No glory for Poppy

It's that time of the year again and the issue of the Poppy once again raises its head. Tom McGuirk has produced a blog on the subject over on Slugger. I have a lot of respect for Tom and normally agree with a lot of his writing; on this occasion he is wrong however.

I have already made my feelings on the Poppy known on previous occasions, no point in rehashing them.

I would like to take Tom's article as it' from an Irish Republican perspective.

"For far too long Irish patriots have cast our patriotism in terms of what we are against – Unionists, Britain, the Loyal orders, the blue side of Glasgow and so on, instead of what we are for."

I have to disagree.

Padraig Pearse said once that Davis preached a love of Ireland while Mitchell preached a hatred of England. I find it a bit simplistic but I can at least see where he was coming from.

Irish Republicanism has always been about Ireland and its people; Protestants included. The founders of Irish Republicanism were Protestant and our National Flag is made up of equal sections of Green, White and Orange.

The Proclamation of 1916 sought to unite the majority and the minority, to "cherish all the children of the nation equally", "oblivious to the differences carefully fostered by an alien government".

Indeed in his polemic Murder Machine, which examined the state of the Irish education system, Pearse was almost overcome with joy at the thought of young Protestant children in the Sandy Row area blasting the Pope "as gaelige".

So Tom is wrong when he suggests that Republicanism has always been cast in terms of what we object to.

After 800 years of theft, rape and murder I think the Irish people are entitled to a mild antagonism towards the British state, more so when you consider that this country is still partitioned.

It was Unionism that opposed "Rome Rule", "Never, Never, Never" and "No Surrender".

Republicanism on the other hand holds that "Our revenge will be the laughter of our children"

A bit of perspective wouldn't go amiss.

"I prefer to define my republicanism in terms of what I support. I’m for liberty, for freedom from the need to fear my Government. I’m for basic, decent equality between people regardless of creed or country or colour. I’m for helping those in need of help. Those values are universal, and I’m proud that they have been adopted by a modern, outward looking Irish Republic.

But there’s an important point to me about those values. They are ideas, and rights, that have been paid for dearly with other men’s blood."

I agree; that's why I wear my Easter lily every year to remember all of Irelands Patriot dead who fought and died for Irish Freedom.

"Others who defend Irish poppy wearers point out that some of the blood spilt in their defence was Irish – and it was – but that’s not the point. I’m sick of having to justify my poppy with the argument that it’s ok to wear it because “Irish men died as well”. They did, and I honour them, but I would wear it anyway even if they did not."

Let's get something straight, WWI had nothing to do with freedom. It was about Imperialism clear and simple. A war in which working class men from around the world died in the trenches for the glory of their Imperialist masters.

All this talk of Irishmen who died needs to be set in context as well.

What exactly did they die for? For small Catholic Belgium? The glory of the British Empire?

My arse!

One section of Irish men, those of the Ulster Covenant section, went to fight in order to continue oppression in Ireland. To uphold the Protestant ascendency and to ensure the voice of the minority continued to rule over the majority. When that failed they threatened Civil War and then created a bastarised state based on a sectarian headcount.

How noble!

The other section went to fight for the British under the sad delusion that it would secure Home Rule. They wished to have the crumbs they were promised from the Butchers table as opposed to their birthright of freedom.

How patriotic!

The last section was perhaps the most honest if not the most loathsome. They are the ones who went to fight for the silver. How noble, patriotic and brave it must be to kill other men for money.

No better than a common mercenary.

These are men raised up for others to admire? I have more respect for the man who stayed at home and starved rather than bloody his soul in that Imperialist poker game.

"I wear the poppy because the battle against Nazism was a battle fought on behalf of humanity, and not just on behalf of Britain. I wear it because I’m glad men of all colours and creeds gave their lives to liberate Belsen, and because I’m happy that Europe is free and democratic for the most part. It could have been so different of those men and women had just decided to sit at home."

If that was the case you would be wearing a hammer and sickle as opposed to a poppy. It was the USSR that defeated Nazism. 4 out of 5 Nazi's killed were killed by soldiers of the Soviet Union. You couldn't honour them though, after all they were Communists and what would the neighbours think.

"Some values are universal. If my poppy shows that I stand with those people, and honour their sacrifice, then I don’t care whether it supports the Royal British Legion financially or not, nor whether it is worn by the Queen, or members of the SAS. They wear it out of loyalty to country. I wear it out of respect for a generation who laid down their lives so that my life is free."

I have no problem wearing a symbol to remember all those who died in both World Wars but it will be a cold day in hell before I wear a symbol that remembers and honours British Crown forces.

An Irish Republican would no more wear a Poppy than a Turkey would lament the passing of Christmas


What price is your freedom worth?

This Friday the Irish people go to the polls to vote on a treaty they already rejected last year. Such is the way of the EU Elite, if at first you don't get the right answer then ask until you do.

I have followed this campaign with a great deal of interest and a lot of anger.

The "Yes" side have been scaremongering to the nth degree. No mention on the benefits of the Treaty only messages of fear about job loses and being pariahs of Europe.

I am of the firm belief that the vast majority of the Yes side have never read the treaty. I say this as not one of them can answer a question about the treaty.

I read the Lisbon treaty and in total it took me about 2 days to read it properly when you consider all the existing treaties it refers to.

I watched Primetime during the week and viewed the so-called debate between Michael O'Leary and Michael Gangley.

Now I am no friend of Gangley but O'Leary is a complete and utter pompous bastard!

He proved to me that he has never read the treaty because the only things he talked about were how many jobs he creates in Ireland, how Gangley was a failed politician and how all of Gangley's valid points were nonsense.

I don't fly with Ryanair because I prefer the service and quality of Aer Lingus but I will never fly with Aer Lingus again if O'Leary ever gets his hands on them.

Vincent Browne and Tom McGurk have excellent articles on the subject in the SBP today.

I live in hope that the Irish people will have the courage to reject the Lisbon treaty again on Friday but my heart says that they will capitulate to the threats of the establishment.

Judas sold his soul for 30 pieces of silver; I only hope that those who vote “Yes” on Friday have got a good enough deal for theirs.

Our forefathers would be turning in their graves at this craven act of capitulation.


By the people, for the people

While I am an Irish Republican I am also a Republican in the international sense as well.

I have never understood how anyone could be so deluded as to believe that just because a person was born of a certain womb that they should be superior and entitled to rule.

Now I have never been one to force my beliefs on others and if the British wish to be ruled over by a Monarch then such is their choice.

I do however have quite a few English Republican friends who wish to see their Nation transformed into a Republic.

I bring this up after reading an excellent article in the Independent by Johann Hari on the late English Queen Mother.

His opening paragraph sets the scene perfectly

"It must be exhausting to be a monarchist, forever finding ways to pretend a family of cold, talentless snobs are better than the rest of us. They have to make gold out of mud. The system of monarchy – selecting a head of state solely because of the womb they passed through, and surrounding them with sycophants from the moment they emerge – produces warped and dim people and demands that we scrape before them."

Her love of bloodlines, Adolf Hitler and oppulence combined with her dislike of Aids victims, lepers and "black folk" leave me in no doubt as to her pedigree.

That anyone would bow or curtsey to a craven individual like the one mentioned above makes my skin crawl.

"All men are born with equal rights, and in associating together to protect one another and share public burdens, justice demands that such associations should rest upon a basis which maintains equality instead of destroying it. We therefore declare that, unable longer to endure the curse of monarchical government, we aim at founding a republic, based on universal suffrage, which shall secure to all the intrinsic value of their labour.”

