Theresa Villiers: “I’m extremely pleased that we were able to answer the Agriculture Minister Michelle O’Neill’s request for a military helicopter…”

Following a request yesterday from the Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister, Sinn Féin’s Michelle O’Neill, to the Secretary of State, Theresa Villiers, for “urgent access to helicopter support“, an RAF Chinook flew from its Hampshire base today to airlift supplies in order “to get food on the ground for stranded animals“.  [It’s just “a transport helicopter“! – Ed]  And the NI Agriculture Minister explained to UTV that the request was made “for helicopter support from the MOD” because it was “becoming very clear that’s the only type of helicopter that’s actually going to be able to deliver that feed out onto the ground.” [2m 54s into clip below] 

Those of a, erm, sensitive disposition can relax, though.  According to the latest UTV report, this afternoon the Sinn Féin MLA “spoke with the southern Justice Minister to seek immediate assistance from the Irish Air Corps to help those farmers and rural dwellers affected by the adverse weather.”  [Phew! That’s a relief! – Ed]

Still, probably not the best timing for Sinn Féin to be objecting to the RAF Red Arrows display team appearing at the Newcastle and Down District’s Summer Festival of Flight in August this year.

Oops!  Too late…

Down [Sinn Féin] councillor Eamonn Mac Con Midhe said: “The Red Arrows are using Down District to get publicity for the British Army.

“Let them tell the story about what they are doing in Afghanistan. When they came to Down District the last time, we were told these RAF pilots were all just home from Afghanistan.

“They are not doing festivals of flight in Afghanistan. Let them tell people what they are really doing in the war in Afghanistan.”

Indeed.

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  • JR

    I was wondering how long it would be before someone came here to score cheap points on this. We lost three calves to the snow Last Thursday night first time we have ever lost animals to hypothermia. When thousands of animals are dieing daily of starvation and hypothermia it is not a time to be choosey about who is available to help.

    An air show is something completely different. I can see no contradiction here.

  • sherdy

    Will the Red Arrows be dropping essential supplies to the people of Newcastle?
    If not, they’re no use to us, but on the bright side, by July they may have been decommissioned in the Tory cuts.

  • megatron

    Pete – what exactly is the point of this post?

  • HammerTime

    No, the Fair play to sense prevailing in getting the RAF in to help these people and livestock. And don’t worry sherdy the best display team in the world are safe. The thousands of people they attract to watch and amazement to which young and old find in them, how anybody could be against the Red Arrows coming to NI is beyond me. Lighten up.

  • http://redfellow.blogspot.com Malcolm Redfellow

    megatron @ 11:01 pm:

    I might modestly suggest the dispatch of a helicopter, by gracious discretion of the UK Home Secretary, all the way from ‘Hampshire’, might be deserving of local comment.

  • BluesJazz

    The Army have several Lynx’s in regular use here. Unsure why the resources at Ballykinler (2 Rifles and AAC) weren’t deployed in the Mournes, but the Chinook has capabilities unmatched elsewhere.

    The councillor complaining about the Red Arrows is pathetic. Even an SF rep in north Antrim managed a disgruntled commend to the RAF medical team that flew a stricken cancer patient to hospital yesterday.

    The stricken animals looking for food were of prime concern. I doubt they took offence at the ‘occupying power’ providing their meal.

  • The Raven

    “The stricken animals looking for food were of prime concern. I doubt they took offence at the ‘occupying power’ providing their meal.”

    Well said.

    As for those complaining about the Red Arrows…as my father used to say, “people will travel a long way to be offended in this place.”

  • SK

    It would have been wrong to turn away anyone in a position to help, given the dire circumstances that many of the province’s farmers found themselves in. Fair play to Sinn Fein for their maturity.

    Pete Baker saw an opportunity for sectarian point-scoring and he took it with both hands. But then again. what else from a Super Prod, but a grunt?

  • tomthumbuk

    It might be an itea to create a
    “Ripley’s Believe it or Not”,
    exhibition in South Down.
    This guy could be the prime exhibit.

    ,

  • GoldenFleece

    “It would have been wrong to turn away anyone in a position to help, given the dire circumstances that many of the province’s farmers found themselves in. Fair play to Sinn Fein for their maturity.”

    That’s the thing though, normally you would not have to praise a political party in doing this, its a no-brainer.

    Glad to see that SF recognises some uses to the British Military though, whether it is bomb difusion or livestock feeding.

    I don’t think Pete was trying any political pointscoring, just pointing out the irony in it all.

  • http://nalil.blogspot.com Nevin

    “The stricken animals looking for food were of prime concern.”

    BJ, there are also many animals buried in snow; some were rescued others perished.

    Danny Kennedy, the DRD and roads minister, put out a severe weather warning on Thursday but when the bad weather came it’s clear that the resources were far from adequate. My friend Cllr Paudie McShane claims to have lined up private resources [eg large mechanical diggers to clear drifts that were up to 8 feet deep] for road clearance on Saturday but allegedly was told that a decision could not be made until Monday and that gritters had spread x tons of grit across Northern Ireland. It would have been known on Saturday that the only way to get in animal feed supplies was by Chinook.

    Unfortunately the weather doesn’t operate to a Monday – Friday, 9 – 5 schedule.

    I summary, the response for some has been too little, too late. This requires an investigation into the overall quality of governance rather than party political gameplaying.

