Reading and scribbling

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Picture by Jon S

I  got a free copy of the Irish Times  this morning, and for a variety of reasons I had – uncharacteristically – a lot of time on my hands, I read it. When I was a student in UCD in the 1960s, the more pretentious students could be identified by the copy the Irish Times they carried under their arm, the title always facing out so that people could see it. The ret of us might buy the occasional Evening Press or Evening Herald – both deceased now, I think – but that was it. Anyway, I digress.

There was much in it about the same thing that’s been in all the main Irish papers in recent days: the killing of Kevin McGuigan and political reaction to it. There are three offerings in the Letters page, two of them indulging in slightly wearisome comment about Gerry Adams not having been in the IRA. The first goes on to call on governments, political parties and police forces to take action against the IRA, the second  to argue that the Good Friday Agreement allowed “great wrongs to prosper on the back of expediency”. (No, Virginia, I’m not sure what the writer is getting at either.)

The third letter is short – very short – so I can quote it in full: “Sir – I am sure that not all former UVF members are angels either”. Sin é – that’s it.  I suppose he was thinking of things such as a man having a nail driven through his hand and that kind of thing.  But that’d be to introduce whataboutery, which is why none of the media concerns itself with the continued existence of unionist paramilitaries.

Needless to say the IT has  feature pieces on the same subject as well. In fact the paper’s lead headline is “Unionists warn on ‘fudging’ allegations about IRA”. To fudge, my dictionary tells me, means to fake or distort or to put a spin on, so I think they’re a little late about that: the story has already been spun into near-orbit. Another piece with a soulful photograph of Theresa Villiers is headlined “Villiers share PSNI view of some IRA structures remaining in place” (and no, I don’t know what that means either, Virginia). There are three other shortish pieces on the same page: one headed “Former US envoy recalls Adams request for IRA arms”, the second headed “Individuals linked to IRA still involved in crime, says Garda”.

And finally, a longer “Analysis” piece by Gerry Moriarty headed “Few politicians want to see the Executive collapse but two men are now dead”, which in my book qualifies as a statement of the bleeding obvious rather than an analysis. But that’s just the headline. In the body of the article, Moriarty goes in for some serious colour: he talks about  how “senior IRA figures arrived in the Markets shortly after the killing of Jock Davison…They were grim and hard-faced and determined”; and later “you could see that their IRA pedigree gave them weight locally. They would have the ear of the likes of Martin McGuinness and Gerry Adams”.  That done, he tells us that they “appeared determined that his murder would be avenged”.  He  quotes ‘one DUP source’: “Whatever decisions we make will have mammoth consequences. We don’t want to make any decisions without careful judgement and proper consideration”. And Moriarty concludes “Whatever happens next is unpredictable but it is serious”.

No, Virginia, I don’t consider the time spent reading today’s Irish Times  totally wasted.  Not because I’m better informed on the topic considered (how could I have been?), but because I’m better informed on the nature of the IT and its correspondents.

17 Responses to Reading and scribbling

  1. paul August 25, 2015 at 3:54 pm #

    I’m sure a lot of people will not be fooled by the combined forces of unionism ( as if they care about the murders in belfast) and free state hypocrites who are on full election mode. However as usual it will probably backfire. Even though many nationalists are fed up with sinn feins attempts to play politics up at stormont and probably would shed no tears if the whole lot was pulled down. They might now vote in greater numbers once again just to cofound themuns!

    • Ryan August 25, 2015 at 11:24 pm #

      That’s what I was thinking Paul and forgot to mention it. If the Assembly does collapse you will see greater numbers coming out and voting for Sinn Fein. The Nationalist electorate as a whole over the past few years has, to me anyway, become “relaxed” and not bothering to vote. Now you compare this to the 1990’s (where I was only a kid but I can still remember it) there was a “buzz” in the air concerning Sinn Fein and hence around the year 2000 this was showed when Sinn Fein outpolled the SDLP and became the largest nationalist party. This was all achieved by the hard work and activities from the 1990’s.

      If Stormont collapsed obviously political instability and a vacuum will follow, politics will get a greater focus from the public it hasn’t had for years. If its Unionisms intention to damage Sinn Fein by collapsing Stormont then they are going the wrong way about it, indeed the only people I see potentially, and I mean potentially its not guaranteed, benefiting are Fine Gael/Fianna Fail in the South but I still see Sinn Fein making great gains in the south despite all this and being the main story in the 2016 Irish General Election.

