Respect, Integrity and Equality

How many times have you heard the Irish republican mantra of “Respect, Integrity and Equality”? I’ve oft wondered just what they meant when they said those words.

Sometimes I honestly think republicans don’t know what those words actually mean.

Respect? Integrity? Equality?

Every single day on social media one can encounter these lovely, tolerant people. The very epitomes of respect, unity and egalitarianism.

Ah yes, John O’Neill, the well known historian, author and university lecturer

A threatening tweet? Surely not!

Indeed. Keep this in mind for a second

Punctuation mustn’t be a strong point of renowned authors/lecturers like John

Anti-British racism as well, tut tut!

Maybe it’s me that is mistaken about the definition of words like ‘respect’ and ‘equality‘? Maybe, being a Loyalist, I really am stupid?

No lazy sectarian stereotypes here! Nope. None. Zero. Honest.

But perhaps I’m being too quick to judge, maybe these people are simply the lunatic fringe? Surely the self appointed ‘parody wing’ of the republican movement wouldn’t stoop so low?

OK, never mind, let’s move on….

Elaine is a special kind of bigot, here she is targeting a grandmother who shared a picture of her grandson (note, we have deliberately obscured the picture)

More from the charming Elaine? OK, if you insist

Elaine doesn’t like Americans. Or “Brits”, strangely though….

Oh……

Says the troll group that has a very cozy relationship with certain dissident republicans, but hey, I suppose they aren’t “terrorists”?!

Racist, sectarian and homophobic. Say it ain’t so!

Sometimes I can’t even read these lovely and tolerant tweets, such is the level of intellectual brilliance.

“ro0bbed the natives”. For shame

Do republicans deny being republicans so they can distance republicanism from their own tweets?

Oops, posted that one again! Btw John Paul, how does your own medicine taste?

Such beautiful people

Is it just me or does Elaine look like she’s dressed as Batman?

OK, so let’s try to get some balance here, let’s go back to John O’Neill, well-known lecturer and author.

Such respect.

I’m beginning to feel a little overwhelmed by all this respect, Integrity and equality.

Apparently John is also an expert in pest control.

What a shame. We should crowd fund some university to re-employ John.

Indeed.

Another one who seems fixated on rats.

I don’t know about you but all this respect and equality is starting to make me feel a bit ill.

The Dark Knight can’t stand crime*

(*unless it’s republican crime)

Somebody seems a little obsessed.

Elaine defending ISIS. Surely she must be on a watch list somewhere? GCHQ, we’re looking at you here!

Now that’s what I call respect!

Yes Paul, I think it is.

Nice of professor O’Neill to openly admit that Protestants were ethnically cleansed from Co. Cork.

True story. Ireland almost became a German state. Honestly.

John is a historian, an author of several books and is the world’s best lecturer. He is also fearsomely handsome.

Well folks, I think that’s enough for one day. After all that equality and respect I think I need to lie down in a dark room for a while.

Never fear though, we’ll be back next week with more evidence of the true nature of Irish republicanism.

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Fodor’s Sectarian Folly

A few days ago the so-called ‘renowned travel guide’, ‘Fodor’s’ published a blatantly sectarian and dehumanising guide to political murals in Northern Ireland, lavishly praising Irish republican murals making the ludicrous assertion that such murals “often aspire to the heights of Sistine Chapel-lite, whilst the cretinous author compared Loyalist artwork to “war comics without the humour”.

Not only are such assertions insulting and offensive, they are also completely without basis in fact. The author of the lazy, pernicious and prejudiced piece in question is allegedly a veteran ‘journalist’ and ‘historian’!

Professor Peter Shirlow, head of Irish Studies at Liverpool University, expressed shock at the content-

It represented them as Bible-bashers, against liberalism and it evoked an idea that on the other side there was humour, a capacity for art and also evoked the idea republican violence was something to be glorified and where it represented the unionist community, it is not, if it was the Catholic, nationalist, republican community (being lampooned) I would say the same thing. It is just ultimately wrong and gave an incredibly unfair representation of murals in the city.”

Professor Shirlow added-

The academic issues with how the story of Northern Ireland is presented to visitors need to be addressed.”

Clearly Prof. Shirlow knows what he is talking about. Indeed, it is abundantly clear that the academic is everything that the hack journalist is not; knowledgeable, impartial and not prone to lazy sectarian stereotypes.

“Sistine chapel-lite

Kenny Donaldson of ‘Innocent Victims United’ said the language used on Fodor’s Travel website was-

“…..sectarian in nature” and sought to “castigate a section of the population based upon their ethnic and religious background,”

A Loyalist mural in Derry (in memory of Cecil McKnight of the Ulster Democratic Party)

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Unfortunately this incident is symptomatic of a much wider problem, i.e. the constant and absolutely relentless denigration and dehumanisation of the Unionist and Loyalist community, particularly the working class element of that community.

