March 28, 2016

The Redmondisation of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness


We're all Redmondites now. We live in an age of gradualism and evolution, not revolution; an age of realism, not radicalism. The Provisionals, once terrorists wedded to British withdrawal, have entered a new phase that we should call The New Departure, with an alliance of separatists and constitutionalists. 
John Redmond prefaced John Hume, and McGuinness followed Hume. If Martin McGuinness is John Hume, who is the Martin Mcguinness of old?

The story of Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness is that, as the adrenalin gland shrinks and the waist expands, the republican moves from Pearsean to Redmondite politic. 

But this is nothing new. This is a cycle of violence to pacifism that has been repeated many times in Irish history. And just as Adams and McGuinness follow former fenians into the parliamentary fold, so they have come no closer to breaking the Union.

Michael Davitt, John Martin, O'Meagher Condon, John Devoy (the ‘ex-convict and dynamiter’), John Denvir - all of these men, like Adams and McGuinness, were fenians turned constitutionalists.

John Redmond has all the credentials of an Irish patriot and a former revolutionary. Redmond had as little time for partition as he did for coercion. Roy Foster wrote:
"The successor regime [to the constitutionalist Irish Parliamentary Party], constituted of people who had spent their lives excoriating Redmond and his kind, came no nearer to solving the central problem of Ulster intransigence that had blocked Home Rule."


Lord Haldane said in June 1914: 
"Both forces (the Ulster and Irish Volunteers] are gross illegalities and unconstitutional"
John Redmond said:
"If it ever came to force, which God forbid—and we all know it never will—but if it did come to force, two can play at that game."
John Redmond is the third giant in a constitutional triumvirate that includes O’Connell and Parnell, and that dominated Irish politics for a century. However, the public understanding of Redmond conflicts with the reality of Redmondism. Redmond was not the strict pacifist he’s painted as. He lobbied for Fenians and for their better treatment and release. They were the 19th Century’s answer to the IRA.

During the Venezuelan Crisis (1895), Redmond wrote to President Grover Cleveland pledging Irish support should the United States go to war with Great Britain. These are not the actions of a loyal member of the British parliament. Redmond was also a gun-runner, a fact forgotten absolutely by official Ireland. Redmond was party to plans for the importation arms on behalf of the Irish Volunteers; opposition to which would come not only from Ulster but also from the British Army. Redmond methods were not always wholesome, but as Lord Haldane said, could be perfectly unconstitutional.

Eamonn McCann wrote about the revolutionary credentials of John Redmond:
“There is no Redmondite party around with which any faction feels a need to reconcile. Many claim the mantle of 1916, but the Home Rule Bill is nobody’s child. 
All that said, the Redmond/Dillon party was a more interesting phenomenon than is commonly supposed. Responding to Bruton, the Left-wing historian Brian Hanley pointed out that a quarter of Redmond’s MPs in the early 1900s were former Fenians – a more radical republican outfit than any around today. 
Redmond spent much of his energy in the 1890s campaigning for the release of republican prisoners. “They are men who sacrificed everything … to benefit Ireland. What do we care whether their effort was a wise one or not, mistaken or not?” 
When Tom Clark – with Sean Mac Diarmada, the main organiser of the Easter Rising – was freed from prison in 1897, the first person he thanked for helping win his release was John Redmond. 
Meanwhile, Dillon had, with Michael Davitt, spearheaded the boycott campaign against rack-renting landlords in the 1880s. Imprisoned six times, he was described in the Commons as “the most extreme of the agitators”. This is not the Redmond, or Dillon, who have come down to us in history. But, again, nobody has an interest in bigging them up."
John Redmond said in 1908:
"I notice that it is always the scheme that is dead that is approved. “You praise the prophets that your fathers stoned and you stone the prophets of to-day”."
Redmond rejected in July 1914 at Buckingham Palace what the plenipotentiaries accepted in 1922. Redmond called partition an abomination and blasphemy. John Redmond said in Limerick, October 12th 1913:
"Irish Nationalists can never be assenting parties to the mutilation of 
the Irish nation; Ireland is a unit. It is true that within the bosom of
a nation there is room for diversities of the treatment of government
and of administration, but a unit Ireland is and Ireland must
remain… The two-nation theory is to us an abomination and a
William O'Brien who broke from the IPP to form the All For Ireland League wrote, in ‘The Irish Revolution and how it came about’ (1923), about revolutionary credentials of Redmondite John Dillon:
"There is one other aid towards understanding Mr. Dillon’s almost personal resentment of friendliness to Ireland so long as it came from the Unionists. He was an hereditary Liberal of the Manchester school. His father, who had survived his dreams of the Young Ireland cycle, fell under the charm of John Bright’s eloquent courtship of Ireland — the first accents of affection that had fallen from English lips since the early speeches of Charles Fox — and spent his declining years under the refrigerating influence of Cardinal Cullen as his coadjutor in his wars against the Fenian men. The son was as a child fondled on the knee of the English Tribune and began life in the cotton trade in Manchester under his auspices. It is true that he got his foothold in Irish public life as a member (the only non-Fenian member) of the band of grizzled I. R. B. extremists who carried John Mitchel for Tipperary as the foe of all Parliamentary politics and the unrelenting hater of the English name. The fact seems to conflict strangely with his later boast in the House of Commons that “ he never belonged to the Separatist group,” and with his somewhat exaggerated claim to represent a “consttutional movement ” of the most rigid moderation."
Irish political leaders all have the funny knack of being able to straddle simultaneously the worlds of revolutionary and constitutional politics. John Redmond is not unique. Like all other Irish leaders he celebrated past violence and condemned present violence. Alvin Jackson in ‘Home Rule: An Irish History 1800 – 2000’ wrote: 
"The Easter rebels had exposed the limitations and inconsistencies of the Irish Party’s rhetoric and actions – a party that celebrated the achievements of earlier insurgents, and yet which daily compromised the ideals of Irish self-government."


