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'Republicanism and the Abstentionist Tradition, 1970-1998'
by Dr Brendan Lynn



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Republicanism and the Abstentionist Tradition, 1970-1998

 

A Paper Presented to the Institute of Irish Studies,
Queen's University Belfast, May 2001

 

Dr Brendan Lynn

 

Due to the nature of the subject matter of the paper this afternoon and given the fact that this is the first occasion on which I have addressed the Institute, I would like to begin by making a number of general points.

Firstly, in order to try to explain my interest in the issue of abstentionism it is necessary to refer briefly to the work I have done up until obtaining this Fellowship. This has been based largely on an examination of political developments within Northern nationalism in the years after partition and in particular on the period between 1945 and 1969. From my perspective one of the key themes to emerge was to be the continuing problems that abstentionism was to cause those who claimed to speak for constitutional nationalism. For instance their willingness to take their seats both at Westminster and the old Stormont parliament was often seized by their republican opponents as a means to question their commitment to securing independence for the island of Ireland. Now however the circumstances have changed in that it is now the republican movement that finds itself having to face the accusations of collaboration, surrender and the acceptance of partition.1

Secondly, with regards to the actual content of this seminar let me highlight certain areas where I am not seeking to make direct judgements today. It is not a critical analysis of developments within the broad republican movement over the past thirty years or, for that matter an examination of its role in what has become known as the "Peace Process". Rather as the title suggests my aim is to focus on a specific issue, namely abstentionism, and to outline the nature of a debate that has evolved within modern republicanism on this very topic. In seeking to assess how this change has come about to what had been a fundamental belief, that the only authority republicans should recognise is that of an independent thirty-two county republic, one has to examine not only the personalities involved but also the language used as well as the way in which the debate was to be conducted. As for the significance of what emerges I would suggest it is something more than just highlighting a new direction, new thinking or, the question of who leads the republican movement, but crucially as an example of how the process of internal change is managed and conducted.

With regards to the abstentionist issue the whole debate was to revolve around two contrasting points of view. For those who sought a change in approach if it could be viewed merely as a tactic, then under the correct conditions there was nothing to prevent it from being altered. Alternatively some saw it as one of the basic principles, that had sustained their ideology since the ending of the Irish Civil War and therefore there were simply no circumstances under which this could be changed. From this conviction had grown the belief that politics and involvement with political activity should be approached with a degree of scepticism. This was based largely on the fact that down through the years groups and individuals had chosen such a path that had ultimately led to them recognising what were viewed as ‘colonial, neo-colonial or imperialist institutions’.2 Given this position anyone who chose to revive the question of abstentionism was going to have to face a situation where not only a policy was going to have to be amended but a state of mind. As one former senior member of the republican movement was to comment this could only be done as part of ‘learning curve’3, where contemporary problems and realities had to be tackled in a much more pragmatic fashion if the ultimate goal was ever to be secured. By its very nature this was going be a long drawn out process, where lessons were first learnt from various experiences and then used to meet the next challenge. But the difficulty in all of this was that the language for some sounded suspiciously like the argument last heard in the 1960s by individuals seeking to convince republicans that progress could be made via constitutional means alone.

The obvious question to ask at this point is can we identify when this 'learning curve’ first began to emerge? Here I would suggest referring to a series of articles that appeared in a monthly publication, Republican News with a readership largely based in the North of Ireland, over a period of eighteen months between August 1975 and February 1977. The author or, should I say the alleged the author, was then a little known figure interned in Long Kesh, Gerry Adams, under the pen-name of "Brownie". Invited by a friend and former internee, Danny Morrison, who had recently become editor of Republican News, Adams began to contribute a column. For historians, commentators and others, these have understandably become a source of great importance given the role and position that Adams was to eventually hold. In his writings, the subject matter of "Brownie" ranged across various subjects from short stories, articles dealing with the mundane of prison life to those commenting on the progress of the "armed struggle" on the outside. Not surprisingly it is this latter category that has attracted the most attention. Two areas of concern were to be identified by "Brownie". The first of these centred on the apparent indications of war weariness that were beginning to emerge amongst the community on whose behalf the "struggle" was being fought. For example the emergence of the "Peace People" in August 1976 was to cause obvious alarm.4 Secondly, moves being taken by both the authorities in London and Dublin to undermine those seeking to sustain a military campaign was also touched upon, along with the urgent need to counter these events.5

