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|From: Irish Political Review: Editorials|
|Date: May, 2015|
Fianna Fail: Down The Plughole?
Down The Plughole?
What does Micheal Martin's Fianna Fail think Northern Ireland is?
A reasonably democratic Irish state set up in 1921, in which the Nationalist or Catholic minority refused to play a part, and in which they eventually resorted to mass murder, for no good reason, out of evil-mindedness?
That is the implication of the Fianna Fail leader's attack on Sinn Fein at the Arbour Hill commemoration on April 20th, which was reported by the Belfast Irish News as part of the British election campaign.
Mr. Martin continued the attack on Radio Eireann the following morning, raking up incidents in the Northern War from forty years ago as being relevant to current political affairs. When Gerry Adams put those incidents in the perspective of a war that had been brought to a reasonably satisfactory conclusion many years ago, Mr. Martin declared that in Northern Ireland "There was no war".
If it wasn't a war, what was it?
A campaign of mass murder and GBH, presumably. A campaign of sectarian murder which had no cause except the evil, bigoted disposition of the murderers. Is that now the official view of Fianna Fail? If not, why is nothing done to bring the Leader to order in the matter? He has said it repeatedly over the past few years.
It will be the 90th anniversary of the foundation of Fianna Fail next year. It was founded as a party which rejected the 'Treaty' dictated by Britain, both as regarded the Imperial 26 County relationship with Britain and the arrangement imposed on the 6 Counties by Britain. In the 1930s it remedied the Dublin relationship with Whitehall, but in the Constitution which it drew up for the South it denied legitimacy to Northern Ireland, and asserted a right of national sovereignty over it.
It regarded the people under the British system in the Six Counties as being undemocratically governed. In the democratic era people who are undemocratically governed, and who have no Constitutional means of doing anything about it, have the right to act unconstitutionally. That is a principle that has been applied all across the world in recent times.
In 1969 the oppressed nationalist community in the North acted against their oppression. They were encouraged and assisted by the Fianna Fail Government—and we know from our own direct experience that they were also encouraged and assisted by Fine Gael and the Labour Party.
But all three parties lost their nerve, under British pressure, in 1970. The British Ambassador, acting through Fine Gael, put Fianna Fail on the spot. Jack Lynch dropped his 1969 policy, denied that he ever had it, and he instigated criminal prosecutions against some of those who had been implementing it for him. He brought a criminal prosecution against John Kelly, his liaison with the Northern Defence Committees, and against Captain James Kelly, an Army Intelligence officer who had been carrying out his orders under a chain of command beginning with the Taoiseach.
Abandoned by Dublin, the Northern minority, precipitated into action by the events of August 1969, continued to act on its own. Did it have the right to do so, or was it subject to the Dublin claim of sovereignty? Dublin decided not to uphold that claim against Britain, which was entirely responsible for the government of the North, but did it think that the Northern minority, which it had abandoned, were still subject to its claim of sovereignty and could not act legitimately without express Dublin authority? That is how it often seemed during the 24 years of the War.
We have no inside knowledge about the upper echelons of Fianna Fail. We do not know how widespread the view of the Leader is, that the Northern resistance was a sectarian murder campaign, but we assume that it has a substantial degree of support in higher circles. If it hasn't, then the Leader is the personal dictator of a party which has no life in it.
Jack Lynch, when abandoning the Northern minority, did not propose a deletion of the sovereignty clauses of the Constitution. They were left in place until the Northern War had run its course, and the momentum generated by the War had been transferred to politics. The Sovereignty claim was not deleted until 1998, when it was done with the approval of the Provisional IRA—Michael Martin's sectarian murderers!
All Dublin Governments, from 1970s until 1998, left the Sovereignty claim in being and—with a couple of interludes—denounced those who were waging war in the North. They would make noises about 'a political settlement'—with murderers!—but they amounted to nothing.
There was only one moment when a settlement appropriate to a murder campaign seemed a remote possibility. That was in the mid-1970s under Roy Mason (who has just died). Mason went all-out for a "security" end to the War. Fine Gael Minister for Foreign Affairs Peter Barry responded with a rousing speech denouncing the "nightmare" to which the Northern Catholic community was being subjected. It was in context a call to arms, a call for greater support for the men behind the wire.
Since 1970 there have been interludes of Republican leadership in Fianna Fail: a substantial one under Charles Haughey and another under Albert Reynolds.
Haughey was charged along with the two Kellys and Neil Blaney in 1970. The prosecution of Blaney was abandoned at an early stage, presumably because he let it be known that he would defend himself by giving evidence about decisions taken by Lynch's Cabinet to arm the Northern Committees. Haughey conducted a minimal legal defence, relying on Lynch's inability to produce any actual evidence against him, and on the effectiveness of the defence made by Captain Kelly which showed that he acted on the authority of his superior, Colonel Hefferon, who declined to give perjured evidence.
