Wednesday, December 17, 2014

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No Reason for Controversy

The following is a response by Martin Galvin to an article printed on the Irish Central blog attacking Martin Galvin's being honored as an Aide to the Grand Marshal in New York's St Patrick's Day Parade.

New York’s St. Patrick’s Day Parade was a symbol of Irish achievement and traditions when such symbols were few. It was a beacon of hope for Irish freedom when such hopes seemed unattainable. As one who cherishes this parade, I was grateful and honored to be nominated as Aide to the Grand Marshal by Bronx County AOH. Cardinal Dolan being Grand Marshal, made it more special. It is therefore disappointing that anyone should hype controversy by misrepresenting my beliefs and background.

It is certainly true that I support freedom for all of Ireland and have marched with banners and badges proclaiming “England out of Ireland!” These are fundamental principles of the AOH and St. Patrick’s Day Parade. The reporter need not have gone back years to get speeches in Ireland or America. Two weeks ago I spoke for Irish freedom in Tyrone remembering close friend and former Bronx resident Liam Ryan, one of the hundreds of British collusion murder victims. Why is it ‘controversial’ to want freedom for all Ireland?

It is also true that for almost twenty years I was one of the leaders of Irish Northern Aid and for fifteen years editor of the Irish People Newspaper. Those who flooded the streets in front of British Consulates, filled legislatures for the MacBride Principles, and packed Irish-American Candidates Forums never got due credit. They made Ireland an American issue until leaders like President Clinton were willing to take the groundbreaking question from me about a visa for Gerry Adams. I take pride in what was accomplished working with the AOH and many Irish-American organizations. During those years the same pro-British propagandists that claimed top Republicans in Ireland were ‘mindless godfathers’, claimed that money we gave families of political prisoners was funding the IRA. Why should discredited British claims from so many years ago matter now?

It is finally true that after I led a 1983 American fact-finding tour which embarrassed the British, the Thatcher government tried to ban me from returning with a second tour in 1984. Sinn Fein leaders said we must not to allow this censorship ban to succeed and be used to silence other Americans. When I was called upon by Gerry Adams, the Royal Ulster Constabulary opened fire with plastic bullets. They murdered one man andwounded scores more. Britain was condemned and put one man on trial for murder. After I was arrested alongside Martin McGuinness at Free Derry Corner in 1989 and shipped back under military guard, the British sent me a letter saying it had all been a mistake. Why should British murders or admitted mistakes be resurrected against my nomination today?

It is categorically untrue that I support armed actions today by any IRA or as your writer puts it, “denounce the Sinn Fein leadership as traitors.” The Irish Central’s own Nuzhound on December 14th reprinted an interview I gave the Derry Journal in Ireland. The headline, “Conditions do not exist for a return to violence” could not be clearer. That reporter bothered to speak to me before publishing. Readers of the Irish Voice may also recall seeing a full page of photographs of the October 26th Woodlawn AOH Awards Event, which was attended by some prominent American supporters of Sinn Fein. Why can Irish Republicans not respectfully disagree on some issues while working together where there is common ground?

I personally believe that the British did not intend the Good Friday deal as an open door to freedom for the six counties but as their chance to nail the door shut. Why is it wrong or controversial to point out British injustices and speak for new political strategies to overcome proven British bad faith?

As noted, I cherish the St. Patrick’s Day Parade and what it means to the Irish. I am grateful to Bronx County AOH for nominating me. I do not understand why my presence as one of the Aides to Cardinal Dolan should cause any controversy. Indeed it would only be controversial if we forgot there will be six counties represented in this parade who are still denied freedom in Ireland!


Peter said...

I personally believe that the British did not intend the Good Friday deal as an open door to freedom for the six counties but as their chance to nail the door shut.

It is incredible that some republicans still think this nonsense. Churchill offered a UI to deV in1940; in 1974 FF/FG sent a joint delegation to Harold Wilson to tell him that under no circumstances did they want a UI; in 1994 Dick Spring was opposed when he demanded that Dublin back SF's demand for a withdrawal date; in 1998 Dublin gave up articles 2 and 3; it is Dublin and not London that has blocked a UI on numerous occasions. Unionists know full well that London would have been out of here in a flash if Dublin had demanded it. Why do you think the Bearded Satan wants power so much in the south? Repulican violence was deepening partition, SF recognised this and ditched the IRA. The key to a UI lies in Dublin not London. Everyone seems to know this except the Martin Galvins of this world. Ohhh those nasty Brits...

AM said...


you wrongly presume that Adams wants power in the South so that he might pressurise London from Dublin to withdraw.

Adams wants power because Adams wants power: he wants the formal power of office, much like the Irish Labour Party and then to behave just like everybody else before him.

The decision to relinquish rule from London will be decided by a majority in the North: if the South agree after that a United Ireland will happen, but only after that. Adams, if in office, will sabre rattle, much like Haughey, but that sabre will stay put.

Henry JoY said...

When you look at the flawed thinking that under-pins the totality of Irish Republicanism (see my comments on a previous thread here ) then the nonsense Martin Galvin spouts won't appear so weird.

Peter, its a stressful time and all that, don't let your thinking go awry too! (We need all the stable minds we can get around here).

