Trimble wants spotlight back on republicans…

THE UUP have released a paper of proposals which aims to throw the political spotlight back onto republicans. Fred Cobain has his own ideas, involving the UUP in official opposition – leaving the DUP in an Executive with the SDLP and Sinn Fein. Probably a non-runner though. In other Ulster Unionist news, Dermot Nesbitt has announced he will stand against Iris Robinson in Strangford in the next Westminster election.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    If Trimble wants to know anything from republicans surely he can use a phone, arrange a meeting and carry out negotiatons. Or does he feel a sound bite over the media is the best way to conduct business.

  • David Vance

    Wow – Dermot Nesbitt has “announced” this breakthrough news, has he? I bet the DUP haven’t stopped laughing. That’s one seat to the DUP for definite then.

  • WindsorRocker

    I think there is more to this than just a “headline” attempt.
    1. If the Provos come up with detail everybody will start to blame the DUP even more for the failure to do a deal. It also means that SF will more likely stick to their guns (excuse the pun!) regarding any institutional change. Hence Trimble can say “Look at what the DUP are throwing away”.
    2. If the Provos are miffed by this call for Trimble it might help to unravel anything that has been agreed. DT can then say, DUP didn’t get anything!

    Sounds cynical, but then I was a former Ulster Unionist Executive member and I know that DT spent more of those meetings obsessed with the DUP than discussing the real issues.

  • Michael Shilliday

    Your story is incorrect. Dermot Nesbitt has announced that he is standing for selection for the Strangford Association nomination – he has not announced that he is standing for Westminster.

  • Roger W. Christ

    What about the spotlight being on loyalists ?

    this article shows that the PUP attended a round-table meeting with all the unionist parties present.

    Why will the DUP attend talks with the PUP – who have a tiny proportion of the vote – apparently without people like David Vance thinking it’s important enough to draw attention to ? Why is it ok to talk to the (fully armed and active) UVF but not the (several instances of unconfirmed disarmament, largely inactive and publicly contemplating disbandment) IRA ?

    Am I going mad or are there any answers to this hypocrisy ?

  • Paul P

    I bet Iris Robinson is hoping the Strangford association chooses Nesbitt as their candidate. DUP election managers must love to see Dermot speak on behalf of the UUP on the media!

  • Anonymous

    ” Am I going mad or are there any answers to this hypocrisy ? “

    You must move away from duality Roger. The two options are not mutually exclusive.

    The DUP are hypocrits.

    I would guess the Difference between PUP and SF that the DUP use to justify their dicussions with the former is that the PUP haven’t a hope of getting into Government ?

  • Anonymous

    Trimble is correct to focus on the Republicans as these people will not lay down their arms no matter how much posturing they do.

  • Roger W. Christ

    Hey Rory. What about Trimble’s focus on loyalists, is the lack of same correct also ?

    Anonymous, the PUP not only haven’t a hope of getting into government, they’ve barely got any electoral representation. So why talk to them at all ? The idea that you don’t talk to a party you don’t like because they’re too popular is ludicrous.

  • Davros

    “The idea that you don’t talk to a party you don’t like because they’re too popular is ludicrous”

    The idea that you won’t talk to the party that is still linked to terrorism and wants to go into government ISN’T ludicrous … it’s working!

    Of course, let’s remember … One way street.
    Abstentionism when done by nationalists … perfectly proper but CRIVVENS, when it’s done by Unionists … eh Roger ?

    So … SF have a mandate not to take seats in Westminster and that’s ok for our green hypocrites, But the DUP have a BIGGER mandate to refuse to talk with SF and that’s …outrageous ?

    Not talking to the beggars is what has dragged them kicking and squealing to be ALMOST at the point of binning the IRA. I suspect THAT’s what really annoys the fellow travellers 🙂

  • Anonymous

    Davros

    I think the careful pace of decommissioning had far more to do with out-manouvering the dissidents than it had with unionism.

    Its completion will create the potential for an increase in violence as I have no doubt the rira and cira have been planning for this day for a long time.

    The completion of a deal on the other outstanding issues including policing will see them fail as people like me will happpily turn them in and testify against them if necessary.

  • Roger W. Christ

    Davros,

    Perhaps you could point to a party that has a consistent policy of not talking to those linked with terrorism ? I can’t think of any that exist in Northern Ireland. I do however know of several who refuse to talk to SF, but maintain healthy and active relationships with loyalist paramilitaries. What’s your view – do you think talking to some paramilitaries but not others is okay ?

    Secondly can you justify your implication that I regard abstentionism by nationalists as proper ? I resent being regarded as a nationalist, I have never voted for or supported a nationalist in my life, nor have I ever supported abstentionism. The Westminster parallel you have attempted to draw is completely bogus. Political parties have a right to represent their constituents in any way they choose as you have correctly observed. If the DUP had a policy of refusing to talk to any paramilitaries whatsoever I couldn’t possibly complain from a consistency point of view, even though I might not agree with the policy. A different matter is when political parties lie to their constituents by saying that they won’t talk to terrorists, when they in fact clearly do. Politicians who lie must be held to account, and that doesn’t seem to be something you’re interested in doing – wonder why.

  • Roger W. Christ

    Incidentally, I might add that the DUP hasn’t signed the deal yet that will bin the IRA, so your remarks are a little premature. And while they have an effective veto position they aren’t the sole arbitors, it’s tempting to forget that any deal can still be blocked by any of the other large parties including the UUP and SDLP.

    It looks like the IRA are only going to go away if the DUP sign the line which is dotted, which implies several significant concessions by the DUP on matters such as policing and OTRs. That’s hardly what I’d call a unilateral surrender on the part of the chuckies, nor is it a victory for refusing to talk to terrorists.

