I n in the early hours of April 19, 2019, Belfast-born Irish Republican Anthony McIntyre was woken up by his wife, Carrie, in their home in Drogheda, just south of the in Ireland. "It 's not true, it cannot be true," she said. "Lyra has been shot.
Sleepy, confused, and not quite believing what she was told, McIntyre fell asleep again. He woke up the next morning thinking, "What did she say to me?" McIntyre looked online and saw it was true: their good friend, the 29-year-old journalist Lyra McKee , had observed a riot in Derry on the night before when 'she was shot by a tiRepublican fear.
Only a few weeks before, McKee had enthusiastically informed his friends, including McIntyre, that she was moving from Belfast to Derry to be with his partner, Sara. McIntyre had been happy for McKee, whom he remembered as a "nice nice boy ".
In the aftermath of McKee's murder, news crews from around the world descended on the Derry housing estate where she was shot, to continue the story of what happened to this young journalist and why. For the outside world, the dispute in Northern Ireland had been settled with historical data Good Friday Agreement in 1998. But almost exactly 21 years later, McKee's death was a memory that, although the Provisional IRA's campaign against British rule ended with the ceasefires of the 1990s, actions violence had been carried out by dissident Republican groups.
McKee's responsibility for the death was quickly brought to the door of the New IRA, one of the two Republican groups armed forces still engaged in the struggle for a united Ireland. The New IRA and the Continuity IRA regard the Republicans of Sinn Fein and the Provisional Movement who were involved in the peace process as sold out, and demand that the armed struggle continue until Irish unity is achieved. . Both groups continue to organize and recruit, and remain capable of launching attacks. Between April 2019 and March 2020 the police of Northern Ireland recorded 21 bombings, or attempted bombing, and 40 shootings; 30 firearms were seized and 774 cartridges were found. The main targets of these groups are the police and security services, but during the same period there are has had many victims of punitive attacks against drug traffickers and anti-social elements involved in petty crime.
The New IRA had been particularly active in the months leading up to McKee's death. In January 2019, a new IRA bomb exploded outside the Derry courthouse, and in March parcel bombs were sent. British Army recruiting personnel and commercial targets in England andt in Scotland (all were secured except one which partially exploded, but no one was injured).
McKee had been living in Derry for two weeks when Riots broke out in the Catholic estate of Creggan after police raids on Republican homes in the area. In e Before Easter, the police stepped up searches for materials, weapons or ammunition used by the New or Continuity IRAs. In recent years, commemorations of the 1916 Easter Uprising against British rule have been the scene of violent altercations between police and dissident Republicans in northern Armagh and Derry, so raids have been carried out in an already busy political atmosphere.
Word had spread about the riots in Creggan 's Estate, and McKee went to observe them. She tweeted that the riot was "absolute madness". An armed man emerged from the crowd whoallegedly shot at the police and accidentally shot her. A police Land Rover transported McKee to hospital, where she later died.
On April 22, the New IRA claimed responsibility for the murder and s 'is excused, in the midst of local and national censorship. In Ireland Politicians, clergy and community leaders have strongly condemned the murder and the organization behind it. There were critics within the dissident Republican base, including independent adviser Gary Donnelly in Derry, who called on the organization to stop further attacks.
The condemnation also came from independent Republicans like McIntyre, who in the past had been armed members of the IRA . McIntyre despises Republican groups that have carried out armed actions. More than a personal tragedy, he described McKee's murder as completely senseless, "an injustice," and condemned all the officers who sent the gunman to the streets of Derry that night.
T he republican base known as dissident is very fractured. (In fact, the word dissent is disputed by those within that base who feel they are simply continuing with mainstream republicanism; it is the political process they disagree with.) Disgruntled Republicans have broken with the Republican political party, Sinn Fein, and its armed wing, the Provisional IRA (PIRA), at various times and on various issues - including the pira ceasefires of the 1990s, the Friday deal saint in 1998, downgrading of 2005, acceptance sinn fein service police rNorthern Ireland eformed, psni, 2007.
