Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Haass Round Table talks pushed back until later this evening…

Mon 23 December 2013, 5:08pm

So the latest time for the convening of roundtable talks has been being put back all day. Right now, Mark Devenport says 8.30. And Tommie Gorman of RTE has suggested that Haass may be back immediately after Christmas (he’s going back to the States tomorrow) to finalise any deal before the end of the month.

In the meantime, Jeffrey Donaldson gave a lot of detail on Stephen Nolan this morning on what already seems to be agreed on investigating the past.

In short it looks like a partial amnesty, i.e. perpetrators can deposit evidence in front of an information retrieval commission and have immunity from prosecution for that particular piece of evidence, but will not remain immune from prosecution should information from other sources arise.

Not, as Nolan notes, a great deal of incentive there for perpetrators to put their heads above the parapet.

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Comments (69)

  1. sherdy (profile) says:

    If Richard Haass is planning a long-term return to help do our politicians’ work maybe we should organise a passport for him – will it be a UK or Irish one?
    Heard Wee Jeff waffling today about the non-amnesty partial immunity – who is he trying to bluff?
    If a victim’s relative opts to find the truth of what happened to the victim, and then was not satisfied with the information, they presumably go then to the police, give them any ‘truth’ they had been given by possibly the perpetrator, and the police could use that ‘truth’ to investigate further and therefore stand a better chance of bringing their case to court.
    Some incentive for anyone to volunteer information!
    I only hope Wee Jeff is not negotiating on my behalf.

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  2. Nothing new then. Partial amnesty has been used before, for example at the Bloody Sunday inquiry and perhaps for recovery of the “disappeared”.

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  3. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    Worth recalling that nothing gets thro without five party approval.

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  4. tacapall (profile) says:

    Whenever I hear a politician from here repeating BS like “Let me be clear about this” I know im being pissed on and told its raining, whats the point or the incentive for anyone to give evidence to any tribunal without first being gauranteed immunity. Wee Jeff at this stage of the game is attempting even now to pull the wool over his own peoples eyes.

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  5. I imagine that some proposal(s), if there is agreement, will require Westminster legislation which will involve discussions between London and Dublin.

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  6. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    I’m not sure “his people” are the ones who are going to have the most trouble with such a deal, should it emerge tac.

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  7. Alias (profile) says:

    A partial amnesty is intended to be a stepping stone to a full amnesty. The British state’s aim is to counter public objection to an amnesty by first introducing a limited amnesty. Once the public have conceded the principle, the amnesty will then be extended using a variety of pretexts.

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  8. tacapall (profile) says:

    Lets be honest Mick its Jeffery’s people who would be the only objectors to any amnesty so rather than tell the truth we have this spoof of “limited immunity” and he even goes on to explain why someone would sacrifice their freedom after being quiet for so long he reminds me of those police officers who used the same defence when tackled by barristers about contested stements in diplock courts – a crisis of conscience. Absolute bull…. there is no way anyone is going to buy into any such farce.

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  9. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    The crucial detail concerning the amnesty proposals is the element where the victims have to give their consent to it.

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  10. Is Wee Jeffrey, Pretender DUP leader for this month? Is Peter ill and able to perform as expected and scripted?

    And was anything as pathetic as the shenanigans being now played out for media and muppets today and concerned more about knowing through articulate specification, the horrors of the the past than planning a new future where all are free to start afresh without criminal and/or incriminating baggage being aired to remind one and all of a collaborative collective madness and idiot mindset that new generations have no knowledge about.

    How very strange and perverse that you want to inform and educate them with it. Do you think they will ever be able to thank you for your efforts in revealing the horrors supported and even perpetrated and/or endured by their elders?

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  11. Oops … that should of course be … Is Peter ill and unable to perform as expected and scripted?

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  12. DC (profile) says:

    ‘idiot mindset that new generations have no knowledge about.’

    Hmmmm?

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  13. iluvni (profile) says:

    It’s going to be a nightmare to try and fill these jobs on all the new quangos this latest round of talks will deliver to us…. I mean, all those oul dolls from the Womens Coalition are all tied up in cushy numbers already, there’s only so many jobs retired priests and ministers can take on, and spokespersons for city centres have enough on their plate too. Are there any more pompous Alliance do gooders left needing sorted out with a few thousand quid on the public teat, or some of those social commentators which Hearts and Minds (or its dire replacement) have on all the time.

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  14. Given that Dr.Haass demanded silence I’m surprised that he hasn’t admonished sid.

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  15. Are we going to get a new acronym – CEA?

