Protest over Shankill bomber invite

The Greater New Lodge Festival rounded off a three day conference with an invite-only cross-community dinner. The theme of the event was “A Celebration of Culture and Creating a Language of Hope”. On the guest list the Festival included Sean Kelly, the convicted sectarian murderer, who was returned to jail last year for “re-engaging in terrorism” , then released again. Two attendees from the Shankill area walked out. Alan McBride criticised the organisers for not making people aware of who the other invitees were and said:

“It would have been very difficult for me, and I am widely acknowledged as being some way down the road in my own healing process. I probably would not have gone. ”

  • Garibaldy

    Absolutely incredible. Demonstrates visibly the lack of understanding of other people’s opinions in many who are involved in cross-community efforts.

  • Pete Baker

    Slugger’s extensive archive has some previous posts worth recalling *ahem*

    Including this from Peter Hain.. “I locked him up because he was breaching his licence.”

  • rapunsel

    Notwithstanding the difficulty people from the Shankill might have in being in the same company as Sean Kelly. I often get invited to events and my attendance or otherwise is rarely based on an analysis of who else might be attending.If it were I would hardly leave the house or the office. If I was worried about being offended by who might be present at an event I would certainly make it my business to check who else was going to be there. I think it somewhat unfair to single out the invitation to Sean Kelly, without considering in tghe context of who else was invited and the purpose of the event.

  • lib2016

    Unionism has debased everything it touches, from the legal system to the electoral process. Now even the language is being twisted so that special pleading can turn republicans into ‘sectarian murderers’.

    I don’t agree with violence, especially the violence used by the IRA but let’s not pretend that they operated on the basis of ‘any Prod will do’.

    His actions were wrong and evil and I will join in any condemnation of them so long as it is made with some degree of integrity. Leave it at that and don’t destroy your case this way.

  • Garibaldy

    Lib2016,

    Do you think that the Provos would have carried out an operation like the Frizzel bombing with the huge likelihood of civilian casulties in a Catholic area? If not, why not?

  • BarringtonBlue

    They knew there would have been civilian casualties that day, they did’nt care because of where it was.

  • bertie

    An absloute disgrace. When I am invited to things I don’t normally have to consider the possiblity that there will be murderers in attendance. Were there any loyalist murderers there too? Don’t they normally like to have a balanced list of evil thugs at these things?

    How far along does someone have to be along the road in his healing process to find this acceptable company?

  • Occasional Commentator

    We’re not going to get anywhere trying to argue what the IRA were fighting for (like asking the English to think about WWII and then – that same English person is likely to be proud of the first and ashamed of the latter).

    But anyway, regardless of the IRA, we can easily condemn Sean Kelly for his involvement in this, he definitely knew he was attacking a fish shop.

  • pol

    Why is Shaun kelly the boggy man.

    If i remember it was a premature explosion where Kelly himself nearly died.
    The target that day were memberes of the UDA, who had an office above the fish shop.
    In my eye’s a legimate target. Not inocent shoper’s.

  • Belfast Gonzo

    Just out of curiousity, in what capacity was Kelly present? And what contribution has Kelly made to reconciliation since his release?

  • Pete Baker

    Which release Gonzo?

    The first one, under the GFA, or the one last year.. by Peter Hain?

  • Occasional Commentator

    pol,
    That’s a new angle. Do you have any links or further information that the fish shop wasn’t the target?

  • bertie

    “Why is Shaun kelly the boggy man.”

    Oh lets see! What could it be?

    Maybe the fact that he’s a mudering bastard. Could that be it?

  • lib2016

    Garibaldy,

    I really don’t want to find myself defending republican violence since I disagreed with it. Republicans did make bomb attacks on ‘mixed areas’ and the city centre where there would be casualties from both sides.

    All I’m saying is that they were not sectarian in the same sense as the loyalist paramilitaries. In my view both sides were equally wrong to use violent methods. A case could even be made against republicans for being more at fault since they, or at least their leaders should have known better.

    Unionists did not have an idealogy to disgrace but republicans did and do have ideals to uphold. They didn’t do so.

  • lib2016

    Occasional Commentator,

    Loyalist paramilitaries had a HQ above the shop and had a meeting there some hours before the bombing.

