Hope in the midst of tragedy?

Ian Paisley will not be attending the funeral Mass for Michael McIlveen today, although he has just conveyed his condolences in the Westminster parliament this afternoon. In the same session, Mark Durkan also noted that the sight of Celtic and Rangers shirts imprinted with Mickey Bo (the dead boy’s nickname), was indication of a hopeful future in the midst of tragedy. Martin McGuinness will attend, as will the current DUP Mayor of Ballymena, Tommy Nicholl.

  • Pete Baker

    Mick, probably worth highlighting the – accompanying RTÉ report

  • J Kelly

    come on now who ever expected the arch bigot to attend a catholic mass even if it were for a child murdered in his constituency

  • The Beach Tree

    J Kelly

    I don’t agree with Big Ian’s problems with attending a Catholic service, but I respect them.

    I think he’s made his feelings of revulsion, and support for the family, perfectly clear and I suggest peoplele should accept them.

    He was quite rightly in my view put to the test in terms of fighting sectarianism on this occasion. He may not have got an A* (who among us ever does?), but I’m perfectly content to say he gets a solid pass grade in this instance.

  • Mick Fealty


    I understand he said prayers with the family on Sunday. His religious convictions would prevent him from attending Mass.

  • DK


    Agreed. Ian Paisley has shown a very good side to himself over this tragic event. I note that the DUP mayor is attending, but I don’t know his religion, so it’s probably one that allows him to attend a catholic funeral.

    J Kelly is trolling. The response (copyright Stephen Copeland) is this:

  • Ex Pat Pat

    Let’s give Paisley a break over this one, even if we don’t agree with his stance on attending the service. He has gone out of his way to cross the divide and reach out to the family.

  • BogExile

    I think his presence either inside or outside of the church would have been immensely symbolic. There are no doubt protestant children who are attending the funeral who are taking some personal risk for being identified with the service given the sectarian bitterness this murder has generated. Their brave solidarity should have been matched by Big Ian. I’m not meaning to sound churlish – his response has been very positive – but this is arguably the most traumatic event in his constituency for years. Shouldn’t he be there as opposed to Westminister?

  • Carson’s Cat

    Surely Ian Paisley wasnt able to attend because of business going through the HoC today.

    He has visited the family as recently as Sunday and clearly has shared his sympathy and grief with them. Also, lets remember that all of the initial contact between Paisley and the family was done without any prompting from the media. It also escaped most comment, apart from one Sunday newspaper article that I seen, that Gregory Campbell also visited the family. Given that this did not occur in his constituency that is an added display of support being shown from a very senior DUP politician.

    The DUP (and therefore Ian Paisley) is being represented by the DUP Mayor. I would be surprised if he is actually attending the service but will probably pay his respects in the same way as Ian Paisley would have were he able to attend.

  • Jo


    Yes, this is very disappointing.

    Your point about the courage of the children as opposed to the Paisley’s undemonstrated Christian convictions, is moot.

  • smcgiff

    The Rangers and Celtic jerseys was a very nice touch, and a reminder that the actions of the thugs were, ‘not in our name’.

  • JD

    “Mick, probably worth highlighting the – accompanying RTÉ report”

    Pete Baker, why is it probably worth noting this report?

  • qubol

    Carsons Cat – you don’t really believe that he didn’t attend because of business in westminster do you?

  • Donnie

    Does anyone know if the parade in B’mena was voluntarily re-routed or if is going past the murder spot on Saturday evening?

    I’m not trolling – I was thinking of going to see MI:3 on Saturday evening at the cinema and don’t want to get caught up in a riot!

  • Carson’s Cat

    I would take it entirely at face value. Getting too deep into percieved motives on this issue isn’t particularly helpful.

    AFAIK the band has taken the decision to voluntarily re-route the parade. I think this was done in consultation with the local Police commander. Not without some hesitation that the goodwill gesture this year would be used against them in future when an application would be submitted for the usual route.

    I get the feeling also that there everyone associated with the parade wants no possibility of any trouble. That’s why they took the decision and have been stressing the same to those attending.

  • qubol

    Carson’s Cat: “Getting too deep into percieved motives on this issue isn’t particularly helpful.”

    Maybe not for you but for Catholics in Dunclug they want to know why their MP can’t be there to show his support on this important occasion. What business is so pressing at Westminster? Is a local nobody Mayor good enough representation? I doubt the locals in Dunclug will think so. Like Bogexile said, the kids are taking risks, why can’t Paisley? If he really wanted to reach out to Nationalists in the town and show leadership he would of been there. Saying prayers on Sunday with the family might cut it with some but for many in Ballymena it’s just another example of the same old Paisley.

