MPs step down from Army Council?

The front page of the Irish Independent – which tends to be much less activist on Sinn Fein and the IRA than its sister paper – is dominated with a report that Martin Ferris TD, Martin McGuinness MP, and Gerry Adams MP are finally stepping down as members of the IRA Army Council.

Right through the last pragmatic ten years or so, all three men have denied such charges, but it seems this apparent move is being interpreted as a final separation of the ways for Sinn Fein and the IRA in preparation for concrete moves from the latter. Is it true? Significant? Well, watch An Phoblacht next week if there is to be an announcement.

At the same time, whatever the source of this story it would not be the first time the Republican movement wrong footed the press corp. I doubt if Betfair is shipping much money on this one!

  • peteb

    Mick

    Sounds suspiciously like the contrived divorce option, noted previously.

  • Keith M

    It’s hard to believe that with all the real news going on, that the Independent would waste column inches on this.

  • lib2016

    On the last Marian Finucane show on RTE (24th June 05) Fr. Alex Reid said that he had met all the members of the Army Council and that they didn’t include either McGuinness or Adams. Since nobody commented further I took it at the time that someone somewhere was being reassured that there were going to be no embarrassments on that score. Still suspect that I’m right but we’ll never know for sure.

  • Gonzo

    Mick – what do you mean by ‘activist’ when you write “the Irish Independent – which tends to be much less activist on Sinn Fein and the IRA than its sister paper”?

  • George

    Gonzo,
    the Irish Independent is basically made up local non-political news and syndicated stories from the Daily Telegraph, Times etc. and doesn’t really do analysis because it rarely if ever posts an opinion of its own on something. No heavy hitters there I’m afraid.

    In its ten pages on the London 7/7 bombings the only analysis piece was from Robert Fisk.

  • Henry94

    In the wake of the London bombings, and with an increasingly hostile climate both here and in Britain towards terrorist violence, the Provisional movement is understood to have decided that this is the right time to move into a new mode.

    Nothing to do with the fact they have been reported to be planning such a move for months before the London bombings. That shows the level of credibility we can attach to the story.

  • Albert Doyle

    Hey, wait a minute! I thought Gerry wasn’t a member of the IRA much less a leader. Wasn’t that what he was telling us a while ago? Since he never lies, how can this story of resigning from the Army Council be true? Obviously another attempt to smear Republicans.

    If you read his recent plea to the IRA carefully you will see that it is not a request to renounce physical force Republicanism but merely to change caps for the moment to that of election workers. Keep the pike in the thatch boys. It won’t work.

  • Denny Boy

    I’m with you, Albert.

    “THREE senior Sinn Fein figures … have stepped down from their posts on the IRA’s ruling army council. The ground-breaking decision means that all links between the leadership of the political and military wings of the Provisional movement have been severed.”

    This to me is a non sequitur. Stepping down is not the same as stepping AWAY. I read no reference in the Independent article to their actually quitting the IRA. Pikes still in the thatch then?

  • David Vance

    This is shocking news. So Adams and McGuinness ARE terrorist godfathers after all? Say it ain’t so. Lucky this Government likes Irish terrorists better than Islamist terrorists, eh?

  • bertie

    “So Adams and McGuinness ARE terrorist godfathers after all? “

    I haven’t been so suprised since I was told that Julian Clary doesn’t fancy women – who knew?

  • David Vance

    Bertie,

    Not our PM and successive Secretary’s of State, and senior Unionists we must presume because had they known and STILL persisted in dialogue with such godfathers why that would make them the quislings some of us have claimed all along. And that would never do in this shiny new GFA land of milk and honey. Would it?

  • T.Ruth

    So it seems that Gerry and Martin may be terrorist leaders after all. I note Mr. Hain seems able to make a distinction between one kind of terrorist and another-implying that we are about to have a”democratic” settlement in Northern Ireland. Republicans and Nationalists north and south of the border have always had equal access to the democratic process via elections to the Dail,Stormont and Westminster.
    They always had access to political power through the ballot box. Their espousal of the “armed struggle” was a cover enabling them to express through violence their sectarian hatred of the Unionist people.
    The real deomocratic deficit is the way in which the Unionist people after years of sectarian ,fascist activity directed against them have to stomach the presence of these people in the executive level of government at Stormont as part of a phoney peace process.
    I hope future generations of Republicans and nationalist are frequently reminded of the obscene atrocities committed in their name by people who now masquerade as “democrats.” The Unionist people believe that the people responsible for La Mon, Bloody Friday, Droppingwell, the Abercorn,Darkley,Kingsmill, the Shankill chip shop and Enniskillen should never be permitted to hold political office in a democratic assembly. Their past actions should disqualify them from ever having access to ministerial office.
    T.Ruth

  • lib2016

    The constant repetition of a big lie doesn’t make it any more true. Goebbels learnt that in the end and so will the last few posters.

  • Chris Gaskin

    “which the Unionist people after years of sectarian ,fascist activity directed against them”

    LOL

    I have heard of reinventing history but this takes the biscuit. Talk about the perpetuator becoming the victim, or trying hard to make us believe it is so.

    Sorry, don’t believe you; the world is not flat.

