Raymond McCreesh play park: Council and Equality Commission’s decision goes to judicial review

The ongoing saga of the Raymond McCreesh play park took another turn yesterday. Bea Wotton the now 88 year old mother of one of the IRA victims at Kingsmills was granted leave for a Judicial Review of the decision to name a play park in Newry after McCreesh.

The park was named after the IRA Hunger Striker (who was arrested in possession of one of the weapons used in the Kingsmills murders) in 2001. In 2014 the Equality Commission ruled that the naming was in breach of the Council’s Equality Scheme and recommended it review the decision. The council submitted a further report to the Equality Commission, voted to keep the name and the Equality Commission decided to take no further action – issuing a statement on this at the time.

From the News Letter:

Mr Justice Maguire ruled that the challenge should proceed to a full hearing on claims that the Commission was in breach of Section 75 requirements (which requires public authorities to promote good relations between those of differing religious backgrounds or political opinion).

He also held that an arguable case had been established against the Council over allegations its decision was irrational, unreasonable, pre-determined or biased.
Rejecting claims the case should be thrown out due to delay, he said: “There’s a matter of public interest involved in this particular decision.”
Mrs Worton, who attended court for the hearing, expressed her delight at the outcome.
“I’m glad the case is going on because that man (McCreesh) wasn’t even from Newry,” she said.
“Why didn’t they name the park after some VIP that really deserved it – I feel sickened that they named it after him.”

A judicial review of the decisions of an unelected Quango seems entirely appropriate. However, as I have mentioned previously, although I would be wholly in favour of renaming the play park, the extent to which judicial decisions are used or attempted to be used to overrule democratic decisions (or indeed in an attempt to force politicians to make decisions) is at times troubling.

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  • MainlandUlsterman

    Emma Pengally? Sorry you lost me there.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I wasn’t sanitising the DUP at all – indeed I explain that their past occasional flirtation with ‘legal militias’ is one of the reasons I don’t support the DUP. But to equate it to the political wing of a paramilitary group like SF is absurd and just not factually what it is, or ever was. Please, take each organisation for what it is, rather than just randomly accusing them all of being as doing the same stuff. The DUP has plenty of genuine faults without any need to make up additional ones. And criticism is most powerful when it sticks to the actual truth.

  • babyface finlayson

    John
    Are you agreeing that the playpark naming was insensitive then?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    freedom fighters. Next …

    It kind of makes a difference legally and morally whether your country has actually been invaded and occupied or not. NI being legitimately, we allow agree, part of the UK because its people chose that, the British Army and the police can hardly be “forces of occupation”. Once again in block letters:
    NORTHERN IRELAND IS NOT LIKE FRANCE IN WW2 AND THE IRA WERE NOT THE FRENCH RESISTANCE.
    The irony is that the IRA was actually in cahoots with the Nazis during WW2. Vive la France indeed.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    So, the UDR was “an armed group responsible for the slaughter of many from my community” …
    The UDR was responsible for some of the approx 3,500 deaths of the Troubles. Do you know how many? 8.

    Eight too many of course, but in the context of the role they played, and the numbers killed by other agencies and organisation in the Provo campaign, it doesn’t exactly place them at the top of the table of wrong-doers. “Responsible for the slaughter of many” is laying it on a bit thick.

    Meanwhile, during the Troubles, 197 UDR soldiers were killed, 192 of them by Irish Republicans; and another 61 were killed after they had left the UDR. You have to look at the whole picture, not just your own grievances. Because it turns out the UDR could out-do you on that many times over.

    That is why you will find memorials dedicated to people in the UDR. The UDR had its faults and made mistakes but they are far outweighed by the huge sacrifice given by a massive number of good people in that regiment who served the army and the UK with honour and courage. That 258 UDR members were killed, almost all by Irish Republicans, should give any Irish Republican now pause for thought before continuing to demonise them now. We saw where that demonisation and dehumanisation led in the past and it was a terrible place.

  • Croiteir

    were you present at the consummation?

  • Croiteir

    They did – the balls on the falls

  • Croiteir

    I would be interested to see how far the judiciary are willing to intervene in the democratic wishes of the council and their justification of it.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Republican outreach is going so well 🙂 I can just feel the unity. Ahhhh. Difficult conversations, eh …

  • Croiteir

    Hands across the divide

  • Skibo

    Looks like we now have a definition of the difference in terrorists and freedom fighters. Depends what side they are on!
    And for your information, the Vichy French maintained an element of sovereignty over the whole country but only had full sovereignty over the unoccupied southern area. Sounds familiar.
    There are some Irish who would maintain there has always been hostilities between the British and the Irish and could argue a war footing has never truly dissapeared.
    For your comment on the IRA and Germany, war often leads to strange bed fellows. Who exactly are the British allies in Syria? Wasn’t Bin Ladin working with the British and Americans during the Russian occupation of Afghanistan?
    Was Bin Ladin a freedom fighter or a terrorist? Well you would probably maintain he was a Freedom fighter till he started shooting at you!