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  16. cynic2 (profile) says:

    Pity May McFetridge wasn’t part of the negotiating team but she’s tied up at the Opera House

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  17. Zig70 (profile) says:

    The odf are a bit bemused. The real crisis is the economy. The flag chewers are losing steam anyway. What’s the panic?

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  18. notimetoshine (profile) says:

    Poor Richard Haass, he really drew the short lot with this shower didn’t he?

    Couldn’t agree their way out of a paper bag….unless some ‘funding’ is available…

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  19. Mick Fealty (profile) says:

    UTV has a useful report: http://goo.gl/1qqWUP

    It is understood a deal on flags is set to prove elusive – however progress has been made on the issues of parades and how to deal with the legacy of the Troubles.

    UTV correspondent Tracey Magee said: “It appears Dr Haass has largely packed up the flags issue due to a lack of agreement.

    “It is thought he has recommended a commission should look at the matter at a later date.”

    And Tweet of the night (and there’s a few contenders), is Alex Maskey’s:

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  20. Tir Chonaill Gael (profile) says:

    No wonder this place is up shit creek when corner boys like Maskey are spouting that sort of absolute nonsense.

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  21. iluvni (profile) says:

    I’m not sure that’s such a great tweet. More like the tweet of a self satisfied git who hasn’t the remotest of respect for someone who has clearly put a lot of time in trying to deal with a shower of second rate tosspots,

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  22. David Crookes (profile) says:

    This week has let us look into the future. If a UI was required by ukaz to come into being in 2017, unionist politicians would not be trying to get a good deal for people of their own ‘sort’ who read good books and listen to good music and admire good art. They would be trying to get a good deal for people of their own ‘sort’ who despise education and listen to barbaric unison flute bands and admire tattoos.

    Why would the RoI ever want to involve itself with politicians whose mindset is so helplessly barbaric? Why would it ever want to govern the ungovernable gangster-backed votaries of flags and marches?

    I have a whoopee cushion sitting beside me in case the inevitable happens and I get rebuked for talking about one problem at a time.

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  23. Every month, the US Federal Reserve are/were inventing $80,000,000,000 to buy up their own catastrophically inventive toxic debt, which others in the gilts and bonds markets are declining to purchase at auction to keep the ponzi going and Uncle Sam pretending to be top dog. After all, it is only pretty printed paper whenever not just figures on an electronic bank balance sheet and nothing of any real value.

    Might I suggest that Richard Haass offer such largesse to Stormont, for we all know that it is the money gravy train there which is so attractive to the intellectually challenged in politics here, in return for anything from the Assembly which anyone can agree to work with to deliver a novel peace and viable prosperity rather than the continuous division and increasing austerity which they all have excelled so obviously well in.

    And, if the truth be known, such is also a proposition which the Bank of England could tempt the political system with, in order to show everyone that Parliamentary style democracy does not work for peace and prosperity at all well but is quite brilliant at maintaining the status quo chaos system with fool tools sustaining the media machine which be vital for message command and control.

    One does wonder what on earth is the excuse of British intelligence services for not already long ago providing a ready-made solution? Perhaps they be just not smart enough nowadays, with tired old analogue hands in novel virtual leadership positions, and thus are in dire straits need of new blood, hearts and minds right at the top of those particular and peculiar money pit trees …. which you should note is not a question whenever events on the ground so obviously prove it to be an undeniable fact.

    Let’s be adventurous and try something quite revolutionary and fundamentally quite radically different rather than just pratting around like normal and buck eejits. You know it makes sense and IT Command and Control can deliver whatever IT wants.

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  24. Oh, and regarding fiat money supply and imaginary wealth, here be some further information on what it be really for ……. http://www.nytimes.com/2013/12/23/opinion/krugman-bits-and-barbarism.html?_r=0

    Real wealth is rooted and provided in greater intelligence servering and servicing …… which be a novel kind of quite immaculate creativity and nativity.

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  25. cynic2 (profile) says:

    “Uncle Sam pretending to be top dog.”

    Still is and may be for some time yet now its a new oil exporter. A lesson for the fracking backwoodsmen

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  26. cynic2 (profile) says:

    “One does wonder what on earth is the excuse of British intelligence services for not already long ago providing a ready-made solution? ”

    What do you think GFA was?

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  27. cynic2 (profile) says:

    Tir Chonaill Gael

    The realization that your representatives have feet of clay hurts doesn’t it. And there was you thinking he spent every minute sad that poor Bobby was no longer with us and dedicated to promoting Bobby’s memory (authorized version only)

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  28. cynic2 (profile) says:

    a man from mars

    PS $80bn is a lot – lets say $1trillion / year – but US GDP before the slump was $14.4t it then slumped to £13.9t and is now $15.7t.

