Slugger O'Toole

Conversation, politics and stray insights

Conflict

After the Visit, the greater epiphany?

Sat 12 April 2014, 12:28am

Tweet What we saw in Windsor Castle this week was a delayed act of official reconciliation that should have taken place fifty years ago but was held up by the Troubles. It was in reality the unfinished business of closing a sequence of turmoil that began over a century ago, whose shadow is finally lifting […] more »

Friday thread: Perhaps ‘War’ brings a properly social benefit after all?

Fri 11 April 2014, 3:54pm
Morris War

Tweet Today’s Friday thread is a talk delivered yesterday at the RSA in London by Ian Morris, author of a new book which posits the controversial idea that, over time, war is actually good for us, not necessarily as individuals but as societies. The presentation is fairly short but it was around this part I […] more »

Did the ‘UDA Night’ at Sandy Row spark the “IRA Night” in Whiterock?

Wed 2 April 2014, 11:55am

Tweet After no some little searching, here’s the only reference I can find to the UDA event at Sandy Row Community Centre in An Phoblacht. Interestingly it carries a quote from a Sinn Fein councillor: Laganbank Sinn Féin Councillor Deirdre Hargey has called for a full investigation into the incident. She also noted that as a […] more »

And meanwhile in Larne, the UDA enforces its imaginary paramilitary writ…

Mon 31 March 2014, 8:40pm

Tweet You would imagine these guys are on a one way ticket to prison, but the overweening and assumptive actions of paramilitaries of all descriptions in Northern Ireland has to be the abiding failure of the culture of the Peace Process™. Over the weekend, the UDA [would that be the good or the bad ones? […] more »

In the aftermath of Loughgall: The cover story…

Thu 20 February 2014, 9:26am

Tweet This from the new women’s blog Vixens with Convictions looks at some new documentary evidence around the SAS/RUC ambush at Loughgall… The full truth around Loughgall will probably never be exposed, however this note, written by someone who had more knowledge than most into events at that time, is of historical value.  We have […] more »

Haass had basic flaws. It’s time for the two governments to step up to the plate

Tue 31 December 2013, 4:29pm

Tweet It was in its way encouraging that the Assembly parties themselves launched the Haass process but they seem to have bitten off more than they could chew. They appear to have gone into the high pressure phase without clear ideas of how to reach goals other than muddling through. So far we haven’t heard of any back channels or […] more »

Despite the Haass setback we are not the prisoners of the past but masters of our own fate

Tue 31 December 2013, 10:22am

Tweet The issues of the Haass process are only the tip of the iceberg. Indeed it might be said that the talks were unlikely to succeed without rigorous challenge and examination of the beliefs and assumptions the parties brought to the table.  Behind the tortuous details of flags, parades and the past are the competing […] more »

“implicating people in its activities was the IRA’s strategy for enhancing its legitimacy”

Fri 8 November 2013, 2:53pm

Tweet Malachi O’Doherty gets close to something important with this piece for the BelTel blog… He begins by picking up on the part of Darragh McIntyre’s excellent documentary for BBC Four’s Storyville on The Disappeared, which mentions the the ambiguous role of priests during the conflict: In the early-1990s, I interviewed Fr Matt Wallace in […] more »

“If there was a hierarchy of the victims of the Troubles, #TheDisappeared were at the bottom…”

Tue 5 November 2013, 3:06pm

Tweet …So Darragh McIntyre begins a truly haunting evocation of the plight of the families of those killed mostly by the IRA and disappeared… You can pick it up here on the RTE Player and here on the iPlayer… I’d recommend watching it in full, but for now, two indicative passages. This one, in which […] more »

Shankill bomb: As the fog of war lifts welcome to the hall of smoke and mirrors

Tue 29 October 2013, 8:42am

Tweet In all the understandable controlled angry over destruction the Shankill bomb wrought, both on the day and the weeks after, Anthony McIntyre, then an IRA volunteer, reminds people his organisation was on a war footing at the time, and no amount of hindsight can change the circumstances under which Kelly and Begley planted that […] more »

