“careful not to say anything that might upset the peace process applecart..”

In noting and contrasting the language used in the public statements by Sinn Féin’s Conor Murphy – “We will continue to press for the total end to the British military occupation of the Six Counties.” – with that of members of the British Army, such as Lt Gen Nick Parker – “What I believe the military have done here is make a significant contribution to the security in Northern Ireland that has allowed other people to make the difference through politics, social programmes and economics.” – on the ending of Operation Banner, the Belfast Telegraph’s Lindy McDowell makes an interesting point in wondering what is actually being said in private.

The ending of the “military occupation of the Six Counties” is one way of putting it.

But up at the once-hated Stormont a former commander in the IRA is now serving as Deputy First Minister in the once-hated partitionist Assembly, chortling happily at the bon mots of his New Best Friend, the once-hated Ian Paisley.

Surely even the volunteers must now wonder about the success of republican strategy. And what all those deaths, all that misery and suffering, actually achieved.

History will take the long look at their long war. But it’s hard to see how it will be judged as anything other than a wrong war. A grubby little campaign of sectarian savagery which in the end divided more than it united.

The Army hierarchy will, of course, be careful not to make that point. They’re being understandably careful not to say anything that might upset the peace process applecart. The soldiers who have left here are now desperately needed to bolster the overstretched forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

To them Northern Ireland is history.

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  • Cuchulainn

    maybe this will make people finally see that all the PIRA succeeded in doing was murder 1000s of men women and children.

    they achieved nothing that they set out to do, the army is still here, they entered into stormont, we are still part of the british empire, they achieved sweet FA, except set back irish unity by 36 years.

    they only time that they achieved anything was from John Hume, the owe the path they are on to him, as well as signing up to the St Andrews agreement that was done by John Hume, and rejected by the rest.

    36 year war? thats a joke, it was 36 years of murder, and 36 years of destroying the name republican!

  • ingram

    Hi Pete,

    quote The soldiers who have left here are now desperately needed to bolster the overstretched forces in Iraq and Afghanistan.

    To them Northern Ireland is history. unquote

    Pete, Not quite mate. What nicer place would you want for a spot of RnR after a tough tour in the Sun. The GOC said it would revert back to a location for training, expect to see the core 5k being augmented at peak times with a training Bn down at Bally Mck

    Republicans are too fat on their riches to pose any real problems and those that do will be dealt with by the tame friendly ones, like the GOC told Henry Mc,soldiers will soon be able to shop in uniform no different than in Cornwall. LOL

    Ding Ding


  • A very fair article I think.

    For most in the British Army, N.I was just a posting. Most people in mianland U.K do not hve strong views on the future of N.I, soldiers included.

    The army was there to stop the place sliding into civil war, which they achieved.

  • Pete Baker


    You’re quoting from Lindy McDowell’s article… and I’m aware of how the Lt General sees the role of the Army here developing.

  • Pete Baker

    Just to add,

    I suspect that the apparent reticence towards using the ‘V’ word has more to do with a reluctance to risk any kind of political consternation within government – with an eye on other policy areas – than the actual “peace process applecart”.

  • sms

    the IRA and the DUP running the North. Was it for this died the sons of Britannia ? I should think not. Some victory!

  • Sean

    the IRA war ended a protestant parliament for a protestant people and on that basis alone their campaign has been a success

    Its too bad it took so many innocent lives for the prods to undestand that they are not any better nthan the taigs.

    and it is especially too bad it took th the illegal detention, torture and murder of so many catholics for them to come to this re-alization.

    equality is all the republicans wanted its too bad the army was used to murder inocent republicans in pursuit of that goal

    and before you unjustly criticise me remember the army killed more innocents than combatants

  • Forecast

    Sean – I can never remember graveside orations at republican funerals claiming that the volunteer had died for, ‘equality’ with the prods.

    I always seem to remember a united Ireland slipping in there somwhere…………..

  • I strongly object to this article.

    The Stormont regime that the Civil Rights movement objected to was a far different one from the current one – what instigated a campaign which awakened the IRA from it slumbers, and achieved a far better life for the nationalist community in the final outcome.

    To act as if it was all a totally unnecessary conflict which achieved nothing is little more than British propaganda, and Unionist hypocricy.

    The British Army is not celebrating victory but just withdrawing, happy that a negotiated settlement that it agreed to stopped the bloodshed which it unnecessarily extended by its carrying The Troubles into the Republic, its war of attrition with the Provos with its ‘shoot-to-kill’ operations, unnecessary murderous ambushes, etc. – what so offended even ‘Steak knife’ that he mounted a Provo counteract which brought the Brits back to the negotiating table.

    It was not the wrong war, and history knows it whatever the hacks in the media, and the compromised professors write in the history books.

  • Turgon

    The British Army did not “unnecessarily extend” anything.
    The army and police tried very hard to stop republican and loyalist terrorists killing people. Yes there was probably some very low level collusion which was totally wrong but this idea of a vast conspiracy is just daft.

    What really “prolonged” the conflict was the refusal of the people of this part of the world to be bullied by terrorists and just give in to them. Eventually that message was learned by the terrorists.

    As I have said before I do not accept a “shoot to not kill strategy”. High velocity firearms kill people that is just a fact. These “murderous ambushes” predominantly stopped terrorists who were trying to murder people. How do you propose the police should have peacefully stopped eight terrorists at Loughgall? Maybe with some sort of ray gun you believe they had?

    And as to the conflict not being unecessary. So clearly it was necessary? So the murders at Kingsmill, Enniskillen etc. etc. were necessary? You once told us you were opposed to terrorism, that last post does not look much like the position of someone genuninely opposed to terrorism.