  • newgal

    If, as SF councillor Eamonn Mac Con Midhe has said: “The Red Arrows are using Down District to get publicity for the British Army;” then it would be entirely possible that the RAF are using this invitation from a SF Minister to do likewise.

    But for a SF Minister to make this request is distinctly odd to say the least.

    Sinn Fein regard the British as illegal occupiers of this part of what otherwrise would be a harmonious, unified single political entity.

    They regard the British armed forces as the enforcers of that colonial occupation.

    They gave wholehearted support to the IRA, belieiving that its campaign was entirely correct. They even went so far as to state that atrocities such as the murder of Jean McConville was not a murder. They supported IRA attacks upon our business community and economy – attacks that closed businesses and cost jobs.

    SF continued with its support for the IRA despite its involvement in racketeering, counterfeiting, fuel laundering and robbery – which all hit employers, potential investors and put many people on the dole.

    So for SF it has been the case that jobs, employment, business and the economy were secondary to its ‘inextricable link’ to the IRA.

    Yet now the occupiers are called in – very peculiar unless SF are capable of a hint of double standard.

  • Morpheus

    SF called for help in order to help the citizens of Northern Ireland and they get lambasted for it?

    Despite what some people think (I am looking at you here newgal) SF are not the bogeymen and are not the source of all evil in Northern Ireland. You don’t like them – fine – don’t vote for them.

    What would be the reaction on here if the headline read: “SF refuse help for struggling farmers”?

    Is it beyond the realms of possibility that the politicians simply saw the farmers struggling and asked for help without all this amateur dramatics? Jeeeeeze

  • Gopher

    Chinook’s are also used in Afganistan

  • sonofstrongbow

    It is fun to note that, for some, any comment on Sinn Fein is defined as “sectarian”. A point of view that is itself sectarian. Especially so when the original commentator’s religion in brought into the discussion.

    Pete Baker quite properly highlights the absurdities that can arise when the Shinners’ perverted world view abuts with reality. Thus we have a Shinner calling for RAF strafing runs over North Antrim, even though they are only firing sheep nuts, and at the same time gurning about the RAF aerial display team.

    As has been mentioned already the Sinn Fein types don’t appear to picket the Army EOD team when they turn up to deal with nationalist terrorist bombs.

    Perhaps the cops should support the Shinner principles? They could grab a local Sinn Fein rep and send them in to defuse the bombs. Who knows some of them may have expertise in the the field?

  • Morpheus

    Yes Gopher, yes they are

  • RegisterForThisSite

    Good grief, first the cops stop belonging to unionism and now the army, can only hope unionists are keeping careful count to ensure that the same number of unionist sheep get fed as fenian ones or the DUP will have the foot soldiers out….again

  • Morpheus

    @sonofstrongbow

    So in your head the decision was exclusively made by Michelle O’Neil – Sinn Féin – and not Michelle O’Neill – Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister. Gotcha.

    Turn on the radio or TV and listen to the farmers and their struggle – they are in desperate need of help and they are getting some.

    Michelle O’Neill – Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister – did her job. Whoop-de-do

  • Coll Ciotach

    Chinooks used in afghanistan? My word. They are a bad wind blowing some good for the sheep in the glens.

  • sherdy

    Hammer – Do you think the Red Arrows are as safe as the air-sea rescue helicopter service thought they were?
    How many years’ life are left in their present flight of jets?
    Come their sell-by date and they’ll be as expendable as the old Sea Kings.
    Will that contract then go to a private American company?
    Or will the Chinese have a much cheaper alternative by then?

  • sherdy

    Hammer –
    Do you think the Red Arrows are as safe as the air-sea rescue helicopter service thought they were?
    How many years’ life are left in their present flight of jets?
    Come their sell-by date and they’ll be as expendable as the old Sea Kings.
    Will that contract then go to a private American company?
    Or will the Chinese have a much cheaper alternative by then?

  • Congal Claen

    I wonder how many animals could have been saved had Michelle went to the MoD first rather delude herself that “ourselves alone” could handle it?

  • newgal

    Morpheus:

    I certianly do not like SF- nor their night shift that targeted people for cold-blooded murder: some solely because they were Protestants, others solely because they were unionists and yet others because they were British. I never have and never will vote for them.

    You say that SF “are not the source of all evil in Northern Ireland” Quite correct. However the Republican Movement was the source of the greater proportion of it. During the ‘Troubles’ they were after all the greatest human rights abusers, the largest criminal organisation, were responsible for the greatest number of murders, and were the most prolific child abusers -routniely shooting children in the legs or ordering them out of the country.

    You further ask: “What would be the reaction on here if the headline read: “SF refuse help for struggling farmers”?

    The reaction would probably have been as negaive as that when they refused to help the families of the disappeared for decades.

    The mainstream Republican Movement no longer publicly regard being a Protestant, a Unionist or of British ethnic extraction, as a capital crime. They won’t get my thanks or gratitude for that.

    I will be more than happy to expose their hypocrisy as and when I can.

    What would be the reaction on here if the headline read: “SF refuse help for struggling farmers”?

    Is it beyond the realms of possibility that the politicians simply saw the farmers struggling and asked for help without all this amateur dramatics? Jeeeeeze

  • newgal

    Apologies for the typing error – the last two sentences were from Morpheus’ comments – not mine – I should have erased them

  • Banjaxed

    Just as a drowning person clutches at a straw, the NI Minister of Ag. asks for help for farmers’ families and livestock and just as the monolithic Unionist party did not refuse the assistance of fire brigades from the Irish Republic at the height of the Belfast blitz, what else would Teresa Villiers and Pete Baker expect from a responsible minister who is obviously trying to do the best for those in danger? Apart from making cheap political points, that is.