  • Jollyraj

    Indeed. One does wonder about that. Not even the slightly grey area of shared liability & people being caught in the crossfire, like at Bloody Sunday.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I suspect you’re right, but I think repartition shouldn’t be written off quite so easily. It does provide the most rational approach to unhappiness about the location of the UK/ROI border. But there is in reality no border-drawing or border-removing solution that will ‘solve’ things. The united Ireland idea is no more of a panacea than staying in the UK is. For the grown-ups, it’s a matter of accepting we live in a shared and divided place, getting on with it as best we can and not pretending borders or the lack of them are the problem.

  • Skibo

    Sorry I assumed you with your vast knowledge of Unionist history would know who Emma Pengelly’s father is. Did you not see Noel Little in his red beret beside our previous First Minister? Alleged retired UDR Orange order gun runner for Ulster Resistance and the combined Loyalist Command.

  • John Collins

    Of course I am, what’s grease for the goose etc.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    There can be grey areas but the Northern Ireland situation isn’t actually one of them. There are no “freedom fighters” in our scenario. What, do you go along with the idea there are / were?

    Those Irish you mention “who would maintain there has always been hostilities between the British and the Irish and could argue a war footing has never truly disappeared” are simply wrong aren’t they? It’s not really a tough one.

  • Jollyraj

    Problem with repartition is that Nationalists tend to start with the somewhat arrogant assumption that NI would have bits nibbled off it.

    Mind you, I think we’d be well shot of a wee piece of South Armagh. I daresay the locals wouldn’t really object down there. Maybe push Derry city off the cliff, too. Perhaps we could have the northern tip of Donegal in return. Fermanagh stays where it is, naturally 😉

    After that, a big wall. Could contract it out – German firm, make sure it’s done right – and get a lot of jobs out of it.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’m not particularly interested in unionist history, so no. But why bring her up if you’re bothered about her father? Is she her father? Guilt by family association I suppose.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    should have been done in 1925 really

    But yes the whole point of the border is not have people stuck on the wrong side, so I’m all up for some transfers.

  • Jollyraj

    Certainly, if Sinn Fein wanted to name the park after a member of the Gardai, I really can’t see anyone objecting. Why not do that? Unless the Gardai don’t want SF naming anything after one of their members of course.

  • Jollyraj

    “In a war footing, what is morally right and what is necessary is not compatible”

    Hmm…why then is Martin, and presumably Gerry, not on trial for war crimes. If it was a war….

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well honestly people should simply refer to it as Daisy Hill Park if they object to the name.

  • Thomas Barber

    Are you re-writing history now too MU, Did Britain not invade Irteland, did Britain not attempt through its agents like Cromwell to eliminate the Irish people. Did Britain not force Irish people from their native lands through force and put planters from England Scotland and Wales in their place. Did Irishmen not resist that same British occupation and colonisation throughout the centuries.

  • Skibo

    We could ask that of both sides but then war crimes are only laid on the losing side as per WW2.

  • Skibo

    MU I am not arguing that there is reason at present for violence but I also note that if we revert back to the formation of NI as a state, it was done under the threat of violence against the will of the Irish people (vote in 1918). The only reason you can give that NI is a legal entity is the vote in Westminster. How long does it take for an illegal action to be considered legal? Britain is in Ireland as a result of invasion and occupation. The Irish people spoke in 1918 and said they wanted independence. As far as I am concerned, the question will be closed when independence has been achieved for the whole island.
    England at one time controlled swathes of France until she was finally ejected from Calais, much like her occupation of Ireland has been reduced to the north east counties.

  • Thomas Barber

    “Do you know how many?”

    Obviously you dont MU or maybe your deliberately being economical with the truth. Its public knowledge now how many people the Glenanne gang were responsible for murdering which included members of the UDR. The Shankill butchers also included members of the UDR. In Fact Secret document reveal the British government were aware that the UDR was heavily infiltrated with loyalist paramilitaries they were also aware that the UDR were one of the main sources of loyalist paramilitary weapons that were later used to murder innocent catholics and we all know what the British home secretary Threasa May said about those who supply guns – They are as guilty as those who pull the trigger.