  • Stray Toaster

    Bonus points if you can mention a theory that proves the world is in fact round. Or that can’t be construed to fit a flat earth theory.

  • VICTOR1

    The Unionist people believe that the people responsible for La Mon, Bloody Friday, Droppingwell, the Abercorn,Darkley,Kingsmill, the Shankill chip shop and Enniskillen should never be permitted to hold political office in a democratic assembly

    Strange that since they voted for the GFA which put these so called terrorists in to government in the first place

  • bertie

    “Not our PM and successive Secretary’s of State, and senior Unionists we must presume because had they known and STILL persisted in dialogue with such godfathers why that would make them the quislings some of us have claimed all along. And that would never do in this shiny new GFA land of milk and honey. Would it?”

    This land where like Alice you have to beleive many many impossible things before breakfast, like mudering people does not constitute a breach of a ceasefire and that you lay the basis of a decnet society by politising the criminaljustice process, let terrorists out of prison and put them in government.


    The Unionist people believe that the people responsible for La Mon, Bloody Friday, Droppingwell, the Abercorn,Darkley,Kingsmill, the Shankill chip shop and Enniskillen should never be permitted to hold political office in a democratic assembly.”

    Too bl@@dy right! (but I would also add the Shankill butcher the Greysteel murders, Micheal Stone et al)

    “Strange that since they voted for the GFA which put these so called terrorists in to government in the first place”

    Strange is not the word for it. It was a bl@@dy disgrace! But not all of us did and many of those that did repent.

  • Comrade Stalin

    T.Ruth is another one of those strange people labouring under the odd misapprehension that he or other unionists somehow have the authority to determine who gets to be in government and who does not. I suspect he may find himself rather disappointed.

    It’s a shame that the people who elected William McCrea, the minister who officiated at the funerals of the UVF Miami Showband massacres, seem to believe that they share no part in creating the problems in this country.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Despite our conversations on this subject over the past number of weeks, bertie still dutifully finds himself adding “by the way, that all applies to the loyalists too” to the end of the missives of another long string of posts that suggest that republicans are the only people who ever murdered anyone in NI.

    Indeed you do have to believe a lot of impossible things. Like the way Ian Paisley never intended that Ulster Resistance would lead to the importation of violence, that William McCrea is a democrat even though he took a podium with a mass murderer, or that there is no conflict between the Ulster Convenant and a commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic methods.

    If past actions can lead to a permanent exclusion from government, then there would be nobody available to govern this country. At some point in the past, pretty much all of unionism and nationalism has had some hand in promoting paramilitarism, mob rule or the use of force to achieve political objectives in that country. Unionists need to stop denying that fact, before there can be any kind of progress here.

  • cladycowboy

    ‘or that there is no conflict between the Ulster Convenant and a commitment to exclusively peaceful and democratic methods.’

    This is the fundamental base of our problem. The NI state was founded on the implicit threat of violence. Violence threatened if the democratic wishes of the people were implemented. So please enough of Democrats, NI majority law-abiding community and such like. There has never been democracy here..

  • Paul

    > The NI state was founded on the implicit threat of violence.

    Unlike the southern one, founded and established as it was in universal peace and tolerance?

    There’s way too many pots calling kettles black on this island.

  • cladycowboy

    Violence tends to occur whenever the democratic wishes of the people are not implemented. Hence, the failure of the ruling Govt to grant Independence at the democratic behest of the people created the vacuum leading to violence. The NI situation is completly different. Violence was threatened if democracy prevailed, whereas in the south violence occured because democracy was defeated. Different.

  • levee

    Wow. Two days later and Sinn Fein hasn’t been on the news denouncing these ridiculous claims. Could this actually be true?

  • bertie

    Comrade

    Despite any conversations I have with anyone I doubt I will ever stop condemning “loyalist” terrorists. I have been doing it long before I came to Slugger and I will be doing it long after I cease posting here. (By the way I do not accept that T,Ruth’s post suggested that republicans are the only people who have murdered anyone. He was making a specific point. I chose to reinforce and extend it.)

    I do not consider the DUP/UUP/SDLP to be parties intrinsically linked with IRA/UVF/UDA, in the way that Sinn Fein/UDP/PUP are.

    I did at one time consider that the UUP were morally superior to the SDLP, which has been content to play good cop/bad cop with Sinn Fein/IRA and to be partners with them in a pan-nationalist front. However the day that the UUP walked into talks with Irvine et al as some sort of show of unionist strength, brought them down to the same level. This is not the same (for the SDLP or the UUP) as being an integral part of the terrorist groupings or support for these organisations being an integral part of the party’s identity. Neither does sharing a platform with a terrorist, reprehensible as I find it. I am trying not to repeat myself too much here, but I suppose I will not be the first or the last to do that on Slugger.

    I’m not sure exactly what the relevance of the “dutifully” means. (It is indeed ironic that when unionists do not condemn “loyalist” terrorism they are critised – damned if you do damned if you don’t.) I find it as easy and natural to condemn “loyalist” terrorism as republican. Republican terrorism has been more specifically targeted at me and mine (although “loyalists” murdered a member of my extended family circle in one of their many mistaken identity hits). “Loyalist” terrorists claim to do what they do in my name. Micheal Stone claimed that he acted in revenge for Enniskillen. The people of Enniskillen never asked him to. Another young man in Tyrone was also murdered suposedly in revenge for this. It is more than a duty to condemn these people.

