Skip to comments.N. Ireland - IRA's lefty roots still showing
Posted on 09/07/2001 1:09:12 PM PDT by Norn Iron
IRA's lefty roots are still showing
Copyright 2001 Irish Echo Newspaper
September 5 - 11By Jack Holland
In times of political revisionism it is always easy to find something to snigger at. Take, for example, Massachusetts Rep. William Delahunt's remark last week that if Sinn Fein is proven to be linked to revolutionaries "it could prove devastating" to its standing here in the U.S.
Those reporters (like myself) who over the years have stood on usually rain-soaked Belfast pavements listening to the Provisionals representatives read solidarity greetings from every revolutionary group from the ANC to the Sandinistas can be forgiven for muttering some platitude such as, "My, how things have changed."
There was a time, that is, when it was taken for granted that Sinn Fein was identified with revolutionary groups. Now, it is taken for granted that it is not -- at less in the U.S.
The occasion for the congressman's warning was the arrest of three Irishmen -- said to be prominent republicans -- in Colombia two weeks ago, charged with training the Marxist guerrilla group FARC, which has been conducting a mostly rural campaign against the U.S.-backed regime and its right-wing paramilitary allies.
Of course, even before they became politically respectable, in the U.S. the Provisionals have always had to tailor their message to suit their audience. They trimmed away the overtly left-wing rhetoric from The Irish People reports (taken and edited from the much more radical Republican News); they did not talk about their support (in the 1970s and '80s) for communist insurgents in Central and South America nor dwell on the generous handouts from Colonel Gaddafi which kept the "armed campaign" going for a decade longer than it might otherwise might have lasted. The face of the Provisionals in the U.S. was always that of traditional Irish-Catholic nationalism, Joe Cahill rather than the self-proclaimed revolutionary Brian Keenan, who still (when allowed) gives vent to some pre-peace process outpourings. In the U.S., that is, the mood the Provisionals wanted to conjure up was always like that of a Wolf Tones concert. "The International" was not sung.
In Europe, it was a different matter. There, extreme nationalism was suspect and identified with reactionaries and Nazism. So the Provisionals flaunted their left-wing links and could condemn U.S. and British imperialism with equal ferocity. However, they now move in different circles, where merely to utter the words "revolution" and "revolutionary" would be enough to make their new backers choke on their smoked salmon.
While some would see Sinn Fein's attempts to distance itself from the Colombian connection as proof that the Provisionals have become respectable, Unionists see the arrests as proof of the opposite. The fact that three Provisionals have been linked to FARC is to them yet one more piece of evidence that the IRA is still active and up to its old tricks. They are not alone is this. Former Irish Taoiseach John Bruton, writing in last week's Washington Post, accused Sinn Fein of continuing to support violence through its connections to the IRA. He dismissed with contempt Gerry Adams's claim that the IRA guns remain silent.
Reporters who have been covering this propaganda war have compiled a list of eight murders in the last 18 months that have been blamed on the Provisionals. The Irish Times listed the IRA victims as Joseph Foran, Thomas Byrne, Ed McCoy, Nicky O'Hare, Ciaran Smyth, Bobby McGuigan, Christopher O'Kane, and Paul Daly. They were shot because, according to reports, they were drug dealers. The Irish Times did not mention Joe O'Connor, a member of the Real IRA, who the Provisionals shot dead last October, bringing the estimated total to nine. That is, roughly one murder every two months since the beginning of 2000. If true, it means that the Provisional IRA, supposedly on cease-fire, has killed more people than dissident republicans, who are not on cease-fire. (In fact, fortunately, neither the Real IRA nor the Continuity IRA have not succeeded in killing anybody since 1998, though not from want of trying.)
The Provisional IRA has also in the last two years been engaged in a major arms-smuggling attempt in Florida, and just two months ago a major robbery in Belfast. It has also been accused of continuing to carry out "punishment" beatings and knee-cappings in working-class Catholic areas. A week ago, a leading member of the Republican movement in Belfast, Eddie Copeland, was charged with assault and attempted kidnapping of a suspected drug dealer. Skeptics then ask how it is that Sinn Fein spokesmen can proclaim, in the U.S. and elsewhere, that the IRA's guns are silent, and keep a straight face?
