Hearts and Minds: Nationalist prejudice run wild?

This week on Hearts and Minds, “not for the first time, a leading nationalist has compared the Unionist treatment of Catholics to the Nazi persecution of the Jews. Like President McAleese before him, Father Alec Reid has apologized, but unionists are unconvinced”.

  • Too late

    As I posted elsewhere on the site, Fr. Reid was right. Nationalists in the North believe that Unionists acted like Nazis in their dealings with the minority community. From gerrymandering to housing, education and employment the minority community did not get a fair deal. This should not be too big a surprise to anyone here.

    And look what happened when the demand for these just rights were denied; Violent republicanism raised its ugly head again which was against all that nationalists stood for. This can be validated by the electoral results of Republican Clubs, Sinn Fein etc.

    Moving onto Sunningdale where once again peaceful moves were made to improve Civil Rights, what did Unionism do? If Sunningdale had been implemented then society would have been much better. I might have even been interested in NI beating England. Instead we are now at the place where the DUP do not want to deal with Sinn Fein. Do you not realise that you have put SF into this position? Do you not realise that you are playing right into SF’s hands?

  • Gum

    As I posted elsewhere, Fr Reid is a man who has spent his life working against violence and for closer links between the different Christian denominations here. He will be very disappointed in himself. He is not a bigot.

    I hate these small petty incidents, and i dont want to keep it going. However, the DUP and UUP have called republicans Nazis for yrs. They have called them dogs and worse names. Lets all wise up – from Fr Reid to Ian Paisley Jr.

  • Gonzo

    Reid also said he didn’t believe that the IRA carried out the Northern heist.

    The man obviously has strong faith.

  • slug

    Gonzo:

    Is he basically a bit of a loose cannon? I noted the contrast with Goode in the TV insterviews after the decommissioning event. One (Goode) stuck to his remit, the other (Reid) went way off topic all the time.

    “Reid also said he didn’t believe that the IRA carried out the Northern heist”

    Does he not believe anything either way or does he actually believe that they didn’t do it? If the latter, then his opinion on IRA decommissioning is not going to be very influential.

    It seems he was an awful choice of observer if the point was to persuade the secptical: I do not sense that he is the hardest of people for the IRA to get on side.

    Maybe his role is actually to reassure traditional IRA supporters? They are probably in want of reassurance too.

  • Paul )

    Grow up Gonzo. You really want this to descend to a thread slagging of the faith of religious people based on politcal views?

  • Paul O

    Slug, that was EXACTLY his role. He was there to give the republicans a figure they could trust.

  • innocent until proven guilty

    About the bank robbery.Has anyone been charged or found guilty? Spying in the castle? Anyone found guilty? Robert Mccartney- anyone found guilty? Need I go on? All road-blocks on the road to a UI. The nay nay nayers will always find something to stall the process. Fr Reids comments were a bit harsh and he has apoligised.Move on. The truth is RCs were treated like 2nd class citizens for much of the life of N Ireland. Again move on.

  • pauljames

    How can a person who holds such views be an impartial observer of the decommisioning process? he may be entitled to have such an opinion whether it is voiced or not, but surely his pupose and the reason for the public meeting is to convince those unionist, nazis or not, that he can be trusted as an honest broker.

  • Mark_Baxter

    It’s pretty ridiculous the way some people are trying to defend Fr reid’s statements even after he apologised for saying them.

    I’ve been to Terezin, Auschwitz and Buchenwald, it would be fair to say that any comparisons are so unbelievably unjustifed and stupid, it beggars belief. Having spoken to Auschwitz survivors, I’ve come in some miniscule way to comprehend the horror and massive loss they experienced when held by the nazis. Any comparison to Northern Ireland is ludicrous, sickening and totally ill-conceived

    My unionist forefathers may have ill treated their catholic neighbours but to be honest I have no knowledge of that (I’m only in my mid twenties), any sources that detail information on discrimination prior to the troubles would be welcomed as I honestly would like to find out more.