    I am very suspicious of a few people in the UUP, the SDLP and the DUP and that some things the parties have done things which they should not have, but that is not the same thing as those parties being an integral part of the terrorism.

    I have associated with many groups within unionism and have, as far as I know, not come into contact with terrorist spokespersons, except for shaking hands with Irvine as a party conference. It was a Labour Party conference and I didn’t know who he was.

    So just because a unionist MP shares a platform with a murderer does not mean that I should accept people who were involved in the planning and authorisation of, say, the Enniskillen bomb or those who were involved in the planning of the revenge for it, being in government.

  • T.Ruth

    I can live with a future political accomodation which involves the sharing of power and responsibility if that brought peace to this province. That does not prevent me from remembering past terorist atrocities.
    To bring the day of peace forward I could accept many things but it would conditional on being convinced by Republicans that they have abandoned the “armed struggle” and destroyed their arsenals of bombs and bullets. This would need to be done in a way that is visible,verifiable and complete.
    Sinn Fein would need to show total support for PSNI as the legitimate police service and separate itself completely from paramiltary criminality in all its forms, (smuggling,robbery,murder,extortion,etc.)
    It would be necessary for Ministers and cross-border bodies to be accountable to a new Assembly.Policing and Justice powers should not be devolved until it can be established that sufficient confidence exists in both communities for that to happen.
    It would be helpful if all those who played a part in directing and committing acts of terrorism were excluded from ministerial office.
    There are many people on the Unionist side who can honestly say that they have never engaged in or supported violence and have genuinely sought to support democratic and peaceful politics throughout their lives public and private.
    At my advanced age I do not expect the world to go always in my direction and given the perfidy and deceit of this and previous British governments I am seldom surprised though often disappointed.
    Northern Ireland will remain within the United Kingdom for the foreseeable future and Unionists will ,on the basis of demographics,continue to have a voting majority. Perhaps those who have plans for the future could move forward accepting that context and the central reality that armed Republicanism has nothing whatsoever to offer our community.
    T.Ruth

  • Fraggle

    A good way of avoiding power-sharing with Sinn Fein would be a United Ireland.

    As things stand, a majority in the nationalist community see the evil of partition as greater than the evil of voting for Sinn Fein.

    The direct-rule overlords YOU afflict us with won’t allow the sort of majority rule normal is other parts of the world because you can’t be trusted to use power fairly.

    Hard luck, you’re stuck with Sinn Fein and it’s your own fault.

  • darthrumsfeld

    Bertie is spot on

    I don’t much like Willie McCrea, but if he’s an ogre for officiating at the funerals of terrorists, then what does that make any priest who has buried an IRA man? And if he’s to be condemned for sharing a platform with Billy Wright, shouldn’t Father Alex Reid attract similar vitriol for regular tea and buns with the Provos leadership?

    Is it just because Father Alex doesn’t sing?

    Or do we have a heirarchy of terrorists, to add to our heirarchy of victims?

  • JustAThought

    Just a Thought,

    Would we be where we are today if Adams/Mcguinness, etc were not members or closely “aligned” to the army council of the IRA?

    Exactly where are we today before people start criticising.

    We’ve had several years peace. Not perfect peace, theres been dissident activity and theres been many loyalist feuds. Theres even been the world’s largest bank robbery, we even have new northern bank notes that are far prettier than the ones before (making them just that little bit harder to spend!).

    On a serious note, we have the odyssey, the laganside development, junction1, newry and lisburn as cities, with many other towns prospering. We have a good nightlife. We have our kids. In one piece.

    We have a future. Most importantly, our children, our grandchildren, our young brothers and sisters, ALL have a future.

    When they go to a pub, do you worry they will be blown to pieces in a bomb?

    When you shop in your local town, are you searched? Is your handbag searched for incendiaries? When you ponder the clothes on sale along the rack, are you worried you may disturb an incendiary? When you park near a car with lights on, do you think – it might be a bomb?

    Many a unionist and loyalist has a colourful and imperfect past/present. So who cares if Adams or mcguinness might have been aligned with the army council. It’s insignificant.

    What’s important is the smile and innoncence on my childrens’ faces. And my very own Freedom.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I bet you have all missed me. I haven’t posted since May due to the fact that I’ve been too busy marching the streets of Ulster!

    Only joking. I’ve been busy with firstly university exams and more recently, my part-time job, which becomes a full-time job between the months of May and September!

    I have some insight into this thread though. In June’s edition of “Warrior”, the monthly publication produced and circulated by the North Antrim/Londonderry Brigade of the U.D.A./U.F.F., this very story was prominent, under the headline “Are The Shinners Changing Their Spots?”

    Along with Brian Keenan, the former Chief-Of-Staff who is suffering from illness, and South Armagh hardliner, Sean Gerard Hoey, who has lost interest in being a part of the Army Council as the Provos have not been “active” enough in recent years, the three aforementioned SF representatives are being stood down to make way for FIVE new Army Council members who are NOT involved in the political wing, Sinn Fein.

