On the runs… March 2, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
“it is risible for key politicians to claim they had no knowledge[of them]”
I had always assumed from the off that some sort of agreement had been struck on the issue with former members of the IRA. How could it be otherwise, and all the rending of garments and tearing of hair in the last week has seemed to me to be rather cosmetic, not least the on again off again resignation threat.
Hain also wrote:
“There is no suggestion that the contents of the letters to those ‘on the runs’ were cleared with key politicians of all parties, or the details of the scheme shared, but the idea that they did not know anything about them is risible,” Mr Hain said.
“Even when the letters were in the public domain, there was still misrepresentation, whether wilfully or not, about what the letters sent between 2001 and 2012 actually said and meant — and this process caused the victims even greater pain.”
Hain makes other points too:
Writing a first-hand account in the Sunday Telegraph of how the scheme came about, Mr Hain suggested that if a line was to be drawn on Northern Ireland’s past it must include the pursuit of paratroopers involved in Bloody Sunday.
There is a distinction between uncovering the truth and pursuing individuals. It’s a difficult distinction – particularly for those from whatever quarter who saw loved one’s murdered and it involves all those party to the conflict across the decades but it may well be that an absolute amnesty but continued examination is the only way forward from here.
And then… as if by magic… it was seemingly over… February 28, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
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…surely has to be the response to the controversy in the North this week. Not least the fairly sharpish withdrawal of that threat of resignation. The thought that keeps returning to me is how unlikely the protestations from all sides are to ignorance of this. I’d tend to think that the assumption most interested in this area had was that something very similar, if not indeed identical, had been agreed whether formally or otherwise years back. Whether this was all about the electoral optics..? Hard to disagree, for once, with the following person’s views…
Minister for Foreign Affairs Eamon Gilmore cautioned politicians against reopening tortuously agreed compromises.
“We cannot allow the past to destroy the peace and stability of the present and the prospect of a better future for generations to come,” he said.
What if: A sustained campaign in the 1990s by PIRA? February 20, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, What if?.
I’ve been reading “Insider: Gerry Bradley’s Life in the IRA” by the late Gerry Bradley with Brian Feeney – and Bradley’s situation seems, whether one agrees or disagrees with his political analysis, to have been genuinely tragic at the end. It makes for a thought provoking read. It certainly seems to express a certain view amongst some Republicans as to the nature and course of the Peace Process. Bradley made no secret of his disenchantment with the overall direction and outcomes.
But a couple of thoughts came to mind gong through it. For example, there’s a sort of tension between what is aspired to and what is accepted as achievable. As an example, Bradley argued that ‘from 1982 the campaign was being run down’. And while he accepted that ‘you need a political wing and it’s important to get votes to endorse the IRA campaign, but if there’s a campaign, then you have to devote resources to it.’
And he continued: ‘Over the years, all the resources were switched to the political side. I remember being furious when SF councillor told me Adams had said to him that SF workers were as important as volunteers’.
When asked what he would have done differently he put forward this line of argument…
If it hadn’t been for the IRA, the British would never have negotiated with SF… instead of running down the campaign, I would have conducted it more strategically. If we were supposed to be destroying the North’s economy and keeping it unstable, then do it. Go out and shoot investors, industrialists – stop people putting money in here… take the war to England. I was always strongly in favour of that. As they say, one bomb in London is worth a hundred here, and it’s true. Look at Canary Wharf – that got faster results than a million votes. Also did more damage than a hundred bombs in Belfast. John Major didn’t want that again. Shoot MPS. Exploding bombs her or killing the odd soldier didn’t put the guy in Whitehall off his dinner. Blow up the Stock Exchange, the Bank of England, shoot a couple of MPs.’
It is also striking – in contrast – to consider what Bradley said about actions on the ground in Belfast in the early to mid-1980s where he acknowledges that in relation to British surveillance capabilities ‘the technology was amazing. We tried to explain it to new volunteers, but it was hard to convince them. They thought the Brits had to have men with binoculars hiding in a building. They wouldn’t believe video cameras could run for days.’ And he noted that ‘All the players were marked by the mid-eighties’ and ‘aerial supremacy was the principal advantage the British had’.
