Monday, September 26, 2005

Betrayal will not end at arms destruction

Press Release/Preas Ráiteas

Republican Sinn Féin

Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill,

223 Parnell Street

Dublin 1, Ireland

Sinn Féin Poblachtach

Teach Dáithí Ó Conaill,

223 Sráid Pharnell, BÁC 1, Éire

For further information contact:

Des Dalton: Vice-President: 086-329 1809

Ruairí Óg Ó Brádaigh

Publicity Officer: Dublin 872 9747,

Betrayal will not end at arms destruction

Statement by Ruairí Ó Brádaigh, President, Republican Sinn Féin

The betrayal of the Republican Cause by the Provisional Movement will not end with the destruction of arms at the behest of the British government. They will be required by their masters to accept and participate in the British police in Ireland.

Bobby Sands and the other hunger strikers died agonising deaths rather than wear a British convict uniform. Now the Provisionals will don British police uniforms to enforce British rule in Ireland against the Irish people.

With the destruction of their own arms the Provisional IRA is no longer an army and should dissolve immediately and stop the pretence. IRA General Order No 11 (see The Long War by Brendan O'Brien) stigmatises such action as an act of "treachery" to be dealt with as such.

Irish history teaches us that there will always be an IRA to oppose English rule here. It was not merely for civil rights under British rule in the Six Counties that the British occupation forces were resisted and such great sacrifices endured.

A really permanent peace will be secured by British disengagement. A new four-province Ireland will give full power and decision-making to all sections of the population, both nationalist and unionist.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Sept. 21st, 1881 - Eamonn Ceannt is born

On the 21st of September, 1881, Irish revolutionary Eamonn Ceannt was born in Glenamaddy, County Galway. In 1908, Ceannt joined Sinn Féin and the Irish Republican Brotherhood. Eventually, he became a member of the IRB Military Council, and was a signatory of the Proclamation of the Republic. During the Easter Rising, Ceannt was stationed in the South Dublin Union, where he and his force of 130 men, which included Cathal Brugha, fought with remarkable resiliance. As a member of the Provisional Government, Ceannt was executed by a British firing squad in Kilmainham Gaol on the 8th of May, 1916.

"I leave for the guidance of other revolutionaries, who may tread the path which I have trod, this advice; never treat with the enemy, never to surrender to his mercy, but to fight to a finish." - Eamonn Ceannt

Sunday, September 18, 2005

This Date in Irish History - September 18th

September 18th -

1851 -
Patriot Anne Devlin died in Dublin. From a
well-known nationalist family, Devlin was a close
friend and comrade of Robert Emmet, and was witness to
his execution. Despite both physical and mental
torture, Anne refused to give evidence against Emmet.

1867 -

Special Telegram

Manchester, Wednesday Night.

A well-organized attack was made upon the police
van which was conveying Colonel Kelly and Captain
Deasy from the court after their remand, back to the
gaol outside the city.
The van was guarded by about a dozen policemen
without fire-arms, and on the Hyde road the van was
stopped by about fifty men, under command of O'Meara
Allen, a well-known Fenian.
Half of these men had loaded revolvers. They shot
the horses, killed one of the police, named Bret, and
drove the others off the van, while the armed party
kept off the police and crowd, who tried to stop the
The others, with axes, hammers, and stones, smashed
the van, and rescued the prisoners. They have not
been re-captured. Allen and twenty-two other of the
assailants were in custody by midnight.
The military are guarding them in the Central
Police Station. Several persons were wounded during
the attack on the police van.
Will the ruling classes ever learn wisdom and
become, ere it is too late, convinced of the great
social truth, that a people cannot with impunity be
always crushed down by bad laws, and denied redress by
an unsympathizing Government? Even in the ruling
country the power of the Government or the vigilance
of its officers, or the fidelity of its police, seems
unable to cope with the organization.

1889 -
Kathleen Behan (née Kearney) was born in
Dublin. Kathleen was a folk singer, worked for
Whitecross Republican Aid Assocociation, served as a
housekeeper to Maud Gonne, and was a folk singer. She
was the mother of Brian, Dominic and author Brendan
, and the sister of Peadar Kearney, author of the
lyrics to "Amhrán na bhFiann".

