Politicians need to tell like it is…

BIg Ulsterman is less than impressed with the condemnation from Ian Paisley over recent violence towards some of his North Antrim constitency.

  • Keith M

    Where is the evidence that the loyalists actually listen to the DUP? Loyalists leaders like Irvine have plowed their own furrow for years, completly disregarding the DUP.

    It appears the DUP are “damned if they do, and damned if they don’t” condemn these activities. Said something and not getting the desired action makes them look impotent. Not saying anything makes them an easy target for criticism.

  • smcgiff

    I have sympathy with the idea that the louts will not listen to politicians.

    However, phrases like, ‘attack which must be condemned’ just goes to show that politicians often go into a trance and spout the well worn phrases. It’s stilted and gives the impression he’s more worried about been seen to say the right thing rather than truly disturbed by the antics of the thugs.

  • yerman

    These kinds of comments have been going on for weeks now – what more exactly is it that they want? DUP spokesmen have been on repeatedly over the last few weeks condeming the attacks using every language possible.

    Where was Gerry Adams when a D-Day Veteran and pensioner’s house was attacked the other night? Where was some other SF representative when someone elses house was attacked on a different occasion…. it can go on…. and on…. and on…..

    AFAIK Ian Paisley was on holiday when some of the attacks took place – is he now not entitled to take a holiday? We hardly ever hear a cheep from Gerry Adams at this time of the year, no doubt because he is tucked away in his holiday home/mansion in Donegal. Even when a statement was released by the DUP and Ian Paisley interviewed it hasnt been enough, then it wasnt exactly the right kinds of words which were used or he wasnt wearing the right colour of suit! It seems that some people will just never be satisfied, and all the time the real issue is being ignored – the fact that there are scum running around (on both sides) who are attacking defenceless people at will.

    A few questions as to why the police aren’t out there rounding these people up and locking them away instead of hiding behind pillar boxes with a speed camera in their hand might be more worthwhile.

  • yerman


    I had started on my first tirade before seeing your post and I have some sympathies with what you say also. But, what exactly is Ian Paisley or anyone else supposed to say? They may well be ‘worn out’ phrases but is that not possibly because they have had to be used so often as a result of the countless times these thugs have carried out attacks and not because the person is any less sincere in their condemnation.

    If you are completely outraged by something what else can you say except that you are outraged? If all that people are worried about is that Ian Paisley hasnt bought a theasuaurus to look up some new words for condemnation then what really is all the fuss about? If not then it seems that all some people want to do is to invent a new stick to beat someone with.

  • Crow

    For that matter where is the evidence that they even listen to their purported representatives in the PUP and UPRG?

  • slug

    SF do not beieve in the politics of condemnation. Unless its others that are to be condemned, in which case they seem keen.

  • The Beach Tree

    Kieth M

    Perhaps your mistake is in comparing

    a) being powerless in the face of violent thuggery against children and mothers and
    b) being relatively unconcerned with it

    and finding these ‘outcomes’ equally evil.

    Being powerless is unfortunate. Being unconcerned is downright evil. And yet..

    The DUP are, by your analysis, more interested in maintaining the illusion of power, than isolating violent sectarian thugs. To them, Big Ian’s sheen of influence is more important than the actual health and safety of his constitutents. You consider that acceptable?

    I would argue that all that betrays is that some posters have far too high a regard for a political party’s appearance, and far too little regard for the lives and safety of members of the other community. If an SDLP man argued that over a perceived republican atrocity you’d go mental.

    In the end, Kieth M, what is more important, looking important, or doing something?

  • bertie

    I think Keith was focusing on the potential effectiveness of condemnation.

    I would agree that condemnation will not directly effective. However there may be indirect benefits in such messages as it reenforces that these people reprent nothing and noone but themselves and their narrow self interests. As an ordinary unionist I get a bit peeved to say the list when anyone challanges me to condemn “loyalist” terrorists, not because I have a problem in so doing but because all too often the request seems to be in the context that I would (have a problem that is). In the face of this perceived insult it is all to easy tp focus on that and fail to issue the condemnation. I try to (and like to think I suceed in addressing both). Sometimes we have to do the right thing even if we feel that it does not good. The more people who can tell these nomarks that they are not wanted the more we can embolden the resistence to them and the more we isolate the powers that be in the government who find it useful to encourage these would be “statesmen” (which is what I beleive these people consider themselves).

