Sectarian attacks intended to ‘goad’ Protestant community?

Thankfully sectarian attacks have tailed off in recent years, even as attacks on the Orange Order have increased. They aren’t the only places or people being attacked, but they account for an increasing proportion. An arson attack on Ballyworkan Hall in Portadown brings the number of serious attacks in the area to since August. Meanwhile the Irish News is reporting another two in Co Antrim:

Three petrol bombs have failed to set fire to an Orange Hall in Co Antrim. They missed their intended target at Ballynadrentagh, on the Diamond Road near Crumlin, and were discovered by police shortly before 11pm yesterday. Detectives are treating the incident as attempted arson. Another hall belonging to the organisation suffered smoke damage and charring to the floor on the Glenavy Road in Lisburn, Co Antrim, at around 4.30am yesterday.

Meanwhile down the road from Portadown, near Banbridge, a ‘viable’ pipe bomb was found in the grounds of a GAA club. At one time ‘pipe bomb’ would nearly always have signalled the agency of Loyalist paramilitaries. But since the decommissioning of the IRA’s munitions, it is as likely to indicate Republican involvement, as the recent attack on a PSNI station in Strabane demonstrates.

Which means, I guess, that we have to add ‘smoke screen’ to the shortlist of possible motives for this crime.

It’s also worth quoting Portadown District Master Darryl Hewitt, who believes the real motivation is to provoke members of the local Protestant community into retaliation:

“There is clearly an orchestrated campaign by an organisation in this area. There is a plan to raise the ante and try and get tit for tat attacks, where GAA or Roman Catholic churches are burnt by people from my own community, and I would appeal for that not to happen. It does not help anyone. The police and the Northern Ireland office seem to be playing down the possibility of a deliberate campaign, but it seems obvious to everyone else.”

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  • lib2016

    darth,

    I’m suggesting no more than other people have. The old unionist establishment lost touch with reality and people who might have been sympathetic were driven away instead.

    At the last elections people knew perfectly well that they were voting for co-operation with those whom they had previously viewed as enemies.

    Republicanism has had to re-invent itself repeatedly, and is engaged in doing so yet again both North and South at the moment. The DUP seem to have accepted that integration is not on and that we sink or swim together with the bonus that both sides can benefit from the right deal. Things don’t stay still.

    Twenty years ago one would not, especially if from a Catholic background, openly criticise the Order in mixed company. Now one is invited to join in the general criticism of their tomfoolery.

    It has become a cliche that Irish Catholics make better Protestants than Irish Protestants. The current rejection of traditional unionist parties and values may mean that the Prods have decided to win the title back.

    A guaranteed place for a devolved government in NI, whether it comes under the English or Irish government seems a fairly reasonable compromise to me.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    lib2016: “Republicanism has had to re-invent itself repeatedly, and is engaged in doing so yet again both North and South at the moment.”

    Throwing up mud against the barn door to see what sticks is not exactly what I would call “re-inventing” itself. Likewise, you would appear to be conflating and confusing PSF with the whole of the Republican movement. Martina’s recent faux-pas being a wonderful example of the lack of focus / thought going into this effort.

    lib2016: “The DUP seem to have accepted that integration is not on and that we sink or swim together with the bonus that both sides can benefit from the right deal. ”

    Or, is more likely, Paisley has realized he and his cronies have more to gain from running the show. Looking at recent lobbying efforts and land deals, I personally suspect that the pocketbook has more to do with Paisley’s acceptance of current affairs, rather than any noble or public-minded pragmatism.

  • lib2016

    Maybe some of us think that leaving our grandchildren a prosperous peaceful future is more important than intransigence and empty gestures. You could always set up a party which refused to implement the agreement it had been party to and see how the voters liked that-Oh wait…….!

    I don’t care why three governments and the people of Northern Ireland made a deal that suits me and mine. Still less do I want to impugn their motives. I’m just glad that commonsense has broken out all round.

  • confused

    wot is the tuv is it utv rebranded.

  • confused

    Can catholics watch it does it have repeats.Is there a good pixture.

  • confused

    do you think the new tuv will try to poach julian.
    Oh dear they wouldnt get confused and try to roast him instead.

  • confused

    The boys in my lodge are tetotal so since we cant raise a glass to them they will just have to settle for a trouser leg.

  • Billy

    P&J;, Darth

    Being called a bigot by people like you is just laughable. I guess you would classify yourselves at impartial decent people would you?

    I made clear in my very first comment on this topic that I unreservedly condemn ALL such attacks on anyone’s property OO, GAA or anyone else. I think you’ll find that my repugnance of ALL violence and ALL paramilitarism has been totally consistent since I first started posting.

    To be fair, P&Js;position is also clear – he justifies “loyalist” terrorism.

    I would say my position is clear to anyone who doesn’t already have an agenda and is open-minded – unlike your so-called “condemnation”. You either have nothing to say about attacks on Catholics or, in P&Js;, case, make excuses for “loyalist” terrorism – but hey, you’re not a bigot eh?

    I have not encouraged or justified anyone to attack anything – totally the reverse ( oddly enough the exact opposite of P&J;).

    It was P&J;who introduced the lie about a “few” bands and the OO taking action about it.

    I simply pointed out with FACTS (you really should look that word up in a dictionary) that this is totally untrue and easily disproved.

    I’m so sorry that I don’t meet your definition of a decent person. In your case, I guess that would be a timid taig who is happy to sit at the back of the bus and let the OO parade past his house commemorating “loyalist” terrorists any time they see fit.

    If only you could move out of your pre 1968 mentality, you would see how laughable you are.

    People like you will never change and, at the moment, it looks like the OO won’t either.

    Fine. The OO membership is declining (odd that they won’t discuss membership – not as if they have anything to hide eh?).

    The OO has a woeful PR image – they were totally exposed at Drumcree and haven’t progressed at all. Most people in the UK (outside NI + parts of Scotland) either don’t know what it is or think it’s a laughable anachronism in this day + age.

    I think it’s a pity that the many decent OO members are effected by the ones that support “loyalist” terrorism and the pathetic “leadership”.

    However, it’s not my problem. If they can’t see that they aren’t in a position to make demands and that, if they can’t/won’t take action against the “loyalist” terrorist supporting elements, that nothing will change that’s fine.

    The bottom line is that the OO has gone nowhere for 10 years and the rest of the world have moved on.

    If the OO and people like you want to continue to bang your head up against a wall and continue with the same “tactics” that have consistently failed for the last 10 years, that’s fine.

    The OO will continue to make no progress and the membership will continue to decline.

    BTW – is there any chance at all that either of you will answer the questions about the pro UVF/UDA banners + bands or the riotious behaviour (including shooting at the police) being openly condoned on TV by a senior OO member?

  • confused

    Billy your a better man than me but then i bet i am a whole lot older than you.first of all i have never been a joiner and i dislike all sorts of groups equally.Now i have to say that orangeman and decency to my mind and most important in my experience just dont mix.