Whether in a post 9/11 world such an approach would have been viable, or whether it would have ushered in a pseudo-post 9/11 world earlier, is another question too. But there’s a broader question too. Just what sort of gains in political terms could have been achieved, or to put it more bluntly, were achievable, in the late 1990s even on foot of a more intense campaign, or would it even have been possible to hold the sort of negotiations that led to the GFA on foot of such events?
What if: the hunger strikes had been resolved? February 13, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.
This is obviously a particularly contentious one, if only because of the contested aspects of the history of the hunger strikes themselves. But this very interesting event brought to mind the question what if it had been possible for them to be ended in some form of agreement, something that appeared tantalisingly close at various points. What effect would that have had subsequently on the trajectory of the IRA and Sinn Féin and the broader political environment in Northern Ireland and on the island as a whole?
Joe Lee wrote that:
The British handling of the whole H-block situation was inept to the point of criminality. It threatened to endanger the political stability not only of Northern Ireland, but of the Republic, where emotions ran high. In the North ‘the hunger strike and the authorities’ response did more to unite Catholic opinion than any other single event since internment in 1971 or Bloody Sunday in 1972’.
He notes as well:
It was the more politically minded SF strategists, like Gerry Adams and Danny Morrison, rather than the IRA militarists, insofar as distinction can be drawn, who profited most from the public sympathy and from the organisational experience accumulated during the H-block campaigns. This newly demonstrated organisational talent, together with popular sympathy for the strikers, would soon be reflected in an unprecedented level of SF electoral success’.
After Smithwick… January 28, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
Three former senior gardaí have published a comprehensive evaluation of the Smithwick Tribunal’s conclusions, challenging its key finding of collusion by unnamed gardaí in the murders of two RUC officers.
They claim this tribunal finding is not grounded in facts and should be rejected by the Government “as a matter of urgency and justice” and contend it adversely affects the relationship between the Garda Síochána and the PSNI.
Given how oddly vague the framework upon which the findings appeared to be constructed – as noted by many at the time, and something that appears to have been received in certain quarters as almost a “balancing” exercise, this was perhaps an outcome that was just waiting to happen, and it’s difficult not to have some sympathy with those making the evaluation.
What if: Stormont had attempted to shape an inclusive Northern Ireland in the 1920s? January 21, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, What if?.
Here’s a question that has long made me wonder, what if with partition the Stormont government and the state in Northern Ireland had been more willing to make the effort to if not share power at least give a greater political space to nationalism? Is it that the two competing nationalisms were too divergent for such, particularly given the divisions between communities (and the manner in which class fed into those divisions?). Was there anything that Stormont could have done? The thought comes on foot of re-reading the interesting book Padraig O’Malley’s The Uncivil Wars from the early 1980s (of which more soon) which examined the North and Ireland and Britain through interviews with various politicians and others during that period and noted that some in Unionism sought something less than power sharing, but an assembly where Nationalists would control committees and therefore exercise some form of authority albeit constrained. It’s something, isn’t it to consider that as recently as the 1980s that was as far as much of Unionism could go towards powersharing, and it wasn’t that far really. But had gestures like that been made from the off was it ever tenable that some sort of modified dispensation – tolerable if unloved – could have been arrived at?
Joseph Lee notes that one education the Catholic Church was deeply hostile to educational reform measures and that:
Craig made a number of genuine if limited attempts to persuade Catholics to cooperate in the new administration. he reserved one third of the places in the police force for them, and invited them to participate on the Lynn committee of inquiry into education. When they failed to respond he seems to have decided that future initiatives for conciliation must come from them.
He also notes that:
Craig appointed Dawson Bates as Minister for Home Affairs to protect his right flank. As secretary of the Ulster Unionist Association since 1905, Bates had acquired an intimate knowledge of local unionist politics, and Craig relied heavily on him to relay grassroots feeling. If he was a useful buffer for Craig against he barbs of the right, however, Craig in return had to allow him a virtually free hand in the area of security. And Bates, aided and abetted by his permanent secretary, Samuel Watt, as well as by other officials, was a confirmed sectarian. He refused to appoint Catholics to his ministry. His Offences Against the State Act in 1924 invested the government with extensive powers of arrest and detention. It was renewed annually until 1931, when it became a permanent adornment of Ulster Unionist political architecture.
