Sunday Independent

Tony O’Reilly, Entrepreneur Or Ideologue?

Tony O’Reilly (or Sir Anthony to his employees), the “moderate Unionist”

For the last three decades the national press in Ireland has been dominated by the publications of the Independent News & Media group (INM), a corporation formerly ruled by the controversial businessman Tony O’Reilly (or “Sir Anthony O’Reilly” as his newspapers were allegedly instructed to describe him following his “knighthood” by the British head of state in 2001 for “services to Northern Ireland”). Despite denials to the contrary critics regularly charged that the editorial pages of the Irish Independent and the Sunday Independent newspapers were little more than mouthpieces for the political, economic and social diktats of O’Reilly and his coterie of like-minded colleagues. He was to Ireland what Rupert Murdoch was to Britain, Australia or the United States, and with much the same cultural attributes (albeit on a suitably Lilliputian scale, despite his grandiose pretensions). The main effect of O’Reilly’s influence was the head-hunting and promotion of journalists and staff members within his media empire who agreed with or soon adopted his non-too-subtle pro-British, anti-Republican line in relation to the conflict in the north-east of Ireland and Irish history in general.

Through his newspapers, for two decades and more, articles and editorials were published attacking the central role of Irish Republicanism in the founding of our freedom and democracy, the historic opposition to British colonial rule on our island nation, the 1916-21 Revolution, indeed the very establishment of the nation-state of Ireland itself. Britain’s centuries-long invasion, occupation and annexation of this country and the accompanying ethnocide of the Irish people was rewritten as a history of a civilizing force liberating primitive tribes from their own innate savagery. The indigenous Irish language and culture was excoriated while the English supplanters were held up as symbols of modernity and progress. A faux Anglo-American vision of Irishness was promoted, a hollow façade free of any roots deeper than the 18th century and the era of the Anglo-Irish Ascendency, occasionally overlaid with the worse aspects of contemporary Plastic Oirishness.

Inevitably given the small and incestuous nature of the journalistic community in Ireland by the late-1980s news reporting as whole, from print to electronic, was now under the control of an establishment whose members were ideological clones of each other. When critics of the Irish media lamented its closed-circle “group-think” this is exactly what they were referring to. Men and women who think the same, speak the same, write the same. Indeed who attend the same restaurants and pubs, are members of the same clubs and societies, live in the same suburbs and commuter towns, send their children to the same schools, and even marry and divorce each other (and with alarming regularity it may be said).

When the Sunday Independent published its extraordinary editorial in the aftermath of the European and local elections condemning the Irish electorate and other media groupings for failing to subject Sinn Féin “to sustained close scrutiny as we have done for the past 30 years” it was one of the more explicit political statements to have come from the group-think in recent years. It was a revelation of how the people at the IN&M grouping saw themselves: defenders of the “Free State” Nouveau Ascendency against the Corner Boys and Mountainside Men of old. In its contempt for the workings of democracy and the plurality of representation the editorial view was in many ways typical of the stable of newspapers who regularly tried to promote their own “in-house” political parties while calling upon unelected “entrepreneurs” to be elevated to cabinet positions in the government.

Now the great O’Reilly has fallen from his lofty perch, and his business empire in mortal crisis, his former media acolytes are in damage-limitation mode paying off past largesse with sickeningly effusive defences of his career and character. However such is their panic that the old rules of yesteryear have been forgotten, the instructions to deny the influence of the man behind the curtain put to one side, and the implicit is being made explicit. From the Irish Independent:

“The one clear, consistent policy was that there was to be no truck with republicanism. That was not popular either. Despite what one hear nowadays, there was widespread passive support for extreme republicanism for a long time, from the highest to the lowest echelons of Irish society.

As well as campaigning against the IRA, O’Reilly was instrumental in cutting off much of their American money by setting up the Ireland Fund to provide an alternative for Irish Americans to contribute their dollars.

His style is patrician, his politics are moderate unionist, he is comfortable with both Irish and British nationality. The knighthood said a lot about him…”

Indeed it does, as does the acceptance and praise of his “Unionist” politics from within the journalistic establishment. For what is a Unionist?

“In the United Kingdom, British unionists are those people and political organisations who wish their constituent country to remain or in historical usage to become part of the United Kingdom.

In Ireland, unionism is an ideology which favours the continuation of some form of political union between Ireland and Great Britain.”

Now do you understand the last thirty years of Irish journalism?