  • David Vance

    Perhaps Roger should actually READ the article he links to in his post of 12.07 25th September If he did, he might then realise the specious disingenuity of his claim that the PUP were at a round table meeting.

    When he’s at it, perhaps he might like to explain to readers how my frequent demand for the PUP to be thrown out of the political process and their UVF pals to be brought to justice squares with his claims I am somehow soft on the PUP/UVF?

    To answer your question directly Roger you either are going mad or else you are a hypocrite in attributing views to me that do not resonate with reality.

  • Davros

    Political parties have a right to represent their constituents in any way they choose as you have correctly observed.

    So, as you concede that the DUP have a right to represent their constituents as they are doing , why are you whinging ?

  • Roger W. Christ

    David,

    Who did the PUP – mentioned in the article as sharing some views with the other unionists – meet with then ? Themselves ?

    Davros, I at no point made any claims about the way the DUP choose to represent their constituents. That part came from you. The problem I have is to do with their double standards on talking to terrorists. They claim they don’t talk to terrorists when they in fact do. I think it’s pretty straightforward.

  • Anonymous

    Roger, I have already said that the DUP are hypocrites. But because they talk to the PUP does not necessarily mean they should talk to SF – as their abstention from talking to SF is a Tactic to help force The IRA into doing what the people of Ireland North and South have told them they should do – go away.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    It is now up to the SDLP and SF to raise the stakes regarding the unionist paramilitaries and the weapons in the possession of these people.

    Unionist apologists and their friends in the media have been allowed to concentrate on the weapons on the IRA for too long.
    IRA weapons are to be decommissioned verifiably and in a structured manner. Unionist weapons are to be ummm we’re not really sure. There is an expectation that something will happpen to make these weapons go away.
    Lies have even been told that there is no such organisation as Ulster Resistance and querying whether that group has weapons at all.

    IRA weapons are are problem for unionists. Those same unionists have got to realise that unionist weapons are a problem for nationalists.

  • Anonymous

    “IRA weapons are to be decommissioned verifiably and in a structured manner.”

    Proof? Has P O’Neill made another statement ?

    “Lies have even been told that there is no such organisation as Ulster Resistance and querying whether that group has weapons at all.”

    The only person telling lies here is you Pat.
    Proof that Ulster Resistance still exists ? NONE
    Proof that if they do exist they have weapons ?
    NONE.

  • Butterknife

    Its no longer funny. By adopting the strays of the UUP etc. the DUP are also adopting their mistakes too. You would think they would learn for the UUP mistakes instead of being so proud that they cannot take the plank out of their eyes.

    O well … time to become a nationalist at least Ireland is doing well. God knows what the rate increase and water rates will do to the economy of the working class.

  • Roger W. Christ

    Pat, it’s not up to the SDLP or SF alone to raise the stakes regarding loyalist paramilitarism. That suggestion perpetuates the notion that nationalists are the only victims of ongoing loyalist activity. Quite arguably over the past few years, people living in constituencies which elect unionist politicians have been suffering more than anyone else – if not as a result of direct intimidation and the loyalist feud, then by the criminal power structures which enable racketeering and intimidation, drug dealing and other types of crime to perpetuate unchecked. You wouldn’t think that to listen to unionist politicians though. That’s broadly because they regard loyalist paramilitarism as a nasty but “understandable” consequence of things, and have conditioned their supporters to believe same.

    Anonymous, let’s have some sense here. Doesn’t asking for proof of UR’s guns seem a little hypocritical, given that little proof of the IRA’s guns exists (although nobody here is questioning that they exist). Why do you expect everyone to believe that unionism is friendly and unarmed with very little substance to go on, yet insist (with a fair degree of justification) that the IRA must disarm for things to proceed normally ? Unionism during the past thirty years has tried on several occasions – often with success – to force the hand of the British government using violence and intimidation. Why should anyone believe that it will not attempt to do so again ? Just as unionists require evidence that the IRA will not resume it’s campaign, why do you reject the notion that non-unionists need confidence that unionism will not try to overthrow the state if it doesn’t get it’s way ?

    As I’ve been saying on here for months, it’s not sufficient for unionists to say “by the way loyalists are gits too, lock them all up”. Despite David Vance’s posturing, a scant minority of the articles on his site cover the topic of loyalist paramilitarism. Why do people need to discriminate ? Why can’t we just say “we need to get rid of the terrorist organizations” and leave it at that, instead of busying ourselves with excuses about why some are more terroristic than others ?

  • David Vance

    Roger,

    I repeat – when did the PUP have the “round table meeting” as you CLAIM? The answer is, and you know it now, they didn’t. As regards the PUP, I cannot be responsible for how other unionists deal with them but I hope you will at least accept my utter contempt for them. Thanks.

  • Davros

    Anonymous, let’s have some sense here. Doesn’t asking for proof of UR’s guns seem a little hypocritical, given that little proof of the IRA’s guns exists (although nobody here is questioning that they exist). Why do you expect everyone to believe that unionism is friendly and unarmed with very little substance to go on, yet insist (with a fair degree of justification) that the IRA must disarm for things to proceed normally ?

    Roger… first it has to be established that UR still exists let alone has weapons LOL

    Come on … SF screwed up … they didn’t tie IRA decommissioning to Loyalist decommissioning at the negotiations for the Belfast agreement and now they are having to be dragged squealing to fulfill their obligations …

    Bottom line … the IRA going is a must and it is NOT connected to what REAL or IMAGINED “Unionist” groups do. They have to go, the people of Ireland have told them to go…

    There is NO EVIDENCE that Ulster resistance still exists , let alone has weapons… so people like Pat are poop-stirring.

