Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Reforming Northern Ireland: learning from past failures?

Tue 26 March 2013, 1:49pm

There’s only one thing missing from David McCann’s excellent short form analysis on how and why Terence O’Neill failed in his attempt to reform Northern Ireland. And that’s the burden of history. Arguably his reforms came too late and quickly came to look like they were only addressed under duress. Nevertheless:

…the flaw in O’Neill’s logic was that economics and symbolism alone could solve Northern Ireland’s sectarian tensions.

O’Neill never properly attempted to reform those things (local government and housing) that alienated Catholics from the state. In fact his aloofness in dealing with these issues was one of the main driving forces behind the formation of the Civil Rights Association whose campaign of street protests effectively ended his premiership and left his legacy as a bridge builder in tatters.

Capt O’Neill’s poor relationship with his colleagues in the Unionist Party left him vulnerable as violence escalated. The fact that he did not inform any of his Cabinet colleagues about meeting Taoiseach Sean Lemass in 1965 not only damaged his leadership but also provided fodder for his main rival Ian Paisley.

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Comments (75)

  1. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    There are two flaws in this analysis. First, O’Neill’s method of reform was very paternalistic, which explains his failure to reform housing and the franchise. Instead of consulting Catholics and asking what most needed to be reformed, he simply decided to reform what he didn’t like or what he thought would be the least controversial.

    Second, O’Neill’s main rival was not Paisley but Brian Faulkner. Paisley was outside the structure of the UUP, He was mainly an agitator at the time. Faulkner was an ambitious politician who wanted O’Neill’s job and nearly got it in 1963. Paisley was the long-term rival, but Faulkner was the in-house rival that O’Neill had to avoid. Ironically, Faulkner weakened O’Neill enough that Paisley could finish him off.

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  2. Brian Walker (profile) says:

    True, all true as far as it goes. Much more is available in a mildly revisionist vein in the works of Henry Pattterson and Paul Bew. Some headlines of my own, mostly counterfactuals – i.e. scenarios which were possible alternatives at the time but didn’t actually happen.

    From the early 1960s onwards economic modernisation such as FDI for the synthetic fibres industry and step by step with Britain for the welfare state probably heightened Catholic affront at continuing institutional discrimination rather than buying them off.

    It was probably impossible to run a welfare state on sectarian lines without widespread consent for any length of time.

    Henry Patterson argues somewhere that overall, public housing allocation to Catholics was broadly fair. It was beginning to be centralised on a points system through the forerunner of the Housing Executive the Housing Trust, but there were hot spots of council discrimination like Dungannon, a seedbed of civil rights.

    The personal rivalry between O’Neill and Brian Faulkner resembled the TBGBs of New Labour but far more damaging to stability and progress. Faulkner would have been the better leader, being more pragmatic and canny.

    The easy verdict on O’Neill is that reform was consistently too little too late and lacked a stable platform.

    But might something as dull as local government reform have been enough to stave off direct action in the streets and averted the Troubles? In my view quite possibly, although not without some political development in Stormont. There were small signs of growing nationalist cooperation.

    The Macrory report on the reform of local government would have had the effect of sweeping away the degree of local patronage of the old council system (including Londonderry Corporation of course) if only they’d implemented it earlier. Stormont was to become, in the phrase of the time, even more of centralised “grand county council.” How might that have affected politics?

    Quite possibly modest reform might well have encountered more opposition from unionists than nationalists. The patchwork of councils was a basis of unionist power especially in the west where they were in the minority. Would they have accepted council reform without the early upheavals? Would it have created greater nationalist participation or more unionist strains leading to breakup?

    A key factor often not realised in the many partisan accounts of the time was the general surprise that generally greeted the outbreak of continuous trouble from a single day, 5 October 1968 in Derry, a rough paradigm of Bastille Day. Yes of course there were origins and forerunners but on that day what was left of the unionist mystique of authority was shattered and never recovered.

    In my generation most of “ the best” lacked the conviction of their backgrounds and thought in a superficial way, that somehow we knew not how, all this sectarian nonsense would fade way.

    Remember Tocqueville’s maxim that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform. The eloquent Marxists like Eamonn McCann and especially Michael Farrell had the best of the early propaganda war but they were not typical – at least not then, only in retrospect perhaps.

    From 1963 paradoxically O’Neill strengthened unionist party power by tacking towards reform in order to trump the rise of the Northern Ireland unionist party. Nationalism was fragmented and conservative but by 1968 was coming out of its shell a little. The nationalist party leader Eddie McAteer was a rather laboured wordsmith rather in the mould of Mark Durkan but funnier and far more conservative. He was actually contemplating membership of the NI Privy Council in 1968.

    What a pity that the elements of the SDLP did not emerge before the February 1969. Another case of too little, too late. That election was O’Neill’s only chance at building a fragile cross community consensus based on building an alliance of the centre. But neither he, nor anyone else around had any idea of how to set about it.
    Lessons? The atmosphere of the 1960s was conducive both to reform and anarchy. We chose anarchy, which meant it became massively more difficult to achieve a certain consensus than it would have been. If only.. In the 1960s it woud have taken much less to have achieved nationalist participation in the state and greater stabilty for the community.

    All sides were to blame. But it’s hard to avoid the conclusion without demonising them, that the greater responsibiity – before the rush to violence – lay in the complacency and excruicating narrow mindedness of the faceless men who controlled Unionism.

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  3. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Brian Walker

    “All sides were to blame. But it’s hard to avoid the conclusion without demonising them, that the greater responsibiity – before the rush to violence – lay in the complacency and excruicating narrow mindedness of the faceless men who controlled Unionism.”

    ———————————————–

    Your feet must be tired at walking that distance to excuse those in power at that time.

    “All sides are to blame”. Yes that one always is convenient. Congratulations.

    “hard to avoid the conclusion without demonising them”. Well we already have gone half way to convincing ourselves that those with the power were not responsible for what happened. Is that three-quaters off -the-hook now, since we implied parity of responsibility with “all sides are to blame”?

    Why shouldn’t these people be held responsible for their actions? Are we to be scared away from this by your accusation of demonisation?

    Sectarianism and ethnic hatred are a considerable distance from “complacency” and “excruicating narrow mindedness”. But hey you have already made that long march, so why walk back?

    “before the rush to violence” and there you have it. You all know who is responsible now afterall.

    Good to see revisionism alive and well.

    I’m convinced.

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  4. anne warren (profile) says:

    Long interesting piece Brian which I will take time to think about in depth.
    However I do wonder about your verdict on Brian Faulkner
    “Faulkner would have been the better leader, being more pragmatic and canny”.

    Faulker was PM for the year before the suspension of Stormont. Had he been a better leader he would have reduced violence,reassured catholics they would have equal rights with protestants and dealt with active extremists in the Unionist Party and Orange Order.

    Instead he repeatedly argued against civil rights, reform of local government and anti-discrimination measures.
    He introduced internment and the violence increased beyond all control. How many were killed, how many homes were wrecked, leaving people destitute? How many factories and buildings were destroyed?

    If that was his pragmaticism, NI society would have been far better off without it – which is what Westminster decided when they suspended Stormont.

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  5. socaire (profile) says:

    I think it’s important to grasp who exactly was alienated by the pied noir administration in the 60s. I doubt if either the Catholic church or their flock were sufficiently agitated to embark on a revolutionary programme against the status quo. The faction who gained increasing encouragement were the young anarchists/marxists/irish republicans – not the people who suffered humiliation because their clergy told them it was God’s will and the meek shall inherit etc.etc. If it had been up to the catholics per se there would have been no attempt to oust the british and cut off their tentacles.

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  6. Socaire,

    Not quite true. The 3 groups you mentioned did play an important part (I was associated with them) but the original impetus for change came from the young generation who were just graduating having been able to get good educations following on from the Education Act of the late 40s.