    So a stimulus of $1b is around 6% – peanuts in the context of the crisis

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  29. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    Village idiot type asinine comment from Alex Maskey. I thought he was cuter.

    More broadly, there’ll be consequences for all this, especially for the DUP. I doubt if Robinson (and that also means McGuinness) will be next or near the White House next St. Patrick’s Day.

    Hopefully, the cosseting of the clowns who masquerade as politicians here is over. SDLP and Alliance will get less of the flak.

    The flag thing is easy. Designated days and otherwise you can fly any flag you want all year round, as long as it’s from your own property. DUP/UUP have decided it’s more important to keep on board the scumbags who pollute places like the Lisburn Road and Finaghy with the Union Flag on street furniture (ignoring all protocols about treating it with appropriate respect) than value the role of the US administration.

    The collapse of Stormont has just moved a step closer.

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  30. Mainland Ulsterman (profile) says:

    Yes, a quip about Macy’s ruins the reputation of former IRA terrorist Alex Maskey.

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  31. sherdy (profile) says:

    Do we never learn from experience in NI?
    So many people hoping for a Christmas present in the form of some agreement between the political parties.
    They are supposed to be ‘negotiating’ which implies there will be some compromise or give-and-take in their minds.
    But listening to Wee Jeff every item on the agenda is a ‘red line’ for the DUP, so there will be no ability to negotiate anything and so no hope here.
    But maybe we shouldn’t put the blame entirely on him. Have you noticed that every time he’s in front of the cameras he has Big Merv of the OO looming over him to make sure he doesn’t utter a word which might ‘reek’ of generosity of kindness in this Christmastide.
    So unfortunately we will have to accept that the whole process has been a waste of time. Would I like to be proved wrong? Of course I would, but there’s not much chance of the bookies giving you good odds on an agreed outcome.
    Would it be unchristian to wish a happy Christmas to everyone except the fools on the hill?

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  32. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    Careful now, MU, would hate for you to get a writ on Christmas Eve.

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  33. streetlegal (profile) says:

    As predicted, the DUP strategy was just to keep on talking through all of the deadlines. The selection of the DUP negotiators points to how much they placed in securing a result from these talks. First Jeffrey Donaldson – a man of little stature within the party where he is disregarded as a UUP turncoat. Second Jonathan Bell – a very junior Junior Minister – regarded as something of a joke, even within his own party.

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  34. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    SDLP supporter,

    Haass is not here representing the US administration or anyone else, and while baubles such as invitations to the White House on St Patrick’s Day are may be of importance to the SDLP (especially Margaret Ritchie) I don’t think they should figure in the considerations of negotiators.

    The flag thing is easy. Designated days and otherwise you can fly any flag you want all year round, as long as it’s from your own property.

    It’s not clear to me that the SDLP support designated days on all the councils.

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  35. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    CS, lay off the spiteful snideness that you specialise in. The DUP and Sinn Fein, and maybe others, have been indulged by the US far beyond their intrinsic importance. The US has no strategic interest here and the Provos’ greatest stroke of luck is that they were well down the de-commissioning road by the time of 9/11. That is Gerry Adams’ greatest achievement.

    If that hadn’t happened, they would have been destroyed by the US. Look at the current situation in Colombia where the US has been credibly accused of working with the Colombian government to take out (ie ‘terminate with extreme prejudice’ the top leadership of FARC.)

    SDLP policy can be summarised as both flags or no flags but I would say there is a profound indifference within the SDLP about either national flags of either ilk: that have been so dishonoured by the yahoos on either side.

    I would guess that, as in Belfast, they can live with designated days until something better comes along,

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  36. DC (profile) says:

    ‘CS, lay off the spiteful snideness that you specialise in

    lol

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  37. ThomasMourne (profile) says:

    The Haass farce has only tinkered round the edges of the underlying cancer in our society – sectarianism. Our daily life is poisoned by the ingrained segregation in housing, education, press, sport, cultural activities, religion and politics. It is no surprise that mainly sectarian politicians cannot reach agreement on the things that keep them locked into their parties.

    The fault lies with the electorate who continually vote for narrow-minded dinosaurs who have no interest in progress since they are being paid handsomely to continue supporting divisiveness. Don’t blame the politicians – few of them have any more vision that the neanderthals who believe that a piece of coloured cloth is the Holy Grail.