  • Davros

    ‘As I’ve been saying on here for months, it’s not sufficient for unionists to say “by the way loyalists are gits too, lock them all up”.@

    Seems to me YOU are trying to renegotiate the GFA 🙂

  • Millie

    It’s not surprising unionists continue to use the issue of IRA weapons as a stumbling block, the more you do it the more that peace in NI becomes synonymous with IRA decommissioning – neatly turning history on its head because there was no PIRA back in August ’69. And even in the event of IRA decommissioning and disbandment, what are unionists going to do without the republican bogey? How will the orange monolith be maintained without IRA scare stories and the like? That’s what Molyneaux meant when he said the ’94 IRA ceasefire had destablised NI.

  • Anonymous

    Roger,
    you are indeed correct that unionists are just as much in danger of the weapons held illegally in their community as are Catholics. However, waiting on unionist politicians to highlight this fact is a waste of time.
    Unionist politicians have sat back while thier own areas have been decimated buy their erstwhile and newly found allies. The Shankill, Tigers Bay etc are testament to the seriousness with which unionist politicians take the problem of illegal unionist weapons.
    It will be irony of ironies if unionists areas are spared the ongoing unionist factionalism and all round criminality by the actions of the SDLP and SF.

  • Roger W. Christ

    Davros, nobody can prove that any organization has ever disbanded, including the IRA if this much-mooted disbandment move ever comes off. At the end of the day an organization is nothing other than a collection of people with common goals, and you can’t disband a collection of commong goals, not unless you round up the people involve and submit them to Dr Evil-esque mind-erasing techniques. Therefore, you have no basis for denying UR’s existence or the existence of any other illegal organization, and in any case discussing the matter is pointless; what we really need to do is get people who are democratically elected to categorically reject these things. Now we could have a whole separate discussion over what Paisley thought he was doing with UR, and over whether or not he really did categorically reject the organization (what did he really think it’s outcome would be?)…

    What I’d like to hear of from unionists would be for them to condemn their use of violence in the past and reject the use of the threat of violence at any point in the future. A good start would be to admit that the tactics used during the UWC strike were anti-democratic and wrong. Any chance ? Otherwise, if unionists refuse to distance themselves from the possibility of using such tactics in the future, how can anyone accept that they are democratic and serious about these things ? Surely this is at least as important as the issue of whether the IRA will attempt to use violence to force their will in the future ?

    Whether or not SF did or did not screw up is of no consequence to me. The point about decommissioning or arms is of no relevance. The IRA’s ongoing existence is an affront to the people of Ireland as well as Britain, they never had any mandate for their war and like any other criminal organization their disbandment was a requirement the very second they came into existence.

    What I don’t like about your point, however, is that you seem to suggest that unionists have no obligation to do anything whatsoever about ongoing loyalist violence because there’s nothing in the agreement that says they should – not only is it disingenuous, but it’s wrong, as all signatories to the GFA are required to “use their influence” to stop this kind of activity. Unionism as we all know used it’s influence regarding loyalist paramilitarism perfectly well in 1974, 1978, 1985, and 1996. I’m sure it can do it once more for old time’s sake ?

    To me there is every reason to believe that unionist politicians have completely failed to use their influence to address loyalist violence. For example, you said above that freezing SF out of things while they remained wedded to violence seemed to be having a positive effect. Why isn’t this technique applied to loyalists ? Why in the past did unionists continue to elect loyalists to authoritative positions such as Lord Mayor of Belfast and other things, and why did Ruth Patterson recently invite loyalists to her High Sheriff inauguration celebrations – right as the loyalist feud continued ? If you want to start talking about who’s been keeping to the GFA regarding non-violent means, I’m game.

  • Anonymous

    “It’s not surprising unionists continue to use the issue of IRA weapons as a stumbling block”

    The people of Ireland have overwhelmingly said they want the IRA to decommission and go away. Deal with that one Millie.

  • Anonymous

    UR is a red herring that people like Pat are using to try and get round IRA reluctance to do as the people of Ireland have told them to do.

    You can waffle away to your hearts content Roger , but only ONE party with paramilitary wing is trying to enter Government while it has an illegal army.

    Like it or not, SF have painted themselves into a corner here.

    NO renegotiation of the GFA – their position- means they and their camp-followers CANNOT link IRA failure to disarm to the failings of the Loyalists.

  • Davros

    *75$09(&%&&^ Typekey

    Davros

  • Davros

    Out of Interest, do you accept that following the
    election results ( where pro-Sunningdale Unionists were slaughtered losing 11 out of 12 seats) Sunningdale itself was un-democratic ?

  • Millie

    The questions of loyalist arms does need to be addressed, both legal and illegal. UR may have bitten the dust but its intentions remain intact. Every now and again when unionists were crying betrayal and demanding more repression against republicans, organisations like UR have cropped up, firearms waving farmers from the back of nowhere, threatening to do what the authorities should be doing – wiping out the ‘terrorist’ threat once and for all. But there’s been no reason so far for the doomsday weapons to be broken out since there already exists a plethora of organisations doing the same job: from the British Army right down to the smallest loyalist paramilitary group.

    The existence of huge legal stockpiles in the unionist community is a historical anamoly. From 1921 it was virtually impossible for a catholic to get a gun licence. After the A and C Specials were wound up in 1925-27, the A’s weapons were decommissioned, but the C’s were allowed to keep their arms.

