Tomás Ó Flatharta

Looking at Things from the Left

Archive for the ‘Unionism’ Category

“Russian president Vladimir Putin held meetings with the Official IRA during two visits to Belfast in the 1980s.” – Intriguing Report on the Cedar Lounge Blog

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Are past events in Ireland a guide to current events?

From the Irish News.

Source :

Russian president Vladimir Putin held meetings with the Official IRA during two visits to Belfast in the 1980s.

The former KGB intelligence officer was part of two separate delegations from the Soviet Union that visited Ireland in 1986, sources linked to the Official movement have claimed.

On both occasions Mr Putin travelled north where he met with representatives of the republican paramilitary group.

Could it be true?

Did Vladimir Putin Meet the Official Irish Republican Army (IRA) in Dublin in the 1980’s?

How about this?

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‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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This blog is named after Tomás Ó Flatharta, the first known Irish supporter of the 1920’s Left Opposition which opposed the policies pursued by the Russian Bolshevik government headed by Josef Stalin. Ó Flatharta was a prolific writer, and wrote this fascinating article previewing the partition of Ireland in December 2021. Ó Flatharta looks at “official” Irish-American support for Ireland’s cause, and points out its limitations and hypocrisies. He endorses the policies pursued by the revolutionary marxist James Connolly, a leader of Ireland’s Easter 1916 Rising who was executed by the British imperialists.

Here is a flavour of Ó Flatharta’s analysis, which has a lot of contemporary relevance.

When Connolly led the revolt in Dublin in 1916 some of his comrades in other countries did not understand why he lined up with the Nationalist elements. They claimed that Connolly. lost his original Marxian purity. These elements could not see in the revolutionary opportunism of Connolly the tactic that is today the guiding star of every revolutionary party in the world. Connolly’s idea was to mobilize all the available discontent in Ireland and hurl it at the enemy. Out of the inevitable sacrifice which the Easter Week Revolution entailed would spring a new movement inspired by the example of the martyrs of Easter Week. Connolly knew quite well that national independence alone would never give Ireland independence until the Empire was overthrown, therefore every move made to overthrow the Empire tended to bring about the inevitable revolution. The Citizen Army composed of members of the Trade Unions was pledged not alone to strike for Irish freedom but for the Workers’ Republic. The Nationalist Volunteers had a certain contempt for the men of the citizen army. The former were carried away with their hostility to England into a feeling of sympathy with Germany. The citizen army, however, was just as much opposed to the Kaiser as to King Gorge and hung over its headquarters the banner with the inscription “We serve neither King nor Kaiser.”


When Eoin MacNaill, the leader of the Nationalist Volunteers, issued the countermanding order which kept the full force of the members of that body from participating in the Easter Week revolution, Connolly called out his citizen army. The army of the workers was the backbone of the rising and according to Seamus MacManus in his “Story of the Irish Race,” it was Connolly’s insistence on making a fight that ultimately carried the motion for the insurrection. But since Easter Week Irish labor has been relegated to obscurity and the Irish middle class have been given credit on American platforms and in the Irish journals for the great struggle that has been carried on against British tyranny.

Revolution’s Newsstand

‘A Workers Republic for Ireland’ by Thomas J. O’Flaherty from The Toiler. December 17, 1921.

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Double Standards Applied to Irish Women’s Soccer Team : Jack Charlton 1 Vera Pauw 0 – Oh Ah Up the Mná

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Irish Women’s Soccer Team Celebrate World Cup Qualification, October 11 2012

A gaggle of West-Brit politicians have denounced Irish Women’s Soccer Team Celebrations. Wolfe Tones songwriter Brian Warfield dismisses the reactionary chorus as “cranks and unionists or people who side with them”. Warfield is dead right.

Song Composer Derek Warfield Declares “Don’t tell that you can’t sing Celtic Symphony but you can sing God Save the King”

Jack Charlton was the best international soccer manager who ever worked for the Republic of Ireland – he encouraged his players to sing Irish rebel songs. Former kit-minder Charlie O’Leary recalls :

Sean South of Garryowen was his favourite.
It got to the stage where it had to be played. It’s a rabble rousing song full of life, if you forget about the words; it was lovely.

Charlie O’Leary, kit-minder for Jack Charlton’s Boys in Green https://www.balls.ie/football/jack-charlton-rebel-songs-350401-350401

“I had two tapes with me. One tape was all Luke Kelly songs and your man Moore [Christy Moore]. Going to Lansdowne, I’d come to around Haddington Road, and I’d stop that tape and I’d put on the other tape – Seán South of Garryowen. Just as we’d be arriving in the ground, we’d be at the crescendo of Seán South of Garryowen. So the lads would be really worked up by that time. They’d be singing at the top of their voices.”