1964 -
Death of playwright Sean O’Casey. O'Casey was a
major Irish dramatist. A committed nationalist and
socialist, he was the first Irish
playwright of note to write about the Dublin working
classes. His plays include "The Shadow of a
Gunman", "Juno and the Paycock", and "The Plough and
the Stars".

Saturday, September 17, 2005

Provisional Surrender Now Complete

Provisional's surrender now complete

Source: Forum Magazine
Date: Aug-Sept 2005
by Paul Maguire

"This document [the Belfast Agreement] clearly falls
short of presenting a solid basis for a lasting
settlement...there will be no decommissioning by the
IRA." - PIRA statement, April 1998

"Implementation by the two governments and the parties
of their commitments under the Agreement provides the
context in which Irish republicans and unionists will,
as equals, pursue their objectives peacefully, thus
providing full and final closure of the conflict." -
Gerry Adams, October 2004

"I leave, for the guidance of other Irish
revolutionaries who may tread the path which I have
trod, this advice: never treat with the enemy, never
surrender at his mercy, but to fight to a finish." -
Eamonn Ceannt, Kilmainham Jail 1916

On 28 July 2005 - eleven years after its 1994
ceasefire - the Provisional IRA formally ended its
armed campaign against the British state in Ireland
and authorised its appointed representative ‘to engage
with the IICD to complete the process to verifiably
put its arms beyond use’. Thus, thirty-five years
after the organisation was formed, with hundreds of
its volunteers martyred, thousands more having served
terms in jail, the PIRA has left the field without
having attained its original political objectives and
without its arsenal intact. By any standards this is
an ignominious end for a once proud revolutionary
army. The recent provisional announcement represents
the consummation of a decade-long process of
republican capitulation, which is colloquially
referred to as the "peace process". But this process
is unique in that political surrender preceded
military surrender.

Political surrender
The seeds of the provisional's political surrender
were sown in the late 1980s, at a time when young men
and women were being ordered to confront the British
war machine in Ireland - often with tragic
consequences. For this author one particular month in
1987 symbolises the combination of courageous
sacrifice and cynical treason which has characterised
and bedeviled modern Irish republicanism. On 11 May
1987, three days after the SAS ambush of an entire
PIRA ASU at Loughall, Sinn Fein held a picket outside
of Fianna Fail's party headquarters in Lower Mount
Street, Dublin. Angered by Fianna Fail denunciations
of the IRA in the wake of the ambush, a banner hung
across the footpath which read "Fianna Fail - 'The
Republican Party,' Collaborators with SAS murderers".

Two days later Gerry Adams delivered the funeral
oration at Jim Lynagh's graveside and lambasted the
Fianna Fail government. 'The British government
understands Charles J. Haughey…as it understands
Fitzgerald and Spring’, Adams said. ‘It has always
understood the Shoneen clan - it bought them off with
partition. It does not understand the Jim Lynaghs, the
Padraig McKearneys or the Seamus McElwaines. It thinks
it can defeat them; it never will'.

However, according to Ed Maloney's groundbreaking A
Secret History of the IRA, 'it would have been later
the same day or not long afterward, that Tim Pat
Coogan was ushered into Charles Haughey's residence
with a lengthy letter from Fr. Alec Reid that outlined
Gerry Adams' proposals for a alliance between Sinn
Fein and Fianna Fail and the extraordinary offer of an
IRA ceasefire. The letter, fifteen pages and over
7,000 words long, was written some two days before,
when the gunfire over the coffin of Jim Lynagh was
still echoing around the streets of Emyvale and the
angry shouts of Sinn Fein protestors were ringing
outside Fianna Fail offices'. Thus, at a time when IRA
volunteers were fighting and dying to attain national
liberation, Gerry Adams was laying the foundation
stones of a partitionist settlement.

