Oh A P – did you have to?

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OK, this year I’m conflicted. (A grand word, conflicted.)  Normally when the New Year Honours List appears, I tend to make comparisons with the ribbons, combs and mirrors that the white man gave to the native people of North America in exchange for thousands of acres of land. Not that those on the Honours List have thousands of acres to give in exchange for the royal baubles they receive – only their dignity. How can one be anything but undignified if you must kneel before the Royal Person to receive your trinket, and walk backwards from the room in case you’d insult the Royal Person who has so honoured you?

But this year I’m conflicted, and it’s all T P McCoy’s fault. The greatest of jockeys has always come across as an intelligent, modest man, true to his Moneyglass roots and fearless in the practice of his craft. Only now McCoy has been made Sir Anthony, and has expressed fulsome gratitude for the honour done to him by “Her Majesty the Queen”.

My first reaction was that one Irish Sir Anthony – you know , the bankrupt one – was enough to inflict on us; two seemed cruel and unnatural punishment. But then I thought about it, remembering the unmistakeable greatness of McCoy, and it struck me that maybe it was none of my business, that if he chose to accept a knighthood, that was his affair, not mine. And that’s true.  But I still can’t shake my sense of sadness that an Irishman of McCoy’s superb talents would see fit to kneel before a woman who has her job solely because of who her da was.

I know that wiser minds than mine will untangle this McCoy dilemma for me. While I’m waiting for them to do so, let me reference the difference in response to a royal offer between  Sir Anthony McCoy and the poet Benjamin Zepheniah.

Watch and weep:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f8U8J5UjaAE

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82 Responses to Oh A P – did you have to?

  1. Wolfe tone December 31, 2015 at 2:41 pm #

    He will be assimilated so much so that come next year he’ll be wearing the poppy whilst he appears on channel 4 racing. When folk from the nationalist community complain that free staters have mocked them by sledging god the the queen at them at football matches etc, now they know why.
    ‘Roast an Irishman on a spit and you can be sure to get another to turn him’- a firm belief of many an English ruler.

    • Ryan December 31, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

      He might go all the way and do a Rory McIlroy and say he always felt British and not Irish. Then run around with an Ulster Banner or Union flag. Rory was even saying he was seriously thinking of representing Britain in Golf but then suddenly when he goes to America he quietly chooses to represent Ireland on the international stage. I’m sure it had absolutely nothing to do with all those millions of potential Irish American Golf fans….Of course people could say I’m wrong or whatever and Rory choose Ireland because hes dedicated but I would remind them how Rory treated his “childhood sweetheart”, his first girlfriend. Once Rory got a taste of fame, suddenly Rory ditches her for a nice, new Danish model…….I’m no angel like but even I say that’s cold….

      Rory, McCoy, etc can support and be whatever nationality they want, that’s their right. But my support is firmly behind people who are genuinely proud to be Irish and want to represent Ireland. Best of luck to the likes of Rory but when it comes to Golf Padraig Harrington gets my backing.

      • neill January 1, 2016 at 10:05 am #

        That’s not a comment Ryan but a rant.

        You have a very tight definition of what being Irish is about your definition excludes many people ironically the very people you are trying to win over to a United Ireland cant you see that?

        Would you exclude Richard Harris Peter o`Toole Liam Neeson GMac and many others because they don’t share your tight definition of being Irish.

        On this blog I am often accused of being a hard line prod perhaps it is time for people to see what they have written and see if it is as liberal as they think it is?

        • Ryan January 1, 2016 at 2:15 pm #

          A rant? You clearly haven’t seen my rants if you think that was one Neill lol

          My definition of Irish is being Irish Neill. Being Irish is not being British. Irish and British are as different as German and British or Spanish and British, that’s my view on it. In fact some would argue that British isn’t really a true nationality since Britain itself isn’t a country but a political entity, the same way the European Union, Soviet Union, etc was. England, Scotland and Wales are certainly countries and nationalities. Our own failed statelet in the north eastern part of Ireland certainly isn’t a country, it doesn’t even have its own legal flag since 1972 (the Union flag is the flag of the UK) or national anthem (GSTQ is England’s, though England is ready to get a new national anthem this year).