The Republican Sinn Fein (RSF) was formed in 1986 when the Sinn Fein announced that, if it was elected, he would take his seats in the Irish parliament - ending his long-standing abstention policy. Its alleged military wing, the Continuity IRA, emerged the following year. The data Real IRA and its supposed political wing, the 32 County Sovereignty Movement (32CSM) was formed in 1997, when Sinn Fein accepted that the constitutional future of Northern Ireland decided by referendum only in the north. Another organization emerged in 2009 after a split within the Real IRA, namely Óglaigh na hÉireann (ÓNH); its so-called Republican Network for Unity political wing was formed in 2007. Then, in 2012, the New IRA was formed, which seekshates to unite this disparate dissident base. Seeing himself as the latest manifestation of the Irish Republican Army, he promises to continue the armed struggle until Irish sovereignty is achieved - the unfinished business of the IRA. Saoradh, the most recently formed splinter group, emerged in 2016 as the political wing of the new IRA. These organizations deny having military wings, rather they state that they share a position with these organizations.
There are those within the dissident base who do not 'Do not accept the campaign of the new IRA as a continuation of the provisionals. McIntyre, now 64, who joined the IRA at 16 in response to the actions of British soldiers on the streets of Belfast, argues that the legitimacy of the Provisional IRA arose out of the conditions under which it was founded in 1969, including discriminating against Catholics in Northern Irmoor in housing and employment, attacks by loyalists on nationalist homes and businesses, and the British military occupation of nationalist communities. He argues that these conditions do not exist today and therefore the campaign led by the new IRA is not justified.
McIntyre, who spent 18 years in the maximum security wing of Long Kesh Prison for killing a member of the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Volunteer Force (UVF) in 1976, has spent years protesting the washing and the cover for the political status of IRA prisoners. Beyond the unwarranted, he argues that the new ARI is "completely ineffective" and has no chance of success. "What can today's campaign accomplish? Nothing. If the big IRA couldn't win the war against the British, how could a tiny ineffective IRA do anything? "McIntyre tells me that, in his opinion, McKee was killed by an organization whose (alleged) political wing, Saoradh, poses "about as much threat to the British state as St. Vincent de Paul" (l Catholic Charity).
No matter what they are, especially in relation to Sinn Fein, the New and Continuity IRAs are not going away. In the two years since McKee's death, Brexit has sparked renewed interest in the in Ireland and groups are watching developments with keen interest, although whatever form the takes. in Ireland, they remain determined to remove this by force. A debate has developed within the Republican base around whether or not there should be armed actions in Ireland today. Some wonder what sporadic actions, primarily targeting the police, can actually achieve?ndre?
D amien (Dee) Fennell, a taxi driver from North Belfast, is a prominent Republican dissident and founding member of the party politician Saoradh, widely regarded as the political wing of the New IRA (although the organization denies it). Realizing the anger directed at Saoradh after McKee's murder, Fennell told me, “Saoradh played no part in Lyra McKee's death. Fennell knows the McKee family as they are also from North Belfast. A few days after McKee's murder, he was the speaker at Saoradh's Easter commemoration in Dublin. He said: "I thought it was important for me personally to say that it was wrong, that whoever did it should admit it and take responsibility for doing it in an organizational way and that he should apologize ".
In 2016, Fennell made a name for himself in clashes on the Order of 's controversial parades. 'Orange. He was chairman of the Greater Ardoyne Residents Collective (GARC), formed around 2009 to oppose Orange parades marching on Crumlin Road past the Catholic quarter of Ardoyne - an act protesters saw as deliberately provocative - and clashes frequently escalate into riots, with the PSNI firing plastic bullets at rioters.
Fennell, now 38, is from a republican family. Her grandmother was a member of the Republican Women's Military Organization Cumann na mBan in the 1930s and 1940s, carrying weapons and messages between IRA volunteers. She was shot in the face in crossfire in Belfast in June 1970, but survived. Fennell's uncle, who was an IRA volunteer, was shot dead bya member of the British Parachute Regiment in 1973 while loading a bus with supplies for Republican Pr isonators and internees at Long Kesh. He too survived. Another uncle, John Fennell, was killed in an internal feud at the Irish National Liberation Army (INLA) on March 5, 1996.