  • Granni Trixie

    It gets worse and worse! Why on earth would anyone want to hold up the cult of starvation as an example to children, bearing in mind the scourge of eating disorders which essentially is a neurological disorder? Why not call the playground after a local person who has done somethng positive for their community – there must be countless examples to chose from.

  • Granni Trixie

    I can see that prisoners support groups get public funds in line with public policy but I am curious to know which public body gives funding for parades and banners?

  • Granni Trixie

    But of minimalisation going on here, MU? At the very least they fuelled hatred of Catholics, hatred which fuelled the actions of the Shankill Butchers and fear in Catholics themselves. Seems to me that traditionally some unionist parties for instance took an ambivalent attitude to loyalists claiming to be ‘protecting’or ‘resisting’.

  • Granni Trixie

    It had to happen! A good news story from NI namely that the daughter of a known paramilitary (ex?) is accepted on her own terms, own DUP identity ( she does not impress me though, but that’s another matter).

  • Granni Trixie

    I trust they will do the right thing.

  • Granni Trixie

    But he had a weapon which can kill people! Geddit?

  • Skibo

    Granni T the weapon of hunger strike has been used all over the world as a passive protest. Irish history has many examples of this. The Suffragettes and Gandhi also used it. So is it the use of the hunger strike as a means of protest or just the fact that a Republican used it your problem

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I know – depressing, but not surprising I suppose. In some people’s eyes, a daughter seems to be the chattel of her father still, in 2016.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I think that’s a fair comment about some – certainly not all – having a “sneaking regard” for Loyalists. Pretty disgusting really. But you need to read my comments in the context of the conversation – I was countering the regularly raised attempts to paint the DUP as no different than SF on the basis of episodes likes the 3rd Force and Ulster Resistance. Comparing them with the Provisional IRA is clearly ridiculous. But of course in pointing that out, some people then jump on you and accuse you of ignoring everything dodgy the DUP has done over the years. I was at pains to flag up that I wasn’t ignoring that, but it does seem to fall on deaf ears.

    Bottom line, it has to be possible surely to talk about all this stuff truthfully, accurately and fairly without by doing so get accused of heinous sectarianism? I’m getting really sick of it. Not your fault; it’s some of the other people on here who are deeply wearisome in their continuing attachment to IRA guff. And it is IRA guff, I don’t read too many people on here defending loyalist terror, though I know some do elsewhere. Personally, I’m so over people still treating terrorism like it’s some grey area, like the EU debate or something. You just want to shake them and say “It’s f***ing terrorism!” It’s like they’re not all there. I was listening to a piece on Radio 4 this morning about Hannah Arendt and her phrase “the banality of evil” struck a chord. All the little excuses, the numbness to the horror of what we’re talking about. After a while it becomes sickening to even engage with it.

  • Croiteir

    They always do – they are so wise

  • Sir Rantsalot

    They should have done an April 1st joke in a unionist council and announced a Johnny Adair park. The chuckies would have gone bananas!

  • Jollyraj

    To be fair, I don’t think war crimes are being laid at the door of the Republican side, because they lost the ‘war’ – surely more of the case that it’s because the IRA did commit war crimes. If they want to call it a war. As did the Loyalist terrorists, of course. But unionists generally tend not to vote for repentant (and unrepentant) terrorists in number. I always find it odd that SF call for investigations into ‘the state’, now that they themselves are the state – and no doubt there are plenty of unsolved crimes to go around.

  • Jollyraj

    It’s not just the name, per se – more a case of the attempt at indoctrinating the next generation of kiddies to ensure they will have the same problems our generation did that’s the issue. Sf have always had a vested interest in generating mutual hatred between the two largest communities here.

  • Jollyraj

    Quite agree about 1925 – worked for the Free State to keep the minority population small enough to suppress. Not that I support some of the things they did, mind you, some terrible things down in the worst parts of Cork – but ultimately it produced stability at a high price. Perhaps in NI we should have taken the Irish example and been more ruthless. Our minority had a different character though.

  • Kevin Breslin

    Well the youth are going to be subject to the “res privitas” of parental/guardian exposure no matter how much they believe in a “res publica” cause.

    I strongly defend personal opinion, political and religious belief and non-belief. Politics shouldn’t focus on what people think, but the potential of what they can do, and what they can achieve.

    I’m happy for people to commemorate the dead and debate the past and express their opinions and I don’t believe the children playing in the park are going to come out with balaclavas or resisting the state with hunger strikes.

