HAVE THEY GONE AWAY….Y’KNOW ? by Harry McAvinchey


What is going on in the republican movement ? Is the IRA defunct or not? Everyone really needs to know this . I think we assumed that when they decommisioned their arms all  those years ago that they were finished  with all of that .We assumed that the conflict had run its course and was found to be essentially pointless.

Much of Sinn Fein’s upsurge as a political player is anchored on the fact that there is no IRA anymore. That’s why the SDLP lost all their voters to Sinn Fein, isn’t it? Isn’t that the stark truth? The SDLP under Hume and Mallon were strong political players , but the game exhausted them both. Sinn Fein scooped up their voters because they seemed to be in the ascension.

It appeared that Sinn Fein had finally jettisoned their weaponry and armed rump and set sail on a new adventure.This is important stuff. If the IRA still exists as an organisation, it will not just be unionists who will think twice about supporting the republican movement . Many people believe that the IRA is gone forever and is an anachronism…as part of the past as  is the dinosaur.That’s a fact.They didn’t support them when they used guns, after all. It was only after they gave up the armed struggle that their vote increased, surpassing the SDLP.We’ve all  had nearly twenty years to build something new and a lot of people , especially younger people who have no memory of the conflict, will need a clearer picture painted. There has been much hard work done that could so easily be wasted  and there are many political forces north, south and in the UK who might want to damage Sinn Fein..

We know that many loyalist terrorists haven’t gone away,and that is constantly mentioned, and indeed emblazoned on gable walls, but they have no real solid political representation at any credible level….or so we are led to  assume by voting patterns.  If ex-IRA men { or new  recruited IRA men}  are  working as gangsters  and gunmen in the background  which threatens a  real political movement , why is that? 

The days of an armalite in one hand and a ballot-box in the other have had their day. The likes of Danny Morrison would say that himself. They are of no real use to any of us. If that is really the case they are actually in the process of dismantling any progress that has been forgedEveryone seems to have an “expert” opinion  but nobody has any actual “facts”. i want to see those “facts” because by nature, i don’t believe that the Loch Ness Monster exists.I don’t believe that there are little grey men landing in UFO’s either. The part of me that enjoys a really good yarn wants to believe in these things , but the rational side of me thinks otherwise. So I want to know if the IRA exists and i want to see the facts .

This recent murder which is claimed to have been carried out by the IRA has the potential to bring down everything . There are many who already want this to happen right across the political board. {Or possibly pretend to want this , because I don’t know where some of them would get better wages}. Some unionists want it to happen as do some dissident republicans.We assume that they are some mad minority on the fringes who have not the complex ,political savvy or intellectual wherewithal  to think their actions through completely  and would much rather play the quick -reward, revenge game of the occasional kill than think too deeply where that kill might lead.

They all have their reasons but if  local government should collapse into madness  and mayhem again,what could possibly replace it that was any better than the deal we all got  already ..and who would it best help and   advance…..north and south?

33 Responses to HAVE THEY GONE AWAY….Y’KNOW ? by Harry McAvinchey

  1. PJ Dorrian August 21, 2015 at 1:05 pm #

    One wonders about all of this. For the last ten years the IRA have been recruiting and training these new young men for the cause. One wonders what MI5/6 and Special Branch have been doing. Up until 2006 we know they had Denis Donaldson and who knows who else in place. The others must have retired with pensions, otherwise they would have been able to blow the whistle on these new recruits and even set some of them up as new assets. Even John Alderdice gave the IRA a bye ball.

    Then there is the people who have been lifted for questioning, none of them in the first flush of youth, some nearly retirement age. If they haven’t been replacing the dying, the gaga and the worn out with new members can the IRA really be described as functioning.

    I put these questions to William Crawley but seemingly it is not an avenue the BBC want to explore. They haven’t either asked as many questions about who murdered Jock Davidson or why he was done. It would seem some deaths have more importance than others. I think I’ll go out and listen to the dogs, they seem to be free with info for Barney Rowan.