Following the path of family members, Fennell joined the youth wing of Sinn Fein in 1997, but left in 2007 when the party accepted the legitimacy of the PSNI. He then joined the 1916 Societies in Belfast, a loose collection of Republicans who shared the overarching goal of an all-Ireland vote on Irish unity. In April 2015, he spoke at an Easter commemoration in northern Armagh and in his speech, which was posted online, he said the armed struggle was legitimate. "It's not enough to shout IRA, the important thing is to join the IRA," he told the crowd. He was inconvicted of encouraging terrorism and inciting to support the IRA, and was remanded in Maghaberry Prison for two months before being released with a ban on public speaking and publishing in line (he was acquitted of the charges in December 2017 on the grounds that he was entitled to freedom of expression when expressing his personal opinion).
In the mid-2010s, Fennell became one of the founders of the anti-capitalist Saoradh party, which attracted individuals who, like him, had left Sinn Fein in opposition to ideological or tactical changes within the party.
We met in Saoradh's office on Antrim Road in Belfast where crafts like wallets and harps, made by members of Saoradh, currently detained in Maghaberry and Portlaoise prisons, are on display. The question of prisoners has always been very emoperating in Irish republicanism and there are currently over 50 Republican prisoners in Ireland, north and south, accused of IRA membership or possession of a weapon with the intent to bring the life threatening.
In the days following McKee's death, his friends dipped their hands in red paint and stuck handprints on the wall of Saoradh rs headquarters in Derry. Saoradh members responded angrily to this implication that their hands were stained with McKee's blood, pointing out that the organization is completely separate from the new IRA and that Saoradh played no part in the murder. When signs appeared in Derry a few days later warning people not to give information to the police, suspicion turned to Saoradh. The group is fiercely anti-PSNI and encourages people not to support the police in any way.
The new IRA issued a statement to the Irish News admitting responsibility for the murder, stating: " During the enemy attack, Lyra McKee was tragically killed while She was standing next to the enemy forces. "The organization offered a 'full and sincere apology' to McKee's family and friends.
As we sat in Saoradh's office in north Belfast, the same part of town McKee was from, Fennell spoke candidly about the murder and its aftermath, the first time a member of Saoradh l ' When asked if McKee's death changed anything for Saoradh, Fennell replied, "It sounds harsh, but no, it didn't change Saoradh's strategy. We didn't. didn't lose a single member because of it. Our recruiting levels increased and I think it was because the Republican base was able to tell the difference between who wast responsible and who wasn 't responsible.
Fennell is completely opposed to the political process and regards Stormont, the Northern Ireland parliament from partition, as an illegitimate institution. Like other dissidents, he rejects Sinn Fein's calls for a poll (a referendum on a united Ireland) to be held in the north, and must be called by the British secretary of state. Fennell does not believe that a referendum on Irish unity will be conducted fairly. Sinn Fein is aware that the Catholic population in the north is growing and in the near future may be in the majority. However, dissidents like Fennell has argued that as the Catholic population grows, the conditions for voting will change.
The new IRA is often criticized as having no chance of achieving Irish unity. When I asked that to Fennell he said: "What made it possible to achieve unity? I think this is a question that can be asked of all republican nationalist political parties all over Ireland. Basically they're all sitting and waiting on a sectarian roster, and then each of those parties is already trying to move the goalposts and make unity more difficult. "
W Well-known Independent Republican dissident Tommy McKearney dismisses the actions of the New and Continuity IRAs. "They are indeed irrelevant. Now, because they are loud, they can make the headlines. If someone shoots, it makes the headlines in London, but that's what makes the news, it doesn't necessarily make sense. "The McKee Murder , he told me, "underlined the absolute stalemate in which [the new campaignof the IRA] was ".
McKearney was a member of the Provisional IRA for 15 years until he left in 1986, choosing to remain independent, and addressed Republican events and commemorations throughout Ireland. In a gentle but determined tone, McKearney was born into a Republican family in Moy, County Tyrone. In 1971, when He was 19 years old, he joined the Provisional IRA. He saw the group as "the resistance", fighting against British violence. He was particularly angered by the internment, which had started in August 1971, when the Hundreds of people have been jailed without trial for alleged involvement with the IRA. British soldiers aggressively raided homes across the north, damaging property as they smashed doors and arrested suspects. raids left a bitter resentment within the Catholic community and served as a catalyseur for many j in the ARI.
