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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent
Heroes and Villains
Tommy Gorman • 6.10.03

Gerry 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?

In 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'.

Of 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.

The 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 over.

Many 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.

What 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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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

6 October 2003


Other Articles From This Issue:


Tangled Times
Eamon McCann


Heroes and Villains
Tommy Gorman


Who Was Responsible?
Michael Kearney


Costello Commemoration
Paul Little


Uncharted Waters
Anthony McIntyre


Date Change: Anti Racist Network Meeting
Davy Carlin


Coming Soon to the United States?
Toni Solo


3 October 2003


The Rite of Passage
Anthony McIntyre


32 CSM Condemn Abduction of its members
Andy Martin


Irish Republicanism As I See It
Thomas Gore


A Question of Class
Davy Carlin


It All Leads Back to This
Mick Hall


I Dreamt I Saw Joe H Last Night
Anthony McIntyre


Tail Biting Prohibited
Eoghan O'Suilleabhain




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