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  38. Should not Haass be chatting to MI5, Loughside? Or is that outpost a white elephant?

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  39. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    SDLP supporter,

    I think you’re overstating the relevance of the US government to the process. You’re smoking some powerful stuff if you’re implying, as it looks like you are, that they’d get together with the British to assassinate the leaders of the IRA without the Irish American voting caucus having anything to say about it.

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  40. Gopher (profile) says:

    Another failure by Alliance, UUP and SDLP to dent SF and the DUP. The incompetence is beyond belief.

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  41. sean treacy (profile) says:

    CS I see sdlp supporter has accused you of “spiteful snideness” .To give you an idea of what you are dealing with,sdlp supporter demonstrated his reasonableness by calling me a”f—wit and a not very successful killer on this site not 2 weeks ago!

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  42. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    ST, you’re in danger of being tagged as a bit of a big girl’s blouse. Comrade Stalin does construct an argument and, to be fair to him/her, can take it as well as dish it out, a bit like a five-a-side indoor soccer player.

    One of your favourite ploys, ST, is to come up with totally outlandish assertions, like that the sister party of Fine Gael is Berlosconi’s neo-fascists. It isn’t, Fine Gael is allied to the Christian Democratic bloc, which espouses a perfectly honourable European political tradition. Then again, whenever Enda Kenny and Fine Gael is mentioned you invariably scream “Blueshirt”. Let’s be clear about this, the Blueshirts lasted 1933-35, there’s nobody alive who was in the Blueshirts and for all their fascistic strutting they appear to have killed precisely nobody.

    On the other hand, ST, the paramilitary wing of the political party with which you are connected, SinnFein, dispatched 1,600 to an early grave and most of the perpetrators are still alive.

    Focal scoir, ST, I’m convinced that somebody in Connolly House has given you a file marked ‘Nonsense we can maybe throw at the SDLP when we have totally run out of any rational arguments’. Hence your reference to Gerry Fitt, first Leader of the SDLP calling the RUC “black bastards”. OMG, the horror of it, you would never hear the like of it in the Felons.

    Even more ludicrously, because it mystified a lot of people, you accused the same Gerry Fitt of saying “we beat them at football”. Just to clarify, this is a reference which ST probably got at tenth hand, to the never-to-be-forgotten night in May 1967 when Glasgow Celtic beat Inter Milan 2-1 in the European Cup Final, the first British team to become Champions of Europe. Anyway, Gerry, who had probably taken a G&T too many, got up on the back of a lorry in Leeson Street and made his “we beat them at football” which is, of course, remembered now only by the saddest of sad unionist and Sinn Fein supporters.

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  43. sean treacy (profile) says:

    Glad to see you leaping to the defence of the blueshirts and that the stoops have rehabilitated lord Fitt when for the last 20 years of his life he was one big embarrassment. Gerry moved on from his”black b——-s” phase to lament that he lost his W Belfast seat because “the better type of people” had moved out of the area..Its therefore not hard to see how a FG supporter would have plenty in common with his lordship!

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  44. son of sam (profile) says:

    Subject to the fallibility of memory, my recollection is that elements of the Republican movement were responsible for Gerry Fitt having to leave his Antrim Road home.Other posters may wish to confirm this.

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  45. tmitch57 (profile) says:

    “Subject to the fallibility of memory, my recollection is that elements of the Republican movement were responsible for Gerry Fitt having to leave his Antrim Road home.Other posters may wish to confirm this.”

    @sos,

    You are correct it was a republican mob and most likely from the Republican Movement that was responsible for driving Fitt and family from his home. The same Republican Movement that through its numerous posters regularly refers to supporters of other parties as “fascists, neo-fascists, quasi-fascists,” etc. Apparently being an ultra-nationalist movement that reserves for itself the exclusive right to speak for the Irish nation, that regularly physically attacked its political opponents, that conducted a terrorist campaign in the name of irredentism, doesn’t qualify this Movement as fascist because it occasionally uses socialist rhetoric.

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  46. And now for something completely different, in order to ward off, according to Einstein, “Insanity : doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.”

    Should not Haass be chatting to MI5, Loughside? Or is that outpost a white elephant? … amanfromMars 24 December 2013 at 4:04 pm

    Upon festive reflection and further possible and thus probable likelihood, can we also pose the questions and ponder on the repercussions and/or opportunities which can be implausibly denied by status quo virtual machinery and exigent extant politically inept media hosted bodies, … “Should not any SMARTR Advanced IntelAIgent Leadership in the popularly perceived oxymoronic Military Intelligence Complex Community not be chittering and chattering to the likes of a Haass and O’Sullivan and offering them especially intelligence solutions for communication?”

