A blast from the past…

SINN Fein MLA Francis Brolly has been arrested by the PSNI for questioning about the IRA bombing of Claudy in 1972, which claimed nine lives. The Claudy case will be one to watch, as there were major suspicions of a cover-up afterwards.

While the politician’s arrest yesterday confirms nothing, there are unanswered questions about the involvement of Father James Chesney, Martin McGuinness’s position in the IRA at the time, and the secretive meeting between the Secretary of State and the head of the Catholic Church in Ireland to discuss Chesney – whose unimpeded exit from NI quickly followed.

Since he was a suspect, why was he never questioned or arrested? Who did he provide an alibi for? Did Northern Ireland secretary, William Whitelaw, and Cardinal William Conway – even if outraged at Chesney’s IRA activism – decide that it would ultimately be better if the whole thing went away quietly?

Did they fear a wave of anti-Catholic sectarian violence if Fr Chesney was arrested or charged, that it would play into the hands of Protestant extremism? Was their reasoning that loyalist action would provoke a republican reaction, and the killing would escalate? With the RUC possibly desperate to arrest Chesney, someone who was a prime IRA suspect at the time, was the decision to ‘transfer’ the priest to the Republic rushed or even right?

Perhaps they believed that they were acting for the greater good by saving lives in the future, and that denying the Claudy bomb victims justice was a price that was worth paying in the long run.

While the two leaders may well have agonised over what was in the public’s ‘best interests’ – to prevent even more bloodshed or seek justice at the likely expense of lives – the next two years of the Troubles were to be the worst in its squalid history. If lives were saved, no-one noticed, as NI teetered on the brink of anarchy.

The Times noted that Whitelaw had other secret talks two weeks beforehand, with Martin McGuinness, who was second in command of the IRA in Derry at the time. The IRA was blamed for killing 34 people in Londonderry that year.

There have been suggestions that the South Derry brigade of the IRA aimed to take pressure of their colleagues in Derry city, who were hemmed in by the Army’s Operation Motorman (to retake ‘no-go’ areas). Did the responsible IRA unit decide to do this unilaterally, or were they following orders from their seniors in Derry?

If Whitelaw suspected the latter – and it would have been reasonable for him to do so – was he also protecting someone else? The IRA has always denied reponsibilty for the bombing. As there’s little real doubt about which organisation’s members were involved, it might suggest the unit was acting unilaterally or acting without sanction. But the IRA has also distanced itself from other atrocities carried out by its members in a similar way (Enniskillen, Kingsmills etc), so there are different views about what McGuinness, for example, knew.

The bombing of Claudy was a few months after the Bloody Sunday massacre of nationalist Civil Rights demonstrators in Derry. Such a show of strength would have been a propaganda coup for the IRA and diverted British resources away from the city.

What it ended up as claimed nine innocent lives on a village street. And what it left behind was a nasty political mess over 30 years later, and a suspected cover-up from which no-one really expects the truth to emerge.

“In the cause of peace, our government has to take difficult decisions,” the current Secretary of State wrote in the Guardian yesterday.

The problem is, the goverment doesn’t seem to have learned anything from them.

  • “A blast from the past”

    Ah Gonzo! Sheez! 🙂

  • Malachi

    I am intrigued by Mitchel McLaughlin’s claim that Francie Brolly has been “besmirched” by the police. This suggests that he would regard it as a discredit to someone that he or she had bombed Claudy.I presume the IRA and the wider republican family does not actually think the bombing campaign was disgraceful but indeed holds those who participated in it in high regard.

  • fair_deal

    1. Gonzo – top job on this blog

    I couldn’t quite understand the overkill reaction yesterday of Sinn Fein to the arrest of Brolly. The McGuinness/Londonderry connection I was unaware of and would explain the swiftness and over-reaction of the republicans.

  • Brian

    Francie’s a great man who represents his constituents, works hard and is a life long Irish Republican. Hence the reason the Brit colonizers have incarcerated Francie. But ya can’t break the Republican spirit and one would have thought the Brits knew this.

  • seabhac siulach

    Irrespective of the guilt or otherwise of Brolly and the others, the chances of a successful conviction after 33 years are minute…

    For example, I am sure most of the forensic evidence is non-existent (such as it was in the more primitive days of the 70s)

    In light of this, one must ask why this is being investigated now? This is not to say that the Claudy bombing wasn’t a crime, it was.
    However, are there not many old cases that could be re-opened likewise? Is there a political motivation behind re-opening this investigation?