Irish Times December 15 2014

In his book on the Charlton brothers and their relationship, Leo McKinstry recorded how there was hell to pay when news of the Republic of Ireland team playlist reached the English tabloids.

Teddy Taylor, the comically Eurosceptic right-wing Conservative MP from Glasgow, fulminated in public that Jack should be ashamed of himself for belting out such a ballad.

The FAI weren’t inclined to play up the fact that the Irish team used to sing songs celebrating the IRA’s 1950s Border campaign.

https://www.balls.ie/football/jack-charlton-rebel-songs-350401-350401

Jack Charlton 1 Vera Pauw 0

Public figures must stop bullying the Irish female soccer players. Manager Vera Pauw has a chance to follow in the footsteps of Jack Charlton.

Pauw’s game management strategy is a carbon copy of the Jack Charlton method “Yeah, of course,” Pauw says. “We need to develop further. We’ve got five clean sheets in a row. We’ve got four goals against, and that’s our strength. Because we always create chances, so we always score in a game. As long as you don’t get goals against and you score in a game you win, right?”

Charlton was a brilliant motivator, an extremely empathetic manager. He backed his players – even when they misbehaved – and bought into the Irish rebel ballad culture, our anti-imperialist culture, and sense of fun. After his team was eliminated from the Euro 88 tournament in Germany Charlton expected a barrage of criticism in Ireland. We did not win. Instead the manager and his team were greeted by hundreds of thousands of fans who did not give a toss about losing Euro 88 – we got to a major tournament for the first ever, and we beat England 1-0. The miner’s son from Ashington in the north of England, an unorthodox man of the left and the workers’ movement, understood this very profoundly.

Jack Charlton – “Proud to be Irish” – Dublin Airport after Euro 88 in Germany

Pauw failed to back her players – and appears to have no understanding of Ireland’s proud tradition of cultural resistance. She made a public statement which must immediately be withdrawn :

Pauw insisted that the release of the footage on social media by one of the squad was not the core issue, adding the player “was devastated and crying in her room”.

“I don’t want to hide behind that because it she hadn’t put it on social media and I had been notified about it and the significance, then I would have addressed it immediately.

“I’ve also told her that putting it on social media is not the biggest thing.

“The biggest thing is that it has happened. It doesn’t matter if you are in private room or a dressing room or if you are outside.”

European Soccer bosses in UEFA are threatening disciplinary sanctions against the Girls in Green. https://www.bbc.com/sport/football/63242412

Football Association of Ireland (FAI) blazers, assorted cranks and a talented soccer manager are profoundly wrong. Let’s hope Vera Pauw reflects on the successful methods of Jack Charlton, the miner’s son from Ashington who loved Irish rebel songs.

Jack Charlton, The Best Republic of Ireland Soccer Manager

John Meehan October 13 2022

An interview with song composer Derek Warfield :


Irish team being ‘persecuted and bullied’ for singing ‘ooh ah up the ‘Ra’, songwriter says

Article Source https://www.irishtimes.com/ireland/2022/10/12/irish-team-being-persecuted-and-bullied-for-singing-ooh-ah-up-the-ra-songwriter-says/

Wolfe Tones songwriter Brian Warfield has accused those who criticise his song Celtic Symphony of being “cranks and unionists or people who side with them” amid controversy over the Irish women’s football team singing along to it.

Warfield wrote the song, which includes the refrain ‘ooh, aah up the ‘Ra’, in 1987 for the centenary of Celtic Football Club, which occurred a year later.

He claims the line was taken from graffiti he saw on a wall in Glasgow around that time, which read ‘we’re magic, up the Celts, ooh, aah up the Ra’. He said he was not necessarily referring to the Provisional IRA in the lyrics.

No excuses

Celtic Symphony was playing in the dressing room while the Irish team celebrated qualifying for the World Cup after winning at Hampden Park on Tuesday night. Players were filmed singing ‘ooh, aah up the Ra’ and a clip was posted on social media.

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BBC limits TV Coverage of 2022 Orange Order July 12 Marches in Northern Ireland – welcome move does not go far enough

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The left-wing Irish organization Éirígí has issued a very clear statement about the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) decision to limit live coverage of 2022 Orange Order marches in the north of Ireland. The BBC decision has provoked a furious unionist reaction, which might force the broadcaster to back down. https://www.belfastlive.co.uk/news/northern-ireland/twelfth-july-unionists-slam-bbc-24191452?utm_source=belfast_live_newsletter&utm_campaign=breaking_daily_newsletter2&utm_medium=email.