    This could propable be better expressed in fewer words but I’m not up to editing.

  • The Watchman

    Enoch Powell never put out statements of condemnation when he was in South Down. When asked about this, he was amazed because he presumed that as a democratic politician his condemnation of criminality was taken for granted.

    Likewise, I wonder about the likelihood of the thugs turning around and saying “Gosh the DUP has condemned us, we had better stop.” As it happened the DUP has done so clearly, no matter the criticism that could be levelled against it over its dealings with paramilitaries in the past.

    My view is that the sordid criminality is a matter for the police to stop by force and politicians don’t have a part to play in inducing the thugs to stop.

  • aquifer

    If Ian Paisley says ‘it goes without saying that I condemn these attacks’ or somesuch, it exactly does not, as he has been involved in a lot of sectarian conflict over the years and might be assumed to have some sympathies with the attackers.

    He needs to go further, to be brave, to be seen not to be in control, to be ignored or vulnerable to abusers while doing the right thing.

    He needs to practice christian love, if he believes in god at all.

    Else take the silly collar off.

  • Pat

    It can’t be taken as said that the DUP condem the attacks against Nationalists given that at the start of the peace process in 1994 it was the DUP who approached the UVF and asked them not to go on ceasefire, a fact which was confirmed by David Ervine of the PUP on tv. Any resonable person would therefore deduce that if they didn’t want a ceasefire that they were happy for the murders and sectarian attacks to continue.

    The current condemnations by the DUP on the Ahogill sectarian attacks have been qualified with excuses that if Nationalists / Republicans hadn’t raised tensions by wanting to parade in Ballymena then the attacks wouldn’t have occurred and therefore Republicans should accept some of the blame for the attacks.

    The DUPs statement questioning the rights of Nationalists/Republicans to parade simply shows the true nature of DUP beliefs and their warped view of what equality actually is. Whilst they denounce Nationalists rights to parade in Ballymena and state this as one of the reasons for the sectarian attacks they are loath to accept the same analysis of violence occurring elsewhere due to Orange parades being forced through Nationalist areas.

    As hard as it is for the DUP to take in equality means that Nationalists have the same rights as Unionists and therefore under the same circumstances have the right to parade through areas where they may not be wanted. That said the area where they were parading in Ballymena was the Nationalist part of the town.

    The DUPs position on Unionists/Loyalist violence can not also be taken as one of condemnation as the DUP representative on the Shankill no more than 3 weeks ago condemed the PSNI for starting trouble after carrying out house raids on suspected UVF members involved in the current loyalist fued with the LVF, and they have yet to demand over and over that these paramilitary organisations disband in the same way that they were battering down the doors of the BBC/UTV to air their views on the IRA. Nothing can be taken as said until it is said!

  • tiny

    Enoch Powell never put out statements of condemnation when he was in South Down. When asked about this, he was amazed because he presumed that as a democratic politician his condemnation of criminality was taken for granted.

    The thing is Paisley’s hands are not as clean as Powell’s

  • Tochais Síoraí

    Has the MP for North Antrim ever visited any of the homes of those who’ve been petrol bombed etc. or even visited the towns or villages where it has happened to specifically condemn the attacks?

  • Dessertspoon

    “It seems that some people will just never be satisfied” – yerman

    “…it seems that all some people want to do is to invent a new stick to beat someone with.” – yerman (again)

    A taste of the DUPs own medicine perhaps!?

  • alexander bowman


    Condemnation has traditionally been a difficult issue for unionists. I’ll give you two instances which, while from a few years ago, seem illustrative of this.

    Within the space of a fortnight during June ’97 three R.U.C. men were murdered in N.I. Const. Greg Taylor was kicked to death outside a pub in Ballymoney by loyalists. Consts. Two weeks later Graham and Johnston were shot by provos while on foot-patrol in Lurgan.

    In an article in the Belfast Telegraph Bob McCartney quite rightly rigorously condemned the Lurgan killings but, somehow, failed to even mention that perpetrated in Ballymoney.

    Taken up on this discrepancy by a caller on Talkback he replied with truly awe-inspiring casuistry that, had the killers of Greg Taylor belonged to a constituted paramilitary organisation his condemnation of them would have been equally forceful!

