John Bruton and “the gun”

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I’ve never thought of John Bruton as a dangerous truth-teller, but this morning I do. Well, a partial truth-teller. By now you’ve probably guessed what he’s telling truths or half-truths about: the Easter Rising.

He says several things about the Easter Rising, notably that Ireland could have achieved independence without violence: “The same principle of legislative independence, conceded to Ireland in September 1914, was conceded to Canada, Australia and other dominions. We know now that they all proceeded to full sovereignty, without the suffering and bitterness of war.”

I don’t agree with him on that one, and judging by the mood in Dublin, nationalist Belfast and lots of other regions throughout Ireland, huge numbers of the Irish people don’t agree with him either.

But where I think he becomes a dangerous truth-teller is that he looks at the Easter Rising alongside the Troubles in the north.

“People are saying ‘Well, it is not justified to use the gun now – but we are going to justify its being used the past”.

That link between the violence of 1916 and the violence of the Troubles is something which all the parties in the south, excluding Sinn Féin, have refused to even mention. So well done, John. Unfortunately, John doesn’t go on to reveal in what circumstances “the gun” is justified. In fact he appears to adopt a pacifist stance, which he’s entitled to do and for which I could even applaud him. Though I’m wondering why I didn’t hear about John the Pacifist during his years in public office.

That there is a link between the violence of the Easter Rising and the violence of the Troubles should be obvious. The aims and methods of republicans in both eras are very similar: to establish by force an Ireland free of British intervention and which promotes equality– “Equal rights and equal opportunities for all its citizens”. Easter 1916 resulted in a southern state which was largely free of British intervention but which was and is a long way from equality among citizens. The Troubles resulted in a northern state which is no longer an obscenely unjust Orange state where gerrymander and discrimination thrived. It remains a state under British jurisdiction  but has made considerable progress towards national sovereignty through the Good Friday Agreement, which promises national unity when north and south express a desire for it.

Which brings us to the thorny issue of what are called ‘dissident republicans’ – those who believe that violence continues to be the only way in which Irish unity and an end to British intervention can be achieved. Bruton is right when he says that these ‘dissident’ republicans can point to the Easter Rising as the source of their inspiration and methods. What he omits to say is that the so-called dissidents are playing straight into the hands of those who believe in the union with Britain. As Martin McGuinness, ever the pragmatist, has pointed out, these people are useless militarily, they are riddled with state agents, and their violence would destroy the equality achieved within the state by republicans and others.

I have nothing but respect for those who are consistent pacifists. It would have been interesting to observe the political career of a life-long-pacifist John Bruton. I have a degree of understanding but little or no respect for present-day ‘dissident’ republicans, who think continued violence today will lead to a better tomorrow.

 

 

49 Responses to John Bruton and “the gun”

  1. fiosrach March 29, 2016 at 11:01 am #

    If you are a non Sinn Féin republican who detests the GFA but does not support a continuation of Provisional violence where does that place you in the grand scheme of things?

    • Twinbrook lad March 29, 2016 at 11:23 am #

      You are not alone F. That void in Irish politics needs filled very quickly

    • jessica March 29, 2016 at 11:54 am #

      fiosrach, I detest the GFA.
      I detest what the southern state has become.
      I detest the British state more than ever.

      But I do not detest the British or Irish people.
      I do not detest working class loyalists whose reasons for getting involved are no different than on our side though mirrored.

      I do detest young people rotting in jails.
      I do detest violence and the lives it ruins.
      I do detest the human suffering that comes from conflict, both the suffering of those living with their own actions as well as those suffering as a result of those actions, and that goes for a young British soldier, a working class loyalist or a young Irish citizen equally.

      I am nobody in the grand scheme of things, but I believe we need Sinn Féin now more than we have ever needed anyone in our history.

      • TheHist March 29, 2016 at 2:44 pm #

        Out of interest, Jessica – why “do we need Sinn Fein now than we have ever needed anyone in our history” ?

        • jessica March 29, 2016 at 4:24 pm #

          “Out of interest, Jessica – why “do we need Sinn Fein now than we have ever needed anyone in our history” ?”

          TheHist, I have great respect for you knowledge of history which far exceeds that of my own, plus a lot of what I say will come from the heart as much as the head so if I am talking rubbish I would respect your pointing it out.

          As for an explanation of my comments, I think it is fair that I should explain.

          First of all I should define the we, as in all Irish people and citizens of Ireland and beyond who cherish the aspirations of the 1916 proclamation and wish to achieve that Ireland of equals.

          The proclamation references an alien government that has fostered divisions and in my own opinion, I believe the men of 1916 recognised that is was these divisions which held the greatest threat to Irish unity and would deny the ownership of the island of Ireland to the people of Ireland for as long as they existed.

          That is why the imperative was on an island of equals, where every person would be cherished regardless their background.

          In 1916, Ireland was one country with one parliament, since then, partition has not only further divided the people in the north but has created further division in Ireland with further distinguishment between southern Irish and northern Irish as well as nothern British.

          There have always been historic differences between the 4 provinces including old battles but that is who we are. The divisions which are no longer being fostered by an alien government but by a local government who are the right hand of the same alien government referenced in the proclamation.

          They have fostered greater divisions among Irish people than Britain could ever have achieved. I have seen Limerick people this weekend (plus their supporters) call the 6 counties a foreign state and part of the UK not Ireland. The Irish media has for a prolonged period fostered this belief. The Irish state have done nothing to suggest they do not support this and even our President has shown signs of concern over the one sidedness and I believe has recognised the wrongs which we are seeing unfold and the hurt they are causing to many.

          I am not aware of any time in our history when faced with such division that Ireland as not come together to ensure our nation remains united and I believe it is imperative that this division which will destroy this nation is healed.

          The north cannot do this alone and if the people of the south do not support us now, then I have no longer any hope for Ireland.

          Sinn Fein is the only 32 county movement that can achieve this. Not only that but the only party that has any interest in the well being of Ireland as one country.

          That is why I say that we need Sinn Fein now than we have ever needed anyone in our history.

          Interested in your thoughts.

          • TheHist March 29, 2016 at 6:55 pm #

            Jessica, please don’t see my comment as being disparaging – I was genuinely interested as to what you meant – you most certainly aren’t talking rubbish – I enjoy reading your contributions as they do come from the heart.

          • TheHist March 29, 2016 at 7:20 pm #

            Over these past few years, I have become a disillusioned voter. I have questioned politics more and more and often wonder, to quote Mike Nesbitt (first time for everything), “is this as good as it gets?”

            I agree with your sentiment some people in the South see those in the North as a foreign country. I recall a friend a few years ago making a statement that “those in the north have to fight and justify their irishness whilst many in the South take it for granted.” Perhaps there’s a element of truth in this. Nearly 100 years on, Partition – that old British solution to an Irish problem has become an accepted reality for many. Will this ever change? The big focus is “bringing unionists onboard” in the debate for a United Ireland – I feel, the Nationalist community need to be brought on board first.

            As far as I am aware, unity of the island is a component of all the southern political parties manifestos – yet they do nothing in regards same. Opinion polls state that a sizeable portion of those who have taken part in the polls would favour a United Ireland – why don’t the Irish Goverment seize the initiative and start pushing this agenda? it seems they don’t want too – would a brexit increase this appetite for a United Ireland – SF seems to think so.

