Wednesday, February 4, 2015

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Southside Provisional Kieran Conway Interviewed

John McDonagh (JM) and Sandy Boyer (SB) interview Kieran Conway (KC)  via telephone from Dublin. Kieran Conway is the author of the new book, Southside Provisional: From Freedom Fighter to the Four Courts. Thanks, as ever to TPQ's transcriber.
 
WBAI 99.5FM Pacifica Radio
New York City
24 January 2015 

 
SB:  And we're going over to Dublin to speak to Kieran Conway, the author of a new book, Southside Provisional: From Freedom Fighter to the Four Courts. And Kieran, are you on the line with us? 

KC:  I am, yes.

SB:  Thanks for being with us. And Kieran, first of all let me tell everybody that the book is available from amazon.com (Ed Note: and amazon.co.uk) and I urge everybody to buy it. But Kieran, you have a very unusual background for an IRA Volunteer. Can you tell us a little bit about that? 

KC:  Well, yes I do. I come from a middle-class background which is unusual in itself. I also come from south Dublin. My father was a British colonial servant in Malaya and was and my early years were spent there. I went to an English-type prep school. I was treated very well. I came back to Ireland when I was eleven. I was treated in the fashion that kids are treated by priests and Christian Brothers and I didn't like it very much. 

I was very much an Anglophile in keeping with the things at the time – I followed English rock music, English football and Tottenham was a grand place altogether and I couldn't wait to leave school and go and live there. Anyway, I went to University College Dublin in 1968 shortly after the student revolts in Paris, Berlin, London - in The States as well. And there was also a situation developing in The North. And I didn't join anything that year but everybody was a socialist or anarchist or synarchist and I became part of the then-trend. 

And then in '69, during the Summer after my first year, things blew up in The North. Loyalist mobs assisted by elements of the security forces attacked Catholic areas - burning down houses and killing people. And when I went back to college I joined the student branch of Sinn Féin. I thought it was the proper thing for somebody with revolutionary aspirations to do.

SB:  And Kieran, how did you find your way from there into the IRA?  Because you said in your book that it wasn't easy.

KC:  No, it wasn't. After a few months in the Republican Club I thought I should follow the logic of my so recently acquired convictions and I decided to join the IRA. Now, the Provisional IRA (there had been a split at the time) had no presence in the university and so it passed me by. It was the Officials that I tried to join. And they told me they didn't want me. They wanted me to stay in university, get my degree and then be assisted into a job in trade unionism or the media or public service. And that did happen to a lot of people, a lot of the so-called student revolutionists, did take that route. I was very disappointed and I dropped out of college in June of that year without completing my degree.  

I went to London and I later went to Belfast where I was introduced to people that were Provisionals. I took part in rioting there and I then tried to join the Provisionals in Belfast and I very nearly succeeded in becoming a member of D-Company, the 2nd Battalion,  which was a company known as “The Dogs” - very famous and was led by Brendan Hughes, a very, very famous IRA man who is now dead and whom I greatly admired. 

Anyway, I was due as I said, to join then word came from Dublin that I should go back there and join the queue. And I was very disappointed with this news and the man who was giving me the bad news took pity on me and told me that if I went to England that would be a back door route in because the English unit had recently been decimated by a Scotland Yard raid on a training session. And so I did that – I went there – I went to England the next day and within a week or so I was a member of the IRA. 

JM:  Kieran, John McDonagh here. You were in the IRA from 1970-1975 and then 1981 to 1993. 

KC:  That's correct, yes. 

JM:  Now we here at Radio Free Éireann have been covering a lot of people wanting to write about their background, particularly people like Anthony McIntyre and then Anthony went out and did the Boston tapes, and up on the walls in Belfast was “touts” – “Boston touts”.
Gerry Adams and them are very quick to say: if you know anything about anything run to the RUC, run to the Gards – tell them everything you know but then if you include Gerry Adams' name - or Martin McGuinness or certain people - then you're considered a tout.  Did you get any reaction? Because you wrote about your life and about what your experience was because that is not the easiest thing to do - particularly people living in The North.

KC:  No, I've had no reaction from Sinn Féin at all. None whatsoever.  I think that's wise. I don't think they want to get into a shouting match and I think they've ignored the book and they're quite right to do so. It's the smart thing to so. I'm very critical, as anybody that reads the book will know, of Martin McGuinness, whom I knew well, and of Gerry Adams, whom I knew less well, for the direction in which they took things. And I made that clear in my book. Aside from that I'm pretty careful. I certainly implicate myself vaguely in a series of IRA actions but I'm careful not to implicate others.   

My view, and I am a lawyer, based on statements by an ex-Minister of Justice in The South is that they have no interest down here in prosecuting historic IRA cases but they obviously do in The North where they arrested Gerry Adams last April and where Ivor Bell, an ex-senior IRA man, has been charged with membership way back in 1972.  So I'll be avoiding Belfast for the foreseeable. 

JM :  Yeah – like I said – it is a different reaction to both – this is the difference between winning and losing a revolutionary struggle... 

