“More important, though, is to never forget the monstrous things that can be done by apparently affable family men, who write poetry and enjoy fishing.”

With former Sinn Féin MLA, Daithí McKay [now a Slugger contributor… – Ed], speculating elsewhere that the, as yet unspecified, illness that caused the Northern Ireland deputy First Minister to pull out of December’s NI Executive Office trip to China at the last minute may force him to step down in 2017, Eilis O’Hanlon takes a pre-emptive look at Martin McGuinness’ “mixed legacy“.

McGuinness has been lucky. Adams is widely mocked for denying that he was ever in the IRA. McGuinness was praised for being more forthcoming when he appeared before the Bloody Sunday tribunal, though he really didn’t have much choice, after telling the Special Criminal Court in Dublin in 1973 that he was “a member of Oglaigh na hEireann (the IRA), and very very proud of it”.  But he hasn’t been entirely honest either.

He continues to insist that he left the IRA in 1974. That lie has been politely overlooked. His failed bid for the Irish presidency in 2011 likewise brought out a tetchy, thin-skinned side to his character that he struggled to hide.

Confronted on the campaign trail by the son of an Irish soldier murdered by the IRA during a notorious kidnapping, he flatly denied ever being on the IRA’s ruling “army council”, superciliously asking the bereaved son who insisted that he was, “How do you know that?”

Question marks remain over numerous other episodes in his past, not least the death of IRA informer Frank Hegarty.

The dead man’s mother says McGuinness personally assured her that her son would be safe if he returned from England. In fact, he was shot dead.

BBC journalist Peter Taylor, who’s delved deeply into the secret history of the Troubles, further claims that McGuinness had advance warning of the Enniskillen bombing.

He was unquestionably in a major leadership role in the IRA during some of the most notorious atrocities, including the IRA attack in October 1990, in which Patsy Gillespie, a civilian cook at an Army base, was strapped into a van loaded with explosives and forced to drive to a border checkpoint, where the bomb was detonated by remote control, killing him and five soldiers.

That was an act of evil by any standards and it’s a stain on the strand of Irish republicanism that the Derry man represents.  A couple of years ago, he was still refusing to accept it was “cold-blooded murder”.

In response, Victor Barker, father of 12-year-old James, killed in the Omagh bombing, said: “I would have more respect for Martin McGuinness if he completed his democratic journey and admitted some of the crimes which he has been a part of.”

But if one thing has become obvious since the end of the violence, it’s that his generation of ex-terrorists may never complete that journey.

They were able to go some of the way along the road from violence and we ought to be relieved that they did, though never grateful. They’ll never deserve gratitude.

More important, though, is to never forget the monstrous things that can be done by apparently affable family men, who write poetry and enjoy fishing.

We’re asked to brush the monstrous things they did under the carpet, because these men eventually backed away from the brink – but it took them far too long to realise that they could not get their way by force.

A few good deeds does not erase the memory of evil.

Read the whole thing.

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  • grumpy oul man

    Ok ot it.the ” whoever killed the most is the baddie” rule only applys when you say so.
    Democracy means what unionists want and nobodys else has any choice in the matter.
    The troubles started at the date of your chosing and polticians can work with terrorists as long as they are unionist terrorists.
    Did i miss anything!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    yes, a course in rhetoric and moral philosophy

  • grumpy oul man

    A. Course in moral philosophy! Very good let me know when you book yours. Will you be taking ot first or between ,history for beginners, and “libel law the facts!
    I really have to say your abilty to twist facts and morality to suit our argument is admirable topped off with your almost free p self righteous smugness makes you a future champion of unionisn.
    By the way still waiting for the actual libel laws you referred to earlier and your condemnation of polticians who consort with terrorists, you still havnt made it clear that you include those who worked with the loyalists during Sunningdale.
    Course on moral philosophy LOL advised by MU my sides hurt now. funnier than Dougal and Ted with the cows.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I’ve never excused people for supporting terrorists.

    “Working with” them is different. To get the GFA deal done, for example, we all had to hold our noses and work with the likes of SF/IRA and the PUP/UVF. And I don’t condemn people in NICRA necessarily for going on marches that were stewarded by people they must have suspected were in the IRA – it’s not supporting the IRA to go on those marches. I myself have been at demos that I know were also attended by people from paramilitary groups. It’s a free country and you can’t control that. It’s the nature of the relationship which is the difference. It’s very different to be in a cheering crowd that is lauding speeches about the exploits of the paramilitaries, or otherwise supporting them vocally, from merely finding yourself at the same event as them.

