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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The Half Loaf Of Good Friday Will Never Satisfy


Liam O Comain • 9 March 2004

Why did the Provisionals accepted an agreement based on a declaration that the occupied six counties area, in its entirety, stays under British sovereignty.

Perhaps the answer lies in the revelation that the late Belfast solicitor, Paddy McGrory – although unsupportive of armed struggle – was an adviser to Adams and company.

Allegedly, Mr McGrory – in correspondence with the Provisional leadership, after an analysis of the Downing Street declaration – advised them that although the declaration “could hardly be described as nationalist or republican” nevertheless it “concedes that the Irish have a right to self-determination, without external interference”.

(The British hook!?).

Apparently the gist of the argument is as follows:

“A pledge to the unionists that they never will be coerced into a united Ireland changes its character depending on whether that pledge comes from a British or an Irish source.

“When it comes from a British source, that is external interference with the Irish right to self-determination and constitutes a veto.

“When the pledge comes from an Irish source, however, that is merely the Irish exercising their right to self-determination in the way they have freely chosen, and without an external interference.

“The Irish, as they are entitled to do, are by their wish conferring a concession on a section of the nation.”

For the Provisional leadership to accept such an analysis pertaining to the important and critical subject of national freedom and self-determination shows a depth of ineptitude that boggles the mind.

Allegedly, Mr McGrory went on to state that he believed “that peace now will garner a rich harvest for the republican movement, such as it has not known for decades. Conversely, I think failure of the movement to seize this hour will in all probability mean a virtual collapse of Sinn Fein electoral support, and a rejection of the republican position all over Ireland and in America.”

Yes, perhaps, the Provisional movement may garner a rich harvest by taking the reformist road but surely from a republican stance the primary concern must be national unity and self-determination, not the welfare of any political party.

And surely the rich harvest would have been a full loaf in the attainment of national freedom rather than the half loaf they are now left with.

Or is it merely a few crumbs?

In fact, in taking the direction which they have, they are dissenters from the authentic and traditional position of Irish republicanism.

Where have we heard that word - dissenters - before?

As well as the influence of Mr McGrory, the reformist development within the Provisional movement apparently arises from an aging leadership – not necessarily in chronological terms (although there are a few) but in time given to the struggle.

Perhaps desiring to hold unto power and/or still wanting to be involved, some sought a way out of armed struggle by hooking on to Mr McGrory’s alarm-setting advice.

It may appear harsh to the need or the requirement of power, but – after giving years of youth and early manhood to revolutionary struggle, sometimes in leadership positions – with the slow awareness that normal life has passed (maybe, for example, children reared by wives, etc), who could blame (as some would say) certain temperaments if they turned from the revolutionary path.

Our history has confirmed many of the latter, including Michael Collins, whereas there are few O’Donovan Rossa’s or Tom Clarke’s about.

In trying to understand the psychology of those who have abandoned the traditional republican position, however, may I state that I continue to believe their position to be flawed.

They could have called an indefinite ceasefire without copperfastening partition ... parallel with an extra parliamentary non-violent campaign.

It is their acceptance of the consent principle copperfastening partition which is a bigger act of betrayal within republicanism than that of decommissioning weapons ...

But then, for some that might have excluded the lucrative path of electoral success ...





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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.
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Index: Current Articles

12 March 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Try Not to Forget It
Brian Mór


Time to End the Silence on Stakeknife
Martin Ingram


Confident No More
Mick Hall


Sinn Fein & Democracy Be Damned: Interview with Martin Cunningham

Anthony McIntyre


Bobby Tohill: Pub Brawls and Death Threats
Liam O Ruairc


Ardoyne Suicides
Eamonn McCann

Independence Day
David Vance


The Half Loaf of Good Friday Will Never Satisfy
Liam O Comain


Special Exclusive on Special Relationship
Matthew Kavanah


The Proposed UK-US Extradition Treaty: Concerns
Francis Boyle


The Decolonization of Northern Ireland
Francis Boyle


1 March 2004


The Enforcers

Anthony McIntyre


Reference Guide to Provisional IRA Attacks on Republicans, 1998-2004


Stand Down, Mr Hyde
Liam O Comain


Civilian Adminstration?
George Young


Adams Nearly Quit Sinn Fein - Peace Process Hero Angered by IRA's Violence
Barney de Breadbin and Eamonn Codswallop


Double Standards - Questions Need Answering
Raymond Blaney


Brilliant, Bloody Brilliant
Brian Mór


POWs and the Challenge of Partnership
Aoife Rivera Serrano




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