Fighting for Faith and Fatherland in Fermanagh
Wednesday February 28, 2007 15:58 by Terry
Arch-Catholic, novelist, ally of Justin Barrett, former I.R.A. volunteer, and failed gun runner Gerry McGeough is standing in the Northern Ireland Assembly elections on a traditional republican platform in the Fermanagh/South Tyrone constituency.
This article (taken from the newswire) analyses the politics and ideology of Gerry McGeough, his Hibernian magazine and other conservative and right wing nationalists that identify themselves as republicans. It outlines the background of Gerry McGeough, his past involvement in the Provisional Irish Republican Army, his current activity as editor of the extreme right-wing The Hibernian and explores their ideas and interpretations of nationalism, republicanism, religion, mysticism, sex, immigration, Masonic conspiracy theories and secularism vs. theocracy. The article also provides some historical background on the right wing aspects that have featured in Irish republicanism.
Related Links on Indymedia: Fascist Ex-Provo Exposed — Justin Barrett’s cohort appears on Radio Free Eireann — McGeough Rants On — Craobh Gál Gréine commemoration — The Other Side of the Anti-EU Coin, Justin Barrett on Tour — Fascist Barrett Scores with the Great and Good of NUIG — Barrett’s Friends and Supporters — 'Statement regarding Justin Barrett debate at UCD on 13th October 2004 by the AFA' — Justin Barrett gets a hand from UCD's L&H to organise — Debate on EU: left wing or clerical-conservative — Youth Defence Prints 50,000 Anti-Gay Leaflets — Inside the World of Dissident Republicanism — Interview with Irish Pro-Choice Activist — Cork’s First Ever Pride Parade a Triumph! — USI says ban on gay marriage breaches human rights
Other Related Links: Neo-Nazis at Lit. and Deb. Forum in NUI Galway (UCDSU) — What Youth Defence Didn’t Mention (UCDSU) — “More debates:” The alternative republican strategy for a united Ireland? (Slugger O'Toole) — Architects of Resurrection Ride Again — RSF article on Aiséirí
His election manifesto seems principally geared towards getting people to issue a protest vote against the policies of the current leadership of Sinn Fein, aiming at ending concessions to the Democratic Unionist Party, particularly in regard to policing.
That manifesto genuflects towards the core republican demand of a British withdrawal and a united Ireland:
“A No. 1 vote for me is a vote for a United Ireland. Through peaceful, political means I will advocate that the demand for a 32 County Irish Republic be put firmly back on the agenda.” “I wish to see a full British withdrawal from Ireland as soon as possible, and will continue to work uncompromisingly towards that goal.”
It doesn’t give any indication though as to how exactly that goal is to be achieved.
His anti-abortion position also gets a mention. The manifesto says ‘lend me your vote’, in an echo of what republicans were saying during the Bobby Sands election campaign in the same constituency, an election campaign which shaped the course of the history of the North and of Provisional republicanism.
So McGeough might appear as a standard ‘dissident’ republican, many of whom are standing in the elections in opposition to Sinn Fein’s recognition of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI). The addition to the standard variety is with McGeough you get a strong ultra-Catholic stance on abortion. So one could read it from his manifesto.
For some strange reason the electorate is apparently not being given the full run down on the McGeough, unless one seeks it out in his magazine ‘The Hibernian’.
‘The Hibernian’ is a monthly magazine with a wide distribution in newsagents around the country. It is in Easons, so perhaps it is distributed by them. Its format is quite similar to ‘Ireland’s Own’, perhaps as a device to appeal to the ‘Ireland’s Own’ reading section of the public.
As we shall see from excerpts from ‘The Hibernian’ McGeough has left a lot out of his election manifesto. The manifesto has no mention of any Sharia law style opinion on suitable clothing for women. No mention of opposition to any sex other than that aimed at reproduction. No mention of the Freemason conspiracy which riddles the Catholic Church and is responsible for the dawning of that apparent Marxist super-state the European Union.
No mention of the need to make Ireland ethnically and religiously homogenous.
Most of all the manifesto has no mention of the epic Lord of the Rings style struggle between the supernatural forces of darkness and light that contributors to ’The Hibernian’ seem to think they are engaged in. Gerry McGeough the white wizard of Tyrone, battling it out with demons and devils and Mordor in the shape of the Masons, yes it is actually that mad.
Gerry McGeough was no minor figure in Provisional republicanism.
As a teen in the mid-70s he joined the famous East Tyrone brigade of the Provisional I.R.A.