    My problem with Paisley et al was in encouraging some of this rubbing of shoulders and using this appearance of association to give sinister signals to Catholics (or ones he must reasonably have expected would be taken that way). I was critical of it at the time and am critical now of it. At the same time, I didn’t take it to mean he supported their murder campaign and I don’t actually think he did in reality. But I think some figures from the DUP in particular were inappropriately pally with members of paramilitary groups (the old Ervine wallpaper comment). They flirted with them. But it was flirtation, they were not truly in bed together. There were few, if any, mainstream unionist politicians who were all-out supporters of the paramilitaries.

    Ultimately, most unionist people didn’t approve of the paramilitaries at all and the politicians knew this. The hardline ones who wanted to stage street protests or strikes felt they needed a relationship with local paramilitary figures to make that happen – it was like having a union boss onside. There was that side of it. They should have run a mile of course. But there was a kind of pragmatic view that these people were useful at times of crisis when street protest came to the fore. However, it wasn’t I think even for Paisley and Robinson about supporting the killing of Catholics. But I can certainly see it looked very bad.

    Compare that odd, loose flirtation (whisper, hushed tones, “We actually met them *in their homes*”), with the SF-IRA relationship. Imagine an IRA man confiding that he knew the colour of the wallpaper in Gerry Adams’ house – it is kind of funny. The reason we laugh at that (or I do anyway) is that we all know the relationship between the IRA and SF was utterly different to the awkward blusterings of Paisley and Robinson. The PIRA controlled SF (and technically still does) – SF actually answers ultimately to the PIRA Army Council. I won’t go through all the hand-in-glove connections between them but they were effectively just different arms of the same organisation, with shared leaders and so on. SF could no more disagree with the IRA than my left leg can disagree with my right leg. They were and are absolutely melded together in common purpose. Really, SF is not like other parties, even hardline ones, in that respect. Their Protestant equivalents are the PUP, not the DUP.

  • grumpy oul man

    My that is a fine distinction about working with or supporting terrorists.
    How do you think the relatives of the victims of the whole UWC thing would take that.
    After all standing with terrorists to force a goverment to break a treaty
    , while those terrorists are killing people in support of your joint effort is very different from trying to get them on board a peace process.
    Sorry to try and portray the unionist collaboration with the UVF/UDA as some sort of acceptable poltical excerise is disgusting.
    It is sad that you seem to have no concept of the effect that Ian , Peter and his loyalist mates had on the inocents, sadder still is your attempt to explain it away as ,not really important.
    If you ever wonder why unionists have such a bad name among those who live in the civilised world could a suggest you read your own posts.
    Nobody here is in any confusion about the relationship between SF and the IRA (but thak you for bringing it up it was a pleasant change from your normal avoidance tactics)
    But you seem unaware of what actally happened in 1974. and the close relationship between the loyalist murder gangs and their puppetmasters who went on to lead unionisn.
    You state that nobody knows who is in the crowd ( you have used this before to excuse your own dalliance with terrorists during the AIA protests) but the problem was during both the UWC and AIA. Periods of violence is that the terrorists where on the platform representing their various gangs.
    To imply they where just members of the crowd is not only innaccurate but insulting to our intelligence.
    Guess we now kbow what you mean when you say you oppose terrorism is actally that ypu oppose the pther sides terrorism and act as a apoligist for your sides.
    Not news to me or a lot of other people i suspect.

  • johnny lately

    http://www.irishnews.com/news/2016/12/30/news/british-believed-peter-robinson-plotting-to-declare-independent-state–856630/

    Do you think Peter Robinson was advising loyalist paramilitaries to use only peaceful means ?

