No regrets over Brighton bomb…

PA also reports a minor ruck in Blackpool between David Burnside and Conor Murphy when the latter told the fringe meeting that he had no regrets over the Brighton bomb, but that it was simply part of the IRA’s long war.

  • Dessertspoon

    There is a time and a place for honesty and that was neither the time or the place.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”I think it was part of a war, which was a very difficult war between the people of the island of Ireland.”

    Another interesting SF history revision — in my innocence I supposed that sides fighting a war were both supposed to take casualties.
    On the rare occasions when PIRA did take casualties (Loughgall for instance), the cry went up from the RM of a ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy, as if they somehow gave the hundreds of people they blew up or shot in the back a sporting chance.
    The SF view on criminality and their bizarre definition of a war illustrate a party both seriously deluded and devoid of any moral code.

  • J Kelly

    Desert i reckon if Connor had said he regreted the Brighton bomb you and many others would have been calling him a hypocrite. Fair play to him honesty is always the best option.

  • John McIlveen

    I think we should open a debate on people’s views on criminality and views on legitimacy and views on democracy etc etc, because, whether anybody likes it or not, alot of people agree with Conor Murphy’s views (and some would express those views in less diplomatic language). The reality is that this place has had it’s fair share of craziness over many many years and we can’t speak from any position of high moral ground whilst not looking deep into the motivations/targets/circumstances etc etc involved in some of these crazy actions. One’s thing for sure from my point of view and that is that very very few parties or individuals would have an automatic right to govern this place if we held ridgidly to some of our views on these things

  • Mickhall

    This is a very strange comment by Connor Murphy, what is he implying here that the war was not one of national liberation, i e for the completion of the national revolution but an internal affair between Irish men and women. Maybe he has not been quoted correctly or in full but im totally bemused by his alleged comment.

    regards

  • slug@hotmail.com

    “”I think it was part of a war, which was a very difficult war between the people of the island of Ireland.””

    Interesting that SF are now revising their view of the war to be a civil war, between unionist and nationalist, rather than one between ‘Irish people’ and the UK government.

  • Irish in America

    What’s the point? Do we really need to have that warm, snug feeling to know that every bomber/terrorist/freedom fighter/liberator/soldier/murder regrets what they did in the past? Would it bring any dead people back, or heal any wounds? Look at his quote:

    “At the time I certainly did not regret it, I will be honest with you. I think it was part of a war, which was a very difficult war between the people of the island of Ireland.

    “I regret that it came to a situation where people felt they had to take on violence in order to pursue their political ends.”

    He says “at the time I did not regret it” and “it was a part of a war”. That how he saw it then. He went one to regret that it “came to a situation where people felt they had to take on violence…” Sure it’s minor, but he takes a very simple step of saying there is regret on some level. I’m not here to apologize for Murphy, that’s up to him, but does it all really matter?

  • slug

    Yes Irish in America.

    But waht is really revealing here is that Murphy has redefined the war – when speaking to the Tories he says the war “[was a very difficult war] between the people of the island of Ireland” – i.e. between unionists and nationalists – rather then between the Irish and the UK.

    This is quite interesting and different from before. What he seems to be saying is that bombing the Tory converence was part of a war against the uninoists – i.e. the unionists, not the mainland British are to blame for it.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”I’m not here to apologize for Murphy, that’s up to him, but does it all really matter?”

    It does when Murphy represents a party seeking government. Is it acceptable for a supposedly democratic party spokesman to be advocating the attempted mass murder of the government of a neighbouring democracy?
    The statements of SF on issues such as this illustrate an almost psychopathic mindset. Do we really want these people in power?

  • mick

    am i missing something david liddington said this shows the distance sf has to go he said whatever the grevience it is not worth 1 life i wonder what the families of victims of state collusion would make of that perhaps he means republicans should apolocize for everything since partition,if so will the tories apologize for the deaths they are responsible for

  • victor1

    Had he stated he regreted it Unionists would have been calling him a liar, he was open and honest I thought this is what Loyalists wanted from the Republican movement!

