Carnmoney: the lost souls of the DUP?

There is certainly a theological argument in protests against Cemetary Sunday, the day when Catholics remember their loved ones by visiting their graves and praying for them. Although, on All Souls Night, protestants the length and breadth of Sweden make a similar visit to light the graves with candles in the darkest of Nordic nights. What is decidedly not theological, is the threat by some of the protesters to dig up the graves of individual Catholics in revenge. Susan McKay draws a fairly powerful literary comparison (subs needed).

In Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, the monster appeals to its creator not to denounce it: ‘Remember that I am thy creature.’ There is no point in the DUP claiming it doesn’t know the rabble descending on the graveyard at Carnmoney. These lost souls are its people.

Alex Maskey:

“I do not believe that the majority of unionists support what happened at Carnmoney cemetery. I have no doubt that many would reject these scenes of squalid sectarianism allegedly being carried out in their name.

“There is a huge job of work required by those with influence within the broader unionist community to tackle sectarianism. Certainly I believe that we all need to show positive leadership and challenge the demonisation of each other.

“We need an open and honest debate about the nature, causes and extent of sectarianism within our communities.

  • hensons

    What is the protest actually about? I am baffled on this one.

  • Warm Storage

    No idea. BBC and UTV mustn’t know either, or else I’m sure they would tell the viewers. Or maybe I just missed their explanation.

    Is it just me or has interrogation by the media been especially lacking this past week or two (notwithstanding some ridiculous questions asked by assorted illuminati at the General’s press conference last Monday)?

  • darthrumsfeld

    … in which Susan rightly condemns the appalling behaviour of the protestors …the spurious basis that these people must be DUP supporters because…er, Nah, let’s just come up with a semi-literary metaphor to disguise the total lack of proof.

    What about blaming Davy Dikshunary because the Red Hand Commandos were alleged to have been the “brains” behind this depraved behaviour last year? Oh, but Davy’s pro-Agreement, and therefore above criticism. Remember how the Quinn children were murdered by a member of the peace-loving pro-Agreement UVF, but it was the Orange order who copped the flak?

    There is absolutely no proven link between the DUP and these half-life morons, other than the fact that-to our shame- they claim to be Protestants too. And they are almost certainly as antipathetic to the DUP as the DUP must be to them.

    [Darth, play the ball please! Personal comments removed – Mick]

  • Hmm…

    Maybe I missed something, but DUP Mayor Billy DeCourcy declined to condemn this nonsense preferring to witter on about the right to protest. He did look uncomfortable though…

  • fair_deal

    In terms of Unionist parties the UUP has the worst record on this protest not the DUP.

    “Father Whyte has an agenda that we don’t seem to be getting to the bottom of” said Councillor Hunter. “It is quite evident . that they (the Catholic Church) made a determined effort to segregate and sectarianise Carnmoney.” Just to leave no doubt as to the extent of Father Whyte’s complicity, Councillor Hunter also blamed him for the ‘Kill All Taigs’ graffiti daubed on his church last week: “The very fact that he didn’t remove the graffiti shows that he has an agenda,” the councillor added.
    (Source Irish News 22/08/03)

  • Dick Doggins

    Theres no point in trying to label these neanderthals as anything but brainless morons but it would be refreshing to hear the Leader of the largest Unionist party condemn without reservation their actions.

  • Foggy

    Fair_Deal, I take it Councillor Hunter is UUP? What a terrible comment to make on his part!

    “I blame you for the graffiti as you wont remove it!”

    I don’t know whether to laugh or cry at that one.

  • Philip

    So the DUP mayor does not condemn but his leader does. Is this dissent in the ranks?

  • Ginfizz

    The DUP Mayor did condemn the protests see todays Irish News.

    I’m afraid Susan McKay is allowing her visceral hatred of the DUP to cloud her judgement. What next? If it rains in Ballymena it’s Paisley’s fault?

    Poor article.

  • fair_deal


    He was a UUP councillor at the time. He lost is seat in the last election.