KC:  ...that's right... 

JM: ...when you lose the British call the shots.  And one particular thing I want to talk about was that you spent time in Crumlin Road Gaol. And my daughters went up and they went on the tour and I've been to Crumlin Road a few times visiting prisoners at the time during The Troubles. And now they now have what's known as The Crum Coffee Shop and they have paranormal tours.  (John reads from tourist brochure). Crumlin Road Gaol is reputed to be one of the most haunted sites in all of Belfast. You explore the paranormal hot spots. (reading ends).This is the way they treat the prisons up there as compared say to say Kilmainham down in Dublin which just shows you who does who doest win - who doesn't. Sinn Féin can't even get Long Kesh to be some sort of a museum dedicated to the 1981 hunger strikes - and the reason that you left – what was the reason you left in 1993?  And why did you join the IRA? I mean, what were you goals?

KC:  Well, my goals were a socialist republic. I started off as a Communist rather than a Republican or a Nationalist. And it just seemed to me that Irish Republicanism, in particular the Provisionals, were the vehicle to deliver that and that's why I joined. And I very much believed that we were going to attain those goals. Certainly I believed that til the mid-'80's when I was thirty-five by then and began to feel well, maybe this isn't going to go entirely our way but it'll go part of the way and I stayed in. 

But in 1993, the Downing Street Declaration came out in December of that year and a group of us watched the press conference and the Declaration itself being announced on television - we watched that down in the An Phoblacht offices in Dublin - and we were expecting certain things to be said.  We expected in particular that the British would give some indication of a desire to leave The North.  Nothing of the sort happened. In fact they simply re-stated their position as it was, as it had been right through the '70's, the 80's and 90's and still is which was that the Loyalists had a veto on Irish unity and the British would not be pressurising them in any sort of way to give.   

And we were all terribly disappointed and shortly after that a phone call came through from Gerry Adams who said that people should settle down - that there was enough in the Downing Street Declaration for them to work with. And at that stage I just said to myself: right, I'm out of here. And I walked away and that was it. I never went back. 

SB: And we're talking to Kieran Conway the author of Southside Provisional: From Freedom Fighter to the Four Courts. Kieran, looking back, you gave about seventeen years of your life to the IRA, you went to prison, you were in Long Kesh, you were Director of Intelligence. Looking back, what do you feel? Was it all worth it? 

KC:  No. It was – I mean, Look, in my own personal role I met some very fine people and I mean you can't re-live your life and you know, it seemed like the right thing to do at the time. So I've no personal regrets but... 

SB:  ...What do you feel?  Was it all worth it? 

KC:  No. It was - as to what happened - it was a futile, useless waste of lives and the result could have been achieved without the loss of a single drop of blood and that is a tragedy. And I mean I took part in activities where people suffered serious harm and worse and I regret that – I really regret that because it was such a waste. 

JM:  You know what, Kieran? With now time and the release of the British papers – you know with the thirty year or the twenty year rule - and to see everything that went on – the amount of informers, the amount of what the British were up to – you were talking about that you were Intelligence - one of the people you got to hang out with was out here in New York City – sent out here by Gerry Adams on behalf of the IRA and that was Denis Donaldson. I'll never forget when I got the phone call from my friend in the Bronx, Brian Mór, and he said: Listen, Denis Donaldson's holding a news conference in Dublin. I said: Well, I know Denis. I hung out with him. I hung out with him in Belfast. He's probably going to denounce the peace process or something. He goes:  No, I don't think he's going to be doing that. I couldn't believe it when they said that he had been working for British intelligence for thirty years and then when you see what Scappaticci and some of the people in Doire – towards the end the British were running the IRA almost lock, stock and barrel.

KC  Yes, it does seem like that to a certain extent. Certainly – well look - in some sort of way they were in control of – and I'm not for a moment suggesting that Adams or McGuinness were informers - but in some way they were manipulated or wanted to be manipulated to produce the result they did. 

Yeah, in relation to Denis I was as shocked as you were. I knew him.   I was in goal with him both in Crumlin Road when there were fewer us and in Long Kesh and I liked him – I liked him a lot. He was on the extreme-left of the movement, as was I and my Commander in Long Kesh, Billy McKee, had no problem with that at all – he had no problem with our politics. But I was as shocked as you were at the revelation that Denis had been an informer for many years. 

SB:  And we're talking with Kieran Conway, the author of Southside Provisional. Kieran, in your book you talk about your intense admiration for Martin McGuinness when he was the Officer Commanding in Doire. How do you feel about him now? 

KC: Well, he was a very striking figure as a young man – I mean he was only twenty-one – the same age as I was then - a natural leader - one of those people that you come across very, very rarely that strikes you immediately and you know this guy has something special.  He was a marvelous fellow – I liked him an awful lot. And he's no fool. He knows what's happening. And he knows that they settled for what they settled for. And I'm very disappointed in him personally but you know – that's the way it goes. It's twenty years later I've mellowed a bit, you know but... 

SB:  But on the other hand, you never seem to have much time for Gerry Adams. 