James Connolly said Ireland's two traditions, parliamentary and physical force, can no more mix than oil and water. He said in 1908:
"There have ever been two currents in modern Irish history… the revolutionary and the compromising or constitutional, and that their ideas can no more mix or their ideals be compounded, than may blend oil and water."
Michael Davitt wrote about how moral force and physical force agitation have worked in cycles - moral force follows physical force in cycles. Davitt also helped bring about the New Departure in the 1880s which saw advanced constitutionalists and moderate revolutionaries, the moral and physical forces, come together to strive for Irish independence. 

James Joyce wrote in his 1907 essay on fenianism:
"Anyone who studies the history of the Irish revolution during the nineteenth century finds himself faced with a double struggle – the struggle of the Irish nation against the English government, and the struggle, perhaps no less bitter, between the moderate patriots and the so-called party of physical force."
He continued:
"Now, it is impossible for a desperate and bloody doctrine like Fenianism to continue its existence in an atmosphere like this, and in fact, as agrarian crimes and crimes of violence have become more and more rare, Fenianism too has once more changed its name and appearance. It is still a separatist doctrine but it no longer uses dynamite. The new Fenians are joined in a party which is called Sinn Fein (We Ourselves).l They aim to make Ireland a bi-lingual Republic, and to this end they have established a direct steamship service between Ireland and France."
Michael Davitt was 24 years when he was convicted and imprisoned for terrorist activities. Seven years of prison transformed him. He recorded, in Leaves from a Prison Diary, that violence was self-defeating, and that armed conspiracy groups were forever scuttled by informants. He became an apostle of non-violence, even if he could on occasion use incendiary language. With the help of Davitt, in October 1878 the Fenians propose a ‘New Departure’, an alliance with the Parnellites.

Historian Carla King wrote, in her forward to Davitt's Collected Writings 1868–1906, that prison transformed Davitt, like Mandela, from a terrorist to a constitutionalist. Davitt was a great inspiration Mahatma Gandhi in his campaign against Britain.

John Martin, born in 1812 near Newry in County Down, began nationalist life as a militant with support for Young Ireland and Repeal, later advocating non-violence. He supported tenant farmers’ rights and became the first Home Rule MP, for Meath (1871-1875).