          Why wouldn’t Richard Harris (an IRA supporter, btw and an actor I admire) Liam Neeson (who viewed an IRA Leader as his hero), etc be Irish?? Both are proud Irish men.

          “On this blog I am often accused of being a hard line prod perhaps it is time for people to see what they have written and see if it is as liberal as they think it is?”

          No one mentioned religion Neill and I honestly cant see why Unionists keep referring to it, maybe its the influence of the Orange Order? I don’t know.

          “excludes many people ironically the very people you are trying to win over to a United Ireland cant you see that?”

          I didn’t know I was trying to win anyone over to a United Ireland…Unionism itself seems to think nationalism is the one who has to do all the convincing and case making for their political objective. They consistently fail to realize in the near future they need to get a very large section of Nationalism to vote for Unionism in regular elections if they hope to ever keep the Union together.

        • jessica January 1, 2016 at 4:28 pm #

          Neill, my definition of being Irish, is someone who was born and raised on the island of Ireland, all 32 counties of it, all 4 provinces. Anything else is personal choice

          Personally, I have absolutely zero interest in winning any unionist over to a United Ireland. That would be like persuading an orange that it is in fact an apple.

          What I do want, is a fresh start, for all parties and both states to sit down and discuss seriously the best way to take Ireland into the future with no preconditions whatsoever. It should be to the economic and social advantage of every single person on the island, and should address the concerns of every view, from republican to loyalist and every shade in between with an international element of assistance.

          It is not possible for the northern ireland parties to do this alone, there will never be agreement. If the will is not there between the two states and they continue to ostracize one community and deny one tradition over another, then they obviously have learned nothing and that is what frustrates me the most.

          At the moment, both states are more concerned with their own self centred interests and once again the divided and abandoned people in the north will be left to suffer in the long term.

  2. Galloper Thompson December 31, 2015 at 2:51 pm #

    ..and meanwhile in New Zealand http://www.the42.ie/richie-mccaw-new-zealand-highest-honour-2524950-Dec2015/?utm_source=twitter_self

  3. Johnnymac December 31, 2015 at 2:54 pm #

    I’m very disappointed that Tony has accepted this bauble from the establishment of a country that has inflicted so much pain on Ireland.

    I wonder if Michael C was offered one but turned it down?

  4. neill December 31, 2015 at 3:04 pm #

    I suspect the trouble is that to many people here demand you fit into neat little tribes. Very few of us here have any self awareness that there is a bigger world out there and that people take pride in being noticed and feel honoured in being given honours. After all what is wrong with Sir Tony McCoy being knighted for his achievements. If I did something that merited an award I would take great pride in receiving a reward from the ROI France etc. Lets celebrate success lets build people up and lets celebrate diversity.

    • Johnnymac December 31, 2015 at 5:20 pm #

      Knighthoods were once handed out to unionist mayors of Belfast who could hardly string two sentences together. MBE’s, OBE’s ?? What British empire are they talking about? I’ve had a teenage brother seriously wounded and neighbours killed by the soldiers of that so-called empire.
      Personally, I wouldn’t accept one of their awards unless it could be hung from the top of a bonfire.

    • jessica January 1, 2016 at 4:43 pm #

      “After all what is wrong with Sir Tony McCoy being knighted for his achievements.”

      Absolutely nothing at all neill, only those Irish who feel deeply disenfranchised under the current relationship between our two islands would feel disappointment.

      Under different circumstances such as an agreed Ireland rather than an undemocratically partitioned Ireland with an agreed relationship between Ireland and Britain then no Irish citizen should feel any shame in accepting such an accolade.

      Now if we could only make that a reality.

      • neill January 1, 2016 at 7:47 pm #

        We have that already Jessica its called the GFA voted for and accepted by both and North and South.

        • jessica January 2, 2016 at 1:08 am #

          “We have that already Jessica its called the GFA voted for and accepted by both and North and South.”

          The GFA is simply an agreement by both states to fulfil any future request for unification on the basis it has majority support and that support is obtained through peaceful means only.

          It also provides an on-going mechanism for providing a referendum every 7 years to assess whether that majority support yet exists. It is a one way street to unification.

          Both governments have committed to deliver unification once that majority have voted.

          Unionists fighting it all the way will only allow the older generation to live out their lives knowing that it didn’t happen on their watch.

