Did you hear what Stephen Rea said about Arlene? Oh my goodness!

The Orange Order and some unionist politicians,  when the subject of swaggering parades comes up, like to point out that some people go out of their way to be offended. They may be right. Some people are excessively touchy, just as some people like to remind us who is in charge in  our North-East Nest.

I thought of this as I saw a story in a newspaper this morning. It involved Stephen Rea, who I believe is one of the greatest Irish actors, on stage or screen, ever. Rea has had his knuckles rapped by no less a figure than Jeffrey Donaldson. It seems Rea was pretty cheesed off with Arlene Foster and used industrial language to express his level of outrage:

“Fuck her” the Belfast Telegraph reports him as saying (although the newspaper reports it as “F¨¨¨her”, so he may have said “Find her” or “Feed her”.) Rea goes on “She pushed it right back to Brookeborough, right back to ‘wouldn’t have a Catholic about the place’ – that’s what Brookeborough said. It’s an outrage and she hasn’t apologized for it.”

Jeffrey believes this is pretty ghastly talk, and links it to Gerry Adams saying that the notion of equality would be the Trojan Horse that “breaks the bastards” (Yes, Virginia, the BT reports that as  “b*******” , so it may have been something else entirely.).

Is Jeffrey right to be outraged? I think he has a case. We shouldn’t go around using Anglo-Saxon words about political opponents. Maybe some words as Gaeilge but not Anglo-Saxon ones. But the interesting thing I notice in both Arlene’s case and Stephen Rea’s case is that what they said after “fuck” and “bastards’ (I’ll have to stop this) is not seen as something worthy of reflection.

I think both are. Is Gerry Adams right when he says that the principle of equality would be something unionist politicians couldn’t cope with? I think he may well be right. Witness the outrage over the union flag flying on only eighteen occasions over Belfast City Hall, witness the outrage over republicans commemorating their dead, and other examples I’m sure you can provide for yourself. This is a serious charge. If unionists are capable of coping with equality, they should make it clear how they have done so and how they plan to continue doing so.

Likewise with the Arlene crocodile remarks and what they reveal regarding DUP attitudes to the nationalist/republican electorate and their representatives. Is Stephen Rea right in claiming it brings us back to the time when there shouldn’t be a taig about the place? That’s probably overstating it – but the direction of travel of Arlene’s crocodile comment certainly isn’t towards a bright new day when Sinn Féin are respected as the political choice of the nationalist/republican people. To refer to them or their electorate as reptiles does bring us back to a time when Catholics were seen as a kind of sub-species. And no, she hasn’t apologised. She’s said she’s sorry she said it, but wouldn’t you be sorry if you were a unionist leader and had galvanized the nationalist/republican electorate?

And  should Gerry have used the word “bastards”? No, but it’s good he said what he said about equality, and a pity it was ignored by unionist commentators. Should Stephen Rea have said “Fuck her”? No, but he’s got a strong case in saying her comments have plunged us back towards Brookeborough days.

So hey, Jeffrey. Focus on the criticism implicit or stated in both instances. Dodging the central thrust of what was said is just a fucking waste of time.

38 Responses to Did you hear what Stephen Rea said about Arlene? Oh my goodness!

  1. michael c August 8, 2017 at 8:37 am #

    Arlene said she only regretted “crocodilegate” because SF were able to use it against her.

    • Ethna glover August 8, 2017 at 1:40 pm #

      That’s a cracker Jude.

  2. Larry August 8, 2017 at 9:06 am #

    There can be no compromise with racists. This is Ireland. The Irish language is our language regardless of how many can or cannot now speak it as a result of centuries of institutionalised repression. It is a principle of equality that the native language of our country is respected by all. No-one is asking them to speak it but it must be respected by them. Anything less will simply not do.

    • Eolach August 8, 2017 at 12:09 pm #

      Six simple sentences , Larry , and if everyone read ,understood and agreed then all our bother would be over….. but Unionism can’t even acknowledge their part in anything untoward here ….they are beyond reproach….and that will be their nemesis….their undoing !