The Fenian O'Meagher Condon came to accept Redmondism. Dermot Meleady explained that O'Meagher Condon, an original Fenian of Manchester infamy, returned from America to tour Ireland. John Redmond of the IPP took him in his car around the countryside and O'Meagher was most impressed by the notable improvement in affairs and the administration. Dermot said he said:
"If they had seen with their own eyes the improvements made over the country, and they were especially impressed by the restoration of the evicted tennants."
And he continued:
"He never expected to see that affected without recourse to force and he was glad and proud to admit that he was mistaken and that the Irish [Parliamentary] Party had been able to achieve results which they who believed in force had not been able to accomplish."
John Devoy, the ‘ex-convict and dynamiter’, supported the 1921 Anglo-Irish Treaty and the formation of the Irish Free State during the Irish Civil War. In 1924 Devoy triumphantly returned to Ireland as an honoured guest of the Cummann na nGaedheal Government of W.T. Cosgrave. Devoy was editor of the Gaelic American from 1903 until his death in New York City on 29 September 1928. 

‘The Life Story of an Old Rebel’ was written and published in 1910 by John Denvir (1834-1916), an Irish revolutionary turned constitutionalist. He quit the IRB after the 1867 rising, joining the Home Rule movement, later elected first secretary of the Home Rule Confederation of Great Britain;
He wrote in the chapter ‘The Home Rule Movement’:
"It now becomes my business to record the formation and progress of another organisation—one which appealed to me precisely on the same grounds as Fenianism, namely, first, that it was based on justice; and, secondly, that it was practicable. 
This was the constitutional movement for what was known as Home Rule. My principles have never altered, and I can see nothing inconsistent in my adapting myself to changed conditions. I and those who thought like me were driven into Fenianism because it seemed likely to achieve success, and what was call “constitutional agitation” seemed hopeless. Now the position was reversed. On the one hand Fenianism had collapsed, and on the other there seemed a prospect, partly owing to the change wrought by Fenianism, that a constitutional movement might succeed. 
This constitutional movement had been going on for some six years previous to the rescue of the military Fenians, having been inaugurated at a meeting in the Bilton Hotel, Dublin, on the 19th May, 1870, five days after the arrest of Michael Davitt, and his disappearance for a season from the stage of Irish history. 
In the pages which are to follow I shall have occasion to introduce some of those who took part in that first Home Rule gathering in Dublin. It was a hopeful beginning, as there were assembled men who were of various creeds and politics—Catholics, Protestants, Fenian sympathisers, Repealers, Liberals, and Tories—but all of whom had in view the happiness and prosperity of their common country. There they established the “Home Government Association of Ireland,” the first resolution passed being: 
This Association is formed for the purpose of attaining for Ireland the right of self-government by means of a National Parliament. 
The fact was that the “intensity of Fenianism” had forced thinking men of every shade of opinion to realise that government of Ireland by outsiders was an abject failure. Even Englishmen themselves began to realise that they were engaged in an impossible task, or, at all events, one in which they were quite at sea."
"Fatigue is the beginning of political wisdom" wrote Tom Kettle. And Robert Frost said, "I never dared be radical when young For fear it would make me conservative when old."

Irishman Edmund Burke is famous for his belief in gradual change. He didn’t believe in revolutionary change because he thought that society was too complicated to be planned through reason and remade according to that plan. Burke is known as the founder of conservatism, but his thought sits oddly these days with the Republican Party and those who call themselves conservative. The party has become much more populist,

Fintan O'Toole wrote in the New York Times in 1998:
"The transformation of terrorist into statesman has been in the last fifty years such a frequently recurring theme that it has almost become the political equivalent of religious redemption. In their different ways, Jomo Kenyatta, Yitzhak Shamir, Nelson Mandela, and many others have made the transition from outlaw to politician, from reviled insurgent to respected leader. Time and again, the alchemy of power has conferred retrospective sanction on what was once seen as mindless brutality."