    I will have the names of what I believe to be the new Army Council tomorrow, at the latest.

  • reality check

    I wonder what activites your doing at the minute.Attacking catholic homes etc.Whats your view on loyalist disbandment?

  • Keith M

    levee “Two days later and Sinn Fein hasn’t been on the news denouncing these ridiculous claims. Could this actually be true?”

    Could it be that SF/IRA are giving such a non-story the attention it deserves?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I wonder what activities your doing at the minute. Attacking catholic homes etc”.

    What’s that all about “reality check”? Are you accusing me personally of the above or the organisation? If you are that is libellous…you are treading on a very thin line

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “I wonder what activities your doing at the minute. Attacking catholic homes etc”.

    What’s that all about “reality check”? Are you accusing me personally of the above or the organisation? If you are that is libellous…you are treading on a very thin line

  • reality check

    from one of your posts i can clearly see you have connections to the uda!

  • bertie

    “Would we be where we are today if Adams/Mcguinness, etc were not members or closely “aligned” to the army council of the IRA?”

    They would not have been involved in murder and maiming. Maybe there would have been less people murdered without their participation.

    The IRA continued to recruit and to buy weapons so as to carry on a two pronged approach of threats first and then ready to start up again with spectaculars to wring out more concessions. They could still do this. I put more faith in the reaction to 9/11 for keeping the lid on “spectaculars” than Sinn Fein/IRA’s supposed committment to peace. Who knows what the world’s attitude to terrorism will be in the years to come. So I do not assume a terrorist free future yet. Apart from 9/11 we have given the terrorists retrospective justification, a chance to regroup, increase their hold on their heartlands and shown them that terrorism pays.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    You are not accusing me of having “connections” to the Association, but are accusing me of being actively involved in the targeting of Roman Catholic homes!

    Just as a non-combatant can buy “Republican News”, non-members of the North Antrim/Londonderry U.D.A. can buy “Warrior” magaine. How do you know if I am involved or not?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Fraggle: ”A good way of avoiding power-sharing with Sinn Fein would be a United Ireland.”

    Yes I’ve heard that SFs ‘Socialist Republic’ is unlikely to involve such troublesome elements as power-sharing.

  • bertie

    So Fraggle because I don’t want a United Ireland its my fault that Sinn Fein exist. Well since you put it that way it makes perfect sense.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    You are right “Gerry lvs Castro”, their dream is a one-party Marxist/socialist Republic, which saves all the hassle of democratic power-sharing…

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    Given SFs links to such shining democracies as Cuba, Colombia and even North Korea, I doubt they will be expending much energy on future policy compromise with the Fails and the Gaels.

  • reality check

    If you buy this so called ‘warrior’magazine your making a donation to a terror group who are very active in the north antrim area

  • T.Ruth

    Lib 2016

    To what big lie do you refer in relation to my previous comment-do you think that the vote in Stormont and Westminster elections since 1922 was reserved for Protestants.

    Justathought

    It may well be that many children have the prospect of a better future but many children today do not have a father,many people have lost mothers,sisters,brothers because of the people in the IRA Inner Council who planned,conducted and engaged in fascist sectarian terrorism against their Protestant neighbours.
    I hope Mr.McGuiness and Mr.Adams can tell their children and grand-children honestly of the actions they engaged in the “armed struggle” that is coming to apredictiable stuttering ignominious end with its proponents indelibly marked forever with the sign of Cain.
    T.Ruth

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I live in East Londonderry, not North Antrim “reality check”.

  • lib2016

    T.Ruth

    The ‘big lie’ to which I referred was the constant pretence of those who claim to ‘know’ that Adams and McGuinness are on the Army Council in spite of the evidence to the contrary.

    This last week has been a bit of a revelation to me as regards the extent to which unionists have been whipped into a frenzy by the marching season. It seems much worse than usual this year so I’m signing off for a few weeks.

    Someone somewhere sometime is going to have to lead unionism back to some kind of reason. The rest of us will be waiting and anxious for some kind of sensible dialogue.

  • Dessertspoon

    Don’t hold your breath lib

  • Ukko

    Having an open mind about such things, I could very well believe that the individuals in particular are/were on the IRA army council but how about a little proof (just to enlighten doubters such as myself) from those who continuously write articles making these claims?

    I notice that some people take the claims as fact while others totally dismiss them. Depends on which side of the fence you sit on i spose.

  • Comrade Stalin

    T.Ruth quipped :

    “Sinn Fein would need to show total support for PSNI as the legitimate police service and separate itself completely from paramiltary criminality in all its forms, (smuggling,robbery,murder,extortion,etc.)”

    I agree. But if Peter Robinson cannot bring himself to show total support for the police in Garnerville today, then why should Sinn Fein be expected to show total support for them elsewhere?

    “To bring the day of peace forward I could accept many things but it would conditional on being convinced by Republicans that they have abandoned the “armed struggle” and destroyed their arsenals of bombs and bullets.”

