Irony and amputated history


Irony abounded yesterday.  Enda Kenny spoke of Martin McGuinness’s ‘terrorist past’  while standing in front of a huge portrait of Michael Collins which decorates his office. BBC and RTÉ reporters stressed the need to see Martin McGuinness ‘in the round’ –  that is, besides being a peacemaker who worked tirelessly for reconciliation, he was responsible for so many deaths. To drive home the second feature of McGuinness, they had moving testimony from those whose parents or spouses had been killed by the IRA and who blamed Martin McGuinness for this. And yes, the broadcasting outlets did stress how much Martin McGuinness had given of himself to reach out to unionism. They forgot to add how little response he got from unionist politicians.

Or at least how little response he got while he lived.  Yesterday,  both Peter Robinson and David Trimble released their salute to McGuinness, and they both spoke with generosity and warmth about his achievements. And the irony? They waited until he was dead. Had they issued similar statements when he was alive, when he was making effort after effort to bridge the gulf between republicanism/nationalism and unionism, such interventions could have made all the difference. Sinn Féin would have found it harder to speak of disrespect when two former First Ministers spoke of the Sinn Féin leader with such unequivocal approval.  But they didn’t. They waited until it would have the least impact.

Perhaps most ironic of all,  there was little or no stress placed on what should have been an obvious question: what motivated Martin McGuinness and thousands like him to resort to violence? Was he programmed that way? Were all those IRA men and women motivated by blood-lust and hatred,  a blood-lust and hatred that suddenly boiled over for no reason in the early 1970s and continued for the next two decades, until they they suddenly decided they didn’t want to hate and spill blood any more?

It can’t be stressed often enough: people like McGuinness joined the IRA knowing that their chances of being killed or imprisoned were very high. And yet they did it. Such a decision must have been motivated by something. Fifty years of unionist misrule? Attacks by the RUC and B Specials on civil rights marchers?  The beating to death by the RUC of Catholic man Sammy Devenney, in his own home, in front of his children, because he had dared to participate in a civil rights march?

We could go on and on listing motivation points.  As some have quite rightly pointed out, not everyone took a violent path like Martin McGuinness. John Hume didn’t, and thousands of  his followers didn’t. But then if you look at the composition of the SDLP, while far from exclusively middle-class, it had a great deal more middle-class members than Sinn Féin, just as the IRA had a lot more working-class members than middle-class. Catholic working-class areas were on the receiving end of everything that was detestable in the Orange state, including unlawful killing. Little wonder, then, as Pearse Doherty said on radio yesterday, that so many of them decided, in Martin McGuinness’s words, to “fight back”.  Doherty also added that he hoped that if he had been in the same position as Martin McGuinness at that time, he too would have “fought back”. As a devout coward,  it’s obvious  to me that fighting back took real courage. We can feel fairly safe in suggesting that not  all decisions to follow the peaceful path were based on morality.

Finally,  tribute should be paid to Mary Lou McDonald. Among all the verbiage and photographs of McGuinness with that pistol, among all the talk of McGuinness having ‘two lives’, the IRA life and the political life,  the Sinn Féin vice-president suggested that people should stop marvelling at the change which occurred in Martin McGuinness in the mid-1990s.  Far from being unique, she said, Irish history is replete with men who followed the same path as McGuinness. How a state which had Eamon de Valera as its Taoiseach and President, had Sean Lemass as its Taoiseach, had Frank Aitken as its Minister of External Affairs, people like Dan Breen, Sean MacBride, Richard Mulcahy, Cathal Brugha – how can such a state speak of the ‘contradictions’ in Martin McGuinness’s life?

Enough with the faux bewilderment that Martin McGuinness had a Damascene conversion to politics. Enough with the partial history of our country.


58 Responses to Irony and amputated history

  1. TheHist March 22, 2017 at 10:51 am #

    Excellent article, Jude. Yet again we see the double standards of people like Enda Kenny. What’s the difference between Michael Collins and Martin McGuinness? Why would he idolise, support and legitimise Michael Collins any more than any Republican who were involved in the post 1969 conflict? Both Collins and McGuinness espoused Republican principles, both were involved in militant Republicanism and both made the move to political progress in pursuit of their aim – if anything McGuinness had a longer period of politicisation and political progress and absence from militarism than Collins, who was struck down in his prime – Britain’s most wanted man who even engaged in militarism after the political settlement of 1921. Its complete hypocrisy from Kenny and others in the Southern Establishment who claim heritage to those “freedom fighting” militant republicans who fought in the Easter Rising, War of Independence and Civil War yet everyone and anyone afterwards are defined as a “terrorist.” – oh wait! that’s right … Irish History and the struggle for freedom ended with the partition of the country – how silly of me!

