Sinn Fein select ex-RUC man Leonard

Sinn Fein has selected former RUC reservist and Protestant lay preacher Billy Leonard as its candidate in East Derry for the Westminster election.

Leonard defected from the SDLP last year and was apparently selected to contest the seat on Wednesday. A good choice for the constituency?

  • Davros

    It’ll be an interesting contest George. He’s played things well since he changed over, made some good statements and avoided controversy.

  • slug9987

    Does former apply to the protestant lay preacher bit?

  • PS

    Delighted to see Billy selected. A very genuine and approachable man who deserves credit for the principled stands he has taken throughout his life. I was very impressed with his honesty and fortrightness when I met him and hope that he does very well in this election.

  • J Kelly

    Good move SF have already sown up the Dungiven end of East Derry now building a solid base and a high profile candidate in the North of the Constituency. Thinking ahead to the next Assembly Elections. John Dallat will not like this.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Firstly, I wish to point out that the constituency, which I am a constituent of myself, is called East Londonderry, and not East Derry as it is called at the beginning of the thread, which as a Loyalist I find offensive.

    Secondly, in relation to Davros’ assertion that Leonard has, I quote, “avoided controversy”, I can honestly say that this is perhaps the most ill-informed and ridiculous comment I have ever heard in my life!

    In the previously peaceful sea-side town of Portstewart where Leonard, once of the Shankill Road, West Belfast, now resides, he has spread lies against local loyalists from the town itself and from nearby Coleraine. He has single-handedly caused regular sectarian tension in the town, which rears it’s ugly head particularly on Thursday and Friday nights, when Portstewart is full of people out for a good time.

    One example of this is about three months ago, when what can only be described as a gruesome free-for-all broke out between 10-15 males, outside The Anchor Bar. It took the police around 10 minutes to break it up due to the severity of the fighting, with blood lying everywhere!

    Having witnessed the whole incident with one of my frriends I was utterly gobsmacked when I read the following weeks’ Coleraine Times, which included the headline,
    “LOYALISTS TO BLAME FOR STREET BRAWL”.
    Reading on, I realised it to be the aforementioned free-for-all which I had witnessed!

    In comments attributed to Billy Leonard, the former RUC reservist and Orange Order member (he likes to keep that one quiet) and now Sinn Fein representative on Coleraine Council, he accused local loyalists from Portstewart and neighbouring Coleraine, of regularly going into Portstewart’s bars to look for young nationalists to attack, going on to say that this is indeed what happened on the aforementioned Friday night! His evidence for this was that “a number of local people have led me to believe this to be true”.

    What a load of rubbish! Underneath his loyalist-bashing tirade was a statement from the police who categorically denied any sectarian element to the brawl, believing it to be “be a disagreement between students who attend the local University of Ulster”.
    I concur with this statement, and can go further in saying that I recognised most of the perpetrators, and they were all members of the nationalist community, so for him to use the sectarian card was completely out of line!

    This is not an isolated incident however. Last month he issued a request to the Parades Commission to severely limit band parades in the forthcoming marching season in the town of Garvagh, which is predominantly Protestant, and requested that all parades be banned in his home-town of Portstewart and the town of Kilrea, in both cases where significant Protestant communities live!

    Add to this his constant moaning about the Union flags being erected, particularly in his home-town of Portstewart, and you can see why the unionist/loyalist people of the North Coast, and the constituency of East Londonderry as a whole, are sick, sore and tired of Leonard, and feel the Rafia (SF/IRA) are only exacerbating and ENCOURAGING the problems in the area by selecting him as their candidate in the area.

    The only good thing that could come off this is if the SDLP do well, causing the Rafia to lose votes, sending out a message from the nationalist people of East Londonderry that Sinn Fein and their military wing are not welcome in the area!

    I must add that the unionist/loyalist people have issues with the SDLP’s John Dallat, but he does not have a private army by his side, thus he is a more acceptable face of nationalism.

  • Samjac81

    CL two things I would say on your long winded attack on Mr Leonard of East Derry he seems to be having an impact and secondly as you have declared yourself a loyalist I do not believe it is in your gift which face of nationalism is put forward.