A brigade which was to later suffer many casualties, most notably in the Loughall S.A.S. ambush.
In the late 80s the East Tyrone brigade was purportedly central to the alternative to the thinking that led to the Hume-Adams talks, ceasefire and peace process. That alternative, known as the ‘Tet strategy’, was a military escalation to create ’liberated zones’ .
McGeough served time in jail in Germany and the U.S. .
His prison sentence in the U.S. was for trying to buy surface to air missiles, the importation of which would have been central to something like the ‘Tet strategy’.
McGeough was on the governing body of Sinn Fein in 2001, and resigned from the party in 2003.
He cited the ‘socially liberal’ stances of Sinn Fein as the reason for his departure, saying:
“You would never get a leader of Sinn Fein condemning abortion, homosexual ‘marriage’ or anything of that nature. I, as an Irish nationalist and Catholic, never want to see the day when there are abortion clinics in every market town in Ireland. But looking around there is no political grouping willing to take a stance against that.”
In the spring of 2004 McGeough went on a national speaking tour with one time Youth Defence stalwart and current friend of European neo-nazis Justin Barrett.
In May 2006 he launched ‘The Hibernian’ magazine and was reportedly involved in an entryist type strategy within the Ancient Order of Hibernians at the same time.
The Hibernian Magazine:
“There can be only one Irish Nation. A Catholic one, that will never again be ruled by a heretic monarch from England.” - ‘The Hibernian’ magazine.
The central idea that one finds in ‘The Hibernian’ magazine is that various supernatural entities have a direct influence on human society. These entities include God, the Devil, Mary, and Guardian Angels.
Of secondary importance is the Masonic conspiracy. This is a clandestine organisation of great influence, the French and Russian Revolutions for instance are ascribed to its work, and it appears to be a consortium of the human agents of the supernatural entity known as ‘the Devil’.
“Our nation is under attack” reads one ‘Hibernian’ article, by “sinister, shadowy forces” who “have targeted Ireland“. The following quotations are all from ‘The Hibernian’ magazine.
The Masonic Conspiracy:
“What is often lost in all of this, however, is that Communism (along with the New Age movement) is simply a chief tool of Freemasonry; it’s policy of Church infiltration, just an extension of the Masonic plan clearly laid out in the Alta Vendita and other bona fide Masonic documents recognised by the Popes.”
Alta Vendita is a document purportedly written by the Carbonari - who were mid C19th Italian republican revolutionaries. It is apparently often held up as the cause of what traditionalist Catholics see as the Roman Catholic Church loosing its way, as it advocated an infiltration of the Church. This Freemason conspiracy to infiltrate the Church is what causes “the latest moral misadventures of this and that priest.”, “the clownish, televised Lloyd Webber style musicals that pass for Holy Mass on RTE, ministered over by effete and be-sandled weaklings (ideologically speaking)” and the fact the “prevailing popular image of the Priesthood one of bearded, sandle-wearing hippies or worse”.
The conspiracy also lies behind the European Union:
“To those of us in Ireland Communism can be seen as something historically and geographically distant. Don’t be fooled. The ideology underpins Irish political agendas and that of the E.U. which is the basis of a massive Marxist Super-state. Our national religion has been seriously compromised and now our nationhood and Irish identity is being watered down in order to mold us into better and more politically correct “Europeans””
And when a ‘Hibernian’ contributor writes of the Bilderberg group that:
“The annual coven of the chief warlocks and witches of international business and politics convened in Ottawa, Canada between June 8 and 11”
I think that is actually meant literarily.
Conspiracy has always been a component of ultra-conservative views, some writers of the time put the French revolution down to a Masonic conspiracy, just as the popularisation of the idea of a Jewish world conspiracy came from White Russian émigrés as an explanation for the Russian revolution. Conspiracy explains why seemingly impossible things happen, impossible in terms of the particular ideology, or why bad stuff happens to fundamentally good societies or institutions. So the waywardness of the Roman Catholic Church and particular clerics is down to freemasons, or class struggle within the ’German nation’ down to Jewish bankers and Jewish subversives.
Ironically the only documented major Masonic conspiracy of recent decades was that of the P-2 lodge in Italy, and involved State officials supporting the far-right.
One hundred and fifty to two hundred years ago in Italy and France revolutionary undergrounds were organised through Masonic type groups with rituals and so forth, this is the origin of the Catholic anti-Mason thing. Following from that of course in the Anglo world at least Masonry would be predominantly Protestant, and therefore this anti-Masonry left over from the c19th was reinforced with sectarian conflict.