  • slug

    victor

    The problem, for me, was that he said that the bomb on the Tories was part of a war “between the people of the island of Ireland“. Normally they say the war is between Britain and the IRA. The formulation Murphy used for the Tories suggests that the bomb was not essentially against the British in GB, but against the unionist British in NI. A worrying development.

  • john mcilveen

    Good call mick, that is what i meant by my earlier post. How dare liddington say that any elected rep has such and such distance to travel in terms of acceptability when we look at the tory parties record, not just in ireland!! At least Conor Murphy isnt hypocritical when he said he’d no regrets.

  • Mickhall

    It matters, men and women went out to kill and be killed for what they understood to be the removal of foreign domination and occupation from a part of their Country, not to put some manners of some Loyalists bigots.

    Again I am bemused by Connor Murphy’s comment and can only presume it was unintentional slip of the tongue.

  • john mcilveen

    and i’m sure that’s a mis-quotes of murphy’s, no shinner would ever dream of making such a statement

  • slug

    John

    I wonder if he phrased it that way as he thought that the Tories and GB public, who are no great fans of NI political unionism, would find the Brighton bomb more understandable if it were presented as part of a war against “those awful unionists”.

  • slug

    The BBC are now reporting Murphy as follows:

    “Asked if he regretted the bombing, Mr Murphy said: “At the time I certainly did not regret it, I will be honest with you. I think it was part of a war, which was a very difficult war between the people of the island of Ireland.

    “I regret that it came to a situation where people felt they had to take on violence in order to pursue their political ends.” “

    The BBC report the man as saying the war was between the people of the island of Ireland -i.e. the unionists are the ones that the Brighton bomb was ultimately against and therefore not to be regretted.

  • slug

    It really sounds like, in front of the Tories, he decides to take the line, “well it was really againt those unionists, so not regretted”.

  • Irish in America

    Wasn’t it members of the “Island of Ireland” that members of the new PIRA were defending in ’69, which caused the return of more British troops?

  • slug

    Irish in America – but usually SF present it as British/Irish not unionist/nationalist.

    Perhaps they here want to present it as a unionist v nationalist war so as to make it seem more acceptable to GB opinion?

  • Millie

    Sounds like a slip of the tongue from Murphy nothing more. As for the no regrets comment, I remember being in school monday morning and our teacher solemnly telling us how the attack was an affront to democracy blah blah blah, while most of the class were doing their best not to laugh. I know it wasn’t big or clever but we were young and this was Thatcher’s Britain, i.e. the woman was universally hated. I’m sure many of the miner’s could have been heard to mutter ‘pity they missed’.

  • Joe

    Mick calls the event at the present conference “a minor ruckus” which it appears to have been. Yet UTV leads with the word “Fury”. Wonder why?

  • mucher

    Gerry lvs Castro,

    “Do we really want these peole in power?

    Yes GLC, we do! Well I don’t – but the majority of Nationalists in the North and 10% of Nationalists in the South do. Why not? Don’t they hate the Brits and the Prods, not forgetting the Jews. Won’t it be great when Gerry and Bertie are running the whole country and every Protestant is on the run and the head of Sean Russell is replaced in time for the annual rosery led by Mary Lou? Altogether now “Oh Happy Days, when Gerry walked …”

  • Jimmy_Sands

    I fully agree that if Murphy believes the bombing to have been morally justified there seems little point in forcing him to say otherwise, nor is it likely he would be believed if he did. As to the relevance, it reminds us that his is a party with no ideological objection to political assassination. Those of us that do must regard it as unfit for office.

  • Alan McDonald

    John McIlveen,

    I agree that we should open a debate on people’s views on criminality and views on legitimacy and views on democracy etc etc.

    As an American observer, I believe that insurrection is a criminal act. Individual insurrectionists, like Timothy McVeigh, are put to death.