  • victor1

    The DUP Mayor did NOT condemn the protests unless he has done a complete u-turn, he was interviewed by both BBC and UTV reporters and totally refused to condemn the protests as Hmm stated above prefered to uphold the right to protest! The real problem here is the apathy of the governments to Loyalist protests or rather naked sectarian bigotry, Schools, Chaples and now Graveyards all go unchallenged by the forces of law and the governments who run them, imagine for a minute the same venom taking place in London or Dublin how long would it continue before legislation was produced to imprison the bigots, I would suggest not very long at all!

  • levee

    We need more than hollow condemnations at this point. There is no place for bigotry in Northern Ireland, and it’s time that we made an issue of this to our *ahem* political representatives.

    It’s about time people started identifying rioters and vandals and reporting them to the proper authorities – no, Gerry A, not your priest or solicitor – the Police Service!

  • baldrick

    Imagine the howls of protest from these Neanderthals if someone threatened to dig up King Rat’s remains or urinate on his grave. They’d be burning their neighbour’s car and shooting at the PSNI in no time!

    The sad fact is that that they are so bigotted and blinkered that they couldn’t even recognise a double standard if they was carved on a piece of 2″x4″ which was then used to beat them round the head for a month.

    And after all – if a Fenian Prayer accidentally brushed past a Protestant grave – the resulting contamination might see “Wee Billy” coming to pay his respects to his dead uncle Sammy (who died bravely in one of the Loyalist feuds defending his civil and religious liberties and his right to deal crack cocaine in greater Carnmoney) and going home to burn his Linfield shirt and start cheering on Tyrone, or worse still resigning from LOL 1690 “True Blue, Ulster Defender, Total Intemperance Flute Band” and joining a diddly-de band with the Chieftains.

    You couldn’t make up this sort of nonsense if you tried.

    Unfortunately it illustrates a very nasty section of the “Loyalist” poulation which the Unionist political parties need to admit exists, need to absolutely condemn and yet with whom they must try and find some common ground to engage and try to change attitudes if we are ever to see progress in NI.

    God help us all!

  • Ling

    What exactly are they protesting about? All the reporting seems to be about the threats to desecrate the graves, but nothing about *why* they are threatening to do this, and what they’re protesting about in the first place.

    Anyone care to enlighten those of us who don’t aactually know?

  • darth rumsfeld

    ok mick, but you’ll have to be a bit more thorough in your censorship-scroll down the thread-ta susan :0)

    ANYWAY,Susan , show us your evidence for the link you make. How many people there were DUP members, or voters, or even said “I wish I’d never heard of that awful man Paisley”. The protestors won’t have been Free Ps- they were all at their third service of the day (at least)then. They won’t have been the majority of prods who play golf or dig the garden on the sabbath- a majority of them who bother to vote also vote DUP by the way.
    So who were they? Just a few nasty lumpen prods, who embarass us all- a bit like the religious prods embarass some who shall remain nameless socialist feminist journalists-possibl;y from Londonderry, possibly not, who have a penchant for penning such criticisms (will that do Mick?)

    So… let’s find one group noone could like and link them to another group not many like, and hey presto!Guilt by association-or in this case non-association.

  • slug

    Dr Paisley condemned it this am while visiting a catholic school.

  • slug

    Here is what the BBC report:

    “Loyalists ‘must end all violence’

    Peter Hain said that violence does not pay
    Loyalist paramilitaries must end their violence and allow democratic politics to move forward, Northern Ireland Secretary Peter Hain has urged.
    Mr Hain was speaking on a visit to St Louis’s Catholic Primary School in Ballymena, which was targeted by sectarian arsonists in August.

    He was accompanied by the local MP, DUP leader Ian Paisley.

    Mr Hain said: “Violence does not pay and progress will only be made when paramilitaries leave the stage.”

    Both men strongly condemned loyalist threats to desecrate Catholic graves at Carnmoney Cemetery in Newtownabbey on Sunday.

