Scariest place in NI?

Carbon 6

Old-Salt
The last few posts are an indication of the information that is available to those with an interest in the history of Ireland and in particular, the province of Ulster, over the past fifty years.
That information may also be the reason for the change in attitude that I, and I suspect many more Ulster unionists (note the small u) have taken regarding the situation in Northern Ireland.
I remember the hatred that was felt by the unionist community toward Bernadette Devlin and her outspoken views on equality for all members of Ulster society. When I listen to her speeches and debates these days, I realise that she wasn't asking for anything outrageous, just civil rights across the board.
Perhaps, because I've lived in Canada for the past thirty one years and have become used to a caring society where religious affiliations mean little, I've become immune to the rabid rhetoric of both sides of Ulster society. I would be happy to see a united Ireland and if either side have problems with that, too bad, they'll get used to it eventually.
My grandmother, who believed that every Roman Catholic chapel in Ireland was stacked to the rafters with guns to kill us Protestants, would be spinning in her grave at my last statement.
 

AlienFTM

MIA
Book Reviewer
I had an an RPG explode on impact outside Cimic house in Al Amarah at the gate twice and as luck would have it I was fine. I am so greatfull for bad shots.:)
Lucky. HEAT round has to hit pretty much perpendicularly to penetrate, due to the nature of the round. HESH is more forgiving.
 

Houseboy

Old-Salt
Lies

When I mention Arrse to friends that served, I have yet to meet anyone who doesn't laugh at the idea. As I have also noted the Deputy chief constable of Leicestershire used to live in our village. When I mentioned Arrse to him, his advice was to leave well alone as far as the police were concerned membership of such was akin to kiddy fiddling, far right terror gangs and a shed load of low life junkies, and chancers and he was being very serious.

More lies

By by dribbling LMFers, I got paint to watch dry.

I've abbreviated your batwank for clarity, but, my bold, the DCC of Leicestershire will have said no such thing to you; I suspect his only interaction with you is to shout at you to stop rummaging through his bins and/or stop stealing his used underwear. Suffice to say, much as this august forum has it's peaks and troughs, it lies just below the WI on the list of proscribed organisations at the Home Office.
 

jrwlynch

LE
Book Reviewer
Only the Irish would use a 379 year old excuse and consider it entirely sensible.
That's recent history compared to some of the grudges in the Balkans...
 
I have had a look at a lengthy interview with Ruairi O'Bradaigh and though he is undoubtedly somwhere to the left of Adams, nowhere does he imply a Marxist solution to the issue of Ireland. He speaks of socialist democracy and a plural society however. (full interview below).
Bernadette Devlin/McAliskey on the other hand was a member of the IRSP and both then and previously when a student member of Peoples Democracy exhibited Marxist tendencies. But PIRA spent more time fighting the INLA/IRSP than they did talking to them.
O'Bradaigh was a very clever man in an academic sense. His decision to break with Adams and Sinn Fein in 1986 had, ironically, the same underlying reasons as the Provos split with OIRA in 1969. That is, the removal of 'absentionism' that allowed Sinn Fein to take seats at Stormont.
The evolution of the IRA, PIRA and Sinn Fein have a long and complicated interrelationship dating back to the mid 19th Century. It is extremely difficult to dechipher the what, when and who of the thing, but extremely easy to simply lump them all together and blame all for everything. For Marxism within the IRA look to Roy Johnston, the Promethean Society, the Connolly Society and the Wolfe Tone Clubs. You will find lots on the topic, but not within PIRA.

Interview with Ruairi O'Bradaigh February 1997
Philip Ferguson: How and why did Republican Sinn Fein come into being?

Ruairi O Bradaigh (President, Republican Sinn Fein): Sinn Fein came into being in 1905 and became a definite Republican organisation in 1917. Therefore Republican Sinn Fein is 80 years old.

It was split many times by reformism and constitutionalism: in 1922 (Fine Gael), in 1926 (Fianna Fail), in 1946 (Clann na Poblachta) and 1970 (Workers Party/Democratic Left).

When the Provisionals broke the constitution at an unrepresentative ard-fheis (conference) in 1986, those who resisted this action continued the organisation as Republican Sinn Fein adhering to the existing Sinn Fein constitution.



PF: How big is RSF? What sort of people (in class terms) belong to it?

ROB: Republican Sinn Fein is organised throughout the 32 counties of Ireland. It also has cumainn (branches) in England, Scotland and Australia. There are active chapters of Cumann na Saoirse (Ireland Freedom Committee) throughout the USA and Canada.