    For the other example we must turn to the Maximum Ayatollah himself and again it concerns the R.U.C. (an organisation exalted by both Big Max and Little Mac).

    When Constable Frank O’Reilly died in October ’98 a month after being hit by a blast bomb thrown by Red Hand Defenders – once agin in Lurgan, Paisley’s only complaint was that “such actions made it difficult for him to represent the Protestant people.” (The fact that O’Reilly was Catholic may have no bearing this…)

  • yerman

    If you believe that, then you obviously also believe that 2 wrongs make a right.

    As for the stuff about the DUP asking the UVF not to go on ceasefire – well I believe everything told to me by David Ervine, and before anyone asks why legal action wasnt taken I’m sure Mr Ervine was careful enough not to mention any specific names in connection with that little allegation.

    As for whether Ian Paisley has visited homes which were attacked – there’s certainly a picture of Ian Paisley Jnr visiting the latest home to be attacked in Ballymoney. No doubt that doesnt satisfy of course because there’ll always be something else they should have done.

    Maybe the DUP should go down the Sinn Fein line in condemntation – Omagh, yes that was to be condemned, but Enniskillen, LaMon or Teeban – oh no certainly not those were most understandable.

  • Tochais Síoraí

    “As for whether Ian Paisley has visited homes which were attacked – there’s certainly a picture of Ian Paisley Jnr visiting the latest home to be attacked in Ballymoney. No doubt that doesnt satisfy of course because there’ll always be something else they should have done”

    That’s commendable but it’s the oul fella who needs to publicly spend a day going around his constituency visiting these houses – IPJ is a lightweight. It’s an old chestnut, I know, but he’d be around in an instant if it were people from his own side of the house who were being attacked.

  • reality check

    Ian paisley jnr actually visited a couple of the families in ahoghill and kept it out of the media gaze.roy gillespie(ahoghill dup coucillor)visited the home which was attacked as well.The visits were kept quiet until the dup got strongly condemned and ian paisley jnr let the news out.Even with these visits the attacks still continued.I’ve heard the uprg are involved in talks with residents of ahoghill to stop the attacks.

    Alexander Bowman
    Frankie O’Reilly had recently converted to protestantism prior to his death

  • reality check

    If the republican parade didn’t take place the motivation for loyalist attacks was still there.Tensions were running high due the fact orange parades were being forced up the market road and past the mainly catholic socialising area of william street in the town

  • yerman

    Me @ 10.04 “No doubt that doesnt satisfy of course because there’ll always be something else they should have done.”

    Tochais Siorai @ 10.26 “it’s the oul fella who needs to publicly spend a day going around his constituency visiting these houses”

    I didnt expect the prediction to come true that quickly. If Paisley Snr had visited houses then he would have been condemned because he hadnt visited every house and if he had visited every house then it would have been that he didnt speak individually to every resident. Like I said, some people will just never be satisfied.

    You could ask – Just what is it you people want???

    Reality Check makes a fair point – oftentimes these visits are not done in the glare of publicity, for very good reasons. Sometimes politicians cant win: when they release a statement they are accused of something akin to ‘ambulance chasing’ and if they dont but are active without seeking publicity then they are automatically labelled as doing nothing. Maybe quiet work on the ground without jumping around like the SDLP (and others!) on this issue will actually do something productive.

    However on your comments re Constable Frankie O’Reilly I have to say I have never once heard any suggestions he had changed his religion at any stage – not that it would matter anyway.

  • The Watchman

    Alexander Bowman,

    I fear your point about Bob McCartney says more about yourself than about Big Bob himself. You seem more interested in taking a silly dig at a political figure than making a substantive point. If McCartney’s piece (from 8 years ago so I can’t check on it) focused on paramilitary violence then I can see why the Ballymoney murder might not have been relevant to it and why McCartney had no need to mention it.

    Am I the only one to think that a lot of criticism being aimed at the DUP is simply the authors deciding to have a go at a party they don’t like in the first place? Just a thought.

  • bertie

    Bob Mc Cartney has been threatened by “loyalist” and they sent a pasrcl bomb to his office because he has been so outspoken in his abhorance of them.

  • DCB


    Do you beleive that, to put it crudly the DUP is better than SF? – I presume that you do. In which case why do you seek to base the DUP’s policy on condemnation on what SF do. Many of us know that SF are as hypocritical as they come but that cannot be carte blanche to do the same