In a way the problem breaks down into parts. Was it ever feasible Unionism could be generous enough to make the necessary effort? Was Nationalism/Republicanism able or willing to reciprocate given the nature of the balance of power within the North (for better and worse)? Even had some accommodation been found initially could it have lasted and how would events such as the Economic War, the Second World War and so on impacted upon it. And so on. Of course the further one moves from a divergence the hazier the ability to even attempt to map outcomes.
Changed times… to an extent January 20, 2014Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
The advance transcripts from the latest programme on BBC which sees Ian Paisley being interviews by Eamonn Mallie are fascinating. There’s something of a looking glass world to quotes such as the following: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/paisley-heartbroken-over-exit-from-church-1.1661066
In the programme Eamonn Mallie quotes Dr Paisley’s son, the Rev Kyle Paisley, as stating about some of the people who ousted him: “Some of what was said was pure sectarianism and some Protestants only wanted a military defeat of republicans . . .”
Endorsing this account, Dr Paisley said: “There are people and all they wanted was the defeat of the IRA and that was it. And Protestants who were killing and bombing as well and they are forgotten about.”
Sectarianism? Military defeat of the IRA? This language, indeed this very analysis, is a telling indication of how far he some in Unionism have moved from their original comfort zone. Surely, the previous programme indicated that Paisley still held, albeit in softened form, many of the attitudes that were – to put it at its most diplomatic – unhelpful as the years rolled by, but his journey and that of those around him is surely one of significant movement onto difficult, indeed extremely unfamiliar and in a sense hazardous, terrain. So much so that it’s hardly a surprise, although it is a surprise, to read that he is no longer attending the Martyrs Memorial Church because there are those who still oppose his decision to share power with SF.
It also points up how much less far others had to move in Unionism – and further afield – to accommodate the dispensation and power sharing and yet how often they have rhetorically railed against that dispensation.
None of which is to deny agency to Paisley. His personality inflected the conflict, even if it was as much a representation of deeper dynamics as anything else. But while retaining many/most of his beliefs – and there’s a somewhat entertaining anecdote as to how he told Blair in 2007 that he was a ‘fool’ for converting to Catholicism – there is a sense that he was willing to make that accommodation.
More on Mandela… December 19, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Economy, Irish Politics, Northern Ireland, The Left.
Some interesting stuff in the Phoenix this week, the last issue proper of the year (and I’ve already points towards the excellent annual Phoenix…erm …Annual which gives a pretty good overview of the bad and the not so great).
The current issue notes the contortions the orthodoxy have got into in trying to put distance between Mandela and Sinn Féin, but also notes that the ANC was keen to use IRA expertise (as those of us who paid attention when this first broke a while back this was apparently through the good offices of Michael O’Riordain) during the Sasol bombing operation in 1980. It notes that one of those who subsequently pointed to that as an example of justifiable political violence was David Miliband.
More recently the ANC played what some would argue was a fairly central role in encouraging the SF base to accept the peace process in the late 1990s, and this is – naturally – in addition to the continual links between the ANC and SF throughout the period.
And it is difficult not to agree with the proposition that:
The spectacle of coalition minister, egotistical rock celebrities and other body snatchers basking in Mandela’s reflected glory is only be be expected. But he airbrushing of SF and Adams from the frame – regardless of political views and arguments from all sides – is another example of the Irish media reverting to Section 31 mode.
There’s a longer piece on Adams in the magazine which engages with precisely that issue, and makes the sensible observation that if anything these attacks make the prospect of Adams going sooner rather than later much less likely. And while it is entirely possible this will put a dent in SF’s ratings, as the Phoenix notes, so far it hasn’t damaged them anywhere near as badly as might be expected (by those who are making the attacks).
It does address other issues, such as the party’s hope of doubling its representation. Personally I think it much more feasible for them to reach the low 20s. That said though, the lesson of 2011 was that they were suddenly succeeding in places where their broader profile was lower than might be expected with names who had no national currency whatsoever. That too has changed. But 28 seats would be an huge task even on the best of days.
And yet, as always there are other issues. Worth considering is the fact that they are almost inevitably going to see an increase in the number of councillors, with a possible knock on effect on their Seanad representation further down the line. And then there’s the European elections. They should, at a minimum take one seat. It’s possible they might get two, thought three is probably pushing it.