Historically illiterate Irish republicans feel enpowered to repeat the most ridiculous ahistorical nonsense because their so-called political ‘leadership’ regularly spout such nonsensical fairytales and are rarely challenged for it.

The Sistine Chapel ceiling, Rome.

Irish republicanism in general, and the Provisional republican movement in particular, has carefully constructed an utterly, utterly toxic narrative in which Loyalists and Unionists are depicted as being less than human. This Nazi-esque propaganda is constant, unsophisticated, crude and laced with sectarian euphemisms. The anti-British racism is as overt as it is nasty. The infantile stereotyping as unintelligent as it is unsubtle.

Irish republicans have been constantly, unrelentingly, told that they are ‘oppressed‘ and discriminated against. The message that they are perpetual victims is reinforced over and over and over again.

That narrative though is hugely undermined by the contrary and simultaneous narrative that the so-called ‘Irish gael’ is resilient, smart, capable and in every possible way superior to the ‘Protestant planters’.

Another view of the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel.

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Handily though, republicanism has a kind of ‘get out clause’ in order to lessen the cognitive dissonance among it’s adherents; the carefully spun message that yes, indeed, nationalists and republicans were (and are) the poor oppressed but it wasn’t (or isn’t) the ‘planter’ doing it, it was the ‘evil Brits’. The British Empire, the British State, the British Army. According to the propaganda of Irish nationalism it was/is the ‘big bad Brits’ that kept them down, discriminated against them and victimised them.

Loyalists and Unionists are presented as mere hapless proxies of the British State. A confused and stupid people who have been duped into doing the bidding of ‘imperialist’ England.

“err da stoopid Loyalists can’t even do a mural”

Loyalist armed groups are presented by republican extremists as being nothing more than criminals- armed, organised, trained and directed by the Army, MI5, Special Branch, GCHQ, MI6, etc etc etc. The far-sighted and sophisticated political contribution of militant Loyalism is conveniently forgotten. ALL effective operations against republican terror gangs are dismissed as having been the work of secretive special forces units of the British Army.

Politically, Loyalism and Unionism is dismissed as backward looking, old fashioned, innately negative and ardently right-wing. Irish republicans attach themselves to whatever causes they think will help them appear ‘progressive’, ‘liberal’ and forward looking.

It is totally predictable. It is also something which Loyalists can, and must, seriously combat. Republicans have weaponised their vocabulary, especially online. It is high time more Loyalists did the same.

It takes time to build up a negative stereotype of an entire community but it is not difficult. Repeating the same old tropes ad nauseam may be mind numbingly boring and repetitive but it is hardly neuro surgery.

Definitely no paramilitary imagery on any republican murals. Nope. None. Zero.

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It would be exceedingly easy, for instance, for Loyalists to continually link Sinn Fein, as a party, with the deeds of their terrorist wing, the Provisional IRA. Not in the way that some Loyalists do at present, but to do so in a more organised and unrelenting way.

It would also be relatively simple to push the narrative that Irish republicanism is inherently a Far-Left ideology, one which is economically unrealistic and forever tainted by the horrors and atrocities, not only of republican ethno-nationalism itself, but also by association, of Marxist and Communist regimes such as the USSR, DDR and the Khmer Rouge. After all, there are many examples of republican murals which are overtly Marxist and, of course, republican murder gangs have well documented links with extreme Leftist terrorist groups such as the ‘Red Army Faction’, ‘PFLP’, ‘Red Brigades’ etc.

Behold! the sophistication of republican Wall art.

Far better though for ALL stereotypes to be dropped. For our divided society to heal, ALL unhelpful and toxic narratives must be sidelined, without exception. Reconciliation can never be achieved when one community regards another as being lesser than themselves.

The obvious arrogance and sense of superiority within Irish republicanism is a virulent poison, a corrosive and devastating toxin which is destroying community relations, heightening tensions and, if unchallenged, runs the very real risk of sectarianising yet another generation of our young people.

Therefore it must be challenged and challenged effectively. In short, the dehumanising rhetoric of Irish republicanism is a cancer which must be excised.

Unfortunately, it would seem that this particular cancer has spread throughout the body politic of Irish nationalism as a whole and is, as evidenced by this latest ridiculous episode, extremely deep rooted.