            One problem for SF, and I have attended many debates on this, is they need a detailed blueprint on what a United Ireland would look like – without this, enticing people to support a United Ireland will always prove more difficult – Alex Kane always reverts to a United Ireland being the “unknown” – I can see his point. A United Ireland needs to be the “known” with facts of how it could benefit the lives of people. SF cannot do this alone.

            It was positive to hear President Higgins words last night – the ideals of the Rising have not been achieved – as things stand, will they ever?

          • jessica March 29, 2016 at 11:33 pm #

            President Higgins is aware that there is a pressure point on how far they can push things and has identified a risk to the state. Nothing more.
            He feels some counter balance might set things right but I doubt it is any more than that.
            We will see if it is even heeded.

            Irish Republicans are grasping at such comments in hope out of sheer desperation.

            Harold Wilson authorised the production of a 15 year unification strategy for Ireland in the 70s before the British army overthrew his government over it, I would like to think since the GFA that some consideration on how it might be implemented has been afforded, or if not an explanation as to why not provided.

            It is not a good idea to foster desperation within communities. Is the southern state seriously going to say, we are all right jack, you lot can fuck off and take whatever crap Britain throw your way so we don’t have to.

            Partition is not a northern problem, it is an Irish problem. Perhaps they need reminding of that.

  2. Donal Kennedy March 29, 2016 at 11:14 am #

    Bruton was on the 1966 FCA Guard of Honour at the GPO for President Eamon de Valera.
    So he hasn’t been a life-long pacifist. He’s an admirer of John Redmond – a rabid pro-Imperialist war-monger who not only encouraged recruitment for the British forces, but
    arranged for profiteers to press Lloyd George for munitions contracts. So he is not a pacifist
    today. I don’t know if Bruton joined the FCA at Clongowes, alma-mater of Thomas Francis
    Meagher (of “THE SWORD” ) and of many British Officers.

    I served on the GPO Guard of Honour a few years before Bruton. I had joined in 1957 in
    Rockwell, and the Attesting Officer invoked the memory of Tomas MacDonnchadha, a former pupil.

  3. jessica March 29, 2016 at 11:31 am #

    Not sure I could agree with a lot of this Jude for the following reasons, but will leave it to wiser people to correct me if wrong.

    The biggest link between Easter 1916 and the second period of “the Troubles” was the 1966 celebrations which led to unionists who were losing ground demographically to Catholics, who were by then seeking civil rights and electoral equality which would further erode British dominance in the north, fear that the south would seek full independence which was clearly a central ideal in the proclamation and this fear has always caused them to react violently, to become militant and to start conflict.

    It was not republicans who started the violence of ‘the Troubles’ in 1969 so how can you claim that the aim of troubles was “to establish by force an Ireland free of British intervention and which promotes equality– “Equal rights and equal opportunities for all its citizens”.”

    That may have become an aim for republicans during the Troubles, but it should never be forgotten what circumstances started the conflict to begin with and it was not the unification of Ireland but to defend against militant unionism when no one else would. As I was a child then, I leave it to others to refute or agree but that is how it appears to me.

    I also disagree that the Good Friday Agreement makes progress towards national sovereignty. It is simply acceptance by both states that if pursued peacefully, they will implement the wishes of the people.

    What it also was, was a peace accord which was to allow us to but conflict behind us and move to a shared future where all traditions could be respected equally and in return combatants would be released from jail and treated as equal citizens.

    Both states have torn up that accord with their constant vilification of republicans. All that remains is an agreement to implement the wishes of a majority which should have been the case anyway.

    We have no idea how closer we are to that majority as for the past 4 years a border poll has been denied and it is yet to be tested whether the wishes of the people will be listened to or unification fulfilled if that were the electoral outcome.

    What we do see is the southern state doing all it can to persuade people against it and becoming corrupt and despicable state treating its people poorly while the northern state is moving towards equality and doing what t can to treat its people fairly to the great annoyance of unionists.

    To treat the GFA as some sort of outcome that was won out of conflict is wrong. Just like the first Troubles resulted in the treaty of 1921 which was not worth spitting on as those that signed it agreed with but felt it had to be accepted to end conflict, the GFA was likewise the best could be achieved and was accepted in much the same way as the 1921 treaty.

    I never supported the GFA and kept out of the vote, but the worst thing could have happened was a civil war type conflict among republicans which is what many on the British and brit Irish state side would like to see. It is why MI5 still recruit and manage young dissident volunteers, why the PSNI are forced to turn a blind eye to criminality to give them a false sense of capability and to foster belief something can still be achieved through violence. Their actions will be used against the desires of all true Irish people.

    We are in the hearts and minds phase of the conflict which has not ended only adapted and they need to realise the greatest threat to Ireland is not unionism, not British militarism but political indoctrination and scripted revisionism of national identity and of our history to vilify and condemn the aspirations that has for centuries made the Irish people Irish. The day the Irish people lose the desire for freedom and equality, we will have lost our souls and the very thing that makes us Irish.

    • Jude Collins March 29, 2016 at 1:04 pm #

      Jessica – “Equal rights and equal opportunities for all its citizens” is not referring to the period of the Troubles – it’s a direct quotation from the Easter Proclamation. I take your point about armed republicanism being originally about protecting nationalist areas from attack, but it moved on pretty smartly to be a drive for independence. I think the GFA is significant in that it leaves matters in the hands of the Irish people. If enough of us want it, we can get it – within the unfortunate framework of partition, of course.

      • jessica March 29, 2016 at 2:38 pm #

        “I think the GFA is significant in that it leaves matters in the hands of the Irish people.”

        Do you believe the GFA agreement has been honoured by both the British and Irish states?

        Would you disagree with me if I said it no longer holds any value and might as well be a scrap of paper in the dustbin. That the continued abuse of the veto of concern by the DUP against an Irish language act, continued intolerance towards republicans such is in respecting the naming of a park after Raymond McCreesh, the failure to nurture a society emerging from conflict by both states, the continued use of black propaganda for political agendas, the continued recruitment of agents and informants by MI5, the denial of democratic processes and justice under the guise of national security I could go on.

        A border poll has been refused for years and really it is becoming farcical.
        Irish men and women in the north are being called British by people in the south who have benefitted from the actions of good republicans in the past.

        Ireland has become corrupted for corporate greed to the point where the suffering of many Irish people on both parts of this island are considered acceptable to maintain the standards of living the better off have become accustomed to.

        All island national sovereignty is being deliberately denied and obstructed with no longer any efforts being made from the southern caretaker government .

        How much longer can this continue before it will become impossible to refute any arguments in favour of armed rebellion in both parts of this island?

      • MT March 29, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

        “I think the GFA is significant in that it leaves matters in the hands of the Irish people. If enough of us want it, we can get it – within the unfortunate framework of partition, of course.”

        That was always the case. GFA didn’t change it.

  4. Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr March 29, 2016 at 11:50 am #

    ‘Lord Bruton’ and his revisionist views are irrelevant in modern day Ireland. He doesn’t seem to understand the difference between ‘National sovereignty” and “National submission”.

    Armed struggle should always be a last option for anyone. But what do you do to tyrants who wont listen? I have no interest in being a subject or in a dominion!

    • MT March 29, 2016 at 7:09 pm #

      “Armed struggle should always be a last option for anyone.”

      So you agree with Mr Bruton.