  • Sam

    Mick: “John Lloyd suggests that whilst good journalism should steer well clear of cynicism it should use scepticism as a stock-in-trade tool. For that reason, I am always prepared to admit more into the realm of the possible than first glance at the problem at hand might otherwise allow.

    “Responsible scepticism is particularly important whilst the wider context of these attacks remains hidden. It makes more sense to keep a wider range of possibilities in play than to artificially restrict them before emerging facts push us in one direction or another.”
    ————————————————–
    This is not a description of scepticism, it’s a justification for speculation, which is idle and mischievous, hardly ‘responsible’. [John Lloyd is an idiot, btw. That should have been clear when he campaigned for Burnside on behalf of Trimble, in South Antrim – they also had a record of misattributing loyalist actions to others.]
    ————————————————–
    Mick: “As for context, here’s two considerations for modest scepticism re the revenge motive.

    “First, we have had a plethora of ‘victimless crimes’ recently. Mostly these come down to threats, with no hard evidence of any of them being actioned. According to Mary Alice Clancy’s PhD, this has been a favoured tactic of the Republican movement to take pressure off it at politically awkward moments.”

    “Now, I am not suggesting by this that either SF or the IRA was involved in this campaign, but the tactic is both respectably documented and widely known. In that context, such threats not only have to be taken less seriously than real attacks, but questioned as real events in and of themselves.”
    ————————————————–
    No, you’re not positively suggesting it, instead you’re insinuating it ‘as equally likely’ on the basis of your own speculation. The councillor who offered the ‘revenge’ motivation, which you choose to sceptical of, has some standing in terms of being a public representative, the local Orange Master is a spokesman. One, other or both might be right, wrong, or possibly lying.

    You’re a blogger presenting yourself as a commentator on public affairs, in this case a series of [apparently] sectarian crimes, by turning it into your own particular ‘narrative’ [as distinct from an almost infinite number of other speculative possibilities]. You have no real standing in relation to the events, or those concerned. The councillor or the Orange Master, or the PSNI [are they ‘viable’?], or even those with direct experience and knowledge of the locale speaking in public, all have some stake in what they might suggest. If none of them have deigned to suggest what you pull out of thin air then I don’t think it’s a credible possibility.

    If one were to consider the idea that some or all of these actions were pseudo-attacks, one might expect some of the participant/observers to present these events in an equally contrived pseudo-narrative: as a cause of future actions they might wish to take – creating a pretext; or as a retrospective justification for specific past actions [more than it simply a consequence of them]; or seeming overly keen or confident in attributing it to certain others without some evidence. It’s not demonstrated to be ‘as likely to indicate Republican involvement’ on the basis of what you point to as evidence, unless dissidents Republicans are equally likely to attack the GAA as the PSNI, or have been shown to have fabricated pseudo-attacks.

  • Sam

    Your broader foundation for [a one-sided] scepticism about “a plethora of ‘victimless crimes’…Mostly…threats, with no hard evidence of any of them being actioned”, is based on a weak academic paper that makes no suggestion of fabricated attacks of any kind. It argues that the dissident threat was not ‘real’ [not that it was fabricated] after 1998 because it was limited in size – despite some key people leaving, ‘the bulk of the northern based IRA stayed loyal’, and by the alleged incompetence of many they did recruit.
    ——————————————-
    The United States and post-Agreement Northern Ireland, 2001–6
    Mary Alice C. Clancy*
    School of Politics, International Studies and Philosophy, Queen’s University Belfast
    “…one could argue that Trimble’s proposal for an IMC was his attempt to better ‘sell’ the Belfast Agreement to his constituency, as it tried to remedy what was perceived to be, from a unionist perspective, the weakest part of the Agreement: […] namely, the tenuous link between the abrogation of paramilitarism and the holding of office.51

    All three governments, however, were initially reluctant to embrace the IMC. Part of this reluctance stemmed from John Reid’s—the then Secretary of State for Northern Ireland—unwillingness to endorse anything that might potentially usurp his authority. It should also be mentioned here that Haass and Reid were good friends.52 However, an Irish official provided another explanation:

    “We all knew there were things going on we didn’t particularly like, but we felt that it was a journey. If you start accusing people halfway through the journey…in other words if you pushed them up against the wall, and define things without ambiguity, then it’s going to fail…It was basically David Trimble’s proposal to have a monitoring commission. I suppose when it came from that side…when we were bringing Sinn Féin…towards a non-violent future…They [Sinn Féin] were very, very strongly opposed to it. And I suppose we reflected that. We were helping them on the journey, and they didn’t want referees noting fouls all the time.”53

    Like the Irish government, Haass appeared to believe that the IMC could cause problems for the leadership of the Republican movement. When Trimble stated in 2002 that only a clear ‘winding down’ of the IRA would obviate the political process’s collapse, Haass asked him how this could be done whilst preventing ‘a mass exodus to the Real IRA’: fear of a Republican split arose frequently in Haass’s statements.54 Although officials from all three governments occasionally articulated this fear, it is worth questioning how real the dissident threat was after 1998.

    Although the split that created the Real IRA in 1997 resulted in some key people leaving the Provisional IRA (i.e., the Engineering Department), the bulk of the northern based IRA stayed loyal to Adams. Therefore, the threat was limited in size, and as one Irish official argued, the dissidents suffered from other problems as well:
    “The Real IRA is a very border thing…The Continuity [IRA] is just sort of old geezers down in Limerick which aren’t going to hit the thing [peace process] too much…The other thing is, and the Provos would always say to me, they [the dissidents] were incompetent. They were lucky that a lot of incompetent people got involved at the start with the Real IRA and the Continuity IRA, and often people who had been sort of sidelined by the Provos got in and made a mess of things.”55

    As such, it appears that Haass’s concerns about dissidents most likely stemmed from his growing relationship with Adams, as officials have admitted that raising the spectre of dissidents was one of Adams’s key negotiating strategies.56 Therefore, it seems unfair to blame unionist disillusionment with the Agreement on Trimble by characterising him as some sort of latter-day Willy Loman: this ignores that his attempts to keep the unionist community on board for the Belfast Agreement often took a back seat to the three governments’ concern not to cause ‘difficulties’ for the Republican leadership.57 Moreover, it also ignores that Trimble successfully negotiated the Agreement and managed to sell it to a very sceptical UUP…

    53 Interview with Irish official, October 2006.

    54 Godson, Himself alone, 720; Dan Keenan, ‘Haass warns of republican split’, Irish Times, 25 April 2003.

    55 Interview with Irish official, October 2006.

    56 Interview with US official, February 2006; interview with US official, May 2006; interview with US official, August 2006; interview with Irish official, October 2006; interview with US official, December 2006; interview with former NIO political director, February 2007.

    57 Loman is the central character in Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman. The IMC was eventually created by the two governments on 7 January 2004. For Trimble, however, it was a case of ‘too little, too late’.

  • PeaceandJustice

    To Billy the Bigot – you just can’t help yourself. Another essay on the Orange Order. A brief mention of the GAA. Have you lost the plot?