The DUP’s approach to dealing with the past rolls back the GFA

Thu 24 October 2013, 10:52pm

Tweet Yesterday’s opposition day debate in the Commons on Dealing With The Past initiated by the DUP was attended by only just enough GB MPs – about 20-odd – to make up the quorum of 40. Have a browse in Hansard to get the full flavour if you’re feeling strong enough. Sinn Fein’s absence is a […] more »

The Glenanne story proves the time for frank admissions is overdue: further prevarication over collusion implies Briitsh government cover-up

Thu 24 October 2013, 11:40am

Tweet Like most of the atrocities of the Troubles the story of the Glenanne gang isn’t unfamiliar  Suzanne Breen for one gave a detailed account of the 1976 Kingmills and Reavey brothers  massacres in January 2011 based it would seem on  “ imminent” HET reports. Of the Reavey murders she stated as a matter of established […] more »

Ardoyne plaque forges new link between present tensions and a terrible past.

Wed 23 October 2013, 6:40pm

Tweet This part of the Flora Bradley-Watson’s report in the Belfast Telegraph  of the commemoration of the bombing of Frizzell’s shop leapt out at me. Charlie Butler, who lost three relatives in the attack – his niece Evelyn Baird, her partner Michael Morrison and their daughter Michelle – said that he had relied on the […] more »

Bloody Sunday prosecutions might be justifed if they prompted IRA confessions

Tue 22 October 2013, 2:22pm

Tweet Douglas Murray is a  libertarian right winger who goes in  head-on where others hesitate. He wrote a forensically detailed  and heart breaking account of  Bloody Sunday  which was equally unsparing of  the Army and persistently questioning of the IRA, as was noted by Gladys when  his book appeared just after the highly emotional reception that greeted the  Saville report. In […] more »

Peter Robinson: “We must learn to communicate better…”

Fri 18 October 2013, 12:35am

Tweet Interesting comments reported by the BBC from the Northern Ireland First Minister, DUP leader Peter Robinson, speaking at a Co-Operation Ireland dinner at Queen’s University in Belfast on Thursday night.  From the BBC report Mr Robinson said that while it is easier and more comfortable for politicians and people in wider society to retreat […] more »

Where have all the adult politicians once ambitious for Northern Ireland gone?

Tue 8 October 2013, 3:01pm

Tweet Meanwhile, the lunatics continue to enjoy their dominance over the asylum… and a Orange Order press officer refers all queries to its own members reference to civil disobedience to the DUP… Alex Kane wants an adult to take control: Oddly enough – and I say oddly because it is, in fact, odd – mainstream […] more »

Amnesty International report: NI “victims’ families actually consider their treatment a failure.”

Thu 12 September 2013, 2:07pm

Tweet So, no further inquiry into Omagh. And at least some of the secrets of the cover up on Bloody Sunday, goes to the grave. Regarding those who can still answer for their actions, it’s all “I cannot remember,” “I do not recall,” “I have only a very vague memory.” For others, it’s all “Republican […] more »

“Statement needed from Gerry Adams on Sinn Féin claims re Garda Donohoe”

Thu 22 August 2013, 12:28pm

Tweet And five days after that extraordinary press briefing, Niall Collins of Fianna Fail says Gerry Adams needs to answer questions about what he knows of the murderers of Garda Aidan Donohoe. This literally just into Slugger’s inbox: “This media briefing is a serious development. A senior official working at the heart of the Sinn […] more »

Robinson U turn shows the urgent need for mediation

Sun 18 August 2013, 12:18pm

Tweet   They must have put up Chinese walls inside Stormont Castle since I was there last.  The sudden collapse of Peter Robinson’s position over the Maze peace centre strongly suggests that the joint leaders haven’t even managed to have  frank exchanges about the past, much less wrestled with how actually to deal with it. But the […] more »

North Belfast kicks off…

Fri 12 July 2013, 9:27pm

Tweet The BBC are reporting that water cannon and baton rounds have been used in north Belfast after a sustained attack on police in the Woodvale area.  Four police officers and one civilian, to date, are reported to have been injured in the disorder.  And there have been a number of clashes between rival loyalist and […] more »

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