Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

The murder of David Black

Sat 3 November 2012, 10:20am

The brutal murder of David Black on Thursday morning was another chilling reminder, if one was needed, of the potential of dissident strains of Irish Republicanism to cause mayhem, destruction and unjustified grief to a family circle and the rest of the community. David was a Prison Officer, a well liked member of his local church and the Loyal Orders.

More importantly, he was a family man with a wife and two children. None of this was considered relevant to his killers, who dehumanised him into a “target” or a uniform. The brutality was reminiscent of so many terrorist atrocities, from all quarters, in Northern Ireland’s past.

The reaction to the killing has been swift and unanimous, with strong words of condemnation and solidarity coming from across the political spectrum. This is, of course, welcome and a sign of the much better position our society is in. Moreover, any attempt to probe more deeply into the issues raised by continuing terrorism may be seen as an attack on the psychological importance of such unity.

However, as Mick notes, there is a danger such symbolism becomes an end in itself, overlooking the real problems these groups pose. In particular, there is an elephant in the room- a potent and destructive truth that lies behind these heinous actions. While the Belfast Agreement largely ended the present threat of violence, it did not kill the ideology that gives it refuge.

These groups follow traditional armed Republican ideology. A retired Chief Superintendent on UTV noted that these groups keep popping up, because they see themselves as inheritors of a tradition, one mainstream republicans supposedly left behind with the signing of the Belfast Agreement. In short, it is partly the unraveling of the useful fiction outlined by Henry McDonald, namely that the PIRA campaign was a quest for human rights and equality rather than coercing unionists into their version of a united Ireland.

We see many ways of trying to draw an artificial distinction between the two sets of violent campaigns; the latest of which is the deputy First Minister emphasising the criminality of these groups as an attempt to place them beyond the pale from those before them. Yet it is not their drug-dealing which caused David Black’s murder- rather it was their psychological ability to wrap themselves in an ideology stretching back into 19th Century Fenianism and beyond. We must note that the need for the democratic approval of the nationalist community was never a pre-condition for armed republicanism. Indeed, Burleigh notes that terrorists often see themselves as the enlightened few, a revolutionary vanguard whose ends justify their means.

In our case, condemnation is regularly followed by Sinn Féin stressing these groups have ‘no strategy’. or little support. In short, the objection is tactical, rather than moral. The disjunct is between the moral language of condemnation and the reasoning employed to defend. These reasons will never bring about an opportunity to reduce the numbers of those vulnerable young minds attracted to this puritan Republican creed as they leave the interpretation of when violence is appropriate as a hostage to fortune- when ‘armed struggle’ is necessary is literally in the eye of the beholder.

Let’s be clear- given the contempt for Sinn Féin and the Provisionals displayed by dissidents, it is unlikely that Martin McGuinness telling them violence is morally wrong and has only ever driven people further apart would prevent their campaign, but it would mark a significant step in destroying the ideology the retired officer speaks about.

Irish history shows us that seismic changes rarely happen in a ‘big bang’ fashion, but are long in the making. In particular, I have noted that perhaps more significant than Declan Kearney’s recent sermonising on reconciliation was Spike Murray’s admission that a culture of ‘commemoration’ and effective indoctrination of children may not be appropriate in the world of the Belfast Agreement.

This pernicious influence has also extended into pockets of some civic organisations, illustrating how important it is for constitutional nationalists to seize the moral high ground within their own community and in particular to ensure that we see further progress in normalising relations between the GAA and the police as part of a shared future. Narrowing the space for these terrorist groups is not simply about criminality, it is about breaking the endurance of ideology. Ignoring this fact surely increases the risks that more young people will be sucked into destroying their lives and the lives of others.

In short, whilst the prisoners’ dispute over strip searching at Maghaberry may be the accelerant for this latest vile murder, the ideology of armed republicanism is the substantive fuel. This is not to say that Irish nationalists are not entitled to their analysis that partition was wrong or to peacefully seek to achieve their political goals, of course they are. What must be tackled, however, is continuing ambivalence or romanticism concerning violence to seek those goals, means that merely destroy lives and continue to nullify their claims to emulate the ideology of Tone.

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Comments (84)

  1. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    Excellent points. The (at best) ambivalent attitude towards violence as a legitimate means of political expression amongst local politicians, predominantly, but not exclusively, Nationalist, urgently needs to change.

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  2. The groups that do this are dissident republicans, they are republicans.

    If it was ok to do things like this before 2007, then why is it unacceptable now?

    I worry that such actions may have more support than everyone seems to believe.

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  3. DC (profile) says:

    @conquistador

    The context is different, the Orange state is gone and has been replaced in part with an ascendant nationalism (comparatively speaking in terms of the 60s and 70s) – ascendant socially, culturally and politically.

    Also it’s difficult to argue british oppression and bully boy prison institutions and prisoner officers in the face of the reality – that post 1998 (if not before) the NI state opened its jails and let these terrorists out. Hardly tough on terrorism, these dissidents will have a hard if not impossible sell trying to argue otherwise.

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  4. weidm7 (profile) says:

    Actually, Wolfe Tone advocated violence, he was even involved in one or two skirmishes himself. So advocating his ideas and advocating violence are not mutually exclusive.

    We should NOT be teaching our children that violence is always wrong or that rebelling against the status quo is wrong, such things are very important and we wouldn’t be seeing the fairer society we have now without them. What SHOULD be happening is people should be engaging at a grassroots level, especially with youths and the vulnerable, explaining to them that violence is no longer in Ireland’s best interests. Indeed, the British Army is no longer enemy number one, the main enemy is sectarianism, which violence will only exacerbates. Ireland will never be truly united without sectarianism being addressed. That’s why we need more efforts to bring together both sides of the community and less empty rhetoric from our elected representatives whose lack of action on this issue only increases the likelihood of violent attacks from dissidents.

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  5. Better Together (profile) says:

    DC/Wiedm7

    Breaking the state’s monopoly on the use of force must never be undertaken lightly- in my view, the only conditions where such use of violence is appropriate is when the state is actively murderous and violent towards its own citizens in an active, sustained and co-ordinated manner. Also, there must be a popular uprising of the masses, in reality where it is the state versus society.

    Those conditions never applied in Northern Ireland and the provos NEVER acquired such a level of support, simply because in the eyes of the large majority of people in Northern Ireland, they were wrong. The point the post is making is when violence becomes the norm rather than the extremely limited exception/response, then those taking such a lax view are complicit in subsequent acts committed by those that disagree with them.

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  6. Greenflag (profile) says:

    Ireland in 1798 was an Ireland where only a small unrepresentative minority ruled . There was no universal suffrage in the Britain or Ireland of the time .

    Northern Ireland 2012 is not the Northern Ireland of 1798 , or 1920 or even that of pre 1969 . The GFA is the only game in town and will be for a considerable time into the future .