    Or would it much better and allow for much quicker goal achievement to target and leverage other more likely and more powerful players into voicing commands for remote control with simple fiat currency supply and throttling and media programming?

    And would many conceive and/or perceive such as that sort of AIDevelopment to be tantamount to a Industrious Bloodless Military Intelligence Complex Community Coup with Global Operating Devices into the Live Operational Virtual Environment of NEUKlearer HyperRadioProActive IT Generations …… The Future Being of System Mankind with Kind Man Systems in Bad Programmed Robot Operation[s]?

    Or would that be something for AI SMARTR TitanICQ Studios Production into Future Presentations with IntelAIgents into CyberIntelAIgent Media Virtualisation and Realisation Operations and Apps …. and a very Public Private Pirate ProgramMING Project which requires no dumb arrogant and ignorant input to output or waste valuable time processing?

    And what whenever IT be all of the above and more and something completely different from anything similarly imagined and ventured in the past?

    Is that sort of thing something which white elephants do easily, and quite naturally?

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  47. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    I agree with everything you say about our home-grown fascism. their apologists trade on the paucity of real historical memory among so many people here. As John Hume so often said about them, if they can murder, maim, extort and rob, what is telling a few lies to them?

    Was just thinking back on Gerry Fitt. His greatest political achievement from 1966 was making sure that the absurd Westminster ‘convention,, from 1921, that the “internal affairs” of NI could not be discussed in the Commons, was binned.

    People also forget how sick this place was/is. It really isn’t a lot different to the Deep South (Alabama, Mississippi etc) in the mid twentieth century and every bit as corrupt. When Fitt was elected to West Belfast in 1966 the Belfast Telegraph (innocuously enough) published a picture of Fitt being congratulated by his friend, Charlie Tully, the legendary Belfast/Glasgow Celtic winger, who was then manager of Bangor FC. Tully was instantly dismissed.

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  48. Comrade Stalin (profile) says:

    SDLP supporter,

    I can take it just fine. I mean what are we talking about here ? It’s words on a screen aimed at an anonymous name.

    Sean, I’m not sure the Stoops have rehabilitated Gerry Fitt but burning him (and his colleagues) out of their homes was an unrestrained act of orchestrated political fascism, much worse than that currently directed against politicians in the Alliance Party and others. The IRA may have had support in the neighbourhoods they claimed to represent, but where they did not have support they made up for it with fear and intimidation. Speaking out against the local IRA or their activities would inevitably lead to action being taken against you.

    I wouldn’t have a bad word to say about Gerry Fitt. In his heyday he, and Paddy Devlin, were hardworking politician who came from the same houses and worked in the same places as the people they represented. The SDLP was and is a very different party without him.

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  49. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    Comrade Stalin

    I didn’t work so closely with Fitt but I can testify that in the early seventies I never saw a human being working as hard as Paddy Devlin out of the SDLP offices in College Square North. Post-internment and for months and years on end he never seemed to take a break, on the phone shouting, arguing, pleading, threatening, cajoling to Thiepval, Brooklyn, Girdwood etc. to get information about fathers, brothers, sons who were ‘lifted’. The queues of people who wanted to see him were right down the stairs and out on to the street. A lot of the relatives who wanted him to help clearly hated his guts but it made no difference to him. I could never understand why he was fat, as he never seemed to eat anything other than the odd sandwich his wife Teresa brought him.

    Politically, he got a number of ‘rewards’. On the positive side in the 1977 Council elections (Area D)-Falls-he got 4.5 quotas, an achievement never matched since. SDLP also saw their offices blown up by the Provos and in 1881 Paddy and his family were intimidated by the same fascist heroes of Ireland out of their home at Greenan, Shaws Road.

    Parties’ fortunes come and go. Looking at the eight SDLP Belfast City Councillors, collectively I would say the calibre is the best it has ever been.

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  50. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    The sdlp are and have been for a long time a shambles of a party looked upon by many in the Nat community with a mixture of disgust and amusement.