    Would it not be better to say, ‘yes, this was a tragedy and it should not have happened and everyone is very sorry’ and leave it at that.

    Raking up the distant past now seems very strange.
    Should we not be looking to the future?

  • Ringo

    Is Francie related to Joe?

    Heard a reference to his son being a barrister and involved in the GAA

  • 9countyprovence

    “I believe that we need to take out a few more orangies and RUC Special Branch ”

    I don’t see how buying them dinner is going to help. Or perhaps you mean go to the cinema with them. Does anyone know a cinema showing ‘Micheal Collins’? An hour of that and they’ll be crying like babies…..

    Maybe you need to have a rethink There Brian. 30 years of bombing has not worked. 30 more years of bombings will not work. Save your hate for yourself. Leave the thinking to everyone else.

  • BogExile

    ‘Is there a political motivation behind re-opening this investigation?’

    If I’m being cynical, I suspect that this is an ‘equal opportunities’ atrocity where both Catholics and Protestants were murdered.

    I’m less hopeful that the barbarity of say, Enniskillen or Tebane will benefit from the same ‘cold case’ intensity on the basis that the victims were from the Protestaant community and therefore in the eyes of some at the NIO ‘less equal.’ in terms of political capital in the Alice and Wonderland state we now live in

    Or am I being completely paranoid?

    BTW Belfast Gonzo – nice tidying!

  • fair_deal

    seabhac siulach

    “the chances of a successful conviction after 33 years are minute…”

    A Nazi war criminal was convicted last week in Italy, 60 years on, so justice can reach deep into time.

    “However, are there not many old cases that could be re-opened likewise? Is there a political motivation behind re-opening this investigation? ”

    There is a historic cases review going on so hundreds of other old cases have been re-opened likewise and thus no justifiable claim of political motivation.

    The investigation of another murder case from the 1970’s led to the arrest and questioning of a DUP MLA about his possible involvement. The PSNI also raided the offices and homes and questioned a UUP MLA in the middle of an election. These examples further weaken the claim there is a party political bias in the PSNI arrest of Brolly.

    “Would it not be better to say, ‘yes, this was a tragedy and it should not have happened and everyone is very sorry’ and leave it at that.”

    Maybe but that boat sailed with demands for inquiries into specific incidents some of which were granted e.g. Bloody Sunday.

    Many who carried out such actions are not willing to say it should not have happened and that they are sorry.

  • 5th Province

    Francie Brolly has been referred to by many as an Irish Republican and, in the pigeon-hole styled form politics we know here, this is true. However I would question whether he is, in the true sense, a republican In the 21st centaury a genuine Irish Republican would, in no way, attempt to condone the actions of bombers, extortionists and murderers. On the backside of every nation there is a pimple. In Britain it is the BNP. In Ireland it is the treasonous Sinn Fein.

  • seabhac siulach

    “a republican In the 21st centaury a genuine Irish Republican would, in no way, attempt to condone the actions of bombers, extortionists and murderers.”

    So, you are saying that the only real republicans are those that purely support peaceful means…that would suggest that Wolfe Tone, Pearse, Collins, DeValera, etc., etc. were not republicans. Unfortunately, in Ireland to be a republican has meant, historically, that revolutionary means have had to be used, including bombs, murders, etc. For example, The United Irishmen all the way back to the 18th century were a peaceful constitutional movement at first and were only forced into armed rebellion by English repression.
    Ditto Pearse and others before the ditching of any chance of home rule in 1912. There are many other examples…

    Revolution is not a child’s game…and sometimes to achieve the highest aims, the lowest means must be used, including murder. History shows this…
    This is not to condone murder or to make any moral judgement on those carrying out the revolution. Does the end justify the means, etc.? Who knows…

  • BogExile

    SS – he did say 21st century Republcanism. If you can tear yourself away from your stained and inglorious history you would see he’s making a very valid point

    The sort of modern republicanism that 5th county articulates is the sort I as a Unionist could do business with on the quid pro quo that I have to acknowledge the historical wrongs inflicted on the Catholic minority by Unionism in NI in the past.

    Sadly this form of Republicanism mainly exists South of the border where true Irish patriots are revolted and shamed by the murder carried out in their name in 30 wasted years in the North.

    To achieve the highest aims the lowest means must be achieved. Well then let’s see, in 30 years of killing republican heros have succeeded in making the border line around NI slightly less obvious in the BBC weather forecast. Good going boys!