    It has been alleged that the bombing was an attack on the loyalists. I don’t know anything else and have no reference available to me at the moment but those facts have been documented.

    Others may have more information.

  • tra g

    when will we see community and political leaders in the unionist/loyalist community having the courage to invite republicans to a similar type event in a loyalist area. At present these types of event seem to be a one-way process with republicans continually extending the hand of friendship to unionists and loyalists.

    I long for the day when those in leadership positions in the unionist community show some courage and try to build peace with their republican counteparts

  • Occasional Commentator

    lib2016,
    Wikipedia has that same story. But even though the loyalists were the target, it appears that the plan was to put a big bomb in the fish shop in the hope it would get the loyalists upstairs. Unless it turns out that it was due to go off after the fish shop closed or something, I think I’m one republican who’s going to have to add this to my list of reasons not to vote SF, and also I see where the residents are coming from.

    Although maybe the biggest thing to do would be to forgive those people who don’t deserve it? Where’s Tutu when you need him.

  • pol

    Maybe Sluger could hold, (a Celebration of Culture and Creating a Language of Hope conferance) for some of the poster’s on this site.

  • GPJ

    Sean Kelly was a soldier. Soldiers kill. The war is now over, the IRA stood down. End of story, move on, we all suffered.

  • Reader

    GPJ: Sean Kelly was a soldier. Soldiers kill. The war is now over, the IRA stood down. End of story, move on, we all suffered.
    Sean Kelly was a terrorist. Terrorists murder. There was no war, the IRA has not stood down. Some of Sean Kelly’s victims are still suffering.

  • bertie

    Reader

    Well said!

    and this latest news, seeing this lowlife invited to this will have added to that suffering.

  • BarringtonBlue

    Reader,
    I Could’nt have put it better myself.

  • Garibaldy

    Lib2016,

    The Provos did not carry out as many blatantly sectarian attacks as loyalists. But they did carry out a lot, and the Shankill Bombing showed a total disregard for the consequences of bombing a shop on a busy Saturday because it was on the Shankill. There is simply no way a similar attack would have taken place on a shop or pub in the Falls or Ardoyne to kill soldiers or policemen (although of course the Provos did kill a lot of people in such areas by accident in bombings and shootings, but by 1993 they had learnt to be more carfeul in such areas). That difference demonstrates the sectarian assumptions of those who carried out these attacks.

  • pol

    Hers a history lesson.

    The UDA ( knock on a door killer’s) were shooting catholic’s at will. The RUC were turning a blind eye.

    An oppertunity arose to take out those responsable.

    Two IRA volenter’s entered the premises. There was a premature explosion, killing one of the volenters and inocent members of the local comunity.

  • Cahal

    I in no way am trying to justify the actions of the IRA but in response to the question

    “Do you have any links or further information that the fish shop wasn’t the target”

    I remember reading an article a while after the attack that said a shaped charge had been used. I’m not a military man but as I understand it the device would explode in a preffered direction i.e. upwards towards the terrorists on the floor above the chippy.

    However, I’m sure the IRA had factored in one or two civilian casualties and decided that was acceptable.

    Has Kelly asked any of the victims for forgiveness?

  • Reader

    Cahal: I remember reading an article…
    We’ve all seen articles or heard stories. I heard that a batch of 2.5 minute detonators went off after 1.5 minutes. I heard that the meeting was upstairs next door, not above the shop. I’m fairly sure that shaped charges have to be in contact with the relevant surface to have the desired effect, but that the bomb was just placed in a tray of fish – still being large enough to demolish the shop, but not to kill any UDA men.
    Under the circumstances, civilian casualties on a significant scale were inevitable, and that was accepted by the bombers on the spot.

  • Chris Donnelly

    The full story is more interesting, FD.

    While two people from the Shankill may indeed have walked out, others from the loyalist community did not do so.

    The Greater New Lodge Festival is to be commended for organising a series of cross-community events this weekend and facilitating dialogue between unionists/loyalists and republicans.

    But the Festival is by no means apologetic about its roots as a republican-inspired initiative. I would have expected republicans to be represented at the dinner event, and as Sean Kelly and other republicans from Ardoyne would be viewed as prominent figures within the republican community of north Belfast, it would have been more surprising had he not attended the event.

