Dying wish for the Disappeared

I am normally sceptical about stories of dying wishes, but this particular one rings true. The Telegraph is reporting that:

The final wish of a priest known for his civil rights campaigns was that the IRA reveal where it had buried the bodies of the Disappeared, mourners at his funeral heard yesterday. Fr Denis Faul’s dying goal was revealed by the Auxiliary Bishop of Armagh, Bishop Gerard Clifford, during the homily at Mgr Faul’s funeral Mass at St Columcille’s Church in Carrickmore. The clergyman, who died on Wednesday at age 73, made many appeals for the IRA to identify where it had buried those abducted and murdered during the Troubles as part of his work combating injustice and repression.

  • circles

    One of the disadvantages of living so far away – this is the first I’ve heard of the death of Fr Faul. Whatever people (myself included) say of the catholic clergy, he was a truly good man who really did stand up for what he personally believed in – may he rest in peace.

  • Miss Fitz

    Lots of good comments on some of the other threads on this circles, and a good discussion on Fr Faul’s legacy

  • m

    Eoghan Harris’ piece seems a little tasteless. Putting his own words in the mouth of a dead man by spinning of an obituary notice?

    Harris, acting the ballix?

  • Eamon Lynch

    The tastefulness of Harris’ column — in which he uses Faul to indict McGuinness — is a matter for debate. But his strategy is standard operating procedure in the North these days: By such means in recent months have we seen the hunger strikers channeled to endorse the peace process from the grave.
    Death has never been a bar to voting in Northern Ireland, so its no surprise that it shouldn’t be a bar to expressing an opinion from the far side either.

  • Pete Baker


    If Miss Fitz had wanted to draw attention to the Harris article, she would have included it in the original post.

    Try to keep to the ball that is already on the pitch.

  • P113

    Faul was a man who saw the “kings’ without their clothes.”

    He was brave, because he spoke his mind during a period where it was known that many of those leading the provos would have had their own grandmothers shot for the cause.

    Somewhat ironically, of course, and little reported, many of those said leaders were walking around with religious symbols on their person……u know who u are.

  • Miss Fitz

    Thanks Pete. In fact I did read the Harris article and chose not to include it as I felt it wasnt as incontrovertible as the one I posted.

    Having said that, it’s worth looking at in terms of other perspectives, partciularly this idea of spurious attribution of ideas post mortem

  • m

    Pete Baker,

    Don’t you oppress me. I’ll link what i want Mr fifty links 🙂

  • Hidden Gem

    Provos turned on Fr Denis Faul when he was living because they didn’t like what they heard. In prison they were such good Catholics they even stopped going to Mass! Now I am not in the habit of quoting from the bible but the quote in John18 would sound appropriate and to vindicate Fr Faul…

    “If I have said something wrong, confirm what is wrong. But if I spoke correctly, why strike me?”

  • Rory

    I should like to hear, or see quoted, the Auxialiary Bishop’s actual remarks before I regard the Sunday Telegraph article as “incontrevertible”. The article, in failing to clearly back up its columnist’s conclusion with a clear quotation from Bishop Clifford rather denies itself value in that regard.

    However dearly one would wish for the remains of of those missing to be given the opportunity to be decently buried with all the love, dignity and respect that their family deserve to give; and while it is certainly a heavy burden of moral responsibility on, and a duty that cries out to be exercised by those who have knowledge of the whereabouts of the remains of those missing to disclose that knowledge, nevertheless, playing cheap journalistic tricks that breach recognised standards for crude propaganda shots does no favours to the relatives of the victims nor is it helpful in encouraging any disclosure from any of those formerly reluctant to come forth.

    I cannot but think that Denis Faul would show up this article for the cheap propaganda that it appears. Denis Faul always spoke clear and plain and without artifice and, I suspect would have been saddened, if not surprised, by the very indecency of this article that assumes to know what a dying man’s wish might be.

  • Pete Baker


    The homily was broadcast on several media outlets.. This BBC report carries the relevant quotes from Bishop Gerard Clifford:

    “His plea, even on his deathbed, was addressed to those who had any knowledge, or hint, of where those bodies had been placed.

    “His message was clear – anyone who has knowledge of the unburied bodies bears responsibility for that.”

  • http://www.michaelmckevitt.com/

    The Disappeared remain a massive indictment of Sinn Fein and of the IRA. They (Scap? Gerry?) kidnapped Jean McKinney, a poor mother of ten, did God knows what to her before killing her, slandered her after her death, buried her like a stray dog in an unmarked grave, and denied they did it for 25 years. The other cases are as bad.

