I am so at home in Dublin, more than any other city, that I feel it has always been familiar to me. It took me years to see through its soft charm to its bitter prickly kernel - which I quite like too.

Home Uncategorized The Republican Journey

The Republican Journey

Thomas Fitzgerald
Out of the Ashes: An Oral History of the Provisional Irish Republican Movement, by Robert W White, Merrion Press, 488 pp, €24.99, ISBN 978-1785370939 Funerals and obituaries can be curious occasions. Often people will rally around and one will hear nothing but praise for the dead man or woman, even if some might have hated the person while alive. In other cases, a death can also go almost unnoticed or leave people feeling there isn’t much to say. Martin McGuinness’s death was clearly in the former category. In fact the media response to it almost mirrored the political narrative he so passionately maintained – violently denied civil rights, he and many of his generation in Northern Ireland had no option but to take up arms until, after many years, he, and most of his colleagues, made peace. True, many focused on the intervening years and the brutality of the organisation of which he was an integral part, but this was usually tempered by acknowledgement, if not celebration of, his eventual peace-making role. It was also emphasised that Mc Guinness was a highly personable man, one whom it was hard, even for his opponents, to dislike. The presence of Bill Clinton and Christy Moore further supported this narrative. Certainly some in the British conservative establishment reacted negatively to his death, but, even in Britain, the overall reaction was not unsympathetic. On the other hand when Ruairí Ó Brádaigh died in 2013, his death went largely unnoticed. RTÉ Radio called up Tim Pat Coogan for comment; television crews later went out to Coogan’s Dalkey home so he could repeat himself on TV news and then RTÉ duly passed on to the next story. In fact more attention was paid to his funeral, not necessarily because it was Ó Brádaigh’s funeral, but because it became a show of strength by an anti-Good Friday Agreement paramilitaries. In obituaries, Ó Brádaigh’s importance in the narrative of the Northern conflict was recognised, but they usually concluded with the idea that the latter stages of his life amounted to his being an uncompromising political dinosaur. In one particularly hostile notice it was hinted that he was the leader of a dangerous cult and that throughout his life he had been responsible for death and destruction – the author even linked him to post-1994 bombings with which he had no involvement. One cannot help but wonder why there…

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