I am not opposed to violence.
But it should be reserved for enemies with whom reason is impossible
- such as Al Qaeda, Hitler, the Soviet Union, the PLO and Hamas.
It should never be used against democracies.
was a year of madness.
It was a year when the worship of violence came into western democratic politics.
went to barbaric war
for no good reason that anyone can explain.
And in Ireland in 1916,
Irish nationalists turned to violence
for no real reason other than that they wanted to,
and they were caught up in the bloodlust of the times.
Boring parliamentary progress would have led to a far better future for Ireland north and south.
The old IRA, apart from the deaths they caused,
also destroyed much of Ireland's heritage.
The only thing that saves them is that
they set up a democracy, one of the oldest in the world.
The modern IRA soaked Northern Ireland in blood, violence and fear for decades.
They achieved little, and their violence was grossly out of proportion to the
real but modest oppression suffered by Catholics.
The IRA's campaign was incredibly extremist.
Peaceful methods would have achieved far more.
Violent rebellion against the UK
would have been morally justified in 1846.
It was not morally justifiable in 1916, though.
In 1916 we had Irish MPs, Mayors and councils.
We were one of the richest countries in the world.
There was a democratic deficit, yes.
But it did not justify violence.
My bar for violence is higher than most people's.
I require a much worse situation than 1916 before I think violence is moral.
prophetic letter in 1915
warning against the worship of violence then ruining Europe
and about to ruin Ireland the following year.
He opposed Redmond's Volunteers, who also worshipped violence
(by supporting WWI).
But he could not support the breakaway Volunteers:
"as your infant movement grows towards the stature of a full-grown militarism, its essence - preparation to kill - grows more repellent to me.
I am not blind to the movement's merits.
... But it is militarism. It is organised to kill.
True, Ireland's militarism can never be on so great a scale as that of Germany or England; ...
European militarism has drenched Europe in blood; Irish militarism may only crimson the fields of Ireland. For us that would be disaster enough."
If only Irish nationalists listened to Daniel O'Connell
and Francis Sheehy-Skeffington,
instead of following the siren call of revolutionary violence.
Francis Sheehy-Skeffington aftermath:
Francis Sheehy-Skeffington himself
was murdered by the crazed Capt. Bowen-Colthurst
during the 1916 Rising.
completely abandoned his ideals.
She supported the anti-Treaty IRA in the Civil War.
Her memoirs show her devoted to the physical force tradition.
She was a radical who even
Thomas Molloy, 9 Nov 2014, on the upcoming centenary of the 1916 Rising.
He says what I think - that we can recall 1916 without having to agree on any one narrative.
"The 1916 Rising was an interesting event in Irish history but it is a big leap to argue that it had any long-term influence on the course of our history beyond copper-fastening partition and the role of the gun in Irish politics while ensuring many Protestants would leave the island forever.
There are many Irish people north and south of the Border who regard 1916 as a disaster for varying reasons and remain suspicious about almost everything that men like Padraig Pearse stood for.
To have the Government push a sanitised version of history down their throats makes them gag and feel like strangers in their own country while sanctioning violence in the minds of others.
There are still ways of commemorating 1916 that make sense: both Trinity and UCD are creating magnificent websites that will allow everybody to explore the Rising on their own terms for instance.
The Rising is worth talking about but the Government's efforts to
sanction an uncomplicated and sanitised version of events is dishonest and primitive."
The burning of the Public Record Office in the Civil War, 1922.
I would trade our independence from Britain to get the Public Record Office back.
The IRA in 1921 burnt the
headquarters of local government in Ireland,
destroying centuries of Irish historical records.
Nationalism caused the destruction of the
Public Record Office
Battle of Dublin
making Ireland, already a country with little surviving old architecture,
a country with little surviving written history as well.
I would trade our independence
from Britain to get the Public Record Office back.
No British ever destroyed Irish heritage as much as the IRA did.
The Irish Times, horrified by the destruction of the Easter Rising,
28 Apr 1916.
was burnt by the
Republicans in the Civil War in 1923.
When they burnt big houses like this, the Republicans destroyed forever
and irreplaceable family papers and portraits
- and hence much of Irish history.
Eamon de Valera,
an Irish "patriot"
who ordered the burning of centuries of Irish local government records in the
Custom House, Dublin, in 1921.
Image from here.
burns centuries of Irish historical records.
Feels no guilt about it.
This is IRA man
explaining how as a 21 year old he burnt the
Custom House, Dublin, in 1921.
A vast archive of Irish history was lost forever, thanks to him.
"Ireland: A Television History"
Irish nationalists were not the only ones to burn Ireland's heritage.
British crown forces burnt
Cork City Hall
in revenge in 1920,
destroying forever its priceless historical archives.
Image from here.
From Irish Examiner.
A lost world of Irish history.
Some of the wills indexed by Sir Arthur Vicars
and burnt by Irish nationalists in 1922.
