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.
within Maghaberryprison. Through interviews with current prisoners in Maghaberry, the chapter presents an examination of the ‘identity struggle’ which has taken place within the confines of the prison, which provides an indication of significant points of division in wider group relations. The chapter also seeks to provide an insight into the nature of the relationship between Sinn Féin and radical republican groups.
A plethora of groups: ‘republican traffic’
Each Easter Sunday and Monday in Milltown Cemetery in Belfast, a
, interview with the author, Maghaberryprison, 30 August 2013
Republicans involved in current military activity should be questioned on their actions and what they are seeking to achieve because if you’re born and reared in this place you’ve every entitlement to ask that question.
Martin Óg Meehan, interview with the author, Belfast, 12 December 2012
Why should we fight for freedom? Is it not strange, that it has become necessary
republicans have been imprisoned for up to four years without trial. Interviews with current republican prisoners in Maghaberryprison enable an assessment of the ideology and strategy of current republican prisoners.
Research of this nature relies on personal testimony and oral history as one cannot consult IRA council minutes or even Sinn Féin Ard Chomhairle minutes. While oral history has its critics, who may argue that interviewees may simply provide a false narrative for the purpose of the research, rigorous academic analysis has been conducted on
department named Cogús45 campaigning on issues of prison conditions and have called for the donation of books to
Maghaberry, whilst the IRSP also have their own organisation, Teach na Fáilte.
Promoting the current prisoner campaign is an important aspect of dissident
propaganda. For dissidents there are several beneficial reasons in promoting the
campaign for republican prisoners. Firstly, highlighting alleged poor treatment
of republican prisoners contradicts the claims of normalisation in Northern
Ireland. In May 2011, republican prisoners in Maghaberryprison began a
Motivations and aspirations: the drawing of the fault lines
author, Galway, 4 June 2013.
78 Fergal Moore, interview with the author, Monaghan, 14 October 2012.
79 Pádraig Garvey, interview with the author, Killarney, 30 October 2013.
80 Member of the 32CSM leadership (South of Ireland), interview with the author, 2013.
81 Nathan Hastings, interview with the author, Maghaberryprison, 8 March 2017. Nathan Hastings is from Derry and has been in Maghaberryprison since
Nathan Hastings, interview with the author, Maghaberryprison, 8 March 2017.
62 Danny Morrison, interview with the author, Belfast, 7 May 2014.
63 Phil O’ Donoghue, interview with the author, Kilkenny, 4 November 2013.
64 Nathan Hastings, interview with the author, Maghaberryprison, 8 March 2017.
65 RSF Ard Fheis, Wynn’s Hotel, Dublin, 2 November 2013. Attended by the author.
66 Dee Fennell, interview with the author, Belfast, 28 November 2013
marking the culmination of Sinn Féin’s transformed position regarding policing. The symbolism of Martin McGuinness next to the PSNI chief constable on the steps of Stormont was not lost on radical republicans. Republicans have highlighted Sinn Féin members assuming positions on policing boards and have argued that Sinn Féin is supporting a police service which arrests and imprisons republicans, including former comrades. Republicans such as Marian Price and Martin Corey have been imprisoned for up to four years in Maghaberryprison without trial, leading radical
Peter Shirlow, Jonathan Tonge, James McAuley and Catherine McGlynn
imprisonment of republicans has always been an issue
that evokes suffering and symbolises effectively the ongoing struggle
and objection to partition.
In 2003, the IRSP’s Eddie McGarrigle urged INLA
former prisoners to support the campaign by Real and Continuity IRA
prisoners for segregation of republicans in Maghaberryprison, stating
that: ‘The IRSP fully support the right to segregation and we
He was then walked past his family and taken to a prison van and locked in the
back with other detained men, all of whom were Black. The van was then driven
more than twenty miles away to MaghaberryPrison. Once at the prison Kakopa
was strip-searched and then locked in a cell with a convicted criminal. He asked
for permission to call his family to let them know where he was. His request
was denied. In fact, he was denied the right to make any phone call. He was
detained in prison for two days and when he was released, without any charges
having been brought