Just as Redmond set the mould for Hume, so Adams and McGuinness now follow Hume. Ronan O'Brien wrote:
"Some of the concerns that drove [John] Redmond’s policy, like the need for reconciliation between the peoples of this island, anticipate John Hume."
He also wrote:
"John Redmond saw no contradiction between having his children taught Irish, flying the Union Jack with the Green Harp at his home in Wicklow and, like Collins, was photographed at GAA games."
Redmond said:
"These two things (Irish unity and coercion) are unfortunately incompatible."
John Bruton explained:
"Other achievements with which he was closely associated were the settlement on the land question, in a way which transferred ownership of the land of Ireland to those who were actually farming it, the achievement of democratic Local Government in 1898, the Universities Act of 1908 which established NUI, and the beginnings of the welfare state with the introduction of old age pension and social security in 1909.Redmond suffered imprisonment for his beliefs during the land struggle. Apart from these achievements, Redmond played a crucial role in reuniting the Irish Party, after the Parnell split of 1891, in 1900. John Dillon, who was on the other side of that split from Redmond, described this work, at a banquet in Redmond’s honour in 1908, as “one of the greatest works of reconciliation ever wrought for Ireland”."
John Redmond said, October 6 1916:
"We have taken a leap back over generations of progress, and have actually had a rebellion, with its inevitable aftermath of brutalities, stupidities and inflamed passions."
John Redmond said
"After fifty years of labour on constitutional lines we had practically banished the revolutionary party from Ireland. Now again, after fifty years, it has risen."
Newton Emerson wrote about Salmondism as Redmondite politics, in the Sunday Times of February 16 2014:
"The parallels between Redmond and SNP leader Alex Salmond are remarkable, as the Scottish press has noted. In his long, democratic fight for Home Rule, Redmond played down identity politics, spurned cultural nationalism and focused on debating the practicalities, until he could portray the debate as negotiating the inevitable. Salmond has done the same and the results are transformative. Meanwhile, Adams remains an anti-Redmondite two decades after the IRA-ceasefire. His vision of a United Ireland is high on symbolism and low on detail, invoking all the alarm of change with none of the assurance of fact."
He continued:
"Redmondite" is a word almost lost to Irish politics but it remains the best approach to peaceful transition, as even dissident republicans now subconsciously admit. Yet Sinn Fein will not concede this, and sparing its president's blushes looks like the principal reason. Any number of volunteers can be dumped on the scrap heap of revisionism, but Adams can never be wrong. Perhaps he will have to be dumped, too, before this issue can be addressed. Until then, his party keeps pumping out rationales for violence that hang over us all."


I wrote that the Troubles was a term for a period of violence that began in 1916 and ended in 1998.

Adams uses revolutionary jargon but checks revolutionary practices. He has skipped radicalism for realism. The bearded revolutionary has sold out the ‘armed struggle.’ Sinn Fein has rebranded itself from the Official Republican movement to a revolutionary constitutional party.

Gerry Adams said  in 2014:
"Ireland today needs another Rising – a peaceful rising to take control of the ideals of the Proclamation and to put them into practice."
Gerry Adams also said in 2014:
"There is now a peaceful and democratic way to end the union and Partition. This is a work in progress and Sinn Féin accepts there is an onus on us to persuade our unionist neighbours that their interests are best served in a new, agreed Ireland."
The Leadership of the Republican Movement wrote in Easter 2016:
"For Republicans 1916 remains unfinished business until the last vestiges of British Rule have been removed and the historic Irish Nation is restored to its rightful place among the nations of the earth. 
We pledge our resolve to continue the struggle against British Rule. The Volunteers of the Continuity Irish Republican Army will continue to strike at will at the British forces of occupation. That is the most fitting tribute we can make to the men and women of 1916."
Dissident republicans in Maghaberry said in their Easter message for 2016:
"We call on the provisional revisionists to stop referring to themselves as Sinn Fein. They have taken their permanent position as the lackey’s of the crown and enforcers of British Rule."
Gerry Adams is an ambiguity machine. Part constitutional Remondite, part Pearsean blood separatist. He wears the suits of a minister, yet clothes himself in Pearse and Connolly’s armed scarf.