    On a separate note – I do not recall the same level of scrutiny on Ian Paisley’s background after his death. Paisley, through his actions stroked the flames of tension and sectariarism pre 1969 that culminated in the eventual outbreak of violence. I listened intently last night as some contributors on the news blamed Martin McGuinness for causing the Troubles – Inherently, the Troubles caused Martin McGuinness to go down the path he did. Years of the Orange State discriminating against Catholics / Nationalists. The re-formation of the UVF attacking and murdering innocent Catholics – Malvern Arms on the Shankill. The explosions perpetrated by the UVF. The denial of basic civil rights by big house unionism in the face of the Terence O’Neill reforms. The hatred and indoctrination perpetrated by Ian Paisley. The reckless actions of the RUC and B-Specials. The attacks on the Civil Rights marches – Burntollet. The Battle of the Bogside. The burning of Bombay Street. All before the PIRA even came into existence, Even before Martin McGuinness became engaged in militant Republicanism. And what frustrates me is the fact that media commentators do not challenge these inaccuracies!

    • Kieran Maxwell March 22, 2017 at 10:59 am #

      Very well said TheHist! Maith thú mo chara.

    • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 11:21 am #

      It was the bombing campaign and it’s disastrous consequences that brought futility to the conflict here and the sectarian element. No one recognised that as conducive to Irish Freedom. Young people were victims

      • fiosrach March 22, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

        So no sectarianism before the bombing? You must be very young and or/naif.

        • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 12:52 pm #

          I’m not saying that the bombing caused sectarianism but that it was an element that did not exist during the other conflict in the south which I also think shouldn’t have happened as it led to civil war and partition.

      • TheHist March 22, 2017 at 12:22 pm #

        Dominic – sectarianism was endemic long before the bombing campaign began – Perhaps take a plunge back a few century’s and you may find the evidence.

        • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 1:46 pm #

          I’m as aware of the history of Ireland as you but the idea of many young men of twenty taking up guns for patriotic purposes is misleading in my view. It was more complex than that and excusing the slaughter on that grounds is lame.

          • TheHist March 22, 2017 at 2:15 pm #

            Your initial comment, Dominic does not fill me full of confidence that your as aware of the history of Ireland as you claim.

            Why then, in your opinion Dominic, did these “men of twenty” takes up guns? I did not claim it was for “patriotic purposes” – so I don’t know why your claiming that it is misleading.

            For some, maybe many, in taking up the gun, I am assuming it was reactionary – it was an option of last resort – It was a reaction to the treatment perpetrated by the Unionist state with their armed militia, the B-Specials. It was a reaction to the endemic second class treatment that the state offered Nationalists / Catholics. It was a reaction to the years of discrimination in jobs, housing etc and a refusal to recognise or concede basic civil rights by a system that infused division and segregation . It was a reaction to the murders of innocent Catholics – notably Peter Ward on the Shankill and Samuel Devenny in Derry. It was a reaction to the sectarian and anti-Catholic undertones that were being publicly endorsed by Ian Paisley and his followers. It was a reaction to the treatment of peaceful civil right protestors who wanted nothing more than to be treated on equal footing with their Protestant neighbours – the result – they were beaten off the streets by the state forces. It was a reaction to events such as the burning of Bombay Street – Catholics being forced from their homes by armed and dangerous Protestants.

            How could events, as stated above, not have an impact on a young minds? Particularly as Jude alluded too – young working class minds like Martin McGuinness who at a young age was denied a career opportunity to be a mechanic because he was a Catholic and had witnessed at first hand the treatment given out to his community. Politics most certainly wasn’t the answer back then as politics had evidently been used as a beating stick against the Nationalist and Catholic population – political violence, it seemed, for some was the only mechanism whereby change seemed possible – the only weapon that could be used to be effectively heard. When people start to beat you, when they try to control your mindset and try to put your down, a reaction is inevitable – a violent reaction, more-so. And it didn’t end there – Internment, house searches, arrests, curfew, murder of civilians (notably Ballymurphy and Bloody Sunday) all served to intensified the hatred towards the imposition of those in charge. The British and the Unionist state created the conditions for the emergence of the PIRA. The PIRA would not have existed if the basic demands of the NICRA had been met. Its wholly convenient to blame the PIRA on the Troubles – the Unionist Sate allied with the British Government allowed for it to come to a situation where Nationalists / Catholics would eventually fight back – peaceful through the NICRA this had not worked – what alternative was there for young Nationalists?