    The murder of Mr Black can have no justification . The dissidents have nothing to offer except blood and more blood . Condolences to all Mr Black’s family and friends . Hopefully those responsible will be arrested and in the absence of the death penalty jailed for life .

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  7. Reader (profile) says:

    Better Together: In our case, condemnation is regularly followed by Sinn Féin stressing these groups have ‘no strategy’. or little support. In short, the objection is tactical, rather than moral.
    Actually, the Catholic version of the Just War theory does connect the tactical and the moral – physical force should not be used unless it has a prospect of success. SF has access to that meme and it will become more significant once the “United Ireland by peaceful means” notion expires and while their bluff is constantly called on “Provos were just a Civil Rights group”

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  8. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Ireland will never be truly united without sectarianism being addressed.”

    weidm7, how do address sectarianism? Sectarianism IMO is a symptom of the struggle for control of territory; it’s firmly embedded in the constitutional settlement section of the 1998 Agreement and reinforced in the subsequent agreements.

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  9. Nevin (profile) says:

    The Irish Examiner carries the following bizarre response from Martin McGuinness:

    But the harshest words came from Mr McGuinness, a former IRA member, who said he had a message to give to those who backed dissident republicans.

    If you support these people, you are effectively supporting people who are swimming in a sea of criminality and drugs, dressing it up on occasions with a flag of political convenience. And you shouldn’t be under any illusions about that. People need to get real,” he said.

    Martin appears to inhabit a world of surreality. Has he already forgotten the very recent deliberations in nearby Dungannon and South Tyrone Council, deliberations that were followed by Newton Emerson’s expletive directed at the SDLP?

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  10. Alias (profile) says:

    The moral lecture needs to be directed at the Security Services since they are the people orchestrating the violence. So-called dissident gangs are designed by the state to soak up those few state-sponsored ‘mainstream republicans’ who didn’t quite grasp that their gang was state-sponsored while they were members of it but who would inevitably not support the direction in which the state had directed its leadership to take. Once directed into these pseudo counter gangs they can be easily naturalized by a leadership that is also state-sponsored, left with nothing more that sporadic acts of violence at suitable intervals as their only form of ‘organised resistance.’

    The smarter ones, such as Brendan Hughes recognised that Belfast was rotten and riddled with agents/touts/informers under the leadership of Mr Adams and wisely decided to have nothing to do with alternative state-sponsored gangs, given that the same state would be pulling the strings.

    At any rate, and given that we can do nothing about the role of the British state in orchestrating the violence, you could probably make a good case for a similar law in Northern Ireland as exists in Ireland, whereby the opinion of a senior police officer that a person is a member of a proscribed organisation is deemed to be sufficient evidence to secure a conviction in the Courts.

    Given that such a law could be used to remove folks like Colin Duffy from circulation and could also have been used to remove the likes of Adams and McGuinness, I doubt the state would introduce it even if folks did campaign for it but such a campaign is all that is available to the plebs.

    After all, some members of the public justified more direct targeting of paramilitaries such as the state-sponsored murders commissioned by the FRU but rather oddly overlooked that the state didn’t target paramilitaries at all (never mind the godathers) despite the blessed opportunity to blame such actions on their proxies…

    At the moment, the Security Services regard an acceptable level of violence as an essential condition to (a) sustain the current dysfunctional Assembly/Executive, and (b) as a propaganda tool to educate the plebs about the dangers of asserting national rights such as the right to self-determination.

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  11. Henry94 (profile) says:

    Any individual never mind any group has plenty of precedent and justification for taking up arms against British rule in Ireland. There is no point in arguing against that with someone who is dissident minded.

    Nor is the whole abandonment of the republican tradition and iconography going to help because that would just leave a bigger pool behind for the dissidents to work with.

    If the dissidents want to point to the 30 year armed struggle they need to explain why they can succeed when that far better supported and more successful effort did not. The reason to make that point is to get them to admit the truth which is that their efforts are not about success at all but about “keeping the flame alive” The point of killing David Black was to show that people like David Black can occasionally be killed. It was that insane.

    The real lesson from the three decades of the armed struggle was not that violence was wrong but that it can’t work in this situation because of the unionist population.

    It did work in the south in the War of Independence. Between that and 1969 there were people who saw themselves as keeping the flame alive, waiting for the chance to have a real go at the Brits again. The time duly came and the Provos were as dedicated and effective as the likes of Tom Barry. But it didn’t work! It can never work because of the unionist population.

    Not only that but even if it could work it would be a mistake. If Irish Republicans got their hands on a nuclear device and made a threat against London that forced the British to withdraw, what kind of a victory would that give us? Not much of a one.

    The Agreement is not only a historic compromise, one with the biggest mandate ever given by the people of Ireland for anything, it is also a better way.

    None of this will cut any ice with a dissident but those of us who are nit with them must be against them. They have nothing to offer. The only interest we have as nationalists in their latest act of madness is to help the police in any way we can.

    An armed struggle that even those who carry it out don’t believe can succeed is a grotesque thing. It is violence for its own sake and as its own justification. No previous incarnation of the IRA ever ended up in such a dead end or with such an unacceptable objective. Phases of the struggle were abandoned before they ever got to such a sorry state.

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  12. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Beautifully written and put, Henry.

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  13. Garibaldy (profile) says:

    “Breaking the state’s monopoly on the use of force must never be undertaken lightly- in my view, the only conditions where such use of violence is appropriate is when the state is actively murderous and violent towards its own citizens in an active, sustained and co-ordinated manner. Also, there must be a popular uprising of the masses, in reality where it is the state versus society.”

    Such a definition makes the violent overthrow of a government that, for example, refuses to leave power after losing an election but doesn’t start shooting people illegitimate. I don’t think there are many people who would agree with it on those grounds alone. And certainly you won’t get many believers in Irish independence arguing that the 1919-21 campaign was illegitimate given that the election results were ignored.

    This illustrates the extent to which the author’s own beliefs are far out of tune with those of the overwhelming majority of people not just in Ireland but globally. One wonders if the gap between the author and accepted political norms is not producing an unrealistic analysis of what sustains the dissident violence, and what might be done to undermine the dissidents by people who aren’t dissidents.

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  14. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    “Beautifully written and put, Henry.”

    Seriously? I thought parts of it were truly horrific. I’ve noticed a tendency to glibness round here when we speak of the violence our country has experienced. But to describe the Provo atrocity machine as “dedicated and effective ” rather misses out on the utter misery it left behind. Crushing, brutal, endless misery.

    “The real lesson from the three decades of the armed struggle was not that violence was wrong but that it can’t work in this situation ”

    Utterly damning statement suggesting a moral bankruptcy and lack of basic humanity infects Republicanism more deeply than even I’d imaging.