  • slackjaw

    Concerned Loyalist

    I was in a rather hairy situation myself after the Anchor Bar in Portstewart a couple of years ago.

    Pissed out of my head (nothing new there), I was waiting for a taxi over to Portrush where I was staying that night.

    I ended up sharing the taxi with a few fellas who had Dublin accents (well it sounded that way to my pissed ears anyway), apparently up for the weekend. One of them claimed to be a DJ playing Kellys the following night.

    When I’m snattered, I’m very gullible, so I took them at their word.

    During the journey, I realised that of the 4 of them, only two of them did any talking, and the accents started to seem a bit forced. And when they started asking me my surname (luckily enough I have a neutral first name) I sobered up quick smart. Then they started to ask where exactly I was staying, who I was related to in Portrush. It seemed a pretty strange set of questions for a crowd of fellas who had apparently only come up from Dublin that day.

    But when I’m drunk, lying comes as second nature, so I fed them a porkie about living on Eglinton Street and told the taxi driver to drop me off at the end of the road.

    So if Billy Leonard says that that is happening, regardless of who he is, I am inclined to believe him.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Did they attack you in any way “slackjaw” or what is the point to your post…that you think 4 big, bad Protestants went to all the trouble of putting on Southern accents to try and find out if you were a Roman Catholic or not?

    I am also concerned that you are also inferring that I am a liar when you say you are “inclined to believe him” (Leonard) over both myself and the local PSNI? What’s that all about?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    In relation to “samjac” and his asertion that Leonard “seems to be having an impact”, do I read into this that you agree with republican thugs in Portstewart;

    :-pulling down the Orange Arch at the start of last July,

    :-climbing up lamp-posts to rip down Union flags

    :-and, on a night out when people are only looking for a good time, frequently heard are students and locals chanting sectarian abuse in the middle of the streets such as,
    “We’re the boys from the North of the Border, fuck your Queen and your Orange Order”, and
    “Up the IRA, shoot ALL Orange Bastards”

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Well?

  • slackjaw

    ‘Did they attack you in any way “slackjaw” or what is the point to your post…that you think 4 big, bad Protestants went to all the trouble of putting on Southern accents to try and find out if you were a Roman Catholic or not?’

    No. Two of them did. I’m not afraid of Protestants by the way – far from it. I was going to stay with a Protestant relative of mine, after drinking (a lot) in the pub with a couple of Protestant friends.

    The point of my post is that based on my experience, I would not be surprised if loyalists were targetting nationalists.

    ‘I am also concerned that you are also inferring that I am a liar when you say you are “inclined to believe him” (Leonard) over both myself and the local PSNI? What’s that all about?’

    Obviously I was not there when the incident you witnessed took place. I am commenting on the possibility that loyalists are targetting nationalists in Portstewart. I am sure you are giving your own account in good faith.

    I do not wish to cause you further undue concern, but I think you should honestly confront the possibility that some loyalists in your area perpetrate sectarian attacks.

  • Davros

    I call it as i see it C-L. He’s done well in my neck of the woods.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Fair enough, everyone’s entitled to their own opinion, however wrong I might feel it is!

    Where are you from Davros? I’m an Articlave man – 4 miles west of Coleraine and a mile from Caslerock if you don’t know it?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Typo-Castlerock

  • slackjaw

    C-L

    “Up the IRA, shoot ALL Orange Bastards”

    Does the emphasis on ALL indicate that if they had chanted ‘shoot some Orange Bastards’, you wouldn’t have minded so much?

    Sorry, couldn’t resist. 🙂

    Concerned Loyalist and everyone else: Happy Easter. I’m off on my hols and as Captain Oates said, I may be gone for some time. The difference is that I’ll be back.

  • Jacko

    Two points.
    Loyalists from in and around the Coleraine/ north Antrim area hardly need any help from Billy Leonard when it comes to creating the impression that they are nothing more than sectarian thugs, they manage to do that very well on their own.

    Leonard himself comes across as a carpetbagger. Is there anything left for him to join or align himself with? How sincere can anyone be that has travelled almost the full spectrum in search of God knows what? What next, the priesthood?