KC:  No, Gerry wasn't that sort of person. I think I've said if you were stuck in a room with him he'd flick through a newspaper rather than talk to you unlike Dave O'Connell and leaders of the past. 

And I've since heard that if you go on a car journey with him he sticks the earphones in – he'd say hello to you and stick the earphones and then that's it until you get to your destination which I thought was very, very impolite. 

JM:  And Kieran, the movement seemed to strategically have New York as an important part of the Republican struggle because they kept sending people over here – like Joe Cahill, and Denis Donaldson, and Hugh Feeney and even Martin McGuinness was out here buying weapons out in Brooklyn with George Harrison. Did you ever make it out here?And why was the importance of New York?  Because it's quite obvious -  it's quite important now with the peace process but during the times of The Troubles - I'm telling you now The Irish People's office was like a revolving door of IRA men coming-and-going that were being sent over. 

KC:  No. I was supposed to go to The States at some stage but unfortunately it fell through and I'm sorry because I've never been there – I'd loved to go but now, unless I lie on the visa form I ain't getting in and I'm not prepared to take the chance of lying on the visa form – so that's a personal disappointment that I'll never see The States. But yeah, New York was terribly important particularly right through this – look, in Irish history generally - for supporting physical force Republicanism but certainly during the 60's, 70's, 80's right up to the Libyan arms shipment - until that stuff came through from a completely different source. Basically everything - every weapon, every bullet, every bit of equipment that the IRA had - was courtesy of people in the US so it was vital to the struggle. 

JM:  And how did they pick the people to go to New York because it's quite obvious the British targeted them to make sure that whoever was sent over, particularly with Denis Donaldson, and I'll never forget I was in The Irish People newspaper and the FBI raided the office because at that time it was Hugh Feeney who blew up The Old Bailey and managed to make it to New York - so they arrested him and sent him out and then strategically - Lo and Behold! Denis Donaldson, the British agent, is sent over to  represent the Movement and really put us into line here in New York about what was coming down the pike particularly with the peace process.

KC:  Well, I didn't know anything about that. All that would have been kept pretty tight. From a military point of view that would have been run by the Director of Purchase - do you know what I mean? He was the figure whose job it was to acquire arms, money and equipment from abroad. And then from a Sinn Féin point of view it would have been done by their Foreign Affairs Department.  So there's a bit of a split there and you might not be too sure who you were talking to IRA man or Sinn Féin rep. 

But yeah, Joe Cahill in particular was a figure that New Yorkers seemed to know best and I think he was sent over a good bit to calm them down and stuff like that and to assure them that everything was going smoothly. 

SB:  And Kieran, you said that looking back it wasn't worth a drop of blood. I assume that's because of what they settled for... 

KC: ...Well, yes it is that was the only settlement available to them.  What I mean by that, and I can appreciate the logical contradiction there - Am I saying had we achieved our aims then everything would have been okay? I haven't really got over that in my head. There's a contradiction there and I'm just living with it.  But yeah, I suppose what I'm saying is that the part that Martin McGuinness is sitting in Stormont as Deputy First Minister - I mean that could have been achieved way back at the time of Sunningdale and it was all on offer. The only difference would be you'd have SDLP or somebody on that seat instead of a Sinn Féin one but that would make no difference at all to the people in The North. None whatsoever. There's no difference in policy between Sinn Féin and the SDLP. 

JM:  And back in 1986 at the Ard Fheis, the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis,  Ruarí Ó Bráidaigh laid this all out:  if you're going to sit in The Dáil you're going to sit in Stormont and Westminster. And now what Provisional Sinn Féin, or I would say British Sinn Féin, are fighting for within Stormont it is now to get into the debates within the British election and they don't even take their seats. 

And they're fighting over flags.  And they're fighting over demonstrations or Orange marches in The Six Counties. So as you were saying: is this why anybody joined the Provisional Movement or the larger family of the Republican Movement to see if a flag flies over the Belfast City Hall?  Or somebody marches on July 12th?  Or I got to be on the BBC because I have to join the BBC election debate? I mean it has gotten so – it's unbelievable – and they will be sitting in Westminster very shortly because there's not a seat that they won't take eventually. 

KC:  I'm not too sure about that but maybe, yeah. I owe a personal apology to Ruarí Ó Brádaigh which I did transmit through a third party but I was to see him not long before he died and I didn't make it down to Roscommon and I really regret that.I was at the Army Convention in 1986 that made the decision to allow Sinn Féin to take their seats in The South. And I supported it at the time. But I was wrong. And I always wanted to apologise to Ruarí for (crosstalk) ...
 
JM:  And Kieran, that was all rigged from you could say the Army Council that voted that time and the Sinn Féin Ard Fheis that who was allowed to vote during that election to force the split with Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, Joe O'Neill and all of that. 

KC:  There's some suggestion the Army Convention was rigged and I'm not really sure. I don't think – the leadership was doing pretty well at the time – I don't think they had a problem getting the majority for its position. The majority of IRA men didn't give a toss what Sinn Féin did, do you know what I mean? They didn't mind - they were just too busy with trying to accomplish their own missions to worry about Sinn Féin. And as regards to Sinn Féin itself the large majority for leadership - I don't think there's anything terribly twisted about it. 