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Does He Mean Us? Yes, He Does

Do they mean us? I think they do!

Do they mean us? I think they do!

At the start of December last year I wrote a brief post marking the achievement of 400,000 views of An Sionnach Fionn in the two plus years of its existence. I also mentioned one other aspect of this website’s success, the apparent ire of newspaper columnist and former RTÉ producer Eoghan Harris at the online growth of progressive Republican politics and opinions in Ireland as represented by ASF and others. He wrote:

“… it seems clear to me that one of the main causes is the manipulation of the internet by the agents of atavistic nationalism.

Increasingly, internet political sites are infiltrated by a band of anonymous fanatical nationalists.

But it won’t be long ironed out if IRA apologists are able to have a free run on the internet…”

And this:

“…there is no sign that the State, the national broadcasters or civic leaders have enough interest acting in loco parentis on the moral side, particularly when it comes to protecting young Irish people from the propaganda of the Recurring IRA which is peddled on the internet.

Right now most Irish adolescents receive their historical education from the internet. By and large, it is dominated by a toxic nationalist lobby…”

At the time I was informed by a “friendly voice” that An Sionnach Fionn has become something of an irritant for some editorial rooms in the Dublin media establishment. Now we have this article in today’s Sunday Independent newspaper by Harris restating (as he does almost weekly) the claims of the discredited Anglo-Canadian historian Peter Hart which contain’s the following:

“Hart was the first historian to fully probe the sectarian dimension of the IRA’s campaign in Cork. This makes him a bogeyman for ultra nationalists. On one website they denounce his work as “central to the ideology of a hardline rump of Neo-Unionist and Pro-British apologist writers and journalists in Ireland”. As I am sure that includes me…”

Which of course is a direct quote from my post here on the controversies surrounding the 2013 publication of the collection of historical essays by David Fitzpatrick. However it’s good to know that I can count Eoghan Harris and co. amongst my loyal following.

Voting Fianna Fáil – Like A Dog Returning To Its Vomit

Fianna Fáil, back from the dead ( (Photo: Séamas Ó Sionnaigh, Binn Éadair, Cúige Laighean, Éire, Meitheamh 2012)

Fianna Fáil, back from the dead ( (Photo: Séamas Ó Sionnaigh, Binn Éadair, Cúige Laighean, Éire, Meitheamh 2012)

Another weekend, another poll, this time a telephone survey of 1000 voters by Millward Brown on behalf of the Sunday Independent newspaper. I’m always wary of examining polls in newspapers that fail to provide a link to the hard data of the survey and this one is no different. We are relying on the journalists and editors to provide us with the substance of the poll free of any predefined spin. In the case of the “Sindo”, an agenda-driven right-wing newspaper which has traditionally curried favour with the two big political power blocks of Fine Gael and Fianna Fáil, that is something of a challenge.

However, for what its worth, here are the results of the telephone questionnaire:

“Fianna Fáil 27%

Fine Gael 25%

Sinn Féin 20%

Labour 13%

ULA 1%

Greens 1%

Others 14%”

The most obvious thing to note is the slow drift back to Fianna Fáil, which has now been played out across a number of different opinion polls and can no longer be simply dismissed as “snap-shots” of voter dissatisfaction or statistical blips (or as Jason Walsh so memorably puts it: “As a dog returneth to his vomit, so an Irish voter returneth to his Fianna folly“). Though we continue to have a very volatile electorate with high levels of “don’t knows” or “undecideds” it is clear that FF has managed to stabilise its core vote (albeit at a historical low level) and is successfully building upon that.

On the other hand Fine Gael is rapidly shrinking back to its electoral inner heartlands. There is no good news in the survey for the party and quite a few TDs elected on narrow margins must be beginning to worry about their future prospects. Eventually such worries will be made known and sooner rather than later.

For Sinn Féin it is a case of no news is good news. While the party seems to be having trouble making or sustaining a 20%+ breakthrough in the polls it can be fairly confident that any drop in voter satisfaction is not going to be too significant for its percentages. For a political party that in the electoral lifetime of many its sitting TDs was normally in fifth or sixth place in the opinion polls to find itself a regular number three must be satisfying indeed. However the party’s position, though laudable, is still lower than it should be. The SF ceiling is arguably in and around 25%. While it is very hard to see how it could progress beyond that in the near to medium term it certainly should be questioning why it is failing to approach anywhere near that figure.

