THE SOLDIER’S SWANSONG
Books on the ira and its political wing Sinn Féin have tended to fall into one of three categories. Journalists who spent their careers reporting on the Troubles in Northern Ireland have produced general histories of the republican movement, along with studies of particular regions (South Armagh), topics (the 1981 hunger strike) and leaders (Gerry Adams, Martin McGuinness). In more recent times, academic historians have tilled the same ground hoping to achieve greater depth and perspective now that the dust of conflict has settled and government archives have begun to yield their secrets. Veterans of the ira themselves have usually preferred to work through their experiences in the form of memoir and autobiographical fiction. They can draw on a distinguished literary heritage—some of Ireland’s finest twentieth-century writers, including Séan Ó’Faoláin, Frank O’Connor and Brendan Behan, were graduates of the ira—and have enriched our understanding of the movement’s history. But few have set out to deliver a broad account of the ira that transcends their own role in the ‘long war’. Fewer still have brought the story up to date by analysing the current political set-up in Northern Ireland, which sees the ira’s former leadership helping to govern a territory that remains firmly encased within the United Kingdom while ‘dissident’ republicans seek to reignite the struggle against British rule.
’My institution subscribes to NLR, why can't I access this article?’
By the same author:
As the AKP’s crackdown on political dissent continues and Erdoğan’s autocratic ambitions become ever more apparent, his Western apologists lament the fall from grace of a man—moderate and liberal-minded—who never existed.
How and why has Portugal differed from Spain since the downfall of their respective dictatorships in the mid 70s? The course of political and economic development since the Revolution of 1974 was contained, and its current discrepant outcome: a conventional social-democratic government obliged to break with Euro-austerity under the pressure of a pact with the radical left.
A Guide to Successful Defiance
Daniel Finn on Diarmaid Ferriter, A Nation and Not a Rabble. History of the Irish revolution, between popular struggle and conservative nationalism.
Ireland’s Water Wars
Ireland’s status as poster-child for Eurozone austerity has been shaken by mass protests against privatized water charges, as the discredited Labour–Fine Gael government heads into elections. Daniel Finn investigates the rise of the movement and its political prospects, with local activists pushing beyond a cautious trade-union leadership.
Rethinking the Republic
Nowhere else in the West does a single figure occupy the same position in national life as the political writer Fintan O’Toole in Ireland. The first full consideration of the cursus and corpus of this powerful critic of the island’s establishment, and the society over which it has presided. Merits and limitations of another understanding of ‘republicanism’ in Ireland.
Order Reigns in The Hague
Daniel Finn reports on September’s Dutch election, where the Liberal and Labour parties rallied to prevent Holland following the Greek example. Origins and orientations of the Socialist Party that briefly threatened the Pax Bruxelliana, and strategic lessons for the left from its campaign.
Ireland on the turn?
In a landmark study, Daniel Finn surveys the political and economic consequences of the 2008 crash, on both sides of the Irish border. Looming austerity and entrenched sectarian divides in the North; with the demise of the Celtic Tiger in the South, the unravelling of Fianna Fáil’s long dominance and emergence of a new-model Sinn Fein as the one all-Ireland party