Chutzpah from Reg the Lord and Charlie

There are times when the chutzpah of Irish politicians would take your breath away.

Take the person previously known as Reg, now Lord Empey. He was on TV last night telling the southern government to go and get its own house in order. Wasn’t there a book showing that the Arms Trial was misleading and that the Irish government had made plans to engage in hostilities, or support those engaged in hostilities, back around 1970? How shocking, how scandalous. The south of Ireland actually thought about intervening to protect Catholics in the north back then. They didn’t do it , of course. But that they had given consideration to it shows the good Lord at least what a bunch of hypocrites they are.

Where is the Empey chutzpah, Virginia? Well, how about the good Lord being a leading light in a party that gerrymandered and discriminated shamelessly for 50 years? How about  the good Lord belonging to a party that didn’t utter a squeak when 14 citizens were slaughtered in Derry by British troops?  How about the good Lord belonging to a party which still insists that the past was bad-guys-IRA, good-guys-the-rest-of-us? That flavour to our Troubles has been pumped in so consistently, it’s now accepted by the credulous and dim.

And another chutzpah, this time south of the border. Charlie Flanagan, once Minister for Justice in the Dáil, is doing a bit of table-banging about the showing of Unquiet Graves on RTÉ recently (even though it was made in 2018). He’s written to RTÉ, pointing out that the programme relied too heavily on the testimony of loyalist terrorist John Weir, whose evidence he said is “fundamentally questionable”.

Clearly Charlie hasn’t seen the film. Or if he does, he’s being selective to the point of pernicketyness. Charlie objects that loyalist paramilitary John Weir was guilty of a killing during the Troubles, so his testimony was not to be trusted. Mmm. Like that of Anthony McIntyre or Sean O’Callaghan, both of whom are guilty of similar charges.

But the real chutzpah emerges in the fact that Weir’s contribution merely reveals an aborted plan to attack a Catholic primary school. Unquiet Graves  draws heavily on the research by Anne Cadwallader, who in her book shows that there are some 120 people dead through the actions of loyalist paramilitaries working in conjunction with state forces. At a guess, I’d say Weir gets about two minutes of screen time. The rest is the shocking account of innocent people being sent to their graves by the actions of loyalist death gangs working with the state.

And Charlie thinks we shouldn’t hear about that?

Here’s a tip:if you’re ever attacking Charlie, don’t hit him on the back of the neck. It’ll just produce a bonging sound and he won’t feel a thing.

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