Time then for the leadership of nationalism, such as it is, to accept responsibility for the outgrowth of this malignancy and to begin to tackle it. Time for those most active in perpetuating these iniquitous stereotypes (‘Ladfleg’, ‘Themmuns’ et al) to permanently leave the stage, and time, most of all, for Loyalists and Unionists to begin calling out this repugnant, dehumanising narrative every single time we encounter it.

To do otherwise is to condemn our community, and society as a whole, to even further division, conflict and unnecessary pain. Something for which future generations will, quite rightly, condemn us.

Ordinary Voices: Interview 6

Respondent is a representative of West Belfast Ulster Political Research Group

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As with all interviews for the Ordinary Voices project this interview was conducted via email.

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Q1. How would you describe yourself politically?

Described by many in the media as a Loyalist activist but for me I’m a proud Unionist.

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Q2. Q2. Do you think there is an inherent bias when it comes to legacy issues?

There is a widely held perception of bias when it comes to legacy issues. That suspicion is cemented in the mind when people see the cavalcade of SF/IRA inspired groupings parading for the cameras seeking justice for conflict related events dating back decades. The state kept evidence, albeit questionable at times due to the inability to preserve crime scenes during mass riots etc., armed groups didn’t and this allows the spotlight to be focused in an imbalanced way on the state.

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Q3. Do you believe that legacy issues are damaging to the Peace Process?

Legacy issues are highly damaging to the peace process, any confidence which existed in the Unionist/Loyalist community has long since evaporated since the signing of the Belfast Agreement. The main protagonists of our recent conflict murdered over 1,700 men, women and children. To see some of them hold political office today and remain unrepentant of their past actions and, in fact, glorify said actions has, and is, causing huge concerns in the Unionist/Loyalist community. There is a huge concern that Republicans are demanding of everyone else’s truth yet deny that same ‘right’ to many hundreds of victims they themselves created. The proposed legacy mechanisms fall far short of what is expected by many of these families.

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Q4. Would you agree that Loyalism is not given credit for the political thinking advanced by people like John McMichael in the 1980s?

It is no secret that John McMichael’s ‘Common Sense’ document was, in fact, the blueprint for the power sharing assembly at Stormont, something which he and others within wider Loyalism were never credited with. In many ways John was indeed a man ‘ahead of his time’.

Brigadier John McMichael

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Q5. How would you say that poverty and social deprivation impact working class Loyalist communities, in Belfast in particular?

It is also no secret that our recent conflict was fought out, predominately, by the working classes from both communities. Many of the better off Protestants and Catholics profited greatly from the conflict. The Belfast Agreement promised much to many people, but the words of the then US President Bill Clinton struck a chord with the working class when he promised that the US would walk with the people on the journey to, “peace and prosperity”. Sadly we have only managed to achieve relative peace and as for prosperity, those who were rich then remain so today, yet those living in working class areas in Belfast who bore the brunt of the conflict are still listed as amongst the worst areas of deprivation in Northern Ireland, particularly in North and West Belfast.

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Q6. Do you think that there has been a deliberate campaign to demonise and dehumanise Loyalists by certain people?

Loyalism appears to many in our society to be a dirty word at this moment in time. This broad brush approach to Loyalism is both patronising and offensive in equal measure. Many people ignore the vast amounts of work taking place within grassroots community groups and the ex-combatant community to better the community they once ‘defended’. This work is very often dismissed by those who should know better than to do so. Community empowerment, political lobbying, anti-drugs campaigns, positive regeneration activity, education programmes, engagement with PSNI, Equality Commission, Human Rights Commission, Parades Commission etc. are all happening on a regular basis. Tell the media about an upcoming event like that… silence! Why is that the case I wonder?

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Q7. Do you believe that legacy issues have been well handled thus far?

Legacy issues should have been handled immediately after the signing of the Belfast Agreement in 1998 when the euphoria of ‘peace’ was taking hold. Instead the language of constructive ambiguity was allowed to prevail and legacy, like other issues such as sectarianism, integrated educated etc. were kicked down the road to be dealt with at another time. That time has long past and has now led to the poisonous debate on these matters today.

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Q8. In your opinion, has Loyalism done enough to reach out to the nationalist/republican community, in the spirit of reconciliation?

In announcing their ceasefires in 1994 the Combined Loyalism Military Command offered true and abject remorse for all Troubles related actions, something never reciprocated by Republicans. Instead they now seek to rewrite their past, sanitising many of their previous actions as reactionary to state violence. This is perverse in the extreme and makes true reconciliation between combatant groups much harder to achieve.

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Q9. Would you agree that Irish republicans have been attempting to rewrite the history of the conflict, in an effort to sanitise and minimise the worst excesses of republican murder gangs?