Such moves were to lead Adams to propose in a series of articles that the time had come to ensure that ‘the Republican struggle is as much part of the people as the people are of it’. As well there was now a need to provide a valid answer as to why the "war" was being fought. According to "Brownie" as ‘the tearing down process intensifies’ there was also a requirement for a viable alternative to emerge immediately rather than until after the 'war’, 'it must start now... and it’s up to us to provide it’. This had to involve, by its very nature, the growth of a political programme that could provide 'a people’s alternative to the British system and we must implement the Republican alternative at every opportunity on as many fronts as possible’.6 As Henry Patterson suggests in his book, The Politics of Illusion: Republicanism and Socialism in Modern Ireland, this was to see the revival of efforts ‘to rally the masses to the "anti-imperialist struggle" by taking up economic and social issues’, in what he has described as ‘social republicanism’.7

However at this point there was nothing to indicate that such an approach was going to include any review of the principle of abstentionism. Instead Adams was to state in October 1975, ‘that I agree completely with abstention from any…of the British established and orientated partitionist assemblies...’. Rather the immediate aim should be to begin to get people to consider the practicalities of becoming involved in politics once more and to highlight the inherent contradictions with the present policy of relative inactivity in political matters. This was done in an article entitled "Active Abstentionism" which was published on 11 October 1975. In a fictional conversation, Adams outlined his thinking. He spoke for instance of the republican movement’s commitment to re-establish the Second Dail with a new form of government for Ireland. This produced the following interchange:

But sez the man in the street ‘where the hell is this government?’…Do Republicans really believe that the ordinary people will give their allegiance to a Parliament which really doesn’t really exist?... while the SDLP and other Unionist monopolise elections I’m afraid that ordinary Nationalists will always opt for the lesser of the two evils…we have no way of voting Republican…What else do you expect people to do?…And that my friends, is the crux of the matter…We need an alternative...

According to Adams what was now required was a combination of what he was to describe as "Active Abstentionism and "Active Republicanism" to ensure that its message was relevant in the conditions which now existed.8 Effectively this meant that:

If we are serious about our philosophy we must pose a greater threat…on all fronts, than we have done in the past…to build up our support…to weaken the cultural, political, military, economic or commercial hold which Britain exerts on our country...we must build up our support…and we must implement the Republican philosophy at every opportunity on as many fronts as possible...9

The difficulty remained however that such language alarmed some within the republican movement who remembered similar messages they had received on occasions in the past. These had urged it to abandon physical force in favour of securing their objectives solely by political persuasion. If such a move towards politics was to be made then it was clear that it had to be done carefully and as part of a ‘learning curve’. In turn it would have to be shown clearly that it could advance the "struggle" in association with a military campaign. How then was this to be done?

External circumstances, to a certain extent, were to play a very important role in all of this and were therefore to be used skilfully by those advocating change. For instance in the numerous accounts dealing with the Irish Republican Army’s (IRA) recent campaign on one point, some consensus has been reached. This is based around the assertion that for a period in the mid to late 1970s it is argued that it had come close to defeat, largely due to a combination of war weariness as well as government initiatives, ranging from economic and social programmes to a tougher security approach. Yet such problems also seemed to present the perfect opportunity not only for a reassessment of where republicanism not only stood but allow it to come up with a new strategy to enable it to confront the difficulties it faced at this juncture. This was to involve two main strands: on one front the IRA itself was to be reorganised so it could better tackle the challenges it now faced. Secondly, greater emphasis had to be placed on political activity to avoid the situation where the republican movement as a whole became isolated from its support base.10

Again on this latter point I would stress that this was not done overnight but rather as part of a long-term process. This involved a situation where ideas were first aired; counter-arguments prepared to convince those suspicious or sceptical of what was being suggested; and finally a willingness to utilise any opportunity that presented itself to support the move by republicans into what was still regarded as the sordid and corrupting world of politics. By February 1977 "Brownie" had written his last piece for Republican News due to his release from imprisonment and depending, on whom you chose to believe or may not, resumed his senior position in the republican movement.

