How to isolate a ceasefire


I’m listening to BBC Raidio Uladh/Radio Ulster as I type this and they’re discussing the IRA ceasefire of 1994. All sorts of people – republican ex-prisoners, young people not born then, the leader of the Ulster Unionists, Alan McBride whose wife died in the Shankill bomb. A wide range.

But the discussion itself is narrow beyond words. The entire basis of the interviews is that the IRA was the source of violence and carnage. There’s no hint of what created the IRA, no hint of what part unionist paramilitaries played in the violence, no part of the role of the British army or the RUC. It’s a classic case of decontextualised history. Or to be more accurate, the version of the past that unionism is desperate to have accepted as official history. And that is? Thousands of young men from a nationalist background suddenly took it into their heads that they would start murdering people and went on doing so until it became clear that their slaughter were pointless. They should never have started and we’d have the power-sharing we have today – imperfect as it is – if they’d just stuck with civil rights’ marches. It’s the old mantra: do republicans expect to be thanked when, after decades of sectarian murder, they stop doing so?

In contrast to this, I heard Martin McGuinness briefly on-air. He was making the point that he has now met Queen Elizabeth three times – clearly a stretch, as they say, for republicans. Not a single unionist politician, McGuinness reports, has since spoken to him to acknowledge what he’d done. It’s clear how unionism, supported by the media,  wishes to paint the past. It’s depressing to see how  little unionism seems prepared to offer for the sake of a better future.

116 Responses to How to isolate a ceasefire

  1. neill September 1, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    It’s the old mantra: do republicans expect to be thanked when, after decades of sectarian murder, they stop doing so?

    I think you may have answered your own question

    • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 8:40 am #

      And you’ve revealed why I said it

  2. Morpheus September 1, 2014 at 8:42 am #

    There was a fascinating thread on Slugger last week entitled “Truth, Denial and Transition: Northern Ireland and the Contested Past, Book Review” which throws a lot of light on this very issue Jude. It didn’t get a lot of comment for some reason.

    It provides an interesting insight into the mindset of the ‘PUL elites’ through a series of interviews from 2009. Not 1979, 2009.

    The bit that jumped out me was:

    “PUL elites tended to articulate a singular interpretation of truth, in which ‘the actions of unionist political elites or the security forces did not contribute to or perpetuate the conflict in Northern Ireland’. This has made it difficult for PUL elites to recognise possible human rights violations by the state, and led ‘to an equation between dealing with the past and apportioning ‘blame’ and responsibility for the conflict …’. To put it starkly, PUL elites see their community as blameless victims, and see efforts to deal with the past as an exercise in blaming the blameless.”

    Again this was contained in interviews in 2009, not 1979

  3. maryjo September 1, 2014 at 8:44 am #

    I have yet to hear a single mainstream Unionist politician admit to any wrong dong by his community or by the old Stormont regime. Convicted loyalist paramilitaries have been more honest and open minded in acknowledging the wrongs of the past than have the failed leaders of “respectable” unionism.

  4. neill September 1, 2014 at 8:45 am #

    Then why state the obvious? Do you belief loyalists should be praised because they stopped killing Catholics.

    As I have said many years will pass before the wounds are properly fixed that sadly is a harsh reality

    • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 11:02 am #

      Neill- simple question: who do you think has made greater effort to “fix the wounds”, republicanism or unionism?

      • neill September 1, 2014 at 11:57 am #

        Neither sadly we talk about healing wounds very easily but actually doing it is seems some way off..

        Nobody in the Unionist side has any real trust in SF for obvious reasons and the converse is true about unionism I can certainly understand why Nationalists find it hard to trust unionists.

        The past haunts us and therefore some hard decisions are left unmade.

        • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 12:35 pm #

          So you don’t think republicans have made any healing overtures to unionism?

  5. Norma wilson September 1, 2014 at 9:28 am #

    You don’t get rewarded for doing evil deeds, though in Northern Ireland it appears you do.
    Certainly there was wrong doings on the Unionist side, but they paid for it dearly.
    The Protestant North, for a Protestant people, came about as I see it, was because we were being ethnic cleansed in Ireland, the church did not want us about the place. They were the ones who wanted an all catholic country.
    To coin the use of a Jewish word, it was my people who suffered under pogroms in Ireland.
    My Great grandparents, lived in Emmyvale in Monaghan, had their land stolen, left with little more than the clothes on their back. The same thing happened with the other set of Grand parents. They all arrived in Belfast, glad I suppose to be rid of Catholics from about them.
    Please do not take that last statement out of context, such things have never been used, or indoctrinated in my family, in fact truth be known, seriously, my mother God rest her soul, would have seen herself more Protestant nationalist. My Father only like earning money. He had no time for organized religion!
    By the way Jude, it was not until I married a catholic myself, and used to feel ashamed of being a Protestant, when I would hear the terribly things they had injured, that I tried to discover WHY?
    Soon the pieces came together, Protestants had injured the exact same treatment, when Ireland split up!
    And lately, it has been most interesting to listen to the Irish people and their treatment of the Jews today. Again I think it is because of their superior religion. Can you imagine the money the Catholic Church could make from that,
    You’s are the ones who need to let go and move on, as they say in today’s parlance ” get over it”!
    As for Martin meeting the Queen, am I suppose to be grateful, wise up, if he did not want to go he shouldn’t , I am her loyal subject, he could have given me the tickets.
    It’s twenty years, gone…. So quickly, should never have happened! I am no better or superior to you,or you to me. We should all try to love one another just that little bit harder, the sad thing about all this, kids have been born, and grew up in that space of time, and there should have been greater changes.
    One last thing I want to address Jude, it’s easy to leave a bomb in a restaurant, pub, cenotaph, even I could do that! The British Army is a professional fighting machine. Had they had the support of the government, believe me, there would have been no contest.

    • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 11:01 am #

      Norma – cool the jets a bit there…”it’s easy to leave a bomb in a restaurant, pub, cenotaph, even I could do that!” Fair enough. I couldn’t – either in terms of fear that it would go off when I was still there and in terms of it going off when I had left. As to your great-grandparents who “had their land stolen” – Mmm. I think you’ll find a lot of Irish land was stolen. Ever hear of the Ulster Plantation? Finally, I don’t know ANYONE in Ireland who hates the Jews. They may exist but I don’t know them. But I do know lots of people who are outraged by what Israel has been doing to the Palestinian people – and I’m one of those. There is a difference.

      • neill September 1, 2014 at 12:00 pm #

        No Jude the land wasn’t stolen it was took from the defeated Irish natives this has happened since the dawn of time not nice but sadly the truth

        • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 12:34 pm #

          Ah Neill – you’ve given me my second laugh of the day (just read P Warbeck): “No Jude the land wasn’t stolen it was took from the defeated Irish natives”. Should be engraved on the lintel of every door in the land…

          • neill September 1, 2014 at 12:54 pm #

            So If I gave you some of my land that was stolen from your family that would make you feel better? ; )

      • neill September 1, 2014 at 12:01 pm #

        Added to this it was over 400 years ago!

        • Ryan September 1, 2014 at 5:22 pm #

          Well Neill, is there any chance you can tell your Unionist neighbours to move on and forget 1649? it was a massacre but sadly that’s civil war for you and that’s what happens when you steal peoples land and expect to get away with it.

          Somehow I don’t think you or your Unionist neighbours will forget that or move on, even though it was nearly 400 years ago…..

          • neill September 1, 2014 at 8:04 pm #

            Once again it was not stolen it was taken in the course of war which has happened all over the world.

            The 1649 rebellion doesnt worry unionism why should it none of my relatives were not born then….

    • Ryan September 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

      “The British Army is a professional fighting machine”

      Yes Norma, we have clearly seen that on Bloody Sunday and at the Ballymurphy Massacre when the British Army shot and murdered innocent civilians, not to mention all the other innocent people, including children (vast majority were Catholic) they murdered. Very professional indeed!

      And lets not forget the British Army collusion with Loyalist terrorists, such as in the Dublin/Monaghan bombing that killed over 30, including children and a pregnant woman (which to this day the British state STILL refuses to release files on the bombings at the repeated requests of the Irish Government. I wonder why……)

      Given the history of the British Army Norma, not only in Ireland but in the likes of Kenya, Australia, India, etc they were FAR from a professional fighting force, no more than oppressors of the native peoples.

      But, of course, because you support them Norma, that means the British Army are OK or, as you put it yourself: “The British Army is a professional fighting machine”

      • Am Ghobsmacht September 1, 2014 at 9:37 pm #


        Does this mean that you reject the view point trumpeted by some nationalist quarters that the British Army should be more accountable than the IRA as they had more ‘professional standards’ to adhere to?

        (or something like that)

        • Pointis September 2, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

          To be fair Am G it is not just a “point trumpeted by some nationalist quarters” that the British Army should be more accountable than the IRA!

          Every civilised society on earth follows the common sense guidelines that operatives in the employ of the state should within reason be subject to the laws governing civil society.

        • Ruaidri Ua Conchoba September 4, 2014 at 10:14 pm #

          Am Ghobsmacht,
          It isn’t a case of a position that isn’t in truth trumpeted by Nationalists but rather one trumpeted by Unionists. Namely, they contend British states forces were guardians of law and order. That being the case, test their actions against the laws they claim to be upholding.

          The British moral compass is completely skewed. It’s apparently not terrorism when British forces engage in no-warning carpet bombing of Dresden city and slaughter 200,000 civilians. But, it is apparently terrorism when PIRA issue a warning while planting a car-bomb at commercial premises – who has engaged in an act of terrorism is often a case of considering the relevant material facts of a particular incident.

          • Am Ghobsmacht September 5, 2014 at 1:51 pm #

            Ruaidri (and Pointis)

            1/ In which case Norma’s point stands

            2/ Dresden vs the PIRA

            Again, your choices are ones of extremes and bias e.g. The RAF flew many sanctioned sorties to either bomb strategic targets, shoot down bombers or doodlebugs or to disrupt enemy lines.

            On one hand, worthy of a David Niven or John Mills movie.

            On the other hand, we have the awful strategy of annihilation and mass murder that they (along with their allies) resorted too (worthy of an Emil Klimov movie).

            So, the British had Dresden, the Americans had Nagasaki & Hiroshima, the Russians had Koningsberg, the Estonian ‘Destruction Battalions’ and the various ugly scars of their Scorched Earth Policy.

            The ‘IRA car bomb with a message’ (worthy of a Neil Jordan film) was sufficient enough to convince some people that the IRA were ‘the good guys’.

            Unfortunately, real life can’t be edited whereas a movie can (luckily for Neil Jordan) and the graveyards of NI and parts of England are the morbid film stills that depict the gruesome ‘out-takes’ of the Provos’ earlier attempts at trying to polish this ‘fine art’.

            (Joking about Neil Jordan).

          • Ruaidri Ua Conchob September 5, 2014 at 10:23 pm #

            Am Ghobsmacht,
            Oh please, stop the pathetic pro-British drivel; the RAF flew many missions, blah, blah, blah. You can’t deny British forces intentionally slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocents civilians i.e. they engaged in blatant acts of terrorism?

            Contrary to the opinion you seem to have formed, my bombing analogy was intended to challenge Unionists simplistic view that British armed forces were the good guys and PIRA were the evil terrorists. I could justly have cited Ballymurphy and Derry massacres by paratroopers as acts of British forces terrorism. But, I thought my above bombings analogy were a better choice to highlight the need to focus on the relevant material facts surrounding a given incident.

