Why Loyalists need to take the risk and talk…

There’s an interesting segment in today’s Marian Finucane (1.05.35 in) where she talks to Gary Mitchell about his prospective role in writing the screenplay for a film about Ian Paisley. Fascinating stuff, not least in the way he touches on the paranoia of paramilitaries of within Loyalist areas. He also talks about why it is important that Protestants learn to get over a distrust of the media and other cultural institutions to tell the story of their own lives:

“If we don’t tell people how we feel and what our perspective, how can people print it. This has been going on for thirty or forty years where journalists would come from all over the world to places like Rathcoole looking for a story. Now, my understanding is that they have to take some sort of story home, and if you have hundreds of nationalist Catholics giving them a full story of the horrors of life in Northern Ireland they are going to go away and print that. On the other side, you have people putting up road blocks and saying ‘we’re not talking to you’ and actually ending up attacking journalists and attacking people who wish to report things, then what story are they going to print? They are obviously going to print something that isn’t very positive.”

Finnucane’s seemingly throwaway endline made an interesting addendum to a fascinating talk. Refering to Paisley she remarks: “You can’t get away from the fact that he’s a dreadful bigot”… followed by one of her panel with, “He’s the single biggest negative on the Northern Ireland scene for thirty years…” Mitchell’s thesis proved, it would seem, in one fell swoop.

Mick is founding editor of Slugger. He has written papers on the impacts of the Internet on politics and the wider media and is a regular guest and speaking events across Ireland, the UK and Europe. Twitter: @MickFealty