    The response from Alan McBride and indeed the loyalist youth worker interviewed on BBC television, Robert Bates, was more considered than the quote you attribute to McBride above would have us believe.

    Both acknowledged the good work being done by the Festival. Alan McBride actually stated that, as he was conscious that the various Feile events across the city are republican-inspired, he often would contact event organisers to assure himself that Sean kelly would not be in attendance to avoid having to meet him on his many trips to Feile events.

    I think McBride and Bates certainly have a point in that the organisers could have let the Shankill delegation know that leading republican figures would be in attendance- I don’t believe they would have been entitled to know exactly whom, given the security issues surrounding republicans at a time when north Belfast loyalists are quite active.

    But Irene Sherry- nor any republican for that matter- is going to apologise for the attendance of any specific republicans at such an event. As I understand it, former loyalist paramilitaries were also invited and attended, the presence of whom could have been objected to by nationalists if they so desired.

    In fact, the whole episode reminded me of initial reactions of some people I knew many years ago when Billy Hutchinson was invited to speak at a Feile event in West Belfast. For north Belfast republicans, Billy Hutchinson’s past was a particularly emotive issue.

    But the invitation stood as did a subsequent number across nationalist areas of the north to Billy Hutchinson and David Ervine and many other former loyalist paramilitaries.

    Perhaps the lesson in this episode was that there is a need for the organisers to draw a line between cross-community and single community events in future to avoid any repeat of this event.

    What will not happen, and what I believe some may be suggesting, is that republicans somehow confine certain individuals to self-imposed exile for fear of offending others. Naturally enough, this is unacceptable from a republican viewpoint, particularly given that the various Feile events are republican initiatives.

  • Garibaldy

    Chris,

    I understand your position, and that of the organisers. I just think that this was a particularly insensitive thing to do, particularly as he does not act as a spokesperson for a political party or community group, unlike people like Gerry Kelly or Billy Hutchinson.
    I do think that it shows how engagement does not lead necessarily to understanding.

    And possibly the free dinner at Belfast Castle suggests something about people being on the pig’s back.

  • Miss Fitz

    No-one has mentioned it, but we must remember that Alan McBride’s wife was murdered in this bombing.

    Very few people have done as much, or covered as much mileage as Mr McBride in building bridges and coming to new understandings.

    However, I think that his feelings on this are completely 100% valid and justified. Indeed, I imagine it would behove the organiser of any event to bear in mind his feelings when issuing such invitations, and should be more aware of the feelings and undercurrents at play here.

  • peter fallow

    Pol, you’re clearly on the same intellectual level as the sectarian corner boys sent out to slaughter Prods that day.
    But keep going, you’re only embarrassing the more shrewd apologists here who manage to mask their sectarian hatred with sophistry and equivocation.

  • peter fallow

    Mr McBride’s views are completely valid. Equally valid are those of the likes of Michelle Williamson, who was vilified by republicans because she decided that no, she didn’t want to forgive sectarian murderers who have expressed no remorse, thanks.

  • skinbop

    this thread is absurd or as pol would put it adsurb.
    wonder if this qualifies as a suicide bombing or? not sure what the objective was but i believe this event and the subsequent backlash to this event were the triggers to lasting peace on the island and elsewhere.

  • ciaran damery

    The attempt by Oglaigh Na hEireann to eliminate the UFF/uda ring leaders ended in tragedy. But Seán Kelly and Bootsie Belgey who transported the bomb to its location were Irish Volunteers who were instructed to carry out the bombing by their military superiors. Whilst the operation obviously failed it was not the intention of Oglaigh na hEireann to kill several passers by, one of its own members and badly injure Sean Kelly. Sean is an Irish patriot, an Irish soldier who fought against those who occupy NE Ireland and their erstwhile puppets within Unionist terrorism. He has nothing to be ashamed about.

  • skinbop

    well i’ll be dameried! nice spelling job too.

  • skinbop

    hope you get the reaction you’re looking for by the way cd. windup merchant.