SB:  And we've been talking to Kieran Conway about his new book, Southside Provisional, which you can buy on amazon.com. So Kieran, thank you very much for being with us. 

JM:  So, Kieran, it's like Anthony McIntyre and a lot of them: you can write about it, have a book published but you'll not be coming over here doing a book reading here in Brooklyn. 

KC:  No, I would love to but I can't. Oh, can I tell you one thing –   a recent development that I've heard about:  You know that Republican prisoners are currently housed in Maghaberry Prison in The North – they have banned by book – the prison administration. So I've emailed them twice trying and find out on what basis they've done this. And I've done that from my solicitor's email but they seem determined to ignore my communications. So I will be trying to do something about that but anyway, we'll see. But I mean, back in my time in Long Kesh they didn't bother with that sort of petty nonsense you know so - things are worse, if anything. 

SB:  Well, Kieran thank you very much. 

KC:  Okay.  You're very welcome. 

SB: And again you can buy that book on amazon.com and I urge you to do so. And Kieran, thank you very much and now I'm going back to John to wrap up the show. 

JM:  Yeah, and also Eliza just texted me – she said you can also get it on Kindle.  I would recommend you in getting it because he's lucky he's sitting in Dublin writing about his exploits in the IRA. If he was out of Belfast there could be wall murals going up about him being a tout – and how dare he share his life story in a book form because in The Six Counties you get a lot of the diatribe from Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness saying: Listen, if you know anything about anything that happened in the past thirty years go to the PSNI – tell them what's going on. And then when you write a book mentioning: well, Gerry Adams told me to do this or Gerry Adams sent me to England to blow up things up, then it's: Whoa, Whoa, Whoa!  Stop the horses there! We don't want to give too much information about what's going on!

38 comments :

Henry JoY said...

"SB: ...What do you feel? Was it all worth it?

KC: No. It was - as to what happened - it was a futile, useless waste of lives and the result could have been achieved without the loss of a single drop of blood and that is a tragedy. And I mean I took part in activities where people suffered serious harm and worse and I regret that – I really regret that because it was such a waste.............SB: And Kieran, you said that looking back it wasn't worth a drop of blood. I assume that's because of what they settled for...
KC: ...Well, yes it is that was the only settlement available to them. What I mean by that, and I can appreciate the logical contradiction there - Am I saying had we achieved our aims then everything would have been okay? I haven't really got over that in my head. There's a contradiction there and I'm just living with it. But yeah, I suppose what I'm saying is that the part that Martin McGuinness is sitting in Stormont as Deputy First Minister - I mean that could have been achieved way back at the time of Sunningdale and it was all on offer. The only difference would be you'd have SDLP or somebody on that seat instead of a Sinn Féin one but that would make no difference at all to the people in The North. None whatsoever. There's no difference in policy between Sinn Féin and the SDLP."

Kieran, like the majority of Republicans, is unwilling/unable to call out the elephant in the room, to own up to the fact that the Republic of 1916 was and is a myth, an unrealistic and unachievable goal. Unrealistic and unachievable insofar as it never addressed the strength and legitimacy of Unionist aspirations and opposition.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Republicans have generally tended towards rape where the Unionists were concerned, rather than trying to successfully woo them.

Its well past time republican bully-boys (and girls) got their heads round that!

marty said...

I was given this book as a chrissie pressie from Anthony, I found this book to be a very honest account of one mans journey within the PRM,no complaints from me ..

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

Your comment is amusing, and to quote Churchill as some kind of arbiter of morality was hardly inspired.

What would you call the Penal laws and the Protestant ascendancy .... some kind of sweet romantic seduction? Only thing wrong with the unionists is that they were never given what they had coming to them.

larry hughes said...

As for the book, it is a good to the point no nonsense work. I was initially dismissive of it because of where the author was coming from. I thought oh ffs an early version of Mary Lou Fatdonald. But, couldn't have been more mistaken. Was actually chatting with a friend about it over New Year in Armagh and we agreed he sums things up extremely well.

ozzy said...

"To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Republicans have generally tended towards rape where the Unionists were concerned, rather than trying to successfully woo them.

Its well past time republican bully-boys (and girls) got their heads round that!
=======================
Henry..Is that the same Winston Churchill who said "history will be kind to me because I shall write it myself"
So, hum ok. You're alright quoting him.
As for wooing unionists.
How can you woo a charmless, hatchet faced Calvinist killjoys. Who can't see the noses at the end of their faces.

Sorry Henry..
The Irish went to America.
They Sing old Glory, They salute the stars and stripes.
6 Million Irish descent in Britain they have assimilated.

The ONUS is on ALL emigrants to assimilate into their NEW homeland.
Not Vice Versa.
Without the bullyboy Brits behind these Orange Cancer..
It would be so, already.
Strange your focus is elsewhere.
Henry Joy Sell out Feather merchant.