In that same year Sinn Fein published A Scenario for
Peace in which it replaced the explicit republican
demand for a British government withdrawal with the
more ambiguous objective of 'national
self-determination'. 1992 saw the publication of
Towards a Lasting Peace in which Sinn Fein called for
the establishment of a 'pan-nationalist alliance' to
pursue republican objectives. However, this so-called
'pan-nationalist alliance' between Sinn Fein, the SDLP
and the Dublin government was predicated on an
acceptance of the unionist veto and the exclusion of
traditional republican objectives. These policy
documents molded the provisional grass-roots and
created the climate for the abandonment of traditional
republican objectives. Thereafter, Sinn Fein stressed
the need for an 'agreed Ireland' - a woolly political
slogan which encapsulated an implicit acceptance of
the unionist veto and a continuation of British
sovereignty in Ireland.

The 1993 Downing Street Declaration laid down the
parameters of any subsequent agreement. The
Adams-McGuinness controlled provisional leadership
rejected the Document but remained wedded to the
process. The 1995 Framework Document envisaged the
establishment of a power sharing arrangement in
Stormont along with the creation of minimalist
cross-border institutions. Gerry Adams stated that he
would accept a return to Stormont if it were a
'transitional measure'. This statement ensured that
the Adams-McGuinness leadership would sell any future
partitionist arrangement as 'transitional', while
obfuscating the absence of any concrete transitional
mechanisms for change. This admission also represented
a revision of the long-standing republican belief in
the irreformable nature of the six-county state.

The substance of the Belfast Agreement came as no
surprise. The Agreement saw the deletion of Articles 2
& 3 and the entrenchment of British sovereignty in
Ireland. It resuscitated a Stormont power-sharing
assembly, created minimalist cross-border bodies,
reformed the RUC, and left the infamous RUC Special
Branch intact. In short the Belfast Agreement
represented an Irish republican Versailles.

As David Trimble observed, the Agreement had
transformed the provisionals from 'militant
separatists' into 'structural unionists' and it had
forced them to accept that Irish unity was purely

It is essential to recognise that the importance of
the provisional movement's political surrender far
outweighed its subsequent military surrender. The
Irish republican struggle is first and foremost a
political struggle with clearly defined democratic,
political objectives. The struggle was never about the
right to bear arms or wage revolutionary war. A
revolutionary organisation can destroy arms and go on
to procure more. But it can never redeem a political
principle once abandoned.

So when the PIRA abandoned traditional republican
objectives by accepting and administering British rule
in Ireland, they divested themselves of any vestige of
republicanism. And once the republican project was
abandoned, the provisional's arsenal became redundant
and its only value for the Adams-McGuinness leadership
lay in its potential bargaining power.

Military surrender
The initial demand for PIRA decommissioning came from
Sir Patrick Mayhew during a March 1995 visit to
Washington. The provisional leadership dismissed these
demands as a deliberate attempt to frustrate all-party
talks. "Not a bullet, not an ounce" was their
response. In 1996 a PIRA Convention unanimously passed
a motion which ensured that: 'The Army Authority shall
retain, maintain and ensure the safety of all
armaments, equipment and other resources of Oglaigh na
hEireann until such a time as the sovereignty and
unity of the Republic of Ireland has been attained.
Once a settlement has been agreed, leading to a united
Ireland, all decisions relating to decommissioning of
armaments, equipment and other resources must be
ratified by an Army Convention'. This adopted motion
protected IRA armaments and tied the hands of the
Adams-McGuinness leadership.

In October 1997 the PIRA split. Opponents of the
Adams-McGuinness strategy departed and reconstituted
the IRA. The Adams-McGuinness leadership moved with
speed to remould PIRA policy on future acts of
decommissioning. At a December 1998 PIRA Convention,
the Army Council was reinvested with the power to
decide when to decommission PIRA weapons. This was a
direct reversal of the decision taken by the October
1996 Convention, which vested this authority in an
Army Convention.

Despite the repeated cries of 'Not an bullet, not an
ounce', and despite the repeated declarations that
there would be no destruction of PIRA arms, in the
period between October 2001 and October 2003, the
provisionals completed three 'significant acts of
decommissioning' under the auspices of the IICD. As a
consequence of their 28 July 2005 statement the
organisation has instructed its appointed
representative 'to engage with the IICD to complete
the process to verifiably put its arms beyond use'.
The completion of PIRA decommissioning is expected
sometime in the autumn.