    At the same time though, how will we let go of the past to properly deal with the future if we keep dwelling on issues like these, trying to claim the mantle of victim.

  • Dualta

    Slug has it spot on. Fr. Reid stepped outside of his remit when commenting on such matters. He has been around NI politics for long enough to know what effect such comments would have. Now he`s commented on the Northern Bank robbery in the direct aftermath of the Nazi comments.

    He has made an error of judgement directly after another. He should step back out of the limelight immediately to let this blow over.

    Of course this is grist to the DUP`s mill, but they have the serious difficulty of denting the credibility of Fr. Reid`s co-witness, the Rev. Good. They`re grasping at straws here.

    The best they`ll get from this is further evidence for their own constituency of the inextricable links between the Wheure of Babylon and the Bearded Devil of Sevastopol Street.

  • Dualta

    I should also add that Fr. Reid`s comments comparing Unionists to Nazis are outrageous, but his apology should be accepted.

    His comments about the Northern Bank robbery are wholely reasonable. To date, there has been no evidence produced which proves that it was the PIRA.

    That is the only relevant fact at this stage, apart, from the other one, that states that politicians will say anything if it suits them to do so. Firm evidence please.

  • Brian Boru

    Mark_Baxter, the discrimination by the Old Stormont included the following:

    A: Gerrymandering of Derry. The Corporation always had a Unionist majority even though it had a 2/3rds Nationalist majority.

    B: People over 21 who lived with their parents (mostly Catholics) were denied the vote in local-elections.

    C: The business-vote. Each business – mostly Unionist – got 7 votes each in local-elections.

    D: 30% unemployment rates in places like Newry, Stranabe and Derry, compared to 8% overall.

    E: Incendiary speeches against Catholics by politicians such as Lord Brookeborough who said “I recommend those who are Loyalist not to employ Roman Catholics, 95% of whom are disloyal”.

    F: The entirely Protestant B Specials and RUC beating up peaceful Catholics.

  • Brian Boru

    And the banning of Civil Rights marches while OO marches were rammed through brutally.

    And the burning down of Bombay Street and other pogroms against Catholics.

    The Cameron Commission (UK government report) report in the 1960’s lays bear just how bigoted the whole system was with only 6% of judges being Catholics and extensive discrimination – especially West of the Bann – which kept Catholics out of power in local-government even where they were the majority.

    Also, the abolition of Proportional Representation – the voting system included in the Government of Ireland Act to protect minorities North and South. We still have this system in the South.

  • Reader

    Brian Boru: (B)Ratepayer franchise, (C) Business vote

    (B) The ratepayer franchise wasn’t a Stormont creation – it was a Westminster left-over, and applied across the UK until the post war Labour government removed it. When did we ever have a Labour Government here?

    (C) I am not convinced by your number – 7 votes for business premises. I have also seen the number 5, but in a context where it looked like a maximum number, not a number per rateable premises. Also the 1968 Electoral reform act doesn’t suggest (in its wording) that there used to be multiple votes for each set of business premises.

    Finally – isn’t there an element of double counting here? Since you assume (without demonstrating) that most businesses are unionist owned, aren’t they also mostly going to be based in unionist areas? So where will the private sector jobs be, then?

  • Brian Boru

    But Reader , the difference is that the rate-payer thing was retained in NI until 1965, whereas it was abolished in the rest of the UK in 1945. Why were the Unionists insisting on holding onto it? Because disproportionately it was Catholics who lost the vote because of it, especially with discrimination in housing.

    I stand by C.

  • séannaboy

    If you ask me the problem is that either the fenians should have waited until the gas chambers, the camps and everything else was ready before resisting or that not enough Jews and other progressives resisted quickly enough or hard enough.

  • baldrick

    Seannaboy

    WTF!

