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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

Republicans who do not follow the Sinn Fein line are also entitled to their opinions

Now not the time for armed struggle,
(18/05/2004), Letters, Irish News

MAYBE it is because it is almost 20 years since Dolours Price put pen to paper and contributed to the Republican struggle that her latest views (the Irish News, May 11) smack of the ‘Good Old IRA’ complex. You know the score: “Ah, the boys would never have done that in my time.” Comfortable as it may well be too hold to this view, either historically or contemporaneously, displaying it does not now and has never helped to progress the Republican struggle. Coldly, clinically and – more importantly – calculatingly, the question should be asked: in the month of May 2004 what will hasten an independent Ireland? My answer and that of an increasing amount of people throughout the island of Ireland is to maximise electoral support for Sinn Fein. If this is not the way forward it is up to other Republicans to make their own proposals.

It would be easy for me as a “truce-aleer”, to quote Dolours, to fight to the last drop of everybody else’s blood and to cheer the ‘boys and girls’ off to ‘war’. However, it is well to remember that it will most likely be my noble sons and daughters (that will not have the luxury of dropping out of the struggle for long periods) that we will be cheering off.

Again coldly, clinically and calculatingly, in May 2004 this would be wrong and, more importantly, futile. The simple fact of the matter is that at this particular juncture in our history, armed struggle is not capable of making the necessary progress.

More importantly, there is an alternative that I believe has not been exhausted yet. That alternative is the dynamic created by the Good Friday Agreement. - SEAMAS O’NEILL, Ballymurphy

Dolours Price • 26 May 2004

I have neither the time nor the inclination to get involved in a ping-pong letter writing scenario with Seamas O'Neill but a few remarks on his letter are called for.

Firstly, this letter bears no relation to his initial letter attacking "Super Duper Republicans" who campaigned for Eamon McCann in the last election. His current position, vis-a-vis the salvatory nature of the Good Friday Agreement would surely have us all handing out leaflets, knocking doors and smiling down on the "grass roots" from expensive posters. Is it that only those who share his enthusiasm for the Sinn Fein line have a right to free expression? You can't have it both ways, Seamas.

Seamas has me at a disadvantage, he seems to know all about me while I know nothing about him. If indeed he knows so much about me then he should be aware that I have often "put pen to paper" expressing my position as a republican, I have spoken publicly and on radio on the same topic. Is the problem that I was not pushing the Good Friday line but speaking with honesty from my own long held beliefs?

As for cheering his "noble sons and daughters" to war, I can assure him that I would take no more joy in seeing my sons follow their convictions to prison or the grave than did my mother or the mothers of all those who lie in Republican plots. It was my free choice and I believe that we all have that freedom.

I "dropped out" of the Republican struggle? I have also heard the phrase "getting off the bus" used as an abuse for people who disagree with Sinn Fein policy - only a fool remains sitting on the bus after the driver has changed destination!

The personal nature of Mr O'Neill's letter is typical of the totalitarian way his party approach any voice raised against them. Other totalitarian parties, once in power, followed such personal attacks with the gulag or the firing squads. Spare us the day. I have never been afraid of bullies be they in camouflage, blue or green uniforms, in politicians' suits or writing abusively in papers. You do not know me that well, Seamas.

As for my contribution to the Republican cause, it continues to this day. I do not support the Good Friday Agreement or Sinn Fein but I will never abandon my Republican beliefs and state them wherever I choose. Nobody will deny me that right.

This letter closes my correspondence with Seamas O'Neill.



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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent



All censorships exist to prevent any one from challenging current conceptions and existing institutions. All progress is initiated by challenging current conceptions, and executed by supplanting existing institutions. Consequently the first condition of progress is the removal of censorships.
- George Bernard Shaw

Index: Current Articles

29 May 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Door to Door: An Irish American House Call
Matthew Kavanah


Republicans who do not follow the Sinn Fein line are also entitled to their opinions
Dolours Price


What Made Us Distinct
Tommy Gorman


US Schools Must Disclose Information About Crime on and Around Campus - (Clery Act USA): Is Similar Legislation Required in Northern Ireland?
Sean Mc Aughey


Old Friends, New Friends
John Kennedy


Memorial Day on WBAI


No More Tears
Omar Barghouti


The Nothing Here to Celebrate Israel Parade, NYC
Mary La Rosa


Génocidaires In Gaza
Anthony McIntyre


A Writer's Writer
Henry McDonald


24 May 2004


Tipping Over Cash Cows
Seaghán Ó Murchú


Dying Easily
Anthony McIntyre


Danger to Society
Chrissie McGlinchey


The Moral Failure of the "Free World" in Gaza
Ghali Hassan


Colin Powell, DOA
Paul de Rooij


The Letters page has been updated.




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