    Slackjaw.
    Well done, a good descriptive word “snattered”. Not used nearly enough to describe the drunken state. But watch out, the Ulster Scots will be claiming it next.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I’m a loyalist and am a member of a loyalist flute band in Portstewart, so am not just an armchair supporter.

    Nationalists in Portstewart have a problem with the band, and clad head to toe in GAA and Glasgow Celtic tops, regularly taunt some of the younger members because they’re not man enough to take on me or anyone else their own age, shouting abuse like, “Hope you’re not going to that auld Orange Hall, ya Hun Bastards. We’ll get youse this summer”.

    Obviously this is very disconcerting for the younger lads – they feel threatened in their own area!
    So forgive me if I’m wrong in saying that it is the nationalist, not loyalist people of Portstewart, who are the cause and root of the sectarian bigotry!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Jacko, it is a grave generalisation to tar every County Londonderry with the sectarian brush!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I left out the word “loyalist” between “Londonderry” and “brush”

  • barney

    Stop it CL, you’re killing me, 🙂

  • GavBelfast

    I would be more interested to hear what SF/IRA supporters say about Billy Leonard under their breath, rather than polite party-line “welcomes” for this news.

    It would also be interesting to know if his new friends had ever tried to kill him when he used to be, in their eyes, a “legitimate target” (for being a member of the security forces, he wasn’t close enough to the border for it to be just because he is/was a Protestant”?

    Has anyone ever heard Billy’s thoughts on that score?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    He is a very deluded man “Gav”. How he tusts men who formerly viewed him as part of the “British War-Machine”, thus making him a legitimate target for murder, is beyond my comprehension!

    You should acquaint yourself with the COLERAINE TIMES or CHRONICLE some time and you will be able to view for yourself the drivel he writes

  • Concerned Loyalist

    As usual “Barney”, you’re comment is another brave blow for Ireland!

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Typo – “your”, not “you’re” (before someone calls me a typical illiterate loyalist)

  • J Kelly

    Concerned Loyalist at March 24, 2005 03:19 PM

    Am I to take it from this post that Mr Leonard is running around Portstewart

    :-pulling down the Orange Arch at the start of last July,

    :-climbing up lamp-posts to rip down Union flags

    :-and, on a night out when people are only looking for a good time, frequently heard are students and locals chanting sectarian abuse in the middle of the streets such as,
    “We’re the boys from the North of the Border, fuck your Queen and your Orange Order”, and
    “Up the IRA, shoot ALL Orange Bastards”

    I think he is a bit long in the tooth for this type of carry on.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    I just want to know one thing…

    Does Billy Leonard regard the killing of his former colleagues by the IRA as a crime?

    I think we should be told.

    slackjaw

    Having lived in Portrush for four years, I know there are some very dodgy people there. I remembered walking (‘snattered’) back from Kelly’s one night, when a car pulled up. The Metropole was desered and it was right beside the gate of the police station.

    A guy got out and asked if I had been at Kelly’s, and stupidly I said yes, and he accused me of fighting his mate (like I looked like I had been in a fight. Like I even looked like I could walk…!)

    Anyway, he was pretty insistent that I was that person, and then I looked in the car and saw the four baseball bats between the seats and three other men in the car. After a bit of ‘questioning’ they drove off in the direction of Coleraine. Pretty scary.

    Fortunately I had sobered up enough to remember the registration number. So I gave it to the cops. Never heard from the cops or the hoods though.

  • ulsterman

    Well East Londonderry is safe for the DUP so it does not matter who the IRA stand. As for the next Assembly elections I dont think there will be one.

    The councils are being reorganised and I think the seven Unionist councils that will be created is the way forward.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Fermanagh Young Unionist

    leonard is betraying all his fellow RUC comrades who were shot and murdered by SF/IRA.

  • Mark

    Is all this criticism of Leonard justified? The man made his own decisions about what party best suits him and he’ll stand for election on it.

    A lot of people seem to be angry about the fact that he’s ex-RUC and Orange Order, and it can be argued that they are justified in doing so after a 30 year terrorist campaign that killed or injured many people in both organisations.

    Asking for an explanation and trying to understand why he made the decisions he made is reasonable, unilaterally condemning him as a traitor and badmouthing the man is not.