  5. Iolar March 29, 2016 at 11:55 am #

    It would appear that Mr Bruton missed Robert Fisk’s interview in the recent RTÉ feature, ‘The Enemy Files’. Mr Fisk was unambiguous about the seminal events of 1916 in the struggle to achieve Irish independence. Perhaps Mr Bruton also needs to reflect on the violent response of the RUC, the British Army and its sundry agents in Ireland.

    Mr Bruton is keen to challenge republicanism but does not review

    “supremacist and militarist imperialism with the same fault-finding edge…”,

    as noted by President Higgins.

    Mr Bruton appears to share Mr Redmond’s view that it was quite legitimate for Irish men to have fought in various historical conflicts throughout the world but not for freedom in their own country. Perhaps Mr Bruton’s remarks ought to be noted in the same context as Taoiseach Liam Cosgrave’s statement of the 1970’s urging Palestinians and Israelis to solve the problems of the Middle East,

    “by peaceful Christian means…”

    When advised that his comment would not go down well in the Middle East, he replied that it would go down well with his constituents.

  6. James.Hunter March 29, 2016 at 12:37 pm #

    Great.story.jude.

  7. billy March 29, 2016 at 1:13 pm #

    martin could hardly say anything else being part of the establishment and all that.as for no longer an unjust state nuff said.

  8. Perkin Warbeck March 29, 2016 at 1:29 pm #

    J C B*

    Of the Royal Swedish Order of the Polar Star

    Our needish steamroller’s a member too far

    His Stockholm syndrome
    He got a lot nearer home

    The Union Jack’s John B’s preferred avatar.

    *(The middle ‘C’ stands for Commonwealth)

  9. Féilim Ó hAdhmaill March 29, 2016 at 1:44 pm #

    Some interesting food for thought here as always, Jude, though I probably don’t share your optimism in relation to sovereignty and the gfa. You’ve also spurred on some interesting debate from others. It seems to me the regardless of genuine criticisms of SF’s approach and of the current status quo in the North, SF remain the only show in town. The mistaken, in my view, resort to attempted ‘armed struggle’ by alternative republicans continues to sideline any serious attempts to provide alternative approaches and critiques as well as preventing the development of a mass popular movement, which stretches across the current community divide, for a socialist republic.

  10. TheHist March 29, 2016 at 2:08 pm #

    To compare Ireland to Canada, New Zealand and other dominions and foolishly think a similar outcome was possible is deluded – there was absolutely no evidence to suggest Ireland would have had a similar outcome to other dominions – speculation, that’s all it is. In fact, Professor Ronan Fanning makes an interesting observation, that Home Rule wasn’t going to happen anyway, “the achievement of Home Rule was illusionary. The 1914 Act was a fudged compromise that could never have been implemented as it was enacted.” The Liberal Government under Asquith was not committed to Home Rule – they ran with Home Rule as the price of power, because they had too not because they wanted too. We evidently see the lack of commitment, the “behind the back” negotiations with Unionists, the appeasement of Unionist militancy – Asquith and his government never envisaged implementing Home Rule in its 1912 form and thus facilitated all the problems that lay ahead! And all in vain!

    John Bruton seems to ignore the fact that competing ideologies on the island were both willing to use violence to achieve their means. The establishment of the UVF was a game changer – the radicalisation and militarisation of society made violence inevitable. In actual fact, the period from 1911 when Carson and other Unionists began to use violent rhetoric as a weapon to defeat Home Rule ensured violence was going to be the chosen option. The threat of violence precipitated the use of violence and in essence Irish republicans did in 1916 what Ulster Unionists threatened to do in 1914. Would John Bruton accept a Civil War was in the making? How would this have turned out ? Would this have paved the way for independence?

    Unionists like Fred Crawford as far back as 1904 has been threatening any proposal for Home Rule, “I predict that Home Rule will never be killed until we show any British Government which brings it forward that we will resist to the death, even with arms if necessary.” How was complete independence going to take place with mindsets like Crawford, contrary to independence? Was there going to be miracles within Unionism to change their devoted views?

    I do not conflate the Easter Rising with the troubles – to do so completely ignores the fact that an “artificially established” unionist state, based on a number game and tribalism, from its foundation, discriminated against a community and in essence denying basic civil rights that citizens should have been entitled too – this created the atmosphere for the troubles. The unionist violence of the mid 1960’s and the rhetoric imposed by Paisley added to this always deeply rooted sentiment of discrimination, control and strife. The violent treatment of people passively resisting the state through the Civil Rights movement further exasperated the situation as the North moved towards violence. I’m not doubting, though that the motivation of the Rising became the motivation for Republicans after the outbreak of the troubles, but I certainly don’t see the Rising as motivation to initiate the Troubles – too simplistic and not historically contextual.

    John Bruton, don’t forget, wanted a failed Home Rule Bill celebrated in 2014 – he referred to a failed Home Rule Bill as Redmond’s “achievement” – what exactly was achieved? Redmond, his hero, not to forget accepted partition as a compromise in Feb 1914 and ratified this after the Rising during the Lloyd George negotiations! Also Redmond, the man responsible for the mass slaughter of his fellow Irish citizens when he endorsed the War at Woodenbridge – why did he endorse the war? He was the British government puppet – they pulled his strings, he moved. Was he that foolish in Sept 1914 that he believed all Ireland Home Rule was going to happen? Support for the War achieved nothing in relation to the Home Rule enterprise for Redmond.

    • jessica March 29, 2016 at 6:16 pm #

      What I am surprised about, is how there was a period of 50 years relatively violence free in the north, when unionists had a free reign to discriminate and deny basic civil rights in this “artificially established” unionist state.

      It was the threat of losing this control over rising numbers of Catholics and the age of civil rights movements around the globe in the 60s that led to an attempt at driving large numbers of Catholics out and why unionists revived the conflict in the first place.

      Circumstances for unionism are worse now than they were then, they would like nothing more than for republicans to continue using the form of violence that has failed in the past. Unionism has already been defeated by our very presence and determination not to be ruled by Britain and this would simply play into their hands. Unionism is impotent to prevent the realisation of republican ideals, though elements within the British establishment have changed its tactics and are working with the Irish state through Fine Gael.

      Since when has Britain been prepared to hand over 7 billion to an Irish state to help “a friend in need” while at the same time, firms who carry out installations of surveillance equipment for MI5 are given free reign in Ireland and every single Gardaí station and many mobile phones are being monitored 24/7. You can be sure that British intelligence have more access to the republic today than they do in the north.

    • MT March 29, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

      “To compare Ireland to Canada, New Zealand and other dominions and foolishly think a similar outcome was possible is deluded – there was absolutely no evidence to suggest Ireland would have had a similar outcome to other dominions – speculation, that’s all it is.”

      Of course it’s speculation. Just as your opposite view is speculation. But what makes you think that Bruton’s speculation is deluded but yours is not?

      “In fact, Professor Ronan Fanning makes an interesting observation, that Home Rule wasn’t going to happen anyway, “the achievement of Home Rule was illusionary. The 1914 Act was a fudged compromise that could never have been implemented as it was enacted.””

      Fanning us referring here to the Ulster question. He means 32-county home rule wouldn’t have been implemented, which is entirely plausible. Indeed it’s also what Bruton says. It doesn’t mean he’s saying there wouldn’t have been home rule for the rest of Ireland.