    • Argenta August 21, 2015 at 8:23 pm #

      I thought Brian Rowans was well regarded by Sinn Fein and Republicans.Why,he was even permitted to act as Chair at the Feile event involving Martin and the Chief Constable.I’d imagine his sources on all sides would be pretty extensive and good.Perhaps he’s not as much on the Connolly House message as he should be!!

      • PJ Dorrian August 23, 2015 at 2:04 pm #

        All of those security correspondents rely on the NIO for their info. Sure SF use them as well. Since the paymaster in general is NIO all reports will be weighted towards making Britain look like the good guys. EG with the Scappatici affair in full swing and the info coming out that while he was executioner in chief for PIRA he was actually the highest place asset of British Intelligence who were paying him, yet Barney and the other so called security journalists merely fed us the NIO narrative, no questions regarding what responsibility should be attached to HMG for murders of alleged informers, named by Scap. They are not proper investigative journalists.

        • Argenta August 25, 2015 at 4:06 pm #

          Can you give me an example of a “proper investigative journalist “? Does such an animal exist in the real world?

  2. ANOTHER JUDE August 21, 2015 at 3:16 pm #

    Why is it always the dogs on the street, never the cats?

    • Jude Collins August 21, 2015 at 6:10 pm #

      Cats are smarter…

      • Perkin Warbeck August 23, 2015 at 8:02 am #

        The t-word used by the Tito of that mosquito party, the Official Unionists to diss the credibility of the Shinners was quickly picked up by The Unionist Times with all the voracity of an especially ravenous and raucous seagull picking up a particularly succulent drop of dogturd in its beak.

        T for Tatters.

        The tykes in the street endorse of course Mike
        And his latest bid to look almost statesmanlike
        And for them the best bit
        From a desperate Nesbitt
        This dogword to diss d’cred of d’Republican Reich.

        ‘Tatters’, of course, is the name of the lovable pet mutt of the eponymous hero in ‘Conn the Shaughraun’ by Dion Boucicault.

        Conn: Moya,there was somebody there !
        Moya: How d’ye know ! Did ye see him?
        Conn: No, I left Tatthers outside.
        Moya: Your dog.Why didn’t he bark?
        Conn: He couldn’t. I found this in his mouth.
        Moya: What’s that?
        Conn: The sate of a man’s breeches.

        ‘Shaughraun’ is the leprechaun for O.T.R. and as Conn observes during the drama:

        -Shur, the salmon sayson is over.

        The same observation might equally apply to the O.T.R.s and the organisation they once belonged to.

        Try telling that though to the Paper of Record’s inner tabloid and its incessant search for a Penny Dreadful headline.

        Little wonder then that Adams is once again (!) on the Eve of Destruction and him to be surely facing into both the short nights before and the long nights after Samhain, widdout either a leg to stand on or indeed an arse in his trousers.

        Once more, Tatters, unto the breeches. Once more.

  3. Belfastdan August 21, 2015 at 6:55 pm #

    The unionists and their fellow travellers in the media and the security services are like those old Victorian mediums who manifested the spirits of the dead for the satisfaction of the desperate and gullible.

    They have now resurrected the dormant body of the IRA while simultaneously performing mediumship in reverse by being unable or unwilling to see the very live presence of the UDA and UVF. One must wonder what their next trick will be?

    • Neill August 22, 2015 at 7:37 am #

      Does it not concern you that SF might have lied to the people about the IRA disappearing I guess not.

      • paddykool August 22, 2015 at 1:41 pm #

        Well Neill…If you read the above carefully , you’ll discover that it does cause much concern .The question is if there is any truth in the assertion. Now that bothers me , especially when a policeman makes a statement which he wants me to take as pure fact but offers absolutely no evidence for me to thumb through. You see, Neill, as i said above , there is so much drivel talked in the media that we all need to see the actual evidence . Why are we not getting it? Now that would be a good question to ask, wouldn’t it?