  • ulsterman

    It amazes me why people bother to stand for election in seats where they dont have a hope in hell of winning?.

    Does it really matter where Leonard stands. East LONDONDERRY is safe for Queen and country. Also there is a good chance of a Unionist majority on Limavady council.

    God Save The Queen.

  • Davros

    Fair comment Mark – I agree it took courage. As for
    “condemning him as a traitor and badmouthing the man” it’s just a shame that those on the other side didn’t show the same respect when Sean O’Callaghan changed direction.

  • Nicholas Whyte

    Agreed with Ulsterman that of course Leonard has no chance of winning. There is also, however, no chance of a Unionist majority on Limavady council.

    I have a feeling that Leonard may be the first Protestant to stand for SF since 1981 – anyone know different?

  • J Kelly

    Were did SF stand in 1981

  • Liam

    I have a feeling that Leonard may be the first Protestant to stand for SF since 1981 – anyone know different?

    There are actually a number of protestant elected reps in Sinn Féin, elected during the local and EU elections last June. Believe it or not, religion is not an issue in Sinn Féin.

    Ulsterman is right (just this once) – Billy Leonard has little chance of winning. But is all of the criticism of him justified? I do not think so.

    As a republican activist and somebody very familiar with life as a nationalist in Coleraine, I would have originally had very mixed feelings about Billy Leonard joining our party.

    But my own reservations were mixed with a great deal of admiration for somebody who would stand on his own principles and be confident enough in his own considered political analysis to risk the wrath and very real danger from his loyalist neighbours with also perhaps the mistrust of his newer comrades.

    For those who are not familiar with Coleraine, do not make any mistake. It is a purely loyalist area and although there is a considerable Catholic/Nationalist population, there are no nationalist areas, only loyalist or mixed areas and nationalists in Coleraine keep their heads as low as a ‘Larne Catholic’!

    About 4 years ago, a neighbour of mine witnessed a sectarian attack on a young girl in Coleraine, he was originally going to be a witness, but withdrew from this for fear of local loyalists. It didn’t matter that he withdrew, they entered his home anyway and shot him dead in front of his pregnant partner and his 2 sons, aged 4 and 6.

    How did the local loyalists know that he had even considered or spoken with the PSNI about being a witness – take a wild guess?

    There was no outcry about this young mans death, no trips to Washington, no statements from Southern politicians, nobody cared. His death did not make national headlines, in fact the Times and Chronicle both originally stated that it was not a sectarian killing, despite knowing full well that it was!

    Coleraine is locked down by loyalists, Windy Hall, Ballysally, Harpurs Hill – all of it! But guess what? The local unionist/protestant community do not like this. I know enough of them. They do not like the fact that these gangs operate with impunity, controlling their town, dealing their death drugs and intimidating their Catholic neighbours.

    Billy Leonard is a man who has won respect from across the other side for his honesty, his convictions and for simply telling it as it is.

    Would that there were more like him.

  • Davros

    Fair comment Liam.

  • mickhall

    Liam

    Good post, I would love to hear from more SF members apart from Liam and Mark, as to their attitude towards Billy Leonard, as I find it fascinating, RUC man to SF candidate. I know little about the man accept he must have some balls and thus I cannot help admiring him.

    Davros,

    Unlike you old friend, I do not see any real similarity between Billy Leonard and Sean O’Callaghan, for a start I do not believe Billy Leonard has directly betrayed anyone.

  • Davros

    Mick – direct or indirect, the IRA have killed those considered quislings. In the eyes of many loyalists Billy Leonard is a traitor.
    Cheers

  • ulsterman

    The sad thing about Leonard standing is that he has betrayed his country by so doing. He took an oath to serve the Queen. SF are not a normal political party. They are nothing but scum linked very closely to the IRA.

    SF are heading for a significant defeat in these elections. Their seemingly onward march has been halted.For the first time they will not be gaining seats.

  • Mark

    Mickhall

    When you mentioned Mark above were you referring to me? I just ask because I would consider myself unionist and have no affiliation with SF whatsoever. I just think that if people are going to criticise the man on the decisions he made the least they can do is attempt to find out his reasons.

