Back to the Armed Struggle? The Dissidents Analysed


  • Colm Bryce


On a gable wall at the top of Westland Street, in the Bogside in Derry, a billboard was erected in 2009, shortly after Sinn Féin leader Martin McGuinness denounced the republicans who had just killed police officer Stephen Carroll in Craigavon as ‘traitors to the island of Ireland'. Illustrated with a photo of an armed British soldier, it reads:

Those who administer British rule are traitors They haven’t gone away you know Iraq, Afghanistan, Ireland

The billboard is a stones-throw from Martin McGuinness's house; deliberately so. Its message, its use of republican principle against the Sinn Fein leadership and the allusion to the violence of British imperialism in discredited wars abroad, and the fact that it remains there, is an indication of a renewed momentum among armed republican groups in Derry, something that is reproduced elsewhere in the North.