Current Affairs Military Politics

Britain’s Tribal Grudges Risks Renewed Conflict In Ireland

Three Volunteers of an Active Service Unit of the Irish Republican Army
Three Volunteers of an Active Service Unit of the Irish Republican Army
Three Volunteers of an Active Service Unit of the Irish Republican Army, British Occupied North of Ireland, 1970s

The Irish have made peace but have the British? That is the question asked by veteran journalist and author Ed Moloney in light of ongoing efforts by Britain to pursue legal vengeance against former insurgents of the (Provisional) Irish Republican Army and those who represented or supported them. Moloney argues that these actions:

“…amount to a British default both from the spirit of the peace process and the commitments given during good faith negotiations with Sinn Fein and the IRA.

That the British intention to continue to pursue IRA suspects, try them in the courts and then imprison them amounts to an act of war against the IRA is undeniable in the context of the conflict since 1969.

Whereas the IRA’s campaign was characterised in the main by the shooting and bombing of British targets, the British response in the main took the form of trying to put as many IRA members as they could behind bars, using the police and the courts to do so (while the British also shot and killed many IRA members the greater part of their energies was spent trying to imprison them).

…the British now trumpet their resolve to keep putting former IRA activists behind bars whenever they can, highlights an unspoken and unacknowledged reality: the IRA has ended its war against the British but the British have not ended their war against the IRA.”

This is something that many (Provisional) Republicans who had supported the peace accords of the late 1990s and early 2000s are now coming to acknowledge, albeit with evident reluctance. Indeed it seems that the central tenet of the Belfast Agreement of 1998, that through negotiations there would be neither winners nor losers to the conflict, has been all but abandoned by Britain.

“This latter commitment was the defining principle of the peace process, the oil that greased the wheels: no-one came out and said ‘We Won!’ and by not doing so this enabled the already difficult process of making and demanding concessions to happen.

Implicitly and in an unspoken way, at least in public, the Troubles ended in a draw with every participant agreeing on ways of enabling each other to withdraw from the field of battle. It wasn’t easy and it took a long time to happen but without that agreement it probably never would have.”

Instead the British are now pursuing a form of retroactive victory over a foe that they had previously proved incapable of defeating, either militarily or politically. In doing so the UK is risking everything on a foolish, tribal grudge against Irish Republicans that risks undoing all the progress of the last two decades. Some long-time observers have suggested that the inherent flaws and contradictions of the Belfast Agreement, coupled with the iniquitous nature of the continued British occupation of Ireland, whatever its rump nature, means that we are simply in a “pre-conflict period”. A second (or third) round of “Troubles” is likely (quite possibly leading to a British humiliation equal to that of the Irish-British Treaty of 1921). It is apparent that the Tories and “establishment Britain”, from the Labour Party opposition to the metropolitan press pack, are intent on making at least part of that suggestion a reality.

22 comments on “Britain’s Tribal Grudges Risks Renewed Conflict In Ireland

  1. What do the more acrimonious elements of British power have to lose by such efforts? If accused of being vindictive, they can simply say they are ensuring that “justice is being done.” This avenue allows them to once again show the Irish that they are under Albion’s heel, albeit not so blatantly.


  2. Graham Ennis

    The reality,the objective, for London, is to simply undo the peace process, do “Claw Back” of the limited gains made by the Nationalist community in the North, and destabilise Northern Ireland, so that any question of a referendum, within a decade, for reunification, will be swept away by the “Security situation”….they are, quite plainly, goading the Irish into renewed war. What a nasty, dishonest, disgusting thing to do. OK. What is to be done?….they will slowly ratchet up the pressure, until the North is in a state of crisis. The only plan, if full war is to be avoided, is to make the crisis ungovernable by the London regime, and to revert to Palestinian tactics of mass protest, “intifada”, and resistance. The world has changed since 1968. International public opinion will not accept the British Government response, which is going to be one of savage repression and violence. This means that the UK Government will fall into the trap set for the Israeli’s by the Palestinians, which has made the occupation of the West Bank intolerable, and de-legitimised the Israeli state. Terrible though it will be, it will eventually force the British “Deep state” into finally giving in. This might take 20 more years. Awful. but has anyone got any better ideas?….the London Regime are set on “Claw-Back”……so be it.