The Fenians, Irish Republic - Proclamation


Andio sas

I leave for Crete early in the morning and I won't be back until Sunday week due to a much needed stop over in London on my way home.

I will pop in from time to time so please keep it civil otherwise I will enable comment moderation.

It must be a sign that I'm getting older that I have packed 3 books to read while on holiday.

Still one can always drimk and read at the same time lol.


Rid the world of WMD

I don't support any country having Nuclear weapons so a proposed US Security Council resolution seeking to reduce their number has to be positive.

That said I would be lying if I said that the nature of this debate is riddled with rank hypocrisy.

The draft resolution does not name specific countries, but it clearly has North Korea and Iran in mind when it says the council "deplores in particular the current major challenges to the non-proliferation regime that the Security Council has determined to be threats to international peace and security".

America is the only country to have launched Nuclear weapons over a civilian population; over 220,000 Japanese were murdered during this revenge exercise.

Despite what Neocons might say there was not, nor can there ever be any justification for such a bombing.

When countries like Israel, India, Pakistan and their fellows have Nuclear weapons it doesn't fill me with any degree of safety.

America should use its considerable influence to rid the world of Nuclear weapons; that would be a lasting legacy to the 21st Century.

China annoyed that Obama protects US jobs

The first priority of any Government should be the well being of the citizens of that country.

It should come as no surprise to anyone that President Obama raised tarrifs on Chinese tyres in order to safeguard 5,000 US jobs.

What I do find surprising is that a so-called "Communist" government would be arguing against protectionism in order to save workers jobs.

China is about as Communist a country as the Vatican.

China is a repressive, anti-worker regime with serious Human Rights violations in Tibet.

A society were all are equal but some are more equal than others.


The Lost Symbol

I am a fan of Dan Brown's books; Angels and Demons more so than the Da Vinci Code.

His new book about the Freemasons is out today, "The Lost Symbol", and I purchased it this afternoon to read while I am on holiday in Greece next week.

I like his ability to captivate the reader and intermingle limited facts with complete fiction in order to keep the reader interested.

I didn't like either of the movie adaptations but then again I feel the same about the Harry Potter films.

Apart from Lord of the Rings I have never liked the movie adaptation of a book that I loved.

There is an interesting review of the book in The Observer today.

Holy Lands a dumping ground for Sex Offenders

I see that the issue of placing Sex Offenders into the community has once again raised its head.

Vincent Parker, a member of the local DPP, has obtained information that 120 Sex Offenders are living in the South Belfast area.

The Sinn Féin representative said he was making the call in light of concerns raised following recent high profile cases in the area.

He said locals were also worried about the number of hostels in the area used to house those accused of sexual offences.

"The reality is, there is a need for rehabilitation and resettlement of offenders across the north, but I think, in particular, south Belfast has become a bit of a dumping ground".

"We when talk about south Belfast, I think we are mainly focusing on the university/Botanic area where anecdotally residents are saying that there are number of bail hostels".

I'm not suprised to hear this as it was something that was talked about a lot when I lived in the Botanic area of Belfast.

South Belfast, in particular the Holy Lands/Botanic/Stranmillis area, is home to a large student population.

The recent rape cases in this area give us all great cause for concern.

I can remember during exam time the Seamus Heaney opened 24hrs in order to aid students in their study.

I lost count of the amount of times that I walked female friends’ home at three and four in the morning.

The reality was that the girls were not comfortable walking home on their own.

I find the decision to house Sex Offenders in an area where they have access to a very large number of young, sometimes drunk, women to be reprehensible in the extreme.

I am not a great believer in rehabilitation for Sex Offenders; I find them to be the lowest of the low.

I have carried out Pro Bono work for women in crisis centres and witnessed first hand the lasting damage that these "people" can do to women and young children.

The Liberal masses, normally from Middle Class areas, cry out that we need to house these people and that it is only right that they get a second chance.

How come they are always rehoused in Working Class areas?

It’s all well and dandy to pontificate about rehabilitation when it isn't your daughter/sister/niece at risk.

How about we move these half way houses to Malone Road type areas and see how long it is before they are removed.

Don't risk someone else’s childs safety when you would not risk your own!


Sinn Féin call for NAMA Referendum

Sinn Féin has called for all-party support with regards to a referendum on controversial NAMA legislation.

Arthur Morgan, Sinn Féin's Finance spokesman, called for politicians to sign a petition for President Mary McAleese demanding a popular vote.

Arthur said the proposed toxic assets agency was too important not to be put to the people.

“The consequences of NAMA are so serious for the Irish people today and for future generations that the legislation should be referred to the vote of the people,” he said.

Arthur said that Article 27 of the Constitution provides that the President may refuse to sign a Bill if it contains a proposal of such national importance that the public should be consulted.

“This has never been done before but if ever there was a Bill that contains proposals of such national importance that the will of the people should be sought, then NAMA is it.”

The NAMA legislation is to be debated in the Dáil on Wednesday, with Finance Minister Brian Lenihan due to outline more details about the controversial plan.

“As we state in our draft of the petition, NAMA would place an intolerable burden on state finances for the benefit of private property speculators, developers and corrupt bankers,”

“It would penalise our citizens now and in the future, entailing cuts in vital public services and higher taxes and levies which will fall most heavily on the weaker sections of the community.

“Let the people decide.”

This is a very sensible and reasonable request that everyone should support.

I suspect that both Fianna Fáil and the Green Party will oppose it however. Such is the mess that they have landed the country in that they fear the public response.

When a Government fears the opinion of the public you know that said Government needs to be replaced.

In a Republic the people are Sovereign, not the bankers, the developers or corrupt politicians.

The President has a duty to stand up for Irish Citizens.

Under Article 8.8 of Bunreacht Na hÉireann the President swears to dedicate their "abilities to the service and welfare of the people of Ireland".

This is one such case where the President should refuse to sign the bill and defer to Article 27 of the Constitution.

Let the people decide!


"The unexamined life is not worth living"

Those are the words of Socrates at his trial for heresy. He was on trial for encouraging his students to challenge the accepted beliefs of the time and think for themselves.

I don't pretend to be a modern day Socrates, far from it, but I do try to examine my life, destination and beliefs as much as possible.

One of the clear advantages of having a blog with my writing style is that I am able to go back these last four years and see how much I have changed, or not.

In two months time I will be 25, a bit of a milestone.

When I first started this blog I was 20 and I am a very different person now compared to back then. In many ways I am much more comfortable in my own skin, I know who I am and who I am not.

When I first started blogging I was a heathen Socialist with a great desire to fight, it didn't matter what I was fighting or arguing against so long as I was fighting.

Looking back on some of my blog posts and comments I've thought "Did I really believe that?"

I am now much more in touch with my faith and I grateful for that gift. Friends who have known me for a long time are quite shocked by my change with regards to religion.

At 15 I was very anti-Church, concerned only with the material benefit of the working class through the advancement of Communism.

I am still a left wing Socialist but guided now by an even stronger Catholic faith that provides meaning to empty words.

I am now much more suspect of the "isms". I am suspect of those who judge only by a label. I am much more concerned by the soul of a man.

What do they really believe that and do their actions bear fruit to that belief?

You can call yourself a Socialist till the cows come home but if you engage in anti-Socialist practises then your words are empty and you are either a political whore to be bought at the highest price or an opportunist.