  • the moviegoer

    The DUP’s relationship with loyalist paramilitaries was not on the same scale as SF’s with the IRA, it didn’t need to be. But categorizing Paisley as a constitutional politician is wrong. In the 60s and early 70s he was a subversive agent to democracy in NI, characterised best by his involvement in the UWC/Ulster Army Council strike of 1974 which brought down an elected government, but also his involvement in setting up groups that carried out bombing campaigns to destabilise the NI government (the Ulster Protestant Volunteers bombings of the first half of 1969) and rioting and counter-protests throughout the 1960s (Ulster Constitution Defence Committee and Ulster Protestant Action). Most of these predated the Troubles and set the tone for what was to follow. The Ulster Army Council intended creating a 20,000 strong army to hold a coup and declare NI independent if Sunningdale hadn’t been stopped, as Rhodesia had done, a threat which was raised again following the Anglo-Irish Agreement. Paisley attempted setting up two paramilitary organisations in the 80s – Third Force in 1981 and Ulster Resistance in 1986, with the potential for a coup in mind. Would-be soldiers were trained and drilled. He might have been a politician but he was not a democrat. It might be a stretch to call him an out-and-out terrorist but he was definitely guilty of subversion against the state of NI on many occasions.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I quite agree on Paisley.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    From the report it’s not clear he advised them to do anything.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You go on about the UWC but Sunningdale failed before that when anti-Sunningdale candidates took 11 out of 12 seats in the Feb 1974 general election. It was only a matter of time after that and the UWC was just the final nail in the coffin. The agreement should have been recognised before that as lacking a democratic mandate, and scrapped.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    1988 figure is cited in both Prof Steve Bruce’s ‘The Red Hand’ and the Da Silva Report, chapter 5.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Sunningdale was massively rejected at the ballot box. But for the Council of Ireland, it could have been different.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I admire your stance of zero tolerance to paramilitaries and share it. Just saying some who broke bread with paramilitaries on both sides weren’t necessarily supporters.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Why did people vote against it then in Feb 74? UWC strike wasn’t until May 74.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Criticising CAIN is kind of hilarious, I agree. It’s like criticising a library. I think some people must have been told it’s this place that has lots of things in it unionists sometimes quote and imagine it’s part of the Great Conspiracy Against The Irish People. It’s a repository of research resources, people …

  • MainlandUlsterman

    But what was the prosecution and conviction rate per crime? Higher numbers of Repubs in prison not reflecting higher rates of terrorism? Remember, for about half of the Troubles (’76 to ’90), Repub violence was running about 3 times higher (over 70 per cent of total) than Loyalist violence (20-25 per cent).

  • mac tire

    “The security forces were roughly twice as prolific at getting Loyalists
    put behind bars as they were putting Republicans behind bars.”

    That was your original statement to which I stated that the opposite was the case according to all statistics I have read, including Pete Shirlow and Professor Ruth Jamison’s study.

    Your new post only offers new questions. Unless you have the stats for the ARRESTS, prosecution and conviction rates then we will have to accept that there were indeed twice the amount of Republicans imprisoned compared to Loyalists and not the opposite, as was your initial assertion.

  • mickfealty

    When the former terrorists now hold accountable positions in government (with no official Immunity) it would be undermining of our present democracy to go after one and not the other.

    Unless you are suggesting that all victims are equal but some are more equal than others? That way surely Orwellian nightmares lie?

  • grumpy oul man

    While you may admire my stance you do not share it.
    You refuse to comdenm Unionist polticians for working with terrorists ( you yourself attended protests against the AIA involving active terrorists) you attempt to portray the DUP forming a front with murderers to force goverments to change treatys as merely “breaking bread” all the time claiming that you comdenm anybody talking to terrorists.
    The sad fact is that dispite your self righteous utterances you have double standards on murder and civil unrest.

  • grumpy oul man

    I go on about the murder and choas brought to us by unionists in protest against Sunningdale.
    Murder and meyhem you seem unable to comdenm and unable to condemn those who sat beside the murderers.
    Thats what i am in about and you know it.. So please stop these pointless distractions.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Unable to condemn? Can you read?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Dude, you’re clearly not reading what I’m writing.

  • grumpy oul man

    Oh i am. You claim to comdenm any poltician who works with terrorists but flatly refuse to comdenm unionist polticians who worked with terrorists.
    You have acted as a apoligist for one of the most violent periods in NI history.
    You have sttemptep to blame unionist violrnce on the victims of that violence and in the process expressed disgust at the Irish wanting a Irish dimension to any settlement( indeed you blame the violence of unionists on this)
    Now if you disagree with this summery of your views point out where. I am wrong ( be aware as i pointed put to you before,any post i have replied to stays in its origanal from on my profile and deleting some of your crazier statements will work no better now than the last time you tried it)
    If i missed anything i am sorry but i think that covers most if not all of your argument.

  • grumpy oul man

    Yes must have missed it give us again.
    Say that ypu comdenm the DUP and its leaders for working with murderous terrorists during the UWC violence.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    At the risk of turning to that rather trite truism “it takes two to tango”, and the “long tradition of Republican violence” to which you draw our attention must appear entirely arbitary, inexplicable almost, without recognising its “mirror” in the inceptive lead Unionism and its predecessors offered over centuries. Until both of these culpabilities are properly contextulised and honestly evaluated, striking out a Republican culpability all on its own is an act which will simply perpetuate the problem .