  3. I don’t know what Ed Moloney’s politics are.And until, I was sure..I’d be careful about believeing what he writes.
    For example..he seems to hate Gerry Adams..and is doing his damnest to get the Free State voters to avoid voting for SF.

    When you read this piece..the tone or implication is the IRA were justified in waging a war..And they are now been sold down the river by…You guessed it Gerry Adams.
    His Bete Noir.

    I am sorry..but there’s a reason Ed Moloney is called Ed Baloney.

    I think his article is an attempt to undermine SF from within it’s own ranks.
    He tried his damnest with the Maria Cahill scandal to scare off the southern voters.
    Now, he’s trying to cause instability from within.

    One thing’s for sure..He most definately has an agenda..of his own.


  4. The British needs further post colonial conflict to prevent further destabilisation through the Scottish Independence Movement and the radicalisation of English.
    Terrorism especially home grown is best for this purpose.


  5. Graham Ennis

    Well, the Republicans really had no choice, after the behaviour of the Unionist Government in the North, and the repression, but to fight, or surrender. This was exactly what the London establishment wanted. It militarized and polarized an un-containable situation. The situation was then contained, but not resolved for more than 30 years. This was exactly what the London elite wanted. They got it. The failure of SF until late in the war to mobilize politically, and the lack of a mass struggle, (Palestinians call it an “Intifada” ) meant stalemate. This must not happen again. The one thing they fear in London is a mass mobilization of the what is now the majority community and direct and mass action, in the event of a breakdown of the Stormont Assembly. Demands for a referendum, Scot style, which SF would win, would place the British Government in an impossible situation. Refusal to grant a referendum would internationalize the situation. The outcome, either way, would be politically disastrous for London. So reunification is ultimately going to happen. The question is how to accelerate this, and to do so with the minimum of damage to Ireland. The entire present UK strategy, of “Clawback”, would precipitate the very thing it was designed to stop. Interesting. I think it is called being “Cornered”.


  6. North Munsterman

    A totally futile attempt by the bitter losers in the right-wing rump of the British Establishment still cannot get over and independent Irish state and the Nationalists power-sharing in the North with a Nationalist majority already by 2020 – and a Nationalist electoral majority by the mid-2020’s.

    A Re-United Ireland is inevitable – and there is absolutely nothing the bitter right-wing losers in London can do about it – except suck it up.


  7. Rarely have I read such a load of tosh : most of the contributors clearly didn’t live in N.I. during the “troubles.” I mean the idea that successive British govs actually want to hang on to N.I. is nonsense, I imagine they would rub their hands in glee at the very thought that a future referendum would result in a vote for a United Ireland. Conspiracy theories are all very well, but really these border on lunacy : the vast majority of people in N.I. didn’t want the original “troubles,” so why on earth would they want a return to “war.”


  8. Given that the Irish have decided to throw away their language and culture and become an English speaking nation – does it really matter which country Northern Ireland belongs to?


    • It does you little latvian prick then again see what is the most played sport in Ireland and then come back with something else than a brain fart.


      • Tog a beag e.
        Mark..The really bad thing is not what Janis says..but that there is a whole slew of Irish “natives” who wouldhold the same views.
        Answer me this.. Which is worse a non Irish native saying these things or an Irish native??
        For me,, it would be an Irish person holding these views which would be worse.
        I admire you feel strongly about these things..I wish we all did.
        But it’s not so.sadly.
        Also, I have never witnessed online anywhere where two people holding opposite views where they ending up agreeing.
        i.e where one person changes his/her mind.
        so, whilst it’s great to read lots of different opinions..just don’t expect to convert anybody 🙂 to a different opinion.