I have time for neither.

I am also much less politically active than I once was.

When I was 20 I was the Chair of the QUB Cumann, a member of the officer board back home in my own Cumann and also involved in Chomhairle Ceantair activities in both South Belfast and South Armagh as well as being a member of the South Armagh Demil Committee.

At the moment I haven't been involved in political activities since the last election.

Work leaves my time much more constrained in a way that it wasn't during University but I am starting to feel that it is something different.

I got involved in Republican politics to effect change, to make a difference and I don't see much change being enacted at the moment.

I have a lot of thinking to do over the coming weeks and months.

In many ways I am much more questioning of norms than I once was. At 20 I had a lot of sacred cows and a lot of those have been slain.

As a result I am much more open to questioning direction and arguments than perhaps I once was.

I enjoy looking back over the blog pages to see how different, or not, that I have become.

There are lots of changes that I want to make in my life including career as well as personal.

I want to include much more travel into my life and think a move to a more global firm may offer that opportunity. We are in a recession and so opportunities are limited but that won't always be the case.

When I first started my legal career I thought that Criminal and Family were the areas that I wished to practise in. That has now changed and I am drawn much more to the Tax and Corporate route.

I want to learn a new language and I want to change other parts of life including perhaps further study.

At the moment these are only internal conversations but over the coming months I intend to place them into action.

A change of scenery is in the offing and that may be either Dublin or, if I can arrange it, New York.

I'd like to spend some time in the States and my ex works for the New York State Prosecutors office and loves it.

She has been trying to convince me to go out for quite a while.

I'm at a cross roads in my life and knowing what to do for the best is difficult.

The only thing I wish to avoid is regrets

I'm reminded of the quote from Polonius in Hamlet

"This above all: to thine own self be true,
And it must follow, as the night the day,
Thou canst not then be false to any man"


Jus Sanguinis and the Irish Diaspora

For those not versed in the Latin language "Jus Sanguinis" means Right of Blood.

It's a social policy that determines Nationality/Citizenship not by place of birth but by ancestor/race/blood.

Jus Sanguinis is the opposite of "Jus Soli" which is a Right of Soil policy which advocates citizenship by place of birth.

Most countries make up their citizenship law by having a mixture of both.

I bring this up because the Irish Diaspora has no "right of return".

Currently anyone who is Irish but has ancestors that left after the generation of Grand Parents are turned down and told they aren't welcome.

I oppose this policy.

Many people left this country because of repression by the British in the 1800's as well as the effects of the Great Famine.

Why should their offspring be denied a place in Ireland?

I remember watching a programme by David McWilliams which called the Irish Diaspora our great untapped resource.

Many people accuse Sinn Féin, quite wrongly in my opinion, of being soft on immigration.

I am not a dyed in the wool Liberal when it comes to immigration.

I don't believe in a complete open door policy. I lived in London for a while and saw at first hand what a cesspit certain parts of it have become as a result of that policy.

I'm talking about places where it would not be safe to walk down the road alone.

I don't believe in multi-culturalism, I believe in integration. I know this sounds rich coming from an Irish man. The Irish aren't known for their integration except in one country, America.

There are many things about America that I admire but one of the biggest things, after their Constitution, is the fact that every immigrant you speak to calls themselves American first and only mention their other ethnicity afterwards.

They stand under the same flag and support their country; they act as one.

I believe that an Irish person born in Argentina, who has respect for our culture, language, customs, pastimes and history has more right to be in this country than a person from a different country with no ties to us at all.

I'm not talking about closing off immigration for anyone who hasn't got Irish blood.

What I am asking is that we repay the huge debt that we owe the Diaspora and give them their right of return.

DUP calling for an official role in Irish Government body

It's not an April fool; it's the request of 6 County Finance Minister Sammy "Stripper" Wilson.

Sammy has called for the 6 County Executive to have an official role in the 26 Counties NAMA body.

What a shame that the first time the DUP encourage North South Co-Operation that I have to oppose the body concerned.

Such concern for the economies on both parts of Ireland is to be welcomed however.

Economics will be the final nail in the coffin of partition; it's not a question of if but when.

British Army has no place in South Armagh

One of the objectives of these so called dissident Republicans is to get the British Army back on to our streets and lanes.

They seek to escalate the situation in the hope that the British will resort to their age old tricks of brutality and thus create popular support for their "campaign".

They should remember that one swallow doesn't make a summer anymore than two dead soldiers and a cop make an armed campaign.

With this is mind I am glad to hear that the NIO have rubbished the suggestion of sending in British troops.

British troops have no place in South Armagh; they are not wanted and will never be viewed as anything other than an occupying force.

Dissidents and Unionists may wish to see Crown forces back on the hills in South Armagh but their wet dream will not come to pass.

Any attempt to reintroduce Crown forces will move the conflict to a different level.

No sane minded person wants that.


Robinson living in a fantasy world

Peter Robinson must be still knocking out; sorry, knocking back the cooking Sherry with Iris.

In an "inspirational" speech he has called for a drastic overhaul of the Assembly's voting rules and an end to community designation also known as Unionist Rule.

Martin McGuinness accused the first minister of returning from his Florida holiday suffering from sunstroke and spending "too much time at Disneyland".

“Peter Robinson’s comments do not represent the Office of First and Deputy First Minister.

The speech made by Mr Robinson is symptomatic of the mixed messages emanating from the DUP over recent times. In my view Peter Robinson is making the same mistakes that David Trimble made in the past; I have stated previously that Peter must not succumb to continually looking over his shoulder in fear of Jim Allister and those within his own party who are opposed to equality and partnership. The present process presents challenges for all of us, however there remains those within the DUP who have deep rooted opposition to equality and partnership government.

It is not surprising that these new proposals emerge in the wake of Sinn Fein becoming the largest party following the European elections. The very fact that Peter’s remarks are in themselves confused and uncertain, in that he advocates a 65% vote in the Assembly, yet unanimity at the Executive, goes some way in highlighting just where the DUP are currently at in relation to moving the process of delivery forward.

Peter’s proposals appear to be some attempt to create the conditions where other parties can gang up on Sinn Féin, that will not be allowed to happen.

The propositions expressed by the DUP leader are fantasy politics.

The rights and safeguards secured under the Good Friday Agreement cannot and will not be changed, these safeguards are a fundamental part of the Agreement and the institutions that flow directly from it and they are here to stay. The people of Ireland overwhelming endorsed these arrangements at referendum and it is ludicrous to suggest they are in some way undemocratic; they were negotiated for because they were and are necessary."

I agree entirely.

The reason that we need to have these voting systems in place is because Unionists are not yet house trained in equality and respect for those outside their community.

The Irish Language Act is a prime example of this. This was agreed at St Andrew's yet as soon as the DUP get their hands on the levers of power they renege on the deal.

The devolution of Policing and Justice is another example of how the DUP's word can not be trusted.

There will be no return to Unionist Rule! Robinson must think we are stupid! The last time I checked Turkey's didn't vote for Christmas.

These safeguards are in place because of decades of Unionist misrule, they will not be removed!

End this madness!

Last night was the first time in years that I heard helicopters flying over the house; as a child I used to count them instead of sheep.

It follows from the news that the police have discovered a 600lb bomb just outside Forkhill near the Louth border.

I know the area well as I have friends that live near it and my Mother’s family used to have a large country house down the road from it at Dungooley.

