Thursday, 23 March 2017

McGuinness was not part of my movement


Since the death of Martin McGuinness on Tuesday my Facebook newsfeed has hardly been without a picture of him for a minute, many of these pictures are intended to be glowing tributes and show him looking like a great statesman or a young radical Republican, many more are pictures of him shaking hands with the British Queen or standing outside the steps of Stormont with Hugh Orde the RUC Chief as McGuinness notoriously proclaimed Republicans to be “Traitors to the Island of Ireland”
It has been a few days now of the same thing repeated ad nauseam about this man, and a few days of high emotions in Republican circles as differing accounts of who and what Martin McGuinness was come to the surface.

How did I react? I didn’t!

I didn’t make a conscious effort to ignore the death of the former British Deputy first minister in Ireland, I just simply felt nothing.  As a chatterbox with an opinion on near on everything, my silence led various people to privately contact me to ask what my opinion was, when I simply said “ah it is sad for the family” I think they were a bit deflated.

It got me thinking today as to why I am not really interested, I can only think it is because I never actually identified with McGuinness, I was never a part of his movement, with the Sinn Féin split in 1986 and being born in 1984 I never saw this man as part of my movement. I was not reared believing he was a Republican idol, I grew up my whole life seeing the provisional movement and all their members as “them” and then there was “us”.

I can empathise with Republicans who were a part of his movement and later left PSF, many of them older than me who left in 1986 and others who have left in the intervening years. McGuinness’ death has thrown up all sorts of feelings and mixed emotions. Many Republicans who actually worked alongside him or who previously held him in high esteem quite rightly feel betrayed.  
It is worth noting that when Republicans at varying times left PSF they were not simply to be left to their own devices, PSF actively tried to suppress the “dissidents”, this took the form of violence on more than one occasion and these gangs known colloquially as “Dissident hunters” were brutal. Some of the documented attacks by these gangs are that of Michael Donnelly from Derry who was physically assaulted with Iron bars at his home and hospitalised with a broken leg, Michael’s 10 year old daughter was also injured in this attack. Another well-known example is that of Bobby Tohill who was kidnapped from a bar, bundled into the back of a van, severely beaten before being gassed and knocked out, had the van not have been intercepted by the police God knows what would have happened. There are many many more incidents related to these gangs, too many to go into. 

Some “dissident” Republicans  have decided that in death McGuinness’  actions can  be understood, his character rehabilitated, others have gave scathing accounts of his life and criticised others as hypocrites for giving tributes to him in death while they vilified him in life.
When Ian Paisley died I remember hundreds of vile posts, I have no issue with anyone critiquing someone’s life, however I don’t like vulgar and crass posts glorifying the death of anyone, I made a post at the time of Paisley’s death saying that as Republicans we should hold ourselves to a higher standard and not engage in such things, this was met with some agreement but with a whole lot of hostility also. I believe the same about McGuinness, by all means critique him, I have said many things about him in the past and my views on him have not changed one iota.

What is for sure is that Martin McGuinness is gone; his colleagues have claimed he is irreplaceable, that he was one of a kind, I couldn’t disagree more.  Irish History is littered with Martin McGuinnesses, PSF departing from traditional republican principles and taking their seats in Leinster House and Stormont is not a new phenomenon, they are not trail blazers or radical new thinkers, we have seen splitters from the Republican movement pull this same move before from Fianna Fáil in the 20's to the stickies in the 70’s.

McGuinness may have been thought of as a great Republican once, fighting for the people of the bogside in his youth, in reality for me what he was was just another in a long line of Nationalist politicians, who had moved from a radical youth to a constitutional politician.

What we must do as Republicans is to learn from history, including recent history and not repeat its mistakes, focus on where we are going and not where others have went wrong.


Cáit

35 comments:

  1. Well wrote. I'm sure many share this view, and just because we are against celebrating death doesn't mean we are all of a sudden in the Martin Mc Guinness fan club. Dead or alive the man is still a traitor and will be remember as a member of the British establishment

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes that is how I view it also, I thought this piece needed to be written to avoid confusion

    ReplyDelete
  3. Well written. How does someone from the States follow you?

