“Catholic sectarianism does not need to be confronted because it does not exist”

Interesting reworking of a recent Irish Times column by Fintan O’Toole. This time it goes just a bit deeper and cuts into some very dark territory largely hidden by powerful political grand narratives that sheltered many Catholics from the gruesome reality of things that were done in the name of their defence. Accordingly, he argues, Northern Ireland’s Catholics had never had to confront their own sectarian hard wiring, until Darren Graham “had the temerity to punch through the tribal stereotype by playing Gaelic football and not defining himself simply as a Protestant. It took the hate that dares not speak its name to make him one now”.Still, he notes, many cannot understand why Nationalist/Republican violence should in the least compare with the blatantly sectarian campaigns of Loyalist paramilitaries:

Protestants have been told, rightly, that their religious and political attitudes contributed to the twisted mentalities of the Loyalist killers who murdered Catholics throughout the Troubles. Because those killings were categorised as sectarian, no one could argue with any seriousness that they were not, in some sense, manifestations of a wider bigotry that was itself the product of political, cultural and historical forces.

But Catholics have been insulated from the need to confront the same truths by the notion that the UDR men killed by the IRA were only incidentally Protestant. Catholic sectarianism does not need to be confronted because it does not exist. Thus, while Sinn Féin demands – often justly – public inquiries and accountability for the murders of Catholics by Loyalists or the forces of the state, it does not understand why such accountability might apply to itself.


  • Different Drummer


    Before you blow a fuse too (there has been a few here). It’s SF/Fatah’s relationship to that which they cliam to oppose that is of interest to radical accounts like Moloney and Taylor and one can also include E McCann who has held no brief for PIRA or nationalism or have they supported Unionist domination.

  • Different Drummer

    Dan Before you blow a fuse – (there have been a lot here).

    My point is that SF/Fatah are NOT as radical as they cliam to be. That’s very clear form the accounts I’ve cited and also one might add from E.McCann – who hold no brief for PIRA SF or Nationalism.

    SF in reality have only ONE constituency.

    They are not part of a bigger radical picture (see above) emerging in UK which they are well to the right of.

    Going to Finland to support the imperial settlemet in Iraq should be evidence enough of that.

    Meanwhile back in Surrey some Army familes are campagining for UK to leave Iraq.

    Being an imperial Shinner means both sides of the baracades – like at Hillsbourgh – where they meet George Bush and then sent a rep to condem him and the war in Iraq at the protest rally !!

    UK Politics are changing radically and SF are simply not part of that.

    But I hear the distinct tones of Prof Pater Bewley in my ear saying that SF will be taking their seats at Westminster. If they do Gerry’s *speech* on Iraq is going to be a cracker.

  • lib2016

    ‘UK Politics are changing radically and SF are simply not part of that.’

    British politics are well to the right of the rest of Europe and Ireland’s future is with Europe and the rest of the world, not with a neighbouring offshore island, however friendly we may become post-occupation.

    The British Empire is over, a generation later here than elsewhere true, but it had to happen sometime and sometime is now.

  • Different Drummer


    I never said the British Empire was was good or in good health. The treatment of the rebels of Kenya as I said was chilling as was were the Aden cafe wars.

    You seem to think that no one in UK now want’s to see an end to the neo comservative imperial project.

    McCann, Taylor Ed Maloney are no fans of the imperial project either and neither am I but I can tell it really only ends when those who do the fighting want to stop and that is only just beinning in UK – you might not think that significant but there are many like myself who do.

  • lib2016

    Different Drummer,

    The British are an American client state in a way which the rest of the EU is trying to avoid, sometimes with success.

    The American Empire is a much bigger project than the current neo conservative phenomenon and no loose grouping on an offshore island voluntarily semidetached from mainstream European political ideas is going to have any effect whatsoever.

    Conscription was done away with thirty years ago because anyone with half a mind opposed that Empire as they had opposed the British Empire which it was replacing.

    The brutalised dregs who do the fighting will be manipulated by the establishment as they always have been. Forget your romantic ideas about a ‘citizen army’ with a conscience which can be appealed to. It’s not going to happen.

    Clinton is as good as it gets. If you want Irish freedom then dealing with the next American President will be the compromise you have to make. The British left will remain as impotent and blinkered as they always have been.

  • Different Drummer


    I can well remember the real Jigioism in London after the Falklands War when I lived there as many do.

    Iraq and Afganistan are totally different matter and no sneering at those who have had enough of both is going to change that.

    Hillary Clintion – IS Romantic figure to some – but not for me.

  • Danny

    “UK Politics are changing radically and SF are simply not part of that.”

    Doubt SF will be shedding many tears, forunately, it’s interest in UK politics goes as far as leaving the UK.

    The politics in NI are tribal on both sides, incidentally. I suppose the DUP are part of this “radically changing UK”. The same DUP with endless links to a 400-year-old bigoted organisation, with the leader that once incited the mass burning of Catholic homes and spread interesting factoids of fear such as the Catholics are “breeding like vermin”.

    Sinn Fein won’t forget a United Ireland. So long as the Catholic population sees itself as Irish, the Irish question will stay until Ireland is united.