A house and land now owned by none other than Lord Ballyedmond, a far out cousin through no fault of my own.

Now this action is far from heroic by these brave sons of Ireland, it is stupid and dangerous.

Their actions do not hasten us to victory or freedom, all they offer is death and misery.

Planting a bomb of this size in a Republican area close to where young children play shows just how reckless these people are.

These people want the British Army back on our streets and lanes and I and others in South Armagh oppose that.

These people have little to no support in our area but they abuse the age old South Armagh tradition of "say nothing till you hear more" or silence in the common tongue.

These people are not Oglaigh Na hÉireann and this is not the 70's; there is another way.

These people are forcing us to a place that none of us want to inhabit, they should be careful what they wish for.


Frazer has some neck

Most people who have visited Balrog over the years will know that I have an intense dislike for Willie Frazer, not because he is a Protestant bigot but because he is a fantasist, a liar and hypocrite.

I see that he has been appointed onto the new Victims Forum.

My problem with Frazer is that he attempts to create a hierarchy of victimhood with his talk of innocent victims yet his own Father, who he claims was just in the UDR, was in fact a member of a quasi-state Unionist death squad, also known as the Glenanne Gang.

William McCaughey, an RUC member, and Robert McConnell, whom Frazer also claims as an innocent victim, were also members.

In fact McCaughey claimed on BBC that the Glenanne Gang had intended to murder up to 30 school children in Belleeks Primary School in South Armagh in retaliation for the IRA murders in Kingsmill (itself a retaliation for the murder of 11 innocent Catholics over a period of 1o days).

They decided to call it off for fear of the IRA response, Civil War I expect.

I bring this up, again, because another member of the Victims Forum is Alan Bracknell. His Father was murdered when the Glenanne Gang bombed Donnelly's bar in Silverbridge.

My point is thus

How can Frazer, with a straight face and clear conscience, describe his Father and Robert McConnell as innocent victims while sitting across the table from Alan Bracknell.

Knowing that his Father and Uncle were responsible for Trevor Bracknell's death?

A new forum for Irish Unity

I'm going to do something that I have never done before on Balrog; I'm going to agree with something Mark Durkan has said.

Mark has called for a new forum on Irish Unity to be made up of all Irish Nationalist parties.

“We must reassure Unionists that our vision of unity is not one connived out of threat or defiance.

“That our 21st century vision for unity is not just about righting wrongs or addressing grievances, it is about our sense of destiny and purpose.

“Therefore, I repeat my call to all parties to return if not to the forum for peace and reconciliation then to a similar forum that addresses this business."

I have always argued that Unity is not the sole preserve of Sinn Féin but the responsibility of all Irish Republicans.

I would go a step further though; I would make this into a national conversation and I would invite all the political parties of the nation, Unionists included.

Now I'm sure that many will call me naive.

I just don't understand how we can talk about the future of our country and leave out at least 15-20% of it.

Now many would argue that Unionism would not participate, and that may be true but perhaps we can help by how we frame the debate.

If we keep the heading of Irish Unity then that covers a multitude of areas, not just political/geographical.

There is no reason why this forum should not discuss areas of co-operation between North and South as well as the ultimate solution.

None of them might participate but that doesn't mean that they should not be asked.

Our National Flag is made up of Green, White and Orange; designed to show the peace between Catholics and Protestants under the common name of Irishmen.

Even with such a simple design many do not understand it.

Many Unionists on this site have argued that I do a disservice to my National Flag by attacking the Orange order as they represent one third of my National Flag.

They don't!

The Orange part of the flag does not equate to the Orange Order anymore than the AOH represent the Green part.

The Orange part represents Protestantism, not Unionism.

John Mitchel is represented by the Orange part of the flag yet his paper the United Irishmen had this line

"That the Irish people had a distinct and indefeasible right to their country, and to all the moral and material wealth and resources thereof, to possess, to govern the same, for their own use, maintenance, comfort and honour, as a distinct Sovereign State; that it was within their power and their manifest duty to make good and exercise that right; that the life of one peasant was as precious as the life of one nobleman or gentleman; that the property of the farmers and labourers of Ireland was as sacred as the property of all the noblemen and gentlemen in Ireland, and also immeasurably more valuable; that the Tenant Right custom should be extended to all Ulster, and adopted and enforced by common consent in the other three provinces; that every man who paid taxes should have an equal voice with every other man in the government of the State and the outlay of those taxes; that no man at present had any "legal" rights or claim to the protection of any law and that all "legal" and constitutional agitation "in Ireland was a delusion; that every freeman, and every man who desired to become free, ought to have arms, and to practise the use of them; that no "combination of classes" in Ireland was desirable, just, or possible save on the terms of the rights of the industrious classes being acknowledged and secured; and that no good thing could come from the English Parliament or the English Government".

Even all these years later it's a philosophy that I hold dear. Like Irish Republicanism itself, it was founded by our Protestant brethren.

On the other hand Sir Denis Henry is represented by the Green part of the flag

A Catholic who gave total support to the British Empire and who became the first Lord Chief Justice in the newly created Northern state.

We are stronger united than divided and despite what many would like to believe we share more common ground than we do with our British neighbours.

I would like to ask our Protestant friends this

For those of you who oppose the murder of the unborn, which Nation shares your belief?

When it comes to humour, food, social custom and heritage we are one.

Taxing the poor and rewarding the rich

The decision by the Taxation Commission to recommend taxing Child Benefit, while NAMA seeks to shelter the burden from the property speculators, has brought deep revulsion to my heart.

How deformed and immoral is a society that seeks to reward the rich and punish the poor?

This new "initative" has lead me to think about the words of one of the men I admired the most in the 20th Century. I suspect everyone is thinking, Connolly or Pearse or Sands.

While I admired all these men I was thinking of Dom Helder Camara, a Brazilian Archbishop.

Many will have heard of his famous quote

“When I gave food to the poor, they called me a saint. When I asked why the poor were hungry, they called me a communist.”

A man they called "The Red Bishop" because in their ignorance they believed him a Communist.

His short book, Spiral of Violence, is a must read for anyone interested in social justice.

I am a Catholic Socialist and as such I have deep interest in Liberation Theology as advanced by the late Archbishop.

This was a man who lived Catholic beliefs, he didn't just pontificate them as many in the Church did

He wished to address the underlying causes of poverty, not just putting money in a Trocaire box every lent.

Working for a more equal and fair society does not make you a Communist. Peace can only flourish in Justice's wake!


If you don't get the right answer first time, keep asking until you do

That is the mentality of the Irish political establishment.

Last year the Irish people voted against the Lisbon treaty.
In a legal referendum they declared by some considerable margin, in Irish constitutional terms, that they were against this decision.

While all the main political parties, with the notable exception of Sinn Féin, supported the treaty and advocated a yes vote, the Irish people in their infinite wisdom said thanks, but no thanks.

Was that democratic decision respected by the political establishment? Was it fuck!

They were summoned by the European elite to explain themselves like a poor boy Oliver instead of a co-equal member state and ordered to explain themselves.

So they had a quick meeting, a few worthless promises with no legal basis were made and voila! Lisbon II.

In response to this attack upon democracy a Tipperary cattle farmer launched Judicial Review proceedings against the legality of a second referendum.

Sadly today for John Burke and Irish democracy that High Court bid was defeated.

Lawyers for the State argued that the proposal to be put to the people on October 2 is significantly different, and that it should be up to the people to decide upon.