When the provisional IRA was formed in 1969, it immediately sought recognition as the legitimate inheritors of the Irish Republic from Thomas Maguire, the last surviving member of the Second Dail. Maguire duly "gave” them the Republic. Then the last surviving member of the second Dail, he said:
"I recognise no Army Council or any such body that advocates participation in the usurping legislature of Leinster House."
Patrick Redden Keefe explained in the New Yorker explained Adams traditional journey from physical force to parliamentaryism:
"During the seventies, Gerry Adams was in and out of jail… At some point, Adams began to think that there were limits to what the I.R.A. could achieve through violence. After Sands won his seat, Adams’s close aide Danny Morrison announced that Sinn Fein would henceforth run candidates in elections. In a famous formulation, he said, “Will anyone here object if, with a ballot paper in this hand and an Armalite in the other, we take power in Ireland?” The strategy of “the Armalite and the ballot box” represented a departure for the Provisional I.R.A."
And he added:
"By running for positions in the British administration in Northern Ireland, Adams and his colleagues could be perceived as implicitly acknowledging the administration’s legitimacy. Adams replaced the woolly sweaters of a West Belfast revolutionary with the suits and ties of a politician. In 1983, he, too, was elected a Member of Parliament, representing West Belfast."
Radden Keefe also said:
"Then, in 1994, the I.R.A. declared a ceasefire. Gerry Adams, the bearded revolutionary who was the president of Sinn Fein, the political wing of the Republican movement, had entered into peace negotiations with the British government, attempting to persuade the I.R.A. to abandon armed resistance and tolerate a continued British presence in Northern Ireland."
Ed Moloney said:
"The transformation of Sinn Fein into a constitutional Nationalist party, not terribly different from the SDLP."
Suzanne Breen wrote about the Redmondisation of Gerry Adams, President of Sinn Fein. In 1991 on the 75th anniversary of the Easter Rising of 1916, Gerry Adams was interviewed by Suzanne Breen. She recounted the interview and shared her analysis on the ideological shift that has occurred within Sinn Fein in the last 25 years. She wrote
"I conducted a lengthy one-to-one interview with Gerry Adams on the 75th anniversary of the Rising in 1991. The IRA campaign was in full swing and the Sinn Fein president was making no apologies for it. "Compromise” was a dirty word for him, and he used the 1916 leaders to endorse his party’s unyielding republicanism."
She continued:
"But here are the relevant questions for Adams now. Would the men who signed the Proclamation have signed the Good Friday and St Andrews Agreements? Would Tom Clarke have stood shoulder-to-shoulder with the PSNI Chief Constable and denounced those who shot dead British soldiers as "traitors to the island of Ireland”? 
Would Patrick Pearse have been content - even if it was presented as a tactic - to hold ministerial office in Stormont and, to use republican terminology, “administer British rule”. No matter how much I try, I just can’t see it.“ 
And let’s consider James Connolly. He talked about "setting fire to the funeral pyre of capitalism”. How does that sit with Sinn Fein’s membership of a business-friendly administration that is lowering corporation tax? Can we see Connolly jetting off to meet and greet corporate America? 
Connolly spent several years in the US, but he kept company with those in the extreme political margins - anarchists and socialists. He certainly wasn’t hanging around the White House hoping to be invited into a lavish reception. 
Then there is Connolly’s views on the royal family. He had “more respect and honour for the raggediest child of the poorest labourer than for any descendant of the long array of murderers, adulterers and madmen who have sat upon the throne of England”. 
It is impossible to envisage him enjoying the hospitality at a royal banquet in Windsor Castle, as our Deputy First Minister did. The compromises that Sinn Fein has made are to be welcomed wholeheartedly by all who believe in a peaceful and prosperous Northern Ireland."
She continued:
"Although the pace of progress hasn’t been fast enough for some, there can be no doubt that Sinn Fein has generously jettisoned its ideological baggage in a way that many would never have believed possible. It is for that very reason that 1916 isn’t the easy fit it once was. 
On the 75th anniversary the Armalite was seen to have primacy over the ballot box for Sinn Fein. In his interview Adams was contemptuous of those concerned with the strictures of parliamentary democracy. He invoked the tradition of the Easter Rising. 
"They had no mandate, those people,” he laughed. “Pearse never stood for an election in his life.” 
Again, you don’t have to share his dismissal of constitutionalism to accept the coherency of his argument. Connolly stood in Dublin municipal elections in 1902 and secured 431 votes in 1902, and 243 votes the following year.“
She continued:
"Today Sinn Fein’s strategy is entirely different to that of the 1916 leaders. It focuses exclusively on electoralism - gaining success at the polls. 
At Easter commemorations across Ireland over the coming days the party will pick and choose what parts of the Rising it highlights. I suspect there will be a major focus on the saleable bits of the Proclamation, such as "cherishing all the children of the nation equally”, vague sentiments that all shades of political opinion can sign up to.
But what of the more challenging parts of the 1916 tradition? 
Here is Patrick Pearse on his strategy to achieve a republic: “I do not know how nationhood is achieved except by armed men. Ireland unarmed will attain just as much freedom as is convenient for England to give her. Ireland armed will attain ultimately just as much freedom as she wants.” 
Those words will be quietly ignored by Sinn Fein this weekend - and understandably so. To repeat them would be to play right into the hands of dissident republicans. And therein lies the problem for Adams.
Pearse, MacDiarmada, Connolly, Ceannt, Plunkett, Clarke and MacDonagh were like those who remain wedded to violent republicanism today - like Gerry Adams and Martin McGuinness not so long ago themselves - self-styled, unelected leaders who believed they were right and the rest of the Irish people, their minds rotted by “British propaganda”, were wrong. They were the few who took it upon themselves to judge what was best for the many.“
She also wrote:
"Back in 1991 Adams acknowledged the historical continuity between the present and past generation of physical force republicans. 
"If you in any way try to justify 1916, then you can’t say it was okay in Dublin 75 years ago, it was okay for your grandad, but it’s not okay in Belfast or Derry or south Armagh today,” he told me. “If you say today that the IRA is wrong, then they were wrong then as well.” 
Precisely. It is time for some intellectual honesty about the Easter Rising. It is a complete cop-out to portray its leaders as saints and those who follow the same beliefs today as some sort of Frankenstein creation. 
But few in Irish nationalism have the guts to say that."
Albert Reynolds played a vital role in ending the violence in and around Northern Ireland that caused so much suffering to so many people from 1969 to  1997. His particular contribution was negotiation of the Downing Street Declaration of December 1993 which offered a path to political participation to all political forces in Northern Ireland. Fours aspect of the Declaration were particularly important, as accepted by Adams and Sinn Fein:
  1. The statement that “problems could only be solved by peaceful and democratic means”
  2. The redefinition of Irish self determination as requiring consent from both parts of Ireland.
  3. The passage in the declaration where, as Taoiseach, Albert Reynolds asked the people of Northern Ireland to  “look on the on the people of the Republic as friends” and committed himself to take steps to that end. This obligation bound his successors.
  4. Paragraph 10 which said