            Of course PIRA engaged in many acts which cost the lives of innocent civilians, and they are to be condemned for such instances of terrorism. British forces have likewise engaged in acts that cannot reasonably be construed as anything other than acts of terrorism – I will though not hold my breath awaiting Unionists conceding British forces ever perpetrated acts of terrorism.

          • Jude Collins September 6, 2014 at 8:27 am #

            I think you’ve got to the heart of it in that last paragraph, Ruaidri – republicans do and have conceded that some of their actions were sectarian and would qualify as terrorism. British/unionists have yet to reach that stage. The nearest they got was when QE2 said we all wished some things had been done differently or not at all, and when Cameron apologised for Bloody Sunday. Both English, you’ll note, and neither of them unionist party members…

          • Am Ghobsmacht September 6, 2014 at 8:43 am #

            ” You can’t deny British forces intentionally slaughtered hundreds of thousands of innocents civilians i.e. they engaged in blatant acts of terrorism?”


            How did you interpret my comment “On the other hand, we have the awful strategy of annihilation and mass murder that they (along with their allies) resorted to….”

            Does that not suggest that I acknowledge fine and well the dirty reality of what the RAF did in WWII?

            You can call it terrorism if you wish, you’ll just be at odds with most people in the UK, Australia, US, Canada, New Zealand, France, Poland, Denmark, Slovakia, Russia, Ukraine, the Netherlands, Belgium, China, Indonesia and a few more besides.

            Most people acknowledge that it was a full on toe-to-toe fight-to-the-death war.

            There’s nothing British nor imperialistic about that, it’s simply historical fact.

            Now, as for unionists always seeing the BA as the good guys, well, you’re right.

            By adopting this impeachable position they forfeit any moral high ground they think that they may have.
            If Norma’s point of ‘professional fighting force’ is to be respected and credited then wrongdoings need to be condemned.

            I apply this to the B Specials and the UDR too even with my numerous personal acquaintances with those former organisations.

          • Jude Collins September 6, 2014 at 12:31 pm #

            AG – I’m uneasy with the toe-to-toe thing somehow being somehow more, um, respectable than guys in flying columns or guerrilla groups or terrorists on a small scale. If I’d been a civilian in Dresden (or Coventry) I’d have been terrified.

  6. paddykool September 1, 2014 at 9:57 am #

    Hi Jude :
    Sometimes I feel that some posters here just give lazy one line answers and believe that somehow that adds to the conversation or understanding. It doesn’t .It adds little and is a kind of flip and throwaway comment that teaches very little. It’s hardly worth the effort at all.
    There’s a problem too in that if you haven’t actually lived through those times that your version of “history” will always be second -hand. For the most part , the ages of the commentators will have some bearing too.What age are our posters here? What do they actually “know” ? What have they experienced with their own eyes? For example , there are are a lot of young people on both sides of the divide who have very unrealistic and romantic ideas of what actually happened in the conflict . It’s like getting some idea of the Second World War only from the comics where everything is in neat black and white terms..
    .You’ll never get that paranoia from reading or watching compressed little histories. It’s probably why it is easy to get young people out on the streets waving flags of either stripe. You have to have a lot of dead schoolmates ,by dint of the conflict, to understand what it was really like. Why some of them took up arms to kill soldiers and policemen and why some of them thought joining the police or the army was a good idea during a civic conflict where you were paid good wages to put your life in jeopardy.Those are essentially very extreme positions to take in those kind of circumstances.They are worth thinking about.
    It’s hard to get across the idea , for example, that before the”Troubles” kicked off the IRA was an irrelevance to most people on the Nationalist side of the debate. The republican ideal existed in a handful of families but for the most part was not a relevant part of life for any nationalist growing up through the 1950’s and 1960’s.If anything , they were treated as a humourous aside. Something way back in the past . That’s not to say that some didn’t aspire to a republic for the whole of Ireland rather than a monarchy . They were doing the same in Australia. To achieve that by means of force was not the thing at that moment in time .
    More important were things like sorting out the vote and civil rights for everyone.. The IRA really were not on the cultural radar. so if you start with that , you have to ask yourself how and why they became such a BIg Deal.. ..You have to also ask yourself who would support them and why would they get support anyway. It had to be a very extreme set of circumstances for anyone to have anything to do with them .In effect the IRA were spawned anew in particular little beleaguered areas initially in Belfast and Derry. You have then to ask why that happened. you have to tease those little questions out. They didn’t appear for no reason in a puff of smoke..They didn’t get support from communities for no reason either. Whether we like it or not there is a cause and effect operating. Obviously , nothing else was making any kind of sense on the ground at that moment in time . Anyone fortunate to live outside those compressed communities had much greater choices.
    If you lived through that on a day to day basis , you’ll have a memory of the series of events.If you haven’t you ‘ve only read a selected version of it anyway. …mostly cobbled together by journalists in pubs and telephoned into their news editors. A lot of the reportage was errant too because many bombings and shootings were carried out by shadowy figures whose provenance no one was really sure about.

    Of course , then there was the unionist paranoia inflamed by the likes of Ian Paisley. At a push I would say that he, of all the people involved in the Troubles, was the one responsible for turning up the heat and bringing street aggression into the equation. The paranoia must have been there in the background though, as dry as tinder …waiting for his spark.

    • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 10:56 am #

      The media here represented the Troubles as another name for the IRA. They’re still doing it in many quarters.

  7. William Fay September 1, 2014 at 10:16 am #

    Same old same old, Jude, I thought by now you may have started to widen the rhetoric, showing a small iota of sympathy towards the unionist situation. I referred to this state of affairs before, we (Unionists) are not prepared to become bosom buddies with those who murdered our relatives, friends and neighbours. We will tolerate them for the good of the country, but we not be lauding them any time soon. By the way, exactly the same applies to loyalist murderers, they are one and the same. Wrapping up murder as political violence, making it virtually acceptable, is losing its mileage.
    In relation to the 94 ceasefire, the debate was on that point, not on the cause of the troubles. Maybe we can look past the good people of the so called Islamic State, and blame others for what they doing today; similar argument I believe.

    • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 10:54 am #

      So what do you think of Q Elizabeth shaking M McG’s hand, sweet William? You urge me to ‘show a small iota of sympathy towards the unionist situation’. Well, if I don’t there are certainly lots who will – ever read the Belfast Telegraph, Irish News, Irish Times (what Perkin terms the The Unionist Times – TUT)? Republicans have over the past twenty years made gestures of reconciliation which are met with stony-faced rebuff. When unionism does something worth commending, I’ll be the first to applaud them. I applauded Basil McCrae and John McAllister, but see what happens when a party steps out of Fortress Unionism and acts civilized?

      • Argenta September 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm #

        If the Irish News allegedly isn’t sympathetic towards republicans,why does it feature regular columns from Jim Gibney and Jarlath Kearney?Why,it even in the past had a columnist called Jude Collins!!

        • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 5:28 pm #

          Ha ha – very good, Argenta. I didn’t know it had Jarlath Kearney and Jim Gibney – are they both weekly or do they alternate? And how many columnists with a, um, non-republican line? Anyway, come on old bean – I was talking about the media in general, not the VO specifically.

        • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 3, 2014 at 3:06 pm #

          The Irish News has Unionist Protestant Newton Emerson on its staff; does this mean “sympathetic towards” Unionists or what?

          • Argenta September 4, 2014 at 9:07 pm #

            I don’t think Newton is on the Irish News staff.My understanding is that he like many other columnists delivers a number of articles on a regular basis.My comment was in reaction to Jude’s original assertion that the I N(inter alia) was more sympathetic towards the “unionist situation”.

  8. Perkin Warbeck September 1, 2014 at 10:27 am #

    Your posting today, Esteemed Blogmeister, once again confirms, as if confirmation was required, that the Lootocracy that is the island of Ireland is indeed united as if bonded by the Superglue of Shoneenism or the Bostik of Britannia West itself..

    And where ATM is the acronym of choice for the Hackistrocracy much in the same way as TAL was one the preferred choice of those ‘republicans who expect to be thanked when, after decades of sectarian murders, they stop doing so’.

    ATM, indeed is the f. m. (fridge magnet) du jour of every lootocrat-owned FM station.on the united island of Looto.

    The same ‘republicans’ who are so rightfully dissed by the Mallon who never quite made it as the, erm, Head despite his manhole-covered size of same. Whenever the Hackistocracy need a flash of Wildean wit, which only happens just about every other week or so, the rather-less-than famous- as- he-might-be-Seamus is the go-to guy: ‘Sunningdale for slow learners’.

    This wit is known in the biz as ‘Wilde and Water’.

    Mallon, having been, alas, cast by a fickle-fingered Fate as a perennial bystander on the shady side of Stoop Street (see under H for Hume rule) is also known as ‘Conor Cruise O’Brien for Slow Learners’ possibly for the exponential manner in which his delightful cantankerosity continues to grow even as his worst nightmares show no sign of refusing to unfold.

    This kind of wit is known in the biz as ‘Wilde and Soda Water’.

    Martin is still winning matches. (All mentions of another McGuinness, the gymbunny McGuinness, are Section 31-ed from this space for the forseeable f., which shall ever remain a defiant part of the 32nd county, Dubland).

    As is evidenced in this line: ‘Martin McGuinness has met Queen Elizabeth three times but not one Unionist politician has since spoken to him to acknowledge what he has done’.

    Twenty years a Glowering/ Fiche Bliain ag Facebook, as the book title will surely have it.

    One infers from this that the white-gloved Ewans did not deign to shake the red-hand of Ulster’s Martin for fear of the C-word: Contamination.

    This, of course, in in the great tradition of the G.B. presence in West Britannia. G.B., in this instance, being Gay Byrne who is the Great Non-hand Extender of his Age. Who amongst us, who were not there, will ever forget that memorable occasion when he refused to shake he h. of his guest, he whose hairy-palmed hand had shook the hand of trigger-happy Oglaigh which is Leprechaun for Ogres.

    Now there are those mischievous looderamawns still amongst us who diss this particular edition the longest-fawning programme on Telly as ‘The Lout, Lout Show’ for truly was the refusal to extend the hand of f. the bench mark of unadulterated loutishness in a particularly crowded category in the Free Southern Stateeen.

    But PW is not amongst them. For Perkie’s profoundly understanding inner psychoanalyst has come to the inescapable conclusion that GB major, who used to wake up in the middle of the night clenching his one-remaining fist and roaring blue murder as a result of the post-traumatic stress he suffered consequent to being mustard-gassed in the trenches and/or stabbed in the back by the cowardly hooligans of 1916 or even a combination of both, was the real story behind this Great Non-Hand Shake. which never parlayed either with the barley-juice drinkers.

    Yes, GB major, as GB minor has sadly reminded us on the very rare occasion, the last being the day before yesterday, GB major was one of those gallant and innumerable Joxers and Whackers (JAW) of the Dublin Fusiliers who, although armed with nothing more lethal than the JAW bone of an ascendancy ass, manfully took to the trenches in the 14-18 World Donkey Championship, to defend to the d. the right of ‘little, neutral, Catholic Belgians’ to lob off the hands of the wives and offspring of those lazy local workers in the rubber plantations in the Belgian Congo who failed to cut the mustard.