  • TAFKABO

    Revolution is not a child’s game…

    though it is often a game of murdering children.

    and sometimes to achieve the highest aims, the lowest means must be used, including murder.

    And would you say that achieving basically what was on offer back in the seventies qualifies as highest aims?.Seriously, has the sluaghter been worth it?, for any of us?

    History shows this…

    I believe that history shows that unless we move away from the mistakes of the past, we shall repeate them, and what you are doing is endorsing and reaffirming that great irish tradition of glorious revolution, and damn the consequences.

    This is not to condone murder or to make any moral judgement on those carrying out the revolution.

    Sorry, but you are only fooling yourself here, you are clearly endorsing child murder, you cant have it both ways .

    Does the end justify the means, etc.? Who knows…

    Well I know, and a lot of bereaved families know.

    In this case, no the ends do not justify the means.

  • 5th Province

    seabhac siulach:

    So, you are saying that the only real republicans are those that purely support peaceful means.., No, I am not. You obviously need to read past the chapter in the book that deals with the notion of violent resistance as a morally justifiable response to the presence of an occupying force.

    I agree that historically at least, in Ireland, to be a republican has meant revolutionary means ; but there is no logic to an argument that rules out any other type of response. . In your haste to reply to my posting you have clearly not given much thought to what you were righting. As you chose to mention historical figures such as Wolfe Tone, Pearse, Collins, DeValera, I ask the question do you think they would have supported the current I.R.A..?

    sometimes to achieve the highest aims, the lowest means must be used If this is not to condone murder or to make any moral judgement on those carrying out the revolution what is it supposed to me? Explain that one to me…

  • Shore Road Resident

    There’s nothing in seabhac siulach’s argument that couldn’t equally be used to justify violence from any quarter. Defending the union, for example, is not a child’s game and history shows that sometimes to achieve the highest aims the lowest means must be used. This is not to condone murder but…etc.

    Pathetic.

  • Isn’t the cold case squad investigating thousands of cases or was it hundreds, anyway, I thought there was a new PSNI task force meant to look at old cases like these, so I’d expect to see a number of arrests happening over the next while, what happens with the charges and sentence will depend likely on the outcome of this OTR stuff and any truth quango that gets set up.

  • CS Parnell

    I am fascinated by the way the Shinners have a bit of their website marked “gaelic” (not gaelige and anyway in Bearla) – my Irish teacher used to (literally – we’re talking Christian Brothers here) bang into us that the language was “Irish” as it was the national language and so should be called so.

  • seabhac siulach

    TAFKABO
    “And would you say that achieving basically what was on offer back in the seventies qualifies as highest aims?.Seriously, has the sluaghter been worth it?, for any of us?”

    You forget that Sunningdale was brought down not by republicans, but by loyalists. There was nothing on offer in the seventies, if truth be told. There was no flexibility on the side of loyalism, a loyalism that even in 1985 was enraged that London and Dublin civil servants should meet regularly…

    Where was the peaceful outlet for those who politically wanted to see a republic? The SDLP or others did not fill that with their toned down nationalism. If there was an alternative peaceful movement towards republican objectives, where was it?

    As to whether it was worth killing anyone for the limited achievement of power sharing (that we might have now), is another matter.
    However, my point is that republicanism is not exclusively a peaceful enterprise, neither now or in the 18th century. The high aims and ideals are all very well for someone in Dublin to expouse, but achieving them (against English military and legal impediments) means that action (more than words) sometimes needs to be taken, as in Ireland between 1919-21…and awful horrific mistakes made as a result. I am not justifying those actions, merely making a point…

    Was killing anyone worth a republic in the 18/19/20th century? Some always thought that it was…
    To judge those people and their motivations (and those in the 6 counties) now is an exercise in pure revisionism.

    Bog Exile:

    “SS – he did say 21st century Republcanism. If you can tear yourself away from your stained and inglorious history you would see he’s making a very valid point

    The sort of modern republicanism that 5th county articulates is the sort I as a Unionist could do business with on the quid pro quo that I have to acknowledge the historical wrongs inflicted on the Catholic minority by Unionism in NI in the past.”