In other words, despite the problems they face (and by the way the Phoenix notes something that we’ve pointed to here also, that in relation to the Liam Adams case the Irish political class has tended to leave well alone – it also notes that both Colm O’Gorman and the director of One in Four have ‘refused to pass judgement… circuiting the human complexities in family situations’ which may well account for the lack of traction that has had) SF as a political force in this state is here to stay and the overall situation is extremely favourable – nor least the decline of the LP.
Using Adams as a lightning rod is probably an inevitable element of that dispensation. It was bound to happen sooner or later, in a more covert or more explicit fashion – though interesting to reflect on how events might have unfolded if he hadn’t contested a seat in the Dáil.
I wonder if that’s such a clever approach on the part of those who oppose SF, because it does suggest that short of breaking SF as a political force in this state – a deeply unlikely proposition, they will instead exhaust their energies in trying to dislodge him as leader. And in doing so, it will merely accentuate the distinction between SF with Adams and SF without, something that is going to occur with the passage of time.
After Smithwick… redux December 16, 2013Posted by guestposter in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
Many thanks to Gearóid Ó Faoleán for the following which appeared as a comment late last week but is more appropriate as a post in itself.
‘Isn’t this very strange?’
The findings are, indeed, very strange. I have the report downloaded as pdf. but, so far, have only been able to dip into it. Some unfestive reading awaits me over Christmas. Brady does make a fair point in stating that it is a fair leap from corruption to connivance in the killing of these two RUC officers.
The first thing that struck me about the reporting of the tribunal’s findings was how little reference was made to past instances of Garda collusion with the Provisional IRA; whether this was due to the ignorance of journalists or not, I don’t know. Around the time of the killing of Breen and Buchanan, it was suspected that there was a mole or moles within the Gardaí or Irish Defence Forces in the Munster region, particularly given the relative failure of the security forces to locate any significant quantity of the Libyan arms in the years since the discovery of the Eksund.
In early 1992, a serving Garda based at Henry St. in Limerick City was arrested at a payphone in the city making a phonecall to his IRA contact warning him off upcoming raids. The Garda was sentenced to five years imprisonment but released early (along with a number of other IRA prisoners) as a gesture of goodwill during the peace negotiations in 1995. Following his arrest, the security forces were much more successful in their arms discoveries. Brendan O’Brien gives considerable detail of the arms seizures in his ‘The Long War’ book.
During the 1970s, there were isolated instances of Gardaí aiding the Provisional IRA – usually through the provision of information – in the south of the country i.e. not in areas where the Gardaí were in a position to provide information on targets, as with officers Breen and Buchanan. A number of serving Irish Defence Force members provided the IRA with commercial explosives from storage facilities that they had been tasked to guard, were arrested and imprisoned (usually with ‘hard labour’).
There is also one alleged instance in which two Gardaí actively colluded with a Tyrone IRA unit in or around late 1971/early 1972. The allegation was made by P. Michael O’Sullivan in his (now very rare) photo-documentary book of the republican movement in the north during that period. O’Sullivan was an American combat photographer who had previously been with the US Army in Vietnam. While in Ireland, he was ‘embedded’ with the Tyrone IRA. According to him, the unit was pulled over near the border by Gardaí who informed them of an RUC patrol ahead. One Garda asked ‘are you going to have a go at them?’ to which the unit leader replied ‘we might, and where would you be?’ The Garda answered ‘well if you do, I’ll be off having my tea’ and waved them on. The conversation remains an allegation, but the photographs of the encounter seem very real. An important note to make is that the book was banned in both Irish states following its release.
A point I made in an earlier article on Cedar Lounge (https://cedarlounge.wordpress.com/2013/09/26/the-past-and-the-present-2/) was that, while of course there are documented cases of Garda/Army collusion, there seems to be an agenda at play – both politically and academically – to draw false equivalences in terms of scope and scale. I imagine that I am far from the only person who contributes to this site who has examined collusion as it occurred between members of the British security forces and loyalist paramilitaries. There is simply no parallel here based on my own research.
