Wednesday, April 23, 2014

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A Voice of Reason to which Republicans Should Listen.

Guest writer Lyra McKee with her thoughts on the perspective articulate by Dominic og McGlinchey. Lyra McKee is a freelance journalist & researcher who tweets @LyraMcKee. She is also an investigative reporter at the Beacon Reader.

  • 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.

























18 comments:

frankie said...

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. I hated it because when the helicopter floated above our house, I knew there was trouble in Ardoyne and I was afraid

Lyra,
I grew up in Repubublican North Belfast, most of the kids I knew didn't hate protestants. In fact most of them didn't involved within Republicanism. They may have hated the British Army and the RUC but very few hated protestants... As for the helicopters over head, they never made feel afraid. I never felt fear growing up in Adroyne from Republicans. Not once, I always felt safe walking the streets of Ardoyne. My memories of growing up in Ardoyne was like this, you learnt at an early age that if you didn't stick your nose into Republican affairs or ask questions they (Provisionals) left you alone and allowed you to go about your buisness un hindered. The same can't be said for either the RUC or BA. I was more fearful of windows getting smashed** by loyalists on a Thursday evening while attending my local scout meeting in the grounds of Ardoyne chapel than I ever was of the Provisional IRA (**that happened every other Thursday evening)..


Indeed, the concept of a United Ireland aside, Republicanism is an ideology that should appeal to both the Catholic and Protestant working-classes.

I agree 100% with what you say here..(Wolftone said the same thing...)

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.

I agree in apart with what you have to say, in that republicans should be fighting for the hearts & minds of Unionists & loyalists and explain why a UI is better all round than a partitioned one. But as for adopting violence...

Who battered who off the streets at Burntollet. Who fired at who in Ballymurphy and Derry..? Who burned Bombay street and Ardoyne? It wasn't republicans who adopted violence..They simply decided to play with the same big boy's rules that was used against them...What were people meant to do Lyra...Take it on the chin and have a British stiff upper lip????

John Morgan said...

Time to move on. A nine county semi- automonous Ulster is the only realistic practical solution.
Uladh Abu !

John Morgan said...

Time to move on. The only realistic practical achievable solution is a semi-autonomous nine county Ulster.
ULADH ABU

David Higgins said...

All this, all the provies achieved was angering the unionists stuff is extremely condescending. I am are all for building bridges and all the rest of it but the '69 to '97 war wouldn't have happened if unionist wouldn't have administered and justified an apartheid, sectarian state. Sometimes on this site people are down crying the ra, this shouldn't have happened and that shouldn't have happened, well if republicans/catholics and nationalist were treated as human beings it wouldn't have happened.
In hindsight is it regrettable the provos engaged in sectarian warfare? in my opinion yes, however given the attacks on catholic communities what were they supposed to do? As for angering unionists? tough. What were the people supposed to do? learn their place? The fact is sectarianism is embroiled in unionist culture and they do very little to counter it, quite the opposite come vote time they like to stoke th flames.I think we need to be careful here before we become apologists. I.R.A volunteers were among the bravest on the planet.

sean bres said...

Time to move on is right, time to build a new Ireland. There is an alternative capable of reconciling the conflicting traditions in this country, that alternative is Eire Nua

billy brooks said...

Angering unionists......Jasus fcuk.Ive heard some statements in my day this takes the biscut.Angering fooking unionists.Away for a pint afer that.

frankie said...

I have a problem in getting my head around why the PUL-ers are afraid of ÉIRE NUA..And I don't fully understand why PSF rejected it.

Mac Tíre said...

Sinn Féin rejected it because it was introduced at a time when unionists were the dominant force in the north and were treating nationalists as second class citizens. Why then would members endorse a policy that would keep unionists as the dominant force there? And anyway Ireland is far too small a country to have four separate parliaments! There are less people living in Ireland than there are in London! Four government bodies would be overkill as well as a tragic waste of money and resources!

sean bres said...