    Unionists are Nazi’s for their treatment of Nationalists- (FAIR) Republicans were Nazi’s for their pogrom against rural Protestant communities

    The crap being spouted here needs a shovel the size of Lough Neagh.

    Fact – no argument – the Unionist majority discriminated against the Catholic/Nationalist population in a widespread and fairly systematic manner for decades. That was wrong, thankfully times and most people’s attitudes have moved on. It isn’t happening in this way anymore (and yes perhaps some credit there should go to SF) but also most Unionists today would reject such discrimination if they saw it being practiced.

    Unionist Perception (with some supporting evidence) – Republicans used membership of police/Army and reserves as justification to murder rural Protestants and drive Protestants from those areas to secure their own control.

    FACT – Neither of these acts (or any others you want to throw into the mix) remotely compares to the meticulously planned, systematic EXTERMINATION of 6 million Jews, Gypsies etc..

    I do not believe that even in their most derranged fantasies any Unionist politician ( beyond perhaps George Seawright – who I can’t accept as a politician) ever advocated the murder of all Catholics in NI.

    The concept is laughable and so any attempt to wrap up all of Unionism in a sweeping statement that “if it weren’t for the RA in ’69 the camps and gas chambers might well have been here too” is insulting beyond belief.

    How do you expect me to treat you and your views with respect when you so foolishly rush to apply the Nazi label to me and my community?

    Care to get real?

  • séannaboy

    baldrick, care to examine the statements and utterances of a wide range of Unionist leaders throughout the last 80 years. Start with the Docs most recent ‘spark to start a fire that knows no end’ to the Mr Samuel Wilsons ( the educator)’sub human animals’ to George Seawright, Bill Craig, and so on and so on to see exactly how all these Unionist leaders believed that fenians had no rights. Would these Unionist leaders have been out of place in Nazi Germany? Maybe those ‘dirty lazy fenian bastards’ should have waited on those camps before resisting?

  • Baluba

    Anyone mind if I actually add a wee quote from Fr Reid which is fairly unequivocal?

    “I deeply regret the comments I made. I found myself being strongly provoked and offended by many of the comments made about my integrity and my church. In the heat of the moment I lost my temper and sincerely regret my comments. I deeply respect unionists, as I said, and feel they are a dynamic and gifted community. Once again I apologise for the hurt my foolish words will have inflicted”.

    Jesus Christ. That’s a pretty decent apology if you ask me. Move on.

  • groucho

    Fr Reid was wrong to say what he did. He apologised to his audience at Fitzroy Presbyterian church shortly after he had uttered the words and the fair minded people in the audience – apart from FAIR Willie and his cohorts seemed to accept his apologies. People still queued up afterwards to shake his hand and many of them told him how offensive he had been and he accepted that he had been out of order. I do believe that he didn’t mean the comparison to suggest Protestants were firing up the gas ovens for their Catholic countrymen, but that, like the Nazis they had tried to dehumanise their perceived enemies. He was still wrong with the analogy – just as all those unionist politicians are completely wrong to talk about “ethnic cleansing”. One Protestant woman at the meeting said she felt sorry for the priest as he was clearly under a great deal of strain. I think that was the Christian response.

  • IJP

    Baluba

    It’s important not to miss the point here, though.

    Fr Reid stated in anger what he actually thought. Even in his apology, he doesn’t deny this. There are a lot of Nationalists on this island who believe that their grievances can be associated with those, say, of Polish Jews. And that is fundamentally wrong for two reasons: 1. Morally – because it’s simply not true; 2. Politically – because such exaggeration only drives us further apart and leads us to believe it is only ‘themmuns’ who have to compromise (after all, who would ask Polish Jews to compromise with Nazis?), making necessary compromise and consensus basically impossible.

    In other words, forget the Unionist mock outrage, for that’s all it is. Willie Frazer takes the view that what Fr Reid said was wrong because it’s really Clonard Catholics who are the Nazis – an equally outrageous and false view. Ian Paisley jnr cannot accept that demonizing Catholics for their religion (as per ‘popeheads’ or ‘sackcloth and ashes’) is equally outrageous and repellent. No one should feel the need to apologize to people who are guilty of precisely the same nonsensical hyperbole.