    Widespread insurrection calls for the imposition of martial law. This was the situation during our Civil War (War Between the States) 1861-1865. The fact that the descendants of those insurrectionists are now running the US government does not make their ancestors’ acts any less criminal.

  • Irish Yank

    It is shocking that a MP would make such statements. If he took his seat, how would he act? Take out his opponents McCartney style?

    SF has tough questions to answer regarding his comments: First, how do they defend taking life when “people felt” – taking human life on how you feel can never be justified. Second, who was their war against anyway – Unionists or the UK?

    Anyone in the US who follows NI current events will note what was said and have similar questions to the above.

  • ch in dallas

    Irish Yank, I agree that these comments are shocking. Alan mentioned the U.S. Civil War. My southern ancestors were allowed to rejoin the Union only after swearing alliegence to the United States after bearing arms against it. And certain southern leaders were never allowed a post in the U.S. government e.g. Jeff Davis. Maybe Mr. Murphy can go to the Admiralty and talk about Montbatten!

  • SlugFest

    Alan McDonald,

    “…The fact that the descendants of those[American Civil War] insurrectionists are now running the US government does not make their ancestors’ acts any less criminal.”

    How ‘bout we northerners all meet up in Dixie and let those dang insurrectionists’ ancestors know that they ain’t nothing but second-class citizens and will never, ever be true Americans? Hang em’ high, dat’s what I say.

  • Eamon Lynch

    However Conor chooses to couch the terms of the war, it seems faintly absurd to pounce on him for a defense of violence that is somehow inappropriate in that particular setting. After all, this is hardly a gathering of pacifists. It’s been a decade since Michael Portillo’s ‘Who Dares Wins’ rant at the Tory conference, but I’m sure he’d be no more keen to express remorse to nationalists for killings by the SAS. I think its fair to suggest that everyone seated around that table in Brighton endorsed violence by one side or another at some point.

  • Alan McDonald

    Slug Fest,

    I am not sure that I get your point. As CH in Dallas points out, the “ancestors” were required to swear an oath to the Union. Perhaps you meant that we should demean the insurrectionist’s “descendants;” which is something “we northerners” have in fact been doing for the past 140 years.

  • Nic

    I read somewhere at the weekend that Conor Murphy led a normal life until he was inspired by Bobby Sands to join the ‘RA.
    Quite obviously he’s making it up as he goes along – and has no real conviction or commitment to an ideology except the cult of the romantic hero as portrayed by Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Russel Crowe et al.

  • SlugFest

    Alan,

    Hmmmm. I think i may have misinterpreted your post. In fact, based on your reply, I know i did — please accept my sincere apologies.

    “Perhaps you meant that we should demean the insurrectionist’s “descendants;”

    No, no, no … actually, that’s how i read your post, and was offended by it.

    “which is something “we northerners” have in fact been doing for the past 140 years.”

    I’m in complete agreement.

    Again, please accept my apologies — i think we’re pretty much on the same page.

    But … I truly believe that some insurrections are justified, and that there are plenty of governments (past and present) who deserved to be taken down. Please understand I’m talking generally, and I’m not in fact an anarchist (though the uniforms are really cute 😉 )

  • Alan McDonald

    Slug Fest,

    Do you also agree that history is written by the winners? Wouldn’t it have been interesting if the UK had interceded on behalf of the Confederate States of America? We might have four contries/states in North America today: Canada, USA, CSA and Mexico (5 if you count Texas).

    My point, originally directed at John McIlveen, was that insurrection is dealt with harshly in the US. There were too many Confederates to “hang them all,” although many Unionists would have been happy to do so.

  • ch in dallas

    Alan/Slugfest
    Does this mean there ain’t gonna be no hangin”? I’s lookin’ forward to it. I thank you for your agreement that the (U.S.)south has been kept down a while. It’s tough to get around the fact that we think insurrection is bad, but it was good enough for us in 1776. “When any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or abolish it.” In Ireland, who are the people in question? The people of NI. Not what SF in the south wants. I’m really neutral on all this, but 1st principles are necessary. Who are the peolpe and what do they want? although this thinking didn’t work for my ancestors, that Gawd.