Its membership is mainly working class in cities and towns and is drawn from the small farming community and trades people in rural areas of Ireland.

PF: Does RSF have a military wing / what is its relationship with the Continuity Army Council?

ROB: Republican Sinn Fein does not have a “military wing” nor is it the “political wing” of any other organisation. The Irish Republican Army under the control of the Continuity Army Council has – as is apparent from its statements and press interviews – the same objectives as Republican Sinn Fein: British withdrawal from Ireland and Irish national independence.

PF: Is the Continuity Army Council any more likely than the Provisionals to bring the struggle to a successful conclusion? How do you see the relationship between military and political forms of struggle?

ROB: The Provisionals have since the early 1990s ceased mentioning British withdrawal in their annual policy statement at the grave of Wolfe Tone in Bodenstown, Co. Kildare.

Their ceasefire in August 1994 was unilateral and unconditional. Now they say they will institute a new ceasefire if they are admitted to Stormont talks. These talks are based on a British agenda of restructuring English rule in Ireland. They are about a new Stormont, not about a new Ireland and British withdrawal.

Therefore the Provos have abandoned the national objective and are not likely to achieve it. They may talk about it as Fianna Fail has for 70 years.

It follows that the Continuity IRA, which is true to that objective, is far more likely to achieve it.

A BBC TV programme on February 2 last was entitled “People’s Century: War of the Flea”. It examined the guerrilla war aspect of the war against the Americans in Vietnam and against the Soviets in Afghanistan.

In both cases, of course, the guerrillas had considerable outside assistance. Four points were considered vital to success in both cases.

These were: (1) The strong motivation of the fighters; (2) The belief in victory; (3) the proper use of terrain; and (4) the mobilisation of the masses.

In the matter of points (1) and (2) the Provisional leadership stands indicted for damage done to the morale of its own Volunteers.

PF: Is it true that the Provo IRA was experiencing a loss of members to the Continuity Army Council during and after the ceasefire?

ROB: I cannot answer for the Continuity IRA but I do know that Republican Sinn Fein has been attracting former members of the Provisionals all over Ireland since the early 1990s and the dropping of the British withdrawal demand. Most have been accepted but some have not. We seek quality rather than quantity.

Incidentally the Belfast Irish language newspaper La reported on January 16 a Provisional source as saying that the ceasefire had ended a year ago in order to avoid a split in their ranks. This assertion was not denied and is generally accepted here in Ireland.

PF: What is the nature of any debate going on within the Provo IRA and how does RSF see this debate?

ROB: The Sunday Tribune of Dublin reported on February 2 that the two most aggressive Provisional military units, South Armagh and East Tyrone, had not been active at all since the ceasefire ended.

It surmised that these areas were not prepared to fight for mere admission to the Stormont talks. It also noted that more than half the 16 operations carried out recently in the Six Counties by the Provos had been in Belfast.

Further, it drew attention to the fact that only home-made equipment was being used and that there were hardly any shooting operations.

It said that the dumps sealed at the start of the ceasefire obviously remained in that condition and that such operations as were taking place were simply filling in measures until the British general election.

Republican Sinn Fein does not believe that military operations are justified for any lesser objective than British withdrawal. We have always upheld the right of the Irish people to engage in the use of controlled and disciplined force to secure such a withdrawal.

PF: If a military victory cannot be achieved over the British Army, and “pan-nationalist allies” like John Hume and John Bruton will always let you down, what is the way forward?

ROB: We do not agree that a military victory cannot be achieved over British forces. Certainly British government in much of the Six Counties – and nationalists are in the majority in most of it geographically – can be made impossible.

“Pan-nationalist allies” like the SDLP, the Dublin politicians and administrative and corporate America merely seek an absence of struggle. In the words of United Irishman Henry Joy McCracken “the rich always betray the poor”. They have a totally different agenda and any alliance with them is based on a lie.

The way forward is through a multi-faceted struggle based on the urban and rural working and small farming classes. In Britain, North America and the Antipodes the support for the Irish struggle has always been similarly based.

Cultural groupings in Celtic countries and national liberation and radical elements (anti-colonial and anti-imperialist) have always been supportive.

There may be honourable and individual exceptions to the elements listed, of course, and they too are most welcome to subscribe their talents and resources to Ireland’s centuries-old fight for freedom.

PF: How does the Protestant working class, with its traditional leadership fragmented, fit into the picture?

ROB: Republican Sinn Fein does not seek a centralised bureaucratic state. Neither does it seek an extension of the present 26-County state to all of Ireland. We parted company from the Provisionals in 1986 rather than accept that neo-colonial and collaborationist model. We want a totally New Ireland with the complete separation of church and state and the building of a pluralist society.

