The price of peacemaking…

Liam Clarke believes that Alex Reid simply compounded his heated response to aggressive questioning at Fitzroy Presbyterian Church when he persisted in his belief that the IRA had not been behind the robbery of the Northern Bank. According to Clarke his innocent credulity has been crucial to Reid’s positive role in drawing Republicanism towards peace, but it may also have papered over a few important cracks.

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17 thoughts on “The price of peacemaking…

  1. This Fr. Reid seems to go against universal opinion and blindly accepts everything he is told by the IRA.

  2. Clarke’s reminder of the comments made by Ian Paisley make interesting reading, does he still stand over these, as for Willie Frazer and his ‘legal representive’ is Ms Foster still working as a Solicitor despite drawing a salary as an MLA.

  3. More than the provocative nature of Fr Reid’s recent comments, I could not help but question his apparent willingness and over zealous acceptance of anything SF and the broader Republican movement tell him. In subsequent interviews aired since the infamous outburst, he appears too reluctant to criticise SF. Why?

    If he supports them and their political objectives, that is his democratic right. The fact remains however that he was not there in the capacity of an individual, or even that of an elected representative. He was there representing the Roman Catholic Church and everything that it stands for and believes in. It is his role with in the Church that gives him his credibility; otherwise he becomes just another SF puppet the likes of whom are charged with flooding these pages.

    SF is pro-choice on the issue of abortion. I cite this as an example of how SF remains at odds with the Catholic Church. There is no middle-ground on this issue, as is clearly seen in the U.S. Surely we would expect Fr Reid to be just a little more critical of SF and the Republican movement. Or is it for this reason he was chosen in the first place?

  4. Anyway, back to the article…

    I was thinking of writing an article on this issue, but now I needn’t bother. Clarke superbly illustrates all aspects of this:
    – that naivety can lead to bigotry;
    – that it’s easier to see bigotry on the other side;
    – that for too long extreme views have been allowed to be deemed ‘common sense’;
    – that it is, in fact, the largest Nationalist party which commemorate Nazi sympathizers; and
    – that it is, in fact, the largest Unionist party which continues to be led by someone who has made equally outrageous comments without so much as apologizing for them.

    The last paragraph bears repeating, for it is the foundation of any genuine peace process here:

    Reid himself argued that, if the roles had been reversed, nationalists may well have behaved in much the same way to unionists as unionists had behaved to them. It was a moment of clarity in a sea of muddled thinking, a recognition that the Northern Ireland problem is not a case of a good community and a bad community but of people conditioned by circumstances.

  5. “nationalists” and “unionists” are not clones and do not all act like sheep. I will not take responsibility for anything other than what I have

  6. Chris,

    I realize that abortion is not the subject of this thread, but thank you for the clarification of the Sinn Fein position. As an American (where abortion is a big political issue), I am fascinated by the fact that the anti-choice platform is the only thing that all of the parties in Northern Ireland have in common.


    Is Alliance also anti-choice? If I remember properly, Women’s Coalition (do they still stand for election?) was the only pro-choice party.

  7. Alan

    It’s a pity you didn’t give me an email address, because I want to answer your question but do not want to detract from the title of the thread.

    SF was pro-choice (to quote Martin McGuinness in a BBC TV interview: ‘SF supports the mother’s right to choose’), then it flipped its position. But don’t be too surprised if it does so again. That’s the nature of populist politics.

    Alliance takes the view that this is a moral issue rather than a political one, and lets its own members make their mind up. However, our party as a whole does see the 1968 legislation for GB as rather flimsy and would not support direct introduction into NI.

    For the record, I am a Christian and therefore morally pro-life, although I recognize that that moral choice is frankly impossible where the mother’s own life is clearly at risk.

    However, don’t let this issue detract from this thread, which is about a very important and challenging article.

  8. Still laughing at the audacity of Frazer and Foster, running to the PSNI to attempt to make Fr. Reid’s remarks into a criminal case.

    If they were to succeed, can we assume that victims of loyalist violence can approach the PSNI to similarly investigate FAIR leader, Willie Frazer?

    Frazer has, after all, repeated on numerous occasions his support for loyalist killings and indicated his support for collusion between loyalists and the British forces- check Susan McKay’s book on Northern Protestants if you don’t believe me.

    As for Foster’s leader, Ian Paisely, well, where do we start in terms of using inflammatory language?

  9. irishman and padraic

    You’ve just given us the proof of what Babydoc would call ‘an own goal’.

    I would previously have credited Ms Foster with a degree of intelligence, but this is plainly nonsense. And yet another example that it’s easier to see the bigotry on the other side than on your own.

  10. If the Unionists are demanding that Fr.Reid is charged with incitement, then Dr.Paisley and others in the DUP should also be charged and boy have they provided sufficient evidence for this.

    Ezamples from Paisley:

    Calling Catholic women “incubators for the Church of Rome”

    “Catholic homes caught fire because they were loaded with petrol bombs; Catholic churches were attacked and burned because they were arsenals and priests handed out sub-machine guns to parishioners””

    “they breed like rabbits and multiply like vermin”. (of Catholics)

    “This Romish man of sin is now in Hell!” (on the death of Pope John XXIII)

    “The Unionist party are boasting he (Harold Smith) is a Jew. As a Jew, he rejects our Lord Jesus, the New Testament, Protestant principles, the Glorious Reformation and the sanctity of the Lord’s day. The Protestant throne and the Protestant constitution are nothing to him.” (of a Jewish Unionist candidate)

    “The Provisional IRA is the military wing of the Roman Catholic Church.”

    Calling the then head of the Catholic Church in Ireland, Tomás Ó Fiach; “The IRA’s bishop from Crossmaglen”

    When is he going to be charged with incitement? About bloody time.

  11. Brian, the RC church did not condemn the IRA’s murderous campaign; on the other hand Paisley is despised by the loyalist organisations.

  12. Fr Reid had an important role to play in observing the decommissioning of weapons and that was one of credible impartiality. My initial post at the top of this blog was to suggest that he had failed in this respect. His comments have shown him to be neither impartial nor credible. I used the issue of abortion only to further this point. As Liam Clarke states ”He believes whatever they tell him, he accepts them at their own estimation”

    Fr Reid appears to be yet another Irish Nationalist duped by SF.

    Chris Gaskin,

    When did SF change their stance on the issue of abortion? Are Martin and Gerry now pro-life and no longer pro-choice? Have they said so? And if so, do you believe them? I am aware this is not the blog for such a discussion and these questions should be read as rhetorical but may be you should consider what a real Nazi once said and then ask yourself if you recognise the standard SF approach to the SDLP.

    “…the people can always be brought to the bidding of the leaders. That is easy. All you have to do is tell them they are being attacked, and denounce the pacifists for lack of patriotism, and exposing the country to greater danger.”
    Herman Goering

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