          But that is simply a delaying tactic that will only reverse the situation, with unionists feeling coerced into a united Ireland. The vote not to fly the flag over city hall was also democratic remember. What makes you think unification via the GFA will fare any better?

  5. michael c December 31, 2015 at 3:17 pm #

    Moneyglass was always regarded as the “dodgy” end of the “greater Toome” area!.

  6. Sherdy December 31, 2015 at 3:51 pm #

    I too was disappointed that Tony has accepted his trinket from someone else’s queen, but I suppose the fact that he has made his career in that country it is partly understandable.
    But apparently a former SDLP Belfast lord mayor and ex-internee Pat McCarthy has grabbed hold of a virtually worthless MBE.
    Disappointment does not come close to describing his stomach wrenching volt face.
    Put a beggar on horseback and he’ll ride to hell!

  7. billy December 31, 2015 at 3:59 pm #

    see that framton got one as well.services to boxing hes only been a pro a few years and beat nobody of any note.

    • neill December 31, 2015 at 4:17 pm #

      Get behind hero’s we have so few of them.

      • Wolfe tone December 31, 2015 at 6:36 pm #

        I have plenty of heroes Neill. Connolly,Mellowes,Sands,Lynagh and Grew to name but a few. Is right lets get behind them!

        • neill December 31, 2015 at 9:30 pm #

          Your hero`s seem to have a common denominator cant think what it is though..

          • Ceannaire January 1, 2016 at 12:49 am #

            They indeed have a common denominator, Neill – being human, like you and I. And, yes, before you jump in – just like those people Republicans killed (or anyone else who have killed or caused to be killed, for that matter).

            From your point of view you have a point. However, you have heroes, too. And we could just as easily point out the plank in their eye also.

            This should not be about pointing out the plank in each other’s eye; it’s about agreeing that we all have a plank to begin with – that is a good start.

    • Sherdy December 31, 2015 at 9:54 pm #

      But addy Hopkirk had to wait for 50 years to be appreciated!

  8. Donal Kennedy December 31, 2015 at 4:05 pm #

    And Ann Summers got the Order of the Garter?

  9. Jim.hunter December 31, 2015 at 5:14 pm #


    • Jude Collins December 31, 2015 at 7:49 pm #


  10. Iolar December 31, 2015 at 5:38 pm #

    There is a big world out there, however,

    “You never hear poor people who are poor and suffering say it is wonderful…” Zephaniah

    Zephaniah and others expose many myths associated with empire, colonialism, slavery and oppression.

    “General Dyer was presented with a jewelled sword bearing the legend ‘saviour of the Punjab’ after the massacre of 379 Indians in Amritsar in 1919. ‘Dyerism’ was another epithet regularly applied by the nationalist papers to British policy in Ireland” (Kenneally 2008:201)

    “Mau Mau has been portrayed as one of the most savage and barbaric uprisings of the twentieth century…I ask that we reconsider this accepted orthodoxy and examine the crimes perpetrated by colonial forces against Mau Mau, and the considerable measures that the British colonial government undertook to conceal them.” (Elkins2005:xiv)

    “But another casualty of war in the north of Ireland has been the rule of law…The facade of normal law was retained, but the details were altered to harness the law as a weapon of war.” (Rolston 2000:317)

    The late Eddie McAteer once posed a question.

    “What Empire?”

  11. Mark December 31, 2015 at 7:23 pm #

    Heard this this morning, not too surprised but, without the permission of the government, no citizen can accept any honour (Art. 40 (2)(ii) Bunreacht na hÉireann)
    Even Bob, half Belgian, Geldof had to seek such when knighted for his role in battling Ethopian hunger.
    Count John McCormack too, on receipt of an honour from the Vatican had to seek the Constitutional requirement of government imprimatur, I’m sure, if he considers himself Irish, McCoy will follow the proper route, then again!

  12. ben madigan December 31, 2015 at 7:53 pm #

    And bringing a whole new punch line to the term “that’s no lady” is Michelle Mone, recently elevated Lady of Brafill

    happy new year to Jude, collaborators and posters https://eurofree3.wordpress.com/2015/12/31/2016-our-year/

  13. fiosrach December 31, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    The ‘house n#gg#rs’ all grovel to get a shiny thing from the Great White Mother but do you notice they never want it for themselves. It’s always for their team, their union, their community etc. Who do they think they’re fooling? McCoy and the horses can all get a turn at wearing it. There wasn’t just as many taigs lining up for the great honour during the troubles.