    If this is what passes for reasoned thought in Republicanism, then we’re shafted. Guys, you reallly really need to ditch the dew eyed nostalgia for Republican brutality. Aside from how disgustingto witness it is for those of us with no contact with the Cult, it will always, ALWAYS, result in people thinking violent behaviour is legitimate.

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  15. Better Together (profile) says:

    Garibaldy

    Can you name any genuinely democratic states where government who lose elections hold on to power? They could be prosecuted under the criminal law for the occupation of offices/premises they were not entitled to. Rather, most countries you might be alluding are sham democracies, dictatorships holding rigged elections, then, as I said, they apply the use of force to wield illegitimate power, coming within my definition.

    Northern Ireland was never one of those states- by any standards, it was a functioning democracy. Yes, there was a majority/minority problem which lead to power-sharing, but nothing which justified the murder of 3000 people.

    Also, in 1918 the Wilson principles of self-determination were just about in motion and the question was about degrees of independence, it was clear from 1918 some portion of Ireland was going to become effectively independent. Similarly, if you think unionists ought to have been coerced into an independent state, I think that indicates a violation of democratic principles.

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  16. SK (profile) says:

    The dissidents see themselves as inheritors of the 1916 mantle. They are not, and to be fair, the wider nationalist community has been poking holes in their bastardised logic as far back as Omagh. The author himself notes that the democratic wishes of the Irish people are traditionally of no consequence to the type of scum who would carry out an atrocity such as that perpetrated on Thursday. Why, then, is there an assumption that any kind of historical volte-face by wider nationalism will hold any sway with someone demented enough to believe that shooting a pizza delivery man or a prison guard constitutes a blow for freedom?

    Will we see a similar bout of soul-searching from unionists? Some might scream “whataboutery”, but let me ask this: When Peter Robinson and Mike Nesbitt march with side-by-side with the UDA to commemorate the moment their own heroes put a gun to the British governments head, what kind of message does that send to dissident republicans?

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  17. Garibaldy (profile) says:

    You are shifting your ground in your response to me away from this:

    “the state is actively murderous and violent towards its own citizens in an active, sustained and co-ordinated manner”

    to the much less narrow (and eminently more sensible) application of the use of force to wield illegitimate power. So I stand over my criticism of your original definition, which was absurdly narrow.

    As for the principle of self-determination, it wasn’t invented by Wilson and nor did it emerge into politics after WWI. It had been a force in world politics since the American and French Revolutions (or, if one prefers, in a different way from the era of the Treaty of Westphalia).

    Your point about coercing unionists into an independent state being a violation of democratic principles of course raises the fact that there are differing conceptions of democracy, and there was in 1918 no simple solution to the question of what was the democratic solution in Ireland.

    You’ll not find me attempting to justifying the reactionary violence of nationalists, loyalists or the state, which served only to raise sectarianism and divide the people. You will find me saying clearly that the idea that NI before 1969 was “by any standards” a functioning democracy utterly laughable. For a start, I can think of lots of standards that suggests that any country where you can have more than one vote because you own property is anti-democratic.

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  18. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    Garibaldy, the plural voting system only applied to local councils, not government, and its effect on outcome was negligible. A dent on democracy, and one easily remedied. Hardly a reason for taking a single life.

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  19. Submariner (profile) says:

    “Northern Ireland was never one of those states- by any standards, it was a functioning democracy. ”

    Are you serious by no stretch of the imagination [even a Unionist one] was the North a functioning democracy it was a one party sectarian police state and was delibritely designed to be such

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  20. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    Submariner:

    that’s just trotting out a mantra of the Cult, it’s not a reasoned opinion based on a true assessment of the facts. That kind of hysterical over-reaction needs to be identified and dealt with, becuase frankly it’s the one that death squad fans trot out to justify the taking of life.

    Ironically, the version of democracy we have in NI now, largely at the request of nationalists, is a poorer representation of democracy that what we had pre- 1972, given that we as a group can’t chose our government.

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  21. Garibaldy (profile) says:

    TP,

    Did you read the rest of what I wrote? NICRA adopted peaceful protest, and that was the correct thing to do. Shame the response to it was not so peaceful.

    Besides which, my point was the idea that NI was indisputably (“by any standards”) a democratic state was a laughable one. That was simply one example in which what many people consider to be normal democratic standards suggest that NI was not a properly functioning democratic state.

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  22. Roy Walsh (profile) says:

    A Chairde, none of this gets to the fact this killing was not only wrong but, also stalls the improvement of relations within the prison and beyond. David Black was simply on his way to do his job, earn a few bob to feed his family and get his pension together. Beyond that, nothing else matters, especially to those he leaves behind.
    What it does do is highlight the dreadful conditions some prisioners are in but there are other ways to show this.

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  23. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    Garibaldy:

    Yes, it is a shame, one that could and should have been dealt with in law. Not by the taking of a single life, never mind 30+ years of extreme violence.

    Of course NI was (and despite the somewhat undemocratic set-up of the current situation still is) a democratic region of a state. To suggest that it functioned in the same way as Myanmar or Zimbabwe is just daft, and demeans the genuine and profound lack of democracy the people of those countries endure.

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  24. Garibaldy (profile) says:

    TP,

    I never drew any comparisons with the countries you mention. As for dealing with the discrimination by law, that could and should have been done. The cabinets in Belfast and London bear responsibility for it not occurring.

    And none of this is to open questions like whether any society that has homeless and mass child poverty has any right to call itself democratic.

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  25. Henry94 (profile) says:

    Toastedpuffin

    But to describe the Provo atrocity machine as “dedicated and effective ” rather misses out on the utter misery it left behind. Crushing, brutal, endless misery.

    All wars do and it should be enough of an argument for not fighting them. But my intention is not to argue with pacifists but to argue with the dissident position. My point about dedication and effectiveness was comparing two IRA campaigns with each other and noting that the one the dissidents are trying to repeat didn’t work

    the Provos were as dedicated and effective as the likes of Tom Barry. But it didn’t work!

    If I thought pacifist arguments would work on someone attracted to the dissidents, I’d be happy to use them.

    There is a tendency in some corners to use dissident activity as a means of attacking the provos. This position effectively agrees with the dissident claim that there is no difference.

    I don’t agree with that position and I believe everything depends on refuting it. I have said for years here and elsewhere that the worst scenario was a section of the nationalist population having an each-way bet by voting Sinn Fein but retaining an ambiguity about dissidents.

    People need to shun them and actively side with the police against them. Agreeing with them that they are the same as the provos is unhelpful in that regard.

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  26. Better Together (profile) says:

    Garibaldy

    Actually not shifting ground at all, the exercise of illegitimate power necessitates widespread violence or the subjugating, real threat of the same, otherwise it would not be illegitimate.

    Actually pluralist voting at local council was across the UK until the 1950s and yes, in the seats of power at Stormont, it was one man one vote. One cannot deny that council boundaries were rigged in Londonderry for example to keep control, but what about the need for nationalists to play a constructive role in the state?

