Aftermath of pub bombings in Birmingham in 1974 – a PIRA war crime.


Following a campaign by Fine Gael and their media supporters, Sinn Fein have cancelled a commemoration for PIRA Volunteer Edward O Brien, who ‘accidentally’ suicide bombed a London Bus in 1994, killing himself and injuring several others. A massacre was narrowly avoided. There is simply no way such an ignoble end or such an atrocious turn of events should be dressed up in glory.

Commemorate away – but we owe the dead sincerity at least, & it is – to say the least – insincere to pretend that what happened to Edward O Brien & what he made happen to the innocents he injured & traumatised speaks in any way well of any cause.

To state the obvious from the off – Leo Varadkar hasn’t a leg to stand on when he criticises Sinn Fein for commemorating a bus bomber. Nor does anyone else who supports, for example, the US Military using Shannon as a staging post from where they go on to commit atrocities the scale of which the IRA could only dream about – morning, noon, and night.

If you haven’t anything to say about Shannon & US imperialism, stfu about the IRA, you stinking hypocrite.

Nor am I, as an Irish person fully aware of the oppression visited on nationalist communities in the North, in any way ashamed of the fact that those communities fought back. They met bullet with bullet, bomb with bomb. That’s how war goes, and it is the British who started the war, who deepened the war, who lengthened the war, and who even now are playing with sectarian fire in the north and who are fully prepared to relaunch the war should it suit UK politics to do so.

But that does not mean we should uncritically admire the tactics of the IRA Army Council, the surviving members of which are now, one suspects, establishment figures living lives of comfort and security – while the bodies of the young men and women they ordered onto buses with bombs have dissolved into worms and muck.

Put down the booze and turn down the Wolfe Tones for a minute, and what we have left is the horrible and undeniable fact that The Army Council gave an order which led to a 21 year old man carrying a bomb on a crowded bus, endangering the lives of working class people who had nothing to do with the war in the six counties.

The mighty IRA Army Council just could not figure out a way to plant a bomb without endangering innocents who had nothing to do with war in the North!

The mighty IRA Army Council who had already given us dozens upon dozens of volunteers blown up by their own bombs, already given us the Birmingham Pub Bombings, Enniskillen, Warrington…..given us so many straight out war-crimes that are a stain on the conscience of the Irish for all eternity….they didn’t think it was a absolutely fucking stupid idea to send a youngfella travelling across London on a bus with a bomb ticking in his backpack?

By this stage of the protracted armed campaign, the Army Council knew full well that the bomb had as good a chance of going off on the bus as anywhere else. They still gave the order. I don’t admire them. I consider them cruel idiots who lost all the sympathy the Irish cause had in the world, including in the 26 counties, by mistakenly and pig-headedly pursuing a strategy of guerrilla warfare long long  after it was obvious such a strategy could not win and long long after such a strategy had lost the support of the Irish people.

The IRA may have claimed they were fighting a People’s War. So did many guerrilla movements in the 70s and 80s, and they were all bullshitting themselves – if they even believed it themselves. 

But the Irish people had no say in how to fight this war, and did not support this war, and certainly were utterly disgusted by the war crimes carried out in their name. And when small groups of armed men start calling themselves ‘The People’, then, believe me, the people are in trouble. 

So, in the spirit of true commemoration  let’s ask some real questions of the ‘Republican Movement’ – questions they seem incapable of asking themselves.

Why did ye send so many idealistic young people to die? 

Was it for Gerry Adam’s Instagram Account?

Was it for Paddy Holohan’s rapey podcast?

Was it so SF could defend and even cheerlead the blatantly racist policing of BLM in the six counties?

Was it so Mehole & Mary-Lou could dance into coalition in year or two’s time and make the Irish people pay the price for the crimes of their rulers?

Was it so SF & the DUP could share power in the six counties and dish each other the goodies on the quiet, while life get’s worse and worse for workers in the North?

Or what was it for?

Because the above is how is turned out and ye seem to be ok with all of it, even through none of what Sinn Fein does today – or tmro as they continue their pursuit of coalition with FF – is worth a single drop of anyone’s blood.

I’m not alone in thinking that all the dead volunteers are turning in their graves at the way things have turned out. And for SF to engage in the necropolitics of commemoration, without asking why the armed campaign was such an unmitigated and disastrous failure is a hypocrisy on a par with Varadkar’s.

They say their is honour among soldiers, maybe especially among old soldiers. Isn’t about time some of these old soldiers who gave the orders to kill and die (and managed to avoid any of that dirty work themselves) came out and apologised to  the families of all the dead volunteers and to all their civilian victims for their catastrophic misleadership?