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Freedom is the freedom to say that two plus two make four.
If that is granted, all else follows.
- George Orwell



Disarm Redundant Weapons Now


Paul A. Fitzsimmons
In response to 'Strategic Republicanism': Neither Strategic Nor Republican

To my mind - and against the background of Mr. Breandan O Muirthile's recent article ‘Strategic Republicanism: Neither Strategic Nor Republican - the republican battle was, for scores of years leading up to Good Friday 1998, one for Irish republicans (and most particularly those local to the issue) to wage or not, as they saw fit. Personally, I have always been strongly against the politically-motivated violence employed by them and others - which is why I tried to further a perhaps tolerable alternative thereto (see, e.g., independence.html) -but it has long been clear why republican violence took place, just as it has been clear why loyalist violence took place, at various points in the twentieth century.

Thus, Republicans' throwing in the towel via the Good Friday Agreement - thereby accepting de jure the legitimacy of British sovereignty over six of Ireland's northern counties (and, in the process, having their members become Crown Ministers, taking the Crown's shilling, and serving under the Union flag) - was, I feel, a decision appropriately left to their own consciences and pleasures. Their doing so could easily be argued to be much more moral, and infinitely more Christian, than their persisting in an unsuccessful, painful, decades-long war.

That said, it nonetheless continues to grate, several years on, when Sinn Fein yet tries to portray its towel-throwing decision as one furthering any republican cause.

Perhaps Mr. Trimble's recent prediction will be proven right: maybe, to get "live" Palace of Westminster seats, SF will, in the not-too-distant future, formally swear allegiance to the Queen, doubtless billing that move as another small step towards republican freedom (and perhaps doing so in conjunction with the Crown's ennobling and knighting of some "more equal than others" SF members). And maybe all that -sort of a "Meet the new boss, Same as the old boss" ending - would be preferable to SF's signing up to an obviously non-republican peace deal and then fouling up even that peace through conspicuous "republican" dissembling, as well detailed by Mr. O Muirthile.

Until such time, if ever, that fifty-percent-plus-one in Northern Ireland vote in favor of a 32-county state in Ireland, Northern Ireland will almost certainly remain but a small provincial outpost in the constitutional monarchy known as the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland. It is evident from Mr. O Muirthile's article that at least some basic honesty regarding this point would be appreciated by people who still greatly prefer the liberty and equality associated with true democratic/republican governance, ostensibly including at least some current and former SF supporters.

In any case, SF should now rightly prevail upon the Irish Republican Army to disarm fully, as those arms are redundant.



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