  • SeaanUiNeill

    But not, in many other responses, against the existence of a Northern Ireland seeded in violence when it was partitioned from the single political entity (Ireland) which formed the entire context for even Unionism itself until the 1912 “fishing trip” landed the new idea of partition for the UUC. This NI you staunchly defend would not have come about at all without the camped up threat of a recourse to violence or maintained later without the draconian special powers act and the maintenence of a state sponsored paramilitary force, the “Specials” who had been unquestionably implicted in sectarian murders during the early years of NI, and who by their continueded existence implied this threat against one third of the community as long as they lasted. The “self determmination” arguement for Unionism you commonly deploy in other answers would have remained simply words in a debate without the UVF, the Larne guns and, later on, these “Specials”. It is this fundimental flaw which must mar every suggestion that Unionism itself may even begin claim any constitutionalist high ground over those who have since espoused their example of violence.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Of course I do. Now for your part can you apologise please for suggesting I support the paramilitaries?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I have explained myself in plenty of detail, numerous times. If you think yet another in a long line of misrepresentations of my words is going to be met with an eager, detailed response, you are mistaken. It’s all been said, please don’t be so tiresome as to expect a word for word detailed refutation by this point. This thread is now on over 300 posts and I’d suggest we’ve covered it all. Save everyone time by just reading back. If you have anything new to say, be my guest.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I never said it was only Republicans, or anything like that. It does take two to tango – but in the Troubles, one of those was quite massively leading the dance.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You’re against the existence of Northern Ireland? I thought we’d all agreed in 1998 it’s a legitimate entity. Even SF agree that.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Loving the lack of response to this btw

  • the moviegoer

    The February 1974 election is a bit misleading. Anti-Sunningdale candidates took 11 of 12 seats but got just over 50 percent of the popular vote. Several of the seats were lost because of vote splitting by the pro-Sunningdale parties whereas the anti-Sunningdale parties had a pact and put forward one candidate in each constituency. Still a majority but not unanimous, and it’s a bit hypocritical to see that election as a referendum on the agreement when republicans are routinely castigated for viewing the 1918 and 1919 elections in the same manner. Was everyone who voted against Sunningdale voting against power-sharing in any shape or form? That seems unlikely given the general support for it only months previously. So the fact the end result of the campaign was an end to power-sharing in principle, not just Sunningdale, is hardly a democratic outcome. It fed into a minority of NI who wanted unionist-only rule.

    The 78-strong Assembly elected in 1973 still supported power-sharing till right before the UWC/UVF/UDA/DUP strike. Had the British backed up the NI assembly by cracking down on the strike early on perhaps a form of self-rule in NI could have been salvaged but the terrorists were allowed to win. This was the start of stage 2 of the conflict in many ways as it made direct rule a permanent feature of NI for two decades and fed the flames of the IRA’s “long war” strategy. A government in NI with nationalist representation would have been much harder to wage a war against ideologically.

    In many respects the DUP mindset was a mirror of SF’s in that it saw nothing wrong with overturning constitutional government in NI by violence – use violence first, win electoral support for your actions later.

  • grumpy oul man

    No you jave not explained yourself. Unless comdenming polticians for consorting with terrorists and then giving excuses for polticians consorting with terrorists is explaining yourself.
    Your unwillingness to comdenm the DUP for conspiring with loyalists is telling.
    All you have to do to shut me up is comdenm the violence of the UWC period and comdenm the polticians who stood with them.
    You can’t seem to be able to do this which shows that you apply a very different standard to unionist violence than republician violence.
    This will surprise noone and be aware next time you come out with a “themmuns all bad ussins innocent” line i will remind you of your attitude to unionist violence and how you excuse it and act as a apoligist for it.
    I have given you every chance to be balanced in you response to violence but you have wriggled and distracted to avoid any such balance.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Bruce has some comparative figures for 81-87:
    Total of 386 murders by Repubs in that period, 148 Repubs charged with murder; 69 murders by Loyalists, 130 people charged with murder.
    Ed Moloney is quoted as writing in 1982 that the police conviction rate for Republican murders at that time was 50-60 per cent; for Loyalists 90-100 per cent.

    There were points in the Troubles, especially around the time of internment, when the police spent much less time and effort going after Loyalists than after Republicans. But there were also periods when they hit the Loyalists in a way they never hit Republicans. You have to look at the overall picture. And overall the average Loyalist was much more likely to get caught and jailed than the average Republican.

    Really, read Prof Bruce’s work on Loyalists, it does I think provide better information and deeper explanations than you might get otherwise. While it’s from a few decades ago, it does cover nearly all of the Troubles period (in “The Red Hand”).