    Hands up who still do not get the drift?.

    One formidable lady who is indeed well able to cut (and spread!) the mustard is Nancy Soda Farl, whom TUT invited to kickstart the 20 th anniversary of the Ceasefire (oops, one almost wrote Sorrunder !). Ever the disinterested diplomat, this doll was not for turning when she fairly laid the blame for lack of progress where it belonged: ‘A plague on both your Houses, including the one with central heating and the one with air-conditioning’.

    This ever so even-handed approach was imprimatured by TUT’s impartial Northern Editor.

    Last week, Esteemeed Blogmeister, you accused one of being a…..poet. This is a grave accusation, the consequences of which you will have to be prepared to live with.

    ‘Nancy, asked Perky, what is it your fancy
    Will it be a soda and whiskey or – whisky?
    Oddly the coda to this wee ode
    Doesn’t conclude in soda mode
    ‘Perkie, mine’s, a G. and a Mor-i-ar-i T.’

    (Housekeeping: ATM has not gone away you know. ATM stands for, incidentally, the behaviour of the Anglo Irish Bankers and others of that silky ilk, during the Boom years of the, erm, Celtic Tiger……. Acting The Maggot.)

    • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 3, 2014 at 2:47 pm #

      Perkin Warbeck,
      We are in awe, dear chap… keep going 🙂

  9. Iolar September 1, 2014 at 10:57 am #

    The past.

    There is a need to analyse the social and economic conditions that prevailed between 1920 and 1970 in the north of Ireland. The “troubles” did not start with the protests by the Civil Rights Association. The riots in Belfast in 1964, the bomb attack in Ballyshannon in 1969 and evidence of collusion within the security forces are all symptoms of the failure of political unionism to provide leadership based on equality and the impartial administration of justice for all citizens.

    The present

    Political unionism states that budgets are inadequate. The proposed solution, back to the drawing board, different agreements and more money. This is another smokescreen to divert attention from the draconian Tory “cuts” proposed by Mr Cameron et al, cuts that will impact on all citizens who do not attract lucrative salaries based on performance related pay (for what?) and questionable bonuses. Most people wish to live and let live. It is time to concentrate on the important issues such as the cost of living, health care, education and employment.

  10. Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr September 1, 2014 at 11:25 am #

    I agree with the synopsis as laid out above. Unfortunately not much has changed in the media as the same people are still in charge as they were 20 years ago. I am sick to death of the unionist narrative being peddled out consistently, and their identify usurping mine. Do they think that if the repeat it enough that people might actually believe it?

    I was never a republican sympathiser despite what the British have done to my family. The British government and its localised Orange/Unionist junta needs to open its eyes as realise that it is in the process or radicalizing once normal non political people like me. I cannot stand by and listen to their version of history that does not fit in with the reality that I have experienced. I am sick to death of my taxes paying for BBC sponsored propaganda of Orange narratives and politically bias media. We all see the out-workings of Sectarianism every dam week in this place with the Orange Order, yet no one in the unionist community will take ownership of their part in creating this conflict.

    Here is a most beautiful example of bias media (One of many). The faux outrage of burning the polish flag on top of the loyalist bonfire (hate is part of their culture apparently). Yet the entire article make NO REFERENCE WHATSOEVER to the Irish flag next to it being burnt. We also have reference to the First Minister, stating it was wrong to burn Polish flags. Yet his party does not condemn burning Irish flags and the media do not question this?

    I was 18 when the GFA was reached. I grew up in the 80’s, my own personal experiences of the troubles do not fit in with the unionist narrative. I recall my brother only 4 years older than me being spat on by British soldiers and called a “fenian c##t” for no reason. I recall the RUC and British soldiers coming into my house and destroying the place on what seemed a monthly basis. I recall a neighbour of mine being beaten to death because he was Catholic. I recall the Orange Orders monthly triumphalist marches, taunting the residents in my area and intimidating my family.

    Our media outlets here are completely bias and continually let unionism off the hook. It does not dare to challenge the DUP on anything substantial. Any efforts to expose corruption are quickly met with political spin (Teflon McCausland et al). Why is political discourse now the dominion of random blogs and social media responses. One could draw similarities with North Korea!

    Here is a question that people need to ask. How on earth has a small organisation of protestant supremacists (aka Orange Order) come to control the largest Unionist political party? Have they infiltrated our media to the same extent?

    Any unbiased media would examine the fact that there is no reciprocation from political unionism to reach out to nationalism.
    Any unbiased media would vilify unionism for running away from talks, for rejecting Haas, for rejecting a code of conduct to civil respect.
    Any unbiased media would question why ministers have not been fired despite obvious criminality.
    Any unbiased media would not deem worse someone confronting a police officer and getting carried away on the bonnet with attempted murder via petrol bombs.
    Any unbiased media would not deliberately switch cameras off at Orange Marches or refuse to expose the naked sectarianism.
    Any unbiased media would not leave it up to republicans to expose obvious collusion between loyalist paramilitaries and state forces
    Any unbiased media would challenge unionisms love-in with far right fascism and racism (see pathetic attempts at Pastor McConnell / Robinson). This was more social media driven than mainstream media.
    Any unbiased media would exposed the hypocrisy of unionism on a daily basis.
    Any unbiased media would not be so noticeably anti nationalist/republican.
    Any unbiased media would not elevate unionist opinion polls over actual election results to further a political agenda.

    If the above is seen a bias. It is simply because the media are so involved in redirecting political spin away from unionism that efforts to expose any republican misgivings are so far down the ladder.

    • neill September 1, 2014 at 5:55 pm #

      Unionist bad Nationalist good would have saved you a lot of typing Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr

      • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 6:06 pm #

        Neil – that’s not abusive but it’s very childish. You can do better, I’m sure…

        • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 3, 2014 at 2:56 pm #

          Neill must imagine, no-one who visits here notices his unwillingness to deal with the substance others post here…

      • paddykool September 1, 2014 at 7:03 pm #

        There you go again Neill …a one line answer to a life story. Jude is right ..stretch yourself out .Do a little more . Take even about six lines of what the good Doctor Michael has said and make a little commentary on how he gets it wrong …and why that is so …otherwise you really are saying not a lot . That’s a real pity.Communicate for chrissakesssss!

        • neill September 1, 2014 at 8:01 pm #

          Sorry Paddy unlike others i get to the point I am almost laconic however when you have Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr making such a daft comment about the media being so orange biased that it only deserves one sentence nothing more nothing less

          The problem Dr Michael has like many others has is that unless the media agrees entirely with what he says it must be biased beliving that to be the case leads to maddness really doesnt it?

      • Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr September 2, 2014 at 10:30 am #

        Thank you for dismissing so easily my personal experience of the troubles. Believe it or not, a lot of nationalists feel just as strongly in our historical narrative as the unionists do in theirs.

        What puzzles me is that the same DUP flat earth Jesus ridding a dinosaur society do not believe in the big bang theory. Yet the IRA seemingly were created in a vacum.

        Strange that !

        • neill September 2, 2014 at 11:09 am #

          No problem always like to be of some service some would claim that the IRA have a lineage that comes from the woodkerne….now that would be some blog!

          • Micheal September 2, 2014 at 1:40 pm #

            It would also be a blog full of lies neill! The IRA was created out of the need for protection from the RUC, the Black and Tans, the British Army and Loyalism……oh and Unionism death squads, the Vanguard…..I’m sure there are more but I can’t think of them right now. The truth is neill, you, just like Unionism have no wish to move on, you may say “No Jude the land wasn’t stolen it was took from the defeated Irish natives this has happened since the dawn of time not nice but sadly the truth” so why do Unionism and Loyalism complain when Nationalists and Republicans retaliate or demonstrate against them. You are one of the very reasons Loyalism is so militaristic and antiquated neill, the refusal to move on will be the downfall of Unionism. With every year that passes Unionism is losing votes because of their inability to look forward rather than back.

          • Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr September 2, 2014 at 3:49 pm #

            Neil, unionism should be focused on a ‘soft exit’ from the UK. The last thing they want is to continue to pizz-off an exponentially growing nationalist community that never bought into the unionist made up history. To continue on this path and indeed psychosis you have is placing your own community at risk from a violent backlash.

            Unionists can either accept actual reality or suffer the concequences..

    • paddykool September 1, 2014 at 6:36 pm #

      You know…Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr… that little incantation of yours was almost like a prayer poem …an offering to the gods of broadcasting. ..that’s the kind of stuff that sticks in the craw of any thinking person. That’s what is so infuriating about broadcasting .It’s as though it is run by amateurs like the three little monkeys. see no… hear no …offend nothing …Well i say that’s the kind of numbness that offends me personally. That and those awful bloody local adverts that insult our collective intelligence.That should be the new credo…recited rosary -like at a death…..

  11. philip kelly September 1, 2014 at 11:34 am #

    it takes 2 to make war but in this case it was uup/ dup/ orange order / uvf/ uda/ udr/ ruc/ specials backed up by at one stage 20,000 british army backed up by 2 governments (irish and british) backed up by the sdlp, trying to impose their will and their terror onto the nationalist republican people of the north defended by the ira who were born out of the enforcement of the northern ireland statelet by violence.
    in 1974 it was the irish government who refused the offer of harold wilson’s 15 year disengagement deal which was supported by the republican movement , it was the unionist and the orange order who rejected the sunningdale agreement which was supported by the sdlp and gerry fitt, john hume, paddy devlin, and austin curry, again no surrender and no fenians about the place as per ian paisley, harry west, reg empey, bill craig,david trimble etc so if the unionist and the governments want to go on trying to blame it all on the nationalist community and the ira the real history will tell the truth but this truth needs to be defended by our republican politicians, and the unionist version of events need to be challenged at every comma and full stop.
    in conclusion while it takes 2 to make war it also takes 2 to agree a ceasefire and a truce as the british found out they could never defeat the ira so also the ira could never fully defeat the british, and the good friday agreement was and is the compromise but the unionist , dup uup and the orange order still refuse to implement it in full and in instead they reach back, rather than reaching out and forward, its a form of cowardice on their behalf, and an admission of their own lack of confidence in their own position in the future ireland

  12. ANOTHER JUDE September 1, 2014 at 11:45 am #

    To use a word from Judge Judy, the Unionists are full of baloney. They set up a sectarian little statelet after threatening war, which treated Catholics as third class citizens, attacked the civil rights marchers and murdered hundreds of innocent civilians to yet they still pontificate about IRA attacks from thirty years ago.Meanwhile they think nothing of sitting beside loyalist terror leaders, same as they have always done I suppose.Pure baloney.

  13. Am Ghobsmacht September 1, 2014 at 12:24 pm #

    Dr C

    Part of my unpopularity with other unionists is that I can quite clearly see (with hind sight) how unionism helped to create the conditions for the Provos. It’s very clear and now obvious (*Cheer from nationalist benches*).

    By taking the exact same approach of examining human reactions and instincts I can see how the hardline mind set of unionism was exacerbated by things like the confessional state down south/west and things like the border campaign (obviously a handy bogey man for the upper echelons of unionism to keep us all in check)
    (*Booooooo! from nationalist benches).

    Furthermore, if it’s context you want, then what about expectation management? The marches and NICRA (from what I can see) did a lot to ruffle feathers and sow the seeds of change. Seeds need time to germinate and grow.