    Liam

    I dont want to go into details but I’m pretty certain I knew the person you’re referring to, having grown up with them when they lived in Harpurs Hill. I also know that they were involved with the feud that took part in the town at that time.
    I was always told that there was more to it than a blatant sectarian acttack. I could be wrong now, as any information I got was third or fourth hand but I’d be interested in hearing another version of events. If you want to email me my address is seppy99uk@yahoo.co.uk

  • mickhall

    Mick – direct or indirect, the IRA have killed those considered quislings. In the eyes of many loyalists Billy Leonard is a traitor.
    Cheers

    Posted by: Davros

    Davros,

    Do you not think the fact that Mr Leonard was an RUC man is of little importance here, as the loyalist’s you mention would think by joining SF he was a traitor, simply because he was born a Protestant. I wonder what there reaction would have been if he had been a Catholic member of the RUC who went on to join SF? I agree with Mark’s post, plus now the war is over, more Protestants seem to feel comfortable in joining SF, which cannot but be a good thing, surly?

    All the Best.

  • mickhall

    Mark,

    Sorry, I seem to have confused you with another Mark who posts to Slugger, although I still agree with what you wrote. Although it truly matters not a jot to me whether you are Unionist or Republican, what we say and do is what matters.Â…

    Regards.

  • Davros

    I think we are talking, to some extent, at cross purposes Mick .

  • Mark

    Np at all mick, it’s just that if me Da saw those posts, I’d get a cuff round the back of the head 😛

  • Jacko

    “Billy Leonard is a man who has won respect from across the other side for his honesty, his convictions and for simply telling it as it is.”

    I couldn’t care less what religion this guy is, but to laud him for his convictions is a bit rich. Though it does raise the point I was originally making.
    What convictions? This guy must change his mind as often as the rest of us change our socks.
    RUC, Orange Order, Black Institution, lay preacher, SDLP and now Sinn Fein. And those are only the once-genuinely-held convictions we know about. What next, the priesthood or Republican Sinn Fein? Give me a break, the guys either a headcase or determined to get on somewhere (or both, maybe).

  • Nicholas Whyte

    J Kelly,

    As you well know, SF didn’t stand anywhere in 1981. That was my point.

    Liam,

    Without details I’m afraid I treat your claims as seriously as I did similar exaggerated rhetoric from the UUP about their Catholic elected reps and the SDLP about their Protestants a couple of years back (now, alas, lost from the archives). Sinn Fein may or may not have any hang-ups about Protestants, but most Protestants have a problem with Sinn Fein!

    Folks,

    I don’t agree with either Billy Leonard’s past or present views, but I do think that we all have a right to change our minds, even elected representatives, and that he does deserve some credit for putting himself before the electorate.

  • barnshee

    Please repost without being abusive and vulgar A.U.

  • mickhall

    I think we are talking, to some extent, at cross purposes Mick .

    Posted by: Davros

    I Agree Davros.

  • PS

    Of course some people in the grassroot of Sinn Féin had their doubts when they heard of Mr. Leonard entering the party, but certainly I know that anybody who has met Mr. Leonard would have any doubts eradicated from their mind as he is a very decent honourable man who has taken hugely difficult steps for no personal benefit. He doesn’t shirk the difficult questions about his past and is very open and honest about his politics. I hope he polls well in East Derry.

  • Davros

    Paddy, I remember round about the same time a woman with a conviction for a (minor) drugs offence ( many years ago ) was suspended from the party which caused some anger as Mr Leonards past (Police etc ) was said to be considerably less salubrious. Is she back in yet ?

  • Roger W. Christ XVII

    PS, “Ulsterman” does have a point here. Leonard took an oath to the Queen when he joined the RUC. His oaths obviously don’t count for much. That seems to be at odds with your description of him as honourable.

  • levitas

    Anything that annoys contributors such as “Concerned Loyalist” and “jacko” so much pleases me enormously…. I am sure that Billy will do very well, and as for SF members attitudes to him…well need I remind CL and “wacko” that Wolfe Tone was a Protestant….Republicanism is not the preserve of one notional religious “denomination”. There have been many Republicans who derived from the protestant origins and they are genuinely respected within the republican community.

  • Davros

    Republicanism is not the preserve of one notional religious “denomination”.