      “John Bruton seems to ignore the fact that competing ideologies on the island were both willing to use violence to achieve their means. The establishment of the UVF was a game changer – the radicalisation and militarisation of society made violence inevitable. In actual fact, the period from 1911 when Carson and other Unionists began to use violent rhetoric as a weapon to defeat Home Rule ensured violence was going to be the chosen option. The threat of violence precipitated the use of violence and in essence Irish republicans did in 1916 what Ulster Unionists threatened to do in 1914. Would John Bruton accept a Civil War was in the making? How would this have turned out ? Would this have paved the way for independence?”

      I suspect Bruton would say that a civil war would have been averted if it hadn’t been for the 1916 rebellion. If nationalists had agreed a compromise with Ulster there’d have been no need for violence from either side.

      • TheHist March 29, 2016 at 10:23 pm #

        “But what makes you think that Bruton’s speculation is deluded but yours is not?” What? So comparing Ireland to other British colonies is a fair analogy? Bruton makes a comparison without historical context of the time – did Canada, New Zealand, Australia have the same ideological problem as Ireland? Did it have the same resistance to limited legislative independence? I’m adding historical context to say an anology is unfair! Bruton provides no evidence to substantiate his claim! It’s a simplistic observation with no foundation – or if there is, I would be happy to see it.

        “I suspect Bruton would say that a civil war would have been averted if it hadn’t been for the 1916 rebellion.” So your speaking on behalf of Bruton, now? Is that not speculation? Your getting confused, MT – your jumping ahead of yourself again! What has a civil war (1914, Unionist v Nationalist) got to do with 1916? Threat of a civil war well in existence before 1916. If anything WW1 averted civil war between opposing ideologies.

        “Fanning us referring here to the Ulster question. He means 32-county home rule wouldn’t have been implemented” Yes, I know – I further contextualised this – did you read my post? “Asquith and his government never envisaged implementing Home Rule in its 1912 form”

        “which is entirely plausible.” And what made it plausible?

        “Indeed it’s also what Bruton says. It doesn’t mean he’s saying there wouldn’t have been home rule for the rest of Ireland.” Who said that?

        “If nationalists had agreed a compromise with Ulster there’d have been no need for violence from either side.” If Unionists had accepted the mandate of the majority of the people of Ireland, there would have been no need for violence. In nine elections, the Irish people had voted in favour of Home Rule. The minority on the island, had undermined democracy, threatening the use of force and violence – do you accept that minority’s should dictate to the majority? The British Goverment appeasing the threat of Unionist violence, compromising with Unionism, was a clear signal that violence paid off.

        • TheHist March 29, 2016 at 10:30 pm #

          “If nationalists had agreed a compromise with Ulster there’d have been no need for violence from either side.” Not to forget, MT, Unionists had great difficulty agreeing over the geographical boundary they wanted a compromise on – so why would Nationslist agree over a geographical boundary that incorporated a number of Nationalist county majorities? Why in the end did they not accept 9 counties?

          • MT March 30, 2016 at 8:09 am #

            “Not to forget, MT, Unionists had great difficulty agreeing over the geographical boundary they wanted a compromise on ”

            Not as much difficulty as nationalists had!

            “– so why would Nationslist agree over a geographical boundary that incorporated a number of Nationalist county majorities? Why in the end did they not accept 9 counties?”

            I suspect they’d have ended up agreeing on six with a boundary commission to iron it out … same as what happened anyway!

        • MT March 30, 2016 at 9:41 am #

          “What? So comparing Ireland to other British colonies is a fair analogy?”

          Why is it unfair?

          “Bruton makes a comparison without historical context of the time – did Canada, New Zealand, Australia have the same ideological problem as Ireland? Did it have the same resistance to limited legislative independence? I’m adding historical context to say an anology is unfair!”

          Ireland was treated the same in the 1930s, and that was after a violent war of independence, so I don’t see why it wouldn’t have been treated the same after a peaceful transition.

          “Bruton provides no evidence to substantiate his claim!”

          And nor do you. How can one provide evidence for a hypothesis?

          “It’s a simplistic observation with no foundation – or if there is, I would be happy to see it.”

          And so is your “observation” to the contrary.

          “Your getting confused, MT – your jumping ahead of yourself again!”

          I’m not. And I haven’t previously jumped ahead of myself so it’s not possible for me to do so again.

          “What has a civil war (1914, Unionist v Nationalist) got to do with 1916?”

          Nothing. There was no civil war in 1914.

          “Threat of a civil war well in existence before 1916.”

          I know. But it didn’t happen.

          “If anything WW1 averted civil war between opposing ideologies.”

          Very possibly.

          You do realise Bruton is talking from the perspective of 1916 not 1914?

          “Yes, I know – I further contextualised this – did you read my post? “

          So you’re agreeing with Bruton that home rule would have been implemented outside Ulster.

          “And what made it plausible?”

          Then passage of the home rule act and the acceptance of all sides that Ireland, save for the Ulster question, should get home rule.

          “Who said that?”

          The purpose of your Fanning quotation appeared to be to disagree with Bruton.

          “ If Unionists had accepted the mandate of the majority of the people of Ireland, there would have been no need for violence.”

          Obviously. Or if nationalists hadn’t demanded home rule. But those are unrealistic hypotheses. Bruton’s hypothesis is thst there would have been a compromise. That is more realistic.

          “In nine elections, the Irish people had voted in favour of Home Rule. The minority on the island, had undermined democracy, threatening the use of force and violence – do you accept that minority’s should dictate to the majority?”

          Unionists were a majority in Ulster. .

          “The British Goverment appeasing the threat of Unionist violence, compromising with Unionism, was a clear signal that violence paid off.”

          Well it was a threat of violence not actual violence. And hence the formation of Redmond’s volunteers and the need for compromise.

          • TheHist March 30, 2016 at 4:18 pm #

            “Why is it unfair?” – Why is it fair?

            “Unionists were a majority in Ulster.” And what?

            Nationalist were a majority on the island of Ireland – that isn’t difficult to comprehend. Why should Ulster be given any kind of preferential treatment?

            Unionists were a majority in only four counties within Ulster. What about Nationalists living in the counties where they were a majority? Again, I ask, why did Unionists not opt for the 9 counties of Ulster when it came to partitioning the country? Was it a case of unionists willing to do what they didn’t want done onto them?

            Time and time again, the point has been made in similar conversations that Ulster was NOT a separate entity – Ulster was part of Ireland. The majority on the island had voted consecutively for Home Rule – why should the minority veto the wishes of the majority?

          • MT March 30, 2016 at 7:00 pm #

            “Why is it fair?”

            Poor answer. You claimed it was unfair so the onus is on you to explain why.

            Nonetheless, it seems fair because they were similar jurisdictions: white, advanced economies, English-speaking etc, and were in fact treated in the same category in the 1930s.

            “Unionists were a majority in Ulster.” And what?”

            And so nationalists were a minority there.

            “Nationalist were a majority on the island of Ireland – that isn’t difficult to comprehend.”

            Nobody said otherwise. But they weren’t a majority in Ulster.

            “Why should Ulster be given any kind of preferential treatment?”

            It wouldn’t have been given preferential treatment: it would have been the same treatment as the rest of Ireland.

            By your logic, why should Ireland be given any kind of preferential treatment?

            “Unionists were a majority in only four counties within Ulster.”

            They wede also a majority in the whole province and in various geographical possibilities within that province.

            ” What about Nationalists living in the counties where they were a majority?”

            What about then?