The core membership of the Labour Party (or those left after the WP/DL putsch) must be ruing the day they followed their executive-hungry leader into power. In effect all that Labour managed to achieve was to clear out an electoral space for Sinn Féin to grow (and for a while the ULA with it). It is debatable whether the party will get back that traditional or Labour-tending floating vote not to mention the many first-time voters who bypassed the Labour Party altogether and went straight to SF (both now and in the future).

The ULA will be similarly depressed with these results, as must be most activists on the non-Sinn Féin or non-Labour Left across Ireland. This is their time, if any time is, and they have simply failed to exploit it both in political and electoral terms. The ULA debacle, and all the animosity and bad blood surrounding it, will make for a hard sell with voters come the next general election. Increasingly parties of the further-left seem likely to be character-driven, one or two politicians popular with local constituents around whom a political party operates. It is all-but certain that the Socialist Party or the People Before Profit/Socialist Workers Party will never become major national parties in Ireland. They will remain local, parochial even, but with unfulfilled higher aspirations.

As for the Greens… I can’t even bear to bring myself to comment.

The Sunday Independent Has An Article On Irish History – Which Favours The Irish!

Something truly strange must have happened in the offices of the Sunday Anglo Independent over the last few days. Why? Because someone has managed to smuggle an article into the newspaper examining a facet of Irish Republican history that isn’t the usual concoction of lies, propaganda and counter-factual fantasies. Unprecedented!

“Armed only with a pot of pink chrysanthemums and a walkie-talkie, a Limerick convict sprang the UK’s most-wanted KGB spy in a daring prison escape that would go down in British penal history.

The tale of how Seán Bourke helped double agent George Blake outwit his jailers is just one in a new series of stories of Irishmen who made breaks for freedom.

There was Francie McGuigan — hooded, beaten, subjected to sleep deprivation and thrown out of a helicopter — who later coolly escaped through the main gates of Long Kesh dressed as a priest.

Then, there was Charlie ‘Nomad’ McGuinness, who helped execute a high-wire escape across the walls of Derry jail before scattering cayenne pepper to throw the bloodhounds off the scent.

And there was George Gilmore, who waded to freedom through sewage, and 38 IRA prisoners in Long Kesh who used soup ladles to tunnel, Colditz-style, more than 40 metres to freedom.

“The Irish are great at two things — funerals and prison breaks. We have a long history of prison breaks, especially among Republican prisoners,” says Paddy Hayes, director of ‘Éalú’, a six-part series on notorious Irish prison escapes which begins on TG4 on Thursday.

“Some of them were reckless. Some of them had no fear for their own safety while others were opportunists. The guile these men used and the painstaking research they went into for some of these escapes was extraordinary,” Paddy says.”

If that wasn’t extraordinary enough take this:

“The ordeal suffered by IRA man Francie McGuigan makes for compelling viewing. In 1971, Francie, then just 23, was taken from his home during a British army swoop and imprisoned for seven days at Girdwood Barracks in Belfast.

There, says Paddy, he became one of the ‘Hooded Men’ — he was hooded, beaten and subjected to psychological torture including white noise, sleep deprivation and being thrown out of a helicopter.

Francie was sent to Long Kesh Internment Camp, where on being asked by the governor if he had any questions, he cheekily asked: What’s the best way out of here?”

The governor replied coldly that “the only way out is through the front gate”. Later, after his escape, Francie sent him a postcard thanking him for his advice.”

Finally, there were the 38 IRA prisoners who, in 1974, tunnelled over 40 metres to freedom outside the perimeter fence of Long Kesh.

It had been a meticulously planned escape — in the best Colditz tradition, the mouth of the tunnel was hidden under pieces of corrugated iron and the internees held sing-songs every night to conceal the sound of their digging.

The painstaking work was done over the course of three weeks using soup ladles and metal trays, and pieces of wood were used to shore up the roof of the tunnel.

On November 6, 1974, the prisoners made a break for it. One by one they crawled on their stomachs into the tunnel, through the underwater section, to freedom.”

The story comes with two different by-lines, the first giving the credit to Penny Cronin (who previously penned this historical piece) the second to Áilín Quinlan (a freelance journo with several newspapers), which is… odd.

But as the old saying goes, one swallow doesn’t make a summer. Just ask Baron Maginnis of Drumglass.

Now in its third series of acclaimed documentaries, Éalú airs on TG4 on Thursday at 10.30pm.