    If we are talking history – Need I remind you that it was the adoption of Gaelic Catholicism as the model for the Irish republic that alienated protestants ? And that the RM has a lot of work to do to clear away the lingering remnants before more than an unrepresentative few northern protestants feel comfortable with Irish Republicanism. Need I remind you that Tone loathed the very same Political Catholicism as was adopted after his death ?

  • George

    “Need I remind you that it was the adoption of Gaelic Catholicism as the model for the Irish republic that alienated protestants”

    Speak for yourself but may I remind you that history and life in the Irish Republic today would contradict you Davros. What is Gaelic Catholicism by the way? Is it the Green Irish Catholic ying to the Orange British Protestant yang?

    Roger,
    “Ulsterman” does have a point here. Leonard took an oath to the Queen when he joined the RUC. His oaths obviously don’t count for much. That seems to be at odds with your description of him as honourable.”

    Not the case. The oath made by police and army is only valid as long as you serve. As soon as Leonard left the RUC he no longer was under oath.

  • Davros

    George – it’s dishonest to muddy the waters by talking of late 20th century Ireland in respect of the 19th century and early 20th century alienation of Irish Protestants.

    And Orange whataboutery doesn’t change anything.


    “>On D. P Moran :

    ‘The few non-Catholics who would like to throw in their lot with the Irish nation must recognise that the Irish nation is de facto a Catholic nation, just as the English Catholic recognises that England is de facto a Protestant nation. We desire to realise an Irish Ireland and let the non Catholics help in the work or get out of the system.’

    Full quote :