I must admit to my shame that the range of supernatural entities within ‘The Hibernian’ worldview includes ones I had no idea were a part of Catholic doctrine, that is Guardian Angels. Guardian Angels are fascinating, so here is an entire passage about them from the magazine:
“According to the Catechism of the Catholic Church, we each have a guardian angel, appointed to us at birth, who guards, guides and helps us to aspire to and reach Heaven and God. If you just stop and really think about this concept, it could blow your mind. There are over six billion people in the world at the moment. As we each, Catholic and non-Catholic alike, have an angel guardian, that means that there are also over six billion angels in the world at this moment, not to mention the amount of people and hence angels who have graced this earth already since the time of Adam and Eve. It is believed that some people, such as priests and doctors, even have two guardian angels to help them in their vital vocations. We know from the story of creation that the fall of the bad angels took one third of the angels from Heaven, the amount which we humans are meant to replace. This means by default that one third of all angels in Heaven are guardian angels.”
I’m curious as to how the massive human population growth in the last 250 years fits into this. It would have to be much more than ’one third of all angels in Heaven’ as there are now many more humans than there were at “the time of Adam and Eve”. Guardian Angels are generally associated with the ‘New Age’, but, as the article explains that is just another manifestation of the Devil’s guile.
In another article we learn that for a woman to dress ‘immodestly’ is to ally herself with Demons against the Guardian Angels.
“When a woman dresses even slightly provocatively, she becomes a tool of the devil, pulling many men with her towards Hell. Such a woman becomes the ‘bait’ of demons. For many men, to look at her may very well be an occasion of sin. They will be tempted away from their roles of self-control and self-discipline, enticed by this woman toward sensuality and carnality. This woman may think that she is beautiful, by the glances of approval she receives from men. She is thus drawn towards vanity and pride, and may become addicted to literally being the ‘object’ of attention. What she doesn’t see, however, is the disgust of the many guardian angels she unknowingly meets on her way, horrified by her ugliness in the sight of heaven.”
This alliance with Demons and the Devil is also to be found with civil unions for same sex couples, or ‘homosexual marriage’. A ‘Hibernian’ article on the subject opines:
“A nation which institutionally promotes, encourages or supports sin in any way, is a cursed nation. That nation has made a pact with the devil, and will, so, bring upon itself the hideous fruits of hell. Do not be surprised if such a nation rapidly degenerates - if it soon suffers from moral anarchy, lawlessness, political disintegration and even famine, war and disease.
The Catholic Church teaches that sodomy is a sin which ‘cries out to Heaven for vengeance.’ Many people nowadays, hopelessly imbued with the false notions of the ‘enlightenment‘, are quick to disregard this teaching. They cannot, however, ignore such a reality forever.”
We later learn in this article that this is not just a matter of homosexuality:
“Physical pleasure is often a feature of sexual intimacy. It can be a product or consequence of the act, but it is not its primary function. To value sexual pleasure above or even on a par with reproduction therefore, is intrinsically disordered.”
So it is not just civil unions for same sex couples which is out, but any sexual activity in a context where procreation is not possible is out, any sexual activity aimed not at procreation is out, and any sexual activity not primarily aimed at procreation is out.
Opposing same sex civil unions is a core issue for Gerry McGeough and the group around him. They first came to public attention in May 2006 with a stunt at a McDowell press conference which was claimed in ‘The Hibernian’ thus:
“We, the General Tom Barry Division No. 1975 AOH, Cork and the Naomh Lorc O’Tuathail Division No. 31 AOH, Dublin, wish to state that we carried out today’s protest at the launch of a conference on homosexual ‘marriage’ …”
AOH being Ancient Order of Hibernians, a very historic fraternal organisation bigger in the U.S. than here, which the McGeough crew are reportedly infiltrating.
Similarly McGeough cited ‘homosexual marriage’ as one of his core discontents with Provisional Sinn Fein.
Immigration and the “New Plantations”:
According to an article on immigration entitled “The New Plantations”:
“God abhors the blending of all peoples into a single world state.”
“Nationhood is not an arbitrary human arrangement, but a principle of divine order. The separation of vastly different peoples helps reduce conflict and promote fruitful diversity. Massive uncontrolled immigration defeats God's order.”
“There can be no true national community and, more to the point, there can be no freedom in countries where the majority of people hold little in common.”
This, and the magazine’s clear preference for a Catholic ‘Irish Nation’, neatly matches Justin Barrett’s proposed solution to the Northern Ireland conflict as expounded in his book ’The National Way Forward’, that is the repatriation of the British or Protestant population.