  3. Billy Gray. August 8, 2017 at 9:50 am #

    ***** I wouldn’t………. C’mon Billy. I know I used The Word, but not in an unadorned abusive fashion…Gio is right.

    • huge Celt. August 8, 2017 at 11:31 am #

      To be honest, I wouldn’t even kiss her.

  4. Antoin August 8, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    I wouldn’t even let her go to the shop for me!!!

  5. giordanobruno August 8, 2017 at 12:14 pm #

    Some classy comments here. No surprise at all.

  6. fiosrach August 8, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    Tell you the truth,gio, I am surprised at the misogyny. I would be embarrassed if I thought Arlene saw this schoolboy exchange. Despise her for her politics and stop at that.

    • Eolach August 8, 2017 at 12:36 pm #

      Agreed ….racism , sectarianism , homophobia , misogyny etc , all base human traits which have no place is any society .

    • Jude Collins August 8, 2017 at 5:03 pm #

      I agree completely, fiosrach. I appear to have opened the floodgates but I think a moment of thought would show you that there are different ways of using such language – Jude

      • fiosrach August 9, 2017 at 1:48 pm #

        I have no problem with your post,Jude. I think I get what Stephen Rea was intending. I was referring to the bandsmen in your wake.

  7. michael c August 8, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    Surprised to see PBP ‘s Huge celt joining in the lowering of the tone.

  8. Jack Black August 8, 2017 at 1:31 pm #

    She certainly has the knack of being able to turn half the population of NI against her and her party of bigots.

  9. Hugh Britton August 8, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    +++++++++her!! Not even +++++++++++++

    • Jude Collins August 8, 2017 at 5:06 pm #

      Hugh – you simply aren’t permitted to use that kind of language. Yes, I know I did, but in a markedly different manner. No more abuse. I mean it.

  10. Sherdy August 8, 2017 at 2:10 pm #

    You mention that the F word and the B word have Anglo Saxon ancestry, so we native Irish must have been taught them by our would-be British neighbours.
    So can you blame us for learning from them so well that we have to show off how well we have been taught?

  11. Brendan Hewitt August 8, 2017 at 2:30 pm #

    this blog site reads more and more like one of those hyper-nationalistic troll-click-bait hate sites everyday.

    Maybe because it is?

    If you switched the politics and the people, it could pass as something the EDL would come up with.

    • Tam August 8, 2017 at 2:35 pm #

      The amusing thing is the apparent absence of self-awareness from the participants.

    • Scott Rutherford August 8, 2017 at 3:38 pm #

      I can’t help but agree Brendan.

      Compared to other blogs such as Eamon Mallies the tone of this website is really hitting rock bottom.

      • giordanobruno August 8, 2017 at 3:54 pm #

        It is an example of broken window theory.
        “If a window is broken and left unrepaired, people walking by will conclude that no one cares and no one is in charge.”
        Soon the children start breaking all the windows.

  12. moser August 8, 2017 at 3:59 pm #

    There was me thinking you couldn’t say a bad word on here.

  13. Brian Patterson August 8, 2017 at 4:10 pm #

    Have to say I found the standard of debate here rather poor.

  14. Jude Collins August 8, 2017 at 5:10 pm #

    Oh dear. I used ‘fuck’ and ‘bastard’ in the context where they appeared, and added a whimsical tailpiece. That’s quite different from schoolboy abuse. Think what you like, but no abuse and no libel, PLEASE.

  15. paddykool August 8, 2017 at 5:31 pm #

    I have no problem with the use of profanity in context . I sometimes use “fuck” myself and sometimes even “bastard”…especially when iIve missed that nail and hit my thumb.. I do believe we have to be creative when addressing politicians ,though. and lest not forget that these are no wilting little flowers we are daling with. They are all fair game , especially when they screw up…Come to think of it….am i allowed to use the word “screw” or is that on the verboten list too?As for Arlene , she was absolutely responsible for pushing her luck too far and closimg the entire shop by her actions. I really don’t think that can be denied. she could very easily gave saved herself and everyone else a lot of grief by making another choice entirely.She was given that option .
    By the way Jude , Iseem to be excluded from commenting on my own blog at the moment for some techy reason.