  • FDM

    @newgal

    “However the Republican Movement was the source of the greater proportion of it. During the ‘Troubles’ they were after all the greatest human rights abusers, , were responsible for the greatest number of murders, and were the most prolific child abusers -routniely shooting children in the legs or ordering them out of the country.”

    ———————————–

    “the largest criminal organisation” if we are talking boots on the ground and under desks I would say the British state, its security forces, security services and paramilitaries win that one by a country mile.

    “they were after all the greatest human rights abusers”

    Internment alone, if we are talking impact on families, in terms of rights abuse probably had more effect than everything else put together. 2,000 actually interned, 7,000 FAMILIES having to leave the country because they were on one of Big Brothers lists…

    “were responsible for the greatest number of murders”, Well responsibility doesn’t begin an end at an individual event. If you shoot a guys father dead, isn’t he going to extract revenge, by whatever means? Whose responsibility was the whole bloody mess anyway? Who had the power?

    “and were the most prolific child abusers -routniely shooting children in the legs or ordering them out of the country.” and who interned or imprisoned their fathers, denied their schools funding, created a society where half the children would be second class citizens, underfunded their neighbourhoods and created a glass ceiling in every workplace they couldn’t break through? Child abuse condemning them to a sub-standard, second-class future? Which they did for 3 generations, shame on them.

    WWII started. Britain could do little to avoid it. During that war its soldiers, naval and airforce personnel committed multiple atrocities. Dresden to name one. An attack on a non-militarised target as an experiment in terror. It is estimated that 25,000 people died that night.

    Hitlers Germany was responsible for the outbreak of WWII, with very little cause. Ultimately his party and the people who supported him have to take responsibility for what happened next. Dresden nonetheless was a shameful episode.

    The IRA or Sinn Fein didn’t start the troubles. The UVF were killing people as early at 1966. The RUC spent it seems the entirety of the 1969 battoning Catholics to death on the streets. When they couldn’t get that close they shot them. The moral of the story is don’t start a war and then blame the enemy for actually fighting back. Once wars occur terrible things happen. The key is to be enlightened enough to prevent the war in the first place.

    Your negationism of events is the usual predictable nonsense. We have come to expect nothing less.

  • HammerTime

    Sherdy, maybe they could buy some Cessna 172 propellor planes off the Irish Air Corps. The way things are going down doth they’ll be getting their air support anyway from the RAF in a few years time.

  • Morpheus

    @Congal Claen

    “I wonder how many animals could have been saved had Michelle went to the MoD first rather delude herself that “ourselves alone” could handle it?”

    Is that your level? Seriously?

    What would you have the Northern Ireland Agriculture Minister do? “Mo chara lads, it’s snowing outside – let’s phone the MOD” or would she let the guys who are are paid to handle this sort of thing get on with their jobs?

    When things became too much for her team she called for help – and got it. Go ask the farmers if they give a crap about the perceived irony of a shinner calling in the chinook.

    It’s a good thing people – get over yourselves

  • BarneyT

    I think the poster and various other commentators on this thread need to show some maturity, develop a rationale bone and grow up. I have to remind myself that not all on this site are here to make a serious point – notwithstanding the odd bit of humour which does no harm.

    There is an opposition to the British presence here, like it or not. If this opposition elects to participate in the political process (most would agree this is the preferred approach) and take up residence in government, they will always face a compromise and of course remain at risk from baseless critique.

    They have no option but to work with the system, political infrastructure and state that is in place. They should be able to do this without prejudice whilst they maintain their aims and strive for that.

    That applies to any party. Luckily for the other status quo parties they are immune from many accusations posed here as they are UK proponents and see no issue calling on mother’s milk. Sounds like many on this post would prefer is SF abstained and gave their support to the “old way”.

    I congratulate SF for taking their existing path (albeit late) as much as I congratulate the DUP for their power sharing efforts, given their position towards SF. All have taken big steps…at least initially to get into this position.

    Let’s be fair. It is entirely consistent to call on the existing state services and also to object to the equivalent of a military parade on an Island where they are viewed by many as occupiers.

  • newgal

    FDM:

    Your comparison between Britain’s position at the outbreak of WWII and an organisation that actively their next door neighbours for murder because of their religion is touching.

    I have considered that particular concept before.

    The first time was when I was sitting minding my own business and doing my job in the NI Land Registry in early 1991 and heard it through the intercom that two terrorists had just ran off after planting a no warning 500lb bomb outside.

    The instruction we received was “there’s a bomb at the door – get out! get out!” A few minutes later it exploded.

    Land registry was situated in River House – a 13 storey building with some 400 people working in it. Directly across the road was the ‘HI Park’ shopping centre with approximately 20 small retail unites and a food court, as well as the Passport HQ. Immediately beside was a ‘Shop Electric’ and a sports shop. Then too there were the passing motorists and pedesterians.

    So the IRA planned to kill at least 1,000 people in the heart of Belfast in that one terrorist bomb.

    And as I was running down the stairs of the emergeny fire exit, there I was thinking to myself – ‘my, aren’t the Provos just like Britian holding out against the Nazis.’