    Many of us will never forget their encouragement for members of this community to give info to the Ruc despite the fact it was well known such info was being used by loyalists to murder innocent people. No Sdlp supporter, we wont forget

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  51. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    Redstar, you’re barely worthy of a reply but some questions:

    1. How precisely do current appeals by Martin McGuinness for people to provide evidence to the PSNI on the murderous activities of dissidents differ from the appeals you allege were made by SDLP?
    2. In what respect do the current activities by the dissidents differ from what the Provisional IRA were doing for thirty years?
    3. Could you give some specific examples of the contemporary appeals for information by the SDLP?
    3. Would an appeal by SDLP in 1972 for people to provide information on the scum who abducted and subsequently murdered someone like Jean McConville have been justified?
    4. Would your paramilitary associates in the Provisional IRA not have been justified, following your own logic, in killing SDLP representatives as “informers” and “traitors” as you so often alleged they were and when they administered such “justice” to so many others?
    5. Do you acknowledge that Freddie Scappaticci, head of the Nutting Squad, and the dozens of “informers” within your ranks, dispatched a lot of people innocent of the crimes alleged against them, just to cover their own blood-stained and filthy activities?

    Small correction to a previous post. Paddy Devlin got 3.5 quotas.

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  52. son of sam (profile) says:

    The phrase”eaten bread is soon forgotten” is particularly appropriate to the circumstances described by S D L P supporter above.Many of those helped by representatives of that party showed their gratitude by voting for Sinn Fein.I’m sure it doesn’t fit the “touchy-feely” narrative of S F nowadays to be reminded of the time when their associates drove people like Fitt from their homes.It may however be no harm to remind its younger disciples that the “noble” past currently portrayed was not quite so noble!

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  53. redstar2011 (profile) says:

    Sdlp much like your party youre all over the place. Understandably as its a VERY sore point for you lot.

    I do not support Ira, Sf or whoever so the whole of your diatribe against me is a waste of bandwidth.

    You on the other hand support a sham of a party which consistently said info should be given to the security forces- in fact to this day they are that dim that the boast of having consistently told people to assist the Ruc etc!!!!

    Facts are facts- during the troubles night after night on our tv screens after Ira or whoever had acted the Sdlp would be on there appealing for anyone with info to come forward.

    You might wish different but thats the facts

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  54. sean treacy (profile) says:

    If the people Devlin “helped” were so evil then why did he bother? answer -because he was a clientelest par excellence whose “principles” were extremely flexible when it came to vote hunting.The 3.5 quotas were got by the building of a personal fiefdom at the expense of his party colleagues and did not translate into seats for the sdlp.That he and Fitt received an MBE and a peerage during the term of a tory government says it all.As for the great 8 -think Convery and McCarthy who take the DUP line on so called “moral issues”

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  55. Ive said it before but I will say it again.
    In the 1970s, I have accompanied West Belfast MLAs like Desmond Gillespie to RUC stations at the behest of the families of “republicans” No big deal.
    And I have been in Dessie’s house when the same people were picketing outside.
    Par for the course. Sinn Fein and their ex combatants have a certain ingratitude built in.
    They were never grateful for SDLP assistance.
    Six months ago at St Oliver Plunketts in West Belfast, I heard a motley assortment of ex-prisoners condemn the Catholic Church including Maze chaplains for not helping them.
    Ingratitude.
    And those academics who fall over themselves to give ex-combatants a voice…should be wary. Dont expect gratitude.
    The going rate for gratitude….if I can be a bit Biblical is one in ten.

    On a personal level in the 1970s, I never had a problem with Sinn Fein. If I had, I would hardly have voted for them between 1993 and 2009. Nor would I still give them my second preference vote. That does not blind me to knowing exactly what they are capable of….easy enough to bluff a US Diplomat and far too easy to bluff some academics. Not that easy to bluff somebody from West Belfast.
    Dont try and con a con man.
    I did have more trouble with the Stickies…(they never existed apparently ) but in the 1970s SF was not in electoral politics. And the Stickies were doing electoral politics and could cut up rough.

    Paddy Devlin and Gerry Fitt were of course intimidated from their homes. (They were under constant threat). And lets not forget that their close colleague Paddy Wilson was brutally murdered by a loyalist gang in 1973.
    But lest it be forgotten…Paddy and Gerry AND their wives and children were intimidated.
    Wives and Children.

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  56. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    Sean Treacy
    I never said that a lot of the people who sought Paddy Devlin’s help were evil. That’s your word. I said that a lot of them hated his guts, which is quite different.

    Also, just for the record, in Area D in 1977 SDLP got 9,229 votes and 4.7 quotas in a six seater. Devlin brought in his three running mates and would have brought in another if SDLP had run five candidates.