    Why aren’t your requirements as stringent for unionists ? Ian Paisley and several of his party contemporaries have been associated with loyalist paramilitarism in the past; my favourite incident is the little coup he attempted to pull off with Andy Tyrie, but there’s also Ulster Resistance and the Third Force. To this day Paisley has members of his party who have terrorist convictions and even members who benefitted from the early releases. No attempt has been made to apologize for those associations; no evidence exists that those organizations disarmed or disbanded; and there is no indication that Ian Paisley would not resort to those methods again if the mood took him. Why should anyone support a powersharing government with a man who has shown no inclinations to distance himself from his violently-linked past ?

    bertie, I think you are probably a decent person, but I think some of your views are misguided. I think the central point we disagree on is on the area where you say that parties directly linked with paramilitarism are worse than parties who have had flirtations with them. However the truth is that the distinction is irrelevant. If a person who is not linked to a paramilitary movement says “actually I think paramilitaries are pretty decent and they have my support” his existence, particularly if he is an elected politician, lends credibility to those organizations that they would not otherwise have. Politicians who are “decent” by virtue of not being directly linked to paramilitarism but who actually lend support to it by the back door – such as, for example, tolerating the open activity of paramilitary organizations in their constituencies – are in many ways more dangerous than those who are directly linked. They allow paramilitaries to operate with tacit endorsement whilst at the same time presenting a deniable link.

    I find this argument about the “inextricable links” between organizations to be interesting. It is to do with the way people mistakenly think of paramilitary groups as fixed organizations, rather than what they actually are which is a set of ideas and the means to implement them (in the same way that it is often said Al Quaida are). For example if the IRA announces “we’ve disbanded and are all off to drive black taxis and reminisce about the old days”, only an idiot would believe that the group of people who comprise the IRA will overnight abandon their opinions, or stop speaking to each other. Only a complete idiot would believe that every single member of that organization will hand over every single gun or piece of explosives that they have.

    So once you have accepted the fact that a paramilitary movement is really a group of ideas, then you can come to understand how silly the idea of “we’re not linked to that organization therefore we’re 100% clean” is.

  • hotdogx

    Unionism created sinn fein, i hate to say it but without the violence, unionism would not be forced to talk a neither would the british government, looking back, the moment partion occoured and the wish of the majority of the people on this island ignored violence was enevitable! Infact without violence we wouldn’t even have one man one vote today!

    What was that you were saying there earlier “T Ruth” about nationalist people always having acces to a vote, remind me again who most land owners were at the time, they and only they had the right to vote! after the act of union irish catholicsz had no representation government.

  • hotdogx

    Unionism created sinn fein, i hate to say it but without the violence, unionism would not be forced to talk and neither would the british government, looking back, the moment partion occoured and the wish of the majority of the people on this island ignored, violence was enevitable! Infact without violence we wouldn’t even have one man one vote today! this does not justify the horrific actions of any paramilitary group.

    What was that you were saying there earlier “T Ruth” about nationalist people always having acces to a vote, remind me again who most land owners were at the time, they and only they had the right to vote! after the act of union irish catholicsz had no representation in government.

  • Comrade Stalin

    I’ve got a rather cheezy analogy. Anyone ever heard of a band called Tangerine Dream ?

    During the 1970s it had three members, Edgar Froese, Chris Franke and Peter Baumann.

    However at the same time as Tangerine Dream were producing albums, Edgar Froese put out a number of albums under his own name. However, in one Froese album (“Ages”) Chris Franke and Peter Baumann were listed in the credits as session musicians. In other words, the album wasn’t sold as a Tangerine Dream album, even though the exact same musicians using the exact same electronic equipment worked on it. So does this mean that the album really was a Tangerine Dream album except in name ? For the course of that album, would it be true to say that neither Froese, Franke nor Baumann were in any way linked with Tangerine Dream ?

  • hotdogx

    comrad

    yea i remember tangerine dream, freaky eightys music, i was about 10 but i remember it!

    In my opiion, the authours of the album have the right to say if its a tangerine dream album or not… same goes for sf i supopose, as they would see it

  • bertie

    Comrade,

    For what it’s worth I think that you are probably a decent person too, and that you hold your view honestly, which is why I think the “dutifully” comment was not worthy of you.

    You believe that no line can be drawn, I do. Even if I beleived that they were all the same, that would be an argument for having none of them in government not all of them.

    “If a person who is not linked to a paramilitary movement says “actually I think paramilitaries are pretty decent and they have my support” his existence, particularly if he is an elected politician, lends credibility to those “organizations that they would not otherwise have.”

    I agree which is why I try not to miss any opportunity to say the opposite.

    I do not consider that a politician who gives backdoor support to the terrorists is decent but it is possible for him to be part of a decent party. I know unionist politicians who despise the UVF etc as much as I do as we have talked about it. I cannot think that anyone could join the political wing of the IRA who despises it.

    Re your “cheesy” analogy. It doesn’t fit for me because it is almost irrelevant if they are linked. They are doing the same thing. It’s not the case that one lot are playing the music and another go to the concerts. I may have missed the point you are trying to illustrate with it, but I’m tired so I may be being a bit obtuse.

    We are never going to agree on this.

  • Chris Gaskin

    Concerned Loyalist

    “Sean Gerard Hoey, who has lost interest in being a part of the Army Council as the Provos have not been “active” enough in recent years”

    LOL, You really don’t have a clue do you

    Sean Hoey is up on charges relating to the Omagh bombing.