    That is putting all the onus for change on one section of the community, it may suit your argument, but it doesn’t hold much water as historical analysis. Likewise, there were many unionist councils were housing allocation was scrupulously fair and nationalist areas, notably Newry, were systemic discrimination against Protestants was practiced.

    What we needed was for the moderate centre to come together, to exchange power-sharing and inclusiveness for an acceptance of the state by nationalists. We got it, but 30 years later with thousands of lives needlessly lost- the pretensions that the “struggle” was necessary are a huge part of the problem.

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  27. Tomas Gorman (profile) says:

    Has anyone else contemplated that his killing may not have been a strategic move but rather the result of a personal vendetta on behalf of a serving or ex-prisoner involved in the recent protests?

    Killing David Black was morally wrong but if this is the case, it makes it more perverse for me.

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  28. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    When studying history, perhaps the most common error is judging past events and people according to contemporary mores and conditions. The many changes that have taken place in Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland render old conclusions obsolete. Personally, I hold the monopoly of political power held by the UUP responsible for the bleak outlook for an Irish Catholic in the sixties. Political violence was raging all over the western world back then. That it found its way to Ulster isn’t shocking. But that war is over now and some folks, across the political spectrum, have yet to find new parts for their heads.

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  29. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    Henry94:

    Even if one assumes that arguing from within the Republican mindset and using their lingua franca as if it carries validity outside that subculture will carry more weight than arguing from a position of basic humanity, one runs into the difficulty that, whilst there are quite a few thickies out there, nobody’s quite stupid enough to realise that there isn’t actually a logical difference between the position of the current crop of IRAs and the older ones.

    One could, as I think you’re suggesting, adopt a pragmatic approach and pretend there is one in order simply to stop the violence, however it relies heavily on the listener being as thick as pigsh*t, and carries the risk of normalising and even glorifying brutality. The latter is something I think we need to get the hell away from ASAP. In fact, it’s long overdue.

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  30. Garibaldy (profile) says:

    “the exercise of illegitimate power necessitates widespread violence or the subjugating, real threat of the same, otherwise it would not be illegitimate” is absolutely not the same thing as saying

    “Breaking the state’s monopoly on the use of force must never be undertaken lightly- in my view, the only conditions where such use of violence is appropriate is when the state is actively murderous and violent towards its own citizens in an active, sustained and co-ordinated manner. Also, there must be a popular uprising of the masses, in reality where it is the state versus society.”

    In the second quote, you ascribe several conditions for using violence. Where the state is ACTIVELY murderous is absolutely not the same as where there is the threat of violence. Rather than just admit your initial formulation was incorrect, why this pretence of things meaning the same thing that clearly do not?

    If, however you wish to shift this debate from principles to historical analysis of NI I’m more than happy to do so. Starting with the need for nationalists to play a constructive role in the state. Can you detail for us how exactly this was to happen? What institutions ought they have used to do so? Can you tell us in what ways the government was encouraging this in practical terms (and I don’t mean visiting a school but actual sustained institutional involvement)? Were was the lobby within the UUP for power-sharing before 1969? It didn’t exist. Besides which by 1969 nationalists had of course recognised the state, hence the Nationalist Party being the official opposition. Was there a rush to provide them with positions within the state that I missed? Your argument ascribes the extreme position to all nationalists, when the history of the voting patterns and behaviour of nationalists argues against doing that.

    There was indeed discrimination at many council levels, all of which was wrong. I’d like to see the names of the unionist council areas where allocation of jobs and housing was scrupulously fair, because the figures suggest that there weren’t that many, if any.

    I’m well aware of the fact that until the 1940s people had plural votes across the UK; I’m also well aware that by many democratic standards, including those of the UK at the time, NI having that in place in 1969 was undemocratic.

    And finally, the point that the pretensions that the provisional struggle was necessary are a huge part of the problem runs aground on the rocks of the dissidents’ attitudes. They quite rightly point out that the provisionals were not fighting for civil rights (often dismissing it as a distraction) or equality within NI but for a united Ireland. So even if Gerry Adams said in the morning that actually what was achieved in 1998 was available by, say, 1973 and that what followed was a total mistake, it still wouldn’t affect the dissident analysis, nor those inclined to support it. This is a distraction from the real work that needs done, and misdiagnoses the problem. Both nationalism and unionism are inherently sectarian, whether in their peaceful or violent forms. Therein lies the problem.

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  31. Better Together (profile) says:

    Gari

    Firstly, illegitimate power is power without adequate consent and that which requires a military state to enforce its will upon citizens. In fact, they routinely need to in order to quell significant POPULAR uprisings.

    That is emphatically not what happened in Northern Ireland- just in case you call internment to your aid- De Valera’s vicious use of internment to deal with the remnants of another incarnation of the IRA was no different to that employed by Faulker later on. It was an accepted counter-insurgency tactic. How it was prosecuted is a separate debate.

    Also, the nationalists became the official opposition in 1965, 44 years after the establishment of the jurisdiction. If you read Brian Walker’s excellent book on the “Two Irelands”, he speaks of how one cannot look at north and south in isolation, but that there is a symmetry at work. Undoubtedly, successive Stormont governments at times struggled to keep in line more hard-line elements, but the voices of De Valera and several clergy did not help with irredentist speeches and a claim to the territory.

    Likewise, the Anti-Partition League founded after the Second World War demonstrated the main priority for nationalists at that time- it wasn’t about reforming the governing structures of the state, it was about new means of seeking it’s dissolution.

    One cannot refuse to recognise the state and then complain that no provision is made for formal institutions for one’s community. That is a fundamental contradiction in terms. Hence the need for a comprehensive agreement dealing with both self-determination for unionists and political inclusion for nationalists.

    By the way, the history of the Unionist Party, shown by Kaufman, Patterson, Walker and others, shows clearly that there were many conciliatory figures, such as Brian Maginness, Sir Clarence Graham to name a couple. The difficulty was that Paisleyite tubthumping and the inability of the nationalist political leadership to think of anything other than the demise of the state impeded progress.

    Also, Robert Ramsay’s book is excellent on how Faulkner was re-working the Stormont Committee system to ensure more nationalist prominence in key positions.

    In short, your tired narrative of the Afrikaaner unionist state is ahistorical and merely serves a narrow agenda. Compromise needed to be brooked in both directions and assigning blame to the ‘big bad prods’ doesn’t quite cut it.

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  32. Henry94 (profile) says:

    Toastedpuffin

    nobody’s quite stupid enough to realise that there isn’t actually a logical difference between the position of the current crop of IRAs and the older ones.

    There were differences between all the campaigns down through the years. In some cases campaigns were called off for want of support. If the dissidents were looking at the past objectively they would see that that case for abandoning their campaign in its current state is overwhelming.