            “Again, I ask, why did Unionists not opt for the 9 counties of Ulster when it came to partitioning the country?”

            It was considered that nine counties was not justifiable given the large nationalist majorities in Donegal, Cavan and Monaghan, and also because there would have been a precarious unionist majority thus almost defeating the purpose.

            “Was it a case of unionists willing to do what they didn’t want done onto them?”

            I’m afraid I don’t know what that means.

            “Time and time again, the point has been made in similar conversations that Ulster was NOT a separate entity – Ulster was part of Ireland.”

            So what?

            “The majority on the island had voted consecutively for Home Rule – why should the minority veto the wishes of the majority?”

            They shouldn’t and didn’t. The majority of nationalists and the majority of Ireland would have got home rule.

          • jessica March 30, 2016 at 10:24 pm #

            This argument with you MT, it reminds be of the story, the judgement of Solomon, where two mothers claimed the same child, but when offered to divide the child between them, the real mother gave up her maternal right in the best interests of the child while the other took what she could.

            This nation means nothing to unionists, it is only the continuation of a centuries old bitter rivalry from 1690.

            I don’t know how many times I have heard unionists here say if Ireland was unified they would trash the place and leave rather than share the island equally.

            Unionists would happily carve up territory to maintain their own interests rather than share.

            The UK is not a country, most of the UK and the planet would like to see Ireland united and at peace with itself.

            I do not understand why you refuse to allow us to have a country of our own. It is simply madness.

          • TheHist March 30, 2016 at 4:30 pm #

            “And hence the formation of Redmond’s volunteers” in the interests of historical accuracy, MT, Redmond was nothing to do with the formation of the Volunteers. In fact, Redmond was opposed to the formation of the Volunteers and only took an active interest in May/June 1914 when 25 IPP nominees were co-opted onto the provisional committee of the Volunteers.

          • TheHist March 30, 2016 at 10:15 pm #

            “Nonetheless, it seems fair because they were similar jurisdictions: white, advanced economies, English-speaking etc, and were in fact treated in the same category in the 1930s.”

            Why do you mention the 1930’s? I’m not talking about 1930’s? Who cares about the 1930’s? Your jumping ahead again, MT.

            “Similar jurisdictions” – poor, MT – in your attempt to anologise Ireland to the other dominions, you made a very poor and generalised attempt – So you cite skin colour and language – how does that entitle Ireland to similar political outcomes in regards legislative independence as the named above dominions? (You are white and speak English – your deserve indepedence – yeah, how Inept). Did these dominions have similar resistance to legislative independence as Ireland did? Within these dominions, was there a threat of violence and potential civil war if legislative indepedence was granted? “Advanced economies” – outside of the North East can you explain how Ireland was an “advanced economy”?

            “And so nationalists were a minority there.” And so Unionists were a minority on the island.

            “Nobody said otherwise. But they weren’t a majority in Ulster.” Unionists weren’t a majority in Ireland – yet in the early stages of resistance their aim was to prevent Home Rule on the whole island. Then the realised how futile this was.

            “It wouldn’t have been given preferential treatment” Yes it would have. Under the threat of violence. Under the threat of setting up a provisional government. Under the threat of civil war. Undermining the will of the majority of their fellow countrymen.

            “By your logic, why should Ireland be given any kind of preferential treatment?” Do you not read my responses? Quite clearly the vast majority of Irishmen, had voted consecutively for limited self government, that had been denied twice in the past. Hardly preferential treatment – the right of the majority on the island – not in a province. Surely, by your logic, if you are basing observations on majorities, it should have been on a county basis, not by province?

            “They shouldn’t and didn’t”. They did – quite clearly threatened use of violence, setting up a militia, threatened establishment of a provisional government, verbal menace, importation of weapons – all changed the aspirations of the what nationalists, the majority on the island, had voted for.

            “The majority of nationalists and the majority of Ireland would have got home rule.” Again, I repeat, Ireland was one country, therefore the majority will of the people should have ensured all of Ireland should have got Home Rule.

          • MT March 31, 2016 at 9:52 am #

            “Why do you mention the 1930’s?”

            Because that’s when the Statute of Westminster recognised de facto independence for all the Commonwealth countries like Canada, Australia, and Irish Free State.

            “I’m not talking about 1930’s? Who cares about the 1930’s? Your jumping ahead again, MT.”

            Eh? We’re speculating about what might have happened if the Easter “rising” hadn’t happened. That means speculating about what would have happened in subsequent years, including the 1930s.

            ‘“Similar jurisdictions” – poor, MT – in your attempt to anologise Ireland to the other dominions, you made a very poor and generalised attempt – So you cite skin colour and language – how does that entitle Ireland to similar political outcomes in regards legislative independence as the named above dominions?’

            For the same reason as it entitled those other dominions.

            “(You are white and speak English – your deserve indepedence – yeah, how Inept).”

            I don’t think inept makes sense, but in the 1930s that’s how people thought. The black/Asian colonies were considered backward and ill-equipped for independence.

            “Did these dominions have similar resistance to legislative independence as Ireland did? Within these dominions, was there a threat of violence and potential civil war if legislative indepedence was granted?”

            We’re discussing a scenario in which legislative independence had been granted with some part of Ulster excluded and without there having been any violence.

            ‘”Advanced economies” – outside of the North East can you explain how Ireland was an “advanced economy”?”

            Are you really saying you can’t discern that Ireland (even southern Ireland) had an advanced economy when compared to African and Asian colonies? Seriously?

            “And so Unionists were a minority on the island.”

            And so Nationalists were a minority on the islands.

            “Unionists weren’t a majority in Ireland – yet in the early stages of resistance their aim was to prevent Home Rule on the whole island. Then the realised how futile this was.”

            Indeed. But we’re not discussing the “early stages of resistance”.

            “Yes it would have.”

            No it wouldn’t. Ulster would have been treated the same as the rest of Ireland, ie the wishes of the people living there would have been respected.

            “Under the threat of violence. Under the threat of setting up a provisional government. Under the threat of civil war. Undermining the will of the majority of their fellow countrymen.”

            By 1916 unionists did not wish to undermine the will of the majority of their fellow countrymen. They accepted home rule for the rest of Ireland. It was nationalists who didn’t respect the will of their fellow countrymen in Ulster.

            ‘”By your logic, why should Ireland be given any kind of preferential treatment?” Do you not read my responses?’

            I do. Hence the question. You said Ulster shouldn’t be given “preferential treatment” because a majority there wanted to be separate from the rest of Ireland. So I’m simply testing your logic: why should Ireland have been given “preferential treatment” because a majority there wanted to be separate from the rest of the British Isles?

            “Quite clearly the vast majority of Irishmen, had voted consecutively for limited self government, that had been denied twice in the past. Hardly preferential treatment – the right of the majority on the island – not in a province.”

            Quite clearly the vast majority in the north-east had voted consecutively for exclusion from an all-Ireland jurisdiction. Hardly preferential treatment – the right of the majority in a clear geographical area.

            It’s people that matter: not islands.

            “Surely, by your logic, if you are basing observations on majorities, it should have been on a county basis, not by province?”

            I’ve never said it should have been by province or by county. A boundary should reflect the people’s wishes not arbitrary county or provincial boundaries.

            “They shouldn’t and didn’t”. They did – quite clearly threatened use of violence, setting up a militia, threatened establishment of a provisional government, verbal menace, importation of weapons – all changed the aspirations of the what nationalists, the majority on the island, had voted for.”