  • Richard

    Did he not move from the provos to the Real IRA, hence the Omagh bombing charges?

  • Chris Gaskin

    Sean Hoey was never on the army council and before today nobody has ever claimed he was or still is.

  • Comrade Stalin

    CG wrote : “Sean Hoey was never on the army council”

    Is that official ?

    bertie, all you are doing is taking measurements and making decisions based on your perspective. Your view is that the people who cheerlead for paramilitarism, while not directly supporting it, are not as bad as the people who are actually members of the paramilitary organization.

    The trouble is that this country is never going to see peace until all of our politicians stop cheerleading for paramilitarism. Paramilitary activity is generally tolerated by unionist politicians, and unionist politicians frequently associate with and are seen in public with known paramilitary members and even leaders. Yet they are not punished for this by their electorate. That is the brazen fact. Unionist politicians talk not in terms of a strategy (whether it be security-based or otherwise) for dealing with paramilitarism, but instead a strategy for dealing with republicans as can be seen in the messages above. My view is that republican paramilitarism needs to be addressed as part of the same strategy that will also address loyalist paramilitarism.

    My point is this : unionist voters are basically the same as republicans. Nobody has a moral high ground. This means nobody has any business saying who can get into government. Equally, nobody has any business dictating who may walk down certain streets.

  • Fraggle

    bertie, is it not a reflection of how little the british think of you unionists that they won’t let you have a government without the likes of sinn fein in it.

    in the eyes of the british, a unionist only government is worse than a unionist/sinn fein government.

    you (unionists) are making us (nationalists) live under british rule (if we want to stay at home that is). voting for a party you hate is a good way to get our own back and wind you up.

  • bertie

    Fraggle

    our government (I am British therefore part of “the British”) is a pack of spineless short-termists, it doesn’t affect my loyalty or my identity. By the way my loyalty is towards my country NOT my government.

  • TAFKABO

    “My point is this : unionist voters are basically the same as republicans. Nobody has a moral high ground. This means nobody has any business saying who can get into government.”

    Sorry, but this is just bollox.
    Of course people have a say in who get’s into government, this is called democracy, even if it is imperfect.
    My bullshit detector always starts flashing whenever I see one of those “everyones the same” arguments.

    Politics is a compromise,and you can’t force people to make compromises.
    If Unionists withhold their co operation, then powersharing cannot happen, that’s just realpolitik in action.

    ( yeah yeah, the governments are going to go over the Unionists heads….blah blah blah )

    Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, from any perspective, Republicans are in the position where it is they who have to convince us of their bona fides.

  • cushy glenn

    Sean Hoey was never on the army council and before today nobody has ever claimed he was or still is.

    Posted by: Chris Gaskin at July 25, 2005

    How would you, as a low-level Shinner know who was on the Army Council, I wonder?

    I think concernedLoyalist means the man known as “the surgeon”

  • reality check

    loyalist leaders are regulary exposed in the sunday world every week.catholics are being attacked on a continual basis and nothings being done about it.So if oglaith na h’eireann disband loyalists will disappear.don’t think so.They exist because of their hatred for catholics and unionist politicans dont have the balls to stand up to them.sure they condemn their actions but they don’t challenge them to disband.They enjoy their company too much when they march together.The orange order is basically an umbrella.So sir reginald sort your own side of the house out first then we can talk about the future

  • TAFKABO

    “So sir reginald sort your own side of the house out first then we can talk about the future”

    Oh dear.

    Perhaps you ought to rethink the whole “well if they wont talk to us, we wont talk to them” strategy.

  • Wichser

    Comrade Stalin

    Perhaps Froese, Franke and/or Baumann had a direct material interest in discontinuing their association with their previous ensemble and its music. Perhaps they were embarassed and ashamed of it (as well they might have been in my opinion), mind you they wouldn’t be sent to jail for seven years for admitting their previous involvement in the band. Should have been, maybe.

    Thru metamorphic rock anyone ?

  • darthrumsfeld

    In 1990 or thereabouts Hugh Cornwell left a decent group- the Stranglers, but the remaining three members Jet Black, Jean Jacques Burnel, and Dave Greenfield- continued with a new lead singer. They continued to use the logo, to perform the back catalogue, and to collect their shares of royalties. To many purists, they weren’t the same as the original lineup, and they certainly didn’t enjoy the same success, but “they haven’t gone away, you know”

  • Wichser

    darthrumsfeld

    More’s the pity, the pseudo-Stranglers were/are awful.

    Something better change.

  • T.Ruth

    Comrade Stalin
    I have no connection with Loyalist groups, have never supported them in any way and would be equally opposed to their continued existence. If I gave any other impression perhaps this will correct that. However Loyalist groups have no significant political support in the Unionist community and are not likely to wield power in a new Assembly.That is why the discussion centres on the IRA.
    Elections to a new Assembly like all other elections to STormont or Westminster since 1922 will be on the basis of a universal franchise. I do not feel the need to apologise for insufficiencies of the electoral system in the eighteenth century. Had King William not defeated James in the late seventeenth century we may well have waited a lot longer for access to a democratic process
    T.Ruth

  • darthrumsfeld

    Wicher
    Agreed- bring on the nubiles.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Chris Gaskin,
    I signed off yesterday before I could respond to your comment. I meant Sean Hughes who is indeed a South Armagh hardliner, but in the ranks of the Provisional IRA and not the “Real” IRA in the case of Sean Gerard Hoey.

