Bernadette Devlin McAliskey Casts A Cold Eye On The Irish-British Peace Process

The Irish political activist, Bernadette Devlin McAliskey, giving us a reminder of why she was such a powerful voice in the early years of the conflict in the north-east of Ireland and why the lessening of her presence on the national stage was such a loss to the country. While I might not agree with all she has to say it is undeniably worth listening to. Apologies for the poor quality sound and picture from this Field Day lecture held in Derry on September 30th 2016.

[H/T to the Broken Elbow]

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6 comments

  1. Was that Stephen Rea?
    Also, I wonder if someone will provide a transcript. I saw Bernadette in San Francisco in the late nineties and she was on, as they saw, simultaneously upholding the necessity of the struggle and her part in it, and also rebuking the largely Catholic conservative audience for their attitudes towards women, telling them that the North couldn’t “breed” its way into independence and it was dehumanizing to women to suggest that as an tactic. I don’t think anyone taped this particular event, which is a shame.

    1. Indeed it was. I’ll hunt around and see if the speech was published. She was very rarely allowed onto Irish TV in the 1970s to ’90s because of the control of RTÉ’s administration and news and currents affairs department by anti-republican entryists from the Workers Party. Of course like many European Trots from the 1970s and ’80s those individuals abandoned their former comrades and have now made the move to conservative-libertarian free market evangelicalism. People be crazy! 😉

    1. No, she’s arguing for a continuation of the struggle by focusing on political and socio-economic issues. That is why she opposed the subornation of the IRSP to the INLA in the 1970s, why she advocated for an end to the military campaign following the hunger strikes in the 1980s, was a prominent critic of the ongoing war in the 1990s, and is opposed to the current would-be insurgents of the 2010s.

  2. One of my earliest memories is my ma meeting La Devlin at St vinc de paul’s church in clapham, london: roisin was being christened there. seemed a nice lass. ma was congratulating her on her election.certainly at the time of the original outbreak in 69, a lot of the london irish felt a surge of sympathy towards the norn iron caths: was later rather dissipated when the provos started murdering and maiming large numbers of civilians in london.
    certainly i remember my mother shaking her head at the speech she gave at the “noblest roman of them all” speech she gave at mad dog mcglichey’s funeral: ma just said “he was a psychopath”

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