    • giordanobruno August 8, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

      I don’t see any big deal about using expletives now and then although it does show a lack of imagination.
      But the problem is with comments like;
      “f**k her? I wouldn’t!” as so wittily suggested by some charmer here.
      Do you think that is acceptable?

  16. Pointis August 8, 2017 at 6:27 pm #

    I have always understood those in the Arts world to have a type of poetic license when using colourful language especially about politics and the actions of politicians.

    I think Stephen Rea was not just giving his opinion but expressing exasperation at how decades of hard work by a wide range of people here could be squandered by people who think they can reverse progress and rewrite history and who think they can make Nationalists compliant with their hair-brained scheme!

    • paddykool August 8, 2017 at 8:30 pm #

      No gio .\I do not think it s acceptable at all and i do not enjoy seeing anyone debasing themselves with cheap slagging. i like a little imaginatio, wit and humour with my slice of poison.I don’t particularly enjoy sexist comments of any kind or from any sex. I do not like racism or homophobia either. I enjoy criticism where it is warrented and we don’t have to dig too far for some of that, but politics here is a cheap peep- show at the best of times , played by some very amateurish clients.As for language . i don’t see language as being bad or good necessarily .It’s all useful but there;s a time and a place for every choice word. ,,,Not in front of the grandchildren or it will be repeated very tastefully from the mouths of babes…and that just doesn’t sound right.

  17. Tam August 8, 2017 at 7:08 pm #

    I rather wonder why anyone cares what Stephen Rea or any other celebrity thinks about anything other than his own area of relevance.

    • Pointis August 8, 2017 at 8:28 pm #

      I am not that interested in what Stephen Rea had to say about Arlene Foster but it seems that the media needs to quote these personalities. You are perfectly correct Stephen Rea’s opinion or the opinion of any other personality holds no more weight that of my postman or the builder next door!

      I have to say I think he is a fantastic actor!

    • giordanobruno August 8, 2017 at 10:22 pm #

      Perhaps he is still speaking for Gerry Adams!

      • Pointis August 9, 2017 at 7:57 am #

        Does your comment refer to me Gio?

      • giordanobruno August 9, 2017 at 9:29 am #

        It was addressed to Tam but I suppose it relates to your comment too.
        It was just a wee joke about Rea’s one time role as Gerry’s voice.

        • Pointis August 9, 2017 at 10:39 am #

          I get you now. It just wasn’t clear who the ‘he’ referred to.

  18. Perkin Warbeck August 9, 2017 at 6:24 am #


    The crux here for this crop of crocs
    Must debate in Anglo-Saxon stocks
    D’alligators are terse
    When hating the Erse
    Acht na Gaeilge, led thoil, Ulster Jocks.

  19. Cal August 9, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    Rea’s comments are right on the money. Foster’s rogues and renegades comment was aimed at both the SF and the SDLP. It was very much akin to not having a Catholic about the place. Today’s political gridlock is entirely down to Foster’s stewardship of the DUP.

  20. Eolach August 9, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    I look forward with anticipation to the day in the not too distant future when our little DUP emigrants return home to a rapturous welcome having made xenophobic Britain great again. The landed Unionist farmers will be overjoyed , their over generous subsidies gone , their markets shrunk and threatened by chlorinated USA imports ….. haulage contractors , manufacturing industry etc …. will also be at the airport with garlands of flowers…. never mind 65% of health service workers threatened with deportation….. but that’s ok…. they’re “foreigners “

  21. Stephen Kelly August 10, 2017 at 9:22 pm #

    Good post Jude and i must say i agree with Stephen Rea exactly as he said it .