    ‘Medieval throwback’

    Mr Hain said the threat was a “medieval throwback to a past of violence and bigotry”.

    Mr Paisley said that those behind the threats had “no respect for the living or the dead”, adding that no words of condemnation were strong enough.

    They were speaking on a visit to St Louis’s Primary School, more than a month after it was attacked by arsonists. “

  • Hmm…

    Guilt by association? OK, these thugs are unlikely to be devout christians of any sort, and may not vote DUP, UUP, or at all, but when a public representative like Mayor De Courcy explicitly refuses to condemn (perhaps he’s changed his mind now, Ginfizz) this sort of behaviour, then isn’t he associating himself, and his party, with the thugs? Can anyone imagine a similar scenario in England, where a mayor would wriggle like this over disruption to to a religious service and threats to descrate graves? It’s up to his fellow party members to straighen him out and dissociate themselves from him.

  • The Watchman

    Like my fellow resident of the Dark Side Mr Darth Rumsfeld, I’ve been told off for tackling Ms McKay rather than the ball. But I do have to wonder at the agenda she’s pushing. Her penchant is to slyly link some example of disgusting lumpen Prod behaviour to more representative unionist groups. Here it is to the DUP, despite a lack of evidence. Elsewhere, e.g. sectarian murder, it is to the Orange Order.

    What galls me is that McKay is often interviewed as an “expert” on unionism on account of her unsympathetic “Unsettled People”. In reality, she is a former unionist (nothing inherently wrong in that, I guess) who puts the boot into her former people for a cheap cheer in the nationalist press.

  • Dick Doggins

    Maybe now Paisleys condemnation will now filter down the ranks.

  • cleedy

    Perhaps it might be useful to explain how the opposition to Cemetery Sunday was fomented in the first place to give this discussion some context.
    The issue was first raised at a council meeting in Newtownabbey in 2001. Back then Fr Whyte had to apply to the council for permission to use the cemetery. The aforementioned Cllr Ivan Hunter objected to the fact that Catholic worshippers had allegedly stopped Protestants from getting to their relatives’ graves when the event took place the previous year. He also recorded some incidents where Protestants were supposed to have had their cars ‘blessed’ with Rosary beads as they drove past. He received some support from DUP and individual loyalist representatives but overall his views were rubbished.
    After the local paper, the Newtownabbey Times, made the council row public, controversy has always surrounded the event. What is less well known is that Cemetery Sunday services take place all over Northern Ireland and pass by without comment or incident.
    Many have asked what the protesters are protesting about? There is little point in asking that question because no doubt they would not be able to answer it themselves. It feeds into the same sense of Protestant paranoia which flared after Whiterock.
    Protests at Carnmoney originally flared as tensions continued around Drumcree. Last year when much of the tension had been taken out of Drumcree, there was no trouble in Carnmoney. This year tensions have been raised again by Whiterock – what happened on Sunday was no accident.
    Rather than endless debates about who condemns what, surely it is more relevant to look at who was behind what happened on Sunday. The protest was organised and orchestrated by loyalist paramilitaries – very specifically the Red Hand Commando.

  • Fraggle

    “There is certainly a theological argument in protests against Cemetary Sunday, the day when Catholics remember their loved ones by visiting their graves and praying for them.”

    Mick, care to expand upon and justify this statement?

  • Jo

    “Her penchant is to slyly link some example of disgusting lumpen Prod behaviour to more representative unionist groups.”

    ..but wasnt this exactly what Ruth Dudley E. was doing on another thread?

  • hensons

    eh….but does anyone know what on earth the protest is about……anyone?

  • darthrumsfeld

    “when a public representative like Mayor De Courcy explicitly refuses to condemn (perhaps he’s changed his mind now, Ginfizz) this sort of behaviour, then isn’t he associating himself, and his party, with the thugs?”