  • spice girl

    ‘The Provos did not carry out as many blatantly sectarian attacks as loyalists. But they did carry out a lot, and the Shankill Bombing showed a total disregard for the consequences of bombing a shop on a busy Saturday because it was on the Shankill. ‘

    I think this statement typifies why Unionists find it pretty hard to stomach SF propaganda. What a crock of crap. I think you’ll find EVRY act the provos carried out was sectarian, albeit with a political objective at the end – what do they call violence for politcal means? Terrorism?? Yes, heroes indeed for shooting scores of soldiers in the back of the head!! And for what? Oh yes, bugger all?
    NOw of course will come tyhe whataboutery, but before you do that, I will first whole heartedly condemn every criminal act carried out my any so called loyalist group or indeed any security force collusionist – so don;t even waste your time. The Ra terorised this part of the world for decades, culminating in an equally vicious offensive by the loyalist paramilitaries. People have a right to proest, a right to demonstrate but I’m afraid not a right to run round blowing the heads of everyone right left and centre!!!

  • bertie

    “But Irene Sherry- nor any republican for that matter- is going to apologise for the attendance of any specific republicans at such an event. As I understand it, former loyalist paramilitaries were also invited and attended, the presence of whom could have been objected to by nationalists if they so desired. ”

    The presence of all murderers should be objected to. If nationlaists didn’t that is not to their credit.

  • Realist

    “But Seán Kelly and Bootsie Belgey who transported the bomb to its location were Irish Volunteers who were instructed to carry out the bombing by their military superiors”

    Kelly is a convicted, sectarian mass murderer.

    Begley is a dead sectarian mass murderer.

    “Sean is an Irish patriot, an Irish soldier who fought against those who occupy NE Ireland and their erstwhile puppets within Unionist terrorism.”

    Some “patriot”. Some “soldier”.

    “He has nothing to be ashamed about”

    Ask Alan McBride and the families of the other innocents slaughtered and maimed by these animals.

  • Bushmills

    Mick

    Your site is screwed if these trolls are allowed to continue posting.

  • Larneman

    Bushmills,

    100% wrong

    The posts of the Sean Kelly fan club above give a valuable if disturbing insight into the mindset of a recurring strand of Irish separatism.

    Know your enemy (although you seem to think its the UUP).

  • fair_deal

    pol/lib2016

    Please explain how a no-warning bomb was going to distinguish between the alleged targets and innocent civilians? I am surely military strategists across the world would like to hear about the development of this unique technology.

  • Occasional Commentator

    Bushmills is right about the trolls. I got sucked in a couple of times into some of these threads but it all gets boring very quickly.

    Does anybody actually think that repeating the exact same conversation on each thread every day is going to come out with a different outcome?

  • The World’s Gone Mad

    “Please explain how a no-warning bomb was going to distinguish between the alleged targets and innocent civilians? I am surely military strategists across the world would like to hear about the development of this unique technology.” – I’m led to believe it is the same strategy now used by the IDF in Lebanon to target Hezbollah individuals amongst a group of children. Its called ‘indiscrimination’.

  • John Maynard

    Inspiring young man aims to change face of Belfast
    Opinion
    By Susan McKay