Eire Nua is a perfectly workable arrangement, why should the people not have a greater say in how their affairs are administered? Some of us call it democracy. As a policy it's not set-in-stone and is open to negotiation so if nothing else it's a worthy starting point that can form the basis of debate going forward. That we've a self-professed Sinn Fein stooge on here lambasting Eire Nua as a sop to Unionism is risible given what that party is currently engaged in. Your having a fucking laugh! Away to me bed you buck eejit... Victory to the Banquetmen

grouch said...

mac t, ur crowd would know all about tragic wastes of money and resources. eire nua was and is a threat to the common enemy - ie. elites for want of a better word. thats why the enemy was so keen to get rid of this dangerous program as early as possible (and split the movement - and boy did they do a good job). a sovereign ireland and a sovereign people gives martins new friend and her corporate and banking allies nightmares. they have all our resources (540billion oil and gas) have us all slaves to debt and hav their super mil-police bunker outside belfast. a colony once again but dont tell michael d or any of the deluded maniacs in 26 counties that. look what happened to those republicans who promoted eire nua and fought for it. people like christin ni elias. what did ur dear leadership for life come up with to counteract this sop to unionism - ???? mac tire??? what??? please tell me. erm....stormont by any chance. God be with o bradaigh, o conail and all those people of PRINCIPLES. go and check out the only few seconds of o conail there is on youtube. To think the likes of him and ruairi were shafted. makes me puke. the marxists, frauds, diesel bandits and one legged lesbians took over the movement turning it from republican to royal. well done. whod a thought the guys who didnt want to sop to unionism ended up sopping to the descendents of dracula. spooky wooky.

Dixie said...

I was born in Watford, England and spent the 1st two years of my life living in Berry Way Rickmansworth. My Mother, a Catholic married my Father, a Protestant in an English registry office.

Why? Because my Grandmother didn't want her daughter marrying a Protestant.

And maybe there might have been a sin committed in my regards? - I've yet to find out - it was after all, 1957ish.

Anyway, I came into the world in England, the 1st Catholic on my fathers side of a family with Unionists hanging on every branch. Some, I discovered, were rather prominent members of the local Unionist party and I have the newspaper cuttings of their deaths to prove it.

I grew close to my paternal Grandfather, a white haired man with a smelly leg which I later found out was a wound received in World War 1 France. An Elliott, he avoided the bomb shells and bullets only to be hit by a train.

In tactical retreat? I don't know.

I found myself growing up, upon my parents return, in a mixed area of Derry with Protestant friends and Protestant cousins to visit.

Then to cut a long story short, our first signs of trouble was the pillars of smoke rising from the Bogside below Creggan Hill and talk of Paisley coming with his hordes to Derry.

It was all adult talk and the riots were fun in a way but the Protestants left gradually and the life we knew as poor but happy kids crumbled like the old streets.

Then in later years I shook the Elliott family tree to it's roots by becoming a Republican with a capital R and although the old ghosts might not forgive me, I choose my path because there was no other one to take at the time.

And I might not like my ancestral Unionism but I'm still as much an Elliott as those Elliotts who worked for Lord Leitrim in Milford Co. Donegal and lived on his land before coming to Derry sometime around his death.

Owen Sullivan said...

I grew up in the States where violence is policy at home and abroad...always has been, always will be....same as in the U.K.

And this imperial violence begets violent national resistance. You can't have one without the other.

So blaming Irish Republicans for fighting British imperialism in Ireland is like the Americans blaming the Viet Cong for their national resistance in Vietnam.

If you don't want violent national resistance then don't have imperial violence.

That said, I think calls by Irish Republicans to reconsider their use of violence justifiable not because it is inherently wrong (because national resistance is never wrong) but because as a tactic for now it is obviously futile.

Therefore other forms of national resistance need to happen, i.e. boycotts, strikes, protests, merry pranks, ridiculing, etc.

the watcher said...

