Saturday 18 August 2018

Five decades of propaganda ends with the last edition of 'An Phoblacht'

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John Downing

John Downing

It carried every word uttered by 'P Ó Néill', pretty much deified Gerry Adams, and showed which IRA leader was ostracised by using the English rather than the Gaelic form of his name.

But after 47 years thundering out IRA and Sinn Féin propaganda, 'An Phoblacht' has abruptly ceased publication.

The December 2017 edition will be the last. There will be occasional magazines of the same name from next March, but for the rest Sinn Féin will rely upon online platforms.

The change was confirmed by the party's director of publicity, Ciarán Quinn.

"We are focusing on online platforms and moving to a magazine format in the new year," he said.

The original 'An Phoblacht' was published by the IRA in the 1920s and 1930s, and included leading figures like Peadar O'Donnell and Frank Ryan among its editors.

It ceased publication in 1937 but was revived by the Provisional IRA in Dublin in 1970 after a bitter split with the 'officials'.

In 1979, it was merged with a sister publication, 'Republican News', becoming known to the activists who sold it in pubs and on the street as 'AP/RN'.

It was frequently used to promulgate apologist arguments for IRA death and destruction. In a quirky trait, the extent of how much former IRA chief of staff Seán Mac Stíofáin was out of favour in 1972 became clear when the paper began referring to him by the English form of his name, John Stephenson.

Irish Independent

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