ISIS is the new terrorist organisation in the news. EVERYONE thinks they’re terrible. And yet there’s a funny silence in Ireland. Because we have some of the progenitors of ISIS in our national parliament. And they’re perfectly respectable people. Almost.
ISIS’ recent atrocity in Paris was particularly similar to two infamous atrocities by the Provisional Irish Republican Army in the 1970s and not unlike a bunch since then. Whether by the PIRA itself or any of its spin-offs, the Irish republican terrorists aimed to massacre innocents. And they weren’t fussy about how. Their methods and attitudes were influential in forming the approach of other terrorist groups since, ISIS included.
The Birmingham Bombing and the Guildford Bombing are the particular two atrocities that should be in every Irish person’s mind this year. Innocent people blown to bits on a night out in town. Just like Paris.
The IRA and Sinn Fein make excuses, but they’re just the same as ISIS would make; “our cause is just”, “the result of historical oppression”, etc.
They try on a couple of additional ones too, like “we tried to give a warning”. But you don’t need to give a warning that you’re planning to blow up a crowded pub in the middle of a peaceful town if – for instance – you don’t plant shrapnel bombs in a crowded pub in the middle of a peaceful town. You also get claims (as in the last few years) that atrocities like Birmingham and Eniskillen were “not approved” or “went against our principles”. And yet they kept happening.
So here we are. Some of the major organizers of the IRA are in our national parliament. Men convicted of importing guns and bombs are poll-topping successes.
It’s a horrid indictment of the Irish conscience and the Irish electorate. And the Irish media too, of course. But none of this is new. It’s just cause for a slightly uncomfortable silence.