AM said...

I have enjoyed it. It was particularly good on the jails - Need to finish it now as I got waylaid. And you managed to get to the end of it Marty before I did!!

Henry JoY said...

Yes, Larry he sums things up well in as far as he goes. He is however unable/unwilling to go the distance in his critique.
My comments were addressed to the article in which Kieran clearly states,

"Am I saying had we achieved our aims then everything would have been okay? I haven't really got over that in my head. There's a contradiction there and I'm just living with it."

If you and 'ozzy' insist on justifying the attempted rape of Unionism, 'she had it coming to her, the tart!' then that is your wont.
I'd contest that such comments have their roots in sectarian hatred rather than in true republicanism.
Nice attempt to deflect from the substance of my argument though.

Migration 'ozzy' is a mixed bag. ALL settlers don't necessarily have an ONUS to assimilate to the culture of the natives. That's not just borne out by experience. Check out the reality of your assertions with some native Americans or Australian aborigines.
Your point falls.

Seán McGouran said...

The balloon went up in Northern Ireland after the 'Taigs' took to the streets with such revolutionary slogans as "British Rights for British Citizens".
The response of the 'Ulster is British' Unionists', their gendarmerie, the RUC, and their mass-militia the B-Specials / (Ulster Special Constabulary from 1968) was to beat the 'Civil Righters' off the streets, the siege of the Bogside in Derry, Ardoyne in Belfast (from May '69!), - and finally a pogrom directed at people who lived along Divis Street and the lower end of the Falls Road. There were six killed (immediately) dozens (at the east) injured and hundreds of houses burned to the ground.
Incidentally, the 'first serving British soldier' killed in Ireland since 1922 was Trooper McCabe, shot in his bed, sleeping in his parents' flat in the Divis Flats complex.
The assault recommenced the next day and Bombay Street was gutted in a matter of minutes - probably by élite units of the USC. It was such a ferocious - and professional - assault that the mostly newly recruited British soldiers ran away.
If this sort of background information is not factored-in to analysis - you'll find yourself floundering about in the morass of mis-, & disinformation created by the UK Govt., and its publicity outlet, the BBC.
Trooper McCabe and five others, were killed by heavy machine-gun fire from armoured cars.

James said...

"To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Republicans have generally tended towards rape where the Unionists were concerned, rather than trying to successfully woo them.

Wow, there is a brass old neck from Mr Warmonger himself. I suppose you could say that in the 70's 80's 90's up today via socialist republican did try to woo the, via republican clubs and workers party non sectarian non military approach.

Not very successfully mind you.

I plan on reading this book.



Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

"To paraphrase Winston Churchill, Republicans have generally tended towards rape where the Unionists were concerned, rather than trying to successfully woo them.

Its well past time republican bully-boys (and girls) got their heads round that!"


I see we’ve another sufferer of ‘Acute PLU Amnesia Disease’ .

It’s evident that most of your community suffer from the above condition and some are more affected than others as they’ve proven time and again that they have absolutely no recollections or knowledge of past actions committed by their forefathers or their fellow brethren in Ireland prior to 1922 except of course for July 12ths etc when they heroically recall visions of their dashing homo on horseback!

As Arlene Foster once said in a live televised debate “ Well how far back do you want me to go? I‘m not getting into the past I‘m only prepared to deal with the present” (The real PLU past is just too embarrassingly ugly to look at)

The wrong footers like you who frequent this blog while showing high levels of intelligence in other regards don’t wish to remember how your forefathers implemented their superiority on the indefensible majority of native inhabitants of this island, and even if you are willing to acknowledge any wrong doing by your forefathers you have absolutely no desire to right those wrongs.

The facts are and they shall always remain that the island of Ireland was invaded by among others self serving terrorists from Britain who enforced their undemocratic will on the native inhabitants of this island and even to this day, they still continue to hold to ransom and enslave the will of ALL the people of this island in the natural progression of their true destiny.

Prior to the proclaiming of the phrase ‘Irish terrorists’ which the British and people like yourself are so keen to sprout, the fact also remains that previous British monarchy’s wrote and enforced their very own book of global international terrorism and your forefathers played a large part in its implementation in Ireland by trying to wipe out the Irish by an array of methods.

So please don’t insult the intelligence of the good people of this blog by quoting from the tongue of a fat English bed wetting cigar chomping cunt by the name of Winston Churchill!

Henry JoY said...

Sean Ó M.

The boundaries of most countries in Europe and the Middle East were more than malleable during fuedal times. Someone was always invading someone else's land.
Our collective destiny is to learn to live with impermanence, ambiguity and uncertainty. Get with the programme, you clown!

Henry JoY said...

Seán McG.

No one is suggesting that the Provisionals were 'an immaculate conception'. They were a product of the corrupt environment no doubt.
What I'm attempting to draw attention to, and what you and other posters have conveniently ignored, is the fact that Kieran wasn't able to articulate a viable alternative to the actions of Adams and McGuinness.