Last Friday, Jeffrey Donaldson was given space for an opinion piece on the tribunal’s findings in the Irish Times. This is the same newspaper that published an article in which it was claimed that Toby Harnden had been vindicated by the tribunal (in fact, Smithwick concluded the very opposite of this). Campbell’s article can be read here: http://www.irishtimes.com/news/politics/we-need-to-know-if-there-were-any-further-cases-of-collusion-with-ira-1.1618283
I sent off a letter to the paper following publication of this piece, which was not published. For what it is worth, here is what I had written:
In 2011, in response to a HET (Historical Enquiries Team) report on the Miami Showband killings – a case of proven collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and members of the British security forces – Jeffrey Donaldson remarked that a piecemeal approach to the legacy of the past was doing nobody a service. Yet, where an opportunity for politicking or perhaps instituting a hierarchy of victims presents itself, Donaldson is to the fore in highlighting the importance of such a strategy.
In this paper yesterday (6 December), the DUP MP ignored basic facts in his rush to draw false equivalencies between the widespread collusion that existed in Northern Ireland during the ‘Troubles’ and the findings of the Smithwick Tribunal. Thus, ‘on the balance of probabilities’ becomes fact in the case of Garda-Provisional IRA collusion. Further, in seeking to add gravitas to an already horrific killing, Donaldson reminds us that ‘soldiers in an army don’t shoot people trying to surrender’; something that clearly did not apply to the British Army in Ballymurphy in 1971, Derry city in 1972 or, indeed, Gibraltar in 1988.
Donaldson continues by stating that the attempt by southern Irish politicians to source armaments for northern nationalists in the autumn of 1969 ‘point to a sometimes sympathetic environment for the IRA’. He refuses to contextualise the events of August 1969 when over one thousand families were forced to flee their homes due to sectarian attacks, with numerous eyewitness reports attesting to the involvement of members of the B Specials (the forerunner to the Ulster Defence Regiment) in these attacks. I understand I could stand accused of the sin of ‘whataboutery’ with this letter. However, disingenuity and hypocrisy must be challenged.
Is mise le meas, (…)’
As we now know from the discovery of a British Army report from 1973, it had long been acknowledged internally that the UDR was an utterly compromised force in terms of cross-membership with loyalist paramilitaries. Further, that the regiment was never going to be given the opportunity of being an inclusive force as envisaged by Lord Hunt. His major recommendations, from the politically-sensitive name of the force to the desired prohibition on the recruitment of B Special officers, were ignored.
The tribunal’s findings have been described elsewhere as a ‘sop to unionists’ (in deliberate reference, I imagine…). As I have said, there are documented cases of collusion from the conflict – mostly passed over by the press – and the report is still mostly unread by me. So far, however, it does indeed seem ‘very strange’. No evidence, ‘balance of probabilities’ and the inevitable platforms for those who finally have official ‘proof’ that ‘while we might have been bad, so were ye!’
And now we wait for Britain to uphold its end of the Weston Park Agreement although, as Alan Shatter stated last week, now is not the time to discuss such matters.
Smithwick December 11, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Politics, Northern Ireland.
There’s no doubt that the human aspect of the murder of RUC Chief Supt Harry Breen and Supt Bob Buchananby the IRA in March 1989 comes home in the testimony given at the Smithwick Tribunal. June Breen’s account of having the chops on when news of the murder was relayed to her by her husband’s colleagues is a striking insight into the manner in which the banal nature of ordinary enough lives was obliterated, and tragically so, by the conflict.
As well as confirming long-held suspicions of the IRA mole in Dundalk Garda station, Judge Peter Smithwick said there was collusion in the killings but was unable to point the finger at an individual and said he suspects there could have been another person passing information to the IRA.
Conor Brady had a particularly good take on that in the Irish Times over the weekend noting that:
…it is a far step from [Garda corruption] to participation in the murders of fellow police officers, albeit in a different jurisdiction.
That last part of the sentence brought me up short, and no doubt others as well. But the general point is clear.
And he continues:
The report concludes that “the passing of information by a member of an Garda Sнochбna was the trigger” (23.2.5) for the ambush operation in which Chief Supt Breen and Supt Buchanan were murdered. This conclusion would appear to be built upon a structure of deduction rather than any hard evidence.