'The British and Irish Governments reiterate that the achievement of peace must involve a permanent end to the use of, or support for, paramilitary violence. They confirm that, in these circumstances, democratically mandated parties which establish a commitment to exclusively peaceful methods and which have shown that they abide by the democratic process, are free to participate fully in democratic politics and to join in dialogue in due course between the Governments and the political parties on the way ahead. 
Full participation in the political process was linked to a “permanent end to the use of and support for paramilitary violence”. This was crucial, but initially difficult to verify.'
Moloney wrote that Gerry Adams said in response to the charge that the IRA made ten orphans when they killed Jean McConville.
"That’s what happens in wars, Scott. That’s not to minimize it, but that’s what American soldiers do, British soldiers do, Irish Republican soldiers do, that’s what happens in every single conflict."
Ed Moloney said that the Gerry Adams of yore would have had a different response. This is the original Gerry Adams would have said:
"How many orphans has Barack Obama made with his drone strikes in Pakistan, Afghanistan and Yemen, Scott? How many orphans did David Cameron make when he and his neocon buddies connived at and fuelled the overthrow of Gaddafi in Libya?"
As Ed closed, “But then these are different days.” As someone asked, when did republicanism become about the block grant and tying NI to Britain?

John Redmond, like all other Irish leaders, celebrated past violence and condemned present violence. Irish political leaders, almost universally, straddle simultaneously the worlds of revolutionary and constitutional politics. 

Gerry Adams did it here; he operates a coalition of the militant and the constitutional, expertly balancing and palliating each wing.

See my earlier blog post, ‘100 years of trying to explain the difference between good and bad IRA men.’


