Category Archives: Blog News

The Shinners, Fianna Fail and the state of southern Irish politics – a conversation

The other day I was talking to one of my long-time best mates in Ireland about stuff and thought chunks of the conversation – it was on messenger – would make interesting material for this blog.  My mate is a longtime (southern) republican and OKed the following.  We’ll call him ‘Eamon’.

The conversation actually began with other subjects, like the problem of (religious) sectarianism among some Shinners.  Then it moved onto a mixture of discussion about Sinn Fein and southern politics, interspersed with various personal recollections and comments, which aren’t appropriate here.

Eamon: A Shinner asked me today to delete my latest post on my facebook page!

Me: Typical.  Hey what did McElduff say?  I think FF and DUP love stuff like this, as it enables them to take the moral high ground, covering over their own sins.

SF has basically chosen in the north to be a catholic/nationalist party instead of a republican, let alone socialist-republican, party.  So McElduff is just doing what a bunch of Shinners (and some of their support base) is thinking.  The leadership will be fucked off because he is doing in public what they are thinking.

E: True. Hey, it looks like Mary Lou will get to be leader unopposed.

They knew what they were doing when Michelle O Neill was appointed leader in the North…..With McDonald being the president of Sinn Fein there would be no opposition from Belfast about the president been from Dublin with O Neill in the North…..Very clever move….

Me: Adams is nothing if not crafty.  A worthy heir to De Valera in that (horrible manipulative) sense.  O’Neill and McDonald are also lightweights, so Adams will be able to string pull after he retires.  SF have been reshaped entirely as an Adamsite party.  His creation.  Quite sickening really.

E: SF folk seem to think with Adams and Martin gone that they will fly it now in the South……That the IRA monkey is off their back……But they are wrong…..After all Adams topped the poll in Louth and brought in another SFer on his surplus.

The Irish electorate have long forgotten about Sinn Fein’s past……  Still, I would bet anybody a thousand euro that SF will not get more than 15% next election down south.

And 15% will not get them into government, even in a coalition.

The careerists in SF will not stay there forever in opposition….. I predict some will walk after the next election…

Me: Adams was contradictory in terms of popularity.  He was the Shinners’ biggest asset (gunman turned statesman, although he apparently never did fire a shot), but he was also their biggest liability.  Fine in Louth – and he would have been very popular in Monaghan and Donegal if he had’ve stood there – but of less use electorally in Dublin or Cork.

I think there is a reasonably big space for SF’s politics – the gap left by Labour and FF since they are discredited by imposing austerity.  But the closer the Shinners get to a whiff of “power”, ie Leinster House government, the more Read the rest of this entry

Blog news, Nov 2017

The most-viewed piece on this blog is Women’s Rights and the National Struggle, 1916-1922.  This has now had over 10,000 views.

Hope folks have found it useful!

Again, I’ve been rather lax with the blog, due to other commitments – and, I must admit, a certain amount of inertia. . .

My priorites right now are getting up more of Fintan Lalor’s articles from the 1840s and also starting to get up articles by Sean McLoughlin, appointed Cmdt-General by Connolly towards the end of Easter Week.  Sean McL later played an important role in both the original and sadly shortlived Communist Party of Ireland (founded by Roddy Connolly) and in James Connolly’s Socialist Labour Party in Scotland.

He is the subject of a fine biography by Charlie McGuire.  Charlie deserves much respect for rescuing Sean McLoughlin from obscurity.  Every socialist-republican should buy Charlie’s book.

I am also keen to get other people involved in the blog: book and film reviews, historical pieces, and also contemporary economic analysis are particular areas of interest.  At present it’s essentially me, with some articles by my friend Mick Healy.  But Mick has The Irish Republican & Marxist History Project to keep him busy as his primary on-line focus.

I also want to advertise other blogs more consistently, such as the Irish Republican & Marxist History Project and John Bull’s Workhouse (about the six-county state and economy), which Belfast socialist-republican Liam O Ruairc (an occasional contributor to this blog) and veteran Cork socialist-republican Jim Lane are involved in.

Plus I will link more to material on sites such as Eirigi and Saoradh, as well as continuing to re-blog and link to stuff by Socialist Democracy.


Top Ten Articles

Below are the ten most-viewed pieces on the blog (excluding Home Page/Archives):

Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922 More stats 9,820
The burning of the British embassy – 40 years on More stats 6,881
Politics and the rise of historical revisionism More stats 5,509
Nationalisms and anti-nationalisms in Irish historiography More stats 4,202
Saor Eire – Marxist and republican More stats 3,329
The global-historical significance of the 1916 Rising More stats 2,981
The New IRA and socialist-republicanism in the twenty-first century More stats 2,851
The working class and the national struggle, 1916-1921 More stats 2,781
A history of the Provisional Republican Movement – part one of three More stats 2,594
The Easter Rising and the ‘blood sacrifice’ More stats 2,512


What’s happening with blog?

I haven’t been doing much on the blog for some weeks. . .

This is partly because of work on Redline blog and partly the interruptions of life in general.  I was away for ten days and tied up with other stuff and then I had a lot of other things to catch up with when I got back home.