Note this is ordained by God. Again the hand of supernatural intervention into the affairs of humans. As with angels and population growth the historical specificity of nations, that is they weren’t always around, appears to have escaped ‘The Hibernian’ hacks.
‘The Hibernian’ actually carries articles by, and interviews with, Poles, so I think it is fair to say that perhaps some immigration is seen as more negative than other immigration.
Elsewhere material in the magazine mentions the “Islamic invasion”, something which it sees current immigrants as the advance parties of .
Though with the views expressed in ’The Hibernian’, plus the Provos penchant for punishment beatings, one might think that McGeough and his cohort would feel very at home in Saudi Arabia or Iran. Perhaps they should emigrate there.
One article in ‘The Hibernian’ espouses the goal of building a ‘New Christendom’ which is basically a society modelled after Europe prior to the Reformation. No that isn’t an exaggeration of mine, the article reads:
“Indeed, no person, who has lived in the last five centuries or so, has ever lived within a truly Christian Social Order.”
“If the peoples of Europe, of the world, are to regain a semblance of happiness and normality, they are going to have to retrace their steps. The society without God must be rejected. The society against God must be rejected. The society with God must be embraced, acted upon and brought to fruition.”
Society without God being capitalism, society against God being communism (by which they mean the Soviet Union) and society with God being medieval Europe.
Shades of Islamic fundamentalists aiming to turn time back to the ’Islamic Caliphate’.
I guess there being no huns in medieval Europe would be an added attraction. On the minus side if memory serves me correct witch burnings didn’t really take off until after the reformation, but sure you can’t have everything.
Historical antecedents of Gerry McGeough and ‘The Hibernian’:
There is an historical revisionism which seeks to greatly exaggerate the left wing current within Irish republicanism, most recently typified in the film ’The Wind that Shakes the Barley’. If one was immersed in that, it might seem like McGeough was the product of an ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ style scenario, with a UFO depositing the pod from which the new McGeough sprang in 2003, looking just like the old one, but actually completely different.
However an historical excursion to the Ireland of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, when ultra-right wing ideas were more fashionable, will show this is not the case, and that there has been a far right tendency within Irish republicanism
While our memory of the Blueshirts has them opposed by the then partly left leaning I.R.A., the Fascist leadership of the period was of republican vintage. Moreover a fair bit of the fighting that went on was more civil war politics than fascism/anti-fascism.
Eoin O’Duffy had been chief of staff of the pre-Treaty I.R.A., and in his later, Fascist career, proposed the invasion of Northern Ireland.
Likewise Alex McCabe leader of the pro-Nazi ‘National Peoples’ Party’ during the Second World War, was a former pre-Treaty I.R.A. commander.
McCabe was also involved in the ‘Irish Christian Front’, a broad based group organising support for Franco during the Spanish Civil War.
Those on the platforms of Irish Christian Front rallies were often people who had became public figures in the nationalist movement prior to 1922.
Douglas Hyde, founder of Conradh na Gaeilge aka the Gaelic League was one, and while Hyde disagreed with the politicisation of the Irish language movement, the organisation he founded was an incubator of the Easter rising.
Alfred O'Rahilly, former Sinn Fein councillor in Cork, and advisor to the Treaty delegation, was another.
While these were treatyites and the rump of the I.R.A. existing at the time more leftist, and included people who volunteered for the International Brigades, I think we have to invoke the pod people again to see them being treatyites as something which would downplay the right trend in republicanism.
Also the elephant in the living room is that when the pre-1922 republican movement partially won, the bulk of it, both pro or anti Treaty, went on to build up a society and state which was conservative, Catholic and repressive, not quite the ‘New Christendom’ of McGeough and ‘The Hibernian’, but certainly in that ball park.
In the 1940s a splinter group from Conradh na Gaeilge called Ailtirí na h-Aiséirí (Architects of Resurgence) seemed poised for take off, but was to be thwarted by internal wrangling, and the fact that in the late 40s Clann na Poblachta sucked up the protest votes. Aiséirí was depicted in a TG4 documentary a couple of years ago. Heavily influenced by the Catholic wing of contemporary European Fascism, its slogan was ‘Ireland needs a Salazar’, in reference to the then Portuguese dictator.
Aiséirí advocated a military solution to the Northern Ireland situation, once ‘invading’ the North in an operation much like Peter Robinson’s ‘invasion’ of Monaghan in the 80s, and bedecking Dublin with posters reading ‘Arm Now to Take the North’.