    Do not fool yourself that the republicanism exposed south of the border was not also founded on violence. Whatever about the easy idealistic words that can come now to the lips of southern republicans, free these 80 years from outside interference, it is also the heir of violent revolutionary violence. There were many ‘Claudys’ during 1919-21 that the mists of time obscure. So, you as a unionist can do business with those that expouse those views of equality, etc. Fair enough.
    That is not hard for you…as you are being offered a fair and equal representation in a country that welcomes you with open arms. You do not need to use violence, luckily, to achieve this. Nobody is opressing your free right to choose. Others in Irish history have not been given that choice.
    Part of the price for the freedom to welcome you, part of the price for the economic success in the South comes from the sacrifice made by many in the wars of liberation in the 26 counties in the 1920s. To belittle that is a nonsense. Of course, we all want to live in a peaceful world, but political reality often dictates otherwise.

    “Sadly this form of Republicanism mainly exists South of the border where true Irish patriots are revolted and shamed by the murder carried out in their name in 30 wasted years in the North.”

    And you talk of true Irish patriots. What are these? Those well-healed folk who can now with hindsight and revisionism tut tut about all violence, while conveniently forgetting that their grandfathers had to fight the english for the very economic and other freedoms they now enjoy. How quickly they forget the Black and Tans, the Auxiliaries, the burning of Cork, etc., etc.

    My point is that sometimes it is necessary to fight and kill for the highest political philosophy. I am not saying that that was necessarily the situation in the 6 counties in 1969. However, I believe we are too close to those events in history to make a valid judgement.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Nutter.

  • Mickhall

    Good piece of work Gonzo.

    mick h

  • seabhac siulach

    SRR
    “There’s nothing in seabhac siulach’s argument that couldn’t equally be used to justify violence from any quarter. Defending the union, for example, is not a child’s game and history shows that sometimes to achieve the highest aims the lowest means must be used. This is not to condone murder but…etc.”

    Essentially that is true. However, loyalism was engaged in a mere sectarian terrorism of the other ‘side’, not following some higher ideology, as in republicanism (right or wrong as that ideology may be). So the analogy is not completely correct. Sometimes, to achieve the ‘perfect’ society, violence needs to be used. That surely is the mantra of all revolutionaries. Omelette and eggs and all that. This is because of the resistance of other forces to the (perhaps, initially peaceful) revolutionary aims.
    Loyalist violence or British state violence on the other hand, not attempting to change anything, merely arrest the attempts at revolutionary change, was reactionary and, so, different.

  • Shore Road Resident

    Yes, only the prods are sectarian.

  • Butterknife

    It was a two way straight seabhac siulach:
    If one to be acedamic you could refer to the ethnic clensing of Protestants in the early 1900s in Cork and how the local IRA stated that the fat pigs must be got rid off … if you want topical look to The Times

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/article/0,,2-1890892,00.html

    and how Best was denied an education because of Republician bullying.

  • Alan

    Sometimes I wonder if Simon Wiesenthal had it right, that you needed to keep chasing the perpetrators and be seen to show intolerance to those who plot evil acts against others.

    In Wiesenthal’s case, however, there was a simplicity in distinguishing the good and the evil, and victory had already been gained by one side.

    For us there was bad on both sides and we are left in a stalemated situation that hurts no matter what way you turn.

    I think, however, we still need to turn our eyes to see the bad things that were done in our name and recognise the horror that we have been through.

    We need to do that in order to make the possibility that someone might turn again to violence as remote as possible.

    We should be sure that people pay for the violence thay they commit – even if it is only by public censure – in order that future generations should see violence as a diseased, rather than a glorious thing.

  • seabhac siulach

    5th province:

    “As you chose to mention historical figures such as Wolfe Tone, Pearse, Collins, DeValera, I ask the question do you think they would have supported the current I.R.A..?”

    Yes, of course. They were revolutionaries, not girl guides. Do you think Collins was playing games with the RIC, the Brit. secret service? No, he was arranging their deaths…
    He was also the one, with DeValera, responsible, ultimately for all the deaths of protestants in Cork and elsewhere, shot as informants, etc. All the dirty little things that went on then.
    To think that there is much of a difference between 1919-21 and 1969-97 is revisionism and due to the greater media attention given to the events in 1969-97.

  • TAFKABO

    seabhac siulach

    You miss my point.
    Whether or not it was the loyalists who brought down Sunningdale is irrelevant ( funny how todays paramilatires are unionist, yet the unionists of yesteryear are loyalists).

    Republicans also rejected what was on offer and prosecuted a thirty year campaign of slaughter, only to decide that what was on offer was acceptable after all.