    The INLA think they are some kind of heroes for killing Seamus Ruddy, one of their own. But his rmeains continue to rot somewhere in a French forest.

    One has to think of such things as the murder of Andy Kearney or the six pack mutilations to see these depths of immorality/amorality being plumbed. People like Gerry Adams who do such things have no business in public life.

  • Rory

    Thank you, Pete Baker. The auxiliary bishop’s words are clear and I have no reason to doubt but that they are true. The plea certainly cries out to be listened to and, whatever of dictates of immediate political expediedency, if that plea can be honestly and courageously answered then I believe it is better that it is. And the sooner the better still.

    I do believe that, the Irish people and “world opinion” will, in the long run, be more forgiving if these remains can be reinterred while immediate survivors are still with us.

    As Thomas Lynch, the Irish-American poet and undertaker wrote of his mainstay job, “The dead do not care”. He went on that the dead do not mind if they have a gold or pinewood coffin, are buried or cremated, are left to be eaten by vultures or are rolled like an old bag of bones into a bog or gutter. But the living do care. And it is in the exercise of the living for the care of the remains of the dead, that “bag of bones” if you will, wherein we find validity for our own humanity, for our sense of decency in ourselves.

    The Telegraph was to the forefront of disparaging Denis Faul in all his efforts to bring to light the sheer wickedness of the British government in its use of torture of internees and later of the disgaceful “fitting-up” of 18 innocent people, known almost from the outset to be innocent, for some terrible murders that were the results of the consequenes of government policy and were intended to cover up the government’s failure to deter the real culprits or to have any idea as to how to apprehend them.

    So I won’t be apologising to the Telegraph.

  • i can’t understand this continued adoration of Faul, given his views on intergated schooling & other matters.

    ill resist the temptation of suggesting a *knee jerk reaction” to certain bias on this board.

  • sorry that should have said “claims of bias”

  • Rory: The dead do have rights as they were, and in a sense are still, part of a community.

    Nicholas: Maybe the problem of integrated education/indoctrination is yours, not Fr Faul’s. He believed that Catholics should not be indoctrinated by the likes of yourself and fought his corner in a non violent way. Have you a problem with a. Catholics; Catholics being Catholics? c. Catholics propounding their beliefs in a non violent way? What precisely is your problem?

  • Sinn Fein and IRA, who hijakced and then stuffed up the 1981 hunger strike protest (whither INLA/IRSP) have tried to blame Denis Faul and Charlie Haughey, both recently deceeased for their own inadequacies. They believe, for example, that Charlie Haughey, TD, should have gone the extra mile for their “just and reasonable demands”.
    Fast forward to 2006 and what are Sinn Fein TDs, MPs, and MEPs doing for RIRA prisoners? Fell free to phone a friend or ask the audience on this one.
    To our Orange brethern: the point here is not the rightness or wrongness of it all, but the hypocricy of Sinn Fein and the IRA.
    The RIRA stooges allowed Martin in particular off the hook. That butcher boy coming on after Omagh and distancing himself from it and condemning it! It’s like the Yorkshire Ripper denouncing kissing in public.
    The soicial climbers of Sinn Fein make the perfect polticians as, in a very storng field, they are the most multi faced and duplicitious mob in the hwole of Ireland.

  • heck

    some one made the coment about scap being responsible for some of the disappeared. It seems to me that the IRA leadership have given details that enabled the remains of those they knew about to be recovered and given a proper funeral.

    Give the alleged role of british intelligence in running the “nutting squad” why don’t people ask Honest Tony and his hench men (MI -that includes you) where the other remains are.

  • Heck: So the securocrats did everything and the surviving clean members of Sinn Fein and the IRA did nothing? They lied about Jean McKinney for 25 years and now they say they are “sorry”. .
    The INLA killed Ruddy and dumped him in some French hole like a dog. They think they deserve a clap on the back because they belatedly admitted to this bead in a rosary of such atrocities.
    The IRA have admitted that they carried out thesecrimes against humanity and, ergo, they should swing for it. McGuinness, Adams and the 69ers should volunteer to pay for these crimes with their own lives and to have their ashes scattered at sea or flushed down the toilet of the Victoria and Albert, so amends may be made.

    That you try to defend or brush off these crimes against humanity (think Argentina and the Disapperared) indicates these “people” have depraved your mind.

    The idea of a”Christian burial” is a theme embracing all communities on these islands. Denying teh relatives of victims the chance to close the book on their grief speaks volumes for the immorality and amorality of these social climbers with bombs.

    http://www.iraatrocities.fsnet.co.uk/thedisappeared.htm Plenty of links here to stories, all pointign the figner at Gerry Mad Dog Adams.