            You misunderstand. They shouldn’t and didn’t undermine the wishes of the majority: they accepted the right of nationalists to their own parliament in that part of Ireland where the people wanted it. All they asked in return waa that nationalists repeated the equivalent rights of unionists.

            “Again, I repeat, Ireland was one country, therefore the majority will of the people should have ensured all of Ireland should have got Home Rule.”

            Why does “one country” matter? Countries can be divided. Indeed, nationalists wanted to divide the UK.

  11. MT March 29, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    ‘“The same principle of legislative independence, conceded to Ireland in September 1914, was conceded to Canada, Australia and other dominions. We know now that they all proceeded to full sovereignty, without the suffering and bitterness of war.” I don’t agree with him on that one.’

    Why not, Jude?

    ‘John doesn’t go on to reveal in what circumstances “the gun” is justified.’

    Yes he does. He says all violence should be assessed against just war criteria.

    “In fact he appears to adopt a pacifist stance, which he’s entitled to do and for which I could even applaud him.”

    No he doesn’t. He adopts a just war stance.

  12. Cal March 29, 2016 at 6:31 pm #

    Bruton makes valid enough claims on the rising. I disagree with him but I can acknowledge the merits in his stance to a degree.

    Where I tend to lose respect for Bruton is that I’m yet to hear him criticise British imperialism and its maintenance of its ill gotten gains through empire at the point of a gun.

    When he does, I’ll have more time for him.

  13. antonio March 29, 2016 at 6:37 pm #

    “The same principle of legislative independence, conceded to Ireland in September 1914, was conceded to Canada, Australia and other dominions. We know now that they all proceeded to full sovereignty, without the suffering and bitterness of war.”

    Classic (irish) revisionism because it takes history out of its chronological context. ‘We know now that they all preceded to full sovereignty’,

    yes WE know that now but THEY did not know that then. As someone who has always had a fascination with history & has read a lot about history from all over the world it seems to me there are many who are incapable of understanding it. Bruton may be afflicted by this problem. Its strange because studying history is not rocket science & Bruton is no doubt a very intelligent person.

    But so many people look at history through the prism of their own experience & modern times and can’t get their heads around that the past is sometimes a foreign country & they do things differently there. The world of a 100 hundred years ago is so different to today that it may have been a different planet never mind a foreign country.

    Unless you empathise with the past, immerse yourself in the way of thinking of people at the time then history will not make sense. And Bruton’s history doesn’t make sense – he uses examples of events after the 1916 rising to back up his claim that the Rising was not just. Are we now, in 2016, supposed to reach into our crystal ball & look at the world in 2066 & decide upon the morality of our actions on the basis of what we see in that crystal ball??

    because that is what Bruton is demanding that Pearse & Connolly should have done.

    Bruton is an anglophile. But he loves the Britain of today, he loves the English people as they are now. He doesn’t love the British state as it was configured in the early part of the 20th century because Bruton can’t grasp that the British state of that era was a wholly different political animal to what it is today. It’s almost as though he sees the I.R.B as starting a war against liberal democratic, secularist, multi-cultural Britain. ie a not unreasonable characterisation of Britain of today.
    Whereas the reality was the I.R.B instigated a war against what can reasonably be described as an undemocratic, imperialist monolith which was very sectarian & extremely racist.

    The racism of the British establishment of the early 20th century is central to debunking this idea that Irish could have easily gone the way of Canada or Australia & eventually achieve independence peacefully. Bruton doesn’t understand that the racist establishment viewed Canada & Australia as worthy of equal status within the empire because these countries were largely populated by trustworthy Anglo-Saxon people. The Irish by contrast were considered to be of a lower racial class, not quite as low as the Africans or Indians but certainly not fit to govern themselves, & could never have been trusted to go independent because they were a deceitful people who would likely act against British self interest. Unlike the more amenable kin in Australia or Canada.

    • jessica March 30, 2016 at 12:09 am #

      I am not so sure that the British state is that different today than what it was then.

      As an adult having visited England many times, and been treated very well I have no issue with the British people.

      My experiences of the British army and security forces as a child however will never leave me.

      Britain will never relinquish control of Ireland without a fight.

      It is not in their comprehension.

      • Antonio March 30, 2016 at 4:47 pm #

        It is very different most obviously there is no empire anymore. The empire was central to Britain’s thinking as regard Ireland in the early 20th century. Many in Britain, particularly in the Conservative & Unionist party genuinely believed that allowing Home Rule for Ireland would trigger the collapse of the beloved empire. And that was just Home Rule!!
        So Bruton’s idea that independence could have been achieved peacefully at that time is a fantasy.

  14. MT March 29, 2016 at 6:41 pm #

    “I have a degree of understanding but little or no respect for present-day ‘dissident’ republicans, who think continued violence today will lead to a better tomorrow.”

    Did you have any respect for Provisional republicans?

  15. TheHist March 29, 2016 at 6:51 pm #

    I recall UUP leader, Jim Molyneaux after the PIRA ceasefire in 1994, describing it as “the most destabilising event since partition and the worst thing that has ever happened to us.” The ballot box, it seemed was deemed a bigger threat to Unionism than the threat of the armalite. One thing I’ve noticed since the 1990’s has been the fear that has resonated without Unionism – we don’t have to look any further than electoral campaigns to see the politics of fear being used as a weapon to keep “the other side” out. Fear isn’t healthy. Ideologically both sides, regardless of political outlook, should be working together for the future – too often there’s a glance at the future, with a long stare at the past.

    I enjoyed reading your piece on the State commemoration, Jessica, although I haven’t got around to replying – I always stated I would be in Dublin for that commemoration – I have continually watched the sanitising and “bastardisation” of the Rising over this past few years and made a conscious choice not to attend. To watch some of the southern political elite attempting to commemorate men and women they probably despise, is sickening. To hear Enda Kenny, even mention the proclamation angered me so much, the TV took the brunt of my reaction (if only goggle box had captured me). To the establishment in the South, there’s an embarrassment about the History of Ireland, there’s an apologist attitude for the actions taken by those of the past. It’s seems Anglo-Irish relations have taken precedence and what’s deemed the “wrongs” of the past have to be rewritten in a way not to offend – France and America, to name but a few – are these countries embarrassed by their past? Have they rewritten their past to suit a contemporary agenda? The past should be remembered for what it was, not how people would like it to have been.

    • jessica March 29, 2016 at 11:12 pm #

      Anglo-Irish relations now involve the transfer of billions of pounds, the lining of pockets and the acceptance that the northern territory is off limits.

      I own more than one business and work with many other businesses. While undertaking work with an investment company in the renewable energy market, it was clear their frustration in the lack of investment in renewable energy from the conversation.

      I asked the question, Norway were self sufficient and sold the overspill of their production, could Ireland do likewise.

      Their response was quite definitive and their animation was astounding and apparently has already been proven within Ireland.

      In Norway Fjords are used to control water build up and release to generate large volumes of energy. The same has been proven achievable on the Irish coastline and with investment, we could be 100% self sufficient within 5 years was more or less the response.

      At present, Irelands energy is totally reliant on the interconnection with Europe via the UK.

      We have already proven the concept via a US firm but investment from the Irish state dried up. Why?

    • Ryan March 30, 2016 at 2:34 am #

      “the most destabilising event since partition and the worst thing that has ever happened to us.”