Below is the first part of the Éalú episode examining one of Ireland’s great revolutionary heroes, Tom Malone.

Horrible Histories With The Sunday Independent

The Irish Independent’s pet “historian”, John Paul McCarthy, has written a lengthy article on some of the behind-the-scenes events relating to the 1981 Hunger Strikes documented in the Irish and British government papers released at the start of the year. As always he has his own very personal interpretation of Irish history.

“The State Papers for 1981 deal with the gravest political crisis in this Republic since the Civil War.

They show that the Irish Government’s response to Bobby Sands’ hunger strike was simultaneously weak and deceptive.

Marian Finucane’s guests last week on her radio show, especially John Bowman and Peter Taylor, worked these contradictions fairly hard rather than deal with the moral elephant in the room.

Firstly, they presented the hard-nosed Thatcherite stance on prison conditions as a calamitous own-goal, the fateful British stumble that supposedly catapulted Provisional Sinn Fein into the electoral stratosphere. They also failed to consider the possibility that the H-Block confrontation simply gave firm form to a potent, and pre-existing sentiment within a section of the nationalist community in Northern Ireland, a sentiment that would probably have emerged into the electoral field through another channel if the hunger-strikes had never happened.”

Seriously? What single shred of evidence is there that Provisional Sinn Féin existed as an electoral force in the North of Ireland (or indeed Ireland as a whole) before the early 1980s? Up to that time the party was little more than the civilian wing of the Republican Movement, the provider of “incident centres” in times of truce, a support service for POWs and their families, an interlocutor and liaison between the Irish Republican Army and the Irish communities in the north-east, and a friendly face for the national and international media. But beyond that? The party barely functioned as a political party, in any conventional sense, at all. To argue that the Hunger Strikes played no part, or indeed the deciding part, in the politicisation of the Republican Movement and the “greening” of the Irish civilian population in the North of Ireland is too ridiculous for words.

“This sentiment was the one that sustained the Provisional IRA’s campaign of sectarian violence throughout the Seventies, that tawdry decade of no-warning bombings in working-class British pubs, scores of murders of part-time police officers in front of their children, the incineration of helpless civilians in hotels like LaMon and, on one especially barbaric occasion, the torture-murder of SAS captain, Robert Nairac, that culminated in the feeding of his body into a mincing machine.”

Is this a “sentiment” or a “mandate”? Or is McCarthy too afraid of the answer to go down that particular line of reasoning?

As for the British Army SAS “hero” Robert Nairac, his execution by the IRA occurred in terrible circumstances. There was no honour in it. On a purely human level one can only feel revulsion at the manner of his death. However that revulsion equals the manner of his living and of his “active service” in Ireland. John Paul McCarthy condemns the IRA for their violence yet is silent on the violence of Robert Nairac and his role as the leader of a British military and paramilitary death squad in Ireland. Or does the murder of Irish citizens not overly bother the good professor too much? British civilians, soldiers and policemen, yes. But Irish men, women and children?

“The Provisional IRA was a treasonous entity, and it could only win if the Constitution was voided. Sands’ starvation was not a passive sacrifice, but rather an aggressive policy on a direct collision course with our State.”

Treasonous? Against whom? The British-ruled apartheid-state they were born into and which treated them as a second class citizens with second class rights? If McCarthy means the Irish state, would that be the same state who’s Supreme Court ruled that certain military actions in pursuance of the reunification of Ireland under Articles 2 and 3 were “political in nature”? Is that colliding with the state or acting on its behalf?

“Must the democratic state simply yield to a treasonous conspiracy like Sands’ simply because it temporarily adopts the tactics of Gandhi and Emmeline Pankhurst?”

The hunger strike:  known as a tactic of Irish Republicanism since the mid-1800s and the establishment of the Irish Republican Brotherhood and the Fenian Brotherhood, and later adopted by many other democratic, revolutionary and nationalist movements and persons around the globe. This is what we call history, boys and girls.

“As Prof John A Murphy and former justice minister Patrick Cooney insisted at the time, the Republic remained in danger regardless of what the British did because Sands was exploiting our historic ambivalence about sectarian violence, unionism and the British connection.”

Ambivalence? As in rejecting the so-called “British connection”? Is this what you mean by ambivalence, John? The Irish people wishing to have a free and democratic nation of their own? Or perhaps you refer to your own “ambivalence” on the loss of the “British connection”?

However, perhaps, on principal, you are opposed to rewarding or giving in to all those who use violence for political ends?