    • neill December 31, 2015 at 9:32 pm #

      “house niggers” is a dislikeable phrase to use it undermines you argument.

      • fiosrach January 1, 2016 at 11:20 am #

        Sorry ‘castle catholics’

  14. Argenta December 31, 2015 at 9:03 pm #

    It would be interesting to hear what the good people of Moneyglass now think of their local hero.They will no doubt be distressed to hear that Michael C considers their area a bit “dodgy”.Obviously different rules apply when Martin Mc Guinness meets the Queen and Gerry Adams meets Prince Charles!

    • neill December 31, 2015 at 9:51 pm #

      Argenta what are you trying to suggest : )

  15. Mark December 31, 2015 at 10:09 pm #

    Athbhliain faoi Mhaise Daimh

  16. michael c December 31, 2015 at 10:18 pm #

    Gerry and Martin meet British royals as the head of a foreign state.They refused to take their seats at Westminster as it would have meant swearing alliegence to the head of that foreign state.Moneyglass ls on the Ballymena side of Toome and was always much less “staunch” than Toome village,Cargan and Newbridge.Whilst never reaching the levels of “uncle Tommery ” of the Ballymena Catholic,residents of Moneyglass allowed a little of Ballymena to rub off on them!

    • Argenta January 1, 2016 at 3:24 pm #

      Michael c
      For those of us not familiar with the area,could you perhaps enlighten us on the levelsof “Uncle Tommery” oft he Ballymena Catholic?How does this manifest itself?!!

    • billy January 1, 2016 at 6:33 pm #

      they meet british royals as the head of a foreign state….
      ..ano were talking jockeys here but if you told that to one of micky marleys hobby horses it would crap on it .

  17. Ryan December 31, 2015 at 10:35 pm #

    Its up to the individual person who is offered a British Knighthood, an MBE, OBE, etc if they accept it or not. I personally see such “Honours” or “Awards” or whatever term you want to use as political “Branding”. When you see such people as Sir this or Dame that or John Smith OBE, etc etc you cant help but assume they are supporters of British Royalty or would be against the principles of Republicanism (Both British and Irish) and anti-Monarchism.

    The likes of Irish Hollywood actor Liam Neeson accepted an OBE (which is his right) but this is the same Liam Neeson that publically declared Michael Collins his “Hero” in 1996, a Commander of the IRA, who fought the British and who devoted his life to fighting the British Empire. Am I the only one who sees the contradiction?….

    Of course you could also question the morality of accepting an award which is associated with one of the most brutal Empires in History, the British Empire (calm down, Neill, let me finish….). I’m not going to give a full history lesson on the British Empire because I’ll still be typing going into 2017 but the British Empire conquered, enslaved and brutalized many, many peoples and nations throughout its history. It built its capital city, London, into the mega economy it is today on the blood, sweat, torture and rape of the Atlantic Slave Trade and the trillions, not billions but trillions it stole from many nations around the world by harvesting their resources at the expense of its rightful owners, Ireland being just one but maybe the longest to be victim of such mass theft. Indeed, the very diamonds instilled in the Crown of the woman McCoy will be bowing to was stolen from India and Africa. What a proud and honourable person to be bowing to…..

    If I was ever offered a British Knighthood, an OBE or MBE or whatever I would respectfully refuse for a number of reasons, the main ones being I’m Irish and I know what the British did in my country for centuries.

  18. Patrick Fahy January 1, 2016 at 12:04 am #

    It’s what centuries of conquest and colonisation have done – and why British occupation has lasted so long in Ireland. Natives, and not just a few ,come to regard it as normal, even maybe desirable. Remember that in the years preceding 1969, many saw nothing out of the ordinary in joining the RUC, or in standing for the Queen in their local cinema. it’s how pride in one’s nation becomes diluted and eventually extinct. The years since 69 have restored that pride, but it won’t last forever if we don’t cherish and nurture it, Present generations have a big responsibility on their shoulders.

