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Very, very frightening February 14, 2007

Posted by franklittle in Culture, Ireland, Irish Election 2007, Irish Politics, media, Media and Journalism, Northern Ireland, Republicans, Sinn Féin.

With candidates declared for the Assembly Elections in March, a good deal of debate has been taking place around the Dissident, or Independent, Republican candidates running in the election. One of the most high profile of them is Gerry McGeough, running in Fermanagh-South Tyrone, a former IRA prisoner and a former member of Sinn Féin’s Ard Chomhairle. 

He is also editor, and published I think, of The Hibernian, which I’ve not read before but the February edition of which I came across today in Tuthills and with little else to read with my sandwich, thought I’d check it out. 

It’s scary stuff. Very, very scary. On the front page is a picture of McGeough and….the Virgin Mary. A big one. It’s done in such a way that it almost looks like the Shinner strategy of having candidates stand behind Adams‘ shoulder. The headline ‘We can win’ is straight-forward enough, though what the ‘we’ is referring to is an interesting one. Slightly lacking in subtlety, the strap on the bottom advertises an historical article about the Battle for Fermanagh of 1594. And McGeough is running in what constituency again? 

Inside, the editorial, and this is where alarm bells went off.

“For months now, we have been urging our readers to become involved in all aspects of life that would lead to the promotion of the Catholic Patriot cause and help bring about the Kingship of Christ on Earth.”

“We have argued that if we want to tackle the Liberal/Masonic Agenda and prevent the introduction of legislation that would favour abortion, pornography and the promotion of other abominations we must engage the opposition with action as well as prayer.” 

Further down, we have more reference to Catholic Patriotism and he concludes with:

“Let us go forward in the name of the Holy Trinity and under the protective banner of Our Lady. Éirinn go Brách – Ireland Forever.” 

Beside the editorial, an announcement about the magazine’s National Rosary Crusade, which aims to get groups of people together in their locality all over Ireland to recite the rosary and pray for ‘Our Lady’s intercession on behalf of Ireland in these perilous times’. 

I just don’t know where to begin. Other articles deal with the Bilderbergs, the perils of television and homosexuality, and a comment piece arguing that only through Christ can we rebuild Western civilisation. Catholic Patriotism? Creating the Kingdom of Christ on Earth? This is a world away from modern, and even traditional, Irish republicanism. 

It is one of the most right-wing pieces of Irish literature I’ve read in recent times. Backing McGeough raises questions for Dissident republicanism as to whether this is their alternative, though one can’t see the Real IRA going on a National Rosary Crusade. There are also a couple of questions for the Shinners as to how a madman like this got onto their Ard Chomhairle. 

Finally, this is a 36 page, colour publication costing two euros, even if on cheap paper and cheap ink, there’s money behind this. There are questions there too. 


1. smiffy - February 14, 2007

Perhaps McGeough is pictured with the Blessed Virgin in order to boost Our Lady’s profile for her run in Dublin Central in the General Election this summer.


2. WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2007

How long ago was he on the Ard Comhairle?


3. Splintered Sunrise - February 14, 2007

He would have been on the Ard Chomhairle as recently as two or three years ago. So it’s not like he’s a holdover from the days before PSF discovered political correctness.

Of course, it’s possible he was just on there to keep the madmen in Tyrone quiet. Those guys have a habit of giving Gerry trouble.


4. WorldbyStorm - February 14, 2007

Interesting. Still, isn’t he against the use of violence? And hasn’t he said he’d take a seat in the Assembly? A strange sort of ‘dissident’ if you ask me.


5. Wednesday - February 14, 2007

He would have been on the Ard Chomhairle as recently as two or three years ago.

He was definitely gone by 2003.


6. joemomma - February 14, 2007

My only exposure to “dissident” republicanism is online, but it does strike me that practically all of those I’ve encountered on politics.ie are social reactionaries. Can this just be coincidence?