How is the treaty different? If the treaty is different then all of the other member states will need to ratify these changes.

Is that going to happen?

This is an attack on Irish democracy and I pray to God that the Irish people stand up to the bully boys and vote No again.

Closing the door after the horse has bolted

Green Party leader John Gormless has tried to engage in a bit of damage limitation.

Green Party Chairman Dan Boyle predicated that a General Election could be called within the next 6 months because of the challenge with NAMA.

"Getting to January is going to be a challenge," he told RTÉ’s Morning Ireland programme.

Dan Boyle said he thought the probability of an election in the next six months was "40:60".

Dan Boyle was speaking after a poll in The Irish Times today revealed three quarters of the electorate would like to see a change of government and shows Fianna Fáil slipping to a record low of just 17%.

In an attempt to appease his Fianna Fáil masters Gormless was trailed out to counteract the statement from Boyle

“I think the odds are against an early election,”

“But it’s very clear that there are a number of important decisions to be made, not least the Lisbon Treaty; Nama legislation; and renegotiation of the Programme for Government.

“These are all very important matters that will decide the future direction of this country.”

A poll in the Irish Times today was stark reading for both Fianna Fáil and the Green's.

According to the poll satisfaction with the Government is running at just 11 per cent, with 85 per cent of voters expressing dissatisfaction with its performance.

When people were asked who they would vote for if there were a general election tomorrow, the adjusted figures for party support, compared with the last Irish Times poll in May were:

Fianna Fáil, 17 per cent (down three points)
Fine Gael, 34 per cent (down two points)
Labour, 24 per cent (up one point)
Sinn Féin, 10 per cent (up two points)
Green Party, 3 per cent (no change)
Independents/others, 12 per cent (up two points).

While the political class in Leinster House are living in their Ivory tower the average Joe is feeling the fallout from Fianna Fáil's orgy with the property developers and bankers.

NAMA is designed to shelter them from their responsibilities; it will place that burden on future generations who had no part in this depraved political ménage à trois!

I'm starting to think that the leaders of the French revolution had the right idea.


If Lynch had invaded-The Verdict

I was somewhat apprehensive with the title of the RTÉ documentary "If Lynch had invaded", I was right to be suspicious.

This was a white washing of history and an attempt by the West Brit establishment in Dublin to absolve them for the cowardice they showed in 1969.

The Southern Army was meant to have invaded Newry yet we were shown all their soldiers standing in the middle of a field being shot to pieces and crying. I mean, at least attempt to show a plausible scenario.

We then had the suggestion that if the Dublin government attacked the North they may have been denied entry into the EU.

Do these so-called historians not remember that when Ireland first attempted to join the EEC they couldn't as the French, in the form of De Gaulle, refused to admit Britain?

For goodness sake France supplied Argentina with missiles during the Falkland’s War.

From start to finish this documentary was designed to wash away Southern guilt and had no basis in fact or reality.

As to the suggestion that the British would destroy the Irish soldiers we need to remember this.

For 30 years the British failed to defeat the IRA and could never have defeated the IRA.

How much does a son or daughter go for these days?

I find myself somewhat perplexed by the suggestion of compensation from Col Gaddafi to the families of those killed by the IRA. At the end of the day Libya is free to offer money to whom ever they like.

That said how is one compensated for the death of a loved one?

Is a Fathers life worth more than a Son? What about a girl-friend, do they count in the claim for compensation?

What if one person hated their father who was killed and another man was madly in love with a girl-friend who was killed, is their lose equal?

I say this as someone genuinely interested in a mature discussion. I am lucky enough to have both my parents and all my brothers still alive and well.

I couldn't imagine any amount of money filling the void that their passing would bring. In fact I would find the very notion of recompense to be an insult to their memory.

Compensation is designed to be something given or received as an equivalent for services, debt, loss, injury, suffering, lack, etc.

It's easy to provide compensation for the loss of a car, house or other possession.

How do you compensate however for the loss of a loved one?

Leaving my main question aside for one moment we also need to remember that the IRA weren't the only aggressors in the war, the British were right up there as well.

Will their victims be compensated as well for their loss? Let's not forget that the British armed and directed proxy Unionist death squads alongside their conventional state forces.

Is a victim of Bloody Sunday worth less than a victim of La Mon? Who decides?

Then we move on to the thorny issue of combatants. I already hear Unionism screaming about "innocent victims". If that was the case then why is Willie Frazer involved in this action against Gaddafi?

Let's not forget that his dead realities were anything but innocent. They were members of the Glenanne Gang, responsible for the Dublin and Monaghan bombings and countless other sectarian murders.

I know that I am generalising here but I have always been struck by the difference between Nationalist/Republican victims calling for the truth and Unionist ones calling for money.

This may seem like a heartless statement but I am forced to believe that for some, perhaps only a small but vocal minority, this is just an excuse to get a few extra pounds.

For money will not bring their loved ones back.

Time to pay the piper

I welcome the news that Scottish politicians are to make the Orange Order there pay a contribution towards the cost of policing these hate fests or else face a new law restricting the number of parades.

It costs £1.5 Million to police these displays of communal deterrence and that money would be better spent on hospitals, schools and the elderly.

Naturally the Orange Order is none too pleased with this suggestion.

A spokesman for the Orange Order had this to say.

“Parading is an integral part of the Protestant culture,”

Really? Where in the bible does it say that "Thou shalt parade, wear funny hats and try to intimidate thy neighbour"?

England, Holland and large parts of the United States are Protestant yet they don't engage in this kind of bigoted behaviour.

He went on to add

“We are working with the tourist authorities both north and south of the border to attract more visitors to parades and the whole community is benefiting from this."

Really? The whole community benefit from this?

I have an idea. Let's have a vote on the issue and if 75% vote in favour of Orange Order parades and the costs involved then you can parade away to your hearts content.

I also have no problem with a 51% vote carrying the vote.

"As an organisation which relies on voluntary subscriptions, the cost would be crippling for us."

Ahh, my heart bleeds! It may force you to only parade in areas where you are welcome and that would be no bad thing.

“We do not make any profit from our cultural celebrations, it is the community who reap the benefit."

LOL, I don't know what's more hilarious, calling this hate fest a cultural celebration or trying to suggest that the community benefit from it.

"We believe charging cultural organisations for their parades could be a contravention of the European Convention on Human Rights.”

Here's a small piece of free legal advice for our Orange brethren.

The "right" to parade is a qualified right, it's not absolute. It needs to be balanced against the rights of people to live in dignity, free from the naked bigotry of the Orange Order.

Charging these boys and girls for their need to parade in areas where they are not wanted sounds like an excellent idea.

When do we start doing it here?

The Irish government did supply the IRA with guns

In 1969 the Dublin government supplied the IRA with guns in order to protect Nationalist areas from Unionist and Loyalist attack.

This has always been a disputed fact and lead to the Arms Trial of 1970, the formation of Independent Fianna Fáil by Neil Blaney, the expulsion of Kevin Boland and almost two decades of division in Fianna Fáil.

I have always had some level of admiration for Charlie Haughey, not much but some, and this was a time when he did the right thing in helping out a defenceless community in the North.

Former Stickie Bobby McKnight has admitted to first hand knowledge of one such time.

Belfast man McKnight, who in 1969 was a member of the IRA command staff, states that along with another man he drove to Dublin Airport in September 1969.