    I find it mind boggling that people can argue that the Provos’ campaign furthered the cause of Catholic rights, especially as day in day out on places like slugger and here the injustices and suspension of rights that came about to combat the Provos are cited as genuine examples of how badly Catholics are treated in the first place.

    There is also another context that is never mentioned in NI’s troubled history, that of how detached London was:

    The typical nationalist story (the one that foreigners love) is one of ‘Butcher’s Apron’ wearing, bowler hat wearing, moustache twiddling, waist coat wearing, East India Company shareholding, yeomanry Brits overseeing the head stomping of Catholics in the a*s-hole of the remainder of their recently scythed empire. (*cheer from nationalist benches*)

    From the period of 21 to the 50’s ‘human rights’ weren’t a big deal anywhere.

    Then the 60’s come along, mainland UK is struggling with ‘racism’ and a fall from global (dis)grace.

    Now, by the time of the late 60’s would it be fairer to apply the above scenario or the following (imagine the scene in black & white with plummy Cholmondley-Warner & Greyson Productions type accents)?

    *Phone rings*

    ‘Hellll-o? A yes, hello Ghana, how’s Independence working out for you? Ah, needing investment in that smelter eh? Well …oh! Sorry, hold please some one is on the other line….

    Hello? The Russians are what?!!! I’ll tell the PM at once old bean! Blast, another phone is ruddy well winging! Byyyye Timothey…

    Hello, Cabinet office! Smith! How are things in Rhodesia old boy? Really? OK, I’ll look into it, bear with me…

    Hello, Cabinet office? The unions you say? Coal miners? How many days can we keep the lights on for if we say no? A WEEEK! OK, leave it with me..

    Hello, Cabinet office? Our Emirates want independence?! What are we to do for oil?! Sorry, some one else on the line. Hello? Terence?! How are things in Belfast Old thing? Is everyone happy? Oh jolly good. Carry on….

    Hello? Uganda?! oh no…..”

    etc etc.

    I honestly think the bigger bigger picture is always ignored.
    Unionists want the tiny pic in the foreground, nationalists want the family sized portrait and annoying gits like me want the Colin Prior sized panoramic landscape photos for perspective.

    As for Norma’s stolen comment, as much as a lot of what she says makes me blush with embarrassment I’m afraid you just hit her with whataboutery;

    Q: Do you see stealing of land as a bad thing?

    If Y then why are the ‘pogroms’ (an easily abused word these days) of the Anglo Irish tolerated or never mentioned by nationalists?

    Over on slugger we see all manner of definitions of genocide.
    The fact (?) that in a few years the Anglo-Irish went from 10% to 4% of the population principally from burnings, intimidation and fear somehow is gerrymandered (gerrymandering being another understandable gripe of nationalism) from history and modern day concern.
    But not by unionists.
    Many of us (not me though) see it as a sign of things to come in a UI.

    As such, this point needs to be addressed (imho).

    If SF could start searching for the descendants of Anglo refugees in Australia, Canada or wherever then I’d believe their ‘outreach’, as far as I can see they only out reach when the cameras are there and when there is a propaganda benefit.

    Start filing those burnt out grand homes with Anglo-returnees then more unionists may believe that a UI may hold for them a future.

    (and before your inner socialist flips, having a big country house can act as an economic boon for a community, go to Perthshire and see for yourself)

    • Norma wilson September 1, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

      Dear Am Ghobshacht
      I have told you’s all before, I am out of my league with all of you’s. Some of the contributions are beautifully wrote, (PK) is my favourite, he writes so eloquently.
      I am not illiterate, maybe get my apostrophe’s exclamation marks, comma’s, full stops, mixed up, but believe me. I have worked out OK?
      One young chap told a very sad tale indeed regarding himself and his brother.
      There use to be a lady ( if you could call her that) by the name of…….MD , boy she was filled with hatred, not that I want to speak ill of the dead! She spit every day at a very dear friend of mine, and told him he would be going home in a wooden overcoat. She is dead now herself, the Loyalists went into the Mater and shot her. Getting back to the Flah, can’t spell it, the big shin dig in Ardoyne last week, did the crowds not love what the Druids had to say! Fuck off back to England, and take your little inion jacks with you! That’s not very nice now is it.
      I would love to go to it, but would not feel safe!
      I am of planter stock, and proud right up to my back teeth, but believe it or not AG. We did come from Perth in Scotland, it was the Pope who drove us out of France, and that is how we ended up in Scotland. Heretics, was the name bestowed on us. Four hundred years we have lived here in Ireland.
      So the jist of my wee story is this, I am home, this is my country, no ifs,buts, or anything else.
      I own my little piece of Ulster, and God help any one who tries to take it from me.
      I don’t think this problem, can ever be sorted out, certainly not in my life time. We are not a united people, we share different aspirations, values, there is not really anything that brings us together, we are different. How can you stay happy and content, when those very people want to strip you of your identity.

      • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 5:25 pm #

        Norma – I expect there are a few spacers out there who want to strip you of your (unionist) identity, but they’re on a losing trip if they try. Belfast for a start is drenched in unionist symbolism/place names/street names – the lot. Think about it – Royal Portrush, Royal Avenue, King’s Hall, Windsor House, Queen’s Bridge. If anyone should be concerned about their identity being represented, it’s nationalists/republicans. Work it out for yourself, Norma – don’t take some catch-phrase like ‘They’re chipping away at our culture’. Rubbish.

      • Am Ghobsmacht September 2, 2014 at 10:24 am #


        Apologies, I didn’t mean to come across as snobby or superior, I couldn’t give a stuff about your punctuation (I’m quite well known for grammatical blunders, I more often than not have to correct my blogs after I post them).

        I was just referring to how sometimes you divide everything into ‘us and them’ and you obviously know that Catholics aren’t hard wired into some mothership.

        I have a great deal of sympathy for your evicted/intimidated grandparents, I really think that the burning and intimidation of the ‘big houses’ is a dark shame that needs to be addressed.

        It’s just very difficult to get a non-emotional debate on the matter as people have very little sympathy for ‘rich folks’ and of course folk memory blames them for the famine.

        So the whataboutery potential is huge.

        A shame though, all that culture and art lost….

    • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

      I agree with much of what you say, A G (Did I once teach you, by any chance??) However, the thing about those associated with/allies of an empire leaving a newly-liberated country is an interesting one, as well as a common one. In many cases those who leave feel uneasy/afraid, some feel the good old days and ways have been destroyed by the natives, some stay but live in a little time bubble, and some integrate with the newly-liberated country and become people of real value in building something new. Just sayin, like…

      • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 1, 2014 at 9:43 pm #

        Jude, it seems Am Ghobsmacht conflates causation and mitigation. However, WHY the British brutalised the Irish nation is neither explained nor excused by highlighting they had to deal with other pressing events in other colonies within their empire.

        • Am Ghobsmacht September 2, 2014 at 10:10 pm #

          WHY indeed Ruaidri?

          I suppose the best way to answer that question (in the context of my point above) is to analyise each act of Brutality from 1921 – 1968 and examine them thoroughly.

          So please, you first; list the acts of brutality as instigated directly by the London government against the Irish nation during the above mentioned dates (’21 – ’68) and we’ll take it from there.

          • Ruaidri Ua Conchob September 5, 2014 at 7:02 pm #

            Am Ghobsmacht,
            The British state and its orange satellite are one and the same thing in the eyes of the vast majority of the Irish nation – the former is at all times responsible for the actions of the latter and you advocating otherwise will fall on deaf ears.
            If present-day colonialists can’t let go of the past and work with the Irish nation to build a brighter future then, let’s stop the cherry-picking and examine our respective tales of woe from whence they began… though that’s a blame game British Unionists can’t ever hope to win.

            You might assert you are Irish but the vast majority of your fellow Protestants in the North regard themselves as British and continue to vote for neanderthal parties such as the DUP and UUP. And though I can readily say thanks for sharing your various views, I perceive them as an aberrant moderate Unionist voice that offers no real insight into any possible progressive thinking among a majority of the Unionist populace… they seem to remain ‘a people apart’ and there you are sitting between them and us, banging your head off a wall :-Q

          • Am Ghobsmacht September 6, 2014 at 12:31 am #


            “The British state and its orange satellite are one and the same thing in the eyes of the vast majority of the Irish nation – the former is at all times responsible for the actions of the latter and you advocating otherwise will fall on deaf ears.”

            In other words “This is a massive get out of jail free card for the nationalist narrative so from my cold deads hand will you prise away this beauty”.

            You have just demonstrated nicely the way in which NI’s ugly shaped history can be banged through a narrative-specific shaped hole when enough ‘legal think’ is applied and then repeated ad-naseum, just say it enough times and it’ll become the truth.

            1/ the lynch pin to this argument is that at the end of the day this all happened on London’s watch and door step, so yes, ultimately Britain takes some of the responsibility and guilt but that is not the same of her being guilty of the brutality that you accused her of previously:
            “WHY the British brutalised the Irish nation….”

            I put it to you that THE BRITISH did not brutalise ‘the Irish nation’ in the years 21-68 as you implied as they were more or less ignorant of what was going on, hence my Cholmondley-Warner style Cabinet Office minister scenario above.
            By the time they woke up it was too late and they made a hatchet-job of trying to fix things.

            2/ So you say ‘in the eyes of the Irish nation’ that Britain and the Orange statlet are the same thing.

            Well, I then say that in the eyes of the English nation, they were not.
            In the eyes of the Scottish nation, they were not.
            In the eyes of the Welsh nation, they were not.
            In the eyes of the Manx nation, they were not.
            In the eyes of the (then) fiefdom of Sark, they were not.

            But by equating them as you have done it provides the nationalist narrative a perfect conduit with which to channel the (understandable) rage and anger begat by Stormont’s misrule to London, interchangeably.

            It’s absolutely brilliant though, I have to say, I understand WHY you (and others) aren’t willing to countenance otherwise, I mean it’s a kind of matter multiplier only for rage:

            e.g. It enables someone to take an example (from many) of unionist misrule and direct the anger with equal vehemence at unionism AND ‘The British’.

            A more analytically and detached view would be able separate the two entities to an extent and apportion blame accordingly (and there is a lot to go around I’m given to understand).

            But not planet nationalism.
            The propaganda apparatchiks (apparatchiki?) would not like it either.

            Interestingly, it’s this blind adherence to such view points which galvanises the uncooperative nature of the unionist rump.

            NO, I’m NOT blaming nationalism for all of unionism’s backwardness (that’s what you were about to say, wasn’t it? I find at a certain level of the blogosphere all nationalist commentators hit me with the same arguments, it’s almost as if they have a common source to refer to, quite intriguing).

            But what I am saying is look at the animal at which you are dealing with; a particularly awkward, cumbersome, easily enraged animal which sprays a stream of flags when provoked.

            There are ways to deal with this beast but none of these ways suit the nationalist way of doing things (such as letting go of the above overly abused narrative).

            So (here now follows a well worn out AG vs Nationalist routine):

            AG: “here’s an idea, it contains pragmatism”
            Nationalist: “listening”
            Unionist: “not listening! No surrender! No surrender!” *unionist walks away, nodding head muttering “no surrender”*

            AG: “right, I’ll get back to him later, now what about this list, it sort of embraces pre-partition Irish culture”
            Nationalist: “I’ll have a look through there AG and get back to you”


            Nationalist: “I’m afraid it’s a no goer AG”
            AG: “why?”

