“They have British blood on them…”

Alex Reid has just been talking to Olivia O’Leary in a superlative piece of radio… Controversial and, in parts, extremely moving, he recounts the day two British soldiers were beaten and then shot on the day of the funeral of the men killed by Michael Stone. All the while he held the first communication between Sinn Fein and John Hume. Asked afterwards by one senior member of Sinn Fein if he still had the documents, he replied, “Yes, and they have British blood on them”. It blows away any easy reading of Reid, or some of the worst parts of the troubles. The podcast should be available by Friday.
Here’s the press blurb from the Beeb:

“The Clonard Priest” is Father Alec Reid, a shadowy figure who, for years, was referred to obliquely by journalists and politicians as being the pivotal person behind the peace process. He refused to give interviews during that period. The only time his face was seen on camera was when, distraught, he administered the last rites to the two dead British Army corporals torn apart and shot by a Republican crowd in 1988. It became one of the enduring images of The Troubles. Since the IRA decommissioned its weapons (he was one of the appointed “overseers”), he feels his story can now be told.

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  • miss fitz

    What an excellent piece of radio this was. Olivia O’Leary pulled no punces what so ever, asking him was he ‘stupid’ on a couple of occasions. She also opened up areas like him being the ‘IRA curate’ and really probed into what it all felt like at the time.

    All in all an extraordinary piece of radio and I must say I was riveted by it.

  • miss fitz

    I think I should qualify the above by saying Fr Reid responded beautifully to all of the questions, and gave serious consideration as to whether he had been stupid on a few occasions!