The destruction of provisional weaponry is the logical
conclusion of the Adams-McGuinness 'peace strategy'.
These weapons were originally procured to resist
British rule in Ireland and to achieve national
liberation. But now that the provisional leadership
has abandoned the freedom struggle and consented to
'administer British rule in Ireland for the
foreseeable future', these weapons are no longer
needed. Clearly, the continued existence of the PIRA
and its arsenal had become an electoral liability for
Sinn Fein and frustrated its access to British
ministerial portfolios in Stormont and its involvement
in a future coalition government south of the border.

The provisional movement is not the first republican
organisation in Irish history to have been
unsuccessful in achieving the objective of a free and
independent Ireland. But it is the first republican
organisation in Irish history to destroy their
weaponry at the behest of a British government, so
that they can administer British ministerial
portfolios and accrue political power south of the

The surrender of arms is an act imposed upon the
vanquished in battle. By compelling the provisional
movement to decommission the British state has
attempted to humiliate republican Ireland and absolve
itself of moral responsibility for the conflict in our
country, while enhancing its longstanding objective,
namely, the pacification of Ireland while maintaining
British sovereignty over the six-counties. But the
provisional movement had long given up the fight and
had politically capitulated before any military
surrender of arms had taken place. So what now of the
PIRA? Its leadership may be pre-occupied with selling
defeat as victory, but as a revolutionary organisation
it exists in name only. The whole raison d'être of the
PIRA was to wage armed struggle against the British
state in Ireland, in pursuit of a 32 county socialist
republic. But now these objectives have been abandoned
and its military arsenal is soon to be destroyed. In
real terms Adams and McGuinness has rendered the
organisation a footnote in Irish history.

Yet genuine republicans must not be disheartened. Yes,
we must accept that a national liberation struggle has
been jettisoned by a counter-revolutionary leadership
which settled for a reformed British state in Ireland.
Yes, we agree that it is unconscionable to accept
British rule in Ireland and to destroy republican arms
at the behest of London. Yes, we regretfully
acknowledge that the Belfast Agreement has
strengthened Britain's constitutional hold over the
north. Yes, we are not blinded to the fact that a
"peace time" garrison of 5,000 British troops will
remain in the six-counties in perpetuity. Yes, we will
never forget that the graveyards throughout Ireland
are full of young IRA men and women who fought and
died for a free and independent Ireland and not for
equality within a British six-county state. But not
for one moment do we accept that the political and
military surrender of the provisional movement entails
the end of resistance to British rule in Ireland. What
we are currently witnessing is a strategic reversal in
the inexorable march towards Irish freedom. But if the
pages of Irish history teach us anything, they teach
us that as long as Britain occupies one sod of Irish
soil, future resistance is inevitable.

We Shall Not be Challenged

We Shall Not Be Challenged

Nationalists in the north are once again feeling the
heat, caught between two states - Jim Gibney

Anthony McIntyre - 14 September 2005

Déjá vu was the dominant emotion experienced by
Brendan 'Shando' Shannon as he stood on the
Springfield Road on Saturday. He had made the short
trip there from his home to do what he does every
year. 'I have been coming here along with a small
number of others from long before it was trendy to do
so in opposition to bigots marching.' The first time
he had went there to 'defend the area' was as a boy of
thirteen. In 1969 virulent loyalists, tails up, were
coming down Mayo Street intent on doing what they do
best, visiting their violent sectarian hatred on
innocent Catholics. Accompanied by men much older,
Shando took his place among the ranks of the

Although he hailed from republican stock there was
little at thirteen that could have prepared him for
what lay ahead. He had no way of knowing that his act
of defenderism would hurl him into the deep end of a
protracted conflict that still goes on in perverted
form despite the peace process, in fact maybe goes on
because of it.

Shando's memory of the events of 1969 is hazy. But he
does recall that when the community were crying out
for defence, the traditional defenders of the IRA
failed to step up to the mark. Despite a deteriorating
political climate, which had for long been pregnant
with malign potential for sectarian conflagration, few
preparations for defence had been put in place. On the
day it was improvisation. Whatever weapons the IRA
claimed nominal ownership over in its arsenal, they
were not to be found on the streets of Belfast in
1969. The story has it they were in Wales. The IRA
had, in the view of many nationalists, run away.
'Place your trust in the police,' was all the IRA
leadership could offer. Not a bad idea if the state is
a modern democratic entity where it may be compelled
to stand up for its citizens even if it would rather
not. But this was the view of the Northern Ireland
state least likely to have been found within the
republican mindset of the time.