As Taoiseach, Haughey was active in the early moves of what became the Peace Process in the North, and he was chiefly responsible for bringing about structural development and the economic boom in the South. In Micheal Martin's Fianna Fail he is unmentionable.
There are rumours of a Fianna Fail rapprochement with Fine Gael after the next election. And why not? With its Leader denying the facts of life about the North, and its intellectual, Martin Mansergh, taking the 'Treaty' to be the legitimate foundation of the 26 County State, the ground of difference between the two has been cleared away A merger between the two would put Sinn Fein clearly in the position of Official Opposition, and give the State a meaningful party system again.
The Irish News headline on the Arbour Hill Speech is "Sinn Fein Trying To 'Falsify' History Of Rising Says F.F.", but all that can be gathered from the report of the speech is the notion that the Provos justify their sectarian murder campaign by reference to 1916. We observed the formation of the Provos in 1969-70 from close to, and we saw the military campaign get going. We opposed it, and advocated a very different course of action. Therefore we can say with certainty that it was not the history of 1916, true or false, that was the inspiration behind the War declared in the North in 1970: and that it was a war on Britain and not a local "sectarian" war, as Martin says. Britain did its best to reduce it to a local sectarian war, but failed.
The cause of the War—or the condition without which it could not have arisen—was the sectarian mode of Government which Britain chose to apply to the Six County region of its state. (But Micheal Martin has nothing to say about that.)
The Provos fought the War to a points victory. Britain made a basic change in the mode of government which it had no intention of making while it thought it could win the War.
Some die-hard Republicans saw the 1998 Agreement as treason. They went into de facto alliance with the Imperialists and recorded secret evidence against the Provo leadership to be used after their death—and some of them were expecting to die very soon. Their purpose can only have been to de-stabilise the Agreement. Micheal Martin became a voluble supporter of those die-hards and fantasists against the Provo leadership. Is that what makes him think that he holds the moral high ground of Republicanism against Sinn Fein?
Emotional appeals are being made to European countries to take in Libyan refugees, with the finger being pointed at countries who do not take in sufficient numbers. (Figures showing the numbers taken i by various European countries in 2014 can be seen at. http://www.cafebabel.co.uk/society/article/map-of-the-week-refugees-in-europe.html. Despite all the hulbalu Britain is way down the list.)
The plain fact remains that the present refugee problem was created by the destruction of the Libyan State, where France, Britain and America led the charge on spurious democratic grounds. The result has been to create anarchic conditions within the country.
Moreover, Colonel Gaddafi welcomed immigration from Africa, which has now been stopped—and reversed.
There are therefore large numbers of both Libyan and African refugees on the seas, looking for sanctuary. Surely the countries which were responsible for destabilising the situation should now accept the consequences of their actions and take in the people who now longer can no longer live in safety in the country? The onus is surely on them and not on the countries which did not interfere in the domestic affairs of others.
Fianna Fail: Down The Plughole? Editorial
O Brave New World! Editorial on Same Sex Marriage Referendum
Banking Inquiry Update. Sean Owens
Libyan Refugees. Editorial
Readers' Letters: To whom is real honour due!. Jack Lane
Gallipoli: Myth Of Amnesia Refuted. Donal Kennedy
Coolacrease. Pat Muldowney
Desmond Boal And Conor Cruise O'Brien. Report of Liam O'Rourke Post
Shorts from the Long Fellow (Brexit; Irish Times on Brexit; Wealth Taxes; International Tax Rates; Garda Success)
"We Are Neutral". Pat Maloney. Report of Evening Echo letter
Direct Action By The Workers' Association: Vignette from 1972. Report and Photograph
The Soldiers Of Destiny. Jack Lane reviews Donnacha Ó Beacháin book
Last Words Unsaid. John Morgan (Lt.Col. retd.)
Casting Cold Yeatsian Eyes On Fianna Fail Leadership. Manus O'Riordan (Part 2)
Consumption, Investment and Savings. John Martin. Part Two of Series on Keynes's General Theory of Employment, Interest and Money
Biteback: The Irish Times – Anti-Sinn Féin polemics. Gerry Adams's letter the Irish Times refuses to print 20
Does It Stack Up? Michael Stack (Democracy and the May Referendum on Marriage; Court Rule of Evidence; Library Amalgamations; British History, their ceremonies and how we Irish can learn from them—The funeral of Richard 111
Corporation Tax — The Job Creation Myth. Michael Robinson (Report of NIPSA News article)
Giving In Order To Take. Wilson John Haire (Poem)
Labour Comment: Lenin On Guilds. Mondragon, Part 41