Current Affairs Politics

Republican Factionalism Down South

Republican Sinn Féin, Limerick faction
Republican Sinn Féin, Limerick faction

Talking of people or organisations with questionable beliefs Republicans are not without their faults, as illustrated by this local newspaper report from the Limerick Leader on the annual Seán Sabhat parades in the city, or at least the one organised by Republican Sinn Féin. Though when I say RSF I of course mean the Limerick-based Séamus Ó Suilleabhain faction as opposed to the Dublin-based Des Dalton grouping, both of which claim to be the real Republican Sinn Féin (not to mention the real Sinn Féin in relation to the mainstream SF party led by Gerry Adams. Yes, I know, but when it comes to legitimacy and ideological purity there is no movement on Europe’s Far Left spectrum that can “out-split” a Republican one). Sadly in relation to RSF one can honestly say never has so much been given by so few to so pointless a cause.

However it seems that Limerick RSF is making some interesting friends on the outliers of Republican politics in Ireland. [Spelling mistakes in the original newspaper article corrected in extract below]

“RENEWED calls have been made for a return to republican traditions at two commemorations in Limerick city over the weekend.

There was a strong turnout at commemorative marches honouring Garryowen man, Seán South, who lost his life during a raid on an RUC barracks in Fermanagh in 1957.

The marches, organised by Republican Sinn Féin (RSF) and Sinn Féin respectively…

A colour party drawn from all over the 32 counties led the RSF parade, which also saw attendance from the Irish Republican Voice Movement.

RSF president and historian Séamus Ó Suilleabhain described Mr South as an “icon of the Republican movement”.

Limerick man Joe Lynch, RSF’s national spokesman, said it is hoped that an anti-Good Friday agreement rally will take place in the city in that year.

RSF vice-president Seán Mac an Ghirr added: “We must renounce British symbols, whether they be poppies, flags, crowns, or cities designated as UK capitals of British culture. Many in this island mistakenly believe they are free while they are happy to regurgitate a West Brit culture while seeing nothing wrong in the partition of our land.”

Hmm, that is an eye-opening piece of information. Irish Republican Voice is a new grouping whose membership is mainly drawn from a Dublin working-class background albeit with some dubious connections to the capital’s criminal underworld, and it includes former members or supporters of the 32 County Sovereignty Movement. Likewise some associates of the RSF faction in Limerick have been linked to that city’s notoriously violent narco-gangs, unfairly or otherwise. Which makes one wonder what exactly is going on beneath the surface in all this fraternising. As they say, watch this space.

4 comments on “Republican Factionalism Down South

  1. James Todd

    Truth be told, I’m not sure what’s wrong with Ireland trying to consciously move away from British culture in favor of native-grown Irish culture. “Renounce” might be a bit strong. But still, I understand the sentiment. After all, isn’t that essentially the whole idea behind propogating Irish? Replacing English with Irish as Ireland’s primary tongue, in effect moving to regain some of Ireland’s cultural distinctiveness?


    • Oh that part I mostly agree with. That is my own political identity as a Gaelic Republican. My post was more focused on the fissile nature of Irish Republicanism and the tendency to absolutism and splits. One group claims to be the genuine thing and all others are pale imitations or worse. Republican Sinn Féin in particular is a political party that seems to be dedicated to some core values that represent little more than belief for the sake of belief. It’s as if the party is more concerned with its own purity and existence than any attainable or realistic political objectives.

      It has attracted some good people down through the years and still does have a few in its ranks or amongst its supporters but in all truth it is a hopeless anachronism. The equivalent of the Communist Party USA or some Tea Party fringe in terms of relevance or worth.

      If it was serious about politics the first thing it would do is give up the “Sinn Féin” title and launch itslef under a new name. Second, drop the opposition to Dáil Éireann and recognise this state as the 1916 republic, albeit in imperfect form. Real politics for a real party. All else is rhetoric. Unfortunately it is wedded to old thinking in a new age.


  2. Go raibh mhaith agat chun an scribhinn thuasluaite. Ta an leargas agat go mhaith se go leir i scríbhinn agus ni ar mhor an spas a bheith le bfhaire .


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