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Same Old Song

Mark Devenport | 11:52 UK time, Monday, 23 August 2010

The Irish News has bookended it's 3 page interview with a spokesman for Oglaigh na hEireann with an impressive array of civic leaders calling for all violence to stop and columnists expressing understandable anger and contempt for those prepared to ignore the wishes of the people on either side of the border.

Nevertheless what stands out is the cold clinical line of argument of the ONH spokesman, which mirrors the justifications given down the decades by previous generations of republicans. Who needs popular support from the fickle public if they know in their hearts that they, and only they, are carrying the true flame of the leaders of the Easter Rising?

The ONH spokesman argues that Sinn Fein "were badly outmanoeuvred during the creation of the (Good Friday) deal". The talks they envisage can have only one outcome - British withdrawal. So all the hard work of Messrs Hume, Adams et al in focussing on people not territory and brokering workable compromises gets thrown away in favour of maiming Catholic police officers and ordering taxi drivers to deliver proxy bombs (a tactic for which the ONH apologises as an unfortunate necessity).

The striking aspect to this group so far has been their lack of political apologists. The Irish News interview confirms this is deliberate: "ONH will not be going down the political party/army module because it has failed. One always compromises the other...As for the ballot box/armalite strategy well it fell on its face. So no. We won;t be following that."

ONH clearly believe that staying off the political radar will make them less open to ceasefire overtures from go betweens or infiltration by the security services. All of which poses a depressing but very real challenge to the political and civic leaders intent on keeping society on a more peaceful track.


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