    If you had said that either Fitt or Devlin were ‘Big Man’ candidates, you would have had a valid point because, unlike Sinn Fein, SDLP weren’t able to build a machine in West Belfast. The intimidation referred to by other posters contributed to that, of course. The good news is that belatedly SDLP is putting together something resembling a machine throughout Belfast.

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  57. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    If the Haass/O’Sullivan intervention is seen to fail, expect consequences, like the winding up of the International Fund for Ireland to which the US has contributed in excess of half a billion dollars since it was set up.

    FJH is right. Sinn Fein don’t do gratitude and I suspect that the Cameron government has got their measure and has realised that the Achilles heel is cutting off the money supply and ‘jobs for the boys’. From January 2014 the North’s budget is facing a cut of £5 million a month because DUP and Sinn Fein. That will have lamentably adverse consequences for those most dependent on welfare, many of whom are core voters of DUP and Sinn Fein.

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  58. I would not under-estimate Sinn Feins machine in Belfast.
    Their Achilles heel is that they increasingly appear like two parties.
    At one level SF are the political wing of the Felons Club.
    At another level, there is the very visible Mayor of Belfast who seems to be a Renaiissance man much beloved by the Belfast MetroTextual community.
    Will the real Sinn Fein stand up?
    Will commentators who demonise some aspects of SF while costing up to other aspects start realising its the same political party.
    Vote for One Wing and you get the other Wing free.
    Thats something thats worth exploiting.

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  59. sean treacy (profile) says:

    Fitz,of course Fitt and Devlin were the only ones to suffer intimidation.Maire Drumm wasn’t killed in her hospital bed by loyalists in cahoots with the RUC.Hundreds weren’t dragged off to Castlereagh to be tortured into signing confessions which put them into the kesh for decades.The RUC didn’t kill children on the streets with plastic bullets.The RUC were “a fine band of men” and so when Fitt and Devlin lauded them from the late 70s on ,the people of West Belfast should have shown these two their undying gratitude!

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  60. Mr Treacy,
    I thought I was quite complimentary about the “Republican Movement”
    After all I voted for them for 15 years and continue to give Sinn Fein my second preference vote.
    I am completely unapologetic about it.
    The thing is that I dont favour them because I dont know the things that they perpetrated (for want of a better word) or endured (for want of a better word).
    More so I know what the ordinary people of West Belfast endured at e hands of the RUC, Brotish Army, Loyalist Murder Gangs, Stickies and indeed the Irish Republican Army.
    I daresay that (depending on your age) you know as many people in Milltown Cemetry, put there by any of the above.
    I am unaware of any put there by the SDLP.
    Been there since 1952 and all thru the 1970s.
    So ….please keep the aul bluffing for some gullible American NORAID types in An Culturlannn.
    I am immune to it.

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  61. sean treacy (profile) says:

    mr Horse,I am merely pointing out that in the all out conflict situation that existed in Belfast at the time,people took sides and suffered the consequenses. Maire Drumm and dozens of others lost their lives for taking the republican side and yes Fitt and Devlin were intimidated for backing the RUC and taking Thatchers side against the prisoners.This may look terrible from todays perspective but there is not a conflict situation in the world where similar things would not occur.Eamon McCann once pointed out that Fitt liked to portray himself as”a socialist saint surrounded by savages”when any kind of objective look at the situation would have proved otherwise.I think Eamon would have had a better grasp of the situation than those who would put Fitt and Devlin at the top of “the hierarchy of victums”

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  62. son of sam (profile) says:

    Ironic that Eamon Mc Cann ( from Derry) is being quoted with approval by Mr Treacy in preference to F J H who was actually in West Belfast during the 70s!

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  63. sean treacy (profile) says:

    SOS,you would be one of those who would be aghast at what happened to Fitt and Devlin but would be hard pushed to remember the name of even one of the people who fared far worse for taking the opposite side on the prison issue.People with absolutely no connection to the armed campaign but who paid with their lives for supporting the H Block campaign.People like councillor John Turnley. councillor Larry Kennedy,non elected campaigners like Miriam Daly and Noel Little and those that survived like Bernadette and her husband.In your world only those who towed the British line are worthy of remembrance.

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  64. Can I just add that my Auntie Sheila played Camogie with Maire Drumm.
    Never thought Id ever get to say that in a thread.

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  65. son of sam (profile) says:

    Sean Treacy
    “In your world only those who towed the British line are worthy of remembrance ” How presumptuous of you to assume that you know people’s views .Rather typically you have not answered my comment on Eamon Mc Cann .Can we have an unequivocal statement from you condemning what happened to Fitt and Devlin or do you think they deserved it all?