    Here’s an interesting anecdote, call it the tale of two curfews. Everyone knows about the Falls Rd curfew of July ’70, when the army laucnhed a raid for firearms in the lower Falls area. The search revealed a number of weapons, though out of all proportion to the manner of the curfew itself. Rewind back to 10 Oct ’69, the announcement of the disbandment of the B Specials was followed by a weekend of rioting on the Shankill which saw the first RUC man to be killed in the present phase of the conflict. After the initial violence, the army launched a massive search of the Shankill on the sunday and uncovered a substantial arms haul. Only problem was, nearly all the weapons they found were held legally under licence so they couldn’t be confiscated. Further investigation by the army revealed 102,000 legally held firearms, almost all of them held by unionists. Now considering the time and place, you have to ask who in their right mind would give someone with a Shankill address a gun licence?

  • Anonymous

    Millie

    Can you move into the 21st Century …. away from all this mopery – the IRA ( various divisons) have guns the loyalists have guns they all need to get rid of them… just as they all need to stop being thugs, gangsters and drug dealers.

    Legal Unionist and Nationalist guns have never actually threatened anyone .. they were just a useful con trick used by republicans to excuse the IRA campaign of murder and genocide……against Unionists

  • Anonymous

    System anomaly 9:21 post was not anonymous

  • Millie

    If we are indeed to move into the 21st century then at the very least the ban on handguns introduced in the wake of Dunblane should be extended to NI, after all isn’t NI supposed to be British?

  • North Antrim Realist

    North Antrim Realist – just in case this still doesn’t work the last 2 posts were mine.

    Millie

    That was a knee jerk joke, it did nothing to save anyone, it is not the legal arms that are the problem it is the illegal ones. How many legal arms do the IRA have.

  • Davros

    “The existence of huge legal stockpiles in the unionist community is a historical anamoly. From 1921 it was virtually impossible for a catholic to get a gun licence.”

    Absolute and utter bollix.

  • Davros

    “Legal Unionist and Nationalist guns have never actually threatened anyone .. they were just a useful con trick used by republicans to excuse the IRA campaign of murder and genocide……against Unionists”

    The ONLY use of a legal gun of any relevence that I have been able to find since 1998 was the use of a legal gun against a republican punishment gang by a CATHOLIC in Derry …and that’s probably why legal guns are so hated by the provo camp followers.

    They will say and claim anything to try and justify the IRA bouncing the cheque that got people like Magee out of Jail.

  • jonty

    millie, please list the deaths by leaglly held weapons

  • willowfield

    Millie

    It’s not surprising unionists continue to use the issue of IRA weapons as a stumbling block, the more you do it the more that peace in NI becomes synonymous with IRA decommissioning – neatly turning history on its head because there was no PIRA back in August ’69.

    But there was in December

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “UR is a red herring that people like Pat are using to try and get round IRA reluctance to do as the people of Ireland have told them to do.”

    The guns in the hands of unionists are not a red herring. While there is discussion on how they IRA will verifyably get rid of their weapons there is no such onus on the UVF, LVF, UDA, UR. The people of Ireland have told these people also to get rid of their guns but unionists seem to ignore this little fact.

    “Legal Unionist and Nationalist guns have never actually threatened anyone .. they were just a useful con trick used by republicans to excuse the IRA campaign of murder and genocide……against Unionists”

    Pat Finucanes murderer RUC agent Ken Barret admitted making use of weapons that were in the possession of the UDR. Indeed there is a history of UDR weapons being sourced by their colleagues in the UDA and UVF.

    “The ONLY use of a legal gun of any relevence that I have been able to find since 1998 was the use of a legal gun against a republican punishment gang by a CATHOLIC in Derry …and that’s probably why legal guns are so hated by the provo camp followers.”

    An RIR soldier went into a hotel in Fivemiletown a couple of years ago and shot a customer dead using his personal issue weapon. The weapon was legally held so I think that would be relevant. I believe that is also why some have concerns over such weapons.

  • George

    NAR,
    “it is not the legal arms that are the problem it is the illegal ones”

    That’s your view. There are many who believe the estimated 140,000 legally held weapons in NI could become a problem very easily.

    Unionists mostly don’t see them as ever possibly being a problem, I admit. But the history of Northern Ireland since 1921 has shown legally held weapons have often been used for what can only be called “criminal purposes”.

  • George

    Jonty,
    there were over 450 deaths in Belfast 1920-1922, the majority assisted by legally held weapons.

    If the day ever comes that the majority vote for unification, what’s to say unionism won’t react as it did in 1912 and create a private army threatening civil war and murder if it has to accept the democratic wishes of the people of this island.

    I am aware of no guarantee from unionism that it won’t do as it did then.
    In fact Paisley’s “never” implies violence will be an option.
    Better to be safe than sorry.

  • Millie

    First of all NI has far too many guns for its size, and unsurprisingly this arsenal has increased exponentially since 1969. As I mentioned before the legally held weapons have never been needed because there already exists a number of state and loyalist paramilitary groupings to do the same job, i.e. counter-insurgency against recalcitrant republicans. Nonetheless these weapons act as the threat of violence, much the same way the weapons of the Provos can be reactivated.

    And believe it or not Davros, in a state where catholics couldn’t get a job or decent house, the state weren’t too keen to issue them gun licences either. The phrase pouring petrol on a (smouldering) fire’ springs to mind. And I’m not talking about guns for agriculture or farming, I mean personal handguns for undisclosed use. The old Special Powers Act saw to the creation of this anamoly, illegal weapons and explosives were punishable by flogging (!), imprisonment, and even death. So catholics were damned if they did and damned if they didn’t. Even if you don’t agree with them you do actually realise why the Provos exist at all? Is self-defence now a crime?

    So NI has far too many guns per head of its population, the majority of them held by unionists, and this was the case even in ‘peacetime’. Since the current peace talks are all about balance isn’t this fact rather disturbing? Why do unionists on slugger continue to dismiss the issue of legally held weapons, do they all personally own guns? After a conflict that has claimed over 3,500 lives shouldn’t we be trying to get rid of all guns instead of being the gun capital of the British Isles?

