Cumann na Saoirse Náisiúnta

National Irish Freedom Committee

Éamonn Ó Cuiv, RFE Call-in --- Nov. 2011

The recent call-in to Radio Free Éireann, (RFE) by Éamonn Ó Cuiv, a Fianna Fáil party member of the 26-county parliament, has raised a few eyebrows, more so in Ireland than here in the States.

The purpose of his call-in was to lend support to the ‘release Gerry McGeough campaign’ that has been promoted on a regular basis by RFE. Due mainly to RFE efforts, McGeough has become a cause célèbre since his imprisonment in HMS Maghaberry prison in the British controlled six Irish counties on 'selective charges' enshrined in and agreed to by all parties to the Good Friday Agreement (GFA) including Provisional Sinn Féin (PSF). (Ubiquitous language incorporated in the GFA allows for the use of punitive measures to quell any form of dissent with respect to the GFA or the ongoing British presence in Ireland). 

Although McGeough supported the GFA he, nonetheless, became a victim to the ‘new order’ pursued by PSF after the signing of the GFA. The ‘new order’ required new skill sets and absolute loyalty.  Active volunteers who could not be relied on to conform were set adrift. Volunteers serving time were released on restrictive parole conditions that prevented them from engaging in any form of dissent directed against the GFA or PSF. Those who opposed the ‘new order’ were either disposed of, labeled as being ‘troubled’ or subjected to ‘selective charges’ as happened to McGeough.

 Ó Cuiv’s call-in was not a “laissez-faire” happenstance as one would be led to believe. To the contrary, Ó Cuiv’s advocacy on behalf of McGeough could be part of a well planned strategy by Fianna Fáil to; 1) position Fianna Fáil as the ‘legitimate’ republican party, 2) stymie any attempt by PSF to cast themselves as the ‘republican’ party and 3) safeguard Fianna Fáil’s role as the main opposition party in the southern 26-county parliament.

In either case what better way for Fianna Fáil to demonstrate their ‘republican’ credentials than to intercede with the British on behalf of McGeough, a former PSF member abandoned by his own party?  

Notwithstanding the fact that few Irish politicians act out of compassion or a sense of justice, Ó Cuiv’s intervention on behalf of McGeough is welcome. One would hope that he will pursue the steps he outlined on RFE including a meeting with the British Ambassador to discuss McGeough’s release and the overall status of Irish Republican prisoners on protest in Maghaberry prison.

As the maneuvering for the republican mantle continues, let's not forget that it was Éamonn De Valera, Ó Cuiv grandfather and the founder of Fianna Fáil, who sanctioned the execution of Irish Republican activists in the 1930’s and 40’s. How does that square with Fianna Fáil’s claim to Irish Republicanism? 

 Putting a bow around a pig’s neck does not make it a teddy bear.

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