It would be more accurate -- and more honest -- if republican spokesmen said that the IRA's guns are "comparatively silent." In Provo-talk, silence is relative, as are cease-fires. It all depends on how you define them. But even if it is true that the IRA has been involved in all of the above actions, the organization could still maintain that it has not broken its cease-fire. Robberies, punishment shootings, the murder of petty criminals, are not part of the armed campaign, in IRA-think. The armed campaign was aimed at the army, police, and the Northern Ireland state. That war is over, as far as one can judge. But the IRA retains its role as a sort of enforcer.
Unfortunately, while this may meet the semantic needs of fastidious republican thinkers, it does not equate to the reality of the peace process, as perceived by the Irish and British governments, as well as the Unionists. They point out that the agreement entered into by Sinn Fein (and everybody else) entailed the embracing of nonviolent methods. Any organization linked to a paramilitary group that was still pursuing violence would automatically be disqualified from taking part in that process. The Ulster Democratic Party (linked to the UDA) was kicked out once, as was Sinn Fein. But since the signing of the Good Friday agreement and the entry of Sinn Fein members into government in Belfast, there has been what seems like a tremendous reluctance on the part of the British and Irish governments to confront Sinn Fein as they did before with IRA actions. Even the hated RUC has conspired to keep its mouth shut about IRA attacks, fobbing people off with "We are pursuing all leads" when asked about possible IRA links to killings.
The aim of this conspiracy is, of course, to keep the peace process on track. It is one of the ironies of the situation that former deadly enemies are now working together to do so
It's a well-known fact that the PIRA, RIRA and CIRA are all Marxist and not Catholic organizations.
Too many stupid Irish Catholics in the US, who are in their daily lives God-fearing Catholics and enthusiastic supporters of the free market, insist on supporting Democrats at home and terrorists abroad. My relatives are among this benighted lot and it drives me crazy.
The police can only say what they are permitted to say. Policing is not devolved but is handled by London and Dublin civil servants with London playing the main role if agreement cannot be reached.
It seems your bigotted roots are showing!!
As if the IRA factions have never used deadly violence against noncombatants? Omagh street bombing scene, 1998? Real IRA?
I think 1966 was a turning point. There was a thaw in 'hostilities' during the mid-60s but the commemoration of the anniversary of the 1916 Easter rising and the reaction to it brought the thaw to a shuddering halt.
Also the thaw was seen as a threat to the two aspirations and people like Hume and Paisley took to the streets. Their street politics and the politics of the times elsewhere produced a lethal cocktail.
Insanity in individuals is something rare - but in groups, parties, nations and epochs, it is the rule. Friedrich Nietzsche
Whoever fights monsters should see to it that in the process he doesn't become a monster. Friedrich Nietzsche
Don't worry. The feeling will soon pass!!
Which would require abandoning one's ancestral homeland, in a country where folk still emphasize marrying within one's home county. May I ask why you don't say "If you want to live in the UK, move to Britain" to the unionists?
We signed up to an Agreement that was relatively fair to the two competing aspirations but the Governments, sadly, paid more heed to the demands of the terrorists than the needs of the rest and the terrorists have been 'taking over' local communitities, Mafia-style.
Ulster History is a simple introduction to the history of the region. It has been compiled by someone from the unionist side of the house but, as histories go, is reasonably fair.
It just so happens that the centre of power for the two islands has been in London for most of the past 800 years. Would the history of the Empire have been very different if it had been in Dublin, Edinburgh or Cardiff?
UVF stands for Ulster Volunteer Force, the name adopted in the 1960s from the original force of the 1910s which had been set up to resist the imminent granting of home rule (which was held up by the outbreak of WW1).
The Battle of the Boyne occurred in 1690.
