8/30/2006

Hijacked event cancelled

I see that the proposed forum, supposed to be about uniting not dividing Republicans, has been cancelled. It seems that the event was cancelled because it was being hijacked by people who had no connection to the proceedings.

Dominic McGlinchey said his decision to speak out was prompted after several days of “reckless and dangerous” media speculation on the event in Toome which was to include “a broad section of republican opinion”.



Speaking to Daily Ireland McGlinchey said the event was “hijacked by people who had no input whatsoever into organising it”. He also dismissed media reports claiming the well-publicised meeting was organised to debate forming a military strategy.

“A lot of the speculation has been very wreckless and dangerous. This meeting was not arranged to debate forming a military strategy,” he said.“It was intended to be a meeting of political minds. The meeting was about the coming together of a broad section of republican opinion, to either agree or disagree. It wasn’t meant to be about Provo or Sinn Féin bashing.”

He also denied that the meeting was going to be a dissident only affair

“It was made clear to everyone who was invited that Sinn Féin are the main players within republicanism and without them being present at the meeting there was no point in it taking place. I wasn’t pressurised by the provisional movement into cancelling it. This was intended to be one in a series of meetings arranged to analyse our past. It was about what has taken place over the last 30 years and the last 600 years. It was intended to be about what have we learned from Connolly and Costello, who talked about having an umbrella where no one was marginalised.”

"In the end, with the way things went, the meeting would have divided republicans rather than united them and the meeting was cancelled for that very reason. “To divide republicans would have been to go against the original objectives.”

I think Dominic made the right decision in this case. This meeting was being hijacked by people who have no interest in uniting anyone, their only cause is division.

I agree with Dominic that we need a broad umbrella so that we encapsulate as many people who wish to see a United Ireland as possible. However as Dominic pointed out Sinn Féin are the major player within Republicanism, any suggestion that we will be sidelined by a bunch of Reprobates is just laughable.

We need to find a common ground on which to build unity but some of these other 'Republicans' would need to examine where they are going before we can begin that process.

I will be back!


I know that I have blogged very little over the last month but with one thing or another I have been far too busy. I am very busy with party and community work. I am also in the process of clearing up the move to England which will take effect very shortly.

I am not sure how quickly I will be able to set up internet access in my new abode so it may take some time. A few of my comrades have expressed reservations about me blogging from England and it is something that I am taking on board. I haven't made up my mind yet as to what I will do so I will be playing it by ear.

What I do know is that the time that I will be able to give to blogging will not be as great as it once was. I am now a gradaute and the time that I will have to devout to my LPC will be considerable. They days of 6 hrs of University a week are a thing of the past.

I still believe that I will blog as it is something that I enjoy doing. I am in the process of working out ways in which to update Balrog so if anyone has any suggestions do not hesitate to leave a comment or send me an e-mail.

I hope to be back to full blogging soon but until then be good

8/28/2006

A brief return!

Howyis?

I'm (sort of) back. Unfortunately I haven't posted at all in the last few weeks and the reason for it is a little unusual to say the least. I was unfortunate enough to have my computer struck by lightning a few weeks ago which more or less destroyed it and we've only recently gotten a replacement. That meant that I wasn't able to post on Balrog and I have to admit that that's a situation which isn't going to change a great deal in the weeks and months ahead. I've recently started a new job and won't have internet access during the week which will severely restrict my posting.

I wouldn't say its the end of my time on Balrog, I still hope to do a bit of posting at weekends but the reality is that I simply won't be able to post at the same level as I did. Hopefully this is a situation which will change in the future but for the time being I'm going to be very much a part-time blogger.

Still I'm sure Chris' views will keep you more than entertained/shocked/angered/pleased and perhaps some of our erstwhile colleagues will pick up the blogging reins again. And of course, there are a wealth of other great blogs out there. I may not agree with most of them but have respect for all.

Slán libh, a chairde

8/21/2006

It's the Irish Rugby team, not the English!


Poor Michael McGimp has been unleashed from his dour, bland and boring cellar to call for the English National anthem to be played at an international Irish Rugby game. Michael believes that God Save the Queen should be played at Ravenhill road next year when Ireland play Italy.

Now why Michael wants the English National anthem played at an Irish Rugby match is beyond me, I can only conclude that Michael is trying to stoke up sectarian tensions.

I have absolutely no time for Ireland's Call, not for any political reason but just because it is a crap song. I do however accept that Amhrán na bhFiann is not 'au fait' with a section of the Irish people and as such I do see the need for a neutral song in the interests of national unity and togetherness.

I fail to see why Michael thinks that a song which is totally unacceptable to the majority of Irish people should be played.

Michael said that "The Irish rugby team is an all-Ireland team with players from across Northern Ireland. It is only right and proper therefore that for international fixtures in Belfast our national anthem is played."

The Irish Rugby team is indeed an all-Ireland team and the Ulster Branch is a nine county branch so your "Northern Ireland" nonsense is not applicable. The National anthem for the vast majority of people on this island is Amhrán na bhFiann, now if you wish for that to be played all the time I am sure we will be able to accommodate you.

Any suggestion that God Save the Queen should be played is just nonsense!

8/20/2006

Priesthood

I read with slight sadness today the news that only eight men were ordained as Priests this year in the whole of Ireland. It didn't really come as a shock considering the problems that the Church face in these troubled times.



