Commemorations…for Some – by Michael Lagan

In case you haven’t heard, John Finucane MP is heading to Mullaghbawn in Armagh as key speaker at the ‘South Armagh Volunteers Commemoration’.  If you haven’t heard, at this point you’re possibly the only person on this entire island of Ireland that doesn’t know.  It’s been all over the media, both printed and digital, and indeed has been on the airwaves too.

So what’s the issue?  This commemoration has been an annual event for the past 13 years and there hasn’t been a whisper of condemnation of the event in those past years…until this week.  Strangely, the hullabaloo rears its head in a year when the DUP is under constant pressure to get back into Stormont, constant pressure to show some kind of positive leadership and do what’s right for everyone in the North Eastern part of this little island of ours.  This outrage is causing quite a distraction from all that.

Should John be attending this South Armagh Volunteers Commemoration? Why not, he’s a republican and an MP for a party that had close links to the Provisional IRA, anyone who doesn’t know that has either been living under a rock or is in denial but that same party, namely Sinn Fein is now the largest political party on the island of Ireland, is wedded to peace and has firmly committed itself to peace-building not only in Ireland but in other countries too.

John Finucane attending the Mullaghbawn commemoration is not a crime.  As many a Sinn Fein politician and leader has said, everyone should be entitled to remember their fallen and their dead and that seems to be all well and good…unless you’re a nationalist or a republican.  A poster in Crossmaglen states – “Main Speaker, John Finucane MP” followed by – “Music, refreshments and kids entertainment at Tí Chulainn”.  Why is there an issue with this when the 12th of July, the glorious 12th, an openly sectarian event commemorating and indeed celebrating the oppression of Catholics and Catholicism is seen by many of those opposed to John Finucane attending this event as normal and ‘proper’.  The deaths caused by those who support this ‘culture’ are celebrated by banners and flags carried by bands on the 12th of July (though you won’t see that on the BBC…or GB News).

The mere mention of the 12th of July brings to mind bands openly playing sectarian songs outside chapels and the Orange Order, a sectarian organisation marching throughout Ireland behind said bands, many of which are dedicated to members of Loyalist terrorist organisations who murdered innocent people simply because they were Catholic or Irish…and were aided in those murders by British state forces.  Why is it that John Finucane can’t remember our Fenian dead but Unionists and Loyalists can openly remember their dead and fallen?

Some may say John can’t attend the commemoration because the PIRA were ‘terrorists’ or because they murdered innocent people.  So why can the UDR and RUC be remembered and commemorated when they were seen by many nationalists and Irish republicans as terrorists? All of a sudden the word ‘terrorist’ becomes subjective and contextual.  Unionists and loyalists see republicans as terrorists simply because they dared to fight back against what was an openly sectarian and oppressive private loyalist militia, namely the UDR, while the RUC terrorised communities and colluded with Loyalist terrorists to kill mostly innocent Catholics with the likes of the Glenanne Gang being made up of serving members of both outfits…yet they are deemed worthy of commemoration and praise.  Indeed John Finucane’s own father was set up by British state forces within the RUC for murder for daring to use their own laws against them.  Does that make the RUC terrorists?  In the eyes of Irish nationalists and republicans and indeed many Catholics, yes it does.

You see, none of this stuff, the big stuff was dealt with through any peace and reconciliation journey.  The British and Irish governments simply threw money at peace and thought that was enough to make us move on and to heal a rift as wide as the Grand Canyon, but the issue of state-supported death squads and the inability of Unionists to acknowledge that the RUC and UDR and indeed various other British state formations were not here to protect all of us stands to this day, and all while the line – ‘They were here to protect all of us’ is written on the gable walls of houses in loyalist areas.  Blood still stains the streets of the Bogside in Derry and in Ballymurphy, Armagh, Antrim, and Down, Fermanagh, and Tyrone where British forces who were supposedly here to protect us all shot down innocent Irish Catholics, republicans, and nationalists…all because they weren’t British.

It’s not a crime to be Irish, Catholic, nationalist, or republican and it’s certainly not illegal to remember our fallen who dared to fight back against what was seen as an invading force.  John Finucane has every right to stand at Mullaghbawn and tell the world what he thinks because believe me, the world will be there this time thanks to Nolan, the BBC, Micheal Martin, and Arlene Foster making such a huge deal about it.

5 Responses to Commemorations…for Some – by Michael Lagan

  1. Phil Mc Cullough June 9, 2023 at 4:52 pm #

    3.000 sectarian hate parades annually by the Orange Order to glorify a win over catholics in 1690…..
    .yes you read that right …to glorify victory over catholics in 1690. When the media cries about glorification of Nationalist deaths, let them recall the Orange Orders glorification.this

  2. Nosuchanaplace June 9, 2023 at 5:09 pm #

    One good thing has come out of all this- for me anyway. No more Nolan.

  3. Peter O'Connor June 9, 2023 at 7:31 pm #

    more whataboutery

  4. Kieran McCarthy June 10, 2023 at 8:19 am #

    Well written Michael. By the way, has anyone ever phoned in and asked Nolan the simple question – if he’s a unionist?

  5. Another Jude June 10, 2023 at 5:41 pm #

    Does anybody actually pay any heed to the bleating unionists? I stopped a long time ago. My political heroes are all Republicans, the bad guys are the British and their loyalist allies. I don’t give a hoot about the UDR or UDA or SAS.