            Nationalist: “Sort of upsets our narrative, ye know”
            AG: “So ye’d rather just keep things as they are and not advance YOUR own cause?!”

            Nationalist: “we have THE RIGHT, to do so”.

            *From the distance a gruff shout of “no surrender!” is heard tailing off over the hill*

            STOP. RINSE. REPEAT


            Yes, I bang my head off the wall regarding the majority of unionists but I do an equal amount of head banging regarding nationalists.

            Unfortunately so many unionists see themselves as exclusively British, I’ve told you before that nationalism also is partly responsible for this state of affairs, the statistics over the decades converge almost absolutely with upsurges in nationalist activity (most notably the start of the IRA’s campaign).

            Until nationalists can accept a few home truths like that then we’re really going nowhere, I mean, youse are supposed to be the ‘progressive, open minded ones’, no?

            I shall not hold my breath.

    • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 1, 2014 at 8:48 pm #

      Jude and Am Ghobsmacht,
      Too many Unionists suffer from cognitive dissonance. They cherry-pick their way through their “glorious” British history and heritage on the island of Ireland but disregard the grave injustices the British inflicted on the Irish nation – can those who claim ownership of the former sensibly escape taking ownership of the latter?

      Norma Wilson, Neill and William Fay
      The blind ignorance and hypocrisy of you 3 people is breathtaking, truly breathtaking, and bloody enraging.

      Norm, you not least assert: ‘You don’t get rewarded for doing evil deeds, though in Northern Ireland it appears you do.’…

      Neill, you not least assert: ‘It’s the old mantra: do republicans expect to be thanked when, after decades of sectarian murder, they stop doing so?’…

      William Fay, you not least assert: ‘Same old same old, Jude, I thought by now you may have started to widen the rhetoric, showing a small iota of sympathy towards the unionist situation’…

      It seems, if you 3 were Irish Republicans you would presumably contend that Unionists must never be forgiven for the centuries of mass murder and dehumanising injustices inflicted upon the Irish nation and which Edmund Burke summarised in the following terms:-

      “a machine of wise and elaborate contrivance, as well fitted for the oppression, impoverishment and degradation of a people, and the debasement in them of human nature itself, as ever proceeded from the perverted ingenuity of man.”?

      Am Ghobsmacht, William Fay, Norma Wilson and Neill
      If you claim ownership to a British Unionist history and heritage you must accept ownership of the what your forefathers did against the Irish nation. You absolutely will not be permitted to cherry-pick your way through that history and to perversely play the victims and dismiss or belittle what the Irish nation has suffered at the hands of Unionists.

      Now, focusing on living-memory events how about you 4 kindly deal directly with the factually correct following events:-

      The Troubles
      Orange Order member Gusty Spence was reflecting on the Civil Rights Movement demands for equal rights for Catholics and advised that sometimes during 1965 ‘Ulster Unionist Party’ politicians invited him to set-up and lead the Belfast UVF; this being some 4 years after the old IRA formally stood-down and the Provisional IRA didn’t exist? The UVF swiftly proceeded to engage in a series of murder and arson attacks against the Catholic community, murdering a number of Catholics aswell as 72 year-old Protestant Matilda Gould who died following an arson attack on a Catholic pub on the Shankill road?

      Do any Unionist contributors here acknowledge, Unionists unjustly attacked peaceful Civil Rights marches during the 1960’s who were simply demanding equal rights for Catholics? A vitally important question is: Why did the majority of Unionists fail to support reforms proposed by your English born moderate Prime Minister Terence O’Neill?

      Do any Unionist contributors here acknowledge, the first pogroms in 1969 were perpetrated by Unionist mobs against Catholic residents of Bombay Street off the Falls road, shortly followed by similar attacks against Catholics in the Ardoyne district?

      Do any Unionist contributors here know and/or accept that in 1966 (at a time when the Provisional IRA didn’t exist) Unionists murdered Catholics John Scullion, Leo Martin and Peter Ward, plus Protestant pensioner Matilda Gould during a UVF sectarian arson attack?

      Do any Unionist contributors here remember that in August 1969 Unionists murdered the first serving solider in the British army to be murdered on the streets of Belfast – or that his name was Hugh McCabe on leave visiting the home of his Catholic Mother in the Divis area of the lower Falls road?

      Do any Unionist contributors here remember that in October 1969 Protestant Victor Arbuckle was the first RUC Officer to be murdered on the streets of Belfast and he was shot by Unionists during a riot on the Shankill Road (the last serving RUC Officer was also murdered by Unionists but that’s another story for another day)?

      Do any Unionist contributors here know or concede, the initial bombs exploded in Belfast during 1969 were planted by Unionists at Electricity and Water plants?

      Am Ghobsmacht
      I appreciate, you make genuine efforts to promote a perspective that hopes to facilitate the chance to build a shared future but alas you just don’t understand the perspective of the Irish nation; we didn’t ask to be invaded; to have our land stolen; to be murdered, impoverished and dehumanised; we didn’t invite draconian efforts to force us to change our Catholic faith just because Unionists faith was changed by a horny King who couldn’t get a divorce; we didn’t cause partition of our island and; we didn’t start the troubles in 1969, etc, etc.

      Too many Unionists remain intent on blaming every ill on the Irish nation and portraying Unionists as the victims. But, the world knows the identity of the victimised nation and that Irish nation finds Unionist machinations grossly offensive and unforgivable!!! Either Unionists start acknowledging the evils done against the Irish nation or there will never be peace and harmony in the North.

      Neill, Norma and William
      Do take time to read my blog post: Ulster Stands At The Crossroads (again)

      • neill September 2, 2014 at 12:57 pm #

        I think Danny White sums you up entirely your really not worthy of more than a sentence reply

        • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 3, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

          Your inability to respond in an adult manner is duly noted. I’m sure I’m not alone in pitying your sad bitter and twisted soul.

      • Am Ghobsmacht September 3, 2014 at 12:23 am #

        “Do any Unionist contributors here remember that….”

        Yes. I acknowledge and accept the misdeeds of unionists and others.
        I believe it’s deceitful and perhaps even dangerous not to.

        All factors and actors must be scrutinized and that includes nationalistic ideas too.

        “but alas you just don’t understand the perspective of the Irish nation”

        That’s as insulting as it is incorrect.
        I’m Irish too, always have been.
        I’m just not a nationalist as I hate nationalism and its mind-warping potential, it’s a means of manipulating people (I include Serbian nationalism, Croatian nationalism, Scottish nationalism and the curious ‘British’/’anything-but-irish’ nationalism of modern day unionism. The only nationalism that I can get on board with is federal nationalism where many different peoples and groups have to come together under a common brand e.g. Federal Russian nationalism or even Yugoslavia’s ‘Brotherhood and unity’….)

        I think YOU don’t understand the perspective of the Irish nation as you’re applying a 19th century idea retrospectively to a time and place where it doesn’t fit or work.

        To run with your idea of hurt and wrongs on the ‘Irish nation’ we should logically have gripes with the Danes and Norwegians for their invasions (instead places like Dublin celebrate their rapey, plunder, Viking history….)

        You say ‘The Irish nation didn’t ask to be invaded’, well, true, but Dermot McMurrough did.
        He brought in Cambro & Anglo-Normans who got the swing of things very quickly e.g. murder other chieftains for the sake of land with nominal homage to a head of state.

        Nationalism cherry picks these Norman Lords depending on who they were fighting.

        No one asked to have their stolen.
        Not the Irish nor the English, unfortunately for the English they had their land stolen to the extent that the invaders (Normans) were able to survey it all and tax every inch of it (Domesday book) and completely decapitate their ruling class as well.

        The Normans never managed to do that in Ireland, so, as you can see, everyone had a ‘touch’.

        As for King Henry and his divorce, a strange way of looking at is this:
        IF Ireland was as subjected and as downtrodden as you say then everyone would have been Protestant anyway by order of Henry.
        But they weren’t.
        Cos Ireland was very much its own place until that time and much more free
        from ‘British oppression’ that the nationalist narrative would have us believe.

        Which makes sense really, the Irish have a name as great warriors.
        To swallow the ‘900 years of oppression’ spiel is to forfeit this idea.

        If anything, it would suggest that we’re really quite cack at war.

        So something somewhere is wrong…

        And as for your Catholic faith?
        Well, is it really unfair to say that between the King of Northumbria and the Anglo-Normans’ centralization process that Ireland perhaps owes some of its Catholic standing to ‘the English’?
        I mean, the Catholic church is very very different from the early day Celtic churches of St Kevin, Ninian, Columba, Brigid et al.

        A tad ironic isn’t it?

        Also, I really think you play the victim card way too much; you completely ignore how complicit large numbers of ‘the Irish nation’ jumped on board with the British way of doing things e.g. the Catholic middle class of Georgian Dublin, tens of thousands of Irish soldiers, earls such as O’Neill, Fitzgerald and McDonnell etc…

        Finally, as for your blog. I can only describe it as the other side of the same coin from this blog:

        You two guys are almost identical (apart from who to blame, obviously) it’s quite scary.

        Maybe you guys know each other anyway (Belfast is small) but if not, I suggest you two have a chat and try to introduce some perspective to your views as you are both obviously intelligent but are absolutely blinkered.

        • Ruaidri Ua Conchob September 5, 2014 at 7:19 pm #

          Am Ghobsmacht,
          You didn’t address the majority of questions I posed, and ran-off on a tangent with regard to those you were purportedly addressing, tut, tut, tut!!!

          I read some of the blog posts of that raving lunatic (whom I suspect has past UVF connections and I happen to have observed him and blocked him on Twitter). I make no apologies for possessing and presenting my openly biased view-point but for you to contend he and moi are different sides of the same coin is outrageous nonsense – the main thrust of my position tends to be to oppose British Unionists portraying themselves as the victims when in truth the Irish nation have been the eternal victims of British colonial oppression and injustice that I want to see END.

          • Am Ghobsmacht September 6, 2014 at 12:40 am #


            I said “yes”.

            If you want me to go through them one by one then I shall:

            “Do any Unionist contributors here acknowledge, Unionists unjustly attacked peaceful Civil Rights marches during the 1960’s who were simply demanding equal rights for Catholics?”

            Yes, I do

            “Do any Unionist contributors here acknowledge, the first pogroms in 1969 were perpetrated by Unionist mobs against Catholic residents of Bombay Street off the Falls road, shortly followed by similar attacks against Catholics in the Ardoyne district?”

            They weren’t organised enough to be proper pogroms but the effects were much the same so, wording aside; YES, I do (by and large, I could quibble)

            “Do any Unionist contributors here know and/or accept that in 1966 (at a time when the Provisional IRA didn’t exist) Unionists murdered Catholics John Scullion, Leo Martin and Peter Ward, plus Protestant pensioner Matilda Gould during a UVF sectarian arson attack?”


            “Do any Unionist contributors here remember that in August 1969 Unionists murdered the first serving solider in the British army to be murdered on the streets of Belfast – or that his name was Hugh McCabe on leave visiting the home of his Catholic Mother in the Divis area of the lower Falls road?”


            “Do any Unionist contributors here remember that in October 1969 Protestant Victor Arbuckle was the first RUC Officer to be murdered on the streets of Belfast and he was shot by Unionists during a riot on the Shankill Road (the last serving RUC Officer was also murdered by Unionists but that’s another story for another day)?”