"Am I saying had we achieved our aims then everything would have been okay? I haven't really got over that in my head. There's a contradiction there and I'm just living with it."

My musings merely offer an answer to what Kieran can't or won't get over in his head... We couldn't coerce the Unionists into an all-Ireland state. It was never really on the cards.

Painful as it may be, it would be best for everyone to face up to all of that.

Organized Rage said...

Kieran has written a very good book, one of the best of its kind so far. I admire him greatly as he is one of the few members of the middle classes to get into the same trench as the nationalist northern working classes.

With respect to the comrades in New York they failed to draw him out as they took it for granted he was in the same dissident trench as them. In my opinion he is not.

His thoughts about the peace process and the likes of Adams is very estute. He sees it as Adams plan B, "to cover for an eventualy of an IRA failure, but there is no way he could or did make the IRA fail. And he was the only one who even had a plan B."

The problem with the disident take, it egnores the reality on the ground and the options open to the Provisional movment if they were to carve out a viable alternative form of struggle, the sacrifices of the IRA volunteers had brought them.

Kieran writes:
Theres no shame in failure and these were the chips to use. For sure, I've since jumped up and down and shaken my fist at the television at the sight and sound of republican spokespersons and, yes Gerry Adams is a mendacious, lying bastard. But what else could he be? For the movment could never have been taken in the direction he took it without some dissembling."

He later adds:

"Or, perhaps, as Kevin Mallon once joked, 'Adams simply stood there, in the enveloping mess, and acted as if he had planned it all along-and then it just came to seem that way'."

Seán McGouran said...

"Their dashing homo...", as opposed to the dashing hetero on horseback, on the other side?

AM said...

Mick,

I think Adams could have been a lot else. He could have been a leader who laid down the strategic options to those he worked with. He could have allowed them to decide whether they wanted to die in the trenches for a project that he had decided to abandon even if he genuinely considered it unattainable.

I have never yet spoken to a Brit or Irish government official who did not defend Adams on the same grounds.

Kieran was very much wrong when he assumes Adams could not have been anything else. All that does is legitimise mendacious lying bastardism and makes it harder to depict leadership as something to be trusted. That fuels another perception you rightly attacked one time on this blog - the notion that leaders and bureaucrats are responsible for all failings due to their deviousness and treachery.

That notion cannot be usurped while mendacious lying bastardism is presented as being the only show in town to which there is no alternative.

A good book although in my view it is best for its portrayal of the jails. Need to finish it however.

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

'Our collective destiny is to learn to live with impermanence, ambiguity and uncertainty. Get with the programme, you clown!'

Agreed, your lot are on an irreversible downward trajectory and 'right' will triumph in the end.

If a hood stole your car...how long must he keep it until it is legally his?

All manner of excuses doesn't cannot change what your manky mob are all about. SF are your best option, it will only get worse for you the longer it goes on.

Yep... sometimes life is gooood

Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

Henry JoY said...

"The boundaries of most countries in Europe and the Middle East were more than malleable during fuedal times. Someone was always invading someone else's land."

So that's were your so called 'legitimacy' stems from and you expect me to accept it?

"Our collective destiny is to learn to live with impermanence, ambiguity and uncertainty. Get with the programme, you clown!"

Your philosophical jargon cuts no mustard with me, if I was oblivious to you being a pro Unionist who covertly uses every opportunity that arises to you to bash and ridicule all things Irish republican I just might have believed you.

Tell me this, do you consider Henry Joy McCracken to have been a ‘republican bully-boy’?

and do the Dutch nationals jerk off to William of orange as often as Unionists?
(I can play the clown if you want)

Seán McGouran said...

"Their dashing homo...", as opposed to the dashing hetero on horseback, on the other side?

It would be a perverse form of Republicanism to have an idol within monarchies, so no it made no difference to republicans if the fight involved either a homo & a hetero, even homos or heteros on both sides, bottom line to hell with both.

Henry JoY said...

Larry

" your lot ... your manky mob"

I don't understand to what, or to whom you're alluding to there????

"If a hood stole your car...how long must he keep it until it is legally his?"

I had my car stolen, almost twenty years ago now, and once the insurance cheque arrived I never gave it another thought (in the interim, a mate who had a spare old banger came and offered it to me free gratis).

Life can only be lived on life's terms Larry; best to take it as it comes, rather than demanding it be as we wish it. Such a stance is somewhat infantile really, don't you think?

grouch said...

henry joy mc crackhead, u are a errorist. one of the most brutal errorists the north ever produced.

taken from the independent october 2010
"He gladly took part in raids that laid waste to whole valleys, destroying houses and burning crops. He then sped off to help reconquer the Sudan, where he bragged that he personally shot at least three "savages".

The young Churchill charged through imperial atrocities, defending each in turn. When concentration camps were built in South Africa, for white Boers, he said they produced "the minimum of suffering". The death toll was almost 28,000, and when at least 115,000 black Africans were likewise swept into British camps, where 14,000 died, he wrote only of his "irritation that Kaffirs should be allowed to fire on white men". Later, he boasted of his experiences there: "That was before war degenerated. It was great fun galloping about."