7. Dan Sullivan - February 15, 2007

And to think we still have many SF members denying that a consider section of their support is essentially ultra-nationalist rather than “republican” in any pluralist sense of the word.


8. Wednesday - February 15, 2007

Links to “many” SF members denying this Dan?


9. SplinteredSunrise - February 15, 2007

He was definitely gone by 2003.

Possibly from the Ard Chomhairle. I based my estimate on having heard him speak at a commemoration in I think early 2004. He may not have been actually on the AC at that point, but he wasn’t outside the Big Tent either.

He’s not advocating armed struggle and he’s not an abstentionist. But then you could say the same of the Irps.


10. Frank Little - February 15, 2007

I think this points again to something I argued in a post back in December comparing Sinn Féin’s economic policies north and south. From reading the material and personal contact, Sinn Féin activists in the South, particularly in urban areas, tend to be strongly left of centre, quite radical, quite militant and socially progressive. Not all of them, just in general, there are obviously exceptions.

Sinn Féin in the North tends to be more socially conservative at a grassroots level, however politically correct their representatives are. I remember watching TV coverage of the Easter Commemorations with a Dublin Shinner who was horrified to see the rosary recited at the Belfast commemoration for example.

I don’t think it is a conicedence that Dissidents tend to be more socially conservative. I think Dissident analyses fit more easily into a black and white mentality at home in social conservatism. It’s also the case that national liberation struggles, as republicans see themselves, can unify right and left but this unity rarely lasts past the end of the conflict.


11. Redking - February 15, 2007

It’s shocking to come across literature of such a reactionary and sectarian nature. You really think such neanderthals are history and then this-of course the main issue is that the veneer of modernity and professionalism presnted by PSF is just that a veneer-people are always more than willing to give them the benefit of the doubt, but even allowing for the fact that Tyrone is hardly a cosmopolitan nirvana, McGeough is entirely typical of most PSF members I’ve met through the years-from Derry, Belfast and elswhere. He was on their AC as recently as 2003 for god’s sake not 1973!! He and they always represent a sectarian Catholic Defenderist mentality at base level. Unfortunatley they may be ideally placed to garner some votes. I was back in the North last week and picked up real anger and not all of it was from the lunatic fringe represented by McG and co. Several PSF candidates have also received bullets in the post….


12. Pidge - February 15, 2007

On a side note, the “Existence of God” section of the website is a good laugh.


13. Wednesday - February 15, 2007

I based my estimate on having heard him speak at a commemoration in I think early 2004.

No, he was gone by then.



14. SplinteredSunrise - February 16, 2007

Assuming McDonald is right, then I stand corrected. He would have left in late ’03 rather than early ’04. Although since a lot of the republican opposition is still within the Big Tent, it’s not always easy to tell.

But it was recent enough to put the “Gerry McGeough? Who he?” reactions in some kind of perspective.


15. Brian - February 23, 2007

What’s so scary about this man’s beliefs? Our society has been built upon Judea-Christian values. Just because a bunch of the supposed -guardians of the faith have lost their credibility (due to child abuse scandals) it doesn’t make the message of Christianity invalid. What’s the alternative? Homosexuality as a norm now? It’s unnatural. How can you not see this? Abortion threat looming? Divorces on the rise? You do know that having a strong faith-based belief system makes a nation function better than the new Godless state that is being erected on a daily basis by people like yourself.


16. Wednesday - February 23, 2007

You do know that having a strong faith-based belief system makes a nation function better than the new Godless state that is being erected on a daily basis by people like yourself.

Yes, things were just wonderful here in the 1960s and 1970s, weren’t they?


17. WorldbyStorm - February 24, 2007

I’m intrigued as to how the message of Christianity is somehow intrinsically homophobic, or indeed where it dealt with abortion, or divorce? Seems to me that that message was considerably more inclusive or at the least understanding of the basic reality that people are complex and deal with different issues in their own way. And I speak as more than half a theist.


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