    As I’ve said before, the political process has been all about tribal trade-off, and this has served only to promote an already out-of-hand ‘grievance culture’.

    Fr Reid’s words were disgraceful, daft and damaging. But he’s far from the only one. And that is what we have to deal with.

    In short, it’s time we all wised up.

  • slug

    I think there is an important issue here about ‘dehumanizing’.

    I notice some commentators pointing out that Reid did not make his comments about ‘protestants’ but about ‘unionists’ as though that is better. It is not. Both statements would demonise a lot of decent people – on one case based on religion and in the other based on etnic-national background.

    Far better to pick the specific target of your comment than to widen the group out to ‘republicans’ ‘unionst’ etc.

    Needless to say politicians and writers from ALL big parties tend to do this but its basically not right to demonize in that way.

    Also. If you complain about ‘Irish republicanism’ or ‘unionism’ in broad terms you are probably being unfair towards a lot of people in these groups. These groups, properly so-called, are actually very diverse. Lets recognise that in our language.

  • beano

    BB – I suggest you have a read of “How much discrimination was there under the unionist regime,
    1921-68?
    ” if you want a proper account of what discrimination took place. For what its worth I don’t think you can compare an out of date, Victorian voting system (with some logic behind it), ie your point B, to gas chambers and concentration camps.

  • slug

    Beano

    Thanks for that.

    “All the accusations of gerrymandering, practically all the complaints about housing and regional policy, and a disproportionate amount of the charges about public and private employment come from this area. The area- which consisted of Counties Tyrone and Fermanagh, Londonderry County Borough, and portions of Counties Londonderry and Armagh – had less than a quarter of the total population of Northern Ireland yet generated not far short of three-quarters of the complaints of discrimination.”

    Its quite interesting (to me) to note that Whtye is saying that discrimination was most serious not where the unionists were in a secure majority but where they were not in a secure majority.

  • baldrick

    Seannaboy

    I’ve no problem with LFB’s (your words). Point of fact I’ve many good friends who are Catholic and even quite a few who are Nationalist/mildly republican.

    We can all pick out utterances from politicians on both sides who at different times have tried to play to the gallery (and the more extreme fringes of the gallery at that) rather than seek to moderate their language for the greater common good. [Surely even you must admit that just like Unionist politico’s Gerry, Martin and the boys have some given us some historical howlers which they would be embaressed to have brought up now.] In all cases it is incredibly naive and/or actively disingenuous for “the other side” to claim these words reveal persecution or a degree of victimhood which stands any comparison with the Jew’s treatment by the Nazi’s.

    But for the record, from where I’m standing as a moderate unionist, your earlier comments call me, my parents, my grandparents and the greater part of my friends and aquaintances would-be perpetrators of genocide.

    My indignation has now cooled a bit so I’ll finish by saying again that that type of statement not only denegrates the reality of the Holocaust perpetrated by the Nazi’s but just makes you look foolish and bigotted.

  • seedot

    Perhaps Godwins Law can now come into play in Northern Ireland.

    In the same way that comparing someone to a Nazi in a Usenet debate meant the debate was over, perhaps the fact that just about everybody in Northern society has been compared to a Nazi means the whataboutery and cultural grandstanding that takes place instead of politics can be seen as over – and pointless.

  • stu

    seedot-

    genius, if only…

    beano-

    thanks for that, it’s good to see a so-called revisionist article not dismissed out of hand for once.

  • curious

    As a young catholic, I think we have to accept that whilst the practices of the old Unionist regime were abominable, they do not compare in anyway to the Nazi treatment of anyone outside of what they considered the Aryan race. We need to move on as a society from the past and forgive and forget – we’re all supposedly Christian

  • Sean Fear

    “But Reader , the difference is that the rate-payer thing was retained in NI until 1965, whereas it was abolished in the rest of the UK in 1945. Why were the Unionists insisting on holding onto it? Because disproportionately it was Catholics who lost the vote because of it, especially with discrimination in housing.”

