At the last count, there was at least seven different republican parades to Belfast’s Milltown cemetery between Easter Sunday and Monday. Most, if not all, taking part in these commemorations were convinced that their particular brand of republicanism is the one, true republicanism, and that all others are heretical.
There were even be some, with heads held high, who have convinced themselves that they are a government-in-exile, that they are the sole guarantors and protectors of the Republic which was unilaterally declared in the 1916 Proclamation, and ratified by the First Dáil in 1919.
Some weeks back, the Andersonstown News informed us that the Real Continuity IRA, which recently broke away from the main Continuity IRA, has split into three different factions. That’s four CIRA Army Councils. Then there the Army Councils of the Real IRA, Oglaigh na h- Eireann, the Provisional IRA, and the Official IRA. That makes eight IRA Army Councils at the last count (I’ve probably forgotten a couple of IRAs here and there).
I remember as a child in the early sixties, watching my father and others, no more than a couple of hundred republicans, marching to Milltown Cemetery, unsupported and unwanted by the Nationalist population. Ahh… those were the days, my friend.