Then as an MP he demanded a rolling programme of more conquests, based on his belief that "the Aryan stock is bound to triumph". There seems to have been an odd cognitive dissonance in his view of the "natives". In some of his private correspondence, he appears to really believe they are helpless children who will "willingly, naturally, gratefully include themselves within the golden circle of an ancient crown".

But when they defied this script, Churchill demanded they be crushed with extreme force. As Colonial Secretary in the 1920s, he unleashed the notorious Black and Tan thugs on Ireland's Catholic civilians, and when the Kurds rebelled against British rule, he said: "I am strongly in favour of using poisoned gas against uncivilised tribes...[It] would spread a lively terror."

what was that u were saying about winston and rape. what do u make of the gassing, concentration camps - and we taught hitler started all that. are u full of shit or what?

Henry JoY said...

SOM

Believe what you want Seán. Accept or reject what you want. You're free to do so!

Though you don't have to agree with everything I say please afford, the same freedoms and rights that you rightfully claim for yourself, to me to express my views and opinions.

And if you can follow the logic of that, the Unionists must be afforded the same rights too. They had and have a legitimate right to aspire to maintain the union.

Republicans have to face up to the fact that imposing their will upon unionism has consequences. And face up to the reality that the actions of 1916 had consequences in that context also.

To my mind that has not been addressed by Irish Republicans of most hues.

I am of the opinion that this is where Kieran and most republicans are stuck.
As Mick alluded to in his comments, John and Sandy missed an opportunity in this interview to mine and develop Kieran's thinking around the causes of failure of the last phase. In fact they assiduously avoided it. Perhaps unconsciously, but they avoided opening up a debate that Irish Republicanism really needs to face up to if it is to survive in any meaningful way. If it is to survive in any meaningful way save being an adjunct for Northern Free-Staters, Southern Free State politicians and Glasgow Celtic FC!

pat murphy said...

Grouch,sore sides laughing,"Henry joy McCrackhead". Excellent.

Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

Henry J

I understand your position and I have absolutely no issues whatsoever in your entitlement and rights to air your views and opinions and I think I’m right in saying that that’s a hell of a lot more than unionists ever alluded republicans until their hand was forced in recent times.

One thing which I believe pro unionists fail to comprehend is the depths of suffering through persecution that generations of Irish natives suffered at the hands of outsiders originating from Britain, and until unionist can grasp the magnitude of Britain’s fatal irreparable error in Ireland unionists will never fully understand Irish republicanism.

The Irish republican gripe with Britain was never a religious one it was a moral and just one, and I believe Ireland’s greatest misfortune was Britain’s ability to play one section of the Irish community against the other which has brought us to the mess we’re all in today.


I think this thread needs to get back on track in regards to the book which i hope to read after i get through Tommy Mckearney's insurrection to parliament.

Henry JoY said...

"henry joy mc crackhead, u are a errorist. one of the most brutal errorists the north ever produced."

Infamy, infamy ... you've got it in for me 'grouch'!

At this time I can neither confirm nor deny that I'm an errorist, that I have ever been involved in acts of errorism or indeed that I have ever associated with errorists.

I will not make any further comment on such matters until I consult with my legal advisor. After consulting with my advisor/advisers I may (or may not) be in a postion to respond to your allegations.

larry hughes said...

Enery Joyless

My parents generation took your advice and sucked-up a Nazi Orange state for 50 years. My own generation was less spineless and I expect future generations will be even more forceful. You can gloat about Churchill and might is right all you like. Demographics show the huns here are an aged crowd praying for a happy death. Lets hope they don't get one.

Henry JoY said...

Seán Ó M.

Let me, if I may, pull the conversation back a bit and address a question you posed earlier about whether I believe was, 'Henry Joy McCracken a republican bully boy too?, for I believe its relevant to our differing opinions and the justifications you make in your last comment.

1798 was much closer to a popular uprising; a groundswell of resistance to elitism with potential broad support across religious divides. There was general support among the masses; even more-so than had ever existed in our history before or since.
Also there wasn't such a large concentrated cohort of opposition among the citizenry as existed pre-1916 in the form of Unionism, a particularly concentrated opposition in a defined geographical location.

That '98 has been woven into the lore of all that has happened before and subsequent to 1916 is hardly surprising. However I'd contend that the link between what happened in the closing years of the eighteenth century and what happened throughout the twentieth century in terms of republicanism are tenuous at best.

That's not of course to dismiss all of your argument, for there is veracity to some of your points. Yes, non-unionists had a difficult time in the Northern State. We got the shitty end of the stick for long enough. And it did require us taking a stand for ourselves in order to overcome all of that.

In time I believe that most sane people will come to realise that all that followed onto the Sunningdale Agreement in 1974 was counter-productive. And the antithesis of all that the founding fathers of 1798 stood and died for.

I do understand what people went through, for I lived through most of it myself and heard the difficult stories of it from my parents and grand-parents who lived through it too. However I can't see any benefit in having knocked the stick out of the Unionists hands we now over them the shitty end. The stick needs to be thrown out completely. That to me fits better with a 'republican ethos' of freedom, fraternity and equality.

