Left Archive: Provos – Patriots or Terrorists? Seán Ó Riain, 1974 February 11, 2013Posted by WorldbyStorm in Irish Left Online Document Archive, Sinn Féin, Uncategorized.
To download the above document please click on the following link: PROVS
In some respects this document is not a left-wing publication, and yet it provides a refutation of the two nations theory from the point of view of Provisional Republicanism. The author (who is later credited, as was pointed out to me, in a second edition of the pamphlet published later in 1974, under the byline of ‘G. Ó Danachair.’) clearly worked closely with PSF in writing the book, indeed in the Introduction he writes;
The author would like to express his gratitude to Éamonn Mac Thomáis and Joe Clarke for their kind help.
The Introduction also is clear in terms of the strong identification it establishes with Provisional Republicanism.
As your read this, the climax of the struggle for an independent and sovereign Irish nation is being enacted in the North-Eastern part of our country. Despite the gallantry of the beleaguered people of the Six Counties, gallantry alone cannot defeat the military and propaganda might of the Britain and her allies in this country. Only the entire people of IReland can achieve that. But the Irish people are not being told the truth about either the Northern situation or the I.R.A. campaign. it is in order that the truth be known that this pamphlet has been written.
It should be pointed out that all references to either the ‘Republican Movement’ or the ‘Irish Republican Army refer to the ‘Provisional Movement or the ‘Provisional’ I.R.A. – unless otherwise stated.
One notable omission is that of the concept of class. This is particularly evident in the first chapter which attempts to engage with the ‘Two-Nations’ theory.
There are certainly two traditions but no two nations. After 350 years there is no longer even a distinguishable dividing line between those of platner or native ancestry. there is no linguistic difference, or physically apparent racial difference. All share the same territory, the same history and the common name of ‘Irishman’. Their differences are based on religious conflict or to put it in its current terminology, they are only separated by sectarianism.
The rest of the pamphlet is broken up into various chapters, including ‘The Northern Situation’, ‘In Justification’, ‘the Terrorist Myth’, ‘Criticism and Refutation’ and ‘The Republican Alternative’. There are also appendices dealing with various topics including ‘Torture’, ‘Repression’, ‘Discrimination’ and ‘Éire Nua in Outline’.
In relation to the last, there’s an interesting analysis of how that document provides ‘an ideal solution’, one which ‘has to… offer… something to both sides’ on pp.39-40.
All told a very useful document that provides a considerable insight into both the thinking of the Provisional Movement during that period and how it sought to be represented to a broader audience.