Paramilitary politics

The Irish News’ front page story has the above image[subs req] – a trio who the paper describes in this manner, “President Mary McAleese’s husband Martin [] standing between an alleged member of the IRA’s army council and a loyalist widely regarded as the de facto leader of the UDA’s inner council.” That would be Sean “Spike” Murray [also to be found on the Parades Review team – Ed] and Jackie McDonald. The report, on the launch of a new interface group, Belfast Truth and Reconciliation Network, names some of the others present – Orange Order deputy chaplain Mervyn Gibson, Holy Cross priest Fr Aidan Troy, senior republican Bobby Storey and the UDA’s John Bunting. There’s another photo from the event below with former UVF prisoner Tom Roberts and the UPRG’s Frankie Gallagher et al.

From left to right, former UVF prisoner Tom Roberts, Gerry McConville of the Falls Community Council, Martin McAleese, Frankie Gallagher of the UPRG and Sean Murray.

According to the report former IRA, UVF, UDA and INLA leaders were all present.

As well as the front page report there’s another inside the paper and it’s from there that the following quotes are taken.[subs req]

Martin McAleese

“Now that the constitutional issue is fully settled by the provisions of the Good Friday Agreement, now that the arms are no longer used and hearts and minds are widely engaged in peacemaking as never before – this is a golden moment bursting with opportunity.”

Sean Murray

“When the political process was stalled it was groups like ourselves who encouraged dialogue and engagement between the two communities. With the return of devolution the feel-good factor is at its zenith. We need a common strategy to tackle social deprivation, poor educational achievement and a host of other issues which have blighted the working-class communities which have been divided by peacelines for 30 years. We want to develop a joined vision which will make the peacelines redundant, devoid of fear and hatred. We want to develop the vision of a shared future. We believe we can only start to tackle these issues when we are speaking with one united voice for people on either side of the peaceline.”

And Frankie Gallagher

“Loyalists must now learn how to make the ballot box work. Weaponry is no longer a viable option. All loyalists must continue our struggle to get to the position where we realise that by exercising our democratic right to vote, the ballot box is the most powerful weapon.”

And how many actually elected representatives were there? None that I could see mentioned.

Although the Irish News also reports that senior officials from the Northern Ireland Office and the Republic’s Department of Foreign Affairs were present..

But, of course, these individuals would, no doubt, fall into the category of “those who have influence”.. even if the Chief Constable is sceptical..

This is the zenith of the feel-good factor, remember..

And here’s a couple of other previous posts which those interested can peruse.

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  • middle-class taig

    Quite right, Pete. Crazy, nay wrong-headed, nay again, amoral (yes, yes, that’s a suitably grave word) even putting these people in a room together, let alone fomenting dialogue between them. I have a much better idea.

    Let’s have a cross-community reconciliation and outreach body composed of Archbishop Robin Eames, Lord Alderdice and Sir Patrick Mayhew to represent the unionist tradition, and Sean Rafferty, Brian Kennedy and Ruth Dudley-Edwards to represent the nationalist tradition.

    Then the real reconciliation and dialogue can begin!!

    *********************************************************

    While trying not to look at the ref lest he consider this a calculatedly mistimed tackle, I sometimes wonder, Pete, if the constant animus which illuminates, or should I say adumbrates, your posts isn’t mere disdain for people you think beneath you.

    None of my business, really, it’s just that you appear to dislike rather a lot of folks. Moreover, very few of them are the kind of people who might be quite legitimately disliked, such as Alliance Party members. 🙂

  • The Penguin

    The coming together of the leaders of diverse groups of criminal fascists to find common ground should be of concern to everyone. Useful fools like Martin MacAleese are helping these people further embed themselves within society.

  • loftholdingswood

    I find myself agreeing with middle-class. What is it that scares and unnerves you so Pete? People with diametrically opposing views meeting to discuss an initiative that could possibly, just possibly reduce tension and create understanding in an area or the fact that they have the temerity to exist? Do they not meet with your exacting moral standards?

    If you think that this is bizarre and excrutiating to the great and the good just wait until you see what happens when the CTI (Conflict Transformation Initiative) is up and running.