    They have similar names and similar objectives (ethnic cleansing of the Protestant and British people of Ulster) but two different people. Hope that cleared it up for you.

  • Fraggle

    CL, from the TV pictures of the UVF in East Belfast, they could do with a dose of ordinary cleansing. (soap etc.)

  • Concerned Loyalist

    “T.Ruth”,
    You come across as a wishy-washy liberal unionist voter who sees the Northern Ireland peace-process as black and white when there are so many grey areas, such as the issue of loyalist “paramilitariam”.
    Rhetoric like “Loyalist groups have no POLITICAL support in the Unionist community” may be true but is misleading.

    Whether you as a liberal unionist like it or not, support is strong for loyalists of the UDA, UVF and Red Hand Commando in working-class areas the length and breadth of Northern Ireland, and in areas of Scotland and the North of England. (You may notice I don’t include the LVF. I support the work of real loyalists, representatives such as the U.P.R.G. who encourage young loyalists to get off the streets and into education etc, not drug-dealing, child-abusing, Lisa Dorrian-murdering Low-life Vermin Fucks, which should be the LVF’s new name).

    While the murder-gangs of the differing republican factions continue to recruit, conduct surveillance on and target the Loyalist people and the security forces, these organisations will be viewed upon by many as defenders of our community…

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Very constructive “Fraggle”. Although I don’t agree with street vigilantism and intimidation in this, the year 2005, (I thought we’d moved on from that) East Belfast UVF were requested to go there, along with members of East Belfast UDA, by the residents of Garnerville, in order to keep the LVF low-lifes out that had terrorised their community for the past year to 18 months.

  • Fraggle

    ok, sorry. the soap comment was uncalled for.

    T.Ruth, if James had won, Ireland might well have benefitted from the French Revolution which went a lot further than the half-hearted ‘glorious’ revolution.

    I seem to recall reading that the affects on democracy of William’s victory were somewhat deficient from a Roman Catholic point of view.

  • marty

    CL –
    Are you seriously implying that the UDA et al are not involved in drug dealing and other areas of organised crime?

    Are you suggesting that only the LVF take part in this?

    Furthermore if the UDA and UVF have such grassroots support how come the UDP and PUP never fared well at the polls?

    I’d suggest that strong support within working class communities for these people is a mixture of fear and stupidity.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    The UDP disbanded, so UDA members and other loyalists can no longer support them. This was due to the fact that they naively wished to pursue a pro-“Belfast Agreement” agenda, whereas the vast majority of the membership of the UDA no longer supported the direction that the so-called “peace process” was heading, or as some loyalists prefer to call it, the “appeasement process”.

    Loyalists in the UDA and UVF feel that the best present political leadership is being given by the DUP, so they vote for them, instead of the only loyalist party left, the liberal “lets all hold hands and everything will be ok” PUP and Nelson Mandela wannabe Davy Ervine.

    I do support the UPRG but they don’t organise for elections, with candidates instead standing as Independents e.g. Frank McCoubrey for Belfast City Council

  • marty

    as some loyalists prefer to call it, the “appeasement process”.

    does this body of people include those who were release under the GFA?

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I’d be here all day if I named them all, but some of the appeasements I’m referring to are the destruction of Army watchtowers, the reduction in the number of troops, the complete overhaul of the RUC, including the changing of it’s name and the anti-Protestant nature of the sectarian selection process for new recruits and the release of all UNRECONSTRUCTED terrorists…

  • marty

    the complete overhaul of the RUC
    surely the criminal folk in the UDA etc. would be quite happy with a new, impotent police force? witness the recent events in Garneville.

    the release of all UNRECONSTRUCTED terrorists…
    So all loyalists terrorists have saw the error of their ways?

    I’m not having a dig at you personally by the way and I’m not an SF supporter.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    I’m not saying EVERY man and woman in the UDA is a good person, and is interested first and foremost in the loyalist cause and has its best interests at heart. I believe however that a significantly higher proportion do, compared to the opportunist money-grabbers in the LVF.

  • marty

    CL,
    I’ve a bus to catch so we’ll have to disagree :O)

  • bertie

    Comrade
    “bertie, all you are doing is taking measurements and making decisions based on your perspective.”

    Not quite sure what you are getting at here. Isn’t this what we all do? I have to go with my one decision making algoithm. It’s the only one I have. I deploy it and indeed test it, comparing it to others, amending and improving in the light of this where possible, but it is still mine. By the way, this particular issue is for me nothing to do with my unionism. If I was a nationalist, but had the same mindset that I have now. I would still have the same view of IRA/Sinn Fein in government. Even as a unionist, if all the unionist parties were pro-agreement and there was a nationalist party, totally opposed to it because of release of terrorists and having them in government but were unashamedly advocating a united Ireland by exclusively peaceful means and I had to cast my vote in this scenario, I would, in all probability, vote for this nationalist party. I might not like it and may go into the ballot booth holding my nose. There is an outside chance that might spoil my vote but I think that unlikely. I would rationalise that I could always come out and vote for the Union in any border poll.