Isn't it a bit shallow saying the cause was a moral and just one and yet not to behave and act in a just and moral way, regardless of past injustices?

Henry JoY said...

"future generations will be even more forceful ............. the huns here are an aged crowd praying for a happy death. Lets hope they don't get one."

More of what could be construed by some as thinly veiled incitement to hatred form Mr Hughes.

grouch said...

mc crackhead, i interpreted larrys comment as he wanted them to never die, to live forever, eternal union with, er... unionism, that kinda thing.

Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

Henry J

Not being ignorant or anything but I don’t wish to get into a drawn out debate with long servos going in both directions because I don’t have the time and enthusiasm to sustain it.

Granted things were different in 1798 and the insurrection had a proportional level of support from Scottish presbyterians and protestant dissenters alike and those who did take part had first hand experience of England’s overseas policy of discrimination and exploitation in its occupied territories.
The passage of time bears witness to the deviousness and evilness of Britton’s involvement in this island which has consistently been departmental to the health, wealth , faith and general well being of its native subjects.

Moving forward to post 1922 I may be wrong but I think it was David Trimble who produced the quote
that N.Ireland was a cold house for catholics and I think that was an over exaggeration of unionist hospitality towards us, the reality being much closer to a Warsaw ghetto.

I acknowledge the fact that republican values in the most recent conflict at times became de-railed and descended into the worst form sectarianism which is now a stain we unfortunately have to live with but I still believe the ideal which Tone, McCracken, Emmet, Pearse, Mellows, Sands believed in was a just one and that the fundamentals of what they stood for remained the same.

In simpler terms I see Ireland as being stuck in a forced marriage with a brutal rapist were persistent beatings have been routinely handed out should she complain, and to shut her up she is sometimes drip fed superficial changes and the lead around her neck is lengthened a little more which is exactly what is occurring. (again)

larry hughes said...

Henry Joy

The 1798 debacle was nothing more than a bunch of greedy wee hun Presbyterians trying to pull a fast one on England out of pure self interest. When they got their wee hun necks wrung and realised what went down in France and the USA wasn't on here they screamed loyalty to the crown instead...total polar opposite...but the self interest was the same...loyalty to the half crown. I don't buy into the bullshit of these delusional republicans and their Prod taig and dissenter junk....I see the prods for what they are. I don't live in 1916 cloud cuckoo land. As for hatred....I don't see why the prods should have a monopoly on that. Right back at them.

larry hughes said...

Grouch

nope...I want them all to drown in a big bucket of dogs piss. Push their heads down to the bubbles stop.

Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

ffs that's detrimental not departmental, I'll need to be more careful with spelling and at least read over what i've written before submitting, my old reading glasses are not much help with that though!

Henry JoY said...

Seán the woman I live with often reminds me 'that every adult is a broken-hearted idealist'. So forgive me if I no longer feel bound to the ideals to which you still adhere too.

We're in agreement that we've had a brutal history. Yes it was like being stuck in a forced and abusive marriage.

I'd contend that the changes of recent times, even if there're far from perfect, have been much more than superficial though.
The abused party now enjoys greater protection insofar as a 'Protection Order' has been put in place. Even though the abuser is still sometimes hostile he can no longer act with impunity. He can't get away with his former behaviour without exposure and censure. I'm of the opinion (that) that's as good as it gets for now. Otherwise its only a return to the horror of the past.

In the meantime the family can choose to get on with it as best they can or they can stay stuck in resentment about the unfairness of it all.

Too many get stuck in resentment. Life eventually leaves them behind.

(There's no need to put yourself under pressure to respond Seán if you haven't time or presently haven't the inclination for debate. We're probably clear on each others positions. I can live with that).

Henry JoY said...

your words are bitter and sound hateful Larry.

Seán Ó Maoilearca said...

Henry J

Here's a few recommendations for you from my bookshelf but i'm inclined to think that a well read individual like yourself probably has them or has at least read them.

The United Irishmen and the Government of Ireland 1791-1801.
(A linen hall library production)

Seventeen Ninety Eight Myth and Truth.
(David Kelleher)

To Right Some Things That We Thought Wrong.....The spirit of 1798 and presbyterian radicalism in Ulster. (David Hume)

Their not much bigger than pamphlets but they provide a balanced insight.

Peter said...

Henry Joy

But that is what is great about Larry's posts. There is no '32 county secular socialist republic' bullshit from him, he wants an Irish catholic ireland. This idea that Irish republicanism is founded on sound progressive ideals cuts no mustard with Larry. Planters go home! And the reason why republicanism has failed.

Henry JoY said...

Thanks for the reading recommendations Seán.

larry hughes said...

Peter

a minority insisting this is not Ireland and poisoning the political development of this country for centuries deserve no pampering. Hope they get all they deserve and more at the love ulster insulting parade. Even 'ulster' is a deformity at their hand. Neither republican nor catholic....simply don't pander to evil scum.

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