“Nally was Secretary to the Irish Government from 1980-1993, and the principal architect of the Republic’s policy on Northern Ireland since Jack Lynch rescued him from obscurity in 1973.

Nally, writing in 1975, speculated on what would happen if Sands’ IRA actually achieved its goal of forcing a British scuttle from Northern Ireland — their stated aim in 1975 and again in 1981.

Nally predicted that an independent Ulster state would emerge after the British exit, but only after a communal catastrophe, mandarin-speak for a plain old Balkan-style sectarian slaughter.

So, as far back as 1975, Nally was warning Cosgrave that “the likely prelude to the establishment of a state comprising either the entire six counties or the part of it east of the Bann is so horrific for the entire island that I think we should, on no account, give any support or engage in any open analysis or discussion on the subject.” And in 1981 we now know that Nally seemed even more convinced that leniency in the H-Block confrontation could hasten that very nightmare.”

So, let me get this straight. We could not “give in” to the violence of the IRA – because we feared the violence of the British separatist minority on the island of Ireland even more? Well now, who say’s violence doesn’t pay? It’s paid the British national minority in Ireland very handsomely indeed, for the last 100 years and more.

“Nally’s hard words were written days after bricks, stones and bottles flew during a major riot outside the British Embassy in Dublin. Here, without anything like the body armour available today, a small force of gardai heroically contained a seething IRA mob intent on wrecking the embassy.”

Hmm, a “seething IRA mob”? All 2000 men and women who took part in the demonstration near the British Embassy that day were Volunteers of the Irish Republican Army? Remarkable.

John Paul McCarthy. Historian.

Sunday Independent. Newspaper.

Hear No Evil, See No Evil, Speak No Evil – The Irish News Media And The Sam Smyth Scandal

As many regular readers may know (you are there, aren’t you?) I frequently bang on about the inequities of the “media establishment” in Ireland. In general I pretty much loathe ‘em, the whole right-wing, faux liberal, elitist Anglo shower. Bah! But for those of you who ask, “A Shionnach, but why?”, here, in several easily digestible paragraphs, is the answer.

Earlier this month The Journal carried some surprising news for those of us who believe in media plurality and freedom, news that has remained strangely underreported by the Irish press (or perhaps not so strangely as you will see).

“TODAY FM PRESENTER Sam Smyth has taken to the airwaves today following reports that his days presenting his Sunday current affairs show are numbered.

The Sunday Times reports today that Smyth has been sacked from the show he presents on Today FM, with the last show to be broadcast on 6 November. According to the paper Smyth has said that his reporting on the Moriarty Tribunal and his criticism of Denis O’Brien is behind him being dropped from the show.

On the show earlier, Smyth read out today’s headlines relating to his position in Today FM, but declined to comment saying:

“…before someone comes downstairs and pulls a wire we better move onto something else.”

The Sunday Independent reports that Smyth is planning to fight against his sacking by Today FM, which is owned by O’Brien. The Sunday Independent reports that O’Brien is currently suing Sam Smyth over comments made and written about the Moriarty Tribunal.”

The reaction to the news drew a deafening silence from the Irish rat pack – sorry, media pack. So much so that even a member of that august sleeping chamber, Seanad Éireann, was stirred from his slumber, as The Journal also reported:

“A LABOUR PARTY SENATOR has criticised members of the media for not showing more public solidarity to Today FM’s Sam Smyth, who is to be dropped by the station.

Senator John Whelan this morning criticised press commentators for their failure to publicly support Smyth…

“Press freedom and fair comment are a cornerstone and fundamental values of our democracy,” he said. “Fair comment in the public interest is a pillar of a real republic.”

It was reported in Sunday newspapers that Smyth was to be dropped from the station, which is owned by media and telecoms magnate Denis O’Brien – with the Sunday Times reporting that Smyth had protested that the move was related to his coverage of the Moriarty Tribunal.

That tribunal, which investigated the awarding of Ireland’s second mobile phone licence to O’Brien’s Esat Digifone, was prompted after reporting by Smyth published in the Irish Independent – which is also now majority owned by O’Brien.

George Hook of Newstalk – which is also owned by O’Brien’s Communicorp broadcasting empire – told listeners through Twitter that he did not think the matter was worthy of bringing up in an interview with Communications minister Pat Rabbitte.

On Sunday morning, however, Newstalk’s Eamon Dunphy made a brief statement on his own show – which clashes with Smyth’s Today FM show – defending his Communicorp colleague.