    But they key point is this. There were two occasions when the IRA became a serious opponent to the British forces in Ireland. In the War of Independence they succeeded in forcing the British out of the south. In the provo campaign which went on longer and was better organised there was no such achievement.

    Now, the dissidents can’t be compared to either of them. They have far more in common with the sporadic efforts of the 30s 40s and 50s, But those people would have claimed that they kept the flame alive until a serious effort could be undertaken. The dissidents can make no such claim because we have already seen a serious effort and it has proved by any objective standard that there is no way an armed struggle can ever succeed.

    So if you can neither claim to be running a serious campaign nor to be building towards one in the future then what is the point? From what I can gather the point is one that was never made before by any incarnation of the IRA. The point is the violence itself. It has become its own justification.

    I am confident that any historian of the IRA would agree that any previous leadership or individual leader would have rejected that justification.

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  33. sherdy (profile) says:

    I am getting tired looking at Colin Duffy’s picture in papers and on TV. Can the police not find someone else to wrongfully arrest?

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  34. Fried Young Cannibal (profile) says:

    They are the Millwall supporters club of republican paramilitaries: no one likes them and they don’t care. They must know by now that each action they carry out makes the people of Ireland loath them more and more yet still they carry on carrying these actions out. Why? The most likely explanation is because they just enjoy violence. They have even openly said that they favour a ‘Brits in’ strategy – the want the British army back on the streets. The Real IRA told the Irish News a few years back that was what they wanted to see. No doubt they are feverishly hoping for the loyalists to respond to this latest murder by shooting up a bar full of Catholics or something. What can you possibly say to people that far gone?

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  35. Red Lion (profile) says:

    Better together at 4.44pm – spot on, especially your final paragraph.

    The powersharing carveup at Stormont has almost ground to a halt in terms of getting things done. Short of altering the d’hont system the only thing that can make things better in NI is an expanded middle ground – coming together as you say. Not SDLP ridiciously trying to outgreen Sinn Fein but trying to put as much distance as possible between them. And for liberal unionist politicians to organise themselves into a coherent grouping and voice. The question is , would the people vote for such moderates??

    Im convinced that on the unionist side people would vote for a liberal unionist party if that choice were actually available to them.

    a moderate unionist-sdlp-alliance coalition?? Now that would get things done in this country, moderating more people still. Just somehow need a spark.

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  36. Garibaldy (profile) says:

    O dear Better Together, you really do not have a clue where I am coming from, do you? It appears that you haven’t actually been reading what I’ve been saying properly, and instead fitting it into preconceived notions about what I must really mean. All of which says much more about you than it does about me.

    Firstly, regarding your definition of illegitimate power. Hitler had the consent of the German people, but was still by any democratic standards not legitimate due to the nature of his politics.

    I have no idea why you think I would argue that what happened in NI was a popular uprising, other than your complete failure to understand what I have been saying, or your determination to fit me into a box my thinking does not belong in. I’ve said nothing to suggest I think along those lines. Coincidentally, for what it’s worth, have a look at the British Army’s own analysis of Operation Banner (available online thanks to the efforts of the CAJ I think it was) and you’ll see that it disagrees with you, characterising the early years of the Troubles as exactly that (mostly inaccurately in my view).

    I am well aware of the many faults of the southern state. A rotten entity, with very many undemocratic features. The idea, however, that the various Stormont governments were desperately trying to reach out and form a moderate block, but were prevented from doing so by the nature of the southern state and statements by people within it doesn’t stand up to any scrutiny. These many moderate figures within the UUP that you mention were in the main highly marginal, and did not represent any significant tendency within the governing party. Far from it. I could, for example, reference the cabinet papers for the period 1968-9, during which the NI government spends a lot of energy trying to work out how it can evade having to implement reform now London is finally getting interested in what is going on in NI.

    The question I asked was what institutions were there that were being opened to nationalists to use. I never asked what institutions ought to have been created for nationalists. I do not recognise the existence of either a nationalist or a unionist community. The very terms are the product of sectarianism, and an attempt to entrench it.

    As for your remark about my conception of the Afrikaaner unionist state and ‘big bad prods’. I don’t hold such a conception, and nothing I have said here suggests in the slightest that I do. As I’ve said already, that you think that it does says a lot more about you and your understanding of politics than it does about mine. I’m frankly amazed that you could read what I have said about both unionism and nationalism here and draw the conclusions you have, but there you go.

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  37. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘The difficulty was that Paisleyite tubthumping and the inability of the nationalist political leadership to think of anything other than the demise of the state impeded progress’

    BT

    the second part of that sentence is insulting arrant nonsense. Are youu seriously suggesting people like Gerry Fitt and Paddy Devlin were hell bent on destruction of the northern state?

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  38. Ruarai (profile) says:

    BT,

    first this line: “What must be tackled, however, is continuing ambivalence or romanticism concerning violence“.

    Okay, very well. But then this line (in your subsequent comments):

    Northern Ireland was … by any standards…a functioning democracy“.

    Followed by this beaut:

    What we needed was for the moderate centre to come together

    then this brass neck entry:

    The difficulty was that Paisleyite tubthumping and the inability of the nationalist political leadership to think of anything other than the demise of the state impeded progress.”

    Look, do you want an end to romanticism and a serious conversation or not?

    I’m not comfortable with a thread titled about David Black’s murder to descend back into a revisionist debate to be honest; I make these observations only because I think you’re sincere enough here and trying to be constructive – albeit chronically unserious on said points – and because I agree that Ireland’s tribes really do need to get real about cutting the romantic cant from our collective imaginations on matters of political and social history. Your instincts on the value of that are right-on.

    So why not give it a try?

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  39. Dec (profile) says:

    ‘This is not to say that Irish nationalists are not entitled to their analysis that partition was wrong or to peacefully seek to achieve their political goals, of course they are.’

    ‘the inability of the nationalist political leadership to think of anything other than the demise of the state impeded progress’

    So which is it?

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  40. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    The PSNI seem to believe that Colin Duffy did something, at some time, to someone, somewhere and until they manage to convict him will arrest him whenever they get the chance.

    If he is doing these things, why can’t they make it stick?

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  41. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    “If the dissidents were looking at the past objectively they would see that that case for abandoning their campaign in its current state is overwhelming.”

    If Republicans were looking at the present objectively they might see the case for abandoning their luxuriating in the violence of the recent past is overwhelming. It’s rather difficult to convince testosterone fueled fellas getting a buzz out of the violence that’s now part of their culture that they should stop when the people telling them to stop are going to “re-enactments” of paramilitary death squads doing their thing. I would have thought.

    It is, to paraphrase you, violence for its own enjoyment, but couched in the terms the Cult has laid down to justify such brutality. And the Cult is having difficulty stopping it because their narrative just doesn’t make any sense.