    No – They were a cold hearted murder gang that deliberately set out to murder their own neighbours.

    If it happens now that their political day shift get caught out in hypocrisy – that’s not something I will lose sleep about.

  • FDM

    @newgal

    Did you ever sit back and consider the reasons WHY those particular individuals, those “two terrorists” did what they did?

    Or did it give you comfort to simply label them mindless murdering animals? A separate species.

    You see it is easier to label them just so, outside of your existance, then any kind of outrage you perpetrate against them is justifiable. Internment, shoot to kill, denial of freedom of expression,denial of freedom of movement, housing, jobs, etc… all become justified in your eyes.

    Was Dresden terrorism [perpetrated by the brave, noble Royal crested airforce personnel ] when they burned to death 25,000 men, women and children? Many people think so. Legally it was probably a war crime. Morally it was seen as justifiable by the airforce(s) at the time. Whilst even Churchill himself expressed deep disquiet about this particular event.

    Your problem newgal is that you have one definition of terrorism and one definition of terrorist. The IRA were terrorists, the state was not. When the state murders British citizens en masse in Derry on what they consider British streets, this is not terrorism. This is justifiable homicide. You justify it as well. When the state police set-up a member of the legal profession for assasination, this is justifiable. This is necessary to protect the state.

    Newgal I bet in your entire life you have never sat back and asked the question, “why did they do this?”. I bet you have never even attempted to walk in the other sides shoes for 2 minutes.

    For the simple reason that your brain doesn’t want that veil lowered because the answers will not fit with your worldview.

    Tell me was state funding and direction of loyalist terrorists a necessary evil?

  • JR

    New Gal,

    I don’t know why I am responding to you because I know I wont alter your views and it does no-one any good when these threads get sucked off topic. However against my instincts I would say…

    The RAF dropped nearly 4,000 tonnes of high explosives on the civilians of Dresden during the two nights in feb 1945, all of them no warning bombs. they killed more than 25,000 civilians in an act that was decribed as “An attack on German moral” and was largely irrelivent to the outcome of the war. That is more than 10 time the total figure killed by the IRA.

    Another point I would make to you is It was not just the IRA killing their neighbours because of their religion. If we are to discuss people who were targeted purely beause of their religion then probably the worst cycle of sectarian tit for tat killings was in 1975 and early 1976 in the run up to the Kingsmill Massacre.

    According to wikapedia,

    “Loyalists killed 120 Catholics in 1975, the vast majority civilians”

    “Between the 10 February 1975 and the Kingsmill massacre, loyalist paramilitaries killed 25 Catholic civilians in County Armagh and just over the border in County Louth. In that same period, republican paramilitaries killed 14 Protestant civilians and 16 members of the security forces in County Armagh.”

    “(RUC) officers investigating the attack said they believed the culprits included an RUC officer and a British soldier from the Ulster Defence Regiment (UDR).”

    By the way, which of these is the bomb you are refering to because I can’t find it.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chronology_of_Provisional_Irish_Republican_Army_actions_%281990-1999%29

  • Morpheus

    Cue the ‘well your just glorifying terrorists and my conscience is clear so you’ll never change my mind’ rant, maybe with a bit of ‘rewriting history’ and ‘this site is full of IRA sympathisers’ thrown in

  • 6crealist

    “….and heard it through the intercom that two terrorists had just ran off after planting a no warning 500lb bomb outside.”

    How did people know that a bomb had been planted, and therefore to evacuate, if no warning had been given?

  • Congal Claen

    Hi Morpheus,

    “Is that your level? Seriously?”

    You missed my point entirely. I make no complaint about her asking for help from the MoD. Quite the opposite!

    The point is that she wasted time by going to the Republic FIRST for help. That was the ourselves alone part of my remark. It was obviously a political choice and a bad error of judgment resulting in the needless deaths of many animals. It’s like the mayor of San Diego ringing up the Mexican Air Force for help!

  • JR

    C C,

    “It’s like the mayor of San Diego ringing up the Mexican Air Force for help!”

    Not realy It is the southren air core that provides a search and rescue service for the whole Island at the moment and has been for the last no of years. At no cost to the british exchequer I might add.

  • SK

    ” It’s like the mayor of San Diego ringing up the Mexican Air Force for help!”

    _______

    And now some casual xenophobia lobbed in for good measure.

    “Pig” and “grunt”.

  • Morpheus

    Yes, those few minutes it took to call the guys in the Republic to see if they could help really were the difference.

  • newgal

    6crealist:

    The security guard didn’t know for certain. But he had stood and watched as those who planted it got out of the vehicle and ran as hard as they could away up the street. From that he made a calculated decision that they had left a car bomb. As it turned out he was correct. Maye he ought to have waited to know for sure – a few minutes later and we all would have done. He decided not to wait. Hundreds of people were glad that he did.

    FDM:

    Yes, I have sat and asked myself why people living in a town, village, hamlet or townland would do business with their neigbours day in and day out, attend social events where they were present, maybe borrow or lend to one another, only to conclude that since they were Protestants they deserved to be shot in the back of the head, or blown to pieces. in front of their families.

    I have asked myself why Protestant heirs along the border were reckoned to be worthy of murder or what they had done other than exist to be counted so by some of their neighbours.

    And for the life of me I cannot think of any answer that considers those murders to be anything other than that – sectarian murder.