  • Davros

    I cannot be bothered slaughtering the sacred cow of LHWs again, conclusively shown in the past that they are misrepresented and used to muddy the waters and cover the failure of the IRA to obey the people of Ireland North and South.

    Illegally held Loyalist weapons are a problem , but have absolutely NO bearing on the IRA failure to decommission OR on SF’s entry in government.

    Sorry republicans , you signed up to the GFA, don’t whinge because your negotiators didn’t tie Loyalist and republican decommissioning.

    George … that sort of scaremongering is dangerous … you might put the Idea into the DUP that they won’t allow SF into Government unless all sharp objects are removed from nationalists …after all knives were used by nationalists againts Loyalist bandsman this year.

    This is ALL smoke from apologists for terrorists to try and excuse the IRA failure to obey the wishes of the people of Ireland, protestant and Catholic, on both sides of the border.

  • Davros

    And believe it or not Davros, in a state where catholics couldn’t get a job or decent house, the state weren’t too keen to issue them gun licences either.

    MOPE. pathetic Millie.

  • Davros

    OK Millie … Please justify “Huge Legal Stockpiles”
    which now you are claiming are all handguns and not used for agriculture and farming…

    The VAST majority of guns held – by protestant AND Catholic – are shotguns.

  • willowfield

    Pat McLarnon

    While there is discussion on how they IRA will verifyably get rid of their weapons there is no such onus on the UVF, LVF, UDA, UR.

    Any views on what to do about it?

    How about establishing the political will for a security crackdown?

    Pat Finucanes murderer RUC agent Ken Barret admitted making use of weapons that were in the possession of the UDR. Indeed there is a history of UDR weapons being sourced by their colleagues in the UDA and UVF.

    So you want to disarm the RIR? LOL! You deal with allegations such as that by investigating them, charging those guilty, and stepping up security measures over the control of Army weapons.

    An RIR soldier went into a hotel in Fivemiletown a couple of years ago and shot a customer dead using his personal issue weapon. The weapon was legally held so I think that would be relevant. I believe that is also why some have concerns over such weapons.

    And? What do you propose? Withdraw PPFs from everybody because of isolated incidents such as this?

    George

    Unionists mostly don’t see them as ever possibly being a problem, I admit. But the history of Northern Ireland since 1921 has shown legally held weapons have often been used for what can only be called “criminal purposes”.

    And? What do you propose?

    If the day ever comes that the majority vote for unification, what’s to say unionism won’t react as it did in 1912 and create a private army threatening civil war and murder if it has to accept the democratic wishes of the people of this island.

    The fact that unionism has signed up to the principle of consent insofar as it relates to Northern Ireland.

    Better to be safe than sorry.

    You’re long on bluster and short on answers. What do you propose?

    Millie

    As I mentioned before the legally held weapons have never been needed because there already exists a number of state and loyalist paramilitary groupings to do the same job, i.e. counter-insurgency against recalcitrant republicans.

    Nonsense. Legally-held weapons, other than those held by the security forces, are needed by farmers to shoot animals and by politicians, judges, etc., for personal protection.

    Nonetheless these weapons act as the threat of violence, much the same way the weapons of the Provos can be reactivated.

    No they don’t.

    And believe it or not Davros, in a state where catholics couldn’t get a job or decent house, the state weren’t too keen to issue them gun licences either.

    What state was this? Roman Catholics got a disproportionately bigger share of public houses. There’s no evidence to suggest housing unfitness was worse in houses lived in by Roman Catholics than by Protestants. Also, many – in fact, most – Roman Catholics got jobs.

    Such resort to MOPEry is pathetic. Catch a grip.

    So NI has far too many guns per head of its population, the majority of them held by unionists, and this was the case even in ‘peacetime’.

    What’s your evidence for saying the majority of legally-held weapons are held by unionists and for the implication that the reasons for issue of these weapons is bogus?

    Why do unionists on slugger continue to dismiss the issue of legally held weapons, do they all personally own guns?

    Because we don’t recognize that there is an issue. Unless all you want is to tighten up on gun laws, in which case I’ve no problem. Is this PSF policy? What are they doing to get the GB regulations applied in NI?

    After a conflict that has claimed over 3,500 lives shouldn’t we be trying to get rid of all guns instead of being the gun capital of the British Isles?

    No. Society will always demand protection and, unfortunately, this means there must be guns in the possession of the security forces. I assume farmers’ weapons are essential. As for PPFs, I’m sure as the terrorist threat diminishes, so the need for issuing PPFs will diminish.

  • Millie

    Since you’re into books Davros, may I suggest for your reading, Michael Farrell’s ‘Arming the Protestants: the Formation of the Special Constabulary 1920-27’. It will give you an intro into why NI is literally swimming with legal guns.

    Also, I’ve said this before but even if you eliminate guns for farming, gun club membership, and personal-issue protection, there still leaves a massive 90,000 odd guns for undisclosed personal use. Do you think it a good idea that NI of all places should have so many guns?

    I’ve got no problem with republicans disarming, what I’m worried about is will the NI state and its unionist supporters behave themselves again, after all NI is long overdue an anti-catholic pogrom.

  • George

    Davros,
    I don’t believe I’m scaremongering when I say that large scale access to weaponry in NI is a problem.

    Naturally, your average unionist isn’t going to be too concerned about the 140,000 shotguns mostly in the possession of unionists.

    But equally, most nationalists aren’t too concerned about IRA weapons “rusting” away underground.

    In fact, I seem to recall there was a time when the idea was floated that only “offensive” IRA weaponry like Semtex and RPGs should be decommissioned while the guns could be kept in case the nationalist community ever again needed protection from attack.

