The Blanket


A journal of protest & dissent



The right to be heard does not automatically include the right to be taken seriously.
- Hubert H. Humphrey



Republicanism to me means...

Gaire O Dubhshlaine


Republicanism to me means but one thing: an independent, 32 county republic free of British interference.

Republicanism has been represented in the 20th century by the Irish Republican Army, Oglaigh na h-Eireann. That title belongs to the direct inheritors of the legacy of the United Irishmen, the Young Irelanders, the Fenian Brotherhood and the Irish Republican Brotherhood in an unbroken line. When Marxism crept into the nearly dormant IRA in the 1960's, the movement split into two wings, the Official IRA and the Provisional IRAs. Clearly the Provos were the more dominant force, true to republican principle and loyal to the tenets espoused by those who had come before them. They were acknowledged to be Oglaigh na h-Eireann by Republicans everywhere.

In the 1980s, former Provos like Gerry Adams were steering the republican movement in a more constitutional direction while distancing himself, at least publicly, from the PIRA. Although this led to another split in the movement as doctrinaire republicans abandoned the Provos in droves, PIRA was still regarded as Oglaigh na h-Eireann, the Irish Republican Army.

Then came the peace initiative, euphemistically referred to as the Good Friday Accord. This to another split in the IRA. Adams was clearly resting on his laurels as well as the reputation of the Provos as he attempted to hijack republicanism for his own devices. Those true to the ideals of Wolfe Tone backed away from the Provisionals and two other paramilitary forces emerged from the factionalized PIRA, the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, both committed to the movement's long-term historical aims.

The band of individuals known as the Provisional IRA is that in name only. They have accepted the partition of Ireland, effectively endorsed the institutions of the Crown in Ireland, have spld out the centuries old aspirations of Irish freedom of generations of patriots resting in G;asnevin and Milltown cemeteries. They have forfeited the right to refer to themselves as Oglaigh na h-Eireann.

The IRA still exists. It will exist as long as the business of a free Ireland remains unfinished. But it is not Adams and the Provisionals who have the right to assume that title. As miniscule by comparison the support those other two claimants have, their historical right to that title has far more legitimacy than the provisional IRA. All of the conflict and violence is but a result of the British presence, not the cause of it. The once described "Hibernian gunslingers" have become nothing more than than another enforcement arm of British colonialism in Ireland and I for one can't summon the words to convey my sense of shame and abject disgust.








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The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002

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