As Anthony rightly points out there can be no change to the status of the Union unless in the unlikely event of a majority in the 6 counties endorsing such a plan.
And then the 26 would have to want to accept you all!
Unlikely scenario, I think.

Wishing you and yours peace and joY this Christmas.

Peter said...

I can't agree. The GFA was structured to favour the union because Dublin wanted it that way, because up to the GFA Dublin had made it clear it doesn't want the expense of the north or the security nightmare. Gerry can't remove the unionist veto but only by being in power in the south can he ensure no more Dublin blocking of a UI by using the 1916 centenary to change the narrative in the south. Unionists and free staters want unifcation to fall off the radar, SF are not letting that happen. For me Adams wants a UI and will do all he can to get it, whether it is ditching the IRA or joining the political establishment, he will do what it takes to see a UI in his lifetime. Alternative republicans prefer to wallow in the "struggle" of pushing the big rock up the big hill. As much as I hate Adams I have to admit that he is a man with a plan. Time will tell if he is like Haughey or not, I hope you are right on that one.

AM said...


Dublin's attitude to the union is immaterial: it makes not one iota of a difference what Dublin wants. Morrison made this very clear in the Collins anthology of the 1980s when he said even if SF won every vote in the South and all nationalist votes in the North, it would make no difference. An armed struggle, he argued, would still be needed to force through a united Ireland.

Now, we know an armed struggle is not going to do any such thing but it also means that the only way to a UI is as the British and constitutional nationalists have long said: via the consent of a majority in the North. Dublin does not block a UI because it has no power to insert itself in the space whereby it can become a block. A majority in the North block a UI. Adams is no more a defender of a UI than he is a defender of rape victims. Plenty of waffle but ...

Peter said...

Ok I concede that the south can't block a UI but they can actively campaign for it, which would be a change in what they have done up to now. As a unionist I hope Adams fails and proves to be what you think he is.
My original gripe is that Galvin repeats the old line that the Brits stopped a UI when patently it is much more complicated than that and that Dublin is much more culpable than London.

Henry Joy
I don't think my thinking has gone awry. Unionist paranoia maybe! Fear of the big Bearded Beast!

ozzy said...

Henry Joy.
Absoulte nonsense from yourself.
For a start the whole English Votes for English laws debate will upset the unionist apple cart.
Also, under the social care bill (proposed)
The English will make councils reposses family homes to pay for social care needs.
I have no clue what stormont will do in this case.
But what Nationalist is going to support this?
The Much vaunted NHS is Broken in Wales. How long before a) that happens in the Wee 6? And B) How long until the NHS joins the probation service, the prisons, and the Post Office and the Air Traffic Control and it is Privatised?
Do you think the £20 Billion black hole in it's books might see this happen? Due to appear by 2020.
I do.
Last but not least there is the Brexit..Looking more likely by the day.
And you dare suggest that the UK is more stable that Ireland?
Pass the buckfast, please?

AM said...

The type of campaign the Irish government would wage is one of what? SF support the position its leaders directed a war to subvert - unity by consent. All the Irish government can do is campaign to have the unionists give their consent. Which will annoy the unionists even more and make them even more ill disposed to Dublin than they currently are. With SF in government the collective mind of government will be taxed by questions other than Irish unity. And who in SF is going to kick up? Where would the dissent come from?

One thing I discovered since coming to live down here is just how remote the North is in the concerns of people here. Disappointing but not surprising for me.

pat murphy said...

The free staters don't want us,the Brits want rid of us,the loyalists want to be on the mainland and the republican/nationalists want to be in the south. What the fuck are we to do?nobody wants us. If people would sit back and realise the truth,the majority here are useful to keep a minority of pricks in good jobs at their expense. How stupid can a people be that they sit with bated breath to see what benefit they are to be granted by two cunts like smarmy Dave and slick Edna?. When all ordinary men and women open their eyes and realise they are being made cunts of then and only then will there be any hope of a change for the better.

Peter said...

It seems you have blown my argument out of the water. Thanks for putting me right. However, with the current state of Stormont, the Scottish situation and the threat of UK withdrawal from the EU I can't help feeling that having Adams as Tanaiste is not good for unionism. As I said 'unionist paranoia'...

AM said...


far from any argument being blown out of the water, it remains to be seen what happens. The fact remains that not one single member of the Provisional IRA who fought for a united Ireland will live long enough to see it happen.

Henry JoY said...

Some more absolute nonsense for Ozzy.

Yes, there's a strong libertarian influence on current and future policy at work all round.

Unfortunately for the marginalised and the radicals, the conservative and aspiring classes are going to have their way for quite some time to come.

I recommend recognition of unequal forces and that accurate assessment of outcomes dictate strategy; 'striking out in confidence of victory' and all that.
If you want to pin your hopes on outdated dogma and ideology then feel free to continue with your tried, tested and failed strategies.

I see no real evidence that re-unification is on the cards any time soon. Continued focus on it is a misdirection of energies dividing the poor and marginalised and ultimately prevents the emergence of more useful and effective strategies.

(Anthony the attitude down here is currently distant but benign. I remember and lived through periods where it was distant and one of embarrassment and other times when it was cold and even hostile).