Michael Collins.

BBC Radio 4 tonight at 11PM has a New series of Great Lives in which Tim Pat Coogan will help David Puttnam examine

  • willowfield

    Oh dear.

    One to be missed.

  • David Vance

    Surely that should read “IRA apologist Tim Pat Coogan will be helping him appreciate why IRA barbarians are actually human right warriors with a radical edge?” Pass the sickbag.

  • David Vance

    Surely that should read “IRA apologist Tim Pat Coogan will be helping him appreciate why IRA barbarians are actually human right warriors with a radical edge?” Pass the sickbag.

  • maca

    Wouldn’t mind hearing that actually. Is BBC4 available through the net?

  • Kevin Mc Kinney

    This should be an interesting analyses of this period of our history and Im looking forward to Tim Pat Coogan giving his views regarding the impact it had on todays pease efforts.

  • willowfield


    Tim Pat Coogan’s an old, unreconstructed nationalist bore with nothing to say of interest.

  • Kevin Mc Kinney

    A matter of opinion, I suggest you listen to this broadcast with an open mind an maybe just maybe see the the “unreconstructed nationalist” point of view.

  • Davros

    Having read a little of Collin’s plans for the future, it’s a shame that he was killed. Sounds an interesting man- I suspect that GA sees himself as being as charismatic and far-seeing.

    BBC Radio Links

    WF- he may be

  • maca

    Thanks for posting the links D.
    I think he was an interesting man, with a lot of potential to become a great leader IMHO.

  • maca
  • Michael Turley


    why do you think Tim Pat Coogan is an “unreconstructed nationalist bore with nothing to say of interest”?

    I haven’t seen him interviewed in a while but I remember I enjoyed his biographies of de Valera, Collins and, indeed, his IRA book.

  • willowfield

    He’s uncritical of nationalism, particularly violent nationalism, and unobjective.

  • smcgiff

    ‘an ambush at Beal na mBlath’

    Not my county’s finest moment.

  • maca

    “Not my county’s finest moment.”

    And not Ireland’s finest moment.

  • Michael Turley

    Have you read many of his articles or books? Are there any articles which crystalise any ambivalence to violence? I agree that his outlook is Nationalist but are all advocates bores?

  • Davros

    That was the challenge of debating – putting forward an interesting case for a cause one didn’t support!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    I find it interesting the way people in NI are so quick to ape the language of our political leaders and uncritically apply whatever words we can summon to convey our disgust, no matter how inaccurate.

    Willowfield provides us with a good example when he talks about Coogan as an “unreconstructed nationalist”. (Sorry to pick on you WF, we all do it. Just want to illustrate my point.)

    Now, as I remember it, the word “unreconstructed” first entered our political discourse after the first IRA ceasefire when unionist politicians started calling Sinn Fein “unreconstructed terrorists”.

    This was fair enough, as it accurately coveyed their sense that SF had not turned decisively away from the analysis on which their armed campaign was based.

    The Merriam Webster disctionary defines “unreconstructed” as “not reconciled to some political, economic, or social change”.

    But now we see the word being used in the most inaccurate and careless manner. What circumstances would be required in order to talk about “unreconstructed nationalism”?

    I mean, you could talk about someone being an unreconstructed feudalist. Someone in postwar Germany could have been an unreconstructed Nazi. Doubtless there are unreconstucted Stalinists in Russia, or unreconstructed contras in Nicaragua.

    But in NI? No, there are only nationalists. Well over 40 per cent of the population support the reunification of Ireland, so to suggest that these people are “not reconciled to some political, economic, or social change” is to imply that there has been some fundamental “political, economic, or social change” – one that they have all somehow managed to miss.

    But of course there has been no such shift.

    Again, sorry to pick on you WF. Just making a point about the damaging nature of any discourse in which language is used inaccurately, and in which we are content to parrot the highly-charged fallacies of one of the most unintelligent political classes in the world.

  • Davros

    “But in NI? No, there are only nationalists. Well over 40 per cent of the population support the reunification of Ireland,”


    I’ll not argue if you say that well over 40% of those who VOTE support the unification of Ireland

    I’ll not argue if you say that well over 40% of the people of NI are Nominally Roman Catholic,

    But you are on shaky ground with what you actually did write 🙂

  • Davros

    And I think “unreconstructed nationalist” has some merits …or are you saying that Nationalism is the same now as it was 30, 60, 90 and 120 years ago ?

  • willowfield

    Unreconstructed in the sense that he’s still peddling the pre-revisionist romantic nationalist shite.

  • Billy Pilgrim


    Then say that. Call him an unreconstructed pedlar of pre-revisionist romantic nationalist shite. That’s a fair enough opinion.

    I am an unreconstructed nationalist. So are a hell of a lot of people here. I could call you are an unreconstructed unionist, but I won’t. Why? Because there has not been some seismic shift in circumstances which makes your position ridiculous or anachronistic. It is reasonable to be a unionist. It is reasonable to be a nationalist. It is wrong to talk about either of the dominant blocs here as “unreconstructed”. It implies their redundancy, and neither is quite redundant just yet.


    Of course figures are difficult to arrive at. We don’t really know, but as much as we can know, over 40 per cent seems reasonable. What would you put the figure at? On what basis? (Rhetorical question – of course we can only take shots in the dark at this, with all the accuracy of a blunderbuss.)

    “unreconstructed nationalist” is bullshit. (Sorry WF, this is not aimed at you.) There are hundreds of thousands of people here who called themselves nationalists who feel in no need of reconstruction. Certainly great changes have occurred in Irish nationalism – there have even been a few small changes in Irish unionism. But at no stage have fundamentals been so shaken as to merit a “reconstruction”. To my mind an “unreconstructed nationalist” is one who still believes Ireland should be united and sovereign. There is no reason why this belief should be considered redundant, nor why it should be “reconstructed”.

  • slackjaw

    ‘Unreconstructed’ is often used, albeit incorrectly, as a synonym for ‘dyed-in-the-wool’.

    As in ‘I’m an unreconstructed Iron Maiden fan’.

    I’m not, by the way.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    You’re right Slackjaw. But when you’re talking about such a volatile situation as Northern Irish politics where perception is king and everyone is as obstreporous as a hormonal teenager all the time, it really isn’t good enough to use such a loaded word so inaccurately.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Sorry, that should have read: obstreperous.

  • Davros

    Billy …I would say that bearing in mind that between 10 and 20% of RCs support the Union ,
    and I would doubt if 5% of Prods support a United ireland , somewhere between 30 and 35 % would support a United Ireland.

  • Christopher Daigle

    I personally tend to agree that TP Coogan is old and is a bore. I can accept that he is an “unreconstructed” nationalist in the sense that he hasn’t bought into revisionism, though I dont particularly view that as a negative. However, the suggestion that he is an “IRA apologist” is something I would expect from someone who believes in UFOs, not from someone who with a straight face asked the good people of Upper Bann to vote for him.

  • willow

    Unionists should be a keen fan of Michael Collins. After all if he didnt sign that treaty, the place that is called Northern Ireland today wouldnt exist!

  • mickhall

    Boys, whilst you were all arguing over whether or not Tim Pat was an unreconstructed nationalist, sounds painful, BBC Radio 4 went and cancelled the Michael Collin’s program, you took your eye off the ball lads.


  • smcgiff

    ‘BBC Radio 4 went and cancelled the Michael Collin’s program,’

    Set up again!

    Any reason given, mickhall?