    While I believe the signage of the park is distasteful, it is prejudical to believe it’s going to bring everyone back to the 1980’s, or segregate cities into community zones. I met Danny Kennedy in a hairdressers just around the corner from it, so one play park sign isn’t going to keep us stupid and segregated as long as we are willing to challenge that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    That’s like saying the Catholic Church was responsible for IRA murders because the killers were Catholic. The UDR was not responsible for the Glenanne Gang, the Glenanne Gang was. There were a few rotten cases in the lower ranks of the UDR, but they were not acting on behalf of the UDR – they had to hide what they were doing from the UDR as they knew they would go to jail if discovered.

    It’s not hard to see why from a Republican point of view, the more loyalist terrorism that can somehow be made out to be attributed to an arm of the state, the better. If it looks a big bogus and doesn’t really check out, well what the hey. Mud sticks. All you have to do is suggest it and it becomes fact. From a black propaganda point of view, it’ll do. Unfortunately for Republicans though, not all of us are quite so easily led – and the truth will out.

    Here’s how someone who actually trawled through the papers on the security forces’ record on dealing with loyalists, Edmund Da Silva QC, summed it up:
    5.19 “… I have no doubt that the action taken by the security forces did frustrate loyalist terrorists and significantly reduce their operational capacity in Northern Ireland as a whole.”
    5.20 “Any attempt to crudely describe loyalist terrorists as simply ‘State-sponsored forces’ is, in my view, untenable and fundamentally at odds with a substantial body of contemporary evidence and the historical context of the relationship between loyalists and the security forces during this period (see Chapter 2).”

    This is why Republicans ultimately lose – their “legitimate targets” suffered more and have a greater sense of injustice than Republicans themselves can ever hope to muster from their disgraceful little campaign of death. We’re also wise to their various ways of trying to wriggle off the hook for what they did. And we aren’t going anywhere.

  • Thomas Barber

    “It’s not hard to see why from a Republican point of view, the more loyalist terrorism that can somehow be made out to be attributed to an arm of the state, the better. If it looks a big bogus and doesn’t really check out, well what the hey. Mud sticks.”

    Like I said before MU, you either know nothing other than your own propaganda or your deliberately being economical with the truth to suit your own narrative.

    http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/publicrecords/1973/subversion_in_the_udr.htm

    “Since the first days of the UDR the dangers of raising a local force from the two communities, at a time of intercommunal strife, has been clearly recognised, and each applicant has been subjected to a security vetting process. However, following the impetus given to the recruiting
    of Protestant paramilitary and extremist groups by the imposition of direct rule, (the UDA in particular was estimated to have a strength of 4,000 – 6,000 members in Belfast plus 15,000 supporters by September 1972), the problem of divided loyalties amongst UDR recruits became more
    marked. Joint membership of the UDA.

    Despite the improvements in the vetting of applicants, it seems quite unlikely that the security vetting system, or subsequent intelligence material, can reveal all the members of subversive groups who have applied to join the UDR. It seems likely that a significant proportion (perhaps five per cent – in some areas as high as 15 per cent) of UDR
    soldiers will also be members of the UDA, Vanguard service corps, Orange Volunteers or UVF. “

  • MainlandUlsterman

    how is that inconsistent with what I said? Did you actually read it?

  • Thomas Barber

    For what reason would a a supposedly law abiding Christian political party advise a terrorist group it was secretly meeting not to call a ceasefire when they were murdering innocent people on a daily basis.

    Those who roll the snowballs are just as guilty as those who throw them and the DUP were and still are experts at rolling snowballs for others to throw.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    can we have memorials to members of British forces who had nothing to do with murders? That would be nearly all of them.

  • Redstar

    You’re all over the place MU and seem either not to know of not want to know
    the facts re the Dup. You are talking nonsense when you say they “disown” unionist terrorists- fact is they have them amongst their ranks include some convicted of murder, arms offences, robbery etc

  • MainlandUlsterman

    haha! Whatever mate

  • Redstar

    Love that unionist phrase when it comes to murdering Catholics ” made mistakes!!!”- sums up the attitude of supporters of the UDR murder gang

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you’ll have to withdraw “supporters of the UDR murder gang” of course – fairly quickly too

  • Redstar

    Well read the names I have posted above. Then check what they were convicted of and return to me with your apology!!!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’ve left it in the hands of the moderators. Thanks.

  • Thomas Barber

    As usuall MU you attempt to minimise any connection by the state to murders and loyalist paramilitaries unfortunately time and truth is rendering your propaganda flawed and totally misleading. Maybe you should read up about the Gleanne gang then MU where you will find that high ranking RUC officers like Harry Breen were fully aware of what the Glenanne gang were up to and in fact encouraged it even to the point of test firing the weapons for them.