          • TheHist March 22, 2017 at 2:27 pm #

            Nobody wanted violence. Nobody wanted the suffering of 30 years of conflict – death and destruction. Families torn apart. Many lives wasted in prison. But we have to examine the conditions that allowed for this outbreak in 1969 and escalated to unprecedented levels.

          • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 6:30 pm #

            The bombing was not an act of defence but an act of aggression against ordinary people serving the community. British soldiers were manning checkpoints in nationalist towns to prevent bombs coming in. Hardly an act of self preservation. Mid seventies republicans were to busy fighting each other to bother the Brits. As for eighties republicans, read Killing Rage by Eamonn Collins. Pandoras box well and truly opened

          • jessica March 22, 2017 at 7:35 pm #

            What started the conflict and what happened after it started are two very different things Dominic.
            Who do you think opened Pandoras box in the first place and at what point was it opened?
            Was is opened in 1968, 1969, 1970, 1971, 1972 or later?
            Many feel the conflict should have ended in 1975, but Robert Nairac seen to it that it didn’t.
            A lot of the feuds on both sides were caused deliberately by state agents who sowed mistrust and dissent.
            It was a tactic used, if it wasn’t for the introduction of the cell structure, it would have finished the job off in the 70s.

          • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

            Was the bombing campaign an act of self defence or self preservation? Did the campaign bring more British soldiers onto our streets increasing confrontations between nationalist young people and adding fuel to the fire? Did it not make the Unionist community more fearful about the motivations of people looking for justice and fairness in society?

          • jessica March 22, 2017 at 8:06 pm #

            Dominic, every act in the conflict brought more people into it.
            Every act was an act of aggression, every act added fuel to the fire, every act made people more fearful.
            Who planted the first bomb Dominic, who planted the second, the third?
            Who started using violence first?
            Who killed first?
            Once the killing starts, you cannot simply ignore who started it because it woke a sleeping dog that proved to be just as deadly than the dog that woke it.

            I will never, ever agree with or accept any one sided view on the conflict, especially one that ignores the facts around how the conflict started in the first place.

            And I will never ever trust or respect anyone who espouses such narrow minded views.

          • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 8:37 pm #

            I’m not going to join you on your macabre merry go round Jessica. You go ahead on your own or with whoever wants to join you. The fact is that we were all left to pick up the pieces when the ride was over. Some a lot more than others. I hope you think it was worth it and that Ireland is a better place for it. Personally I look back on it with a sore and sorry heart.

      • jessica March 22, 2017 at 2:26 pm #

        That is simply rubbish Dominic, conflict is always futile but all too often unavoidable.
        It is also hardly surprising to find sectarianism where you find conflict.
        What you are ignoring is the wrongs that led to the conflict, what forced people into a conflict in the first pace.
        It wasn’t Irish unity, it was self preservation against violence against people seeking civil rights.
        All conflicts are terrible and involve terrible things, but if you are going to ignore the terrible things that caused even more terrible things just to suit your own perspective then your words of condemnation are mealy-mouthed and meaningless.

        • Wolfe tone March 22, 2017 at 3:14 pm #

          “It wasn’t Irish unity, it was self preservation against violence against people seeking civil rights.”

          Sorry that’s simply not true. Me thinks you will find most who joined the IRA, at least from the hunger strike era onwards, joined and were encouraged to join to force the removal of the British state from Ireland. I would hazard a guess civil rights wasn’t the motivation. Just saying.

          • jessica March 22, 2017 at 4:54 pm #

            If you look at what I said WT, “what forced people into a conflict in the first place”.
            It was not for Irish unity and it was the violence against people seeking civil rights or those who decided to fight back.

            Once the conflict started, from then on especially since the 75 ceasefires, people on both sides joined in for their own reasons.
            But the fact remains, the conflict was started by the attacks on those seeking civil rights.
            Would you still disagree?

    • Ernsesider March 22, 2017 at 11:57 am #

      Thanks TheHist, that is a very good post. Martin fought against injustice, sectarian oppression and brutality. He will always be remembered as a great Irish Patriot and Statesma ..!!