Here examples of his growing presence stand out. Most notably these were to involve speeches at one of the most important public gatherings held by republicans annually, namely the address by a senior figure at the grave of Wolfe Tone in Bodenstown. In the first of these in June 1977 the speech was given by Jimmy Drumm, a veteran republican of some standing, but it is widely accepted that Adams played a major part in its composition.11 The message was blunt in pointing out that ‘the war of liberation’ could no longer be sustained ‘exclusively on the backs of the oppressed in the Six Counties’. In addition Drumm went onto stress that the ‘armed struggle’ could not be based solely 'on the physical presence of Britain’ or simple ‘hatred and resentment’, and that the ‘isolation of socialist republicans around the armed struggle is dangerous’. Instead there was an obvious need to forge ties ‘with the mass of the Irish people’ by making ‘a stand on economic issues and on the everyday struggles of people’. In turn this would permit the republican movement to forge links with the ‘workers of Ireland and radical trade unionists’ to establish an ‘irrepressible mass movement (that) will ensure mass support for the continuing armed struggle’.12

By June 1979 Adams had assumed the role of vice-president of Sinn Féin (SF). In his first major oration at Bodenstown he referred back to the themes first developed in the "Brownie" articles and also some of those which Jimmy Drumm had touched upon in 1977. Although it was emphasised that the goal of an ‘Ireland, free, united, socialist and Gaelic’ remained sacrosanct, the admission was made that it could not ‘be fully re-established solely by military means’. A point had been reached where republican philosophy had to be ‘updated if it needs be to suit today’s conditions’. This would have to encompass 'a strong political alternative to so-called constitutional politics’ in order to take advantage of prevailing social and economic problems in the South as well as ‘for the building of an agitational struggle in the twenty-six counties... linking up Republicans with other sections of the working class’.13 With regards to the issue of abstentionism, the point on the "learning curve" on which it could be raised had yet to be reached. Thus, instead the emphasis was placed firmly on trying to secure a situation where republicans could support candidates engaged in electoral contests on the basis of ‘Active Abstentionism’. Whilst in private an ongoing debate on this question could be held by its ruling executive, the Ard Comhairle, in public the leadership of the republican movement encouraged the continuation of its current policy, where people were urged to boycott elections, apart from those for local councils in the south.14 This meant that in 1979 the call was made for people in the North to ignore the Westminster election in May and throughout Ireland in June, the first poll for the European Parliament. Then in November 1980 at SF’s Ard Fheis, to the dismay of some, an effort to persuade the party to contest local government elections in Northern Ireland was rejected. It was agreed instead that the policy of not becoming involved in elections would remain in place but with an interesting proviso that, ‘this was generally considered to be a tactical decision - correct at this time - rather than a principled position’.15

But the picture was now to change, in a way no one could have possibly predicted, by way of the impact of the 1981 Hunger Strike, which attracted popular support for the republican cause on an unprecedented scale. The clearest example of this came with the by-election victory in the Westminster constituency of Fermanagh and South Tyrone of Bobby Sands in early April. With regards to the future and in particular on the debate that was to emerge on abstentionism, other events from 1981 were to play an equally significant role. In the local government elections in May the protest vote which had helped to elect Sands was repeated across many council areas in the north of Ireland. On this occasion however it was given to candidates who, although pledged to work to support the demands of the hunger strikers were, by no means closely linked to the republican movement.16 For instance in an article in AnPhoblacht/Republican News on 30 May reviewing these results the question was posed if the decision at the 1980 Ard Fheis had been a ‘miscalculation and a lost opportunity to secure more permanent gains from the hunger strike given the clear militant shift in nationalist opinion’.17 Then in August Owen Carron, a member of SF but standing largely on the same ticket as Bobby Sands had, was elected in the subsequent by-election in Fermanagh and South Tyrone. But the difference now was that Carron had made clear that he was also determined to follow the "Active Abstentionist" strategy first outlined by Adams. Thus, he outlined that once the H-Block campaign was resolved satisfactorily he would make the ‘transfer to being a republican MP, fighting the national, social, economic, and cultural battles of our people’.18 The momentum that had now been built up on this issue was then carried through to the 1981 Ard Fheis. At this gathering a motion was passed which supported a more positive electoral policy that would allow for SF candidates, if elected, to take their seats in local councils in Northern Ireland and for the party to vigorously contest general elections both North and South. The era of the "Armalite and the Ballot Box" was about to commence.19