    Just like all those RUC special branch officers who directed the mount vernon UVF and allowed them to murder over a dozen innocent people or those RUC officers who supplied the weapons that were later used by the UDA to murder Pat Finucane and 7 other innocent people. Did those RUC officers break into the RUC armoury and steal those weapons or were they given permission by their superiors.

    Are you going to have us believe British intelligence were unaware of their agent Brian Nelson’s role in importing hundreds of weapons into this part of Ireland for use by the DUP created UR and the UDA,UVF. Weapons who’s firing pins were later tampered with by the RUC after they were used in various murders.

    The British government were also fully aware of the dual membership of the UDR and loyalist paramilitaries by up to 5% – 20% of its membership. The British government were so worried that they secretly decided to forensically test every UDR members weapons to check if they had been used in sectarian murders but had to cancel because of complaints by UDR commanders that it would lead to low morale. I guess the truth will eventually emerge as to how many people were actually murdered by serving UDR soldiers using weapons supplied by the British government.

  • Redstar

    There’s nothing dodgey about the names as much of it was lifted from Slugger. All in the public domain.

    I understand highlighting the fact that like SF they have convicted terrorists in their ranks blows your defence of them out of the water but facts are facts

  • Redstar

    You state that the Dup shun such types . They don’t . They are no better
    ( nor worse) than others who are happy to have convicted felons in their ranks.

    Because of the situ here I don’t have a problem with that per se, however I do have a problem with the hypocrites who try to say one community votes for terrorists/ ex terrorists whilst the other doesn’t. It’s simply not true

  • Redstar

    We’ll put sir. I think MU is a tad confused and struggling to defend the indefensible. His own PM Mr Cameron publicly acknowledged and apologised for the fact that the UDA were receiving 70% of their info they used to murder catholic men women and kids, from the security forces- those pesky ” mistakes” again.

  • Redstar

    In what way? I am not condoning anything illegal nor posting anything breaking rules

    Members of the UDR were murderers that’s simply a fact- Miami Showband for starters plus many more. Unlike some I condemn all murderous armed groups- whether they were in or out of uniform

  • Redstar

    Very true indeed an uncomfortable truth for many

  • Pasty2012

    Sorry but don’t you mean accepting European Law and European Courts as most of the Law now comes from there and not Britain as British Law is subservient to the European Law, so much for Rule Brittannia and never being slaves, whot!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    As I’ve shown there is an ocean of difference between a party like the DUP and the paramilitary parties themselves. Pointless to argue further on it, clearly you’re sticking to your version regardless.

  • Skibo

    Nicely dropped into the conversation if factually incorrect. Even the British Army admit that the IRA were not defeated. If there had be a defeat there would have been no need of peace talks.
    I assume SF ask for investigations into the state actions as the state has been very covert in its actions during the troubles. They maintain they work within the law as they have never openly described the troubles as a war footing however the collusion, first thought as minor and now expanding with every investigation cannot be described as “within the law”.
    I believe the IRA considered themselves at war with an occupying force similar to the French Resistance and carried out operations similar to them.
    The issue of SF now being part of the state is disingenuous.
    They have taken a decision to desist from military operations and progress the struggle for Irish reunification through peaceful means only.
    To show they have the support of the people they have put themselves up for election and have received a substantial vote and representation at Stormont, an Irish parliament on Irish ground. This is not completely satisfactory but a great deal better than British rule from Westminster or majority rule in NI. If the Nationalist and Republican vote can achieve over 50% at the Stormont election then game on!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Below, with apologies for length, I’ve re-posted what I wrote a couple of years ago on this as we’ve done all this before. But rather than read me, I’d direct you to a more academic take on the Cadwallader book: http://thepensivequill.am/2013/11/blaming-brits.html