    Robert Bates is a Shankill Road teenager with big ambitions.
    He wants to transform his city. He wants to make the streets safe so that he and his friend from Ardoyne can visit each other without fear.
    Safe is going to take a while. In the meantime, he reckons the streets should at least be clean.
    He approached his local DUP politicians and, when they did nothing, he called the office of his MP, Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams.
    “The DoE came out the next day and did the work,” he said.
    Adams, to whom he told this story, said increasing numbers of his constituents from loyalist areas are doing the same.
    “Will you vote for me next time?” he said, laughing.
    Robert laughed. “No,” he said.
    This exchange took place at the New Lodge Festival in Belfast Castle last weekend, during a break in an event called ‘The Future Together’.
    Robert was on a panel of young people telling their stories.
    He introduced himself as a young loyalist and then explained what he meant.
    “My view of loyalism is being loyal to your community in its time of need,” he said.
    “It is not about men in balaclavas running about giving young people drugs and burning cars and causing mayhem.”
    He wants to be a politician. He is already a member of the UK’s youth parliament and he chairs Belfast City Council’s youth council. That was how he met his friend from Ardoyne.
    “I never had a chance to meet a person like that before,” he said.
    “When I was growing up I hated Catholics. That was my attitude. I knew my people had suffered a lot at the hands of republicans.
    “What I didn’t see was the bigger picture. My people had caused a lot of suffering too. People were getting bombed and shot on the Falls as well as the Shankill.
    “Someone told me they asked some young people on the Shankill what being a Protestant meant and they said a Protestant was someone who hates fenians and he asked them what was a fenian and they said a taig.
    “These young people don’t know anything about themselves. They don’t know there is more to history than burning green, white and gold flags.”
    Robert’s grandfather was Robert Bates as well. Better known as Basher Bates
    Released from jail under the Good Friday Agreement, he was murdered in June 1997. An uncle of Robert’s was blown up by an IRA bomb.
    He doesn’t talk about all that.
    “Those things are in the past,” he said.
    “I am interested in now and in the future.”
    He is in the Shankill Visions theatre group, which put on a show at the festival.
    “It is about trying to get a bit of life into the Shankill,” he said.
    After the performance, he said nationalists came up to him and said they identified with the play’s themes.
    The festival included a talk on self-harm. Suicide afflicts working-class communities across all the divides in north and west Belfast.
    Robert Bates is an inspiring young man with an impressive dedication to his people. His ambition to be a politician puts to shame those currently purporting to lead unionism politically.
    The DUP was invited to take part in the New Lodge event but did not and gave no explanation (the UUP, Alliance, Sinn Fein and the SDLP were all represented).
    A mural designed by a cross-community children’s group was displayed and some of the children came to explain it. One boy was so small that only the top of his little close-cropped head could be seen over the podium.
    “Weapons shouldn’t be part of our future,” he said. “No guns, no knives.”
    The mural is anti-racist as well as anti-sectarian. The last line painted on it reads: “I wonder what it takes to make this one better place.”
    The answer, obviously, is these young people.
    As for making the streets of Belfast safe?
    “Gerry Adams and Ian Paisley aren’t going to change that. We are,” Robert said.
    Robert thanked the festival committee:
    “This is the first time I’ve ever been asked to speak at what would be called by my community a nationalist event,” he said.
    “I will take the message back that this was an inclusive event and one of the best I’ve ever been at.”
    That was on Saturday.
    It was naive and offensive to expect Robert and others from the Shankill to share a celebration at the end of the event on Sunday with the Shankill bomber Sean Kelly.

  • fair_deal

    “The DUP was invited to take part in the New Lodge event but did not and gave no explanation”

    Err wrong. The organisers know full well why. They submitted a good relations funding application claiming a number of senior DUP members were going to attend but they hadn’t had the common courtesy to invite them first.

  • Garibaldy

    Spice Girl,

    I have to say that’s the first time anybody has accused me of being a propagandist for the Provos.

    I opposed the Provos’ campaign, and I oppose their comunnalist politics, just as I oppose the communalist politics of the DUP, UUP, and SDLP. The Provos’ violence did indeed have the consequence of raising sectarianism. However, even the police in the way they described acts of terrorism separated attacks on soldiers from attacks on civilians for their religion in that they never described attacks on soldiers as sectarian. It was in this generally accepted sense that I used sectarian.

    Perhaps I’ll check my wording more closely, and maybe others can read it more closely.

    FD,

    Interesting detail. Shame that this was given as the reason publicly.

  • neil adams

    spice girl
    republican ideology has no place for sectarian attacks on schools,churches or cemetaries unlike others

  • John Maynard

    Except at Darkley…
    Fair Deal, if your allegation against the organisers is true I suggest you get onto the media. Is it true?

  • not surprised

    pol “Sean Kelly was a soldier. Soldiers kill”

    With mentalities like this as well as lib2016’s and gpl’s i can really see why the nationalist community name gaa pitches after these “heroes”.

    pol these “soldiers” as you call them wernt really that good were they. Ok they were good at killing unarmed civillians, and even then they had to hide behind balaclavas, as well as resorting to cowardly ambush tatics al la kingsmills, teebane, la mon, enniskillen etc etc.