  2. Donal Kennedy March 22, 2017 at 11:02 am #

    Great, Jude. I wish I had written that piece! It should be republished worldwide.

    • Jude Collins March 22, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

      Grma, Donal…

      • Sherdy March 22, 2017 at 4:30 pm #

        Jude, thanks for picking up on my comment/tweet yesterday about Enda and irony.
        Pity you hadn’t a grab of the picture – think I saw it on RTE 6pm news.

  3. Eolach March 22, 2017 at 12:04 pm #

    You’re in the same revisionist mode as the British , Unionist and Free Staters , Dominic. Without the bombing campaign and the violence there would be no peace process ,no Good Friday agreement, nothing…. rud at bith… Unionism in cohorts with Britain ruled a gerrymandered ,racist , sectarian statelet for 50 years with no intention of giving an inch……the civil rights campaign proved that conclusively to a watching world. Sometimes , and I abhor violence , it’s the only way … most certainly the only language that Britain ,and it has revelled in it for centuries , understands …..a few strategic bombs in London’s financial heartland soon prompted an eagerness for powwow. In the immediate aftermath of Martin’s death ,whilst feelings are raw and emotional , could you not have just refrained from trying to make some sort of obscure political statement…..if you’ve nothing positive to say ,given that you’re an SDLP supporter ,then bite your tongue.

    • Willie D. March 22, 2017 at 7:17 pm #

      ” Without the bombing campaign and the violence there would have been no peace process, no Good Friday agreement.” Honestly, some of the comments on this site are almost beyond satire. If there had been no bombing and no violence we wouldn’t have needed a peace process in the first place. As to the Good Friday agreement, it was merely a tweaked version of the power-sharing executive of 1973-74, which Paisley and co rejected because they thought they could restore the old Stormont Parliament and which the I.R.A. also opposed because they still thought they could achieve their ends through violence. A quarter of a century later, after much pointless death and destruction, Paisley ends up sharing power with the I.R.A’s political front. Lack of true vision on both sides lead to many people never attaining Martin McGuiness’s relatively modest lifespan.

      • jessica March 22, 2017 at 10:26 pm #

        No WIllie D, a blind sectarian hatred of Catholics led to the conflict.
        If it wasn’t for that hatred and the attacks that people like Ian Paisley instigated, there would have been no conflict.
        Lets put the blame at the start point where it belongs.

        We can share the blame for what happened during the conflict but we cannot share the blame for what started it.

    • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 8:09 pm #

      Without the bombing campaign there would have been no need for a peace process, no massive presence of British solders leading to confrontations with nationalist youths and no excuse for Unionism to escape to

      • jessica March 22, 2017 at 8:38 pm #

        “Without the bombing campaign there would have been no need for a peace process, no massive presence of British solders leading to confrontations with nationalist youths and no excuse for Unionism to escape to”

        Its only Wikipedia Dominic but I assume the facts are accurate none the less.

        It has the troubles starting in 1968 with the forming of the Ulster Constitution Defence Committee by Ian Paisley.
        The UVF declaring a statement of war on the IRA even though they were inactive.
        On 24 August the first civil rights march took place and was attacked by loyalists.

        On 5 October a planned civil rights march in Derry was confronted with the loyalist Apprentice Boys deciding to march at the same time.
        The NI Government banned the civil rights march which was defied and police officers surrounded the marchers and beat them indiscriminately and without provocation injuring over 100 people, including a number of MPs.
        This sparked two days of serious rioting in Derry between Catholics and the police

        The attacks on civil rights marches continued into 1969, by then the loyalist UVF and UPV were planting bombs destroying water and electricity installations and blaming it on the IRA and the civil rights movement. They planted 6 bombs in total.

        British soldiers were sent to guard installations in March.

        In April at another march in Derry, an uninvolved Catholic civilian, Samuel Devenny was beaten by police in his own home and died from his injuries.

        On 13 July police confronted nationalists who were throwingf stones at an Orange Hall in Dungiven, they beat Francis McCloskey, a Catholic civilian (aged 67). He died of his injuries the next day

        In August 1969, the UVF planted their first bomb in the Republic of Ireland, damaging the RTÉ Television Centre in Dublin

        Another Apprentice Boys march led to serious rioting in Derry leading to the battle of the bogside where police, backed by loyalists, entered the Bogside in armoured cars and tried to suppress the riot by using CS gas, water cannon and eventually firearms. The almost continuous rioting lasted for two days.