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  7. socaire (profile) says:

    Exactly what I said, Mister_Joe. This was the first generation to learn that respect had to be earned not dutifully given. My parents were the type to buy a poppy of the local sellers rather than offend the neighbours. The next generation told them to f**k off. The education act would have put out it’s first batch of graduates when?

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  8. aquifer (profile) says:

    ONeill knew that the state had to command the allegiance of Catholics and acted on that, but the Paisleyites tried to drive the civil rights protesters off the British streets and radicalised a generation.

    50 years on and now a protestant electoral pact, to ensure that a sectarian headcount keeps the question of the legitimacy of the state at centre stage.

    This would be funny but for the body bits in black binbags.

    Brian you write: “O’Neill strengthened unionist party power by tacking towards reform in order to trump the rise of the Northern Ireland unionist party”

    Northern Ireland Labour Party surely? Though you may have been right the first time. With a functioning cross community party none of the murder and mayhem may have happened and the Union would be a lot less provisional.

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  9. Brian Walker (profile) says:

    i wrote above:

    From 1963 paradoxically O’Neill strengthened unionist party power by tacking towards reform in order to trump the rise of the Northern Ireland unionist party.

    Careful readers will be confused. I should have written
    “Northern Ireland LABOUR party”.

    Pity we can’t correct coments

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  10. Brian Walker (profile) says:

    FDM
    You’;re entitled to your views and I’m sure I won’t persuade you not to put all the blame apples in one basket – but yes, I’m not alone in deploring the adoption of violence as the strategy of choice, not in order to defend the people but to try to spark a reactionary revolution that I never thought could be allowed to succeed.

    The communal aspects of violence in 1969 -70, awful though they were. might have been easier to contain had it not been for their exploitation by the nascent IRA. Do i blame them? Not entirely – what would I have done if I’d been a Catholic working class kid? But I regret them very much indeed,..

    These are only my views.born of lots of things, background, experience on the ground, poltiical analysis, sentimentality – and a conviction that this huge experience is bound to be seen differently. There can be no definitive canon or narrative.

    40 odd years on I feel very sad that it took so damnably l long to call a halt and wasted so many lives and so much energy,

    Sad also that so much of it is relived so lovingly here, among other places.

    The O’Neill era was a great lost opportunity. This is not only hindsight. Many people feared it was so at the time, although few would have dreamt its grim successor would have lasted so long. .

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  11. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Brian Walker

    “I’m not alone in deploring the adoption of violence as the strategy of choice”

    Most of it in that era was coming from either state forces, controlled by unionism, or loyalist violence, controlled by unionism.

    The UVF were murdering people from 1966. The RUC were beating people to death on the streets, when they viewed this as preferable to shooting them.

    You had loyalist paramilitaries at critical junctures of O’Neills time blowing the place to bits and they and the government laying the blame wrongly and cynically at the IRAs door.

    “communal aspects of violence in 1969 -70″. Read: both to blame again.

    1969 is littered with the corpses of Catholics murdered at the hands of the unionist state and loyalism. The death count is pretty much one-sided.

    And you have the bare faced cheek to lay the blame at the door of the nationalist community for what happened next?

    Unionists, the scourge of this country for a century and more, forced people to choose violence because non-violent protest like marches, ended with their attack and/or mass murder by the state or its state controlled paramilitaries, for instance Burntollet, Derry etc… take your pick.

    Your negationism is a shame on you. Really. The facts are that at the time and to this day a large proportion of the “unionist” community consider CNRs to be a lower form of life, not worthy of equal status. O’Neills own infamous quotation to the Belfast Telegraph [May 1968] tells the whole story.

    “It is frightfully hard to explain to Protestants that, if you give Roman Catholics a good job and a good house, they will live like Protestants, because they will see neighbours with cars and television sets. They will refuse to have 18 children. But if a Roman Catholic is jobless and lives in the most ghastly hovel, he will rear 18 children on National Assistance. If you treat Roman Catholics with due consideration and kindness, they will live like Protestants.”

    Read: “Inside every jobless, hovel dwelling, over-sexed sponging Catholic there is a decent protestant human being trying to get out.”

    I don’t think you could actually fit more insults into two sentences if you tried. And O’Neill was the moderniser! It really shows you how backward and supremacist unionism really is. It is not an inch different today.

    I would put your commentary on this page in the same box as Holocaust Denial.

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  12. Reader (profile) says:

    FDM: I don’t think you could actually fit more insults into two sentences if you tried.
    But you put it into one sentence.
    O’Neill’s point is that people are essentially alike but shaped by their circumstances. Do you think he was wrong?

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  13. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Reader

    O’Neill’s point is that people are essentially alike but shaped by their circumstances. Do you think he was wrong?

    ————————————————————

    O’Neills comments were a disgrace to him and the “unionist” people in 1968. The most damning thing upon “unionists” is that they have the same resonance to this day.

    If you or anyone else for that matter reads those sentences and can identify with anything they say, then you have a serious problem. Example, lets substitute two words.

    ““It is frightfully hard to explain to WHITES that, if you give BLACKS a good job and a good house, they will live like WHITES, because they will see neighbours with cars and television sets. They will refuse to have 18 children. But if a BLACK is jobless and lives in the most ghastly hovel, he will rear 18 children on National Assistance. If you treat BLACKS with due consideration and kindness, they will live like WHITES.”

    William Wilberforce managed to turn the tide on British sensibililties against supremacist thinking in 1806.

    You see the time frames involved and you understand how deeply unevolved and reactionary “unionists” and “unionism” really is.

    “Unionism” is still seemingly stuck somewhere between the 17th and 18th century where the croppies are still required to lie down, by order, or suffer the consequences.

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  14. Morpheus (profile) says:

    “O’Neill’s point is that people are essentially alike but shaped by their circumstances”

    THAT is how you read O’Neil’s comment! The man made that comment in 1968 – 5 YEARS after taking office as Prime Minister of Northern Ireland. The leader of the country. The guy who was supposed to represent the interests of everyone. How would the world look at Peter Robinson if he came out with that pearl of wisdom?

    Surely if the leader of a country can come out with a statement like “But if a Roman Catholic is jobless and lives in the most ghastly hovel, he will rear 18 children on National Assistance. If you treat Roman Catholics with due consideration and kindness, they will live like Protestants” you can see what FDM is talking about.

    Here’s a link to a whole catalogue of comments:

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/discrimination/quotes.htm

    My particular favourite from a guy who went on to be Prime Minister of Northern Ireland just 9 years after he said:

    “When I made that declaration last ‘twelfth’ I did so after careful consideration. What I said was justified. I recommended people not to employ Roman Catholics, who were 99 per cent disloyal.”
    Sir Basil Brooke, Unionist Party, then Minister of Agriculture, 19 March 1934

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  15. Brian Walker (profile) says:

    Look guys, a simple one sided interpretation won’t do, nor is recycling those very familiar terrrible quotations enough..Nearly 50 years on, It ‘s not the level at which these events are usefully discussed. I haven’t argued for blame in equal shares. Try reading the piece properly rather than tearing out bleeding chunks.

    Maybe there’s a bit of generational catchup going on? With these rants,you rule yourselves out of constructive serious discussion – can’t you see that?

    Hello? We’re moving on now.

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  16. Nevin (profile) says:

    “Reforming Northern Ireland: learning from past failures?”

    I wonder if David McCann spotted the significance of Desmond Greaves during the course of his ‘The Impact of Proximate Policy-Makers on Cross-Border relations from 1959-1973′ project. It would appear that Prime Minister O’Neill failed to appreciate the significance of the cynical exploitation of rights issues to advance Irish unity from the late 1950s onwards.