    No when pols toy soldiers met *real* soldiers al la gibraltar, loughgall. In fact the loughgall gang was one of the most heavily armed and experienced Active Service Units (ASU) the IRA had ever assembled. It was known as the ‘A’ Team.

    In the event the IRA’s “best” Vs the SAS, it was nothing more than a turkey shoot. And then came the court cases and the shoot to kill claims. provos crying like little fukin girls cos they were being shot at. wankers.

    So yeah pol you celebrate these “soldiers” if it makes you happy. As far as im concerned, soldiers ?, no, murderous shits – yes.

    soldiers my arse

  • lib2016

    not surprised,

    you are as entitled to your opinions as much as anyone else on this site – and I amongst many others have been glad to let off steam now and again. 😉

    One thing I have learned is that I can respect even those with whom I have very strong disagreements.

    In any case I always thought the old nineteen twenties word ‘irregular’ was pretty apt for any of them I’ve ever encountered. 😉

  • Fair dos pol et al, had it been one of your own (family, I mean) that got eviscerated by a bomb when they popped into the shop get a bit of haddock for tea, I suppose you would have acknowledged that they were just collateral.
    It was a war, after all.

  • Christopher Stalford

    I can confirm Fair_Deal’s allegation about DUP members being listed on the application form without their prior knowledge is absolutely, 100% true. I have a copy of their application for funding that was lodged with Belfast City Council clearly stating that a collegue of mine would be taking part in this event when he wasn’t even asked. Maybe Susan McKay should have contacted the DUP and asked why they weren’t participating before engaging her poisoned pen.

  • seanniee

    What was on the menu.Fish and chips?.

  • Concerned Loyalist

    Did the organisers not understand the absurdity and downright insensitivity of a “cross-community dinner” having “Sean Kelly, the convicted sectarian murderer” making an after-dinner speech?
    Some Nationalists/Republicans, from North and West Belfast in particular, continue to astound me with their sheer lack of understanding of the Protestant-Unionist-Loyalist community, and how badly the Shankill bombing devastated the local community, and completely polarised Protestant Ulster as a whole, causing men who would never have become a combatant in the conflict, to join the UDA or UVF in villages, towns and cities miles away from the Shankill Road, in order to strike back at the monsters who slaughtered their co-religionists.

    Perhaps this account by West Belfast UFF 2nd Battalion C Company member “Tommy”, from Colin Crawford’s “INSIDE THE UDA” would enlighten these insensitive pricks:

    “When I arrived on the scene there were about 300 people standing shell-shocked around what had been Frizzell’s fish shop. It was difficult to get through the police lines to join the people who were trying to help to get the people and the bodies out of the rubble. When I saw what had actually happened I was gutted. There were bodies of men, women and children lying in the rubble. Grown men were crying with blood streaming from their hands from where they had been frantically searching through the broken bricks and masonry. I can’t describe how I felt standing there, I think I was actually in shock. Karen and Ryan [his wife and son] could have been in there. The IRA claimed that it was a strike against the UFF, that the UFF were holding a meeting there. The reality was that it had been a random bombing designed to turn the ordinary people away from the UFF through murdering and terrorising them, men, women and children. Of course what it achieved was the opposite of that. The ordinary people had completely given up on the police and the army in protecting them, they began increasingly to look to us [the UFF]. We were inundated with young loyalist recruits but by that stage we were only interested in quality and not quantity, so we were very selective. That was in October 1993, ‘Black October'”.

  • pol

    I asked why Sean kelly was the boogy man. Because i keep getting the message, that of all the killing’s that hapened his was the worst.

    I also had friend’s and neighbour’s murdered but those killer’s are not as bad as Kelly. There killers can be wined and dined in Belfast city hall or up at Ulster Unionest head quarter’s.

    And as for the bomb on the Shankill road what happened was a disaster for everyone. My point was to clear up some confusion as to why that target was chosen, and dispell those pundit’s who would have us beleive it was a planed attack on the inocent people on the Shankel that day, It wasent it was a premature explosion.

    Fair Deal should be pleased with how this blog has progressed, as he spend’s most of his spare time on Slugger stirring it up .

  • John Maynard

    I see that one semi-literate moron has come out in defence of another:

    I asked why Sean kelly was the boogy man. Because i keep getting the message, that of all the killing’s that hapened his was the worst.