        To make a proper case , you need to get that evidence in court and argue it out. What we’ve had so far is a whole lot of waffle and supposition..The pundits haven’t come up with anything that I can see.There’s the usual political point -scoring and whataboutery too and we can all pick holes in each political party. I can’t see for example how it would serve the Sinn Fein project to have a hidden army nowadays and I can’t see how it could be hidden from the authorities if they claim to be on the ball….the spooks and that… What I assume is happening is that a few ex-members of a basically defunct grouping {the IRA} have taken it upon themselves to do something that no political party could possibly sanction and stay in business….which is why we are getting the reaction from the likes of Gerry Kelly.. They have nothing to gain by this kind of thing.
        If you think they have , tell us your thoughts on this one. I’m afraid I need some facts here.Innocent until proven guilty and all that. If there is some concrete evidence i will totally agree with you Neill…I’d be concerned too.

      • Belfastdan August 22, 2015 at 1:43 pm #

        I take it that the small matter that they have disappeared for over a decade counts for nothing, and throughout that period the PSNI, security services and the British government have never as much as intimated that the IRA had not ceased to exist.

  4. paddykool August 21, 2015 at 6:57 pm #

    Hi Jude …i see there has been a bit of a glitch in the text { I knew this one was trouble!]..that 4th paragraph…….

    “The days of an armalite in one hand and body has any actual “facts”. I would really like himself.”……..

    should have read……

    .” The days of an armalite in one hand and a ballot-box in the other have had their day. The likes of Danny Morrison would say that himself. They are of no real use to any of us. If that is really the case they are actually in the process of dismantling any progress that has been forged”. apologies to any readers whose brains are in an uproar……

    • Jude Collins August 21, 2015 at 9:26 pm #

      Done PK – I think…

      • paddykool August 22, 2015 at 8:29 am #

        Thanks Jude…It makes a wee bit more sense now….or .at least reads a little more coherently …the glitch happens when the touchpad isn’t locked methinks!…

        Yes as i was saying , I’ve never heard so much semantic tomfoolery from our political pundits on the radio, television ….and doubtless it will carry on in the press.I rememember posting a piece a few weeks back about the Summer Silly Season. This story really is a whopper of a fabrication.As has been noted earlier,….. if the IRA exists …what are the security forces doing? In fact …what has MI5 been at these past years when stormont was bedding in?. At one point we are told that the whole thing came to a head because it had been penetrated by so many spies that an armed campaign was no longer possible .We hear too that the IRA were so badly defeated that they were no longer workable as an organisation. I think our old friend Crooked Mouth is still riding that particular pony .
        So are they all sitting on their hands ? The police …..{and remember , Gerry Kelly is on the police board}….come out with a statement about “That Old Gang Of His” ,telling him that the gang hasn’t really broken up at all. They just haven’t told him .A leading figure from that Old Gang, Our Marty is sitting as joint leader of Norneverland and they haven’t told him either. They used to say about a sandwich…..”Where’s the beef?”……Well folks , let’s see the beef that the police can see. it sounds a bit like the emperor’s new Clothes to me. The police can see the magic but nobody else can . I’d like to see the proof now .That’s all i’m interested in .
        There’s a frightening notion , though,that the police are sticking their oar into politics on a national scale and they are apparently making an awful amateurish hames of it….as we would say locally.A policeman’s job is to provide proof…that’s how they are supposed to work .Anybody can stand up and spout any old tosh about anything but if you want to accuse someone of a murder , you’ll need some hard proof…and that has to be proven in a court of law…not on a television screen .Much drivel is spoken and written ….especialy in the Silly Season of Summer when news is light on the ground.

        • Jude Collins August 22, 2015 at 9:11 am #

          You just about nailed it, I’d say, PK. Le boeuf, s’il vous plait….