    The concern shown by SF and the SDLP for the rights of Gerry McGeough as against those of Sammy Brush in the recent past have echoes of the concern shown by Desmond Greaves and his associates for republican internees in the ’56-’62 campaign. Greaves played the ‘better government’ card so, were he alive today, he might well be lambasting Stormont in general and the OFMDFM in particular.

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  17. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Brian Walker

    ————————————–

    “Nearly 50 years on”. We were discussing those events of that time, with a view to “learning from the past”. So those quotations have relevance. Why? As I did say…

    “The most damning thing upon “unionists” is that they have the same resonance to this day.”

    Your comments on this thread are proof enough in themselves of this point. You can’t even come to this thread and offer a commentary which you can back up with what was said and what was done at that time.

    How can we move on when “unionists” can’t come to terms with the past, except to rewrite it so that they don’t have to suffer the shame and the ego-hit?

    “It ‘s not the level at which these events are usefully discussed”. A little bit of supremacist thinking slipping-out there? Are we just not operating at your superior level Brian?

    Maybe some of us take an Alexandrian approach to your verbiage and cut you to the quick. As is pretty much endemic in most unionist diatribes, the emperor may think he’s the emperor, may know it, but he actually isn’t wearing any clothes.

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  18. Morpheus (profile) says:

    Yeah that’s not even a little bit condescending. The piece talks about O’Neil so I think it is very much on topic to bring a bit of background to the man and his beliefs.

    Brian I am all for moving on, I really am and I appreciate the fact that we are a million miles from where we were but you have to also acknowledge that there are aspects of unionism who crave those ‘good old days’ when the other side knew their place – the country comes to a standstill every marching season for just that reason.

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  19. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Nevin

    “the cynical exploitation of rights issues to advance Irish unity from the late 1950s onwards.”

    ———————————————

    Unionists had pretty much unfettered control of Northern Ireland for 50+ years. Half a century and more.

    Lets say your exploitation story holds true. How could people have been in a position to cynically exploit rights issues, if there were no right issues to exploit?

    Couldn’t the empowered enlightened superior-thinking [see Brain Walker above] “unionists” have killed the Irish unity issue with kindness? Not even kindness, could they have killed it with equality? Not even equality, couldn’t they just have killed it off by not killing [on so many levels] the “sub-human” Catholics amongst them?

    If “unionists” want a good explanation of how the troubles happened they need look no further than a mirror. Is there one nearby you Nevin?

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  20. Nevin (profile) says:

    FDM, when I look in a mirror I see someone who recognises the importance of accommodating the two opposing constitutional aspirations in so far as that is possible. Hence my suggestion for shared sovereignty.

    It’s rather sad to see that despite the death and destruction there are three area plans for post-primary education in the Coleraine district and that unionists and nationalists continue to feed us a diet of flags.

    The cynical exploitation of rights issues promoted by Greaves and his associates was part of a package that involved the sweeping away of the administrations in both Belfast and Dublin. When Dublin did a runner the bulk of the trauma was borne in Northern Ireland.

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  21. BarneyT (profile) says:

    Brian – this bit is not correct (going with my gut opinion so to speak) – ” ….. not in order to defend the people but to try to spark a reactionary revolution….”

    It was indeed fuelled by a need to “defend” more than anything and to gain credibility in the face of the I Ran Away jibes. Much of it too was to exact revenge. I also dont discount their conviction with regard to the violent removal of the Brits as they saw it. Of course with the might of Britian, I agree that would always fail.

    When the violence took off, those that might orginarily sit behind the notion of a reactionist, perhaps Marxist revolution had taken a different course.

    A revolution requires unity and the republican movement did not manage to achieve that at this time.

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  22. BarneyT (profile) says:

    Looking at this posting and the comments, the reaction is symptomatic of us failing to find and recognise the trigger and ultimate cause for this mess. We keep running away from that

    Of course republicans created carnage and have a lot to be ashamed of (they helped with all the others to perpetuate), but the fault in provoking the NI problems clearly lies in the hands of those that were in power at the time.

    Is black crime in todays US or South Africa going to be used to help balance the crimes of the white rulers, such as acts of slavery (US) or more recent blatent anti-black discrimination at all levels?

    Crimes need to be isolated and paired with their respective response in order for the rights and wrongs to be determined. Once this is done, we move on to the next episode. Drawing a single thread through all events, rights and wrongs is unhelpful.

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  23. BarneyT (profile) says:

    In response to Brian Feenys Irish News article today, I believe the entire slate needs to be wiped clean and the GFA should be taken (as interpreted by many) as an amnesty for all…including those originally at fault.

    Failing to do this will ensure the truth is never unearthed for fear of conviction or otherwise. Hard pill to swallow for many I know

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  24. Morpheus (profile) says:

    While I am on my high horse Brian I see another example of fawning over the glory days more and more in recent times and to me it is a worrying development.

    The Good Friday Agreement in my eyes is one of the most important documents in Irish history – it provided a framework on which we could build towards living and working together as equals in peace on this tiny plot of land. It was “founded on the principles of full respect for, and equality of, civil, political, social and cultural rights, of freedom from discrimination for all citizens, and of parity of esteem and of just and equal treatment for the identity, ethos and aspirations of both communities”

    Just this week Mike Nezbit feels that his party has to apologise for parts of it and we see reports that we now need an opposition in Stormont. Where were all these calls over the last 100 years?

    All of a sudden we get some ‘shocking’ census results and Belfast City Hall becomes neutral (because God knows equal was out of the question) and all of a sudden we need an opposition and unity candidates to stop ‘themmuns’ gaining power. It smacks of attempting to move the goalposts

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  25. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    @FDM,

    Do you know which organization was responsible for more Catholic deaths during The Troubles than any other?
    Three hints:
    1) It wasn’t the UDA/UFF.
    2) It wasn’t the UVF or the Red Hand Commandos.
    3) It wasn’t the British army.

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  26. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @tmitch57

    Do you know which organization was responsible for more Catholic deaths during The Troubles than any other?
    Three hints:
    1) It wasn’t the UDA/UFF.
    2) It wasn’t the UVF or the Red Hand Commandos.
    3) It wasn’t the British army.
    ————————————————–

    Bless you tmitch.

    Now the usual PUL diatribe, for instance that newgal was extolling at length above, is that the IRA campaign was directed solely against the protestant community. The IRA stated that its war was directed against the British state and all of its tentacles. In the IRAs view therefore the religion of the target they attacked was neither here nor there, if they are to be believed. Therefore I would put it to you that the information you present actually supports the non-sectarian IRA version of their campaign. This would be totally at odds with the general view in the PUL community.

    Did the IRA kill all those Catholics by accident? Well this does not tally with the British Army version when they described the IRA as, and I quote, “a professional, dedicated, highly skilled and resilient force”.

    Loyalist paramilitaries on the other hand managed to murder more of themselves than they did republicans of whatever flavour. Which again tallies with the British Army view that described loyalists as “little more than a collection of gangsters”.

    Which version of events is the PUL community accepting as the “truth” today? Could you and newgal put your heads together and make a version that is consistent with your claims?

    Still feeling smug by the way?

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  27. Reader (profile) says:

    FDM: Did the IRA kill all those Catholics by accident? Well this does not tally with the British Army version when they described the IRA as, and I quote, “a professional, dedicated, highly skilled and resilient force”.
    However, they were not described as ‘nice’. The hint presented by tmitch57 is that the IRA had a high kill rate and their efforts hurt what was supposedly their own community too – (the concept of Protestant, Catholic and Dissenter having been in abeyance for 200 years and seemingly not coming back any time soon)
    However, there is plenty of evidence that the IRA indulged the sectarian hatreds of its membership at the expense of the project – Kingsmills (blatantly), laMon and Enniskillen (clearly) and Teebane (implicitly). Got to keep the volunteers on board after all? The IRA seems to have a very high tolerance of sectarian massacres by its members. Either that or it’s not as disciplined as you like to think.
    Strangely enough; where the IRA was at its most sectarian, that’s also where it was least subject to infiltration. Esprit de Corps – teriffic.