    Although you don’t wish to accept it, I’ll repeat it anyway for other people – given you are continually making allegations in relation to Loyalist paramilitaries. I don’t support any terrorist group. The difference between the groups is that Sinn Fein IRA are now in Government. Unrepentant murderers in charge of those they injured or tortured. Families having to write to murderers about issues affecting their lives. As you’re Billy the Bigot, I’m sure you don’t have a problem with that. Some of us do.

  • lib2016

    According to Fionnuala O Connor writing in 2003, the SDLP had already lost faith in Trimble ever delivering by 2001.

    Certainly by 2003 Sinn Fein were confident enough to say publicly that they and the DUP could do a deal.

  • lib2016

    peaceandjustice,

    They are in government because they were elected by the people. The bastards.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    lib2016: “Maybe some of us think that leaving our grandchildren a prosperous peaceful future is more important than intransigence and empty gestures.”

    A pity some didn’t think these things important, what, forty years ago, isn’t it?

    Or is the fact that they now hold the short-half of the wishbone reason enough to grant this epiphany?

    lib2016: “I don’t care why three governments and the people of Northern Ireland made a deal that suits me and mine.”

    If ignorance is bliss, does apathy equal contentment?

    lib2016: “Still less do I want to impugn their motives. I’m just glad that commonsense has broken out all round. ”

    Don’t confuse “common sense” with “(un)enlightened self-interest,” lib2016.

  • éireannach saolta

    Peace and justice the extremeists from both sides are in government. The DUP has many party members who have been engaged in terrorism in the past. I will give examples of some members engaged in terrorist activities.

    In 1999, David Jordan, a former Ulster Defence Regiment soldier, broke down in a bar and claimed to be part of a patrol that killed nationalist councillor Patsy Kelly in 1974. Jordan also implicated Oliver Gibson (a founding member of the Democratic Unionist Party and representative for west tyrone) in the murder.

    Was it not paisley the big man himself that made use of loyalist terrorists to collapse the Sunningdale agreement.

    Now for Peter Robinson. On August 7, 1986, in protest at the Anglo-Irish Agreement, Robinson led a group of 500 loyalists into the village of Clontibret, County Monaghan, in the Republic of Ireland. The loyalists entered the police station in the village and physically assaulted two officers, before holding a quasi-military drill in the square. Robinson was later arrested. He pleaded guilty to unlawful assembly and was fined £17,500 in a Drogheda court because of the incident. As a result, Robinson briefly resigned from the DUP deputy leadership [1].

    In a subsequent court appearance in Dundalk he again led a large loyalist mob into the town which led to a riot [1]At his trial the judge described him as “a senior extremist politician.” In November 1986, he spoke at the Ulster Hall rally which launched Ulster Resistance which collaborated with the Ulster Volunteer Force and the Ulster Defence Association to procure arms. Robinson was photographed wearing the loyalist paramilitary regalia of beret and military fatigues at a Ulster Resistance rally. In 1988 both he and his wife Iris were imprisoned at the same time.

  • lib2016

    Have you a point buried in there somewhere? Couldn’t spot one myself.

  • lib2016

    Sorry, é s.

    My post was directed at dread.

  • heres an idea

    Heres an idea. Why dont the non bigoted non sectarian squeaky clean protestant posters attack there bigoted sectarian whatever scumbags like the orange order uvf whatever peace and justice people like that.
    And us catholics will attack ours like hmmm danna
    hmmm the german guy hmmm slab umm and gotta go lie down i will get back to you on this.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    lib2016: “Have you a point buried in there somewhere? Couldn’t spot one myself. ”

    Frankly, the same yahoos whom you laud as grand leaders now are the same “brain trust” who, then, fronted for the fellas who decided that peace and prosperity were of no concern, lib2016. Likewise, the recent exhibition of xenophobia and tribalism do not bode well for the future.

  • Mick Fealty

    Sam,

    I’ve already said more than my fair share on this thread. I don’t mind what people make of it, since I am simply trying to think out the possibilities. Debunking is as welcome as confirmation.

    But I have repeatedly asked people to give me a reason why this possible scenario is not equal to the equally speculative possibility that the pipe bomb at the GAA was a rouse.

    No one has. That doesn’t prove that it was a rouse. It just means it is still a possiblity.

    hai:

    Just to remind you, the serious attacks mentioned above are on Protestant targets. And pretty much all the arson attacks in Northern Ireland these days are on Protestant targets.

    Not trying to deny history – having family in the West Down area, I am more than familiar with what loyalist paramilitaries have done there in the past.

    But, for now at least, this is a matter of what is actually at hand, not an historical thread.

  • Billy

    P&J;Can you actually read?

    What part of “I’m NOT defending the GAA” or “I don’t approve of ANY displays that celebrate ANY form of terrorism” – are you unable to understand?

    It’s YOU who are defending displays commemorating “loyalist” terrorism, not I.

    Don’t think you’re fooling anyone with this “I only object to Sinn Fein in govt not all Catholics” shite.

    If there is a thread concerning violence or vandalism eminating from the Nationalist/Catholic community, you can’t wait to get on and blame every Catholic – because you’re a Bigot!.

    If there is a thread attacking “loyalist” violence, you can’t wait to come on and rant about Catholics voting for Sinn Fein and therefore there is some justification for the “loyalist” violence because – you guessed it – you’re a bigot!.

    How it must pain you that the pre 1968 days when those uppity taigs knew their place have gone.

    The North has moved on and, thank God, left bigots like you in the past.

    Catholics are no longer second class citizens, the UK govt are disengaging from NI more and more, the Catholic/Nationalist population is 45%+ and rising and the links (political and financial) with the RoI are increasing all the time.

    You can whinge all you like but the bottom line is – there is SFA that you can do about it!

  • steve

    Mick
    you didnt produce any evidence against either of my hypothetical arguements so I guess you accept that a loyalist paramilitary is responsible for the attacks or that the oo is themselves responsible for the attacks on the halls.

    Lack of evidence for or against is proof after all

  • Slugger O’Toole Admin

    steve,

    That would be a straw man: http://tinyurl.com/75l4l

  • PeaceandJustice

    lib2016 – “They [Sinn Fein IRA] are in government because they were elected by the people. The bastards.”

    Yes to their shame, the majority of the Roman Catholic population have voted for these murderers. I wonder the reaction if the majority of Protestants voted for UVF or UDA linked parties. But SF IRA are in Government because of a forced coalition – something that is likely to change in the future.

    To ES – it shows how desperate you are when you have to keep repeating the same stories. Yes there were some isolated cases involving mainstream Unionists. Whereas Sinn Fein IRA openly supported murdering people.

    To Billy the Bigot – you’ve completely lost the plot so there is no point continuing this discussion with you. As it seems to take time for you to understand things, I’ll repeat it one last time. I don’t support any terrorism or criminality. I wish that could be said for everyone who posts on here.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    P(B)&J;: “Yes to their shame, the majority of the Roman Catholic population have voted for these murderers. I wonder the reaction if the majority of Protestants voted for UVF or UDA linked parties. But SF IRA are in Government because of a forced coalition – something that is likely to change in the future. ”

    Changing tacks for the moment, let me start with the obvious — given the way Robinson dove on the CTI grenade, can you honestly say that the majority of Protestants *don’t* vote for a UDA linked party? Just because the DUP doesn’t trot those links out in the bright of the noonday sun just means they’re not proud of those links, not that there is some sort of wall between the two.