This approach over the next couple of years was to bring considerable success within Northern Ireland as SF began to experience growing electoral support. Although there was a great deal of satisfaction with such results there were also those who had reached the conclusion that certain realities had now to be faced if this momentum was to be built upon. In particular it had become clear that in spite of initial optimism, that SF was not about to overtake the Social Democratic and Labour Party (SDLP) as the main voice of Northern nationalism.20 As well as a movement claiming to based on pursuing a clear thirty-two county agenda there was little evidence that the progress made via elections in the North was in turn impacting on politics in the South. A clear example of this had been the failure to build on the success at the general election in June 1981, which had seen prisoner candidates, secure a sizeable share of the vote with two being elected as TDs. Then just over eight months later in February 1982, when the same constituencies were again contested, this time under the SF banner, not only were both seats lost but overall the level of support declined considerably. Although the party still continued to win seats at local government level there was no indication in spite of the political, social and economic turmoil of the early 1980s that republicans were viewed as offering a viable alternative and instead the movement appeared still to be part of the radical fringe.21 This was something that Adams had warned about as far back as the "Brownie Articles". He had argued that this was simply not acceptable and suggested :

if people in Northern Ireland are not to be let down by those in the Free State then their "national consciousness" must be raised They have a major role to play in our struggle. They must not fail us...22

The evidence however was now apparently pointing to the fact that this continued to be the case and so crucially the next stage of the "learning curve" was to pose the question as to how this could be rectified. To certain individuals, now in senior positions in the republican leadership, which had been secured largely on the back of their prominent roles in the successes following the prison protest of 1980/81, the answer was simple. They began to focus on the belief that their political isolation was largely the result of a principle which had outlived its usefulness, namely the refusal to take their seats if elected in the Dail. The first real public indication of their thinking came by way of Adam’s Bodenstown address in June 1983, just a few week’s after his achievement in winning the West Belfast seat at the Westminster election on what could be only described as an "Active Abstentionist" ticket. He indicated that the time had come for the republican movement to:

Realise that ordinary people...accept the Free State institutions as legitimate. To ignore this political reality is to…undermine the development of our struggle…A firm foothold and a relevant organisation in Southern politics is vital. We must apply ourselves to that objective…we must…develop our republicanism so that it meets today’s political conditions...23

If this was to be done it had to involve some consideration as to the whole question of abstentionism. What made this even more difficult was the fact that for many it remained a fundamental point of principle. Such people remained convinced that the only path for republicanism to take was to maintain its opposition to any institutions which owed their existence to the treaty settlement of 1921. Overcoming such opposition was going to be a major challenge but there was now a realisation amongst certain senior figures that it had to be faced. It was also very obvious that a method had to be found to minimise any possible division and to avoid a damaging split similar to the one that had happened in 1969/70.24

The first major challenge that would have to be overcome was the need to downgrade the status of abstentionism from that of a principle to simply a tactic, which could in turn be easily changed to meet fresh challenges. On this front there appeared to a recent precedent which could be possibly utilised. During previous armed campaigns, republicans who had been brought before the courts, both North and South, had simply refused to recognise their authority and had not sought to challenge the case against them. For a time after 1969 this practice was maintained. But by the mid 1970s, with more and more republican activists being arrested, charged and found guilty, pressure began to grow for a change in approach. This was judged to be of crucial importance in certain cases where convictions had given rise to concerns over possible abuses of the supects' human rights. Nothing could be done however as a defence case could not be presented. In response to such a situation a decision was reached to allow for greater pragmatism to be shown in order to take advantage of the opportunities that were being presented. Out of this a new thinking was adopted and suspects began to defend themselves against the charges they faced even if this involved recognising the legal system.25 Thus the conclusion was reached that it was possible for a principle to be modified in order to advance the "struggle" and therefore the case began to be made that this could also be applied to abstentionism.