  • the moviegoer

    Anti-Sunningdale candidates got just over 50 per cent of the popular vote in the February 1974 UK election, it was hardly “massively rejected”. The 78-strong NI Assembly voted for in June 1973 had a 2:1 majority in favour of power-sharing and was still in favour of power-sharing in May 1974 despite misgivings about some of the details of Sunningdale. Perhaps a renegotiated agreement could have been possible to bring more unionists on board but the terrorist actions of the Ulster Army Council put paid to that and any type of power-sharing settlement at all, an outcome which delighted the UVF, the UDA, Ian Paisley and Peter Robinson.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    You never tire of repeating the same lies about me. Please f***ing read before I lose the will to eat.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Except that as we’ve been discussing the elections came first. And over 50 per cent of the vote is kind of massive. You can’t really proceed in the face of that.

    The election in Feb 1974 wasn’t a vote against power sharing, but it was very clearly a vote against Sunningdale.

    Rather than condemning the voting public, most of whom, I agree, were not necessarily against power-sharing in principle, a better response to the elections might have been to reflect on what could be done to make a deal that the electorate could approve.

  • grumpy oul man

    What lies would that be.
    Stating the reason for the violence of the UWC was down to nationlists wanting a Irish demension.
    Or refusing to comdenm the DUP fpr making common cause with secterian killers.
    But this is a new form of Faux Outrage and i must say a nice change from the libel nonsense.
    I have read ypur posts and apart from ducking and dodging around and refusing to live up to your claim of comdenming all polticians who deal with terrorists i see nothing unusual in them. You still try to blame everything on nationlists.
    But if i have missed you actally condenming paisley and co for working with terrorists then cut and paste and i will apoligise to you.
    But since we both you have not done this so that is probably the easiest promise i habe ever made.
    You called me a f#÷king lair .that is libelious im gonba sue.
    Only joking we both know that is nonsense.

  • the moviegoer

    “a better response to the elections might have been to reflect on what could be done to make a deal that the electorate could approve.”

    I agree. The problem is the Assembly was not given a chance to do this. The British government gave in to the Ulster Army Council and power-sharing was put on hold for 24 years. It was the tail wagging the dog. The fact the DUP now supports power-sharing means either they were wrong in 1974 or they are wrong now. What would have been better – power-sharing between the UUP and SDLP in 1974 or power-sharing between SF and DUP now after 20 years of war? Seamas Mallon’s comment was right – the GFA was Sunningdale for slow learners. Anyway, happy new year!

  • mac tire

    I will look out for and read his book, MU.

    I agree there were periods when one side were ‘under more pressure’ than the other. I’m not disputing the stats you give but it is worth pointing out that your conviction rates are for murders. Of course, as we know, most murders had no convictions – they remain unsolved. So these stats only give a portion of the overall picture.

    It is estimated that between 25,000-30,000 people were imprisoned as a result of the conflict – so the vast majority fall outside the stats you give (i.e. most were not convicted of murder).
    We do not know (I suppose it would be a difficult task) about the breakdown of arrest rates, prosecution rates or conviction rates for all incidents. So I believe it is not possible for you to state “overall the average Loyalist was much more likely to get caught and jailed than the average Republican.”
    We do know that twice as many Republicans were imprisoned than Loyalists, however.
    Part of the problem for Loyalists, it appears, is they were more likely to ‘break’ under interrogation (believe it or not, this was one of the reasons given for not having to resort to Internment of Loyalists in an internal document within the MOD at the time).

    Anyway, I wish you and yours a happy, peaceful and prosperous New Year, MU.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Happy new year, M T!

  • Madra Uisce

    All Nationalists are against the existence of the North.I thought that would have been self evident

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Well I take a different view: that the GFA dealt with the Irish dimension so much better than Sunningdale but it didn’t happen till 98 as the SDLP thought they could avoid doing a deal with unionists and just stitch something up directly with London and Dublin. Many years were wasted as the SDLP showed little interest in accommodation with unionists.

    But yes, happy new year!