We urge Eire Nua, a new federation of all four provinces including a nine-county Ulster. Here, at provincial level, the people who now vote unionist would have a working majority with every power of government exercised within the province except foreign affairs, national defence and overall financing.

But the nationalists would be numerically within reach of power and strong regional and powerful district councils would, in a “patchwork” quilt of power-sharing according to local majorities, make domination by any one section over another an unhappy memory.

Common interests based on the distribution of wealth in the community would prevail.

PF: How does the south fit into the picture? How do you analyse the southern state? What can republicans offer working class people and small farmers in the south?

ROB: In the 26 Counties a tiered society exists. Up to 30% of the population are under the poverty line but are weak on organisation. Another section are struggling and barely manage to keep up while the top element are very comfortable.

Whole communities in the western half of Ireland and small farming families throughout the land are being pressurised out of existence.

Total economic restructuring is necessary with economic as well as political power vested as directly as possible in the hands of the people.

Our social and economic policy, Saol Nua – a New Way of Life – published in 1993, when unemployment in the 26 Counties topped 300,000, is based on Republican, Democratic Socialist, environmental and self-reliance principles.

PF: Where does RSF stand on social issues such as divorce, abortion, gay rights, contraception?

ROB: Our attitude on these questions has been very clear for many years. Contraception is a matter for the couple concerned. Homosexuality should be decriminalised and gays must not be discriminated against.

Civil divorce should be available. While we are opposed to abortion we are also opposed to the forces in society which impel women to seek abortion.

Incidentally, we support a full role for women in all aspects of life. We seek to have them realise their full potential and make maximum contribution to the building of the New Ireland. Too often in the past women’s role in revolutionary movements was highly valued during the actual struggle but was downgraded in the post-revolutionary phase.

This occurred both following success, eg Algeria, and after counter-revolution as in the Free State from 1922 on. In Republican Sinn Fein seven of the 23-member ard chomhairle are women. Three are officers. All are elected without any “positive discrimination”.

The first woman president of a political party in Ireland was Margaret Buckley of the Irish Women Workers Union who was president of Republican Sinn Fein from 1937-1950.

PF: While the “pan-nationalist” strategy does not seem to have produced much other than confusion and demoralisation, SF/IRA appear still committed to it. Why do you think this strategy was adopted in the first place, given that it seems to fly in the face of all the lessons of history for republicans? What is your view of where SF/IRA are going today (and tomorrow)?

ROB: The “pan-nationalist” reformist strategy of the Hume-Adams agreement in 1993 and the ceasefire of 1994 was the logical extension of the decision in 1986 to accept the 26-County state.

It was the further development of the constitutionalism entered into then and has indeed produced nothing other than confusion and demoralisation for the Provisional Movement and has impaired its capacity for struggle.

The Provisionals are being slowly but surely absorbed into the status quo, into the system, while on the other hand their revolutionary capacity is being steadily eroded.

All this is a further example of what we have seen down the years since 1922 – the “inevitability of gradualness” at work. There have been examples of former Young Irelanders and former Fenians meeting the same fate in the last century.

PF: RSF says it is committed to a “democratic socialist republic”. Can you give a short outline of what you mean by this term?

ROB: By a Democratic Socialist Republic we mean that the key industries would come into public ownership and control, whether at national, provincial or even lower level, and be administered democratically.

There would be an upper limit on the amount of land any one individual may own. A wide range of worker-owner co-operatives is visualised in agriculture, industry and the distributive trade. Indigenous industry based on local and sustainable raw materials would be favoured. Credit Unions would play an important part in this type of development.

Private enterprise would still have a role to play in the economy but it would be much smaller than today. It would have no place in key industries and state incentives would favour co-operative projects as the most socially desirable.

An independent stand will be taken in foreign policy and power blocs will be avoided. Neutrality will be essential and the Non-Aligned Movement comprising mainly former colonised peoples will be supported.

PF: How do you relate to ordinary working class people in Britain as opposed to their government?

ROB: Ordinary working class people in England, Scotland and Wales favour British government disengagement from Ireland as successive opinion polls and surveys show clearly. It is the English Establishment or ruling class which wants Ireland divided and weak and under British control.

We relate to the ordinary people on the neighbouring island by supporting genuine working class organisations and groups. This would include trade unions and especially general unions, and the immigrants’ and women’s organisations.

We seek to influence these in favour of a free, democratic and independent Ireland as well as seek their own liberation in the fullest sense.

PF: How do you see the prospects for Irish freedom as we approach the 200th anniversary of 1798? How can people in other countries best assist the cause of Irish freedom?