            “Do any Unionist contributors here know or concede, the initial bombs exploded in Belfast during 1969 were planted by Unionists at Electricity and Water plants?”


            Now that I’ve answered them clearly, what’s changed?

            Ruaidri, you and him are the exact same to me, just with different coloured flags.

    • Ruaidri Ua Conchoba September 5, 2014 at 12:16 am #

      Am Ghobsmacht,
      We could probably pick apart our differing views concerning the value and weight to be accorded when referring to the Dublin Anglo-Catholic ruling class or indeed much early invaders such as the Vikings etc. I suspect we’d end-up still disagreeing, though in essence I would rest my case on the difference between assimilation into the Irish nation verses those who’ve remained ‘a people apart’…

      I’m a Republican, not a Nationalist. First and foremost, I believe in the self-rule right of every nation; I reject being ruled by a foreign state from foreign shores and in equal measure being ruled-over by a Monarch.
      Secondly, I believe in a secular-run state wherein equal rights are accorded to every citizen irrespective of their creed, religion, gender or other status.
      Thirdly, I vehemently oppose bigotry, sectarianism, sexism etc in all their ugly forms and support the right of all citizens to freely practice their chosen faith and/or culture. And I would of course especially oppose seeing my Irish Tricolour being burned, hearing vile Billy Boys and Famine Songs, and hearing patronising Protestants telling fellow Catholics they are bound for hell as their religion is supposedly a false doctrine etc… preach the positive values of your own bloody faith and leave others alone to do likewise!!!

      I believe there will never be lasting peace and harmony on this island whilst it remains plighted by the presence of the British state. To me, Unionists use the Union flag as a shield to fend-off genuine equality and modernity measures and until that Union flag is taken away from them nothing will change for the better in this part of our island.

      When I left this island 20 odd years ago I remained relatively apolitical living in England and elsewhere across Europe. However, during the 4 years since I’ve returned, the backwardness and intransigence of political unionism has stirred in me an anger that will not now be quelled without radical changes occurring on this island. I’ve gotten to the stage, I sometimes wish PIRA hadn’t decommissioned and up-scaled the conflict to a bloody conclusion – it seems all Unionists really wanted from the Belfast Agreement was decommissioning and to hang-on to the bad old orange statelet days.

      I’m hoping Sinn Féin form part of the next Dail Government and topple Stormont for joint sovereignty, as our so-called “peace process” is a farce!!!

      • Am Ghobsmacht September 6, 2014 at 12:58 am #

        you say you’re not a nationalist, but I disagree, your arguments all fit in nicely to the Irish Catholic nationalist perspective very nicely, I mean, for a non-religious republican how can you genuinely deploy the argument of “a foreign religion was imposed” as a legitimate cause of grievance especially when you ignore the EXACT same grievance in the form of Roman-centralisation in 1172?
        If it was wrong when Henry VIII did it then surely it was wrong when Henry II did it?

        Yet you let the Catholic church off the hook. (Same with the decline of Irish language, I can’t recall you pointing a finger of blame at them for some reason)

        This indicates a preference and a bias.

        (NOTE: For the record, I too have a bias, though agnostic myself, I can’t help but observe how incompatible the various churches have been with Ireland over the centuries, I hope that there will be some sort of Celtic church revival some day, one that will eat into the disaffected sorts who are not happy with the state of the Roman Catholic and Presbyterian churches. )

        You’re not as untarnished as you believe (and no doubt the same is true for me, but until such neuroses are highlighted, I shall probably be oblivious to them).

        Funnily enough, I have met a republican atheist who claims all the things that you claim (mostly) yet never uses the ‘centuries of oppression’ arguments, doesn’t alienate from or designate anyone as ‘the Irish nation’, doesn’t play the victim card (he’s quite hard, doesn’t ‘do’ weakness), doesn’t come with a brooding sense of menace that you and so many other republicans come with, condemns the Provos utterly, sees the Ulster Presbyterians as a part of the Irish tapestry and sees no need for blind worship of the tri-colour (in fact he’d ditch it for Erin’s Harp I believe)

        No, there’s a man I could listen to.


        Has a product that can be sold.

        Is not about the blame game.

        Which form of republicanism do you think would suit Ireland best in the long run;

        Yours with your oppressors and oppressed, murderers and murdered, blame game and rage approach.

        Or his with his ‘Ireland’ approach?

        He reopens the path between people like me to the United Irish men, you build a big brick wall so that I can go no where near them.

  14. paul September 1, 2014 at 2:35 pm #

    Succint analysis. The IRA did not operate in a vacuum. There is a cause and effect that is never mentioned. Before Norma jumps in, I have condemmed the Abercorn , Bloody Friday, Kingsmills and others. Republicans have made some efforts at reconciliation, yethe DUP hasn’t even shaken their hands yet. The stance of the DUP over it;’s past is one of the great examples of hypoc risy in my lifetime. Why hasn’t more been done to expose it? I just finished an excellent book written in 1983 by Liz Curtis, Britains Propaganda War. It ‘s mesage is still poignant today. She describes how Britain successfully gets their version of events out first. ‘i’e’ Bl;oody Sunday. In order to overcome the propaganda, journalists of all types, papers, TV, Internet must be willing to question the status quo. Yes I have republican beleifs, but the fact that the FM refuses to even acknowledge and wrongdoing on the part of the DUP and his mentor Paisely beggars all belief. The British govt even admitted that the IRA was not some mindless fighting force. Civil rights marchers in America were also labeled as subversives among other things. When all peaceful means are exhausted, when you see your father, brother, mother beaten , harassed or murdered by the ‘forces of law and order’ what recourse is left but to fight back.

    • Norma wilson September 1, 2014 at 6:43 pm #

      I agree with you, how could I not! If I had been a catholic with no rights I would have acted the same way.
      I am going to repeat myself here again, I have never voted for the DUP. I am not interested in their politics. I have never ever felt like a supremacist, that one really annoys me. In my sixty years on this earth I have never hurt anyone, or done them an injustice. Oh and before I forget, I know as much about the OO as you do, some people are passionate about Celtic, talking Irish etc etc, I am passionate about the Jews, and Israel.
      This is me, I am who I am and I make no apology for it. Tomorrow morning I may waken up in a United Ireland, I will have to deal with it, as Lady GaGa would say, “I was born this way”!
      In 1972 I was 17 years old, yes I was aware of the troubles, they effected us all, as PK said, we lived through it.
      If you’s can all appreciate honesty, like a sort of truth and reconciliation moment and not hold it against me I remember Bloody Sunday like it was yesterday. I got home on the last bus, the tails of my maxi coat dripping with wet, it was a freezing cold night. The news came on and announced, I think at that particular moment 12 dead, I was ecstatic it would have made me happier if they had said 112.
      In my young mind I thought it was IRA men, I do be ashamed of myself, knowing they were all shot in the back, and were not IRA men.
      But, did you not get even with the Paratroopers at Narrow water ??? at Warrenpoint, and throw in Mountbaton for good measure.
      Coincidently my Father’s mantra was, you only get trouble if you go looking for it, so he would have demanded to know, were we where, and who were you with.
      Bloody Sunday was an illegal march, and believe me the paras are tough.
      I am lucky, I have thus far came through those dark times, virtually untouched. I have reared my children, who know no class, religion, barriers at all. I am proud of them.
      How we ever sort this mess out God himself only knows, but I guess we need to start looking forward, and not back, and scoring points, as the second commandment states, LOVE YOUR NEIGHBOUR AS YOU LOVE YOURSELF.

  15. giordanobruno September 1, 2014 at 2:38 pm #

    There is now a struggle to determine which of the opposing views of our recent past will become history.
    Republicanism is every bit as guilty of this as Unionism. After the GFA it obviously could not be maintained that the ‘war’ was about getting the ‘Brits Out’ of Ireland, since that objective clearly failed. The emphasis has shifted to the fight for rights.
    It will be interesting to see which version becomes generally accepted.

    • Jude Collins September 1, 2014 at 5:31 pm #

      I don’t know any republicqn who would tell you the IRA achieved its objective. But you’ll get lots of unionists who’ll tell you it was the IRA wot dun it. If it hadn’t been for them, everyone would have continued to get along fine, like bqck in the old dqys. Anyone who really believes that is very very naive.

      • giordanobruno September 1, 2014 at 6:52 pm #

        Anyone who believes either one-eyed version of what happened would indeed be very naive.

    • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 1, 2014 at 9:19 pm #

      Please make the effort to read and provide some feedback on any alternative view you might have of our conflict to that I set-out in my blog post: Ulster Stands At The Crossroads (again)

      • giordanobruno September 2, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

        I think I only have enough time to annoy Jude so I’m not sure if I can adequately keep you honest too. Does he know you are using his blog to promote your own?
        Anyway I will take a look at it.

        • Jude Collins September 2, 2014 at 1:25 pm #

          Surely the word you’re groping for is “amuse”, gio???

          • giordanobruno September 2, 2014 at 3:13 pm #

            I realise I sometimes inspire you but I would hardly call myself a muse! Too kind.

          • Jude Collins September 2, 2014 at 3:21 pm #

            No,no, gio – amuse, amuse. Not as much as Perkin of course but some days…

          • giordanobruno September 2, 2014 at 5:48 pm #

            I could not pretend to emulate the great pretender, Perkin.

        • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 3, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

          You know Jude views all commentary before publishing it. Therefore, your reply is an obvious child-like effort to avoid dealing with the substance of my above comments to you and my invitation to read and comment on my linked blog post.

          • giordanobruno September 4, 2014 at 5:57 pm #

            Is it an invitation or a demand? I did say I would have a look at it, and I did. but my response here has not appeared for some reason.
            Perhaps you should lighten up a bit!

      • giordanobruno September 3, 2014 at 1:06 pm #

        I had a look at your blog. Interesting enough, but it only illustrates my point about the attempted revisionism of both sides. I can see no mention of the IRA in your potted history of recent times. Did I imaging the part they played? Do you assign no responsibility or blame to them for any of the events we lived through?
        I’ll probably give it a miss thanks. I can get a one- sided view of things right here already!

        • Ruaidri Ua Conchob September 5, 2014 at 7:30 pm #

          My blog posts are an effort to contradict the absolutely ridiculous and divisive British Unionist narrative that they did noting wrong and that conflict was the fault of the nasty Irish Catholic population and their nasty PIRA men and women who suddenly appeared for no reason.

          The most neutral, fact-based information source that covers our conflict is the ‘Cain’ project undertaken by the Ulster University; see

          • giordanobruno September 6, 2014 at 7:05 am #

            Yes cain is a very useful resource and many people would benefit from taking a look at it.
            You or Jude or David Vance or anyone else for that matter are perfectly entitled to present your one sided view of history, but anyone reading it who knows anything about it will be struck by what you leave out.
            What is the purpose of your blog? It is so couched in bitter resentment it will not change the hearts and minds of any Unionists. It is too one sided in my view to be a reliable source for those outsiders wanting to learn about our history.
            So I assume it is simply preaching to the choir and seeking validation for your hatred from other like minded individuals. Good luck with that.