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  28. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Reader

    Attrocities occur in wars, usually when things start to get a bit ragged. I would have no problem condemning each instance that you listed there or indeed rightly identifying them as attrocities.

    I have watched documentary footage of WW2 veterans discuss their attitude to the Germans during the war. Of those who participated directly in killing the enemy most intimated that they did it because thats what they had to do. A subset were very open in revealing that they killed Germans because they hated them. They had lost people and they were extracting a personal revenge for the reversals and losses. Thats war.

    I dare say if you asked the Germans, US, Russians etc… the same question you are guaranteed to get the same answer.

    If you asked IRA members I dare say similarly you would get a similarly proportional response.

    There was nothing to stop the IRA going into a Protestant bar EVERY night of the week and undertaking in WHOLESALE RANDOM killing of the protestant population. It happened on very few occassions in 30 years. Whereas loyalists, by their own admission, didn’t mind who they shot as long as it was a Catholic.

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  29. Reader (profile) says:

    FDM: There was nothing to stop the IRA going into a Protestant bar EVERY night of the week and undertaking in WHOLESALE RANDOM killing of the protestant population. It happened on very few occassions in 30 years. Whereas loyalists, by their own admission, didn’t mind who they shot as long as it was a Catholic.
    There are very few people here who will undertake any sort of defence of the loyalist terrorists, though you have gone part way – since they had the same tactical option as you identified for the IRA, and most nights didn’t do so.
    Round here, things *mostly* didn’t turn out the same way as they did in Yugoslavia. thank goodness. Possibly thanks to the army, of course.

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  30. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Reader

    since they had the same tactical option as you identified for the IRA, and most nights didn’t do so.
    —————————

    Actually I would fundamentally disagree.

    When the opportunity arose to kill Catholics they took it.
    They even descended into the ghoulish barbarity of the Shankill Butchers. To which there is no parallel.

    Catholics after the early 70s just generally had their defences in place and it was this that kept the body count down.

    I already offered the evidence from the British Army which found no equivocation between the likes of the IRA and loyalist terrorists.

    Can’t you accept the word of your own heroes, or are they lying to you as well?

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  31. Reader (profile) says:

    FDM: Catholics after the early 70s just generally had their defences in place and it was this that kept the body count down.
    So the loyalists managed a few hundred murders after that date by accidentally finding their way past formidable perimeter defences? Then the history books will also be full of successful interceptions of loyalist attacks. Except they aren’t.
    In fact, the IRA killed 141 republican paramilitaries and only 39 loyalists. The UVF killed more loyalist paramilitaries than the IRA!
    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/crosstabs.html
    And, by the way, until I got as far as the above, I hadn’t given any attention to the efficiency of the IRA. It doesn’t earn them any credit to compensate for their actions. So the BA appraisal of the IRA is irrelevant when set against Kingsmills – an efficient operation which was carried out by “a professional, dedicated, highly skilled and resilient force”, comprising a load of sectarian murderers.

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  32. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Reader

    “Then the history books will also be full of successful interceptions of loyalist attacks.”

    Why would you try to intercept those who you have supplied with 85% of their intelligence, source and provided the weapon and indeed the intelligence officers?

    They were the dogs of the state, why would the state want to catch them?

    The IRA only went after loyalists when they ‘wanted” them badly enough to make the effort. Often in such circumstances they had often been set-up by other loyalists [who wanted such out of the way]. The IRA campaign was also fought in the media. Frankly people in Blighty and beyond didn’t really care about a dead loyalist. They did care about boxes going back to Britain and indeed war on their home ground. Hence much more politically effective to shoot soldiers and police and attack the GB.

    Additionally soldiers and police were much more easily targetted.

    Was the bombing of Dresden and the burning to death of 25,000 men, women and kids efficient Reader? Was that terrorism?

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  33. Greenflag (profile) says:

    @ Brian Walker ‘

    ‘But it’s hard to avoid the conclusion without demonising them, that the greater responsibility – before the rush to violence – lay in the complacency and excruciating narrow mindedness of the faceless men who controlled Unionism.’

    They were people of their time and in British terms even before their time (19th century ) but their time was up and they could’nt , would’nt see it much less try to adapt to changing political conditions .They had no credible response to the upsurge in political awareness among a large section of the then nationalist/republican NI community .

    Some have still not yet adapted to our modern instant communications age and many are only adept at putting their foot where their mouth is . Narrow mindedness was not confined to one community in NI nor absent from the then Republic.

    ‘Do I blame them? Not entirely – what would I have done if I’d been a Catholic working class kid? ‘

    An honest question the answer to which is the luck of circumstance and location and family history or whether or not a family member had been interned , shot , etc etc . And ditto for their Protestant equivalents .

    ‘But I regret them very much indeed,..’

    So do we all -It could have been much worse .Think the Balkans or the DRC or Syria or modern day Guatemala or Mexico where drug money is killing tens of thousands .

    Be grateful for the GFA .It’s all that stands between NI and another couple of generations of wasted lives .

    ‘What would I have done if I’d been a faceless member of the then Unionist political establishment ‘?

    For the vast majority it would have been follow the leadership into the ditch :(

    Such is human nature which is the same for all regardless of creed , nation or ethnicity .

    Which is why politicians are needed who can lead and provide answers to economic , societal and demographic change in democratic states .

    And when we look around at the modern western countries ? From the UK to the USA to Ireland etc all we see is Governments and politicians with no answers to the growing income and other inequalities now on the rise in our societies .

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  34. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    @FDM,

    ” Therefore I would put it to you that the information you present actually supports the non-sectarian IRA version of their campaign. This would be totally at odds with the general view in the PUL community.”

    Not really, most of those Catholics killed by the IRA were not soldiers and policemen, but rather paramilitaries, contractors, suspected informers, and ordinary civilians killed in atrocities where they happened to be mixed in with Protestants, such as in Omagh (which was probably carried out with IRA explosives lost in the split).

    Sean O’Callaghan and others have written of the sectarianism that they have encountered within the ranks of the IRA. Those few radicals from a Protestant background who decided to become republican paramilitaries ended up in the Stickies and/or the INLA rather than with the Provos. Why do you think this was?

    “Why would you try to intercept those who you have supplied with 85% of their intelligence, source and provided the weapon and indeed the intelligence officers?”

    Why is it that when the British choose to infiltrate and manipulate the loyalists this is proof of collaboration, but when they do the same to the republicans this is only a matter of touts?

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  35. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @tmitch57

    “Why is it that when the British choose to infiltrate and manipulate the loyalists this is proof of collaboration, but when they do the same to the republicans this is only a matter of touts?”

    When you make a point as ridiculous as that it is hard to take you seriously. Who actually believes that? Do you even believe that? Do you have to?

    The British state controlled the loyalist paramilitaries. They funded them, provided them with 85% of their intelligence, they armed them, they prevented their capture and protected them from prosecution.

    None of that sounds like subverting an organisation from within.

    The statement that some IRA members hated the PUL community not news. Was Sean O’Callaghans murder of a Catholic policeman a sectarian killing?

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  36. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    @FDM,

    “When you make a point as ridiculous as that it is hard to take you seriously. Who actually believes that? Do you even believe that? Do you have to?

    The British state controlled the loyalist paramilitaries. They funded them, provided them with 85% of their intelligence, they armed them, they prevented their capture and protected them from prosecution.”

    I come from an academic background where it is expected that people actually provide evidence for their assertions. But I guess from those from a background of political activism, all statements are expected to be simply taken on faith as long as they don’t disturb the reigning ideology or mythology.

    If the British armed the loyalists why were they making their own weapons in machine-shops and garages or selling stolen missile technology to South Africa in exchange for weapons?