  • joeCanuck

    I cannot understand the churlishness of some of the posters here.
    I do not have any time for Paisley the preacher or Paisley the politician since I believe he has always been a negative force.
    However, he has condemned this ugly murder and has visited the family twice. Good enough.
    Give it a rest folks.

  • Jo B

    qubol “What business is so pressing at Westminster?”

    Only the Northern Ireland (Miscellaneous Provisions)Bill
    As Paisley is the leader of the biggest Northern Irish Party it is very important that he’s there

  • qubol

    Jo B: “As Paisley is the leader of the biggest Northern Irish Party it is very important that he’s there”
    fair enough, but from what I can find out, today is the Reporting Stage, the DUP has 8 other MP’s. Is it absolutely necessary that he be there for that? If Paisley’s presence in Westminster today was so obviously important why was his office so reluctant to tell us about his decision earlier.

  • Harry

    The image of Paisley walking in the cortege alongside the family would have been the most important and symbolic image that could be given on this occasion. No less would do. The fact that Paisly chose not to do this is unimpressive.

  • Harry

    The re-routing of a parade rather than its cancellation is also miserly. A 15 year old child has been murdered. The fact that some think this is in itself a significant concession shows the level of supremacy that exists in that town.

  • Sham

    Just home from Ballymena, is the media not going to cover the attacks on mourners’ cars in Ballykeel today?! Whilst going from the church to the graveyard at least 2 cars were stoned when they came across an unexpected loyalist protest. Some of those protesting had their faces covered and were holding placards saying ‘stop attacks on Protestants’.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Sham: “Some of those protesting had their faces covered and were holding placards saying ‘stop attacks on Protestants’. ”

    And who says irony is dead…

  • Alan Law

    I am probably one of Paisley’s biggest critics but I think the way he has handled this matter is beyond reproach. No-one has picked up on his comment in Westminster during PMQ’s that those charged over Michael McIlveen’s murder are both Protestant and Catholic.

  • Yer Woman

    Post 21 and 22: I’m in disbelief! Did that happen? Puts me in mind of the “masked protests” against catholics celebrating cemetary Sunday in Carmoney last year.

    Where is the logic, and indeed, where are their minds?

  • paddyjoe

    i heard about it on citybeat radio but it wasnt on tv news. one has to ask the question.WHY? if the shoe was on the other foot……..

  • Alan Law

    Paisley’s statement at Prime Minister’s Questions

  • Alan Law

    Why are you so amazed? Why is anyone? If people can attend court and shout words of encouragement to the accused, then the actions of those near the cemetry etc are hardly anymore disgusting. worse still

    The reports are unconfirmed and haven’t appeared on the TV news, so lets hope its not ‘spin’.

  • Comrade Stalin

    It beggars belief that there are people out there who would actually picket and throw stones at a funeral procession.

    I haven’t made my mind up on Paisley’s absence. True, he has indeed been unequivocal in condemning the murder, but as others say an opportunity has been missed to send out the very powerful message that we would have had if he’d been walking behind the coffin.

  • heck
  • bertie

    I have to say that I am disappointed that Paisley didn’t attend the funeral in some capacity. That is no critisism however as I don’t think that he has anything to prove to the family. The one worry that I did have about him attending was that he would have been such a focus for attention possibly to the extent that he, not Michael, was in people’s minds.

  • elfinto

    Well, well. What a surprise! Did anyone seriously expect anything different? Paisley is a total charlatan when it comes to peace and goodwill.

  • Billy Pilgrim

    Very disappointed that Paisley didn’t attend. I know he visited the family and I know he sent some aparatchik to “represent” him, but it’s not good enough. Not this time.

    Paisley had an opportunity to show leadership, to take a stand against sectarianism, to stand with the family of dead Catholic, against the murderers from his “own side”.

    He did not do so to any satisfactory degree. He ran away like a coward.

    Even his excuse was insulting. Today’s proceedings at Westminster were missable. If his attendance had been essential, how come he waited til last night to reject the invitation to the funeral?

    I’m only a fool for believing, despite a lifetime of evidence to the contrary, that Paisley was going to do the right thing this time.

    He has proved once again that he is a liar and an ass-coverer and a false prophet and a coward and a bastard.

  • Global

    Ian Paisley Junior has issued a statement in which he says that a protestant woman was intimidated from the Dunclug area and names one of those responsible (a female).
    Checks reveal that the woman was indeed convicted of affray. I am surprised that IPJ’s line has not received wider attention.
    It is, as they say, a very hot potato.