Alasdair and victims

As I watched Alasdair McDonnell declare on TV this evening “This is all about victims!”,   I thought of the Dean of St Columb’s College when I was a boarder there. He was a strange man, the Dean.  Some evenings he’d patrol the refectory smiling and talking quietly to himself, chuckling from time to time. Other evenings he’d walk up and down with a face like thunder, and God help you if you looked at him sideways. 
So how was he a soul-mate of Alasdair’s? Well, what would happen is this.  The Dean would catch you  (OK, me, me, not you) doing something forbidden – playing handball  against the wrong wall, reading a comic, smuggling a bottle of HP sauce into the refectory. Something bad like that. You’d be told to appear at his room at an appointed hour. He would then reach into his pocket, take out a strap and tell you to hold out first your right hand, then your left.   Four slaps if you were lucky, six if you were less lucky, ten if you were all outa luck. That strap hurt.
But there was a further sting on its way. Because on Saturday afternoons, we boarders would line up outside the Dean’s room and ask him if we could get out of the college for a couple of hours, into Derry, where we’d gorge ourselves on chips and sweets and smoke our heads off while watching Jane Russell being kissed by Gary Cooper on the silver screen. We’d form a long line and ask, and the lucky ones got a Yes. I can still feel the pang  of outrage when it came my turn, say two weeks after a leathering, and the Dean would listen to my request and then say “Would you run away out of my sight and don’t be bothering me”. Or put more succinctly – No. 
One crime, two punishments. In law it’s known as double jeopardy.  Some countries have protection from it built into their constitution. That’s because  there’s something inherently unjust about punishing someone twice for the same incident.  But not here. Thanks to Alasdair’s law, the spirit of our Dean will live on. 

10 Responses to Alasdair and victims

  1. Stephen Blacker May 28, 2013 at 7:44 pm #

    This is a very strange way to put your point Jude, throwing a ball etc & cold blooded murder and not a word about the Travis family who only lost one member rather than 3 that day. I agree that Ms. McCardle should not have been seen to be punished twice because she should never have been offer the Advisors job in the first place.

  2. Anonymous May 28, 2013 at 8:17 pm #

    I thought it was Jim Allister’s bill but for some reason best known to yourself,you wish to give Alasdair “credit” for it.

  3. giordanobruno May 28, 2013 at 11:39 pm #

    Yes I think I see your point Jude. Ann Travers was punished once by Mary McArdle for being related to a magistrate. Why should she be punished again by seeing Mary McArdle given a public position in an act of startling insensitivity by Sinn Fein?
    Seems unjust to me too.

  4. Fra Stone May 29, 2013 at 10:31 am #

    “The Governments continue to recognise the importance of measures to facilitate the reintegration of prisoners into the community by providing support both prior to and after release, including assistance directed towards availing of employment opportunities, retraining and/or re-skilling, and further education.”
    The Good Friday Agreement (April 1998)

    • giordanobruno May 29, 2013 at 2:03 pm #

      Just because you have the right to do something does not mean you have to do it.
      Did no-one in Sinn Fein think it might be insensitive to appoint McArdle to this public position? Or did they realise, but simply not care?
      Which do you think?

    • Fra Stone May 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      so if you have human rights then you don’t have to give them?

    • giordanobruno May 30, 2013 at 6:18 pm #

      McArdle has the right to seek employment, having done her time for her brave contribution to the cause of a United Ireland. How the killing of Mary Travers advanced that cause I do not know, but that is not the point.
      All I am saying is she did not have to take such a high profile post.She could have thought for a moment about the feelings of the Travers family and opted for a role away from the limelight. She had a choice.
      But no such consideration was given, by her or Sinn Fein.
      So either it didn’t occur to them or they just didn’t care.
      Which do you think?

  5. Fra Stone May 29, 2013 at 2:07 pm #

    Anon, think you are missing the point, the SDLP, under Alasdairs’ leadership, had the opportunity to stop this bill, but decided to under the guise of aiding victims, to help make it law. I do not agree with this bill, I think it is discriminatory, whilst it may be ‘all encompassing’ in its remit of all prisoners, we know who it is aimed at. And in case you are wondering, yes I am a victim, I lost a brother and many many friends and neighbours at the hands of the British state and their servants. This bill does not and never will speak for me.

  6. Anonymous May 29, 2013 at 2:37 pm #

    It’s perfectly normal for serious criminals to be disqualified for some jobs.

    If you want access to the full range of jobs, dont commit serious crimes.

    • Fra Stone May 30, 2013 at 12:00 pm #

      anon, despite what you may think, those in Long Kesh where not crimianals, as the legislation that they were incarcerated under proves. if they were criminals would they have been released under the ‘PEACE’ process, only combatants were released.