    Ergo, obviously what you meant to hammer on were the open and glorified links between PSF and PIRA. Now, P&J;, although I know it is the sheerest optimism to ask the question, just what turn of circumstance — how bad must the rift be between the Catholic community and the Protestant dominated government that the majority of Roman Catholics would prefer to be represented by flacks and hacks for terrorists?

    The joy and the pain of a democracy is that the people always get the government they deserve.

  • Steve

    Mick
    so then your GAA theory, Straw man?

  • Sam

    Mick: “I’ve already said more than my fair share on this thread. I don’t mind what people make of it, since I am simply trying to think out the possibilities. Debunking is as welcome as confirmation.

    “But I have repeatedly asked people to give me a reason why this possible scenario is not equal to the equally speculative possibility that the pipe bomb at the GAA was a rouse.”

    “No one has. That doesn’t prove that it was a rouse. It just means it is still a possiblity.”
    ———————————————
    But I have told you why your ‘possible scenario is not equal to the equally speculative possibility’ of the councillor. I’ve pointed out that you have no standing in relation to the events or those involved, unlike the local councillor, the local Orange Master etc., and you don’t bring any additional evidence, or particularly pertinent observation to bear on the case, so your speculation appears idle at best.

    The councillor and the Orange Master are at least marginally involved in speaking as representatives of people concerned in these incidents. No-one concerned has even suggested that because nowadays the use of a pipe bomb means it is equally likely to indicate Republican involvement as being Loyalist paramilitaries. This is just one reason not to give equal credence to your suggestion that ‘it is as likely to indicate Republican involvement’.

    Then there’s the obvious fact that Loyalist paramilitaries are usually the cause of most the pipe bombs and other threats made against the GAA people and property.

    Another reason is because when pressed to substantiate your basis for rating the pipe bomb incident as equally likely to have been a ‘smoke screen’ carried out by Republicans as action by Loyalists, you claim that such ‘threats, with no hard evidence of being actioned’ [like a plethora of recent ‘victimless crimes’] are a favoured tactic of the Republican movement, and that this is both respectably documented and widely known.

    But you make this claim by reference to a paper which doesn’t document anything of the kind. It actually discusses whether the threat of large scale defections to dissident groups was ever a ‘real’ threat to Adams position within the Republican movement and to the peace process, nothing about fabricating threats or staging phoney attacks to create a smoke screen to enable other actions. Trying to dignify your own idle speculation about this pipe bomb incident and a ‘plethora’ of other threats, by reference to an academic paper [in defence of David Trimble’s view of the negotiations to get the IMC he wanted,] which merely argues that after 1998 the dissidents weren’t a ‘real’ threat to him or the peace process, is a gross distortion of the only source you’ve cited as respectably documenting a widely known Republican tactic of fabricating pseudo-attacks and threats. ‘Widely known’ to who, ‘respectably documented’ where? Certainly not in Mary Alice Clancy’s PhD.

    It seems to me to be the product of either a profoundly distorted reading of the material, or the expedient inclination to fabricate a pseudo-source which might dignify your speculation and a broader political assessment. Both of which would be more rooted in a political prejudice (or bias) than in a rational or ‘responsible’ scepticism.

    [Scepticism used to be ‘healthy’ before John Lloyd wanted it to be ‘responsible’. He did campaign for Burnside & Trimble who, on the basis of speculation, managed to misattribute a sectarian killing by Loyalists in Burnside’s constituency to drug dealers. Lloyd would have done better to exercise some scepticism himself. When Rosemary Nelson was blown up by loyalists, David Trimble immediately stated in a tv interview that the possibility it could have been republicans should also be retained as a valid and plausible explanation for the killing. That’s often how Ulster Unionism seems to try to avoid focusing on the actions of loyalist paramilitaries. In this case your speculation is simply muddying the waters around a series of apparent attacks on Orange halls, and another on the GAA.]

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘Wednesday, 19 December 2007, 21:10 GMT

    GAA club damaged in arson attack

    A GAA club in County Fermanagh has been damaged in an arson attack.
    Graffiti was also painted on the walls of the club in Drumgoon near Maguiresbridge. The extent of the damage is unknown.

    A sectarian motive is being investigated in the attack, which took place on Wednesday afternoon.

    It is believed a window in a storeroom was broken and flammable liquid poured inside in an attempt to set fire to the building.

    PSNI area commander Alwin Bardon condemned the incident and appealed to the community for assistance.

    Police have appealed for information’ -BBC/NI

    so still no thread about this on slugger, i wonder why?

  • steve

    Republican Stones

    Because as mick stated on an earlier thread this is a republican dominated web site and he is just trying to ensure balance by allowing the loyalists the run of the place and editing republican responses

    But thats my not so humble opinion

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I’m so sorry that I don’t meet your definition of a decent person. In your case, I guess that would be a timid taig who is happy to sit at the back of the bus and let the OO parade past his house commemorating “loyalist” terrorists any time they see fit.”

    Hardehar-
    Helpful hint: blowhard attempts at humour usually kick you up the arse, as so clearly demonstrated here. Billy deploys the most juvenile caricatures of bogeymen in a pathetic attempt to posture at being a victim. Y’know, it’s interesting that even the strongest opponents of Orangeism in Sinn Fein have moved on from this kind of stuff because they know it’s hollow and pointless.

    Let’s speculate about Billy for a bit. Of course he’s “decent”- decently educated (through the NI education system), presumably decently employed with a decent standard of living that allows him access to a computer, decently travelled ( I think he once told me he worked in Australia). Yup he’s a pillar of respectability. And that prevents him delving beneath his self-superiority and searching for truth.

    But he doesn’t like a certain group in the old country- which is quite acceptable- I don’t like golfers- but not terribly decent, and so he has to imagine himself as another Rosa Parks and demonise a large group of his fellow Ulstermen, most of whom, like me, revere Parks and despise people like Selma police chief Bull O’Connor (oops, sounds a bit Irish-American )

    Now there are undoubtedly bad Orangemen, but I suspect that as a proportion of the organisation they are no greater than the bad binmen, accountants, or Church of Ireland clerics.

    But I’m very sorry to disappoint you Billy – the orange is changing ( and the proof is in these very pages, where every initiative is decried or sneered at by people like him who are frankly scared that their bogeyman isn’t slipping into terminal moribundity) , and doing well in recruiting young members, many educated to third level standard. Most of them – like me- hold no torch for the rotten Stormont government of the 1960s and before, and see the future as an opportunity. And no, I’m not remotely objective, but it doesn’t make me wrong- while Billy isn’t either.

  • Mick Fealty

    RS,

    Speed is not the essence of good blogging.

    But this attack represents a fascinating ramping up from no damage to some damage, along with some graffiti which helpfully makes sure we all get the message.