    I’m pretty sure that the business ratepayers’ vote for local elections continued throughout the UK until the late sixties, although it was abolished for Parliamentary elections in 1948. As it happens, I think there are perfectly good arguments for it. No taxation without representation is a fair principle.

    In the Northern Irish context, I expect that plenty of small businesses were run by Catholics in the late sixties, and I doubt if they were particularly disadvantaged by it.

    WRT the Ratepayers’ franchise for local elections, I’m aware that this applied in the Irish Republic during the Stormont years. My maternal grandfather was one of the few people who could vote on his street, in local elections, because he paid rates.

  • Brian Boru

    Beano, I never said it could be compared to Nazi Germany. Even so, the Unionist regime was eternally taunted Catholics and persecuting them. Only 1 Protestant was jailed during internment compared to many hundreds of Catholics. Justify that.

  • IJP

    Sensible Unionist response: ‘What Fr Reid said was plainly ludicrous. Now lets’ move on.’

    Actual Unionist response… [insert bouts of blatant hypocrisy and mock offence here]

    Get over it.

    BB

    All very impressive stuff from you – if you’re of the opinion that bouts of whataboutery and moaning about what happened generations ago without paying attention to the other evils and hatreds of the past will lead us all to the promised land, that is.

  • T.Ruth

    The sad thing in all this is that if people like Mary Mcaleese and Reverend Reid have these perceptions of the entire Unionist community then we are a long way from devolved responsibility sharing government.
    If views like this are propagated in the Roman Catholic education system and in its churches then we are in deep trouble in trying to find an agreed way forward.
    Was the incineration of the members of the Irish Kennel Club at La Mon not a criminal act in Rev.Reid’s eyes?
    The reality of history is that the Republican movement and the government of the Republic had well developed relationships with Nazi and Fascist governments in Germany and Italy.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Slug: “Its quite interesting (to me) to note that Whtye is saying that discrimination was most serious not where the unionists were in a secure majority but where they were not in a secure majority.”

    Insecurity is what makes a body stack the deck — if you already know you’re going to win, why cheat? The Unionists in those areas were at risk of losing to the “popist Fenians” and felt that the end (Unionist dominance) justified wherever means were necessary.

  • Brian Boru

    T.Ruth, what you have said is sectarian drivel. The Republic’s government was neutral in WW2. To expect us to join on Britain’s side in a war just 19 years after achieving independence from Britain was not realistic. Had we agreed we would have had to accept British troops down here and they may have been difficult to extricate from the South after WW2.

    De Valera’s government was hardly going to join the Axis powers in WW2. But from 1939-42, it genuinely looked as though Germany was going to win. No-one could have known it would not. In that context, the neutral position of one of the smallest states in Europe looks understandible. We have nothing to apologise for with respect to our neutrality.

    In fact, the majority of people from this island who fought in WW2 were from the Republic, not Northern Ireland. 60,000 Southerners joined the British army and fought in WW2 compared to 50,000 in NI. The gap is much larger during WW1 with over 100,000 Southerners joining up. So although we were neutral in WW2, it is fair from being the case that we did not fight the Nazis. Our government, however, had to avoid provoking a German invasion which could then have been used by Britain as an excuse to invade us. De Valera had a balancing act to protect the Irish people from foreign occupation by either side and Unionist critics of Southern neutrality should bear that in mind instead of constantly carping about non-existing links to Fascist Italy or Nazi Germany. Like many Southerners and Nationalists, I am sick and tired of the attempt by Northern Unionism to monopolise WW1 and WW2 by portraying themselves to be the sole contributors to the Allied war efforts on this island. It is not true and the black propaganda against Catholic Ireland needs to cease on this matter.