A much greater problem was the fact that any change concerning the whole policy of abstentionism was going to need amendments to the constitution of both SF as well as that of the IRA. In addition it was also required that any such proposal had to be carried by at least a two-thirds majority. If all of this was to be achieved then it could be done only when it was certain that it stood a chance of succeeding and thus as a basic requirement it was obvious that the leadership needed to be in firm control. As a result, on both sides of the debate on the issue in 1986 , there has been claims and counter-claims as to how this command was exercised. For those advocating a fresh approach the argument was to be advanced on the basis that at this point in the "struggle" it was a step that had to be taken.26 As one delegate in a speech to the 1986 Ard Fheis was to put it, the only principle that should matter to republicanism was the principle of 'winning'.27

With regards to the attitude of the IRA, this had been settled at a meeting of its ruling body, the Army Convention, in October 1986. At this it was agreed that the ban on members debating the taking of parliamentary seats or supporting candidates who proposed to do so, should be repealed. The message in public that was given was that the decision had been taken to allow for the opening 'up of another battlefield’, whilst in private with the delivery of fresh supplies of weapons from Libya, assurances were seemingly given that the "armed struggle" would not be wound down as a result.28 Support for the IRA's move however was to come from important sources. For example it was largely welcomed by prominent IRA prisoners such as Patrick Magee, who had been convicted of the attack on the Conservative Party conference in Brighton in 1984, and they too made clear their support of the move to drop abstentionism. With such an alliance in place the motion to allow for republicans to take their seats, if elected in the Dail, was brought before the Ard Fheis on Sunday 1 November 1986, and by the necessary two-thirds majority, 429 votes to 161, was carried.29

To the opponents of this move their opposition rested largely on a desire to prevent the repeat of a betrayal that the republican movement had had to endure a number of times in the past. But at the same time the events of the Ard Fheis did not come as a surprise. For instance they had already drawn up plans to establish their political own organisation. Thus, as the vote was announced they walked out to begin the process that led eventually to the establishment of Republican Sinn Fein (RSF). In their view their opponents had won not because of the strength of their case but simply by foul means and intimidation. The allegations were to range from the expulsion of people from the ranks of the IRA, threats against dissident voices within SF as well as deliberate acts of deception to ensure that the vote was rigged in time for the debate at the Ard Fheis.30 But Ruairi O’Bradaigh, the man Adams had replaced as President of SF in 1983, summed up the extent of their anger and contempt for their opponents and the decision that they had taken. He declared that in reality the move would only be welcomed by the political establishment in Dublin and London. In both instances the verdict would be "ah, it took 65 years but we have them at last…they come in from the wilderness and we have them now".31

In spite of O'Bradaigh's words it appeared as if the abstentionist issue had finally been settled. Martin McGuinness in his contribution had begun with a clear commitment, ‘I would like to give a commitment on behalf of the leadership that we have absolutely no intention of going into Westminster or Stormont’. But events of the recent past have shown this apparent guarantee has not only been broken but that McGuinness also became a Minister in a devolved assembly governing Northern Ireland.32

To try to offer an explanation as to how such a situation was to arise there have been scores of books and articles outlining the many twists and turns of what has become known as the "peace process" which finally produced the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) in April 1998.33 From the perspective of this paper one aspect in particular has been of particular interest. This was to be the decision taken at the reconvened SF Ard Fheis on 10 May that the party would take their seats in the new northern assembly proposed under the terms of the GFA at Stormont. This was a place which to Republicans after all, in the past had always been regarded as the embodiment of partition. As in 1986 such a move required changes to the party’s constitution to allow for such a course of action to be taken and for it to be supported by a two-thirds majority. When looking not only at the debate that was to take place on that day but also, the deliberations that had taken place within the republican movement in the days and weeks after the negotiations that had concluded with the GFA, the similarities with the events of 1986 are striking.

