Device intended to disrupt ceremony

A device was planted at Lisburn City Council offices today in an effort to disrupt a ceremony to grant the Freedom of the City of Lisburn to the Northern Ireland Prison Service.

One wonders who the bigger “enemies of the peace process” are, those who planted the device or the prison officers who were being honoured for years of service to law and order in the face of terrorist threat.

  • elfinto

    Sorry but I can’t work up any mock outrage over this hoax. Choosing Bobby Sand’s 25th anniversary to award the freedom of the borough to the Prison Service was a deliberate provocation on the part of the knuckle-draggers who run Lisburn Council.

  • Conor Gillespie

    elfinto,
    I agree. The date of the ceremony turned this award from a commemoration of the gaurds to an opportunity to rub the occasion into the faces of nationalists. One bunch of idiots turns a potentialy comemorative ceremony into a chance to provoke a second bunch of idiots who in turn respond by escalating the tension. Now all you need to do is to wait for a third grup of idiots to respond by planting a similar device in a nationalist ceremony.

  • In agreement too.

    Both acts were provocative and shame on Lisburn town council for giving the freedom of the borough (Freedoms of boroughs and towns is farcical as well, meaningless gesture) to a bunch of alleged sadists who beat and tortured people they were supposed to be supervising.

    Also shame on the people who planted the hoax device. They would have been better to employ their efforts into showing the world how backward Lisburn Town council is.

  • paddyjoe

    i would jst like to state that it was wrong to plant a hoax bomb in ballygobackwards.

  • mc

    Provocative?
    was’t aware Bobby and fellow terrorists owned the day.

  • Conor Gillespie

    Mc,
    “Provocative?
    was’t aware Bobby and fellow terrorists owned the day.”

    I suggest that you think that statement through again Mc. Your reasoning is based on a fallacy. Sands and Co don’t have to “own” a day for it to be a provocative day to hold a prison ceremony. To believe for an instant that this was not a factor in the Lisburn council’s decision is pure naïveté.

  • Conor Gillespie

    “Sands and Co don’t have to “own” a day for it to be a provocative day to hold a prison ceremony.”

    Sorry, that should have read “prison gaurd comemoration ceremony” Clearly two very different things. (:

  • Henry94

    The Prison Service has allowed itself to be politicised in a very crude and reactionary way.

    The object of the exercise was to upset people and it seems to have succeeded.

    The council, the prison service and the dissidents have all got what the wanted from the day. Nothing for any of them to be proud of in my view.

  • Pete Baker

    There are a couple of things to note here… IMHO..

    Firstly, Michael really should have specified that, by the time he noted this, it had already been resolved it was a hoax device..

    That aside, the issue of provocativeness is interesting.. there’s no question that the timing of the award to the Prison Service was provocative.. but then the manner in which the the deaths of Sands et al have been commemorated has also been provocative – why else was there a commemoration outside the GPO for example?

    To borrow a catchphrase.. this weekend has hardly been an example of how SF intend to reach out to unionists.. has it now?

  • Michael Shilliday

    Hoax or not, it was still an attempt to disrupt the ceremony.

  • elfinto

    And a shoddy little ceremony it was. I totally agree with Henry94’s comment that the NIPS discredited itself by having anything to do with it. Given that there are still republican (and loyalist) prisoners in Maghaberry, how can people have faith in the Prison Service to operate in an impartial and professional manner if the maangement see fit to participate in tasteless political stunts like this?

  • Rubicon

    It is one thing to recognise provocation but another to react to it.

    If LDC were trying to provoke – they succeeded.

    The outcome? Neither ‘side’ looks too smart.

  • Johno

    Amazing to see how Republicans can be so sensitive over ceremonies to celebrate people who place bombs outside McDonalds, and murder English children. You people are not for real.

  • Dave

    Ask yourself this question?

    Which was an act of terrorism? If holding a commemoration to award the freedom of the city to the prison service was perceived by a community to be provocative surely representatives of that community must follow the complaints procedure in an attempt have the ceremony postponed.