    If it is genuine, that is bad news. But the overall thrust of the violence is anti Orange, not anti GAA. And that is where, on any objective scale, the focus should remain.

    Sam,

    I am not taking away from Councillor Ward’s standing in the least. I have never said he’s wrong either (despite steve’s gallant efforts at turning this into a staw man).

    You also miss the point of the Clancy paper. Ruse attacks, and false information have been made throughout the troubles, from the Silent Valley bomb to the accusation of that McGurk’s Bar had Republican munitions stored within it.

    Anyone trying to sort out the wood from the trees in such a clandestine campaign would be foolish in the extreme to rule out mock attacks.

    I’m happy to argue it through with people. But I cannot answer the accusation that my views don’t count because I don’t have standing in the area.

    In fact this is profoundly irrelevant to what we (all of us) already know. And that is that the suggested revenge motive remains purely a supposition: ie “a belief that is held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof”.

    On production of such ‘positive knowledge or proof’, and I will bin the ‘ruse’ without pause or ceremony.

    In meantime, whilst I thank you for your considerable intellectual industry, the ‘ruse’ option stays firmly in the ring.

  • steve

    But Mick

    Why in your 2 ring circus is the ruse option only applicable to one ring?

  • RepublicanStones

    unionists/loyalists and the british actually have better form when it comes to the ruse tactic, General Kitson anyone?
    but then again maybe he doesn’t wanna bite the hand that feeds him steve !

  • kensei

    “On production of such ‘positive knowledge or proof’, and I will bin the ‘ruse’ without pause or ceremony. ”

    The important point Sam makes is that such allegations have been used unscrupulously in the past. The side effect, whether you mean it or not, is that you should like someone trying to dismiss one set of attacks to focus on the ones you care about. Your first quote above is a classic.

    Let’s attack this form a different direction. The standard for conviction is “reasonable doubt”. However, the standard for arrest is “reasonable suspicion”. There is a long and inglorious history of tit-for-tat attacks here, and a similarly lengthy history of GAA attacks by loyalists. So that’s definitely in.

    Masquerading is also not unknown, but it is typically, much much rarer. Claiming masquerading to deflect away from failings has also happened, so people are wary of the suggestion. A big plank of your argument is that you have stated in the past Republicans have done this as a smoke screen tactic, and represented a paper as proof. Haven’t read the paper but Sam has suggested you are misusing it, which would blow a big hole in your argument.

    A simple question: do you think explanations are equally likely at this point of time?

  • kensei

    *The standard for conviction is “ beyond reasonable doubt”

  • Mick Fealty

    If you mean your theory that the Orange is behind the attacks on its own hall, where exactly have I tried to push that one out of the ring?

    If you believe that, fine. And of course it is possible in the sense that all things are possible. There are a number of reasons why I wouldn’t back it as a likely option, not least because the longer term outcomes are pretty dire as they stand.

    Having been raised in a minority Catholic area of NI, I cannot see the logic of thinking that local Catholics were behind the raising our own Chapel to the ground. Yes, we got a nice new church out of it (not everyone’s a fan), but only five years of going to Mass in drafty school up a quarter of a mile long dark lane.

    Minorities even in quite settled and equitable societies learn to live with insecurity as a conditioning factor of life, but it makes little sense for them to increase that insecurity by literally setting fire to their own community assets.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    Why do you think conjecture requires ‘proof’ in the same manner as judicial conviction?

    Also, as I have noted earlier in this thread, there was a time lag between me reading the GAA story and getting it out on Slugger. What happened afterwards, was much more significant than that one isolated incident.

    It seems to me, that several contributors to this thread are inviting readers to view it as an equal and opposite phenomenon to the mass burnings of Orange Halls. That would be profoundly misleading.

  • RepublicanStones

    ‘mass burnings of Orange Halls’……Mick i don’t recall a ‘night of the long knives’ against orange halls which is the imagery your choice of words might invoke for neutral/unbiased readers.

  • kensei

    “Why do you think conjecture requires ‘proof’ in the same manner as judicial conviction?”

    It’s just as an analogy, Mick. Stop avoiding answering questions.

    “It seems to me, that several contributors to this thread are inviting readers to view it as an equal and opposite phenomenon to the mass burnings of Orange Halls. That would be profoundly misleading.”

    Well, first up, one attack or threat is too many. But at this point, clearly there the attacks on the OO have greater frequency. But I dislike your assertion that the GAA attack is somehow a smoke screen without evidence. Such allegations have an unsavoury history. And that’s all I’ve focused on.

    So – are both theories equally likely at this point, in your opinion?

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Republican Stones: “‘mass burnings of Orange Halls’……Mick i don’t recall a ‘night of the long knives’ against orange halls which is the imagery your choice of words might invoke for neutral/unbiased readers. ”

    So… a pogrom in slow motion is somehow morally superior to one that occurs all at once? Is that the notion you are seeking to put forward — that since the many arson attacks against Orange Halls didn’t occur all in the same night, it’s not really a problem?

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    I’ve no idea. And neither have you.

    Plump for one option to the exclusion of the other and you are presuming where the guilt lies. A lot of people on this thread are happy to live with a straightforward supposition that guilt for the pipebomb likely lies with ‘revengeful prods’.

    My adding ‘ruse’ to the ‘shortlist of possibilities’ does not assert, as the various attempts at constructing Straw Men have tried to portray, that it was a ruse.

    RS,

    As for the mass burnings. 30 over a year. If it were private dwellings that would be bad enough, but these are community centres for most part serving minority communities.

    That’s a lot. Especially when each target has to be picked out, often driven to, and delivered the necessary incendiary device and got away from without detection by anyone in the local community.

  • RepulicanStones

    absolutley not Dread, and you know that. although history shows that pain and suffering when it occurs over a concentrated/shorter period of time is remembered and indeed seen as worse than other more protracted conflicts. And i don’t think a few head the balls with petrol and tins of paint running about amounts to a pogrom of any discription. unless of course your in the pie in the sky crowd who think the republican leadership are orchestrating it.

  • steve

    But since so many of these fires in the oo halls amount to little more than tile or plaster damage and are really non-events, other than the mental strain of being attacked. Could it not be reasonably conjectured that there is a small organization with in the oo who are doing minor damage to their own halls in an attempt to illicit support! The proof being how little damage is actually done to the halls?

    Throw in the occasional small event that gets out of hand and a legitimate attack by someone antagonisitic to the oo and it sounds like a very fit theory

  • MustaphaMond

    “This is because the rules are based on the teachings of the bible, this particular one being based on the fourth commandment,”remember the sabbath (sic) day, to keep it holy…” (Exodus ch20 vs 8-11).”

    Which would mean the Sabbath is Friday sunset to Saturday sunset? Dan 7:25 (but theres a ‘get out clause’ in Acts 2 somewhere that deals with not knowing) 🙂

    I really can’t see how heroic men such as Luther and Calvin would want to join the OO, but on the other hand, ‘Kick the pope’ is a justifiable and legitimate response to some of the slurs and insults on human beings that have emanated from the pope and his organisation over the centuries.