  • Brian

    War is ugly but sometimes necassary. It is a human condition. The IRA (and INLA) prosecuted a successful campaign of war against the British occupier. The ocupied zone will soon become a part of a reunified Ireland. Them’s the facts! We can argue till the cows come home. But let’s applause the noble campaign of the IRA. Meanwhile, don’t forget those who fought in previous campaigns for Irish freedom, men and women like Ruari O’Bradaigh, Sean South, the Manchester Martyrs and all those who gave their lives throughout the last three centuries. Tá ár Lá beagnach ann.

  • 5th Province

    seabhac siulach:

    my point is that republicanism is not exclusively a peaceful enterprise

    My point is that in a 21st century Europe Irish Republicanism should be an exclusively peaceful enterprise!

    Supporters of violence have been allowed to drag this society down for far too long. Violence has shown itself to be self-defeating. There has to be a better way. Together with all my friends, I want to see a United Ireland but not at the expense of one more human life. What good did any of the bombs do? What kind of Irish Republicanism believes it is worth trading human lives for political gain? There is no need to list all the examples of the atrocities carried out in the name of Irish Republicanism but I can’t think of one which succeeded in uniting Catholic, Protestant and Dissenter. Our self-titled Republican leaders were/are violent people who, back in the 60s/70s/80s/90s got it wrong. I think there’s very little truly Republican, about them.

  • Brian

    PS. – Free Mickey McKevitt. The man is an Irish Patriot who was subjected to a media witch hunt and convicted by a non-jury court. His role in the pursuit of Irish freedom should never be undermined. As the Movement’s QM he was brillo. Perhaps he made a mistake by advocating a continuation of the war? Perhaps not! Time will tell, but he is a great man who should be free. Michael McDowell, the horrid west brit and nauseating skunk ought to be in jail in his place.

  • Brian

    SS refers to “Supporters of violence “. What are ya on about? Nobody wants war. Bobby Sands did not enjoy his 65 days on hunger strike. He did not want to die. Wake up man. We want our country back. We wanted an end to oppression, discrimination and partition. Sitting on a ditch with a flag did/does not work.

  • Brian

    ‘5th province’ asks, “What kind of Irish Republicanism believes it is worth trading human lives for political gain?” This is just more than “political gain”. This is about freedom and the right of the Irish people to self determine our own future. Noble and brave IRA (&INLA) Volunteers did not engage in war for merely
    political gain. In fact Ireland was partitioned under the threat of “all out war” (Lloyd George, 1921). What are you on? UFF drugs?

  • Alonso

    Brian,

    When are you going to wake up and smell the coffee? Your postings are more like that of someone who never left 1920 Dublin. Young Republicans of today can see the mistakes of our so-called leaders for what they are. At what cost a United Ireland? I hope to see a UI in my life time but 5th Province is right, if it means someone has to die for it to happen, I’d rather wait.

  • 5th Provence

    How many lives is it worth loosing in order to achieve Irish Unity?

    0
    1
    10
    100
    1000
    10,000
    100,000
    1,000,000

  • Brian

    Alfonso says, “if it means someone has to die for it (reunificion) to happen, I’d rather wait.” It’s a bit late to talk about that isn’t it? How many people died over the centuries? How many were incarcerated by Diplock courts? How many Iraqi’s died because of Bush and Blair’s rubbish about ‘weapons of mass destruction’? As I said, war is ugly. But I, amongst hundreds of thousands of others acknowledge that the wars prosecuted by the IRB, IRA, INLA et al were just wars designed to free our country. Incidentally, was WWII justifiable? Was it okay to engage in a war that ultimately killed Hitler? As for “young republicans”? Perhaps you were a babe ten or twenty years ago. Perhaps ya still are. Perhaps you are a FG, FF or pee dee supporter. Methinks y’are. Hence the reason that ya make silly statements about something ya know nothing about.

  • DK

    What was that rule called where the first person to invoke Nazis/Hitler automatically lost the debate?

    Back on topic – this was over 30 years ago and surely anyone found guilty of anything is going to get out under the GFA. So why are SF kicking up such a fuss?

