The Blanket

Response To Thomas Gore
Paul Fitzsimmons • 14 October 2003


In the weblog Slugger O’Toole, I voiced my rather modest esteem for Thomas Gore’s recent The Blanket article “Irish republicanism as I see it, from outside the tent looking in” by writing:

In introducing this thread, Mick (Fealty) wrote: "Thomas Gore believes the Belfast (Good Friday) Agreement offers the Republican movement the opportunity to finally realise its long term ambition of uniting the Irish people."

It seems to me, however, that, due largely to some weak writing on Mr. Gore's part, Mick has reached the wrong conclusion here and that the following excerpts more fairly indicate what Mr. Gore meant on that point:

I'm not a republican, but even if I were I have no doubt I would consider the Good Friday Agreement to have been primarily designed as an exit route from the vicious, costly and counter-productive cycle that physical force had become. Not a crushing defeat, certainly not a victory (maybe not even an honourable draw) - but an escape hatch.

… The Good Friday Agreement became both the route map and the vehicle towards that end.

Mr. Gore essentially and merely importunes: give up militancy, Republicans, and just try to talk Unionists into accepting a 32-county state. He concludes: "[Republicans] may fail in their efforts of course – but when was the chance, or even probability, of failure ever a legitimate excuse for not trying?"

Thus, this message signals something rather less than an "opportunity [for the Republican movement] to finally realise its long term ambition of uniting the Irish people." Mr. Gore is just saying that, after the militancy ends, Republicans will be at liberty to talk about reunion.

Mr. Gore might have added that, if they'd like, Republicans will also be free to bay at the moon, to their hearts' content.

That comment started a discussion with David Adams—a writer on the Northern Ireland political scene who was, in earlier years, a leading member of the Ulster Democratic Party—and others. Some reading this article who do not regularly follow that Slugger weblog might find the exchange of interest.









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