      True TheHist, that was what Jim Molyneaux said in 1994 when the PIRA declared a ceasefire. But what does he mean? Wasn’t an IRA ceasefire what Unionism was demanding all along?? Or so they said…..

      The 1990’s was a very curious decade. It’s regarded as the decade when the Troubles ended, despite the fact Loyalists murdered over 50 people after their “ceasefires”, the vast majority of them were Protestants, a few were sectarian murders of Catholics. The 2006 Northern Bank Robbery was said to be carried out by the PIRA, despite denials from members of that organisation and Sinn Fein. On spotlight 2 years ago (I think) “Spike” Murray was accused of importing weapons from the USA in 2003, 5 years after the GFA was signed. Amongst the weapons imported was said to be anti-tank shells, sniper rifles, etc. The American involved in the smuggling gave his story and made a deal with the FBI if he were to tell all he would be protected from prosecution.

      Some of the most bigoted Loyalists I talk to on twitter (it would be wrong to say they are all bigoted, some can be reasoned with) insist the IRA was “defeated” in 1994 because of their ceasefire (despite the fact the IRA had went on ceasefire before, in the early 1970’s). Indeed around the Shankill Road in 1994 it was wrote on the walls “The people of the Shankill Road accept the IRA’s unconditional surrender”. Of course all this is nonsense and amateurish Loyalist propaganda.

      As I said to these Loyalists on twitter: Lets look at the facts. The IRA indeed went on ceasefire in 1994 but that was hardly a “defeat”, it was to do with entering talks. Indeed British Prime Minister John Major was bashed in the media for even talking to the IRA. This ceasefire, or “defeat” as some deluded loyalists would say, didn’t last long. It was broken in 1996 by the IRA by exploding a massive bomb in London. Soon after the IRA went back on ceasefire because Sinn Fein was allowed to enter talks. The British media bashed PM John Major again and said he had been “bombed to the table”. So how could the IRA be defeated in 1994, not give up a single weapon and then break the ceasefire and bomb London again if they were defeated? The simple reality is Loyalist paramilitaries were engaging in propaganda and lies so as to make their own supporters think they had won and defeated the IRA.

      The 1990’s had the Downing Street Declaration, basically the British Government saying the people of Ireland, North and South, had the right to come together and resolve their issues. Britain also makes clear that it has no selfish interest in Northern Ireland and will leave as soon as the majority in the North wish so. The DSD was said to have been like “a knife going through the heart of Unionism”. It was in some ways the UK Government disowning Northern Ireland, they will happily leave but only when a majority say so. Compare this to Britains attitude to Gibraltar or the Falklands, where the UK Government will not even enter talks with Spain or Argentina when it comes to these territories, never mind make agreements.

      In the 1990’s we also saw the USA getting more involved in the troubles here. Bill Clinton, under the strong influence of Irish America, came to try to help get a peaceful settlement. Indeed, the Good Friday Agreement would never have come about without the help and support of the USA. Gerry Adams was granted a visa to the USA, an incident which so upset John Major he refused to accept Clintons telephone calls for 2 days. (Donald Trump was one of those present at a Sinn Fein fundraiser dinner in New York, he’s pictured shaking Gerry Adams hand).

      In the 1990’s there was an increase of Loyalist attacks but, as usual, most of these were against Catholic civilians. But there was also an increase of killings by the IRA and INLA of Loyalist commanders/leaders. On July 9 1994, 3 UVF men were gunned down on the Shankill Road by the INLA, one of those killed was Trevor King, a UVF commander. A Protestant Pastor said the attack deeply “shocked and troubled” the UVF. Loyalists “retaliated”, not against the IRA/INLA, but against Catholic civilians watching a football game. Cecil McKnight was a UDA/UFF commander killed by the IRA in 1991 in Derry. UDA commanders Joe Bratty and Raymond Elder were gunned down not long after Trevor King was killed, they were killed on July 31st 1994. Both were riddled with an AK47 and while laying injured on the ground the IRA volunteer put two bullets into the back of each of their heads. They both were responsible for the Sean Grahams Massacre, yet again an attack on Catholic civilians. On 11th July 1994, Ray Smallwoods, a leading UDA man and a UDP member, was gunned down outside his Lisburn Home by the IRA. A man run towards him while he was leaving his home and shot him at close range with a shotgun. So 4 Loyalist commanders were took out in less than 3 weeks in the month of July 1994 alone. I could go on.

      Billy Wright, one time UVF commander then LVF Leader was killed in December 1997 by INLA member Crip McWilliams. Crip McWilliams was a close friend of my family. He was no angel, I’m the first to say that but he did a good deed there because Wright was a psychopath and a religious nutcase. I remember the news of Wrights death, there was a happy atmosphere on the Falls Road. Overnight signs and writing on walls sprung up all over the place: “Kill more Rats, Join the INLA”. Its an exaggeration to think that Wright “terrorized” the nationalist community, he was simply no different than any other UVF commander but he was obviously one of the most well known and hardcore Loyalists. As Michael Collins said of Winston Churchill’s “Cairo Gang” in 1920 when he wiped most of them out in a single day: “I paid them back in their own coin”. The same happened to Wright.

      Sorry for the history lesson but the 1990’s need to be looked at closely in order to see how we ended up in the political situation we are in today. Loyalist propaganda of an IRA defeat is of course just lying propaganda, Loyalist commanders/members themselves were dropping like flies in the 1990’s. England was subjected to a sustained bombing campaign by the IRA, one massive bomb in Manchester was said to have went off with the force of a small nuclear device, said experts. (The IRA gave warnings, 1 person was killed, he was a reporter who sneaked past police guards to get photos of the truck with the bomb and it went off).

      So looking at the 1990’s, I can see now why the UUP leader said the IRA’s 1994 ceasefire was the worst thing to ever happen to Unionism. Maybe because he knew the IRA was getting something they wanted, hence the ceasefire? Important to note this same UUP Leader aggressively opposed the Good Friday Agreement but he had already been replaced by Trimble as UUP leader.

      • TheHist March 30, 2016 at 8:11 pm #

        A thoughtful post, Ryan.

        I would say the vast majority of the unionist / loyalist people would have wanted an IRA ceasefire. As would the vast majority of nationalists. However political unionism feared a ceasefire as bringing Republicans into the political process was therefore inevitable and a difficult job to “have to” talk to those they despised – perhaps, Molyneaux’s fears became a reality when his party were eclipsed by the DUP over their eventual political relations with Sinn Fein and the GFA. It came to a stage the UUP like the DUP entered power sharing arrangements with republicans not because they wanted too, but because they had too. An IRA ceasefire and Republicans embracing politics was the game changer that shook political unionism to the core. The Unionist comfort zone was gone – Unionists were comfortable condemning IRA violence (I dont mean this disparagingly) but it’s more difficult condemning those who had the will to talk peace and want to build a process. The old Gandhi quote, I could throw in, “first they ignore you, then they laugh at you, then they fight you, then you win.” I’m not saying Republicans have won, by any means, but their evolvement to share power has to be a noted as a conflict resolution success. They were ignored – I recall 1996, Adams and McGuinness locked out of talks at Hillsborough Castle – that famous photo. They were laughed at and mimicked. They did fight albeit making compromises. Who could have envisaged in 1994 Republicans sharing power in the North?

