I spend a considerable amount of
time rummaging through my head. I come up with bits
and pieces, some make me happy, others make me sad,
and some make me downright angry, and I mean angry.
The reader will know; I think we all rummage.
Last night, when sleep eluded me, I came up with a
memory of the night we, as "the Republican Family",
were called to meet in the Roddy Mc Corley club to
be told why the ceasefire was to be. I say 'to be
told' because it was being 'told', no-one had ever
asked me to cast my vote 'yea' or 'nay'. We were to
be given the opportunity to ask questions after the
telling; it would not change the already made decision
but it was probably supposed to make us feel that
we had in some way 'chosen' what was foregone.
The telling was brief and none too coherent, I still
have the picture of the three representatives sitting
at the table before us. Funny the seemingly insignificant
things that stick in the mind, like the "boys"
sitting observing at the back of the room. There was
talk about the need to get our people out of prison,
the enormous number of Volunteers and innocent people
who had died. The usual talk from a tired and confused
leadership convinced by their meetings with British
diplomatic experts, with rich and sincere and impressive
Americans, a President here a Taoiseacht there and
a British Prime Minister thrown in for good measure.
The Republican leadership were thrown in way out of
their depth. Then the truth told as if it were an
"No deal has been done with
I remember thinking,'what? We got
Question-time came and I raised my
hand. "Are we being told that with hindsight
we should never have undertaken an Armed Struggle,
that we should rather have infiltrated (infiltrate
was the word I used) the SDLP and taken it over? After
all we had no prisoners back then and only a few people
had as yet lost their lives? Would that have been
the better course of action, was it all a mistake?"
I got no answer that night.
Sinn Fein (and I do wish they would
change their name just as they have changed their
ideology) by their conduct since have given me my
answer... a resounding YES.
Yes to Constitutional Nationalism,
reformism not revolution (another of those forbidden
words!). Yes to joining the establishments, British
and Free-State -- remember that the Free-State government
are still sending Irishmen to Portlaoise Prison on
the word of a Garda Inspector for being members of
Oglaigh na hEireann otherwise known as The Irish Republican
Army otherwise known as the I.R.A.. I watch it in
Green Street Court regularly.
The haste with which Sinn Fein are
attempting to jettison their armed past was well illustrated
by Mary Lou Mc Donald when she haughtily declared,
"there is no whiff of cordite on me!" while
being interviewed before the elections. Mary Lou,
I also use Chanel no 5.
Do Sinn Fein (you will change the name soon, won't
you?) really believe that men died on Hunger-Strike
for this defeat? That men walked to the scaffold for
seats in Stormont, Westminster (when will you be taking
your rightful place there, boys?) and Dail Eireann?
That my own aunt lived without hands or eyes with
quiet dignity and without complaint for forty years
to hear that the tri-colour is lodged in the corner
of some office in Stormont. Stormont! The symbol of
Republican defeat in 1921? I defy anyone to tell me
they did because I will call them liars and hypocrites.
Admit it, lads -- you lost the war;
some of us see it as only having lost another battle.
You can lose all the battles but only when you surrender
do you lose your Soul.