    (And I hold the actions of all terrorist organisations – republican or lyoalist – in the same way)

  • FDM

    @newgal

    (And I hold the actions of all terrorist organisations – republican or lyoalist – in the same way)

    —————————-

    Just to clarify.

    Were the British Army terrorists and did they commit acts of terrorism?

    Were the RUC/B-specials terrorists and did they commit acts of terrorism?

    Do you believe that the IRA campaign was purely driven by sectarian hatred of protestants?

  • newgal

    FDM:

    Just to clarify – I didn’t approach you – it was you who responded to my post. I owe you nothing. I hope that is clear.

  • Reader

    FDM: Do you believe that the IRA campaign was purely driven by sectarian hatred of protestants
    Hell no. the IRA campaign was, throughout, aimed at obtaining a United Ireland by force. Sectarian hatred (among other hatreds) was largely a recruitment tool.

  • Congal Claen

    Hi JR,

    It wasn’t search and rescue though was it? It’s delivering feed. Which requires aircraft that are suitable for transporting supplies ie not search and rescue helicopters.

    Hi SK,

    “casual xenophobia”

    ???

    Hi Morpheus,

    “Yes, those few minutes it took to call the guys in the Republic to see if they could help really were the difference.”

    Well, those minutes seemed to add up. Up to 5 days as of yesterday.

  • HammerTime

    Fs look what this has spiralled into….The MoD helping out some hungry animals and now we have regurgitated the whole history of the Troubles.

  • FDM

    @newgal

    Just to clarify – I didn’t approach you – it was you who responded to my post. I owe you nothing. I hope that is clear.

    ——————-

    Io triomphe. FDM wins another one.

    If your worldview holds about as much water as an eggcup this is what happens. Take it to the Nolan show, where the speed is 33rpm.

    At least you exhibited a little bit of sense and tucked tail and ran early.

  • carl marks

    Get hurt on a hill and it’s the Irish air corp. or coast guard that comes and gets you, HW48 is normally tasked from Sligo, it nice to see the British pull their weight for once instead of making the southern government do all the work.

  • carl marks

    Congal Claen
    First this
    It wasn’t search and rescue though was it? It’s delivering feed. Which requires aircraft that are suitable for transporting supplies ie not search and rescue helicopters.
    Yes and the reason that the republic could not help in delivering supplies is that they don’t have helicopters suitable for delivering supplies(since they don’t invade many countries they don’t need heavy lift kit). They do have air assets suitable for search and rescue and causality evac those are the ones that do all the search and rescue in the north!.

    Then this
    Well, those minutes seemed to add up. Up to 5 days as of yesterday.
    Maybe you should check the facts before going off on one

  • Gopher

    The one thing I learnt from this crisis is, if there is a serious disaster involving loss of life and injury like for instance a commercial airline or rail crash or an environmental catastrophe involving an oil spill or the like we will be in deep trouble. The response to this crisis has been amateur and thankfully it was not life threatening on a significant scale.
    The ad hoc response and lack of coordination was shameful and the PSNI were nothing short of invisible in Belfast on Friday. With Peter and Marty minds elsewhere there was no central command , no Home Secretary to run the show. A disaster we have seen does not discriminate nor does it have departmental demarcation lines. We had plenty of resources civil, military and from our neighbour we simply lacked a coherent ability to use them. We have had our warning.

  • Coll Ciotach

    Just to add more to the pot the Air Corps were also flying food into the Glens today

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Some people are downright ignorant and gloating is so unbecoming.
    Also, there is nothing unusual and nothing to be ashamed about because most industrialized nations have an imbalance between wealth creating areas and the richer areas may have to subsidise poorer regions. That’s the deal in creating a unitary state. Those areas change over time too, of course. At the start of the industrial revolution wealth was not being created solely in the port of London….

  • babyface finlayson

    Chinooky ár lá! Our hay will come.

  • stewart1

    3 Irish AirCorps Helicopters will be in the skies above South Down today helping farmers. Incredibly petty to use the terrible plight of farmers to score childish political points.

    Well done to all in securing the use of helicopters, irrespective of the badge on the side

  • FDM

    @stewart1

    3 Irish AirCorps Helicopters will be in the skies above South Down today “helping farmers”

    ———————————————

    Those comments are clearly republican propaganda and lies.

    Those choppers are the vanguard of a republican invasion force!

    All Ulster Resistance fighters are to report to Crystal Peak with red berrets, combat fatigues, legally held shotguns, copies of their gun licenses and tinfoil hats. Crystal Peak is somewhere near Craigavon centre.

    This is John Connor at Crystal Peak, “Execute Order 66″…

  • sherdy

    FDM – You’re only winding up Peter Punt to get his Ulster Resistance red beret out again to attempt another invasion of the South.
    Don’t you realise he cannot afford another £15,000 fine as his Westminister allowances don’t cover such trips any more?

  • sonofstrongbow

    Sorry to disappoint boys but the South is going to continue to stand idly by.

    However I expect you’re correct, if the Irish Defence Farce did come north a couple of old boys with shotguns could send them fleeing home again.

  • carl marks

    sonofstrongbow (profile)
    28 March 2013 at 11:12 am

    Sorry to disappoint boys but the South is going to continue to stand idly by.

    However I expect you’re correct, if the Irish Defence Farce did come north a couple of old boys with shotguns could send them fleeing home again.

    what happened to make you so twisted, why this need to be so wrong and rude at the same time.
    please try and get out moe.

