Wednesday, January 11, 2006

The following is the statement which was issued subsequent to a meeting of the Caretaker Executive of Sinn Fein on January 17th 1970 :

We , the Caretaker Executive of the Sinn Fein organisation , wish to explain to the Irish people why almost half of the delegates to the recent Ard Fheis 'walked out' from the Intercontinental Hotel ('1169.... ' Comment - 'Jury's Hotel' , Ballsbridge , Dublin 4) on Sunday January 11th 1970 , and resumed the Ard Fheis in the Kevin Barry Hall , 44 Parnell Square , Dublin . There they elected us as a Caretaker Executive pending the re-convening of a full Ard Fheis .

There are five major reasons for the walk-out : each is explained in detail in the following paragraphs :

The Sinn Fein organisation , since its foundation in 1905 , has consistently denied the 'right' of the British Parliament to 'rule' in Ireland . Similarly , Sinn Fein has refused to recognise the two partition parliaments at Stormont and Leinster House , forced on the Irish people under the British Government of Ireland Act 1920 , and the Treaty of Surrender of 1921 .

Sinn Fein's alternative to those British institutions of government was the All-Ireland Republican Dail which it assembled in January 1919 ; it remains the task of Sinn Fein today to lead the Irish people away from British , 6-County and 26-County parliaments and towards the re-assembly of the 32-County Dail which will then legislate for and rule all Ireland .......


First published in 'IRIS' magazine , Volume 1 , Number 2 , November 1981 .

On Friday , August 14th 1981 , Fr. Denis Faul launched a public attack on the IRA and the hunger-strike , daubing the latter as "... hopeless.. " and "...a situation of dispair .. " . More interestingly he did not confine his attack to further instilling defeatism , but at one point in an attack on the aims of the hunger-strike , which is indicative of his own political attitudes and which cannot be isolated from his political attitude to the hunger-strike and his activities therein , Faul suggested that maybe the real issue was "...the control of the voice of Irish Catholic Nationalists .. "

This was a ridiculous suggestion to be posing to Republicans , who were opposed to the hunger-strike from the start because of the personal tragic consequences for their comrades and their families but which must surely counterpose the question - were Fr. Faul's hunger-strike breaking activities aimed at ensuring that its political consequences , by default on the part of the Nationalist 'establishment' as much as anything else , did not lead to the total erosion of that 'establishment's' influence over the Nationalist people .......?


As the Anglo-Irish talks reach their conclusion , FINTAN O'TOOLE talks to activists of Ian Paisley's Democratic Unionist Party and hears that they would prefer civil war to an accommodation with Dublin .
First published in 'MAGILL' magazine , November 1985 .

The evidence of 1912 , of 1920 and of 1972 , argues against the belief that 'the Protestants' are bluffing ; in each of those years tens of thousands of ordinary Protestants joined 'official' or 'unofficial' paramilitaries - the UVF in 1912 , the 'A' and 'B' and 'C' Specials in 1920 and the UDA in 1972 , when Stormont was prorogued .

Both in the early 1920's and the early 1970's substantial numbers of Catholics were brutally murdered ; in 1972 , as now , there was no immediate threat to the position of 'Northern Ireland' in the 'United Kingdom' , but the response was none the less vicious . There is no reason to believe that it would be different in 1985 if the Loyalists perceive a threat , and it is clear that they do perceive such a threat even in a relatively innocuous consultative machinery involving the Dublin government .

The strategy of Ian Paisley's DUP for defeating an Anglo-Irish agreement involves a carefully-staged series of moves , from parliamentary opposition to the engineering of electoral contests to civil disobedience and finally to armed conflict and the declaration of a Provisional Government . Whether or not all of these stages actually come into force , it is clear that the opportunity for the DUP to build up tension , with a consequent open invitation to the sectarian killers to go to 'work' , is there to be exploited .

However loathsome the DUP's 'ballot-box-in-one-hand-and-armalite-behind-the-back' strategy , it has obvious political advantages for them in their attempt to establish themselves as the political spokesmen for Ulster Loyalism and it has to be taken seriously .......