    Individuals, groups and organisations cannot and must not be allowed to dictate events by acts of terrorism nor must others (individuals, groups and organisation condone such acts)

    People must use their representatives to address a grievance a failure to follow the rule of law is detrimental to all the people of Northern Ireland. It is my intention to write to the Lisburn council and ask for an explanation as to why this ceremony on held on this particular date, unfortunately I am not in a position to write to the terrorists and ask of them, in who name and by what authority had they planted an explosive device (hoax or not a device was planted).

    This act of terrorism was committed on behalf of the republican/nationalist community apparently! If this is not the case then just who do these terrorists represent?

    Lisburn council should be tasked with giving an explanation as to why this particular date was chosen this will indicate that they are answerable to the people, were as those who planted the explosive device are answerable only to themselves. So much for democracy then.

  • paddyjoe

    dave. if i was you i wouldnd hold my breath waiting for an answer. anyway good luck to you. please post it IFyou get a reply

  • peter

    It is clear from Lisburn’s decision that they still subscribe to the view that the security apparatus of the state are meant to serve the unionist population only and not all sections of the community.

  • smirkyspice

    ‘and a shoddy little ceremony it was’ lol aye the whole thing gives me the creeps… the ‘city’ of Lisburn hahaha oh please…

  • bertie

    Even if the date was chosen to coinside with the Sands anniversary, why assume that that was provocative. It could easily have been a way of managing the disgust that people feel at making a hero of a terrorist and to assuage the pain of relatives of murdered prison officers during this time. But then to many, considering the pain of the victims of terrorism is a profoundly provocative act.

  • Harry

    No doubt if orangemen could find where exactly in nationalist’s minds memories of Bobby Sands are located they’d organise a march to go through it.

  • bertie

    No we would be quite happy to steer clear of such murky paths. We also wouldn’t tar all nationalists with the brush of having a terrorist as a hero.

  • Conor Gillespie

    Bertie,
    “It could easily have been a way of managing the disgust that people feel at making a hero of a terrorist and to assuage the pain of relatives of murdered prison officers during this time.”

    Bertie, do you honestly believe that this ceremony was an ‘atempt to assuage the pain of relativess.’ I’m sorry but that just doesn’t fly here in NI considering the nature of the award and the group mentioned. I think if you review the situation it should be obvious what they intended to do and how they went about doing it.

  • bertie

    Conor

    I don’t know one way ot the other. I know next to nothing about Lisburn Council or its motives and you may well be right. I am just offering another possibility. Lauding terrorists as heros is very very difficult for their victims to cope with. I also reject the idea that showing disrespect to Sands is any slight on nationalists, You could mock the memory of Billy Wright (the terrorist – not the murdered prison officer William Wright) until the cows come home and I would not consider anything to be rubbed in my face.

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    So apparently it’s OK to ‘disrupt’ a legitimate ceremony with a hoax bomb if it might give offence to the other community. I assume none of the Republican/Nationalist posters here would have a problem with a similar action by Loyalists on a hunger strike commemeration?
    I personally found it offensive to have to drive through Toome today (the bypass was closed sadly) and be treated to rows of MOPEing little pictures of the hunger strikers complete with 25th anniversary flags and tricolours. Yet I drove on and accepted that there are two sides to this community.
    Is it too much to ask everyone else to do the same?

  • Harry

    Gerry Lvs Castro wrote:
    “I assume none of the Republican/Nationalist posters here would have a problem with a similar action by Loyalists on a hunger strike commemeration?”

    At a guess I’d say most people wouldn’t have a problem with that.

    By Lisburn Council making this commemoration at this time they are deliberately reopening the debate on criminalisation that was at the heart of the strike in the first place. This indicates a refusal to admit the political nature of the situation in n. ireland, even today.

    As such it is deliberately provocative and aggressive, and is so not just to republicans but to all nationalists.

  • Harry

    re: action by loyalists. I thought you meant a loyalist hunger strike commemoration, not a loyalist bomb.

  • Siochan

    Gerry Lvs Castro,
    “I assume none of the Republican/Nationalist posters here would have a problem with a similar action by Loyalists on a hunger strike commemeration?”

    Look at my first post on this thread (#2) and you’ll find that that’s exactly what I predict to be the result of this little exercise in aggresive intensiication.