    Your references to the Catholic Church and the Catholic education system reflect the sectarian attitudes of many Unionists surrounding obsessions with “Popish Plots”. Such hysteria has been gone from England for a long time and it would be nice if Unionism could stop invoking imaginary links between the Catholic Church as an institution, and the IRA. Fr.Reid’s remarks, however regrettable and over the top they were, were in response to clear and bigoted anti-Catholic goading by Fraser and those of like mind to him.

    While the methodology of the Unionist government can not be compared to Nazism, unfortunately some of the language used by it is comparable, especially the obsession with “international Romanist conspiracies” which sadly evoke echos of the “International Jewish Conspiracies” that the Nazis ranted about. In particular, Paisley’s past remarks claiming that the PIRA was the military wing of the Catholic Church, and that Catholic women were “incubators for Rome”, not to mention his insulting of the late Pope John XXIII on his death by saying “This Romish man of sin is now in hell”, or saying that the reason Catholic homes were on fire in the 60’s was because of petrol bombs contained in the houses, and that priests were handing out sub-machine guns, reflects similar phraseology as that used by the Nazis during the “demonisation/verbal phase” of their hate campaign against the Jews. Unionism needs to end its denial of its shameful past in its treatment of Catholics during 1920-72.

    And no Ruth, having been educated in Catholic schools I assure you that our heads were most certainly not filled with portrayals of Protestants as “Nazis”.

  • Reader

    Brian Boru: Only 1 Protestant was jailed during internment compared to many hundreds of Catholics.

    But actually, from: CAIN,
    there is: “It was reintroduced on Monday 9 August 1971 and continued in use until Friday 5 December 1975. During this period a total of 1,981 people were detained; 1,874 were Catholic / Republican, while 107 were Protestant / Loyalist.”

  • Reader

    Brian Boru: But Reader , the difference is that the rate-payer thing was retained in NI until 1965, whereas it was abolished in the rest of the UK in 1945. Why were the Unionists insisting on holding onto it? Because disproportionately it was Catholics who lost the vote because of it, especially with discrimination in housing.

    But (Conservative) Unionists weren’t going to put in a Labour reform anyway. They were probably quite content to have decisions about council spending made by councillors elected by the people who actually paid the money that was spent! How can you unpick the multiple possible motives for Stormont to do sod-all?

  • T.Ruth

    Brian Boru
    I have no brief for bigots of any hue.However,before attacking Unionists please read how JJ Walsh a member of the Cosgrave government reportedly described Irish jews as a “gang of parasites.”
    What about Eoin O’Duffy; the Army Comrades Association; the Irish Christian Front led by Patrick Belton and Alexander Mccabe.
    A 1953 memo from the Justice Department Dublin required the vetting of refugees into Ireland to be similar to that adopted for “non Aryans”.
    Way back in 1943 when Oliver Flanagan TD, in the Dail, praised Hitler for ridding Germany of the Jews claiming “I doubt very much if they are human”-no one in the assembled gathering objected to what he said.
    John A. Costello is another person with whose history you should become familiar on this subject.The Blueshirts organisation is another body you should check out.
    Having said all that, all of us need to focus on how to move forward -but we will have no possibility of progress if Republicans want to deny history or rewrite it. Does Mary Mcaleese think La Mon was a crime?. What about Fr. Reid? Does he think it was a crime? I am not concerned with his credibility as a witness-I am concerned about his credibility as a human being and a church leader.
    I am amazed by the republican movement’s failure to accept responsibility for its criminal behaviour-and the attempt to deny the criminal nature of an organisation using violence to promote its political view when a democratic franchise was freely available north and south of the border.
    Murder is a crime,extortion is a crime,bank robbery is a crime, knee-capping is a crime; bombing towns and cities is a crime.
    No aspect of the comparative disadvantage suffered by anyone in this population in my 65 years of life in Northern ireland can be used to justify one death or any of these crimes whether committed by Loyalists or Republicans or anyone else.

