By Anthony McIntyre (for the Blanket)
Sometime in the mid 1980s, imprisoned left wing republicans reinserted into contemporary republican discourse the term ‘Fenian’. While aware that its usage dated back to the 1860s through its association with the Irish Republican Brotherhood, by and large, our most frequent exposure to the term was when unionists, cops, UDR or blanket screws were employing it pejoratively - and always accompanied by the word ‘bastard.’ The mid-1980s was a juncture when republicanism pirouetted on shifting ideological sands. The movement’s long standing opposition to participation in Leinster House had been discarded and the Sinn Féin president of three years, Gerry Adams, informed the Irish Times that socialism was not on the agenda. ‘He is only pretending’, our own big Grug assured anyone daft enough to listen. It seems he has been pretending ever since and about everything else.
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