Thursday, January 12, 2006

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

Those who remained in The Intercontinental Hotel on Sunday January 11th 1970 sought to reverse this basic principle of the Sinn Fein organisation down the years and to participate in all three existing parliaments . That sitting and participating in the affairs of these assemblies constitutes recognition of them , all reasonable people will agree without hesitation .

Those who walked out stand by the Constitution and Rules of the Sinn Fein organisation ('1169....' Comment - , indeed , they did in 1986 when others [including those working for British Intelligence] attempted to constitutionalise the organisation) and claim the historic name of Sinn Fein , while those who remained sought , without success , to alter that Constitution and change a National Movement into yet another political party seeking votes at all costs ; having failed to secure the necessary two-thirds majority to effect these changes they then pressed on the Ard Fheis (ie - the Organisation's 'AGM') a resolution requiring a simple majority only viz : "...expressing allegiance to the IRA leadership.." which had , prior to the Ard Fheis , adopted recognition of Westminster , Stormont and Leinster House as policy.

This the delegates loyal to a 32-County parliament could not tolerate and since the resolution in question seemed likely to be carried , they took the only action open to them if they were not to be compromised - they walked out and resumed the Ard Fheis elsewhere ( in the Kevin Barry Hall , Parnell Square , Dublin) . The background to these events is not as well known as the events themselves : we refer to the years 1964 and 1965 .......


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

In an attack on the hunger-strike and on Republicans in general , Fr. Denis Faul , indicative of his general as well as specific political attitude to the hunger-strike , Faul defended the 'Establishment' , whose continuing co-operation with the British government , Republicans had correctly pinpointed as the chief buttress of its intransigence : " It is not a 1916 situation . People have not changed their political consciousness to any great degree . It is foolish to expect salvation from an increased effort from the Dublin government , the hierarchy and the SDLP ... "

Prominent among his other ludicrous assertions was that the statements issued by the Republican prisoners were written by people on the outside ! But more serious was the implication of external manipulation of the hunger-strikers , inherent in that ridiculous assertion . Overall , the purpose of Fr. Denis Faul's attack was to further instill defeatism , defend the 'Establishment' which reflected his own political views and vilify the prisoners' supporters .

On Thursday , August 20th 1981 , Micky Devine , the tenth and final hunger-striker to give his life for political status , died at 7.50 AM after sixty days on hunger-strike . The Nationalist people of Fermanagh and South Tyrone cast their votes to elect Owen Carron as the prisoners' candidate that day also . Early that evening , Mrs. Pauline McGeown sought medical intervention to prevent her husband , Pat - at that stage forty-two days on hunger-strike - from dying .......


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 .

Loyalist opposition to a Dublin voice will focus on the consultative machinery involving the Dublin Government and on any secretariat from the South which is based in Belfast . There is a tendency to assume that those aspects of an agreement would of themselves be enormously significant for nationalist aspirations , but a clear look at the consequences of such a 'consultative' machinery suggests otherwise - Charles Haughey has good reason to regard a 'consultative role' which gives responsibility without authority as potentially "...disastrous.. " .

In many ways a 'consultative role' is a diplomat's dream - the prospect of continuing , open-ended discussion , of an endless series of 'nods and winks' and behind-the-scenes 'bargainings' has innate attractions for the professional diplomats who have negotiated the substance of the deal . It sets up a machinery which is self-generating and ultimately self-'justifying' ; there is always plenty to consult about and consultation is always sufficiently vague to be seen as an end in itself ! ('1169...' Comment - 'Talks about Talks' , anyone ... ?)

The point , however , is the institutions which this machinery is meant to oversee , and it is those institutions themselves which have created the immediate problems which the Anglo-Irish process is supposed to tackle . Mr. Charles Haughey has engaged in some 'sleight-of-hand' in this regard - the term 'alienation' which has been used so often to sum-up the plight of the Northern nationalist is deeply ambiguous - it implies at once an alienation from 'the United Kingdom' , which can only be overcome by the institution of a United Ireland , and a more specific alienation from the machinery of security and justice , which can be overcome in the absence of a United Ireland - Haughey has used these senses of 'alienation' interchangably , allowing him to move imperceptibly from criticising any arrangement which does not tackle the alienation of the nationalists from the 'security forces' and
the 'Courts' to maintaining that there is no solution short of a United Ireland ....... ('1169...' Comment - We have had over eight centuries of 'solutions' imposed on us , and all have failed . Though it pains us greatly here on this blog to do so (for other reasons) , we would have supported Haughey in his supposition regarding the 'United Ireland' solution . Having said that , we do recognise that Haughey was simply 'playing the green card' - the man is a Free Stater at heart . ) .......