  • Alan McDonald

    CH,

    1776 always comes up in these debates, but we Americans became as anti-revolutionary as the next country once our own revolution was won. We put down the Whiskey Rebellion in 1794 and hanged John Brown in 1859, just to name two instances.

  • SlugFest

    Alan McDonald,

    “Do you also agree that history is written by the winners?”

    Yes, very much so. I can’t remember where i heard this (PBS?), but during the American Revolution, a large number of African slaves were slaughtered on Tybee Island (very close to Savannah, GA), as there were rumors that they might join up with the British Army to fight their captors (otherwise known as our founding fathers). And who could blame them? It’s stories like those that we, the ‘winners’, sadly never get to here — or contemplate.

    “Wouldn’t it have been interesting if the UK had interceded on behalf of the Confederate States of America? We might have four contries/states in North America today: Canada, USA, CSA and Mexico (5 if you count Texas).”

    Very interesting, indeed … though I’d hardly give Texas that much weight (just kidding, ‘CH in Texas’ 😉 )

    “My point, originally directed at John McIlveen, was that insurrection is dealt with harshly in the US. There were too many Confederates to “hang them all,” although many Unionists would have been happy to do so.”

    Again, I very much agree.

    Also, I think one point that most people have missed (well, some have missed; to others it may be too offensive) is that Conor Murphy may have felt that he was between a rock and a hard place: there is a very difficult, very delicate dance taking place between Sinn Fein and the IRA right now. The doves have talked the hawks down from their perches. Last week’s decommissioning was a long time in the making, and if long-time republicans detect any slight from a member of SF, there may well be hell to pay. In an individual republican’s eyes, the ex-prisoner is a soldier – a soldier who volunteered to fight a long, bloody war. For a soldier to then be told by someone who seemingly shares his same beliefs (united Ireland, etc.) that his actions in the war were deplorable may well be unbearable. To believe that that soldier hasn’t, in those same 20 years, dwelled over and over on his own actions and the lives he has taken, I believe, is unrealistic. Now I don’t know Patrick Magee (the Brighton bomber) and wouldn’t dare have the gall to speak for him, but his history may well solidify my argument: for a number of years, (well, since 2000 maybe??), Magee and Jo Berry, the daughter of one of the victims of the Brighton bomb, have developed somewhat of a relationship. Berry has gone so far as to say that she is able to put herself in Magee’s shoes and understand his point of view (paraphrasing here, folks). In fact, last year they held a seminar of sorts on the 20th anniversary of the Brighton bomb. Also, Magee now heads the Causeway Project, ‘which seeks to facilitate encounters between perpetrators and victims of any action that occurred during the course of the Troubles.’

    I believe I realize that what I’m saying may offend and hurt quite a few readers, and I’m not justifying unnecessary violence. I’m just trying to understand what makes a man turn to violence, and what makes a society as a whole believe that violence is in fact their only alternative.

  • SlugFest

    ‘here’ should be ‘hear’ — dang it all, i need a nap!

    CH: No hangings today, but i may be able to pencil something in next week … does that work for you?

    CH & Alan: funny … i was busy writing my my last post and didn’t see both of your references to 1776 until after i pressed ‘send’. It really does come up a lot, eh?

  • ch in dallas

    Slugfest, It’s a date! Nothin’ like a good piece a Texas rope and a tall oak tree. (Just kidding y’all)
    1776 comes up a lot because it was successful. British citizens asserting their Magna Carta rights against a Hun King Geo III.
    Slugfest, Thanks for the insights into Murphy.

  • SlugFest

    CH:

    I’ve got 27 first (let’s not even get into the 2nd cousins!!!) cousins all over the country. Two of my favorite are my Texan cousins (from Lubbock). The stories they tell about home when we get together are hysterical!