        In response to events in Derry, Irish nationalists held protests throughout Northern Ireland. Some of these became violent. In Belfast, loyalists responded by attacking nationalist districts. Rioting also erupted in Newry, Armagh, Crossmaglen, Dungannon, Coalisland and Dungiven. Six Catholics and two Protestants were shot dead and at least 133 were treated for gunshot wounds. Scores of houses and businesses were burnt out, most of them owned by Catholics. Thousands of families, mostly Catholics, were forced to flee their homes and refugee camps were set up in the Republic.

        The British Army was deployed on the streets of Northern Ireland, which marked the beginning of Operation Banner.

        Three people were shot dead during street violence in the loyalist Shankill area of Belfast. Two were Protestant civilians (George Dickie and Herbert Hawe) shot by the British Army and one was an RUC officer (Victor Arbuckle) shot by the UVF. Arbuckle was the first RUC officer to be killed in the Troubles. The loyalists “had taken to the streets in protest at the Hunt Report, which recommended the disbandment of the B Specials and disarming of the RUC”.

        The UVF detonated bombs in the Republic of Ireland. In Dublin it detonated a car bomb near the Garda Síochána central detective bureau. It also bombed a power station at Ballyshannon, a Wolfe Tone memorial in Bodenstown, and the Daniel O’Connell monument in Dublin.

        In December 1969 a split formed in the Irish Republican Army, creating what was to become the Official IRA and Provisional IRA.

        • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 10:08 pm #

          Where’s the relevance of that little mine of “information”?

          • jessica March 22, 2017 at 10:21 pm #

            It was not an IRA bombing campaign that led to british soldiers on our streets and killing as you had claimed.

            That little mine of “information” were the true events that led to the IRA reforming and the conflict moving from one sided violence to republican aggression in response.

            It is the missing truth which has been deliberately forgotten and ignored from popular media.

          • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 10:37 pm #

            I didn’t say it was the bombing campaign that led to that, I was describing what I saw and commenting on its achievements

          • jessica March 22, 2017 at 10:41 pm #

            Then perhaps it is time we stopped making such stupid and futile comments.

          • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 10:45 pm #

            Aye right

          • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 10:58 pm #

            By the way, the IRA were recruiting in the 60s and paying members. They also had plans to blow up factories

          • jessica March 22, 2017 at 11:05 pm #

            It was that same malevolent, mischievous and paranoid attitude that led to the violence against the civil rights movement in the first place Dominic.

            It is sad to see that it still endures.

          • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 11:14 pm #

            The orange state did that; that’s gone now

          • Ernsesider March 23, 2017 at 4:14 pm #

            Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 11:14 pm #
            The orange state did that; that’s gone now

            If you really believe that Dominic, you are too stupid to be let out on your own ..!!

          • Dominic Hendron March 23, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

            Or maybe I should just go on a “journey” ; worked for others.