There he met then Minister for Finance Charles Haughey’s brother, Jock, and took delivery of several cases of weaponry, which filled his pickup truck, these were then transported to IRA members in Dublin.

While Lynch was making promises other members of the government were actually getting the job done.


A sad attempt at culture

On Friday night I ended my 9 week alcohol ban and went out with friends from work in Newry. My usual tipple starting off is always a double southern comfort and coke. Last Friday I decided to add a Cosmopolitan as a chaser.

While we were having a few drinks and waiting for the rest of our party to arrive I heard loud drums. Owing to the part of town that we were in I suspected I was in for a treat from our loyal sons of Ulster.

They didn't disappoint.

The South Down Defenders had organised a parade and band "competition", no doubt tested on their strident anti-Catholicism.

There was a minimal police presence and standing outside the Brass Monkey having a smoke I was left to ponder what drove these people to parade and invite over 60 bands from across the North to take part.

There was only 6 people watching these bands and the only people who clapped as the bands passed were the two Stewarts.

All in all it was quite pathetic!

I didn't feel in anyway threatened standing almost side by side with these "loyal brethren".

Though I did find those subdued and pompous looking bands people quite alien to me.

If that is what they call culture then I am glad to be considered uncultured.

What do Unionists get out of these cultural events?


If Lynch had invaded

That is the title of a new RTÉ documentary to be shown next Tuesday night and it lasts for an hour and a half.

The synopsis of the documentary is presented below

"At 9pm on the 13th August 1969 the Taoiseach Jack Lynch made a dramatic television broadcast on RTÉ which outlined his government’s response to the outbreak of violence in Derry the day before. The crisis marked the greatest challenge to his political career as Lynch declared that “the Irish government can no longer stand by and see innocent people injured and perhaps worse.” What did Lynch mean, and was this a precursor to an armed invasion of Northern Ireland? Co-presented by Keelin Shanley and Tom Clonan, If Lynch Invaded tells the story how Jack Lynch dealt with the crisis of August 1969, and explores what might have happened had the Irish Army crossed the border."

Before we start to look at the entire premise of the documentary I have to take issue with the title.

Invade! That word for me smacks of negative overtones and conjures up images of the British invading foreign countries and subjugating the local inhabitants with a foreign writ and way of life.

You can't invade your own country!

If Lynch had sent the Free State army North it would have been about the assertion of National Sovereignty, Re-Uniting the country and forcing out a foreign invader.

Why not call it "If Lynch had asserted the primacy of Bunreacht Na hÉireann" or "If Lynch had stood up for fellow Irishmen" or "If Lynch had any balls" or "If Lynch wasn't such a total coward, a free-stater and a panderer to the British".

Anything but invade!

I suppose one needs to remember that it is RTÉ we are talking about.

Lynch was never an Irish Republican, not like Kevin Boland and Neil Blaney. He stood idly by as Irishmen and women were killed.

I don' know what would have happened if Lynch had sent troops North, none of us do.

J. Bowyer Bell, in his book about the IRA, suggested that the Brits waited 14 hours before deploying British troops in the hope that the Irish government would send troops North.

Lynch was good about making statements about Irish Unity but when it came to action he always fell short.

An attitude of "I'm alright Jack" pervaded his government with only a few notable exceptions.

"13 gone but not forgotten, we got 18 and Mountbatten"

That was the graffiti which went up on the gable walls in Republican areas thirty years ago today.

Today marks the 30th Anniversary of the IRA assassination of Lord Louis Mountbatten and the killing of 18 members of the Royal Parachute Regiment at Warrenpoint.

Both Operations were carried out by the South Armagh Brigade of Oglaigh Na hÉireann.

The reference to 13 is in relation to the 13 Irish people that the Parachute Regiment murdered in Derry on Bloody Sunday. It was presented as revenge and was the single biggest loss of life which the Crown forces suffered since the end of WWII.

I watched the RTÉ and TV3 documentaries into the killing of Mountbatten in Mulloghmore.

I can't and won't stand over the killing of the civilians on Shadow V, including Paul Maxwell.

That said as a member of the British Royal family Mountbatten was a legitimate target and he placed those civilians in harms way by coming to an island where his Crown forces still occupied its 6 North Eastern counties.

We can't change the past but we can place the blame on the correct people, the British Establishment.

These people can't expect to deny a people freedom, encage its people in a sectarian bastarised state and then feign shock when the people arise to demand their freedom.

I also don't accept the old chestnut from many left wing people in England and Scotland which tries to remove blame from the average British soldier. They present such soldiers as the victim of the capitalist class system, used and abused by the British elite.

Every British soldier that came to this country had a choice; they choose to take a gun to the throat of the Irish people.

When times were hard many working class English and Scottish men choose the dole rather than the Imperialist Crown Forces. Those are the real men of value.

While I was living in London I had a chance to speak to many of these men. I remember one telling me about how all his friends joined the British army when times were hard. I asked him why he never did.

He told me that they would have had to nail the uniform to his back. He said that he was not put on this earth to deny freedom to others.

The relationship between Ireland and England will always be a complicated one until England releases her hold on our country. That old man in a pub in Camden reminded me that friends come in many forms.


Equality! It's new, strung and shall be heard!

Unionist's are none too pleased that Irish Republican Ruairí Gildernew took part in the recent Hunger Strike Commemoration in Galbally.

You see Ruairí is also a member of the Tyrone District Policing Partnership.

Unionism seems to think that there is something wrong with a Republican attending a Republican parade; I suspect they are more annoyed that Republicans are actually on the DPP's in the first place.

Ulster Unionist Tom Elliott said his actions were "incompatible" with his DPP role and called on him to resign.

Ruairí said he was on the DPP to represent republican views and would take part in such an event again.

"I think it is entirely a non-issue and Tom Elliott and the like of him are incensed that the republican movement can draw a crowd of 10,000 to 15,000 people into a nationalist area to commemorate the nationalist martyrs of the hunger strike and not one penny of policing resources was spent in policing this,"

DUP assembly member Arlene Foster has called on the Policing Board to investigate Mr Gildernew's presence at the event.

"Ruairí Gildernew, on applying to take up his role as an independent member of Dungannon DPP, signed a declaration stating his opposition to terrorism.

"One wonders how his actions at Galbally can be consistent with such a pledge."

Very simple really Arlene, the IRA are not and never have been a terrorist organisation.

It's about time that Unionism got used to Republican's, we haven't gone away you know!

They offer no chance of victory

I see that the Real IRA staged a show of "strength" last Friday night in the South Armagh village of Meigh.

Eight men armed with AK47 assault rifles and an RPG mounted road blocks on the outskirts of the village and entered the local pub and distributed leaflets.

These leaflets threatened locals that they should not have contact with the PSNI/Gardaí or Sinn Féin.

From people I have spoken to who were in the pub and who were stopped in their cars they also warned anyone local who was involved in drugs or anti-social elements that they would be dealt with in the near future.

I obviously oppose this action for a multitude of reasons.

1. Armed Struggle will not advance Republican objectives at this time; it will only lead to more Irishmen and women in the grave and in jail.

2. These people are a minority in our area and they have no right to tell the people that they should have no contact with a political party which receives 84% of the vote in the area.

That is fascism and will not be tolerated by the local people.

The only people elected to speak for the people of Meigh are Packie McDonald, local councillor, and Conor Murphy, MP/MLA, both of whom are Sinn Féin representatives.

Let us presume for a moment that these dissidents are the local variety.