As in Q8., Republicans have now adopted the narrative of revisionism, which cleverly ignores the massive hurt caused by Republican death squads throughout the conflict, both here in Northern Ireland and beyond.

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Q10. Do you think that enough has been done to address the problems of those mentally scarred and traumatised by the Troubles?

Another legacy issue is the huge strain today on our NHS which is inextricably linked to mental health issues and drugs and alcohol issues arising from our conflict. Many former combatants, ex-prisoners and ordinary citizens are now suffering for their lived experience of the conflict years. A clear and coordinated strategy needs to be put in place to tackle these issues, requiring clear leadership and concise measures to be put in place, but more importantly, to be shown from our government.

Loyalist West Belfast

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Q11. Do you think that Brexit will cause an upswing in support for a so-called ‘united Ireland’?

Definitely not, what it has caused, and will continue to cause, is the re-polarisation of our communities, a retreat to the trenches we thought we’d left behind. Brexit has been turned into a ‘donkey issue’, pick a donkey, pin a flag to it, and the plebs will vote for it en masse as the issue has now been turned into one of sovereignty fuelled by the incessant ramblings of SF/IRA on their demands for a border poll.

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Q12. What are your hopes and aspirations for the future of Northern Ireland in the medium to long term?

Northern Ireland needs to be governed by all, for the benefit of all its citizens. In order to do that we need an in-depth review of the Belfast Agreement and all its component parts. Mandatory coalition as set out by the agreement has clearly failed to deliver as promised and needs root and branch reform. A coalition of the willing may not be preferable for some Unionists or Loyalists, but if it is inclusive and if it is embracing, then Loyalism should not be fearful of this concept. The days of big house Unionism patting Loyalists on the head when politically expedient to do so are long gone. We have our own feet; we must be prepared to stand on them!

My final cliché is this and it has been said many times by many people but it remains true today. I never wish my children or grandchildren to witness the horrendous things I saw as a child growing up in Belfast. It is incumbent on us all to ensure that we break the cyclical nature of violence on this island, for the betterment of us all, not least for the generations to follow us.

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Our sincere thanks to West Belfast UPRG for their contribution to the Ordinary Voices project.

The Masters of Debate

As we all know, Irish republicans are absolute masters of debate and reasoned, well thought out, considered responses. The IQ of these ‘gaelic’ Herrenvolk can only be vaguely estimated but is believed to average around 230.

97% of the Irish republicans online are nuclear physicists, brain surgeons, psychoanalysts and Nobel Prize winning authors. The remaining 3% are millionaire playboys or world famous glamour models/intersectional feminist opinion makers.

Any wonder then, that when the ‘master-race’ engages in any kind of dialogue on Twitter, they inevitably produce tweets which are so sublime, so sophisticated and so powerful, that they are at risk of actually tearing a hole in the fabric of space-time.

Poetic and powerful

Their prose, their lucidity and their cutting wit is simply sublime. Since 2015, 58,183 Irish republicans, approximately 40% of all those on Twitter, have been offered multi-million pound literary deals by the world’s largest publishing houses.

The voice of reason

Obviously Oscar Wilde, Percy Bysshe Shelley, William Shakespeare, Victor Hugo, Ernest Hemingway et al were all dedicated Irish republican activists. Although even their scribblings pale into insignificance when compared to the erudite, articulate and, frankly, beautiful utterances of the contemporary republican.

Literary excellence!

How these brave, uber-intelligent, charming, highly original and friendly people have not achieved their goal of a gaelic speaking, socialist, inclusive 32 county utopia is completely unfathomable.

Their powers of persuasion are incredible. Their vocabulary is almost infinite. The sheer power of their words is enough to convince even the most die-hard, fanatical Loyalist that an all-island, democratic, Poblacht na hÉireann would be an amazing, vibrant and wonderful place.

The intelligence of the modern republican

We humble Loyalists and Unionists cannot hope to compare to the Irish republican intelligentsia. These celtic supermen simply stride amongst us mere mortals, seldom even glancing down from their lofty heights!

Pádraig Ó Murchú, Chairman of the Brains Trust

These reasonable, sophisticated and courageous individuals deserve to be heard and to be applauded. In years to come, perhaps 1,000 years from now, historians will look back in awe. The wisdom of the Irish republican will be held up as an example to all mankind.

Such tolerance

How can Loyalists even compete with such intellectual giants? Clearly we need to up our game, but even if we do, we will, unfortunately, still be lightyears behind the geniuses of republicanism.

“colussion is not an delusional” Pure poetry

Alas dear friends we seem to be destined to live forever in the shadow of the intellectual heavyweights of Irish republicanism. Let us simply bask in their glory.

colussion”?