        On the IRA being defeated, Ryan, An internal British Army document released in 2007 stated that the British Army had failed to defeat the IRA. The report went on to say that the British campaign produced no final victory “in any recognisable way”. So the British army themselves, admitted they didn’t defeat the IRA. Peter Taylor, the respected journalist also expressed similar sentiments. As for unconditional surrender … That sentiment belongs on a wall as it is utter tripe,

  16. giordanobruno March 29, 2016 at 7:45 pm #

    Jude
    You say:
    “In fact he appears to adopt a pacifist stance,”
    Yet within his speech, which I am sure you read, he talks at length about just war theory (as despised by jessica) and argues for applying it to the rising.
    That is not a pacifist stance.

  17. Wolfe tone March 29, 2016 at 8:07 pm #

    Bruton is another example of the British fifth column based in Ireland. The British didn’t leave just like that after the war of independence. They ensured their interests were kept in the right hands before they withdrew hence the counter revolution sometimes known as the civil war.
    The British maintained control of all aspects of society ie media,education especially trinity and don’t mention the ports!
    If Bruton had uttered his thoughts on the rising years ago it would’ve been highly unlikely that he would’ve become Taoiseach. But then again that’s the modus operandi of the fifth columnist, they hide right in front of your eyes.

    • Ryan March 30, 2016 at 1:27 am #

      Wolfe Tone, that’s the issue here in Ireland, too many of the wrong people in the media, especially when it comes to the South.

      I remember reading just a few days ago how on “Victory Day in Europe” in 1945, Trinity College flew the Union flag along with other flags. The Tricolour wasn’t flown. Charles Haughey, the future Taoiseach, and other students gathered and burnt the Union flag on the college grounds in protest at this disrespect from the college.

      Old Charlie had the right idea, he wasn’t without his faults, he had a few affairs with different women (he even had Margaret Thatcher charmed for a long while…….) and there were accusations of a few brown envelopes being passed along by business men but sure what leader in the World hasn’t accepted the odd thick brown envelope from time to time?

  18. Ryan March 29, 2016 at 11:55 pm #

    “I have nothing but respect for those who are consistent pacifists”

    I have to disagree with you there Jude. Of course your entitled to your opinion and I respect that but I don’t believe in pacifism, if that’s the correct term. Let me explain why.

    I side with George Orwell when he said that he doesn’t believe pacifism even exists or is Pro Fascist. Lets take a British pacifist in WW1 as an example. His refusal to bear arms and fight for his country played into the hands of the Germans. Britain was one soldier short. That’s indirectly helped the war effort, not for Britain, but for Germany. Of course many pacifists did other duties, medics, administration, even Priests/Pastors, etc. So they might not agree or support violence but their still helping contribute to it, by either helping their country heal soldiers who WILL kill or by helping the enemy by refusing to kill.

    Many people claim that Jesus Christ was a pacifist and of course they have numerous teachings of Christ preaching peace to back this up. But supporting peace and being a pacifist isn’t the same thing. One scripture which supports that Christ was NOT a pacifist is when Jesus entered the Temple and seen it being misused and abused. He saw people at tables counting money. Christ, according to the disciples, flew into a rage, overturned tables and sent the money scattering. He chased the money changers/counters from the temple. He even made a whip and was said to have used it, though it wasn’t said that anyone was hurt (it didn’t say people was unhurt either though) but still a whips purpose is to hurt and was often used as a violent weapon. This is obviously not the actions of a pacifist.

    I’m certainly no pacifist. But I’m certainly not a warmonger or a “hawk” either. But one thing I do despise is some Irish politicians “Peace at all costs” attitude. Its essentially a defeatist attitude. I believe there are Wars that are just and that violence is justified as a last resort. There are also conflicts where violence is inevitable, the recent conflict in the North is one.

    In many ways Pacifism can be just another tactic of War. Martin Luther King employed it during the Civil Rights Movement in the USA, it gained him the sympathy of millions worldwide. Many would’ve still viewed MLK and Black people resorting to violence as legitimate if they had have went down that road. Nelson Mandela and the ANC went down the path of violence and then a sort of semi-pacifist stance and it ultimately succeeded. Putting morality to one side, violence in the case of discrimination against blacks in the USA would’ve been the wrong tactic. Their enemies within White Supremacism would’ve been very happy if MLK had have used that tactic. Today it could be argued that Sinn Fein are pursuing a pacifist stance. Some argue that the violence from Republicans gave the Unionists all the excuses they needed to deny equality and power sharing with Catholics. They cant do that anymore. In ways their are many similarities between the tactics used by Nelson Mandela and the Leadership of Sinn Fein. Its well known both the ANC and SF has long been allies.

    ——————————————————————————————————-

    John Bruton would’ve been in the IPP if he had have been alive in 1916. I think if Bruton and others like him could have their way Southern Ireland would be still part of the UK. Redmond even spoke of how he wanted Ireland to be the “Brightest Jewel in the British Crown”. He spoke admiringly of the British Empire on numerous occasions. The reality is these people make the SDLP look like serious Republicans. Many of them were “small u” Unionists. The types that saw English toffs as their superiors and their “betters”.

    John Bruton is exactly the same. I was only a toddler at the time Bruton as Taoiseach welcomed Prince Charles to the Republic. I’ve obviously seen the footage and Brutons speech and toast to Queen Elizabeth. I don’t think I have ever cringed so much in my life and I’m not exaggerating. Bruton was on the verge of licking Prince Charles arse, pardon my language. There were occasions where even Prince Charles looked awkward. It was a reception worthy of the DUP/UUP. Even the Guardian Newspaper commented on Brutons reception of Prince Charles as embarrassing. There was even rumour that John Bruton said that meeting Prince Charles was “the best day of my life”…..

    So don’t be surprised that John Bruton is joined at the hip with Ruth Dudley Edwards when it comes to the Easter Rising, both are big supporters of Britain and British Imperialism. It ultimately descends, in my opinion, from a lack of self esteem and maybe what they call in Scotland: “cultural cringe”, where some Scottish people hate their culture and nationality, only in this case its an embarrassment of Irish culture and nationality. That’s my theory anyway.

    —————————————————————————————————————-

    One question that wasn’t asked once during the 5 hour coverage of the Commemoration Parade for the Easter Rising on RTE was the most obvious:

    What right did Britain even have to be in Ireland in the first place? (that goes for the North as well, and no partition wasn’t legitimate or right, its been a disaster).

    The likes of John Bruton is, at best, a pathetic, defeatist little man. A man who seeks peace at all costs. Who hasn’t the courage to stand up for his country or his people. Who would’ve rather spoke to his oppressor who raped and butchered his country for centuries, who was even burning cities, such as Cork City, and carrying out murders against the civilian population during the Tan War rather than face his oppressor down, regardless of the odds.

    At worst, and I believe this is accurate, John Bruton is a Unionist, who identifies more with the Toff class in Britain than his own people who had the unfortunate stupidity to vote him in as Taoiseach.

    Regardless, its 2016 and not 1916. Republicans in the North should continue down the present path of politics and democracy because its the right thing morally but also tactically in order to achieve Irish Unity. The 1916 Easter Rising was legitimate and moral, it was the right response in that era and time and no matter what John Bruton or Ruth Dudley Edwards say, the men/women of 1916 are heroes and always will be.

    • Jude Collins March 30, 2016 at 7:57 am #

      I said I admired pacifists, even as I admire saints. I didn’t say I was one.