‘Two Bald Men Fighting Over A Comb’

Says Eamonn McCann of the SDLP and SF, over their positions on MI5 at last night’s debate in Derry. The BBC has a short video report (opens in video player – text available here). Public policing debates are taking place tonight, with SF’s debate in Belfast and another debate in Ardboe, being chaired by David Dunseith Paul Clarke from UTV. Reports are of a massive crowd for the debate in Belfast.

  • parcifal

    Good to see SF and the SDLP sharing a platform; must admit though monday morning 30th Jan DUP reaction to post-AF will be all the talk.
    This too on anniversary of Bloody Sunday, and Robert McCartney’s murder.

  • Garcia

    Off topic, sorry. But I hear the Noble Lord Laird of Artigarvan has had a heart attack. Poor chap. Wish him a speedy recovery. Rarely agree with him but he is a character & I do enjoy his rants very much….

  • dougal

    Now it’s Republicans shouting


    …strange world isn’t it?

  • graduate

    c’est la vie! By the way, didn’t you know that the earth is the universe’s lunatic asylum!!

    Would have to agree with you about lord Laird but I bet he’s still celebratring Burn’s night even if in a low key way

  • Eamonn who?

  • Garcia


    You bet he is. Fine man that he is. & With his very pretty researcher too no doubt 😉 Quality….


  • Porlock

    Who but the publicity-mad Lord Laird would issue a statement from his hospital bed telling us that a heart attack (which nobody had bothered to report on Sunday or Monday, by the way)would prevent him from contesting an election south of the border?!

    Why, exactly, was he even given a peerage?


  • Garcia

    No idea Porlock. Think he might have been UUP nominated, ask themuns. I might be wrong though.

    As I implied, I think he’s a very good speaker and I also think he’s not-too-shabby a parliamentarian but he looks sh*te in a kilt & he should be told. “wee daft heids” is legacy. I chuckle….


  • Garcia

    No idea Porlock. Think he might have been UUP nominated, ask themuns. I might be wrong though.

    As I implied, I think he’s a very good speaker and I also think he’s not-too-shabby a parliamentarian but he looks sh*te in a kilt & he should be told. “wee dafty heids” is his legacy. I chuckle….


    PS, justice38 was my verification code. Shurely some mishtake?

  • Garica

    Ignore the first post. Went too early….


  • mickhall

    Looked like a full house with people from across the political spectrum, Kearney, McIntrye, McCann, that nice man from the SDLP, it does show it is possible to have a meeting without creating all the brouhaha of late.

  • seamus deery

    Meeting was lively. Notable for it being the first time I ever saw McCann rattled and then getting personal. He tried to patronise Declan Kearney when he knew he was losing the debate but Kearney gave better than he got. Listening to McCann you would have thought he had been on the streets fighting the RUC/PSNI since 1968. Does he not realise that we who lived here through the very bad times in the 70’s and 80’s remembered he slid off to London and to Dublin for many many years . He wrote for that quality tabloid The Sunday World while fighting the RUC from Dublin4!!!
    We do have memories. He was truly put back in his box last night and about time. He wouldn’t have even been arrested last year except others took actions which were against the plan in Raytheon. Eamonn got a bigger shock than anyone.
    Wolfie is alive and well and living in Derry

  • brendan,belfast

    Bit ironic his using a bald man / comb analogy.

  • gerry

    The meeting in clonard was lively too. Full house in clonard. I’d say the questions from the floor were 50/50 pro and anti psni support. Adams maskey, de brun and gerry kelly. Priest gave a short speech at the beginning about why they allowed the debate there, maskey chaired the meeting, adams spoke first then kelly to outline their position, then it was thrown open to the floor. there were roving mikes, and it went on from half seven until after ten. not everybody stayed the whole length. cameras were there, and all shades of opinion.

  • Mario el argentino

    To be fair, fellow Argentian writer, Jorge Luis Borges described the old Falklands War between our two nations, as “two bald men fighting over a comb.”

    Give the old man some credit.

  • Mario el argentino

    Argentinian. =(

  • BeardyBoy

    My nation never fought over the malvinas

  • J Kelly

    I have to agree with SD about the meeting. Declan Kearney wiped the floor with McCann. The discussion between the other contributors was honest, hardhitting and a pleasure but McCann let himself down because he started personalising it.

    I have to say that i thought it was very unprofessional of the organisers to allow one of their people to personnaly attack one of the contributors and use foul language. The Bloody Sunday Weekend has always been a space for open honest and frank debate not a place for cheap insults and personal attacks.

  • eddie

    I was at the meeting too and thought that Eamon came across more republican than Declan. I also think that Eamon wiped the floor with Declan. The comment reffered to by j kelly was totally out of order and a disgrace but not a surprise as it came from an idiot with a grudge. I wonder if the person who made that comment would encourage republicans to give evidence against the person who murdered Mousey Robinson.

  • Honest

    The person who referred to Anthony Mc Intyre as being a tout is the brother of Bart Fisher, his gripe is that Anthony mc Intyre exposed Barts anti-republican activities in Derry. Such were Sinn Feins embarrassment as to Barts activities that they denied he was a member of PRM. Mc Intyre exposed him as a thug, bully boy and pseudo republican with a lust for killing young nationalists like Mark Robinson.