    My post:
    “In the Troubles, 3 security force members were killed for every one life they took. Republican terror groups, by contrast, killed 5 for every one of them that died.
    Ignoring the big picture leads to wrong conclusions about the facts that emerge. I think that is unionism’s issue with the focus on collusion. It did happen and books like this have value in establishing more of the facts, but the macro-analysis, from what I can tell, seems weak. The big problem is, Republicans have always underplayed for ideological reasons that Loyalists acted in the vast majority of cases completely autonomously. So I’m skeptical about macro-analyses that appear to be still flogging that dead horse.
    Republicans were the driver of violence, if not initially, certainly by mid-1970 – and they were the one party whose stopping would have halted the whole thing. Take any other party out of the equation and the IRA campaign still continues, because as we know from January 1970 the IRA leadership’s plan was a violent anti-British terror campaign to overturn the democratic wishes of the Northern Ireland people. As Richard English, Malachi O’Docherty and others have shown, the IRA offensive (both in the conceptual planning and in the nascent terrorism of 1969-70) pre-dated the brutality of the security force response subsequently claimed to have “provoked” it.
    But say we took the Republican view on collusion, and say we were to notionally re-allocate half of Loyalist killings to the security forces – far-fetched, but just supposing. That would put the security force proportion of killings up from 10 per cent to 24 per cent. But Republicans themselves are still on 59 per cent. (Loyalists in this scenario would be down to 15 per cent.)
    Whichever way you look at it, Republicans were responsible for the bulk of The Troubles – both in overall death tolls and as authors of the “Armed Struggle” strategy. By 1971, pretty much everything else in The Troubles was a response in some form or another to this massive orgy of anti-British violence.
    The mistakes and crimes of the security forces in the process of protecting the public from the terrorists are regrettable and they shame the people involved. But they do not characterise the fantastic, brave work of the security forces overall – tens of thousands of diligent, decent people working every day to protect the public from these maniacs, for over 30 years. The effort and the scale of the good work done was absolutely vast. The collusion set out so far, while bad, represents a very small proportion of Troubles deaths but also a very, very tiny proportion of the overall security force actions during the period. Many of us, Catholic and Protestant, owe our lives to them. No one owes their life to the IRA, UVF or any other terror gang.”

    Back to 2016 … contrary to what you’re suggesting, neither I nor the leading Troubles academics in Arkiv (to whom I would defer on any of this stuff) are somehow in denial of there being some collusion. What the Troubles historians have been skeptical about is the Republican narrative on collusion, as exemplified by the PFC approach, which tries to evaluate the work of the security forces overall through the sole prism of wrong-doers who were or had formerly been members of the security forces and through making assumptions about approval of their wrong-doing at a leadership level, without any real basis Indeed the evidence points the other way, that those in senior positions in the UDR, Army and RUC were systematically traduced by those junior members who went rogue.

    The Da Silva report found that, in the period he was looking at in the 80s, security force actions had been as vigorous against loyalist gangs as they were against republican ones, and with more success. This is never reflected in the Republican narrative, as it doesn’t fit what they want us to believe. They can’t acknowledge the truth of the massive effort, much of it successful, against armed force loyalism by the security forces. It’s a huge, huge area to ignore – but they do.

    And so terrible episodes like the Glenanne Gang’s reign of terror, over which there are of course big questions to be asked of state actors, are used by Republicans to make bogus points about the overall work and approach of the security forces during the Troubles. Its not hard to see why this do – their aim is to present Republican terrorists as somehow acting reasonably, despite the death toll of 2,000 people they murdered. It’s a fool’s errand and it doesn’t really work. It’s like putting an Elastoplast on a shot-out kneecap.

    We’ve been here before. Before the Saville Inquiry, Republicans were making similar claims about Bloody Sunday being state-directed, going right to the top, part of a policy of the state deliberately killing Catholics for the hell of it, etc – claims which detailed trawling through the facts showed to be utter bunkum. Check out the Saville Report if you don’t believe me. I wouldn’t assume this latest conspiracy theory is any less of a try-on, and it shows all the signs – the research into some aspects while ignoring others, wobbly linkages and logical leaps, the lack of accurate context in the analysis leading to skewed conclusions, etc.

    There is some useful new information in there too and that’s useful, but the nature of the PFC’s mission and beliefs means you can’t really set much store by their analysis of the facts they do uncover – we need professionals with much less skin in the game and less of a baked-in, pre-set “whatever comes out, pin it on the state” approach. They take that approach due to their own ideological beliefs about the illegitimacy of the UK state in N Ireland, not because of some crusading desire to tell the real truth of things.

    Republicans are great at assuming everyone else in Northern Ireland has the worst motives and operates through a lens of utter bias – yet seem utterly uninterested in questioning their own motives or exploring their own natural biases in this. That’s been my experience of this conversation, where I have acknowledged security force wrong-doing but insisted on factual accuracy over it; I’ve never once excused wrong-doing where it happened. My Republican interlocutors, I note, have not acknowledged any positive aspects of the security forces’ work, the scale of the loss of life the security forces suffered at Republicans’ hands (despite it being presented to them in bald terms), or the scale of the responsibility of paramilitaries for the Troubles.