  • carl marks

    babyface finlayson (profile)
    27 March 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Chinooky ár lá! Our hay will come.

    good one!

  • tacapall

    “However I expect you’re correct, if the Irish Defence Farce did come north a couple of old boys with shotguns could send them fleeing home again”

    Obviously not everyone shares your blinkered vision SOS.

    http://www.u.tv/News/British-Irish-troops-arrive-in-Mali/d09759e1-69dd-4a1d-9ad7-cff4a7079b2a

    The Ministry of Defence confirmed that 21 personnel from 1st Battalion The Royal Irish Regiment arrived in the Malian capital Bamako on Tuesday.

    Six members of The Irish Defence Force arrived on the same aircraft.

    They will be joined by troops from 45 Commando Royal Marines and 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery, completing the 40-strong British training team.

    http://www.independent.ie/irish-news/uniform-first-for-irish-forces-in-uk-26728444.html

    Irish soldiers will wear their uniforms for what is believed to be the first time in public in the United Kingdom to attend the funeral of a British Army bomb disposal officer.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Tac,

    You mustn’t get out much. On the eventing circuit it has not been unknown over the years for competitors attached to the Irish Army to ride in uniform.

    I even competed against one such Johnny in ‘unionist’ County Antrim. His saddlecloth and shoulder flash showing the Irish Tricolour went unremarked.

    Nice to see the IDF joining in the “British training team”. Best to keep them away from any actual fighting though.

  • tacapall

    SOS you must not get out much yourself.

    http://www.newsletter.co.uk/news/headlines/irish-army-helicopters-join-weather-relief-effort-1-4947544

    “Two Irish military helicopters have joined the relief mission to help Northern Ireland farmers whose herds have been cut off by the snow.

    The Augusta Westland helicopters, each carrying up to 14 personnel, took off from Casement Aerodrome at Baldonnel, Co Dublin, this morning, the Irish Defence Forces confirmed.

    They will team up with two Royal Air Force Chinook crews to drop bales of essential food and supplies to stranded animals in the worst affected areas such as the Mourne Mountains and Glens of Antrim”

    You know what they say, charity begins at home –

    http://www.sinnfein.ie/contents/26049

    Sinn Féin MLA Oliver McMullan has called on the British MOD to cancel the charge they have levied on the Department of Agriculture for the use of their helicopters in the present farming emergency.

    His comments come after it was revealed at this morning’s DARD committee meeting in the Assembly that the British MOD are charging for the use of their helicopters while the Irish Air Corp are not.

    The East Antrim MLA and Sinn Féin Agriculture spokesperson said:

    “It appears to me that the Irish Air Corp are offering aid in the truest sense for stranded farmers, their families and their livestock while the British Ministry of Defence involvement is coming at a price

  • Morpheus

    You got in before me:

    “Noel Lavery, a senior official with Stormont’s Department of Agriculture, said he understood there would be no charge from the Irish Government for the use of the Air Corps helicopters. But he told an emergency meeting of the agriculture committee he believed the department would face a charge for the use of the RAF.”

  • sonofstrongbow

    I expect the Irish government asked for the costs of the Air Corps helos to be written off against the seven billion the UK bunged Dublin last year.

    Or maybe the choppers are on HP and the Germans get the dosh?

  • tacapall

    SOS maybe your just one of these people –

    http://www.spiked-online.com/site/reviewofbooks_article/13489/

    “Struggling to articulate what they stand for, the flag protesters are frustrated and fragmented. The flag protests look more like a lashing out at what they have lost than an expression of loyalists’ former supremacy.

    The things loyalists once held dear – Britishness, the monarchy, anti-Catholicism – no longer mean much to the British establishment, which has found new ways to maintain its rule in Ireland. With the IRA’s armed struggle long since abandoned, Sinn Fein has been drawn into the peace process via the Good Friday Agreement signed in April 1998; these republicans have signed up to a new, reformed six-county state. The reward for this compromise has been increasing material equality for Catholics and ‘parity of esteem’ in terms of identity politics and symbols – hence the restrictions on the flying of the Union flag”

  • sonofstrongbow

    Eh? Wtf?

    Have ‘loyalist’ sheep been waving Union Flags at the Air Corps?

    Two points:

    The Irish Air Corps and the Dublin administration are almost as far away from Sinn Fein’s ideology as unionists are.

    The armed struggle” (nice weaselly phrase btw) is far from over. The IRAwhatever is still out there doing its thing, and, back on thread, let’s hope the boyos helicopter recognition is up to speed.

  • tacapall

    “The armed struggle” (nice weaselly phrase btw) is far from over. The IRAwhatever is still out there doing its thing, and, back on thread, let’s hope the boyos helicopter recognition is up to speed”

    Im sure your right but the reality is more citizens have been murdered since the GFA by loyalist paramilitaries, them same people who the PSNI say were organising the violence and murder attempts against the police during the flag protests. That eventing circuit you were talking about earlier, you do know the blinkers go on the horse not yourself.

  • sonofstrongbow

    Yes I know a poorly schooled horse will require blinkers. I am however not as attuned as you seem to be with what comes out the geegee’s rear end.

    I condemn all terrorist violence. As has been noted many times that position is the norm within unionism. As a community we, mostly, shun law breakers. We do not return them as the largest representative ‘political’ party.