Last Saturday Shando hurried to the Springfield Road
where it was anticipated there would be trouble
resulting from attempts by Orange marchers to walk
over the local residents. His concerns were
exacerbated by reports that loyalists from Sandy Row
were trying to attack nationalist homes in the
Grosvenor Road. When a Sinn Féin MLA stepped onto a
boulder on the Springfield Road to address the crowd,
Shando couldn't believe his ears. Here was a man with
well-established Provisional credentials telling his
constituents that the loyalists were preparing to
throw blast bombs, and his advice: move back and let
the police deal with the situation. It was 1969 and
bigots goosestepping all over again. Same spot, same
speech, different person. Shando challenged the Sinn
Fein man, asking was it not imperative on republicans
to defend the area themselves rather than place their
faith in the police force. In his words, 'Let the
police deal with it? We should be fighting these
people ourselves. It is what we did in 69.'

From his perspective it made sense. After all, Sinn
Féin had been vigorously criticising the PSNI for
failing to tackle loyalists in North Antrim with the
same ardour reserved for nationalists. 'After all the
years of hard gained experience we were being asked to
accept that the sons and grandsons of the B-Specials
who burned the Falls in 1969 would somehow protect us.
The Sinn Fein speaker is a great guy and I have a lot
of time for him but on this one he is plain wrong.'

Hardly had Shando spoken up when fascistic voices
barked at him. Three senior Provisional IRA members
approached him. One was more disagreeable than
threatening. Not a shrinking violet himself, Shando
could live with that. A verbal tirade was heaped upon
him by one of the other two. Lacking the SS runes but
not the attitude, he demanded that Shando 'shut up.'
Having failed to intimidate him, the Provisional
leader 'told me he would bury me. His colleague leaned
over and said, ''leave it for now. We will do him

Their faces were distorted with sheer hatred and
they had the look of the deranged. All because I had
mildly disagreed with their speaker. They told me I
was a yellow bastard. This was a reference to the time
that they had kidnapped me, trussed me up, hooded me,
forced me to piss in a bucket back in the 1990s
because I had opposed them. I buckled when they had
me. It was not one of my braver moments. I had faced
the Brits, cops and screws, burned the Kesh, escaped
from it and did the blanket. Now I was facing the
authority of the IRA. The only authority I had ever
accepted as legitimate. I was unable to
psychologically face it down. It is a bit like a child
trying to hit its own mother. It is virtually
impossible to do. I have since rid myself of those
illusions. I never buckled to the Sticks. For that
reason I didn't buckle on Saturday when they
threatened me. They are just Sticks and I am
determined that no Stick will tell a republican that
he will not raise his voice against them in West
Belfast. We have a strong tradition here of not
buckling to the Sticks. It is a tradition I fully
intend to keep with.

I was at a conference in England when Shando's
agitated phone call came though. He outlined what had
happened. I sought to calm him down. He was adamant
that he had received a death threat. Maybe so, but it
seemed highly unlikely that the Provisional IRA would
kill him, and certainly not for something as minor as
heckling one of their elected representatives. That
might get him pistol whipped. Taking his life would
hardly carry well in the community when, like the
Official Republican Movement they had so virulently
condemned, they had stood with their arms the one
length in the face of certain loyalist onslaught. He
put an eyewitness on the phone. In much more measured
terms and in considerable detail the witness took me
though the events. I pressed him to get a measure of
how convinced he was that the threat amounted to a
death one rather than people venting anger in a heat
of the moment situation. Like Shando, he too was of
the mind that the threat should be taken seriously
given the seniority of the people involved and the use
of the word 'bury.'