    On another note, i might bring me a big, shiny knife next week … I’m a New Yorker, and it just seems more appropriate. 🙂

  • barnshee

    “I fully agree that if Murphy believes the bombing to have been morally justified there seems little point in forcing him to say otherwise”

    Absolutely— and the protestant bombing of the republic similarly was “morally justified” and people should stop whinging about IT? “

    as Conor says ( certainly on my behalf) as regards the Dublin and Monaghan bombings

    “At the time I certainly did not regret it, I will be honest with you. I think it was part of a war, which was a very difficult war between the people of the island of Ireland.

    “I regret that it came to a situation where people felt they had to take on violence in order to pursue their political ends.”

  • ch in dallas

    Slugfest, West Texans are able to tell apretty good joke. One of my friends from Lubbock said its so flat out there, you can look at the horizen and see the back of your own head. They are the real cowboys out there. oil, cattle, and cotton. I didn’t know a New yorker needed a big knife here, the loud voice usually is protection enough! (Grin)

  • SlugFest

    CH:

    I thought the entire state was flat! (think i’ll be studying my atlas tonight!)

    As for my NY voice: actually, my (NY) friends tell me i’m too loud!

    I’ll soon be logging off, so have a wonderful evening!

  • missfitz

    More interesting than Conor Murphy’s remarks will be any further comments from SF over the next few days. I was really surprised by the tone, even when going back and trying to place it in the context of his full remarks.

    Conor is often touted as a future leader of SF, and is a most careful speaker. I think its a caseof watch this space on this one

  • Chris Gaskin

    “Quite obviously he’s making it up as he goes along – and has no real conviction or commitment to an ideology except the cult of the romantic hero as portrayed by Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Russel Crowe et al”

    LOL, what a pathetic analysis of Conor

    It takes an awful lot of political conviction to go to jail for something you believe in and then come out and devout your life to the republican cause.

    Working non stop and being away from your family and in Conor’s case a young family.

    Conor comes from a very well respected republican family in Camlough and is an extremely hardworking MP and MLA for the people of Newry and Armagh. A damn sight more accessible to the people than our previous representative.

    To suggest Conor has “no real conviction or commitment to an ideology except the cult of the romantic hero as portrayed by Mel Gibson, Harrison Ford, Russel Crowe et al” is an insult to Conor and to peoples intelligence.

    As for Conor’s statement it is up to him if it needs clarified or if his comment was misquoted, taken out of context or a slip of the tongue.

    I do not however know of any republican who viewed the last 30 years of struggle as a very difficult war between the people of the island of Ireland

  • T.Ruth

    Mr. Murphy ,like other Republicans who seek Executive power in a new Assembly, shows no remorse or regret for the victims of violence who were so horribly murdered and bombed in a vicious sectarian campaign against the people of Northern Ireland. Protestant and Catholics were indiscriminately butchered by Sinn Fein/IRA as part of the war which Mr.Murphy now believes was between the people of Ireland.
    The people who directed terrorism now try to portray themselves as peace makers. The people who tried to bomb Northern Ireland out of economic existence now are full of ideas to improve our economy. The people who bombed law courts,cabinet meetings,and the democratically elected government of the UK now want to control the administration of Policing and Justice.
    The people who robbed the Northern bank, Makro,Gallahers and a hundred banks and Post Offices, Dublin and Belfast docks now want us to believe it was part of a civil war.

    How do they expect Unionists to believe a word they say. They have peddled their propaganda so long that they have come to believe it themselves.
    The hardest thing to accept listening to Conor Murphy at the Conservative conference was that he reveals a mind set in Republicanism that is the real barrier to the peaceful progress of our
    people to better days.
    republicans always had equal access to the ballot box-the decision to kill people never had any justification. Murder will always be murder.
    Those who accept criminality, extortion,violence as justifiable in support of their political activity have no place in the government of our society

  • fair_deal

    Victor

    “Had he stated he regreted it Unionists would have been calling him a liar”

    Every Unionist has the same and automatic view?

  • slug

    Everytime republcans rob Gallahers they place jobs at risk in Ballymena.