ROB: The bicentenary of 1798 is most important because the United Irishmen brought together “Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter under the common name of Irishman”.

The foundation of Irish Republicanism which took place in the 1790s was the modernisation of the Irish revolutionary movement in support of the democratic ideals of the American and French revolutions. No such development took place among the Scottish people – to their loss.

People in other countries – both those of Irish birth or descent and those with no ties of blood but who subscribe to the ideals of Liberty, Equality and Fraternity – can parallel the Irish struggle by supporting it in all its aspects, principally through publicity and finance.

The battle for the minds and hearts of people in support of all-Ireland democracy has a world-wide dimension, just as had the anti-apartheid struggle in South Africa.
A duplicitous character who spoke out of both sides of his mouth... you're quoting one interview... he tried to be all things to all people... undoubtedly an intelligent man... real name Rory O' Brady.
 
The last few posts are an indication of the information that is available to those with an interest in the history of Ireland and in particular, the province of Ulster, over the past fifty years.
That information may also be the reason for the change in attitude that I, and I suspect many more Ulster unionists (note the small u) have taken regarding the situation in Northern Ireland.
I remember the hatred that was felt by the unionist community toward Bernadette Devlin and her outspoken views on equality for all members of Ulster society. When I listen to her speeches and debates these days, I realise that she wasn't asking for anything outrageous, just civil rights across the board.
Perhaps, because I've lived in Canada for the past thirty one years and have become used to a caring society where religious affiliations mean little, I've become immune to the rabid rhetoric of both sides of Ulster society. I would be happy to see a united Ireland and if either side have problems with that, too bad, they'll get used to it eventually.
My grandmother, who believed that every Roman Catholic chapel in Ireland was stacked to the rafters with guns to kill us Protestants, would be spinning in her grave at my last statement.
I'd estimate that every British soldier who served in the Province in the early years empathized with the Roman Catholic population.. there was a need for a civil rights campaign, sadly the movement was hi-jacked by terrorists... with the tacit approval of Bernadette!
 

Carbon 6

Old-Salt
I'd estimate that every British soldier who served in the Province in the early years empathized with the Roman Catholic population.. there was a need for a civil rights campaign, sadly the movement was hi-jacked by terrorists... with the tacit approval of Bernadette!
When I mentioned Bernadette Devlin, I was thinking of the early days of the civil rights movement when discrimination against Catholics was obvious to anyone who could view the situation with an open mind. Unfortunately, open minds were in short supply, particularly on the Loyalist side.
I do agree with you, in that she did seem to become supportive of violence, perhaps by her refusal to condemn terrorism. However, one of my mates, a member of the UDR, lived fairly close to her and knew her from childhood. His opinion was that she was a decent person; a clever girl who became out of her depth as the situation deteriorated.
 
The problem of the ulster protestants is that they can not trust the Irish catholics
You are not quite correct. The Irish tradition of the Masonic ideals has been successful in endeavouring to level the playing field, so to poorly phrase it.
 
You are not quite correct. The Irish tradition of the Masonic ideals has been successful in endeavouring to level the playing field, so to poorly phrase it.
Without appearing more thick than normal, I'm not sure what you're saying. Can ulster protestants trust irish catholics?
 
When I mentioned Bernadette Devlin, I was thinking of the early days of the civil rights movement when discrimination against Catholics was obvious to anyone who could view the situation with an open mind. Unfortunately, open minds were in short supply, particularly on the Loyalist side.
I do agree with you, in that she did seem to become supportive of violence, perhaps by her refusal to condemn terrorism. However, one of my mates, a member of the UDR, lived fairly close to her and knew her from childhood. His opinion was that she was a decent person; a clever girl who became out of her depth as the situation deteriorated.
In 1969, I was already serving, but through the system then in place, I could wander around the Bogside and Creggan on a break from Hastings Street police station, my base at the time. Being a local, it wasn't exactly a challenge, to visit relatives.

Young Bernadette's militancy grew out of the regular visits of the RUC reservists into the aforementioned zones with violence in mind. Their ethos were led / substantiated by American reaction, riot drills, to both their Civil Rights and Anti- Vietnam protests.

I'm not an apologist for her future actions. I was very much around the action in those days.
 
I think he means both sides are a mixed bag.

ETA Apparently not (again).
 
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I can relate. Outside of NI the only place I've found which I'd regard as a 'spiritual' home is Northumberland. I just sit in a bar in Craster and don't say a lot, just relax, listen and enjoy.

Isn't it bloody marvelous Alec!?
 

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