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The threat of dissident Republicans to peace in Northern Ireland

This book assesses the security threat and political challenges offered by dissident Irish republicanism to the Northern Irish peace process. The 1998 Good Friday Agreement failed to end entirely armed republicanism. The movement of Sinn Féin into constitutional politics in a government of Northern Ireland and the eschewing of militarism that followed, including disbandment of the Provisional IRA (PIRA), the decommissioning of weapons and the supporting of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) proved too much for a minority of republicans. This book begins by examining Sinn Féin’s evolution from the margins of political existence to becoming mainstream constitutional players. It then assesses how the compromises associated with these changes have been rejected by republican ‘dissidents’.

In order to explore the heterogeneity of contemporary Irish republicanism this book draws upon in-depth interviews and analyses the strategies and tactics of various dissident republican groups. This analysis is used to outline the political and military challenges posed by dissidents to Northern Ireland in a post-Good Friday Agreement context as well as examine the response of the British state towards continuing violence. This discussion places the state response to armed republicanism in Northern Ireland within the broader debate on counter-terrorism after 9/11.

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The politics of ‘dissident’ Irish republicanism

This book provides an analysis of the politics, ideology and strategy of ‘dissident’ Irish republicans. Based on the largest survey of ‘dissidents’ to date, it offers unprecedented insight into who the ‘dissidents’ are and what they hope to achieve. The ninety interviewees for this book comprise members of ‘dissident’ groups, independents, elected representatives, current prisoners in Maghaberry prison, former senior members of the Provisional Movement and individuals who were active in the Republican Movement prior to the formation of the Provisionals in 1969. This book provides insight into the Provisional–‘dissident’ divide regarding tactics-versus-principles, a debate which strikes to the heart of republicanism. Uniquely, through interviews with key players, this book presents the mainstream Sinn Féin narrative, thus providing an insight into the contested narratives of these two worlds which encompass former comrades. This book locates ‘dissident’ republicanism historically, within the long trajectory of republican struggle, and demonstrates the cyclical nature of key debates within the republican leadership. Personal testimonies of key players demonstrate a nuanced spectrum of opinion on the current armed campaign regarding utility and morality; and republican views are presented on whether or not there should be any republican prisoners at present. Through unique interviews with a spokespersons for the Continuity and REAL IRAs, this book delves into the psyche of those involved in the armed campaign. Key themes explored throughout the book include the drawling of the fault lines, the varied strands of ‘dissidence’, ceasefires and decommissioning, the Good Friday Agreement, policing, ‘IRA policing’, legitimacy and mandates.

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Sophie A. Whiting

alienation might provide a fertile recruiting ground for paramilitaries.38 MAD0080 - WHITING 9780719095726 PRINT.indd 169 28/01/2015 16:20 170 Spoiling the peace? Ciaran Boyle from the 32CSM demonstrated such a point when asked what bearing the economic situation had on support for dissident republicans: the people who are more likely to be disillusioned are the ones who cannot get a job. They are the ones who are going to spread support. They are not going to go to pickets or protest, they will probably join the IRA. If people go for months and months and months

in Spoiling the peace?
Sophie A. Whiting

in the knowledge of policy makers and security services in  understanding these groups. Recently, however, more research on armed MAD0080 - WHITING 9780719095726 PRINT.indd 144 28/01/2015 16:20 Militarism as a component of dissident republicanism 145 ­issident republican groups has begun to emerge.8 Dissident groups are d also referred to in the literature as ‘ultras’9 and violent dissident republicans (VDRs).10 This chapter will focus mainly on the following: the decommissioning of the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA), and the continued use of armed

in Spoiling the peace?
Dissos and dissenters
Paddy Hoey

3 Contemporary Irish republicanism since 1998: dissos and dissenters1 If it is easy to identify those that the media refers to as ‘dissident republicans’, it is far more difficult to identify and define what they mean by ‘dissident republicanism’.2 The second bloc: traditional dissent The compromises of the Peace Process and electoralism remained an issue for some traditionalists who were constants through the modern era of republicanism prior to 1998. These groups would become more marginalized through the period under analysis. Politically dissenting

in Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters
Marisa McGlinchey

the steps of Stormont with then PSNI chief constable Hugh Orde, then first minister Peter Robinson and then deputy first minister Martin McGuinness, during which McGuinness described ‘dissident republicans’ as ‘traitors to Ireland’, thus provoking a strong emotional response from republicans. 56 The use of the word ‘traitor’ by McGuinness was poignant and significant and was greeted with widespread anger among radical republicans. Peig King, the patron of RSF, has commented on McGuinness’s statement. King, who knew Martin McGuinness through the Republican Movement

in Unfinished business
The consequences of using force to combat terrorism in a liberal democrac
Aaron Edwards