Note the wills of The Knight of Kerry,
The O'Conor Don.
Irish nationalists burnt all these.
Kilmorna House, near Listowel, Co.Kerry,
1887 to 1913 map.
Labelled "Kilmeany House"
on earlier map.
satellite view of site.
Home of the genealogist Sir Arthur Vicars.
The IRA shot him dead here
in April 1921,
and burnt his house and papers.
Who knows what ancient pieces of Irish history these savages burnt at this house.
In the Civil War in Dec 1922,
the anti-Treaty IRA
set fire to the home of pro-Treaty TD
while his children were asleep in it,
and closed the front door to prevent rescue.
His 7 year old son was burned horribly and died 5 days later.
From Irish Times,
December 11, 1922
December 15, 1922.
The IRA tended not to directly attack civilians
like the loyalists and Palestinians do.
However, they did bomb civilian areas, with "warnings",
which is not acceptable according to the rules of war.
If America deliberately bombed civilian areas of Iraq
from the air, after a 30 minute warning,
people would rightly regard it as a crime,
not least because many civilians would die,
as they did in IRA bombings.
the Protestant census enumerator
shot dead by the IRA in Derry in 1981.
Tribute to the great Irish racehorse
The IRA kidnapped and
"the two handlers, one clutching a machine gun, went into the remote stable where the horse was being held and opened fire. "Shergar was machine gunned to death. There was blood everywhere and the horse even slipped on his own blood. There was lots of cussin' and swearin' because the horse wouldn't die. It was a very bloody death." It was several minutes before the horse, which was in agony, slowly bled to death."
The IRA Balcombe Street gang did deliberately target civilians.
Here there was no warning.
They threw a bomb into a crowded London restaurant and ran away,
From Irish Times,
November 14, 1975.
A few days later, they killed two people
when they threw a bomb into another
The IRA Balcombe Street gang
killed the wonderful
of the "Guinness Book of Records"
He was one of my innocent childhood heroes.
kidnapped and mutilated an utterly innocent dentist,
John O'Grady, in 1987.
The IRA were Marxists who regarded "capitalists" as legitimate targets.
As well as kidnapping and shooting businessmen,
the IRA destroyed large amounts of infrastructure,
and their war scared off investment in NI for decades.
go on and on
about Bloody Sunday,
when British forces killed 14 civilians.
Yet clearly Bloody Sunday was an error
- otherwise there would have been a Bloody Sunday every month during the Troubles.
SF-IRA itself killed 400 civilians in errors,
which it wants us to shut up about
while it moans for ever (probably for centuries) about Bloody Sunday.
There is endless SF-IRA hypocrisy about the war.
Yet they practised shoot-to-kill themselves.
They complain about the shooting of
unarmed IRA members.
Yet they shot their enemies when unarmed.
Why, in SF-IRA's moral universe, should a higher moral standard apply to their enemies
than to them?
SF-IRA complain about the SAS shootings of IRA fighters in
But they shot their opponents (real and imaginary) unarmed and without trial.
notes the restraint of the security forces.
The security forces were killed themselves far more
than they killed others.
With the paramilitaries, the situation is the opposite.
The republican and loyalist paramilitaries killed others far more
than they were killed themselves.
The chart shows, for each group X,
the number of X killed and the number killed by X.
So the total of 5,214 dead
counts the dead twice.
Captured IRA list of possible bombing targets in 1975 included
the British Museum,
the National Gallery,
the Tate Gallery,
the Imperial War Museum
Not content with destroying Ireland's heritage in 1919-23,
the IRA wanted to destroy England's heritage too.
the IRA bombed the Linenhall Library
(among many other things)
irreplaceable republican and nationalist documents.
(It also of course contains an
irreplaceable unionist documents.)
The IRA burnt
Tynan Abbey, Co.Armagh,
and its historic contents
Photo of ruin from here.
The IRA bombed the 11th century
Tower of London
17 July 1974,
when it was full of tourists.
killed one tourist
and injured 40 other people, including tourists and children.
Image from here.
There is a detailed description of the injuries suffered by the children and tourists at the Tower of London
in this article: "The Tower of London bomb explosion",
British Medical Journal, August 2, 1975.
Blocked on Twitter by the regressive left and Islamists:
I love debate.
I love ideas.
But the Western left
and their friends the Islamic right
do not return the favour.
Their response to opposing ideas, whether expressed politely or robustly, is often to block.
See Who blocks me on Twitter.
I will debate almost anyone.
Stick to ideas and I will debate you.
But I do have rules.
See Who I block on Twitter.
Twitter is broken, 2016 on:
I am on Twitter at
Twitter was a great place for debate before 2016.
You could meet everyone in the world, and argue about ideas.
Starting in 2016,
Twitter became increasingly broken.
It became full of reporting and bans and censorship.
In 2019, Twitter even started
for no reason that was ever explained, or could be appealed.
promised to end the censorship.
But it looks like a false dawn.
One day, we will have a better place to gather.