Shrine or no shrine?

Maybe what we have here is a case of the Peter Principle? This term refers to the belief that people get promoted in organisations until they reach a position where they’re essentially incompetent and then they stop being promoted. It makes sense. If  somebody was such hot bananas, they’d be promoted again. 
But none of this can apply to Peter Robinson, because he’s at the top of the DUP tree – there is no higher rung than the powerful one that he occupies. Or is it powerful? There are several reasons for thinking it’s maybe more paralysed than powerful. Just about everyone acknowledges the DUP leader has done a screeching U-turn on this one. Having agreed to a peace centre and denounced all those opposed as fruit-cakes, he’s now decided to follow the fruit-cake lead and denounce the peace centre himself. 
He says – or rather his representative on Irish earth at the moment Jeffrey Donaldson says  it’s because they the DUP listen to the people AND because Sinn Féin are being insensitive to victims of the conflict, the most recent example being Castlederg. 
Right, let’s see if we can break this down to manageable chunks.
  1. Victims. Yes, you could see that the relatives of people in Castlederg killed by the IRA were upset at the sight of marching men in uniform playing drums and stuff. An understandable reaction.
  2. Shrine to terrorism.  If the centre that was to be built in Long Kesh/the Maze were to be a place which inspired those who visited to go out and blow people up, that would be a bad thing. 
  3. The Long Kesh/Maze development without the shrine to terrorism.  Yes, the Royal Ulster Agricultural Show has moved its centre there, the site may attract other interested parties without the shrine to terrorism. Jeffrey Robinson is right in that. 
But if we examine each of those three ideas more closely, they start to leak.
  1. Victims. The upset that victims of IRA violence felt at the sight of marching uniformed republicans in Castlederg was genuine. But the victims of British army violence – Bloody Sunday relatives, the Ballymurphy families, the Pat Finucane family, the Rosemary Nelson family – one could go on.  All of these people suffered the loss of loved ones either directly at the hands of the British army or through loyalist paramilitaries in collusion with the British armed forces. Yet no one has called for an end to the annual commemoration of British army military actions (no, Virginia, Remembrance Sunday is NOT just about those British soldiers who fought in WW1 and WW2). So if unionist victims have been upset (and they have every right to be – in fact I think the Castlederg parade should never have taken place),  then that’s presented as grounds for going back on an agreed deal. If republican victims are upset, well, it’s different because the British armed forces do the killing. 
  2. Shrine to terrorism.  What does that mean? Presumably it doesn’t mean a holy place where people will kneel or prostrate themselves before images of dead republicans. In fact there was general agreement that the peace centre would be just that – a centre that told the suffering inflicted by the conflict and done in a way that encouraged people never to go down that blood-soaked path again. The centre hasn’t been built yet. Which means the DUP have reneged on promises because of something that hasn’t yet been constructed and over which they have equal input with republicans. Logical? I think not. 
  3. The Long Kesh/Maze site development without the peace centre. It’s true that some industry will be attracted to the site even if it doesn’t have a centre. But equally if there were a peace centre, it would be a visible reassurance to prospective investors that reconciliation was the name of the game now and that past poisonous hatreds had been mastered. It’d also be a draw for tourists – you just have to drive up the Falls Road to see flocks of tourists studying and photographing the  murals relating to the Troubles and a better future. A  peace centre at Long Kesh/The Maze would almost certainly exert considerable tourist pull. It couldn’t possibly be the case that statement of the straightforward facts of our Troubles would cast unionism in a poor light, could it? Is it conceivable that that is what is behind the opposition of the Orange Order, the UUP and others?

Sinn Féin’s Raymond McCartney has referred to Peter Robinson allowing himself to be jerked around by a unionist rump that cannot bear any acknowledgement of the existence of republicans, or that their history might bear retelling. That’s being euphemistic.  Rump is another word for rear end. To be blunt,  Peter Robinson is being jerked around by the arse-end of unionism.

10 Responses to Shrine or no shrine?

  1. Anonymous August 16, 2013 at 8:48 am #

    Appalling comments again: trying to equate Remembrance with the glorification of terrorists.

    • Anonymous August 16, 2013 at 12:35 pm #

      You need to be more specific, do you mean “trying to equate the remberance of dead Republicans with the glorification of dead British terrorists” or the opposite? (which I suspect)

  2. Anonymous August 16, 2013 at 11:00 am #

    Stormont is an abject failure. Unionism is incapable of showing leadership. SF need to get the governments involved in helping to sort out the farce on the hill. What is the point of Stormont ? What has it delivered ? Do SF even care ? I get the feeling they’re to preoccupied with the south do realise the north has the handbrake on.

  3. Anonymous August 16, 2013 at 11:15 am #

    “Appalling comments again: trying to equate Remembrance with the glorification of terrorists”.

    He/She obviously didn’t read the piece. Nothing new there. Jude abú.

    • Anonymous August 16, 2013 at 12:32 pm #


      Peter Robinson can’t deliver on behalf of unionism, he couldn’t deliver a letter if he was dressed up as postman Pat.

    • Paul August 16, 2013 at 1:02 pm #

      Could we just get rid of stormont and go for joint rule by Dublin and london

  4. Anonymous August 16, 2013 at 3:29 pm #


    Robinson’s eyes are on the forthcoming elections and Castlederg was only an excuse to pull the plug on the Peace centre.

    Incidentally, who whipped up the hysteria that probably added to victims hur in castlederg? good old Arlenefrom Fermanagh, who knew nothing ofthe UVF’s Brian Robinson parade in Belfast or the other one for UVF members David Swanson, Geoffrey Freeman, Aubrey Reid and Mark Dodds in Coleraine, but there was nothing she didn’t know about Castlederg, even herself and fellow MLA and ex-UDR man, Tom Buchannan, went on a reconnaissance mission to view the Republican monument in Castlederg by all accounts.

    and another thing…

    Republicans in Tyrone hae every right to remember their dead, and why should Republicans in Castlederg not be able to remember theirs. Ater all, is Castlederg not a majority Nationalist town which suffers an inproportionate amount of unionist parades(3 more in the next two weeks!), including Rememberance Sunday which pays tribute to the RUC/UDR who colluded with loyalist paramilataries in the murder of at least three nationalists from that area.

  5. Anonymous August 16, 2013 at 3:33 pm #

    I have suspected for some days now that last week’s Castlederg stunt was disguise of an open trap for for Robbo to take the unmissable opportunity to do what he has done or use it as an exscuse to pull out of Stormont in a desperate bid to shore up DUP position. The conduct of the march was anything but subtle.

  6. Anonymous August 16, 2013 at 3:41 pm #

    “Could we just get rid of Stormont and go for joint rule by Dublin and London”

    I presume that you mean in the interim, until a UI is agreed.

  7. Endgame August 16, 2013 at 5:57 pm #

    Lets go for joint authority. Unionists reason to be in the current set up is to block everything that has nationalist backing. Irish Language Act, Bill of Rights, Ulster Canal, A5, Maze, Girdwood etc.

    Nationalists need to show some balls and stand up against unionist bigots.