  4. paddykool March 22, 2017 at 12:06 pm #

    The bloody short-sighted sanctimony always gets my goat!.What planet do these reporters come from? Surely they know that Northern Ireland was experienced in two separate ways ever since its inception.That’s the starting point for any conversation.There has always been a “them” and an”us”….each living within a little personalised historical bubble. We were all schooled separately, socialised mostly separately and had radically different views on the legitimacy of the place we lived in and how we had arrived in this situation of split-politics and personalities.Sometimes we crossed the lines a little and mixed socially , but for the most part we all lived out our different histories.
    Even with that there is a historical consensus across the world that the Northern Ireland state was run into the ground by unionism’s fear and lack of vision and even Westminster realised it eventually after letting it fester for fifty years.By that time the damage had been done and there was a momentum to change it forever. Most of the violent action came from those working classes who had little to lose anyway. The middle -classes right across the board , stepped back and were able to step back because they had everything to lose and maybe even a means to escape if it all went wrong . The nationalist middle -classes could afford to send their sons and daughters to further education but that was an alien idea to many working-class families . Working -class young adults with a further education were still something of a novelty back then.The middle -classes weren’t the ones interned in dawn swoops and the police didn’t break into their homes in the leafy suburbs.That happened in the enclaves and working-class ghettos and it happened mostly on the nationalist side initially where little two-up two down crumbling terraced ratholes were where they lived .
    Reporters talk blithely about having choices and how by the time the violence started up everything that had been demanded by Civil Rights was already settled . That was nonsense , because just like the Good Friday Agreement, there was intransigence still bedded into the system and no -one actually expected anything ever to be any different.Jude’s right in that many who didn’t get involved were simply afraid .That’s human nature. Many wanted a quiet life but were aware of the awful truth of misrule too and understood why some might fight back . That could be seen in the huge shows of unionist strength and manipulation on the streets and the control that they had over power and industry. Power, the economy and industry was the real pride of established unionism and that’s why a plan was probably made to destroy it piece by piece. Everyone suffered from that action though, many nationalists’ businesses were also destroyed too and many lives ended. Favourite pubs bombed ..The police-force was predominantly unionist , so they were also targeted because they were the ones imposing the government’s wishes right or wrong .Young soldiers from England were added to the mix and so the violence continued as stones and bottles became guns and bombs.
    People didn’t simply wake up and say that this is the thing I’m going to do for the rest of my life, but it must have seemed like a good idea at the time to kick back.
    I believe that it would still have continued generation after generation without the input of people like Martin McGuinness ,because it still seems that far from taking any responsibility for the thing ever starting up , some in the unionist family appear to think it simply popped up like mushrooms in the dawn ,without any real reason. At the same time they demand apologies for it ever happening .Like I say , we live in two separate realities here.
    As for irony….? Where would you start? There have been so many war-mongering kings, queens, Presidents and Prime Ministers who are responsible for so much death here and across the world. They give the orders. Some like to call that kind of killing “legitimate “when much of it isn’t. It’s usually all about the money.Many talk about all the murders that Martin McGuinness was responsible for and yet I have never heard or seen any of it relayed on television or written about in detail in any book or film. Who did he murder? I’m a curious kind of cove and love to hear a well-researched yarn, but I’ve never heard anything about anyone he has killed. He may have instructed people to do that , but I have no information .Was he a good shot with that pistol we see him with in photographs or maybe he couldn’t hit a barn- door? ..What exactly is really known of the man in that context.? We know he was an able negotiator even in his twenties, but what else?
    One thing’s for sure, somebody like Martin McGuinness wasn’t in it for the riches or the money like many we could all name..

    • fiosrach March 22, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

      Good comprehensive post,harry. As Christians say: Jesus was a good man but ………..

      • paddykool March 22, 2017 at 12:42 pm #

        Speaking of Christians and irony , fiosrach, i’ve just heard Jim Allister giving his bitter ” tribute” to Martin Mc G on the radio ,just now…. it was almost mind-numbingly so full of hatred that his own brain might consume him…I take it that he isn’t a man of faith and forgiveness?

        • fiosrach March 22, 2017 at 1:09 pm #

          No,Harry,he’s an evangelical, fundamentalist,provincial,well educated Christian.

          • paddykool March 22, 2017 at 1:16 pm #

            Ah……..I see………………………………!

        • Sherdy March 22, 2017 at 4:32 pm #

          Oh, he is a man of faith and compassion – but its very selective.
          No Fenians need apply!

    • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 8:14 pm #

      I always thought the “plan” was to bleed the British exchequer

      • paddykool March 22, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

        Well …the British exchequer was hit for the insurance and recompense in the end. They paid for all the rebuilding , remember..

        • Dominic Hendron March 22, 2017 at 10:03 pm #

          Where did the exchequer get the money from?

  5. paul March 22, 2017 at 12:10 pm #

    Perfectly stated Jude. I think the hypocrisy that the 26 county statelet was founded on and thrives on to this day was summed up so well yesterday. I do not remember any list of “Third Force” victims being published when Paisely passed. It beggars belief to listen to Kenny, Martin et al. I always say the IRA did not operate in a vacuum. Violence was brought to Derry by outsiders, no mention of that

  6. BBreus March 22, 2017 at 12:16 pm #

    True, true, but can we also have enough of the hierarchy of those who took up arms v those who didn’t please?

    Catholics seen to be doing well for themselves were also targeted with internment, unlawful killings and unfair recruitment and public procurement contract processes. John Hume and SDLP supporters did indeed ‘fight back’ – not everything in getting to the peace process was about guns. Swell in SF support at the start of the peace process was as much about support for a political fight back.