  • Taigs, it is McConville, not McKinney. If you’re going to use her death then could you at least give her the courtesey of her name. McKinney is the name of the mother whose son was kidnapped from Andytown in 1978 and disappeared.

  • I find the British government’s double standards on these issues simply disgusting.

    While it wants the last wish of its dying honored – their murderers to come forward, and say where their bodies can be found – it is already interferring in the few inquiries that it has been forced to appoint – thanks to the most unwanted recommendations by former Canadian Judge Peter Cory – and is threatening to end the whole process soon. See Barry McCaffrey’s column yesterday.

    While the Brits want to learn, for example, where the bodies of Kevin McKee and Seamus Wright – touts they may well have outed in order to protect the just recruited and more important ‘Steakkinfe’ – can be found, they are already interferring in the investigation of who killed Billy ‘King Rat’ Wright, and why.

    And they, of course, want to recover the body of murdering Captain Robert Nairac, but they have no interest in explaining all the unnecessary murders he and his kind carried out as part of Clockwork Orange.

    Their approach – and I say this as no supporter of the Provisionals – is so one-sided that they want all their concerns answered while stone-walling any answers for their victims.

    It’s so bad that they even want the Provisionals to admit their responsibility for the disappearance of Gareth O’Connor – someone whose body was recently found, and who Anglo-Irish forces had disappeared in the first place.

  • Turgon

    Trowbridge H Ford.

    Your post is irrelevant to the discussion. Even if one accepts all your conspiracy theories, the simple fact is that the IRA / INLA murdered all these people and then disposed of their bodies. The can do no more to the deceased but they continue to victimise the relatives of the deceased, all the while claiming to have given up their campaign of violence. It is a gross violence albeit not physical to the relatives that they have not ensured the remains are returned or if they were disposed of in such a way as to make that impossible they need to admit that. Exactly the same argument applies to the remains of Lisa Dorrian murderers.

    Incidentally I have heard little in the discussion of the deceased regarding Captain Nairac.

    In this discussion the British government is actually irrelevant.

  • Turgon

    “remains of Lisa Dorrian murderers.”

    Obviously the word murderers is not needed there

  • I don’t believe that my post is irrelevant to the discussion.

    The dying wishes of all murdered people, I believe, is for their murderers to be caught and punished, for their bodies to be recovered so that their survivors know and get whatever benefits they are entitled to, the body is properly buried if that is the deceased wishes, etc.

    Of course, problems exist if the person simply disappears, their body is never found, no one ever admits killing the person in question, disinformation is given out at the time about what apparently happened, the killers have forgotten where they disposed of the body, etc.

    Then, of course, authorities rarely have these problems, as they were quite prepared to kill whoever they find convenient, infiltrate other forces to make them do the dirtiest operations, announce that the missing person had been killed by some terrorist group, make their own killings look like something justified, display the body to assure everyone that said person has indeed been killed, prevent any real questioning of what they have done, etc.

    In this context, the authorities already have a decided advantage in getting away with many more murders than their opponents who put a premium on outing traitors, punishing them, and letting others know about it to dissuade them from doing likewise.

    To ask them then to come clean about those still missing and whose bodies have not been found just makes it look as if they have done still more when, in fact, only the culprits know for sure.

    As this link shows, the PIRA has made serious efforts to find the bodies of they killed, but those bodies still missing are all seen as their responsibility when few of even these killings are known for sure to be that of the PIRA:


    Note that Nairac is on the list, that ‘O’Connor’s death is attributed to the Provisions when most of the evidence points to Anglo-Irish operators, etc.

    And where is any accounting of the handywork that doubleagents like Dignan, Burns, Starrs, Rosenfeld, ‘Martin Ingram’, ‘Kevin Fulton’ et al. did for British intelligence, and blamed convincingly upon the paramilitaries like ‘Stakeknife’?

    In sum, I see clamoring about the bodies still missing, and blaming their deaths in knee-jerk fashion on the paramilitaries, especially the Provisionals, as just a ploy to keep the pressure on them to come clean, permitting the authorities to keep mum about everything except what they are prepared to talk about – what seems to be almost nothing up to this point.

  • Nice going, Slugger – thread brought back – must have been by popular demand since I went through the listing about a half dozen times, as recently as yesterday, and this Dying thread was nowhere to be seen.

    And to think that a spammer has been the agent for our reenlighenment is just icing on the cake!

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