  • MainlandUlsterman

    But nationalist politicians have ALL agreed its legitimacy and then nationalist voters north and south approved that.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    More sweeping abstractions to whitewash over the uncomfortable truth of a real and detailed history, MU? Again I note that rather than actually address what I’m saying in any detail, you shift ground to ambiguities and simplified generalisations rather tha address specificity. I’d certainly been suggesting that the old NI was not a “legitimate entity” for anyone concerned with fairness and justice, something I’d picked up from the stringent critiques of the old NI Labour party in the 1960s. Are you suggesting that it somehow was? In confusing the old NI and the post 1968 NI together in your response, are you suggesting that the Belfast Agreement entity and the old Unionist creation of 1920 are somehow similar and equally valid? What do you actually mean by “a legitimate entity” in this context? Simply because something is agreed in a treaty, does this make it anything more than a convenient “legal” entity for those signing the treaty, for practical conditions must always qualify how a generalised a term as “legitimate” is being used. One example: for the powers dividing Poland in the eighteenth century, their division was entirely “legitimate”, as was the treaty to divide Poland between Germany and the USSR in 1939, in the eyes of those splitting up another country. The “legitimate” government of Germany started a most destrictive European war and organised “solutions” for those portions of its citizenry whom they believed to be at variance with that government’s perception of how Germany should be. On a rather less vitriolic scale, the new statelet of NI itself organised itself in the interests of two thirds of its citizenry and ensured with the high handed suspension of PR that no serious opposition could develop to Unionist one party rule. The only possibly valid arguement for NI, “self-determination” applied equally to the requirements of the local third of the new state’s citizenry whose rights and identity were entirely effaced in the interests of the two thirds whose political interests your comments habitually identify with. I’d find it almost impossible to even begin to see the pre-1968 NI as in any moral sense “a legitimate entity”, or in any context outside of that “force majeure” connotation of Britain’s imposition of a most artificial partition on an Ireland which had been recognised by all involved on either side of the Home Rule debate as historically the administrative and political unit for centuries, and whose unity had been until 1920 a prime concern of Irish Unionism itself.

    The Belfast Agreement of 1998 so utterly reconfigured the old sectarian one party state to permit some of us to imagine that a rather fairer society might now be constructed. Unfortunately the sectarian divisions have seemingly become even more entrenched with the electorate driven to regularly vote for political extremes or to succumb to the appathy of the 50% who do not trouble to vote in the face of such unproductive polarisation. The problem remains as Stepjhen Gwynn described it in 1924, the need to bring both sections of our community together to form one entity, something your seemingly preferred “victory for the Union” is never going to achieve, certainly not with the historical record of effacement and violent supression which has marked the lot of those, from both confessions and from the left wing, who did not support Unionism for most of the lifetime of NI.

    The simple facts remain. You reject violence but are most happy to fully endorse the outcome of violent threat, the state of NI. On what objective grounds are you then opposed to a Republicanism which has taken the exampe of the success of such violent threat to its natural conclusion, other than in support of political self-interest, just as those whom you oppose did?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Happy new year!

  • Madra Uisce

    No MU. Nationalists have greed that it is for the people of Ireland as a whole North and South to decide the constitutional status of the North, that is very different from believing it to be legitimate Once a majority agree that it should be gone it will be. It is an artificial state founded to placate anti democratic sectarian bigots at the point of a gun,it will always remain a sectarian backwater until it finally dissapears hopefully when the UK begins to break up post Brexit

  • grumpy oul man

    I will, lets just remove the wriggle room, (you do love wriggle room) are you,
    Condemning the people who became the leaders of unionism for using terrorists to get their way , by logical extension this means that the unionist electorate has committed the same crime which you regularly accuse the nationalist electorate of, which is voting the partners of terrorism into power?
    I am sure you understand why i need you to be precise before i apologize as in the past you have appeared to trivialize or ignore both unionist violence and the effect it had on the development of the troubles.
    Surely you also understand that condemning something and then supporting those who where involved and benefited electorally from the very thing you condemn is not logical so i look forward to you expressing the same disgust at the election of paisley and Robinson as you do for Adams and McGuinness.
    I do hope you understand but “of course I do” is a bit vague and in the past you have refused to condemn unionist politicians and terrorists for specific action either as i pointed out denying it or offering excuses for it..

  • grumpy oul man

    I don’t think any nationalist has agreed on the legitimacy of NI.
    we have agreed to tolerate it until we have the numbers to unite the country.
    Unionists finally admitting that nationalists were entitled to be nationalists helped out there but was 30 years overdue!

  • grumpy oul man

    It was also the final nail in the coffins of 39 innocent people.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    Read the GFA – they did.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    You’ll have to offer me rather more particular detail on what you are saying with that generalised “Happy New Year”, MU, but while you are striving to give me a satisfactory analysis of what is actually implied, a most happy, healthy and (other than in propagating Unionism) professionally successful new year to yourself!!

  • SeaanUiNeill

    I know it’s going back a bit, but……Carson, Craig, Crawford, the other “founders”?

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Power sharing would have been great in 74 and I think would have carried the people.”

    Even better in 1914, and through a civilised “Dominion” Dublin parliament, which would perhaps have avoided a century of violence…………..