Three of McKearney's brothers died during the conflict. Sean was killed by his own bomb, Padraig was killed by the SAS, and Kevin was killed by the UVF. He served a 16-year sentence, from 1977 to 1993, as an IRA provisional prisoner in Long Kesh for killing a member of the Ulster Defense Regiment (UDR). While in prison, he participated in the blanket and dirty protests. He also participated in the 1980 hunger strike for political status.
McKearney left the Provisional IRA in 1986, when he was in prison, when his political wing, Sinn Fein, announced that if elected he would sit in the Irish parliament. McKearney, who is strongly anti-capitalist, has fought for radical change, arguing that entering parliament, whether in the north or the south, would simply serve a reform agenda. A progressive processThe attempt to reform existing institutions was not what he was committed to. Sitting in his house in Monaghan, he told me, "I thought it was going to end in a helpless and desperate reformist position and I left the Provisional IRA at this point and that was the reason. I have seen little reason to change my mind since. "
Although critical of Sinn Fein's strategy, McKearney supported the IRA 's interim ceasefires in the 1990s." The IRA ceasefire came at a time when I thought it was the rational option to take: what little could be achieved by continuing the armed campaign at this point. "
He turned out to be a formidable critic of dissident groups engaged in armed actions today and said to me:" The use of force is indeed a political option but if republicanism is equated simply with the use of force then that makes it a fairytiche, it 's not a philosophy. He believes that the groups that broke away from the Provisional IRA defined republicanism solely through the use of force. This approach, he believes, left them without any support "and a massive infiltration" by British agents. He said to me: "We get lost here in this debate about what constitutes a Republican, and if it is: are you ready to shoot someone, I think that 's weird . It is obscene. "
To question the armed campaign, within this dissident base, is to come up against accusations of treason and clearance sale. In March 2021, Des Dalton , president of Republican Sinn Fein from 2009 to 2018, was suspended from the organization when, speaking in a personal capacity, he told an interviewer that current conditions are not good for a campaign. LoWhen the interview was made public, ard chomhairle (executive) called an emergency meeting, during which Dalton was suspended, with some members calling for his dismissal. After 32 years as a member of RSF, Dalton resigned.
Dalton told me: "The support needed to sustain an effective armed campaign does not exist. simply does not exist. Acknowledging this fact is not a step back from the principles of Irish republicanism and the demand for a free and united Ireland. It is simply a recognition of the objective conditions on the ground: to recognize what will work best to advance Republican goals.
For Dalton, supporting these views is not betrayal. comrades or current Republican prisoners. Rather the opposite. He argues that Republicans go to jail for possession of weapons that are not in use, or for belonging to the IRA, inultimately for a campaign that realistically does not unfold beyond sporadic incidents. "In the absence of a clear strategy and an effective campaign, it is immoral to simply lead people like lemmings off the edge of a cliff to imprisonment ", me. he said.
RSF remains adamant in its support for the Continuity IRA campaign and, two weeks after Dalton's resignation campaign, RSF published its Easter statement affirming: "It is the duty of the Republican movement to oppose the British occupation in Ireland ... When a sustained campaign cannot be launched, it is at least a duty to harass the enemy. For RSF and Saoradh, stopping armed actions, even for strategic reasons, is republican heresy. The flame must be kept alight.
The mainstream often points to a lack of support for dissidents unlike the electoral mandateal fort of Sinn Fein to the north and south. In the Northern Ireland general election in 2019, Sinn Fein won 22.8% of the vote, and is expected to become the biggest party in the near future. Then, in the Dail elections in southern Ireland in 2020, Sinn Fein won an impressive 24.5% of the vote, the largest percentage share of all parties. The party now has a strong electoral mandate on both sides of the . However, dissident groups are keen to stress that they do not derive their legitimacy from electoral politics: legitimacy comes from the continued partition of Ireland. They don't care about popular support. But McKearney warned that without popular support, armed action cannot succeed. “I know what it takes to support a campaign against the British. I know how many houses you need and how many cars you need and how many people you need.us need and if it's not there you don't win. You don't even survive. "
T il Continuity IRA, considered the military wing of Republican Sinn Fein (RSF) , has a notable presence in North Armagh, North East Ireland, which has led to heavy police surveillance. Sitting in a rural area, surrounded by the lush green fields of North East Armagh, a spokesperson for the wider RSF movement, who wishes to remain anonymous, told me: "Although there is still British military and political interference in this country, there is going to be armed action. . "
County Armagh produced some of the most notorious IRA units during the conflict, earning it his nickname "country bandit ". The county has been the scene of several clashes violents between police and Republicans over the past five years. The level of police surveillance quickly manifested itself when I was traveling in a Republican car to conduct an interview. We were not in the area for long when the police lights flashed behind us and the car was stopped. We were ordered out of the car and searched by the side of the road. For dissident Republicans this is a regular occurrence, and the PSNI, in its pursuit of Republicans, is no different from the RUC. Republican graffiti can be seen throughout the north stating "RUC-PSNI, same goal - different name".