    No-if that is correct he’s showing himself as meanspirited and stupid,and meritting our contempt, but he no more associates his party with the bigots who took part than Tommy McTeague’s more idiotic comments link Mark Durkan to the National Front.
    Let’s concentrate on the real evil here, folks- the actual mindset of human beings who can threaten to dig up a corpse-rather than Susan’s feeble effort to link those who have condemned it with those who made the threat. Enoch Powell repeatedly refused to mouth platitudes of condemnation because he said noone could doubt for a minute that he opposed all crime, and should not need to be constantly tested on that issue. I recall that he was one of the Unionist politicians most detested by loyalist paramilitaries.

    Is it better to score a cheap point against the DUP because of some not very bright local councillor’s apparent lack of clarity of language, or attack the organisers of the protest- apparently UVF linked? Oh,and also ask what exactly is the point of the PSNI if they can’t even scoop these lowlives for hate crimes?

    Still waiting for any link between these thugs and the DUP- perhaps Susan works on that theory that everyone is only six persons away from another -so spide A has a pitbull that he bought from spide B , whose granny is the niece of an Orangeman, who belonged to a Lodge that once attended a service in the Martyrs Memorial, where Ian Paisley preached -aha! It’s all so clear now.

  • mucher

    I think Mick meant that Protestants did not believe in praying for the dead. Since judgement is passed on us at the moment of death, praying for the dead to be saved is to deny God.

  • Mick


    mucher has it in one. I’ve not anywhere said I’d support it. Nevertheless a legitimate theological argument could be found.

  • Biffo


    “..some not very bright local councillor’s apparent lack of clarity of language”

    He’s the DUP mayor of Newtownabbey, he was specifically asked by a journalist if he condemned the protesters, he specifically refused.

    He was clear and deliberate in his choice of words and the interview was broadcast on TV last night.

    Basically, he’s refusing to get into the “politics of condemnation” on this particular issue.

  • Comrade Stalin

    What is the protest actually about? I am baffled on this one.

    The protest is about some people who don’t want fenians getting buried in their cemetary. It’s a similar theme to the people who throw bags of shit and urine at fenian schoolkids passing through “their” neighbourhood – a legitimate form of protest, you see. And if you don’t get it, you’re clearly an enemy of Ulster.

    “Cleedy” equivocated for thuggery and undisguised bigotry :

    The aforementioned Cllr Ivan Hunter objected to the fact that Catholic worshippers had allegedly stopped Protestants from getting to their relatives’ graves when the event took place the previous year.

    What evidence is there of this ? What form did the obstruction take ? Why were the police not informed ?

    He also recorded some incidents where Protestants were supposed to have had their cars ‘blessed’ with Rosary beads as they drove past.

    Assuming this actually did happen, explain what the problem with this is ? I guess blessing something isn’t an exact art. You move your hand slightly the wrong way, and you’ve accidentally blessed the whole neighbourhood. Surely it’s a forgiveable mistake ?

    Think of it another way. I accidentally drank a bottle of holy water once. At the time I thought nothing of it, believing there would be no consequences other than perhaps a slightly shorter period in purgatory. Nonetheless, it did occur to me that I had probably accidentally consecrated the WC some hours later, as the usual biological processes concerning ingested water played their well-known role. Outdoubtedly, the blessed water component of the sewage effluent made it’s way through the system to water treatment, into the water system where, as a result of my indiscretion, I may have accidentally caused the damnation of two or three Free Presbyterians, several hundred fish and a few of the swans at the waterworks on the Cavehill Road who are now condemned to an eternity of torture at the hands of Beelzebub. On the other hand, I’m sure at some point several cancer curings or other healings may be attributable to my lack of foresight in choice of beverage that day – I think it’ll be a while before I get canonized though.

    As I said, there’s a good chance that you’ve already been accidentally blessed, had prayers said about you, or otherwise been involuntarily involved in some kind of religious incantation. Just be thankful that the Pope hasn’t implemented my ideas on more efficient holy water supply (the idea being that the Holy Father raise his hands and bless all of the water in the entire world – thereby ensuring conversions, healings and general good fortune can be had by taking a bath or stepping out in a shower of rain).

