right wing.
Yet by adopting violence as its method, it created enemies on all sides. Republicans should be fighting for the hearts and minds of working-class Unionists and Nationalists, explaining what a United Ireland looks like and why they think it's preferable to remaining in the United Kingdom. The message has to evolve beyond a hatred and opposition to all things British.
The Provos’ armed campaign did not succeed. It simply made a United Ireland harder to achieve by angering Unionists and blasting Nationalists into apathy. In a sea of armchair generals and violence apologists, McGlinchey is a voice of reason. Republicanism should listen to him.