  • stu

    *claps*

  • Dread Cthulhu

    T. Ruth: “The sad thing in all this is that if people like Mary Mcaleese and Reverend Reid have these perceptions of the entire Unionist community then we are a long way from devolved responsibility sharing government.”

    SARCASM = ON

    Oh, yes… certainly… I mean, waht would Papa Doc say, having those hateful, subhuman, disloyal Fenians hanging about.

    SARCASM = OFF

    T. Ruth: “If views like this are propagated in the Roman Catholic education system and in its churches then we are in deep trouble in trying to find an agreed way forward.”

    Only if the last, what, 80 or so years of Unionist domination has been a tolerant utopia? If absolutely nothing else, the fact that there can be an insulting bit of hyperbole barbarically yopped on the televison and nary a person beaten or a church burned, with only the clatter of the pots about the blackness of the kettle, I’d say a great deal had been accomplished, even if there is still a long row to hoe.

    **SNIPPED THE WHATABOUTERY**

    T. Ruth: “The reality of history is that the Republican movement and the government of the Republic had well developed relationships with Nazi and Fascist governments in Germany and Italy.”

    Which, at the time being the duly elected power-what-was in Germany amd Italy, a great many nations had, prior to the war. I even seem to remember a number of Conservatives falling into the Austrian paper-hangers orbit. Even old Neville sat down, broke bread and appeased der Fuhrer. That said, I never thought much of DeValera’s political acumen. Point of fact, Ireland hadn’t the wherewithal to defend itself from either the UK or the Germans. I would also point out the Irish volunteered in numbers to serve in John Bull’s service against the Nazi’s, that Irish neutrality was something of a farce, given the disparate treatment of Germans (interned upon capture) and British (spot of tea, a lift to the border and a spot on the milk train to Scotland) combatants caught on Irish soil (mainly pilots) and, while I do not have the numbers before me, I will wager that a great deal of agricultural goods from Eire fed a great many Englishmen and women, as opposed to what little (if any) was sold and shipped to the Reich once hostilities broke out.

    One wonders, do you hold neutral Portugal and Spain in contempt for the same ties? Both neutrals maintained ties with the Nazi’s — in fact, they had more material ties, with Spain trading in war materials (primarily titanium or chromium, I forget which) with the Germans, whilst the Portugeuse maintain intelligence-sharing with the Third Reich.

  • Mehmet

    Anyone watch the ITV3 movie tonight “Escape from Sobibor”
    I found myself hoping that Fr.Reid was watching.

  • T.Ruth

    At times I get fed up with all this “most oppressed people in Europe” moaning by Nationalist and Republicans.
    I was born and lived until my teens on the Lower Newtownards Road in a two up two down kitchen house with no warm water/bathroom etc.Before the war, during the depression, eighteen people lived in this two bedroom house with only two family members in a job. When our headmaster in the prayers in Assembly in Beechfield Primary School exhorted us to remember those less fortunate than ourselves we had a problem determining the objects of his concern.We learned eventually that deprivation is a relative concept and requires careful selection of a suitable comparant.
    If the great Unionist machine at that time was dominating the political system in favour of Protestants, the largesse it was bestowing did not reach down into our street.
    Its time to stop bleating about past suffering and discrimination which was based on the ruling class perpetuating an outworn class system. Its time people stopped buying into Republican propaganda. Working class Protestants like Catholics had no entitlement to secondary education until the late forties.We went to the same doctors,dentists,hospitals in those days.We endured the same disadvantages. We had believe it or not the same opportunities.I never gained anything,any advantage in life on the basis of my religion.

    We need to leave the past behind while requiring those who committed atrocities on either side to pay for their crime.
    We have to concentrate on a future that is based on an acceptance of reality and built on purely peaceful,equal, democratic politics and the Rule of Law. There is no place in the political organisation of that future for those who think murder and criminality can be justified ior excused.