  • Kelvin Doherty

    DK

    Think it’s called Godwin’s law. The longer a political thread, the greater the probability that a comparison will be made with Hitler or Stalin

  • Alonso

    Brian,

    It’s a bit late to talk about that isn’t it? No. Quite simply the Provo campaign was wrong both morally and militarily. It seems everyone could see that but them. As an Irish Republican, I recognise only one Irish Army and see the treasonous acts perpetrated by the Provos for what they are – gratuitous self-serving acts of gangsterism. Your feeble attempts to evoke the injustices perpetrated by one as to, in some way, justify further acts of injustice is beginning to sound a little desperate. And are you seriously trying to compare the treasonous acts of the Provos to that of the Allied Forces in WWII? Get real! I think you might want to reconsider such a reference. It may come as news to you to hear that the I.R.A. is not THE army of Ireland. Your arguments are very dated and tiresome. You sound like someone who was easily taken in by Provo spin and can’t bring themselves to admit that, for all those years, they were wrong.

  • martin

    Be sure and know that your sin will find you

    the truth will always out–no man can escape his past.

  • Glen Taisie

    The truest republican GAA family in Dungiven are the McGonigles. They did not sell out to Stormont Sinn Fein.

  • William

    Claudy is a Catholic village bombed by a Catholic priest ,majority of victims were Catholic,why would there be a Protestant backlash against the clergy?

  • seabhac siulach

    And so, as night follows day, the PSNI release their ‘suspects’ for the Claudy bombing…whoever would have guessed it.

    Good days public relations done there, lads, pity there isn’t an election coming up…sling enough mud and some of it is bound to stick…the new motto of the PSNI (apparently).

    Oh, and I see that they are still questioning Mr. Ward about his alleged involvement in the Northern bank robbery… the robbery that everyone and their granny blamed on the provos…

    No, no such thing as political policing in this grand wee pravance…

  • barnshee

    SS

    “However, loyalism was engaged in a mere sectarian terrorism of the other ‘side’, not following some higher ideology, as in republicanism (right or wrong as that ideology may be)”

    Protestants were involved in protecting that which is theirs by right . Freedom from catholic republican ireland and her murder gangs There is no higher ideology

  • seabhac siulach

    Barnshee:
    “Protestants were involved in protecting that which is theirs by right . Freedom from catholic republican ireland and her murder gangs There is no higher ideology”

    Yes, I suppose that is true…but what I meant by ideology is a narrow political philosophy with a clearly defined goal, not one based purely on a broadly shared system of beliefs which is clearly the case in unionism/loyalism. Unionism is an ideology, but one with no clear aspirational goal, except maybe to continue to exist in the face of outside ‘threats’. Loyalist/Unionist violence was/is, therefore, purely reactionary violence and not aspirational…that is, loyalist violence was not attempting to affect change, merely arrest it. I see a difference…perhaps, you do not…

    By sectarian terrorism, by the way, I refer to the fact that loyalism targetted people purely for their religion for the most part in a purely terroristic campaign. On the other side, there was , at least on paper, an attempt to target military targets. I admit that the term military was rather broad and also strayed into sectarianism.

  • DK

    SS,

    Where to begin on this one!

    “what I meant by ideology is a narrow political philosophy with a clearly defined goal” – isn’t that a definition of fanaticism – the point at which philosphy gives up and goes and cries in the corner?

    “Loyalist/Unionist violence was/is, therefore, purely reactionary” – and therefore wouldn’t exist without something to react against i.e. Republican/Nationalist violence? Does that mean that if the Republican/Nationalist violence didn’t start that everything would be rosy in the 6 county garden with all the children holding hands on keyboards or something.

    “loyalism targetted people purely for their religion” – I think that they often claimed to be targetting Republicans: remember that they didn’t have such a clearly uniformed and readily identifiable enemy. And anyway, they seem to have spent a fair bit of time targetting rival prods.

    Anyhow, couldn’t you say that the whole Republican campaign was reactionary to the British invasion in the first place – an invasion with a clear ideology of expanding empire.

  • 5th Province

    If loyalism targetted people purely for their religion is that less noble than republicans targeting people purely for the nationality?

    The Provos are treasonous Irish men and women. Shame on them and all who support them.

    seabhac siulach care to comment?

  • seabhac siulach

    DK:
    “- isn’t that a definition of fanaticism – the point at which philosphy gives up and goes and cries in the corner?

    Perhaps, perhaps revolutionaries are not far different from fanatics. Although a definition of a fanatic is one who continuously redoubles his efforts while losing sight of the goal. That has not happened in Irish republicanism. By philosophy, I mean, their guiding credo…(not some existential moralising on the nature of man!)

    “Does that mean that if the Republican/Nationalist violence didn’t start that everything would be rosy in the 6 county garden with all the children holding hands on keyboards or something.”