These events occur after a video emerged in the public arena celebrating the murder of Michaela MacAreavy (daughter of the high-profile Gaelic Athletic Association [GAA] Manager Mickey Harte of Tyrone). The Irish Times reported that footage of the ‘vile chant’ was “understood to have been filmed” at an “Orange hall in Dundonald, Co Down”. (June 3 edition). In fact, there is no doubt that the “vile chant” was performed during Orange Order celebrations. Damage limitation continues, as the Orange Order, numerous Unionist politicians, and weasel-word forelock-tuggers pretend


Éirigí Statement :

It has emerged today that the BBC will no longer broadcast live daytime coverage of the main Orange Order ‘parade’ in the Six Counties on 12th July. #OrangeOrder

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“There Were Plans in Train for Something Terrible to Happen” Robert Ballagh on Derry’s Bloody Sunday, January 30 1972

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“The Thirtieth of January” is a new Robert Ballagh Painting about Derry’s Bloody Sunday, January 30 1972. In a brief interview with the Museum of Free Derry, The artist describes his motivation and his actions at the time in Ireland’s capital city, Dublin. https://youtu.be/9ZZZNhwnpG0

He notes that the British state’s Saville Inquiry found that the people killed by the Paratroop Regiment were innocent – but there is a “nagging question” – “nobody has been proven guilty of anything”. Robert included a reference to this “nagging doubt” in the painting. It is a “shoot to kill” order written by the British Army’s Major General Robert Ford some time before January 30 1972. Ford suggested that several of the Derry “young hooligans” – as the Major-General called them – should be shot.

I am coming to the conclusion that the minimum force necessary to achieve a restoration of law and order is to shoot selected ringleaders among the Derry Young Hooligans

Major-General Robert Ford of the British Army

The artist reproduces these words on an elegantly designed document in the painting. The source for the words is an Éamonn McCann booklet about Britain’s Parachute Regiment.

Bernadette McAliskey and Éamonn McCann Marching in Derry, January 2019

President Michael D Higgins Rejects Religious Invitation Issued by Men of God in Armagh – The Right Decision – The 1921 Partition of Ireland Created a Carnival of Reaction

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Eejit is a great word living within the English language spoken in Ireland. Author Mike Finn reveals the meaning in a sentence of nine words : “Those advocating Brexit are an awful shower of eejits”. Likewise, those who advocate “marking” the partition of Ireland are an awful shower of eejits. President Michael D Higgins is no eejit.

Michael D has become a spokesperson for the vast majority of people living in Ireland who hate partition. He will not attend a religious event in Armagh commemorating the 1921 creation of the Northern Ireland Orange State. An opinion poll on the issue shocked numerous pro-Unionist forelock-tuggers in Ireland – 81 per cent of people in the 26 County bit of Ireland agree with the President’s decision.

“Huge backing for President Michael D Higgins” – Irish News Headline

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Irish Police Boss Drew Harris and Two Unsolved Murder Cases – 1975 Miami Showband Massacre; 2007 Paul Quinn Murder

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The Masks of Garda Boss Drew Harris

If you knew nothing about Irish 6 County whataboutery you might think “Fair enough – Garda Boss Drew Harris is doing the decent thing”. Maybe there are better questions : What mask is the former Royal Ulster Constabulary / Police Service of Northern Ireland high-flier wearing? Is he a “fox in charge of the hen-house”? Or, should we trust a “warm and friendly” chap “committed to justice”?

Garda Commissioner Drew Harris has visited the barn in Co Monaghan where Paul Quinn was battered to death by the IRA, and has pledged to help bring his killers to justice.

But, when you know about Harris’s obstructive behaviour towards survivors of the 1975 Miami Showband massacre, you correctly suspect the motives of a powerful state agent who shields British State killers.

Garda boss Drew Harris and his legacy – Stephen Travers, Miami Showband, Aftermath of a loyalist murder spree.

Miami Showband Massacre survivor Stephen Travers also criticised Mr Drew Harris’s appointment, describing it as “putting the fox in charge of the hen house”.