    • Jude Collins January 1, 2016 at 9:29 am #

      Ah here, Pat – I was one of the anthem sprinters in the County Cinema in Omagh. We weren’t totally diluted…

  19. Belfastdan January 1, 2016 at 12:24 am #

    Would it not be better idea for the Queen to allow the SDLP to use the word “Royal” in their party name given the increasing number of their party members who love to accept these worthless baubles from their lords and masters.

    It never ceases to amaze me how many people from so called nationalist backgrounds happily debase themselves when the British state gives out the “awards”,

    What a lot of Uncle Toms we have amongst us.

  20. neill January 1, 2016 at 10:09 am #

    They indeed have a common denominator, Neill – being human, like you and I. And, yes, before you jump in – just like those people Republicans killed (or anyone else who have killed or caused to be killed, for that matter).

    From your point of view you have a point. However, you have heroes, too. And we could just as easily point out the plank in their eye also.

    This should not be about pointing out the plank in each other’s eye; it’s about agreeing that we all have a plank to begin with – that is a good start.

    My hero`s haven’t killed people but united people authors sport stars etc.Wolfie can have his own hero`s all he wants and I wouldn’t wish to stop him.

    • Jude Collins January 1, 2016 at 11:00 am #

      Here, neill – who are you calling a plank??

      • neill January 1, 2016 at 11:06 am #

        sorry quoted Ceanaire didn’t you read his entry naughty Jude : )

        • Jude Collins January 1, 2016 at 11:17 am #

          Ach I did actually but I just wanted a wee laff, neill, and you were the last one I saw. You need to appreciate that I OK posts as they come in, regardless of what blog they apply to – so I don’t see the nice chronological march of posts that you see for each blog…

  21. neill January 1, 2016 at 11:27 am #

    Don’t worry just having a laugh

  22. Séamus Ó Néill January 1, 2016 at 12:23 pm #

    Deeply saddened by the fact that AP McCOY should be accepting a Knighthood from The Commander In Chief of the Parachute Regiment….just the same Knighthood awarded to Mike Jackson ,2nd in command Bloody Sunday…1st in command Derek Wilford got an OBE. By taking her worthless gong he has demeaned himself and the struggle for Irish re-unification ,he has given legitimacy to their obnoxious murderous role in Irish affairs…..like all those before him ,by this action he has diminished his achievements….

    • billy January 1, 2016 at 4:10 pm #

      ok to wine and dine with them and tug the forelock.

  23. Joe Nolan January 1, 2016 at 12:42 pm #

    I would not be critical of AP McCoy in this instance. It would have been ruder not to accept a knighthood. You or I may baulk at the absence of egalitarianism implicit in monarchy, but it is an intrinsic part of British society and is unlikely to change any time soon.
    Unlike other Irish (from nationalist backgrounds) recipients of honours from the monarchy, AP McCoy has never strayed into Anglo-Irish politics, much less into negative stereotyping of Irish citizens or even anti-republican commentary. In this respect, AP McCoy is different from the likes of Tony O’Reilly, Bob Geldof or Terry Wogan.
    He has been honoured solely as a sportsman, particularly for a sport that has played a positive role in harmonising relationships between Irish and English people for decades, and as we know, a sport close to the heart of the British royal family. He is a long-time resident in England and he achieved his greatest successes there.
    Furthermore, circumstances have changed considerably in recent years. Queen Elizabeth’s visit to the Republic of Ireland was conducted in a generous, respectful and magnanimous manner. Prince Charles has also made some significant conciliatory gestures over the past couple of years, notably in respect of making a £2,000 contribution to the besieged St Patrick’s Church in Belfast.
    As a resident in Dublin, I would say that in many respects the British establishment in the shape of the monarchy have adopted a more enlightened approach to the North than many of those in the southern media and political classes.
    In summary, I believe AP McCoy is right to accept the honour in the spirit in which it was offered.

    • Jude Collins January 1, 2016 at 12:54 pm #

      Thanks Joe for that well-argued and original post. I find it hard to disagree with much you say – although my only comment on P Charles’s £2k would be “Mind you don’t bankrupt the Duchy”…

  24. pointis January 1, 2016 at 3:48 pm #

    I think Neill and Joe are right. I think most of us have lost the run of ourselves here in criticising Mr McCoy. We have lost sight of the fact that the vast majority of people are not like you and I mean that in a good way! Only about 2% of people will adhere to principles when it comes to things like money or privilege and that is a fact! If they were offering Knighthoods in West Belfast, Newry, Derry or Strabane you would not be able to move for the queues around the block (remember the deserted streets of those same areas during the funeral of Diana Spencer).