    It has been from my point of view an interesting discussion but we are never going to agree. I don’t think it is as simple as our views are polls apart. I think that they do meet at some points (quite a few actually – I could cut and paste many things from your posts that I would be quite happy to put my name to) but then go off sharply at mutually exclusive tangents. I tend to only talk politics with people who hold similar view. It is very comfortable but a bit intellectually incestuous. This is one of the advantages of Slugger. It is highly unlikely that we would be able to have had such a discussion in another forum. After a very short time in a pub for instance I would have given you a wide berth and I dare say that you would be relieved that I had. As I say I do not agree with you on this matter but you are clearly better informed than I about some events and there are one or two things that I will be following up on outside Slugger.

    T.Ruth,
    “You come across as a wishy-washy liberal unionist voter ….”

    I wonder how often you get called that ;o)

  • Comrade Stalin

    marty writes : “Furthermore if the UDA and UVF have such grassroots support how come the UDP and PUP never fared well at the polls?”

    It’s perfectly simple, marty. The attitudes espoused by those organizations are articulated far better by the DUP and UUP. It is completely wrong to assume that support for a paramilitary organization translates directly into votes for it’s political wing. It underlines my point, which is that the DUP and the UUP act as the de-facto “arms length” political wings for loyalist paramilitarism. This can be seen very clearly by dint of their equivocation when it comes to loyalist activity.

    T.Ruth:

    “Loyalist groups have no significant political support in the Unionist community and are not likely to wield power in a new Assembly.”

    As “Concerned Loyalist” has helpfully pointed out above, those who support the UVF and UDA, including the membership of those organizations, vote for the DUP. It isn’t me saying this – it’s the guy right there who buys the local UDA magazine. The political interests of the UDA and UVF are served by political parties which are not linked to them. Why would the UDA and UVF support a political party which, outwardly, regards them as scum ? The blindingly obvious conclusion is that there must be a difference between what the DUP claim their policy on terrorism is, and what it actually is.

    This underlines what I have attempted to explain, about why this direct comparison between nationalism and unionism over the linkage between an armed organization and an overtly political one cannot be sensibly compared like-for-like. The dynamic in nationalism and unionism is completely different, but the results are the same – you have a paramilitary machine and at least one political party which apologizes for it.

    I have illustrated at length how, despite the acknowledged absence of a direct link (I have never disputed that), unionist politicians act to apologize for the activities of loyalists and, by turning a blind eye, allow them to continue to exist. Have you made any kind of attempt to understand my point ? You say you condemn violence, yet you vote for the man who organized Ulster Resistance and the Third Force, and who put an army of men on a hill waving gun licences. You say you are in favour of peaceful and democratic means, yet if you’re asked you will say that you supported the UWC strike, despite the methods used, and would do so again. You will say you are opposed to intimidation and thuggery, yet the politicians you elect cannot bring themselves to demand that loyalist flags or murals are taken down; you vote for politicians who officiate at loyalist paramilitary funerals and who UVF commemoration events. You say that you will not support anyone who elects terrorists in to power, yet the UUP (with no sign of condemnation from the DUP) elected a UVF-linked individual as Lord Mayor in Belfast in 1994 (the UVF was not even on ceasefire and was still actively killing people) but on the other hand walked out of the chamber when a Sinn Feiner was elected to the deputy position several years later.

    Why do you keep repeating this “but we’re not linked to terrorists” as if it has any relevance ? The principle relevant point is that you refuse to stand up to terrorism when it happens to be kicking with the same foot that you are. The fact that you refuse to take a hard line against loyalism means that you must, to some degree, sympathize with it’s objectives.

    Concerned Loyalist, since several UDA and UVF members have recently been done by the Assets Recovery Agency, I don’t think anyone will be terribly convinced by your defence of their honour.

    TAFKBO writes :

    “Whatever the rights and wrongs of the situation, from any perspective, Republicans are in the position where it is they who have to convince us of their bona fides.”

    I agree and in an ideal world I would expect everyone with a historic relationship of some kind or other with paramilitarism to demonstrate their commitment to peaceful means before I would support their entry into government. The trouble is that neither you or the republicans are. The republicans believe that their mandate entitles them to government irrespective of their extra-cirricular activites. You on the other hand think that loyalism, despite the widespread intimidation and violence it is involved in (against everyone, not just Catholics), is not a problem worth worrying much about. You’re not interested in punishing the parties which although not directly linked, tolerate and encourage loyalism through fiery speeches, podium appearances, mealy-mouthed equivocation in the media or (worst of all) silence during terrorist acts – and going by the election result, very few unionist voters are. You’re only interested in dealing with republicans. Ergo, you are not interested in securing a just peace.

    By the way, you present the choices wrong. Your choice is between powersharing and joint authority. To serve your interests and strengthen the union your objective should be to buy credit with the British public, and you can’t be bothered doing it, hence playing directly into the hands of those seeking reunification. I’d much rather have powersharing within the union than reunification right now – joint authority would be worse than either of those. But unionists seem to have an inbuilt tendancy to underline that which they claim to support the most, whether it is the union, the police, democracy or anything else.

  • reality check

    comrade-the truth has never been told better