Their threats against those engaged in drugs and anti-social behaviour might appear credible if it wasn't for the company that some of them keep.

I appeal to these men and women to desist.

Even though I disagree with them most profusely I don't want to see any local Republican languishing in a British jail or resting in Dromintee or Meigh graveyard.

A United Ireland can be achieved through political means and I encourage them to join with us to advance the Republican struggle. James Connolly said it best

"We believe in constitutional action in normal times; we believe in revolutionary action in exceptional times."


McCausland didn't read GAA Constitution

I see that "Ulster-Scot" Nelson McCausland has again attacked the GAA and Republicans over the use of a GAA pitch for last weekends Hunger Strike Commemoration.

It took place in the Republican stronghold of Galbally.

Our Culture Minster (Don't laugh) had this to say

"It cannot be right that a sports ground should be used for commemorating and celebrating something as offensive as the whole H-Block episode."

I agree that the Hunger Strike was offensive, offensive by the fact that the British government let 10 men die rather than face up to their responsibilities.

Sinn Féin MLA Barry McElduff said there were no alternative venues for the rural, largely republican community.

"We were remembering, not terrorists but inspirational, politically-motivated Irish hunger strikers,"

I don't know why Barry is trying to reason with this idiot, it's pointless.

Nelson claims that the event breaches Rule 7a of the GAA constitution.

He is incorrect!

Rule 7a states

"The Association shall be non-party political. Party
political questions shall not be discussed at its
meetings, and no Committee, Club, Council or
representative thereof shall take part, as such, in any
party political movement"

The GAA is not, nor have they taken party in a party political movement.

The Hunger Strike event was remembering 10 men, 7 IRA men and 3 INLA men.

Irish Republicanism belongs to all and all are welcome.

Nelson seems to think that the GAA is the IRFU; it's not and for good reason.

I will print below the preface to the GAA constitution and highlight parts I feel are important.

“Those who play its games, those who organise its activities and those who control its destinies see in the G.A.A. a means of consolidating our Irish identity. The games to them are more than games - they have a national significance - and the promotion of native pastimes becomes a part of the full national ideal, which envisages the speaking of our own language, music and dances. The primary purpose of the G.A.A. is the organisation of native pastimes and the promotion of athletic fitness as a means to create a disciplined, self- reliant, national-minded manhood. The overall result is the expression of a people’s preference for native ways as opposed to imported ones.”

"Since she has no control over all the national territory, Ireland’s claim to nationhood is impaired. It would be still more impaired if she were to lose her language, if she failed to provide a decent livelihood for her people at home, or if she were to forsake her own games and customs in favour of the games and customs of another nation. If pride in the attributes of nationhood dies, something good and distinctive in our race dies with it. Each national quality that is lost makes us so much poorer as a Nation. Today, the native games take on a new significance when it is realised that they have been a part, and still are a part, of the Nation’s desire to live her own life, to govern her own affairs.”

The GAA is quite clearly an Irish Republican organisation; it includes all and excludes no one.

Rules 2, 4a and 15 reinforce this position.

Rule 2

"The Association is a National Organisation which has as its basic aim the strengthening of the National Identity in a 32 County Ireland through the preservation and promotion of Gaelic Games and pastimes."

Rule 4a

"It shall foster an awareness and love of the national ideals in the people of Ireland, and assist in promoting a community spirit through its clubs."

Rule 15

States that the National flag should be flown at all matches and when the anthem is played it should be observed in a respectful manner, failure to do so can result in a 500 fine.

Nelson doesn't seem to grasp the impact that Hunger Strike has on the Irish psyche.

Hunger Strike or "Cealacha" was a key component of Brehon Law.

As Brehon law didn't have a police force Hunger Strike was a remedy to achieve justice.

Under Brehon law, if you allowed a person to starve on your doorstep for a debt that you owed or an injustice that you perpetrated then you would find yourself charged with murder.

Thomas Ashe, Terence MacSwiney, Michael Gaughan, Frank Stagg, Bobby Sands.

All these men continue an Irish tradition of protest, in the words of MacSwiney

"It is not those who can inflict the most but those who can endure the most that will conquer"

Nelson will never understand because his bigotry does not allow him to.

We have nothing to be ashamed of and nor will we apologise to the likes of McCausland.


1737 Administration of Justice Act

As part of the St Andrews Agreement the British government signed up to the introduction of an Irish Language Act. The fact that they have failed to live up to that comes as no surprise.

That said what they should do is to repeal, with immediate effect, the 1737 Administration of Justice Act.

This is a piece of legislation which forbids the use of any other language in a court save English.

This relic of the Penal times has already been repealed with respects to Welsh and Scots Gaelic with the introduction of the 1993 Welsh Language Act and the Gàidhlig Language Act 2005.

Irish speakers should be entitled to the same level of protection under the law.

Over 4000 children are being educated through the medium of Irish and over 10% of the population of the 6 counties have a working knowledge of the language.

Equality may be a dirty word for some people but it's now a fact of life in the occupied counties so they better get used to it

Sinn Fein MEP Bairbre de Brún said

“It is unbelievable that nine years after they signed the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages, the British Government is still defending this relic of colonialism which forbids the use of Irish in the courts.

“The British government must ensure the full protection of the right of irish speakers in all walks of life, including in the courts.”

NAMA is a threat to Irish liberty and prosperity

I must admit that when it comes to detailed economics I am not the most versed; it was never my calling.

That said I am very interested in politics and law and as such I have followed the NAMA debate with much interest.

Even a casual reading of the proposed NAMA legislation leaves you with great anger towards the banking sector and Fianna Fáil.

With regards the banking sector perhaps we should not expect any better, what would you expect from a pig but a grunt but Fianna Fáil are a different matter.

Like the Emperor Nero they fiddled (the books) while Dublin burned.

Instead of trying to cool the property market they actively encouraged its inflation with the slashing of property taxes designed to help their Galway race going property developer mates.

Yet despite their treasonous actions it's the average PAYE worker who will be left to carry the can.

Not one Fianna Fáil or Banking Executive is being forced to take responsibility for their incompetent actions.

NAMA will bankrupt our nation's children well into the future.

I read in today's SBP Pat Leahy's fragrant disregard for democracy when he suggests that the Green party elite might be defeated by the Green party membership.

"Such a defeat seems, at this stage, unlikely - but any party so dominated by its activists is necessarily volatile.

As one senior civil servant put it recently: ‘‘I just don’t trust the Greens. They’re far too democratic for my liking. They are liable to do anything.”

If the Green's have any backbone they will reject NAMA and demand a more equitable remedy to the ongoing banking crisis.

Why would anyone trust Fianna Fáil or the banks on this issue?

George Bernard Shaw said it best, "a government that robs Peter to pay Paul can always depend on the support Paul"


Watch you don't trip over the Elephant in the corner

I see that the "Ard Chomhairle Plus" meeting has taken place in Navan following our poor performance in the Euro and local elections.

It would seem that the party are aiming to gain three seats in the next Dáil elections in order to qualify for speaking rights.

A noble and indeed sensible suggestion as the loss of the technical grouping was a hammer blow in terms of communication.

The attitude coming out of the meeting however leaves me uneasy.

"Sinn Féin president Gerry Adams rejected suggestions that the party was in difficulties in the South due to Mary Lou McDonald losing her European seat in June and Seán Crowe losing his Dáil seat in the 2007 general election.

