Archive for September 11th, 2009

The One And Óglaigh

Tip-off led to Armagh bomb find – The Irish Times – Fri, Sep 11, 2009

The PSNI has said the device was designed to kill officers patrolling the area. No group has admitted responsibility so far but it is believed that one of the two factions of the Real IRA, possibly the group that goes under the name “Óglaigh na hÉireann”, was behind the planned ambush.

Recently in Armagh I saw a carved sign attached to a telegraph pole, in the style of the old signs that read IRA vertically, but instead of IRA it read ONH. I am not an Irish language expert, so it is hardly up to me to talk about what is appropriate, but two of those letters do not refer either to nouns, verbs or adjectives. One refers to a preposition, and the other to an aspiration. Clearly there is no standard practice at stake here, so I do not wish to be too critical. However, given the fact that two thirds of the letters refer to nothing specifically meaningful, one is inclined to acknowledge that this is a particularly poor example of an effective acronym.

WAG entails a preposition too, but the ‘And’ in Wives And Girlfriends is a fundamentally important element of the object under representation. That is, a combination of Wives and And and Girlfriends delivers a particular, singular unity (the WAG) which ceases to exist when the ‘And’ is omitted. ‘WAG’ then exists as a word of its own, but this is impossible with ‘WG’, except perhaps in Welsh.

My initial suspicion, however, that this was the imitation of an acronym first used by the NIO, would appear to be unfounded.


Phoblacht: Those who planted the bomb in Omagh have made it clear they are not part of your organisation, why do they persist with the claim to the title Oglaigh na hEireann?

ONH: The erroneous claim by these people to be Oglaigh na hEireann is a good indicator of exactly what they are about and the motivation behind their actions. Prior to their defection they were given the opportunity at an army convention to put their analysis to delegates elected by and representing the entire membership of Oglaigh na hEireann. Their views on future strategy and direction were rejected by the vast majority of those delegates.

So it would seem that the ‘Real IRA’ have also claimed to be Óglaigh na hÉireann in the past. The question then arises if the group presently claiming to be Óglaigh na hÉireann is the group that formerly claimed to be Óglaigh na hÉireann, or if it is a new group. That is, is ONH really TGFBKWKAONH (that is, the group formerly but not widely known as Óglaigh na hÉireann)?

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