    Whilst you fixate on flag street protests, despicable riotous incidents and one attempt to burn a police officer to death you appear to ignore multiple murder attempts on police together with bomb attacks across NI.

    Oh but I forget myself. The latter were merely “armed struggle”.

  • tacapall

    Ah yes the blinkers are still on as you continue to ignore the fact that loyalist paramilitaries are responsible for the vast majority of murders committed since the signing of the GFA. Ah the old chestnut of, we law abiding people do not support violence, funny enough those politicians you vote in support those same people who have committed the majority of murders since the GFA, the same people who the PSNI claim directed the violence at the flag protests, the same people who murdered their fellow citizens for decades, did unionist politicians not stand side by side with these people, did they not recently meet these people for talks even though they know they directed the violence. So whats the difference in your eyes between those who vote Sinn Fein and those who vote DUP or UUP.

  • Neil
  • FDM

    @Neil

    http://www.u.tv/News/Irish-army-helicopter-in-mountain-rescue/09886726-f2de-480a-a3ae-fe2c18b4a710

    ——————————–

    Surely thats treason?

    Those men were prepared to die for Ulster.

    I heard they tried to jump back out and had to be sedated, before being flown to an intensive care facility at the Grand Lodge.

    Hopefully the Lambeg Drum immersion therapy that House developed will have its effect.

  • Mark

    Lol….

  • Gopher

    So if we don’t mind the Air Corps what is the problem with the Red Arrows?

  • babyface finlayson

    FDM
    “I heard they tried to jump back out and had to be sedated, before being flown to an intensive care facility at the Grand Lodge.

    Hopefully the Lambeg Drum immersion therapy that House developed will have its effect.”
    Eh? Were there orangemen on board?

  • FDM

    @babyface finlayson .

    Urghhhhhhhhhhhhh.

  • babyface finlayson

    FDM
    “Urghhhhhhhhhhhhh.”
    Good riposte.
    FDM wins another one:>)

  • FDM

    @babyface tiresome

    How do you explain humour to the humourless?

    http://sluggerotoole.com/2013/03/19/st-patricks-day-celebrating-what-it-is-to-be-irish-everywhere-except-ni-where-we-cant-agree-what-it-means/

    19 March 2013 at 9:13 pm

    “The norm is a pompous, self-righteous, HUMOURLESS, COLOURLESS, SUPERCILIOUS, impatient, supremacist, religious fanatical, hypocritcal bigot.

    Delete as appropriate.

    And for goodness sake, if you have nothing to say, say nothing.

    Bored.com

  • babyface finlayson

    FDM
    Your humourous remark only works if you are assuming the members of the PSNI involved or the men rescued were in some way connected to the Orange.
    It appears to be an assumption on your part, not backed up by the link. That is the point I am making, quite politely,I thought.
    You also appear to be quoting yourself there.
    Are you suggesting I am a supremacist religious fanatical bigot? That is not very nice.

  • FDM

    @babyface finlayson

    Your humourous remark only works if you are assuming the members of the PSNI involved or the men rescued were in some way connected to the Orange.

    ———————————————–

    Or alternatively I was casting a glance upwards at those who were making light of the Irish Defence Forces lending a welcome hand, at no charge, to people in need regardless of their leanings.

    You see when you have to explain humour to people, it just doesn’t work baby. Not for a minute was I suggesting you were a bigot or sectarian or any of the other cheap crap that people on here like to throw about. But sure an idiot would know that. So whats the beef baby? I did point my point in capitals… “Urghhhhhhhhhhhhh.”

    I was anticipating a sense of humour. You know a sense of fun. Is that train coming along anytime soon or is it a Translink job?

    It really gets tiresome. It really does.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Self-description works ok for me. Not that I would call a fellow human an idiot.

  • Submariner

    As a community we, mostly, shun law breakers. We do not return them as the largest representative ‘political’ party.

    Really? Care to explain then how come the present first minister and his immediate predecessor were elected to office given the fact that both are convicted criminals and unionists shun law breakers.

  • http://gravatar.com/joeharron Mister_Joe

    Submariner,

    It’s simply because we cannot see the beam in our own eyes, just the mote(s) in themmuns’ eyes.

  • BluesJazz

    The original point of the post:
    SF minister asks the Armed Forces for help, because they have the capability (Chinooks) to do so. For the sake of animal welfare. – The Irish (Southern) helicopters are virtually useless and only for the optics.
    Yes there is an irony in an SF minister asking the Army and RAF for help.
    But the plight of the livestock was such that was her only option-calling the Southern Irish ‘air corps’ as a fig leaf.
    At least she didn’t refer to the Chinook pilots as ‘Crown Forces’, which is a start. SF are slowly recognising the reality of living in the UK is a good thing.

  • Davy McFaul

    “I expect the Irish government asked for the costs of the Air Corps helos to be written off against the seven billion the UK bunged Dublin last year”

    Apart from the fact that it was a loan maybe, alternatively,the Irish government could have recalled the nine billion that the UK is outstanding to it?

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-15748696

    Not very good at this oneupmanship thing are you SOS?

  • BluesJazz

    What did the RoI helicopters do that the Lynxs’s and Pumas stationed at Ballykinler couldn’t? The latter are far better equipped. So it was a political decision.
    Only the Chinooks are effectively ‘operational’. But the co-operational aspect looks good. A bit like the BBC fawning over the RC and Prod primary school in Moy sharing facilities, but the weeping statues get to remain.
    Aww luv a duck.

