The varied strands of ‘dissident’ republicanism
Ideology and disunity
in Unfinished business
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This chapter provides an analysis of the divided nature of radical republicanism and details the irreconcilable ideological and tactical differences between groups which prevent formal unity. Through personal testimonies from founding members, this chapter explores what motivated individuals to form new groups, including the 32CSM, RSM, RNU, éirigí, 1916 Societies and, most recently, Saoradh. It further notes the emergence of a large body of ‘independents’ within ‘dissident’ republicanism. The chapter provides an analysis of the ‘Limerick group’ which broke from RSF in 2009; events surrounding which highlight issues of central importance including legitimacy, identity, calls for a broad front and groups ‘parroting’ other groups. Republicans collectively assert the right to sovereignty; however, fundamental division exists regarding how sovereignty should be exercised. Arguably, engagement with the state is unavoidable; however, the central point of contention within republicanism regards at what point engagement is viewed as ‘sell-out’. Tactical diversity exists within groups, as demonstrated at the 2014 RSF Ard Fheis. Through unprecedented interviews with prisoners in Maghaberry, this chapter highlights the identity struggle which has played out in the prison and which is reflective of wider tensions between groups. Finally, this chapter provides unique insight into relations between the Provisional and ‘dissident’ worlds.

Unfinished business

The politics of ‘dissident’ Irish republicanism


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