This is the text of a comment, with minor errors adjusted, that I left on an Independent column by Eamon Delaney published Wednesday 19 December. The title of Delaney’s piece was ‘Ragbag of cowards hiding behind Facebook’. My comment did not get published. I do not know why. On a general note, I think people need to be wise to anti-republicanism as a mechanism for social control, especially at moments when the government’s moral legitimacy is fast shrinking.An opposition to Irish republicanism -or what is the same thing, the claim that the State as constituted is the true embodiment of Irish republicanism- is a device used to stifle dissent and place the ruling powers on the side of the angels. Witness Dáil responses by Enda Kenny and Eamon Gilmore to Sinn Féin questioning in recent days: never mind political accountability, what about the crimes of republicans? Does Eamon Delaney have any evidence to show that the people protesting the Queen’s visit are the same people who allegedly plotted to kill this soldier? Or is anyone guilty by association simply because they fall under the semi-official category of ‘dissident republican’? Tuesday’s Irish Independent speaks of a ‘new terrorist alliance, comprised [sic] of members of Alan Ryan’s former faction, the Real IRA group in Derry, the Republican Action Against Drugs group in Derry, and non-aligned activists from east Tyrone and Belfast’. Is there any evidence to show that the people protesting the Queen’s visit are part of this ‘alliance’? (Is there any evidence beyond security forces briefings that such an alliance exists?) Eamon Delaney says that ‘serious inroads’ have been made, and, to demonstrate this, cites the fact that 15 people have been arrested. What he does not say is that those 15 people were released without charge, as per the report by Barry Duggan and Tom Brady in the Independent on Tuesday. How can one make ‘serious inroads’ and yet arrest a load of people then release them without charge? Something here is not serious, be it the inroads, the arrests, or the journalism. The writer then uses this Garda-narrated series of events to concoct a tale that ‘almost the entirety of Irish people’ have a benign view of joining the British Army. Well, do they? Why are young Irish people ‘flocking’ to the British Army, as he claims? How many constitute a ‘flock’. Five? Ten? Half a million? If more young Irish people are joining the British Army now, it will be not least because the prospects of other kinds of work in Ireland are dim, so the appeal of becoming a trained killer starts to make sense on economic grounds. And it stands to reason that the press owned by people who stand to profit from the immiseration of Irish people will commission work that cheers on the conversion of young Irish people into cannon fodder, and conjures up spectral terroristic enemies. The fact that such work has to ground itself in half-assed droolings about ‘the potential perils of social media’ only demonstrates how intellectually bankrupt the whole enterprise is: do you think people wrote articles about Northern Ireland in the 1970s citing ‘the potential perils of the telephone’, despite the widespread use of telephones in bombing campaigns? As for the notion that these people are ‘hiding behind Facebook’, this article proves nothing about ‘hiding’, but it does show that the Gardaí monitor Facebook.