    If you wouldn’t accept the award, your partner or someone else in your family certainly would (just think of Hilary Benn)!

    Tony McCoy is probably not a republican who opposes the institution of the Monarchy. He probably spends most of his time among English people. He is a good jockey who probably enjoys the acknowledgement of his achievements. I would not be surprised if his local GAA Club held a special night for him to mark the occasion as well.

    Disappointing that money and privilege have this power over us but As a republican all it is important to remember is that he will never be addressed as Lord Anthony to you and that should be enough for any principled man or woman to remember!

  25. Perkin Warbeck January 1, 2016 at 6:24 pm #

    The Real McCoy *

    When it comes to walking backwards for the New Year
    Of the words from the deciding one, one doesn’t hear
    The one with the whip
    In her velvet glove grip
    Lady hisses at Sir: no more Missus, do I make me clear?

    * this title is the generic term and refers to no actual person, living, imagined or dead.

  26. pip January 1, 2016 at 7:07 pm #

    Isn’t it a bit too late to be even having this debate, given that McCoy has already accepted an OBE and an MBE in the past?

  27. pointis January 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    Sorry that should read “he will never be addressed as Lord Anthony / Sir Anthony by you”.

  28. michael c January 1, 2016 at 7:22 pm #

    Argenta, when the Peoples Democracy march was being attacked at Burntollet in 1969,the young Bernadette Devlin told the marchers to “keep their heads down as low as a Larne taig” to avoid the rocks being thrown at them.Well if possible Ballymena catholics keep their heads even lower than the Larne version!.They buy poppies without complaint,show no objection to workplaces being decorated like orange halls,regard people from the glens,Dunloy ,Toome etc as “troublemakers” and generally believe that “everything was all right ” pre civil rights days.Up until very recently the SDLP were not even able to gain a foothold at council level (Declan O’Loane finally making a breakthrough a few years ago).Instead catholic clergy endorsed “independents” with no “politics” were chosen to take the sole “catholic” seat on the council.One example of such was papal knight Sir Patrick Murphy,a publican and drinks wholesaler who held “the seat” for decades up until his death.Sir Patrick was such a thorn in the side of the orange establishment that he was even elected mayor on occasions by his unionist colleagues.Those who dared to think of playing GAA did so by travelling several miles out of town to Crebilly (in the “asshole of nowhere) and called their club “all saints”after the local parish.No Wolfe Tones,John O’learys or Robert Emmetts there!.As for the RUC,they were “only doing their job ” and joining them was even “a handy number” for local catholics incapable of doing a days work.Need I go on!

    • neill January 1, 2016 at 10:08 pm #

      Factually incorrect PJ McAvoy was the first sdlp councillor well before Declan. Your knowledge of Ballymena seems to be very slight.

    • Willie D. January 4, 2016 at 4:16 pm #

      Does this guy (Michael C.) know anything about Ballymena? There have been S.D.L.P. members on the local council for many years, joined fairly recently by at least two Sinn Fein councillors, the era of the Catholic independent ended at least a generation ago. I don’t know any workplaces that have been decorated like Orange Halls for many years, perhaps he could enlighten me as to which ones still are. The G.A.A. club is not several miles outside the town, it is on a well-appointed site on the Woodside Road, beside residential housing and numerous businesses and just up the road from the Rugby Club, with which it has a cordial relationship. I understand when the club was formed some people wanted to call it “Na Fianna”, but were outvoted by others more sensitive to the preservation of community relations, which had always been good when compared to some other areas.

      • pointis January 5, 2016 at 10:13 am #

        Willie D,

        Ballymena is no bed of roses for Catholics! Perhaps you remember the prish priest having to cancel Mass because of the intimidation his parishioners received for attending at Harryville?

        That went on for years!