  • kensei

    “I’ve no idea. And neither have you.”

    No, I cannot say for certain one way or the other which is more likely. I can however offer my judgment from experience that this is the work of loyalists is probably more likely — there are plenty of examples in the past, and it is the most straightforward explanation. Back to Occam. If I was the police, it would be first port of call.

    But you know this, and are spinning an answer to a perfectly straightforward question. He who hunts monsters, and all that.

    “Plump for one option to the exclusion of the other and you are presuming where the guilt lies. A lot of people on this thread are happy to live with a straightforward supposition that guilt for the pipebomb likely lies with ‘revengeful prods’.”

    I don’t assume it is revengeful. I just assume it was loyalists. It may have been revenge, or tit-for-tat, or it may have just been morons looking to do it off their own bat.

    That is also a somewhat base characterization; but still better than “Catholics really did it so they could get away with winding up the Prods more.”

    “My adding ‘ruse’ to the ‘shortlist of possibilities’ does not assert, as the various attempts at constructing Straw Men have tried to portray, that it was a ruse.”

    No, this is a total Straw Man. We are not asserting that it is impossible. We are asserting that at this point it is a much less likely possibility, given past experience. And we do not feel it should but ruled out, but we also do not feel it should be presented as equally likely. Which you are doing, and possibly more, not least by how you are presenting the material. And we feel you are doing so because you have a narrative you want to run with, and are corrupting things to fit.

  • Suilven

    ‘But since so many of these fires in the oo halls amount to little more than tile or plaster damage and are really non-events, other than the mental strain of being attacked. Could it not be reasonably conjectured that there is a small organization with in the oo who are doing minor damage to their own halls in an attempt to illicit support! The proof being how little damage is actually done to the halls?

    Throw in the occasional small event that gets out of hand and a legitimate attack by someone antagonisitic to the oo and it sounds like a very fit theory ‘

    What a steaming pile of BS. Grammar apart, do you really think the Orangemen in that well-known bastion of Prodiban-ism, er, Cavan, would burn their hall to the ground to elicit support from, well God knows who actually? Laughable.

  • éireannach saolta

    Yes to their shame, the majority of the Roman Catholic population have voted for these murderers. I wonder the reaction if the majority of Protestants voted for UVF or UDA linked parties. But SF IRA are in Government because of a forced coalition – something that is likely to change in the future.

    Peace and Justice the exact same can be said for the unionist community electing sectarian bigots like the DUP. As i pointed out in my last post that party has high ranking members who have been inextricibly linked with loyalist terrorism in the past. Im no fan of Sinn Féin but what you have just said can equally be said about unionists voting for The DUP. In effect they have voted for a party with links to UVF and UDA. Lets face it paisley’s rabble rousing has cost a fair few lives during the troubles and his membership of the Orange order shows up the fact that it has links to terrorism

  • Dread Cthulhu

    RS: “absolutley not Dread, and you know that.”

    No, frankly, I don’t. I couldn’t pick you out of a line up or know you to offer you a pint. Given some of the traffic across this board, even if cut by half, I’d think something needs to be added to (or, perhaps, taken out of) the local water supply. So, frankly, I don’t know if what you post is a pose, the result of drinking the kool-aid or somewhere in between.

    RS: “And i don’t think a few head the balls with petrol and tins of paint running about amounts to a pogrom of any discription. ”

    Fine… so should a few knuckle-dragging mouth-breathers in Rangers jerseys torch your home or favorite pub, it’s no great shakes, eh? Just a few rowdies out on a spree, what?

    Similarly, if you tally up these attacks over the last couple years, it is more than a few “head the balls” running about.

    Steve: “But since so many of these fires in the oo halls amount to little more than tile or plaster damage and are really non-events, other than the mental strain of being attacked.”

    So that makes it alright? Same question to you as to stones — should it happen to you, will it just be “sweepers man your brooms” and “Hey, ma, would you call the glazier?” Or, perhaps, will what you disregard today be more important should the same happen to you tomorrow?

    Likewise, the number — 30 this year and, iirc, over 100 over the last five (you’d have to ask Fair_Deal for precise numbers), suggests there is a little more here than stupid kids playing with matches.

    Steve: “Could it not be reasonably conjectured that there is a small organization with in the oo who are doing minor damage to their own halls in an attempt to illicit support!”

    It could be conjectured, but not reasonably.

    First of all, if you believe the local OO partisans on the board, each lodge is, legally and organizationally speaking, an independent entity. Organizations with legal or liability risks tend to do this so that, like a hydra, cutting off one head is not fatal. Ergo, there is no central cabal to dream up this flavor of silliness.

    Second of all, the Order is not exactly what I would call a “let’s think outside the box” sort of group — they want everything the way they had it in yesteryear, right down to their marching routes, before the taigs got all uppity.

    Thirdly, it is an aging organization and some of these fires required a fairly spry individual to pull off.

    Lastly, it doesn’t explain the Ogra mook caught with the GPS who either fell from the lodge roof or else from heaven… and I know where the safe money is on that one is bet.

  • steve

    Dread

    One Ogra Mook does not a conspiracy make. It takes atleast 2

    But my post was mostly a sarcastic reply to Mick about his theory about nationalists attacking the GAA, I mean as long as we are making up conspiracy theories to fit the narrative we want to broadcast then I think mine was actually half way believable. Way more believable then all the JFK theories or the UFO stuff.

  • Dread Cthulhu

    Steve: “One Ogra Mook does not a conspiracy make. It takes atleast 2 ”

    Yeah, but it means I only have to find one more, now don’t it. Once I have one data point, I can look for others. I find the second, I can draw a line twixt the two and examine the trend.

    Steve: “, I mean as long as we are making up conspiracy theories to fit the narrative we want to broadcast then I think mine was actually half way believable”

    Only superficially — like I said, the OO isn’t a “let’s think outside the box” group of folks. Which is more believable, a bunch of frothing college students, heads full of mush, decide they’re gonna road-trip and burn out a few OO lodges, or a bunch of sextigenarians decide they’re gonna torch their own lodge, then get their arthritic selves into the Partidge Family bus and roam the land?

  • lib2016

    “…a bunch of sextigenarians decide they’re gonna torch their own lodge,”

    Can this be the same bunch of educated graduates you describe as joining the OO it Post 6 of the previous page? I’m only asking since we know that the Orange Lodges in Belfast are in deep trouble and not even able to attract their drunken hangers into joining them.

    It follows therefore that these cleancut future leaders of society you describe so elequently must be joining the country lodges which are being attacked.

  • Mick Fealty

    ken,

    I think we will just have to agree to disagree on most of that. All I can do is document the facts, share some thoughts, and then return when another fact slots into place.

    As for chasing monsters. Perhaps we just catch sight of them earlier than most. 🙂

    The mention of Kitson though is useful in trying to peel this hidden onion. His term ‘pseudo gangs’ may explain nature this kind of cryptic operation. Loose, mostly likely political unaffiliated or at least variously affiliated, and reliant upon contagion in other areas.