  2. Sherdy August 25, 2015 at 4:15 pm #

    If only a fraction of the time and effort being put into investigating the killing of Kevin McGuigan had been put into investigating the killing of Gerard Davison, it is most likely that Mr McGuigan would still be alive today.
    Why the difference in the thoroughness of the police work in these two cases?

  3. Perkin Warbeck August 25, 2015 at 5:21 pm #

    There was something historically inevitable, Esteemed Blogmeister, in the way The Unionist Times appointed a stalwart chap name of Moriarty as their Chief Spokesman for the Chief Constable of the prissy PRSI.

    Back in the Fabulous Fifties on Liffeyside when music hall (American papers please copy, as ‘vaudeville’) was in its heynight it was well nigh impossible to side door into The Theatre Royal, The Queen’s or the Gaiety itself without getting an earful of a rare oul rollicker of a show-stopping belter called: Are you right there, Mor-i-ar-i-ty ?

    ‘I’m a well known bobby of the starlwart squad
    I belong to the DMP
    And the girls all cry as I pass by
    Are you there, Mor-i-ar-i-ty ?’.

    And that was then, but this is now. Which is to say while Moriarty has indeed left the stage, it is not to say he has left the, erm, theatre. Not only that but he still patrols the very same street of shame where the modern Shinners first officiated.

    ”Me majestic feet woke Kevin Street
    As I walked up proud and free
    For well I knew they could not do
    Without me, Mor-i-ar-i-ty !’

    Nor could The Unionist Times neither, in fairness. Still lots of grim and hard-faced and determined bookels to have tabs kept upon, going forward.

    Joe Duffy, A. Atwood’s Southern Correspondent on RTE, was also yakity yaking in his uber Jack’s accent on the same topic. But got somewhat more than he bargained for when a Belfast listener rang in, having obviously taken the open invitation to ‘Talk to Joe’ to mean what it said on the tintawn.

    This Belfast man’s name was, surprisingly, not Alex but rather (gulp) Jude.

    Nor was Newstalk FM behind the Bush House on the Belfast story which has convulsed the Free Southern Stateen, unlike,equally surprisingly, the Belfast story of July when two men met violent deaths involving a samurai sword in the same suburban pagoda.

    Pat Kenny, the Voice of DOBlin, had as his first distinguished guest, none other than An Yawnaiste, Joan Burton, MP,. This is the self-confessed fluent speaker of Swahili and Taoiseach of the, erm, Irish Labour Party (ILP). As always, Perkie had to suppress uttering his one and only word of Swahili on hearing the soporific mezzo-contralto of An Yawnaiste:

    -Uhuru !

    Not unlike the previous, this part too has a musical element. People ask what does the M.P. after her name stand for. Fair question. It actually means ‘Minnie Pearl’. The original Minnie Pearl was for decades a stalwart (!) of the Grand Ole Opry in Nashville, Tn..

    Who always dressed in a style-free country hick, hillbilly dress and from her Granny Gumboots hat there was to be seen hanging a price tag.Her catchphrase was ‘How-w-w DEE-e-e Do ! I’m jest so proud to be here !’ delivered in a mezzo-contralto holler as if it were coming from a very, very deep well.

    She made this greeting particularly infamous in her wireless show called ‘Hee Haw !’ which ought to have won her the rubric ‘Hawnaiste’ but for some reasons, did not.

    The price-tag incidentally hanging from her wide-brimmed hat always showed ‘$ 1.98’. As this was too close for comfort to The Year about which Who Fears to Speak, the price-tag on the hat of The Yawnaiste, and to whom M.P. bears an uncanny resemblance, varies.

    Though judging by the number of times M.P. the Second namechecked the founder of her porty, one James Connolly on the wireless, one imagined it might have been Triocha Piosa Airgid (30).

    ‘When me work is done and me course is run
    And I’ve walked on me last long beat
    And to Heaven’s shore, I’ll quickly soar
    Saint Peter there to meet.
    Sure I hope he’ll say, in a kindly way
    ‘Is it there, Gerry, you I see?’
    Your reward you’ve won for your work well done
    Step in, Mor-i-ar-i-ty !’.

    And there are still some non-believers out there who still hold that The Unionist Times is not on the the side of the Anglos.

    Tsk, tsk.