    I think the Provos decided they’d prefer being the force of law and order instead.

    That, it seems, is a much less palatable idea to unionists than letting them hang on to their AK-47s, and is the main reason why we won’t have a deal any time soon.

    But hell, let’s continue saying we need to “take the gun out of politics” for another ten years. None of us are going anywhere.

  • North Antrim Realist

    Millie

    I see you are still stuck in the ancient myths of Republicanism 1920-27 (for example)- mopery at its worst – let hear something from the past 10 years ………………..

    This country will never move on with opinions like yours, but then you don’t seem to really want it to, a United Ireland or bust.

    Sorry, it will be the bust………unless you start to work with unionists constructively……………

  • Warm Storage

    Davros,

    Re:

    “Sorry republicans , you signed up to the GFA, don’t whinge because your negotiators didn’t tie Loyalist and republican decommissioning.”

    Has it not been advanced that Republicans didn’t insist on parallel decommissioning because they believed IRA weapons to be more important, so to speak, than Loyalist guns, resulting in Loyalist negotiators being frozen out. Outcome? Governments deal with the issue of IRA weaponry; the PSNI are left to deal with loyalism in its many interesting forms.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    It seems that the only way for the problem of unionist weapons to be resolved is for SF and the SDLP to go over the heads of unionists and straight to Blair. Unionists are in denial over the weapons held by their community and the organisations that possess them.
    This is merely a manifestation of the problems they had when confronting unionist violence. Many murders and attacks on Catholics passed without so much as a comment never mind condemnation.

    It must be stressed to Blair that weapons must be dealt with in the whole. Although to be fair to him he has recognised this and the problem of legally held weapons. The decision to strip RIR soldiers of their personal issue weapons is to be welcomed as a first step. Given that many of these weapons ended up in the hands of other paramilitaries.

    There is no doubt that if the IRA offer is believed by Blair and given his comments yesterday, it appears so. Leverage can be applied on the issue of unionist weapons. It can and should be used.

  • Davros

    George and Millie, you are both talking nonsense.

    George : can you produce any credible evidence that most shotguns are in the hands of unionists ? And can you produce one incident of a Legally held shotgun being used for terrorism ?
    (HINT- if shotguns are so important for terrorists , why were there no shotguns on the Eksund ? )

    Millie… what has 1920- 1927 got to do with today ? Do you really think there are 100,000 armed centenarian protestants waiting for the IRA to decommission so they can go on the rampage ?
    And Michael Farrell ? Would you accept anything written by George Seawright in serious discussion ? 😉

    The LHW nonsense is easily dismissed by looking at Switzerland.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “So you want to disarm the RIR? LOL!”

    Not really a laughing matter if you had been the victim of one of those guns. But it again shows the flippancy and ignorance displayed by unionists when dealing with the concerns of nationalists.

    “And? What do you propose? Withdraw PPFs from everybody because of isolated incidents such as this?”

    Yes, because these incidents aren’t very isolated. Not for nothing has the UDR/RIR the most appalling criminal record in the not so hallowed ranks of the British Army.

  • Davros

    Pat… Hilarious , now YOU want to renegotiate the FGA !

    There IS NO UNIONIST WEAPON PROBLEM. There is only smoke blown by apologists for terrorists who don’t want the IRA to decommission.

  • Warm Storage

    Guns don’t kill people, rappers do…

  • Davros

    Yes, because these incidents aren’t very isolated.

    one, that you haven’t produced any details for, in 6 years ? 🙂

    why not be honest and say you want the IRA to keep their weapons?

  • Davros

    Pat: “Many murders and attacks on Catholics passed without so much as a comment never mind condemnation.”

    Do you mean the Catholic policeman and judiciary ?
    Or Catholics like Patsie Gillespie ?

  • George

    Willowfield,

    On the legally held front, the best I can come up with is reducing the number of permits to European norms, which would remove around 100,000 guns. That can’t be bad. Who would be against such a move?

    In the meantime, if nationalists want to remind people of the Doc and his mates waving hundreds of gun permits and unionists want to remind nationalists that the Provos have a load of guns underground, let them.

    As for your rose-coloured view of legally held weapons in NI, former B-Specials members were running around forming gun clubs at the start of the troubles and they weren’t forming them to discuss how to shoot foxes.

  • Davros

    George, with respect, your comment “reducing the number of permits to European norms, which would remove around 100,000 guns.” shows that you really don’t understand what you are posting about.

  • Davros

    George: former B-Specials members were running around forming gun clubs at the start of the troubles and they weren’t forming them to discuss how to shoot foxes.

    How many of those gun clubs are still in existence George ?
    How many rifles and handguns are currently held by ex B-Spcials George ?

  • Davros

    “the guns could be kept in case the nationalist community ever again needed protection from attack.”

    Some protection considering the numbers of nationalists and Catholics murdered by the IRA …..

  • George

    Davros,
    there has been no survey done to the best of my knowledge on the political/religious breakdown of gun licences.

    However, I think it’s safe to assume the overwhelming majority are in unionist hands.

    Why else did David Trimble campaign hard to have NI exempt from the Dunblane laws while nationalists wanted tighter legislation?

    Why has only one SF member been granted a licence?

    Let’s also look at the 51 gun clubs:

    One had two loyalists who, while members, were convicted of manufacturing weapons for the UDA and UVF while 11 Catholics were suspended from membership of the same club on “security” grounds, although none of the 11 had any convictions.

    Willie Ross is on the board of that club along with the Duke of Abercorn.

    Also, ammunition seized in loyalist arms dumps has been found to be police-issue bullets, which have been used at registered gun clubs.

    Ammunition, for example, taken from Ballykinlar British Army firing range in Co. Down and Garnerville training college in east Belfast, was sold-on at gun clubs.