Interestingly the famous Sean South was a member of this organisation, and even the ‘An Phoblacht’ article commemorating his death, noted his conservative Catholic views, and the fact he used to protest Hollywood films for their apparent ’Communist’ influence.
The extent to which I.R.A. co-operation with German intelligence services during the Second World War was a matter of ’England’s difficulty is Ireland’s opportunity’ or a matter of pro-Nazi sympathies is well debated, and for the most part it was a matter of the first rather than the second. However some I.R.A. prisoners of the time were elatedly tracking the progress of the armies of the Reich through what was then the Soviet Union, which suggests that there was some pro-Nazi sympathies around too.
After this, into the 1950s and early 60s, I don’t have a clear picture of what views existed. However I do know that the ’United Irishmen’, the Sinn Fein paper of the time, carried articles about how ‘communism’ was a facet of the Freemasonic conspiracy.
So there has been a right current within republicanism, as there has been a left current.
That right wing element is currently represented by McGeough, ‘The Hibernian’, and Craobh Gál Gréine. Craobh Gál Gréine is an ‘Irish Cultural Society’, seemingly mostly Cork-based, some of whose adherents are also involved in ‘The Hibernian’. The group apparently has around thirty members all of who have, apparently, track records of involvement in Provisional republicanism, Republican Sinn Féin or the 32 county Sovereignty Movement.
Craobh Gál Gréine organises commemorations, last time I was in Cork there were posters up for its commemoration of ‘The Gaelic War against Cromwell’ (guess the ‘Gaelic War for the King’ doesn’t have the same ring to it).
Pre-18th century matters is also a focus for McGeough’s writings in ‘The Hibernian’, perhaps because these were times when various rebellions and strife can be more easily seen as ’Catholic and Gaelic’.
Similarly traditionalist Catholicism, which carries on the Latin Mass, and which rejects the Vatican II reforms, and is what Justin Barrett and ’The Hibernian’ are into, does have a history and a following within the far-right. Particularly in the ’Political Soldiers’ wing of the National Front in the 1980s, which later morphed into the ’International Third Position’.
It is beyond the scope of this article but there are clear parallels between the views associated with the Third Position and the views expressed in ‘The Hibernian’.
There are of course also obvious parallels between ’The Hibernian’ and the Catholic right in Ireland, which fought a long battle against contraception, abortion, the Rape Crisis centres, divorce and so on, from the 70s onwards. It basically seems like a fusion of that movement with republicanism. Most of the Catholic right though, from cursory observation, seems to have toned itself down considerably, where as ’The Hibernian’ is for all out jihad.
It is instructive to also remember that the battles around these issues were also fought out within the Provisional republican movement, the Sinn Fein party’s pro-choice position for instance being dropped as a sop to traditionalists in the run up the 1986 ditching of abstentionism. Previous to this, in the 70s, one I.R.A. leader refused to use condoms in bomb manufacture, on the grounds they were immoral objects. So those ‘social issue’ conflicts cut through republicanism, with there being both feminist, and conservative-Catholic, elements to the movement.
The interesting thing to see will be the reactions of other republicans to the new nationalist, deeply sectarian, ultra-Catholic, anti-immigrant, and anti-gay movement McGeough seems intent on building, in apparent alliance with a man, Justin Barrett, who consorts with neo-nazis on the continent.
Martin Galvin, formerly prominent in NORAID, the United States based support group for the Provos, has been over in Ireland canvassing for McGeough.
Galvin transferred his support from the Provos to the Real I.R.A. and the 32 County Sovereignty Movement, in 1998. He has written for ’The Hibernian’, and for those homes of the intellectual wing of ‘dissident’ republicanism, The Blanket, and Fourthwrite.
Galvin has a radio show based in New York, and is generally quite prominent in matters of ‘traditional’/‘dissident’ republicanism over there.
According to a report here on indymedia Republican Sinn Fein invited McGeough to address their annual hunger strike commemoration in Bundoran last year.
(see: http://www.indymedia.ie/article/77945 )
While Anthony McIntyre writes in the ‘The Blanket’ of a public meeting on policing in Derry that McGeough “went unquestioned about views he holds that many republicans regard as anti-secular, misogynist, racist and reactionary.”.
McGeough was one of the panel of speakers.
On the other hand apparently his candidacy has not been endorsed by ‘concerned republicans’, the umbrella group supporting most ‘independent republican’ candidates in the Assembly elections. Though the reason for this I’m not aware of.