Judge Smithwick acknowledges the lack of any direct evidence. “There is no record of a phone call, no traceable payment, no smoking gun.” (23.1.2). And when he considers the possible involvement of the gardaн who were examined by the tribunal, he rules each of them out.
Isn’t this very strange? The finding is there but as Brady notes it is not based on hard evidence.
Of former Det Sgt Owen Corrigan, he says: “While there is some evidence that Mr Corrigan passed information to the Provisional IRA, I am not satisfied that the evidence is of sufficient substance and weight to establish that Mr Corrigan did in fact collude in the fatal shootings of Chief Superintendent Breen and Superintendent Buchanan.” (23.2.11).
We are left with the possibility that some unknown garda notified the IRA of the RUC officers’ visit. This requires one to conclude (as the judge does) that the IRA’s claim to have mounted the ambush on the basis of its own surveillance and intelligence is false. But notwithstanding Gerry Adams’s maladroit comments about the murdered officers’ approach to their security, it should be borne in mind that in recent years IRA statements about past operational matters have been generally accurate.
If that conclusion is curious, albeit persuasive, there’s an simply astounding take on all this by Stephen Collins in the Times too. He argues that:
The Garda and the Army generally did their best to block the porous Border but the resistance by the courts and a broad swathe of political opinion to the introduction of normal extradition procedures between Ireland and the United Kingdom for almost two decades facilitated the continuation of murder.
Even when extradition was introduced in the late 1980s, in the aftermath of the Anglo Irish Agreement, it took an inordinately long time for the system to become effective.
The IRA clearly had sympathisers at all levels of society in the Republic, otherwise it could not have continued to wreak havoc for so long. The full story about that has yet to be told.
Many of us here reading this would have been – and many will still be – by any definition far from sympathisers to the IRA and yet will have found that reading remarkably partial. For some of us – despite profound criticism of the armed struggle – there were very genuine concerns about the nature of policing, the administration of justice and the state itself as it functioned North of the border. And it’s not as if Collins is unaware of such matters, in the very same piece he notes:
Many aspects of the Troubles, including the involvement of the British state in atrocities such as Bloody Sunday and collusion with loyalist paramilitaries have been explored in official inquiries. The Smithwick report has now put the spotlight on the State’s response south of the Border.
But it is as if there is a gap between that knowledge and an understanding of why the concept of ‘normal’ policing was near enough impossible in the 1980s.
That’s not to say that there was no collusion at various levels, but it appears more generally to have been as Gerry Moriarty writes in the Irish Times ‘localised… and at a low-ranking level’. It seems in that respect strikingly different in character to some of the events that occurred north of the border.
That said Moriarty’s assessment is telling.
In terms of fallout it seems unlikely that there will be a major negative political dimension to the Smithwick report.
The judge found there was Garda collusion but that it was localised and, it seems, at a low-ranking level. Such corruption is hard to come to terms with, but will hardly damage British-Irish or North-South relations.
Given the renewed focus on the MRF – and the levels of collusion noted earlier in relation to the North – it would seem that that’s extremely unlikely, but as has been noted elsewhere that renewed focus has been given remarkably little attention in this state in the past week or so.
Finally there’s a telling aspect to Collins piece, or a couple of telling aspects, not least that he is sharply against a Truth and Reconciliation process, but also the following:
Senator Paul Coghlan of Fine Gael has suggested that the best response to the Smithwick report would be for the Garda and the PSNI to set up joint offices along the Border to combat crime such as diesel laundering.
In his report Judge Peter Smithwick called for procedures to be put in place to allow for the structured and regular exchange of information and intelligence between the two forces. Such an initiative would be a small sign that we have learned something from the past.
Good idea re joint Garda/PSNI offices, though perhaps I’m being overly-cynical, but I wonder though what the response of Unionism would be to such an initiative? Would they see it as a sign of the recognition of partition or… as seems more likely, more than an hint of an increasingly shared future. It reminds me in a way of the idea that Conor Cruise O’Brien had, which saw him precipitously depart from the UK Unionist Party, of a united Ireland within which Ulster (six county, not nine-county, variant) would have an home rule set up with the retention of the RUC, Stormont re-instated and ironically a spin on the old Éire Nua line (not quite, but close enough), all in order to ‘thwart SF’ and PIRA. There’s a point during some political travels where you wind up meeting yourself coming the other way.