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  42. Henry94 (profile) says:

    Tp

    I actually hope you long have the luxury of using dissident attacks as an excuse to have a go at republicanism in general.

    It will mean the mainstream republicans who are doing the heavy lifting on the subject are winning. Of course none of that is any good to David Black or his family.

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  43. Every single death/killing carried out by Republicans is totally regretable and I say that as a life-long Republican! Sadly, throughout the history of conflict in Ireland these killings have been repeative every few years and due to the fact that the Republican objective has yet to be brought to its conclusion, similar killings are inevitable…

    I and most other Republicans would prefer that every single Republican Activist would devote his/her time to strictly political activities…But the ongoing crisis in Magaberry Gaol and the failure of Stormont to end strip searches and controlled movement for Political Prisoners has again ended in violence…

    The only way to ensure that killings of this nature end is to once and for all is to give the Irish people as a whole self-determination and bring an end to partition!

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  44. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    Maybe the GAA could have a ‘match for David’ .
    Did he tick all the boxes, ‘Catholic fundamentalist’, Irish language speaker, rabid republican, sectarian bigot..etc.
    Nope none ticked.
    And I heard this , quite vociferously,….’One of them’ got what he deserved etc.
    A few condesending voices, but otherwise indifference at best, sure wasn’t it a great turnout for Michaela at Casement……
    Let’s be clear about the society we live in.

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  45. Neil (profile) says:

    ‘Catholic fundamentalist’, Irish language speaker, rabid republican, sectarian bigot

    Seriously? Rabid republican? Then sectarian bigot. You understand that by applying a disease most commonly held by a dog to half your supposed countrymen, could be construed as being, well a bit sectarian, or bigoted?

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  46. BluesJazz (profile) black spot says:

    Humans and Dogs are not that far apart.Evolutionary.
    But I get your point, rabid should be removed.To be replaced by indroctinated.

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  47. Red Lion (profile) says:

    Ardoyne Rep at 12.01

    so the murder of David Black was ‘totally regrettable’.??

    Is that all??

    Same old weasel words. I call it an appallingly brutal fascist murder. You link justification to it to strip searches in Maghaberry. Catch yourself on.

    Yeah lets give an all ireland vote on partition to appease the small minority of fascist republicans so they won’t murder a law abiding citizen again. Especially when there has already been an all-ireland vote to endorse the GFA.!!!!!!!!!!!!!!Where do you get your self-importance from??? There is no justification for such a murder, republicans do not have the right to take life, geddit?? no i don’t suppose you do.

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  48. Eileen Calder (profile) says:

    BluesJazz From everything I have heard and read about David Black he was a committed Christian, well loved and respected by people in his family and his community – just like Michaela. I am quite sure he would be as apalled as I am regarding your insinuations that she was either “rabid” or a sectarian bigot, on a thread about his murder.

    You should be ashamed of yourself, And yes it was a great turn out for Michaela, just as I’m sure that there will be a great turn out at any memorial or fundraising events arranged by family or by the organisations which David Black was involved with.

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  49. UserAinm (profile) says:

    Bluesjazz

    I think you hear only what you want to hear. In fact I reckon that (excluding dissidents and their few supporters) every other republican, nationalist or just plain old Irish person could line up to unequivocally condemn this man’s murder and you’d still try and score points off it.

    All across this thread and site, since both threads on the subject have went up, far more nationalist/republican minded people have outrightly condemned this murder than haven’t.

    It’s actually timely that Ardoyne Republican turned up to give his tuppence worth, it’s about what you would expect from him and offers nothing but rhetoric and a pretty chilling prediction. Unsupported by the majority.

    Nationalists and republicans exist and will continue to exist, that’s obviously upsetting to you and some others on here, but if you can’t see the difference between the likes of Ardoyne Republican and the rest then I suggest that says a fair bit more about your level of political maturity.

    Classy contribution overall.

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  50. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    When discussing the revolutionary period in Irish history, in relation to partition and the democratic process thereafter, one cannot, and should not overlook the ‘Troubles’ of ’20s N.Ireland. While the new Irish Free-State was in her infancy, and while this new Irish government defended Protestant interests, the UVF, the RUC, and the British army, many of whom are remembered by the ‘Loyal Orders’, were running around Derry, Belfast, and Lisburn, murdering at will. That is well documented. The freedom of small nations didn’t apply to Ireland…

    N.Ireland, or the partition of Ireland, in the decades leading to the late ’60s, is the underlying reason for 40 years of conflict. As outlined above, revolution was in the air, and no amount of unionist intransigence, nor no amount of Irish Free State cowardice, would get in the way. Revolution in the late ’60s was borne out of frustration; borne out of a legacy of British colonialism embedded in the new Northern Ireland State.

    Unionism had its opportunity, as did the British government. Events like the Battle of the Bogside, the Ballymurphy massacre, and Bloody Sunday, gave the nationalist population a kick in the arse. Out of that kick in the arse arose the Provisional IRA.

    Whether or not you agree with the Provo’s strategy, enough was enough. Look at the chronology of Ireland’s troubles, and look at how many chances were given for change. Republicanism in Ireland isn’t about whether or not unionism agrees with the democratic process, but what and how is the best way forward to remove British colonialism and political influence from this island.

    Form Daniel O’Connell to Michael Collins: How did the new republican movement emerge? It didn’t happen by accident; it happened for a reason.

    Many a nation has defeated British colonialism. India and North America would be notable candidates. But the Irishmen and women who defeated the British during the Irish War of Independence, have a legacy that lives long.

    As long as Westminster plays the game, as long will Irish republicans play the longer game. The inevitable is inevitable. Be it 10 years or 100 years – unionism in Ireland will be on the back foot.

    Never forget that!

    Lest we forget!

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  51. This thread is about the brutal vile murder of a decent man.
    Any attempt by any troll to divert the discussion is best ignored.

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  52. Nevin (profile) says:

    Joe, this is the second tragedy for Mrs Black to deal with in recent times; her father was killed in a slurry accident about this time last year.

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  53. SK (profile) says:

    “Catholic fundamentalist’, Irish language speaker, rabid republican, sectarian bigot.”

    You’re a class act, Bluesjazz.

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  54. Bishops Finger (profile) says:

    SK (profile) 4 November 2012 at 9:04 am

    You’re a class act, Bluesjazz.
    —————–

    Definitely classier than the Bears Den, but the same sentiments, same mindset, same future.

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  55. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    But of course the rabid dogs of the British army and Special Branch are heroes in BJ’s book!

    Perhaps he might apologise to the Harte and McAreevy families. But then again people like BJ, whose bigotry is infamous, wouldn’t see them worthy of an apology!

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  56. Jimmy Sands (profile) says:

    I and most other Republicans would prefer that every single Republican Activist would devote his/her time to strictly political activities

    No you wouldn’t.