    Their wriggling will continue I’m sure, but unless Republican victims come back to life, there is no getting out of responsibility for them. The collusion theme makes Republicans feel better for a while … but it’s nowhere near enough and Republicans know it. Their dreams will remain haunted; and their campaign judged by history to be an utter disgrace and a waste of human life. That other people did awful stuff too is simply no excuse.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    what indefensible do you see me as defending, exactly? I’ve been clear I don’t defend any wrong-doing by any party. I’m afraid I’m the only one in this conversation taking a balanced overview. Acknowledging the vast scale of fantastic, brave work done by our country’s police and security forces during the years of terrorism is just a statement of the obvious. You’re being unrealistic and unfair about state intelligence work infiltrating loyalists (and the IRA, by the way) – and completely ignoring the findings of Da Silva on the subject, which was that the state effectively thwarted loyalist gangs on a big scale over many years. Fingers in the ears again, not what you want to hear …

  • MainlandUlsterman

    you were implying I “support” the “UDR murder gang” (by which I think you mean the loyalist paramilitary gang of which some members were serving or ex members of the UDR, not a gang the UDR itself was somehow controlling). You still need to withdraw that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’m not reporting you for that – that’s the old handing out speeding tickets at the Indy 500 in this place – it was for “sums up the attitude of supporters of the UDR murder gang”. As you were replying to me, you implied that was my attitude. You can’t accuse me of that, it is libellous – and that’s why moderators have to get involved, there are legal implications.

  • Jollyraj

    I can see it’s difficult, even for yourselves, to sort it all out in your heads.

    So, let’s break that down. To you, the IRA (considering themselves at war) were entitled to ignore the conventions of war and shoot unarmed men in the back, murder women and children, and terrorize even their own community.

    The British army, not considering themselves officially at war, were unentitled to return fire when ambushed by the IRA.

    Hmmm…

    “I believe the IRA considered themselves at war with an occupying force similar to the French Resistance and carried out operations similar to them.”

    Ah yes, the old French Resistance line. Ridiculous. The French were resisting the NAZI’s (allies of the IRA, by the way), not waging an indiscriminate war against French civilians. If the FR had been murdering French shopkeepers, farmers, their wives and kids, you would be right. But they weren’t. I would think the French would be mightily angered by your comparison of the FR to groups like PIRA, ISIS etc.

    “The issue of SF now being part of the state is disingenuous.
    They have taken a decision to desist from military operations”

    You are confused here. If they don’t do it any more, it’s ok. The law doesn’t work that way. You are also momentarily forgetting the polite fiction where we all pretend SF and the IRA were two distinct organizations. Your comment reveals that you believe, as we all do, that they weren’t. You will now try to pretend you’ve been misquoted, I assume?

  • Thomas Barber

    Lets just summerise then MU.

    You have already agreed there was lots of terrorists in the UDR, some of who murdered innocent people.

    There were also terrorists in the RUC who aided in the murders of innocent people.

    The above didn’t and doesn’t stop unionists from honouring all UDR members and erecting in public places with public money memorials and such or awarding ex members the freedom of various cities including Belfast were that includes a stained glass window in Belfast City Hall honouring all those UDR members.

    The RUC as a whole were awarded the George Cross medal that award includes those RUC officers in the Glenanne gang and those who directed the murder gangs under their control, it also includes those RUC officers who supplied the UDA with weapons that were later used to murder innocent people.

    You have already stated that in your opinion not all IRA members were terrorists therefore whats good for the goose and all that you can hardly complain about memorials in public places to honour all the IRA.

  • Skibo

    Ah JR, the IRA were not waging a war against civilians and their own community. They were described by the British Army as “a professional, dedicated, highly skilled and resilient force”, while loyalist paramilitaries and other republican groups are described as “little more than a collection of gangsters”. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/northern_ireland/6276416.stm
    The British Army along with SPG and SAS set up ambushes also and perhaps you remember the shoot-to-kill policy when unarmed men were shot also. so all was not rosy within the security forces.
    http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2009/jun/05/women-victims-d-day-landings-second-world-war, Interesting publication on the French Resistance.
    http://www.scrapbookpages.com/Natzweiler/History/FrenchResistance.html “They took no prisoners, but rather killed any German soldiers who surrendered to them, sometimes mutilating their bodies for good measure. The Nazis referred to them as “terrorists.”
    Like I have said in previous comments, history is always written by the victors. there would have been many collateral deaths attributed to the French Resistance. You would have to be completely brain washed to not believe so.
    Who mentioned ISIS, a terrorist organisation set up and armed by the West to fight their battles and then they couldn’t control them. I for one see no similarity between them and IRA. I do however see a similarity with the allies of Britain and America in Syria but time will tell just how far they will go before they are abandoned in their quest for freedom from Assad.

    Like I have said before terrorist and freedom fighter are interchangeable titles depending titles for militias depending on which side they are fighting on and don’t kid yourself any different.

    In all conflicts the world over people will die, people will be murdered for “the greater good”. Remember the 85000 killed in Tokyo by American bombing prior to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki where 100000 died fairly instantly and many many more to follow with cancer.