  • mucher

    Cll.Ivan Hunter objections to the graves blessing might be regarded as extreme but I have sympathy with people who object to these grave blessings generally. Why do people need large gatherings before they can visit their relatives graves?They choke up the roads, park anywhere that suits them, drop litter and than pack out the pubs so that locals can’t get into them. It is NOT a holy or sacred event, more like a excuse for a day out.
    Surely people can pay their respects, pray,attend to their graves on their own or with their families throughout the year. Why only once a year? Why do the graves need blessing if they are already blessed at the time of the funeral. Do blessings wear off and have to be annually redone?
    I live in a small village where this annual charade takes place every summer. Believe me it is not welcomed by those who live beside it.

  • Denny Boy

    I’ve just returned to Slugger having left off to supervise a bunch of British barbarians, i.e. our latest intake of students. But of course for genuine barbarousness, those Carnmoney loyalists are hard to beat. Digging up corpses?! Am I reading this correctly?

    Almost as bad: intelligent and literate people on Slugger actually defending this awfulness, as though those barbarians somehow had a case for “protesting”.

    And there I was thinking that genuine progress was being made in Ulster. Paisley visiting that school. Too little, too late (he could have done it in August and perhaps dissuaded the bigots in his constituency from launching more attacks) but even if it’s only politics, it’s good politics and I welcome it.

    Could he not have a quick word in de Courcey’s ear? This is an elected mayor? Wow. Bottoms and barrels come to mind.

    And as for Ivan Hunter: Next time we hear him defending somebody’s right to block the Queen’s highway (or even march on the Queen’s highway) we might ask him why he objects to people PRAYING in one of the Queen’s cemeteries.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Do blessings wear off and have to be annually redone?

    If we required religion to have rational and logical reasons for acting as it does, we wouldn’t be a democracy. I find religious ceremonies generally to be absurd, but that is no excuse to block the right of people to have them.

  • will

    After the murder of former uda commander, Jim Gray this evening, will the unionists be shouting from the rooftops for unionist decommisioning ?

  • Alan2

    ‘Grave Protest Roadblock Was Shameful And Wrong’

    Mr Dawson (DUP) also condemned the threats and said everyone, regardless of their religion, has a right to worship in peace. “This is utterly disgusting behaviour. Everyone, irrespective of their religion, has the right to worship peacefully,” he said.

    Paisley meets Catholic schoolchildren

    Afterwards the DUP leader called for loyalists who engage in violence to be shunned by the entire community.

    “I have no sympathy with them whatsoever,” the North Antrim MP said.

    “The vast majority of people in Ballymena would have no sympathy with them at all.

    “What we have to do now is to see how these people are isolated and that they know that all sections of the community are opposed to what they are doing.”


    The DUP leader said they had shown no respect for the dead or their relatives.

    “No condemnation could be strong enough,” he said.

    “And I trust that we will not hear language like that again at any of these meetings.”

    Nationalist SDLP Assembly member Sean Farren welcomed the visit by the Mr Paisley to the school.

    “For other MPs this might be a small gesture, but for the North Antrim MP it is quite momentous given his silence through so much of the wave of sectarian attacks and intimidation during the summer,” the former Stormont Finance Minister said.

    “I hope that even at this stage, his visit may have the effect of dampening down sectarian tensions.”

  • Denny Boy

    “For other MPs this might be a small gesture, but for the North Antrim MP it is quite momentous given his silence through so much of the wave of sectarian attacks and intimidation during the summer”

    Yes, let me amend my earlier comment. It was too little, but perhaps not too late.

    Could be a man Paisley’s age was affected more than most by the symbolism of the grave. Who knows but he may yet see the error of his ways and examine his conscience.

    If he does then we must forgive him.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Denny, I’d be ready to forgive Paisley if he’d just move a shade towards normality.