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  57. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    “Unionism had its opportunity, as did the British government. Events like the Battle of the Bogside, the Ballymurphy massacre, and Bloody Sunday, gave the nationalist population a kick in the arse. Out of that kick in the arse arose the Provisional IRA.”

    People genuinely believe that sort of nonsense (as well as the other rubbish in that ridiculous post) and then they wonder why there are scum out there who think that murdering people is a laudable enterprise.

    I have also heard of people expressing their delight at this murder. One of them did it to the face of my nephew.

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  58. ArdoyneUnionist (profile) says:

    Two men – including prominent republican Colin Duffy – who were arrested in connection with the murder of prison officer David Black, have been released unconditionally.

    http://www.u.tv/News/Pair-released-over-Black-murder/fc161915-37b4-46a5-8407-adcd1a98244c

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  59. When a crime is committed, the police anywhere will look closely at people involved in similar crimes in the past. It would be irresponsible of them not to do so.
    But we should not lose sight of a cherished principle in most countries that people are presumed innocent until and unless they are convicted in a trial.

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  60. Red Lion (profile) says:

    Ardoyne U at 9.04

    yup, those people are out there, but i have come from an enjoyable afternoon watching Lpool v Newcastle with friends and acquaintances, 5 of us in total, where i happened to be the only Protestant Community Background, i didnt bring it up, but the other 4 expressed their utter and complete contempt and hatred of the murderers of David Black. 1 in particular was very vociferous.

    Its hard not to, especially when you read some of the lame language and sad pathetic excuse of condemnation of some on slugger, but always remember the majority of the Catholic Community see dissident republicans for exactly what they are, facist murdering scumbags.

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  61. ArdoyneUnionist (profile) says:

    The shinners are feeding this current republican murderous machine, by their actions as year in year out they are seen glorifying republican murders and murderers. This I feel is seen by the current republican terrorist as vindication of, what was seen as was okay then, is seen as okay now.

    I have no doubt if a republican got killed by the security forces today shinners will be at their funeral. Their will be a monument erected in their honour, and at some stage the shinners will be honouring those who died.

    Here are a few thoughts on the assassination of David Black, from Anthony McIntyre.

    “Armed republicanism has chalked up what it regards as another success. This time it succeeded in killing a member of the Maghaberry Prison staff travelling to his work. In military terms it was an efficient attack, achieving its goal. The operational template was a hand-me-down from the era of the Provisional IRA. A ‘legitimate target’ on his way to work is ambushed and killed by armed men”.

    “The Provisional IRA targeted prison staff over a thirteen year period beginning in 1976 shortly after the British state withdrew political status in a bid to foist the myth upon the world that the North suffered a crime epidemic for which London bore no responsibility”.

    “The most concentrated spate of attacks against prison officials occurred during the four and a half year chief of staff tenure identified by many journalists and historians as belonging to Martin McGuinness, now deputising to the DUP’s Peter Robinson in the North’s power splitting executive”.

    “The Provisional IRA campaign claimed the lives of almost thirty members of the prison service, some of whom were killed either going to or coming from their work. Such was the determination of the organisation to kill prison staff it claimed that when a booby trap bomb failed to kill Brian Armour in October 1988 its volunteers revisited the Armour home and planted another one to ensure double effect. Their efforts were rewarded and Armour died in his car, torn apart by the force of the blast”.

    “a failure of the of the Sinn Fein strategy to demonstrate to its armed offspring that killing prison staff thirty years ago, to which its gave its unambiguous support, was okay then but wrong today”.

    http://thepensivequill.am/2012/11/killing-prison-staff.html

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  62. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    Much of the nationalist commentary on the murder of David Black has been both disturbing and sickening. It is characterised by weasel words of condemnation, easily lost in the usual Mopeish script that is daily trotted out on Slugger O’Toole.

    The past is mined for explanation and thinly veiled justification. Of course the past is then put firmly out of bounds when others draw the parallels between the contemporary “micro groups” and ‘mainstream republicanism’.

    In this nationalists take a steer from the very top with Martin McGuinness condemning the murder and asking for cooperation with the police out of one side of his mouth whilst at the same time muttering about ‘political’ policing and the ‘dark side’ within the PSNI.

    More perversely still are the glimpses we are treated to of the internal debate allegedly going on within the nationalist community about the current murder gang’s bonafides vis-a-vis their shouldering, or not, of the ‘legacy of the men of ’16′. A nebulous concept in itself, although one suspects it is a mindset that does not repudiate the use of violence and terror.

    So what are we left with? An inability to fully condemn and reject the use of violence, too much history it seems, a close eye being kept on the police should they even contemplate robust crime fighting, can’t fracture the all too brittle nationalist support for law and order apparently.

    Meanwhile the terrorists swim contentedly in the Nationalist Sea.

    And of course should any criminals ever be brought to book the great and the good from the nationalist community will be trooping into the prisons to ensure they’re nicely tucked in at night.

    For those outside the prison walls, the innocent, they will just have to get on with living lives under threat and suffering periodic murderous attacks. The best they will receive is hand wringing and empty words.

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  63. Fried Young Cannibal (profile) says:

    Mainstream republicans could certainly do with facing the follies of their war, and the obscenities which went with it. Eamon’s Collins’ ‘Killing Rage’ should be required reading for anyone who wants to celebrate the Provo campaign. Perhaps though mainstream unionists could also do well to stop glorifying the setting up of an entno-nationalist paramilitary group called the UVF, one that threatened mass, sectarian violence if democracy didn’t go their way. Something is telling me though that Son of Strongbow sees that as ‘different’ and ‘understandable’. I’ll buy a hat just to eat it if someone can show me that he was on here condemning the recent and mass glorifying of Carson’s UVF, something that certainly was seen to have encouraged the modern day narco-terrorists in its namesake.

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  64. Fried Young Cannibal (profile) says:

    *ethno-nationalist

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  65. michael-mcivor (profile) black spot says:

    Just heard on the radio that the Black family have issued a statement saying that they do not want any member of Sinn Fein to attend the funeral tomorrow- a backward step by them-

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  66. Fried Young Cannibal (profile) says:

    Pretty low to be judging the family.

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  67. Neil (profile) says:

    As a Nationalist I say fair play. I wouldn’t let him in my house either.

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  68. The family are grieving. Let’s not drag them into this conversation.

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  69. Kevsterino (profile) says:

    The family are, of course, within their rights. Putting myself in their shoes, an unhappy task in itself, I’d say let all the politicos and media folks stay outside of where I can see them. I think I would be quite unhappy with any politician making PR hay out of my misery.

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  70. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    “I actually hope you long have the luxury of using dissident attacks as an excuse to have a go at republicanism in general”

    What a bizarre, and rather sinister thing to post. I’ll put it down to rational thought giving way to latent mopery.

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  71. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    Seriously low stuff, Michael. The family have a complete right to their view on this matter and indeed it is quite understandable.