    My comments of SF and military operations i missed one word, support! They have desisted from supporting the military operation. I assume you remember the phrase “the armalite in one hand and the ballot box in the other”. Well now there is a pamphlet in Irish unity in one hand and the ballot box in the other.
    SF and the IRA are two distinct organisations, just as UU and OO or UU and UVF or DUP and UR or DUP and TF. Membership of one however does not confirm membership of the other . Neither does it prevent membership of both.
    I am am not a member of any although I do have Republican sympathies, not that I had to tell you that.
    The one issue that causes me most consternation however is membership of the RUC/UDR and UVF yet this happened.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Nope, that’s not an accurate summary at all and that’s some twisted logic you’ve devised there. But really I’m over correcting your inaccuracies, please just read more carefully what I actually wrote and then we can avoid repeating ourselves ad infinitum. Hopefully by this stage we’ve both said our piece and understand each other’s different take on events.

    The basis on which the UDR and RUC deserve to be honoured and have been honoured is that relatively few of them disgraced their organisations and that remains the case. I don’t honour those people who committed crimes, nor do those organisations themselves – they utterly reject them. I would have thought that went without saying.

    It seems to me you’re using their actions to justify your refusal to give due respect to tens of thousands of blameless others who served their country and fellow citizens with courage, dedication and not a little hard work in the most difficult of circumstances. Many got a bullet in the head for simply being in the security forces. You act as if joining the police or the army reserve at all were a crime. I think we’ve all had enough of that kind of thinking. Are you seriously denying that many good people were in the security forces for good reasons, who were genuinely trying to work for law and order? Trying to hold up the bad ones as typical makes no sense, unless you have some other agenda against the security forces, for other reasons. My guess is you do, but you’ll need to explain yourself.

    Just to correct a few facts you got wrong before I go:
    – any RUC person proven to be involved in wrong-doing would have been discharged – so members of the Glenanne gang are not entitled to claim the George Cross, nor were any other officers involved in criminal activity or otherwise disgracing the police.
    – you seem stuck on this thing about not all IRA members being terrorists, which wasn’t what I said at all. If it helps make it clearer, all IRA members were prima facie terrorists. I think the thing that confused you was the one obvious caveat I made to that, which was that you could argue – though as I said it would come down to the individual circumstances – it has to also be possible to infiltrate them as part of the anti-terrorist policing effort, without being branded as a terrorist yourself for doing so. I wouldn’t want to call a brave undercover officer a terrorist just for being undercover – that would be absurd and unfair. Hard to argue otherwise and I note in your various posts you haven’t tried to.

  • Thomas Barber

    The only person with twisted logic on this site is yourself MU who regardless of the evidence that is emerging almost daily about members of the UDR, RUC and British army having been directly responsible for hundreds of murders, state forces colluding with murder gangs you simply dismiss the former police ombudsmans claims that state agents were responsible for hundreds upon hundreds of murders you trivialise those facts by claiming those actions were carried out by a few bad apples even though the British government itself admitted that up to 20% of all UDR members were also members of loyalist paramilitaries. Just who was controlling and directing those thousands of state agents who carried out those hundreds upon hundreds of murders. Anywhere else in the world it would be treated as joint enterprise but you see allowing those hundreds upon hundreds of murders as simply misdemeanours, the end justifying the means and all that but theres two sides to that coin the same ends justify the means analogy can be applied to the IRA.

    ” so members of the Glenanne gang are not entitled to claim the George Cross, nor were any other officers involved in criminal activity or otherwise disgracing the police”

    Are those members of the glenanne gang who were also members of the RUC and UDR, were they terrorists ?

    Were those RUC officers who controlled and directed the Mount Vernon UVF including financially rewarding them with thousands of pounds of public money the same people who were allowed to murder over a dozen people – Are those RUC officers terrorists ?

    Are we supposed to just assume that those medals and monuments paid from public money is only awarded to law abiding UDR and RUC officers or is it written somewhere possibly on some UDR monument that this is for all law abiding UDR members only. I dont think it does nor is it inscribed on that George cross the RUC were awarded. Your claim that it does not include “all” UDR and RUC oficers is based on nothing but your own assumption.

    By the way MU I give no respect to those who wage war on my fellow Irishmen and women especially those who carry out the orders of a country that has for almost a thousand years inflicted misery and death upon my fellow countrymen. A country that has invaded and attempted to colonise almost every country in the world murdering men women and children all around them and then having the brass neck to call natives who resist them terrorists.

  • Spike

    Ah good old democracy, the fly in the ointment of every Unionist viewpoint.