A nice jump in taxes would sort out the Republicans from the Unionists in the south!
London basically lost interest in NI after devolution and left it to the local unionists, the major party, to run the show. Local nationalists largely opted out because they wanted a United Ireland. Until Direct Rule was introduced in 1972, and a few years before that, NI really only featured in London plans during WWII.
During the first 50 years of NI's existence the vast bulk of the power, privilege and discrimination lay with unionists and in the past 30 years nationalists have achieved a position where they now have more say than unionists, especially since the the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985.
The three major religious denominations in NI are roughly, Catholic 40%, Presbyterian 20% and Church of Ireland 15%. CoI have gone from being top dog so far as power was concerned in the late 1800s for the whole island to third place - or less - in NI now.
Second of all, I did post against the despicable stoning of Catholic schoolgirls on threads which were pulled.
Third, I don't see you defending our Church all that often when it's being theologically and historically assailed by Protestant bigots on this forum. You spend far more time defending the cowardly IRA.
If you claim to be an Irish Catholic then you should be aware that:
(A) The IRA is a Marxist ideological group which has no claim on any Catholic's loyalty any more than the Communist Party of North Korea and
(B) That no Catholic worthy of the name would defend the actions of a secret society which blows up children of any denomination - since, in case you hadn't learned, the Church condemns both violence against innocents and membership in secret societies.
Get a life and stop embarassing the Church and the Irish.
On the latter point aren't there secretive aspects to Catholic organisations such as the Jesuits and Opus Dei?
Historically this means that the Jesuits have often failed to notify local bishops of their undertakings and projects - leading to accusations of underhanded dealing and secrecy. In reality, this was more a function of a certain arrogance and lack of tact, not deceit or malice. After the Jesuits were reestablished in the 1800s the Society began to be more collegial and collaborative in their approach with the local hierarchy.
Opus Dei is a more complex phenomenon. The Church has historically placed the interactions of the confessor and the penitent under seal - the same principle as doctor/patient and lawyer/client privilege as I'm sure you are aware.
Opus Dei is peculiarly structured as well - it is composed of both laity and clergy and it is, similar to the Jesuits, directly responsible to the Pope and not to local bishops. Moreover, the relationship between the lay members and clerical members of Opus Dei is preeminently one of penitent to confessor.
Almost all the projects undertaken by Opus Dei are projects undertaken by laymen under the advice of their spiritual directors - the seal of the confessional applies. Members of Opus Dei do not take secret oaths like secular secret societies do, and do not publicly profess one set of beliefs and privately embrace another.
In the interests of full disclosure I should point out that while I am not and have never been a member of Opus Dei I have worked in several of their inner-city tutoring programs and received spiritual direction at the hands of their priests in the past. The discipline and approach of Opus Dei is not for me, which is why I am not a member, but I appreciate their sincerity and their dedication. When I worked with them I found members to be intensely private people who "kept their own counsel" but never found them to be secretive or deceitful.
I would not describe Opus Dei as a "secret society" anymore than I would apply the term to the AMA or the ABA.
"Deadly violence against noncombatants?" Ever heard of the firebombing of Dresden? Hiroshima? Or even how many Serb civilians Klinton's bombers killed?
Anyone who knows anything about the problems of NI would have used a neutral institution not a Jesuit university!!
One of its professors is a practicing witch who promotes paganism and lesbianism on campus. The small number of actual Jesuits on the faculty are among the most leftist dissident clerics who draw a salary in the US.
I'm a devout Catholic who holds up the traditional Ignatian Jesuits as an educational ideal - but I would never let any child of mine near that school.
Clinton's choice of BC was stupid not because BC has any pro-Catholic bias (in fact it has a self-hating antiCatholic one) but because it has a clear association with Marxist-Leninist revolutionary theory and is a hotbed of the (papally-condemned) school of "liberation theology" espoused by renegade Communist priests.
The BCers would support any terrorist revolutionary organization regardless of their denominational affiliation.