“If there’s any link between that sacking and his work as a journalist for the Independent newspaper group… it is up to every citizen in this country to understand that press freedom is threatened,” he said.”

That the Fine Gael activist journalist celebrity presenter George Hook squirmed his way out of making a comment on the affair was no surprise. Nor for many of us was the muted response of the journalistic class as a whole. After all they know which side their bread is buttered on and most have, do, or will work for the ubiquitous O’Brien owned media in Ireland. Eamon Dunphy’s courage in speaking up for his friend and colleague did come as a bit of surprise to some, despite his “maverick” reputation. However there is always a price to pay, even for integrity.

The Journal again:

“EAMON DUNPHY HAS announced that he’s quitting his job at Newstalk, calling the atmosphere at the station ‘inhospitable’ for journalists to work in.

A member of Newstalk staff has told TheJournal.ie that the first many employees heard about Dunphy’s departure when they opened the Irish Daily Star this morning, which carries Kieran Cunningham’s exclusive story.

Dunphy said that journalists have been encouraged to “put a positive spin on the news agenda” and he’s criticised budget cuts at the station.”

Today Dunphy spelled out his thoughts on the matter:

“EAMON DUNPHY HAS used his last show on Newstalk to reveal some of the reasons behind his decision to leave the station.

Dunphy said that Denis O’Brien – whose Communicorp company owns both Newstalk and Today FM – “hates journalism”. Dunphy also made reference to the working environment in Newstalk and said “not nice things are happening in this place”.

The Sunday Independent quotes Newstalk CEO Frank Cronin, who said that Dunphy was not spoken to about recent comments he made on his show about Sam Smyth’s departure. Cronin told the Independent’s Niamh Horan that Dunphy is free to say whatever he wants, and that he had been asked to take a more positive view in his coverage of some issues.

Meanwhile Dunphy told Mark Tighe and Justine McCarthy in The Sunday Times that Denis O’Brien is at war with journalists.”

As well as owning several radio stations in Ireland O’Brien is also a (somewhat unwelcome) shareholder in the dominant Independent News & Media (IN&M) along with long-time rival Tony O’Reilly (or Sir Tony O’Reilly as he – and his newspapers- insist on styling him following some serious kowtowing to the British establishment). He was briefly Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ireland while living as an overseas tax exile (you couldn’t make this stuff up) and more recently threw a few quid into the campaign fund of Mary Davis in her disastrous candidacy for the office of Uachtarán na hÉireann. However, in the last few years most of the focus has been on his, er, business dealings.

It is often said that we get the politicians we deserve. Perhaps the same can be said of the news media too.

The Sunday Independent – The Real Threat To Irish Democracy

Today’s Sunday Independent newspaper makes for incredible reading. There is one subject and one subject only; Martin McGuinness. And one clear strategy: keeping him out of Áras an Uachtaráin by any means necessary.

The vitriol directed towards McGuinness is simply astonishing. I don’t think I’ve ever read anything quite like it before, at least outside the pages of a right wing British tabloid newspaper. Almost every page, every news report, every commentary focuses or touches upon opposition to the Sinn Féin nominee in one way or another.

It’s as if the newspaper has become one single organism with one single purpose: destroying the McGuinness campaign for president. Everything is devoted towards that end. More astonishing still, outside of any legitimate concerns or questions about Martin McGuinness’ past history (political or military), is the almost pathological hatred for the man that the writers display. It’s like some strange atavistic switch has been thrown which has allowed the very worst instincts of the Irish media establishment, the incestuous club of journalists and opinion makers, to be given free reign.

This is Old Ireland, the Ireland of Partition and the Free State, the Ireland of the monster that was the Celtic Tiger, given full voice and expression. And it is terrifying to behold.

So, is this the Ireland we want? A nation of Regressives, holding us back, keeping us in servitude to our alleged “betters”? Are the hacks and cronies of the Sunday Independent to become the arbiters of our democracy the ones who will decide where our nation begins – and where it ends? Will we allow these mountebanks and charlatans, these pornographers of mediocrity and shallowness, to be the ones who will decide who is and isn’t Irish: who is and isn’t entitled to be of our Republic?

The choice is ours, not theirs. So let us choose for ourselves. And send a message to the Establishment elite who bartered away our nation’s sovereignty and independence to save their own worthless necks. You may have stolen our state: but you shall not steal our votes.