  • Rubicon

    I don’t agree with you Harry and Bertie has made worthwhile points worthy of thought – and I think Bertie may have been criticising my post earlier.

    The hunger strikers did not and do not represent all nationalists and republicans. The demand for political status from violent ‘republicans’ who had no representative status was not uniformly accepted. Bobby Sands got representative status AFTER the crime he was incarcerated for and SF was a minor player in democratic politics.

    For some nationalists being democratic was (and remains) an essential criterion for being political. For others, it was different; an opportunity to Poke Maggie/the Brits in the eye or a recognition of determination and courage for a political end. For them, they allowed the end to justify the means.

    Personally, those means were and remain a black mark – they were wrong.

    But Bertie, the timing was provocative and was very unlikely to have occurred by accident. Assuaging the grief of relatives is not advanced with this kind of point-scoring. In fact, it diminishes the devastation caused them.

  • Harry

    There really is no point talking to you people. You refuse to allow even the slightest chink of light to shed legitimacy on irish nationalism, even 25 years later. You deliberately misunderstand the important aspect of my point and choose to fly off into covering details to justify yourselves. You aren’t the only ones to suffer in n. ireland yet you refuse to allow any respiration to the opposing viewpoint and feelings of almost half the population.

    The reason why you are wrong to act in this way is because the state is still a unionist state – you are the ones with the power. The utter lack of recognition and generosity to anything – anything – which doesn’t fit your view is sneered at, rejected or smothered.

    This will lead to conflict, inevitably.

  • Harry

    That should read: ‘There is an utter lack of recognition and generosity towards anything – anything – which doesn’t fit your view; it is sneered at, rejected or smothered.’

  • DK

    Harry,

    If Rubicon states that he doesn’t agree, and backs this up with points, it is then your turn to counter those points, or come up with a better argument. Your “There really is no point talking to you people” is not an arguement or discussion, just someone going off to sulk. This is a forum for discussion – please engage!

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Just wondering: are any of our unionist posters seriously in doubt that the event was specifically timed to coincide with Sands’ death?

    If so, then I can only commend you on the impressive depth and doggedness of your mendacity.

    Otherwise, if we all accept that the event was conceived as the latest salvo in the ongoing war between republicans and unionism/the state for the definitive troubles narrative, then doesn’t it strike anyone as shoddy that the prison service has allowed itself to be used in this way?

    Doesn’t it appear that the prison service has kinda eschewed its public service pretensions and aligned itself unequivocally with unionism?

    And what does all this mean?

    I would also take issue with the comparisons between Sands and Wright which, I believe, are wrong-headed. For one thing, Wright was a noted psychopath – even his allies in Portadown would have acknowledged that, though they thought it was a GOOD thing – with an estimated 50 murders to his name (that we vaguely know about) whereas Sands was nothing of the sort. But that aside, the real distinction is this – if Sands and Wright both arrived in jail as a result of their activities within a paramilitary organisation, the similarities ended there.

    To compare Sands and Wright is to overlook what Sands did IN prison, which is something that only unionists, in the whole world, have been able to do. (The hunger strikes really were the big international news story of the time.) Sands, a poet and songwriter, was a relative unknown when he went inside, but he did something IN prison that was, without question, monumental. He did something profoundly meaningful. Perhaps it’s because they actually understand this that unionists still dance with such unedifying exultation on his grave. (I see the UUP has called SF’s memorial a “hate vigil”. Why not just say nothing? Seriously? And as for the thread we’ve seen on Unionist attitudes to the hunger strikes, well, it was the most depressing I’ve ever seen.)

    Whereas Wright? Now there was a man who achieved nothing in his life but the inflicting of pain and misery. Say what you will about Sands, but one cannot but acknowledge that he achieved much more than that.

  • Reader

    Billy Pilgrim: Doesn’t it appear that the prison service has kinda eschewed its public service pretensions and aligned itself unequivocally with unionism?
    No. It may well have been used – and that was daft. But it is more likely to think it has been used as a pawn in a fight over whether the narrative will be owned by law and society, or by terrorists.
    Meanwhile, vile causes throughout history have attracted fanatical support – till death. From the perspective of many people, the hunger strikers were first led to kill, then to die. They were dupes. The strength of their feeling was a fault, not an objective endorsement of their cause.
    Finally, you were free enough with an estimate for the number of deaths involving Wright. Why not put a figure on the number of deaths involving Sands? Could it make you feel differently about him?