    Of course in your biazzare pseudo reality I guess you can have it both ways, just like the Russians can control our weather, the British army murdered Olaf Palme and you are a serious researcher.

  • This is just more pathetic nonsense by you, Turgon.

    The ‘clean’ kill at Youghgall was an unnecessary extension of the conflict, as Mark Urban has explained in Big Boys’ Rules. See pp. 220ff., especially pp. 234-5.

    This was part of the conspiracy that the FRU arranged with ‘Steak knife’ – what resulted in the set up of Captain Simon Hayward here in Stockholm, and the capture of the Eksund off the French coast in October 1987.

    Earlier there had been the ‘shoot-to-kill’ murders which he apparently led – revenge attacks for what happened earlier in London.

    Then there was the BA’s assassination of that Irish Senator, and the bombings in Monaghan and Dublin to make sure that it looked like the OIRA did it.

    And the Provo incidents you refer to were followed by things like the unnecessary cull on The Rock, etc.

    And I have never talked about any grand conspiracy, just small ones, like the above.

    And I never claimed that the BA killed Olof Palme – just Hayward while he was on leave to do alleged bodyguard reassessment for former SAS Major David Walker’s KMS security firm.

    One might think that you just engage in fantasies to make personal points against me.

  • Frustrated Democrat

    It is difficult to look back at what might have been had their been no Civil Rights movement, Ian Paisley interventions etc.

    I think that the situation here would have resolved itself much more quickly had it been allowed to develop, remember in the 60’s unemployment was falling rapidly and the economy was progressing quickly with plants such ICI, Enkalon, Dupont etc. opening regularly.

    So the 40 years I feel in fact split a society which would naturally have moved forward with better co-operation North South and equality for all in the North as communications and exposure to worldwide televison made societies change.

    I also think a large section of the Northern Catholic poulation now feel they have more in common with their Northern Protestant neighbours than the people of the South. They may not feel British but they also don’t really think of themselves as ‘Gaelic’ Irish, just Irish because they were born in the Northern part of Ireland.

    If only we could really know where we would be today if the ‘extremists’ among us had stayed at home in the late 60’s and early 70’s………..

  • It is quite wrong to put the Civil Rights movement, FD, in the same category as Ian Paisley.

    There would have been no reforms if it had not been for the Civil Rights movement, and things would have gone along quite nicely under Terrence O’Neill’s government if it had not been for The Doc’s big mouth and big foot – disavowing the Captain’s Unionism, and showing that he meant it: “A traitor and a bridge are very much alike, for they both go over to the other side.”

    People seem to have forgot Ian’s most irresponsible betrayal when he finally came in from the cold, and signed up to the GFA – what only took 40 years.

  • Turgon


    You avoided much of my post you said “To act as if it was all a totally unnecessary conflict which achieved nothing is little more than British propaganda, and Unionist hypocricy.”

    Hence, if the conflict was not unnecessary it must have been necessary in your view. You can try various moral gymnastics but by saying this you are justifying the actions of the terrorists. So clearly Enniskillen etc. was necessary in your immoral warped mind.

    You have always been a foolish conspiracy theorist clearly you are now a cheerleader for murderers as well.

  • This is just the usual, additional shite from you, Turgon.

    I did not avoid your post in my answer – indicating that the Enniskillen bombing, along with an alleged bombing of Foreign Secretary Geoffrey Howe later in Brussels, was a pretext that British intelligence allowed in order to set up ‘Steak knife’ for the cull on The Rock.

    Earlier, the totally unnecessary cull at Loughgall was just another payoff to satisfy ‘Steak knife’s conditions for the capture of the Eksund.

    Are you incapable of comprehending written words?

    While I do not support terrorism – mindless violence which has no possible reason – I do support people fighting back when British covert operators forced them to do so – like the set up of the OIRA for the murder of Irish Senator Billy Fox – what they achieved by claiming to the organization that weapons were stored at his girl friend’s place, and then covert operator Captain Robert Nairac seeing to his assassination during the confusion.

    Then to make sure the set up stuck, the Brits carried out the bombings in Monaghan and Dublin.

    This is simply state terrorism.

    I, in sum, have never been either a crazy conspiracy theorist or a cheerleader of terrorists, especially officíal British ones, particularly Captain Simon Hayward – the apparent assassin of another unarmed opponent, Sweden’s statsminister Olof Palme.

  • Turgon

    You are not a conspiracy theorist but the British government was involved in the murder of Olof Palme, great Trowbridge that’s just great.

  • Dewi

    Funny Turgon – in a team building quiz thingy yesterday they asked who is the driver in “Ivor the Engine” and I remembered what u had written !

  • The British government was more than just involved in the killing of Palme, Turgon. It organized it, and then was instrumental in covering it up.

    It, especially MI6, first opened up the Swedish Security Service, Säpo, to infiltration of the statsminister’s bodyguards by British reassessors by claiming that South Africa’s BOSS and its mercenaries were trying to kill him – what Hayward, it seems, took advantage of when none of them were anywhere to be seen on the night of February 28, 1986, and afterwards it claimed that it had proof of what it had earlier claimed – what turned out to be utterly baseless.

    This, in short,is a ‘false flag’ operation in spades.

  • Turgon

    I could not remember much about Ivor the Engine was it not Cruimh? Still see Trowbridge’s latest. I am delighted. I have (very) indirect relatives who are South Africans. Maybe I am actually in charge of the conspiracy after all.