McCartney's letter (Irish News, Friday October
3) is typical of the creeping 'Free Statism' within
Sinn Fein discourse. He tells us that, through Michael
Collins & Co. " Ireland gained partial freedom".
During the Summer I was present at a commemoration
ceremony in Donegal for a local IRA volunteer who
died during the War of Independence. Pat Doherty,
Sinn Fein Westminster MP for West Tyrone, was the
main speaker and told us that. " Peter Duffy
(the dead Volunteer) and his comrades had, through
their sacrifice, brought freedom to this part of Ireland".
It would all seem to be part of a wider campaign to
exhume and revise the memory and integrity of Michael
Collins, for so long the arch traitor within republican
dogma. We've had films, books and documentaries all
seemingly with the one end, to make a hero of the
erstwhile traitor. The timing of such re-deification
is interesting as it coincided with massive shifts
in Provisional political direction. Sinn Fein have
played their part by displaying Collins' photo prominently
in their office at Stormont. What better place?
his piece from last Friday Gerry McCartney quotes
the mother of P.H. Pearse on her thoughts of the Treaty
and goes on to pose a lot of rhetorical questions
as to what Pearse himself may have felt about the
arrangement. Why does he feel the need to remain within
the realm of speculation? He should examine rather
the reaction and words of the many key thinkers and
strategists within the IRA and IRB who actively opposed
Collins and the Treaty; Dick Barrett, Rory O'Connor,
Joe McKelvey, Erskine Childers, Harry Boland, Ernie
O'Malley, Countess Markievicz and many, many more.
I would make special mention of Liam Mellows, a giant
in Irish history and a man of real vision. He rightly
viewed the Treaty as being in the interests of the
native moneyed classes and English imperialism. With
the exception of Countess Markievicz and Ernie O'Malley
all of the above were to be executed for their opposition
to this 'Partial freedom'.
those executed in 1916 it is improbable that James
Connolly's would have sided with Collins, given his
warnings against the partitioning of Ireland pre-1916.
problem for Sinn Fein now is, having made a hero of
Collins, what is their attitude towards those 'dissidents'
who opposed the Treaty. As heroes are created then
the enemies of the 'hero' must necessarily be 'baddies'.
So do we pay homage at Beal na Blath where Collins
was killed or should we be at Ballyseedy Cross, Co.
Kerry where nine Republicans were strapped to a land
mine before it was detonated by Free State forces?
Today as we approach yet another head count we can
expect more 'bottom lines' to disappear. The disbandment
of the IRA and Sinn Fein's acceptance of the a reformed
RUC will be on offer in a process whose direction
for many years has been painfully obvious to all besides
the wilfully blind. Clearly the advantage of drawing
lines in the sand is that they are easily brushed
questions remain to be answered by the incorrigibly
faithful like Gerry McCartney, who insist on seeing
the relentless march away from secular socialist republicanism
and into the comfort and conformity of the constitutional
centre right of Stormont and British rule as strategic
advances towards unchanged goals.
people like me insist on asking is 'just what is the
strategy?' As always I would be happy to be proved
wrong in my analysis and remain willing to be convinced
by anyone who is able to do what no one has tried
before and that is explain how an end to partition
and the establishment of a socialist republic are
to be brought about by a so called strategy that entails
embracing and implementing far-right socio-economic
policies in the departments Sinn Fein controlled,
and by affording a constitutional veto to a national
minority that remains steadfastly unionist.
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