          • Jude Collins September 6, 2014 at 8:23 am #

            Gio – since you include my name in your response to Ruaidri, one or two small points, personally speaking. I do not seek validation for my hatred for the good reason that I don’t have hatred for anyone I can think of – yes, even you….So don’t be attributing things to me that don’t square with the truth. The other point is interesting. To talk about being one-sided can of course be to talk of someone who’s biased. But one can also talk of one-sidedness because a person argues a particular case strongly. If I think the Malvinas/Falklands should be passed to Argentinian sovereignty, I’m not going to say “There’s much can be said on both sides”. If I think internment without trial is bad justice, I’ll say so – I won’t say there’s much to be said for something I don’t approve of. It’s possible, in short, to be very committed to a point of view without being biased. To follow your thinking through could land us all in the Alliance Party. Which is fine if you want to be a member of same. I don’t.

          • giordanobruno September 6, 2014 at 10:33 am #

            Firstly I don’t take you as a hater. I was referring to the type of language Ruaidri uses.
            As for being one sided there is nothing wrong with putting a point of view. If that point of view ignores any facts which contradict it then it will be seen as biased.
            It is perhaps a subtle distinction you appear to have missed.
            The Malvinas for example. If you ignore the fact that the residents there overwhelmingly want to remain under British rule then you are not presenting a full picture. A reasoned argument should consider there are indeed two sides in that case.

          • Jude Collins September 6, 2014 at 12:20 pm #

            Gio – glad you don’t see me as a hater (not sure how Ruaidri feels). Of course there several sides to any issue. But life is short.most of us have barely time to present our take on things. I agree that to ignore a central issue is to risk bias. Re Malvinas/Falklands, to have pursued that passing reference would have scrambled my blog which was about something else. But since you bring it up, the notion of a tiny island off the coast of Argentina is British, even though Britain is on the other side of the world, is risibly imperialistic. Odd the same argument didn’t prevail in Hong Kong…

          • philip kelly September 6, 2014 at 12:36 pm #

            there is no oil or gas of the coast of hong kong and china is a big giant of a country not in any way like argentina !!!!!!

        • Am Ghobsmacht September 6, 2014 at 8:58 am #

          “but anyone reading it who knows anything about it will be struck by what you leave out.”

          This is true.

          My father once remarked to me after a funeral that “no matter how many people turn up for a funeral, someone will always notice who’s not there…”

          Same for opinions, people will notice what’s missing and judge you on that rather than what you do say.

    • Antonio September 2, 2014 at 5:41 pm #


      I could not disagree more that ‘there is now a struggle to determine which of the opposing views of our recent past will become history.’

      What I see is a struggle to get Unionist parties to accept that other parties and the people who vote for them have a right to hold radically different views to Unionists on our recent past. The Unionist refusal to tolerate difference of opinion is one of the main reason why the Hass talks failed. I know this does not fit in with the ever so popular ‘one side is as bad as the other’ framework but well it is how I see it.

      Anyway, no where is it written that there can only be one narrative on history whether recent or ancient history. The history section of every book-store on every country in the world is filled with radically different perspectives on the same topics.

      Gerry Kelly recently talked about ‘the different narratives of history – sometimes radically opposed to one another that our society has’. So where in that line is there somebody trying to enforce a view of history on others?? and Kelly would generally be considered one of the more hawkish (if that word is appropriate) Sinn Feiners
      Unionists, on the other hand,constantly talk about republicans trying to ‘re-write history’

      Again, I have to reiterate that my analysis does not fit into the ‘one side as bad the other’ narrative that many people feel compelled to say due to the fear they could be labelled sectarian’, and part of my perspective is that we are dealing with a wide chunk of the unionist population and most Unionist politicians who believe their own propaganda.

      Throughout the Troubles republicans, rightly or wrongly, were banned from the airwaves both north and south of the border. Post ceasefire this was no longer the case and so many unionists would have begun hearing ‘republican narratives of recent history much more frequently via the media than was previously the case. But rather than realise that these republican voices constitute a significant populace’s viewpoint on recent history and often encompass issues that nationalists/republicans long knew to be true of the conflict (collusion etc) whereas many Unonists convinced themselves such matters were republican fiction conjured up to encourage support from the nationalist population, many Unionists believe Sinn Fein are attempting to re-write history.
      As unionists are so convinced of the accuracy of their interpretation on ‘the troubles’ (a perspective that went relatively unchallenged for most of the Troubles via the Media) they do not see that there can be a different narrative to the Troubles. In the Unionist mind a different narrative is an attempt to re-write history and so we must all accept their narrative.

      Earlier I mentioned the bookshop with different opinions on the exact same topics. Unionism, led by the DUP, want a bookshop with one opinion and furthermore they want school history text books with one opinion and they want peace and reconcilliation centres with one opinion etc etc.
      That, Unionist intransigence, or the intransigence of those Protestants who vote for the D.U.P (many Protestants never vote and we need to reach out to them some how), is currently our major obstacle.

      Our major obstacle is not, as you seem to suggest, that both sides are attempting to force their historical narrative on the other’s community

      • giordanobruno September 2, 2014 at 8:28 pm #

        Thanks for the considered reply.
        Firstly I’m not sure that both sides are attempting to force their narrative on the other’s community, rather they are addressing their own communities and the rest of the world
        I think the “one side is as bad as the other” stance is more a gesture of frustration from the very many people in our community who hated the violence from whatever quarter it came.
        Clearly you think one side not as bad as the other and clearly the less bad in your view is the republican side. And yet we all know the atrocities committed by both sides and they were many. There was no good side in that dirty war,though no doubt plenty on both sides saw themselves that way.
        Do you see republicans as honest in their appraisal of history? Are they not as capable of propaganda and spin as any other group? When republicans commemorate their dead is it done in an honest way,warts and all,atrocities and all,or are they eulogised as heroes,
        Having said that there is no doubt Unionists are intransigent and self righteous when looking at the past. To me there is more willingness from republicans to allow both narratives to be expounded. Perhaps they are more confident which one will become the accepted view

  16. Freddy Mallins September 1, 2014 at 4:12 pm #

    A Protestant Parliament for a Protestant people. Wasn’t that how Craig put it? Not a Catholic about the place was another choice reference. And then wonder why the good loyalist ‘folk’ of NI embraced an irrational hatred of their adopted cousins. It’s very strange that Unionist people today just roll their eyes at their forefathers of yesterday, but have never come out to condemn them.
    Might that be because the good, honest , Presbyterian people still agree with the analysis? I sincerely hope I’m wrong.

    • Norma wilson September 1, 2014 at 6:51 pm #


      If you YouTube De Valera, you can clearly hear him and the church, wanting an all catholic Ireland, what’s your excuse!

      • Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 1, 2014 at 9:13 pm #

        Is it not a plain and ordinary fact the Irish nation were a purely Catholic faith people (before a horny English King Henry VIII was refused a divorce by the Pope of Rome)?
        In Ireland, Catholics didn’t try imposing their faith on Unionist Protestants because there were no Protestants in Ireland until subsequent to the aforesaid event?
        Was it not Unionists who used draconian measures to try imposing their foreign and unwanted religion on an Irish Catholic nation?
        Take the blinkers off, Norma, and try properly answering these questions.

        • Norma wilson September 3, 2014 at 10:13 pm #


          I will answer your question no problem, I do not hold Mary the Mother of God in such high esteem as the Catholic Church, nor do I feel the need to confess to a priest, that is between myself and God.
          Your version of things are twisted to suit you.
          We would all still be the one faith, had it not been for corruption in your church.
          My faith is more honest than yours, it’s simple uncomplicated, it’s not riddled with superstition, and fear.
          Go and read David Yallop, IN GODS NAME ONLY.

          • Ruaidri Ua Conchoba September 4, 2014 at 8:31 pm #

            I’m unsurprised, you made no effort whatsoever to deal with my questions.

            When I grew-up, I stopped believing in fairytale Gods, Santa Claus and the Tooth Fairy etc. Therefore, I view the issue of religious conflict in Ireland as one started by colonial forces; who believes whose religion is the more genuine or righteous is in of itself of no interest to me.

        • Am Ghobsmacht September 4, 2014 at 2:11 am #

          Ruaidri, that’s a very all over the place comment.

          Off course there were no unionist Protestants prior to the late Tudor period. There were however Protestants shortly thereafter hence Ireland became a focal point for the ‘Counter Reformation’.

          And you can’t deny that there was certainly ‘encouragement’ under De Valera’s/McQuaid’s watch to make Protestants see the error of their ways.

          Protestantism is no more foreign to Ireland than Catholicism, it’s a really whacky thing for you to say, the only audience that would see that as a rational thing to say would be subscribers to the ideal of Irish Catholic nationalism.

          Prior to the invasion/invitation/arrival of the Cambro & Anglo Normans Ireland’s church was not part of the ‘Catholic’ centralized system (as in they didn’t have to pay tax to Rome like all the other good Catholic areas).

          Prior to another English (Saxon) King with wife trouble Oswiu of Northumbria (he of the Synod of Whitby fame), the ‘Celtic’ churches of Ireland, Scotland and northern England were more along Pelegian lines than of those of Augustine ‘isn’t the Roman aristocracy great?’ of Hippo.

          Their opposition to predestination also made them very ‘suspect’ in the eyes of Rome.

          Dairmud McCulloch sums it up nicely in ‘A History of Christianity’:

          “…..These unpredictable links between the Middle East and furthest western Europe produced a Celtic theology which resonated at whatever distance with the tradition of Origen and Evagrius. Celtic monastaries took the same line as their fellow monks John cassia and Vincent of Lerins in the struggle against Augustine of Hippo over grace: they wanted to emphasize the importance of humans striving as best they could towards perfection.”

          Interestingly, out of all the modern Christian churches in the UK do you know which one is said to have the most in common with the early Celtic church?*

          I’ll give you two clues, it’s Scottish and the founder of the Irish version deliberately opened his church on St Patrick’s day in the 50’s….

          Being a nationalist is one thing, and an understandable position at that given the circumstances.

          Irish Catholic Nationalism that intertwines Irish identity with a ‘foreign’ church is something altogether more malignant;

          to me it conjures up images akin to Pavelic’s ‘Catholic Croatia’ where ‘Serbs’ (i.e. people living in what was then ‘deemed’ Croatia but went to Serbian Orthodox church) were to be on the receiving end of “A third killed, a third deported and a third CONVERTED” policy.

          Nuts. Dangerous, dark and nuts.

          *I don’t have the theological wherewithal to confirm this, but I’m working on it.

          • Ruaidri Ua Conchoba September 4, 2014 at 9:44 pm #

            What is it with Unionists; they just don’t ‘get it’…

            Let me be perfectly clear, I’m not in the least religious. However, I find it absolutely hypocritical and bloody offensive that north-east Unionists cherry-pick their way through the history of this island to make-out they were the victims of religious persecution by an Irish Catholic nation whom they tortured, abused and dehumanised for centuries… sickening hypocrisy!!! Truly sickening!!!

            I’ve no time for zealots of any shade, and I’m equally intolerant toward victim-makers trying play the victim. In this respect, Unionists in our north-east corner are akin to evil Israeli’s claiming they’re being victimised by Palestinians.

        • Am Ghobsmacht September 5, 2014 at 8:49 am #


          I don’t cherry pick, rather I salvage the cherries discarded by unionism and nationalism as Irish history is so all over the place that much of it does not suit their respective narratives.

          Nothing I said there was inaccurate (I don’t think so anyway).

          It adds a different perspective to your one-way-street narrative.

          No point in getting frustrated at ‘unionists’, I’m just simply not impressed by biased white washing of history and both nationalism and unionism are equally guilty of that.