        • Willie D. January 5, 2016 at 2:25 pm #

          It didn’t go on for years, the number of people protesting outside Harryville Chapel was small and many of them didn’t even come from Ballymena. Leading Unionist politicians, including the mayor went to the chapel to show solidarity with the parishioners and I know one man, from a strongly unionist background, who went to the chapel and personally removed paint which had been thrown around the door by some of the morons protesting there. Unlike some other areas you could count on the fingers of one, or possibly two hands, the number of people killed in the Ballymena area during “The Troubles”

          • Pointis January 6, 2016 at 12:38 pm #

            The protest didn’t go on for years but the intimidation did!

            There were and are many good people in Ballymena and other Loyalist strongholds both Catholic and Protestants but there are also quite a few violent narrow minded bigots and because of them Catholics kept their Irishness low profile and open shows of Republicanism would be few and far between.

            The numbers of deaths during the troubles is a red herring!

          • Jude Collins January 6, 2016 at 2:57 pm #

            I seem to remember one large ex-rugby player playing a prominent intolerance at the Harryville thing…

          • Pointis January 6, 2016 at 11:31 pm #

            Mr Tweed was indeed!

            You just need to put Ballymena and sectarianism into the Google search engine and the anti-catholic sectarianism you turn up would make your eyes pop!

  29. billy January 1, 2016 at 10:28 pm #

    toome was a bit of a hot spot at one time, the glens dunloy ect troublemakers .they didnt know they were living thats why everybody had a caravan there

  30. pointis January 2, 2016 at 2:40 am #

    Michael C, I can see where you are coming from. My mother was brought up in a town that was 97% Catholic and probably Nationalist but worked in factory in the town where all the managers were Protestant and she did not think there was anything strange or peculiar about that arrangement! There was definitely some “uncle Toms cabin” about her thinking and none of my siblings adhered to it, but it did not stop her deference to people who she felt were above her station and that included the Catholic Clergy and people who held titlles.

    I am astonished that this attitude still prevails but I suspect it comes from people who have no self confidence in their own ability to exercise control over their own lives!

    Luckily they have people who remind them of the benefits of fairness and equality!

  31. pointis January 2, 2016 at 3:04 am #

    Michael C, I wouldn’t be so harsh on Catholics who lived in Larne or other Loyalist areas until you hear what they really have had to put up with for years. It is easy to talk about what you would do to stand up against Loyalist thuggery until you have lived amongst it. It is not that long ago since young Catholic boys and girls were being advised not to put Irish down on any exam papers or any indication that they were Catholic down on their exam papers or their UCAS forms lest they end up in the bin!

    Catholics who lived in Nationalist areas really do not know what it was like to live under the jack boot of loyalist control where the slightest tolerance of nationalist sentiments could result in all your windows being put through while the RUC claimed they were protecting the peace by arresting you and of course all the video evidence was lost because nobody had made a formal complaint at the time.

    • Jude Collins January 2, 2016 at 8:50 am #

      I can confirm that. I used to receive applications for UU from pupils in Catholic schools in W Belfast who ticked thie ‘British’ box for nationality…Go figger.

      • neill January 2, 2016 at 3:58 pm #

        Do you have proof of that so we can all see it?

        • pointis January 3, 2016 at 11:47 am #

          Hi Neill, I was taught in a Catholic Grammer School and we were schooled that when we were writing essays for our GCE ‘o’ level English to ensure that we made no references which would allow an assessor to determine that we were Catholics as it may result in your test being marked down.

          We were instructed to tick the box ‘British’ on UCAS and PCAS forms by the head of Careers who made it quite clear that it was not a request but an instruction! We were told if you were serious about wanting a place in University you had to claim to be British.

        • Jude Collins January 3, 2016 at 6:58 pm #

          Sorry Neill – you’ll just have to take my perfidious word for it…

      • Wolfe tone January 2, 2016 at 4:57 pm #

        I recently spoke to a person who works in an advisory capacity for people claiming welfare etc. This person told me the strangest thing. When forms were being filled out the taigs would tick n.irish in the nationality box but even more peculiar, the Protestant folk ticked irish lol. The Irish are cute hoors that’s for sure!

    • neill January 2, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

      Equally think of the protestants who live in majority Catholic areas I am very sure they could tell you stories how they were intimidated but as we know it’s only unionists are bullies.

      • Ryan January 3, 2016 at 2:00 am #

        ” but as we know it’s only unionists are bullies.”