  7. meh March 22, 2017 at 12:45 pm #

    “The middle -classes right across the board , stepped back and were able to step back because they had everything to lose and maybe even a means to escape if it all went wrong . The nationalist middle -classes could afford to send their sons and daughters to further education but that was an alien idea to many ”

    Dunno where you’re from yourself paddy, but I do know that where i’m from plenty of “middle class” Catholics were slaughtered in Loyalist sectarian tit-for-tat murders for the very fact that they were taigs “doing well” for themselves. those victims weren’t able to do much “stepping back”

    • paddykool March 22, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

      Well , I know that ,but I was speaking there in general terms about internment in the early days and which homes were raided by the police and army. Nationalists were the first ones targeted. They started with the working-classes . I know that on the streets when loyalists started their random killing sprees, any Catholic/Nationalist of whatever class was fair game to be bagged , to these people .as long as you were perceived to be a Catholic it didn’t matter . There was even a dark joke …”Are ye a Cakohlic atheist or a Pradestant atheist?”

  8. Perkin Warbeck March 22, 2017 at 2:28 pm #

    It was strictly predictable that the Finest Mind in the Free Southern Stateen, Esteemed Blogmeister, would be out of the traps of The Unionist Times with the all the speed of a modern day Master McGrath when it came to respectually dissing Martin McGuinness.

    Yesterday, Fintan O’Toole (for it is he!), excerising almost preternatual restraint opined that ‘McGuinness had been a mass killer – during his period of membership and leadership the IRA killed 1,781 people, including 644 civilians’

    Actually, this lip-sync think-piece first appeared in TUT back in January so he had already established a good two month lead on the quasi-posse of slow-learning skinners alive of the Shinners. Whereas these perennial runners-up have mere ink in their veins, FOT has, erm, think in his veins. Think will always dink one over on mere ink.


    What most impresses one is the facilitiy which the word-smith displays with the numerals: 1,781 / 644. Figues at his fingertips.


    Now, the Carbine FOT-prints of the Finest Mind in the FSS are, unsprisingly, to be found all over the most prestitgious Print Media in the World, well, the English-speaking World which is, mar is eol dúinn go leir mar Leipreacháin, the one and the same thingy,more or less..

    When the New York Times and the Chicago World Tirbune or the Observer and the Guardian want a 500 hundred word piece of profunfidy on the fundament of Hibernia the go-to guy is invariably FOT.

    While the Skibereen Eagle liked to keep a global eye on things, in keeping with the canine motif, FOT might well be described as, erm, the Skibereen Beagle.

    Which means that another Commander-in-Chief regularly gets a mench, even an uber-mensch from time to time from him.

    One is, of course, not referring to C-in-C Trump, a mere neophyte, barely a wet tweet in the job, , but rather one who has been C-in-C since (gulp) February 6, 1952 (this facility with the numerals is catching ! ).

    We are referring here to the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces (BAF), a fact which has caused the slow-learners of Sunndingdale to carp. In fact, they never tire of harping on about how Fine-minded Fintan, in contrast to his effortless numeracy where the supernummeries/ piranhas of the PIRA are concerned, comes across as curiously faffy where the BAF is concerned.

    The Perkin, needless to say, is not among these carpers who keeping harping on, about this seeming faffing. .For in truth there is no substance to this seeming.. Even as we tap on the laptop, FOT, the eternal seeker after truth, is computing the BAF equivalent of the crucial 1781: 644 ratio (see above).

    No mean feat for FOT, indeed, no mean feat for even a natural born Number Cruncher.
    Considering the number of conflicts, wars, schmozzles, flaps, bones to pick, doneybrooks, punch-ups, knock down-drag outs, rumbles in the jungle, brawls, raics, squabbles, that Queen Elizabeth the Second (for it is she ! ) has overseen since she first reluctantly enthrusted herself with the Commander-in-Chief gig of the British Armed Forces.

    Yes, indeed, QE2, – so good, they gave her two birthdays !

    The gentle, gracious Ma’am, qua warmongering C-in-C has had to contend, sadly, with such dust-ups, melees, rumpuses, rí-rás, hold-me-back-let-me-atoms, bump heads, fracases a la fricassée, put-up-your-dukes, battle royals, rúilli búille and even, (gasp) differences of opinion all the way from:

    – the Malayan Emergency, the Korean War, the Anglo-Egyptian War, the Mau Mau Uprising, the Jebel Akdha War, the Cyprus Emergency, the Suez Crisis,the Border Campaign (aka the Black Sow’s Dyke Brannigan), the First Cod War, the Indoneisian-Malayan Conflict,the Dhofar Rebelllon…

    -Phew (pause for breath)

    – Aden Emergency, the Nigerian Civil War, The Troubles (see BSD Brannigan above), the Nigerian Civil War, the Second Cod War, the Third Cod War, the Falklands War, the Lebanon Conflict, Gulf War, Bronian War, Operation Desert Fox, Kosovo War…

    -(Comfort Stop)

    ……Sierra Leone Civil War, War in Afghanistan, Iraq War, Libyan Civil War and – (gasp) – Military Intervention against ISIS.