    The Special Branch and others did occasionally protect their sources from prosecution. They also protected their IRA sources from discover and IRA “prosecution” (nutting) by casting the blame on others.

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  37. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @tmitch57

    “I come from an academic background where it is expected that people actually provide evidence for their assertions. ”

    “provided them with 85% of their intelligence”, Evidence? This statement comes from the De Silva report into the Pat Finucane murder. The full De Silva report can be found here.

    http://www.official-documents.gov.uk/document/hc1213/hc08/0802/0802.pdf

    “In 1985 the Security Service assessed that 85% of the UDA’s ‘intelligence’ originated from sources within the security forces”pg. 11 de Silva

    Have a good read.

    “They funded them, they armed them”, Evidence?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/15/uk-arms-northern-ireland-loyalist-massacre

    The MOD has already admitted that it used taxpayers money to fund their loyalist agents in their trip to South Africa to negotiate the murdered are currently taking the British state to court to find out the truth.

    “in being tasked by the FRU to target ‘PIRA activists’ for the UDA, Nelson would, to all intents and purposes, properly be considered to be acting in a position equivalent to an employee of the Ministry of Defence” De Silva page 18.

    “they prevented their capture and protected them from prosecution”,

    Rt Hon Owen Paterson MP, secretary of State Northern Ireland
    “The Government accept the clear conclusions of Lord Stevens and Judge Cory that there was collusion.”

    “intelligence relating to the loyalist targeting of republicans was not acted upon [by the security services] except in a small number of isolated cases” De Silva pg. 244, section 9.64

    “It is clear to me that, in the 1980s in Northern Ireland, some loyalist agents were being permitted to participate in criminal conspiracies to attack individuals but the intelligence they provided was not being exploited to save lives” De Silva page 245, section 9.68

    You know tmitch I can’t prevent you from lying about what happened in this region of Ireland during the time we know as “the troubles”. However I don’t have to engage with someone who dispicably attempts to gloss over a sustained criminal conspiracy by the state to murder one section of its citizens to suit its own political agenda. I for one won’t be interacting with you again.

    Disgraceful.

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  38. Reader (profile) says:

    FDM: “provided them with 85% of their intelligence”, Evidence? This statement comes from the De Silva report into the Pat Finucane murder…
    “In 1985 the Security Service assessed that 85% of the UDA’s ‘intelligence’ originated from sources within the security forces”pg. 11 de Silva

    You said that the state provided them with 85% of their intelligence. The de Silva report doesn’t say that. We know how the loyalists got their intelligence – photocopies of photo sheets of suspects, provided by police constables pissed off at the RA. What baffles me is is where and how the loyalists got the other 15%. Especially since they made little use of any of it.
    FDM: However I don’t have to engage with someone who dispicably attempts to gloss over a sustained criminal conspiracy by the state to murder one section of its citizens to suit its own political agenda.
    Where do you stand in relation to the ‘birthers’, ‘truthers’ and the moon landing hoax crowd? It was never in the interests of the state to support a murder campaign. It was never in the interests of the loyalist terrorists either, if only they had realised it.

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  39. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Reader

    “It was never in the interests of the state to support a murder campaign.” But the British state went ahead and did it anyway, and not just in this country.

    You equate British state collusion in the murder of its citizens with moon landing hoax conspiracy theories. That is disgusting. That trivialises the extra-judicial murder of your fellow citizens by the bodies put in place to protect them. Your comments are revolting. Revolting.

    Reader what is the point of engaging with people who deal in lies? I pointed to a document which at least has discovered SOME of the truth about the dirt that the British government, through its agencies and employees was up to in this region, namely the 405 page long de Silva report.

    You attempt to cover the proactive actions of the state, like the recruitment, funding and running of Brian Nelson with “the few bad apples in the RUC” defence. Nelson was instrumental in the deal that brought over 300 AK47s into this region leading to a massive death toll amongst the Catholic community.

    Reader if your business is lies, deceits and untruths then there is absolutely no point in engaging with you.

    False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. He may have worn sandles but sometimes Plato really nailed it.

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  40. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    @FDM,

    Thank you for providing the link to the Da Silva report. I will look parts of it over.

    ” if your business is lies, deceits and untruths then there is absolutely no point in engaging with you.

    False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil. He may have worn sandles but sometimes Plato really nailed it.”

    So, now you possess the ability to see into men’s souls (I’ll overlook the fact that the soul is a Judeo-Christian concept and just equate it with the brain)? So now you can judge that not only what I say is wrong but that I know for a fact that it is wrong and deliberately trying to deceive people. If you aren’t able to summon the requisite humility you might try at least a modicum of civility.

    And by the way “what section” of the state’s citizens would you be referring to?

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  41. Starviking (profile) says:

    FDM

    O’Neills own infamous quotation to the Belfast Telegraph [May 1968] tells the whole story.

    “It is frightfully hard to explain to Protestants that, if you give Roman Catholics a good job and a good house, they will live like Protestants, because they will see neighbours with cars and television sets. They will refuse to have 18 children. But if a Roman Catholic is jobless and lives in the most ghastly hovel, he will rear 18 children on National Assistance. If you treat Roman Catholics with due consideration and kindness, they will live like Protestants.”

    Read: “Inside every jobless, hovel dwelling, over-sexed sponging Catholic there is a decent protestant human being trying to get out.”

    Really? The words are archaic and certainly non-PC, but the message is equal rights.

    I don’t think you could actually fit more insults into two sentences if you tried. And O’Neill was the moderniser! It really shows you how backward and supremacist unionism really is. It is not an inch different today.

    I think you see what you want to see and nothing else.

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  42. Starviking (profile) says:

    FDM

    Was Sean O’Callaghans murder of a Catholic policeman a sectarian killing?

    If he was targeted because of his religion, then yes.

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  43. Starviking (profile) says:

    FDM

    Unionists had pretty much unfettered control of Northern Ireland for 50+ years. Half a century and more.

    Looking at the flip-side: Nationalists had pretty much unfettered control of Southern Ireland for 90+ years. Nearly a century. Couldn’t they have reached out to their Unionist neighbours with kindness? Nope, we had people losing their jobs in the South because of their religion, Protestant Workers from the Shankill getting beaten senseless by the IRA when they had the nerve to attend the Bodenstown Commemorations in 1934, the dreadful injustice of Ne Temere, and the complete eradication of any kind of British culture in the South.

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  44. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    @FDM,

    271
    The Report of the Patrick Finucane Review
    11.112
    The nature of these findings should not be held to impugn the reputation of the
    majority of those who served in the RUC and the UDR to uphold the rule of
    .
    11.113
    “I am satisfied that leaks to loyalist paramilitaries were not institutional in the sense that there was an official or unofficial policy or strategy to authorise the provision of information to such groups.”

    P. 276 of the Da Silva report

    It seems that Da Silva and you want to redefine collusion to mean not a deliberate policy, though that is what you claim existed, but a failure. Well the history of warfare, especially of counterinsurgency campaigns is one of failures.

    The problem was that one side (or two if you count the loyalists) thought that they were involved in a war, and the third side, the official British institutions, thought that they were involved in a policing operation. And so the stupid British state had the worst of both:. It treated IRA suspects after 1975 as criminals to be convicted in a court of law and then sentenced for discrete periods of time despite what the security situation was and then released them altogether at the end of The Troubles as if they were prisoners of war.

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  45. Morpheus (profile) says:

    Is UDA leader Bobby Philpot a credible source?

    Philpot “said he received detailed police and army intelligence reports on IRA suspects. Members of the RUC, army and the Ulster Defence Regiment, now disbanded, also supplied photographs. Philpott, one of the Ulster Defence Association leaders in the Maze until his release, said: “I was getting that many documents that I didn’t know where to put them.”