      • So – what if you happen not to like Gaelic football – are you not Irish any more then?


    • North Munsterman

      Pity that the Latvians decided to allow the Russians to simply walk in and take over and become a Soviet province – instead of defending their country and putting up a fight.


      • I suggest you read a bit more about WW2.
        We were squeezed between a rock and a hard place.
        Latvian actions in 1940 didn’t really matter because even if we had fought against the USSR suffering huge casualties – the Nazis (which until 1941 were allied with the soviets) would have attacked us in 1941 anyway.
        And then in 1944 when the soviets marched to Berlin the Latvians had no chance of winning, because even the much better armed and equipped Nazi army was fleeing in panic.


        • North Munsterman

          Latvia surrendered and allowed to Russians to simply walk in – without even putting up a fight.
          The Finns – who were in much the same position as the Latvians – did not capitulate like the Latvians – they stood up and fought and saved their independence.

          I suggest you read up a bit on Finland’s fight against the Soviets in WW2 – you might learn something.


          • I suggest you read about it more too.

            And I’ve read about Finland and have great respect for them.

            But Latvia was no Finland – the weather and terrain were very different.
            The Soviets also decided to attack during summer.
            And both Lithuania and Estonia surrendered first – so Latvia was surrounded and outnumbered – and unlike the Finns – we would have to fight in 3 fronts – that’s why we didn’t even try.

            Anyway – can you realistically describe how Latvia could have saved its independence in those circumstances?
            I would like to hear about 1944 too – how could we defeat an army that made the Nazis flee in panic and that was able to reach Berlin and occupy half of Europe?


  9. Patrick Fahy

    Oz has hit the nail on the head. Moloney’s war against Irish republicanism, ie Sinn Fein, goes on.


  10. Also saying that the Latvians were cowards because they didn’t fight against the USSR in 1940 is like saying that the Irish are cowards because the Republic of Ireland has never tried to retake Northern Ireland militarily by launching a full scale invasion.


  11. North Munsterman

    The Latvians decided to surrender – without even putting up a fight – and allow the Soviets simply just walk in, take Latvia and make it a Soviet province.

    The Finns – with a much longer border to defend – decided to put up a fight and defend their country and they kept their independence.
    The Finns fought in all types of weather and in several different types of terrain – and right up to 1944.
    The Finns did not blame the weather, the terrain or anything else – they just decided to stand up and fight for their independence.

    Perhaps Latvia could put up some signs at the Border like this :

    1. ” Please do not decide to walk in and take over our country in Summer ”
    2. “Please kindly advise in advance when entering Latvia and kindly note that we would like you to enter Latvia at one point only”.

    Alternatively, Latvian readers would do well to read up on the Finnish fight for independence – they might learn something.


    • The Latvians actually did decide to fight. There was an active armed resistance campaign until 1956.
      It received little Western support and was sabotaged by leftist useful idiots and scumbags like Kim Philby.
      And the Soviets defeated it unfortunately.

      We have learned from our past mistakes and that’s why Latvia is part of NATO military alliance now.


  12. North Munsterman

    “……so Latvia was surrounded and outnumbered – that’s why we didn’t even try….”

    – Janis quote 26.3.2015

    At least you got that right.

    The you mentioned that it was Summer – shucks.

    Try to read up on the Finland’s decision to defend their country rather than capitulate without even a fight – you might learn something.


    • Can you explain why the Republic of Ireland never tried to retake Northern Ireland by force?
      They didn’t even try to retake at least some parts of it like Derry or Fermanagh.

      Was the weather not right or what?


      • NMunsterman

        The same reason that Finland never tried to retake territory ceded to the Soviet Union – because it was part of the Peace Treaty terms and the price to be paid AFTER the successful fight for independence.

        Latvia gave up everything – without even putting up a fight.


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