  • andy

    Reader
    I thought it was well known Sands didn’t kill anyone?

    Not the same for all the hunger strikers, admittedly, but I don’t think even frankie hughes would have indulged in the masss targeting of civilians that Billy Wright did.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Reader

    “But it is more likely to think it has been used as a pawn in a fight over whether the narrative will be owned by law and society, or by terrorists.”

    This is the strident assertion of a closed mind. What you call “law and society” (by which I guess you mean RUC, UDR, B Specials, RIR, Paras etc etc) were the forces that terrorised the nationalist community, up to and including random sectarian murder. Cast-iron proof of this emerged only last week in the Irish News.

    You seem to be proceeding from the assumption that state forces have an inherent legitimacy and moral standing, yet surely you would admit that there are myriad examples where this has not been the case? East Germany, Chile, Guatemala, Hungary, Yugoslavia, Czechoslovakia, Indonesia (East Timor), China (Tibet), South Africa, Sudan (Darfur), Rwanda, Zaire. These are just the ones on the top of my head. The list is endless.

    So if perhaps you can explain to me why the forces of the state here were deserving of moral legitimacy, we can debate that point. I certainly can argue why they were not.

    (I would not dispute for a second that the IRA campaign was wicked and insane and wrong. That’s not what’s at issue here – it’s the question of narrative. The IRA weren’t the goodies, but nor were they responsible for crimes that were objectively worse than state forces and their loyalist proxies. Discuss.)

    “Finally, you were free enough with an estimate for the number of deaths involving Wright. Why not put a figure on the number of deaths involving Sands? Could it make you feel differently about him?”

    I honestly couldn’t make any estimate about Sands – the one about Wright is, I admit, shaky. It was told to me verbally by a well-known journalist who has had reason to investigate Wright’s “career”.

    But what about the point I made about the distinction between the two – that Sands is remembered for the unquestionable courage he demonstrated INSIDE prison whereas Wright is remembered only for his monstrous crimes. Do you think this is a reasonable distinction?

  • Gerry Lvs Castro

    ”By Lisburn Council making this commemoration at this time they are deliberately reopening the debate on criminalisation that was at the heart of the strike in the first place.”

    I’m loath to get into this question you Harry — after all the RM seriously believe that NOTHING PIRA ever did was a crime — whether that included shooting a mother in the head and dumping her in a bog, shooting people in the back and running away, blowing up children in England or members of the public out shopping, in church or attending a poppy day service…. I could go on all day.
    These actions and thousands more WERE criminal acts. If you really want to stretch a point, you could argue that ‘targetting’ the army and the security forces was a political act. Targetting shoppers, church-goers and people who had the audacity to criticise your grubby little movement was not. Likewise trying to blow up a furniture shop was not a political act — merely the act of an idiot. It was perfectly obvious even at the time that had this act succeeded, the shop would have been rebuilt, the unionist will to resist would have hardened even more and the determination not to give in to terrorism would have received another small boost.
    As in modern-day Iraq, ‘insurgents’ targetting US and British troops could be said to be acting politically — when they target people in a street market or a mosque, ostensibly because of religious differences, they are not. The scale of slaughter is different — the intentions are the same. When the likes of Sands and his comrades targetted protestant businesses, towns and gatherings, they were merely carrying out acts of criminality with sectarian overtones. The fact that they thought otherwise was merely self-delusion.