    I also had friend’s and neighbour’s murdered but those killer’s are not as bad as Kelly. There killers can be wined and dined in Belfast city hall or up at Ulster Unionest head quarter’s.

    And as for the bomb on the Shankill road what happened was a disaster for everyone. My point was to clear up some confusion as to why that target was chosen, and dispell those pundit’s who would have us beleive it was a planed attack on the inocent people on the Shankel that day, It wasent it was a premature explosion.

    Fair Deal should be pleased with how this blog has progressed, as he spend’s most of his spare time on Slugger stirring it up .

  • Miss Fitz

    John
    Shame on you. This forum is not exclusively for people who are articulate and capable of perfect spelling and grammar. For all you know, it may have taken someone a lot of courage to put their thoughts together, and having you shoot them down is cowardly.

    All people have a point to make, and we should have the courtesy to listen, not take out the red pen.

  • John Maynard

    Why yes, how ashamed I should be for taking the mickey out of someone who is making excuses for a sectarian mass-murderer.

  • willowfield

    Why does Sean Kelly sport a “spide” moustache?

    What age is he? 15?

  • rapunsel

    Christopher Stalford is a Belfast City Councillor, he claims to have a copy of a funding application submitted by the New Lodge Festival group. He has presumably leaked that application to Fair Deal and others. This surely is a gross breach of protocol in terms of the council’s policies on dealing with applications and would call into question Mr Stalford’s fitness as a public representative. Off on a tangent I know but perhaps Mr Stalford could let us know where he got the funding application from and what gives him the right to discuss th contents therein in public

  • John Maynard

    I think we can take that last post as definite confirmation that Fair Deal’s claim is true and Irene Sherry’s funding claim was as bent as a three-bob note.

  • ciaran damery

    Many Irish people operate on the premise that the IRA’s campaign was politically motivated and that it is an army with a hierarchical chain of command, just like the IRA that fought the British army in the War of Idependence and subsequent civil war. Thus one can
    understand why a personal apology by an IRA Volunteer (Seán Kelly) would be inappropriate. The IRA offered an apology for the tragedy caused by the Shankill bomb. Has anybody ever heard of a US or Israeli pilot of an F16 (mar shampla), who inadvertently slaughters scores of civilians by dropping ‘precision’ bombs on a target apologize? Of course not. The responsibility rests with the US or Zionist military commanders and their political masters? Ya get me gist?

  • rapunsel

    Don’t see how my post could be taken as confirmation of anything. I merely asked a question as to where Mr Stalford obtained a copy of a funding application and whether he was in breach of the Council’s protocols. I know neither Irene Sherry nor Mr Stalford and not living in Belfast can’t even claim to have ever set foot in the New Lodge. Presumably John Maynard you have received a copy of this funding application too?

  • John Maynard

    I’ve not seen it yet, but eagerly await its arrival – or its failure to arrive.
    Either will be newsworthy.

  • mystified

    ciaran damery

    just trying to get my head around your logic

    Am i correct in assumimg that if the UFF issued an apology you would accept, possibly respect johnny adair, and the UVF’s abject remorse would allow you to accept lenny murphy as a soldier ?

    What is your view on UVF commandos like Robin Jackson ?

    Also do you acknowledge the dublin/monaghan bombings possibly the best carried out military operation of the troubles, the logistics deep in enemy territority and the precision were truly admirable.

    2ndly “just like the IRA that fought the British army in the War of Idependence”

    i always wondered why some people called it the “war of independence” firstly it wasnt really a war was it ?, and secondly how is it independence when part of ireland is still occupied ?

  • Garibaldy

    Ciaran,

    Individual American pilots from Vietnam and soldiers from Vietnam and Iraq have apologised for their murder of civilians. So too have some Israelis, while other Israelis have refused to fire missles from their helicopters or planes at targets in civilian areas, and been disciplined and gaoled for it. Perhaps it might have been better had the people sent to the Shankill that day adopted that approach. If the Israeli and American commanders who have dropped bombs on civilians are guilty of war crimes, what does that make the leadership of the Provos by your logic?

    Perhaps you should think through the implications of your logic.