    Philpott claimed that the UDA knew where suspects lived, what type of cars they drove, and the safe houses they used.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/1999/mar/06/johnmullin

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  46. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Starviking

    “I think you see what you want to see and nothing else.”

    The de Silva report gave us , as I said, SOME but nowhere near the whole truth of how the state systemically arranged for the extra-judicial killing of its citizens.

    See what I want to see? Taken from

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-northern-ireland-21283169

    Sir Jeremy Heywood [adviser to David Cameron] sent to Simon King, a private secretary to the prime minister, ahead of a ministerial meeting in July 2011.

    He stated in the communication regarding the Finucane murder that

    “This was a dark moment in the country’s history – far worse than anything that was alleged in Iraq/Afghanistan.”

    The prime minister stated by reply that he “shares the view this is an awful case, and as bad as it gets, and far worse than any post 9/11 allegation”.

    Far worse than anything that happened in Iraq, Afghanistan or post 911. When you look at the savagery visited on the Iraqi and Afghan people by the British military it really puts that into proportion. Far worse than ANYTHING [ his words] and yet he refused to allow the full details of the case to be looked at in a public inquiry. A shameful state cover-up of the truth. Perhaps David is just getting sick of having to stand up in parliament and apologise AGAIN for the murderous actions of the ironically named “security forces”?

    I would put yourself Starviking, Reader and tmitch into the same category as Holocaust deniers. No matter what volume of evidence your nose is rubbed in you still refuse to accept the reality of it. In my opinion this is because of three main reasons: a) your ego can’t take the hit of this reality b) a complete lack of empathy for people from the CNR community and c) a firm belief that extra-judicial killing by the state of its citizens can be justifiable.

    In any/all of those cases you simply aren’t worth knowing or engaging with. You are free to hold and express such stomach churning sentiments but I at least have a choice of who I interact with. Frankly dealing with you three in this thread and the extreme views you express has been abhorrent. Good day to you.

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  47. Rory Carr (profile) says:

    “(I’ll overlook the fact that the soul is a Judeo-Christian concept and just equate it with the brain)…” tmitch57

    Why ever not. Given that, in making such a claim, you will already have overlooked the belief systems of any number of civilisations quite distinct from Judaeo-Christianity.

    Quite apart from the usual suspects of Islam, Buddhism etc., etc., have you never had the pleasure of attending at a performance of Orpheus in the Underworld?

    Pity. You’re missing out on a lot.

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  48. Barnshee (profile) says:

    FDM

    “They funded them, they armed them”, Evidence?

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/15/uk-arms-northern-ireland-loyalist-massacre

    Quote -There is no conclusive proof

    As an aside Perhaps you could explain why it is appropriate for some to use their entitlement to procreate extensively to

    1 Expect the results of such to be housed and funded at public expense

    2 Expect their requirements to be resolved before those more restrained in these activities

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  49. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Barnshee

    “Quote -There is no conclusive proof”

    So other than the MOD admitting to funding the intelligence officer who they recruited and placed with loyalist terrorists and admitting to funding the trip to South Africa.

    “But the MoD has conceded that the trip was funded by the taxpayer, with an army intelligence unit paying his expenses.”

    Brian Nelsons “house and car, plus £200 a week expenses, were paid for by the British army (the British taxpayer).”

    “Throughout his time in the UDA, Nelson worked closely with army intelligence, whose policy at the time was shamelessly to take sides…This policy drew British military intelligence into a gang war. ”

    “The policy of consistent collusion between British army special forces and Orange assassins was bitterly opposed in the 1970s by Colin Wallace, an army information officer at Lisburn with strong connections to intelligence, and Fred Holroyd, a British military intelligence officer in Northern Ireland. Both men were denounced and sacked. Wallace was framed, and jailed for killing his best friend. In 1996, 10 years after his release, his conviction was quashed by the court of appeal. When Stevens discovered the role of Nelson in paramilitary sectarian murders, he insisted on Nelson’s prosecution, and he was arrested. ”

    Sources:
    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/oct/15/uk-arms-northern-ireland-loyalist-massacre

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/news/2003/apr/17/guardianobituaries.northernireland

    If any of this was untrue the government/Army/MOD would be at liberty to take said newspaper to the courts.

    As far as the rest of the straw men, you go and have good intellectual conversation with each other.

    Another “Holocaust denier” to add to the list. Disgusting and shameful to deny the pro-active murder of your co-citizens by the state agencies constructed to protect them.

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  50. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Disgusting and shameful to deny the pro-active murder of your co-citizens by the state agencies constructed to protect them.”

    Agree totally- in just the same way one could point out the denial of the wholesale collusion by he roman catholic community in the murder campaign conducted by PIRA

    So the poor plod who is easily identifiable (the uniform was a bit of a giveaway) gets a bomb under his car gets pissed off and leaked to prods? A degree of inevitability I would have thought

    (If there was a GOVERNMENT?STATE backed campaign to murder they were crap at it)

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  51. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @Barnshee

    When a state sets out on a policy to murder its own citizens it loses its legitimacy to govern.

    Moreover rather than the protectors of the people, they become the enemy of the people.

    Again like any good “Holocaust denier” you seek to turn the volume down and hang this on “a poor policeman”. The same poor policeman who then goes on to betray his oath to protect the people and decides to become judge and jury and sentence some members of the community to death. In some cases actually carrying out that extra-judicial execution personally.

    However lets look at the states role and consider this memo. These quotations are taken from the minutes of a meeting dated Monday 10 July 1972.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/18/northern-ireland-troubles-memo

    Attending that meeting were:
    William Whitelaw, then Northern Ireland secretary,
    The GOC (the most senior army officer in the region), Paul Channon MP,
    The deputy chief constable
    and several senior civil servants.

    Policy decisions at the meeting.

    “The GOC would see UDA [the loyalist paramilitary Ulster Defence Association] leaders and impress upon them that while their efforts as vigilantes in their own areas were acceptable”

    Even though the UDA had been taking people from illegal road blocks and killing them.

    “The army should not be inhibited in its campaign by the threat of court proceedings and should therefore be suitably indemnified.”

    No prosecution for the extra-judicial killing of citizens of the state. In 1972 the British army killed 79 people. Not one soldier faced any charge to what were state murders.

    This is a cabinet minister, the General Officer Commanding and the Deputy Chief Constable rubber stamping working with loyalist terrorists and subverting the rule of law to indemnify the British Army from murder charges.

    A situation very far from some ‘rogue’ policeman.

    Barnshee you are just another Northern Ireland “Holocaust denier”. Given the weight of evidence, which is ever increasing day upon day, your deliberately warped perception of the troubles only serves to shame you.

    I’m done here.

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  52. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    FDM
    There was no holocaust here. Several thousand people from all across our community were murdered or maimed in a futile conflict. That cannot be compared to the holocaust.
    I see no-one denying that collusion took place. The extent of it will probably never be known and personal prejudice will determine whether you believe the security forces were rotten to the core or only contained ‘a few bad apples’.
    Using terms like ‘holocaust denier’ on people who disagree with you is unpleasant hyperbole and weakens your argument.

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  53. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @babyface finlayson

    “There was no holocaust here.”

    Now there is a brave statement. Depends WHAT you are talking about and the TIMEFRAME you are talking about.

    There are many historians who call the famine genocide. Which brings the term “holocaust” into the frame as it refers to the destruction of humans by the acts and omission to act of other humans. Any crowd at Ibrox or indeed Orange Order band outside St. Patricks will give you a good idea of the level of empathy in the PUL community for the massive loss of life then in Ireland.

    “Several thousand people from all across our community were murdered or maimed in a futile conflict. That cannot be compared to THE holocaust.”

    The word “holocaust” doesn’t refer to that single event it is a generic term as I framed above. Whilst it has of course particular resonance to the Jewish community in regards to Hitlers Germany.