The Royal Ulster Constabulary, founded in 1922, was predominantly Protestant in reconciling. Viewed with suspicion by the Catholic population, it was seen as a hostile force. Along with British soldiers, the RUC raided Catholic homessearch for weapons or ammunition used by the IRA and arrested suspected Republicans. The RUC was so hated by the IRA that its members were seen as a "legitimate target" of the armed campaign.
The RUC was accused of having carried out a shootout -kill politics. Repeated allegations also surfaced of the RUC's collusion with loyalist paramilitaries in the murder of Republicans and ordinary members of the Catholic population who had no political involvement. Visceral opposition to the RUC from the Catholic community led to calls for its dissolution, which saw it reformed in 2001 as the Northern Ireland Police Service (PSNI ). A police ombudsperson has also been set up to deal with complaints against the police. But for Continuity and the New IRA, the PSNI is no different from the RUC and much of their activityarmy focused on the attempt to kill the police.
The RSF spokesperson is in his 30s and works full time. He served time in Maghaberry Prison as a Continuity IRA prisoner, for possession of explosives. While at Maghaberry in 2010, he joined a dirty protest demanding better conditions. He told me: “When the conflict broke out in the prison, the armed groups there showed that they would target the prison guards; but they made it pretty clear that it was in response to the brutality of their prisoners (by the prison guards).
He was born to a Republican family in North Armagh and his uncle served time in H blocks at Long Kesh in the 1980s as a provisional prisoner of the IRA. Other members of his family are also active Republicans and have been imprisoned in Maghaberry since 1998.
Like other dissident Republicans, he is regularly arrested by the PSNI, his home and car are often searched and his name and address are recorded during protests or meetings in the north and south . At one point, he left the keys in the front door of his house so that the police wouldn't smash it when they entered to raid again.
He rejects Sinn Fein's argument that the changed conditions in Northern Ireland have removed the justification for an armed campaign. “The movement has always been pretty specific in what would end the armed campaign. It would be a declaration of British intention to withdraw. From his point of view, the current low level of Republican armed activity is only a temporary lull. “We come on the back of the betrayal that was inflicted on the movement, the destruction of the movement [by the provisional leadership of the IRA] andit is now the job of the republicans to rebuild this movement.
A key objective of armed groups is to disrupt "normalization" in Northern Ireland. In the post-1998 period Northern Ireland became increasingly demilitarized ed, which included the dismantling of British Army barracks and the departure of foot patrols. Today it doesn't look like a place at war. For splinter groups, the more normal life becomes, the less emphasis is placed on Ireland still being muddled. Security alerts and attacks on the police continue to demonstrate that Northern Ireland is not a normal society. The PSNI, the RSF spokesperson told me, should not feel safe.
"I have a problem with this", Anthony McIntyre said. "This 's the fabrication of a myth. " He points out that the PSNI is confident enough to patrol aroundbike: if this was a real target, it would be shot. Further, McIntyre said, "You put it to a vote, northerners should they do without the new IRA or the PSNI, how is it going to be?" Even exclude all trade unionists and ask the nationalist community to vote who you want to get rid of. Do you think the crowd is going to scream "fuck PSNI, give us Barabbas? " That won't happen. "
Dissident Republicans condemn Sinn Fein's support for the PSNI and the fact that members of Sinn Fein sit on the police councils. RSF's spokesperson made it very clear to me his point of view on Sinn Fein. "They took a firm stand. in the camp of the occupier and the oppressor. They are now administering British rule. They are in government in the two puppet parliaments. "
Fine that Northern Ireland be officially demilitarizedEstablished since 1998, dissident Republicans point out that the British army maintains a presence at Palace and the Thiepval barracks. RSF spokesperson said: “They are there. They are here every day on the streets. There is evidence that there is the British Army here. British Army intelligence is here. They are placed on patrols with the PSNI. "
Saoradh member Dee Fennell says the continued British military presence demonstrates that the dissident republished groups may- they still pose a threat. "There are still more British troops per capita in the six counties than there were in Iraq and Afghanistan combined at any given time, so if republicanism isn't a threat, if the IRA campaign is not viable, if Saoradh is futile, if republicanism is currently in a valley and not on a peak, then why should the UK government invest in it?With infrastructure, personnel, logistics, technology, so much money to fight it? "
While I was reporting this story, Fennell moved away from Saoradh for personal reasons, although he stresses that his views have not changed and that he is still active in the Irish Republican Prisoners Welfare Association (IRPWA), who supports Saoradh or New Prisoners of the IRA.