          A Protestant might get upset at the Vatican’s involvement in the Boyne or to realise that James DIDN’T die at Scarva, likewise a Catholic might be slightly irked to see paintings of 17th century Irish banner men with ‘Rex Carolus’ on their banner or to read of the Catholic church’s contribution to the decline of Irish as a language.

          Not my problem, it just happened. Better to acknowledge these and adjust one’s view accordingly than to ignore it.

          Unionists do make an awful big deal of ‘persecution’ whilst at the same time bafflingly admiring Cromwell (who killed and expelled more Presbyterians than the Irish Catholics did) and it is daft. Very daft.

          However, this daftness does not straighten out your Tim Pat-Coogan-esque version of history.

          Like I said, you remind of this guy:

          Ruaidhri, there’s a reason why I no longer run around the place in a Rangers top listening to KTP bands and it started with questioning all the biased crap we’ve all been fed.

          • Ruaidri Ua Conchob September 5, 2014 at 9:18 pm #

            Am Ghobsmacht,
            I meant unionism in general cherry-picks its way through our history. That said, you do indeed cherry-pick and if you imagine only others are doing it then a little greater self-awareness is required.

            My blog posts may indeed only focus on highlighting the ills the British state and British colonialists refuse to acknowledge they perpetrated; I very obviously don’t pretend to be proffering an unbiased view-point. But, seriously, you can not honestly accuse me of engaging in anything remotely similar to that of the deranged rantings of that pro-UVF nutter whose blog you’ve identified – that man isn’t just biased but mentally disturbed!!!

            I would prefer, we leave our murky history behind us and look to the future. But, alas, political unionism and much of its electorate have an extreme opposite view and hence the ‘narrative’ battle continues. Consequently, with respect, maybe your well-intentioned efforts would be better spent encouraging your fellow Unionists to appreciate their “themuns did it all” narrative is unsustainable and making themuns angrier by the day…

        • Am Ghobsmacht September 6, 2014 at 1:09 am #


          “My blog posts may indeed only focus on highlighting the ills the British state and British colonialists refuse to acknowledge they perpetrated; I very obviously don’t pretend to be proffering an unbiased view-point.”

          When you put it like that, I suppose it’s fair enough, I just think that (in a vein similar to LAD) you perhaps alienate those who could perhaps do with listening to these points the most.

          With regards to my cherry picking, again, I prefer the term ‘salvaging’, as I tend to only dispense them when people need inconvenient ‘reminding’ of certain inconvenient histories e.g. a favourite of mine would be to remind Jamie Bryson every so often that Edward Carson spoke Irish.

          It’s quite cathartic actually…

          BTW, “Consequently, with respect, maybe your well-intentioned efforts would be better spent encouraging your fellow Unionists to appreciate their “themuns did it all” narrative is unsustainable and making themuns angrier by the day…”

          Dude, one step at a time, I need to make them ackowledge some of the inconvenient truths of their own history and culture before I can start pinging about mad leftfield notions such as “the taigs didn’t start it all!”

          • Jude Collins September 6, 2014 at 8:28 am #

            AG – ” mad leftfield notions such as “the taigs didn’t start it all!”…I do hope you’re being ironic…

  17. Antonio September 1, 2014 at 9:14 pm #

    For a long time now I have been fascinated by the Unionist narrative of ‘the troubles’. It is a-historical for the most part. History began in c1970 with the formation (re-formation?) of the IRA. Nothing much noteworthy happened before this but the roman catholics did come out and watch the Orange parades.

    An older man who was very clued up on our politics described Unionists as being in a ‘constant state of denial’ and that has long stuck in my mind for how accurate he was.

    Certainly Unionist politicians always adopt this ‘state of denial’ when met with criticism of unionism, orangeism, loyalism etc but ordinary folk adopt the state of denial also.

    We all know how it goes:
    ‘There may have been discrimination against catholics for jobs but the republicans exaggerated the discrimination’. ‘a few bad apples in the security forces may have colluded with the loyalist paramilitaries.’ ‘Maybe some loyalists bands and orangemen behave badly on occasion but the republicans exaggerate this to encourage trouble” etc

    The state of denial is as common as the whataboutery response. ( nationalists are just as prone to whataboutery as Unionists) But Nationalists do not seem to live with this same ‘state of denial’. (leaving aside Gerry who was never in the ‘Ra)

    You would be hard pushed to find a Sean or a Seamus tell you that the IRA never killed anybody (of course not – that would be ridiculous) but week in week out I hear Billy or Jeffrey tell us that the U.D.R never killed anybody.

    Unionists don’t see that for many nationalists the latter statement about the U.D.R is as absurd as the first statement about the IRA.

    I wonder if future generations of unionists/Protestants will be less touchy talking about nasty business done on the name of Unionism and the British state ??

    • Norma wilson September 5, 2014 at 12:45 pm #

      Go and get yourself an aspirin, and settle yourself down. You could end up taking a stroke.
      Best all round we forget the past, and try to make a better future.
      We both need to catch up on a few history lessons! Wasn’t that AG brilliant, what a man, I truly am gob smacked.
      I thought we should have mentioned the Caxton press, which did enlighten a lot of people.

  18. Pointis September 2, 2014 at 12:33 am #


    A number of commentators on here have stated the obvious in previous contributions.

    The war was un winnable by either side using military means.

    Some form of compromise was forced on unionists as a result of the IRA ceasefire by USA, British Establishment.

    Republicans bought into the deal as a transitional arrangement to a United Ireland on the back of changing demographics which would see a Catholic majority here within 40 years.

    Unionists bought into the deal as a holding action against a united Ireland and in the forlorn hope that Catholics could be converted into constitutional unionists by abandoning any yearning for a 32 county Ireland and settle for a Northern Ireland Status Quo and sending their kids to state / integrated schools where the unionist narrative could be hammered home and the union flag accepted as the only acceptable flag of the country.

    Unfortunately the unionist politicians underestimated 2 things.

    The unionist middle classes / middle ground after initially backing the Good Friday Agreement banked the benefits of the peace process by selling up their house to move near the golf course and took nothing more to do with politics here and leaving the way open to the the wilder and more sectarian elements of unionism to jostle their way into the driving seat.

    The second thing unionist politicians failed to appreciate was just how little of this cosying up to Catholics that a good rump of the Loyalist population was willing to tolerate to the point of reacting with violence to ideas of sharing the streets of their towns and cities with Republicans/ Nationalists.

    Just look how far we have moved from the point where Peter Robinson chucked to his party.conference that he would soon have Catholics voting for the union. Unfortunately he hadn’t appreciated that many who heard and whom he would have expected compliance actually don’t want Catholics voting for the union – they just don’t want them voting at all!

    • Am Ghobsmacht September 4, 2014 at 2:32 am #


      I agree with most of what you say except this bit:

      ” sending their kids to state / integrated schools where the unionist narrative could be hammered home and the union flag accepted as the only acceptable flag of the country.”

      That’s very unfair and bogged down with something again to paranoia.
      What do you think goes on in state schools?

      My history class had a MASSIVE poster of one of the famous famine eviction paintings and was underscored by the teacher’s personal loathing of Cromwell and in addition she hammered anyone who went overtly ‘unionist’ on the historical narrative

      (SMUG POINT: Aged 12 I wrote an essay criticising the hypocrisy of the unionist ‘loyal-rebellion’ stance of the pre-WWI era, she said it was perhaps THE BEST she’d ever read regarding that particular episode of hypocrisy. Thankyou thank you I’m here all week…)

      I don’t recall there being a union flag at the school (there might have been though) but I’d be very surprised if there is an abundance of union flags at integrated schools, that sort defeats the point of an ‘integrated’ school (though Dr C would know better than most of us)

      My family have all went to state schools but I’m the only one with any kind of unionist inkling; I went to an all Protestant school and they all went to mixed schools.

  19. Cal September 2, 2014 at 8:09 am #

    The lack of critical media coverage about the conduct of the DUP is part of the problem. Usually the media stick rigidly to the ‘both sides as bad as the other’ line of analysis.

    This allowed them to portray the Haass failure as a failure of politics as opposed to a failure of political unionism – all nationalist parties, as we know, signed up so I’m not sure how they can be held accountable for it’s failure.

    20 years after ceasefire and unionists can’t bring themselves to treat SF elected representatives with civility. This only betrays the fact we wouldn’t be where we are today without the IRA’s campaign. Sad as that is.

  20. Dr Michael Hfuhruhurr September 2, 2014 at 11:30 am #

    Cal you hit the nail on the head so hard, that the nail broke!

    The media are controlled by the OO/DUP. Why whould they criticize themselves? What is needed here, is impartial media, media to shine a light into all corners, not just republican ones.

    Its been clear for the last few years that the DUP are trying to reverse the GFA. A week does not go by without the DUP throwing toys out of the pram and threating the downfall of Stormont. But some how its always reported as ‘themuns’ fault. With gross hypocracy and a straight face!

    Make no mistake, they will ensure stormont will fall before there will ever be a Catholic First Minister!

  21. neill September 2, 2014 at 3:18 pm #

    You are one of the very reasons Loyalism is so militaristic and antiquated neill, the refusal to move on will be the downfall of Unionism. With every year that passes Unionism is losing votes because of their inability to look forward rather than back.

    Good grief never knew I was so influential the wife will be impressed!

  22. Ruaidri Ua Conchobai September 3, 2014 at 3:01 pm #

    Am I missing something or, is Am Ghobsmacht the only Unionist who visits here whom makes the effort to engage in adult debate?

  23. Am Ghobsmacht September 4, 2014 at 2:14 am #

    Dr C

    I know you’re a busy man but I’ve three (four now) comments awaiting your blessing, what gives?


    • Jude Collins September 4, 2014 at 5:07 pm #

      Long story but in a nutshell – the Univ of Uladh has gone on its knees and asked me to cover for my successor, a Marilyn Monroe lookalike who is off on a maternity. So of course greed overcame common sense and like Molly Bloom I said yes and yes I will yes…I.e. Busy little b., me.

      • Am Ghobsmacht September 4, 2014 at 8:37 pm #


        Well, congratulations.

        Very good, carry on.

      • Argenta September 5, 2014 at 9:29 am #

        “They kicked me out when I hit 65”—-Bet U U are sorry they did that!!But our loss on the blogspot is UU s gain!

        • Jude Collins September 5, 2014 at 6:40 pm #

          Hate to complicate things for you, Argenta, but I’m back this academic year filling in for my successor who can do what neither of us can – give birth.

  24. Am Ghobsmacht September 6, 2014 at 8:48 am #

    “AG – ” mad leftfield notions such as “the taigs didn’t start it all!”…I do hope you’re being ironic…”

    I am indeed Dr C.
    Although not the most politically correct way of delivering a sentiment I would hope nonetheless that it is common knowledge by now that I don’t buy the standard unionist line that ‘everything was fine till they decided to just start murdering us for no reason’.?

    • Jude Collins September 6, 2014 at 12:28 pm #

      Apologies for ever having doubted you, AG. Tå bron orm – sorry.

      • Am Ghobsmacht September 6, 2014 at 12:38 pm #

        Not at all Dr C, I forget myself sometimes;
        such statements are easy to mould face-to-face where timing, delivery and facial expressions betray if a statement is bitter, tongue-in-cheek, sarcastic etc.

        You’d think I’d have learnt by now after all those backfired posts on SO’T….