    Yes and No. It was republican violence driving the disturbances in the 6 counties, at least since 1972. It was their violence that was the catalyst for everything else. They were the driving force. That is clear. Without the IRA there would have been low level sectarian violence but without the large scale involvement of the British Army, etc.
    It would never have been very rosy as there was always a demand for civil rights. It was only after bloody Sunday that this demand changed to one of full national self-determination…

    “I think that they often claimed to be targetting Republicans: remember that they didn’t have such a clearly uniformed and readily identifiable enemy. And anyway, they seem to have spent a fair bit of time targetting rival prods.”

    What they claim and what the reality is are two vastly different things. As can be seen from some statistics,
    (see http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/issues/violence/cts/fay98.htm#tables)

    It turns out that loyalists killed 858 civilians with no links to any organisations. They, in addition, killed 26 republican paramilitaries and 65 loyalist paramilitaries, amongst others. The total deaths due to loyalists was 983. Therefore, 858/983 or 87% of all their killings were of innocent civilians. Their ‘targetting’ of republicans led to the deaths of 26, or approx. 3% of all their killings. Hence, loyalists were largely merely sectarian terrorists, wishing to intimidate the whole catholic/nationalist population with random attacks. There was no guiding credos there, merely a reactionary need to strike back at their ‘enemies’.

    IRA attacks on the other hand resulted in 713 deaths of civilians out of 2001, i.e., 36% of the total. The main total of their attacks were against the security services, leading to 1068 deaths or 53%. This is because the IRA was following a revolutionary code…not merely engaged in a sectarian slaughter. Like it or not, they were following a philosophy that did not allow them to engage in sectarianism (whatever about the reality that actually sometimes occurred).

    “Anyhow, couldn’t you say that the whole Republican campaign was reactionary to the British invasion in the first place – an invasion with a clear ideology of expanding empire. ”

    No, because republicanism only sprang up in Ireland in the late 18th century…long after the initial British invasion as you put it. It started off peacefully, only turning to violence when its peaceful aims were unlawfully repressed. How can a revolutionary movement that wishes to overturn all that went before be reactionary?

    5th Province:

    “The Provos are treasonous Irish men and women. Shame on them and all who support them.”

    That is your judgement. Fair enough. I am not here to defend the IRA. I am not some sort of brainless provo apologist. I merely wished to state here in my answers that sometimes political violence is necessary and that claims that this is not true are intellectually dishonest…
    A republic (whether in India, Ireland, the US or France) does not spring up unopposed by the status quo and often it is necessary to use violence to achieve the revolutionary aim of a republic. This violence can often turn ugly. History supports this analysis. It is for others to argue whether such a republic is worth a single life…

  • Reader

    This is more useful: http://cain.ulst.ac.uk/sutton/crosstabs.html

    ‘Organisation’ by ‘Status Summary’ shows that the provos preferred to kill republicans, and let the loyalists get on with it. So – not a defensive organisation then…

  • 5th Province

    I am not some sort of brainless provo apologist

    Glad to hear it seabhac siulach but would you please explain something for me….

    You believe that political violence is necessary.
    brainless provo believes that political violence is necessary.

    What’s the difference?

  • seabhac siulach

    “What’s the difference?”

    The difference is that I will not even attempt to defend the indefensible, e.g., the placing of bombs in crowded city centres and other questionable (cowardly) tactics…

    (I stand by my opinion, though, that many of the large bombings in which civilians were killed during the troubles were (in the main) mistakes and not deliberate attempts at mass civilian murder. That does not, however, absolve those who planted the bombs for showing a cowardly and indefensible use of bombs in crowded areas where even the smallest mistake would likely lead to innocent lives being lost. Even the laws of probability would show that eventually an Omagh or an Enniskillen was bound to happen.)

    I am, however, not a pacifist (you’d never guess!) and I see, ultimately, that political violence may sometimes be needed when attempting radical political change, when limited democratic rights are continuously denied or when outside forces are imposing new constitutional arrangements on an unwilling population…

    If you think me a brainless ‘provo’ for my views, that is your right. However, many throughout Irish history have maintained that (sometimes) political violence is necessary to safeguard their rights and I stand with them. I include amongst these the founders of the UVF in 1912…

    Does that make me a brainless loyalist?

    In any case, this is all way off the original point…

  • Cold Case looks like CSI just like anyother detective tv series-:*