Lyra my argument with regards the formation of the PIRA is very simplistic. The unionist community were quite content with the statelet, as David said, administered in a sectarian, apartheid fashion, they didn't like the people upsetting the status quo by demanding equality so took to the streets with a pogrom of ethnic cleansing and violence backed by the security forces. From that rose PIRA as purely a necessary defense mechanism for the Nationalist people,a defensive orgnisation no matter what the black propaganda proceeded to spew post formation.

Dáil Uladh would have encapsulated all 9 counties so the unionists wouldn't have been as dominant as thought. Australia as a vast underpopulated country has 7 state and 1 federal government, it is now one of the strongest economies in the world and the state governments ensure that the wealth and resources are evenly distributed hence when the GFC hit the world it was just a blip over there. That is not to say any federal government in any country can't be, for want of a better word, corrupt but it gives the people a stronger say.

strand peanut said...

"Why then would members endorse a policy that would keep unionists as the dominant force there?"

I suspect Sinn Fein's reasoning for not endorsing, is not as simple as you put.. Tho, much like the reasons you put forth, I'm sure it involves a lot of short term thinking..

Erie Nua may have some problems.. But I've yet to read a coherent strategy from Sinn Fein since the 86 split.. Disagree on it's effectiveness, Erie Nua, all ya like.. But it was out there, for all, to see and read.. Not this shadow peace process, with it's point A and Z, and no communicated reality of what the other 24 letters entail..

frankie said...

Sinn Féin rejected it because it was introduced at a time when unionists were the dominant force in the north and were treating nationalists as second class citizens. Why then would members endorse a policy that would keep unionists as the dominant force there?

What crap are you spouting now? You call people politically astute turnips, brainless and a host of other insults in between. Firstly your comment Mac is more akin to keeping sectarianism alive with a large dose of totalitarianism. My understanding of Eire Nua is the opposite (try reading it sometime)..

On repbublican.ie some posters think it was rejected NOT because of the content but the authors....

The Adams faction within Sinn Féin in the eighties rejected Éire Nua because of its authors and not its content as they claimed. I have yet to come across any valid arguments against Éire Nua. The more the GFA is shown to be unworkable the greater the opportunity to expose alternatives.

And some of the posters think like this Mac..

But Eire Nua has been praised by many critics of militant Republicanism as one of the most viable options for the re-unification of Ireland. This shows that it is a better way of reaching out to unionists than forcing them into a 32 county state with a centralised system of government.

While some suggest it should be implemented...

I think Republicans should impliment Éire Nua in their own lives and in their communities. It is a bottom up structure and should be built up from individuals, families and communities. Any other way would be contradictory to its terms.

Totally at odds to what you claim. Maybe they are people with a small 'r' and not a big 'R' as you claim PSF to have.

And anyway Ireland is far too small a country to have four separate parliaments!

Switzerland have federal council set up, works very well and was one of the many places SF looked. Here is a piece by Liam O Ruairc where he explains some of the thinking behind Eire Nua...

To illustrate what this new Ireland would be like, Republicans looked for inspiration in some other countries and political regimes. In an interview in the mid-1970s, Ruairi O'Bradaigh explained that Sinn Fein's programme inspired itself from a number of countries

Mac, word of advice...Try to think outside of the box..it can be liberating.

larry hughes said...

Sean bres

never mind building a new Ireland, try stopping the west brits FG/HUNS clawing the one we have back into the union. Don't know what McGlinchey is angling at (another career?) but time to keep the powder dry I recon.

frankie said...

Dixie seems you are in good company. Thomas Clarke & Liam Mellows were born in England..

Feel te love said...

So many beset by the feeling of perpetual victimhood

justifiably, all the people of this island have had a plague descend upon them. Parasites

They have conjured much offence and indignation, many say their snake oils are great on hide. keep an eye out in your areas for these carpetbaggers. You will see many of their lying faces on a lamppost near you.

Listen for the flies buzzing, the two usually appear around the same time of year.

You sure are back on top now Big George Nelson.