  • Davy McFaul

    “The Irish (Southern) helicopters are virtually useless and only for the optics”

    Indeed.

    “On Thursday a second Chinook joined two Irish military helicopters in delivering emergency food drops to cut off farming communities after Minister O’Neill requested extra help.

    They are concentrating on making deliveries to the Dromara, Kilcoo, Castlewellan and Slieve Croob areas of Co Down on Thursday.

    The Irish helicopters took off from Casement Aerodrome at Baldonnel, Co Dublin earlier and filled at Ballykinlar with supplies including bales of hay and other food essentials, before making their way to the Dromara hills.

    They will work alongside the RAF and Department of Agriculture officials to bring the aid to stranded animals, amid fears that thousands of sheep and cattle have perished in sub-zero temperatures and snow drifts up to 18ft deep.

    A spokeswoman for the Irish Defence Forces said: “Two helicopters took off from Baldonnel and will land at Aldergrove for a briefing.

    They will work out of Ballykinler and from there they will be tasked by Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (DARD) and the RAF to do what they need to, and that is to deliver animal feed to the animals affected by the weather crisis.”

    http://www.u.tv/News/Two-snow-helicopters-from-Irish-Army/186afab0-c813-411e-8050-63a14bca7410

  • BluesJazz

    Like I said…Political.

    Ballykinler also has Wessex and Merlin choppers. As well as the Gazelle surveillance. But we need the southern angle ‘for the optics’.

    That’s ok. Whatever for the politics. The animals need food.
    I’m glad the people of South Down are happy to have the Ballykinler resource on their doorstep.

  • Davy McFaul

    Perhaps something to do with price?

    “Mr Lavery said he understood there will be no charge from the Irish government for the use of Air Corps helicopters, however he believes there will be for the RAF Chinooks”

    I’m sure that those rural TUV voters Ulster farming stock are refusing the free extra assistance from the Irish Air Corp even as we speak.

  • Morpheus

    Some of you guys really need to take a long hard look at yourselves – honestly.

    Your ability to turn a good thing to help the people of NI by the Minister, The RAF and The Irish helicopters into a cheap political point scoring competition is nothing short of disgusting.

  • FDM

    “The Irish Helicopters”

    Good name for a band.

  • Neil

    A bit of piss taking is expected, what’s funny is this one gets to go both ways. On one hand you have a Shinner calling in the Brits, on the other it seems that the British forces (much like their contemporaries in NI) can measure their loyalty in pounds and pence.

  • Gopher

    So again what is the problem with the Red Arrows at this air display?

  • Neil

    I would suppose that Sinn Fein’s opposition to ‘crown forces’ remains more or less as it was. The fact that they accepted (or even requested) help from those same forces are as a result of that freak storm. I.e. not normal conditions, and likely that a future UI may well have sought and received help from the UK in similar conditions (maybe even for free), should they need it.

    Certainly the timing is a bit off in my view. If I were a Shinner I’d be hiding my blushes and drawing as little attention to myself as possible. But I don’t think the RAF’s requested assistance means SF are now four square behind the British military, I’d say their opposition to it’s presence here on this island is undiminished.

  • Jack2

    babyface finlayson (profile)
    27 March 2013 at 10:09 pm

    Chinooky ár lá! Our hay will come.

    ————–

    Brilliant!!

  • Really

    Never have I seen such a collection of misinformed rubbish in one place , where to start.

    Military Aid to the Civil Power, unless it is life saving ,as in imminent ,every Govt Department who asks for it gets charged no matter in what part of the UK, England ,Wales, Scotland, Channel Isles.
    Now the really funny bits ,asking why the Pumas, Lynx and even better Wessex were not used.
    The Pumas left for RAF Benson in November 2009, the Lynx left two years earlier. As for the Wessex there are three in Northern Ireland, one is a scrapper at Ballykinler, one is a gate guardian at Aldergrove the third is in the Ulster Aviation Societys museum, as for the rest they left in 2002 and left RAF service in 2003 ,the only flying ones left are in Uruguay .

  • SK

    “However I expect you’re correct, if the Irish Defence Farce did come north a couple of old boys with shotguns could send them fleeing home again.”

    _________

    Isn’t that the worst thing about the IRA’s campaign? The sheer number of Protestants driven to complete mental illness by it?

  • SK

    “Some of you guys really need to take a long hard look at yourselves – honestly.

    Your ability to turn a good thing to help the people of NI by the Minister, The RAF and The Irish helicopters into a cheap political point scoring competition is nothing short of disgusting.”
    ________

    There really is nothing in Northern Ireland that cannot be turned into an opportunity for sectarian one-upmanship. Do people never stop and think how it looks to outside world? Do they even give a shit?

  • Starviking

    “Not realy It is the southren air core that provides a search and rescue service for the whole Island at the moment and has been for the last no of years.”

    Do you have any references for that JR? The Irish Search and Rescue Regioncovers part of Northern Ireland, but conversely the UK Search and Rescue Region covers part of the Republic of Ireland.

  • Starviking

    “Not realy It is the southren air core that provides a search and rescue service for the whole Island at the moment and has been for the last no of years.”

    Oops! That should read:

    Do you have any references for that JR? The Irish Search and Rescue Regioncovers part of Northern Ireland, but conversely the UK Search and Rescue Region covers part of the Republic of Ireland.