In August 2020, nine members of Saoradh, as well as Issam Bassalat, a Palestinian doctor based in Scotland , were arrested for suspected activity of the new IRA. The arrests were based on the covert activity of a MI5 agent who allegedly infiltrated the organization and recorded meetings. The scale of this operationation was a potential blow to the New IRA which, like all Republican organizations, had been vigilant to infiltration, but Saoradh will have found some comfort in the number of people who attended its September 2020 protests in support of Bassalat and the Saoradh prisoners on hunger strike (they were protesting against the two-week Covid quarantine imposed on Bassalat upon his return to prison after a hospital visit).
Fennell told me that the protests " demonstrated that the IRPWA and Saoradh still have the potential at this point to mobilize large groups of people in Belfast and elsewhere ... and that sort of ended to the myth that Soaradh or IRPWA or the republican movement was sort of finished in these areas. ”Hundreds of Saoradh members and supporters attended protests in many places, including belfast and the outside ofMaghaberry Prison.
But McKearney argued that the numbers don't mean protests for Republican prisoners in the past. When I mentioned the hundreds of people who attended the protests in Saoradh, he replied, "Now you can talk about a rally on Falls Road and I tell you there was none. not 20,000 or 30,000. There is more support than you might have under other circumstances, but it is an extraordinary circumstance. In 1978, before the start of the first hunger strike, there was a parade from Coalisland to Dungannon focusing on conditions of detention. There were 20,000 people who marched. There were 100,000 of them at Bobby Sands' funeral. "
A nthony McIntyre, a colorful and outspoken characterarler known as Mackers, is one of the most outspoken and recognizable critics of the leadership of Sinn Fein. He supported the IRA ceasefires in the 1990s, but left the Provisional Movement in 1998 when the Good Friday Accord was signed. Sitting in a bar in Drogheda last year, he told me: “I was not opposed to the end of the armed campaign. I was opposed to the policy behind the end of the armed campaign. "
But although he was disappointed with the process, McIntyre, a former Provisional IRA shooter, has no interest in returning to armed struggle. "If I had to highlight one identifying moment that made me say we shouldn't anymore never resort to the tradition of physical strength, and the tradition of physical strength was outdated for me, it was the day of the Omagh bombing, "he said. " But I had already understood these conclusions about the campaigne of the IRA. "
On August 15, 1998, the Real IRA, a dissident organization that had split from the Provisional IRA in 1997, bombed Omagh, killing 29 people and injuring another 220. The bomb exploded on a busy Saturday afternoon in the city center, sparking revolt, including within the Republican base. At the time, the Republican President of Sinn Fein Ruairi Ó Bradaigh declared: "The massacre of innocent people in Omagh was totally unjustified and the organization [RSF] deplored and rejected its absolute inhumanity". After Omagh, RSF and Continuity IRA remained committed to the armed struggle. But for Republicans like McIntyre, Omagh reinforced that the armed campaign was over.
McIntyre did not come from a particularly Republican family, he was born in affluent South Belfast in 1957 to a mother who believed the Ulster Unionist Prime Minister of Northern Ireland Terence O 'Neill (who was convinced that economic investment would help improve relations between unionists and nationalists) father who voted for the Alliance of the Golden Mean in 1973. “I joined the Alliance. 'IRA because I thought the IRA was an armed response to the British,' he told me. "It seemed like a justified response. " In 1972, British paratroopers opened fire on a civil rights protest march in Derry, killing 13 people. It was a pivotal moment for McIntyre and many of his peers. "Once we had Bloody Sunday, the die was cast.