    Some of the attacks on the Orange Halls are doubtless opportunistic, some organised. But mostly they have focused on isolated halls where the Protestant community is small and political militancy is weak. In other words they are easy pickings.

  • steve

    Dread
    No if you find one more mook then you have two incidents involving one mook and that still does not make a conspiracy

  • Dread Cthulhu

    lib2016: “Can this be the same bunch of educated graduates you describe as joining the OO it Post 6 of the previous page? ”

    Seeing as I didn’t make post 6 on the previous page, I guess I would have to say “no,” now wouldn’t I? Post 6 on page 6 was by Darth, and on page 5 (I was trying to give you the benefit of the doubt…) was by “confused.” Now, while it has become obvious you’re confused, I would never confuse you for “confused.”

    But hey, I know all Episcopalians must look alike to some folks, but it wouldn’t hurt if you at least made an effort to keep up.

  • kensei

    “I think we will just have to agree to disagree on most of that. All I can do is document the facts, share some thoughts, and then return when another fact slots into place.”

    No. You are wrong on this one. And how and were you share opinions matter to how they are perceived.

    I don’t disagree with your analysis on the attacks, particularly. My only assertion is that your suggestion that the attacks on the GAA were done by Republicans as a smokescreen is a weak one without anything to provide reasonable grounds for suspicion. No amount of sophistry gets round it.

  • Mick Fealty

    Ken,

    There is actually no more strength in Dessie’s suggestion than in the one that emanated from certain sources that Loyalists could be responsible for the Northern Bank because one tiger kidnapping victim ended up dumped at the back end of Drumkeeragh Forest in an area where Loyalist paramilitaries had been active.

    Treat hearsay with caution. Mine is not hearsay, but it is a deliberately loose reckoning with circumstance and it should be treated with as such.

    But if you insist on fighting loose anecdote with loose anecdote, then none of this adds up to more than a big storm in a very small teacup.

    Night, night.

  • kensei

    “But if you insist on fighting loose anecdote with loose anecdote, then none of this adds up to more than a big storm in a very small teacup.”

    I’m not fighting it Mick, I’m simply asking are there reasonable grounds for those loose assumptions, and are those grounds plausible such that it should be accorded equality (or be favoured)with the more straightforward approach at this point. I’d say there is enough for the former, but not enough for the latter for all the reasons I and others have already given. I can’t see how you could reasonably suppose otherwise.

    Given that, I’m trying to work out how the hell you can come to the conclusion they are equal. For some it would be a straightforward case of trying to muddy the waters, but obviously isn’t the case here. So I can only conclude you are trying to fit it into a narrative. And that is dangerous, because I have pointed out, it’s conclusions where things fit in, which is precisely the same logic that says there are WMD in Iraq, the Soviets have nuclear subs and the Earth was created 6000 years ago.

    This bugs me.

  • Mick Fealty

    I have never said they are equal. You asserted that I implied they were equal (okay, just how high is this tea cup anyway?). Plausiblity works when we can see at least some of the factors: most in these circumstances are hidden. You are asking me and others to choose those elements you personally find agreeable, without producing an argument as to why we should.

    But much of what I see consists of covert action and deceit. Plausibility remains a factor, certainly, but it is much diminished in the process of deciding in what stays in or what leaves the overall reckoning.

    One last question before I belatedly climb the stairs and go to bed: just how dangerous, do you reckon, is a ‘narrative’?

  • Billy

    Darth

    I have stated many times on this site that I believe there are a lot of decent OO members (I know a few myself).

    Hence, my point about them being let down by the so-called “leadership”.

    I don’t think that anyone sensible could deny that the OO has a woeful public image. I was living in London at the time of the initial Drumcree riots and I’m honestly not sure that the OO understand just how much harm that it did.

    I bow to your knowledge about the younger members. However, as far as I’m aware, the OO doesn’t release membership figures. I’m going by the recent books about the OO. I think that all of them (or certainly most) say that the membership is declining.

    Despite the ludicrous claims of P&J;, I have no desire to see the OO disbanded.

    I just think that they shouldn’t apply to parade through predominantly Catholic neighbourhoods. If you’re honest, this serves no purpose other than provocation. I wouldn’t support a Republican based parade going through a Protestant neighbourhood either.

    I have yet to see any evidence of the OO taking action against lodges/banners/bands commemorating “loyalist” terrorism – I will bet you right now that the “UVF” lodge will parade again on the Shankill this year with it’s sickening banner.

    If the OO is serious about improving it’s image and getting out of it’s current predicament, then it needs to take action against these lodges and be seen to do so.

    Otherwise, it will continue to be seen in the world outside “loyalist” NI as an organisation that may verbally condemn “loyalist” terrorism but in practise tacitly supports it.

  • Steve

    Mick
    Plausiblity works when we can see at least some of the factors: most in these circumstances are hidden
    Plausiblity works when we can see at least some of the factors: most in these circumstances are hidden. You are asking me and others to choose those elements you personally find agreeable, without producing an argument as to why we should

    thanks for your support Mick. Your agreement with my supposition is much appreciated and I assume soon we will see the thread where you accuse the oo of attacking itself

  • darth rumsfeld

    “I don’t think that anyone sensible could deny that the OO has a woeful public image. I was living in London at the time of the initial Drumcree riots and I’m honestly not sure that the OO understand just how much harm that it did.”

    Well yes and no. Of course it is not as popular as Jimmy Nesbitt, but then it’s never going to be with a certain section of the community because of what it stands for. Plus any attempt to change things uniformly produces ridicule from our critics ( look at the thread on the new “superhero”). And to be cynical about it, the power to influence events here is not solely determined by good PR, as the serial women and children killers of the IRA proved in the recent past. Decency never reaped a reward in NI.Au contraire, the squealing baby gets the dummy.

    “I’m going by the recent books about the OO. I think that all of them (or certainly most) say that the membership is declining.”

    Quite true, but at a much lower rate than similar organisations, and especially than the churches from which it fishes for membership. Sociologists recognising the “bowling alone” tendency in modern society would be impressed by the Orange resilience. Will it be around in 200 years? Will the planet?

    “I have yet to see any evidence of the OO taking action against lodges/banners/bands commemorating “loyalist” terrorism – I will bet you right now that the “UVF” lodge will parade again on the Shankill this year with it’s sickening banner.”

    Well the lack of an event occurring is always hard to prove. I know that there has been a major change in the culture of bands hired over the years, and the fact that you can only find one lodge out of 1200 to criticise tells a tale. I’ve repeatedly posted on threads about these issues how people deal with ex(?)terrorists in a post conflict environment. There are far more former (?) terrorists in our Assembly than the leadership of the OO, yet no republican poster EVER ( and you won’t be the first) says they should be drummed out of Sinn Fein. Either we hermetically seal the combatants off form decent people or we don’t. Selective whining is just pointless. So your contention of tacit support of loyalist terrorism is just cant unless you extend it to support of all other terrorist groups.

  • kensei

    “I have never said they are equal. You asserted that I implied they were equal (okay, just how high is this tea cup anyway?).”

