Kevin Myers, the RIRA, Dublin north side working-class housing estates and… er…cat litter… September 19, 2012Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics.
I’m indebted to smiffy for pointing me in the direction of Kevin Myers recent and most peculiar column about the funeral of Alan Ryan in Donaghmede. While we’re talking about that funeral it struck me there was an awful lot made of it in some media, which puzzled me, because it certainly wasn’t the first paramilitary style funeral in this state over the past ten years. But having read Myers I’m a little less surprised that the great and the good might find this offending their sensitivities.
He’s mighty exercised is Myers. No, really he is:
Excuse me, but what precisely is going on? Last Saturday, authority over an entire estate in Dublin was yielded to a terrorist organisation, while gardai watched on.
Who has the authority on the street corners and in the pubs of Donaghmede tonight and every other night? Who has the power? Who has the glamour? Who has the guns? Well, you and I both know the answer to those questions: no one who answers to the Department of Justice, or any organ of government.
Hmmmm… go on.
The gangs are winning hands down. And the response from our political classes about the largest paramilitary funeral in Dublin this century has been silence. If there is comfort of any kind it is that the gangs are at war with one another. But a St Valentine’s Day could soon sort all that out: all that is required is one charismatic, ruthless, charming and “patriotic” man.
He’s also worried about ‘us’ being “One Major Event” away from ‘serious violence and political breakdown” in the North. Maybe. But that’s another days work.
Meanwhile back in the city he apparently lives close to he asks…
Do you know what I smell? I smell Weimar. I smell the rotting corpse of a morally diseased political class lining its pockets with allowances and unvouched expenses, and which stayed silent as Donaghmede was allowed to secede from this Republic and reconnect itself in time and place with Ballymurphy, 1972.
Who is the TD who can go to any of the working-class housing estates around Dublin and give the residents uplifting lectures about the importance of maintaining high standards in public life? Which of the gallants in Dail Eireann is so untarnished as to be made as welcome in any of those estates as Colin Duffy was in Donaghmede last Saturday? And should the answer to that question not fill us with abject fear?
Erm… I’m no expert, but I’d have thought the most obvious answer to his first question in the last paragraph would be the indefatigable Tommy Broughan who from time immemorial has parked his caravan on the verge just down from Donaghmede Shopping Centre and across the road from the church the funeral took place at. I find it hard to believe that Broughan has any problems going anywhere around there.
And speaking of which… I happen to know Donaghmede too, know it well as it happens having gone to school in Kilbarrack just down the road, canvassed there during the 1980s and 1990s and have friends from there. But more recently that’s where I did my weekly shopping in Dunnes in the Shopping Centre until three or so years ago.
Most recently I was there the week before last at the pet shop buying, of all things, cat litter (in the perhaps not entirely appropriately named Wackers). I also made a stop in the music shop there where for a very reasonable price I managed to get The Old Grey Whistle Test 4 disc compilation. Pleased with my purchases I then dropped into Dunnes for something and tried to find a book in the bookshop upstairs (which IIRC is or was owned by Mary White, of the Green Party).
Now, I don’t want to pretend that Donaghmede, or indeed anywhere in particular on the North side is an oasis of tranquility and calm. Or on the south side. Or wherever. But I’d wonder what relationship Myer’s description of the area bears to reality – not least because the funeral was in the church that is across the road from the shopping centre where far from it being some sort of Weimar defeatism the Gardai fairly sensibly took the decision not to intervene.
As for a political meaning to all this, well, given it was RIRA, they don’t really do politics. And the nature of the death of Ryan would appear to raise enormously problematic issues for them whether they did politics or not. Indeed the self-limiting aspects of Republicanism without politics, particularly when there appear to be strong linkages into the criminal world, are fairly obvious and we’ve seen unhappy examples of this in the past.
And having a first hand account from someone who wandered in on the event coincidentally it would appear that the actual crowd of RIRA, or whatever one wishes to call them, was quite small and supplemented – as might be expected, by people having a gawk.
So yeah, something smells alright…
I should add that Myers has form when it comes to the North side. Two years ago local SF rep Mícheál Mac Donncha made this protest as regards an article by him about… well, read on…