I’m currently transcribing some more more Fintan Lalor stuff to go on the blog and then I just have to do some proofing and correcting on Constance Markievicz’s 1923 pamphlet What Irish Republicans Stand For and I’ll get that up.  It would have gone up long ago except I have a print out that I made of it back in the late 1980s and when me and a friend were typing it up I noticed that several lines were missing at the bottom of a number of pages.  I have had to wait several years to be able to get hold of those lines, but I’ve been able to find and fix them.

Then I have a substantial little body of books I need to review.  It is now several years since most of these books were actually published!!!  However, the stuff I tend to read is material that doesn’t date, so the reviews would still be highly relevant.

I’m still very keen to get other people writing for this site.

Also, Redline would love to run a piece on the anti-water charges campaign and its recent sweeping victory.  But everyone I ask is so busy with actual campaigning, no-one has time.  If anyone who reads this blog fancies taking it on, that would be great.


Redline is a totally independent site, it’s not aligned with any political organisation or tendency.  So there should be no complications in anyone writing for it.




Between the death of my father a couple of weeks ago and a massive load of work-work, the blog has again taken a back seat.

As of the end of next week, however, I will be unemployed.  I have work to do on my house, with an overgrown back yard of fruit, herbs and veges being strangled by weed and I have some stuff to do inside too.  Apart from that, however, I hope to make a bit more progress on getting things up on the blog.


The blog’s top five

Below are the top five articles on the blog and the number of views they have had:

Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922 5,646
The burning of the British embassy – 40 years on 4,683
Politics and the rise of historical revisionism 3,950
Saor Eire – Marxist and republican 2,770
Nationalisms and anti-nationalisms in Irish historiography 2,513

Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Daoibh

Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Daoibh.

I am still in the process of considering the future of this blog, but will be taking a little bit longer to make up my mind about things.

In the meantime, I want to get a few book reviews up and also to finish a piece on Fintan Lalor.

And I’m still looking for people to contribute pieces on Ireland from a Marxist-republican perspective.



Blog top 20

Below are the 20 most viewed pieces on the blog, excluding the home page/archives and ‘about’.  The top 12 have all had over 1,000 views: the most-viewed (ie Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922) has now had almost 5,000 views, while the Pearse biography has just gone over 1,000 views.

Women’s rights and the national struggle, 1916-1922
The burning of the British embassy – 40 years on
Politics and the rise of historical revisionism
Saor Eire – Marxist and republican
Nationalisms and anti-nationalisms in Irish historiography
A history of the Provisional Republican Movement – part one of three
The New IRA and socialist-republicanism in the twenty-first century
The Easter Rising and the ‘blood sacrifice’
Republicanism and the national independence struggle, 1916-21
Chapter 4: The Home Rule Crisis
The working class and the national struggle, 1916-1921
In review: Joost Augusteijn on Patrick Pearse
The Rossville Street (Derry) Bloody Sunday murals
Interview with veteran socialist-republican Gerry Ruddy
A history of the Provos – part three
The Re-Imaging Programme in the six counties
Remembering Máirín Keegan, 1932-1972
A History of the Provos – part two of three
Remembering Peter Graham, 1945-1971
Interview with Jim Lane: veteran socialist-republican

Challenging the construction of republican ‘dissidents’

In the past few days I’ve been in contact with a number of republicans around Ireland and further afield, as part of my attempt to expand this blog’s readership and also to find more people to write for it.

One result is that I came in contact with someone who recently (2013) completed a master’s thesis on how republicans who continue to hold core republican views have been presented by the Provisionals’ leadership (and others – academics, media) as “dissident republicans”.  Larry has kindly agreed that I can use his MA thesis for the blog.

So, over the next couple of weeks, I hope to go through it and start getting it up on the blog.

I am trying to put aside time to work on a feature piece on Fintan Lalor and the Irish Revolution, as well as a bunch of reviews which I have been meaning to write over the past couple of years and haven’t, as other aspects of life have intervened continuously, as they are wont to do. . .

Once again, I am very keen to get other people involved in writing stuff for the blog.

Blog future

Just a short note on the future of the blog.

In the past, up til about a year ago, I tried to get heaps of stuff up on the site and cover lots of small things that were happening in Ireland.  However, it’s proved to not be possible to keep doing this and attempting to do so has become exhausting and also gotten in the way of having time (and energy) to get up more substantial stuff.

So, from now on, I won’t be making any attempt to cover various events as they happen within Ireland.  Instead I’ll put in links to stories on particular struggles maybe once a week – or once a fortnight if not much is happening at any time – from socialist-republican sites.  They have members on the ground involved in these struggles and do much more ongoing articles on them than I ever could.

Instead I’m going to concentrate on:

  • Historical material

  • Occasional in-depth work on particular contemporary issues of Irish politics and political economy

  • Book reviews

At the end of this year, I’ll also review whether it’s worth continuing the blog.

In the meantime, I’m really keen to run book and film reviews that anyone might fancy contributing, anything on the Irish economy/ies, the new political dispensation in the six counties, historical material, etc etc.