I mulled it over in my mind pondering the value of
pursuing it. It was a threat which in all likelihood
would never amount to anything more serious. At the
same time, the Provisional IRA was supposed to have
packed its business up with its July statement, yet
its most senior members were openly threatening a
republican in front of witnesses. Joseph Rafferty in
Dublin had been threatened and failed to take the
threat seriously. He now lies dead having been blasted
to death by someone most in the media world believe to
be a member of Sinn Féin's militia.

I rang Shando back and asked him if he wanted me to
raise his concerns at the conference I would be
attending later in the evening. I explained that many
from the political and media world would be present
and the sheer act of mentioning it in front of perhaps
200 people should suffice to stay the hand of those
who had issued the threat. He agreed. I followed
through on my offer and told those present that
republicans under threat from the violence of the
peace process often came to the Blanket to raise their
concerns. They would never go to the PSNI. When I had
finished detailing Shando's experience I quickly
realised that many people there were interested in the
threat made on the Springfield Road that afternoon.
Their offers to raise the matter in a range of
quarters meant that Shando would not 'go down a hole'
as easily as some of his victimisers might wish.

Shando says he is determined to face his critics. He
argues that he has as much experience at the coalface
as they and resents their efforts to promote
themselves as some form of republican elite.

I will publicly debate with these people any time
or place, so long as I am not tied to a chair. I have
done as much for the IRA as they have. People on this
road know my record. One difference is that I never
sent kids out to do it. I did it myself. Have these
bullies the bottle to face me in public debate on this
question or are they afraid of the red face syndrome?
I am determined that the bullyboy tactics will stop.
My kids had the meat taken off their plates in order
that we could feed good IRA men when they had to lie
low. Now one of my daughters is barred from a variety
of pubs for no reason other than she is my daughter.
Barred by a man who is universally known throughout
the republican world for not having done an operation
in his entire life. Even the media slag him off and
have their own special name for him.

Shando has since penned a letter to his MP Gerry
Adams. In it he has named two men who were to the fore
in Saturday's incident. 'It is up to Mr Adams to
pursue the matter after that. He can hardly pretend
the people involved are not in the Provisional IRA. He
has known both of them for decades. Is he now going to
expel them on the grounds that thugs have no place in
his movement?'

Shando remains steeped in the cultural world that
shaped him throughout his life. It seems he will take
it to the grave with him. Remarkably, his view of the
problem has not shifted over thirty odd years.

The central problem in this state is that while
the British continue to run it, the government will
always fail to protect its Catholics. Republican guns
should not be immersed in concrete while this threat
exists. The only lesson that the people threatening me
learned from the Sticks in 1969 was that being Sticks
was something to aspire to. In that they have
surpassed the Sticks. Women were shouting at the thugs
hassling me on Saturday that the Sticks never
decommissioned their guns. It is an amazing situation
where we have the Orangemen marching down the road and
the only person these thugs on our side could threaten
was a republican.

Shando may feel justified in publicly challenging the
Sinn Féin MLA. But in all fairness to the MLA, he had
a responsibility to his constituents to move them out
of harm's way and not have them exposed to the danger
of blast bombs just to maintain faith with some
sectional ideological interest. While it jars with
Shando's republican instincts the MLA's suggestion
that the police handle the matter was most likely the
one guaranteed to minimise casualties. In this sense
Sinn Féin's action was hardly inconsistent with trying
to address such issues democratically.

The major contradiction of course is the Janus face of
the Provisional movement. While Sinn Féin was waxing
democratic its militia friends were quite prepared to
resort to fascistic tactics. Rather than seek to
persuade Brendan Shannon that his alternative to the
party's suggestion may have left the nationalists
exposed to unnecessary risk, they sought in their
time-honoured fashion to intimidate him. Their self
serving right wing nationalism, no longer able to vent
itself on the traditional enemy, is perpetually
seeking to recast itself in the search for new
opponents. Having lost the war to the enemy without,
the militia men seem determined to create an enemy
within so that they might continue to justify their
own existence. People within long suffering
nationalist communities are growing tired of it and
increasingly display a diminution in respect for
yesterday's men. The war is over and it has been lost.
Endlessly pretending that there is somehow a current
need for career commanders merely devalues the effort
expended in the days when military commanders had some
function other than lording it over their neighbours.

From The Blanket