  5. RJC August 22, 2015 at 10:29 am #

    The whole thing is a non-story. Two men involved in organised crime have been killed. Sadly, this sort of thing happens all the time all over the world. This being Ireland, politicians (north and south) are looking to use these killings in an effort to smear their political rivals. There are elections coming up y’know…

  6. Argenta August 22, 2015 at 4:26 pm #

    Interesting article in today’s Irish Times by Ed Moloney headlined ” Provisionals may have left the stage , but not the theatre”.A good overview of the process which brought us to where we’re at now!

    • Jude Collins August 22, 2015 at 6:41 pm #

      Written, of course, by a man who is vehemently opposed to SF…But I guess you knew that, Argenta…

      • Argenta August 22, 2015 at 8:38 pm #

        Commented on by a man who is vehemently pro Sinn Fein!Is it a crime to be sceptical about S Fs spin.I suppose Moloney’s crime in your eyes is that he occasionly points out the “Emperors lack of clothes” as far as your party is concerned.Maybe you would outline the errors/mistakes in the IT article.

        • Jude Collins August 23, 2015 at 10:30 am #

          I’d find that difficult, Argenta, not having nor intending to read it. I’m simply pointing to the background of the author of the piece you appear to admire. I have no problem with anyone pointing out that I believe in a UI and a fairer Ireland. In fact I’d take both as compliments. Btw – don’t forget it was the bould Ed who set up that well-balanced historical resource, the Boston tapes.

          • Neill August 23, 2015 at 6:11 pm #

            I believe in a UI and a fairer Ireland.

            The amusing thing is Jude is that you believe that SF can deliver on the above!

          • Jude Collins August 23, 2015 at 6:18 pm #

            I don’t remember saying that, neill. Are you, as well as so much else, a clairvoyant?

        • paddykool August 23, 2015 at 2:03 pm #

          I’m sceptical about everyone’s spin Argenta and I still want to see everyone proof and evidence laid out in front of me . If Sinn Fein have sold us all a pup , I want to see that too…but I haven’t seen it yet.

  7. Argenta August 23, 2015 at 1:46 pm #

    I’m sure most of us on this blogspot would share your hopes for a fair and equitable United Ireland.However much you would like to think so,this hope is not exclusive to Sinn Fein.I can appreciate that many Sinn Fein members including yourself have no love for Ed Moloney both for his earlier writings and his involvement in the Boston project.But he’s hardly the only journalist to ask searching questions of the Republican movement .It’s not enough to tar all investigative journalists as ” being against the Peace Process”.If the Davidson/Mc Guigan murders have shown anything,it’s that the Provisionals were/are far from being the heroic band of brothers that many in SF would seek to portray.Your refusal to even read Moloney’s article in the Irish Times seems indicative of the “hear no evil,see no evil” attitude from many Republicans.

    • Jude Collins August 23, 2015 at 2:05 pm #

      Argenta – you’re like an old love – or do I mean an old itchy patch? – I keep coming back to you…I think your assessment of the readership of this blogsite is pretty accurate. I’m bewildered, however, that you think I want only Shinners to hold such a view – the more the merrier, say I. Small point – I thought I’d made this clear already: I am not now nor have I ever been a member of SF. Just so you know. I agree with you, Ed is far from the only journalist on this Ireland eager to put the boot into SF at the first opportunity – witness yesterday’s Indo and today’s Sindo. And a look at the Boston tapes contributors would show you where Ed’s sympathies lie. Which he is of course entitled to, but I think it helps if people freely know where people are coming from, as they say. I don’t think I mentioned the Peace Process – I don’t really know what that phrase means so I tend to avoid it. I’m sure all Provisionals are far from being as you put it a heroic band of brothers – but I’m afraid I’m still trying to make sense of what Messrs Geddis and Hamilton are saying, so you have the advantage of me. As to ‘your refusal to even read Moloney’s article’ opens up so many comic possibilities. Is there something else I should do with it? Life is short, Argenta, and there are so many things to do, so many things to read. You’ll forgive me if I don’t rush to read Ed this time. I have read him in the past, if that’s any consolation – including a long and oddly rambling email that he once sent me. Hear no evil, see no evil? I don’t think so. More that I can tell a hawk from a hand-saw, when the wind is in the right direction…