    The irony is that in the Free Presbyterian religion forgiveness has no value; it is repentance which is important. I’d like to hear if he truly does repent for his role in stirring this whole place up.

  • Alan2

    Free Presbyterianism is a denomination not a religion and its doctrines are pretty much the same as most other denominations icluding the Baptists. your sins are forgiven when you repent so of course forgiveness has value. The bible quite clearly tells us that we must repent our sins, “be born again”, “born of the spirit”…te Free P`s are no different to many others in that respect including the Church of Ireland and indeed evangelical “born again” Catholics.

  • Denny Boy

    Alan and the Comrade:

    Of course I was assuming that Paisley would repent before we could forgive him. Difficult to do so if he remains unrepentant.

    And it might well come to pass. Don’t rule it out. At his age, a man is more conscious of his impending demise than most. He’s no fool. He WILL examine his conscience prior to that one-on-one with the recording angel 😉

    Let’s hope he sees sense even at this late stage, and appreciates the mayhem he’s caused.

  • Gonzo

    I heard some loyalist quoted as saying that the holy water used to bless Catholic graves had also splashed onto Prod graves.

    But surely Prod loyalists would believe that since Rome is a church in error that the water cannot REALLY have been blessed by a priest. Hence, by thier own logic, it is just ordinary water.

    Those dumbass loyalists protesting on Sunday are attributing a religious ability to a priest that they don’t even believe is possible.

    The argument isn’t religious however. It’s about claiming territory and domination.

    I’m gonna blog Paisley’s comments.

  • Jo


    Why dont the people you mention protest, like the surly ignorant bigoted intolerant scum they and possibly you, are?

  • mucher

    Hi Jo,

    No!,I’m not surly, ignorant or a bigot. At least I hope I’m not. I just don’t like organised gatherings of any kind, by anyone. Be they green, orange, pink or yellow. I fail to see why people have to wait once a year to pay their respects at graves of their loved ones.
    As for why I don’t protest, I like in a small village. I would be protesting about something members of my own family take part in and my neighbours too. A one-man picket looks looks pathetic, so I just go out for the day and pick up the litter on the way back.

  • mucher


    Just to keep you right, seeing as you’re developing an opinion on this.

    There are no pubs handy to Carnmoney graveyard and people don’t park on the road, there’s no need – It’s a massive graveyard.

  • Biffo


    That was me, not you!

  • han

    This protest is disgusting and has no justification whatsoever, probably carried out by paramilitary garbage. I assume that the Loyalists, who are behind this ‘protest’ want the Catholics to exhume their dead and rebury them elsewhere, Their tender Loyalist souls cannot bear the sight of a Catholic ceremony for the dead on a cemetery once a year. Such squalid bigots are an affront to the name Protestant, because giving them this title that would be a monstrous insult to all decent Protestant Christians. This sectarian scum is not Christian at all.

  • Comrade Stalin

    Alan2, I appreciate that clarification. I think ignorance in part due to my RC education is coming through there.

    The point I had intended to make without sounding like a bigot was that non-RC religions believe there can be no forgiveness without repentence, in contrast with the RC position .. does that sound more like it ?

    By the way, I’m very pleased about the forthright way in which Paisley has condemned this protest unequivocally. We need to see more of that. Maskey was also right to say that most ordinary unionists would totally condemn the protests.

  • ZL

    “does anyone know what on earth the protest is about……anyone?”

    Isn’t it obvious? They are protesting about the fact that Catholic graves have obviously benefitted more from the peace process. Due to the fact that the majority of “legitimate” targets such as prisons staffers, RUC, UDR etc. positions were manned by Protestants the IRA campaign ensured a Prostestant majority in the grave race (something akin to the arms race). Now that the armed campaign is over and IRA arms have been put beyond use Ulster is in grave danger of losing out “to the poor dupes who are ground down under that system”. Certainly in this light the loyalist feuds and firing on the PSNI make sense.