THE republican movement can claim to be many things, but wise is not one of them.
The wars they have fought define a movement that plays too fast and loose with the lives of their own volunteers and exhibits an unbelievable coldness for their victims.
This fighting of wars, especially wars that had no chance of success, is central to their failure to understand the nature of the situation in Ireland.
"Eight centuries of resistance," is the republican boast. "Every generation has fought for freedom," they shout.
Another way of looking at this is to try to understand why the English needed to keep their hold on Ireland. From the initial invite to English Earl Strongbow in the 12th century, the English army was regularly attacked and the English king, Henry II, sensed that they were vulnerable to an invasion launched by their enemies.
For 800 years, that position remained virtually the same... every rebellion fought against British rule was doomed to failure.
It is simply the case that fighting for freedom made the British more determined to try to control Ireland. Leaders like John Hume, Charles Stuart Parnell and Daniel O'Connell ruled out war in favour of using their innocence and their shrewdness. They made significant progress.