      • giordanobruno August 23, 2015 at 8:50 pm #

        Once again it is all the enemies of Sinn Fein to blame.
        It is surely possible that the PIRA retained some kind of structure after they ‘went away’. Did the Chief Constable not say he did not know if these killings were authorised at a senior level?
        So the killings involve former IRA men, and may or may not have been authorised.
        You like everyone else are only guessing, yet you are desperate to pore scorn on anyone asking questions of Sinn Fein.
        You do not know the full information available to the PSNI so why are you so quick to dismiss what they are saying.
        For what it is worth I don’t think it likely that this was an authorised action by whatever version of an army council there is these days, but I can see it is a possibility, and I think it unfair to dismiss peoples legitimate anxieties.

        • Jude Collins August 23, 2015 at 9:23 pm #

          Fair enough, gio. A few quick points. 1.Why do people (including PSNI) not have legitimate anxieties about unionist paramilitary organisations which openly recruit for more members and have done so for at least the past five years? 2. Is it or is it not true that the Irish media have leapt on this as an indication that SF is ‘in tatters’ (direct quotation) despite as you say no evidence being adduced? 3. ‘You do not know the full information available to the PSNI’ – that’s true. I also don’t know if they have any information, full or empty. But I do know that both the Det.Sup’s and the CC’s statements are confusing in the extreme, because they appear to say ‘The IRA was involved’ while at the same time saying ‘The IRA is committed to peaceful activity’. I am not ‘desperate to pore (sic) scorn on anyone asking questions of SF’ . But I am really getting tired of the series of straw men that are constructed and set fire to before being dropped on as many higher-up Shinners as possible. You’re an observant person – have you not noticed that?

          • giordanobruno August 24, 2015 at 6:50 am #

            Good morning Jude
            Why do you suggest people do not have concerns about loyalist paramilitaries? Of course they do. Those groups have never gone away and never left the stage. They are a continuing blight on our communities.
            The difference is the PIRA are so closely linked to SF our party of government. They were supposed to be gone. They wreaked havok before they went away, and we do not want them back.
            To call that a straw man is to show contempt for all the people who want the peace (imperfect thought it is) to continue.
            You are so concerned about Unionist hypocrisy you forget there is a whole population out there with very legitimate concerns about these idiots with guns.
            As for the Irish media Jude, like you, I tend to avoid them in case I see something I don’t like.

          • Jude Collins August 24, 2015 at 1:13 pm #

            I’m not sure where to start with you, gio – you’re a veritable political catherine wheel (if you use that I’ll demand 10%)…Why do I suggest people don’t have concerns about loyalist paramilitaries? Because I have not read or heard one single article/discussion focusing on that question over the last – what – five, ten years. As to SF being in government – I knew we’d get that one sooner or later. SF are a legal political party. People have voted them to where they are. Right? That’s that bit. If there are republican paramilitaries out there, I suggest they be treated the same way as loyalist paramilitaries. This line that somehow SF being in government changes everything – makes the IRA the problem, not unionist paramilitaries – is an illogical and transparent effort to get back to the old cliché: it was the RA wot done it. Pu=lease. As to straw men – you’re probably right, I shouldn’t have used it – I’m actually not sure what they are. So I concede on that one. I think people who have a genuine concern about guns should have been speaking up a long time ago, since the UDA etc have been openly canvassing for recruits and an awful lot of gable walls suggest they may have guns. Why did these worried people not voice their fears on these? Could it be because they’re not republicans? As to the Irish media – I don’t avoid it – I can’t avoid it even I wished to, which I don’t. I think the media are vital in anything resembling a democratic society – but not one that consistently exaggerates situations such as this one, or which consistently ignores clear signs of paramilitary activity when it’s coming from non-republicans….God, I spend a lot of time on you, gio. Nearly as bad as neill. I could have been having a nice nap for the past ten minutes….Grrrrr.