  • Reader

    Billy Pilgrim: What you call “law and society” (by which I guess you mean RUC, UDR, B Specials, RIR, Paras etc etc)
    Wrong – I meant law and society – e.g. Accepting the principle of consent, and not blowing up my town centre to try to force people to do otherwise.
    Billy Pilgrim: loyalist proxies
    Believe that if you will… But I don’t see the prison service as being responsible for Greysteele, whereas I do see the IRA as being responsible for Kingsmills. Do you see the distinction?
    As for the career of Bobby Sands – Do you think he joined the IRA before Kingsmills, and kept his fanatical loyalty, or was he recruited after Kingsmills, knowing what the IRA stood for? If BS thought that the Kingsmills murderers would have been entitled to Political Status – what does that say about him? – simply that he was wrong!
    And throughout the history of ‘civilization’, religious, political and racial fanatics have gone on to certain death, whithout that making them even a teeny bit more right. I think that’s where Bobby Sands fits in history. (Or maybe it’s just that martyrdom won’t move Prods…)

  • bertie

    Rubicon

    I wasn’t thinking of your post 🙂

    Billy

    Sands to me was a terrorist so was Wright. I need to know no more about either of them. Hitler, another susicide acheived a lot, and he loved him mum and dogs, didn’t stop him being an evil bastard.

    If the prison ceremony was intended to coincide with the anniversary, then I have no problem with that, quite the contrary.

    If the murderers of the Greysteel victims or Miami Showband were to have committed suicide for a cause to paint their actions as anything other than evil and that were were all subected to mawkish rememebrances of them at an anniversary, then I would hope that someone would organise something to remember the victims and for that to happen during the outpouring of sanitisation of evil. I would be interested in attending in order to show my solidarity with the victims. I would not be motivatied by rubbing dirt in unionist faces (my own) or even to insult the families of the terrorists.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Reader

    “Wrong – I meant law and society – e.g. Accepting the principle of consent, and not blowing up my town centre to try to force people to do otherwise.”

    I can happily condemn anyone who blew up any town centre. That includes not only paramilitaries but the British security forces as well. Last week the Irish News was able to demonstrate that literally thousands of UDR personnel were involved in bombings and shootings. We also know that RUC personnel were involved in perhaps hundreds of sectarian murders.

    As for the principle of consent, how is inherently an issue of “society”? Almost half the people of that society were opposed to that particular unionist shibboleth until ‘98. Explain to me again why a state must be regarded as having an inherent moral legitimacy?

    “Believe that if you will… But I don’t see the prison service as being responsible for Greysteel, whereas I do see the IRA as being responsible for Kingsmills. Do you see the distinction?”

    That seems a fairly arbitrary and self-serving contrast. There can be no disputing the nature of the IRA campaign – I’ve already dealt with that point. (Wicked, insane and wrong, I said – not strong enough for you?) I am able to condemn their crimes for what they were, even though I believe that the state forces they fought against and the state itself that they fought to overthrow was every bit as wicked, insane and wrong as the IRA were.

    What you aren’t prepared to even countenance is that the enemies of the IRA were wicked and vicious and guilty of unconscionable crimes. You insist on treating murderous organisations like the UDR as heroic, when the only objective difference between them and a paramilitary organisation is that they had uniforms and salaries. You accord them a legitimacy because they fought to uphold the state – nationalists do not, because the state itself was wicked. You won’t even countenance the idea that there might be even the tiniest grain of truth in it. You assert the stock unionist position and reject any other narrative out of hand. That’s not debate, it’s polemic.

    “As for the career of Bobby Sands – Do you think he joined the IRA before Kingsmills, and kept his fanatical loyalty, or was he recruited after Kingsmills, knowing what the IRA stood for? If BS thought that the Kingsmills murderers would have been entitled to Political Status – what does that say about him? – simply that he was wrong!”

    I imagine a lot of republicans felt sickened by Kingsmills, but were not prepared to change their allegiance over it. It is an unfortunate fact that few combatants walk away from the war as a result of their own side’s war crimes. How many RAF pilots resigned over the Dresden holocaust? Probably none. Why? Perhaps because they still believed in the cause, even if a terrible crime had been committed in furtherance of it.

    “And throughout the history of ‘civilization’, religious, political and racial fanatics have gone on to certain death, without that making them even a teeny bit more right. I think that’s where Bobby Sands fits in history. (Or maybe it’s just that martyrdom won’t move Prods…)”

    Ok, but why? Can you explain your opinion of Sands, with facts and argument rather than vague gestures about “terrorism” and lots of other emotive nouns and adjectives?

    There’s an argument to be made, sure, but you’re just shouting.