During his 18 years in prison, McIntyre earned a science degree for which he obtained first class honors, and on his release he obtained a doctorate from Queen 's University of Belfast under the supervision of Professor Paul Bew, who later became a member of the House of British Lords. These lastOver the years, McIntyre became known as the Boston College Project Researcher. Conceived in 2001, between academics and journalists from Belfast and the United States, the ct project sought to collect interviews with Republicans and loyalists who had been involved in the conflict in Northern Ireland. Their interviews were not to be revealed until after their death. But the project fell apart in 2011 when the PSNI summoned Boston College to appear for the interviews, which resulted in an international trial as McIntyre and his wife, Carrie, fought against the postponement of the interviews. . For years, an arrest warrant was issued against McIntyre in Northern Ireland as the PSNI sought to question him about the Boston tapes.
When the IRA's interim ceasefire was announced in August 1994, it was greeted with a jubilant atmosphere on Falls Road in the Republican heartland of the Westof Belfast, as a cavalcade of black cars and taxis blew their horns and waved tricolors at their windows in celebration. While McIntyre supported ceasefires, he saw no reason to celebrate. The campaign had not resulted in a united Ireland. He saw it as a defeat and remembers watching the celebration saying, “I mean anyone can celebrate Christmas, but turkeys can't! McIntyre told me: “It was clear to me at the time that the IRA had lost the war and was going to settle. There is no united Ireland in this program.
The peace process in Northern Ireland began in the late 1980s and early 1990s with talks between John Hume, leader of the Violent Social Democratic and Labor Constitutional Nationalist Party (SDLP) and Gerry Adams, leader of Sinn Fein. The SDLP sought to convince the Interim IRA toend his armed campaign. Hume's main argument was that Irish unity could only be achieved by the consent of the people of Northern Ireland. At that time Sinn Fein rejected this, calling it a trade union veto on Irish unity.
When in 1997, Sinn Fein changed its position to accept the principle of consent, paving the way for the Good Friday deal, some Republicans broke with Sinn Fein or the Provisional IRA, and McIntyre was one of them. He told me, "I think the Good Friday deal is a good deal for the SDLP. But I have never been in the SDLP. I was in the IRA. "
T he approached to the north of the walking season orange this year, which culminates in July, with concern.Loyalists erupted in the north, with violent altercations in Belfast between protesters and the PSNI. In scenes reminiscent of a bygone era, the police used water cannons and dogs to disperse the rioters.
In order to avoid any remilitarization of the " gentle "between the north and the south of Ireland, the NI protocol, introduced in 2020, raised the prospect of a in the Irish Sea between Ireland Northern and Great Britain. This has led to the wrath of loyalists and claims that such a would create a de facto united Ireland. At a rally in Newtownards in June 2021, Loyalist spokesman Jamie Bryson referred to the "unjust, illegal and unconstitutional protocol imposed on us, binding us in chains to the Republic of Ireland within an economically united Ireland".
Conversely, any hardening of the in Ireland between nord and the south would provoke a reaction from Republicans. To date, dissident Republicans have not responded to loyalist protests and riots. In a sense, they don 't need it. For many, the sands have changed with Brexit, as more people in the north may wonder if they would be better off in a united Ireland within the EU than staying in the UK outside of it. the EU. Republicans hope to capitalize on the altered political landscape that Brexit has brought, as the is propelled back into the general debate.
The Republican Campaign for an Ireland united continues anyway, as explained by the former north isonator Armagh continuity pr. "It doesn't matter if it's a soft , a hard , it's still the imposed by the British there. What [Brexit] has done has probably rekindled the fact that there is a real possibility that there may be.to have some form of remilitarization of the . "
Historically the republican movement has not always been at war. Strategic decisions have been taken by the former leaders to tactically lay down their arms at times of low public support. But there is no indication that Continuity or New IRA are considering ceasing their campaign, even temporarily. The reduced community support for the current armed struggle does not deter those who see themselves as keeping the flame alive. RSF and Saoradh continue to assert that as long as there is a British presence in Ireland, there will be those who are ready to resist it with arms. that to get lucky once, the security services should always be lucky.