    Little wonder that even the Master McGrath of the Monominded Media on Loyal Lifferside is taking so long to compute with all due accuracy ( a divil entirely for the numerical precision is the Greyhound of Grey Matter) the relevant ratio for the Commander-in-Chief of the British Armed Forces.

    Though the corigs on the streets of Dublin are barking that we shall not be left too long more in the dark before Fintan O’Toole (for it is still he!) will reveal the equivalent of 1781: 644 in a Major Media outlet on the Mainland.


    The hare she led on, what a beautiful view,
    As swift as the wind o’er the green fields she flew.
    He jumped on her back and he held up his paw;
    “Three cheers for old Ireland,” said Master McGrath.

    (This is known as the Hare of the Dog verse).

    To conclude: by the time the Finest Mind of the Free Southern Stateen has concluded his continental -sized computation he may well be momentarily exhausted (mentally) to come up with a mot juste to do justice tot he Commander-in-Chief of the (game for a) BAF.

    This is where the ever-helpful Perkin would like to modestly offer his minor assistance, with this mot juste which will not do damage to the mandibles:

    -Mascara Killer.:


  9. Scott Rutherford March 22, 2017 at 3:39 pm #

    Strange how David Trimble and John Hume seem to have been white washed out of history.

    To hear people you would think that it was only McGuiness and Paisley that made the peace.

    • Sherdy March 22, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

      Maybe if you can have the patience and restraint to wait until they die, you might appreciate their no doubt fulsome eulogies!

    • Argenta March 22, 2017 at 11:21 pm #

      A fair point,but you will note the general hostility from most of the posters on this blog to anything that deviates from the line that considers Martin a hero and almost a saint.Surely he was a more complex character than the iconic image being portrayed by Sinn Fein.Like most of us,he had elements of good and bad in him.

  10. michael c March 22, 2017 at 5:24 pm #

    Aye ,the “good old IRA” were choirboys like the Cork FF TD who had his own private graveyard for disappearing his many victims.

  11. gendjinn March 22, 2017 at 8:20 pm #

    There is no point engaging with the colonial mindset. It was ever thus and is not unique to the British imperial.

    This is the brave, honourable British Army celebrated each year at the cenotaph and with their poppies the Kenyan Terror. Frank Kitson went on to head up things in the north. Well initially, then he was promoted sideways into instruction but too much blood and betrayal had been committed.

    Sure that is just one of many, many such stories in all the colonies of the British empire. Whether it is the parachute regiment (what was a frontline NATO force, that was supposed to parachute in behind Russian lines in WWIII, doing policing ANYTHING?) willfully mowing down unarmed marchers and never seeing the inside of a courtroom in 45 years. Or welcoming back in the convicted murderers of Karen Reilly with open arms after leaving prison.

    Of course to illuminate such hypocrisy is be accused of supporting terrorism, just as declaring the innocence of the Birmingham 6 drew the same accusations.

  12. ANOTHER JUDE March 23, 2017 at 5:36 am #

    Award yourselves a lollipop if you spot any of the following words or phrases in the coverage of Martin’s life.

    Civil Rights
    Unionist misrule
    Devenney (as in Samuel)
    Rubber bullets
    Silent Valley reservoir

  13. Freddie mallins March 23, 2017 at 1:06 pm #

    I know AJ, had to listen to Sir Jeffrey the other night droning on about terrorism ( that would be Taig terrorism Jeff ) and how it can never be forgotten what evil was once inherent in Martin Maginness. Not once was he challenged by Noel Thompson about the symptoms that led young men to feel so desperate that they must take up arms. In fact I haven’t heard this obvious line of reasoning raised by Nolan, Carruthers or McKee. It will take time, like all things in Norneverland.

  14. ANOTHER JUDE March 23, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    Him being in the hated UDR which was full of bigots and terrorists and trying to appear all sanctimonious really gets on my nerves. Did we imagine the horror inflicted on Catholics by these people? The IRA never killed anyone for being a Catholic which sort of makes them better than the people Jeffrey hung out with.