This chapter assesses the nine specific clauses in the Sunningdale Agreement that dealt with the implications for security policy in Northern Ireland. It analyses the consequences that these clauses had in Britain’s war against terrorism, especially as the Conservative government sought to shift the operational focus away from military-led counter-insurgency to a law enforcement-led counter-terrorism strategy. Although the policy of ‘police primacy’ did not emerge as Britain’s preferred option for tackling terrorism until 1975-76, this chapter argues that the seeds were sown by the British Government’s approach to the Sunningdale Agreement and the urgency by which it sought a cross-border arrangement with the Republic of Ireland that would enhance the security forces’ powers of pursuit, arrest and extradition. Indeed, the chapter asks whether the Conservative Party’s return to power in 1979 finally heralded a renewed vision for ‘police primacy’ in a more systematic way than that enacted by the Labour Government between 1974 and 1979. The chapter also highlights the theme of democratic control over the military instrument that would remain constant right up to the signing of the Anglo-Irish Agreement in 1985 and beyond. Indeed, it makes the case - pace Evelegh (1978) and Neumann (2003) – that the British government’s use of the military instrument as an option of last resort is fundamental to our understanding of Britain’s long war on Irish terrorism. This is relevant today, of course, particularly as Britain faces another (albeit much less sustained) armed challenge from dissident republicans. In conclusion, the chapter reflects on how liberal democracies more broadly have responded to the challenge posed by terrorism.

in Sunningdale, the Ulster Workers’ Council strike and the struggle for democracy in Northern Ireland
Dissident republican strategies and campaigns
Sophie A. Whiting

5 Continuity or dissidence? Dissident republican strategies and campaigns Exploring the origins of various dissident republican groups is important in assessing the catalysts behind their formation. In order to explore their contemporary political outlook and strategic rationale (assuming this might be identified), it is necessary to assess the avowed goals and objectives of each group and how each considers these might somehow be attained. It is also necessary to assess what, if any, political resources or advantages might be available to each group. In the

in Spoiling the peace?
The origins of dissident republicans and their mandate
Sophie A. Whiting

4 Continuity or dissidence? The origins of dissident republicans and their mandate Republicanism is discursive in that it offers an internally differentiated series of ideological possibilities. It contains within it a range of exemplary models, memories, stories and rational political arguments that can be interpreted and reinterpreted through time. The ‘Republican tradition’ may therefore be conceived as a discursively constituted, culturally and politically specific collective resource by which power is contested at the level of the idea.1 Dissident

in Spoiling the peace?
Irish republican media activism since the Good Friday Agreement
Author: Paddy Hoey

Newspapers, magazines and pamphlets have always been central, almost sacred, forms of communication within Irish republican political culture. While social media is becoming the primary ideological battleground in many democracies, Irish republicanism steadfastly expresses itself in the traditional forms of activist journalism.

Shinners, Dissos and Dissenters is a long-term analysis of the development of Irish republican activist media since 1998 and the tumultuous years following the end of the Troubles. It is the first in-depth analysis of the newspapers, magazines and online spaces in which the differing strands of Irish republicanism developed and were articulated during a period where schism and dissent defined a return to violence.

Based on an analysis of Irish republican media outlets as well as interviews with the key activists that produced them, this book provides a compelling long-term snapshot of a political ideology in transition. It reveals how Irish Republicanism was moulded by the twin forces of the Northern Ireland Peace Process and the violent internal ideological schism that threatened a return to the ‘bad old days’ of the Troubles.

This book is vital for those studying Irish politics and those interestedin activism as it provides new insights into the role that modern activist media forms have played in the ideological development of a 200-year-old political tradition.