Jim’s on the warpath again. It seems there was a ‘commemoration and celebration event’ held in the Whiterock Leisure Centre by ‘Remember our Volunteers Committee’. Jim didn’t like that. For all sorts of reasons. He didn’t mention that there are elections coming up next month and all politicians want to highlight what champions they are for their side.
And so Jim is furious about the Whiterock commemorative event. It was, Jim figures, “a terrorist” event. Oh dear. That’s not quite how the people of the Whiterock area and West Belfast generally see those IRA men and women who were killed.Far from being scum or terrorists, they see them as Irish patriots. If we’re going to talk about a shared future, it’ll have to include acceptance that your vision of the past isn’t one shared by everyone else.
But it’s not just the event which Jim objects to. It’s having it held in a public leisure facility. So maybe Jim would have been happy enough for it it to be held somewhere else? Casement Park, for example? Or a parade through Belfast City Centre? And Jim notes the event ‘allowed the consumption of alcohol’. Is he joining Ian Paisley in rejecting the Devil’s buttermilk?
Anyway, he’s going to ask Belfast City Council why a civic community facility “came to be used for paramilitary displays and commemoration of terrorists”. Well you know Jim, Belfast City Hall is pretty well awash with commemorative plaques and paintings and statues that link to and commemorate military events. Not to mention the 2,000+ marches every year commemorating military battles. At public expense. Speaking of which, policing the Twaddell Avenue protest cost well over £7 million two months ago. Anybody know what it is now? And of course that comes from the public purse too. The Whiterock event is a drop in the swimming pool compared to that. So as a champion of savings for the public, go to it, Jim. Let’s hear it for the multi-million expense of Twaddell.
Finally, it seems the leader of the TUV was offended by the terrorist imagery at the Whiterock commemoration, including some specially painted for the event, flags of proscribed organisations and replica weapons. That’d be replica IRA weapons. The IRA which has gone away, you know, Jim. Unlike the UVF during the East Belfast flag protest and unlike the UDA Larne assault on several houses in that town the other day. I expect any time now we’ll hear Jim express his revulsion at the continuing existence of two loyalist paramilitary outfits that were supposed to have folded about fifteen years ago. Won’t we?