  • grumpy oul man

    I did read it before i voted for it.
    I like most nationalists voted for it because it give us the right to vote NI out of existence and give us the right to be nationalist.
    But i do thank you for telling me how to feel about something. It must be disappointing that we dont do or think as you would like us to.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    MU, I’ve not heard much of ARKIV myself since 2014. Their website appears to have stopped posting in May of that year.

    Don’t get me wrong, a “non-partisan” analysis by historians is something I’d really welcome, but come on, its something which has steadily informed serious Irish historiography since The Irish Historical Studies group set out to develop a lean objective approach to a history which all too often gets bogged down in political acrimony, but all too often, as Lyons pointed out in 1970 regarding his own acolytes, this discipline is hard to maintain, and the temptation is to write a history which will encourage nice things to happen by simply attacking the bad guys. And none of us may claim any final truth or absolute objectivity, which Lyons himself pointed out is something of a problem in an age which has been made aware of the power of unconscious motivation in selectivity. Blanket dismissal of the Republican version of our history is utterly insufficient, for as Prof. Richard English points out in his “Armed Struggle” the attempt to actually evaluate the historical meaning PIRA honestly requires a great deal more serious effort of analysis than simply marking them down as sole authors of our woes!!! There are some excellent comments on the ARKIV site making this general point of critiquing ALL ideologically motivated historiography, and not simply that practiced by just one side of the equation.

    https://arkivni.wordpress.com

  • SeaanUiNeill

    “Doesn’t matter whose voice it is, the truth is the truth.”

    This, MU, is why it is perhaps so important to have read (for starters) a little Foucault and Baudrillard at some point……….

    The very concept of objectivity and truth are themselves a far from being some uncontested area, and before using the term one should take into account the prevailing social épistème in which that truth is evaluated. There is a significant quote from Judith Butler on this in Wikipedia’s section on “Episteme”:

    “Truth is a thing of this world: it is produced only by virtue of multiple forms of constraint. And it induces regular effects of power. Each society has its regime of truth, its “general politics” of truth: that is, the types of discourse which it accepts and makes function as true; the mechanisms and instances which enable one to distinguish true and false statements, the means by which each is sanctioned; the techniques and procedures accorded value in the acquisition of truth; the status of those who are charged with saying what counts as true”

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Episteme

    The recourse to any “final truth” always implies some power discourse present as its source of authority.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    I couldn’t agree more.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    The question will be, will the new leader be brave enough to disown the murderous past – or even signal a change of heart over it? I hope she will.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    It’s a pity ARKIV’s excellent start was not maintained, but at least our general run of historiography north and south has a genuinely high standard of evaluation, something seldom appreciated by many of the public who feel that any cases of disagreement with their own opinions by any historian clearly proves the charge of partisan evaluation against them.

    Incidentally, I look forward to your own provocative comments in support of the Union the coming year, and what serious issues may be brought forward in discussing them.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    One of the interesting things to come out of the Brexit debacle has been just how much consensus there is in the (hated by the Daily Mail) liberal elite, across parties, for open, pro-European politics. In the battle for the soul of the nation, the 50s nostalgists and petty little Englanders have far from won. We are all in a hole of their making – but it’s far from clear they will be the ones the British public chooses to dig us out of it. So I’m not giving up on open, moderate, liberal Britain just yet. As one of my old work colleagues put it, the fightback is on.

  • SeaanUiNeill

    Me, neither. When I see things some of us discussed in the PD simply commonplace today in NI, it gives me some slender hope that the foolish distortions of political vogues may be smoothed out with time and effort. But I’d imagine that this popular seemingly wished for reversion to some thin revenant version of “the good old days of Imperial prosperity” will pass and some sanity be restored. With the vote for exit, I can’t help thinking of my late father-in-law’s hoary gag (made all the more delicious by his own raffishly bohemian but quasi-Victorean lifestyle):

    Exasperated Labour member tells a rigid Tory, “You are aware Queen Victoria is long dead…?”

    Response “Poor Albert……….”

    But seriously, let us hope….

  • J D

    See how trivially easy it will be for Unionism to bequest the actions of others onto the next generation?