  • rd65_75

    A dispiccable attack on the good Doctor,

    But did the Shinners organise it thats the question we must ask, because they are such Stoops they will Stoop to any low to descredit possible threats from any quarter

  • J Kelly

    Lets get serious Mackers was far from a threat to the Sinn Fein position. He distanced himself from all aspects of republicanism during that meeting. He started by saying he was not a member of the concerned republicans grouping even though he is a concerned republican. He stated that none of the groups who oppose Sinn Fein have a strategy for a united Ireland or an alternative to policing and he was in agreement that the armed struggle has runs its course. I couldn’t work out what he was supporting or what he wanted.

    The interesting thing was that the invite was made to the 32csm and although they had prominent members in the hall none of them were prepared to speak either from the floor or from the platform. OK they got some young guy to read out a hastily prepared written statement.

  • The Devil

    Ah lads you missed the good stuff in Clonard….

    First of all Sinn Fein had a meeting with Alec Reid who represents the religious wing of the peace-process and asked him could the use the Monastery-church instead of the hall.
    The reason for this was that if there was going to be any trouble at it the meeting it would be stifled because of fear of desecration or at the very least seriously curbed, Alec Reid said he was unsure and that he would need a few moments to talk to God and ask his permission.
    So he went to the alter where Gerry Adams was standing beside Gerry Kelly trying to explain to him why it is important for him to know his three times tables, and there Alec Reid knelt down beside them and asked God was it okay to use the church for the meeting on policing?
    Gerry Adams looked down on him, smiled, made the sign of the cross and said yes.

    Gerry Adams then turned to Gerry Kelly and said to him “remember if anyone asks about the structures of MI5 I don’t want to hear you saying that Sinn Fein negotiated a 30% reduction in January, that was the January sales Gerry and it was MFI not MI5 and for Christ sake don’t mention plastic bullets, remember they are plastic bullets not plastic cards that should only be used in emergencies, got it?
    Now wait till I tie your shoe-laces and then I want you to go and sit next to the wee strange woman with the funny accent.

    God Adams then went over to Alex Maskey and told him that he wanted to see him do his impersonation of the three monkeys, hear no evil, speak no evil, see no evil, if someone puts their hand up and you don’t recognize them “you don’t see them” if someone asks a hard question “you don’t hear them” if someone asks you when there will be a united Ireland “you don’t answer”
    But remember Alex I am going to preach a sermon about forgiveness of the R.U.C in this church tonight and it will look spectacular almost angelic however if Gerry McGeough decides to make an appearance I want you to do me a favour I want you to nail him to that fucking cross.

  • Red Mist


    “The meeting in clonard was lively too. Full house in clonard. I’d say the questions from the floor were 50/50 pro and anti psni support”.

    Must disagree with that briefing gerry. It was a good meeting granted. Better than Toome and East Tyrone by far. I was at all three and I have to say I expected the Clonard one to be a bit of a damp squib. But to my surprise, the people of Belfast (of which I am one) are awakening.

    To discribe the questions/comments as 50/50 is to be very wide of the mark indeed gerry. I thought the comments and questions were very much on the side of people opposing SF support of the PSNI. In fact I thought it was about 80-20 against, but I settled for 75-25 against as was offered by one of Adams’ loyal security team in a conversation after the meeting.

    What I will say though, to be fair, is that Adams did shade the applause factor. He is good and has perhaps unrivaled experience in working a crowd – good speaker. It started me thinking about the remainder of the leadership. They are very poor in comparison and in no way could sell any of this without him at the helm. They had better pray that he is around for a very long time indeed. However, what I did find interesting was that untrained speakers, often speaking plainly, got almost as much applause as did Gerry. He couldnt have been pleased with that.

    Couple of other observations. Adams was definitely more polite than in Toome and East Tyrone – see what happens when you have to speak to your own constituency – not a mistake in the Adams-McGuinness switch last Saturday methinks.

    Adams’ only sign of arrogance and his main blunder on the night was not throwing his hands up and apologising profusely to the family of the dead volunteer from Derry. He started out well but then started qualifying his apology by trying to include Gerry McGeough as an excuse. McGeough cannot speak for the dead but Adams should have more about him than to try and score a cheap point with the ouiji board jibe. The family expressed that they were distinctly unsatisfied with Adams’ attempt at an apology.

    Also Kelly was pretty poor….again. His contribution is very rehearsed, unconvincing and mechanical. Poor in the appaluse factor of which the SF machine so delight.

    But bottom of the heap has to be poor old Barbara. She is woeful in debate. Doesnt answer the questions, and goes off on tangents which become very repetitive. And if anyone is speaking to her please advise her to drop the unemployment analogy – its weak, corny, and non-sensical, but she obviously doesnt know this as she repeated it three times in one contribution.

    Over and out.

  • gerry

    ‘The family expressed that they were distinctly unimpressed with adams attempt at an apology’.

    Red mist the woman who posed the question to adams about the apology for the families came from belfast. I was speaking to her afterwards and she said she saw the letter in the irish news and was appalled. My own opinion is that adams is too quick to use the dead, including the hunger strikers for his own purposes and agenda.

    I can’t argue with your analysis of the meeting, but in fair ness adams did get better applause from the crowd. Maskey was good at chairing the meeting, but gerrykelly was his usual abrupt self.