    Let’s make it higher. I asserted that the way you have presented this makes it look like you think that the smoke screen theory is equal or better. That’s what happens when you use terms like “as likely to indicate Republican involvement” and steadfastly refuse to give any indication of what you perceived to be relative merit.

    “Plausiblity works when we can see at least some of the factors: most in these circumstances are hidden. You are asking me and others to choose those elements you personally find agreeable, without producing an argument as to why we should.”

    What elements? There have been a few threats and a few attacks on some GAA clubs. Who has done it? Probably loyalists. They have done it before. Motive might be simple sectarianism, or it might be tit-for-tat for attacks on orange halls. It’s by far the most straightforward explanation.

    You have suggested Republicans have done it to put a smoke screen on attacks on OO Halls. That isn’t impossible, but it carries big risks for them if it was found out. You have suggested it’s a time honoured tactic and cited a paper as proof, which would strengthen the case, but it’s been asserted that actually the paper says nothing of the sort. You suggest the fact that it is less plausible is evidence in itself, which is a stretch too far.

    Have I missed anything? I fail to see how the latter explanation isn’t significantly worse at this point.

    “But much of what I see consists of covert action and deceit. Plausibility remains a factor, certainly, but it is much diminished in the process of deciding in what stays in or what leaves the overall reckoning.”

    Suppose for a second that the latter idea was given serious currency. People would use it to muddy the water when dealing with their own community’s sectarianism. So I think it needs dealt with carefully.

    “One last question before I belatedly climb the stairs and go to bed: just how dangerous, do you reckon, is a ‘narrative’?”

    Well, neo cons had a narrative that Iraq had WMD and they’d be welcomed with cheering crowds. The Closer to home, the IRA had a narrative that all the Prods were just suffering false consciousness. I could pull other examples.

    It’s not necessarily bad. It can be good to try and draw disparate elements together to make sense of them, or find parallels and linkages. It can be good to present a coherent vision.

    But you have to build upwards. The danger is that the narrative takes over everything else. Evidence is chosen selectively to support it. Supposition is used without real basis, and then is treated as fact. And so on. As we were on Kay recently, that is adaptive response, so care is needed.

  • lib2016

    Dread,

    My humble apologies for my stupid mistake. I deserve your sarcasm – dammit!

  • Dread Cthulhu

    lib2016: “My humble apologies for my stupid mistake. I deserve your sarcasm – dammit! ”

    Well, at least we finally agree on something… 😉

    On the other hand, I likely now owe Darth an apology for the “Episcopalian” crack, to it probably balances out all the way around…

  • Sam

    Mick: “I am not taking away from Councillor Ward’s standing in the least. I have never said he’s wrong either (despite steve’s gallant efforts at turning this into a staw man).

    “You also miss the point of the Clancy paper. Ruse attacks, and false information have been made throughout the troubles, from the Silent Valley bomb to the accusation of that McGurk’s Bar had Republican munitions stored within it.

    “Anyone trying to sort out the wood from the trees in such a clandestine campaign would be foolish in the extreme to rule out mock attacks.

    “I’m happy to argue it through with people. But I cannot answer the accusation that my views don’t count because I don’t have standing in the area.”
    ————————————
    These are your own straw men: It’s you not the councillor, or the Orange Master, or PSNI, etc who lacks any standing in relation to the events and the people concerned. And it is your standing in relation to them, not simply your lack of standing in the area that counts against your speculation.

    This is why your ‘possible scenario is not equal to the equally speculative possibility’ of the councillor, as you assert. You don’t have the same standing as an elected representative of the area, or a representative of the GAA, or the Orange lodge concerned with their premises being attacked, or the PSNI who are responsible for investigating these matters.

    Nor do you have the lesser standing of those who might not be directly concerned in these events but who have direct experience and knowledge of the locale and who might willing to speak on that basis in public. It’s not just that you don’t have standing in the area (your second straw man): it’s that you don’t have any relevant knowledge, experience, or indeed any stake in living the area.

    If none of the above have deigned to suggest what you have theorised (without bringing any additional evidence or particularly pertinent observation to bear on the case), then I don’t think your ‘speculative possibility’ is the equal of the councillors explanation. Especially because you don’t bring any additional evidence or particularly pertinent observation to bear that would warrant your speculation. So it appears idle at best, but the tighter you hold onto it in the face of all rational scepticism, the more it appears deliberately mischievous and politically motivated.

    It’s disappointing that you decline to acknowledge that I do get the point of M.A. Clancy’s paper. It’s a critical examination of the influence of US special envoys in the peace process, in the course of which it argues that after 1998 the dissidents no longer posed a ‘real’ threat to Adams or the peace process. I’ve copied the relevant passage on p.5 of this thread and the meaning is clear.

    You seem to have understood Clancy’s point to mean what I said it did because you made the very same one in your Guardian piece on the failure of the prosecution in the Omagh trial: “The devastating result of a nationalist bomb going off in the busy shopping centre of a majority nationalist town certainly ended the bombing campaign of the Real IRA overnight. And with it, any serious threat to the peace strategy of McGuinness and Adams.”

    What Clancy’s paper certainly does not document is the fabrication of attacks and manufacturing threats as being ‘a favoured tactic of the Republican movement’. For you to cite it as respectably documenting what you suggest is ‘widely known’ is simply untrue.

    The basis for your scepticism regarding the cause of the pipe bomb at the GAA property, and for ‘a plethora of other ‘victimless crimes’, ‘mostly threats…with no hard evidence of any of them being actioned’ seems to be either a profoundly distorted reading of that paper, or an inclination to use it as a pseudo-source to dignify your own underlying political prejudice.

    This also raises the question, which of the plethora of ‘victimless crimes’ and threats that you mention do you think may have actually fabricated, seeing as you believe this is ‘a favoured tactic of the Republican movement’?

    I’m well aware of the history of loyalist actions being misattributed to republicans by unionist representatives and commentators, such as the Silent Valley bombing and that of McGurk’s Bar. I also cited two more recent examples of Ulster Unionists (Burnside and Trimble) who’ve made similar suppositions and so claimed that loyalist actions might be attributed to republicans or others. You appear to be doing much the same in this case, and since all these examples concern loyalists bombings and unionists misattributing their actions, they actually undermine your case as being counter to precedent.

  • Sam

    Mick: “In fact this is profoundly irrelevant to what we (all of us) already know. And that is that the suggested revenge motive remains purely a supposition: ie “a belief that is held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof”.

    “On production of such ‘positive knowledge or proof’, and I will bin the ‘ruse’ without pause or ceremony.

    “In meantime, whilst I thank you for your considerable intellectual industry, the ‘ruse’ option stays firmly in the ring.”
    ————————————
    This means that your ‘smoke screen’ theory, which you claim to be equal of the councillor’s suggestion of revenge, is also your own supposition; your own “belief that is held with confidence but not substantiated by positive knowledge or proof”, and one you say you’ll hang on to in the absence of ‘positive knowledge or proof’ to the contrary.

    It’s an interesting position to take, both intellectually and politically, which makes me wonder what would you actually consider to be ‘positive knowledge or proof’ in a case such as this?