    “I see no-one denying that collusion took place.”

    Holocaust denial takes place in many forms. The most common is denying the extent of the holocaust events, which brings us neatly to your very next point.

    “The extent of it will probably never be known”. Oh dear. Bit of holocaust denial going on there.

    The reason the extent will never be known is because the British government and the PUL community don’t want it to be known. You don’t find comments about the HET on walls in nationalist areas, you don’tprotesters on the Falls road insisting that there is an end to ALL inquiries into the past. All PUL parties and the British government are doggedly against any kind of truth commission. Whereas the blacker than black shinners have been in favour, as have the SDLP and the Irish government.

    ‘a few bad apples’. Yeah tell it to someone who is listening to that guff. The amount of evidence demonstrates that it was NOT collusion. The situation was so bad that you really just have to consider loyalist paramilitaries as another department of the state.

    FDM: “What state do you guys live in?”

    Babyface et al: “Denial”

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  54. Barnshee (profile) says:

    Denial
    I (like most people I know) are wholly in favour of

    1 a “truth commission” provided that
    2 the prosecution of ANYONE identified as culpable follows.

    The brits,shinners and co are keen on 1 provided there is no 2

    what happend ?

    After 1968 the British troop first attitude was a simplistic- prods bad -catholics good- remember the cups of tea and buns on the falls ? (The subsequent events had resonance with the brits in Palestine,originally sympathetic to the jew- hostile to the arabs by the end h that position had reversed . The final opinion of the brit commanding officer on Israel was to stand in the door of the plane and piss on the ground -a story I heard more than once along with the comment that they felt the same way about N Ireland )

    The arrival of the troops exacerbated the existing division. The prods expecting the troops to be their boys got a rude awakening The squaddies were happy to belabour any local prod or mick they did not “sort out the IRA” as expected–

    With the IRA apparently able to bomb murder at will and the ambivalence,disinterest and sheer incompetence of the brits now matched by the incompetent protestant murder gangs (UDA etc etc ) the situation degenerates further.

    Government employees (??)carefully trying to keep their own hands clean are more than happy to see prod thugs take the actions they could not .Some affected personally, take it personally and have no problem with providing information. The abused army are more than happy to co-operate on the sly.

    There is wholesale collusion and support for PIRA across the catholic community. School children and teachers caught setting up their neighbours PIRA continue their bomb and murder campaigns with relative impunity making purely sectarian attacks ( Enniskillen etc)) The prod murder gangs retaliated (Greysteel etcl)

    “The situation was so bad that you really just have to consider loyalist paramilitaries as another department of the state”

    Indeed the situation was so bad that you just have to consider that every catholic was a potential PIRA member

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  55. Morpheus (profile) says:

    “Indeed the situation was so bad that you just have to consider that every catholic was a potential PIRA member”

    That has to be the most offensive thing I have read on here. You sir, should be ashamed. Disgusting.

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  56. Starviking (profile) says:

    @Starviking

    “I think you see what you want to see and nothing else.”

    The de Silva report gave us , as I said, SOME but nowhere near the whole truth of how the state systemically arranged for the extra-judicial killing of its citizens.

    If you read my post with any kind of attention you would find that it is about Terrence O’Neill.

    Frankly dealing with you three in this thread and the extreme views you express has been abhorrent. Good day to you.

    So standing up for Terrance O’Neill’s message supporting equal rights is abhorrent? The mind boggles.

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  57. Starviking (profile) says:

    Indeed the situation was so bad that you just have to consider that every catholic was a potential PIRA member

    What sectarian twaddle!

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  58. Barnshee (profile) says:

    “Indeed the situation was so bad that you just have to consider that every catholic was a potential PIRA member”

    Read the words care fully then consider Its an example of the mistrust generated (particularly) during the “troubles”

    Take the case of

    Mr E Collins (Officer of Her Majesties Customs in good standing if my memory serves me) was involved in the murder of a colleague in Newry.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eamon_Collins

    What did that do for the confidence of his fellow workers?

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  59. Starviking (profile) says:

    One bad egg does not represent a community. Most catholics were law-abiding folks, just like their protestant neighbours.

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  60. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    @FDM,

    When you capitilize the word Holocaust it does in the West refer to the genocide against the Jews, gypsies, and Soviet prisoners during World War II. So to refer to a “NI Holocaust denier” is to refer to someone in NI who denies that the Nazis carried out a policy of genocide against the Jews.

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  61. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    FDM
    “There are many historians who call the famine genocide.”
    Who is talking about the famine? The context of the conversation was the events of the ‘troubles’ and cpllusion regarding attacks on catholics.
    ‘Holocaust-denier’ is a very particular phrase, not at all generic. And your use of it in the context of our conflict,where both sides were committing crimes, is totally inappropriate, as I am sure you know.
    “FDM: “What state do you guys live in?”

    Babyface et al: “Denial””
    A holocaust during the troubles? Pure hyperbole.

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  62. tacapall (profile) says:

    Maybe FDM is going over the top regarding unionists being holocaust deniers but there is overwhelming evidence that the majority deny even that collusion existed the idea that members of the security forces armed and controlled loyalist paramilitaries is viewed by them as republican propaganda even though the evidence is right in front of their eyes.

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  63. SK (profile) says:

    “Indeed the situation was so bad that you just have to consider that every catholic was a potential PIRA member”

    “Yabba Dabba Do, Any Taig Will Do”

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  64. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    tacapall
    “there is overwhelming evidence that the majority deny even that collusion existed”
    I don’t know about the majority of unionists, but Unionist leaders certainly show a reluctance to admit it happened, which is shameful.
    Debating the extent to which it happened does not mean one is denying it took place.
    I don’t see how anyone can be sure about the extent of it, which is where personal prejudice comes into it.

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  65. tacapall (profile) says:

    “I don’t see how anyone can be sure about the extent of it, which is where personal prejudice comes into it.”

    Oh im sure if you open your mind a little more you will realise they also controlled some operations within the republican movement that resulted in the deaths of some of their own colleagues, or even like this –

    http://www.globalresearch.ca/chinook-disaster-did-britain-sacrifice-counterinsurgency-top-brass-to-defeat-irish-republicans/25635

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  66. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    tacapallOh im sure if you open your mind a little more you will realise they also controlled some operations within the republican movement that resulted in the deaths of some of their own colleagues,”
    I have no particular axe to grind on this,so I think my mind is fairly open.
    The issue is not that collusion and infiltration happened it is the extent of it.
    If you can prove that every member of the security forces was involved in collusion then go for it. Otherwise you are agreeing with me that we do not know the extent of it.

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  67. tacapall (profile) says:

    Of course Im not saying every member was involved in collusion Babyface Im saying that it was more frequent and ruthless than you or me will ever know, well placed agents and handlers can control a whole organisation, decide tactics, targets and of course the ability to thwart them or allow them to continue, which is what did happen on multiple occasions.

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  68. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @babyface and the other denial merchants

    What a load of disingenuous BS the denial merchants sell.

    Lets look at what I actually wrote.

    2 April 2013 at 9:26 am

    “I would put yourself Starviking, Reader and tmitch into the same CATEGORY as Holocaust deniers.”

    The point I was CLEARLY making is that with murder, mass murder in this case, caused by wholesale state collusion we are talking about analagous comparable events. The differences being only scale. Don’t tell me the Shankill Butchers were more civilised in carving people up and torturing them to death than Dr. Mengele?

    You deny state involvement in the wholesale murder of citizens of the state. Since these are analagous events involving wholesale killings then I am quite right to put you in the same CATEGORY as holocaust deniers.

    You have been presented with chapter and verse of the truth and you still gainsay it for political ends.

    These were your co-citizens. Should we similarly roll a blind eye when they come for you when your beliefs become contrary to what they see as the good of the state?