I began to think why I never really thought about the priesthood as a vocation because there are some things that would appeal to me. The whole preaching from the Altar would be a huge attraction, a chance to "let rip", so to speak, once a week. I also like the service element of priesthood, being part of a bigger organisation with a common goal.

The big stumbling block, apart from the fact that I don't consider myself religious enough, is the ban on marriage. Getting married and having a family is my biggest ambition in life.

I have one mate in particular who would make an excellent Priest but because of the ban on marriage he said it wasn't an option. So instead he is going down the route of teaching Religion. That to me seems like a waste, why can't the Church see beyond Church law and embrace the 21st Century?

The ban on Priests marrying is not God's law, it is Church law! It was brought in to safeguard the wealth of the Church, which kind of puts to bed the notion of "Poverty, Chastity and Obedience"

With dwindling Church numbers, the continued fallout from the depraving sex scandals and a Church out of touch with the modern world; how long can the Church sustain this position?

I don't believe that our current Pope will make the changes that need to be made but I fear that by the time we do have a Pope who is prepared to make the hard decisions it may be too late.

8/19/2006

Can discrimination ever be positive?

This is a question that I have being struggling with for some time. Recently I have discussed this with Comrades in relation to the 50/50 proviso in Policing and in relation to the lack of female political representatives and the general party membership itself.



Now some of you may or may not be aware that I disagree most strongly with the 50/50 provision in Policing. In my opinion discrimination, even if only for a short while and perhaps with the best of intentions, can never be positive.

Membership of a Police Service must always be on the basis of merit and while Catholics should be encouraged to join non-Catholics should not be discriminated against in the process.

This however is all moot as I do not support the RUC/PSNI and I would not encourage anyone, Catholic or otherwise, to join that particular organisation.

Sinn Féin, while ahead of anyone else in relation to Gender Equality, is not a true reflection of Irish society. 51% of the Irish people are female yet our party membership is not made up of 51% female.

I fully acknowledge the efforts that the party leadership are putting in trying to rectify this. Our party constitution now states that 50% of those elected to the Ard Chomhairle must be female. We also have a very capable Gender Equality advocate in the way of Eibhlín Glenholmes of Sinn Féin's Party Development Department. I am sure she will make the vital changes that need to be made.

We could change the rules to make every member of the Ard Chomhairle female, we could change it so that every member who is elected for Sinn Féin is female and we would still have a long way to go. We need to change the male dominated culture that permeates every sector of Irish life.

What we should not do is to go down the route of fracturing the relationship between Republicans. I have no time for "women only" conferences, they are discriminatory and if someone tried to have a "men only" conference there would quite rightly be disquiet and anger. We can only fix the gender problem by coming together as Republicans and Socialists and working together to ensure that an Ireland of Equals is a reality.

Republicans should never support "Positive Discrimination" because as Republicans we should be opposed to any form of discrimination.

Discrimination can never be positive because when discrimination occurs someone always suffers, for Republicans that should be unacceptable.

8/16/2006

Usual suspects surface from under their rocks

I arrived home in Dublin at 11.45 pm on Sunday evening and the only regret that I had was that I missed the Hunger Strike rally in Belfast. I was asked to do a bit of work on the South Armagh contingent but seeing as I was away in Spain I was unable to.



I spoke to Comrades on Sunday night and was given glowing reports of the huge attendance and they spoke about how special the occasion was.

The next day we have the usual suspects trying to use the occasion to raise their own profile, Alex "stooge" Attwood springs to mind.

This rally was very important to the Republican and Nationalist community and no matter what anyone may say this was not a party political rally. This was a rally in memory of the Ten men who died for the cause, who died rather than be classified as criminals. Their memory and sacrifice is still a huge point of inspiration for Republicans especially young Republicans like myself who weren't alive at the time.

Before I went to Spain I was lucky enough to attend South Armagh's Hunger Strike memorial weekend. We heard from Bik McFarlane, Danny Morrison, the female prisoners but by far the most emotional was our own Paddy Quinn. He was arrested the same time as Raymond McCreesh and he also took part in the Hunger Strikes.

When he spoke about the ordeal that he endured, and his longing for death at one stage it was hard not to feel emotional.

These are not the actions of criminals! These are the actions of brave Volunteers who were prepared to lay down their lives for their friends and for the cause. Thatcher tried to criminalise our Struggle and she failed, if Alex Atwood and others think they can do it now, 25 years later, then they are sadly mistaken.

I would like to praise Antrim County board for their use of Casement Park; it was the right thing to do. One of the aims of the GAA is the establishment of a 32 county free Ireland, the GAA is more than just a sporting organisation and it always has been.

Dr McSparren said the Hunger Strike was a "fact of history" and it was "important for a large proportion of our population that they commemorate it".

"Whether or not you like it is another matter,"

That is the truth! Again a word of thanks to the Antrim County Board who have more to offer than their detractors!

8/09/2006

He who must not be named!

How do people?

I am just checking in to make sure everyone is behaving themselves. I didn´t want to enable comment moderation and I am now glad I didn´t. I will be back to Balrog HQ on Monday.



The holiday is going great, plenty of Sangria, Southern Comfort and cheap B&H!!

The language gap is quite difficult to cross when trying to chat up a girl full drunk, I have found that a mixture of bad French and poor Italian works best.

The papers out here are terrible, I have been forced to buy tabloid crap just for something to read.

Anyway, behave for the next couple of days and I will see you all on Monday