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RTÉ, Censorship, and Irish Unity – Kieran Allen demolishes identitarian gibberish promoted by the Dublin Establishment

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In a recent Tomás Ó Flatharta Blog post – RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell – https://tomasoflatharta.wordpress.com/2021/03/22/rte-broadcaster-claire-byrne-censors-joe-brolly-who-criticised-the-reactionary-politics-of-dup-westminster-mp-gregory-campbell/ “Identitarian Gibberish” is targeted. This is part of a “distinct agenda” promoted by the management of the Irish State Broadcaster RTÉ. The inevitable result is censorship of people promoting a vision of post-partition Ireland which can destroy the “carnival of reaction” created by the 1922 Treaty ending the heroic 1919-21 War of Independence. Writing in “Rebel News” the author and activist Kieran Allen adds extremely useful context. His article is reproduced in full here.

When RTÉ puts on a special programme about a united Ireland, you know that big changes are underway. The partition of Ireland is now under question. RTÉ, however, has a distinct agenda and that was exemplified in one dramatic incident. http://www.rebelnews.ie/2021/03/23/rte-censorship-irish-unity/?fbclid=IwAR1vMTLrz5rsPP2awNgaLDDN1Qycb1Z1PtfpcNbHUgUOgB48vKgrvyBvcIY

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RTÉ Broadcaster Claire Byrne Censors Joe Brolly, who criticised the reactionary politics of DUP Westminster MP Gregory Campbell

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The Censor, RTÉ Journalist Claire Byrne

Media Alert!

The Claire Byrne RTÉ 1 Show on the Irish Border (March 22 2021) was incredibly bad, swamped in identitarian gibberish. The tone was set by Sinn Féin leader MaryLou McDonald and Fine Gael leader Leo Varadkar. The rest of us should focus on “the carnival of reaction”. Once Joe Brolly criticises the reactionary politics of a previous contributor, Gregory Campbell, he is censored.

Derry GAA Star Joe Brolly, Censored

Joe Brolly explains

I was taken off air and told it was because RTE could not risk me saying the DUP were homophobic, racist or sectarian. I must apologise to the DUP at once.

Exhibit A

Exhibit B : Mr Gregory Campbell MP (DUP) allegedly once described homosexuality as “evil” and claimed God sent AIDS as a homosexual “curse”.

He had claimed: “It’s an evil, wicked, abhorrent practice. My opposition to that is based on the Bible and also based on natural justice and I know many people who do not share my Protestant faith but who would share my opposition to homosexuality because they believe it is something which would corrupt society as a whole, and is something so radically awful as to merit total and utter opposition. You’re not even talking about someething which is a run of the mill sexual practice but something which is totally and utterly depraved.

“The AIDS scare which is currently running through America is proof that homosexual practice is something which calls upon the curse of God.

“I would see homosexuality as something which merited the curse of God.

“AIDS came about because of sexual contact between homosexuals. Now that to me is something which shows in a small way that there is more than just human opposition to homosexuality.

“In the Bible there is only one sin which called down literal fire and brimstone from God and that wasn’t murder, it wasn’t theft, it was homosexuality.” https://www.pinknews.co.uk/2017/06/12/meet-the-dup-homophobes-who-now-hold-the-keys-to-power-in-the-uk/

Exhibit C

John Meehan March 23 2021

“H-Block and Sectarian Civil War – Socialists Against Nationalism”- A Short Read from 1981

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Events have moved on since this pamphlet appeared. Many sections of the 1980’s Irish left, primarily from social-democratic and Stalinist streams, opposed the mass movement in favour of political status for prisoners of war locked up in the H-Blocks and Armagh Jail. People’s Democracy and Bernadette McAliskey, by contrast, advocated a polar opposite policy. https://irishelectionliterature.com/2016/06/06/make-h-block-the-issue-vincent-doherty-peoples-democracy-1981-general-election-dublin-north-central/

The long-term Socialists Against Nationalism (SAN) objective, deletion of Articles 2 and 3 from the Irish Constitution, was successfully achieved in a 1998 referendum on both sides of the Irish border. 21st Century Sinn Féin promotes power-sharing with the DUP. No legal end to the partition of Ireland is possible unless a majority of voters in the state called Northern Ireland vote for it. Now, as we enter the 2020’s, the partition of Ireland emerges again as a reactionary millstone crushing the neck of the Irish working class. Details tell us a lot : If we are to achieve an effective victory over a deadly virus, we need an effective all-Ireland Zero-CoVid policy – the Stormont Government is an obstacle. It was the same over abortion, when Westminster imposed a progressive policy while Stormont was suspended. The wheel of history is turning again. John Meehan January 26 2021

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