The Blanket

Pan-Nationalist Cohesion is Weakened

by Tommy Gorman

The cracks already evident in the "Pan Nationalist Front" should, by the time the next Dáil elections come around, be of Grand Canyon dimensions. The existing, relatively minor, differences revolve around the timing of the total surrender of IRA weaponry. The real crunch will arrive when two of the elements of the "front" hit the hustings vying for the republican vote.

Since their metamorphosis from physical force nationalism to constitutional conservatism Fianna Fail have insisted, despite mountains of evidence to the contrary, that they are "The Republican Party." They have and will continue to use this addendum on all of their election material.

Having come in from the political fringes, jettisoning all revolutionary republican principles on the way, Sinn Féin too will be proclaiming themselves to be "The Republican Party" or even the "Real Republican Party."

War has already been declared and we can already see a curious symmetry in the respective battle-lines and tactics of these former bedfellows.

Some weeks ago there was a "National Day" of commemoration in Dublin for the 10 men who died in the H Blocks in 1981. We were led to believe that this parade was the result of a spontaneous demand amongst the masses to give due recognition to these ten brave men. But spontaneity needs a bit of a nudge here and there and the usual Sinn Féin heads were at hand to make sure it all went well and maybe even to scoop up some of the resulting kudos.

The following Sunday the streets of Dublin were once again resounding to the stomp of marching feet as thousands turned out to pay homage to ten IRA men who had given their all during the War of Independence. Having lain for over eighty years in prison clay they were at long last given due recognition through a state funeral and reinterment in more fitting resting places. The Fianna Fail government had arranged for the exhumation and re-burial of the volunteers. This belated gesture had more to do with out "Sinn-Feigning" Sinn Féin that genuine concern for the families of ten IRA men.

This use of coffins as political platforms is nothing new in Irish politics. Throughout this 20th anniversary year of the H Block hunger strikes the Sinn Féin leadership has not missed an opportunity at the many commemorations. We were all informed that this is the most "revolutionary leadership" ever and that those who died would, without doubt have swung in behind the present policies. Leaving aside the fact that three of the dead were not from the Provo axis this is a highly dubious claim from a party that has expressed its readiness to 'administer British rule in Ireland for the foreseeable future'. That these men, who died rather than criminalise themselves and our struggle, would be at all at home in a movement that is becoming more and more tied up in criminal activity and with dodgy diesel is a highly contentious idea.

But then when has truth and integrity ever got in the way of a good party political broadcast, even one made from atop the coffins of our patriot dead?




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Winter 2002
Vol. 1 No. 1

Free Speech is the whole thing, the whole ball game.
Free speech is life itself.
- Salman Rushdie

Republicanism in Crisis

The Cracks in the "PNF"

A Journal of Dissent

Under the Foot of the Mountain: Brendan Hughes

Author's Choice: Rogelio Alonso, A Just War?

Interview: Marian Price

Books: Soul Wars

Books: Anthologies Package our Literary Past

Unionism and Decommissioning

Turkish Hunger Strike Report

Taking Sides in the War on Modernity

Writing This Issue



The Blanket




Latest News & Views
Index: Current Articles
Book Reviews
The Blanket Magazine Winter 2002
Republican Voices