We’ll try to bring you a few more of these gems next week but unfortunately they are extremely rare (lol no, they’re so common we could have one of these blog posts every day of the week)

Ordinary Voices: Interview 5

Respondent is Enda, who describes himself as-

27, recently married, council employee, Liverpool FC fanatic and hater of DIY. South Tyrone man living in Belfast”

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As with all the interviews in the Ordinary Voices project, this interview was conducted via email.

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Q1. How would you describe yourself politically?

I’m not actually sure anymore tbh. I’m definitely a Nationalist and a couple of years ago I would have called myself a Republican but now I’m not entirely sure.

I suppose I am still a Republican at heart although I have lost a lot of faith in Sinn Féin in the last couple of years.

To give you the short answer- I’m a Nationalist without a party to support.

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Q2. Do you think there is an inherent bias with regard to Legacy Issues?

No, I honestly don’t think there is. The British forces (and I include the RUC/UDR in that) did a lot of heinous things during the “Troubles“. Those who killed innocent people have to be brought to justice.

An awful lot of Republicans and a fair number of Loyalists did face justice and served long prison terms, it is only right that state forces face the same. The IRA and Loyalist groups did not keep records of their actions, the army and police did though and people deserve the truth.

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Q3. Do you think that legacy issues are being handled well?

Yes, actually I think the UK government is doing ok in that regard. Something like a Truth Commission will never work in the North. Some people would be truthful, some wouldn’t and then you have those who simply wouldn’t be reliable in their testimony.

A relative of my wife’s is a former Republican prisoner. The man is 60 years old and in poor health because of years of heavy drinking. Tbh I don’t think he’d be able to remember accurately things he was involved in 30 or 40 years ago and I’m sure there are many others like him.

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Q4. Do you think that Legacy Issues are damaging the Peace Process?

No. I think the peace process is more or less fireproof now. There’s no going back to the “Troubles” now. Too much time has passed, too many people have moved on. There is a huge centre ground now and many of those people don’t really care about the issues of the past.

Of course there is still a lot of hurt on both sides, on the Nationalist side especially I think, but I can’t ever see things going back to the way they were years ago. There’s just no appetite for it from anybody.

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Q5. Do you think that the Loyalist community has been unfairly stereotyped in a negative way?

No. I don’t think that at all. Loyalists bring any negative publicity on themselves. They are their own worst enemy a lot of the time. Take bonfires for example. Why the constant need to insult and intimidate others with these massive bonfires? Why put Holy Statues and flags and other things onto these fires?

Loyalist “culture” is a joke tbh. Nothing but constant marching and burning things. It actually angers me. Loyalists could celebrate Irish culture in their own way but they refuse to even admit that they are Irish, so instead they go out of their way to antagonise others. The DUP pander to Loyalists which is why so many people hate them as a party. The DUP will never get votes from the centre ground because they won’t walk away from the bonfire builders and the “kick the Pope” bands.

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Q6. Do you believe that reconciliation is possible between the two communities?

No. We will continue to live parallel lives I think. The centre ground will keep growing, Nationalism will pretty much remain as is and Unionism will continue to be pushed to the margins. We will probably end up in a situation where the people in the centre interact with Nationalists and vice versa but Unionists and Loyalists will be left on the sidelines.

I don’t think that Loyalists are capable of reconciliation, or want it. There are some people on the other side who are the same, they just can’t move on. So I suppose the north will just stagger on as it is.

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Q7. Do you believe that a ‘united Ireland’ is imminent?

No, unfortunately. I stopped supporting Sinn Féin partly because they have absolutely no clue how they can achieve reunification. Sadly there are lots of Nationalists who are too comfortable and complacent. They will keep on as they are.

Everyone says that Brexit will lead to reunification but I don’t see it. It’s not going to make any difference to hard-line Unionists, they will still be against a UI even if they are broke and the country is ruined and despite what a lot of Republicans will tell you, a United Ireland is impossible without winning over a lot of Unionists.

It’s too late imo, the North is becoming more multicultural and progressive. Where I live now is very diverse. There is a large Muslim community here now. Will people who have come to live here in the last few years vote to leave the UK? Probably not.

Then there’s the centre ground, the people who vote for the Green Party and Alliance and even some SDLP or PBP voters, they might be Nationalists, even just culturally, but people like that will vote with their heads not with their hearts. If there was a border poll tomorrow people like that will vote to keep the NHS and their Civil Service jobs.

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Q8. What are your hopes and aspirations for Northern Ireland in the medium to long term?

Aside from a United Ireland, I’d like to see the North becoming a more modern and progressive place. I want an ILA and the laws on abortion and Equal Marriage changed and brought into line with the rest of the world.