  4. Séamus Ó Néill August 25, 2015 at 5:39 pm #

    I think this whole thing ,this constant berating of republicanism, and not just these two recent killings is being stretched like an elastic band with Unionism/RUC/PSNI and Northern press holding one end and the FG ,FF Labour and the Southern press holding the other end ……if they keep pulling what will happen …..the band will snap and both will fall flat on their faces

  5. ben madigan August 25, 2015 at 5:49 pm #

    Stupidest political demand:

    Sinn Féin leader Gerry Adams must assure the Irish public the IRA no longer exists and “will never exist again”, according to the Minister for Environment Alan Kelly.

    Who among us can bind the future?

    • Sherdy August 25, 2015 at 9:06 pm #

      What do you expect from the man who can’t even hold his own water?

  6. Ryan August 25, 2015 at 6:07 pm #

    As I said in another comment on this blog the other day: there’s something funny or “iffy” about these two murders. Its just so convenient how its suiting all of Sinn Fein’s political enemies on both sides of the border and also the British Government.

    I’m sure everyone has read Ian Paisley Jnr’s piece in the media recently: “Sinn Fein are no longer fit for Government”. This is rich coming from the son of a fundamentalist, extremist, protestant preacher who sunk agreements (with the help of Unionist paramilitaries, btw) that could’ve potentially have ended the Troubles sooner and who many regard as playing a role bigger than any one single person in causing the troubles in the first place. But that’s another story.

    Then we now have Mike TV (as called by LAD, the satirical website) aka UUP Leader Mike Nesbitt saying he might pull the UUP out of the executive due to the 2 murders. Mike has recently called the Easter Rising “murderous” in the very same article where he’s also calling for greater trust and respect between nationalists and unionists….irony has died but hypocrisy is truly alive and thriving within Unionism. Mike, instead of bringing the UUP forward, has actually brought it back 30 years.

    So why this eagerness to collapse the Assembly? In my humble opinion it all goes back to the British Government and them taking the opportunity to implement welfare reform.

  7. Bridget Cairns August 25, 2015 at 6:48 pm #

    From what I have read & heard, the government in the south are using this as weapon to destroy SF here. The GFA is being unpicked day by day by the media & government. They have no feeling for the northeners Unionist or Republican, only how the destruction of Stormont will be to their advantage. A vey high price to pay in order to remain in power but if that is what it takes so be it. The South has always been the Achilles heel because they can use anti republicanism with the threat of the sword of Damocles ready to fall on their heads when it is opportune to do so. Disgraceful politicking to use the murder of two men to further their own agenda.

    • billy August 25, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

      do you really think the ordinary people will notice if stormont falls,the only ones that will miss it are the snouts in the trough along with their employed family members,

  8. sarah m August 25, 2015 at 6:56 pm #

    “he talks about how “senior IRA figures arrived in the Markets shortly after the killing of Jock Davison”
    And did this correspondent see the name badges on these two “senior IRA” figures identifying them as such? How ludicrous – where was his editor? Martin McGuinness was in the IRA – so does that mean he still is? I want to know more about the former US Envoy and Adams’ request – who is quoted for that?

  9. colm August 25, 2015 at 8:00 pm #

    Jude, free, is too high a price to pay for the Irish Times.

    • Ryan August 25, 2015 at 11:31 pm #

      Reading the Irish Times or the Irish Independent is harmful to your health, you’ll lose IQ points every time you read that tripe.

  10. ben madigan August 25, 2015 at 10:52 pm #

    why this eagerness to collapse the Assembly?

    commenters here have suggested two reasons:
    1)the British Government and them taking the opportunity to implement welfare reform.
    2) the government in the south are using this as weapon to destroy SF here.

    Both are plausible. I have been thinking about the second but have not written about it yet. I have not yet teased out the reasons behind the first.
    There’s also a 3rd reason which seems to me to be the most pressing for the Unionists/Loyalists/Orangemen

    Stormont – there’s a storm coming!!!

  11. Neill August 26, 2015 at 8:13 am #

    Jude instead of having a pop about the Irish Times perhaps you could have done an article about the IRA you know the organisation that you claimed had disappeared left the building vanished etc perhaps SF fooled you or you knew the truth and didn’t tell anybody, imagine fooling your readership….!

    • Jude Collins August 26, 2015 at 8:33 am #

      I can’t be responsible for your imagination,neill – you’ll have to take the whip and chair to that yourself…

  12. Jim Lynch August 26, 2015 at 1:30 pm #

    ” By sharing power, unionists are negating the reason they insisted on the state being created in the first place.”

    The above quote says it all.

    Unionists politicians want people to think of them as having high morals, but in reality, they have low hypocrisy.