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  66. sean treacy (profile) says:

    Seeing,that you’ve got to tell us that fascinating fact about Maire Drumm,may I be allowed to regale you with my favourite newspaper headline of all time.When Fitts career reached its inevitable conclusion with a peerage from Thatcher, An Phoblacht brought us the news under the headline: “FITTS A BRIT-ITS OFFICIAL”

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  67. sean treacy (profile) says:

    What happened to Fitt and Devlin was wrong but much worse happened to elected reps on the H Block side and this rarely gets a mention.This is down to the hierarchy of victims line which existed then and still does now.

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  68. SDLP supporter (profile) says:

    I don’t think anybody on this thread mentioned or suggested a ‘hierarchy of victims’ other than Sean Treacy. He is so bereft of an ability to argue that he employs these ‘straw men’ ploys and then attributes them to other people, like posting that I said the people who didn’t like Devlin were ‘evil’.

    No-one on this thread has argued that Fitt or Devlin would be atop any list of victims. Obviously those who paid with their lives in the ‘conflict’ would have first consideration. Incidentally, John Turnley and Miriam Daly had once been members of the SDLP.

    In relation to ST’s post at 8.17pm on 27.12.13, I would just like to pick up on two points:
    First
    “in the all out conflict situation that existed in Belfast at the time, people took sides and suffered the consequenses (sic)”

    That one sentence alone raises a number of questions that ST should ponder

    -Why was there an “all-out conflict”?
    -Was it right to pursue it in a densely-populated urban area?
    -Who were the participants?
    -On the ‘Republican’ side where did the participants get their mandate from?
    Certainly not from the people of Ireland, the nationalists of the North and not even from the nationalists of Belfast or West Belfast at the time.
    -From the ‘Republican’ perspective could it even be classified as defensive given that the Provos blew the hearts out of towns and cities throughout the North?
    As John Hume pointed out, you don’t wage a defence of your community by using Semtex, arguably a crucial difference between the actions of the IRA in 1920s Belfast and the Provo IRA.
    I can understand that ST wants to keep faith with his glorious dead in the Milltown and elsewhere, that he wants to comfort himself with the belief that it was all worthwhile, that all that suffering was not in vain. However, from the perspective of some of us, the whole conflict (to which the British enthusiastically contributed) was a bloody disaster that brutalised communities, sent thousands to an early grave, maimed and destroyed lives, wrecked the economy, contributed to untold social problems and left society with a bill that it will be paying off for generations.

    Second
    “ there is not a conflict situation in the world where similar things would not occur”.

    This is what I call invoking The Oliver Cromwell Defence, used by murdering brutes throughout history and exemplified when Cromwell justified cutting off Charles I’s head by murmuring “cruel necessity”. The twentieth century version of it was Stalin’s “one death is a tragedy, a million deaths is a statistic”.

    Finally, I would be leery of quoting Eamonn McCann in support of any case. It’s a bit like the Devil quoting Scripture. Eamonn can be scathingly funny about many things, including the SDLP, though at seventy plus years of age, and maybe contentedly smoking his toke, he has his own ‘dialectic inconsistencies’, or skeletons in the cupboard, to confront.
    Whatever his opinion of the SDLP, his contempt for Sinn Fein and its President is profound, sustained and vitriolic and it I were to quote even a few recent remarks of his it truly would melt the Slugger servers.

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  69. 241934 john brennan (profile) says:

    The failure of the Haass talks is well illustrated by an Ian Knox cartoon in today’s Irish News. Megan and Richard boarding a plane –Megan asking, ‘Did we sell it?’ Richard replying, ‘Just get on the plane.’ In the background there are 3 cars parked alongside each other in the Long Stay car park, with the number plates FLAGS, PAST and PARADING.

    An excellent cartoon, but also parked in our local political Long Stay Park are 3 older but also treasured stationary cars marked, 1690, 1916 and 1998.

    If we had some decent political mechanics, the logical thing to do would be to first start work on the 1998 model, and get that up and running. So far, our politicians have spent 16 years tinkering with it, without ever actually road testing the original model.

    Meanwhile, we wait, and we wait, and we wait, and we go nowhere – except for the 50% of the electorate who occasionally go to the polls to vote either for or against a particular flag. So our well paid politicians have a continued vested interest in attracting votes, and keeping their salaries and perks, by simply waving sectarian flags, falsifying the past and promoting parades – all substitutes for bread and butter politics.

    So we mugs are all destined to remain stuck in the Long Stay Car Park – and pay through our noses for the privilege of doing so.

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