  • austin

    I lived right beside a peaceline for several years during a period when the place went ballistic. I saw the misery inflicted on ordinary residents on each side of the Peaceline as crowds came to the area on the long summer evenings to use the place as a battleground for hours at a time.
    But hey Pete, of course you’re right. This ‘Trio’ are bang out of order for wanting to stop this misery.
    Hope you sleep well in your middle-class Ivory Tower, Pete, where the most taxing thing to concern you is the quality of the Eurovision Song Concert. As Johnny Logan would say’What’s another year?’ for the plebs on the peaceline

  • Rory (South Derry)

    Oh Dear time has made Murray Older and grey!

    Nice to see he has lost his jeans and Black bomber jacket & seems to not being hanging round his old mucker Noel (Yuppie) McCartney!

    Hope he’s given up Kangaroo Court Trials, Diesel Laundering and Smuggling Drink and Fags!

    Not that long since he was rumoured to have been smuggling from Eastern Europe (people in containers & all that)!

    Maybe we should forget terrorising business men from a Joinery firm in Bellaghy? Don’t you think Spike?

    Hope Rosie is enjoying her husbands new found fame (Not that long since a Donegal Celtic Footballer got cut up for tampering with her) – Oh Dear Spike!

    What has the occupied six come to when Sean Spike Murray is preaching Peace???

  • Rory (South Derry)

    Spike Murray had kids beaten & murdered for Drug Dealing and now he stands side by side with the scumbag reps of the INLA who sold dope & robbed for Ireland – not to mention killing each other!

    SHAME ON YA SPIKE (Danny McCann must be turning over in the Grave)!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    LHW: “What is it that scares and unnerves you so Pete?”

    Why do you attribute to fear what is adequately explained by cynicism and a rational analysis of prior track-record?

    LHW: “People with diametrically opposing views meeting to discuss an initiative that could possibly, just possibly reduce tension and create understanding in an area or the fact that they have the temerity to exist? Do they not meet with your exacting moral standards? ”

    Talk is cheap. Deeds are far more important. At last accounting, most of these hoods and cowboys are still hoods and cowboys. They are still armed. That makes them hoods, which is all they should be treated as.

    LHW: “If you think that this is bizarre and excrutiating to the great and the good just wait until you see what happens when the CTI (Conflict Transformation Initiative) is up and running. ”

    Uh-huh. Per the IMC, its still spides and hoods. Guns still on the streets, drugs still being dealt, businesses still being extorted and the sock-puppets still out there grifting away.

  • Pete Baker

    That’s sceptical, not cynical, Dread. ;o)

  • damien

    A positive step today.

    When the people who actually live on the peacelines are willing to start dialogue and open new channels of communication, contacts etc..its a good first step and i would encourage all involved to continue the inititive.

    Pete

    elected rep’s will not bring down the peacelines, ordinary people will, and the fact that paramilitaries are willing to move forward will be a big encouragement for residents to do likewise.

    Perhaps you need to have experienced living in such an area to see the positives of such a meeting.

    I wish them well and hope for a peaceful peaceline summer.

  • Gerry Kelly

    They seems a jolly lot. Rather like middle aged priests, Methodist ministers or other blameless souls.

  • Perhaps the question that some contributors to this thread should ponder is why Pete makes them so angry, when all he is doing is poking a hole in this illusion of the truth. Is it any wonder that the word truth has not been included in the Reconciliation networks.

    That it is has not been might also be worth pondering, for is it possible to have reconciliation without truth and if so how long will it last?

    By the way, on a lighter note, the photo has a striking resemblance to the photo of Frank Sinatra and Mafia godfathers taken I think at an up state NY gig. Accept McAleese’s is standing in for Frankie and the peace-nicks have taken the place of the mob bosses. It is the new suits that struck a cord with me. All Martin McAleese’s needs is a babe in arms and it could be a photo of a christening.

    regards

  • darth rumsfeld

    the last time that lot wore suits the guys standing either side of them were prison officers

  • Horus

    I wonder in what capacity was a dentist standing in the middle?
    Is he a house husband?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Pete Baker: “That’s sceptical, not cynical, Dread. ;o) ”

    *D’oh!*

    Caught me projecting… ah, well, fair caught — I’m the cynic, you’re the skeptic.

    mickhall: “By the way, on a lighter note, the photo has a striking resemblance to the photo of Frank Sinatra and Mafia godfathers taken I think at an up state NY gig.”

    You sure you don’t mean Atlantic City? I don’t think Sinatra made it to Appalachin…

  • Dread

    No it was not Appalachin, you might be correct about Atlantic City, it was back stage at a concert,