    Nobody should have a problem with removing 100,000 of these legally held weapons to bring NI in line with the rest of Europe.

  • Millie

    Dav

    George Seawright? You’re comparing the author and civil rights activist Michael Farrell with a rabid anti-catholic bigot who as far as I know never published anything of note?

    So even in the event of decommissioning of all illegal weapons, you don’t object to NI having an abnormally high number of legally held weapons? Does this have something to do with the military fetishism so pravalent in loyal order parades?

  • George

    Davros,
    “George, with respect, your comment “reducing the number of permits to European norms, which would remove around 100,000 guns.” shows that you really don’t understand what you are posting about.”

    The RUC Chief Constable’s annual report for 1998/9 showed there were 139,588 firearms in NI, six times as many per capita as in Engand or Wales. Now if we take 140,000 and divide by seven we get 20,000 and multiply by six we get 120,000 so my 100,000 was a conservative figure. What don’t you understand?

    I find it ironic you mention the name George Seawright. Was that not the same George Seawright who was charging around Belfast waving his legally held firearm while ripping down a tricolour?

  • George

    Davros,
    “George, with respect, your comment “reducing the number of permits to European norms, which would remove around 100,000 guns.” shows that you really don’t understand what you are posting about.”

    The RUC Chief Constable’s annual report for 1998/9 showed there were 139,588 firearms in NI, six times as many per capita as in Engand or Wales. Now if we take 140,000 and divide by seven we get 20,000 and multiply by six we get 120,000 so my 100,000 was a conservative figure. What don’t you understand?

    I find it ironic you mention the name George Seawright. Was that not the same George Seawright who was charging around Belfast waving his legally held firearm while ripping down a tricolour?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    “There IS NO UNIONIST WEAPON PROBLEM”

    An insight into how the weapons issue has degenerated into a sectarian squabble of deniability. Music to the ears of the UVF, UDA, LVF and UR.

    “one, that you haven’t produced any details for, in 6 years ? :)”

    Glen Stronge an RIR soldier walked into a hotel in Fivemiletown in Oct 2001 and shot one of the patrons through the head with his personal issue weapon. A more serious case than the incident in Derry that seems to have you perplexed. But then a unionist apologist for violence wouldn’t want reminded of such things.

    “why not be honest and say you want the IRA to keep their weapons?”

    All weapons shoud be dealt with in an open and verifyable manner. I recognise the IRA exists and I recognise they have weapons. Unlike some I do not live in a world of deniability. The views of such have lowered the decommissioning debate to a sectarian sideshow that if nothing else highlights that the issue was no more than an exercise in the inability of a section of unionism to share power. A sideshow that becomes more apparent by the day.

  • George

    Also Davros and Willowfield,
    There are only 5,000 farmers in NI and 9,000 guns licenced for personal protection. There are approx. 140,000 gun licences.

    In other words, there are tens upon tens of thousands of guns out there in the hands of people who aren’t members of clubs, aren’t farmers or don’t need them for protection. They just have them stored away.

    Why is it that David Trimble would wish this situation to continue? Why would anybody?

  • Davros

    Pat: if it was RIR personal Issue weapon it WASN’T
    one of the 140,000 odd weapons we are discussing- as weaponry issued for on-duty use by members of the security forces are NOT included.

    George Posts “there has been no survey done to the best of my knowledge on the political/religious breakdown of gun licences.

    However, I think it’s safe to assume the overwhelming majority are in unionist hands.”

    That is an assumption that does not fit in with my personal experiences of a decade of travelling over NI (and into ROI) clay pigeon and game shooting. It is an assumption IMO that belongs with the loyalist assumption that all Catholics are disloyal supporters or members of the IRA, ie it is based on ignorant prejudice rather fact.

    George posts : “There are approx. 140,000 gun licences.”

    wrong. there are circa 90,000

    George Posts : “In other words, there are tens upon tens of thousands of guns out there in the hands of people who aren’t members of clubs, aren’t farmers or don’t need them for protection. They just have them stored away.”

    Thats utter bollix implying arms dumps. The vast majority of weapons -shotguns- are held by enthusiastic and perfectly responsible adults. I was NEVER a member of a gun club- most weapon holders aren’t – they Don’t have them stored away – they use them for game shooting and rough shooting and clay pigeon shooting.

    IF one does NOT use and Buy cartidges the police CAN and WILL RECALL THE WEAPONS.

    The per capita figures – compare the per capita figures of counties such as Yorkshire where clay pigeon shooting and game shooting is a feature and get back to me . Beleive it or not George there aren’t many Game shoots or clay pigeon shoots inside London , Birmingham, Manchester etc.

    how many of the B Special clubs are running and how many guns do the ex B specials hold George ?
    How many rifles and hand guns do these ex-specials hold ?

    Millie : Michael Farrell is likely to be as objective in respect of unionists as Seawright would have been in respect of Catholics.

    OK boys and girls …

    Pat, George and Millie are determined to paint a sectarian picture without evidence that there are a substantial number of law abiding – try and get a FAC with a criminal record !- people here who would embark on a Rwandan style massacre .

    the Vast majority of weapons are shotguns held by Both Protestants and Roman Catholics.
    Legal Shotguns have no track record of use by terrorists or criminals – NB- once sawn off or once stocks removed they become illegal .
    The paramilitaries don’t try and import them.

    This is all an attempt to excuse the failure of the IRA to decommission.

  • willowfield

    Pat McLarnon

    “So you want to disarm the RIR? LOL!” — Not really a laughing matter if you had been the victim of one of those guns. But it again shows the flippancy and ignorance displayed by unionists when dealing with the concerns of nationalists.