I’d like to see the DUP disappear from the political landscape and I’d like to see Sinn Féin come up with some coherent policies, especially with regards to the economy. Most of all I want there to be peace- complete peace and normality. No more murders like that of Lyra McKee. No more pipe bomb attacks. No more punishment beatings or kneecappings or security alerts or riots. Just peace for everyone.

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Our thanks to Enda for participating in the Ordinary Voices project.

The Dead Weight of History & the Hypocrisy of Sinn Fein

How do the ‘New IRA’ justify their actions?

In the wake of the senseless murder of Lyra McKee some reevaluation of entrenched positions is necessary, and urgent. We must ask ourselves how we have arrived at the situation, where 21 years after the signing of the Belfast Agreement, young women are being murdered on the streets of our second city by Irish republican extremists.

From where do these gangs draw support? From where do they take their inspiration? Unfortunately those are extremely easy questions to answer.

The ‘New IRA’, like the Real IRA, Continuity IRA, Provisional IRA and the Official IRA before them, see themselves as the legitimate heirs of the insurrectionists of Easter, 1916.

The ‘New IRA’ on parade in Dublin. This could however be any republican grouping from the last 50 years.

Furthermore, groups like the so-called New IRA, also look to the actions of their predecessors for moral justification. The statement released by them today, apologising for the death of Ms McKee but attempting to deflect blame away from themselves, is almost a carbon copy of many such statements released over the years by the Provisional IRA, INLA, IPLO etc etc.

A significant number of the older ‘volunteers’ of the New IRA will have grown up hearing such statements. ALL of the members of that group, and it’s political wing Soaradh, will have grown up hearing dead PIRA/Sinn Fein, OIRA, IPLO and INLA/IRSP members being eulogised and lionised.

Hero Worship

Dead republican activists are held up as exemplary people. Made into larger than life figures, heroes to be worshipped and emulated by the younger generation. Such veneration of the republican dead continues to this day, indeed, it has become even more bombastic, unrealistic and quasi religious.

Bobby Sands, former burglar, now portrayed by republicans as a modern day Saint.

This Easter, Provisional Sinn Fein have been busily engaged in myth making. Remembering the so-called “patriot dead“, not as having been living, breathing, fallible human beings, but as symbols of their cause. Comic book versions of real people.

House breakers, gunmen, alcoholic thugs and child murderers are lauded as being almost saintly.

Lofty quotes are attributed to men who, in life, struggled with basic literacy. Morbid graveside orations take on the character of something akin to a church service, mixed with an NSDAP party rally.

Loyalism does not indulge in such outlandish commemoration. Partly because militant Loyalism remembers its fallen on Remembrance Sunday, a day on which any outlandish or overtly militaristic displays would be roundly condemned (rightly so), by the wider Unionist community and by society at large.

Partly because Loyalism does not have at its core a foundational myth like that of Irish republicanism, which has turned the events of Easter week, 1916, into an almost miraculous sequence of events, culminating in the “blood sacrifice” of the Easter rebels.

A Loyalist commemoration in Belfast.

Our critics will, without doubt, highlight our previous articles in remembrance of fallen Loyalist volunteers and accuse ISOT of hypocrisy. Any meaningful reading of those articles will, however, reveal that my co-author was not attempting to present the dead as paragons of virtue, nor as cartoonish, uber-heroic archetypes, but was attempting merely to humanise those who, in the opinion of both myself and my co-author, paid the supreme sacrifice in defence of their community and their country.

A re-reading of those articles will reveal no ‘call-to-arms‘ from beyond the grave. No quotes attributed posthumously in order to inspire the impressionable youth.

Rank Hypocrisy

There is, however, incredible hypocrisy in the words of PSF, who apparently see no contradiction in, on the one hand, condemning the violent actions of the New IRA, whilst on the other hand eulogising the dead of the Provisional IRA and presenting their actions, not only as justifiable, but as having been necessary in the context of the times.

“Our IRA = good, New IRA = bad” the hypocritical message of PIRA/Sinn Fein

Thus Sinn Fein glamourise and romanticise violence. Young, and not-so-young, men within the nationalist/republican community are left with the impression that in order to earn high status within their community, and to earn fame within Irish republican circles, they must engage in violence (of one sort or another).

It is not only hypocritical and disingenuous, it is also dangerous. Young Irish republicans in places like the Creggan will see Sinn Fein’s condemnation of the actions of the New IRA as being either- A) hollow words issued in order to assuage popular opinion, or B) the words of traitors who have abandoned the ‘true faith’, either for economic gain, or for the sake of their own personal safety. Weasel words spoken out of one side of their mouths, whilst PSF continually to harken back to the ‘righteous‘ violence of the Provo’s armed campaign out of the other side of their mouths.