Martin McGuinness said, circa 1973:
"It doesn’t matter a fuck what John Hume says, we’ll go on fighting until we get a united Ireland."
Martin McGuinness said in 1983 in a speech in Londonderry:
"We recognize the value and the limitations of electoral success. We recognize that only disciplined revolutionary armed struggle by the IRA will ever end British rule… Without the IRA, we are on our knees. Without the IRA, we are slaves."
Before and during the Home Rule crisis John Redmond used the language of reconciliation which echoes strongly with the modern rhetoric of former Provisional IRA Volunter Martin McGuinness. Speaking in the House of Commons on February 12 1907, Redmond said:
"I confess to you that I don’t want Home Rule for Ireland to come in the garb of a bitter political defeat for any intelligent and honest section of my countrymen. I know, of course, I said, and this is the sentence that is taken from the context—‘That I know, of course, that there is one section of the minority opposed to us that has no title to the names of honesty or intelligence.’ ‘A section that it is impossible, hopeless, to conciliate or placate, a section that will, I believe, to the bitter end continue their policy of hatred and ascendancy. I am not speaking of them. After all, in reality, they are only a handful even of the Protestants of Ulster, and I fear that they must be overborne by the strong hand. But I am speaking of the overwhelming majority of those who are ranked today as our opponents in Ulster. For my part, I say here, that of the overwhelming majority of these men I believe that they are honest, and, according to their own sense of the word, patriotic. I believe that they are in large numbers honestly afraid to trust their property and their religious interests to their fellow-countrymen. Now, over these men, I say today, that if I can avoid it, I want no party triumph. I want to influence their intelligence, I want to dissipate their suspicions, and I want to soften their hearts, and, therefore, so long as it is possible for me to do so, even against hope, I will preach to them the doctrine of conciliation. I say here to-day that there are no lengths, short of the abandonment of the principles which you and I hold, to which I would not go to win the confidence of these men, and not to have them lost to Ireland. There are no safeguards which I would object to in a Home Rule Bill tomorrow to satisfy the fears which these men entertain about their religious interest."
Redmond also said:
"I can say he is the best Irishman who does his best today by preaching toleration and conciliation to these men to bring all the sons of gallant Ulster into line in the battle for Ireland."
Martin McGuinness, under the New Departure, said:
"I want an Ireland in which one can be British or Irish and live in harmony and mutual respect with their neighbours. There is now a peaceful and democratic way to achieve this."
McGuinness also said in 2014:
"The challenge we as republicans face is to articulate a vision of a united Ireland which will accommodate, safeguard and cherish the British identity."
Brian Feeney wrote:
"Martin McGuinness’s [2014] speech in Derry… Had an eerie sense of déjà vu about it. His appeal to republicans opposed to the peace process to give up violence and adopt the political approach was an echo of many speeches John Hume made in the 1970s and 1980s to the republican movement including Martin McGuinness."


The Monaghan Unionist leader Colonel J. C.W. Madden dismissed the new ‘Belfast-made covenant’ of 1920, and the Monaghan County Grand Chaplain remarked that in Belfast they are ‘all Home Rulers now’.

Louis Redmond-Howard, in ‘Six Days of the Irish Repubic’, wrote:
"The Ulster Volunteers still in arms, equally prepared to resist constitutional government, whether from Westminster or from Dublin, is the greatest Home Ruler of us all—or should we say Sinn Feiner?""
George Bernard Shaw, wrote in 1920:
"Is she not bound by all her vows and covenants to boycott this abomination of a Home Rule Parliament: nay, of two Home Rule Parliaments?"
Peter Robinson talking of devolving power to local hands sounds like a home ruler. It was paisley who said "we don't need Englishman to rule us. We can do that ourselves."


Eamon Phoenix wrote:
 "Sinn Féin formed in 1905, argued that an independent Ireland could unite Orange and Green by retaining the Crown as a ‘personal link’ between Britain and Ireland… Even Pearse, then a cultural nationalist, supported the Home Rule Bill in 1912."
Redmond said, do not give your heart to Ireland because you will die of a broken heart.

David Lloyd George said:
"John Redmond… Possessed elements of statesmanship of a high order. The fact that he was given no chance to apply his qualities to the rebuilding of his native land is one of the myriad tragedies of Irish history…"
Dennis Kennedy asked:
"Would it not be more appropriate to honour Grattan, O’Connell, Butt, Parnell and Redmond, who worked peacefully through the democratic means open to them, and enlisted massive public support for nationalist goals, than to worship, as nationalist Ireland has done for most of a century, at the shrine of violence cloaked in the veil of heroic sacrifice?"
Colm Tóibín said:
"I have always had a problem with the idea that our state was founded as a result of 1916. The rise of the Catholic middle classes throughout the nineteenth century made the emergence of some sort of state a certainty; and the civil war was fought not about the North but, in many instances, between the settled middle class and the men of no property. To glorify the Rising as a cataclysmic event in Irish history to the detriment of more abiding forces seemed to me to distort grossly what happened in the past."

Constitutionalism or Physical Force? (Via the National Library of Ireland)

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