          • giordanobruno August 24, 2015 at 6:21 pm #

            Sorry to take up so much of your time.
            People I talk to often express concern about loyalist paramilitaries.I am surprised that does not happen to you too. There are regular news articles about murals, punishment shootings and so on. I honestly don’t know how you can say you never see these things.
            If you mean Unionist politicians do not tackle the issue of loyalist groups often enough or rigorously enough, I certainly agree.
            All I am really saying is you cannot dismiss the legitimate concerns about this recent activity, and you cannot know if there is still some kind of PIRA structure still existing and directing things like this.
            By the way what is a political catherine wheel? Is it a good thing?
            I think it must be.

  8. paddykool August 24, 2015 at 3:34 pm #

    That’s it gio. I have no problem at all with Sinn Fein or the DuP or any of these political parties being put to the grill an dquestioned really hard. I don’t want a party in government with a murderous armed wing in the background….something that’s been part of our political climate here for at least a hundred years …give or take . i’m sure you’ll agree that we all want something better than any political party taking armed men to the streets , rattling their sabres , bosting their strength of numbers or shaking their weapons or weapons certificates. We want to be done with that …right? ..Well most of us do ….
    I’m not talking about any of that . If they are guilty…well fair cop, guvnor! Let’s pull Sinn Fein out of government and tear the whole playhouse down and hand the whole shebang over to Dublin and Westminster if that’s what everyone wants. I’ll go along with that and see how it pans out .
    It’s very obvious that nobody…and I really mean none of the unionist parties, Westminster, Dublin and Sinn Fein too …want that to happen .So this whole thing has a different agenda and it’s to do with damaging sinn Fein north and indeed south.
    You see, I haven’t seen any evidence from anyone. What we get is the all-knowing street dogs and you’ll get ..”ach sure everyone “knows” it was an iRA family involved in this and that …..whtever that is supposed to mean when there are many groups claiming to be an IRA of some sort.
    What i still want to know is where is the proof of the IRA as an armed grouping that has stopped its armed campaign…..the actual “proof”…y’know …the bit of evidence that puts aman behind bars . {Some twenty years ago and under international agreement , gave up it s arms and told its members that it was all over. Now was a time for pure politics. }
    Better than that , I’m equally interested why a senior policeman would call a press conference on a specific day at aspecific time and come out with a wooly pudding of a staement that just about anyone could issue and still insisted there was proof which he just didn’t actually want or possibly was incapable of articulating . I really want to know why anyone would bother .Is it to pretend that they are onthe ball? If they aren’t on the ball they’ve made right old arses of themselves . Either way , I don’t want to know who can tell the best lies .I want to see the evidence….and i’m sure many younger Sinn Fein voters who might have voted for the SDLP or maybe even Alliance or whatever instead of a burgeoning…want to know it too…

    • giordanobruno August 25, 2015 at 7:43 pm #

      I broadly agree with you.
      I am not sure who is behind this plot to damage Sinn Fein you suggest though.
      The main players, the British government, Unionism, the PSNI all pretty much need SF where they are ie. inside the tent pissing out, if you’ll pardon my French.
      Some machiavellian ,machination is always possible, but in the meantime I think the principle of Occam’s razor should apply. This is still most likely an internal matter of revenge (housekeeping as it is cynically called) with or without the say so of a remaining IRA structure.

  9. Emmet August 25, 2015 at 8:52 am #

    I am not sure what everyone is worried about. The Provisional IRA members still exist, they are brothers, sisters, mums, dads, Grandtathers etc… The Provisionals were never a paid professional armed grouped they were all volunteers working in cells and reporting to a central command. The structure has dissolved but the members still exist. The organisation emerged overnight and it dissolved overnight. It will re-emerge under a different name if things keep going the way they are, the unionists are praying for it, and I suspect they might get their way. I think nationalists will start to realise that even mainstream unionism is so extreme that there is no prospect of reconciliation. The media also likes disaster, it sells. I would like to see an investigation by a group that I can trust (not the PSNI, their true colours have been exposed in the last 12 months)