    Conor Cruise OÂ’Brien, Ancestral Voices, Religion and Nationalism in Ireland (Poolbeg 1994), quotes extensively: ‘Most of the heroines of modern British drama are prostitutesÂ’ (under the heading “The British Mind in Ireland”, 6 Oct. 1900); against ‘SourfacesÂ’, 9 Feb. 1901 (under heading “A Sad Day” on those who mourned Queen Victoria), ‘There is something very distinctive about the face of the average loyalist, it is characteristic in its way as that of a Jew … They all understand one another especially when employment is to be given. These brick-complexioned and sourfaced whole and part foreigners rule the countryÂ’; reference to “Jewman Bull” (26 July 1902); denounced Protestant bishop of Limerick, Dr Bunbury, as a ‘bigotÂ’ for defending Jews of Limerick against Catholic anti-Semitism (23 April to 4 June 1904); ‘If a man is in doubt whether he is a Sourface or not let him look in the glass, if two men or women are in doubt let them look at one another. These are not infallible tests, for as a man may smile and smile and be a villain, so may a man smile and be a Sourface. A Sourface is not a Protestant, or a toy Atheist, or a Unionist. A Sourface may be any of these things. It very often happens that a Sourface is a Protestant, or professes to be one; but he is not a Sourface because he is a Protestant, but because he is something else besidesÂ’ (Leader, 11 May 1901). ‘Castle CatholicsÂ’, ‘ShoneensÂ’, and ‘West BritonsÂ’. MoranÂ’s declaration of principle: ‘We want to go back to the Gael, the matrix of the Irish nation. If the Gael is to be raised, the proper place for the sympathetic Palesman is behind the Gael until he becomes absorbed. But it would appear that the price of the tolerance and of the alliance is that the Gael speaks under his breath and says “Thank you” when one per cent of the former graciously smiles on him. Ireland has two religions and the majority cannot talk about their religion above their breath, for fear of appearing bigoted, intolerant, and offending our patronisersÂ’ (5 Jan 1901); ‘There was a time in Ireland when public opinion was Irish; it was then Catholic as well. That was when the Irish Gael lived freely and in honour in his own land. And the faith which he intertwined with patriotism was the traditional Catholic faith handed down to him from Patrick. Meanwhile the alien colony became firmly rooted in the land and tried to totally extinguish every vestige of Irish Ireland – and almost succeeded. Aliens in race, and mostly aliens in religion they tried to plant their religion, language, in a word their whole civilisation on the conquered country [and on] the Native Irish as distinct from the alien settlers.Â’ (8 June 1901); ‘Why should Irish Catholics try to prove their tolerance when they have never been toler[ated]? Let those who have been intolerant prove that they have given it up. (31 May 1902). Further, Moran refers to YeatsÂ’s movement as ‘an assembly known by the strange name, National Literary SocietyÂ’, and continues, ‘We would point out that the West British way of looking at things may have been in keeping with the spirit of ten years ago, but though the ‘NationalÂ’ Literary Society does not know it, we have advanced a little in the last ten years. would it not be time they ceased talking nonsense in this society or else shifted it over to Birmingham?Â’ [55]. T. W. Rolleston responded, ‘Are Davis and Ferguson and Yeats and AE to be nothing to the Irish Catholic because he is a Catholic and are De Vere and Griffin and Morgan to be nothing to me because I am a Protestant? (Leader, 5 Jan 1901). [55] ‘The few non-Catholics who would like to throw in their lot with the Irish nation must recognise that the Irish nation is de facto a Catholic nation, just as the English Catholic recognises that England is de facto a Protestant nation. We desire to realise an Irish Ireland and let the non Catholics help in the work or get out of the system. Their kin have robbed us and enslaved and interrupted our development as a nation. They owe us restitution.Â’ [59] [On Yeats:] ‘He sometimes writes poetry which no Irishman understands, or rather which no Irishman troubles his head to read; he thinks Catholics are superstitious and he believes in spooks himself; he thinks they are priest-ridden and he would like to go back to Paganism; he is a bigot who thinks he is broadminded; a prig who thinks he is cultured; he does not understand Ireland […]. However, he means well, and he might be left to time and experience for the acquirement of sense, only that he has no small distractive power, in this unthinking and cringing land. Of course this description does not apply to any individualÂ’ [the last phrase described by OÂ’Brien as an uncharacteristic ‘perfidious disclaimerÂ’]. [59] On Diarmuid and Grainne, ‘They have offered an insult to our mind and heart, by their misrepresentation of the story in its moral aspect. The character of Grainne has been gratuitously defiled by the hand of the English mind. From the beginning of the Fenian story to the end there is not one line that could be twisted into a suggestion of unfaithfulness on her part … the vile woman of this coarse English play … Let the English mind in future write plays for itself. We will have none of them. (Leader, 2 Nov. 1901, under heading ‘The English MindÂ’) [60]; his grudging reception of Cathleen Ni Houlihan, ‘Mr Yeats is beginning to see the lightÂ’ (11 April 1902). Further: ‘The Irish people are Christian, they believe in the morality of the Catholic Church, and they will not suffer any attempt to pervert their opinions on such matters, or to misrepresent their attitudes towards such problemsÂ’ (“The Philosophy of an Irish Theatre”, 21 Oct. 1903); sneers at West Britons in the stalls, ‘Kathleen Ni Houlihan makes Irish patriotism quite harmless, if not respectableÂ’ (“At the Abbey Theatre”, 7 Jan. 1905). On SyngeÂ’s Playboy, ‘Mr Synge has apparently outraged Irish piety and the authorities of the theatre are, we think unwise in fighting the cause of what they call “freedom of judgement” with such a weapon as The Playboy of the Western World” (Leader, editorial, 2 Feb. 1907); ‘The unmistakable vigorous and spontaneous outburst of disapproval which practically put an end to the last act of Mr SyngeÂ’s gruesome farce at the Abbey Theatre last Saturday can only be regretted on the grounds that it was so long delayed … Attacks on filial affection, the sacredness of life and the modesty of women … an undercurrent of animalism and irreligion [… &c.] (review of Playboy, idem. [2 Feb. 1907]). [83.]

  • Davros

    Whoops:

    hyperlink

  • man monkey

    I’ve been following this story for a wee while and surely the problem is that someone dares to stand for SF on Coleraine BC. The fact that its Billy Leonard is in many ways just incidental…. but a good opportunity to have a bash at the man.

    And why shouldn’t he have the choice to change his mind – admittedly a lot! – but to me its not a thing he would arrive at easily and quickly – just look at the stick he gets here!

    Liam seems to me to have it right – Coleraine is/has been intimidated by loyalist thugs for years. It was like that 20 years ago and its still seems like that now.