In the first instance it was clear that another point had been reached on the "learning curve" for republicans in that the choice that was now to be made would not immediately bring about their ultimate objective. The argument was again advanced that changing circumstances had to be addressed by the republican movement. Furthermore pragmatic choices would have to be made at this juncture in order to advance the "struggle". According to McGuinness the GFA had therefore to be judged not as ‘a settlement’ but rather as a ‘basis for advancement’ and in particular partition could be weakened by ‘the dynamic operation of the All-Ireland structures’ it proposed. The obvious drawback however was that involvement in these bodies was dependent upon participation in the new Northern Ireland assembly. As Adams was to indicate this was difficult given the fact that republicanism still had ‘an emotional and an understandable political as well as constitutional block to participation in a Stormont parliament’. Thus accordingly for Adams the key question to be addressed by delegates was whether full involvement in all the proposed institutions ‘serves our struggle’.34

After the debate itself on the day, a clear answer was given when 331 out of the 350 delegates eligible to vote gave their support for a motion drafted by the Ard Comhairle to allow for the constitution to be amended to enable Sinn Fein to take their seats at Stormont. In response to this RSF claimed that the move was another example of the betrayal that they had been predicting since the split in 1986. They were to be joined in condemning SF’s acceptance of the GFA by a new grouping, the 32 County Sovereignty Committee, established in December 1997. This body largely consisted of former members of SF who had agreed to abandon the policy of abstentionism towards Leinster House in 1986 but who had developed serious reservations over the path SF was pursuing in their participation in the "peace process" in the 1990s. At the same time however the thought of republican representatives taking their seats at Stormont was not something many of the SF delegates themselves viewed with a great deal of enthusiasm. Their reservations were noted but as before many also recognised that there was now a simple choice. As Pat Doherty, the party’s vice-president was to stress:

We always knew the path to freedom was never going to be simple or straightforward. What is essential is that we are prepared to adapt our tactical positions without ever losing sight of our ultimate objectives.. .Tactics are there to be adapted and changed when the need arises but principles are there to be achieved..., we will deliver Irish unity and independence.35

In charting the changing attitude of republicanism towards the issue of abstentionism one of the main themes to emerge has been the way in which pragmatism now affects republican politics. This comes in many forms but a good example is the comments made by Danny Morrison, in the past one of the movement's most prominent figures, back in 1992. In the aftermath of the loss of Gerry Adam's West Belfast seat at the Westminster general election of that year, he was to give an interesting insight as to where the republican movement stood and the problems it now faced. With him in prison, awaiting trial on terrorist charges, Morrison could certainly offer a detached view. In an article written for An Phoblacht/Republican News but which the paper refused to carry on the grounds ‘that it would have been seized by our opponents’, he argued that , ‘the pragmatism of the head had to take precedence over the principle of the heart’. Of pressing concern for Morrison were the worrying signs that the "armalite and ballot box" strategy was now showing signs of failing. If this was to occur the possible danger for republicans was that in turn they could be forced into ‘compromise’ from a position of weakness. In order to avoid what Morrison described as ‘the "glorious defeats" with which our past is littered’ there was an obvious need for an alternative:

We should only face such a choice from a position of relative strength, when we still abound in energy, tacking stock... finding vulnerabilities in the armour of our enemies, seizing the moral high ground and using the ingenuity for which we are renowned - the ingenuity which has ensured our survival.36

This sense of ‘ingenuity’ was therefore the key factor which was to underlie the debate over abstentionism and will ensure therefore that the so-called ‘struggle’ will be continued in some shape or form in the years ahead.

 

 

Footnotes

1. For a more detailed analysis of developments within political parties representing constitutional nationalism in the North of Ireland the following books are a good starting point: Lynn, Brendan. (1997), Holding the Ground: The Nationalist Party in Northern Ireland, 1945-1972. Aldershot, Ashgate; Murray, Gerard. (1998), John Hume and the SDLP; Impact and Survival in Northern Ireland. Dublin, Irish Academic Press; and, Phoenix, Eamon. (1994), Northern Nationalism: Nationalist Politics, Partition and the Catholic Minority in Northern Ireland, 1890-1940 Belfast: Ulster Historical Foundation.

2. N.A., 'Election Interventions', Iris: The Republican Magazine November 1981.

3. Interview with Morrison, Danny. 4 April 2001.

4. Adams, Gerry [Brownie, pseud.], 'A Review of the Situation - Past, Present and Future', Republican News 14 August 1976.

