Thursday, March 23, 2017

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Managing Defeat

Via The Transcripts: Dan Damon speaks to former IRA member now author and political commentator, Anthony McIntyre, about the death of Martin McGuinness. 

World Update
BBC World Service

(begins time stamp ~33:54)

TT Note: Where’s the audio? At the time of posting it is not available for download from the BBC. Please use the hyperlinked title ‘World Update’ to listen along as you read. Thank you.

Dan: Not everyone sees Martin McGuinness as a force for positive change. I’ve been speaking to the former IRA operative, Anthony McIntyre. He spent eighteen years in prison for the killing of a British soldier. I asked him how does he think Martin McGuinness will be remembered?

Anthony: I think he managed the defeat of the IRA campaign. The IRA campaign was designed towards getting the British out of Ireland and coercing the British out of Ireland and the British had insisted on, if there was to be any constitutional change, it would be through consent. The IRA campaign failed to remove the rock of consent and smashed itself to smithereens on that rock and Martin McGuinness and others, like Gerry Adams, managed the defeat. So I think the IRA had been defeated anyway but Martin McGuinness helped manage it and, in that sense, he built the peace process and established political institutions in The North which many people will think is certainly much better than his previous activity which was war-making.

Dan: But as you say, there is still a British presence, okay – much less militarised than before – but the overall point of the campaign didn’t get what it set out to achieve.

Anthony: That’s very true. The IRA campaign failed. There’s been a revisionist history coming into play very much sort of to suggest that the IRA campaign was aimed at equality within The North. Many years ago there used to be slogans, IRA slogans, on the walls of Belfast and Doire that ‘God made the Catholics but the Armalite had made them equal.’ So there was a view that it was through the IRA’s campaign that the IRA had been made equal. This myth that the IRA fought for some sort of equality within a British state within The North of Ireland is simply that – it’s mythologising.

Dan: Why did you, if you disapproved and you disagreed with the way that that was achieved, that power-sharing agreement, why didn’t you join the dissident IRA groups – Real IRA, Continuity IRA?

Anthony: Well I mean I don’t think that there’s any Republican military answer to the question of partition. In fact, I don’t think there’s any Republican answer to the question of partition. I cannot see how military activity will achieve anything whatsoever and I’d seen that the IRA campaign had failed to move the British state away from the consent principle in the slightest therefore why would anybody want to associate themselves, any thinking person, want to associate themselves with campaigns of much lesser potential, much lesser ability, to achieve something that a much bigger campaign had failed to achieve? These groups, the armed groups, often talk about ‘the right of the Irish people to be free from British rule’ but they never ask the obvious question that would follow it: Do the same Irish people not have a right to be free from the violent methods that some groups use to achieve the end of British rule?

Dan: How does his passing change the potential for Northern Ireland and its future – possible links with the Republic?

Anthony: I think his star was on the wane. I mean he has been replaced by a woman with no military past that anybody’s aware of. I’m uncertain but I don’t think that the Sinn Féin narrative will be totally kind to Martin McGuinness. In the immediate future we will see all sorts of eulogies, as we’d seen for Ian Paisley, describing him as a ‘statesman’ when he more, was more accurately described, could be more accurately described, as a ‘hatesman’. But that’s not the type of language that makes its way into the official discourse.

That’s Anthony McIntyre who was a former IRA operative.

(ends time stamp ~ 37:44)


larry hughes said...


James Quigley said...

Well said Anthony.

Ruthless in war, ruthless in peace. Unfortunately we did not realise then what some today see as the futility and horrors of war, how people can be used and abused by political leaders and establishment forces. Perhaps our ignorance or manipulation is the result of historical revisionism, romanticising or hiding historical events. It seems even in the midst of the so called 'peace process' Sinn Fein leadership have difficulty acknowledging responsibility and are now in the process of glorying in the so called 'peace process' and electoral gains. It seems revisionism and romanticising history is set to continue.

The question of acknowledging responsibility is paramount in my opinion. The British and sectarian loyalists have never and still don't acknowledge their contribution to the problems in the North. To my mind that was the root cause of the trouble. Even the southern state and politicians, media and so called scholars have a lot to answer for. The IRA or Republicanism are a result of imperialism, sectarianism and political ineptitude and until this is acknowledged there will only be a manipulated and false 'peace' but never a solution.

menace said...

One always has to respect integrity, especially where one agrees with it.
Maith tú Anthony, and young Lorenzo.

Steve R said...


Sorry, not following you. What did you mean by 'Hatesman'?

Niall said...

Honest answers are sometimes the most painful to digest but the current narrative of statesman has to be questioned.
On another note if I ever kick the bucket before you remember Annie Wilkes is in the crowd!

jgr33n said...

It is an age old political trick that when you want to claim success you just retrospectively change the goals to match what was achieved and then claim that was what you were aiming for all the time. In this respect M McG was a master politician.

I read a piece the other day, I can't remember where about former volunteers (some once heroes of the struggle and celebrated on murals) who were abandoned, live/died in poverty, some struggling with alcohol etc. since the peace process and the salient part of the article was (and I paraphrase) "those who went into politics have fared much better" So M McG certainly managed the defeat but he managed in a way that benefited those who were willing to accept the moved goalposts and agree that these were the goals all along - while those who didn't were abandoned/harassed (or worse) and those who maybe just weren't cut out for politics (not a bad thing!!) just became a tiresome burden and were ignored in the hope they would go away, which unfortunately some have.

AM said...

Steve R,

Death Of A HatesmanTitle

DaithiD said...

A fair appraisal. But people run from truth like a vampire from sunlight, I dont know how this sort of effort didnt tire you a decade ago Anthony.

I’m uncertain but I don’t think that the Sinn Féin narrative will be totally kind to Martin McGuinness.