    Your stance is disgraceful. You are David Irivings soul mate. Not for the first time protestant nationalism and fascism go hand in hand.

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  69. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    @FDM,

    I looked briefly through the copy of the report whose link you sent me. In that time I was able to find a paragraph where the report’s author admitted that there was no evidence of a policy by London to provide intelligence or arms to loyalist paramilitaries. What the author was labeling as collusion was a failure to stop individuals, usually individual soldiers, presumably at the end of their tours in NI, to provide intelligence by leaving photos of suspected or identified IRA members to the UDA. I reproduced the relevant paragraph in this thread higher up.

    If this is a case of a state “conspiring to murder its fellow citizens” as you claim, than by definition many of those same fellow citizens were also murdering their fellow citizens.

    Since I’m an American citizen and not British nor Irish, none of these individuals are my fellow citizens. However, I have served as a soldier. If I had confidence in the accuracy of the intelligence on IRA members, particularly if I was part of the intelligence effort collecting that information, I might well be tempted to accept the IRA’s definition of the conflict as a war rather than the British government’s definition of it as a policing action. In that case I might not see a problem with providing that evidence i.e. photos or names and addresses to people that might see that they weren’t around when I returned for the next time. Particularly if I thought that providing this evidence might prevent random Catholics from being murdered.

    For the most part the evidence is that most of the real inappropriate actions with loyalists was a matter of handlers shielding their sources from prosecution so as to protect their intelligence. Very similar things took place with republican sources with the British handlers having their agents outing “innocent” IRA members as informers in order to protect the real informers and sacrificing lower-level informers to protect higher-level informers. Frank Scappaticci and others were protected.

    Now had the loyalists been killing large numbers of British soldiers (they preferred RUC constables who were much easier targets) those same British soldiers might have stuffed Sinn Fein’s mailboxes full of pictures of loyalists. Most soldiers who are being shot at at least tend to know which organizations are their more serious enemies.

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  70. FDM (profile) black spot says:

    @tmitch57

    “rather than the British government’s definition of it as a policing action.”

    That was the spin. However successive prime ministers, including Thatcher herself, described it as a war and as such admitted they were prosecuting a formal military campaign against a group of its own citizens.

    What you basically do in the rest of your comment is attempting to justify and legitimise extra-judicial killings.

    When a state starts to murder its citizens or indeed organise their deaths in this manner it loses the right to govern. America is a good example where many of the citizens believe that the federal government has too much power, leading them to violently attack its people and strucutres, for instance Oklahoma. What would happen in the US if the government armed and provided intelligence to a group of blood-thirsty sectarian vigilantes, protected them from prosecution and then unleashed them on the American population?

    There would be armed insurrection against that state.

    In terms of the murder of the lawyers Pat Finucane and Rosmarie Nelson you fail to see the wood for the trees. All a senior individual needs to say to like minded individuals is “it would be useful if these people didn’t exist any more”. The minions then go off and make it so. This type of thing doesn’t really leave a major trail of evidence to prove the conspiracy because only those central to it can provide that proof. They effectively have to self incriminate. The refusal of the British government to perform a judicial inquiry into the Finucane murder and conspiracy reeks. Remembering that this case was described by the current British prime minister as “an awful case, and as bad as it gets, and far worse than any post 9/11 allegation”. We don’t have to wonder for too long as to why Cameron does not want the British states role in this murder to be picked at.

    However in terms of government policy we do have the minutes of the this meeting, which outlines the indemnificaion of soldiers from murder charges [extra-judicial killing] and outlines meetings and cooperation between the armed forces of the state at the highest levels, police and army with loyalist terrorists.

    http://www.guardian.co.uk/uk/2012/jun/18/northern-ireland-troubles-memo

    This is a very far cry from your statement “For the most part the evidence is that most of the real inappropriate actions with loyalists was a matter of handlers shielding their sources from prosecution so as to protect their intelligence”.

    The army went on to murder 79 people that year. Not a single soldier faced any charge. Why? Catholics/Nationalists/Republicans in Northern Ireland were targeted as the enemys of the state and therefore, by your definition, deserved to die.

    The reason we have laws is so that soldiers don’t get to make up the rules as they go along. One prisoner in ten in the UK is/was a soldier. By proportion of soldiers to the population, soldiers are 25 TIMES more likely to commit criminal offences. Hardly people we should involve in law enforcement or indeed impune them from the rule of law, as per the memo. The results are mass exterminations, which we saw at Ballymurphy, Derry etc…

    Even the little evidence we do have simplay does not support you taking the stance that you have. Which means you clearly have ulterior motivations for justifying extra-judicial killing of members of the civilian population.

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  71. babyface finlayson (profile) says:

    tacapall
    “Of course Im not saying every member was involved in collusion Babyface Im saying that it was more frequent and ruthless than you or me will ever know, well placed agents and handlers can control a whole organisation, decide tactics, targets and of course the ability to thwart them or allow them to continue, which is what did happen on multiple occasions.”
    I agree.
    FDM
    “we are talking about analagous comparable events. The differences being only scale.”
    They are not comparable,precisely because of the scale.
    Can you not discuss issues without making silly accusations.
    “You deny state involvement in the wholesale murder of citizens of the state.”
    Read what people say. I made no attempt to deny such activities.Why would I?
    I simply pointed out that you cannot know the extent to which such activity was carried out by members of the security forces. Do you accept that?
    If you are replying please point out the statement I made to deny any murder.

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  72. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    FDM,

    I was attempting to explain why individuals leaked classified information. I wasn’t justifying killings. Murder by loyalists had been going on since 1966 and would go on with or without that information. The question was, would those being murdered be random Catholics or IRA members?

    “The army went on to murder 79 people that year”

    I don’t know which year you are talking about or the circumstances under which those 79 were killed. I am very leary, however, when republican sympathizers refer to killings carried out by the other side in the conflict as murder. .

    “Which means you clearly have ulterior motivations…”

    I’m not the one trying to spin a conflict in which sum total about 3500 people were killed, the largest number by republican paramilitaries, into a “holocaust” and attempting to brand everyone who disagrees with my interpretation of the conflict as a “Holocaust denier.”

    My research into NI has concentrated mainly on the peace process. What knowledge I have of loyalists comes largely from reading Martin Dillon, Steven Bruce, and Peter Taylor. Maybe they all have ulterior motives as well?

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  73. tacapall (profile) says:

    http://www.theolivepress.es/spain-news/2012/03/29/ira-shooting-probe/

    On a related note was there any comment or report from De Silva on these killings when he released the Finucane report ?

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  74. Reader (profile) says:

    FDM: The army went on to murder 79 people that year.
    Interesting. According to Sutton and the CAIN crosstabs, the army killed 80 people that year. Who is the one who was not murdered?
    Start here : http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/selecttabs.html
    I selected year=1972, ‘Status’ by ‘Organization’. The British Army killed 41 civilians, 2 soldiers, 8 IRAF, 1 RUC, 1UVF, 16 IRA, 5 OIRA, 4 UDA and 2 OIRAF. In your view all but one of those was a murder – even when they killed Loyalists?
    It was hardly a walk in the park for the army either – in that year 106 soldiers were killed – how many of *those* killings were murders?

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  75. Starviking (profile) says:

    FDM

    Lets look at what I actually wrote.

    “I would put yourself Starviking, Reader and tmitch into the same CATEGORY as Holocaust deniers.”

    The point I was CLEARLY making is that with murder, mass murder in this case, caused by wholesale state collusion we are talking about analagous comparable events. The differences being only scale. Don’t tell me the Shankill Butchers were more civilised in carving people up and torturing them to death than Dr. Mengele?

    You seem to be one of those people who just lump people together and label them, for as I pointed out on the 3rd of April I was addressing the issue of Terrence O’Neill.

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