    If I had been the victim of an illegally-used Army gun I would not be expecting an entire Army regiment to be disarmed! That

  • George

    Willowfield,
    I gave the suggested criteria but typekey foiled me. Briefly, I would suggest having to be a member of a gun club, being a farmer, needing personal protection etc. as criteria. That would mean we’d get rid of at least 65,000 straight away.
    I would also double check those licences in circulation now to make sure they adhere to these rules.
    A simple way of limiting the numbers would be then to limit the number of clubs. A bit like pubs.

    Davros,
    I’m not painting any sectarian images here and I already told you to the best of my knowledge there was no survey done of religious breakdown or occupation on gun licence holders.

    What I want to know is why are there six times as many privately held guns in NI per capita as in the rest of the UK? I(‘ve already shown it’s not because of more farmers or the security situation.

    Why wouldn’t you want to have NI come into line with the rest of the UK on privately held weapons?

    Why is it only unionist politicians who appear to want to maintain the status quo? Has a nationalist spoken out in favour of gun licences?

    You say these weapons have no history of being used for criminal activity.
    Unfortunately our history has shown us with the formation of the UVF, B-Specials, Provisional IRA etc. that private armies can come into existence very quickly indeed and that they will use whatever weapons are at their disposal to carry out their deeds.

    I for one think it a good idea to remove these excess weapons. Why don’t you?

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Pat: if it was RIR personal Issue weapon it WASN’T
    one of the 140,000 odd weapons we are discussing- as weaponry issued for on-duty use by members of the security forces are NOT included.

    You requested evidence of legally held weapons being used within the past 6 years, you get it, then you attempt to create a smokscreen. Unionism gone mad.
    As stated the matter should become irrelevant pretty soon, the RIR, thankfully, are to lose their personal weapons. As the example shows, too late for some people.

  • Davros

    “You requested evidence of legally held weapons being used within the past 6 years, you get it, then you attempt to create a smokscreen. Unionism gone mad.”

    I requested evidence of a weapon that would be included in the group of weapons we are discussing. Shotguns, rifles and PPWs. This was not a PPW Pat.

    The only use of such a weapon so far since 1998 was the legally held shotgun used by a CATHOLIC to fight off a provo punishment squad …

    You are such a poor loser 🙂

  • Davros

    George – because they are not EXCESS.

    I’m glad to see you have backed off from the nonsensical “they just have them stored away” crap.

    “I’m not painting any sectarian images here and I already told you to the best of my knowledge there was no survey done of religious breakdown or occupation on gun licence holders.”

    You are George when you claim without any proof that the weapons are overwhelmingly in unionist (translation Protestant) hands…

    Please address the fact george – the only use of a Legally Held Weapon we have found since 1998 was by a CATHOLIC againts Provo thugs!

    NI and the ROI have a long tradition of field sports. We do very well in competitions round the world … we have the current World Champion at DTL Trap shooting, a ferociously competitive sport.

    There were two people injured by stabbing with knives in a sectarian attack a few weeeks ago … that’s two people more than were injured by LHWs this year.

    As to why only one SF member – how many have applied ?- might it be something to do with convictions ?

    Come on George, this is all about excusing the IRA 🙂

  • willowfield

    George

    Briefly, I would suggest having to be a member of a gun club, being a farmer, needing personal protection etc. as criteria. That would mean we’d get rid of at least 65,000 straight away.

    Explain how we

  • Davros

    Not in the least bit sensible WF. There is absolutely no need or advantage in limiting firearm posession to Farmers and Gun Club members.
    For a start it would cause problems for the Veterinary community whose agricultural members
    can apply for and hold a suitable weapon and ammunition for the humane destruction of livestock in emergency.

    I notice that none of the scare-mongers has addressed the position in Switzerland.

    They are very silent on the fact that the IRA were caught smuggling in hand-guns, not shotguns, from the USA after the Belfast Agreement.

    LHWs are VERY tightly controlled in NI. That is as it should be. There is an excellent vetting procedure that screens applicants, their storage facilities are checked and the amount of ammunition they can hold is tightly controlled.
    Furthermore , fieldsports – game and clay shooting- are part of our heritage and contribute to jobs directly and indirectly via tourism across Ireland as a whole. I would be all in favour of a cross-border fire-arms body.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    Davros,
    once again after a thread becomes a bit elongated you lose the plot a bit, the bit where you came in was “The ONLY use of a legal gun of any relevence that I have been able to find since 1998 was the use of a legal gun against a republican punishment gang by a CATHOLIC in Derry …and that’s probably why legal guns are so hated by the provo camp followers.”

    After being challenged on this erroneous assertion you attemted to shift onto the shotgun argument. I posted proof of a murder by the RIR and as usual. the goalposts are moved.

    For the record the guns held by the RIR et al have been used by them in personal acts of violence. They are of concern to the nationalist community. That is why they are being stripped of them. To a certain extent I agree with you on the shotgun nonsense.
    Better to target those with a history of sectarian violence and criminality and rob them of the means to cause harm.
    The Unionist community has long had a fixation with weapons, it helped them to protect their position of intolerance.
    The weapons of the UDA, UVF,LVF and UR should be addressed. But the weapons held by those forces legally (sic) and almost exclusively by unionists are now also in the frame.

  • Pat Mc Larnon

    If legally held weapons are not a threat why did Paisley congretate hundreds of unionists on a hill side to wave their firearms certificates. The threat was clear enough, we have the legal means at our disposal to inflict murder and mayhem.

    But then again maybe like the UR and its weapons these unionists and their certificates don’t exist anymore. Maybe there was never a threat. It is so much better when everything is wrapped up in that little bundle marked ‘blame the Provos for everything’. It saves unionists having to answer embarrassing facts around their own hypocricy.