A recent social media post by PSF in North Down. What message does this send to so-called ‘dissident’ republican gangs?

Who is to blame?

No political party or organisation can “ride two horses”. Either Provisional Sinn Fein take responsibility for the radicalisation of thousands of impressionable people within their community, and consequently tone down their martyr worship and constant justification of past violence, or they must face the fact that they will be guilty of giving further aid and succour to the so-called ‘dissident’ terror gangs.

Provisional Sinn Fein: rewriting history to suit their own agenda

Nor can the Provisional republican movement continue to openly and continually justify 30 years of sectarian violence, murder and mayhem, whilst at the same time condemning contemporary republican violence.

Every community has an inalienable right to remember their dead, a right which I would defend absolutely, however, however, for the sake of future generations, such remembrance must be solemn and dignified, absent any triumphalism and without the lionising of the dead which has done so much to indoctrinate successive generations. We must remind the youth that ALL such deaths were tragic.

Only by doing so can we move forward without glamourising violence. There is no “blood sacrifice”, no ‘martyrdom‘, there is only the personal tragedy of violent and premature deaths.

Sinn Fein have turned the republican hunger strikers into heroic archetypes

Let every community remember it’s dead, but in a way that does not jeopardise the future.

Conclusion

The dead do not speak to us from beyond the grave, as Provisional Sinn Fein would have us believe. They do not spur us on towards our perceived goals. This is the lesson that Irish republicanism MUST learn.

To dehumanise the dead by turning them into caricatures, semi-religious figures, absent of any human frailty, is to do them a grave disservice and to insult their memory in the eyes of those who knew them as living, breathing human beings with human failings and foibles.

It is also, as previously stated, a dangerous path. One which leads younger people into believing in violence for violence’s sake. Graveside orations and calls to action from beyond the grave are destructive, inciting and deeply damaging. They do nothing but add fuel to the fires, a fire already well stoked by the so-called ‘dissidents’.

Spot the difference- New IRA or Provisional IRA?

We must ALL learn that acts of remembrance are not calls to arms, nor appeals for fresh tragedy. Irish republicans need to learn this most of all. For if that lesson is not learned, our society will face more tragedy, and more senseless murder.

Is Reconciliation Impossible?

Anybody who has been keeping up with the news in Northern Ireland over the last few weeks would probably be inclined to say yes. With the Sinn Fein leader walking behind a xenophobic and anti-British banner in New York, people in a bar singing about their hatred of Roman Catholics, people in another bar chanting “up the Ra”, sectarian attacks against the Protestant community in Claudy, Co. Londonderry, and the disgraceful vandalism of a Protestant Church in Newry, Co. Down.

Reconciliation looks like it is far away as it ever was, especially if one looks at the attitude of certain people on social media; Irish republicans especially. For whilst Sinn Fein, the SDLP and other nationalist/republican groups like to present themselves as rational, reasonable, non-sectarian and intelligent, there are many Irish nationalists and republicans who do not attempt to hide their hatred and contempt for Loyalism, Unionism, the United Kingdom and anything that they perceive as being ‘other’.

The purpose of this blog post is to shine a spotlight onto the attitudes and opinions of some of those people. People who will never accept anything which is not Irish, Catholic and ‘gaelic’. People who use social media in the same way a pitbull uses it’s teeth and jaws. People who revel in the sectarian slaughter visited on the people of Ulster by republican murder gangs.

Unfortunately, we have hundreds of examples of the bitterness and hatred of such people. We ask you to read their vile comments and their idiotic rants and to ask yourself- is reconciliation really possible?

Of course there are bigots on both sides of the divide. Of course the people featured in this article do not represent all Irish republicans. However, they do represent a large section of that constituency. In all honesty, we rarely see naked sectarianism from Loyalists and Unionists online. We rarely encounter the kind of 19th century style racism that is so often demonstrated by Irish supremacists.

Perhaps we do not see it because we are not looking for it, or perhaps we do not see it because it is much less prevalent than the kind of hatred and vitriol one encounters from republicans on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.

Please take the time to look at all of these images; imagine the sort of venom and bitterness that a person must feel within themselves to actually articulate this type of intolerance, xenophobia and hate. Then ask yourself if there is any hope for real, sincere, reconciliation and the resolution of legacy issues in Northern Ireland.

Can unreconstructed Irish republican bigots like these ever become valuable (and valued) members of a secular, democratic and pluralist society?