Do you mean his status will change according to SF's needs at that moment (much the same as Bobby Sands motives for Hunger Strike change)?

Nicholas Byrne said...

The british intention to bring, the so called troubles, through a carefully choreographed route, ending in NORMALISATION, with Northern Ireland remaining within the empire, the empire has most certainly won. The manner in which they both won and in the present condition of normalisation, rendered the possibility and probability of traditional physical force republicanism, ( a tradition as we all know, existed on the whole of this island for a few hundred years and I believe had a right to exist), been a continued threat, to an absolute minimum level. Some would say this could not have been achieved without some very close co-operation in deed.
As the so called war of independence was been fought the mighty empire produced the Government of Ireland Act of 1920. When you generally consider the words and terminology used in this act, while not intending to take anything out of context, for example, Council of Ireland, mutually agree, absolute majority, a Parliament for the Whole of Ireland, again when considering the present, will lead to the logical belief that the brits most certainly have won, while there are certain elements trying to use revisionism to window dress a managed military surrender.
In the south appearing on national television, there have been some note able members of society, authoritatively indicating, that the Republican struggle was most definitely not about removing the british presence in Ireland, that it was about obtaining equal civil rights for all. Aside from the fact that there was more going on at that time than the Republican struggle, for example is it not true to say that there was also a Republican Socialist struggle. Everyone is entitled to their opinion; to me this opinion appeared to be nothing but historical revisionism.
The whole british field of operations within the whole of this island has been one of carefully orchestrated, choreographed, subterfuge and any historical revisionism is aiding, abetting and collaborating with this subterfuge.

The british gaol of Normalisation has been achieved in a militarily context.
Has Normalisation been achieved in a social context, are there mechanisms which are bringing down barriers between Unionist/Republican socially. Are there mechanisms which are bringing down barriers between Protestant/Catholic/Non religion/Muslim etc., socially?
Is it true to say that the normalised state of Northern Ireland as is the case of the South has made no difference to the labour question?
We have a situation developing in the south where F.F while also hoping to hold on to votes, declaring a white paper on a unified Ireland, which is basically a distraction of the public from the slaughter which the ordinary citizen has and is suffering as result of the mainstream parties aiding and abetting EU imperialist rule and economic diktat in Ireland. The indications are that S.F has embraced EU imperialism in an attempt to unify Ireland. Some would argue that this is a betrayal of the working class and support of the class war been waged by EU neoliberal ideology against the working class, it seems that the goal post which were moved are now in perpetual motion.
I personally do not want an EU occupied united Ireland just as much as I don’t want the present EU occupied Southern Ireland.
When talking about the rights of the Irish people, can we keep in mind to the rights of the Working class and the class war which has been waged against them. The working class (including the North if S.F are successful) are been sold out to EU fiscal diktat. In the future it may not be a case of ‘ the fools the fools they have left us our Fenian dead , it might be a case of the fools the fools they have left us our decimated society. Who knows what circumstances and conditions are going to unfold on the whole of this island in the future, should the economic living conditions of the ordinary citizen continue to be decimated by fiscal diktat, British or EU. Someone in the future might be managing another defeat but the question is whose.
Yours Sincerely,

Nicholas Byrne.

AM said...


I have long since tired of it - about a decade ago to be more specific! I was chatting to Sean Bres yesterday and said to him that I hadn't the interest of old. Charity work is about the height of my activism these days.

"I’m uncertain but I don’t think that the Sinn Féin narrative will be totally kind to Martin McGuinness."

That is a problem with pre-records - the editing process can cut out stuff that really needs left in to more fully explain. What I said was that the SF vote was dropping on his watch. There was a view growing even within SF that what was happening at Stormont was a pantomime being held in place by Martin and his Muppets eager to be in situ without ever achieving anything much. DUP arrogance and intransigence was rooted in a firm belief that the Mupppet Mob would put up with just about anything. The executive was not brought down as a result of those in it but those outside it refusing to take the crap. Martin stepped aside due to illness and the SF vote soared. The failure on his watch was brought to an end. So, this is the type of counter narrative that exists and will rumble. The official SF narrative will be kinder but I think it will face a more subversive narrative that the dominant one will never be quite able to fully suppress.

AM said...


that is sort of wasted as a comment. It should be a piece in its own right.

DaithiD said...

AM, at the very least you have the luxury of being alive long enough to see yourself vindicated for things it was easier not to say.I dont think Martin could say that. I terms of caring, you must need the threat of gunmen knocking to stir you, so as a public duty, I promise i'll knock with a sledgehammer if you really feel like not writing anymore. Id do it for free, my own venture into charity if you will.

AM said...


what stirs me is a bully or some intolerant goon insisting their way or no way; those who claim they have a right not to have their opinion offended. This is why I am so hostile to religion. The religious who want to worship a tree don't bother me in the slightest but when they want to hang others from it for not believing it has supernatural powers, that is when I get stirred.

I have long come to the conclusion that I have failed to persuade people sufficiently to make any impact. There is only so long the stamina can hold out.

DaithiD said...

AM, I was asked a while back my politics, I actually said 'my missus'. Everything I strive for is related to her in someway, I know this isnt scalable for societal organisation, but it is the scale of my ambition, there is no ideology I would place in front of living this relationship because nothing else matters in comparison. This was the theme I took from the Kathleen Gillespie interview carried today too ( e.g. I feel sad for his wife. If she loved him as much as I loved Patsy then I give her my condolences because I know what’s missing). Sorry not really MMG themed, but maybe death makes us reflect on the things that matter.

Nicholas Byrne said...

Sound Anthony, point taken, hope my next contribution will be worthy as a piece.

Yours Sincerely,

Nicholas Byrne.