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The Blanket - A Journal of Protest & Dissent

The 10 Year Merry-go-round


Michéal O'Donnaigh • 6 May 2004

Ten years on and the Good Friday Agreement is still in limbo, waiting to lead the North to the promised land of equality, fraternity and liberty. In the beginning there was optimism with cavalcades of cars touring Nationalist areas celebrating the end of the war and the dawning of a new era.

Unionism and the British were in an uncontrollable nose dive; they had been out maneuvered by the Nationalist parties, the Irish and American Governments. Unionist were in a state of shock, nationalist were accused of triumphalism as they celebrated their victory at outwitting everyone, as unionist scurried to gain back the upper ground. This they achieved when a 3-month moratorium was placed on Sinn Fein, so that the IRA cease-fire could be analyzed as being valid. After this 3-month period had ended with no violation of their cease-fire, Unionists were really bothered, as protagonists began talking to one another; middle class unionist domination through hatred was been threatened. But in the old Unionist tradition of no surrender they came up with a fool proof plan decommissioning by paramilitaries, however this mainly applied to the IRA, up till this moment the word decommissioning had not existed in the English dictionary nor in the GFA. But the unionist had grasped it with both hands and the English were there to help them. The shoe was back on the Unionist foot; they were now in control of the situation.

The aim by unionists was to destroy the GFA from within, this they have every confidence in succeeding in doing so, as the infrastructure of the North is totally unionist. In doing so they can blame nationalists for the downfall of the GFA, for not been sincere in their rejection of voilence and adoption of socalled northern democracy.

Hence the bogus raid on Castlereagh and the infamously bogus spy scandal at stormont, not to mention the effect of the Colombian 3 on the peace process. All charges have been dropped against those arrested in the above cases. This is why Nationalists have had to challenge the state infrastructure from without.

Continued calls for decommissioning has continued through out the existence of the GFA, several acts of putting arms beyond further use were carried out, but this still did not satisfy unionists. They wanted details exact numbers . Following the threat from the hard-line DUP, the UUP then called for disbanding the IRA or for the introductions of sanctions on Sinn Fein. This it was felt would help them and the beleaguered SDLP whom the UUP felt they could do business with. However in the November elections both lost out to Sinn Fein and the DUP.

One last attempt was made by the British in order to bolster up Unionists. They invented the IMC,which was appointed by the British and was to report on so-called paramilitary activity. Evidence was to be presented to the IMC, presumably through hearings, however it seems that very few got to give evidence accept MI5 and special Branch. The result of the IMC was to legitimate the demonizing process of Sinn Fein and it was going to out members of Sinn Fein who were members of the IRA. In contrast the UDA supposed to be on cease-fire but as everyone knows isn’t due the continuing attacks on both their own community and nationalists received no sanctions their political organization the UPRG on which sits members of the UDA, UFF, RHC, protestant churches and Unionist politicians received no monetary sanction whatsoever one has to ask why. It is no surprise that the IMC upheld prounionist and British ideology

Meanwhile in the south Sinn Fein vote is rising to 13% leaving them the 3rd largest party.

There is the possiblity of Sinn Fein being coalition contenders, however, the PDs and Fianna Fail, who are also a Sinn Fein Off shoot following the war of independence and are allowed to this day to commemorate their IRA dead, "the private army of Sinn Fein," not to mention Fine Gael, the other side of the coin in the split of 1921 also commemorates their IRA dead (private army). All these parties are running scarred of Sinn Fein and so have joined in the demonization process with the former Irish attorney general (McDowell) making uncorroborated statements of paramilitary activity, which coincidentally agreed with the IMC findings.

The British and Irish governments know the GFA is dead in the water but are trying to salvage something. They fear the consequences of going back to war. The British journalists are also sensing the GFA is dead. Suddenly editorials are being written on the status the IRA and its capability of going back to war. Yet these same journalist were not so long ago concentrating their talents on claming the IRA was still training and had a vast armory which could be unleashed at a moments notice.

History would seem to indicate that if the IRA wanted to go back to war they could be back to prime effectiveness within one year or less this is the amount of time it took them in the 70’s. Of course unionist paramilitaries would then react and so we are turned full circle as usual, it happened in the sunningdale agreement, the Anglo/ Irish treaty and no the GFA.

The GFA is probably the weakest of all these agreements in that it was very abstract from the beginning; this was seen as strength in that everyone’s aspirations were included. However the fragility of the GFA is demonstrated by its exclusive inclusiveness, it promises everything and delivers nothing. Both nationalist and unionist aspirations are included and given equality but this inclusiveness is exclusive to each community. There is no cross over. Instead we have circular politics we continue to go round and round slowly moving in one direction or another , a bit like taking 2 steps forward and 1 step back.

To encourage a United Ireland under the auspicious of the E.U, the pro agreement nationalist parties have not sought the inclusion of the unionist population. Working class nationalists and unionists suffer the same poverty, yet the trade unions do nothing, politicians do nothing to try and persuade both communities have more in common the divide them. Yet we are as entrenched in our communities as we were ten years ago. No one has taken the mantle of Connolly or Larkin to create a united Irish working class.

Until someone steps up to the plate and takes a chance in uniting the unionist and nationalist vote, and in educating both communities of their commonality can some semblance of a united Ireland policy start to be worked on, through federation or confederation or provincial as in Switzerland. Must we always wear blinkers and not use other countries examples to improve on.

Ten years on we should be out of the nationalist/unionist forest and should be in the clearing of united Irishmen seeking to forge our future together under one nation, one god, one people mmm wonder where that came from.







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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

7 May 2004


Other Articles From This Issue:


Sectarianism and the DUP
Sean Fleming


It's A Dirty Job
Brian Mór


Let Them Eat Fake
Anthony McIntyre


The 10 Year Merry-go-round
Michéal O'Donnaigh


Needle in a Haystack
Will Hardiker


3 May 2004


A South American Verdict
Anthony McIntyre


A New Year for the Oldest Colony of the UK
Brian Mór


Politics in Command
Liam O Ruairc


Report Discredits U.S. Institute of Peace
Distorts truth and offends Irish-Americans

Sean Mc Manus, INC


Forensic Evidence 'Interfered with' in Case of Tyrone Men
J Sean Burns, IRPWA


Easter Commemoration Speech on behalf of the Republican Socialist Movement, Milltown Cemetery Belfast



The Legacy of Bobby Sands
Charles J. Murnick




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