My answer to the topic would be “yes” - it was a black mark against republicanism. It has certainly worked to the ultimate disadvantage of republicans in negotiations throughout the process as it is constantly brought up as an example of evildoing on the part of the IRA. Also, every loss of life is regrettable and particularly so when it is not related to the actual military campaign the IRA were involved in.
If you sensed a “but” coming here it is: BUT what annoys me about this case is the attitude of the free state media and public to be outraged by the killing. There were thousands of people killed in the 6 counties and in Britain over the past 35 years. Plenty of them were civillians and I fail to see why McCabe is derserving of any more outrage than the other instances. We live in a cosy, sheltered world down here and it is to our eternal disgrace that so many of us took no interest in what was going on in the 6 counties because it didn’t affect us. There have been so many outrageous killings that it is selective and unfair to place one on a plane of greater moral outrage than everything else.
It’s easy for Joe Duffy to waffle on about the Widow McCabe because your average Irish housewife can relate to the widow of an Irish Garda. The average Irish housewife doesn’t care about Pat Finucane for example because they’re all too conscious of the border. They never thought anything would happen down here so they get all moralistic on us when someone they can identify with is killed. This is a natural enough reaction - we don’t have vigils for people who are murdered in New York or Darfur but we do for those who live in the 26 counties. However, this separatist view that the events in the 6 counties were none of our business was a disgrace. We abandoned all sense of responsibility for what went on up there as a public despite the obvious notionalness of any division between us. I find it difficult to listen to any commentator talking about the killing who never speaks on any other atrocity committed by either side in the dispute. I’m not even talking about evening it up by complaining about something the Brits did - I just expect that people who claim to be offended by the killing are offended by all other non-military killings carried out by the organisations in the conflict.
In summary the killing did damage to the cause of republicanism for two reasons:
The Irish public have decided to be outraged by it
The other parties in negotiations have capitalised on this and are expressing outrage too.
Knew that a Rocko reponse was a banker and your view was pretty much what I was expecting.
I feel that you have a number of valid points there - particularly Irish people’s sense of outrage being questionable. However the problems you seem have with the killing come from the point of view of the problems that Republicans have suffered since. You kind of throw away a comment about loss of life being regrettable.
But this was not like any murder in the 6 counties. This was the IRA, their whole idealogy is about Ireland, brutally slaying a representative of the Irsh State.
You mention the murder of Finucane - equally as bad - but in no way related to the McCabe killing. In other words ‘two wrongs don’t make a right’. In fairness to you I think you were pointing that out as a critique of the Irish people and that I agree with.
Forget about the commonly held view and strip it down to the facts. What justification do the IRA have to robbing and killing in the South? This is why I will never support the IRA or Sinn Fein. With the power that they have evolved over the years, could be argued that the Irish government are to blame by ignoring the North in the 60s, they has been a significant element of the organisation that abused it. For instance getting into drug running etc. But this killing wasnt like this. This involved IRAs top guard santioning a robbery and murder in the Irish Free State - no justification and not a black mark against it but complete disrespect
I like to number my responses to save me from rambling off on tangents so to respond:
I was looking at the killing from two angles:
a) The morality of the killing in the context of the conflict
The impact of the killing on republicanism itself - the question you asked was related directly to the repuation of republicanism.
I have no problems in saying that the killing was wrong. I was trying to make the point that even if anyone in the IRA supported the act it would be difficult to justify it from a military/strategic point of view because it did not further the cause of republicanism at all - such was the repuational damage done to the cause.
It’s probably a fair point that I didn’t make that very clear the first time - I was trying to address the argument from a republican viewpoint.
2.Other than the “murder” “slaying” language I agree with your second point to an extent. It was different to free staters because it happened here. That frustrates me though because it is massively selfish. Why should I care more because it happened here? I guess the IRA thought it was easier to rob a bank here which is probably why the heist took place in the 26 counties in the first place.
Yeah, my point was just that both events should trigger the same moral outrage - they don’t. I wonder do some people deep down feel that the IRA are representing them on some level so they feel more outraged when an atrocity is committed by them? That’s likely. But I think the border has a bigger impact in people’s minds.
I genuinely think that the talk of drug running etc. is overstated. That said I don’t vote for Sinn Fin and would dearly love to see a party that better represents my views on the political spectrum. I don’t like the corruption in political parties and I hate their reliance on donations and “other means of financing.” Having said that I have some support for many people who vote for Sinn Fin because they have no other representation. The republican vote in the 6 counties needed to be organised and aggregated so they could have a voice. It’s like the ANC in South Africa. Now that they’re free you can have alternative popular parties in townships and campaign against corruption in the ANC. I don’t think that would have been the right thing to do when they were still campaigning for freedom.
I’ll write more on this when I have the time and desire to get into a serious debate but for now I would say it was indeed a black mark against republicanism primarily because it was a murder of an innocent person doing his job.
It has also been used against republicans for the last 10 years or so at election times and and at the negotiating table but primarily by parties in the Dail rather than Unionists in the O6. This ties into rock’s point about people down south being outraged by events in the 26 counties but shrugging their shoulders and barely recognising some of the outrageous stuff that goes on in the O6. It’s been used mostly by the likes of McDowell who fears Sinn Fein will continue to increase its support down south and seeing the reaction of the Irish people to the killing it’s something that he has opportunistically used to try to damage SF with.
I see David Ervine has died today at the age of 53. It must be sad for his family. He was only a PUP.
Veering wildly off-topic now but Tommy Gorman was on RT Radio this morning apologising for his error. He’s a strange sort of journalist is Tommy - he’s always referring to sources who tell him this and that and he starts all his scoops with “I understand that…”
Then he goes and badly fucks up like he did last night which was a terrible error. On a completely different scale the guy couldn’t wait to tell the nation that Keane was probably going back to Saipan when he did the interview. Then we saw the interview and he had said nothing of the sort.
I know somebody who moves and shakes within the upper echelons of the journalistic industry in Ireland who assures me that Tommie Gorman is an absolute laughing stock in their circles.
I hated David Ervine. Loyalist filthbag who for some reason best known to himself tried to appease nationalists in the south with media friendly soundbites but was as big a scumbag as the rest of those coonts especially to the nationalists in the Short Strand in Belfast.
There is some merit in what you say Farmer but I do think Ervine gets a very soft time of it down here. The situations are not directly comparable for a couple of reasons:
The UVF and LVF have been engaged in a violent feud. Ervine is the head of the political wing of the UVF and while they may have stopped their political killings, they didn’t stop killing rivals in a drugs turf war.
The UVF has not stopped its criminal activities - according to the Independent Monitoring Commission and Ervine was held responsible.
It would be interesting to compare eulogies to a reformed IRA bomber when an instance occurs but I was surprised at the outpouring of positive commentary yesterday.
As well as what rock has said these coonts have refused to decommission their weapons either.
Because of that feud with the LVF the British Government no longer recognised their ceasefire in 2005/06 either. I’m not sure what the exact current position is but they were reported to be on the verge of disbanding too but I haven’t seen any evidence of this happening.
I really don’t understand why this guy is being eulogised down here. Every positive move that’s been made up there has been initiated by Sinn Fein with these lads pontificating for ages before responding (or not like in the case of decommissioning). It’s absolutely ridiculous. Why don’t we have a national day of mourning for the prick?