Mr Adams said the party was not in trouble in the Republic. “Clearly as a political party we encourage creative, honest direct debate,” he told reporters."

Now I hope that was just the usual chest out, head up spiel for the media. I say that as someone who, like a lot of others within the party, recognises the very real difficulties that we have in the 26 counties.

I don't plan to rehash the same arguments as I have made my opinions clear on a number of different occasions.

Caoimhghín Ó Caoláin said the aim was to try to increase Dáil representation from four to at least seven in the next general election.

Seats that Sinn Féin is targeting include Donegal South West and Donegal North East where our respective candidates are Pearse Doherty and Pádraig Mac Lochlainn, and Dublin Central with Mary Lou McDonald.

The party is also hoping to regain the seat that Seán Crowe lost in Dublin South West.

If a General Election was held in the morning I don't believe that we would win all those target seats, if any, in fact I suspect that we would lose a few of our current seats on a bad day.

I don't say this with any relish; in fact I pray that I am wrong. That said I am a realist and we have a great many challenges facing us both within and outside the party.

While organisational issues need to be addressed they are not the full extent of our problems, despite what many of the "pragmatist" faith may believe.

As a party we are not fit for purpose, our message needs refined as does our position within the political spectrum.

We are a Socialist Republican party (I know to many that may sound like a dirty word but check the party constitution, it's very clear on the issue) and as such our policies and actions must reflect that ideology.

Thomas Davis once said "Educate that you may be free" and so it must be with us. We need to explain to voters what we stand for, what we are going to do and how we are going to do it.

That includes all party activists being fully armed with our latest policies and action plans.

The time is ticking to the next election and as each day passes so does our chance to turn things around.

Internal debate is one thing but there is a time for talking and a time for action.

Party activists should not be leaving it to others to shape our destiny.


Poor Willie is all flustered

I know it's wrong to make fun of the afflicted but Willie Frazer has to be an exception to that rule.

It seems that Willie and Jim Allister want Martin McGuinness arrested over an alleged photo of Martin holiding a pistol in the early 70's.

I have reproduced the picture for your amusement.

Law lesson 101 for the illustrious barrister and his court jester

1. There is no evidence that Martin is holding a real pistol, it could be a replica
2. There is no evidence that the photo has not been doctured
3. There is no evidence that the photo was taken in Ireland
4. A prima facie case has not and can't be established thus a prosecution is impossible

I have photos of myself and friends holding and indeed shooting AK47's, handgun and rifles.

The fact that the photos were taken while on holiday and totally legal would not be known to a stranger viewing the pictures.

Poor Willie, he reminds me of a quote from Plato

"Wise men talk because they have something to say; fools, because they have to say something."

Fáilte Abhaile

Republican prisoners Pearse McCauley and Kevin Walsh were released from Castlerea prison on Wednesday.

Despite the fact that these men qualifed for early release under the GFA they served their full sentences.

Speaking following the release of the two republicans, Sinn Féin President Gerry Adams said:

“In a public statement some years ago the IRA members convicted in relation to Jerry McCabe’s death and the wounding of Garda Ben O’ Sullivan, expressed their deep regret and apologised for the ‘hurt and grief we have caused to their families’.

I believe that this apology was genuine and it echoes the sentiments of republicans everywhere. I deeply regret the great loss and hurt suffered by the McCabe and O’Sullivan families. "


Gerry "This man is not for leaving"

I have been amused this last month or so to see the media and others attempt to build up a campaign in order to force Gerry Adams to stand down as President of Sinn Féin.

It was never going to materialise but I did find it amusing none the less.

Gerry has made it very clear today that he has no intention of standing down in the near future.

"I'm the party president and sinn é"

Toiréasa Ferris's article (more so the poor election results) has certainly ignited a spark inside the bellies of many activists and from my perspective that can only be a positive.

Sinn Féin has in the past (and indeed the present) been accused of being a top-down party in terms of ideas and control and in some respect that notion is correct.

Many within the party have been happy to leave decision making, policy formation/direction etc to the leadership and the phrase "the leadership has lead us thus far...." has been trotted out on many an occasion.

I have always found that very unfair on our leadership; after all they are only human and can make mistakes as easily as the rest of us.

For some time I have encountered a crumbling of that mindset and many activists are now no longer prepared to sit back and wait for change.

Gerry has said that space is being made to allow for debate and discussion on the future direction of the movement.

I would like to echo Killian Forde’s words in An Phoblacht when he said that action must follow this debate.

Failure to act will leave to stagnation and defeat!

I'm a Socialist Republican, I joined a Socialist Republican organisation and I would like to see that organisation operate as a Socialist Republican organisation.

PFI's/PPP's have no place in that organisation's resume!

The recent elections prove that there is space for a truly left wing Republican Party so long as the people trust the seller of that message.

It is up to us to make the people believe!


Blue Shirts will come a calling

I have to say that towards the end of the election I was a little confused by the faux outrage of Fianna Fáil and Fine Gael at the mere mention by Frank Flannery, Fine Gael Strategy Supremo, that perhaps the time was coming when the Blue Shirts would have to consider government with Sinn Féin.

According to Dermot Ahern he was sick to his stomach, so was I..........I thought Flannery said Sinn Féin and Fianna Fáil.

As a Socialist Republican the idea of being in government with Fine Gael/West Brits makes my stomach churn.

That said politics is the art of the possible and while my political sensibilities would be challenged by such a proposal I would never rule it out if a programme for government could be agreed.

I am involved with the Republican struggle in order to advance Republican objectives and if they can be furthered by going into government with Fine Gael then I would hold my nose and support Sinn Féin TD's walking into the Dáil and voting Enda Kenny as Taoiseach.

The political reality is thus, if after the next election numbers dictate that Sinn Féin will be in government then Sinn Féin will be in government.

Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil may like to pretend otherwise but both know that is the reality of Southern politics.

Governments there have a history of strange bedfellows.

Charlie Flanagan, Justice Spokesperson for Fine Gael, seems to see that political reality as well.

Every Irish political party emerged from the barrell of a gun in one way or another, to suggest otherwise is rank hypocrisy.

For Fine Gael to venerate a man like Michael Collins and then turn their nose up at so-called Sinn Féin/IRA gunmen does leave me with a wry smile.

Fine Gael don't do rank hypocrisy, but if they did......


No longer "The Republican Party"

I have long argued that Fianna Fáil may be "The Republican Party" but that their Republicanism ends at the Armagh/Louth border.

So it comes as no surprise that Fianna Fáil Minister of State at the Department of Finance Martin Mansergh said there was no stomach among mainstream parties south of the border for ending partition.

"The Republic is engaged in a major struggle to maintain, within the EU and indeed the euro zone, its economic viability and sovereignty"

"It is hardly the moment to press claims to the north which we have renounced"

Fianna Fáil may have declared the 26 counties a Republic but it is not the "Republic" as proclaimed by the leaders of 1916.

According to the Fianna Fáil website

"Fianna Fáil adheres to the great democratic principle of government of the people, by the people and for the people. The party’s name incorporates the words ‘The Republican Party’ in its title. Republican here stands both for the unity of the island and a commitment to the historic principles of European republican philosophy, namely liberty, equality and fraternity"

So according to this the entire raison d'etre of Fianna Fáil calling themselves "The Republian Party" is for the unity of the island.

In light of this revelation by Mansergh perhaps the time has come for the Solidiers of Destiny to drop their title of Republicanism.