5. Adams, Gerry [Brownie, pseud.], 'Peace', Republican News 11 September 1976.

6. Adams, Gerry [Brownie, pseud.], 'Active Abstentionism', Republican News 11 October 1975.

7. Patterson, Henry. (1989), The Politics of Illusion: Republicanism and Socialism in Modern Ireland. London: Hutchinson Radius.

8. Adams, Gerry [Brownie, pseud.] 'Active Abstentionism', Republican News 11 October 1975.

9. Adams, Gerry [Brownie, pseud.] ''A Review of the Situation - Past, Present and Future', Republican News 14 August 1976.

10. There are many books dealing with the evolution of Republican strategy at this time but a good introduction is provided by O'Brien, Brendan. (1999), The Long War: The IRA and Sinn Féin. Dublin: The O'Brien Press Ltd.

11. Interview with Morrison, Danny 4 April 2001.

12. An Phoblacht/Republican News 18 June 1977.

13. An Phoblacht/Republican News 23 June 1979.

14. For an analysis of the debate within Sinn Féin on this issue see Bishop, Patrick and Mailie, Eamon. (1987), The Provisional IRA. London: Heinemann Ltd.

15. An Phoblacht/Republican News 6 November 1980.

16. Elliott, Sydney and Smith, F.J. (1981), Northern Ireland Council Elections. Belfast: Queen's University Belfast.

17. An Phoblacht/Republican News 30 May 1981.

18. N.A. Iris: The Republican Magazine November 1981.

19. An examination of the emerging electoral strategy of the Republican movement in the early 1980s, see Clarke, Liam. (1987), Broadening the Battlefield: The H-Blocks and the Rise of Sinn Féin. Dublin: Gill and Macmillan.

20. This was borne out by SF's result at the 1984 European Parliament Election, see Flackes, W.D. and Elliott, Sydney. (1989), Northern Ireland: A Political Directory 1968-1988. Belfast: Blackstaff Press.

21. An Phoblacht/Republican News 2 and 16 June 1979.

22. Adams, Gerry [Brownie, pseud.], 'Agitate, Educate, Liberate', Republican News 22 May 1976.

23. An Phoblacht/Republican News 23 June 1983.

24. There are different accounts of the events surrounding the split within the Republican movement at the end of the 1960s, however, a good introduction is provided by Kelley, Kevin. (1982), The Longest War: Northern Ireland and the IRA. Dingle, County Kerry: Brandon Books.

25. Mc Evoy, Ciaran. (2000), 'Law, Struggle and Political Transformation in Northern Ireland', Journal of Law and Society, 27/4.

26. Interview with Morrison, Danny 4 April 2001.

27. Sinn Féin. (1986), The Politics of Revolution: Main Speeches and Debates from the 1986 Ard Fheis. Dublin: Sinn Féin.

28. An Phoblacht/Republican News 16 October 1986. Plus interview with Morrison, Danny and Northern Ireland Office Cutting File, Sinn Féin, No.19, Linen Hall Library, Belfast.

29. Sinn Féin (1986), The Politics of Revolution. Plus Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Video 125-126, Linen Hall Library, Belfast.

30. Interview with Taylor, Geraldine 6 April 2001. Plus Sharrock, David and Davenport, Mark (1998), Man of War, Man of Peace: The Unauthorised Biography of Gerry Adams. London: Macmillan.

31. Sinn Féin (1986), The Politics of Revolution.

32. Ibid. Plus Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Video 125-126, Linen Hall Library, Belfast.

33. With regards to the negotiations which were to culminate with the signing of the Good Friday Agreement in April 1998 the topic as well as developments in the "Peace Process" of the 1990s reference should be made to Dixon, Paul. (2001), Northern Ireland: The Politics of War and Peace. London: Palgrave and, Hennessey, Thomas. (2000), The Northern Ireland Peace Process. London: Gill and Macmillan.

34. Sinn Féin, Sinn Féin Ard Fheis Proceedings 18-19 April 1998, Linen Hall Library, Belfast.

35. Sinn Féin, Speeches and Agenda at the Reconvened Sinn Féin Ard Fheis, 10 May 1998, Linen Hall Library, Belfast.

36. Morrison, Danny. (1999), Then the Walls Came Down: A Prison Journal. Dublin: Mercier Press.

 


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