Friday, January 13, 2006

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

In the years 1964 and 1965 certain persons came into the Republican Movement from the Irish Workers' Party and the Connolly Association in England and , early in 1965 , a ' .....conference to discuss political tactics , policy and internal organisation (and make recommendations).. ' was established .

Most of the ten points which emerged (from the Conference) were turned down at an Extraordinary Ard Fheis in June 1965 , notably one which sought to have Sinn Fein recognise Westminster , Stormont and Leinster House . Another - which was also turned down but was later accepted by a further Ard Fheis - looked for " with other radical groups.." in pursuit of limited objectives : these groups included the Communist Party of 'Northern Ireland' on one side of the 'border' , the Irish Workers' Party and Connolly Youth Movement on the 'other' side of the 'border' , and the Connolly Association in England .

Fifteen months ago , after the 'parliamentary' idea had been rejected at an IRA Convention by a majority of three to one and the continuation of " with the other radical groups .. " already named , carried once more by a slender majority , a Commission was set-up to examine again all the policies of the Republican Movement and make recommendations - this Commission was to tour the country and take evidence at local centres .

In spite of the developments North of the 'border' since October 5th 1968 , in Derry , and the escalation of events throughout the Six Counties all through the first half of 1969 , the Commission remained blind to what was obvious to even outside observers . The terror of August 1969 in Belfast , Derry , Armagh , Dungannon and other places was not foreseen when the Commission reported finally in July 1969 , nor was anything of the kind considered or provided against .......


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

From Thursday August 20th 1981 , an insidious campaign of moral exploitation took place involving clerics who not only adopted Bishop Daly's recommendation of family intervention but posed it as a moral duty for Catholic mother's to do so .

So conspiratorial were they in their endeavours that when three Belfast men - Pat Sheehan , Jackie McMullan and Bernard Fox - joined the hunger-strike consecutively , on August 10th 1981 , August 17th and August 24th , respectively , it drew the somewhat neurotic response from Fr. Denis Faul that this was a deliberate ploy aimed at making their families more amenable to 'ghetto discipline' !

The reality of the situation was , however , that as Belfast men constituted the biggest percentage of all the H-Block prisoners it was unavoidable that at some stage a geographic spread of hunger-strikers from throughout the Six Counties could not be maintained by the prisoners : what Faul was in fact decrying was that he believed Belfast families to be less amenable to his influence . Faul was to have a blistering row with the Republican prisoners after which he backed-down , but only reluctantly so .......


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 .

Charles Haughey's 'sleight-of-hand' should not be allowed to obscure , as it has to date , the debate about the 'consultative role' which the 26-County government is to have after the signing of the Hillsborough Treaty : for it is * possible to isolate the demand for legitimate and agreed institutions for policing 'Northern Ireland' and for administering justice from the demand for a United Ireland . (* '1169...' Comment - In our opinion , the two cannot be separated : the claim of 'jurisdictional control' from Westminster throws a shadow over any attempt to do so successfully .)

And it is clear that a 'consultative role' which comes into effect only before the institutions of 'the Northern State' have been reformed is meaningless . If the 26-County government is to be involved in overseeing the operation of (British) 'security forces' which have not been fundamentally reformed , then they will be in an even weaker position than they are at the moment in seeking to represent the point of view of northern Nationalists with regard to those 'security forces' .

They may find theselves unable to exert any control over the RUC and the UDR , and at the same time unable even to protest publicly about the behaviour of the RUC and the UDR because they are locked into a 'consultative process' . John Hume argued at the SDLP conference that the UDR , the RUC and their behaviour were not the 'Northern Ireland' problem ; Hume said that "...they were symptoms of a deeper problem , which is division .. " . This is of course true * , but it is not an excuse for entering an 'agreement' which leaves the position of the UDR and the RUC fundamentally unaltered ....... (*' 1169...' Comment - usual with the SDLP , they sold themselves short with that comment : they should have asked who fostered that "division" , and laid the blame at that doorstep . But those with a 'Free State' mentality will never do that - it is easier not to . And certainly safer .)