There is no place in the ‘new’ Northern Ireland for their toxic, narrow nationalism. There is no place in the 21st century for this sort of bigotry, sectarianism, racism and dehumanisation. If such people cannot, or will not, let go of their own toxic prejudice, then they must be left behind to wallow in their hatred in their own little vile, miserable echo-chamber.

It is interesting to note the exceedingly low level of education many of these people seem to have attained.

Interesting to see Irish supremacists use a term such as “mudderland” (sic), a term which neo-Nazis/white supremacists use to refer to the continent of Africa.

Another example of this kind of racist language being used by republicans is the use of the term “slurry skinned” which Ladfleg (South Belfast SF) use continually to refer to Belfast City councillor Ruth Patterson.


Another Irish republican/neo-Nazi ‘crossover’. A modified meme, depicting Celtic FC manager with a rifle and wearing military style uniform, which was originally a neo-Nazi/antisemitic meme widely used by the so-called ‘altright’.

Homophobic insults and breathtaking ignorance all in one tweet. Scarcely believable that such crass stupidity still exists in the 21st century.

Unfortunately this kind of abuse is all too common. Victims of Irish republican terrorism seem to attract more of this sort of poisonous bigotry than others. Perhaps republicans feel threatened by those who speak out on behalf of their murdered family members?

Usually republicans attempt to mask their ethno-religious bigotry by using derogatory terms like “immigrant”, “hun” or “planter” but sometimes their rage and bitterness gets the better of them and they revert to the type of language online that they generally only use at home, in pubs etc

This is the kind of dehumanising rhetoric used by Irish supremacist bigots. They dismiss the Protestant community as “stupid”, “uneducated” and even use the term “underprivileged” as an insult, ignoring the fact that they are unwittingly admitting that the ‘PUL’ community suffers social exclusion, deprivation and discrimination.

For some reason many republicans on social media deny being republicans. Despite the fact that their political opinion is obvious (Easter lily avatar etc)

(For the record, we have never murdered or raped anyone)


The irony of someone with a Liver bird, emblem of the city of Liverpool and of Liverpool FC, tweeting this kind of anti-British racism is apparently lost on Irish republicans.

More homophobic ranting, this time from a republican ‘parody’ account. There are at least a dozen of such accounts. None of which engage in any kind of satire or even any attempt at humour, instead using obscenity and school yard insults to attack Loyalist and Unionist elected representatives, victims of terrorism etc. The most notorious of these ‘parody’ accounts being Ladfleg, which is now (more or less) completely controlled by Sinn Fein.

Often, tweets by Irish republican extremists are almost unintelligible.

The use of the word “evil” and the comparing of Unionism to a “disease” or even to “cancer” is particularly curious. This would suggest a quasi religious aspect to the bigotry of such people.

The twitter user above is a favourite of Ladfleg and seems to comment on almost all of their tweets. It has been suggested that the account actually belongs to one of the people behind the Ladfleg account, who uses the @Cobblerz37 account to vent his spleen and say what he really thinks about Protestants.


More homophobic remarks and glorification of the “RA” (presumably the Provisional IRA?)


Outright genocidal rhetoric from someone who wished to see the Loyalist/Unionist community “exterminated”. Stalin, Mao, Hitler and Pol Pot would be proud!

This is a new low, even for @corkyhere, a well known republican oaf who uses someone else’s picture for his avatar.

Shinnerbots are usually blatantly obvious. No avatar, an obviously fake/bot generated username, fewer than a dozen followers etc etc

The disgusting fascism of Irish republicans. The last Queen of Éire here telling another twitter user what their future will be and engaging in inflammatory racist language that would make Andrew Anglin blush!

@Irish_Ulster is a compulsive liar who, it has been suggested to us by a reliable source, has serious mental health issues. She is neither Irish nor male but is in fact a woman from the North-Eastern United States.

More dehumanising rhetoric from the usual suspects.

More homophobic insults, this time suggesting that Jamie Bryson has HIV/AIDS.

Ladfleg like to propagate the old PIRA/Sinn Fein myth that the UDR was merely a Loyalist paramilitary group in uniform. Ignoring the sacrifice of many Catholic UDR men murdered by Irish republican terrorists.

A rare admission that many Irish republicans support republican gangs involvement in the illegal drugs trade.

Comparing Loyalists and Unionists to rats is another staple of Irish supremacists.

evil”

Note that Ladfleg have never censured @cobblerz37, taken him to task for his overtly sectarian (and frankly deranged) replies to their tweets or even suggested he show some constraint.

I have no idea what the above even means.

The irony of that tweet (sent from Walthamstow, London)

Elaine believes the recent sectarian graffiti that was daubed across Claudy was done by fairies.

So, is reconciliation possible? From where I sit I’m sorry to say I don’t know anymore!