        They certainly don’t apologize for it Neill, that’s for sure. DUP’s Gregory Campbell (I was hoping he would’ve become DUP leader, would’ve been a laugh) was once asked by Stephen Nolan: “Do you apologize to the Catholic community for how they were treated by Unionists in the past?”. Gregory’s response: “Apologize for what!?” in a tone of outrage and anger.

        Gregory went on about Protestants in Derry moving out of areas (of course he fails to mention this was happening all over the north to both communities). You’d think Derry Catholics were marching Derry Protestants to Gas Chambers the way Gregory was carrying on but yet it was Unionists that were doing all the discrimination, vote rigging and gerrymandering in Derry, not Derry Catholics.

        Unionists, like yourself Neill, do have a very serious issue when it comes facing up to your faults and the faults of Unionism as a whole. Hence why very few people take Unionism seriously when they are outraged about others.

        • neill January 3, 2016 at 2:29 pm #

          Ryan get your own house in order before you start criticising others.

      • pointis January 3, 2016 at 12:17 pm #

        Neill you are probably right, there are probably Protestants living in majority Catholic areas who have been intimidated because they are Protestants and that is despicable but I can guarantee that the community in those areas were not supporting the actions of the thugs.

        Those towns are not decked out in painted green, white and orange kerbstones or the centres of the towns bedecked in intimidating paramilitary flags. The would not sit idly by while such flags are erected but what is disturbing is that they sit idly by when loyalist paramilitary flags are erected in mixed areas allowing Catholics to feel intimidated.

        What also disturbs people is the sort of thing that occurred when Robert Hamill was murdered by Loyalist sectarian thugs in Portadown. Police colluded in protecting the murderer and video footage from cctv cameras in the town owned by businesses was mysteriously wiped. Doesn’t inspire much faith in people doing the right thing!

        • pointis January 3, 2016 at 12:19 pm #

          That should have said the police force would not sit idly by while ……

        • Jude Collins January 3, 2016 at 1:37 pm #

          And the event is commemorated by Orange marchers doing the bouncy-bouncy song, without a word of condemnation from unionist politicians. I find that so appalling.

          • neill January 3, 2016 at 2:36 pm #

            Once again that is not the truth that song well predates that terrible event.

          • Jude Collins January 3, 2016 at 7:01 pm #

            It may well do – certainly the Sloop John B predates the Famine Song. But that doesn’t mean the SJB and the original of the Bouncy-Bouncy haven’t been adapted to give vent to bigotry. I think you know that, neill. It really is too rancid to waste time disputing.

        • neill January 3, 2016 at 2:33 pm #

          Pointus intimidation can be subtle or unsubtle as you are well aware sometimes you don’t need to pait kerbstones or fly flags to intimidate afterall how many unionists would live in Crossmaglen Bellaghy or Dunloy?

          • pointis January 3, 2016 at 9:16 pm #

            Yes I agree Neill intimidation can be both subtle or unsubtle and both need to be addressed but when the mechanisms of law and order refuse to deal with the unsubtle type it is extremely unlikely that they are going to bother with the unsubtle version and that is what is unsettling for any decent member of society!

          • pointis January 4, 2016 at 11:39 am #

            Sorry Neill, that should read ‘if the forces of law and order are unwilling to deal with the subtle type’

  32. michael c January 2, 2016 at 10:26 am #

    Yes Neill,McAvoy did precede O’Loan but McAvoy succeeded “catholic” independent Paddy Burke.As for my knowledge of Ballymena being slight,I had the misfortune to work there for a period and witnessed the uncle Toms first hand.People who were christened Sean or Seamus calling themselves John or James,preten ding not to know people from Republican areas and referring to Britain as “the country” (eg commenting on some event in England and saying “och the country is in a wild state altogether”!)

    • neill January 2, 2016 at 11:39 am #

      You do talk some rubbish Michael just because you think something is true doesn’t make it so does it?

      No I suspect you don’t like ballymena because it is perceived to be a unionist town that’s like me hating Omagh or Strabane for being nationalist towns

  33. michael c January 2, 2016 at 2:40 pm #

    Neill,you asked me for examples of Ballymena catholics being Uncle Toms.I gave you my experience of these craven “cap tippers” and because you don’t like it .you brand it rubbish.