Friday, April 28, 2006


Retired Colonel blasts 'fake republicanism'

'Fake republicanism is wrong' Retired British Army Colonel Tim Collins, who achieved international fame for a speech he made to British soldiers hours before the invasion of Iraq, spoke at a debate in Dublin last night in which he blasted 'fake republicanism' here in Ireland.

Mr Collins said there was a huge opportunity for the Republic to extend the hand of friendship to the unionist community in the North but that there was a snake in the grass:

"It can only happen in the Republic of Ireland if you deal with the menace of counterfeit Irish republicanism conceived in the back streets of Belfast."

Mr Collins said he had been furious on a recent visit to the republican plot in Crossmaglen, south Armagh, to find an inscription to two IRA bombers:

"To two Irish patriots from Poblacht Na hÉireann".

"When I look at the stretched white limousines driving around the streets of Crossmaglen and the drug smugglers and the pornographers and the counterfeiters, how dare they besmirch the name of that organisation?

"It (counterfeiter republicanism) can only be confronted by a confident new Ireland enjoying an entire breadth of its complex historical path."

Mr Collins was speaking at a debate organised by the Philosophical Society in Trinity College on Ireland’s forgotten heroes and its debt to history.

Mr Collins paid tribute to the Irish soldiers from both sides of the border who had served in the first battalion of the Royal Irish Regiment in Iraq and he went on to say that the problem in the relationship between the two peoples on the island of Ireland had to be addressed first by the Irish Government:

"I cannot tell you of the lack of sophistication in the politics of Northern Ireland. It is so backward, it is almost beyond help. The hand of friendship needs to come from this direction."

Mr Collins is currently working on a television documentary about the Irish influence in the battle for control of north Africa in World War II.

I agree with Mr Collins when he says that "fake republicanism" is damaging the potential for a greater bond between North and South.

The Provisional IRA are not patriots in my eyes and the same goes for the majority of Irish people.

Despite that though, I disagree with Mr Collins that the hand of friendship needs to come from this direction. What more can the Irish government do? It was only this past week that the DUP agreed to sit on the British-Irish Inter-Parliamentary Body and the Ulster Unionists continue to boycott it totally! How can you shake hands with people who won't even extend their hand to you?

I'm also not sure Mr Collins is right when he says that the Irish government must deal with 'fake republicanism' in NI. How can they do that? The only way would be for Fianna Fáil to finally organise themselves in the North - a move I personally support.

Overall though I think Mr Collins made some good points and I find it most refreshing to see a former British Army Colonel who can appreciate the obvious differences that exist between the Irish republicans and patriots of the past and the so-called Republicans of this generation, whose central ideology seems to revolve around criminality and sectarianism.

There are groups in this island today who are disgrace to the noble tradition of Irish republicanism.

On a personal note too, as someone who had a grandfather who fought with the Desert Rats in Africa in WW2, I look forward to Mr Collins' documentary on the Irish influence in the battles in north Africa during the war.


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