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  72. SK (profile) says:

    “Meanwhile the terrorists swim contentedly in the Nationalist Sea.”

    __________

    There is no explanation for the murder of David Black. There is no justification. There has been near universal condemnation from nationalist quarters and yet still we see the usual suspects attempt to draw political capital from what has been repeatedly acknowledged as an evil act. One would wonder if some people secretly delight at such atrocities, as if it grants them an opportunity to lay bare their base sectarian instincts, albeit with the ever-convenient veneer of righteous indignation.

    The last time you graced this site it was to defend a UVF apologist, reinterpreting his own sickening justifications of terrorist acts as merely an exercise in “challenging old shibboleths”.This time you see fit to condemn nationalists for condemning republicans.

    That this plays directly into dissident hands goes completely over your sanctimonious head, of course.

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  73. sonofstrongbow (profile) says:

    SK

    As is your forte you peddle lies as fact. My initial comment on the thread you reference was made early in the thread’s timeline and well before the loyalist poster you highlight identified himself as a supporter of loyalist terrorism. Having done so I made plain my abhorrence of his views on the matter.

    Again you employ misplaced selective quoting and allow free rein to your own bigotry to cloud what one supposes passes for judgement in your tiny mind.

    However do not concern yourself. Do not fret. I can understand how easy it is for you to fall over yourself in your rush to attack comments that starkly draw attention to the murderous elements and wider hypocrisy within your community.

    As is the way with nationalists of your dubious ilk you happily sidestep the metaphorical bodies on the ground to attempt to land a blow on any given onlooker. As with most trolls you’re probably best ignored.

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  74. grandimarkey (profile) says:

    @ sonofstrongbow

    “wider hypocrisy within your community.”

    Please do, pray tell, identify the hypocrisy emanating from the Nationalist community…?

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  75. SK (profile) says:

    SoS,

    You waded into that thread with all guns blazing and you made a fool of yourself in the process. You’re doing it again now.

    There is not a high-profile nationalist on this island who hasn’t fallen over himself to condemn what transpired last week. You see equivocation where there is none simply because you start with the foregone conclusion that we are all dubious bastards and work backwards from there.

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  76. Toastedpuffin (profile) says:

    “There is not a high-profile nationalist on this island who hasn’t fallen over himself to condemn what transpired last week”

    The continued imprisonment of dissident Republican Gerry McGeough on charges of attempted murder? Sadly, this is all too true, and from people who I’d have thought would know better. Shame on them.

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  77. Alias (profile) says:

    “Please do, pray tell, identify the hypocrisy emanating from the Nationalist community…?”

    Another poster already pointed it out:

    Murders of 30 prison officers by the Shinners = no co-operation with the PSNI, no cause for concern, not a blemish on the character of the Deputy First Minister.

    Murder of 1 prison officer by non-Shinners = shocking, disgusting, Deputy First Minister calls for co-operation with the PSNI.

    You can’t vote as a collective for someone who organised the murders of prison officers as chief of staff of PIRA (who refuses to apologise for those murders, and who doesn’t want to see those involved in those murders – especially himself – brought to justice) and then pretend with any credibility that you find the murder of prison officers to be a vile offence.

    That is, I surmise, why the family of Mr Black don’t want the Deputy First Minister to attend his funeral.

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  78. SK (profile) says:

    Alias,

    Nationalists are attempting to show solidarity with the murder victim. Would you prefer us not to?

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  79. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Nationalists are attempting to show solidarity with the murder victim. Would you prefer us not to?”

    Probably yes— selective “solidarity” might just be a definition of hypocricy

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  80. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    Barnshee

    Perhaps it would be like you showing solidarity, with the families of those murdered by the Para’s in Ballymurphy, Derry, and beyond. Of course you’d never ever condemn the British army, so at least you’re not a hypocrite!

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  81. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Of course you’d never ever condemn the British army, so at least you’re not a hypocrite!”

    Nonsense I condemn wholly the actions of the British Army in particular on Bloody Sunday (I was there) I ALSO condemn the politicians (on both sides) who put them there I also condemn the rioters in William Street who attacked and abused the police and army for hours prior to the murders. In short -NO selective condemnation

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  82. galloglaigh (profile) says:

    Barnshee

    I apologise. I’ve mixed you up with BluesJazz. Sorry for the mistake!

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  83. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    “Perhaps it would be like you showing solidarity, with the families of those murdered by the Para’s in Ballymurphy, Derry, and beyond.”

    Does that sort of moronic whataboutery have to be introduced into every thread? Even a thread about a disgusting cowardly murder that has just been committed.

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  84. Covenanter (profile) black spot says:

    Back to normal service from Dungannon Sinners I see.

    “Dungannon Sinn Fein oppose David Black condolence book

    A UUP councillor in Dungannon has said he is “saddened” that Sinn Fein voted against opening a book of condolence for prison officer David Black.

    Mr Black was shot dead on the M1 as he drove to work on 1 November.

    Kenneth Reid said he first approached Sinn Fein mayor Phelim Gildernew a day later about paying tribute to Mr Black, but he declined to do this.

    Mr Gildernew said there was a precedent that such books are only opened for people from the district.

    Councillors backed Mr Reid’s motion on Monday to open a book of condolence for the Cookstown man, with 13 in favour and nine against.
    ‘Negativity’

    Mr Reid said Monday night’s meeting was the first time that the council had a chance to debate the matter.

    “There was a lot of negativity coming from the Sinn Fein party and especially the mayor,” he said.

    “It’s really sad that it had to come to that to get a book of condolence for a person, irrespective of their religious background or anything else.”

    Mr Gildernew said Sinn Fein had condemned the murder “in the strongest terms” and the party was not opposed in principle to such tributes “in the appropriate place”.

    “Indeed Martin McGuinness signed such a book in Cookstown where David Black was from and where it was entirely appropriate for a book of condolence to be opened.” he said.
    ‘Precedent’

    “However in the case of Dungannon and South Tyrone Borough Council, the precedent has been that such books are opened for people who live in the district, the two previous cases being for Michaela Harte and families from the area who had relatives killed in 9/11.”

    The Sinn Fein mayor added: “Throughout the conflict no such books of condolence were ever opened.”

    Mr Reid said Mr Gildernew had given him a number of reasons for not having a book of condolence, including that they did not want to be seen to be singling out a Protestant victim.

    “It might have been something that Dungannon council overlooked in 2011, when the Catholic police officer Constable Ronan Kerr was murdered in Omagh,” he said.

    “We should have had a book of condolence then as well.”

    Mr Black, a 52-year-old father of two, was the first prison officer to be murdered in Northern Ireland in almost 20 years.

    A group calling itself “the IRA” said it was behind the murder. The new paramilitary group is believed to have been formed from an amalgamation of previously disparate dissident republican organisations.”

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