    ReplyDelete
  4. On the blog? not sure i am just getting used to this blog stuff, will find out - you can find me on facebook if your not already
    https://www.facebook.com/cait.trainor

    ReplyDelete
  5. A very good read Cáit which I enjoyed reading and am of the same opinion as yourself only a little older ha,ha

    ReplyDelete
  6. Great read ,poacher turned gamekeeper

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks a chara and that saying is very relevant

      Delete
  7. Utter wank. You belong to a lunatic fringe with zero support. I stood with 30,000 others today in Derry to remember and celebrate a true republican and son of Derry. He will be remembered as the man who helped fight the British and their loyalist henchmen to a standstill whilst you squabbled with your micro-group allies. Stop embarrassing yourself any further please.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks - great, insightful, intelligent contribution from you anonymous

      Delete
  8. Reading this I am blown away so well put brilliant writing Credit to you

    ReplyDelete
  9. Well written Cait could not agree more with what u said his supporters will eulogize him but at the end of the day he turned his back on Republicanism and embraced the British establishment and administrated British rule in the Six Counties on their behalf

    ReplyDelete
  10. Good piece. To set up a 'follow' function you need first to set up a MailChimp account. You would then need to link it to your WordPress. You'd probably need an engineer to help you put it all together though. The end result is that when you post a new article you can then mail it out over your MailChimp to a list of people you can put together yourself but which others then have the option of joining. You can also drop out too if you like.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Sean will defo look into that, still finding my feet with this blog malarkey 😀

      Delete
  11. Well said Very insightful writing

    ReplyDelete
  12. I would definitely sign my name with pride to this piece of literature.maith thú .let the fight go on .��

    ReplyDelete
  13. Well done cait. My feelings exactly put into words. I too felt nothing for him or thought of him and watched as some of his detractors appeared at his funeral today, i will never again regard them as Republicans.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, yes I think there are a lot of people who think like us

      Delete
  14. Good blog Cáit, he also stood with CC Matt Baggot and called for nationalists to be informers against Republicans, that was pretty low.

    ReplyDelete
  15. My reaction on 21st - next day:

    Martin McGuinness dead at 66. Condolences to his family and to his former comrades who fought with him against the British Army and the Loyalist death squads.

    The former IRA commander accepted the Loyalist veto on a united Ireland, shook the hand of the Queen and sold the lie that the conflict in the north of Ireland was due to the failure to persuade the Loyalists that they should cease to be reactionary supremacists.

    The Northern Ireland state is an artificial, illegitimate entity forged by the British Empire in alliance with fascist violence against the nationalist population of Belfast in July 1920, driving some 9,000 of them out of the shipyards and factories with lethal missiles dubbed 'Belfast confetti'.

    Their reactionary ideology was defended as a legitimate 'culture' by the British Empire and its Tory representatives, by Labour and the British TUC and by wave after wave of sell out Republican leaderships, Michael Collins in 1922 first, followed by de Valera in 1927, by the Officials/ Workers Party after 1969 and now Adams and McGuinness in the Good Friday Agreement of 1998.

    McGuinness was the crucial leader who secured the GFA acceptance by the IRA of the abandonment of the opposition to British imperialism.

    The scale of that political collapse is testified to by the high praise already being heaped on him by BBC Radio 4 just now for the great favour he had done the British Empire in the north. It will be followed by similar nauseating accolades from the champions of the cause of imperialism. Mediated by sheer anti Irish racism from the Sun, Mail and Express that he had ever the temerity to fight them in the first place.

    ReplyDelete
  16. Figured out a way to add follow blog - its on top of page, you can follow by email and I have also added my facebook page in case people don't want to follow by email.

    ReplyDelete
  17. WELL SAID CAIT-HISTORY WILL REVEAL THE TRUE IMAGE OF MARTIN IN DUE COURSE AND THOSE ASSOCIATED WITH THE MASS PROPAGANDA THAT WE HAVE WITNESSED RECENTLY WILL EXPERIENCE MASS CONVULSIONS.

    ReplyDelete
  18. cait the last protest you organized and attended how many people showed up? I think it was 20 that just shows you where you and your micromovement are headed and how much support you really have.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Thank Christ there are only a handful of people that think like this. Not long before they die out both them and their tiny movement. Rest in peace Martin, a true irish patriot.

    ReplyDelete
  20. Couldn't agree more Cáit... Over glorified in death, and some shameless political wriggling from Gerry at the graveside. Even using his closest comrades death as another Provisional football... (PS: Nice blog, keep it up, it's been a while!) Longford Davey

    ReplyDelete