  • MainlandUlsterman

    1. The participants endorse the commitment made by the British and Irish Governments that, in a new British-Irish Agreement replacing the Anglo- Irish Agreement, they will:
    Under ‘Constitutional Issues’, the Belfast Agreement says the signatories (i.e. all the major parties including Sinn Fein, and the UK and ROI governments):
    (i) recognise the legitimacy of whatever choice is freely exercised by a majority of the people of Northern Ireland with regard to its status, whether they prefer to continue to support the Union with Great Britain or a sovereign united Ireland;
    (ii) recognise that it is for the people of the island of Ireland alone, by agreement between the two parts respectively and without external impediment, to exercise their right of self-determination on the basis of consent, freely and concurrently given, North and South, to bring about a united Ireland, if that is their wish, accepting that this right must be achieved and exercised with and subject to the agreement and consent of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland;
    (iii) acknowledge that while a substantial section of the people in Northern Ireland share the legitimate wish of a majority of the people of the island of Ireland for a united Ireland, the present wish of a majority of the people of Northern Ireland, freely exercised and legitimate, is to maintain the Union and, accordingly, that Northern Ireland’s status as part of the United Kingdom reflects and relies upon that wish; and that it would be wrong to make any change in the status of Northern Ireland save with the consent of a majority of its people …”

    So everyone agrees Northern Ireland is a legitimate entity. Further, a united Ireland without a majority in NI for it would be “wrong”.

    Please, no more attempts to wriggle out of what we all agreed. It was a fair deal.

  • Skibo

    MU previously you noted that the 1918 election was not a vote on independence. I match you and raise the fact that the election you refer to was for Westminster and not an acceptance of Sunningdale. Had the people given the chance to vote on Sunningdale we might have had a different response.

  • Skibo

    Sunningdale was never voted on at the ballot box. What you refer to was a Westminster election.

  • Skibo

    If we look far enough we will all find a book somewhere to support our thoughts. Like I said before evidence is facts and figures and everything in between is personal preference and conjecture normally blinded by our personal life story. I accept I am blinded by mine but I can see things through the eyes of my foe. You unfortunately are so blind you cannot see anything other than your own views.
    A person goes out and fights for his country and the protection of his family and friends. You contest that to put on a British uniform makes everything he does legal and anyone who opposes the British way is a terrorist.

  • Skibo

    I am amazed at your knowledge of the security system within NI, how much evidence they had etc, etc. tell me how did they end up blaming the McGurk’s Bar on the IRA.
    I keep referring to the Glenanne gang as they operated from within the Security services for many years and it is believed they are responsible for 120 deaths alone. Look at some for the statements about weapons being handed in and redistributed by the RUC to Loyalists.

  • Skibo

    MU for seventy years the Unionist people continued to elect the UUP to the one party government that did all in it’s power to ensure that Protestantism kept control in NI to the detriment of their Catholic neighbour. Did that mean that the Protestant electorate were all sectarian?
    Sinn Fein achieved their rise in the polls when they moved away from violence. The gained a respect for it and were given the chance by the Nationalist electorate to represent them. They are now a completely political party only. We are 18 years into the GFA. When are we going to see Unionism vote on policies and not who can protect them from SF?
    It seems the cause of the troubles had nothing to do with the UUP sectarian policy in NI for seventy years and was all down to the IRA and now the fact that good Protestant people have to vote for the DUP is the fault of SF.
    Get a life Lad. Be responsible for your own actions and stop blaming everyone else (and I mean Republicans) for all your woes.
    The bad SF contaminated Stormont and made the good Protestant politicians set up a scandalous RHI and promote RedSky and assist an American company to buy NI loans at a knockdown price and then sell their loans off to the highest bidder if the money was not repaid directly. Those bad republicans!!!!

  • Skibo

    Mick, with your first comment lays the whole problem with Stormont and politics in NI for possibly a generation. SF will not be looked as a political party with politicians. They will always be described by a sizeable proportion of people as former terrorists or supporters of former terrorists. When do we move on?
    I agree that all victims are equal. I would be on the Eames/ Bradley page on this. Victimhood however cannot be used to stop NI moving on. At some stage we have to step out of the past and live in the present day.
    As for your comment on Orwellian nightmares, there are plenty of Nationalists and Republicans who believe we only started wakening from our Orwellian nightmare after the UDR were disbanded and the RUC were modernised and the Old Guard stepped back with a massive handshake.

  • Frank

    Context, Britain felt betrayed as they had agreed the concept of Irish independence and had simply deferred putting it into action due to the first world war. The nationalists had no chance of success so must carry the can for a pointless revolt.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    My reading of the Feb 74 election results is that it looks unlikely; and certainly that it would not have carried both communities.

  • Skibo

    As it was never tested we will never know. What we do know is that in 1998 both communities agreed to the GFA with terrorists on all sides being released, sharing of power and the North South bodies. So what was actually missing in Sunningdale was the treatment of political prisoners.

  • MainlandUlsterman

    No, the North-South bodies were defined limited and accountable to the NI assembly in 1998, in a way they weren’t in 74. The lessons were learned, finally.